Forgiven

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This week I want to share a story I wrote a couple of years ago that caused me a lot of heartache. This story made me question everything I was doing and everything I thought I wanted.

 

This was one of the first stories I brought to workshop in Grad school. And it was torn apart. Torn apart so bad and in such a way, I thought about dropping out. The reason they hated it so much? It’s about a zombie. It was highly offensive to serious, literary writing. I know now I was foolish to think I could get away with that, but I didn’t think their response would be so severe…

I learned my lesson, and from then on did my best to write how they wanted me to write, while still trying to be myself. It was a difficult balancing act. This story reminds me that even when other people think I’m weird or that I don’t belong, that it’s okay. I believe in myself.

 

I’m going to post it in two parts. I’ll post part two next Sunday.

 

I hope you enjoy it.

With Screams and Axes,

Mae

 

 

He Walked

Over the hills and through the woods he kept his pace, followed by half-hearted ghouls with brains on their tongues and avoided by those with everything to fear. He did not fear, not any more. The forest creatures concealed in the leafy night, with gold eyes twinkling from places high or hidden, hushed as he passed. Only a crow braved to caw: silence; he walks. They knew that he had nothing to fear, not anymore. He was traveling to his old house, following the footsteps of his family before him. But he didn’t know that, some instinctual urge decided it for him. The blood on his hands kept his mind mechanical and his pace slow, his eyes wide and barely able to understand what they saw. The land was alone now, like an egg dropped behind the chicken coop, forgotten, with a crack forking across the shell and smeared with grime.  He was alone now, but he didn’t want to be. So he walked, and traveled where his feet felt others had walked. They had trampled these grasses, and he followed their scent, longing to have them within arm’s reach.

*

She had barely escaped the city with his Mother, Father, Brother and Sister. He had stayed behind to protect and defend, to bloody and kill. As masses fled and fed in the chaotic streets, they had promised to meet at the final destination: the summer home in the countryside. He was a good soldier who stayed his ground, who did what he was ordered, and who’d never desert his comrades. She was a good wife. Before, she had waited for him at home far away from war, the battles and gore. She couldn’t ask him not to go, no matter how vehemently she wished it. But now the war had come to their home, and it was she that had to go far away. As she ran from the city with his parents and siblings, she imagined him in his uniform, firing his gun, refusing escape from a war no one wanted to fight, and maintaining a barricade threatened by a mob of thrashing limbs. She prayed he wasn’t that good a man.

*

He came upon a barn. Inside shriveled cows lay in the dust, ropes around their crooked necks hanging them to their posts. Hens with wide eyes and patchy feathers hopped upon the remains. Their scratches and pecks marked the skin. He felt nothing in the face of death and disease. Death had claimed a part of him, but allowed him to survive without it. He carried on with the piece missing. In the farmhouse, the milk was spoiled. And the corpses in the kitchen spoiled as well. He held a dried hand in his palm, shaking it lightly, a relic of an old connection. The house had been tidy and comfortable once, but now the windows were broken and the doors hung ajar and blew open and closed freely in the wind. No one lived here, and it was hard to picture the husks on the floor as once alive. To him, there was hardly any difference. He foraged for what was left, what could be salvaged and consumed so that he could keep on. It was all he could do.

*

She remembered the last time he went away. On the night before he was leaving, they stayed at home together and she was quiet and solemn. She wasn’t allowed to be angry, she wasn’t allowed to be resentful, and she wasn’t allowed to upset him before he went away.  She was supposed to be supportive and faithful, and to remind him to be careful, and tell him how much she loved him and how proud she was. That’s what the other wives had told her to do. They had luncheons to discuss these matters, and to keep each other from being driven crazy with worry. She sat at the kitchen table with him after dinner.

“Are you all packed?” She asked.

“Just about.”

“Will you write?”

“Of course,” he promised.

“I don’t want to forget your handwriting.”

“My handwriting?”

“It’s one of those things. One of those little secret things about a person that’s easy to forget.”

“What else do you forget?”

“The way your skin smells just after you’ve gotten out of the shower, your eyes when you’ve stayed up too late, how you take your coffee and the noises you make when you eat. And your hands. Sometimes I have trouble remembering what they look like, feel like.”

He took her hand.

“How could you forget that?”

*

He came upon a girl on a rooftop. She murmured and paced, her voice rose and fell as she cried at his approach. He gazed up at her, longing to find a way to bring her back down. Her brown hair fell over her face in long strands and her clothes hung from her frame. She shrieked at him “Go away!” and cried. He was past the point of being able to understand her words, but felt her hatred and fear. The smell of it wafted down from her perch and stung his nose. His hunger cracked the whip.  He went into the house only to find the staircase destroyed. There was no way up to her. No way for him to wrap his arms around her shoulders. He stood in the yard moaning, staring into her as she cursed him and hated him for the gun at his hip, his torn uniform and his soiled skin. She wailed and sobbed, but eventually hushed. When she hushed he departed. It was all he could do.

Awaken

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2016 already seems like it’s going to be a year of trials and personal tests. I apologize for not posting last week, but I was far too busy experiencing my first illness of the New Year. Usually I’m a much healthier person, but these last few months I’ve been feeling run down and weak. Luckily, Love and I have a week-long vacation planned in March that I absolutely cannot wait for. I can’t remember the last time we took that much time for ourselves.

 

I didn’t do much writing last week. When I feel crappy all I want to do is sleep and drink water. It’s been difficult lately to find the motivation to actually sit down and write. I have so many ideas, so many projects outlined that are just waiting to be written, and yet I haven’t been giving them the time they need. I definitely need a vacation. I need to recharge.

 

This week I continue to explore characters in a much longer story I plan to write. This week’s Quick Horror features the Demon I hope will be at the center of it all.

With Screams and Axes,

Mae

 

QUICK FIX HORROR

He had been asleep for so long that he had forgotten his own name. As his mind jolted awake and his thoughts began to race with a million confused questions, he searched his memory for the name. What had his mother christened him when he was born? What had his father called him the last time they spoke? The name was there, in a thousand fragments of memory, hovering somewhere just out of reach. He couldn’t remember. But he could remember mother and father, and as he sat up and peered into the darkness, he remembered they had been bitter and cruel. They had locked him in this chamber. But he was awake now and he felt a calling. There was a man, somewhere in another dimension, a different world, a far off plane of existence, who was calling him. He was being summoned. After all these years lost in the darkness, he hadn’t been forgotten. Somewhere, someone knew his name. Someone was begging him to awake and finish what he had started long ago. He picked up a large spear that had been collecting dust, and thought about beating hearts and the smell of warm blood. He would answer the call.

The Summoning

 

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Sometimes I struggle as a woman writer in the Horror genre. I feel as a woman, people have different expectations of my characters and my writing. People have said my narrative voice is very “cold and masculine” and find it odd that I don’t write like a woman. I’m not exactly sure what that’s supposed to mean. All I can do is stay true to my writing and my voice.

 

I want to embrace the idea of being a female horror writer. I want to find power and strength in this. I want to turn the clichés and the tropes we still see in Horror on their heads and write about characters of all races, genders and sexual orientations. I want to tell new and interesting stories. This may put some people off. Well, good riddance to them.

Since joining Instagram to promote my blog, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my face. People want to know why I wear a mask and why I won’t show them my face. The short answer is this:

My face is mine. My sexuality is mine. I don’t care if you find me attractive or unattractive; attractiveness is not the point of my work. I don’t wish to be sexualized. I want to scare, I want to intrigue and I want to create dark images that speak to my writing.

 

Now, there are many women out there who show their faces and pose nude on social media. I have much respect for what these women are doing and how they’re claiming their bodies and their sexuality by putting it out there. I respect their bodies and their sexuality and I’m happy they can feel beautiful and empowered by the images they share of themselves. I follow many women who do this and enjoy seeing the powerful images they post. I however, feel empowered by keeping my sexuality and my face hidden.

If I were a man, no one would be asking me to take off my mask so they can see my pretty face…

I hope my readers can continue to respect my mystery, and my writing.

This weeks Quick Fix Horror is a continuation of last weeks, with new characters in the mix. I hope you enjoy it.

With Screams and Axes,

Mae

 

 

QUICK FIX HORROR

Mason stared at the brown paper bag on the kitchen counter which was leaking a pinkish fluid all over the marble, even though he had asked the butcher to double wrap it. The summoning spell had been vague about its requirements, but “fresh heart” had been on the list. Mason hadn’t been sure if this meant a human heart, or if any animal heart would be accepted. He was going to start his attempt with a cow heart and see if that took. He had spent months contacting professors in Rome, Berlin and Egypt who specialized in Ancient Theological texts, pleading for their help. He had read countless books on old gods and goddess, and had read the Bible, the Quran and the Torah multiple times looking for some speck of information on what he was after. After all his research and reading he had compiled a short stack of papers that easily fit into a slim manila folder, a compilation of all known history and instruction on summoning the demon. A demon whose name he didn’t know, that could only be summoned in a manner which wasn’t totally clear, to take revenge on the man who had destroyed Mason’s family.

He opened up the bag and looked down at the cow heart, big, red and slick. His stomach turned as he thought about how later he would be cutting this heart into tiny bits and consuming it raw as a show of worthiness to his demon.

“I’ve lost my mind,” he said aloud. He knew it was the truth. Because one had to be mad to do such a thing as he was planning on doing this evening.

A New Year

 

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With the start of the New Year I feel refreshed and energized. After the chaos of December, I took lots of time to rest and relax and refocus my energy on what I want to accomplish in this upcoming year. I have lots of things on my to-do list and I know that I can check off each and every thing if I just keep myself motivated.

It’s been so frightening and yet so wonderful forcing myself to join social media platforms and to create this blog. I’m in the very early stages and am still exploring my voice and what I’d like to accomplish with it, but it’s definitely been an eye opening experience that has pushed me far out of my comfort zone.

Maybe it’s the idea of an audience that I find frightening. It makes me feel so vulnerable connecting with them, like I’m baring myself before a strange crowd, laying down the darkness in my head for everyone to finally see. I know not everyone will understand me, but I hope that some will.

I’ve been outlining some new characters that I’d like to explore soon. They’re making an appearance this week in my Quick Fix Horror. I hope you enjoy them.

With Screams and Axes,

Mae

 

QUICK FIX HORROR

The Demon Mother waited in a large chamber room she had created long ago out of darkness. The chamber walls were constructed from black, reflective slate that gleaned in the flickering candle light, showing her images of evils from other dimensions, other realms of being. She considered these images, watching with a slight smile as a man in a city basement removed and ate the heart of another man. Her walls echoed with the screams of suffering and the sounds of ravenous hunger. “Bring me enough of those hearts and I’ll give you the means to collect even more,” her promise whispered through her world and out into the human man’s mind like a subconscious spell.

She raised her horned head as her husband entered the chamber.

“Is our son still asleep?” She asked.

“For now,” Father answered, flames dancing along his arms, his skin cracked like burnt earth. “But he will wake soon.” She thought about this and sighed long, cold breaths.

“That won’t be ideal,” she said. Father agreed. Their son had slept for thousands of years, lying dormant in tormented dreams. It had been better that way. Father kneeled before Mother and took her hand, black smoke mixing with flame and searing heat, perfuming the room with ash and brimstone. She touched his hardened face with a soft hand and smiled. “But we will manage.”