Article about Amazon Books

https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/5/19/15596050/amazon-buy-box-publishing-controversy

The above article was pointed out to me, so I thought of sharing it. If you have books available for purchase through Amazon or you are considering publishing soon, this may be worth the read. If anything it may enlighten you to changes in how books get promoted and who is getting paid for your hard work. 

On a personal note, this is one of the reasons I abandoned most of my efforts to write for a living. It’s crazy out there for authors to make a buck. Though I’d love to be paid for my work, I have become content at the moment with just sharing my writing with those who like to read. On Amazon, you practically have to give books away to get readers anyway. Hopefully things will change in both the publishing world and my attitude about my place in it 😉

Rest In Peace Chris Cornell

No poetry today. No stories. Just devastation over the death of Chris Cornell, one of my favorite singers of the grunge era. We have lost so many of these amazing artists. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Layne Staley (Alice In Chains), Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), Andrew Wood (Mother Love Bone), just to name a few off the top of my head. Adding Cornell to the list was unexpected, and like other fans I’m in shock. Today I won’t be writing . I’m too numb. Instead I will be listening to Chris’ bands, Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog, and Audioslave, as well as his amazing solo work. For in the 90s he helped provide the soundtrack of my life and moved me on a deep, emotional level. Rest In Peace, Chris.

A Real Neat Blog Award :)


A huge thank you to https://ambroseandelsie.wordpress.com/ for this nomination. 
The rules

Put the award logo on your blog.
Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Please Answer the Following Questions

If you could apologize to one of your characters, which one would it be and why? Do you think they would accept your apology or would they go nuts throwing heavy, breakable things at you?

Cole Winter, the lead character and narrator from “Advocate For The Dead.” I put him through every loss imaginable on his way to redemption. I’m not sure if he would apologize or not. That was a lot of abuse 😉

Which post and/or character are you most proud of?

This is like the impossible question as I am proud of a lot of my characters. Part of my storytelling process is changing characters. Bringing them to a point of redemption, forgiveness, or anything that will make them better than how they started. So, in that sense I have favorite characters in all that I write. As for a favorite post, I’m most recently proud of the final post for “Time Of Our Death”. Not only did it complete my 2016 NANOWRIMO project, but it was also very satisfying to me as a reader discovering my own story for the first time.

How would you describe your writing style?

First person, straight forward, as if I’m sitting amongst friends telling them something that happened to me.

If you could change one thing about your blog, what would it be?

I have no idea, lol….more visits maybe 😉

What is the best comment you’ve received on your blog?

If someone even takes the time to comment , they are the best. I have some regular readers who comment on my writing and that helps propel me along in what I’m trying to do here. I take every compliment, praise, critique, or opinion as wonderful things. I just feel blessed that I get a comment at all. 🙂

Do you think your writing style has improved since you started blogging?

I would like to think so, but I’m the worse judge of my own work. Often I have written something I think is crappy and it turns out to be someone’s favorite part. But yes, I guess I do feel like I have gone through changes in my writing style. I just can’t pinpoint what they are. 

And, for the sheer random fun of it, if you had to be stranded on a deserted island with one of your characters, who would it be? And which one of your characters would you dread being stranded on a deserted island with?

Again, this is one of those difficult questions, despite it’s fun quality. I could pick characters from every story I’ve written to answer this , but I’ll try to get it narrowed down. Right now at this point in writing, Haru from “vampire boys of summer” would be my pick of who to be stranded with. He seems to be honorable and straight up, someone you could trust. Now, as for one I would dread to be stranded with. Definitely The Kaledioscope Killer from “Advocate For The Dead “

Vampire Boys Of Summer Chapter 25 

Vampire Boys Of Summer Main Page

Chapter 25: Dad’s Gone, But Tomoko’s Here

If it were near silent before, now all sound seemed to have dropped away. They say it’s something that occurs with shock, as if the entire world has collapsed beneath your feet and you are on the precipice of becoming nothing yourself. The news of my father’s death wasn’t met with disbelief. The moment she said it I knew it was true. I didn’t need the discarded phone on the bed to tell me the hospital had called.

For a few moments there was nothing but this big chasm between mom and I, and then I was holding her, letting her clutch me close, my tears and tortured cries meeting her own. All kinds of thoughts ran through my head. Feelings of remorse and regret. Anger and sorrow. Confusion and moments I would never get back.

When I found my voice, I asked the inevitable. “What happened?”

Mom couldn’t say. On the first attempt she choked up. “He hung himself.”

“Hung himself? But why? He was fine yesterday.”

“They said he left a note that said he couldn’t take the ridicule anymore and the effect his paranoia had on us.”

I pulled away from her so I could see if she was being serious or not. That was not dad at all. I didn’t want to say as much to her, but it was more believable he had hung himself out of the fact he had lost his wife and would never see home again as it once was. And yet even that didn’t ring true for me. In fact, I couldn’t see dad hanging himself at all. It was just so out of character, distressed or not.

I tried to wipe the tears from my face, but despite the questions that were now rising up in my mind, the loss of my father demanded my sorrow. It also told me I needed to be here for mom. Different things would hit her soon enough. When she had time to reflect, I imagine her thoughts would lead her into all the things that had went wrong between them, and how if they had handled things different, he may not have taken his life. And that thought in itself returned me to my suspicions.

“I’m going to get us some tissues,” I said.

I got up and stepped out into the hall. Taking a deep breath, I tried to clear my head. It was no use. I went into the bathroom and closed the door behind me. I sat on the toilet seat and put my head in my hands, letting go of my tears and voicing my anguish with a cry to the ceiling. I knew mother could hear me, but I didn’t care. This was my own personal sadness. No one understands how the loss of a parent is to a child. Even more so when that parent had the biggest hand in raising you. This was not an “everything’s going to be alright” moment. This was the end of all things, or at least the beginning of it.

By the time I had composed myself and grabbed some extra tissues for mom, she was already on the phone calling whatever relatives my father had. I had never met anyone from his side of the family, but he had mentioned an estranged brother once. I always had the impression that my dad was and had been a loner most of his life. In the few years before his vampire troubles, he hadn’t been sociable with co workers or neighbors. No backyard barbecues, baseball games, or bowling nights. He was as a man without friends. That had never occurred to me then, but now with his death I began to see just how alone he had been. Did mom and I make him lonelier? Was this the life he had wanted? These were not the burning questions however. The biggest mother of all questions at this point in time was if he really killed himself. One look at his past might suggest yes, but after yesterday’s visit, I would say no. In fact, yesterday he was convinced someone was coming for him. Vampires.

I left the extra tissues for mom and headed to my room. I needed space to breathe and think. I also needed to retrieve dad’s vampire kit. After all, if vampires had come for him, it was a possibility they might come here next. And something told me it wouldn’t be Haru or Ryo. It was beginning to look like there might be some truth to dad’s colony theory, and if so I needed to prepare myself.

The vampire kit wasn’t very elaborate. An old battered briefcase stuffed with things dad had felt would be useful in event of an attack. There were two stakes, one wooden, the other made from heavy steel. The steel one contributed most of the weight to the case, and appeared to be an old railroad spike, the kind they used to nail the railway ties to the ground. There was a bible, a crucifix, vials of what I could only guess was holy water, and a sealed Tupperware container. I didn’t have to pop the top of the container to know what was inside. Garlic. I wasn’t sure how much protection the garlic or any of the Christian items would provide. I didn’t even know what kind of vampires we were dealing with, but I felt certain the stakes would come in handy.

With the kit laid out on the bed, I debated on what to do. Stay here with mom or return to the safety of Haru’s. I wasn’t sure how I could coax mom to go over there without telling her what was going on. I couldn’t tell her the truth, and yet I didn’t know a good enough lie to get her out of the house and away from the fact dad was gone. Tears threatened to come again at the thought of my father, but they were interrupted by a knock on the door. Not at my bedroom, but at the front of the house. Loud and insistent, it was a banging that was both urgent and menacing at once. I grabbed the wooden stake from the kit and went to see who it was.

“Coming!” I heard mom yell. She was already descending the stairs towards the door.

At the top of the steps I screamed, “No mom! Don’t!”

It was too late. She was at the front door and opening it. I sprinted down the stairs as fast as I could and crossed the room, stake raised. I shoved mom out of the way so I could confront the visitor. A strong hand reached through the open doorway and grabbed my wrist, keeping me from using the stake.

“I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t swing this so wildly as if it were a toy. It can cause considerable harm to an individual.”

It was Haru’s uncle, Tomoko, dressed in his usual pin stripe suit and wing tip shoes. He smiled and released my wrist. Breathing easier, I lowered the weapon.

But mom was furious. Having regained her footing from where I had shoved her aside, she nearly spun me by my shoulders to face her. “What the hell is wrong with you, Nora!”

Before I could answer, she noticed the stake in my hand. “And what is that?!” She looked at Tomoko in the doorway. “Oh my god, I am so sorry. I don’t know what’s gotten into her.”

“It’s quite alright. I have a teenager at home too.” He winked at me, and something in his eyes told me I should just play along.

I didn’t get the chance to however, as mom commanded me to go to my room and “put that damn…whatever it is…away.”

Tomoko put his hand gently on my arm in a gesture that said don’t go anywhere.

“Actually, I came over to invite both of you for some late tea and perhaps a movie. Haru is gone out for the night and I do get so lonely without him in the house.”

He rolled his eyes, but mom didn’t notice. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing.

“I don’t know if it’s a good time, Mr. Tomoko,” mom said. “We just received some very bad news and…”

“That’s the best time to be with friends,” he interjected. “And It’s a wonder how tea can soothe the spirit, and a movie can take your mind off your troubles.”

“I think that’s a good idea,” I said, believing Tomoko really wanted us to come with him right away. I was out the door and on the porch before mother could protest much.

“Well, let me just change real quick. I guess we could come over for a little while.”

“There’s no need to change,” our vampire neighbor replied. “You look great.” He flashed her a smile that was all pearly white teeth and invitation. I couldn’t see his fangs, but knew they were there somewhere. For a brief moment, I wondered if the friendliness he showed my mother was so that he could sink his teeth into her, but that suspicion passed quickly. Tomoko was a true friend and could be trusted. I don’t know how I knew it; I just did.

Days ago mom would have blushed at his compliment, but now with dad’s death so fresh in the mind she just nodded. Stepping out on the porch with us, she closed the door behind her. “Oh wait, I don’t have my keys,” she said.

“I have mine,” I told her, now concealing the wooden stake in my back pocket, before she told me to take it back inside. “Come on, let’s go have some tea.”

We followed Tomoko down the steps and into the yard. Heading across the grass, I linked arms with mom, and she glanced at me. I gave her a reassuring smile. She seemed to like the fact that I was concerned for her, and it made me feel good to act as her protector. It kept my mind off other, darker things. For a moment, my mind turned to someone else I cared for and wished to protect: Angela. I glanced over to the Winston house. There were a few lights on. Ryo had left in a hurry too. Had Angela been over there when he was summoned to join Chi and Haru? Was she over there still? Or was she home, completely oblivious to events swirling around us? I made a mental note to try and call her once we were safely inside the house.

It was then I noticed the car. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it before. It was sitting at the curb right in front of our house. It was a small black Mazda, and I could see people inside. A flame from a lighter flickered and lit up the driver’s face. Oddly enough, he looked a lot like Charlie Simpkins, my very first boyfriend. I hadn’t seen him much since the seventh grade, and though that was a couple years ago, his face had changed little. There was no mistaking it was him, for he grinned that crooked smile that had first endeared me to him.

Another flame sparked in the back seat. Through the dim light of the flame I saw trouble. Devin McCullough, Amanda Trump’s boyfriend. He too grinned at me, but his look was not endearing at all . He looked like he was fighting the urge to snub his cigarette out on my face.

“Nora,” Tomoko said. “Come on.”

It wasn’t a suggestion, it was a command. I could feel it swirling around in my head, compelling me to forget the car and cross over into the safety of his yard. I had no choice but to follow. Still, the car and its occupants bothered me. When we reached the back porch, I dared to look back. The car was still there, like a sentinel watching and waiting.

We sat in the small kitchen waiting for Tomoko to prepare our tea. He and mom were engaged in a conversation about local politics, something I had no interest in whatsoever. Right now my interest was in the boys sitting outside my house in the black Mazda. What were they doing there? Did Amanda send them to intimidate me? It wouldn’t surprise me if she had. Nothing was beneath her in order to get her revenge. But to send along my very first boyfriend was definitely a flair of genius I didn’t think she had.

I got up and went to the window. Parting the curtains just a bit, I looked out. The black Mazda was still parked outside my house next door, but now it was joined by two others, a gray VW and a blue pickup. In the bed of the pickup sat about half a dozen boys. Normally it would have looked like they were all lining up for a tailgate party, but tonight it took on the appearance of something more mischief minded. In fact, as I stood there watching, the boys climbed out of the pickup, and the gray VW emptied its passengers as well. They started across the lawn, and I noticed some carried baseball bats. They definitely weren’t selling candy bars for the football team to go to camp.

I turned from the window and saw that both our host and my mother were gone. On the table sat a couple cups of tea. One appeared to be half empty, the others untouched.

“Mom?” I called out. “Uncle Tomoko?”

I left the kitchen and walked into the hall. “Mother?”

The hallway was dark, but up the steps I could see a dim light on the landing. I put a foot on the stairs and called out again.

“She’s sleeping,” a voice said from behind me, and I jumped, my hand reaching around for the stake in my back pocket.

“It’s okay, “ Tomoko said. “I gave her something to knock her out. It’s best if she sleeps through this.”

“Through what?” I asked nervously.

Before he could answer, there was the sound of shattering glass from the kitchen. He gripped my arm.

“Don’t worry, it’s just a rock,” he said.

A pounding began on the front door. It was so loud it nearly shook the house. Soon it was joined by another assault on the back porch door. I heard the splintering of wood as if someone was tearing up the deck outside board by board. More shattering glass, this time deeper within the house. I want sure if it was a rock or someone coming in.

“Go up the stairs,“ Tomoko whispered. “Your mother is in Haru’s room. Don’t attempt to wake her. She’s been poisoned.”

“Poisoned?!”

“It won’t kill her. But it will kill them if they attempt to drink from her.”

“What do you mean, drink from her? They aren’t vampires. They go to my school!”

“Well, I guess school is just about out then. Now, go!”

He shoved me towards the staircase and I knew better than to argue. I bounded up the steps two at a time. I didn’t look back until I reached the landing.

Tomoko stood at the foot of the stairs, blocking it from anyone who would follow. I saw a shadow emerge in front of him. The figure brandished a baseball bat and took a swing. The bat shattered against Tomoko’s open hand. His other hand shot out and grabbed the shadow’s throat. He lifted the figure in the air and shook him one time. It was so fast I barely saw the motion, just the outcome. He let the shadow go and it collapsed to the floor. At first, I thought he had killed him, snapped his neck right in two, but then I realized he had just shook him so fast and hard it had sent the assailant direct into unconsciousness.

Tomoko looked up at me. His eyes were red and I was afraid to look at him for long. I bolted down the hallway towards Haru’s room.

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.


Writing Prompt: Put Down That Book and Fight Me

Here we go with another writing prompt to get the creative juices flowing. Today’s task is to write a short story beginning with the phrase, Put down that book and fight me. 

If you want to participate, it’s easy. Just start writing 😉 Feel free to share what you write in the comments, or provide a link to your blog so others can see what you’ve come up with.

Have fun! 🙂

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“Put down that book and fight me.”

The old man in his easy chair didn’t look up. “I admire your tenacity, but I truly must finish this chapter.”

“To hell with your chapter. Stand up and defend yourself.”

“Ones defense is not determined by some notion to get up from your reading chair. Now if you don’t mind, I only have a few paragraphs left and you are interrupting my solitude.”

“You can have solitude when you’re dead,” the young assassin exclaimed. To prove his point, he swished his sword back and forth as if he were cutting through the very air. 

The old man ignored him and continued to read. So intent he was on the written word, his killer could have trashed every shelf in the library and he wouldn’t have budged from the comfort of his chair. In this, the newly arrived Intruder would have to take more drastic measures with his intended target.

“I will give you to the count of five to put your book down and fight. After that, I will kill you where you sit.”

Still, the old man read on, as if the assassin’s voice was nothing but the whisp of a memory echoing in the room. He turned to the next page of his book, and continued to take in each word. A slight smile crossed his face in the same way we ourselves might exhibit when reading a particular clever passage in our favorite tome.

The killer, shuffled from one foot to another as he counted. “One…”

He waited a beat. “Two…”

The old man’s eyes glued to the page, as he nodded in satisfaction.

The killer gripped the hilt of the sword tighter. “Three…”

He took one step forward. “Four…”

A breath. He raised his sword, preparing for the deadly swing. 

Crack! An excruciating pain in his ankle. He staggered back on his other foot, looking down unbelieving at the damage. He hadn’t even seen the old man move, and yet his his leg had shot out from him in deadly precision to strike the breaking point of the killer’s ankle. The rest of him had not moved, and in fact still sat in the high backed leather chair engrossed in his book.

“Oh, you are so dead,” the assassin snarled and charged forward, his sword swinging forward in an arc towards the chair. Before he reached it however, it was flipping backwards, the old man still in it, tumbling over twice until the avid reader was buried under it.

The sword had missed its mark and struck only fabric, enraging the killer. With his good foot, he tried to sweep the chair over on its side so he could see the old man, but the chair was too big and he staggered and swayed off balance. Regaining his footing, he thrust the point of the sword through the chair. 

Thunk! The tip of the sword didn’t meet flesh and bone, but the solid wood of the floor. The old man wasn’t under the chair. 

Looking up, he spied him right away. He was standing by the fireplace. In one hand he held a hot poker, just removed from the embers. In the other, the book he had refused to put down. He raised the volume to eye level and began to read again. 

Angered to the point where the broken ankle no longer mattered, the assassin charged, the arc of his sword swishing back and forth in crisscross movements before him. 

Holding the book out at arms length, the old man brought the poker to bear, gray ash flying off its tip. Sword met poker with a clang. The metal vibrated in their hands, but neither dropped their weapon. Instead, they parried back and forth, the old man taking the lead by driving the young killer back, while the would be assassin himself couldn’t believe the elderly gentleman in coattails still had not put down the book, even while fighting.

This distraction was too much to bear, and the old man with one swift twist of the poker, disarmed his attacker. The sword flew across the room, too far away to be retrieved. With a roundhouse movement , he swept the legs out from under his younger opponent. 

The youth landed on his back hard, the breath nearly knocked out of him. The hot poker was inches from his chest as the old man leaned over him. But the victor was not gloating, nor was he even paying attention. On the contrary, he was still reading. 

He nodded his head, smiled, and put his heel upon the young man’s chest to let him know he was not to get up. He snapped the book shut. He took a deep, satisfactory breath and tossed the poker away. Leaning down, he looked in the young man’s nervous eyes.

“The true reader doesn’t allow anyone to interrupt the tale,” he said.

The fallen warrior shook his head. “I can’t believe you beat me,” he whined.

“I was finished with the chapter.”

The old man reached down with his free hand and helped his student to his feet. 

Grigori Chases Nicolai & Liliana

A/N: Ugh, the whole household has been hit with sickness, so it’s been hard to concentrate on my current project Vampire Boys, but in keeping with the vamp theme I thought I would share this piece of writing. This was an attempt to look at my short story “The Last Dark Hour” from a different angle and POV. I’m a bit uncomfortable when not writing in first person so this was a challenge for me. Now if you are familiar with “Last Dark Hour”, it featured two vampire lovers discovered by the caretaker at a cemetery. This piece is intended to take place before seeking refuge in the graveyard. Again, I’m not really sure what is to become of my short story or whether it will continue to expand or not, but this scene came to me and I had to get it out somehow. Hope you enjoy 🙂 

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Benton Meyers was nearly asleep in the driver’s seat when the couple slid silently into the backseat of his cab. He barely heard them; it was only his lazily closing eye that saw the flash of shadow behind him in the seat. Startled enough to bring him to full alert, he turned in his seat to see who would slip into his cab at four am without a word.

The first one he noticed was the girl. Long dark hair framed a pale face, her complexion nearly glowing in the moonlight. Her eyes were a deep brown, in which the longer he looked at her the lighter they seemed to become. Her lips were thin, traces of red lipstick still there, but as she licked her lips, the red disappeared and he thought it could be something different than lipstick. Blood perhaps.

 He next noticed her black dress, the top cut in a low V that revealed the beginning swell of her breasts. His breath caught in his throat as he heard her companion say, “drive.”

Benton tore his gaze from the girl to see the one who had spoken. The other passenger could have passed for the girl’s brother in wardrobe alone. A black suit minus the vest, a ruffled lace shirt with the top buttons missing revealing his bare hairless chest, with remnants of deep scratches in his flesh. His eyes were not dark as hers. His were blue. And the longer Benton looked, the more they seemed to change in a kaleidoscope of color. From deep blue to cyan, to shades of the ocean and then a summer sky, his eyes never stopping in their rotation of change.

 This troubled Benton and made him uncomfortable, as if he knew something was wrong with this couple. Still taking in the man, he noticed his lips were full, and like the girl, carried a trace of red at the corners. His dark hair cropped close to his neck, framed a chiseled face as if he were a Greek statue breathed to life. Even his physique, visible beneath his attire, reminded Benton of the body and build of figures of mythology, causing him to wonder if for a second these people were real, as the girl’s form was just as perfect as his, if not infinitely more pleasant to look at.

“Drive,” the man repeated, this time with a more commanding tone, and Benton heard it echo in his head like a mantra: drive, drive, drive.

“Where to?” he stammered, feeling nervous, for he knew he didn’t have a choice. The voice told him to drive and he would have to do just that.

“Just drive,” the dark stranger commanded. “Straight ahead.”

Benton started the cab and put it in gear. Without glancing back at his passengers, he pulled away from the curb and did as he was told. Straight ahead had been the commandment and thus it would be so.

There was no traffic on the road at this hour, so he pressed the pedal to the floor and gave the cab a little gas. The tires caught pavement and squealed. The stranger issued a new command. “Not so fast. Stay under the speed limit.”

Benton let up on the gas.

“For now,” the stranger added.

The girl glanced behind the cab as if expecting someone to be following them.

“He’s there,” the man whispered to her.

“I don’t see him, Nicolai.”

“He’s there, Lily. Trust me.” He leaned forward in his seat. “Turn left here, cab driver.”

Benton turned the wheel and headed down another street. This street was just as deserted as the others. One could walk down the double yellow line for nearly a mile without seeing any cars in the road. The world seemed to be asleep at this hour.

“Here he comes,” Nicolai whispered, as a shape suddenly careened around the corner behind them. It was big and black, running on all fours. Its long snout sniffed the air and saliva dripped from its jaws. A huge wolf bounding after them at incredible speed, its eyes red and angry.

Lily nearly screamed, but Nicolai grabbed her hand. “He will not touch you, my love,” he said and kissed her lightly on her trembling lips. “Our love will always prevail.”

Lily looked lost in his eyes for a moment, as if she had descended into a pleasant dream at the sound of his voice. To an outsider, she would have seemed as if she had no control of herself like the cab driver. But she did have control. So much control in fact, the hunger for her lover, the love that overwhelmed her, threatened to wash the streets clean with unbridled passion. She was not hypnotized, or not of her own will – she was in love and trusted her soul mate with her life.

“Faster, cab driver,” Nicolai urged, and Benton surged ahead leaving the rabid wolf behind. But not for long. The wolf itself gained speed, pushing itself to the limits of the breed’s normal endurance.

“He’s going to catch us,” Lily said in a worried tone. And as if to prove her point, the wolf gained the cab and pounced onto the trunk. Its claws dug into the metal as if it were cardboard. Looking through the back window at the two passengers, it snarled viciously, a noise coming from its jaws that remarkably sounded like a curse, “Liliana.”

She screamed, and for a brief moment it appeared the wolf grinned. But brief it was. Nicolai had opened the cab door and grabbed Lily’s hand. “Let’s go!”

Yanking on her arm, he pulled her out of the cab and they tumbled into the street like a pair of rag dolls. They rolled on the pavement and in one swift motion regained their ground, the pair coming to a stand in the middle of the street.

Startled over the flight of his passengers, Benton slammed on the brakes. The wolf lost its grip and tumbled across the top of the car to land in the road. The wolf shook its head and snarled at Benton through the glass. Reaching through the driver’s window the beast raked its claws across Benton’s cheek, leaving four bloody gashes.

Benton screamed and tried to scoot across the seat away from the window. The wolf poised itself to strike again but then stopped. This was not its prey. The beast reared up on its hind legs and with its front paw wiped saliva from its cheek. It was a very human gesture. Then it straightened up as much as it could on its back legs and turned to Nicolai and Lily who still stood in the street, rooted to the spot and waiting on the wolf’s next move.

The creature laughed at them. A slow guttural sound that became more human by the second. The deep growl became a distinct human laugh and then the beast spoke to the couple.

“There will never be an escape,” it said. “I will follow you for eternity, tracking you to the end of the earth for my revenge.”

Nicolai stepped in front of Lily in a gesture to protect her. “Your misguided quarrel is with me, Grigori. Leave Liliana alone.”

“Oh, she made her quarrel, bard. Don’t you remember the hot burning ash at the castle that was to be our wedding place? I remember it well, how she sent it flying into my face.”

“The wound seems to have healed.”

“Ah, you know as well as I do that wounds heal, but pride does not. Too many times have you both trampled on my pride.”

“Pride goes before a fall, Grigori.”

He laughed. “We all fell long ago, my once and never friends. And I have chased you across continents to have my vengeance.”

“She never was yours, Grigori. And she never will be.”

“She was mine! And you took her! Bewitched her and turned her against me.”

“You’re wrong. It was you who bewitched us. It’s your own curse that lead into misery.”

The wolf, Grigori, didn’t say another word, but instead fell to all fours and snarled in anger.

Finally Liliana spoke. “You can chase us however you like, you pathetic excuse for a prince. But you will never catch us.”

“Oh my pet, I already have.”

“Then come and get me, dog face,” she spat at him in contempt.

That was enough to make the wolf lose his human voice and revert to his more animal nature. He let at an angry howl and leapt at the two lovers. Before he could bridge the distance and reach them however, they changed. In an instant, where they once stood, now were a multitude of rats. They crawled and skittered across the asphalt going in every direction, a cacophony of vermin on the run.

The wolf stopped, his eyes darting to and fro trying to determine which two rats out of the multitude was his prey. A pair of distinctive larger ones had separated themselves from the group and were heading towards a tree lined sidewalk. Grigori bolted towards them and in a flash had one in each paw.

“I told you there’s no escape,” he growled.

But no sound issued from them. It wasn’t the lovers. He held two ordinary rats in his clutches. He howled in a rage, dropping the two rats and spinning back around. Some of the rodents had escaped while he had pursued the wrong ones, and in anger he slew the remaining rats one by one, his rage growing with each death cry. For he knew Nicolai and Liliana had escaped him again.

2017 Paul D Aronson.

Doll (50 word story)

I really love doing prompts and challenges. Sometimes I just want to push myself to try and write something that is more strict and confined in its guidelines. I’m so used to stretching stories out that when 50 word challenges come along it can be quite daunting. Though the following little story wasn’t brought on by a challenge from another blog or source, I gave myself this one word prompt while working in the basement and coming across the doll illustrating this post. It belonged to my mother and I snapped up a quick shot and fed it through my photo editor. Taking a look at it later, the 50 word story began. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to post your own 50 word story  in the comments if the pic inspires you to write. Have a great Saturday and stay away from dolls, lol….
The old porcelain doll looked at me from the dresser. Her cracked amber eyes seemed to harbor evil and malice. Her tiny mouth sneered. My wife slept peacefully beside me, so I ignored the thing and tried to get some rest too. I didn’t even know we had a doll.