Play the Victim

The burning, itch in my throat intensified when I woke up. Cool air shocked my system. Light reflected off of everything, making colors ten times clearer. Vampire sight plus a hangover had landed me in bed for the weekend. But that meant no blood in over 48 hours. That meant starving.

I had thousands of options: drunk sorority girls, hot stay-at-home-moms, my snobby flatmate. Atlanta had no shortage of people.

I rolled out of bed and pulled on jeans. My purple flannel didn’t look too rumpled. Because the apartment was dark, I put my shoes on. Eating in wasn’t an option.

Dazed and walking into the setting sun, I ducked into a dim, eclectic bookstore. A combination of soft rock and indie hummed through the speakers. The smell of weed soaked into my shirt. It was easy to tell the potheads from the lone wolf types.

Picking out a familiar book, I settled in an arm chair across from a girl with long, dark hair piled on one side of her head. Gold earrings encircled her ears. Her white neck bent elegantly over her grimoire. She didn’t notice me. I glanced at her until she caught me. She shifted away.

I flipped through my book a few times. “Eastern mysticism or Western magic?”

She flashed the dark green cover at me. “Eastern. True magic.”

“How many of those spells have worked for you?”

“Enough.” The vein in her neck pulsed.

Time to get her home. “I won’t believe unless I see it.”

“If I showed you, then I’d have to kill you.” Her eyebrows twitched. Her eyes glanced around to check that no one was watching. Then the music stopped. People froze. We were outside of time.

“So magic is real.” My fangs poked out of my gums. Her face paled, but anger twisted her features. When I bit into her neck, the blood burned in my mouth.

“Why the hell would you mess with a witch?”

Extinguished

You hold the tip of the stick over

the flame and wait for the marshmallow to

melt with pain.

Next light a candle and lick your

fingers before they pass over the wick.

Did you feel it?

Did it burn?

I know you own many books

on the Salem witches and their bonfires.

You read them when no one’s home.

You press cigarettes to your arm when you think

you’re alone.

I asked you once if you thought

that you were a witch.

You thought I was a child.

You started closing your blinds. And maybe that’s better.

When you went missing, it was like you were already gone.

Anonymous Drowning

I was on my lunch break Wednesday afternoon when I received a call from a random number. It wasn’t the publishing company I had interviewed with. “Who is this?”

Slow violin music sang through the phone. I set my fork down in my salad. “Hello?”

A faucet turned on, and a voice breathed into the phone. “Please call for help.”

This is a prank. I should hang up.

The water stopped. The person climbed into the bathtub. “The water’s warm. It’s going to fill my lungs soon.”

“This isn’t funny.”

“No? You wouldn’t think dying is funny.”

“Do I know you?”

The voice wasn’t familiar. It sounded feminine but deep. “I’m already bleeding.”

Despite the cheerful, coffee shop music in the cafe, my body grew cold. “I’m going to hang up and call 911. Where do you live?”

“If you don’t call them soon, it’ll be too late.”

“Where do you live?”

“Thank you.” The line disconnected.

My hands shook as I set my phone down on the table. My appetite had disappeared. Am I obligated to do something? What would I tell the police? I had ten minutes left for lunch. Not enough time. I deleted the call from my history and told a friend about it later that night. She figured it was a prank. I agreed and switched my phone number the next day.

Lullabi

I feel her reading over

my shoulder.

Her hands rest on top

of my head.

She likes touching.

 

She reaches around me and scrolls

up.

My confession reflects in her eyes.

Her bubblegum lips form

words.

It doesn’t matter what they say. Her voice

drifts.

Lull me to sleep, Miss Lullaby.

November Writing Update

This will be a short update. I’ve been majorly busy writing for two online platforms, writing a final short story for my fiction workshop, and keeping up with homework, classes, and clubs.

I am still focusing on editing my novel that is untitled. It might be a series. I am sorry that what I can tell you is very vague. With the semester winding down, I should be able to focus more.

In other news, I have a blue journal for ideas that I caved and bought. I needed a new idea journal.

Happy Holidays! Hopefully I have more to talk about next month.

When the Lifeless Wake

The waxy faces of the lifeless stare up at me as I pass the rows of coffins. No one closes their eyes. No one cleans them. It’s someone’s job, but that person only moves the bodies now. Loved ones don’t visit. Not anymore.

It happened slowly, like everything of great importance. We celebrated the person’s life. Happy music played at funerals. Then people wore bright colors. People smiled. We filled the hole that person left with other things. We threw out their pictures. We threw parties. Then we avoided their bodies to make it easier to move on. Now the bodies rot below the funeral homes. It’s too time consuming to bury them. No one wants to smell them burn.

I’m their only visitor. I pray over them, newly deceased and the decayed. My nose hates me for it. I stare only at the name plates on the sides of the coffins. The eyes of the dead are cursed. If you look into them, death is all you’ll see.

I spend three hours weaving through the crypt. In the dim light, the names blur together. As I approach a short coffin, a rattling breath breaks the quiet. There’s movement. I force myself to look. The child is a whiter shade of pale, but she blinks. Her head lolls to the side. Her blue lips form words.

“Help! Help!” I look behind me for the funeral home director. He can’t hear me.

The girl’s hand grabs my wrist. “Jane,”

“She’s not dead. Call the doctor!”

“No. Please.” The girl tries to sit, but blood trickles from her mouth.

I wipe it away and scoop her up. Her skin is icy. Holding her close, I run for the funeral director. Prayers pour out of me. The funeral director backs away as I near. “Stay away.”

“She’s dying. She needs help.”

“Stay back!”

“How did she get down here? She’s still alive.”

The funeral director holds his battery-powered lantern closer. In the light, the girl is limp. Her chest is still. I feel no pulse. “I don’t understand.”

“Did you look?”

“But she was breathing.”

The funeral director starts to close the door.

“Wait!”

“The dead can’t pass.”

“I’m alive!”

“You’re lost.”

The door shuts and locks. They will never reopen it. They will store the dead elsewhere.

I sit beside the girl’s body and cradle her. She’s already stiff. My hands stroke her hair. Her eyes are empty. I close them. Eventually I’ll also sleep.

And it’s comforting to face mortality and to know the ending of your story. Everyone dies.

Price of Happy

She only listens to sad songs.

They matter.

They mean things.

 

She doesn’t realize how much she doesn’t smile,

doesn’t laugh.

People call her boring.

Happy bores her.

 

Only the lowest lows allow the highest highs.

So she feels everything,

takes in all of the pain

and holds it.

Only when she breaks can she hit the manic stage.

Death is a Place

My pulse stopped ten minutes after the car hit mine, head on. No, I didn’t feel it. I was driving. Then I was everywhere. My insides crumpled and my soul spilled out.

No one greeted me. No family. No spirit. I waited until the coroner took me. I followed her. I watched my funeral.

No light shone down, showing me the way. No magical, haunted street markers popped up. Death is a different kind of lonely.

You can’t, not see. You have no eyes to close, no sleep to escape to. It was everything, always until I found it.

Death’s doorstep isn’t hidden; it’s always on the edge of your vision. Mine was the bookstore right beside my coffee shop. Being dead, I went in when they weren’t open and found myself somewhere else.

No, Death isn’t a person. It’s a place. You die. You find it. You stay, move in, get comfy. You control everything, except you can’t leave or sleep or forget.

Staring at the same painting of Edgar Allan Poe is the closest I get to sleep. Not that I need sleep, but it’s something to do. We spend so much time in bed that it’s hard to function without it. Sleep and food.

Is this purgatory?

God, is this about being gay? I kissed a girl once before I died. This punishment hardly seems fair.

God? I acknowledge you. Now will you invite me to your place?

I’m afraid that this is all there is.

God, please don’t let this be all there is.

Pink Cocaine

Absence is harder to notice,

the words not said,

the face unseen among so many.

 

How do the cogs work

in the machine?

Always spinning.

 

My name will never cross lips.

Not when being with her is cocaine.

Ingest her and she fills you.

She fills your life, making every moment beautiful.

She plays with your hair, does your make-up, makes you feel special.

 

The clock still ticks

when the face breaks.

Always spinning.

 

Thin girl wears your clothes

and repeats your words back to you.

You’re her doll.

And you want it.

Writing Update: October

October has been crazy. I’ve been collecting more books to read and falling behind on blog posts, but I figured out a system now. It only took half a semester.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been writing articles for two different platforms, taking a short fiction class along with my other classes, and consulting students at my school’s writing center. Because of this, I’ve taken a short break on my novels, but I should be picking those back up in December.

If you’re interested in reading some nonfiction articles, my two most recent ones are about self-care and dress codes:

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/how-to-self-care

http://www.hercampus.com/school/murray-state/i-followed-high-school-dress-code-week

One thing that I have started doing this month is brainstorming three story ideas/details every day. I bought a separate journal for this, and I’m very excited to take some time out of each day to flex my imagination muscles.

My goals for November are to keep my blog up to date, focus on classes, and fill my ideas journal. I appreciate any feedback you guys have. If you haven’t already, check me out on Twitter at @Wedbushwrite or on Tumblr at Wedbushwrite.  Happy early Halloween!