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Skeleton in Your Closest – Literally

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercise, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

When you go to get dressed one morning, you discover that there really is a skeleton in your closet. Write this scene—discover how it got there, why it is there, what to do with it now.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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428 Responses to Skeleton in Your Closest – Literally

  1. victor2013 says:

    Very interesting story,
    buy articles. The writers here are all highly creative in respect to the subject topic.

  2. Joshtr says:

    My feet landed on carpet; a small victory after another spinning night of intoxication and mystery-pill fun. I took a moment to rub my temples and choke down my nausea as threat of sobriety loomed. I then, holding my hand out to brace myself on various uncooperative objects, made my way to the shower. The day was going to be a real bitch.

    After I bathed, I felt reasonably sure I could navigate my way downstairs for coffee. First, I would need clothes- for my roommate’s sake.

    A knock came from the inside the closet. I swore, apprehensively reaching for the handle- hoping whatever I found didn’t lead to criminal charges. The closet opened to reveal a shifting pile of dirty clothes underneath which came a painful growl- a guttural and frightening sound. I gingerly touched my laundry pulling it back to reveal what I assumed to be a misplaced halloween decoration, except I had no recollection of owning such a thing. A human skeleton, freakishly real looking, slumped over with a pair of forgotten underwear atop its skinless head.

    “The hell?” I reach to poke this macabre thing and was stricken with dread as the abomination recoiled, turning bony features towards me, its mouth which lacked three and a half teeth, gaped open. In a heavy southern accent it yelled, “Back off, Ass-Face!”

    I fell backwards, scooting myself away until painfully slamming my back into my bed. I could only watch in confused horror as the thing clambered up, grabbing the underwear from its head. “Gross!” It opened the door and left, tossing my unmentionables at me. I heard the hollow thunking of its feet walking downstairs as I tried to reconcile what I just witnessed with reality.

    Creeping downstairs in my towel, I pursued the hallucination. I could see my roommate, Jonathan, reading the newspaper as I rounded the corner. The skeleton sat down, pulling a bowl towards itself which it then filled with cereal. I thought about asking Jonathan for help when he looked up from the classifieds and greeted the monster with a casual “Hey, Billy-Bob. Doin’ Alright?”

    “Well ‘nuff till this dick,” Billy-Bob waved a clacking hand towards me, “Stuck his finger in my God’am nose-hole!”

    I watched as Billy-Bob ate my cereal which fell through him, making a terrible mess.

    “This is. IS this real? Is there a fucking skeleton eating breakfast with us?”

    Billy-Bob stared at me. “No,” his country accent thick as molasses. “I’m jus’ a figment of your imagination, Beautiful Mind, and I’m eating these Cheerios “Sarcaaaastically” to screw with ya’. Also, You can’t tell but I’m rolling my eyes at you. ” He followed this by upending the bowl into his mouth, splashing milk down his ribcage.

    I sat in silence, feeling what must of been an encroaching psychosis of some kind and all I could think was- Fuck it, I’ve had worse friends. I filled a glass of orange juice. “So what are you guys doing today?”

  3. yeux says:

    Today I did not have to be at the university until one. So, I took liberty and did not change for a few hours. I opened the closet at 11:30 pm. I grabbed my favourite sweater. Suddenly my hand touched something weird. I’ve grabbed it and pulled the object out. It was a skeleton. I started to scream.
    My friend came to my rescue.
    ”I see, that you found Eric. Sorry I did not mention him earlier.” she smiled wryly.
    ”What is it doing in my closet?” I was angry with her now.
    ”I needed a place to store Eric before today. Dr. Sullivan aloud me to take this home. I could not hide this in my closet (you know if I did
    than I have to remove my stuff. In addition, your closet is of perfect temperature. So I sneaked this in on Friday night. I meant to tell you, but you were way too drunk. Good thing I was here when you noticed it.”
    She took the skeleton out of the closet and went to the university. Meanwhile I checked the rest of the closet — no skeletons. I’ve became content.

  4. Kamryn says:

    This is the first story I’ve written on here. Yay, me!

  5. Kamryn says:

    It’s not every morning you find a skeleton in your closet.
    Unless, of course, you happen to live on a dragon ranch. At least this time it wasn’t a monkey skeleton. That had been creepy to find.

    “EBONY!” I yelled down the stairs. The tumbling group of dragons grew still, and one large, black serpent crawled towards me, looking as defiant as a lizard with wings can look.
    I folded my arms and tapped my foot, making the dragon cringe.

    “Ebony, what have I told you about eating the zoo animals?”
    The dragon shook his head vehemently.

    “You know that we barely get enough funding to keep this place open as it is, Ebony. If people start making complaints, we’re going to have to close down,”

    Ebony nodded, and grinned a dragon grin. The dragons could understand me perfectly, but their voices were too low for me to hear, so we made do with a sort of sign language. The young dragon turned and growled at the group, and I watched as his throat pulsed, obviously saying something.
    One of the biggest nodded and left the room, nudging open the specially made door.

    I was beginning to have a bad feeling.
    Ebony came up the stairs and rubbed against my legs, then in a flash sank his teeth into the hem of my dress.
    “Ebony…”
    My voice trailed off, my hands shaking.
    He tugged me down the stairs, growling to himself.

    The dragons clustered around me, pressing me out of the door, herding me towards some unknown fate. Or possibly that cave over there. Yes, definitely the cave.
    Maybe they were honoring me. You know, letting me see their nests or something.
    Who was I kidding?
    I screamed, trying to pull away, but the dragons just kept dragging me towards that cave.
    When we reached it, the cave was creepy enough. What was inside it was far scarier. I screamed until the huge, mountainous dragon blasted me.
    The last thing I saw were those flames.
    And now you know why I’m in your closet.
    Do drop by and chat again, won’t you?

  6. Misssharee says:

    “This is such a beautiful house!” I said while hugging my husband John. “I knew you would love it Sasha.The moment I saw the house I knew that this was the one for you.” he said as he kissed my forehead. John’s job had just transfered him from AZ to EL Paso TX which was quite a change for us. Both of our families grew up in AZ and neither of us had ever left AZ. It was a beautiful brick house that sat on its own 5 acres of land down a dirt road. The only entry way was five miles from the main highway. It sort of had a “old spirit” feeling to it. John even managed to get the maid and butler of the estate to come aboard and stay on as our new “help.” Mr. and Mrs. Jones had been with the home for the past 50 years. They were a nice old couple that had many stories of the past owners of the house.

    “Good Morning Ms. Sasha. How did you like your first night here?” she asked as she walked into the kitchen. “It was very lovely Mrs. Jones. Thanks for asking. How did you and Mr. Jones sleep last night? I passed by the worker’s quarters as I was going to get a drink of water and I thought I would check on you guys but I didnt happen to see either of you in there.” I said trying to seem as though I was prying into their business. “Oh how thoughtful of you Ms. Sasha. We dont sleep there. Its a little cold in their for our old bones and besides we like to stay close to our employers incase you need something.” she said while rubbing her arms. “Ok. well I think thats a great idea.” I said

    Later that evening John and I were awakend by loud sounds coming from our guest bedroom. I sound as though something was being pushed against the wall or the doors. “John! what is that?” I screamed. “I dont know Sasha. Lets go see.” John and I slipped on our robes and slippers and walked slowly towards the guestroom. The closer we got to the guestroom, the louder the noise seemed to get. “Its coming from the closet!” John said in a low tone. “Stand back Sasha! Im going to open the door!” With his right hand shaking as he reached towards the door, and his left hand directing me to stay back, John slowly opened the door.

    “AHHHHHHHH!!” We both screamed at the site that we saw. There were two human skeletons standing there looking at us. “We told you that we like to stay close to our employers incase you need something.” they both said in unison. “Mr. and Mrs. Jones?” I asked. “Why yes Sasha. This is our home and has been for over a century and we’re not leaving but you are!” she said as they both reached towards us.

    No one ever heard from the Sasha or John again. The house did manage to get resold two years later to a nice young couple by the name of the Jones.

  7. Emma says:

    Knock knock. Tap tap. Knock knock.

    Bleary eyed, I woke with a jolt. I clambered out of bed and headed towards the front door of my studio flat to see who would be visiting at this ungodly hour. I pulled open the door, ready to tell the visitor just what I thought of their timing. The corridor was empty. I couldn’t believe people had the nerve to play knock-knock-run at 5.30am; I made a mental note to have a word with the concierge during the day.

    Knock knock. Tap tap. Knock knock.

    I was still stood at the front door. The knocking was coming from within the flat. How was this possible? I wasn’t in the mood for pranks. The culprit was definitely going to get it when I found out who was responsible.

    Knock knock. Tap tap. Knock knock.

    It was coming from the closet. The knocks were identical each time they sounded. Not being the type of person to be afraid, I walked up and quickly yanked the handle to the closet. The door sprang open.

    “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”

    The next thing I knew, I was in a heap on the floor with what looked like a human skeleton on top of me. It WAS a human skeleton. I could see dents all over it and breaks in the limbs, as if it had been recently dug up or badly injured prior to death. I scrambled up as quickly as I could and pushed the skeleton as far away from me as I could. I ran straight out of the door, not caring that I was still in my nightdress. I looked down at my hands after feeling a strange wetness within my palms. Red. When I reached the concierge’s office, I babbled almost incoherently to the building’s sleepy night attendant. Not able to find my words, I motioned for the gentleman to follow me. I sprinted at full-speed back to my studio where I pointed frantically in the direction that I threw the skeleton. I couldn’t bear to go inside, so I pushed the concierge into the room, completely unaware of what awaited him.

    “Is this some kind of joke, missy?” the gentleman explored every part of the small studio and clambered dozily back to the doorway, where my feet were still glued to the floor.

    I didn’t understand. I FELT the skeleton. I had held it within my fingers. The coldness of the bone contrasted with the warmth of my skin. I could still vividly remember horrifying skull, with its jaw broken and hanging down on one side. The dark smudges that covered every inch were still etched in my memory. I’d tried to believe that it was mud, but it wasn’t mud that I had seen on my hands whilst running to get help. I looked down at my hands… nothing. No blood. I had no idea what was going on but I sure didn’t like it. I apologized to the concierge and he grunted to himself whilst walking away.

    I looked around the room myself, taking in every dark corner of my small home. Nothing jumped out at me, nothing was out of place and the closet door was shut once again. The concierge must have shut it when I was outside, I thought. I scrambled back into bed, afraid to shut my eyes. I must have fallen into a very light sleep because I woke with a jolt once again, when I heard…

    Knock knock. Tap, tap. Knock, knock.

    My heart in my throat, I launched at the closet door as if my life depended on it. I pulled open the closet, not wanting to succumb to my fears. I whipped the door open. I didn’t scream this time. He didn’t let me.

  8. missab5 says:

    The house was old, but new to me. I was still getting used to its creaks and moans. There wasn’t much closet space so I had my wardrobe and shoes spread out. The second floor held my bedroom, bathroom, a den, and a guest bedroom. On the first floor were the living room, kitchen, a half bath, and my office. There were also a creepy basement and creepier attic. Since I always considered myself a little creepy, it seemed fitting.

    It was my day off so I put on a sundress to be cool and comfortable in the summer heat. The sandals I wanted to wear were in the office closet. As always I stood in amazement at the inside of this closet. It was small, but had a unique feature. There were four steps that led to the bar that held my clothes, and the top step held some of my shoes. There is a main staircase by the front door that leads to the second floor. This must have been a back staircase that would have led directly to the attic stairs. It was probably used for servants to go unseen. The top had also been walled off.

    As I went up the first two steps to grab the sandals I tripped. Reaching out my hand made contact with the wall, and went right through. I struggled for a moment before freeing myself. No real damage to my arm, though I’d probably see a few bruises there later. My knees took the brunt of it, having slammed into the top step.

    My curiosity got the best of me and I pushed the pain aside. I grabbed a flashlight from the desk, pushed the clothes aside, and peeked into the hole. Like a horror movie come to life I saw what I least expected to find. I emptied the closet, grabbed a hammer and took apart the wall.

    There was a small landing about half way up. On it was a trunk, but what was above it was what had really caught my eye. There was a skeleton of what I assume was a woman since it was in a dress. From the looks of the garb I’d have to say she’d been there about two hundred years. Hopefully the trunk holds some answers. Its contents held clothes, shoes, and jewelry. It looked as though she had packed for a trip but didn’t make it very far. There was a letter in a pouch on the inside of the lid.

    Her son, who was eloping with the maid he’d gotten pregnant, killed her accidentally. Together the staff hid what happened. She was a tyrant they were happy to see gone. After some research I found that no one missed her. The couple married and had four kids. I’m going to wall her back up, and leave the past hidden for now. Which means I get to live in a creepy old house with an actual skeleton in my closet.

    • missab5 says:

      I ended up with double the word count allowed, so I took out half the story. I’m sure I’ll use the full version somewhere else. Took me forever to get this posted. I have so many problems with this site.

  9. radioPanic says:

    The surf calls me awake. My eyes peel open to see why it’s so much louder. I creak upright in bed to peer through the dust rising around me.
    Ah. Window’s broken. I try to swallow, to lubricate my throat sufficiently to hurl an expletive out the window, but nothing comes. My fingers find the lamp switch and turn, click click click, to no effect. The digital clock sits blank under a layer of dust.
    I crack the seal on the Aquafina on the nightstand and wash last night’s taste down my throat. “Goddamn PG&E.” There, that’s better.
    I call over my shoulder, “Freddie, wanna go out?”
    No response. No claws on the wood, no bell.
    “Freddie?”
    Time to play find Freddie. I stagger to the closet for a robe.
    Wouldn’t have thought it possible, but my neck goes even stiffer, spine flowing with quicksilver. “Oh my god,” I whisper.
    Last night starts coming back.
    *****
    I’m not the type who approaches creepy strangers in bars. I’m the type that sits and downs as much as I can afford until some yahoo puts Creedence on the jukebox. Someone always does. At the first strains of Bayou, I downed my Bootlegger and spun my stool toward the door.
    There the guy sat, in a dark booth. Pale, in a black suit and black fedora. Neon glinted bright red off his eyes. I squinted through the smoke, and he raised his glass to me.
    Approaching his table, I lit a smoke. “Never seen you here.”
    He smiled, a skeletal thing. “I’m always here,” he said. “Or someplace like here.” He folded hands on the table and leant forward, tipping his head to keep my eye. That smile again. “If you could have one wish come true. What would that be?”
    I licked my teeth behind pursed lips, blinking back smoke. “To wake up… and have this fucking pandemic be over with.”
    His smile widened with his eyes. Eyes glinting red.
    I curled my lip and turned for the door.
    “Sleep tight,” he called after me.
    *****
    I look at Freddie’s bones, blinking back tears. Long-abandoned anthills dot the closet floor. I put my hand over my mouth. It comes away covered with dust.
    I go to the window and lean, joints cracking, to peer between the shards.
    Waves glide over rusted car roofs and lap halfway to the top of the MOTEL sign. What was a ten minute walk to the beach when I went to sleep would now take two seconds.
    I swallow hard, return to the closet, and kneel down. “Sorry, Freddie,” I say, blinking back tears. I slip the elastic collar over his dusty skull and shake it off, ringing the tiny bell. I rub a slow thumb over the nametag, slip the collar over my arm, and stand.
    I pull open the door and freeze.
    Scratches mar the floor just inside, a quarter inch deep, haloed by sawdust and bits of claw.
    Saltwater coats my cheeks as I step outside.

    —————

    Noob, here. Had to scrap the first attempt ‘cos even though it was more self-contained, it refused to cut down to less than 650. So here’s try #2.

    Hope I’ve got the annoying HTML stuff figured out…

  10. cause says:

    First time doing this…so here I go!

    Wiping the sleep from his eyes Charles sits at his kitchen island drinking coffee from his favorite mug. It wasn’t the “I <3 NY" printed on the side but the fact that it held about a half a cup more of the 'bold dark coffee that gave you jitters' than a regular mug. After a couple of sips he stumbles up the stairs and like it does every day, one of his slippers catches on a step almost causing him to fall and spill his coffee. Also like always he was expecting it and caught himself before he spilled a drop. With exhausted satisfaction Charles throws his robe to the bathroom floor and puts his coffee cup in the shower on the shelf where his shampoo is kept so that he may drink it while he showers. Covering himself in a towel he opens the walk in closet and faces left to his business outfit. Staring at his cloths blankly, coffee cup in hand, he mutters to himself, "What to wear today, what to wear?" A bright yellow button up shirt and slacks make there way off of the pole, still on the hanger and are presented to Charles. " Ah perfect!" He says to himself and exits the closet tugging on the string for the light on the way out. After closing the door Charles pauses and his brow furrows. The cloths over his left arm fall to the ground and he puts his coffee cup on the dresser next to the closet. He opens the door and turns on the light again to see what had presented his cloths to him but sees nothing. Splitting the clothes hanging on the pole so that he may see the back of the closet he gasps at what he sees. Their is a full skeleton sitting on the ground cross legged reading a dictionary.

    Looking up casually from his read the Skeleton says, "Oh hello Charles, did you not like your outfit?" Looking back to the book his bones make a sort of popping sound, " You know, the English language has really expanded since I was alive. Unfortunately your also adding that rubbish text lingo….I hate it."

    Now Charles is screaming. All of the color has left his face but he can't stop looking at the skeleton. "AHHHH..AHHH….AHHHHHHHHHH!! What the hell are you doing in my closet? Are you talking?! Am I still asleep? I am aren't I? I'm going back to bed…" Turning to walk out of the closet Charles's shoulders are slouch and hes looking at the ground in defeat.

    "Your not still asleep Charles, and I need you to calm down." Says the skeleton as he stands. " I'm Death, but I'm not here for you…I have come for the elderly man next door. Interestingly enough hes not going to die of old age, hes going to get struck by lightning while mowing his lawn later. That doesn't concern you though. I'm naked in your closet because I needed to wash my robe. You have no idea how much it stinks after a decade of 'work'. Their are no washing machines on the other side but you can still smell the rotting flesh of the deceased. I do suggest going back to sleep though and forgetting anything ever happened. Good morning Charles, and I will see you soon." The last words Death spoke in a ominous whisper. " Just kidding you have plenty of time left, so enjoy your Monday!" With that the skeleton pulled on the string for the light and closed the door. Charles stumbled over to bed and threw himself on it wishing that it would all go away. His last thoughts before he fell back asleep were, 'At least his dog won't be crapping on my lawn anymore…I hate Mondays.'

  11. missypm says:

    Kali untangled her hand from beneath the mound of blankets to hit the alarm as it beeped her into consciousness. Her yellow lab stuck his nose out from under the pillow beside her, his pink tongue darting out and licking her nose.
    “I know Yellow, rise and shine time. Today we start our new job and tonight we unpack for our new home” she said as she petted the yellow lab.
    Yellow looked at her with raised eyebrows before rolling over and jumping off the bed. The two of them moved to a small apartment near Burlington VT after a rather nasty breakup between Kali and her ex. She left Chicago looking for a change and had only taken what fit in her SUV, then she and Yellow drove halfway across the country to their new life.
    Kali sat up and stretched while she peered at Yellow who sat at the foot of the bed waiting for her. She flung the blankets off from her and placed her feet on the floor. Her mattresses were on the floor and the alarm sat on a box serving as a night stand. She had yet to unpack anything yet alone buy necessities. She pulled herself up and spoke to Yellow through yawns.
    “Hold on boy, I will take you out after I find a jacket, then breakfast and coffee while I find directions to the station.”
    She crossed the blue carpet, freshly vacuumed before she came yesterday, to the closet where she had placed her boxes of clothes. Yellow stood and came to her side, nose in the air twitching and feverishly smelling around him. As Kali opened the doors a box fell almost on top of her, spilling at her feet the items made a clinking sound as if dominos were falling onto each other.
    She stepped forward to peer down at what it was. The box was spilled over but she saw the bones that had spilled from the box and now lay every which way. Yellow growled deep in his throat and she felt him back up a bit. Kali probably would have been more shocked at the skeleton that now lay at her feet in a heap; however, unfortunately this was not a first. In fact she knew exactly what it meant for her, her job, her new life and most of all those soon to be victims; it meant he was back and that he followed her.
    She knew without looking that there would be no skull that was always missing. There was no note, no explanation, there was no need, she knew what the skeleton meant; it meant another victim, another unsolved murder. Yellow inched towards the skeleton with hackles raised. She laid her hand on his head and he settled but still stood ready to pounce.
    They say every cop has a case that becomes their life, this one, the one she had not yet caught was hers, and here he was taunting her.

  12. Pandora1262 says:

    The story has a lot of potential. It could develop very well. My only comments would be:
    1. The age of the girl. When she witnessed the beating, you describe her as a sweet “little girl”. Now, it is five years later and she has run away from home pregnant? How old is she now? The term “little girl” implies, to my mind, less than ten years old which would make her pregnant at about 15?
    2. The girl saw abuse the mother was suffering at the hands of Hector. The daughter would not blame the mother, would she? How could the mother “protect her from the ruggedness of life” (if physical abuse could be called “ruggedness”) when Hector was described as having “mammoth” fists so presumably he was a big man? Usually, a common threat (Hector) would bring the two women closer because they would identify with each other that much more, even if they do not speak very much.
    Of course, all of the above could be explained away later on in the story. It seems almost unfair to judge based on 500 words only. Perhaps all you need to be careful of is the adjectives you use to describe people or actions. The style of your writing is very “readable”. Keep going!

  13. simba15 says:

    OOOOPS! Big mistake there. Didn’t read the prompt well before rushing to get this piece down. Just realized it’s a literal skeleton we’re talking about here. Any comments though?

  14. simba15 says:

    “No! Let go of me!” I shrieked, my eyes bulging in fear. But his grip was too firm… too sure of the damage it wanted to cause.
    I shielded a blow with my free arm. Wrong choice. The mammoth fist plunged into my belly, leaving me squirming in pain. The room became a blur. All I could see was that angry face; and those angrier fists charging belligerently at me.
    She stood in the doorway sobbing gently, her hazel eyes flooded with sorrow. She was so young…so beautiful; the sweetest little girl. She didn’t have to see any of this.
    “Hector,” I moaned through my bleeding mouth. It was hardly a whisper, but it seemed to get his attention. He left a fist balanced in the air.
    “Hector,” I choked out. “She’s watching.”
    He glanced at the doorway and stood there – the idiot – watching our daughter, frozen and ashamed.
    That was five years ago. Hector had died of a stroke barely six months later. Honestly, it was a relief. But then, I had spent so many years thinking I could be a better mother to Meg if her father was out of the picture. Clearly, I was wrong.
    How was I to undo all the scars Hector had left behind? How was I to look my own daughter in the eye when I had failed to protect her from the ruggedness of life when she needed it the most? I had failed at everything. I grew apart from her. I was too ashamed to let her know how I felt about everything…and to tell her just how much I loved her.
    It was too late now. I stared blankly at the letter I held in my quivering hands; then, I glanced over at the empty bed …her empty bed. I knew from the moment I had opened my closet this morning that the creased paper which lay at the bottom was not a good sign.
    I read the words again.
    I was terrified. But Meg was feeling much worse. It was her pain that was killing me on the inside.
    She had fled from home.
    No.
    She had fled from me. She was out there somewhere, alone and pregnant. She was afraid of what my reaction would be. So she packed up long before I woke up and left nothing but a tattered letter in my closet. I knew from the sight of it that her tears had swamped the sheet.
    It was time for me to make things right. I had to find her. I had to let her know I was sorry for never being there for her. Then, I’d make sure that she would never make the same mistakes I made in raising her own child. I wouldn’t stop searching until I could hold her again. She was everything I had.

  15. Pandora1262 says:

    It was my day off but I planned to get a backlog of errands done and was pissed off when I woke to find that it was past eleven a.m. After a quick shower which did nothing to help me wake up, I dressed in jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers, all of which lay scattered on the floor where I left them just a few hours before, after drinking too much and getting home much, much too late.

    Dressed now, I gulped down a cup of coffee and was rushing out of the house when I remembered that I had to take my cocktail dress to the cleaners. I ran back inside and up the two flights of stairs to my bedroom. I opened my closet door and was about to walk in to get the dress when I heard a large cracking noise, followed by a rumble, followed by the roof of my closet which came crashing down. I jumped back just in time as wooden beams, bricks and plater fell, filled the entire closet space and tumbled out onto my bedroom floor. Dust filled the whole room. The noise was deafening! Coughing, I frantically and blindly made my way to the window, opened it and breathed in fresh air. I couldn’t leave the room as the doorway was next to where the closet had been and was now completely blocked by the debris.

    Terrified, I thought the whole brownstone was about to collapse. Suddenly all the noise stopped and there was an erie silence. I slowly turned away from the window to survey the damage. Just then, something fell again and rolled, stopping at my feet. I glanced down and froze. There, looking up at me with vacant eye sockets was a human skull!

    Our house was infamous for the scandal which surrounded the family who first built the property in 1891. The Summervilles were a rich and flamboyant couple who chose to shock society by naming their two sons Cain and Abel, as if to show that this name combination was not cursed. Events proved them wrong. There was always bad blood between the two boys and when Mr. and Mrs. Summerville were killed in a fiery plane crash, the sons, now in their twenties, were the only heirs to their parents vast estate. Several legal battles ensued, each man fighting for the sole ownership of this, their family home.

    In August, 1912, Abel mysteriously disappeared. Suspicion naturally fell on Cain but since no body was ever found, nothing could be proven and no charges were ever filed. Cain, forever under a cloud of mistrust and pre-supposed guilt, drank heavily and gambled away his inheritance in an astonishingly rapid manner. He died penniless in 1935.

    I looked up to see the rest of the skeleton lying on top of the rubble. It was dressed in a military uniform which I instantly recognized. It was the same as my father had worn during World War II!!

    • Good start. The beginning seemed a little more “tell” than “show”, needs to flow a little more smoothly. I almost thought maybe the whole piece could have been the history part. That was intriguing. And it’s so hard to find the right place to end when you only have 500 words. Great job. Keep going!

      • Pandora1262 says:

        You are absolutely right! Thank you. I could have started the whole story from the second paragraph with just a small mention of oversleeping. Sometimes I get so focused on trying to get past a particular tree, I forget that they goal is to get the hell out of the forest!

  16. tdogg369 says:

    Aeskis:

    You obviously have great command of the language. Lots of good description and you’ve painted a picture of the characters with full color.

    As can so often be the case in the world of short-story writing, I didn’t feel like I had a clear understanding of why they had found each other. A man who thought he was still alive (clever idea) meets a voyeuristic stalker (clever idea). What is the link between the two clever ideas? What are the ghosts the skeleton has run from and why has he taken solace in her closet?

    I think this could be a really neat idea if given fewer space constraints. Perhaps the reader can do without the description of the cat in lieu of just a touch of back story.

    A completely workable story, though.

    A humble man’s opinion.

  17. LMGilbert says:

    Here is the beginning of a story I am working on, based on this prompt:

    Twenty minutes until the meeting in the principal’s office, and I had to be dressed appropriately. I couldn’t show up in another wrinkly t-shirt, rushing in late and apologizing; I had to make those smug school officials respect me somehow, or I would never get them to cooperate with me about Sid. I visualized the grey suit I had worn to my last job interview, hanging in its clear plastic bag in the closet. Another failed interview, but it wasn’t the suit’s fault. Anyway, no time to think about that now. I slammed open the closet door, reached in, and stopped cold with my hand extended toward the suit. Oh no. Not today.

    “About time you looked in here. Been a while, hasn’t it?” he said. The Skeleton-in-the-Closet rattled a little as he turned his eye sockets toward me, and graced me with his characteristic grin.

    I closed my eyes and reached for the suit.

    “Hmmm, I wouldn’t,” he said. “That suit says ‘I’m trying too hard because I’m desperate to win your approval.’ They’ll walk all over you, sister.”

    I opened my eyes. His skull was tilted to one side, a bony index finger held up to his jaw, the elbow joint cupped in the bones of the other hand. He considered me, the contents of my closet, me again. He slowly shook his head. “Lose the attempt at big hair,” he snapped. “Just pull it all back nice and sleek. That’s it. Now…” Skeleton turned his eyeless gaze to a short black linen dress with a square-cut neckline, hanging just the other side of my wedding dress. He sighed. “A classic look. Too bad you can’t fit into it anymore.”

    “Look, I wore that once, when Sid was six months old and I was emaciated from breast-feeding. And why are you here, by the way? Why today of all days, when I’m trying to get to this meeting…”

    “You just answered your own question, sister. No, don’t close the door and run away. I can’t get out of here and go about my own damn business, until you look after your own damn business. This meeting is about Sid, isn’t it?”

    • radioPanic says:

      LMGilbert,

      I really like the way Skeleton’s gesturing says so much. Great visuals with subtle humor. And as a beginning, this piece really does its job, raising questions and making me want to keep reading. What exactly is the situation w/Sid, why does the narrator fell compelled to impress, and WHAT, exactly is Skeleton’s purpose there. Nice.

  18. tdogg369 says:

    It would seem that I’ve been buried in the “awaiting moderation” pile-up from the weekend. I would certainly appreciate some feedback on “Containment.” Gracias!

  19. aeskis says:

    A Common Interest

    “I assure you, I am not dead,” the decidedly deceased human remains informs me indignantly.

    I blink and wonder how to most tactfully dispel this terrible misconception of the state of one’s life. Ahem, death. The morning had begun with relative regularity; that is, until I discovered a frightful apparition in my closet as I ventured forth from bed to choose fresh clothes for the cold day.

    Forgivably, I screamed, less understandably the skeleton before me screamed, and I slammed the door shut. Moments later a polite knocking could be heard. “Have you come to rescue me?” a gentlemanly voice calls out in delight. “I do apologize for my rude behavior upon meeting a lady.” I struggle to reconcile absolute terror with pleased surprise at his manners.

    My cat comes meowing into the room. “What was that?” I ask him. He meows again, a typically useless answer, as he is a typically useless animal. Mustering courage, I gingerly open the door and peer inside. There it is, gleaming stark white in the filtered light. “Why are you in there?”

    “I was running away from ghosts. I do hope you don’t mind my having appropriated your house.” The skeleton manages to convey a sense of embarrassment, an impressive expression given its eternally grinning, grisly visage.

    “But … you’re dead. Why should you be afraid of ghosts?” This brings us back to the present bewildering situation.”

    “I’m afraid you’re missing vital ingredients of life, including flesh and skin and muscle, among other things. But otherwise I’ll admit you are quite amazingly alive.”

    The skeleton argues heatedly, “But I cannot possibly be dead! I have a life! Friends, a career, women aspiring to be my wife ..!”

    “Denial, sir. Death is after all the eventual occupational hazard of living,” I tell him philosophically.

    Disconsolate, he folds himself into a heap of bony misery. “I suppose the latest dream I had was true and I died in a fire,” the skeleton murmurs sadly. “I knew Melinda was miffed at my refusal to buy her that diamond necklace, but I didn’t think she would take such measures for revenge.”

    “Right. Now that we’ve established the facts, I really ought to attend to business.”

    “What is it you do?” he inquires.

    “Every morning I spend quality time with my long-distance boyfriend, David.” I pause several seconds before admitting, “At least, quality time with my binoculars watching him in his apartment across the street.” I smile awkwardly and proceed to my hobby. He steps out and stands beside me, looking with his eyeless sockets. Again I am mildly impressed. “Oh, he is handsome, my dear.”

    At last, someone to share in my interests! “This may be the beginning of a new life for the both of us,” I smile.

  20. jenk00004 says:

    Well it could have been worse. His nails were clean, he chewed with his mouth shut, and he said “espresso” not “expresso”. The last man I’d dated said terrible things like “irregardless” and sweat every time he ate. Ted was clearly an upgrade.

    I took a deep breath and backed away from the closet. Hollow, black eye sockets stared out at me from beyond Ted’s color coded work shirts and a gaping jaw screamed for rescue. No, no, she wasn’t screaming. She was yawning when she died. Of course.

    I sank down onto the mauve bedspread. Hard to believe he had such a great knack for decorating. And dressing! Boy, could that man dress to kill. Much like the skeleton, actually. She wore a gorgeous baby blue Anne Taylor dress that I’d lusted for two seasons ago, but couldn’t afford. I shook my head. Some people get all the perks.

    It would have been awkward not to mention my discovery when Ted came home. We are, after all, working on our communication. So, over a roast beef dinner with my famous whipped potatoes, I addressed the issue head-on just as my therapist would’ve advised.

    “How was your day, darling?” I patted the sides of my mouth with my napkin.

    “Excellent! Hopefully Larry will approve my request for vacation time in December. Tahiti here we come!”

    “Hopeful.”

    “What was that?”

    “You are hopeful Larry will approve your request for vacation time in December. To say hopefully is not correct grammar.”

    He cleared his throat and stabbed his fork into a small, pink cube of meat. “And how was your day?”

    “My day was nice, just more of the usual. Oh! One interesting thing happened. I found a skeleton in your side of the closet.”

    “You did, did you?”

    “I did!” I took a bite of my whipped potato and stared passed Ted at a wrinkle in my drapes. “I wonder who it could’ve belonged to…” I’ll have to iron those drapes first thing in the morning.

    “My ex-girlfriend Liz.”

    “Pardon me?”

    “You said you wanted to know who the skeleton belonged to.”

    “Technically I said that, but it was a rhetorical question.”

    “Well I answered it.”

    “I understand that, but it wasn’t meant to be answered.”

    “Irregardless-”

    “WHAT?” My fork clattered against the blue and white plate and my voice lowered to nearly a whisper. “What. Did. You. Say.”

    “I said, irregardless of your question being rhet-”

    “ENOUGH! Stop! Don’t you EVER speak to me like that again. I, I…” I was hyperventilating. My chair slammed into the floor when I stood up. Blinded by rage and tears, I stumbled through the house gathering my belongings.

    I knew it wouldn’t work out with a man like Ted. It just wasn’t my luck. He pleaded for me to stay but I couldn’t even if I wanted to. Things would never be the same. I threw my stuffed suitcase into the passenger seat of my car, peeled out of the driveway, and never looked back. The only silver lining to an otherwise heartbreaking day was my fabulous new baby blue dress.

  21. Pdomoniq says:

    Feedback greatly appreciated!

    I was stirred by the steady pounding on my front door. “Mia.” a familiar voice called my name. It was Iona. “Look missy, I will not permit you to waste away in your quarters any longer.” She further accosted my ringing ears. “Don’t make me blast the door open.”

    She would do it too.

    Groaning I eased out of bed, blinking against the sunlight pouring into the window of my small officer’s quarters. Throwing on a tank and some shorts, I opened my bedroom door and staggered into the living room to open the front door.

    “Finally,” she said, entering without waiting for me to ask her in.

    I closed the door and fell onto couch, my head throbbing. She walked to the kitchen and placed the large brown bag on the island countertop. I groaned as she began to scold me.

    “Here’s something to help ease your hang over,” she said as heavenly smells wafted towards me as she thrust a cup of coffee towards me. I forced my eyes open, and accepted the cup. I took a sip and then sighed with relief.

    “Mark is gone. He fell in the line of duty and did his nation proud.” Mark’s assignment had been time travel into the future. But things had gone wrong. “It is time that you did your duty.”

    Usually, I would resent her mother hen naggings. Today I complied. “You’re right.”

    “Now, go shower and get dressed. And then we’ll get some food in you.”

    I showered, reveling in the woody floral scent, and then pulled my military skirts from my closet. I screamed when I pulled out my blazer.

    “What on earth is the matter?” I gazed up at Iona. She had burst in my room with her weapon drawn.

    I pointed to the skeleton in the closet.

    “Well whoever it is he’s already dead,” she said putting the safety on her gun and placing it back in its holster. “How did it get there?”

    Embarrassed, “I don’t know.”

    “Mia, you have a skeleton in your closet and you don’t know how it got there?”

    I started to answer but caught a glint of metal around the skeleton’s neck. I got to my feet, firmly wrapping my towel around me, and then approached the closet. I removed the dog tags off of the bones. My heart cringing as I expected them to be Mark’s.

    Iona reached around me, and grabbed a bit of plant from the bones. “This looks like it has been placed there on purpose.”

    I looked at the tags. “Peter Howells.” I released the breath I had been holding. Peter had been with Mark. Sadly, I looked back at the bones, feeling a tinge of guilt at my relief that it had not been Mark. I had liked Peter he had recently been married and had a child on the way.

    “I’ll tell her.”

    “No I will,” I said with conviction walking towards the door. “And Mark could be alive. I’m volunteering.

    “Mia.”

    “Iona, you can’t stop me.”

    “I was merely going to suggest that you get dressed first.”

    I looked down at my towel. Embarrassed, “I see your point.”

    • radioPanic says:

      Very nice. Made me curious to read more.

      A couple of things I noticed..

      Iona starts out with a strong picture of her as a character, barging in without being asked, and the protective side she shows. I don’t know if that’s just the character or her job, but that can wait to be explained, I think.

      Mark’s assignment: just this one sentence kind of breaks the narrative for me, and for a 500 word intro, might be better explained later. Even though it’s just one sentence, it comes off as what I’ve seen called an ‘info dump.’ Maybe give Mia a long walk to report for duty, to reflect on Mark’s assignment.

      ‘Embarrassed, “I don’t know.”‘ is a good line. Repeating the word in the last line kind of tripped me up. I like the idea of a military character prone to easy embarrassment, and I realized you only have 500 words to work with, but I think that if you’re going to repeat the word, it might work better matching it to the first usage as closely as possible, maybe starting w/”Embarrassed, ‘I see your point.’” and following with an action. Just a thought.

      Finally, the bit of plant seems like a plot point of importance, yet Mia doesn’t react and we only barely see Iona reacting to its discovery at all. Might be a good thing to give more of a hint that this could be really important. (In 500 words, ha ha.)

      Interesting stuff.

    • radioPanic says:

      One thing I forgot. In the interest of brevity, I think Mia could go straight from throwing on a tank & shorts, to the front door. Unless she’s deliberately stalling, it doesn’t seem to matter that she had to open her bedroom door, or that the bedroom even HAS a door. And if she IS stalling, give her some more stuff to do before she gets to the front door, like drink a glass of water, check her hair in the mirror, etc. All in less than 500 words, ha ha!

  22. tdogg369 says:

    Kenny:

    It didn’t seem to flow right. It may have just been me, but I wasn’t sure if the scene in the bar was a flashback or where they were headed when it was “time to go.” Maybe set up the flashback a little better.

    Also, lot of run-on sentences and unnecessary commas.

    “Early the next morning I woke up with a start and she was gone I opened my wardrobe to get my bathrobe and I found her now a skeleton.”

    Should be multiple sentences to help it flow better: “Early the next morning I woke up with a start. She was gone. I opened my wardrobe to get by bathrobe and I found her, now a skeleton.”

    “I quieted the warning voice in my head as I took her to my table ,I was horny and was ready for a lay it didn’t matter that she looked at me strange.”

    This shouldn’t be separated by a comma. It’s two separate ideas. May be better as separate sentences, or at least use a semicolon.

    In general, it’s a neat idea, but watch out for simple grammatical errors. There are several of them in this story.

    Just one man’s opinion.

  23. kennydude55 says:

    I looked at the clock on the bedside table it was 1.00am, time to leave. I put my wallet in my pocket and with my gloved left hand I lifted my meager belongings unto my shoulder. On the bed lay a skeleton dressed in a brown stained dress .On its hands were bangles, its head bore a thatch of hair and skin, almost a fistful. They were mine. I didn’t need to be reminded of that as I stared in the mirror, my temple and part of my scalp were conspicuously missing skin and hair . A few minutes ago she had been in the closet slumped in it as was her habit during the day, now she had appeared on the bed.
    “It’s time to go “ I heard her eerie voice say.
    ‘’ yes ‘’ I reply . It feels like I am in a dream and my actions are not my own I know however its far from that .When I had first met her she was dressed in what she had on now, without the blood stains of course. She had been stunningly beautiful with dark ebony skin, curves and boobs that were just the right size, my kind of woman.
    When I offered to buy her a drink she had looked at me with those dark brown eyes I had an eerie feeling that she was looking into my soul, she grinned and said
    ‘’ okay ‘’
    I quieted the warning voice in my head as I took her to my table ,I was horny and was ready for a lay it didn’t matter that she looked at me strange.
    ‘’My name is Jumobi, ‘’ I said flashing a most disarming smile.
    ‘’Bunmi ‘’ she replied
    The bar was beginning to fill up with people and as the night wore on we talked about all sorts of things politics, religion, and fashion. She spent most of the time listening to me not saying much. A few friends joined us at the table and we talked and cracked jokes till late in the night.
    When it was time to leave she clung to me and I suggested we go to my place ,she agreed and we ended the night in passion .Early the next morning I woke up with a start and she was gone I opened my wardrobe to get my bathrobe and I found her now a skeleton.
    That was a week ago and with each parting week she devoured …no more like swallowed and slurped up a bit more of my flesh My left foot was nothing but bone as was my left hand. So far she had stopped me from contacting my family and friends; all she did was make me move from hotel to hotel.
    I put on my hat and carried her out the door taking care to wrap her in a blanket. I resigned myself there was no hope not for one in the grasp of an oku.

    criticisms and comments are wellcome

    • Bridee0809 says:

      Since you were so nice to comment on my story, I will comment on yours :-). Overall I thought your story was unique and compelling. I’d love to know what an oku is, and how I can make sure I stay away from one!

      There were a couple run on sentences, one of them: “Early the next morning I woke up with a start and she was gone I opened my wardrobe to get my bathrobe and I found her now a skeleton.” There’s a lot happening there!

      Watch your dialogue tags, you are missing some commas after the word at the end of the dialogue, and there are spaces before the quotes where they are not needed.

      Good job, I look forward to reading more stories from you.

    • Pdomoniq says:

      It’s a very interesting story. I agree with Bridee0809 that there are a few grammatical issues. However, once it’s cleaned up a bit it sounds like a great beginning to a horror story.

  24. kennydude55 says:

    didnt read teh lipstick prompt but i think if i were to criticize i would say you could make the flow of the narrative better it has a stop-start feel to it.No hurt intended though

  25. aeskis says:

    A Common Interest

    “I assure you, I am not dead,” the decidedly deceased human remains informs me indignantly.

    I blink and wonder how to most tactfully dispel this terrible misconception of the state of one’s life. Ahem, death. The morning had begun with relative regularity; that is, until I discovered a frightful apparition in my closet as I ventured forth from bed to choose fresh clothes for the cold day.

    Forgivably, I screamed, less understandably the skeleton before me screamed, and I slammed the door shut. Moments later a polite knocking could be heard. “Have you come to rescue me?” a gentlemanly voice calls out in delight. “I do apologize for my rude behavior upon meeting a lady.” I struggle to reconcile absolute terror with pleased surprise at his manners.

    My cat comes meowing into the room. “What was that?” I ask him. He meows again, a typically useless answer, as he is a typically useless animal. Mustering courage, I gingerly open the door and peer inside. There it is, gleaming stark white in the filtered light. “Why are you in there?”

    “I was running away from ghosts. I do hope you don’t mind my having appropriated your house.” The skeleton manages to convey a sense of embarrassment, an impressive expression given its eternally grinning, grisly visage.

    “But … you’re dead. Why should you be afraid of ghosts?” This brings us back to the present bewildering situation.”

    “I’m afraid you’re missing vital ingredients of life, including flesh and skin and muscle, among other things. But otherwise I’ll admit you are quite amazingly alive.”

    The skeleton argues heatedly, “But I cannot possibly be dead! I have a life! Friends, a career, women aspiring to be my wife ..!”

    “Denial, sir. Death is after all the eventual occupational hazard of living,” I tell him philosophically.

    Disconsolate, he folds himself into a heap of bony misery. “I suppose the latest dream I had was true and I died in a fire,” the skeleton murmurs sadly. “I knew Melinda was miffed at my refusal to buy her that diamond necklace, but I didn’t think she would take such measures for revenge.”

    “Right. Now that we’ve established the facts, I really ought to attend to business.”

    “What is it you do?” he inquires.

    “Every morning I spend quality time with my long-distance boyfriend, David.” I pause several seconds before admitting, “At least, quality time with my binoculars watching him in his apartment across the street.” I smile awkwardly and proceed to my hobby. He steps out and stands beside me, looking with his eyeless sockets. Again I am mildly impressed. “Oh, he is handsome, my dear.”

    At last, someone to share in my interests! “This may be the beginning of a new life for the both of us,” I smile.

  26. MCKEVIN says:

    should be “one line. Ooops!

  27. tdogg369 says:

    “Containment”

    It’s been my experience that non-believers take it the hardest. Not saying more folks should believe, only that that’s how it usually goes. It makes sense when you think about it. You’re a lot less likely to be spooked when you’re half-expecting to see something else.

    Be that as it may, it’s pretty hard to explain to a guy that what he’s just seen isn’t a rarity. In my line of work, I have that conversation daily. And I haven’t figured out the combination of words that softens the blow.

    “How’d it happen, Mac?” I ask the officer.

    “Same as always, Chief. Found ‘im in the closet.”

    “Hmph. Always the closet. The victim talk to anyone else yet?”

    “Nah,” says Mac. “He’s barely talking to us. They’re always pretty shook up the first time.” His last three words come out “da foist time.”

    I nod, expecting as much. Sighing, I look down and light a cigarette. “You know the drill.”

    “Yeah, I know it,” Mac says.

    Each sighting is dealt with the same way. The first step is containment. As quickly as possible, we interview anyone who may have been in the immediate area at the time of the incident.

    Step two is consultation. Basically, we can’t have all of the witnesses blabbing about what they saw, spooking everybody. Something like this would go national within twenty-four hours. So it’s really more like coercion than consultation.

    Step three is termination. Say one of the witnesses sees a get-rich-quick opportunity, decides to take it to the media. We identify those folks pretty quick. Then we make sure they don’t have a story to tell.

    This fellow has been ruminating on this for two hours, hasn’t said more than ten words to any of my guys, but I take one look at him and see the wheels turning.

    “How you doing?” I ask.

    “They’re real,” he says. Quiet contemplation shows all over his face. Then, “Do you have any idea what this means? Scientists have been trying to prove the existence of the supernatural for centuries.”

    Reaching a salt-white, bony hand into my jacket, I pull out a pneumatic syringe, stick it where the skull meets the first vertebrae, and squeeze. The chemical erases the last twelve hours of a fellow’s life.

    He goes limp, falling off his bed and cracking his skull on the way down. With no flesh to cushion the sound, he ends up on the floor in a series of clacks. He’ll recover and probably be better off without the unpleasantness he’s witnessed.

    Most of us skeletons go our whole lives without seeing one. For everyone else, I’m there, preserving the peace one case at a time.

    “Clean it up,” I say, pausing for one more quick chat with Mac.

    “Termination?” It comes out “toymuhnation.”

    “Yep.”

    “Humans. In our town. Ever think you’d see it, Chief?”

    I grin a toothy grin. “Don’t you watch the news, Mac? They don’t exist.”

    • JR MacBeth says:

      Nice original take on the prompt. Great work!

    • radioPanic says:

      Great take, and very well written! Only thing that stopped me was “humans.” There doesn’t seem to be a natural strong distinction between skeletons and humans, one almost being a subset of the other. Maybe the skeletons have a nickname for them that conveys what they are, something supernatural, skeleton being the ‘natural’ state.

      Good humor, though, and I like the hypodermic between the skull and vertebrae.

  28. Bridee0809 says:

    Hi everybody! This story is a continuation from the LIPSTICK prompt. As always, please let me know if you have any comments good or bad. Thanks!

    At dusk, Julie walked through the front door of the beach house.

    Janie killed Adam in this very house a year ago but Julie didn’t know how, or where in the house it took place. Janie pushed her down into the blackness. Julie woke up in a shelter in another state two months later.

    Her mother died six months later leaving Julie the beach house and a modest inheritance. She used it to repair the house enough to make it livable. The master bedroom was the only room cleaned and completely renovated. Julie wanted to do the rest of the cleaning herself in the hopes it might connect her to her past, her memories of which were as scattered and random as puzzle pieces dumped on a table, and they taunted her.

    Julie sensed Janie watching, at times, even hearing her voice.

    Before sunset, she walked through the house, her steps echoing on the hardwood. Various items littered every room. In one she found a baby shoe. She turned it over and over in her hands, willing the memories to come, but none would.

    From inside her Janie said, “nothing at all?”

    “Go away,” Julie said aloud. She visualized a door slamming, symbolically locking Janie out.

    She bent the little shoe tongue outward to find “Julie” written on the underside. She kept the shoe with her that evening. Something about it bothered her but she didn’t know what.

    The next morning she rose early and unpacked her suitcase. Putting it away, she opened the closet and moved the clothes to one side. In the corner she saw the mate to the shoe wedged between two boards near the floor. She squatted and forced the shoe out; causing one board to come away with it. Her name was written on the tongue of the shoe.

    “I’m an only child, why would my name be in my shoes?” said Julie, understanding now what bothered her the night before.

    “Indeed,” said Janie softly.

    Julie ignored her and looked into the hole. Inside was a bracelet wound around a dolls foot. She took it off and held it up. There was a medic alert charm attached to it. The charm seemed too large for the delicate silver chain.

    The dolls feet were covered with pink socks and it was bundled in a baby blanket. She reached in and pulled it out, turning it over at the same time. It wasn’t a doll but the skeleton of a baby. She screamed and dropped it, lifting herself up and falling backward onto her butt outside the closet.

    Julie groaned involuntarily realizing what she thought was a bracelet was in fact, a necklace. She lifted it up, the charm spinning slowly in the air. When the back of it came into view she read the engraved name: “Julie Patterson”.

    Her mouth went dry and she felt a stab of pain in her head.

    “Janie, I need you!” she managed to croak.

    “Of course,” said Janie.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      I like it and hope you continue it with future prompts if they fit. I would delete tone line:
      1) “At dusk, Julie walked through the front door of the beach house.”

      I would delete it or place it somewhere else because the story stands alone without it and it pulled me right into the action with the second line.

      Good job and I can’t wait for your next installment which means you are developing your style. Good luck.

    • Pdomoniq says:

      Enjoyed it! I didn’t read the previous installment on the lipstick prompt but you’ve piqued my interest with this one.

  29. InsideMyself says:

    I was barely able to open my eyes due to the bright rays creeping around the curtains. I sat up, stretched my arms out and let the covers slip off me as I rose to my feet. My head pounded from all the crying the night before. An unfortunate side effect when someone you love passes away and you’ve spent the whole night seeking comfort in a bottle of tequila, culminating the one year anniversary he was put in the ground. I headed to the bathroom in desperate need to feel warm water pour over me. I felt dirty and I needed to wash the stink of last night away.

    I didn’t remember much except making the trip to the cemetery. Being there was usually comforting, but today it felt like I had lost him all over again and it was almost too much for me to bear. I just lay there, up against his tomb stone, like so many times before, longing to hold him just one more time.
    Tears started to fall as I recalled what I could from last night’s events. I missed my husband so much. We’d planned on growing old together but instead I was alone again, just like before him. My heart broke just a little more.

    I stepped out, toweled off and headed back down the hall. Almost immediately I noticed small muddy footprints that lead from the front door and trailed off through the door way of my room. Were these hear before, I wondered? How could I not have noticed them?

    I looked around the tiny apartment and nothing seemed out of place. Curious, I followed the prints until I reached my room, where I seen them disappear under the door to my closet. I just stood there. Then all at once it hit me, I must have gotten muddy at the cemetery.” I watch too much law and order,” I said, as I walked to the closet. I reached out and slide the door open.

    “Stop,” someone whispered forcefully.

    I stood there, frozen, not believing my ears.

    “You have to let me go, my love.”

    I gasped. “Michael?”

    “Yes,” he said, still in a hush. “I don’t have much time, but I had to come.”

    Tears poured down my face. I reached out to open the door. “You can’t see me like this,” He said. “You can’t or this is all you will ever see when you think of me….I won’t do that to you.”

    “I don’t understand,” I cried.

    “You’re consumed with my death. I would give anything to be able to be here, with you. I had to let you know that you’re not alone… that I love you…and that I’m with you… always.”

    I couldn’t resist anymore! I threw open the door just in time to see his bones fall to the floor. I dropped to my knees. He was gone.

  30. oceanjewel says:

    Sorry, I went over. I cut it down by 100 words but just couldn’t seem to get it down to 500:/

    “A Skeleton in the Closet”

    At first I thought I was still asleep. That made sense. It did seem like something out of a nightmare. At least something out of one of mine. No. It was real. If it were a nightmare it would have eyes. Tortured eyes that stare back at me with a sickly combination of both fear and hatred. This thing had no eyes. It was just a mass of bones intricately linked to form the human shape, but there was nothing human about it. No flesh or blood. Barely any sign that it was ever a part of anything living.

    I gradually began to realize that I was awake. Definitely much more awake than I wanted to be. What was going on? That thing didn’t just walk to my closet and let itself in. Someone had put it there. Someone knew. But who?

    BUZZZZZZZZZZZZ………

    “Shit.” Someone was at my door. Maybe I could ignore whoever it was.

    “Mike… let me in. I know you’re home.”

    Maybe not. If it were anyone else I could just ignore them until they went away. I knew Ryan wouldn’t make it that easy. There was no time to make sense of this. Time to put on my game face. This was one skeleton that would have to stay in the closet at least a little longer.

    Mike…..come on! What the hell???”

    “Just a second!”

    “Took you long enough. What’s going on? You got a girl here or something?” he asked with an approving grin.

    “Uhhhhh. No. I was getting dressed. I just woke up.”

    “Oh, I figured after last night…”

    “Last night?”

    “Yeah, I passed by here about 2 am. I was going to stop in but I saw you had a visitor parked out front and your lights were out. Soooo???”

    “No one was here last night. I took a sleeping pill at 11. I passed out soon aft….” As soon as the words passed my lips I knew I had made a mistake.

    “So you were out cold last night and a car was parked out front even though you didn’t have company.” I could see his right hand reach towards his gun. Why did my brother have to become a cop? “You check everything?”

    “No, I mean, yeah. No one broke in. I would have heard it.”

    “Not if you were knocked out from sleeping pills. I should take a look around.”

    That was exactly what I didn’t need. “No!”

    “You’ve been jumpy lately. What’s going on with you?” he asked as his gaze surveyed my modest home.

    If he only knew.

    “Nothing. I just need some privacy.”

    “Privacy. Right. You and your privacy. Ok, I’ll back off. You call me if you need me though, ok? He turned to leave. “You look like shit, by the way.”

    “Thanks.”

    He left hesitantly. I waited patiently until he finally got in his car and drove away. Once I knew he was gone I went back to my closet. Still there. I then turned to look under my bed. They were still there as well. Sharp. Gleaming. Neatly tucked away in their leather blanket. “They sleep better than I do these days.” But I needed to do the things that I did. And I knew that whoever left the skeletal message in my closet the night before might soon become the reason for yet another nightmare.

  31. Chancelet says:

    Laura did not want to get up this morning, and something inside told her to cover her head back up and deal with calling in sick later. Her pain was dissipating, however, and she had already missed three days of work.

    Feeling guilty, as she was the sole person to do her particular work and she didn’t want people to have to wait any more than necessary, Laura threw the covers from her head and sat up.

    Deciding on whether to dress in a pants suit or jeans, Laura walked to the closet to see if anything suited her fancy. She flipped through the various colored suits and dresses, until her fingers scraped across something hard and knobby.

    Taken aback, Laura quickly pulled her hand away and retreated from the closet. She inched closer and slowly lifted a hand in between the clothing where she felt the thing. Her hand disappeared between the items, but did not feel anything out of the ordinary. Pulling her hand back, however, it hit on something hard and smooth, like a stick or “a bone; a rib bone,” she said out loud.

    Holding back a scream, she spread apart the clothing. To her disbelief, facing her and seeming to glare at her was a full-on skeleton. Laura looked closer, her head straining to get closer while her body remained sufficiently away from the closet. Recognition then hit her and she laughed with a full-body guffaw. Still laughing, she sauntered backward and fell on her bed, peering between teary blinks at the skeleton.

    “You damned fool, Luis!” Laura fought to take control of her laughter, stood and walked over to the skeleton. “I told you, you can not come back here! You’re gone and you’re gone for good. Keep trying your voodoo stuff and you’ll be left in no-man’s land for eternity.”

    She quickly got dressed in jeans and a blouse. She yanked the skeleton down, breaking the tie connecting the skeleton’s head and the clothing pole, and carried the skeleton to the trunk of her car. It wasn’t too heavy, being that Luis was only 5’6”.

    Before closing the trunk she said, “I told you too many times that I’d get the best of you if you didn’t stop harassing me, Luis. I gave you so many chances, but you never believed me. It took only one black eye from you and I knew exactly where to go. Anita told me that you might try and come back, and that if you do to take you to the dump. Luckily, as you know, that’s on the way to my job. I know you didn’t believe in black magic before, but I see you do now. Too bad, too late. The incinerator will be the end of you!”

    Slamming the trunk shut, she said while driving away, “Guess it was good for me to get out of bed today.”

  32. vatrask says:

    So it’s not realyl a skeleton persay…

    She ran her fingers delicately up the paper and smoothed it over only to see it fight against her fingertips until she found a hitch in the pattern, an inconsistency that only she would have noticed.

    That was when the whispering started; it was loud at first and brought her hands to her bleeding ears but it dulled overnight into what could have been white noise if it hadn’t been so haunting. It was a wrong kind of noise that made her cry at work until she was sent home – to lay on the floor and stare at the inconsistency in the wallpaper and watch it slowly peel open without her. The demon’s fingers shed the wallpaper from the inside out until it was exposed – that door she had been told about when she moved in but gave no notice to look for. Now she’d found it and she physically wept for what was behind it. Because the white noise turned to black the moment she got on her knees and pulled herself up to the door with no handle or hinge. Just a piece of wood that only she would have called a door.

    Following a past habit, she ran her fingers up against the door and didn’t feel the splinters ease into her flesh even as they pulled her skin apart and bled it hastily; slowly, the door fell open to the side and disappeared into the darkness where the light refused to even caress. She felt a chill run through her fingertips and warm her chest as she stared into the darkness, able to see everything there without any light to assist her.

    She sat across from the door for a long time – a timeless moment that she forgot to measure – and inhaled the scents wafting from the door like her favourite perfume. The voices were gone and the silence was deafening but she preferred that to hear the noise knowing it’s source now.

    She was just laying there, staring back at her, with a similar dead expression that she wished she could mirror but could not bear to move her muscles for fear of breaking the spell. In truth, she could no longer emulate the poor woman’s expression even if she cared to put in the effort. A dislocated shoulder was one thing but to have it dangling by delicate flesh completely disconnected was another feat all together. It would have been difficult to see the horror before her with her left eyeball swollen and half eaten in its socket but she surely would have figured it out eventually – especially with neck at such an awkwardly broken angle that she would have seen stars regardless. What truly horrified her to the point of silence was the lower half of her body and that fact it had been rearranged on her body, her limbs sown back together in the wrong order so dancing surely would have been a problem. And the heady scent of old blood – blood that still could have flowed had it any place to go – filled her nostrils until tears came to her eyes but she still watched.

    • rob akers says:

      vatrask,

      I am sorry but I really didn’t get it. You have some really good lines and I could feel her fear but I could never figure out what was tearing her apart and I think sowing her back together again.

      I wish I could add some more positive comments but your point flew over my head. In your defense, I am not a fan of horror works so this probably clouded my ability to focus.

      Please keep posting,

      rob

      • I agree. Beautiful use of words, great phrases, but I guess the structure might have thrown me. But part of writing is practicing and learning, finding new words that say things in a different way. Keep practicing, like the rest of us. The potential is definitely there.

    • aikawah says:

      There is something really interesting behind the ‘wallpaper’ of this story just waiting to be discovered. Perhaps the 500-word demon is obscuring it for now; hiding away a crucial bit of the character’s history that would allow us to understand(or imagine) who she is and what she’s trying to do because mostly, that’s what I missed. I’m sure the next post will disclose the creepy truth behind that door.

  33. Hannah Harland says:

    Kind of last minute, but it is 204 words or so. Not too bad, i hope!

    Dang, I thought I told the maid to take care of this! Right on top of my Coach shoes and next to my brand new eight hundred dollar dress was my sister’s ex-husband. That little scumbag should have known better! You don’t cheat on my sister without knowing the consequences a.k.a death. Okay, I have to admit, storing him in my closet wasn’t the greatest idea. Can you blame me? I was short on time that morning. While his face was smashed up against a cheap prostitute’s I only thought of one thing.

    “Hey there Arnold! Would you like to die a death of excruciating pain? How do some laxatives and a nice smash to your manly parts with a hammer sound?”

    I knew I should have thought more, another pair of shoes ruined. Ugh, I suppose that means that a have more than one phone call to make on the way to the office. I threw on my usual work clothes consisting of designer heels, pencil skirt, and sophisticated blouse. After a quick scrunch of my hair and a swipe of mascara I was out the door. I commanded my car to dial the maid and I let my anger do the rest.

  34. Jeanie Y says:

    Really good read JR! I hope Alphonsus is mature enough to continue the work in Sebastian’s passing…his reaction indicates a young mind. I liked this!

    • rob akers says:

      It takes a special person to join the Priesthood and these two men have that demeanor. It takes a even more special writer to be able to make me want to know about their lives, and you did it.

      Good Job.

      • JR MacBeth says:

        Thanks Rob,
        I sure appreciate your feedback. You point out one of the things I’m trying to work on, that is, trying to create characters that people want to know more about. Too often, a character is lucky to just get a shrug of the shoulders. That’s something the 500 word challenge I think is really good for, because it pushes you to do what almost feels impossible at times. But if we can get someone to care about one of our characters in so few words, that feels like progress to me. Thanks again!

    • JR MacBeth says:

      Excellent observation Jeanie! Alphonsus wasn’t mature enough, no doubt about it, but when the Lord came to let old Sebastian know it was his time, the luxury of time went out the window. I think this could have been improved by perhaps having Sebastian wonder some if the boy was “ready”, or maybe even insert something about just having to have “faith”. Always room to improve! Thanks so much for your comments.

  35. MissaFittz says:

    Murder Presents

    The edge of darkness slowly slips from my room as the sun gradually finds that one hole in my blinds that lets its fierce rays blast me right in the eye every morning at exactly 6:36 am. I attempt to roll out of its harsh brightness only to find myself trapped by my fat tabby, Pepper, under my hair curled into my neck, my black Lab/Rottweiler mix, Warlock, laying on my feet, and my four year old daughter, with her butt up against my hip with her left leg over my stomach.
    I cover my eye and push Warlock off my feet and consequently off the bed, before gently moving my sweet angel’s leg from my belly so I can get up. I put my house slippers on and head for the morning routine. I can already tell it’s going to be a scorcher out and decide to wear something light and cool. Opening my closet door and reaching for my summer dresses, I hear a faint crunching sound under foot. I stepped back tentatively, looked down and there it was large as life.
    There wasn’t much to it really. Just a few bones that looked somewhat like a rib cage and a slightly fleshy skull about a half a centimeter away from the rest lay crunched just inside the closet doorway. It actually seemed kind of fresh, less than a few hours old, but who could really tell except for the mastermind behind this repugnant display.
    I started to retch momentarily as the scent of rancid, rotting carcass reached my nasal passages. I snatched my white muslin and eyelet lace dress from the closet and held it to my nose for the mountain fresh scent of Downey to cover.
    Suddenly my angel came up beside me and hugged my hip, then seeing (and smelling) the tiny corpse leftovers, squealed, “Ewe, Mommy, what’s that icky?!”
    How else could I respond to such a sweet little face with such an innocent question so early in the morning?
    “Well, honey, Pepper kitty brought us a murder present,” sighing heavily, I put on my best mommy smile, “apparently she doesn’t think Mommy gets enough nutrients.”

    let me know what you think >^.^<

  36. JR MacBeth says:

    Sorry, 532 words here, apologies, not enough time to revise any more, Mea Culpa!!

    The cock crowed again.  Suddenly Brother Sebastian was no longer running in a field.  He opened his eyes, blinking, finally pulling his weary bones upright.  In his youth, he had gloried in the simplicity of the monastic life, but now everything was an immense burden.  His simple bed, a rack of torture.  His old sandals, insults to his ancient feet. Adding to the insult was a mountain of snow outside.

    He lit the candle and fell to his knees, making his Sign of the Cross, bowing his head before the crucifix on his bedstand.  Then he rose, half-limping to the small corner of his cell where his old tattered robe hung waiting.  He kept a drape over this corner, even though he was the only one who ever entered the room.  He pulled the curtain back.

    “Hello old freind.”

    There, lying on it’s side, it’s face tilted up, was a full human skeleton.

    Brother Sebastian looked deep into the holes that stared back at him as he vested himself, prayers upon his wrinkled lips, muted Latin whispers rasping out into the cold air, producing small clouds in the candlelight.

    Today was the day he would pass the torch. He knew he would be dead soon, the Lord had mercifully appeared to him, revealing his exact hour. He was profoundly grateful for such a grace, so seldom granted, and his hope now was that his beloved young cousin Alphonsus might also be given such a gift.

    For an hour, Brother Sebastian labored, shovelling the snow from the walks, prayers of gratitude a constant murmer in his head. Soon he would rest.

    The monks were up now, everyone making their way to morning Mass. Sebastian entered last, taking his place in the old chapel, trying to keep his constant wheeze under control. He looked over at Alphonsus. Such a fine young man!

    After breakfast, Alphonsus came over to his “Uncle” as he called him.

    “Uncle Sebastian, I’m ready.”

    “Good. Come to my cell now, we have some time.”

    Normally, the monastic rules prohibited the brethern from entering each other’s cells, but this was different. Alphonsus hadn’t asked, but he imagined he was about to be given a book or something.

    “Come inside.”

    “Uncle?”

    Alphonsus entered the dark windowless room. The candle was lit.

    No words, Sebastian went to the corner and pulled the curtain. Alphosus gasped.

    “Uncle?”

    “Shh! Not long ago you asked me how, how I have persevered in my vocation. Here is my answer.”

    Alphonsus retreated to the small bed and sat down, looking up, confused.

    “My son, there lies the symbol of Death. He shall now be your daily reminder. When you contemplate him, you contemplate your future.”

    “Who is he?”

    “No matter. He is me. He is you. All of us. Where his soul is now, we do not know, but it is our souls we must tend to.”

    “Everyday? You look at this everyday?

    “It is the only way my son. Keep Death ever before you, and you shall not be lost. Tonight…more will be revealed. Return, and claim him then.”

    They exited the cell, and Sebastian hugged the boy one last time, tears clouding his eyes.

    • Ishmael says:

      Brother MacBeth – I don’t care that this is thirty-two words over…I want MORE! I liked the whole concept. Perfect monastic terminology used – cell, sign of the cross, muted Latin – all of it took me there, front and center.

      Such a refreshing spin on this prompt.

      • JR MacBeth says:

        Thank you Ishmael, but folks just call me “bro” ’round the neighborhood! I appreciate your feedback. Wasn’t sure how this would play, “religious” stuff I read often falls so flat, or worse, gets preachy, but I’m glad you picked up my intended tone, which was just to paint a picture of a world most of us have little direct knowledge of. Thanks again!

    • Nice job. You have a good grip on the culture. They say we write what we know…or should if we want to sound intelligent. Obviously, you know something.

      • JR MacBeth says:

        Thanks Su, glad it worked, wasn’t sure it would sound “real” enough. I ended up deleting some Latin words thrown in for flavor so-to-speak, maybe it’s a good thing I did, because I’m not sure I would have pulled it off! Yep. Sticking to what we know usually works best, but it is fun to step out now and again too, just to see what happens. Thanks!

    • DMelde says:

      Very nicely done! Your story felt short to me, like it was under 500 words and not over. I too wanted more. To treat death as a friend, and each day as your last, is a wonderful concept to build a story around.

      • JR MacBeth says:

        Thanks DMelde. The story idea wasn’t actually so original, since it’s based on truth. A number of Catholic saints were known to keep “reminders” such as this around, and some are depicted accordingly, such as St. Jerome, usually shown with a skull. There was one monk who painted a picture of himself, dead, above his cell door. Apparently, it was discovered only after he had died. I certainly agree with you about treating each day as if it were your last. Hard to really do, but it sure helps get priorities straight, and we can all use that at times in our lives.

    • simba15 says:

      Not much to say, except that you really pulled this off!

    • aikawah says:

      The secret order of the (put name here) monks will not be happy you revealed Brother Sebastian’s last moments on this forum. I’d love to read the rest, whatever ritual they are going to perform ‘tonight’ must be quite something… quite an enjoyable read.

  37. Naomi says:

    Sunlight slammed through my eyelids, forcing me awake. Groaning, I turned over in my bed, away from the brightness, unwilling to make my way over to the bedroom window and close the heavy drapes. Opening my eyes slightly, I was glad to see the other side of the bed was empty. For once, I didn’t try to get a warm body to fill the void Jessie’s death left while I was drunk. Or, I tried and failed. Losing out on the promotion at work set in motion another night of too many shots of tequila. Trying to escape the pain. Just for a little while.

    My eyes burned, feeling as though fire ants were dancing on them. A perfect match with my pounding headache, and the slow whirl of nausea building in my stomach. A shushed creaking pulled my sight to the closet door across the room. As it slowly opened, I could make out four gaunt, fleshless fingers gripping the door’s edge, controlling its deliberate path. Lying still, I watched as the door opened fully. The sunlight tore away shadows in my closet, showing the skeleton standing. Its skull turned towards me, positioning empty eye sockets in a mocking imitation of life.

    Lying still, I watched as it moved closer to the bed, marveling at each of its steps. It seemed like it should be teetering, falling over, unable to balance on the naked bones of its feet. Instead, with a smooth gait, the skeleton glided across the short distance, and stopped by the bed. Leaning over, it reached out a thin arm, and gently laid hard fingers across my brow.

    “You drink too much, John,” Jessie’s voice said, floating from the vicinity of its lipless mouth. Clear, and saturated with Jessie’s sweet, rich tone, and endearing concern. I know that voice. It haunts me with a longing that gets deeper every day. I closed my eyes.

    “I know,” I said. I couldn’t say anymore. The fingers against my brow were stripped of flesh, and had nothing of Jessie in them. Still, I couldn’t stop my tears as I felt the touch become twisted into a memory past by my imagination, and the sound of Jessie’s voice.
    “You must take better care of yourself,” Jessie’s voice said gently.

    “I will,” I whispered, letting the tears flow freely. With the job promotion, I would have made enough money to buy the syntha-flesh for the skeletal robot frame. Getting Jessie’s voice and personality programmed into the robot frame was affordable. Almost anyone could pay for it, a memorial of lost loved ones. Syntha-flesh was astronomically expensive. But, once I could afford it, then Jessie will truly be with me, again. For now, I had to make do with only Jessie’s voice, coming from a robot frame.

    “Don’t cry, love. It’ll be alright.” I buried my face into my pillow, as Jessie’s voice washed over me, making the darkness a little less lonely.

  38. Ishmael says:

    Su – this was nice. A little creepy, but nice! :) I loved all your word choices, and the way you put them together. One can have or use great words, but if they’re not assembled correctly or appropriately, then it simply sounds like a story that’s been created using a Word of the Day Calendar. You did not have that problem! It’s like a delicious cake – all the right ingredients came together and produced a delight.

    This was the only sentence that gave me pause: We’re always side by side–Davis, Athena–Davis, Caleb.

    The way it reads, “Athena-Davis” comes across as a hyphenated name. I know you’re using dashes, but it reads like “Davis, Athena-Davis.”

    How about, “We’re always side by side: Davis, Athena; Davis, Caleb.” It feels cleaner.

    I’m getting to love your stories. :)

    • rob akers says:

      Nice Job. I like that you referenced Sevendust as the inspiration for this. I am vaguely familiar with Sevendust but not this song. I will research it.

      Like jincomt and ishamel both said, I felt her pain. I had the feeling that this was not out of desperation or depression but it was a decision on her part to reunite with Caleb.

      • Rob, thanks for the input. I just discovered the Skeleton Song by Sevendust on YouTube last night. I was searching for an inspirational skeleton song and I found that one. I also love Coheed and Cambria and found a skeleton song from them. Yay! New music to love and inspire me.

    • A fan! You’re my first! I’m so excited. Thanks for the tip on structure. That’s the one, ok one of the areas I struggle with.

      • Oops. that comment was suppose to go under Ishmael. Hit the wrong reply button.

        • Ishmael says:

          I don’t think I’m your first. I can’t be…or else people simply don’t know you’re down here. They’ll come. :p

          • Thank you again. I have my family that kinda likes me and my work, but you’re right, most people don’t know I’m here. But I’m getting out there. It’s kinda the purpose of these exercises and the editing practice is great.

          • Ishmael says:

            That’s what I had to do. The way my time works out, I’m not able to complete a story until well after the prompt is posted, thus, putting my stories down in the lower hemisphere. I see your name working around the “room”…I read your comments…good comments…others will, too.

  39. Skeleton’s Song
    By Su Williams

    I couldn’t live without my childhood best friend; my teen romance; my soul mate…until he died. The newspapers should’ve read “Caleb Davis, 21, Dies of Unknown Causes.” But there wasn’t a single word in the news.

    Heavy curtains submerge our home into dusky darkness. Children play outside in sweltering heat. The ice cream truck trumpets by. Life goes on out in the summer heat, but inside my darkened lair time has frozen despite the heat.

    I’m alone in the darkness that has nothing to do with light. If Caleb were alive he’d throw the curtains open, saying, “Athena! Let the sun in for God’s sake!” He’d open the windows to air out the mustiness. But he’s not. And he won’t. So I bask in the musty air.

    Night and the temperatures fall, but the heat is captured in our house. I sprawl on the bed in sweat-drenched cami and Caleb’s boxers. Whiskey numbs my lips, but not the pain in my heart, only befuddles my head with softness. A few more shots and my heart will stop. I can join the one I love. I jettison the shot glass, swig from the bottle. Then guzzle. I empty it, then stagger across the room for another.

    Then I hear it. The soft strains of the love song Caleb sang about his sweet Athena. I crumple to the floor. Blackness envelopes me.

    I awaken to muted daylight, my mouth thick and fuzzy as sun-warmed air. I will try again when I can move again.

    I suffer the sweltering day away, stewing in grief. I peruse old year books. We’re always side by side–Davis, Athena–Davis, Caleb.

    When the sun fell I slither onto the bed, another bottle of whiskey and our sharpest knife in hand. Shallow cuts slice my thumb as I test the blade. I press the steel to the tender flesh of my forearm–vertically, not horizontally. A bead of blood erupts at the point, then begins to trickle in hot sticky streams, thudding like a drum on the bedspread. I shift my grip to drive the blade home.

    Ka-thump!

    I drop the knife and drag my quaking body to the closet door, dribbling a trail of blood behind me. Cooling drops straggle down my thigh, soak between my toes. The door opens of its own accord though the knob is in my hand.

    He’s there. My Caleb. Shriveled to nothing but stark white bone, a shadow his former glory. I curl up at his side, tucked safely beneath his skeletal arm, my head on his boney chest. He doesn’t want me to join him. He wants me to stay–just as I want him to stay. Forever.

    I called no one when I found him laying lifeless in our bed. I hid him in our closet where he would never leave me. So now, I cuddle up to his boney frame knowing today no one will come and take him from me.

    Someday they will come. But not today.

    “All of us have skeletons in our closet…some of us just have better locks.” Author Unknown

    Special thanks to Sevendust, Skeleton Song for the inspiration.

    • jincomt says:

      Good story– she is a tortured soul.

      I love when people can write a sentence that convey so much with so few words, like your sentence: I’m alone in the darkness that has nothing to do with light. Because of the word limit challenge, writers in here are well-skilled at crafting concise yet packed sentences . I really liked that, even read it twice.

      I felt like there might have been some tense (past/present) confusion and am wondering how deliberate that was on your part. You started in past-tense and then, as she continued to recount the story of getting into bed, getting drunk, the knife and working her way to the closet (the story depicts her mood well, by the way) it worked into present tense. In one sentence there was both: “When the sun fell I slither onto the bed”.

      I liked how you wove together the literal skeleton with the skeleton that is still in her heart.

      • Thank you. I appreciate the comments. I did notice a couple of places I shifted tense and thought I fixed them, then realized I missed one after I published it…the one you mentioned actually. Thanks for the ‘skeleton that is still in her heart’ comment. I hadn’t quite thought of it that way but that was very eloquent.

    • Heart2Heart says:

      Great description. The line “Life goes on out in the summer heat, but inside my darkened lair time has frozen despite the heat” was really a good one like so many others. Keep writing!

    • Icabu says:

      Interesting story. When I read it, it flowed poetically – not sure if that was me or intended.
      Enjoyable read.

      Coheed & Cambria opened for Iron Maiden Sat. night. They were new to me.

      • Thanks! I love Maggie Steifvater’s Shiver series. She is a beautifully poetic writer. I learned a lot by reading her books.

        And you got to see Iron Maiden AND Coheed??? Holy crap! What a show. Did you like them? I think the lead singer for Coheed does better in the studio. They can be very cryptic and brutal in their songs and they have inspired a lot of my writing and character development. One song even helped me decide how the bad guy was in my novel.

    • aikawah says:

      I love the story… awesomely creepy.

  40. MCKEVIN says:

    Good. Very good. i liked it.

  41. Kengie78 says:

    The Not So Sleep Aide
    by Kendra Ayers

    Jennifer Jenson had just spent most of the evening explaining to her four year old son that monsters weren’t real so you can imagine her surprise when she opened her closet the next morning only to find a skeleton in her closet. She was speechless and for a moment, she thought her husband Rob was playing a trick on her. Jennifer reached toward the skeleton and traced the edges of it with her finger tips. Yep, this thing was real. There was nothing plastic or paper about it. Her skin turned several shades of pale and white before she lost her balance and fainted right there on the bedroom floor.

    What felt like an eternity was only about a minute when Jennifer came to and was lying on her bed with her husband waving a towel at her face to wake her up. To her surprise, the skeleton that she saw hanging from the clothes rack in her closet was nowhere in sight. How in the world would she explain what she saw to Rob if it was gone? Her son Tristan was sitting next to her patting her hand and telling her to wake up. Jennifer knew she had scared her family by fainting but she had good reason and yet her explanation sounded ridiculous. Jennifer tried to recall everything she did the night before and how she slept. Maybe it was all a bad dream and she was still sleeping. She pinched her arm only to realize she was perfectly awake and Rob and Tristan were still sitting on the bed next to her, watching her every move.

    Rob was patiently waiting for her to respond about why she fainted. Jennifer remembered having the monster conversation with Tristan just before he went to bed. She also remembered writing for awhile before bed and that all of the coffee she had made her jittery and restless. After tossing and turning for several hours, Jennifer got up to drink some hot tea and take a sleep aide. She took a bottle of Melatonin and a bottle of Tylenol PM back to the bedroom and decided to take one of each. Now that Jennifer thought about it, her sleep seemed deep and she never once got up to go to the restroom or check on Tristan. Maybe the skeleton was the aftermath of the sleep aide hangover? Regardless, all she wanted to do was get up from bed and check the closet again. Her fingers could still feel the bony edges that grazed against her skin.

    Smiling at Rob and reassuring him that she was alright, Jennifer stood up and glanced toward the closet door. It was cracked open, not completely open like it had been when she noticed the skeleton. Walking slowly over to the closet, Jennifer glanced back at Rob and Tristan on the bed. Without hesitation she jerked the door open and there it was, bones and all swaying back and forth.

  42. acgriffin09 says:

    “Hello.” I immediately slammed the closet door shut and threw my back upon it. Did something just talk to me when I opened the door?! “Mmm, huwo?” The muffled words penetrated my back through the door, sending a chill up my spine. I slowly backed away from the closet and moved over to the bathroom sink.

    “Uh…hello?” The reply was shaky and a clear sign that I was bound to crap my pants in fear. “Who are…who are you and WHY ARE YOU IN MY CLOSET?!” I flung the toothpaste tube at the closet door with a scream and flailed.

    “My name is Sam and thesis where I luv…”

    “You’ve got a thesis on love?”

    “No! No! That’s not what I sand!” I shook my head in confusion. “Just open duh door!”

    “What?”

    “JUST OPEN DUH DOOR!” I jumped in fear and ran out of my bedroom. Crap, crap, crap. Frantically, I searched the house for my cellular phone. After a quick phone call to the police, they’ll be here in no time and can get this guy to…

    *Ring ring.*

    *Ring ring.*

    I could hear it, in all its iPhone glory, mocking me…from my closet.

    *Ring ring.*

    “No, no no no!” I shouted as I charged into my bedroom and towards the closet door. I grabbed the door handle and froze in panic. What if he attacks me? He said he lives in there? Is he a vagrant or something?!

    *Ring ring.*

    “It’s yur maw.” The voice from behind the closet door sounded smothered.

    “What?! I can’t…I can’t hear–”

    “It’s yur maw!” The voice accompanied what sounded like a kick at the closet door. “Please, please jus open duh door…”

    *Ring ring.*

    The phone immediately made the sound for a missed call, and all returned to silence. The hair on my arms began to stand, as I tightened my grip on the doorknob and yanked it forward. There, standing in the middle of the closet, was a skeleton. It took a deep breathe in, stilling my exhale, and sighed heavily. It had a pink hair bow in it’s…hairlessness…which clued me in to the fact that Sam was, or is, a girl.

    Sam looked back at me, blinking the area where eyeballs should be. Her head followed mine, tilting from one side to the other, as I tried to figure out what I was experiencing. I watched her mouth and hands move, and finally released the breath I was holding.

    “Did you hear me?” Sam asked, no longer sounding like a man through the door.

    “Whaaaaaat?”

    “I said, ‘thank you.’ You know, you’re not remotely this weird any other time you’re in here.” Sam jutted a hip bone outward and crossed her arms about her chest area. You know my habits?

    “Sam? Sam, that’s what you said…you said your name was Sam, right?” I extended a hand as if to shake hers, but recoiled in fear before she could reciprocate. I began to accept that this was the wildest dream I’ve ever had. Certainly, my girlfriends at work were going to love this one tomorrow!

    “Yes, it’s Sam. Samantha, really. Look, I’m usually not even visible, I just didn’t go back to where I belong before you got up today.” My mouth dropped open in shock. “You must have an early day or something.”

    “Uh, yeah?! There is a new shipment of band t-shirts arriving at work today? What the hell, man! YOU LIVE IN MY CLOSET?!?”

    “I don’t even look familiar to you, do I? I’m here all the time!” She pointed at the accessories table in the closet, right at an obviously vacant space. Like a flash of lightening, it hit me: Sam had been in my closet since the after-holiday clearance at Hot Topic months before.

    Virtually everything in the store had been cleaned out except a few pairs of plugs, some shoes and a pair of pink hair bows with skulls on them. By the time the sale was over, someone had stolen one of the hair bows, and the store manager said I could just take the leftovers home.

    “Well, that’s the last time I bring stuff home from work…” I walked out of the closet, completely shocked about the living entity in my closet, but paused and asked, “So, what do you do while in here?”

    Sam smiled and said, “If I’m not talking to the others, I just wait until you wear me.”

    “The…others?”

  43. MCKEVIN says:

    “I wanted to take the bitch legally for everything she had and then some, but the judge said the most he could do was make her pay for keying my car. Silas, the daytime doorman saw the whole thing. They actually have that nut case parking next to my new car, getting out and scratching it from the front to the rear. But, no one could have ever prepared me for what she said in court.
    “How do you plead?”
    “Guilty as charged your honor.”
    “You don’t deny scratching the car Mrs. DeLeader?”
    “No your honor, they have me on tape.”
    “May I ask why did you do it young lady?’
    “He’s having an affair with my husband and we have children.”
    “And keying his car did what for you?”
    “It gave me strength to fight another day for my marriage.”
    “Very well. Please pay the clerk twelve hundred dollars for damages. I hope things work out for you.”
    “Thank you your honor.”
    I guess I will have to tip Silas a little something something? That was one time I was glad my building had a doorman. The extra rent was worth it. I don’t understand why women will go after the other person when their husband, boyfriend or whatever is cheating on them? What do they hope to accomplish? Is there some type of club women belong to or something? Children? “I have two children of my own. Its two thousand twelve, get a grip would you?” She laughed a silly laugh and swirled out of the courtroom. You would have thought she won yesterday. She doesn’t know her husband already paid me to get the car repainted. Her money goes in either my vacation account or retirement fund. I told her husband they should change the marriage vow answers from “I do” to “I’ll try.”

    The alarm clock went off at six fifteen and I couldn’t be late because of the proposal at work. I could wear the suit I had on yesterday in court and just change shirts. Nah, I want this sale as bad his wife wants her marriage. I jumped up, took a quick shower and stepped into my clothes closet. Let’s see, navy Armani suit, crimson Diddy tie and Louis Vuitton shoes. I need a white shirt. I pulled the rows of shirts back looking for my favorite Ralph Lauren white. Here it… Oh my God! I thought I would piss my pants. A skeleton was staring back at me. There could be only one person who could find her twin and do this. Deep eye sockets and frail from worry. Not a pretty sight.
    “Bitch got me again!”
    Oh well, that little stunt should be worth a gold watch or something. One day someone will explain to me why women go through these hoops all in the name of marriage. Oh yeah, I wanted to take the b…. legally for everything she had and then some. It’s not too late!

    • Ishmael says:

      Good story, McKevin! I loved the quick, court-like dialogue. Question, answer. Question, answer. Very judicial.

      I know there’s a generic “they” that people use (“Like they always say, ‘The more, the merrier.’”), but your initial use of “they” (first word of third sentence) doesn’t have an antecedent and needs one, in this case. Otherwise, it seems to refer to Silas as “they.” Perhaps using “video” or “security” in that spot. “Video (or Security) actually has that nut case parking…”

      The generic use of “they” in her answer to the judge works fine, though. It implies that The Powers That Be have her on tape.

      Good premise, though! :)

      • MCKEVIN says:

        Thanks Ishmael for taking the time to read it. After I posted, I read it several times and saw places where more description would have made it better. “They” was one of those places. I realized my readers may begin to wander when this type of mishap happens and I definitely don’t want that. Thanks for the advice and I promise the suggestion will be incorporated in the future.

  44. catbr says:

    Britta had worked hard her entire life. She never had much of an education so was stuck in the menial thankless line of work of cleaning. She scrubbed so many floors in her life time that her hands and knees were crippled up with arthritis, but she never complained. The physical stress of this labour made her so exhausted that no lasting relationships were ever developed and at this stage in her life was resigned to being a spinster. One particular morning after showering she reached into her bedroom closet to get her janitorial uniform and noticed things were out of place. Her usually neatly hung clothes were now a scattered mess on the closet floor.

    “Good morning Britta. How are you doing?” Out of the back of the closet someone was talking to her.

    “I’m going to call the police. You had better identify yourself.” Britta was terrified of the unfamiliar voice but at the same time pissed off at the intrusion.

    “Relax Britta, it’s just me, Skully. Remember, about 3 years ago at the Station Hotel? That’s where we met.”

    “Yeah, but…this is ridiculous. I can’t see you. How the hell did you get in my house and why are you hiding in my closet?”

    “It’s a long story. I’ll shorten it. Remember when we met, we got along real good all night long? And we said we’d keep in touch? You gave me your phone number and I promised to call you the next week but I never did. That must have disappointed you. I”m so sorry about that.”

    “Yes Skully it really did. I thought we might end up having a good relationship.”

    “Me too, honest. But 2 days after we met I got killed in a fatal car accident. So, you are not going to believe this but, I’m here in my skeletal frame which is why I’m in the closet. I didn’t want to frighten you.”

    By now, Britta thought for sure that someone was playing a joke on her. “Okay. You had your fun, now it’s time to show yourself and come out of there. This isn’t very funny. Is that you Ron?”

    The eerie rattling in the closet just about gave Britta a heart attack. When the animated skeleton appeared in the doorway of the closet, Britta screamed and promptly fainted.

    “Oh my, this wasn’t supposed to happen. I guess I should have phoned first.” Skully laughed so hard that his bones were rattling and clattering noisily. Britta had told Skully that she really hated it when people just showed up at her house without phoning first. Skully knew that when Britta woke up she would be flabberghasted, but would grow to love this skeleton in her closet for the rest of her life.

  45. jincomt says:

    Well-written. You had some awesome lines in there– lovely strings of words that painted a visual so well.
    For example: The skeleton raises its index finger to its grinning visage right about where the lips would be.
    I saw it in my mind. Really nice.

    The premise is, of course, fantasy– a talking skeleton pet from Halloween Town. It was such a big leap of imagination, that it begged for more to create the context and make it believable. Any plans to run with this?

    • Amy says:

      Thanks, jincomt! It might be fun to make a real short story or even a novella from this! I appreciate the feedback.

      • rob akers says:

        Fun story Amy. My kids ask for a dog, cat, rabbit, fish, turtle….ect. Never a skeleton. You have the makings of something here, even a YA novel or a children’s book. It could go in many different directions.

        It is a great idea so dont be a bone head, put some flesh around Bonita and give here some adventures.

  46. Amy says:

    The Bones in the Boudoir

    Reaching into the recesses of the closet, I grasp the hanger which holds my favorite pink dress and tug it, hoping to disengage it from the bar without too much resistance. It springs free, causing me to stumble backwards a bit. Regaining my footing, I toss the dress onto the bed and bend over to retrieve my white sandals. Was that a pink-polished toenail attached to a….I shake my head to clear it. I reach in one more time for a sweater-the white one with pink roses embroidered on it.

    “Come out, come out, wherever you are,” I croon, searching.

    Suddenly, the object of my desire is thrust into my hand by a…

    “Arghhhh…” I manage to say, before a boney hand is clapped over my mouth. The skeleton raises its index finger to its grinning visage right about where the lips would be.

    “Shhhhh…” the thing pleads. “You could wake the dead. Promise me you won’t scream and I’ll let you go.”

    I nod my head in acquiescence, comprehension dawning. I actually have a skeleton in my closet!

    I begin to laugh, slightly hysterically. I stop suddenly, realizing I’m clad only in my bra and panties. I cross my arms over my chest, embarrassed.

    “Where’d you come from? How’d you get here? I ask.

    “One question at a time, please. I’ve come from Halloween Town,” it explains.

    I no longer need the answer to my second question. I know exactly how this….thing… got here.
    Willy G…my son. He’d been asking…no, begging…me to adopt one of the aging skeletons from Halloween Town.

    ****

    “It’s perfect Mom,” he’d said. “We won’t have to feed it ‘cause it’s dead already. And think what fun it would be to take it for walks, especially when the moon’s full.” He looked enraptured as he pictured the neighbors’ reaction to our new pet.

    “What about clothes,” I’d asked. “And entertainment?” I wondered how one kept old bones amused.
    “Why would it need clothes?” Willy G asked. “Unless you just want to play dress-up with it.” He gave me a sly grin.

    “Sure, Willy G, I’ll just use it like a mannequin, try out new outfits on it,” I replied sarcastically.

    He missed the invective. “As for entertainment, I’ll teach it to play the x-box. And we can play cards. I know… in the summer, we’ll go to the creek ‘n swim.” He thought about that for a moment. “Would bones sink or float? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t drown or anything. Gosh Mom, it would be like having a best friend, or a brother or sister! Please say yes…please!”

    I’d said maybe…

    ****

    Now, I stand in a state of dishabille, confronted by this stranger whose future I hold in my hand. I hesitate.

    “I’m Abigail. Welcome to our home. And you are?” I hold out my hand.

    Boney fingers wrap around my own and I swear I see a look of gratitude pass through those empty eye-sockets.

    “My name is Bonita.”

    • Jeanie Y says:

      This is really different Amy…I liked it! Fun read. It could go so many different directions.

    • Ishmael says:

      BWAHAHAHA! Bonita! Love it! PERFECT name!

      Good story! I like the idea of a place where things like this are a reality. How novel…the new ‘pet rock.’

      You actually caused me to use the dictionary on this one: dishabille. Not a word I was familiar with.

      Another nice one from you, Amy. :)

    • DMelde says:

      Good story Amy! What boy wouldn’t want a skeleton for a friend! I loved the boy’s rationale for adoption…except the cat would freak out, and the dog would try to bury him, um…better not tell mom that… :)

  47. KarieJB says:

    The warmth of the sun was slowly starting to seep in through the window; I could feel it on my face as I lay in the comfort of my bed not wanting to get up. I knew that this very moment was going to be the only moment of serene quiet and warmth that I was going have for the day. There was just a dreadful feeling burning in the pit of my stomach, and I would rather stay in my bed and let the sunlight dance across my eye lids.

    Reluctantly I threw the covers off of me and sat up on the edge of my bed staring at myself in the mirror on the closet. However the reflection staring back at me was not of me. I walked to the mirror and reached out towards the reflection and a hand of a skeleton was reaching back at me. It was then that burning feeling of dread grows even more in the pit of my stomach. Could it be that I was looking at the reflection of myself being dead?

    The finger of the skeleton hand motioned for me to open the door to the closet. I felt compelled to do it as if I didn’t have a choice. I reached out with my trembling hand only to stop mid-way and pull back. I grabbed the door knob firmly and turned it and opened the door.

    I was alone, completely and utterly alone. I rushed back to the closet and there I pulled down the box hidden among blankets. On the floor in front of the mirror with the box the reflection of the mirror was a woman who sat broken and scared. Slowly the skeleton of the box began to emerge as did the tears that had been clinging to my heart for so long. Looking down into the box I gazed steadily at the small black box that held a ring and just beneath that the picture of Robert I could hear his voice in my head saying it was time. I felt that if I could just keep all of the memories I would be fine and I would be able to move on. Every day I woke up and chose to ignore the skeleton I had placed in my closet instead of facing it and dealing with pain. Just below Robert’s picture was what looked to be a knife? I ran my finger along the edge of it and saw that a deep red droplet of blood was gliding down the blade.

    I lay on the floor and I could feel the hand of the skeleton around my heart as it ached and I closed my eyes letting the sun dance upon them. Then it was there the sharpest feeling of pain I have ever felt before and along with it I let the last tear slide down my cheek to the wood floor. Could this be it? Am I dead?

  48. cmlicud says:

    I’m sure I’ll need all kinds of vaccinations when I leave this place.

    Instead of enjoying the comfort and cleanliness of the Westin, I’m stuck at a sleazy no-name motel with tattered, yellow wallpaper and a stained ceiling dripping who knows what, all because my reservation was somehow ‘lost.’

    The only saving grace is that it will all be over soon. I’ll give my endocrinology lecture at the convention and be on my way back to sanitation in no time.

    I swung my feet off of the bed and felt something hard and pointy scratch against my heel. I brought my legs back and placed my hands on the floor to balance myself as I peered under the bed skirt.

    A glowing white skull with pitch black eye sockets stared back it me, its jaw hanging slightly open as if it were trying to speak.

    My arms weakened and I tumbled off of the bed, my head hitting the corner of the nightstand. I opened my mouth to scream, but felt the grip of my own breath choking me. I grabbed my neck, gasping for air, hot tears forming in my eyes.

    It couldn’t be. I couldn’t have slept here all night with a body under my bed. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the last guest left clothes or something and it somehow got pushed under the bed. Maybe that’s what I saw.

    My hands shaking, I mustered up the courage to look again.

    And there she lay, propped on her side, the pointer finger of one hand barely reaching out beyond the bed skirt. As a doctor, I could tell from the hips and breast bone that this skeleton was that of a woman. She was more than likely in her early 30’s and approximately 5’7’’ in height.

    Looking at the bones, lying helpless and alone, a strong feeling of sadness and heartache replaced the fear and anxiety I felt before.

    I grasped her hand and carefully pulled her out from under the bed, a bundle of white fabric tangled between her feet. Gently, I laid her on the carpet, arms across her chest.

    As I reached for bundle, the doorknob turned and a young couple entered.

    “You’re kidding,” the girl said.

    “Well, what’d ya expect for fifty bucks? Besides it’s the only place around for miles.”

    I rose to my feet, the white cloth in my hands.

    “Excuse me,” I said. “They must have given you the wrong room. I haven’t checked out yet.”

    The couple paid me no mind.

    “Excuse me,” I said, standing directly in front of the man.

    The man joined his girlfriend on the bed, kissing and groping her next to the bones.

    “Unbelievable. I’m calling management.”

    I placed the white cloth down to make a call and noticed it was a lab coat, name tags still attached.

    I ran my finger over the tag and read my name, “Dr. Amelia Meyer.”

  49. smcdonald says:

    I couldn’t look. I felt my self become faint at the thought of the blood splattered skeleton. It was an instant that i saw it, but the image of ivory bones, splattered with blood, and loose skin hanging from the rib cage, stuck in my mind. I had dug through my closet top and bottom looking for my favorite dress. Thats when i found it- the skeleton. Stuck into the back corner- WEARING my favorite dress. The sight of it made me nauseous, and i didn’t know what to do. I snuck another peak, and immediately wished i hadn’t. What do i do?! I take a deep breath and flip out my cell phone. I begin to dial Michael’s phone number, but then realize that a skeleton in my closet could really stress our new relationship- no matter how in love we are. Instead I call Aaron- my brother.
    “Hello? Hayden?” Aaron’s voice comes on over the phone.
    ‘“Please, Aaron, come quick. Its hard to describe over the phone, but I have a problem with my closet.” Aaron must of sensed the sense of urgency in my voice because he didn’t argue.
    “Ok, I’ll be over in five,” Then he hung up, leaving me unknowing of what to do. I closed the closet door and pushed my vanity table in front of it. I don’t know why I did since the “thing” was dead, but it brought me some sort of twisted peace. Then I sat on my bed, unable to focus on any of the other tasks I had tried to preform. The ceiling creaked under the weight of my upstairs neighbor. I jumped up in panic, adrenaline pumping through my veins- then i realized it was just George. The doorbell rang and i rushed to the familiarity of Aaron. “Ok so whats wrong.”
    “There’s a skeleton in my closet.” Aaron’s face fell.
    “Aw Hay.” He sighed, “We could’ve just talked about the “skeleton” your carrying around.”
    “NO!” I gripped his arm before he could leave. “Its really there! Its a real skeleton!” I tugged him toward the closet, and pulled the table away from the doors. And there it was clear as day- but it moved! It was in the corner, but now it lay in the center of the room. “It moved” I whisper, as Aaron stares at the crumpled up corpse.
    “What?”
    “It was in the corner before!” I glance at it and cringe, looking away. “What should we do?!” I look up at my brother’s face hoping for some brilliant plan.
    “Grab two pairs of gloves.” I do running in to the other room and handing them to him. “Put one pair on,” He directs me pulling on the bigger pair him self. “Help me push it out the window into the dumpster. I look at him mortified,
    “What?! But i didn’t kill him-they’ll think it was me!” Aaron shrugs
    “If you want to call the police——”
    “NO! Just pick up the head,” I cringe and gag, “I’ll take the feet.” The rest of the day was spent cleaning my closet so it smelled less like a dead body. As night fell, I convinced Aaron to stay with me. I ran my fingers through my wet hair and curled into bed trying to forget the day’s actions. I closed my eyes, then flick the light off. I sigh willing sleep to find me. I open my eyes once more, and shriek. I fall onto the floor and stumble to the back wall. There staring through my window, with pale ivory bones, and a blood spattered face is my peeling flesh skeleton. Aaron runs in and flicks on the light. We both stare at the bones sitting on my fire escape, and he whispers, 
 “ I guess that skeletons never really go away.” I glance at him and crawl out of my room.

    • rob akers says:

      I hate when my past keeps creeping up on me.

      Good story but a few suggestions.
      1. Is Hayden a man or woman? I am not sure.
      2. I would like a better reason to not call the cops.
      3. The opening paragraph could be stronger with less telling and more showing. EX. “I couldn’t look…feeling faint….” could be “Overcome with nausea, I stared at the….”

      Just some suggestions, take it for what it is worth.

  50. fbxwriter says:

    A LOVER’S CLOSET

    Alex scared me a little. She seemed serene lying in my bed, so different than the fiery speaker at the War Resisters League rally the night before. She had spoken so passionately, sending the whole crowd into a fever pitch.

    As we chanted, she scanned the throng. When her dark eyes found mine, I couldn’t breath. I tried to look away from her intense gaze but couldn’t. She looked into my soul and it terrified me. When she sought me out after the rally, the attraction was immediate. My fear only increased the sparks, making for an intense night of sex. Thankfully, the neighbors hadn’t called the cops.

    Now in the morning light she looked innocent, nothing like the aggressive pacifist leader. My heart swelled. How could I be so deeply in love so soon? I thought.

    She stretched, breaking my reverie, and looked at me with soft eyes.

    “I fly to Chicago this morning,” she said, smiling.

    “When will I see you again?” I tried to stifle the panic in my voice.

    Her smile broadened and she stroked my cheek.

    “Soon,” she said. “And often. You’re different, Tim.”

    She pulled me down and kissed me deeply.

    “Now, I need to get dressed,” she said.

    As she slipped on her panties, I tossed my sweat-stained shirt into the hamper and headed for the closet. I opened the door and reached for a button-down on a hanger, but then I noticed my Gandhi T-shirt atop the clothes pile on the floor. Wanting to impress Alex, I grabbed it.

    I froze, staring at the skull and pile of bones I had just uncovered. I slammed the door and whirled with my back to the closet.

    Not again! I thought.

    Alex looked up from the bed, her pants half on.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing,” I said, my voice squeaking.

    Alex approached as she slipped on her shirt.

    “This is no way to start a relationship,” she said, smiling. “No secrets.”

    My eyes widened in horror. I didn’t move. She quit smiling.

    “Out of the way.”

    I opened my mouth to protest but couldn’t speak. I hung my head and stepped aside. How could I tell her about my blackouts and the grave robbing and the years of therapy? It wouldn’t matter anyway. She would reject me.

    Alex opened the door. I waited for the scream. When none came I looked up. She looked at me with one eyebrow cocked.

    “I knew you were different,” she said.

    She shut the closet and walked toward the bedroom door, buttoning her shirt.

    “I love you!” I yelled, falling to my knees. “Don’t leave me!”

    “I’m just going to Chicago, I’ll be back tomorrow.”

    My eyes widened.

    “But the…the….” I pointed to the closet.

    She walked over, kissed me deeply, then fixed me with the intense gaze that had terrified me only hours earlier.

    “You’re not the only with, uh, skeletons in the closet,” she said. “We’ll get to know each other better when I get back.”

  51. lhollowell says:

    My apologies if this story posts twice; I posted the wrong version earlier.

    When I opened the hall closet and saw the skeleton, I had no idea what had happened.

    “Er… Janice,” I called, “do you know anything about this?”

    “About what?” she answered from the kitchen.

    “About..this,” I said, hearing my voice rise.

    Apparently, she realized that something was amiss, as she came around the wall between the kitchen and the hallway. “What are you talking about?” She looked at me with that look that a husband gets when he’s being particularly annoying to his wife. I get that look a lot. I’ll admit it, I sometimes do things without thinking them through. Still, I thought she was quite pretty whenever she gave me that look.

    I pointed inside the closet.

    Janice took one look, then let out a quickly squelched scream and jumped backwards. “What is that?” she whimpered. She then realized that I was just staring at her. “That’s not nice,” she said, her voice hardening.

    “What’s not nice?”

    “Putting that in there to scare me.” She scowled. “Not nice at all.”

    I shook my head. “I didn’t put that in there. I just found it right before I called you. I thought you put it there.”

    Now it was her turn to shake her head. “Why would I do something like that? I didn’t put that there.”

    I looked at the skeleton again. I really hadn’t seen one since the one in my high school biology class over what seemed like an age ago. It just kind of lay there, in the corner of the closet. Then I realized that a skeleton really shouldn’t be sitting like that. What was holding it together?

    I quickly closed the closet door. “Maybe Devon put it there?”

    My wife shook her head. “Devon’s been staying over at Michael’s house for the last two days, remember? He hasn’t been back. That – thing – ,” she scowled, “wasn’t here yesterday.”

    Then I remembered something. “Didn’t you play a song on the stereo last night?”

    Janice looked puzzled. “Yes. And you really should get an iPod instead of that old stereo. Why?”

    “What song?”

    “Stevie Wonder – Skeltons In Your Closet.” Her eyes widened. “Oh!” she gasped. “You don’t think –”

    “I don’t know.” I walked over and cut the stereo on. I was proud of my CDs. Let other people download music; I loved the physical feel of the CDs and their cases. I just hit the random play button. “Let’s give it a try.”

    “Wait –” Janice said.

    I realized I might have made a mistake as soon as I heard the first lyric: The roof is on fire. I started smelling smoke and tried to hit stop, but just managed to change to another song. Janice looked at me with pure horror. Before the singing started, I again tried to hit stop, but just managed to fast-forward my way further into the song before releasing the button. Then we both heard the next lyric.

    It’s the end of the world as we know it.

    • rob akers says:

      Nice Job. I am not familiar with the Stevie Wonder song but I like it already.

    • Bridee0809 says:

      Nice, unique premise. Believable interaction between the husband and wife, I loved the part when she gave him the look “that a husband gets when he’s being particularly annoying to his wife”, cute and realistic. I really liked it!

      Just some comments on a couple things that stood out to me. For instance, in the line: “About..this,” I said, hearing my voice rise.” The part “hearing my voice rise” might read better if it said “my voice rising”, the way it’s written makes it sound as if you just became aware that your voice was rising, as if you were watching and not participating.

      The other was the line: “Oh!” she gasped.” In my humble opinion, and I sat here trying to do it :-), it’s pretty hard to inhale sharply and say “oh” at the same time.

      As others have said, so will I. Please take these comments for what it’s worth and leave the rest behind.

    • Heart2Heart says:

      Uh oh, we are all in trouble! Great twist.

      • lhollowell says:

        Thank you all for for the comments! Much appreciated.

        And just one note as far as the Stevie Wonder song – the actual song title is “Skeletons,” but the first lyric in the song is “Skeletons in your closet” and that’s what everyone I know thinks is the true title of the song (including myself until just a little while ago!)

  52. Just B says:

    I had a roommate in college who made the Moose character in Archie comics look intelligent. You think I’m exaggerating? Here’s just one example:

    One night, I came home from a party. Moose (a nickname that stuck) was sitting on the couch bawling like a baby who’d just broken his favorite toy. I’m talking arms limp at his side, face at the ceiling, eyes squinched shut, mouth hanging open blubbering.

    “Hey, Moose, what’s up?”

    “I killed her.”

    Now this guy was like Mr. Incredible strong so it was easy to believe he may have pulled some kind of Lennie Small and accidently offed some co-ed while stroking her hair or something so my blood kinda froze at this. “Who, Moose?”

    “Dora Jean.”

    I had no idea who he was talking about. “Why? What happened?”

    I could hardly make out his words but managed to hear, “When she first came into my life, I told her I would always take good care of her. But you know how tests are for me. I can’t hardly do nothing but study. So I’ve been neglecting her. But tonight, while you were gone, I went to see her,” he dug the palms of his hands into his eyes and howled, “I just didn’t realize how long it had been.”

    “Where is she?”

    “In the closet.” At this he crumpled over like wet newspaper and buried his face in the cushion.

    This sounded bad. I was pretty scared. I crept to the closet as if I might wake whatever was hiding in it. I carefully inspected the floor for blood and sniffed the air. Nothing out of the ordinary so far. But just the same, it took me a good minute to gather up whatever I needed just so I could turn the handle.

    I peered in through a crack but couldn’t see a thing. Great, I was actually going to have to reach in there to pull the light cord. What if my hand brushed … something. Reaching as high as I could in order to avoid contact with anything, I felt around for the cord and finally managed to pull it. Light flooded the crowded closet.

    I cautiously started pulling out the boxes of Christmas ornaments and our Thanksgiving scarecrow that were stuffed in front of the hanging coats. Nothing so far. I parted the coats to see back in the corners. “Moose, there’s nothing in here but winter coats and holiday decorations. What the heck are you talking about? Am I looking in the wrong closet?”

    His sobs subsided. “You don’t see a skeleton?” he asked hopefully.

    “Well, yeah, but…”

    His tears freshened, “I knew it! She wasted away cuz I didn’t give her enough lovin!”

    “Moose! That isn’t anyone. That’s our Halloween decorations!”

    “What?”

    “That skeleton is the one we put on the frat house at Halloween. That’s not any body.”

    “Really?”

    “Really. Now who’s Dora Jean?”

    His wet eyes looked at me bashfully, “My blow up doll.”

  53. Heart2Heart says:

    Loved these lines especially:
    At first, she’d made Bob turn Stanley so he didn’t face out. She swore she could feel his eyeless sockets watching as they made love. (LOL Perfect!)
    She never imagined she’d miss that ugly skeleton in her closet. (Very touching!)

    Really well done!

  54. Icabu says:

    Filling boxes also filled Suzy with an aching nostalgia. Big changes were ahead. They’d had the final walkthrough on the massive, new house and signed the deal. Now came packing up and starting their new life. They’d dreamed of this change – her and Bob snuggling in the cramped apartments, dreaming of better times. Now they’d made it.

    Medical school had been hard, but they’d gotten married anyway. Residency had been insane. Bob would be gone for days, come home and collapse, then disappear again. Now he’d signed on with the largest and most prestigious orthopedic practice in the city. The struggle was over, promises delivered.

    Suzy reached for a couple of Bob’s shirts from the closet and heard the tinkling. Her heart did a soft patter at the familiar sound. For the last several years, and two small apartments, she’d heard that sound every morning as Bob dressed for work. It had become comforting.

    It hadn’t always been that way. Peeking into the back of the closet, she grimaced. Stanley. She hoped that hadn’t been the person’s real name – the person that had died and given his body to science. Stanley’s bleached and lacquered bones glinted as they caught the light. Grasping his stand, Suzy pulled Stanley out of the closet with cacophonous rattling.

    Stanley had been with Bob for about a year longer than she had. In the early med school years, Stanley stood prominently in the living area. Labels still adorned his major bones; smaller bones had numbers stenciled on them with a key card hanging by a chain around his neck. Stanley had never worn anything else.

    When Bob no longer needed to cram bones, Stanley went into the closet – their bedroom closet being the only one in the small apartments capable of accomodating him. At first, she’d made Bob turn Stanley so he didn’t face out. She swore she could feel his eyeless sockets watching as they made love. Eventually, she forgot about that and would lay partially awake as Bob got ready for work and Stanley’s soft rattle reminded her of the promises that were about to become reality.

    She knew that she should be happy that Bob already had a spot picked out for Stanley in his new home office. She never imagined she’d miss that ugly skeleton in her closet.

  55. TheDifficultKind says:

    The room was small and stuffy, but that was to be expected from an interrogation room. Detective Alex Johnson sat across from me and tried to hide her annoyance. I shifted in my chair and cleared my throat loudly. Her eyes narrowed as she stared at me.

    Johnson: “So,. you’re a homicide detective from Boston and you’re here with your friend, the Chief Medical Examiner, for a conference. You have no identification and no badge. There is a skeleton in your hotel closet with what appears to be a bullet hole in its forehead. The cleaning lady who discovered the skeleton claims you pulled a gun on her.”

    Me: “She was screaming. I was in the shower. I jumped out, grabbed a robe and then my gun and went to see what was going on.”

    Johnson: “Do you usually shower with a gun?”

    Me: “Doesn’t everyone?”

    Johnson: “Do you find this funny Ms. Brennan?”

    Me: “It’s Detective Mackenzie Brennan, Boston Homicide. Some professional courtesy would be nice…”

    Johnson: “Professional courtesy? For all we know you’re some psycho who murdered someone, dissolved their flesh in acid, and then put the skeleton in a hotel closet.”

    Me: “I think you’ve been watching too many episodes of Bones Detective Johnson. Have you attempted to locate Chief Medical Examiner Tori O’Connor at the convention yet?”

    Johnson: “Maybe after a few hours in lockup you’ll drop this crap story and tell me the truth. Meanwhile, we’ll check with Chief Medical Examiner O’Connor and see what she has to say.”

    The door opened and I was escorted to a cell. I flopped on the bench and stared trying to make sense of this whole thing. The last thing I remember was telling Tori I was going back to the hotel to lay down because I wasn’t feeling well. Where did the skeleton come from? What happened to my identification and my badge? I stretched out on the cold steel bench and placed my arm over my eyes. An hour passed and the silence was broken by a familiar voice.

    Tori: “I hear you’ve had quite the adventure.”

    Me: “Why is there a skeleton in the closet? I can’t find my badge and identification. They think I’m a psycho killer.”

    Tori: “Mr. Bones is for my demonstration during a session tomorrow. I had him delivered to the room this morning. They must have thought it was funny to put him in the closet. You know, skeletons in the closet and all… I have your badge and identification. They were in the inside pocket of the jacket you let me borrow before you went back to the hotel. Anyway, everything has been cleared up now and you’re free to go.”

    Me: “The phrase ‘skeletons in the closet’ has a whole new meaning now. Next time I’m staying in Boston and you and Mr. Bones can have fun together!”

    Johnson: “As a professional courtesy, we’ve decided to give your gun back. Say hello to Mr. Bones for me!”

    • rob akers says:

      Funny story but a suggestion; Replace the identifier at the beginning of the sentence with “I said.” or “Johnson fired back.” ect. There are a lot of ways to identify the speaker but for me the way you choose was distracting.

    • Ishmael says:

      Johnson: “Do you usually shower with a gun?”

      Me: “Doesn’t everyone?”

      Johnson: “Do you find this funny Ms. Brennan?”

      I certainly did! Nice repartee throughout. I understand what Rob was talking about…sort of had a script feel this way, but I’m thinking you chose to do it to show back and forth interrogation. Quick banter.

      Each character has a tone, and the excellent way you wrote your characters gave them a tone, too. Once a tone for them has been established (if established well, like yours), identifiers aren’t always necessary…the reader can figure out who’s who.

      You’ve written this quite well…looking forward to more! :)

  56. Chilo says:

    Last night is such a blur. My poor head. At least I made it back to my apartment in one piece. After a good shower, I can head out for nice breakfast.
    Now, let’s see what I could wear today.
    “Aahh! What the f**** is that?”
    The skeleton just plopped itself against the closet wall. My things had been spread apart so I could see it.
    Did I put it there? I couldn’t have brought back this…. this thing. From the feel of it, I’d say it weighed less than a poodle. But, what is it doing here?
    Wait a minute, wait a minute. Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe this. I do know how this got here. Where’s my roommate? Where is she?
    Her cell keeps sending me to voicemail and her facebook page doesn’t mention anything from last night.
    Hmmm… I wonder. The head of this skeleton has a slight dent on the right side of the skull. I remember feeling her hair when I last cut it and it had the same type of hollowness. Maggie? “Maggie?”
    The bony arms lifted up and I was suddenly in its grip.
    “Maggie, wake up! Kuhhsh. It’s me, culff… Jemma.”

  57. fbxwriter says:

    A Lover’s Closet

    Alex scared me a little. She seemed serene lying in my bed, so different than the fiery speaker at the War Resisters League rally the night before. She had spoken so passionately, sending the whole crowd into a fever pitch.

    As we chanted, she scanned the throng. When her dark eyes found mine, I couldn’t breath. I tried to look away from her intense gaze but couldn’t. She looked into my soul and it terrified me. When she sought me out after the rally, the attraction was immediate. My fear only increased the sparks, making for an intense night of sex. Thankfully, the neighbors hadn’t called the cops.

    Now in the morning light she looked innocent, nothing like the aggressive pacifist leader. My heart swelled. How could I be so deeply in love so soon? I thought.

    She stretched, breaking my reverie, and looked at me with soft eyes.

    “I fly to Chicago this morning,” she said, smiling.

    “When will I see you again?” I tried to stifle the panic in my voice.

    Her smile broadened and she stroked my cheek.

    “Soon,” she said. “And often. You’re different, Tim.”

    She pulled me down and kissed me deeply.

    “Now, I need to get dressed,” she said.

    As she slipped on her panties, I tossed my sweat-stained shirt into the hamper and headed for the closet. I opened the door and reached for a button-down on a hanger, but then I noticed my Gandhi T-shirt atop the clothes pile on the floor. Wanting to impress Alex, I grabbed it.

    I froze, staring at the skull and pile of bones I had just uncovered. I slammed the door and whirled with my back to the closet.

    Not again! I thought.

    Alex looked up from the bed, her pants half on.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing,” I said, my voice squeaking.

    Alex approached as she slipped on her shirt.

    “This is no way to start a relationship,” she said, smiling. “No secrets.”

    My eyes widened in horror. I didn’t move. She quit smiling.

    “Out of the way.”

    I opened my mouth to protest but couldn’t speak. I hung my head and stepped aside. How could I tell her about my blackouts and the grave robbing and the years of therapy? It wouldn’t matter anyway. She would reject me.

    Alex opened the door. I waited for the scream. When none came I looked up. She looked at me with one eyebrow cocked.

    “I knew you were different,” she said.

    She shut the closet and walked toward the bedroom door, buttoning her shirt.

    “I love you!” I yelled, falling to my knees. “Don’t leave me!”

    “I’m just going to Chicago, I’ll be back tomorrow.”

    My eyes widened.

    “But the…the….” I pointed to the closet.

    She walked over, kissed me deeply, then fixed me with the intense gaze that had terrified me only hours earlier.

    “You’re not the only with, uh, skeletons in the closet,” she said. “We’ll get to know each other better when I get back.”

  58. MoMoGH says:

    So, that’s where I put that damned thing.

    The standard issue teaching skeleton hanging haphazardly in my hall linen closet had initially startled me when I opened the door, but after realizing this was merely my trustworthy classroom aide for 30 years and not some ghoul in my home, I allowed my heart rate to diminish to a normal level. I was frantically in search of a set of sheets for the guest bedroom I was preparing for my mother-in-law, whose flight had landed early and was currently en route to my home with my husband in tow.

    I had been postponing preparations for our ill-timed visitor simply because I had just retired two days ago from a lengthy career teaching biology to high school students and all I wanted to was sleep in. Not only did I require about 50 years of rest on this day, but our house guest was one of the oldest living nags on the planet — and I had been hoping that ignoring the problem would make it go away. That didn’t work, obviously.

    As I feverishly pulled the bed together, I heard the door swing open with a bit of gusto and heard that familiar voice chattering on.

    “It is simply uncouth, really. Full-body scanners? What on earth could an octogenarian like myself be concealing underneath my clothing? An AK-47? Absolute rubbish, that is,” the voice muttered in a huff.

    In that moment I envisioned the photos of my unclothed, elderly mother-in-law sent to the poor soul who is responsible for analyzing such images. Imagine how startled he was to make out the pixelated outline of a tail sprouting from her behind.

    I stifled my laughter at the notion as I made my way out to the living room to greet her.

    “Ah, Martha. I’m so happy to see you made it here safely. We’re overjoyed you’ve come to visit for a while,” I managed to say.

    “Oh, Gloria. I’m well aware that my presence here is ill-timed and certainly unwanted, you don’t have to lay it on thick,” she replied. Martha looked closely at my face and continued, “I know you retired two days ago dear, but my goodness you look tired. Haven’t you had any time for rest?”

    “Yes, a little bit. My retirement was only two days ago,” I said, trying to hold back some venom.

    “Well you really should do something about that — you look almost as old as I do!” she squeaked out with a chortle. My expression shifted from amused to clearly angry.

    So, a month of this vitriol is how I am going to begin my retirement.

    “Gloria, don’t listen to me, I’m just jet-lagged,” Martha demurred, unsuccessfully backpedaling.

    I only smiled at the old woman, not saying a word, creating an atmosphere so uncomfortable, Martha had to change the subject matter altogether.

    “Dear, did you put clean sheets on the guest bed? If not, I can at least do that myself, so as not to impose on you too much,” Martha politely suggested.

    Thinking back to earlier moments when I nearly had a heart attack opening the linen closet in my quest for clean sheets I replied, “No, Martha I haven’t. If you’d like, you can get a clean set out of the linen closet in the hall.”

  59. taliaa2007 says:

    I wake up at my convenience on my day off. I decide to lie in bed for a while and just be lazy for once. I look around and see the sun streaming in my window. As I stare at my ceiling I begin to get bored, and decide to get up and shower.
    When I get out of the bathroom I head over to my closet to find something to wear. Nothing directly in front of me tickles my fancy, so I start digging to the back of the closet. I haven’t looked back there is months. As I am feeling around and trying to shove my head into the tiny corner to see what I might find, I find more than I bargained for. There is an eye, or eye socket, staring back at me. I screech in disbelief, and run out of the room.
    I stand there catching my breath and get up the courage to return to the creepy mortuary I call a bedroom. I slowly push open the door and look around, as if something is going to jump out and get me. I walk back over to the dreaded closet, and begin shoving clothes out of the way. When I finally get to my nemesis I close my eyes and reach in. I pull out the horrifying thing and realize to my shock that it is deer skeleton.
    I think about it and remember my husband went hunting the day before. He told me he got a buck and I didn’t believe him. He told me he would prove it to me. Well he sure did! I had told him not to wake me up when he got home late from hunting. He was kind enough not to wake me but apparently decided to leave me a surprise, and prove that he got a buck. He must have snuck into our room and placed the skeleton, then went out and slept on the couch.
    I decided just what to do with it. I crept into the living room, dragging the deer behind me, and as he lay still asleep on the pull-out bed. I pulled back the covers and placed the skeleton next to him. I sat in the recliner and waited patiently. Finally, another forty five minutes later he groaned and rolled over placing his arm around his bed partner’s chest. Startled by the feel of his new friend, he jumped from bed and screams like a five year old that had a snake slither across her toes in the creek.
    He looked at me and grinned, knowing he deserved what he had gotten. We embraced each other knowing that things like this strangely enough where what defined our relationship and us. Things had never been perfect or easy for us, but we always made the best out of it and knew how to have fun. We decided upon eggs and deer steak for breakfast. What a wonderful day off work.

    • DMelde says:

      Hi Taliaa,
      Your story about this loving couple is sweet, and I could really see the love between them. Great job on showing their love through action. My only suggestion is to not start so many sentences with I. For example, combining the first two sentences reads more smoothly for me — “I wake up at my convenience on my day off, deciding to lie in bed for a while, and just be lazy for once.” You have an interesting point of view and I’d like to read more.

  60. greatbear1982 says:

    I slowly uncurl myself from the fetal position I find myself in on an old, dirty, hard wood floor. I do not remember where I am or how in hades I got here. This is the least of my worries. My head is pounding like a sledgehammer on a rail spike. I know it is going to be another bad day. I check my clothes for any clues of what happened last night. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Money in wallet? Check. Knife? Check. No blood on knife? Check. Glock 21? Check. Glock Mags full? Not check… Missing a round. Why am I missing a round? I wonder to myself…
    I hear movement downstairs… I still have no idea where I am and I am pretty sure I do not want to find out. I dress and locate the window on the opposite side of the room, open it, and look for a place to climb down. I find that I am on the second story and that below me is my car parked in the drive way. I slowly let myself dangle form the window sill and then drop down, get in my car and drive away quickly.
    I have to find out where my missing round is and how I ended up on a hardwood floor. I drive to my brother’s house. I find his driveway empty and house quiet. Normally he is home at this hour. I let myself in his house with my key. My instinct tells me something is wrong. I draw my weapon out of reflex habit. I start searching his house looking for clues as this is the last place I remember being last night. Nothing looks abnormal, until I get to his bedroom.
    Laying there on the bed, half-naked a young woman appears to be passed out. I can tell by the track marks on her arms this is not going to turn out well for my brother. She doesn’t seem to be breathing. I silently move closer and check to see if she is breathing, her breaths seem to be very shallow, I check her pulse, her pulse is very weak. I decide the best thing I can do for my brother is to find her clothes, dress her and leave her at the nearest hospital.
    I check the closet and I jump back in horror. A pile of human bones are in the middle of his closet. What appears to be a human skull has a hole in the forehead area. I can tell they have been there a long time because of the dust, dirt, and cobwebs surrounding them. I find the girl’s clothes and quickly dress her since she is showing no signs of response. I drive her to the hospital and just as I dump her on the park bench… AN ALARM CLOCK AWAKENS ME!!!
    I lunge at it to shut it off and I find myself in a room that looks just like the one I had in my dream…

  61. imprinted says:

    Upon opening my closet I blinked back a gasp, I closed the double doors and opened them once more, blinking hard as the cool breeze hit my face, it was then that I noticed my boyfriend Barry towering in the doorframe.

    “You did it again didn’t you?” I exclaimed, my eyes refusing to leave the sight of the skeleton in our closet. Barry narrowed his eyes in disbelief.

    “Did what?” he asked. I sighed and closed the doors again and sat on the edge of the bed and cupped my head in my hands, my shoulders beginning to shudder from gentle sobs.

    “Aww baby, no don’t cry” Barry said as he rushed over to me, sitting down beside me and putting his arm round my shoulders, I shrugged him off and stood and turned to him.

    “You swore Barry, you sat right there and you told me you would go straight, that there would be no more grave robbing”

    “I didn’t do it” Barry pleaded. He was now knelt before me, pleading with me like the dog he is,

    “Oh don’t give me that” I yelled, “this has been going on for two years”.
    Barry’s eyes filled with the overwhelming sensation of tears and regret, he could feel them begin to flood along his cheeks and splash on the laminate floor.

    “Don’t say it’s over baby, I swear I didn’t do it!”

    “I have heard it all before Barry” I sighed, I just can’t understand it, I am really struggling, most people just rob the corpses for gold teeth, jewels, but not Barry… No! He just goes for bones, it’s bizarre. I thought I accept it as it just being you, but it’s strange, you are strange and I don’t get you” At this point I had a bag in my hand, and was filling it with his clothes, as I rambled on to him for the millionth time about his weirdness. He just watched in horror as his world around him began to collapse. I let the bag dangle from my arm and waited for him to take it from me. At that point the phone rang, Barry picked up the receiver. “Hello, Barry Cramford” he began. His eyes followed the pattern on the rug and up to me, I watched him as he continued.

    “Uh huh, I see… no problem, thanks for letting me know, I’ll pass on the message. Oh no, it’s fine, anytime” He finished and clicked off the phone. He stood and walked over to the closet and opened the doors up again and stared at the skeleton. After a short time he turned to me.

    “So” he said, “that was your boss on the phone”

    “Don’t try change the subject” I started to say. Barry wasn’t listening and began to unpack his bags much to my outrage

    “He said to tell you” he started again “that the decorators have finished in the science room and that the mock skeleton can go back now”.

    • imprinted says:

      I had to re-post I found errors…

    • Naomi says:

      Those two are quite a couple. An interesting take on the prompt. I did get turned around for a moment when the POV switched from Barry’s put upon loved one, to Barry for one sentence. “Barry’s eyes filled with the overwhelming sensation of tears and regret, he could feel them begin to flood along his cheeks and splash on the laminate floor.” Otherwise, very nice!

  62. onaway says:

    I faced the door and looked around me at this bedroom. There was a window with the fading afternoon light floating through the curtains. Outside was a summer field that stretched to the horizon. Inside, mostly shadows and a dusty wood floor. A tall dresser stood against the wall next to the window. My keys are on it but the drawers are empty. An old chair was in the corner facing the bed. It looked like it would be a good place to put my shoes on each morning but I couldn’t recall ever having done that. I felt as though I had just woken up, standing here facing this door.
    I realized I had been standing there with my hand on that doorknob for years. I was waiting to turn the handle, slide the latch open and free the skeletons. Sometimes I had stood with my back against the door, trying to look casual and go unnoticed. Other times I would face the door and drop my forehead onto it and stand there for a very long time, wondering how life would be if this ever saw the light of day. I had no courage to empty this abyss but I had become anxious to free it- to get this over with, to salvage whatever could be left of what should have been a more beautiful life. The round brass knob- always cold in my hand. My hands are old and worn.
    At first it slipped- I gripped it tighter and heard the latch slide into the door with good action. The hinges creaked slow and soft. When you are afraid you don’t feel your heart. I was past that- I could feel my heart beating fast. I pulled the heavy door and stepped away at the same time but there was no skeleton. There wasn’t even a closet. There was a hallway, and a flight of stairs. I went outside for the first time in a long time.

  63. metaman321 says:

    Thunder rumbled through the sky and the dawn hid behind the deepening gloom of the clouds as the hated alarm clock tolled 6:00 am.

    Nine year old Bobby, sleepy eyed and drowsy, dragged himself out of his bed and stumbled to the closet in the semi-darkness. The closet door squeaked on its hinges when he opened it. Lightening flashed as he pulled down the first clothes he found hanging there. Through the corner of his eye, he saw the bones of a skeleton slumped in the back corner of the small closet, next to his baseball glove and holey tennis shoes. Bobby let out a scream and slammed the door shut. He backed away so quickly from the closet he tumbled back on his bed among the rumpled covers. Then he started to laugh.

    Jenna, his older sister had headed straight for the bathroom where she had set out her clothes the night before. She was eleven, going on twenty-five, and tried to stifle the little-girl shriek that escaped in sympathy with her brother’s scream. She ran back into the bedroom she shared with Bobby and found him lying on his bed laughing.

    “What is it, Bobby?” she asked.

    “Look in the closet,” he said through the big grin on his face.

    “What is it this time?”

    “Just look and see.”

    Jenna, the twenty-five year old, didn’t want to see what trick Uncle Phil had pulled this time, but Jenna the eleven-year old, couldn’t resist. She strode over to the closet, opened the door, saw the stuffed skeleton costume in the corner and laughed in spite of herself. It was Halloween and Crazy Uncle Phil was at it again.

    Uncle Phil was their mother’s brother and lived with the family in an old two story. Somewhat of an eccentric who had never married, (“or worked,” Father said), Phil occupied a room in the attic. Though Father sometimes seemed annoyed with him, the children loved Uncle Phil madly.

    Halloween was Phil’s favorite holiday. When the children were younger, he would take them ‘trick or treating’. When his health started to fail and he could no longer keep up with them, he would dress as a zombie, or the devil, or a corpse and sit on the front porch amusing, or scaring if they were old enough, the children who came for treats at Bobby’s and Jenna’s house. Practical jokes were the rule of the day and the skeleton seemed an early start to the festivities.

    All through school that day, Bobby and Jenna were looking forward to seeing what tricks Uncle Phil would play.

    There were three police cars and an ambulance parked out front when the bus dropped off the children after school. Mother was crying on Father’s shoulder, Father had a contented look on his face. The children watched in horror as the paramedics carried Uncle Phil out on a stretcher. He was still wearing the skeleton costume from the neck down, but his face was a ghostly white.

    • Ishmael says:

      I like this. I think this is the first Halloween one I’ve read, and it’s so suitable for the prompt. I had a little feeling that Uncle Phil was going to die, from the earlier statements about health. He sounds like he was quite a man, despite what Father thinks.

      Great imagery…great line: ‘Jenna, the twenty-five year old, didn’t want to see what trick Uncle Phil had pulled this time, but Jenna the eleven-year old, couldn’t resist.’

      And the paralleling of the skeleton costume with the ghostly white face was a perfect way to end.

    • DMelde says:

      Good story metaman321. I liked how the gloom in the morning foreshadowed the gloom at the end, and the kids’ interactions, and, well, pretty much everything else too. And like Ishmael said, that was a great line about Jenna.

    • jincomt says:

      I agree with Ish (may I call you Ish for short?) about the costume with the ghostly white. Very effective ending. Everyone should have a fun-loving eccentric Uncle Phil in the attic. (Hmm.. sounds like that has potential for a prompt, in and of itself!)

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Oh, poor Uncle Phil! Good story!

  64. karladivine says:

    OK…this is weird.
    Are those real bones? Not here yesterday…..or was it the day before yesterday I last looked in here? Yeah, folding chairs, Hearts Club last Thursday. No bones then, I’m pretty sure of that. How in heck did it get in here? No bugs….so didn’t get ‘unearthed’. In fact, kind of clean and glowy. Nope, not that plastic black light shit like they sell at Halloween; this looks like the real deal. I mean, are those fillings in the teeth? But, the bones aren’t pithy either, so really, it looks kind of newly …boney……. unfleshed…..dead. But, boiled? Or, how did these bones discard their personality like the face, the hands, the finger prints. And then, how did they get into my closet all connected like that song, neck bone to the head bone to the tail bone to leg bone.
    And just look at that! Sitting kind of slouchy, not careful at all. Head cocked to one side, but not curious…just bored I guess. Legs jumbled over my garden boots, arms muddled one across the front and one over the shoulder. Fingers stubby; no air guitar for this guy. Girl. I mean…no way for me to tell really.
    OK….now what? Call 911? First question, Is this an emergency? Er, well not exactly. I mean I am not in danger. This is what could be called a static situation. Waiting waiting waiting. Non emergency, no danger equals no responder for hours. What time is it? Yeah, I have to be at the Fur Ball for lunch in one hour. Well, do I pull him, er, her out of there and make him or her more comfortable? Straighten out the appendages, sit ….I’m just going to call it a him….him down in a kitchen chair? That seems kind of lonely. Fix a cuppa something? Coffee, tea, noodles? Then what? Sorry, I have a lunch date at the Fur Ball where I will be enjoying some tasty pulled pork sliders with some real people while you wait here contemplating where to put that cuppa noodles!
    Hmmm. Why did I open this closet anyway? What was I looking for? Oh yeah, that set of three original Archie and Veronica comics for whozits, the lunch date. No problem. I think I put those books in the box under the bed. That’s right. Whozits can pay for lunch. I mean those comics must be worth ten bucks at least. I’ll just shut the door here quietly. It, I mean He, wasn’t here the other day, so maybe he won’t be here another day. I’ll just wait and see.

    • jincomt says:

      On one hand, the inner running monologue of thoughts, was kind of fun. A creative take on the prompt. On the other, it was a little difficult to read and engage in, at least for me.

      That aside, there were some jewel phrases and sentences. I especially liked:

      Sitting kind of slouchy, not careful at all. Head cocked to one side, but not curious…just bored I guess.

      I liked that you tried something different with this.

      • karladivine says:

        Thank you for the comments and feedback. I am trying to develop a writing style that follows stream of consciousness … the ‘show’ part of writing instead of the ‘tell’ part so your comments are very helpful.

  65. free durian says:

    Every day started with the same routine. I’d roll over to find my husband missing from bed, then get up and take a shower. I’d open a new toothbrush, brush my teeth, and gargle with salt water for my sore throat. It never made any difference though. My throat was always sore.

    Then the phone would ring. I never knew who the caller was, but they always said the same thing. “Check your closet.” I’d hang up, and put on the clothes I’d left out the night before, then go straight to work.

    Work was uneventful. My boss never had any projects for me, so I’d hang by the water cooler and play solitaire, wondering if I was going to get laid off soon. Nobody talked to me, but that was ok. Talking was hard with my sore throat anyway.

    I took the train home, dodging the fare every time. I never got caught, which made me feel lucky. When I got home, I’d sit on my bed, listening to the sounds of my husband’s favourite shows coming from the living room. At night, I’d take a shower, brush my teeth and leave my clothes out for work in the morning. Then I’d  lie awake in bed with the lights off, nursing my sore throat. Later, my husband would come in. I’d close my eyes tightly, pretending to sleep, but he never noticed me. Instead, he’d open the closet and stare inside. Then he’d fall asleep beside me and my day would start again.

    That was my existence. Ever silent, never changing. My throat was always sore, and not once did I listen to the voice on the phone. 

    Then our anniversary neared. That meant I needed new clothes. My husband would kill me if I didn’t dress well. I went shopping after work, but the store assistants didn’t notice me. Perhaps I couldn’t speak loudly enough with my sore throat. The detour made me miss my train, which left me disorientated when I got home.

    The anniversary drew closer, and I spent my afternoons staring at my closet door, wondering what to do about clothes. My sore throat was getting worse. I wondered if my husband would forgive me if I told him I was too sick for dinner. Probably not, I thought. 

    Finally, the anniversary arrived. It began, as always, with my routine, though my throat was so sore that I couldn’t bear to gargle. 

    Then the phone rang. I answered, and the caller said the same thing they always said. “Check your closet.” I hung up and obeyed, wondering if there were clothes inside. I opened the closet and found it empty save a woman’s body, all dried and mummified with a wire around her neck. She wore a dress just like  the one I’d worn for my anniversary last year.

    My husband hadn’t liked that dress much, I recalled, so I closed the closet doors and put on the clothes I’d left out the night before.

  66. peetaweet says:

    A bag of bones can mean many things to many different people. But an actual bag filled with actual body parts isn’t the sort of thing one would expect to find in their closet while looking for a pair of pumps on the morning before a day in court.

    Maybe one day I would be able to appreciate the irony of a skeleton in my closet. Or just maybe in the future I would be just a bit more careful about whom I date.

    But truthfully, I knew whose remains were in that bag. It wasn’t supposed happen like this, why was it here anyway? And the smell, who knew my ex-husband could smell worse dead than he did alive? My wardrobe was officially ruined

    I looked back to the bed at the covered mass in the bed, only mop of black hair and a tattooed arm sticks out from the sheets. At first I thought it was romantic, Kevin’s wanting to ‘take care’ of Peter for me. Now that it’s done, I’m sure I would eventually be grateful but I have to shake off a trembling fit. I’m due in court in an hour to begin divorce proceedings with a mutilated corpse that is in a duffle bag in my closet. Never saw that on an episode of Sex in The City.

    “Kevin” I shake my husband’s murderer while fastening my earrings. He slowly comes to life. I try to comprehend how he could dismember a body yesterday and then sleep like a baby.

    “What is that doing in my closet?”

    “I’ll take care of it, shit got crazy last night.”

    That’s an understatement.

    In no mood for breakfast, I grab a coffee and head for the courtroom. It has been a long and bitter separation, and I feel no remorse whatsoever about Peter’s fate. That bastard got what he had coming. However, I would rather it not be sitting in my closet on top of my favorite Betsy Ross shoes.

    One thing is for certain, he will be a no show in court today, which won’t gain him any favors with the judge. When he skips the proceedings all together, it will seem as if he has skipped town entirely, not a far fetch for someone of his character. Meanwhile, my name will remain squeaky clean, clear of accusations of infidelity or whatever else may come into play.

    Arriving at the court, I quickly go over today’s preliminary steps with my lawyer before heading into the courtroom. As I sit down I look over to the bench and see a ghost. There, looking clean cut and well dressed, is Peter, complete with that same smug look on his face I have hated for the last two years. Seeing the horror on my face, my council nudges me and asks if I’m okay. I am not, I’m wondering just exactly who is in that duffle bag in my closet.

  67. lhollowell says:

    First, sorry about the spacing issues – for some reason, when I pasted the story below, my spacing went away.

    When I opened the hall closet and saw the skeleton, I had no idea what had happened.
    “Er… Janice,” I called, “do you know anything about this?”
    “About what?” she answered from the kitchen.
    “About..this,” I said, hearing my voice rise.
    Apparently, she realized that something was amiss, as she came around the wall between the kitchen and the hallway. “What are you talking about?” She looked at me with that look that a husband gets when he’s being particularly annoying to his wife. I got that look a lot. Still, I thought she was quite pretty whenever she gave me that look.
    I just pointed inside the closet.
    Janice took one look, then let out a quickly squelched scream and jumped backwards.
    “What is that?” she whimpered. She then realized that I was just staring at her. “That’s not nice,” she said, her voice hardening.
    “What’s not nice?”
    “Putting that in there to scare me.” She scowled. “Not nice at all.”
    I shook my head. “I didn’t put that in there. I just found it right before I called you. I thought you put it there.”
    Now it was her turn to shake her head. “Why would I do something like that? I didn’t put that there.”
    I looked at the skeleton again. I suppose it was a good skeleton, as skeletons go; I really hadn’t seen one since the one in my high school biology class over what seemed like an age ago. It just kind of sat there, in the corner of the closet, as if it had been playing hide and seek with someone. Then I realized that a skeleton really shouldn’t be sitting like that. What was holding it together?
    I quickly closed the closet door. “Maybe Devon put it there?”
    My wife shook her head. “Devon’s been staying over at Michael’s house for the last two days, remember? He hasn’t been back. That – thing,” she scowled, “– wasn’t here yesterday.”
    Then I remembered something. “Were you listening to music last night?”
    Janice looked puzzled. “Yes. Why?”
    “Were you listening to Stevie Wonder?”
    “Yes.”
    “What song?”
    “Skeltons – Oh!” she gasped. “You don’t think –“
    “I don’t know.” I walked over to the CD changer and cut it and the stereo on. I was proud of my collection. Let someone else download mp3s; I loved the physical feel of the CDs and their cases.
    There were fifty CDs loaded, so I just hit the random play button. “Let’s give it a try.”
    “Wait –” Janice said.
    I realized I might have made a mistake as soon as I heard the first lyric in the song.
    Tear the roof off the sucker.

  68. imprinted says:

    Upon opening my closet I blinked back a gasp, I closed the double doors and opened them once more, blinking hard as the cool breeze hit my face, it was then that I noticed my boyfriend Barry towering in the doorframe.

    “You did it again didn’t you?” I exclaimed, my eyes refusing to leave the sight of the skeleton in our closet. Barry narrowed his eyes in disbelief.

    “Did what?” he asked.

    I sighed and closed the doors again and sat on the edge of the bed and cupped my head in my hands, my shoulders beginning to shudder from gentle sobs.

    “Aww baby, no don’t cry” Barry said as he rushed over to me, sitting down beside me and putting his arm round my shoulders, I shrugged him off and stood and turned to him.

    “You swore Barry, you sat right there and you told me you would go straight, that there would be no more grave robbing”

    “I didn’t do it” Barry pleaded. He was now knelt before me, pleading with me like the dog he is,

    “Oh don’t give me that” I yelled, “this has been going on for two years”.

    Barry’s eyes filled with the overwhelming sensation of tears and regret, he could feel them begin to flood along his cheeks and slash on the laminate floor.

    “Don’t say it’s over baby, I swear I didn’t do it!”

    “I have heard it all before Barry” I sighed, “and you never will, I just can’t understand it, and most people rob the corpses for gold teeth, jewels, but not Barry… No! He just goes for bones, it’s bizarre. I thought I accept it as it just being you, but it’s strange, you are strange and I don’t get you” At this point I had a bag in my hand, and was filling it with his clothes, as I rambled on to him for the millionth time about his weirdness. He just watched in horror as his world around him began to collapse. I let the bag dangle from my arm and waited for him to take it from me.

    At that point the phone rang, Barry picked up the receiver. “Hello, Barry Cramford” he began. His eyes followed the pattern on the rug and up to me, I watched him as he continued.

    “Uh huh, I see… no problem, thanks for letting me know, I’ll pass on the message. Oh no, it’s fine, anytime” He finished and clicked off the phone. He stood and walked over to the closet and opened the doors up again and stared at the skeleton. After a short time he turned to me.

    “So” he said, “that was your boss on the phone”

    “Don’t try change the subject” I started to say. Barry wasn’t listening and began to unpack his bags much to my outrage

    “He said to tell you” he started again “that the decorators have finished in the science room and that the mock skeleton can go back now”.

    • DMelde says:

      A grave robbing boyfriend. That would probably be a deal breaker for me. Good job on showing her frustration and disappointment. She must really love him.

  69. rubber_soul64 says:

    “All You Create and All You Destroy”

    It was Boxing Day. My friend Jackie was over to watch the football match with me. Jackie was a darling, loud, alcohol-loving lady who made it her business to keep up on the affairs of others.

    “Marge says she’s got a new man, but he doesn’t know. That woman’s got more skeletons in her closet-”

    “Mummy-” I felt the tugging on my hand, trying to ignore the pulling on my fingers just that extra moment longer. I blinked, trying to refocus on Jackie as she went on.

    “But she hasn’t got one, I know she doesn’t.”

    “Mummy-” I looked down at my five-year-old daughter, Angie, her lip trembling in agitation as she shifted her weight from foot to foot. I bent down to look into her flickering grey eyes.

    “Angie, darling, Mummy’s talking,” I insisted in my sickeningly patronising voice. Angie shook her blonde ringlets violently.

    “No!” she nearly shouted. “Mummy, wait!” She open and closed her little fist, urging me closer. I bent closer to her china doll face as she whispered nervously, “What’s a skeleton in the closet?”

    “It’s just an expression, pet,” I insisted, kissing her cheek. This answer didn’t seem to satisfy her. She frowned, pulling her hand away from me as she made her way towards the stairs that led to her bedroom. I sighed, turning back to Jackie.

    “Still afraid of her own shadow?” she asked tenderly. I rubbed my eyes tiredly.

    “I don’t know what to do anymore, Jacks,” I whined. “She draws all these pictures of things she’s convinced are coming to get her.” Jackie furrowed her heavily manicured brow.

    “Bit odd, that,” she said, almost like a question. I shook my head.

    “I taught her to draw pictures of things that scare her. I told her it traps things on the paper.”

    “Ah, clever woman, you.” I smiled, downing the rest of the champagne in my hand.

    Later that evening, I let myself into Angie’s room to tuck her in. I frowned, tutting her as she sat in the corner, her eyes streaked with tears. She sucked in a breath when she saw me and she pointed shakily at the picture she’d drawn in red crayon. A literal skeleton heaped among clothes.

    “I drew it like you said,” she insisted. “But now it’s real.”

    “What are you talking about?” I asked, becoming more annoyed than sympathetic at her fearful antics.

    “Mummy, e-everything becomes real,” she repeated pleadingly. I rolled my eyes.

    “Angela, this is silly-”

    “It’s in the closet,” she whispered, pulling her blanket up higher. “Oh, please make it go away!” I made sure I had her full attention before moving towards the closet. I flipped the switch in the cupboard and rummaged through the bottom to make my point. I found myself breathlessly staring into empty eye sockets, my mouth falling open in one, unending silent scream.

  70. Rebecca says:

    Horror grew as the yawning blackness of its soulless eyes stared at me from the closet, gripping me with fear and guilt. The skeletal remains gruesomely recognizable by the bits and pieces of flesh, clothing and jewelry was none other than my best friend. She looked to have been put through a shredder all but her bones anyway. My closet has been invaded by death, tainting everything with its stench. Bile rose in the back of my throat but it was the pieces that hung from the clothes that sent me over the edge. I dashed to the bathroom barely making it in time to hang my head pitifully over the toilet. Fear drove the convulsions in my body even as the image of my friend danced in my head sickening me all over again.

    Shaking like an addict with withdrawals I made my way over to the vanity sink and mirror wanting to rid my mouth of the taste of death but my reflection halted my progress, arresting my attention and driving up my alarm. I was covered in blood and it wasn’t a far leap to guess whose it was. I dived back to the toilet, heaving the last bit I had left.

    Memory surfaced in fragmented pieces as I took a shower, ridding myself of the blood and gore, calming my mind at the same time. She had come over last night in a mad rush to get away…something about the lab. However the rest escaped me, I had no idea how I got home or what happened after we left my house. But an even bigger question loomed…what do I do now?

    I chose to focus on the problem at hand hoping that if I ignore the how it would come to me in a whisper of a thought. I stepped from the shower with a plan in mind but the issue of clothing quickly halted my progress. It was either wear something from the back of the closet or go naked, debating for a second I decided to suck it up and get dressed. Quickly as I could I grabbed something furthest from the gory remains of my friend uncaring of what it was.

    Hastily I gathered my needed supplies thanking my lucky stars that I lived in the middle of nowhere. Freedom to move without hiding enabled me to rapidly clean my closet, removing everything and bleaching it from top to bottom. Sorting my many clothes I started my laundry and repacked my closet with items that had been cleaned and sanitized. The routine cleaning was cathartic, allowing my memory to free itself.

    As I fed her bones through the wood chipper I remembered the feel of tearing her flesh from her body. I also remembered liking it. The thought caught me off guard even as evil smile crossed my face. And later when I took my homemade mulch to my church and spread in the gardens my smile got even bigger. Oh…the memories…

  71. DMelde says:

    Kelpie lounged in his deck chair on the Lanai, gazed out at the cerulean blue sea, and sipped his chilled mint tea. His long face, and thick black mane of shoulder length hair, gave him the semblance of a wild stallion, resting languidly before a race. Below him, palm trees dotted the golden sand beach, which stretched for miles along the shoreline. The palms’ emerald green fronds swayed gently in the breeze of the early morning trade winds. With a keen eye, he saw the body of a man a hundred yards from shore, floating face down, bloated, and alabaster white from spending too much time under the water. “Another day in paradise,” Kelpie thought, and he rose to change from his crushed velvet robe into a hand-tailored Caraceni suit for the day. Merchants of death constantly offered him obscene sums of money for his services, and they had made him very wealthy.
    He moved from room to room, past rare art and through the two-story library, walking over hand-made silk rugs, upstairs to his personal chambers. Heavy tapestries depicting ancient sea battles hung on the walls of his anteroom. His lucky horseshoes lay on an ivory table inlaid with silver filigree and polished silver legs. Kelpie walked into his bedroom, and there he paused. He sensed a weaker presence somewhere nearby, and, confidently, he walked over to the closet and opened the door. Inside stood a dirty-boned skeleton of a man, motionless, gazing down at the red stone floor through empty, eyeless sockets.
    “Howell Greaves,” Kelpie said. The skeleton shivered with fear from the malice in Kelpie’s voice, and shifted his feet farther apart to keep his knees from knocking together.
    “What are you doing in my closet?” Kelpie asked. His eyes glowed deep red in the dim light of the bedroom, like coals that burned unquenched. His voice was laced with cruelty, and the grim smile on his lips showed no warmth towards his visitor.
    “Mercy my lord!” pleaded Howell Greaves, with the accent of a Sloop pirate. He had died in the dark waters of the Atlantic, falling with his ship to the ocean’s bottom. Afterwards, his bones were lifted up into the servitude of the Kelpie. He toiled, enforcing the will of his master, with bone hands stained blood red from doing his bidding over many years.
    “I grow weary from slaughter my lord and I ask for my release,” Howell Greaves continued, “I’ve come to ask for death.”
    With the mischievous intelligence of his kind, Kelpie contemplated the request.
    “What need have I of you?” Kelpie answered, “The living deal death so willingly, but know this, if ever the need arises, so will you, to slaughter once again.”
    The skeleton bowed his skull in acceptance, and then collapsed onto the red stone floor. His bones crumbled into ash, and a mighty wind blew into the chamber and carried out his dust to the sea, where Howell Greaves joined the blissful sleep of the dead.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Wow DMelde, this was a super story! I love your descriptions, so rich!

    • jincomt says:

      Lovely word choices. I read the first sentence twice, just because I liked how it rolled around in my head. Good story too. Another prompt well done.

    • Ishmael says:

      First off, original take on the prompt! Although not specified, the way it read felt like I was transported to another time period, when men had castles and battles were fought with sword. Perhaps it is the beautifully poetic voice in which it was written…a voice that was the norm back then. Excellent imagery…I could picture things vividly.

      And I thought Howell Greaves was a wonderful name for the skeleton. Arrr! May ye rest in peace, Matey!

    • metaman321 says:

      Excellent job. I especially liked the transition and contrast from the idyllic scenery of the first few lines to the horror embodied in Howell Greaves the Kelpie.

    • aikawah says:

      Sweet stuff, swords and sorcery and oh such evil!! I enjoyed this very much Dmelde.

    • DMelde says:

      Thank you everyone for your kind words. I had just finished reading a novella by Robert E. Howard titled “Red Nails” that appeared in the early 1930′s in the magazine “Weird Tales”, and I thought I’d try out his writing style. I liked writing this way a lot.

  72. Jeanie Y says:

    It was a beautiful summer day, and momma had enough energy to go out. That wasn’t always the case. More often than not, she would sit by the window and watch me play. But today was our day.

    “Momma, come on! Come look what I found,” I squealed, as I pulled her along the path leading to the pines. When she smiled, her face lit up, and her smile was bright that day. We had to stop several times for her to catch her breath, and I being four years old was less than patient with her.

    Hopping back and forth, foot to foot, I asked momma what she saw. Her smile faded a little, but popped right back, just enough to tell me something was not right. “Oh, they’ve all flown away, Allie. Off to start a new life.”

    “Hold me up Momma. I want to see,” I begged, my arms reaching for her.

    “Oh, Allie, you have become so big this summer, I can’t possibly lift you.”

    “Then take it down so I can see…”

    “Allison…Allison!” My memory interrupted by dad’s insistent voice. His large frame blocking most of my doorway. “You have had two months to pack, and you are just starting in on that closet now? We are leaving tomorrow at six am sharp, and there is no room for wiggling, got it?” Everything with dad was sharp and there was never much room for wiggling.

    “Yeah, got it, dad.” Soon I wouldn’t have to get anything. The University of Pittsburgh is waiting for me, off to freedom and wiggling with whatever I decided to wiggle with. So, why didn’t I feel ready yet?

    A shaft of sunlight appeared through my window, illuminating the top shelf of my closet. On that shelf amongst my childhood treasures, sat a shoebox with my name written in lovely cursive handwriting. There was power in this box, I could feel it humming, no beating, much like a heart. I took the box down and set it on my desk taking a deep breath, preparing myself to open it.

    A tear slowly flowed down my cheek as I recognized the bird nest. A small, fragile skeleton nestled in the center. My mother’s note folded neatly beside it.

    “Allie, at four years old, you weren’t ready to see this. It would only have made you sad. I am hoping when you find this that it will remind you of our special day together and how memories can keep the people you love alive, even when they aren’t with you anymore. I know you think I lied to you that day, but I didn’t, not really. There are many ways to fly, and someday we will be together again. But for now, you spread your wings and fly, Allie my love! Live and enjoy your life and know that I will always be with you, as love never dies. Always, Momma”

    I dried my eyes and started packing in earnest. Pittsburgh awaits, my time to fly…

    • jincomt says:

      Oh–fun take on the prompt. It would have never occurred to me to use a non-human skeleton. Awesome creativity and a good story too– touching.

    • Heart2Heart says:

      Lovely story!

    • peetaweet says:

      Wow, great story…very well written!

    • hillsworth says:

      Wonderful story…tugs at the heartstrings.

    • Ishmael says:

      Very poignant. I too, like the bird’s nest as a “skeleton” in her closet. Quite a creative metaphor of the lost years of youth.

      Nobody loves us like our Momma’s. Thanks for the trip down Allie’s memory lane. :)

    • DMelde says:

      This is a really sweet story Jeanie. I enjoyed reading it.

    • aikawah says:

      This was such a lovely story; a coming of age tale delivered in 500 words. It made me remember my childhood, and going to boarding school… lovely.

    • Naomi says:

      A lovely story. You did an amazing job of painting the characters in so few words. I enjoyed reading this.

    • Rebecca says:

      I enjoyed this very much Jeanie…it brought tears to my eyes.

      • rob akers says:

        Jeanie,

        Now I am mad at you. You are making me cry. You crafted a wonderful story of a daughter and her mom. To me it is almost perfect and nearly ready for submission to a contest.

        Some suggestions to make it perfect: (In my humble opinion)

        1.Fix this sentence a little. “A tear slowly flowed down my cheek as I recognized the bird nest. A small, fragile skeleton nestled in the center. My mother’s note folded neatly beside it.”

        Instead of the tear falling down her cheek, show the apprehension and anticipation at what she might fine, like her heart skipping a heat, uneasy rumble in her soul…something like that. At that point in the story I know the box holds something special but I am not crying yet, but I am close. Exploit that emotional tension.

        2.Take out the last sentence. You don’t need it. Let the work stand on its own without an explanation. Have confidence in your work.

        3.Add something about the Dad being a loving father, but just firm. Dads are different from Moms but still just as loving.

        After you do what you want with this story, submit it please. It is worthy and can stand with any story I have ever read!

        Be careful because I now see you as cliff diving into a raging ocean. No more kiddy pool for you and no more of this crap about you being whatever…Listen to me now and hear me later. YOU ARE A GIFTED WRITER AND I WILL NOT TOLERATE ANYTHING LESS FROM YOU! That will teach you for making me cry!

        To me this is the best post of the week and possibly of the month/year!

        • Amy says:

          Jeanie…this was awesome! My mother died when I was a teenager. She was loving and wise, like the mother you’ve portrayed. You created just the sort of gesture she would have made to help me find my wings. Great job!

          • Jeanie Y says:

            Amy, that must have been so very hard for you. It is such an important time in our lives. I believe what momma wrote in her note, I hope you do too.

        • Jeanie Y says:

          Oh my Mr. Rob, I am going to have to get a wheelbarrow to carry my head around after that! ha!

          What I was thinking: The cursive writing was done by her mother and she knew it was from her and just spilled over, almost like a release. The last sentence was a try to show that she was a survivor, given the last piece of whatever she needed to move on. I wanted her strong. The dad didn’t seem too important.

          Thank you so much for your very kind words! Wow.

          Damn you, you popped my floaties! This is war. :)

        • Jeanie Y says:

          Hi Rob, I make jokes when I don’t know what to say…you have rendered me speechless…hope I didn’t offend.

          This was the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my writing, ever.

          Thank you.

          • rob akers says:

            Jeanie,

            When I was an instructor in the military I learned how to use fear, ridicule and sarcasm to motivate my students. Some people were mean and leaned on fear to instruct, I always preferred sarcasm and good natured fun. Additionally, I am a huge fan of humor in the face of a compliment. As I read your initial comments I recognized the humor/good nature sarcasm immediately and I took your comments as a collective “Thank You.” It is all good, keep up the good work and yes I did pop your floaties because you don’t need them!

            Since you have gotten nice comments from knuckleheads like me, you next goal should be to start collecting acceptation letters from publishers and agents! You have real talent and ability. And you are the first person to bring tears to my eyes. I am still upset about that. Wonderful Job!

            Now, get back to work!

    • JR MacBeth says:

      Awesome story, I agree with the many positive comments here. This could become a real gem if you chose to expand it, filling it out with even more heart-felt emotion. Pass the Kleenex!

  73. penney says:

    When you see something that is not normal like say, a skeleton, you react. The other day started out as usual. I got out of the shower, towel wrapped around me and tip-toed to my walk-in closet. Now just thinking about that is laughable because it is a weird habit. I live by myself so why do I tip toe? I’m not going to wake anyone.

    Anyway, I have to get up really early so it’s still dark out. This morning I opened the folding doors to greet my grand wardrobe, I’m such a clothes horse, I admit it. Sitting at the far end waving at me was a frickin’ skeleton! I screamed so loud, I’m sure the high rise across the way heard me. Thank god the drapes were closed cause the towel dropped and I ran around the apartment naked as a jaybird screaming, “Oh my god, oh my god. Get it out! Get it out! Ahhhhh!”

    When I hit the tile in the kitchen I was too deep in my frenzy to notice Muffin Kitties water dish. I hit my toe, proceeded to hop on one leg, boobs giggling (still nude), yelping some foul language a sailor would be proud of. Then it happened, I hopped right into the now spilled water. I flipped, at least three times. I’m not sure because I blacked out on the way down, not even a bronze for that move.

    For what I’m sure was a while later, Muffin Kitty woke me up by walking across my boobs. Up in seconds and cat flying, I held both my head, my toe, and brought my knees up for a false sense of cradling my breast. I assure you the pain of a cat walking on bare boobs is the same as a guy getting punched in the nuts. I slowly made it back to my closet, every light now on in my apartment to make me feel good, flipped the light on in the closet, and saw it. Ah shit, not today, I’m not ready I thought to myself. I sat on the side of the bed and grabbed the phone. I dialed my friend Jen.

    Before she could speak, I went off. “You son-of-a-bitch, I have an important meeting today. I can’t deal with this.”

    “Come on Sam, you know the deal. He’s yours now. Twenty-four hours to set it up and dump him. Patty’s next,” Jen was laughing.

    Ever sense we graduated, the girls from the fraternity have been passing around this damned skeleton as a joke. A one-upmanship of who can get who the best. I had forgotten all about it. All I could think of now was how she got into my place without being noticed. I’ll have to speak to Joe, the doorman. Damn she got me good. Twenty-four hours and a skeleton in the closet, I need to call in sick for this one.

    • Ishmael says:

      Cute take on this – a sorority gag. The antics of the narrator after finding the skeleton were funny, very slapstick. I’ve never seen giggling boobs, though – it must’ve been something the nipples said. :) I knew you meant jiggling…but the thought of giggling boobs cracks me up.

    • DMelde says:

      Ha-Ha! Oh great, now how am I supposed to know the next time if they’re giggling, or simply jiggling, because when they giggle they also jiggle, and I can’t very well put my ear up close to hear the chuckles to find out. I love the story. Great job!

  74. Squiggles says:

    It was the smell that hit me first, ancient and earthy, like something that had been underground for much too long. I looked down on the floor of my closet and saw a small mound rising from beneath a blanket.

    “What the -”

    I pulled away the fabric and the hollow sockets of a grinning skull stared back at me.

    “Jesus!” I gasped, jumping up. The edge of the carpet caught my foot and I went sprawling onto the floor. It was the shockwaves of pain coursing through my spine that brought me to my senses enough to take a closer look at this new occupant of my closet.

    Meekly I pulled away the rest of the blanket. The skeleton was wearing the remnants of clothes so filthy and tattered that I couldn’t discern what era they had belonged to. The bones peaking through the rags were yellowed with age and looked brittle enough to crumble at the slightest touch. Fresh dirt coated the skeleton like it had recently been unearthed.

    Every single possibility ran through my mind as I tried to figure how this had come to be here. Suddenly I heard the sound of keys in the lock outside my door. A wave of panic and horror swept over me as I realized it was my roommate, and I scrambled to cover the skeleton back up. But Stanley was in the room faster than I could reach the blanket. He let the door swing shut behind him and stood there staring at me. Then he grinned.

    “Pretty nice find, huh Mark?” he said.

    “F-find?” I stuttered weakly.

    “Yeah, got this guy in the graveyard last night.” He sounded proud.

    “But why?” I felt faint.

    “Why not?” Stanley grinned. A pounding on the door made me jump.

    “OPEN UP! POLICE!”

    Stanley’s eyes grew wide. “Quick!” he said. He opened the window and hopped out onto the fire escape. The police smashed through the door just then.

    “Freeze,” they yelled, and I fainted face first onto the floor.

    When I came to, I was aware at first of the softness of a bed beneath me. I tried to sit up, but something restrained me.

    “Hello, Stanley,” I heard a woman say nearby.

    “Where’s Stanley?” I slurred, trying to make my eyes focus on the room. “You got him?”

    “Just relax,” the woman said. I heard a door open and someone approached me.

    “How’s he doing?” a man’s voice ask.

    “He’s asked about Stanley,” the woman replied. I noticed a hint of concern in her voice.

    “Where’s Stanley?” I asked again. “Is he alright?”

    “You’re alright, Stanley,” the man said, looking down at me.

    “My name’s Mark,” I said. The man and woman exchanged glances.

    “Your name is Stanley, son, not Mark,” the man said.

    “Poor boy’s relapsed.” The woman shook her head sadly.

    “Yeah, and he’s hitting the graveyards again,” the man sighed. “We better call his doctor and tell him Stanley’s dug up another body.”

    • Ishmael says:

      Neat schizophrenic take on this! I like how he fainted realistically – face first. Most people don’t realize that’s how people faint.

      Poor Mark…Stanley’s always getting him in trouble!

  75. aikawah says:

    The church steeple had no right to stand so tall, pointing towards heaven. Not after what we did that night. The cross should have drooped its sweeping arms with the memory of that day in April when we went beyond sin, perhaps even beyond redemption.

    Nothing was moving around the church except some skinny mongrel, slinking about the ruins of the burned vicarage. It stopped to look as I jumped over the bolted gate, the life gone from its eyes. It was haunted too, dying of the hunger that had come after the glut of blood. For a moment I met its gaze; an empty man staring at an empty dog. We understood and went our ways.

    ‘Gikondo Catholic Church’ still gleamd above the door, not a single letter out of place. The door had been bolted after the bodies were moved out but the hinges were broken. I pushed, and the door slanted in, hanging only by the bolt. I stepped past it quickly, hoping no one had heard it give.

    They had washed it and rearranged the pews, though most were broken, and the aisle still bore some dark brown stains. Standing at the end of it looking towards the altar, I wondered what I was doing there. It was strange how I felt at that moment, like I always did before mass. Carrying Father William’s big bible behind the choir girls, the congregation dancing on my left and right. The only thing missing was my robe. I needed to wear my robe and climb to the altar one last time.

    I walked up the aisle slowly, measuring my steps like I always did when they sang. It was a happy song playing in my head. One of those choruses that everybody sang along to and for the first time since April, I smiled. I stopped at the second row of pews, where the line of weak and injured men had tried to protect the children. We had cut them down; each and every one. The tears were blurring my vision so I sat to cry a while. There was a stain on the corner of the pew in front of me and I leaned closer to look. ‘Someone must have smashed a baby’s head against it’ I thought as I kissed it. A tear fell on the wood and rolled down taking nothing with it. Our evil would forever be a part of the church.

    I stepped forward again to the third pew from the front. I had been standing here, blood dripping from my machete when Father William saw me. I had looked back at him with wild murderous eyes as he gulped in horror. Someone had dragged him outside then, and I had simply continued. They found his body up the road the following day. His body; nothing else.

    In the vestry, I opened the closet to get my robe and found Father William’s miter, lopsided on top of his skull. They were lying on the altar beside each other when the villagers came to cut me down.

    • Squiggles says:

      This is a beautiful piece of writing, both heartbreaking and intense. Your description of such an atrocious act was told with a brutal honesty, and I admire that.

    • jincomt says:

      The story is tragic. But the thought I had as I read your story is how lovely you write.

    • Ishmael says:

      Aikawah -

      That first paragraph is a killer! I savored every word, chewing it to gristle before taking a bite of the next flavorful morsel you wrote. It was that good. “The church steeple had no right to stand so tall…” I love it!

      Okay…maybe I better read the rest of it now. Seriously, the whole story followed suit. Graphic tragedy expressed without a lot of gore. Just right, like the porridge Goldilocks chose. Again, it’s great to watch your talent bloom.

    • DMelde says:

      Wonderful story. Good, evil, sacrilege, and even redemption. Really outstanding Aikawah.

    • aikawah says:

      Thanks guys, I’m glad you liked it so much.

      @Ishmael – I had a weak start with the other prompt(The day you save a life) and you guys were kind enough to point out the weaknesses for me so its really great to hear that you loved the beginning this time. Thanks again for the feedback, its very helpful.

  76. Kae Lee says:

    My bedroom alarm beeped uncontrollably right on time, interrupting another great dream. I slapped it off the nightstand in an attempt to tap the snooze button. It dangled by its cord over the edge of the table, red numbers now facing the floor. Feeling sexy, I rolled over looking for my lover but all that remained was the smell of his cologne. Disappointed the spell hadn’t worked out properly, I got out of bed to shower.

    Without warning my sister barged into the room looking for my boyfriend. She actually pouted when she didn’t see him. “Damn Emma, why he leaves so early? He married or something? “

    “Heavens no! What the hell BJ? Is that what you think of me, a home wrecker?” I asked. I wasn’t sure if I should be pissed at her wild assumption or be satisfied she didn’t know the truth. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that and go jump in the shower. Don’t be bitchy and go through my things.” I said before turning and heading to the shower.

    I had no sooner put the shampoo in my hair when I heard BJ scream. I didn’t bother washing the suds out of my hair or grabbing clothes, but instead raced to the closet before she could call the police. I made it just in time and snatched the phone from her hands.

    “You don’t understand,” I said as she backed away from me with terror in her eyes.

    “Everything makes sense now. The no shows. Everything.” BJ said more to herself then to me while she motioned towards the skeleton slumped over on the closet floor.

    “Okay BJ, you need to listen and stop rambling. This is going to be difficult to say but I’m just going to say it and hope you don’t need a therapist for the rest of your life.” I said as I covered up my nakedness with the blanket draped across the bed. Now that I had her attention, I continued. “I’m in love and this is the only way it works.”

    “What do you mean this is the only way it works?” She asked in a disgusted tone, her eyes shifting nervously back to the skeleton. “This is pretty fuckin sick Emma.” She said backing up further from me and the closet.

    “Marcus agreed to a self -sacrificing ritual to allow my lover to return in the flesh. The ritual requires using the bones of a willing vessel. Now my husband-to-be can be with me every night.” I said smiling in satisfaction.

    But in the end, I had been wrong, dead wrong. Anubis had only needed me to perfect the resurrection spell so he could escape the Underworld. With that accomplished, he murdered me. But some day he will have used up his new body and will return home where he will find me waiting. And as they say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

  77. Fedoraman94 says:

    Man, I don’t wanna go to school! Why does it have to be monday?
    Ugh, there’s nothing in my closet that I want to wear. What was that noise? It sounded like something just fell over.
    Cool, a skeleton. Wait, Halloween isn’t for a few more months. AAAHH A SKELETON!!!
    (closet slams shut)
    Phew, that was weird. Why the hell is there a skeleton in my closet? What happened last night? All I remember is waking up to get something to drink.
    (knocks on door) Hey mom? Dad? Did you put something in my closet yesterday? No? Okay, thanks anyway.
    Man, what could it be from?
    (Opens closet)
    It looks like whoever this was has been dead for a while. There’s no skin left. It smells really bad, though. (closes closet)
    Hmm. Maybe somebody broke in and put it there when I was at school yesterday. No, that can’t be it. Mom and dad would’ve said something if our house had been broken into.
    Maybe I should call the police. No, they might think I killed him. Whoever it is, I feel bad for him. Now he’s stuck in my closet.
    Oh, wow. Now I remember! I remember what happened!
    (opens closet and picks up skeleton) Hey Phil, I just remembered why I killed you. (places skeleton on the ground)
    Thanks again for the money.

    • Fedoraman94 says:

      forgot something. after the last line I meant to put (closes closet)

    • Ishmael says:

      While written with a good grasp of grammar, your story took a lot of work for this reader to understand – things just weren’t cohesive.

      The first few sentences had me thinking the narrator was a kid – the maturity level of the voice seemed young. With the use of “hell,” yet still living at home, I raised him to a teenager. That’s about the best I could do…all the rest sort of fell apart on me.

      Why the parentheses? It read like a script, and they weren’t metaphorical for anything.
      No skin and rotten smell…evidently he’s been dead for a while. Does the narrator forget and rediscover him on a daily basis?
      Why aren’t Mom and Dad aware of the smell? It’s sure more than “Teen Spirit.” (Or maybe that’s exactly what it is) Are M&D dead, too? Was the answer to his question to them just a voice in his head?
      He hesitates to call the police for fear of wrongful prosecution, but a millisecond later he ‘remembers’ that he did kill him. Over money. A teenager’s amount of money. I’m taking it this guy was mental. Although neither explained nor really implied, that’s the only way I can see this story working…but with so many unanswered questions.

      Feel free to take what you need and leave the rest behind. :)

      • Fedoraman94 says:

        first time i’ve checked this in months.
        um, yea, i was trying to get away from 3rd person and try something different. I had some difficulty with it (as you can see). you brought up very good points, most of which I didn’t think about when I was writing this, so thank you. Next time I try this writing style I will be more cautious with how I write

    • Icabu says:

      This does have a script feel – interesting.
      Hope Phil haunts this cold dude.

  78. Szramiakje says:

    “Honey, have you seen my briefcase?”

    “Ummm…”

    I looked at my wife through the mirror that hung above the bureau in our bedroom. “Have you seen my briefcase?” I repeated, this time more slowly so she wouldn’t miss a word. “I put it on the chair last night, remember? So I wouldn’t forget it for my interview?”

    “Yeah, I remember. I just don’t know where it is,” she said, smothering her face back into the pillows and away from the light that I had flicked on.

    I spun around to face her. “Well, when I got up this morning I noticed that it wasn’t there- so unless a ghost ran off with it someone must’ve moved it.” I waited for her to get the hint.

    “Maybe a ghost did run off with it,” came the muffled response. I sighed and, still in only my boxers, hurried out of the bedroom to scour the rest of the house. Foyer, living room, kitchen. I checked all of the places where my wife could have moved the briefcase out of absentmindedness. Then I checked all of the places where she could have moved it out of spite. Neither search proved fruitful.

    Dejected, I decided that I would just print out another copy of my resume and carry it in a folder, even if it looked less professional. At this point it didn’t matter- the important thing was to get to the interview on time, and I wasn’t even dressed yet. I ran into the bathroom to shower and shave and then raced back to the bedroom to get dressed, towel flapping around my waist. But when I opened the armoire to get my suit out I nearly fell flat on my face.

    Staring back at me out of the darkness of the wardrobe was a creamy white skeleton, six feet tall, and fully clothed in my interview suit and power tie. In one hand it was clutching my briefcase. I dropped the towel to the ground and let out a yelp.

    “Why are you screaming?” my wife said, sitting up now to admonish me. “And why are you naked?” I looked at her, dumbfounded, then to the skeleton, then back to her, then down at my exposed midsection. I picked up the towel and looked back at my wife, who had her eyebrows raised.

    “Ummm…” I said, “I found my briefcase,” and shut the armoire door.

  79. Ramblin Dan says:

    Gone Missing

    “Jeanne, where’s Mr. BoJangles?”

    “Oh, I don’t know daddy, I haven’t seen him in a while.”

    “Have you played with him out of his cage?”

    “Yes, don’t be mad, but I lost him.”

    His tie was giving him fits, it was his second try to get it right.

    “I’m not mad honey. Why don’t you go see if Richard is up for school, okay?”

    “Okay.”

    Passing the double Windsor’s final loop through, the tie cinched and fell one and a half inches above the belt.

    “Ah yes, there we go.”

    He sat and began his breakfast. “Oh, by the way Mary, I found Mr. BoJangles.”

    “Oh really, where?”

    “Well, what was left of him was sitting in the bottom of one of my Bostonians. Slipped my foot in and felt some strange stuff, little crunchy.”

    “Strange.”

    “Yes.”

    She sipped her juice.

    “Funny, we didn’t smell anything.”

    “Not much there really, made a mess of the shoe though, must of crawled in there to hide, and then, you know, left the little mess.”

    “What will we tell Jeanne?”

    “I suggest nothing, she didn’t seem to be too concerned.”

    “I guess you’re right, should we bury him?”

    “Are you sure he’s a him, how could you tell?”

    “Guess I couldn’t really, doesn’t really matter now, does it?”

    “No, I guess not. I don’t think we need to bury him, I’ll just empty the shoe in the trash after Jeanne leaves for school.”

    “Sounds good.”

    “Should we go shoe shopping tonight?”

    “Yes, I think we should.”

  80. cekensinger says:

    We’ve had this discussion before. No matter how large a closet she has, my wife always packs so much into it that inevitably something gets lost in there. She does the same thing with her purse, but, fortunately, I don’t have to share it. I do have to share the closet. Some day I would love to have my own, personal closet. That would help to prevent these problems.

    I walked into the closet to get my shirt and pants for the morning. I stepped on something. I didn’t take notice, but when I returned for my shoes and bent down, I saw the foot. Yes, the foot bone was connected to the ankle bone and so on all the way up to a full skeleton. “Hun, where did this skeleton come from?”

    “What skeleton?” she answered as she came back to look. “Where did that come from?”

    “That was my original question?” was my witty reply.

    “John, do you know where this skeleton came from?” I called to our son. He was the only other person in the house. Hopefully he would know.

    “I hid it there.” He called from his room.

    “Why?” I asked as I came into the hallway.

    “Bill couldn’t let the cops find it in his house,” was the confusing reply.

    “Where did Bill get a skeleton?” Bill lives down the street and the boys have known each other for all of their eighteen years.

    “It’s his great uncle, Joe. When he died back when we were kids, Joe donated his body for medical research to the University. They preserved his skeleton and used it in anatomy classes until a couple weeks ago when they bought a skeleton that is interactive. This thing talks to you and tells what each bone is and everything. It is really cool.” I thought he would never finish the explanation.

    “So why do we have Bill’s great uncle Joe in our closet?” I inquired further.

    “The Medical School called the family before throwing him out. Bill went and got it. When his mom saw it in his room, she freaked. She thinks the police will think they killed someone, if they find a skeleton at their house.” The lengthy story grew.

    “And you brought it in here, because?” I tried to lead him.

    “Because you always say we don’t have any skeletons in our closets.” I looked at him stupefied. And then he said, “Now you can’t say that anymore.” He has always had his mother’s sense of humor.

  81. Dean Kutzler says:

    Stephen stepped out of the shower; ready to start another day of the grind. Grabbing a towel, he headed into the bedroom. Now in his mid sixties, he didn’t know how he’s lasted this long in the thankless daily humdrum. No one ever truly loves his or her job if they’re being honest with themselves; they just give up their dreams and get a ticket on the daily Rat Race bus. Well, almost no one. His rat faced boss certainly seemed to enjoy his job.

    Stephen! Order me lunch!

    Stephen! Make sure you tell them dressing on the side this time!

    Stephen! Fax this for me!

    Stephen! Make ten copies of this and distribute it before lunchtime! Oh—finish your lunch first—of course.

    Did the man ever do anything for himself? In the age of today’s economy, the trend followed suit. Business’s had to cut down on payroll expenses and milk every last ounce from their employees, not to mention their dignity. But he wasn’t hired as a Personal Assistant. He was the freakin’ accountant for Christ’s sake! Personal Bitch 101 wasn’t part of his curriculum.

    Even getting dressed was part of the mundane task, same cloths, same closet, the same everything, every freakin’ morning. If he’d only followed his dream and became a writer, then he’d be happy even if he ended up poor.

    “Babe—did you pick up my dry cleaning?” he asked Tabitha his college sweetheart turned wife, as he finished toweling off.

    “Yup. It’s right next to Mister Bones there, hanging in the closet,” she said, referring to the actual full-scale skeleton hanging in the closet.

    He snickered, “You know that’s Mrs. Beasley.”

    “Ah—yeah. You’ve mentioned that a few times—gettin’ a little old. Don’t you think it’s time to get rid of it? I’m sure there’s a nice science lab out there for it somewhere.”

    “I like Mrs. Beasley right where she is! Cummon’ hurry up and pick me out something before I’m late.”

    “Relax! Isn’t Mr. Rizzo’s on vaca? What’s that make it? Three weeks now? Who will scream your name? Other than me?” she said slapping his bare butt cheek.

    “Hey,” he laughed, “forget it I’ll get it myself!” He pushed past her covering his butt as he pulled out the navy suit, accidentally hooking the skeleton causing it to topple out of the closet. “Damn it!”

    “Even Mrs. Beasley is getting tired of hanging around!”

    “Ha ha. Can you fix her? I’m really late and I have an early meeting,” he said returning the slap.

    Tabitha bent down to pick up the skeleton and noticed Stephen’s old high school yearbook had been knocked out the box beneath the old bones. Splayed open on the school counselor’s page, the inscription was penned as follows:

    Dear Stephen,

    Writing stories is good fun, but you’ll never get anywhere without a good solid job. Stick to the plan we discussed in counseling and you’ll be a happy accountant before you know it.

    Good Luck,
    Mrs. Beasley

    Tabitha carefully hung the bones back up and slowly closed the closet door.

    • Dean Kutzler says:

      SORRY EVERYONE!! I screwed up the italics HTML code!! Only his bosses words were supposed to be italics! I’m such a ninny.. :(

      • aikawah says:

        I like it! The story that is, not the italics manenos… poor Mrs. Beasley.

      • Ishmael says:

        It happened to me last week. I used italics for my title…no problem. I made a comment normally, used italics, and then went back to normal…no problem. I did it again (and enclosed the line I wanted italicized within the html code – e.g., I did it correctly), but from that point on, everything was italicized, like today’s prompt.

        It’s something about this site. Even if you (or I) would have forgotten to get out of the html brackets, it should have only lasted for that post, and not affected the whole page from that point on. And there’s no way that I know to contact these people.

        Oh, by the way, how did you get your avatar to show? I’d like to put one up, but cannot find the option in my profile anywhere.

        • Dean Kutzler says:

          Ishmael, I honestly don’t know. They don’t make it very easy on here to personalize your account. I THINK it grabbed my profile picture from a WordPress blog that I have. That’s the only place where I’ve posted that picture. So maybe this site is powered by WordPress? Not sure.. If you find out, please let me know too! ;)

      • WinterThielen says:

        We have corrected the HMTL issue :)

    • jincomt says:

      Dreams relegated to the closet, squashed by “you can’t”, tucked away with the skeleton. Poignant.

    • Ishmael says:

      Good job! Not the accounting, the writing! I loved the wrap up, and the “moral” to the story. ALWAYS stoke the fires of passion! If more counselors, parents, teachers, people would encourage following passion rather than practicality, I think we’d all lead happier, more productive lives. Some are born accountants, some, writers.

      Great plot. A couple of grammatical errors (businesses, not business’s; if he’d only followed his dream and become a writer, not became), but nothing major. I loved the Personal Bitch 101 line. And my favorite word in this? Splayed. I like when a good word gets a chance to shine.
      :)

    • This is remarkable. I love the fact that the literal skeleton also represented a metaphoric one, and the loss of that dream should resonate with everyone of us here.

    • Icabu says:

      Liked the physical reminder aspect. Great take on the prompt.
      Enjoyable read, like always!

    • DMelde says:

      Great story. I like the depth you gave their relationship and the ending where Tabitha learns something new about her husband. Maybe with her encouragement, Stephen will begin to write afterall.

      • rob akers says:

        Sir, You are a master and commander of all things written. I don’t like it….I LOVE it. You manage to make a huge moral point, that point is open for all to get but I walk away feeling good and never feel like I have been preached too. Esop is smiliing somewhere right now.

        Maybe you should get Mrs. Beasley and Stanley (from Icabu’s submission) together. I would love to hear the stories they could tell.

        • Amy says:

          I can so relate to working a job because it’s necessary, not a passion! One suggestion…The part “Personal Bitch 101 wasn’t part of his curriculum” suggest that he is a student instead of an employee. Maybe it should say Personal Bitch wasn’t in his job description. Only a suggestion! I really loved the story, especially the end. Teachers should encourage students to follow their dreams, not squash them!

  82. rob akers says:

    A Major Jimmy Everest Story

    January 7, 2000

    Jimmy walked in his closet, the next day, he was scheduled to interview for a pilot position with the West Virginia Air National Guard unit. A United States Army Officer, his run of luck suddenly ended. He had been informed him that if he did not find another branch, the Army would start proceedings to separate him from the military without an honorable discharge.

    Jimmy eyed the Kelly Green uniform hanging on the metal hanger. It looked incomplete because of the missing set of military decorations. He shook his head in anger that those who had commanded him never appreciated him or his dedication. He had begun the process of righting those wrongs. Adding a Bronze Star with the V device for valor in the face of combat, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals and a Presidential Unit Citation to his previous weak rack; he finally looked the part of real American hero.

    With his uniform pressed and placed perfectly in the thick folding bag. He kissed his wife and twin boys and left in the car. A block later, he stopped the car at the local gas station. He reached into the glove box and found the throw away cell phone. He scrolled through the seventeen phone numbers, finding the right one and pressed the button, he was rewarded with a ring.

    “Hey Baby!” The female voice spoke.

    “I am on the way over, do you have my papers?”

    “Of course, baby. Can you stay for a few minutes?”

    “Maybe, 30 seconds.” Jimmy chuckled at his joke. “I will be there in 5.”

    37 minutes later, Jimmy left his mistress’ minus a few billion white cells and devoid of any guilt.

    Saturday, 8 January

    Jimmy was preparing to leave the interview confident that he had found a new home. During the day, he had met most of the pilots. The best part of the day was that he was accepted so easily. Jimmy was a big man, natural athlete complete with a million dollar smile. His goal was to be the nicest guy in the room. Not because he was a nice guy and not because he loved people. The only person he really loved was himself and he learned at a young age, that honey caught more flies than vinegar.

    After lunch with the unit commander, Walking out the door he was met by an equally tall Captain. “Major, I am Bill Rimes, the Training Officer. I need a copy of your transfer orders and paperwork.”

    Jimmy pulled out the packet his mistress had prepared for him as his heart skipped a beat. This was his moment of truth. Jimmy hated to trust anyone, especially a half crazy Private who worked in the Personnel section of the base. In the hallway, Captain Rimes looked over all of the records pausing at the Awards and Decorations section. Taking an uncomfortable minute to compare the document to Jimmy’s chest, Bill welcomed him to the unit.

    • jincomt says:

      Oh no, Bill slipped up. It can’t be!

      I loved this sentence: 37 minutes later, Jimmy left his mistress’ minus a few billion white cells and devoid of any guilt.

      It says so much in so little. Well written.

    • Ishmael says:

      I thought Capt. Bill had gone AWOL for a sec…but this was a nice change to see slices of the other men’s lives, yet still work him in. I like how you took this character – there are bad apples in every bushel. Dishonest, unfaithful, in love with only himself…very believable. I loved all the details, especially the white blood cell line. It only took him a half an hour? :o)

      I only have two minor suggestions:

      The first sentence feels a little misleading, or at least awkward…it contains actions from today and tomorrow combined in one sentence, and needs a smoother transition of the two, even if it has to be broken up into separate sentences.

      “Jimmy walked in his closet, the next day, he was scheduled to interview for a pilot position with the West Virginia Air National Guard unit.”

      Even with the comma, it reads like Jimmy walked into his closet the next day. I know what you mean, but…it’s…I dunno…a little clumsy.

      “Jimmy walked in his closet, lost in thought. Tomorrow, he was scheduled to interview for a pilot position with the West Virginia Air National Guard unit.”

      I seems to feel more complete and separates the actions a little more clearly that way.

      The only other thing, and like I said, both of these are minor, but the use of Kelly Green when describing military garb. Kelly Green is a bright, happy color of green. Think Leprechauns. Military green (Army) is more Olive Drab, which I’m sure you’re quite familiar. It just didn’t seem to mesh with what I knew about the uniforms, unless they’ve gone a lot brighter since I last saw them.

      As always, a nice peek into the military world…and I really like (to dislike) this character! I’d love to see more of him. Good Job! :)

      • rob akers says:

        You are exactly right in your comments about the opning line and the uniform. Keppy Green goes with Notre Dame not the Army. That shows what happens when you dont spend an extra 30 seconds in research.

        You will be seeing more of the Major. I am working on a character in another work that I can’t get my head around. I am going to use Major Jimmy as the base for this guy. Captain Bill isnt going anywhere but expect the good Captain to untimately be right about the Major.

        Thanks to everyone for the compliments and the encouragement.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      I am new to the Capt.Rimes stories, but get the feeling that he doesn’t make many mistakes. Punning on the prompt, and a slice of your story, he made a really big boner, didn’t he? :) I enjoyed and want to know more!

    • Icabu says:

      Maj Everest has a closet full of skeletons. Who better than Capt. Bill to ferret them out – eventually.
      Enjoyable read, as usual!

    • DMelde says:

      Good story Rob. I look forward to finding out what happens.

  83. jincomt says:

    Closets are supposed to be full of clothing, shoes that smell, and even metaphorically speaking, secrets.

    That’s what I thought, or at least I did until the morning I woke up, blurry eyed and stumbling to the kitchen for the blessed relief of caffeine. Why didn’t someone just invent a drip bag of the stuff, hanging from a rolling medical pole that could be fed directly into the veins? As I sipped the life-infusing java, I thought about the classes I had that day: Biochemistry, Embryology, Advanced Anatomy. No wonder I craved coffee like a drug.

    After my hot shower, I walked to my closet, already knowing which the pair of jeans I would wear and the long sleeve t-shirt I would pair with them. Without even looking, I reached for the hangers. My fingers brushed against a cold, thin hardness my mind instantly recognized as a phalange. I’m not proud of this, but I screamed—a blood curdling, high-pitched scream, completely unbecoming of my gender. The skeleton, its jaw slack, dangling from its hook, screamed silently back at me.

    “Oh for the love of…” My voice trailed off as the tachycardia beat of my heart slowed to normal.

    Of course, it was a prank. Someone from my Anatomy class must have snuck in while I was out to dinner last night and put ol Ernie, our class skeleton, into my closet. Very funny. Hilarious. I hoped they were ready to take responsibility for my acute myocardial infarction.

    I picked up his anorexic wrist and shook his hand. “Hi Ern,” I said out loud, “Nice of you to visit.” I glanced at his fingers, the distal phalanges to be precise. Something was a little different with my buddy. I inspected his body a bit closer. This wasn’t Ernie. There appeared to be bits of fibrous tissue still clinging to the metacarpal bones and… I dropped the skeleton’s hands. This, most definitely wasn’t Ernie.

    I gulped and contemplated calling the police when I heard a frantic rapping at my front door. I slammed the closet door shut. Trying to walk casually, I held my palm up, wondering what microbes were clinging and festering on my skin. I opened the door to Morey and Phil, two of my classmates.

    “Bernie, let us in.”

    “Um guys, this isn’t a good time. You know, anatomy test today. I was just, uh, reviewing the skeletal system.”

    Morey’s voice lowered and his eyes darted back and forth. “Bernie, there won’t be a test today.”

    I stared back at him.

    Phil picked up the thread, “Dr. Fisk was in an unfortunate accident—late night review session, a vat of acid in the Chemistry lab. It was messy.”

    “Oh guys,” I said the pieces coming together. “You didn’t.”

    “We panicked.” Morey shrugged, looking like he might cry.

    “Come in. Quick.” We had to decide what to do with poor Dr. Fisk. Come to think of it, one of the other instructors had mentioned he was tired of sharing Ernie.

  84. massagemom84 says:

    I wince as one of my curlers attaches itself to yet another hanger in the back of my closet. I extract the curler for its death grip, and continue my excavation for my little black dress. After moving yet another set of scrubs, I let out a triumphant yell, as I close my hand around the elusive dress. As I pull it from its tangled of hangers, my hand touches something cold, and hard. I move a couple more sets of last year’s scrubs, and gasp into the soulless eyes of a skeleton.
    I cry out stumbling out of the closet slamming the door.
    “Are you Ok?” my roommate Candice asks, from the bathroom putting her final touches of her make up.
    “Yeah.” I reply as tears stream down my face. I step back into the closet, hoping desperately,that my long hours are finally manifesting into a morbid intruder.
    How? Who? I think to myself inching closer to the dangling bones.
    I have tried so hard to reinvent myself I think, I am not who I was when I left the burning remains of my childhood home.
    I quickly make a mental list of the people I know, my teachers, friends, employers, classmates. Who?
    I will find out who it is, they will not ruin what I have here. With a determination that I found somewhere deep inside me, I conjure a plan on how to get rid of my past once and for all.
    I quickly empty out my back pack, and start stuffing the deadened bones into it. I put on my black dress, and remove the curlers throwing them onto my bed. I head into the kitchen where Candice is sitting on the counter.
    “Are you ready?” she asks she asks.
    “You look kind of pale, and your make-up is somewhat smudged.” I go to the mirror and swipe at my eyes. The desperation on my face evident.
    “Sure I will meet you there.”
    “Ok, are you sure you are all right.” Candice says this while checking my forehead. I just nod.
    Once inside my car, I go over my plan. I will go to the party, and when they try to make their move I will be ready. I check to make sure the syringe is still in my purse. They won’t even know what hit them, before their blazing demise with the contents of my backpack alongside them.
    As I start the engine, my phone rings it is my anatomy professor. Could it be him, I hope not I really liked him.
    “Hello” I answer
    “Hi, Stephanie, I was just wondering if you found my present in your closet.” Damn I think.
    “Yes, in fact I did.” I say pulling the syringe out of my purse. I’m outraged when he laughs.
    “Ah, good. I hope Barney didn’t scare you too much. I was hoping you could bring him when you get to the student awards.”
    I am dumbfounded Barney our skeleton from anatomy class, was stuffed into my bag. I start laughing hysterically as I drive to the awards.

  85. Sarah had slept well, despite being in a house that was not just unfamiliar but was down right, truly strange. She woke a little after dawn, too comfortable in the soft bed and under the thick, down comforter to want to actually get up, and looked around her room. It did not take her long to decide the room was vastly improved upon exposure to daylight. It was certainly more inviting and didn’t exude that sense of being haunted that the candle-lit introduction of last night had left her with. Of course, the storm that had been raging when they arrived which accounted for the power being out was likely to blame for that.

    When she heard voices in the hallway, Sarah at last got up. The lady’s maid had, she had been told, already put her clothing and things away, and she opened the drawers one by one, seeing what each held and confirming that everything was still in order. Next she went to the closet, finding not just her own clothes but some beautiful vintage dresses as well.

    Curiosity got the better of her and she took one out, holding it up to admire herself in the tall mirror. She smiled and twirled and imagined the gentlemen who might ask her to dance at some fancy ball or other. Her daydream was interrupted by a knock at the door.

    “Miss? Are you awake?”

    “Just a moment!” she said, not wanting to be caught playing with what was undoubtedly a very old an expensive gown. She ducked into the closet to hang it back up when a flash of something white caught her eye. She moved another dress out of the way, revealing where a piece of wood paneling had fallen inside the wall cavity. From out of the hollow, two empty eye sockets stared back at her, polished teeth grinning.

    Sarah screamed. The maid opened the door and caught the fleeing girl in her arms.

    “Why Miss, whatever is the matter?”

    “Someone is dead in the wall!” she said, pointing to the closet.

    The maid, not one to be frightened, told Sarah to stay right by the door and went to the closet. She pulled the panel out of the way, revealing more of the body which still had the wispy remains of a dress hanging from its bones. A glitter of silver caught her eye; a locket on a chain. Steeling her nerves, she reached behind the skeleton’s neck to undo the clasp, then brought the necklace out into the light of the room and opened it.

    Sarah, emboldened by the maid’s courage, came over to look. Half of the locket held a faded likeness and the other an inscription.

    “Who is it?” Sarah asked.

    “It’s the likeness of her Ladyship Eliza Murray.”

    “Who was that?”

    “She was Lady here, oh, a hundred years ago,” the maid said. “It was rumored she ran away with a servant.”

    “I don’t think she really ran away,” Sarah said.

    • massagemom84 says:

      I loved it, good ending. This one was hard for me, to write. I liked your take.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Oh, the beginning of a mystery! Good story!

    • Icabu says:

      Nice start to a good mystery.
      Good read.

    • Ishmael says:

      CreativeMetaphor –

      I think it was last week that I first happened upon one of your stories. If I recall, I was just as pleased with that one, too. I like how this prompt has brought out the mystery writer in you that you didn’t know existed. I’m certainly intrigued. And I’m dying to know what the inscription says! I’m imagining, Nobody will ever love you more than I, a gift the Lord of the house gave her the night he encased her in the wall. The night she was supposed to run off with her lover.

      See what you spurred? I’m asking questions, not because things weren’t fully explained, leaving me trying to make sense of it, but because you explained (very well, might I add) the necessary things, leaving me on the edge of my seat for the next clue. This has the potential to really become something bigger – it’s already something in its own right! I encourage you to continue, and let the mystery writer in you breathe. :)

      • Wow.

        … Wow!

        Thank you so much, I am absolutely floored by your feedback here. I really do think I would like to continue/expand this story and what you’ve said just makes me doubly resolved to do so.

        I also love how it in turn has inspired all sorts of creative inquisitions and theories from you as well! (I love inspiring people).

        Again, thank you. I am going to work on more of this one.

  86. Heart2Heart says:

    It was 10 pm and chimes reverberated through the house to the backyard where I had taken a few moments to star gaze and ponder life before retiring for the evening. I sauntered to the front door assuming Pete had locked his keys in the car again. All ready to tease Pete when I opened the door, I was greeted by black flowers tied with what appeared a bloody handkerchief and a note. Stepping backward into the light, the note was written in red marker in scrawled handwriting , “Your Day is Coming”. Four words, no signature, nothing else. I was home alone. Pete was at his weekly poker game. I locked the door and the windows and went to bed, hoping Pete would come home soon. It had been a long day and despite the mystery, I feel sound asleep. I never heard Pete come in.
    It was Saturday morning and Pete had told me earlier in the week he had an early morning meeting with the CEO for his administrative review. I decided not to share with him what had happened last evening. It would have to wait. I could taste the waffles and syrup on his lips as I kissed him goodbye. I’ll be home by 6 tonight”, Pete promised.
    A loud ringing could be heard above the down pouring of the shower. I let it ring. Then it rang again. Wrapping a towel around my body, I ran to get the phone. Click. No one on the other end. No message. It rang again. Same result.
    I thought I had heard a door slam, but I told myself I was imagining it. “It had to be the wind”. I ran downstairs, a little unnerved, to check all the windows and doors again. The refrigerator door was partially open. I slammed it shut. “I definitely need a day out” I told myself.
    Making my way to the bedroom, I opened the closet door and a sound I didn’t recognize as my own spewed forth. Eyes sunken, a holey smile where a mouth should be, white bones draped and hung from the closet rod to greet me. I tried Pete’s cell, but there was no answer. I grasped some clothes, tossed them on and grabbed my cell phone running from our home. Pale white, no makeup and no hair done, it didn’t matter at that moment.
    On the front lawn to greet me was my husband and all our friends. Happy 50th, Janie! And all I could say, was “You could almost bury me under that fake gravestone and don’t anyone dare to take a picture. Bury that skeleton instead.”
    .

  87. BlueSin says:

    I’d forgotten.
    Such was the tendency of people in my position. It was reality that brought me crashing down to the ground from what felt like a long fall, reminding me quite simply that within it, nothing is ever forgotten.
    I stare a little blankly, the vague remnants reattaching in the far corners of my busily working mind. The fall out, the screaming. The moment when I watched myself, helplessly, lift up off my tear stained bed sheets and plunge for the door. The memories of what I’d done last night. In all of their stark and angry clarity, they were returned to me.
    ‘Mom, I love you still.’ My son had told me. The words reverberated in the silent ache of my worst fears.
    He had still loved me then, when I’d let him take the bullet. Watched him stick the gun in his mouth through a blurred haze of pooling tears that would live long after he’d died. He’d still loved me then, he’d said. Well had he loved me last night, when I’d dug up his bones from the cemetery? When I’d dragged his lifeless remains back to his bedroom, where in my head I would somehow retrieve his voice, somehow find comfort in it again. As I had then, when he’d managed to calm my fears. Managed to settle me even in the desolate tension of watching the boy I’d raised hinge on his suicide?
    I loved him. God knows-God only knows-I love him still. Far, far too much for what is healthy.
    ‘I love you still.’
    They had been several years ago. Why then, had I looked to them for comfort? Why in God’s name have I done this, tried to return him? To a world in which he’d begged me on his dying breath that he would escape from.
    Well his father had achieved it. He’d broken his son; he was such a good boy, on that day he’d died. His father had broken them all. Well goodbye to you, my family. My wonderful, chaotic fragility I’d held in the balance for so long. How senseless I was to try and keep you all.
    As my eyes tunnel into yours, my son, I realize how far you’ve gotten. How detached you are. You have gone, my son, my joy, my child. Gone somewhere even I, in all my relentless willingness, cannot follow you.
    Well I am sorry, in times like these: in the waking moments of life where I’m roused from my bed, from my disjointed sleep. When I break the thin walls between reality and dreaming.
    I am sorry then, that I have held your father. I’m sorry I held onto him for so long when he was hurting you, he was hurting you. He was hurting you for such an endless eternity that you somehow caught on the end of your gun, in the resonance of a gunshot.
    I am sorry your father is my back yard, reconsidering this all. He always was so pensive, such a pensive soul. He was still in his grave, the night I unearthed him this way, did you realize? Still and thoughtful. You must have cried for one another when you took your life for him, and then he took his life for you in turn. And I had to witness you both go, fade like lights. Love felt fleeting.
    But now we can all be a family again, can’t we? I’ve brought you home. It’s time to let our worst fear go, isn’t it just about?
    You know which one I’m speaking of…
    The one where nothing we ever do will reunite us?

  88. rubyblues456 says:

    My head felt like someone was slamming a hammer into my temple. I don’t remember a thing past the second round of tequila shots. What happened last night? I have never blacked out after just two shots before. As I looked at the clock I realized that I didn’t have time to think about last night. I was late for work. I crawled to the shower and started to get ready for work. All the while I had a nagging feeling that something really weird happened last night.
    I opened my closet door to grab my clothes and immediately I saw what looked like a human skeleton on the floor. Just piled there next to my Nike’s like it had been thrown there in a hurry. I let out a little scream and frantically looked around the room afraid that someone else was there with me. Once I was satisfied I was alone I went back to take a closer look at the bones. They looked like they had been stripped clean by some sort of solvent. Some of them still had bits of flesh on them. I could not believe what I was looking at. I know I should have called the Police but my gut was telling me that I might want to wait to find out how the bones got in my closet first. There is only one person that I trusted enough to call. My oldest and dearest friend.
    She answered after only two rings. I barely even give her a chance to say hello. I told her everything I could remember. She was the last person I remember talking to the night before. She assured me that it was only the two of us drinking last night when I asked her if she thought someone might have spiked my drink. I asked her if she remembered anything at all.
    “Of course I remember. I set this whole thing up. I am the one who drugged you. I seduced your ex-husband, who is obviously the person in your closet. I seduced him and then I killed him. I put his body in a tub filled with acid and watched as he dissolved away. I never did like that guy.”
    “What are you talking about? Why would you do this??” I could hardly see straight I was sobbing so hard.
    “How could you not know how much I hate you? I have always hated you. I have spent years waiting for the perfect moment to bring you down off that pedestal. You always had everything. And now I have taken that all away from you. The Police are on the way to your house right now. You will be convicted of his murder. I have made sure of that. You were there last night and your fingerprints are all over the murder weapon. Have fun spending the rest of your life in prison.”
    How could I have been so wrong about her?

  89. slayerdan says:

    (I got it from 580 to 509, best I could do).
    Ive lived on the road now some 10 years. Always waking up in a different place. Surviving on cheap food and even cheaper whiskey. Odd jobs barely paying for both. And in 10 years Ive seen a lot of stuff. Disturbing stuff. Things that you just keep your mouth shut about and move on.

    And here I sit. On the sunken edge of a bed in the Tattered Pines bed and breakfast. My mouth dry with whiskey rot from the night before.
    Edna Moorehouse always cut me a deal on a room when I came through these parts. For some reason she took a liking to me in ’04. This was my fourth time here.

    It was however, the first time I had a skeleton in my room.

    I thought for certain someone would come when I yelled—when I sat up and saw it there, propped up in the closet. Lastnight when I made it to the bed I just passed out.Llike a faithful pup, it must have watched me all night. Unmoving, unwavering.

    At least I hope unmoving.

    I can actually taste my breath it was so bad. My legs feel wobbly, but I need to piss. And throw water on my face. I stood slowly when I saw the hat next to the upright bones. Like some old English mans hat. Someone named Charles maybe.

    “That your name skinny? Is it Charles? How about Charlie? You look like a Charlie,” I mused to myself, staggering to the toilet. I stood showering the bowl with a vile stream when I heard Edna singing. She was outside it seemed. I wiped up what I could and splashed several handfuls of water on my face at the sink. No hot water. Same ol edna.

    Slightly balanced, I made my way back to Charlie and stared at him. And noticed the large hole on the left side I had missed before. A bullet hole?

    I felt my pulse quicken, which didn’t help my shaky hands. I stepped closer and saw dark stains on the carpet, around Charlie. Was that blood?

    I fell backwards, the old bed catching me before I hit the floor.

    Charlie had been killed. Murdered!! And stashed up here for how long? Fumbling for my shoes, I carried them to the door ,sure I was shaking too much to put them on. I made my way down the stairs as stealthily as any drunk could. Through the window I could see Edna in the garden, talking to old lady Wittemire.

    I made my way to the kitchen door, grabbing a piece of bacon as I slipped out and made my way to the road.

    “ Im sorry Charlie, but loose lips sink ships,” and I made a beeline to the main road.

    “ Was that him?” Edna asked Mrs Wittemire.

    “ It sure was, scampering off like a scared rabbit,” she replied, a whimsical tone in her voice.

    “ Good. Old drunk. Maybe he will think twice before trying to stay here again,” she laughed in reply.

    • Ha ha, Edna’s more clever than she appears. Kind of an Arsenic and Old Lace vibe to this. Very enjoyable.

    • hillsworth says:

      You’ve got a good story here, so I cant say anything bad about that, however, PLEASE only take this as positive critcism:

      At the beginning when you told about paring it down to 509 but couldn’t go any further, by not being the author, I found a couple more places you could have ‘tidy’d up a little.

      “Things that you just keep your mouth shut about and move on” could be trimmed to “Stuff that you keep your mouth shut about”. Since you used the word ‘stuff’ in the two previous sentences, it only seems fitting to use it in the last, and this drops 4 words.

      “Unmoving, unwavering. At least I hope unmoving.” could be written as “Unwavering, hopefully unmoving.” thus cutting 4 more.

      I took a writing course a few years back and they recommended that after you write something, set it aside for a few days, then go back to it as though you were reading it for the first time. This may make it easier to let some of it go. Editing is probably the hardest thing to do, no one likes to cut, but it is crucial and sometimes when you hear it from an outsider, it is upsetting, which is NOT my intentions, for I am just a struggling writer too, so keep up the great writing and feel free to critique anything I post.

      • slayerdan says:

        I take nothing here personal. Feedback or criticism, i write for me, so its ok. BUT–well yeah, if I wanted to, I could probably have trimmed 50 more off. In not being too literal, I meant I couldnt shave anymore and be comfortable with it. Its a good little story. It was better at 580. So I didnt want to cut to what I did. When I write, I write til I feel Im done. I dont watch the initial word limit. I write, I get the directional feel, I go there, then I trim it up. Could I have went lower than 500? Well sure. I just didnt like it there so 509 was comfortable. I dislike writing an at least “good story” then trying to sum up in 2 lines because Im at 500. I see it alot here–Ive been guilty myself–I just try to avoid it. Thanks for reading though—bring on next weeks prompt.

      • One of my favorite writing quotes…”When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” Stephen King, November 1973
        I always wonder what it is that ‘must be done’…cutting your story to the bone or murdering children. With Stephen King it’s hard to say.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      I really liked this story! Loved how he grabbed a piece of bacon on the way out…you conveyed very well what a wimpy character we have here. Very entertaining.

    • Icabu says:

      Nice drunk repellent.
      Good descriptions.
      Enjoyable read.

      • rob akers says:

        The Old skeleton in the drunk’s room trick. Very nice twist. I like it all, and like Hillsworth said you do have a good story here. Like you, I usually end up with about 80 to 100 words to cut out. It is very tough.

        Good advice to walk away for a couple of days, but that is hard to do when you are trying to squeeze a writing prompt into life. Sometimes, we can just do what we can do.

        And I think you do it very well.

        • slayerdan says:

          I appreciate all the comments. When I wrote much more, Ive walked away from stuff for a month or more.So I do understand that concept. Here though, I like to go with two or three initial ideas and jump into it—this isnt for publication, so I can go w offbeat ideas now and again. The challenege to me is to crank it out WITHOUT alot of forethought and see where I go. And honestly, its best to be one of the first 15 stories, first 10 even better. Seems those down the line a bit get less feedback, so I go with my gut and write. Ive had some gems–based on feedback–Ive had a couple of “um yeahs”-based on my gut–and several good ones. Thats better than ANY writer could hope for. Thanks to all.

          • Ishmael says:

            Slayer – Thanks for bringing that up, and this isn’t directed specifically to you, but to all of us. Your comment presented an opportunity to do so.

            Yeah, the upper stories of the prompt get a lot of feedback because when posted, they’re the only stories to read…plus the foot traffic of people reading later from top to bottom. That’s when we, as supportive peers, have to make the time and have due respect for those farther down than the first ten or fifteen – they are looking for feedback as well.

            I’ve gotten to where I randomly go down and pick stories, start from the bottom and work up, or find someone with little to no comments (indicating to me that no one has read their work). Of course, this is usually after reading those I’ve come to know and follow.

            When the prompts come out, It’s usually afternoon in my time zone, and I’m busy. I only have time to read it and ruminate. Sometimes it is another day before I can get to it. I used to be upset to not be one of the first few, for the same reason – very little feedback. That feeling only lasted for about two stories.

            Then I realized, if you write it, they will read. If you write it well, they will find you. I experiment plenty, and don’t feel rushed to do so anymore.

            So I do encourage everyone to go beyond the first one or two posters before and after your own stories. There are some real gems down there, shiny diamonds dotting the walls of this place.
            :)

          • Ishmael says:

            Of course, it’s important for the later posters to come up and comment, too, and let themselves be known. When someone comments on my work, I can’t help but look at theirs – out of respect and courtesy, but also to know how much clout to put behind their words.

  90. morty says:

    “Marjorie?”
    “What?”
    “What’s the skeleton doing in our closet?”

    I hated him, and how he lurked around the house, always silent. I hated how he always seemed to be smiling. I hated how you never were quite sure if those eyeless eyes could see you, even though you knew that he could, somehow. I hated how he and Marjorie seemed to have their own secret language they didn’t share with me.

    I hated him from the day he showed up at our door, two weeks ago. A friend of hers, fallen a bit on rough times, she said. I shook his hand. The bones in his fingers were warm and smooth. He nodded a greeting. The hollow, empty sockets under the brim of his hat seemed to stare at me, amused. I turned to Marjorie and filled my lungs to voice an objection, but let them deflate again with a sigh, punctured by her gaze which I knew meant more sleepless nights on the couch if I said another word.

    The days became a week, then another. I would come home from the office, and he and Marjorie would be sitting in the kitchen, talking and laughing. I know he laughed too. I couldn’t hear it, but I saw it. He would make a fluid movement, a movement only Marjorie could understand. She would burst out laughing, and he… His shoulders would tremble in short, rhythmic tremors, as he tilted his head back, his jaw hanging slightly ajar. I knew he was laughing. He would make another movement with his hands. “Oh, that’s so sweet”, Marjorie would say. On and on, night after night, this strange conversation of movements and words continued.

    I had had enough. I told Marjorie that I wanted him out of the house. She told me she wanted me out of the bedroom. More sleepless nights on the couch. That night he came down the stairs. He stopped at the bottom when he noticed me glaring at him. He was smiling. He made a little movement, a little shrug, and disappeared in the kitchen. I could hear his bones clink on the glass as he lifted it. Soon he was on his way up, with a glass of water in his hand. He stopped again, with his foot on a step, and turned. For a while, we stared at each other. For a while, I think we pitied each other.

    When I woke up this morning, I knew it was time for me to leave. I headed upstairs to get my suitcase and a change of clothes. The bedroom door was closed. I banged on it, telling Marjorie that I was going to come in. She was clutching her blanket. I silenced her with a fluid movement of my hand, and yanked open the closet.

  91. smallPencil says:

    Dread waited in my next endeavor, ready to pounce upon my beautiful morning.

    I saw it and screamed without sound. In those moments, you reprioritize. Holding my bowels was swiftly and suddenly of no concern. Ignoring the warm slime in my nether region, I knelt before it. It had been cleaned. Something held it together. I searched but could find no wire, nor string. It simply sat exactly as it would, wrapped in flesh. I lifted its finger. Its arm came with. Pulling it forth out of the shadow of my hanging clothes, I peered closely at its knuckle joint. I could see my discarded argyle socks on the floor below. I grasped the upper finger bone and pulled. It held fast. Whatever the invisible force, it was powerful. Then I noticed that I could no longer see through the joint. I jumped back, landing comfortably on the marshmallow softness in my drawers. Gasping for air, I choked on my own reek. I looked back. Red dots flecked its surface. Then they multiplied and coalesced. Whatever was happening, it seemed to be speeding up. My heart beat savagely against my chest and sweat stung my eyes as a Discovery Channel time-lapse horror show unfolded before me. When it finished, a lanky bald man with a tightly-cropped beard, hipster glasses and skinny jeans; holding a messenger bag, lay in my closet. “Ba gi ek sel!” he yelled.

    “I… you… huh?”

    He narrowed his eyes, then nodded to himself. Closing them, he rubbed his temple. After a moment he opened them again, “I said, you really stink!”

    “What just happened? Are you Jesus?”

    “I’m Rilbert. I traveled here from your future.”

    “You’re a time traveler? What about the skeleton?”

    He paused, again narrowing his eyes, then nodded with a smile, “Oh, that’s just how it works. The bones travel faster because of their density. If you had looked deeper into your closet, you probably would have noticed my equipment as well.”

    “But they… float?”

    “Right. Well, more like they remain. They had been displaced from their position in space-time, but that information simply had yet to reach them.”

    “Derp? Are you Jesus?”

    “It’s like dropping a slinky off a balcony. The bottom of the slinky will appear to float for a split second, because the information that it should fall has yet to reach it. Try it and you’ll see. Anyway, I ‘gotta run’, lots to do.”

    I, being taller and more powerfully built, blocked his way. “But… you made me shit myself. Don’t I get something? Why my closet?”

    “To answer that would take too long. But I can give you something. It is your year, 2012, correct?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Okay…”

    I never saw Rilbert again. At the time I couldn’t have cared less. Clutching a notebook detailing every outcome to every sporting event for the rest of the year I sprinted to the OTB, my pants still full of shit.

  92. Ash says:

    A loud beeping sound wakes me from my once-pleasant dream. The blindingly bright light shines in my face. I place my arm over my eyes, but the incessant beeping of my alarm clock prevents me from getting back to sleep. “Just shut up already…” I groan, remembering that it’s Saturday. Why in the world is my alarm clock on if it’s not a school day?
    I groan again as I push down on the snooze button beneath my fingers. I clumsily and very ungracefully fall off my bed, not even bothering to land on my feet. I can already tell today isn’t going to go well. Walking slowly, I finally make it over to my closet. I swiftly open the door and start searching through the plethora of shirts hanging up. As I get to the back I notice something that shouldn’t be there. “What the…”
    I move a few shirts, but I still can’t get a good look at it. I carefully start removing shirts and piling them up on the floor next to me. I step into my walk-in closet and use my phone as a light to see into the back corner. There, in the darkest corner of my closet, is a body. Or, what looks like a body at least. “My god… Is that a – oh my god!”
    I jump and a scream escapes my lips. There’s a skeleton in my closet! My breathing gets quicker and my pulse picks up. I fall to the ground in surprise and try to take slow, deep breaths. There’s no way this is happening to me. I must be dreaming. This is all a dream, right? I’m still sleeping, I have to be.
    As I gain a little bit of courage, thinking that I’m still dreaming, I slowly reach out to touch the object. It feels plastic. I cringe as I begin to pull my hand away and upon further inspection I realize that it’s a fake skeleton. That would explain why it felt like plastic. I slowly lift up to arm to see sharpie markings.
    The name of my science professor, Mr. Banner, is written on the arm. I slowly stumble to the other end of the room and I check the calendar. It’s April first. I smirk as I hear people snickering outside of my door. I press a button to turn on the sprinklers in my front yard and smile as I hear the screams of the people standing on my lawn. They’ll learn not to mess with me.
    When the intruders are finally gone, and I’m finally dressed, I pack the skeleton in my car and drive. I know just who did this, and Jeremy’s going to have a rude awakening when he realizes there’s a skeleton in his closet. Then again, maybe I should put it in his bed. Besides, it isn’t like Mr. Banner will need his skeleton for a few days anyway.
    Revenge is sweet.

  93. jmiff328 says:

    Holy crap! What happened next? I like the back-story that you seamlessly included. I pictured the child from “The Ring” when you described the little girl. I’m curious if that’s what you based her character from?

    • Thank you, I guess it is a good sign when a reader wants to know what happens next…curse the 500 word count! :) I can see why you thought of “the Ring” with the little girl…I think I was moreso picturing a younger version of “La Llorona” from South American folklore, which was a female spirit who drowns wandering children (so I understand). A teyollocuani is part of Mayan folklore, a “shadow being,” so that’s what came to mind for me with the dark hair and black eyes.

      • penney says:

        Wow! And thats what just popped in your mind when you saw the prompt? I agree, I also wanted to read more. The ring did come to mind also but that’s what I get for not knowing my Mayan history. I love the way you mind works, awesome left field thinking. Good job.

  94. So I cheated a little and changed “closet” into “pantry,” I hope nobody minds…

    “A Deliciously Deadly Dilemma”

    I wouldn’t have been too surprised by the sugar skull that met me face to face in the pantry, given that I was helping to mold several dozen for Dia de los Muertos, when my husband’s family would stop by to gobble up the confectionary creations, and I already had five trays of them stored on the pantry shelves. But this particular skull was attached to an entire sugar skeleton, was as tall as a man, and was standing on its own.
    I could only gawk at the candy-coated collection of bones before me, adorned with brightly colored meringue frosting, sparkling sprinkles, and two golden-wrapped chocolates in its eye sockets. It flashed across my mind, “Maybe Maria went overboard again,” as my Mexican sister –in-law commonly makes grandiose pastries and cakes for special occasions, but then the sugar skull spoke.
    “Shhh,” the skeleton hissed, although how it could do that without a tongue perplexed me. “Cuidado… teyollocuani.”
    After a few seconds, I squeaked out, “Huh?”
    The skeleton sighed. “No Spanish, eh? Of course, the Americana is the one that finds me. Escucha. I need to hide here. I think if I hide among the sugar skulls, it will not be able to tell me apart from them. Maybe it will eat all these candies instead. So, never mind me.”
    Never mind you? A six foot talking sugar skeleton in my pantry? “I don’t think I can do that,” I stammered, part of me trying to convince myself this was one wacky dream.
    “Por favor, senorita. Just until after tonight. Then the doorway to the underworld will close, and I will return home and the teyollocuani will go back to sleep. Please, do this for Abuelo Sebastian, eh?”
    Abuelo, I knew, meant grandfather. Grandfather Sebastian…not my husband’s deceased Grandfather Sebastian? I had never met the man, but there were picture of him in Pablo’s family albums—although there was no way I could have made the connection between those pictures and the thing standing in front of me.
    “Abuelo, why are you here? What are you hiding from?” I asked.
    He was about to explain when he froze. His jaw dropped, and he pointed a bony finger past my shoulder. “Alli! There!”
    I turned, and saw a small child standing in my kitchen. She was barefoot, with long black hair that touched the floor. Her skin was slightly grayish, but it was her eyes that bothered me the most—solid, cold blackness.
    “Dulces?” the girl whispered, and the word made my flesh crawl. “Para mi? Dulces?”
    I actually took a step away from the girl, which put me closer to the skeleton. “Abuelo, who is that little girl?”
    Skeleton Sebastian started to quiver, its sugar bones knocking together. “It is the spirit that changed me into this form to suit her appetite. She is a Teyollocuani…Soul Eater.”
    I was petrified as the Teyollocuani started walking towards me, hands outstretched like some fervent trick-or-treater, but this was no childish masquerade…

    • Gianni Beau says:

      Well done. I really enjoyed your story.

    • jincomt says:

      I really liked this story! Such a creative take to the prompt. The cultural infusion made it rich and the choice of words were fun to savor.

    • aikawah says:

      Epic! I’ve heard of Teyollocuani before, and there was one in that Mel Gibson film, Apocalypto. Really cool story!

    • Jeanie Y says:

      I want to know what happens next! Loved the line about the Americana finding him. Neat story.

    • gahpiper says:

      Skeleton in My Closet
      The party was enjoyable. Until it became a disaster. I had struck up a conversation with an intriguing woman. From politics and hiking we progressed to the exchange of personal information. She told me about her childhood with an alcoholic mother. She revealed a past marriage and an arrest for possession of marijuana when she was old enough that it wasn’t a youthful mistake. I told her about my father’s depression. I, too, had been married and divorced. More than once. My breach of the law had been a speeding ticket for going 110 miles per hour, when I was too young to know better.
      I was pondering whether to share more when there was a loud boom from the back of the restaurant, followed by a powerful concussion. Sprinklers came on. Smoke filled the room. Hollering and shrieking ensued as people pushed toward the front door.
      I stood outside, soaked, my lungs sore from coughing. I had lost a shoe. Worse, I had lost the woman with whom I had passed such a pleasant evening. I looked around, poked my head into huddles of wet partygoers and looked inside each of several aid vehicles. No sign of her. I gave up and walked around the corner to my car. We hadn’t exchanged phone numbers, e-mail addresses – or even names. My spirits lifted when I remembered I could ask the party’s hosts who she was.
      Thinking about our conversation, I realized I had been on the brink. There was an important thing to tell her. But to do so might be the end of any hope for becoming friends, let alone anything more. It wouldn’t be lying not to tell her. Yet if things progressed, she would eventually learn the truth. Better to tell her now.
      When I got home, my clothing was still damp. I went straight to the shower. Stripping off wet clothes, enjoying a hot shower and slipping on dry pajamas improved my mood. I crawled into bed and was asleep in seconds.
      In the morning, after a wake-up shower and a shave, I started dressing for work. In my boxers, socks and t-shirt, I opened the door to my walk-in closet. I was choosing a shirt, suit and tie when I remembered I wasn’t alone. I turned around and pulled aside my bathrobe. Empty eye sockets met my gaze. A skeleton, carefully assembled and standing with a rod up his spine, stood in my closet. In the center of his chest a single rib had an inch-wide gap.
      I looked at my silent roommate and shook my head. Would I see her again? I hoped so. Would I dare tell her? I didn’t know. Would she understand? Or, like other women I had met, would she be so disgusted that she would never want to see me again?
      There was only one way to find out. I hoped I had the courage.

    • Chilo says:

      Love what you did with the story. It’s always creepy to see the bad use children..

    • Icabu says:

      Very creative, again. I cheated and had my 4 yr Spanish student son translate for me – lol.
      Enjoyable read.

    • DMelde says:

      Great story, again! A soul eater with a sweet tooth.

    • Great! I loved this. Good take, and I guess artistic liberties are ok here.

    • Naomi says:

      Great story! I enjoyed reading it.

    • DancingBear says:

      As I keep reading your story it became more and more interesting (: I liked it quit a bit.

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