“Dying on Stage.” A comedy of tragic proportions. I kid you not!” #RRBC @pursoot #IARTG

 

Violin for short story horror contestA recent tag on Twitter by my friend Vashti asked me to reveal something personal about myself. I shared the fact that I had once taken acting classes. That memory caused me to shudder and laugh simultaneously. Are you gonna ask me why?

(Whew … for a minute there I didn’t think you were gonna cooperate.)

So … the acting classes led to a few forgettable amateur performances with a group of like-minded but otherwise normal people.

Laurence Olivier

Trust me Laurence Olivier’s reputation wasn’t in any danger of being outshone.

But, hell … we were a dedicated bunch. In a group like that you soon learn to put your hand up for anything remotely connected to a production, which meant we all worked scenery, props, backstage and front of house when we weren’t actually selected to be up on that stage ourselves. Like I said dedicated. Or maybe certifiable.

Anyways … I was chosen for a part in the next production. It was a great part. I got to be shot and die on stage as the final curtain came down and everything! Seriously! I mean let’s face it that was probably the greatest challenge ever handed an aspiring actor.  I rehearsed the hell out of that final scene. I perfected pitching forward as I’m shot from behind and landing face down on the floorboards, but with a side view so the audience could get a clear view of my dead face as my shocked lover comes forward and kneels over me in an agony of loss. My assassin still stands with his gun in his hand and a shocked look on his face.

AUDIENCE

Are you with me so far?

That was the pivotal curtain moment.

Meanwhile back on the floorboards I lay, unmoving. I held it, I had that sucker under perfect control, until my dead nose came in contact with a pile of dust that one of us hadn’t quite swept off stage before the curtain came up.

I felt the dust reaction hit my senses and I began willing that damned curtain down. But my mourning lover was milking the hell out of his big scene and I knew I was in trouble.

I thought my head was about to explode.

At last my lover moaned out his last effort and the silence just before the curtain drops permeated the theatre  … and I let loose the sneeze from hell.

I was mortified. Especially when I heard that first snicker, you know that embarrassed snicker you make just before you double up laughing? Yeah … that’s the one. Multiply that by about thirty folks still sitting in our audience. Uh-huh. Yep.  And then I heard it … A voice in the crowd that carried well called out ‘Bless You’ and the whole place erupted. To make matters worse my lover collapsed in gales of hysteria over my no longer dead body which had his boyfriend off stage wishing me dead all over again.

My assassin barely managed to put the gun prop down before she cracked up completely.

Need I say that the only stage I was ever welcomed back on was the first one outta town.

True story. Seriously it is … even I couldn’t come up with this one.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope that my sharing a memorable moment has helped you to smile.

Have you ever had an oddly pivotal moment like that?

I’d love you to share it.

 

 

 

#BlackFriday #ShortStory “Just Lucky … I Guess.” #RRBC #IARTG

BLACK FRIDAY BANNER JUST LUCKY I GUESS

I do hope you enjoy my contribution to your Black Friday reading enjoyment.

 

Black Friday short story.

“Just Lucky, I Guess.”

Gabriel Christopher had always been considered lucky, both by his many friends and even those not disposed to like him at all. A few folks had commented and even gasped in amazement each time he pulled yet another rabbit from the bottom of his seemingly bottomless hat.

It had been that way since he was born

His devoted mother unhesitant in telling anyone within listening distance that the odds against her son Gabriel surviving his traumatic early arrival on earth were astronomical.

Another child too ill to play the lead in the school play? Too bad. Guess who was the understudy? Yup … that was Gabriel.

His friends clung to him at every social occasion, for it was always Gabriel that found a cab on those nights after a game or a concert when no cabs were to be had. Rain or shine, if they were with good old Gabriel, they knew they would always find a way to get home.

His looks alone would have drawn the women to him. His ability to provide them with Sir Galahad style safety was just another fringe benefit.

It was always Gabriel who somehow managed to get the great seats when the venues for major sporting events or a farewell performance for a world famous entertainer were meant to be sold-out.

Want a seat in a restaurant that’s booked solid for months in advance? Gabriel was your go to guy.

Gabriel had never acknowledged the ‘damn but you’re lucky’ thing, at least not publicly.

He preferred to think of himself as merely observant of everything important to him. Those observations prompted all of his actions.

He’d never needed to strive to be the best he could be, for that lucky star people said he’d been born under kept right on shining down on him throughout his life. Why work yourself to death for something, when not making any effort at all garnered you the same results?

He’d stopped thinking about it much at all in the past couple of years. Life had settled itself into a comfortable pattern. He was content.

Therein lay the heart of his problem. That craved for contentment had nudged him into a world both predictable and unrelentingly boring.

It was April now. Spring had arrived and reawakened what little spirit he still possessed.

He needed a change.

He mulled it over for a few days, weighing his options. Gabriel decided that quitting his job would be stupid, and he was far from stupid … not by his reckoning. He checked in with his boss, and as luck would have it, he had ample leave time accrued to take a long overdue vacation.

He rarely found anything that he wanted or needed enough to warrant him spending his savings. It had been years since he’d purchased his home. He had only his mother to be concerned about while he was traveling, and she was newly remarried and no longer appeared to be in such need of his undivided attention.

Gabriel knew he could easily afford another overseas trip. He’d traveled throughout Europe and even to Australia in those years when spring breaks really meant something.

***

He opened the laptop and began looking for a close location that wouldn’t need days of traveling to reach the destination.

He smiled with anticipation as he made his choice.

A short road trip would take him to Orlando Florida, where he could easily make the direct flight to San Juan in Puerto Rico. He used his phone app and found some great deals on both flights and accommodation. He wasn’t surprised.

Gabriel had traveled widely. But not usually this close to home. Now was the time.

The direct flight to San Juan would take only two and a half hours.

He confirmed his flight times and departure details; handed in his leave application at work, which was immediately approved, and counted down the days.

It was now Monday, and his excitement was building. He would fly out on Friday.

He made the road trip the day before, and spent the night of April 12th, in the Orlando Holliday Inn.

He happily drank the contents of the mini-bar and rang through to room service, ordering a bottle of his favorite scotch, and a meal of Lobster and salad.

He deemed the expense worthwhile and fell into bed late, both well sated and alcohol saturated.

***

Gabriel awoke the next morning and took long minutes to remember where he was and what he was doing there.

“Oh, shit!” He glanced at his phone. “Shit, shit, shit!” He’d been too drunk to set his alarm.

He scrambled from the bed and crossed to the window. The rain came in blinding sheets and the palm trees outside were blown about wildly in the ferocity of the wind.

His flight was due to leave in a less than an hour, and he knew security would be a nightmare to get through. “Damn it!” He haphazardly threw on some clothes, not giving a damn about fashion. He tried to book a cab. The response to his call when he’d finally been connected was that in this storm the cabs were all taken, with bookings piling up ahead of him.

He checked in with the airline, the weather was abating and the flight paths were clearing. The flight had been delayed but only for an estimated thirty minutes.

“Damn it to hell.” Gabriel grabbed his backpack and headed downstairs. He may just be lucky enough to flag down a cab. Anything was better than sitting around.

It had taken him twenty minutes, until in frustration he had walked out in the middle of the busy road and stopped the first cab he spotted.

The driver had the off-duty sign flipped up. He was clearly unavailable and unimpressed by the drenched guy with the backpack now standing in front of his cab and blocking his path.  Until Gabriel Christopher pulled out the Benjamin Franklin. “It’s yours. Just get me to the airport.” That hundred bucks sure changed the attitude.

“Anything you say, buddy.” said the driver, smiling at the man now sitting restlessly and drenching his back seat.

“You need to hurry!”

“No sweat, buddy. It’s only six miles. I’ll have you there in no time.”

“Yeah, well, no time is about all I have left. Step on it would you.”

The driver smiled again. “Sure thing.”

The cab made it to around a mile out from the Airport, before the traffic snarl forced it to come to an infinitely slow-moving crawl. The crawl finally ended in a traffic jam that stopped them and everyone else cold.

“I’ll get out here!” Gabriel exited the cab and was almost run down by a motorbike weaving its way through the traffic.

“Jesus!” The cab driver called out from the window. “Be careful, man. You almost wore that bike!”

“Yeah! But I didn’t.”

Gabriel started running. If the flight had been delayed by just a few minutes he could still make it.

He ran into the terminal. He had eight minutes to get through security and hand in his boarding pass.

Security was working at full speed, trying to clear the backlog of people without jeopardizing safety.

Gabriel was cleared quickly, he could see the departure gate not far ahead. His focus was fixed totally on that point.

He didn’t see the toddler stagger across his path sturdily pushing some wheeled toy … until he tripped over the small body and came crashing down in a heap on the floor.

Gabriel’s head bounced with a sickening smack on the tiles, and the parents of the little boy were frantically checking on their son’s wellbeing. The stranger lay at their feet, out cold and unmoving.

Other passengers came hurrying over to assist.

Gabriel came around and looked up into the face of the paramedic that gazed down with concern into his pale face.

“Take it easy.  You gave your head a damned good crack. Can you tell me your name?”

Gabriel was a little groggy, and he could feel the beginning of a headache making its presence felt.

“Uh … yes, Yes … my name is Gabriel Christopher.”

“How’s your vision, buddy?” The light was shone into Gabriel’s protesting eyes.

“It’s … okay. Yeah, yeah … I’m okay. Thanks.”

“We’re gonna need to take you to the hospital. You were out cold for a couple of minutes. An x-ray will show if you have any damage that needs treating.”

“What time is it?”

The paramedic checked his watch. “It’s gone three.”

“Fuck! I missed my flight.”

The paramedic was more concerned about assisting his patient onto a gurney. “Can’t help back luck, buddy.”

Gabriel Christopher was stunned at this crazy turn that his luck had taken. This type of thing just didn’t happen to him.

***

He was finally released from the hospital hours later once the test results had come back satisfactorily. He had a mild concussion and would have a headache for a day or two. He listened to the instructions and gave his word that he’d return immediately if any other symptoms should arise.

He managed to get another room back at the Holiday Inn.

Too weary now to be bothered with making fresh plans, he poured himself a stiff drink, threw on some boxer shorts and lay back on the king sized bed to watch the large screen television.

He flicked through the channels until the ‘breaking news’ headline came up.

He sat uncomprehending the significance of the news flash for a brief moment.

The attractive newsreader looked appropriately sad “Flight 1313 from Orlando to San Juan had disappeared from radar over the area known as ‘The Bermuda Triangle’ Air and sea searches are underway. No wreckage has yet been sighted.”

Gabriel Christopher’s phone began buzzing.

He took the call from his mother. She was hysterical with relief as she registered the sound of his voice. “Oh my God, my Gabriel. It’s Friday the thirteenth! Are you safe? I’m so glad you decided to take another flight, son.”

The enormity of the situation hit him hard as he listened to the sound of worry in her voice begin to diminish.

“Momma! I was meant to be on that plane. I missed it.”

“Of course you did, Gabriel. You have been blessed since birth.”

“Blessed, Momma? Maybe so … maybe so … Or I could be just lucky, I guess.”

He spent a further ten minutes reassuring her that he would stay indoors until after midnight.

He lay back and attempted to close his eyes, but dark thoughts of what the folks on that plane must have felt when it went down made his efforts at sleeping futile.

He thought about the strange incidents that had combined forces and caused him to miss that flight. He shivered.

The space around him felt wrong, it was suddenly crowded with the sounds of screaming helpless people.

He scrambled from the bed, hurriedly dressed,and headed downstairs and outside. Sucking in deep breaths of the spring air to help calm him. Gabriel began walking without checking direction … his usual keen sense of observation and acute awareness of his surroundings now gone, his feet moved with a purpose of their own that he appeared to have no control over.

He flicked a look at his watch. It was eleven forty-five pm. He shuddered as he acknowledged that this dreadful day was not yet over.

A building in the next block drew his eyes to the radiant glow of light emanating from within it.

He walked towards it without knowing why he did so.

He climbed the stairs and made his way into the warmth of the interior.

The light welcomed and encompassed him.

He moved slowly towards the statue of Christ.

A voice deep and rich permeated his senses. He was vibrating to the sound and the sensations as they echoed through his brain and pierced his soul.

“It is time, Gabriel. Welcome home.”

The church bells rang out the hour of midnight.

*

 

 

 

 

#NewContest “What is the Gender of this Author?” Submit a #ShortStory of 500 hundred words or less … in ANY genre.

BLOG POST WHAT IS THE GENDER OF THIS AUTHOR.jpg

You all know by now just how much pleasure I get from supporting my fellow authors.

It’s been quite a while since I came up with a contest here, and I do hope this one proves to be both challenging and entertaining.

I think it will be interesting for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is discovering just how diversely readers interpret what they read.

Just how perceptive are you?

So … what is this contest about?

The contest works in two parts.

 PART 1. I need authors to contribute a previously unpublished short story of 500 words or less in any genre of their choice.  Please include the title … and for my information and judging purposes only your name and indentifying gender.

Your short story will only be identified to the readers by a number allocated by myself. Your gender will not be revealed until after all votes have been counted.

In the subject line please write, “Submission for What is the Gender of this Author?”

SUBMISSIONS To be sent to me at suzieb4burke@hotmail.com

The author who has the least number of people correctly guessing their gender will have a featured article here on my blog, of any work of their choosing, the week immediately after the votes are calculated.

I only need three submissions each week to make the vote viable.

PART 2. Join in the voting process! If you haven’t contributed a story that week, please join in the fun and the challenge of identifying the gender that his author identifies as.

I will conduct a POLL to make voting easily accessible.

Those of you who wish to caste a vote will have a full week to read the entries and vote after the submissions go live.
 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, folks!

Book Review: “The Hat” by C.S.Boyack. @Virgilante #Paranormal #Speculative Fiction #RRBC @StoryEmpire

BOOK REVIEW COVER THE HAT By C S BOYACK

BOOK Review “The Hat” By C.S. Boyack.

Meet the author.

BOOK REVIEW BIO PICTURE OF C S BOYACK

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

BOOK REVIEW COVER THE HAT By C S BOYACK

BLURB

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

MY REVIEW … 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A Captivating way to spend your reading time.

I have read and reviewed other works by author C.S Boyack and knew from experience to expect an enjoyable read. The Hat didn’t disappoint me! This author has a boundless energy and imagination which he shares quite beautifully in the pages of this novella. We humans all appear to be genetically predisposed to hunger for some small connection to our past. The central (Human) Character of Lizzie finds herself needing to have a memento of her connection to the family when she finds herself adrift from her familiar surroundings.

Denied the chance to take something she’d value she grabs an old box and runs with it.

What the box contains is ‘The Hat.’ And from then on the story takes you on a frantically paced and well thought out roller-coaster ride. The dialogue between Lizzie and her new companion is classic one-liners delivered with superb comedic timing. That timing doesn’t falter for the duration of this enjoyable read.

Attributing a personality to a supposedly inanimate object takes skill, as did the sketches included so beautifully within this paranormal framework. Author C S Boyack has a marvelous creativity that enhances the reading experience.

I will never look at a fashion accessory in quite the same way again.

A Must read.

Find Craig on TWITTER

Purchase THE HAT on Amazon.com

C.S. Boyack Amazon Author Page

Craig Boyack’s Website.

Featuring #RRBC ‘Spotlight’ Author for February 2018. Gracie Bradford @IamXordinary #Children’sBooks

 

RRBC BANNER FOR GRACIE BRADFORD SPOTLIGHT MY BANNER

It’s my pleasure to host the Rave Reviews Book Club’s Spotlight Author for February 2018. Talented Children’s book author: GRACIE BRADFORD.

Please join me in making her welcome.

RRBC SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR GRACIE BRADFORD BANNER FOR POST

Meet Gracie.

RRBC SPOTLIGHT GRACIE BRADFORD BIO PIC

My business logo is “I AM….”. So, who is Gracie?

The best parts of me are that I am dynamic, an inspirer, a motivator, a risk taker, an explorer, a magnet to children, and a bookworm.

I am a retired senior healthcare executive who travels the world, a grandmother of an amazing 19-year old college student who lives with me, a grandmother to the awesome beagle, Lady Bird, an award-winning author, a lover of flowers, and a professional volunteer with causes related to childhood illness.

I am almost a vegan but still eats fish and eggs.

FEATURED BOOK: “JUNE THE PRUNE & LADY BIRD.” (Cancer Stinks.)

BOOK COVER GRACIE BRADFORD FOR FEATURE

AN INTERVIEW WITH LADY BIRD!

SHE IS ADORABLE.

Character Interview (Lady Bird)

Lady Bird: Hello, I am not really a bird. I just like to be treated like a lady. I’m June’s protector. She needs me.

Interviewer: How did you meet June?

Lady Bird: I was without a home when I was very young. She and her brother, Alex, found me far away from home and brought me to their home. They gave me a bath and fed me. At first, I was frightened, but June took me into her arms and gently caressed my head.

Interviewer: Where did you stay when you went to their home? Were you afraid?

Lady Bird: They hid me under the porch away from their mean ole mother for months. Alex was afraid that his Mom would make them take me away.  Every day, June would bring me food and water after everyone finished eating. We would eat and play in the back yard. Alex usually sit in the swing playing with his phone.

Interviewer: What happened when June’s Mom finally discovered that you lived under the porch?

Lady Bird: One day, she was sitting on the poach rocking in her usual rocking chair. I saw a cat and barked at the cat several times. The mean mother heard my bark, eased over to the edge of the porch, leaned over and our eyes met. I barked at her and she ran in the house screaming for June. I knew I had just gotten June in trouble.

Interviewer: Then what happened? I imagine June’s Mother was ready to punish June and Alex for bringing you home.

Lady Bird: Woof. Woof. You must read the book to find out.

Expect to see the 3rd book of the Lady Bird series late 2018 addressing Autism.

CONTACT DETAILS for Gracie Bradford.

You can pick up a copy of Gracie’s books on Amazon.com. Reviews are welcomed.

http://amzn.to/2gfLCEJ

Like and follow this author through the social media platforms below:

Blog: www.free1592.wordpress.com

Website: www.authorgraciebradford.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorgraciebradford/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/graciebradford5/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamxordinary

Facebook: www.facebook.com/gracie.bradford.58

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/authorgraciebradford/

We look forward to hearing your comments.

Thanks so much for visiting!  Please continue supporting this month’s RRBC Spotlight Author by visiting the website, where you’ll find more awesome information and other blog stops.

“Oops!” The crazy stuff I write when I need to cut loose. @pursoot #IARTG #RRBC #BloggersBlast

Oops.

Hello, lovelies! You all know that I write seriously strange stuff when I need to just cut loose for a while…So here I am again, visiting the crazier than usual zone. Uh-huh … Yeah, so here we go!

 

“Oops!”

I guess we all have those moments in life, you know the ones that you are certain to regret as soon as you recall whatever the hell it was that you did! Yeah, those rugged and dark times when you indulge in something legal or otherwise that you just HAD to have. My ‘Oops’ moments were continuing to create havoc.

The room stank. Body odor and cigarettes blended with stale booze.  My stomach was unimpressed that my sense of smell was still working.

I dry retched.  I shut my eyes and tried to remember just where the hell I was.  Hell seemed an appropriate placement, it sure was hot enough.

The memory hung there just beyond reach.  It troubled me somewhat, no matter how drunk I got, I had never blacked out before. It was a stupid thing to do.

The stench in the room increased.  A light came on.  What I saw made me wish myself unconscious again.

The thing sat in a stairwell.  It wasn’t quite a dog.  If it were, it was the ugliest one I had ever seen.

My first thought was, I hope to God this is only a nightmare. I pinched myself hard, and unfortunately, I felt it. The fetid odor of wet fur and old blood encouraged that notion.  My nose didn’t usually intrude itself in my dreams.

I moved, happy that I could do so.  I moved further.  The doglike thing emitted a sound that gurgled up through its throat; it spewed from its mouth, a combined growl and groan combined.  I shivered despite the enfolding humidity of the room.

It was angry and afraid.  Never a good combination in a nightmare that stank.

I shuffled myself backward on my ass.  I felt behind me in the light coming from where the thing sat.  My hands touched something cold and solid; I turned my head slowly to look, not wanting to attract Stinkys’ attention.  The scream I let rip, blew that scenario right out of the cellar.

The carcass had once been a female.  Now it was just a gutted thing crawling in maggots and covered in a congealed mess of intestines.  The genitals were the one remaining identifier.

I had attracted my ugly companion’s attention.  He—she … or it, moved onto a lower stair, the stench wafted over me as it moved.

Staying silent was hardly an option.  I was good with things with four legs as a rule.  Better though if I had a clue as to what I was dealing with.  It appeared to be a combination of an animal and an even uglier animal.

I guess if I looked that scary, I’d be pretty pissed as well.

I was deciding between throwing up or wetting myself, neither option was terribly attractive.

Good old Stinky had moved closer and was now only a couple of feet away.  He wouldn’t need to eat me.  The toxic fumes coming from him would decalcify my spinal column long before his sharp teeth could.  This thing made ‘Jaws’ look like a sardine with attitude.

I weighed up my options, trying not to glance behind me at the last person who made the wrong choice.

The trouble being of course that Stinky may well be the best deal I had.  I hate negativity; I decided to go with the easiest choice.  I stood and remained still.  My knees were shaking.  This didn’t assist in portraying myself as a solid “Terminator” type.  Stinky had a set of wedding tackle hanging between his legs.  It, was a he.

Stinky dropped to the floor.  He sat there making hideous sounds, his saliva pooling into a sticky mess in front of him.

So far so good, he had been conned by my immense physical presence.  Then again, he may just be tired from all that eating human beings stuff he’d indulged in.

I tried for the soft approach, hunkering down and talking in a calm controlled manner as I extended my hand, “So, Stinky, how’re they hangin’?”

“Rumplefargl.”

“Whoa—the old ‘Rumplefargl’ huh?  Tough break, Stink. Hey, buddy, I understand.  Us guys have gotta stick together, which given the amount of saliva you’re making, is a distinct possibility.”

I sat down completely, wanting, of course, to make him more comfortable. Plus my knees had turned to marshmallow and simply wouldn’t hold me up any longer.

Good ol’ Stinky must have figured I was cool. He put what passed for his head on his front paws, and looked up at me gently with eyes only ‘Stephen King’ could invent.

“Rumplefargl?”

I had to be careful how I responded to this one.  Suppose he was asking permission to turn me into a maggot-ridden mess like my other cellmate. Or worse yet, it could be a marriage proposal.

I gave it some thought, and then went for the psychological approach, “So with all this ‘Rumplfargl’ going on, Stink, when do you get a chance to just have time out alone? You know, just hangin’ out with the other things from hell and shootin’ the breeze and each other?”

He appeared to consider my question.  He stood and hurried over to the stairwell, “Rumplfargl.”

I followed him. Hell … why not?  I doubted whatever was up the stairs could be as disgusting as where I was.

I was so terrifyingly wrong.

I tried shutting the door again as a chorus of “Rumplfargl” greeted me.

“Oops!”

OOPS BABY

 

 

 

 

 

“Halloween Homecoming.” A #Paranormal Short Story. From “MIND-SHAFT” Paranormal Anthology. @pursoot

Halloween for SHORT STORY CONTEST!(1)

Halloween is fast approaching, and I’m in the mood to share some Halloween fun with everyone.

The following short story is featured in my Paranormal Anthology “Mind-Shaft”

I hope you enjoy it!

Halloween Homecoming

By

Suzanne Burke

He stood all of six feet, a powerful man, powerfully built. When he was on the attack, he came at you head on, with a sneer on his face and nothing in his eyes.

Leighton Caulfield, the name was enough to make board members shudder and rush to check their retirement funds.

The man, if indeed you wish to think of him as such, the man had no discernible attributes. He ran the corporations he controlled with an iron hand and no compunction. It was said by many that knew him, that should the owner of a lesser company driven to the wall by Caulfield’s greed—should such a man resort to suicide in shame … Caulfield would celebrate the event, by ensuring that the remaining families lost everything they owned, his punishment was incomplete until that was achieved. The man was—evil, coldly—terrifyingly evil.

I had watched good men die, at their own hand. Yet, the hand that loaded the bullets or provided the overdose was attached firmly to Leighton Caulfield’s right arm.

His left arm controlled a blood-sucking piece of shit, who carried the title of Lawyer. Kelsey Monroe, earned big money to ensure that his boss was untouchable.

The takeovers were hostile … but legal. The tactics were not. The stand-over merchants were violent men. They could never be connected back directly to Caulfield.

They were employed to stop goods deliveries, mishandle stock, and threaten clients … relentless in their destruction, until a once profitable company had their jugular exposed. It was the moment that Caulfield cherished above all else, the moment of vulnerability that sent him in for the kill. He thrived on it; he laughed about it and sent flowers to the widows of the men he truly broke.

The monster must be stopped. He had eluded investigators for years. Paying many off handsomely and allowing them early, wealthy, retirement.

Those with integrity intact were few. Kelsey Munroe, was the best lawyer in the business. Linking Leighton Caulfield to any legal wrongdoing was an impossible task.

Those options not being available reduced the ways of dealing with him to just one.

He had to die. Monroe would keep him company.

I needed to discuss the time, place, and method of execution with my colleagues.

The four of us agreed upon all, we simply awaited the opportunity.

It presented itself in late October; Caulfield was having a Halloween party in his mansion, paid for with blood.

The room was crowded with the usual bunch of sycophants and artists, the beautiful people who had no desire to offend the big man by not attending.

The party was in full swing—in every way.

Most guests were heavily indulging themselves with the Moet et Chandon, or any other beverage their tainted hearts desired. The smorgasbord followed no theme; it was a selection of Quail, Pheasant, Lobster, and Black-caviar, if it was expensive and could be bought it was laid on. The man had no style, no panache … he simply had the best of everything … to him that meant class.

We watched and moved carefully around the room, attracting little attention and remaining together. My three companions entered the library unseen and awaited my signal.

I watched Caulfield’s head of staff answer the telephone and hurry across to his boss. Leighton listened, and waved the man away … Mr. Caulfield was clearly agitated.

He strode across to Kelsey Monroe, after a brief discussion, they both headed for the library. I smiled in satisfaction. Here we go. I followed them into the room.

Leighton picked up the telephone, “Hello, hello—what is this—hello?” He slammed the receiver down. “Do you know what the fuck is goin’ on here Kelsey?”

“No idea, a Halloween prank—maybe.”

“Yeah, yeah—a prank, it had better be a damn prank!”

“What exactly was the message?”

“The guy on the phone said he was F.B.I. and I needed to have you come to the office with me to take the call, so it would be all legal like.”

“That’s it—that’s all?”

“Whaddya mean—that’s all—he said he was F.B.I for fuck’s sake!”

“It was a prank—Leighton—the federal boys don’t work that way.”

“You’re sure?”

“That’s what you pay me for—of course I’m sure!”

“Good, good—damn it’s cold in here, let’s get back inside, I got a hot woman and a hard dick.”

“You always have a hard dick, Leighton.”

“You had your chance, Kelsey.”

“Let’s get back to the party. What, is, that disgusting stink?”

“Yeah—what is that? It stinks like I dunno—like somethin’ died.”

Kelsey reached for the door handle and screamed in pain as he touched it, “Sweet-Jesus, what the—I burned my hand, I burned my hand on the fucking door!”

“Show me—shit man, that’s burned the skin right off. What the—what’s goin’ on? What’s happenin’ here?” He ran across to his desk, grabbed a hand full of paper then hurried over to the door. Using the paper as a barrier he tried the handle, the paper ignited, he dropped it with a yelp! “Fuck me—what!” He spun around the room looking for something to blame it on.

I moved forward from the corner where I had been watching in amusement, “Well, gentleman, happy Halloween.”

“Oh dear God … what is that, a costume? …Yeah … It’s a costume, Halloween party—Halloween costume; it’s good fella, really good, so take the mask off, who are ya really?” Leighton’s voice cracked on the last four words.

“Fuck, Leighton—fuck, that’s no freaking costume I know that voice—its Bill … Bill Gardner!”

“Don’t be so fuckin’ stupid Kelsey, Bill Gardner blew his brains—oh shit!” Leighton moved behind his desk and pulled open the drawer; he removed the 9mm Glock and aimed it at what was left of my head!

I started laughing; I was enjoying this—“You going to shoot me—hey, Leighton? Oh, this should be great … ‘go ahead make my day’! I’ve always wanted to say that.” He fired four shots and stood looking down at the gun as if it had an answer to why I was still standing there.

“Leighton, Leighton—get a grip man. Just take it easy!” Kelsey sounded quite lawyer-like and reasonable—that simply would not do.

“So—um Bill? What is it you want? You are doing this for something, a reason …what is it?”

It was time to stop messing around with these two. My three friends joined me.

“Well now gentleman, I believe you have cause to remember my friends here as well—let’s see now, in order I think; Tony Draper, you can see the noose almost severed Tony’s head. Phillip Westcott, Phil, was not a great shot, but still blew the back of his head out. And last but no means least, Gregory Parker, smart man our Greg—tablets and booze, you know Greg you look a little better than the rest of us … shame about floating in the river for a week, kind of messed up the clean job.”

Our combined shrieks of laughter reverberated throughout the room. Both Kelsey and Leighton were spewing up everything in their guts, which did not trouble us any—stink was something we were used to. Leighton made a break for the floor to ceiling windows—sealed shut. We were having ourselves a fine time.

I walked over and through Kelsey; stopping mid-body to let him get the feel of his guts rotting while he was still alive—his scream was blood-chilling but as I did not have a drop, it bothered me not at all.

Meanwhile, Greg had taken hold of Leighton’s hand and was plunging it in and out of the jelly substance that had once been his body.

It did us the world of—well let us just say we enjoyed it.

“Okay, my friends … let us see if our toys are ready to play our way.”

“Whaddya want—anythin’—I swear—everythin’ whatever you want …anything!” Leighton repeated lamely.

“And you, Mr. high-priced-lawyer man—what about you? Will you agree to anything we want, hmmm?”

He did not look a well man, his face had gone quite gray, “Yes, anything—you ask.”

“Oh, that’s just wonderful. Wonderful. If you will both go across to the desk … you will find a neat pile of paperwork, all on your personal letterhead, Leighton, just requires signatures … yours and the lawyerman’s.

“How the fuck—who typed these?”

“Shut up Leighton, for pity’s sake—shut up and sign!”

“Oh …no need to read them—gentleman—I assure you. Just sign them—right now, you wouldn’t really enjoy seeing us angry, trust me.”

“It’s done, done—so what now—are we free to leave? It’s done—signed.” Leighton’s voice had taken on a whining whimpering edge that was rather endearing. I personally would have enjoyed watching them both crawl and plead some more. However time … whilst unimportant to my three cohorts and I, was relevant to these hideous excuses for men.

“Well done—gentleman, I am pleased.” This brought a sickly smirk from Leighton and a look of resignation to Kelsey Monroe.

“Gentleman if you will stand here and um—let me see, yes—that should do, Mr. Lawyer man you stand just about—here.”

“What—we can go now, right? I mean we did everythin’ you wanted didn’t we? So we can go?” Leighton Caulfield was babbling.

“Leighton—you are a fucked in the head fool! They are not going to let us go. Can’t you see that you damned asshole?”

“Tsk, Tsk, Mr. Lawyer man, such language.”

“Mr. Caulfield—Leighton, you are going to shoot your friend Kelsey here in the head. Aim true, we don’t want it to miss.”

“What—why—will you still let me go?” He looked across at his friend and shrugged.

“It’s about what I was expecting, do it you bastard—but know this … I’ll be with you every moment of every day until you die.”

They were the last words spoken by Mr. Kelsey Monroe, lawyer man. Considering how badly Leighton Caulfield was shaking, the shot was damned good … almost mid-forehead.

“It’s finished—I can go—right?”

“Oh—I just need you to do two more teensy things … Leighton. Firstly, you need to sign this document.”

“Then—can I go?”

“I’ll give you an out … Leighton.”

“Good—good, where do I sign?” He affixed his signature and gave me a triumphant smile.

“Okay—I’m outta here—right?

“Not—quite—one more thing. Take the gun—place it in your mouth—and pull the trigger.”

“But—no—you said—you said you’d give me an out! You said …?”

“I lied. Do it.”

He cried like a baby, sniffling and whining—we all let him feel us from the inside.

He pulled the trigger.

CNN Breaking news…Billionaire Businessman Murder/Suicide pact. Letter left.

“I can never make full restitution for the wrongs I have committed but I will do my best. My will has been altered and witnessed by my lawyer and lover, Kelsey Monroe. To the families of the men, I destroyed with my greed, the full return of their businesses and all profits made since my takeover. To my loyal staff a share in all remaining businesses. In addition, full profit share and superannuation backdated till date of employment.

“I cannot continue to live this life. I cannot bear to be without my beloved Kelsey; he must die with me.

Leighton Caulfield.

😈😈😈

All in all, a most satisfactory Halloween.

Halloween scary for post!

Next year—well, let us see what that brings—shall we? 😊

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