Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dream House - from Week 4 #DailyPicspiration

The #DailyPicspiration blog continues to be a success. :) I've had some success with the prompts in trying different genres. Here's my second offering from Week 4:

Picture 1

Picture 2

M L Gammella’s Picture Choice: 1

Title: Dream House

They had finally done it. After saving every extra penny and dollar they could, they finally bought their dream house. It was an older home, one of the oldest on the block, with narrow stairs, built in cabinets, and shelves that weren’t found in modern homes anymore. It was one of the many things that drew them to the house.

Emily especially loved the pocket doors that separated the formal dinning room from the living room and foyer. Sure, they didn’t really need a formal dinning room but the house had such charm, she couldn’t say no. Craig felt the same. He loved the large backyard and imagined all the barbecues they could have and their future kids running around playing with the family dog.

So it was a no-brainer for them when they put an offer down. They heard the stories about the house, about things that had happened years before, but they didn’t put any weight on them. They even laughed over it -- the irony that a ghost that allegedly haunted the house was named Emilia. People had lived happily in the house since then without incident. The stories were just that, stories ... the kind of tales told to kids at Halloween to scare them.

The first week they were in the house, they eagerly kept an eye out for anything supernatural, curious to see if their ghost would ever materialize. It became a game for the happy couple, with every bump or odd noise that they heard, they giggled and mouthed ‘Emilia.’ When nothing appeared, they shrugged their shoulders and went on with their life.


A few months after they moved in, they were in their favorite spot of the house, the narrow stairwell connecting the first floor and the second floor. The stairway proved to be quite a pain when moving furniture, but it was a perfect spot for them to unwind and relax with a cup of tea.

Emily sat with her legs tucked over top Craig’s lap and her hair was piled loosely on her head. Craig looked tired, the day had been long and frustrating, plus he hadn’t slept well. The warmth from the teacups was soothing for both of them.

“So what’s the plan?”

Craig signed and ran a hand through his hair. “I’m not sure. John said that the implementation needs to be completely revamped and so now we need redo what took us six months to create in a matter of weeks.”

“Oh jeez, that sounds horrible.”

“It’s a part of the job. Stuff like this happens; it’s not desireable but it happens. We’ll get through it one way or another.”

Emily sipped her tea cup, swirling the remaining contents gently around. “That’s a good way to look at it. Certainly more productive than what Roger tends to do.”

Craig chucked as he drank the last of his tea. “Yeah, he’d rather complain about the problem to everyone and anyone who will listen instead of just doing something about it. That’s why he’s still just a tech and hasn’t been promoted.”

Emily laughed as she started to unwind herself from Craig. They both jumped when a loud crack reverberated from somewhere on the second floor.

“Jesus, what the hell was that?” she asked, clutching her teacup tightly.

“I’m sure it was just the wind or maybe Emilia blowing a door shut. I think the upstairs windows were open,” Craig said lightly, putting the incident behind him.

Emily smiled and continued downstairs to the kitchen to clean up before bed. While she was washing their teacups, she heard the shower start. An idea popped in her head, making her blush and finish up as quickly as possible.

With a spring in her step, Emily hurried up the steps, pulling her sweater over her head. She had just tossed it to the side when she thought she heard someone, someone other than her husband.

“Hello? Craig?”

No one answered her although she could hear Craig singing badly in the shower. Feeling uneasy and her amorous mood broken, she continued up the steps and grabbed her sweater from the floor.

When she walked into their bedroom, she noticed that the windows were closed. Emily shrugged and put her clothes in the hamper and changed for bed. She had just slipped her robe on when the doorknob from the bathroom jiggled several times.

“Em, are you in the bedroom?” Craig’s voice called out from the other side of the door.

“Yes, Craig. What is it?” she called over her shoulder, running a bristle brush through her hair.

“The door isn’t opening. Is it locked on your end?”

“No, I don’t think so, but let me check.”

Emily put her brush down and walked to the bathroom door. As she reached out to try the knob, the bedroom curtains billowed out fiercely, yet the window was closed.

“What the ...”

She stepped back from the door as the curtains continued to whip around the room. Craig continued to try to open the door but it was not working.

“Emily, is it locked? Can you open it from your side?”

She turned to answer him and didn’t see what was approaching her until it was too late.

A pale apparition appeared before her, the edges of the phantom woman’s dress swirling around as the curtains danced. The woman did not look happy.

“Wh-who are you?” Emily whispered as she took a step away from the approaching specter. “Are you Emilia?”

The ghost did not respond. Her face twisted into a snarl and the wind continued to build, blowing small items off of Emily’s dresser. Emily was too frozen in fear to do anything but watch the perfume bottles and eye shadow compacts fall to the floor and shatter. She couldn’t believe this was happening.

Emily’s heart was pounding so hard, she was afraid she might have a heart attack. She didn’t know if she should run or fight, or if she could even fight a ghost. Then there was Craig. Emily couldn’t run and abandon Craig to fend for himself.

Craig’s voice cut through the racket in the room as he tried the door again. The ghost’s eyes flicked over past Emily’s shoulder to the door behind her. Her expression melted from hate to longing. Emily’s blood ran cold.

“No! You stay away from him!” Emily hissed, drawing the ghost’s attention back to her.

The apparition’s face twisted in fury and the temperature in the room dropped about twenty degrees in a matter of seconds.

“Go! I don’t know why you are here, but go! Leave this place!’ Emily shouted, feeling emboldened by her success in distracting the female ghost from her husband.

The ghost smiled, her expression saccharine while her eyes glittered. She raised her hands and the curtains tore from their rods and began flying across the room. Emily ducked as one flew by her head. She stood, looking to confront the horror that was destroying her bedroom.

With a howl, the ghost flew straight at her. Emily screamed and covered her face before everything went dark.


“Wow, Emily, that door is certainly tricky. I’ll have to find our WD-40 and oil that before one of us gets stuck in there again,” Craig said as he walked out of the bathroom, scrubbing a towel across his wet head.

“I’m sure it’s in the garage.”

“You coming to bed, sweetheart?”

“Yes, dear, just finishing with my hair.” She looked in the mirror and fluffed her hair, so different than what she was used to dealing with.

“It looks great, it always does.”

“Thank you,” Emilia said, as she climbed into bed and ran her hands over Craig’s chest. This body would serve its purpose indeed. She couldn’t wait to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh again. It had been far too long.

As always, check out the other great entries at picspiration.blogspot.com

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Daily Picspiration Blog

A few weeks ago, I started a blog with my friend @Kimmydonn that uses photos as a writing exercise. We invited some of our friends within the writing world on Twitter and formed a great group of people. Each day features a different prompt by a different writer based on the schedule for that week. A few people post every week, some every other week. It's a great exercise and allowed me to get to know some really awesome people.

Every day at 10am, a prompt is posted. Tweets are sent out after that, and eventually I post a link on my Facebook author page. We've had a really great response so far. I can't wait to see where we are in a month or two.

Today was also my day on the #DailyPicspiration blog. I decided to use both pictures. As of late, I've been writing more supernatural, darker stuff, but this is where the picspiration led me.

Picture 1

Picture 2

Title: The Final Swing

She really hated golf. Her lack of ability probably had a lot to do with it. No matter how hard she tried, Elena couldn’t get her stupid, little ball farther than a few feet down the green. This would’ve been fine had she and Richard been playing mini-golf but they weren’t.

She was being tortured at Richard’s favorite golf range, where, of course, he had a membership. And Richard, the self-proclaimed golf pro, was adamant that she would learn to golf even if it killed her.

Elena wasn’t so sure.

They were there for the upteenth time that summer, and Elena had to fight the urge to roll her eyes every time Richard tried to explain his winning technique to her yet again.

“Come on, Elena, it’s not that hard.” Richard sighed, his exasperation with her starting to come out.

He wasn’t nearly as irritated as she was. She huffed and fought the urge to throw her golf club to the ground. “Clearly, it must be if I am still having difficulty. Face it, Richard, I suck at golf. What’s the big deal if I can’t golf anyway?”

Richard put his hands on his hips and forced a smile on his face. “Elena, sweetheart, I’ve explained this to you before. Deals and promotions are made on the green. The guys at the firm and all of their wives play, and play well. If we don’t impress them with our playing, then I won’t get the promotion and ... and they will think I’m a fool if you don’t play well.” Richard took a steadying breath and tried to keep his smile on his face. “All you have to do is hit that tiny, little ball across the green. Just swing and hit.”

Elena gritted her teeth at his condensation and swung her club. Instead of a resounding thwack, all she heard was the slight whistle of her club moving through the air. When she looked down, her pristine white Titleist golf ball laid in the neatly manicured grass on its tee, mocking her.

Richard stomped off to their golf cart, swearing under his breath. Elena wanted to pick up the ball and throw it at his head. When he turned around to face her again, his expression wasn’t nearly as kind as it had before. She wished she had thrown the ball at him.

“Elena, I swear to God, are you doing this on purpose?” he demanded as he strode toward her. “Are you trying to sabotage my career? Do you hate me this much? All I have asked you to do is hit the damn ball. How hard is that? Seriously, explain this to me. You swing the club, you hit the ball. Are you so stupid that you can’t handle the coordination of doing those two things?”

As she blinked back tears, Elena tried very hard to remember the young boy she fell in love with and not the ungrateful son-of-a-bitch before her. He hadn’t always been this way. Once upon a time, he was sweet, affectionate, and attentive. The Richard she knew never would’ve talked to her the way the man before her was. He never would be so condescending and dismissive. She realized she didn’t really know Richard anymore.

“You know what, Richard? I’m done. This is absolutely ridiculous.” Elena pushed past Richard and tossed her golf club onto the cart.

“What do you mean, you’re done?” he demanded as he grabbed her arm. “We still have ten holes to play.”

“Now who is the one being stupid? I mean that I’m done, Richard. I’m done beating myself up trying to learn to play golf. I’m done dealing with your attitude and being talked down to all the time. You’ve changed ever since you started working for the firm and I don’t like what you’ve become. I’m not putting up with it anymore.”

Elena pulled her arm from Richard’s grip and started walking away.

“You can’t leave me, Elena,” Richard said quietly, his fists balled up at his sides.

She stopped and looked at him over her shoulder. “Watch me, Richard. Is that too hard for you to understand?”

Without another word, Elena climbed in their golf cart as he sputtered with indignation. She drove away heading back to the clubhouse and he tried running after her, brandishing his golf club. “You’re just going to leave me here? You stupid bitch!”

If she heard what he said, she paid it no mind and kept going.

Once he reached the clubhouse, Elena was long gone. He panted as he tried to catch his breath, resting his hands on his thighs. Richard noticed that there were several people watching him, snickering as they talked amongst themselves. Several of them were from his office and no doubt would be filling everyone else in about what happened come Monday morning.

His blood boiled over this further embarrassment by his wife. Richard knew that he would be the laughing stock for some time to come. That promotion he had been vieing for was surely out of reach now. Richard angrily grabbed his cell phone and called a taxi to come take him home. He and his dear, sweet wife were in need of a good, long talk.

In the short time it took to reach his home, his anger had not abated. If anything, it had grown. He had plenty of time to go over every second of his humiliation at the golf course and everything Elena had done wrong. She would not shame him like that a second time. He wouldn't allow it. Richard wondered what happened to the sweet, caring girl he once fell in love with.

When he walked through the front door, the house was quiet. Neat and tidy as always, but quiet. Normally Elena had music playing or the television was on.

"Elena?" His voice echoed through the house.

"I'm in your office, dear," Elena called through the house, her voice surprisingly light and pleasant after what had just happened.

"What are doing in my office?" he yelled as he strode quickly towards the back of the house. While he didn’t bar Elena from entering his office, she normally didn't go in there.

"Just doing some cleaning, Rich," she replied sweetly, using a nickname she hadn’t used in a long time.

A wave of panic and apprehension overcame Richard as he walked the last several feet to his office. Something was wrong and Richard had a feeling he wouldn't like it one bit.

As soon as the door swung open, he saw his wife first. She was sitting casually on the sofa that was on the far side of the room. Her face was hidden in the shadows but what was in front of her was not.

In a mangled pile of bronze, wood, and gold were all his precious golf trophies he won over the years. Statuette arms reached out in supplication from the debris, bits of splintered wood and metal littered the floor. They were beyond repair. A few had gotten dinged over the years from being accidentally dropped but this was much different. This was intentional destruction.

Only then did he realize the television was on. The volume was muted but he instantly recognized what was playing. It was his and Elena's wedding video from seven years prior.

"Elena, what did you do?"

"Something I should've done a long time ago." Elena stood and walked into the light from the television screen. In her hand was a driving wedge, his favorite one.

Finally realizing that perhaps he had pushed Elena too far, he backed up a few steps. "Elena, perhaps we can talk about this. If you could just put the wedge down ..."

"Oh, you want me to put the wedge down?" Elena's voice became tight with barely controlled fury. "Now you want me to put the wedge down? What about before, Richard? You said just swing and hit, right?"

She swung back with the heavy club and brought it down forcefully on the pile of statues and trophies. Cheap metal and polyresin snapped and crunched as she continued to inflict punishment on her husband's most prized possessions.

"Just like this, swing and hit the ball, right Richard? Just swing and hit, it isn't hard! Am I doing it right now, Richard? Am I?"

"Yes, you're doing just fine, Elena. Perfect form. I couldn't be prouder," he whispered, taking another step away from his wife.

Elena whirled on her husband. "Don't you dare patronize me, you bastard!" She stalked over to him, holding the wedge rigidly in her hand.

Richard backed against the wall as she continued to approach. He had never seen this side of his wife before.

She stopped only a few feet from him, a proximity he had enjoyed in the past. Now he was afraid of what she would do with the wedge. He had no idea what she would do next.

"I hope you enjoyed your golf game today, Richard, because it's likely to be your last for some time." Elena poked Richard in the chest with his wedge. "So what's worse for your image at your office, Richard? A wife who has the audacity to be bad at golf or an ex-wife takes you to the cleaners so the only golf game you can afford is mini-golf?"

Before Richard could formulate an answer, Elena thrust the wedge at him and sneered. "You'll be hearing from my lawyer."

Elena turned on her heel and walked out of the room without looking back. She felt a weight lift off her shoulders that she didn’t realize she had been carrying. As she started her car and backed out the driveway, she cracked a smile and turned the radio on. Richard was no longer her problem and no one would make her play golf ever again.


Thanks for reading! Check out this entry and all the the others on the blog at: Daily Picspiration