Grams, A Flash Fiction Story

My father used to mow my grandparent’s lawn. He would plop my Little sister Rachel and I in the living room, with a fudgsicle and an orange crush soda, and go out to mow grass that was always way overdue for a cut. Dad would always leave the front door open, and the screen door closed so we would know where he was at all times.

I can still hear his voice as he was going out the door, “Abby, watch your sister, and no going down in the basement or up in the attic.” These were easy to follow rules because both those places contained monsters. Every kid knew that.

Grandma would pat the couch and tell me to come sit by her. She knew that between my sister and me, my imagination was more developed. I’d get off the chair that Rachel and I would fight over every visit, and my sister would quickly steal it. Getting to talk and sit with Grandma was a treat that only seemed to be bestowed on me.

Grandma always smelled of baby powder and just a tint of something that was unpleasant. I didn’t mind it, though. I loved talking with my Grandmother. She told me about olden times. Times when there were more horses than cars on the road. Times where men wore suits and women wore long dresses and hats so big, they shaded not just their faces but their whole bodies. Hearing about the hats always made me smile.

She would tell me about the day she met my Grandpa. How they’d fallen in love on a summer day. They’d had a picnic next to a pond, and Grandpa had sung to her. She would laugh and always tell me how Grandpa was the worse singer, but she loved him more because of it. Mainly because he dared to do it.

Grandma always knew when dad was just about done with the lawn. She would end our talk the same every time. With a saying, I tell my kids to this day.

She would say, “Death is an illusion for the living, Abby. Love is the only real thing.”

My dad would come in and ask me who I was talking to. A couple of times I had said Grandma, but I quit saying that because it would make my father upset. So, I would say no one. We would close the house up and go home. I really wish I could have met my Grandma when she was alive.

Book one of my Pool Series is free!

Book one of my Pool Series is free. 01/23/2020

So, the way I originally released this book was in three installments. I later turned it into an omnibus.

The Pool is about a family that is traveling across the United States on a sight seeing trip. That happen upon a sleepy little town with an old motel that has a pool in the center of the parking lot. Weird things start to happen to the family. The story rolls out before you with a shocking end.

I put the first book up for free. The other two can be purchased on Amazon. Or you can buy all three with the omnibus. Links are below.

Sample from The Life of Ants, The Hybrid

Sample from The Life of Ants, the Hybrid, by Ernie Howard

**DISCLAIMER** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I do earn a small commission from them.

“It is time to go Dear One. The future of this planet depends on you and some others just like you. It is time to learn new things, but things you need to learn cannot happen on this planet.” The Orb’s voice inside Emma’s head sounded excited and almost happy. “You must go where we took your father.” A picture of an old train car popped into Emma’s head. She knew instantly how to get to it. “You have to leave tonight. There is no time to waste. You must find your protector. You must help save this planet.” The Orb winked out and was gone like it had never been there in the first place.

Emma got up from her bed and went to her desk. She would have to leave as soon as possible. Her dad would no doubt try to bring up some food for her, and if that happened all would be lost. She had to remember that her parents didn’t know what was best for them. For her as well.  She started to write a letter. It would be dark soon.

When she was done with the letter, she grabbed her school backpack and emptied the contents of the bag onto her bed. She wouldn’t need paper and pencils where she was going. She threw in some clothes, and a bottle of water that had been sitting on her nightstand for a week. Emma checked her pockets to see that her three dollars that her mom had given her for lunch this morning were still there. She had faith that she wouldn’t need it. The Orb had told her about her protector.

Sample from The Life of Ants

Sample from The Life of Ants, by Ernie Howard

“I need to getaway. Get the fuck away… Can’t. Can’t take it,” Gram thought to himself, watching the streetlights blur by the windshield.

Streetlights… Streaming. Headlights… Beaming into the abyss; the nothingness that is our lives. His mind drifted until he heard someone shout from a passing car.

“We are ants!”

“Did you hear that?” Gram asked.

“I didn’t hear shit,” Wallace said. “I think you should probably lay off that shit that is in your pocket.” Gram looked across the car at Wallace. “What? You don’t think I know what you’re doing when you wipe your nose with your hand? You’ve been doing that shit since I picked you up from the nuthouse.”

“It’s not a nuthouse. It’s a detox.” Gram said. He didn’t believe his own words as soon as they left his mouth. Wallace erupted in a loud laugh that shook the car. A laugh that only a man of Wallace’s girth was capable of.

“And that makes it better?”

Sample of, The Old couple, A Night Portals Short Story

Sample from the short story, The Old Couple, a Night Portals Short Story.

They were here again. I could always feel them coming. Not because I had some sixth sense, but because they always came here at this time of the day. I never let them in though.  Earl never seemed to have a clue when they would bang on the door. He just stared at his TV screen watching the nonsense go by. He was the shell of the man I’d fallen in love with.

They always knocked for what seemed like ages. Banging on the door until I thought I’d go insane. This day was like no other, at least until I heard the door open.

Sample of My title, The Pool

Sample from my title, The Pool

**DISCLAIMER** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I do earn a small commission from them.

“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.”

Chief Seattle

Sample From The Pool

The front desk was empty except for a bored-looking oversize cat. It stared at Shawn as it licked its paw like a Popsicle. The cat glared as if Shawn was a soon to be a dead piece of prey that it would bat around a little before devouring, bit by bit.

Shawn moved slowly toward the desk, trying not to scare the obese cat. He didn’t like heights, but cats came in at a close second. As he moved closer, he heard the animal growl. It seemed to come from deep inside of the cat, reminding Shawn of a horror movie he’d seen where a woman was possessed by a demon. He’d almost made it to the desk unscathed when the cat let out with a surprised hiss and jumped over Shawn’s head, raking a claw across his scalp. Before he could slap the cat away, it was gone. Shawn reached up and touched the spot where the damn thing had clawed him. He looked at his hand and was happy to see no blood. Grateful that the cat was gone, and that he wasn’t bleeding like a stuck pig, he let out with a laugh.

“Don’t mind Gobstopper. He doesn’t like many people. Hell, some days, he don’t even like me and I’m the one who feeds him his chow.”

Shawn jumped at the sound of the man’s voice; he hadn’t heard him come up behind the desk. But there he was standing behind the counter, smiling with teeth that looked to be stained by many years of chewing tobacco. The man turned his head to the left and spit into an old-fashioned spittoon in the corner that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a while. The loogy clanged on the stained metal, the sound echoing through the small office.

The man wore an eye patch with a MIA POW insignia embroidered right in the center, over his right eye. The older man’s full head of white hair and beard made him look like a one-eyed Santa Claus; his oversized beer belly helped with the illusion. Shawn immediately felt good in the man’s presence. Despite the man’s eye patch, he looked like a jolly old guy. Like if Santa Clause had decided to quit making toys to become a pirate. He stifled a giggle that threatened to escape and smiled back at the man.

“So, what can I do for you?”

“Well, I need a room with two beds preferably, but if you haven’t got any available, I’ll take whatever you got. I’ve been driving for a while and I think I would take a floor and a sleeping bag at this point.”

The man gave him a knowing smile. He paused for a second, staring into space. Shawn knew the man’s gears were turning; he probably was going over a mental map of the motel.

“Mister?” Shawn didn’t know if the old man had lost his train of thought, or if the old guy was having a stroke. The man snapped out of his trance. Just as Shawn was going to ask him if he was okay, he spoke.

“Call me Jonathan. Jonathan Piedmont. Mister has always made me feel like an old man, and I already know I’m old, so I don’t need any reminders on the subject.” Jonathan let out with a full-bellied laugh that looked and sounded like it would shake the small office off of its foundation.

“Shawn Bailey.” Shawn reached his hand over the counter to shake Jonathan’s hand. The man’s hand was hot almost to the point of being uncomfortable. It made Shawn want to pull away, but he shook vigorously, not wanting to be rude.

“Glad to meet ya, Shawn. Now let’s see what we got open.”

Shawn watched the old man shuffle papers on a desk that had a thick layer of dust and old coffee mug rings. It looked like it hadn’t been used in years. He moved one of the coffee mugs that had seen better days and underneath it was an old-style room key; a real key with its own plastic tag, stamped with the number one.

“Here we go. Looks like you and your family got the last room in the whole place.”

Does it have two beds?” He was really hoping to sleep in a bed without the kids.

  “You’re in luck, my friend because all of our rooms have two beds. We have hide-a-beds if you need them for your family, for however long they need them. Excuse me, for however long you and your family need them.” The twinkle in Jonathan’s single eye had lost some of its luster, and the man’s smile had gone from jolly to pursed. Does this guy think my kids and wife are going to leave me during the night? He shrugged the old man’s comment off and changed the subject.

“My kids are excited about the pool out front. They were practically jumping out of the car when we pulled up.”

The old man stopped frozen over his ledger book. His smile disappeared. Shawn watched as Jonathan shook his head slowly, letting out a long sigh that rattled in the old man’s throat.

“There are some rules about The Pool that you and your family need to know about.” The mood in the room had changed so fast, it took Shawn a second to even realize it had gone south. Even the temperature dropped a little, and the sun shining through the window dimmed as Jonathan looked at Shawn. The serious look on Jonathan’s face reminded him of his father.

“The rules of The Pool are quite simple. Number one: Only one person can walk through the gate at a time.” Jonathan looked at Shawn with his one eye. The single blue eyeball bored into him.

“Number two: The gate must be fully closed before the next person goes through, and that person must open the gate unassisted.” Jonathan paused and bored a few more holes into Shawn.

“The third and most important rule of all of these is you must be ready to enter The Pool. If you are not ready, the results could be disastrous for you and the inhabitants of The Pool.”

The First Paragraph

This is the first paragraph of my latest. Have a look at Melody 8. Remember that this is unedited.

 

My mother used to sing to me when I was scared at night. When shadows, in corners turned into drooling creatures who wanted to eat me. When the wind wasn’t just benign air, but a drooling demon bent on eating my soul, and my body, bit by sweet bit. I’d lay my head on her chest to feel the vibration of her singing. The song would come out in low tones and hurried breaths, and just slightly off-key. I always thought my mother’s inability to hold a perfect tune made the song better. It was as if mom had put her own touch on the song she’d chosen to sing. Her voice made pleasing chills go down my spine, and make my skin turn to goose pimples. I’d burrow deeper into the blankets smiling into my pillow. Mama would end the song and ask if I wanted to hear another one. If I was asleep she would plant a kiss on my head. The moisture and the soft smack of my mother’s lips would wake me up just enough to see her walking out of my room. Most times I wasn’t asleep, and I’d answer with a muffled yes that came deep from my pillows and blankets. Mama would answer with the same response every time. “Okay smart one.” I never knew why she called me this, and it’s funny to look back now and realize, I’d never asked her why she called me smart one.

I loved the sound of my mother’s voice. All the way up to the day she was put to death because of it.

Get Melody 8

MELODY 8 (6)