Lessons for Kittens

The kittens looked on while their mother jumped into the baby carriage.

“Don’t be afraid, my darlings. Come join me and watch my technique,” she meowed in a variable pitch. “First you exhale and approach cautiously so as not to wake the sleeping child. Next inhale deeply while you steal the baby’s breath.

The 55 Word Challenge is a contest to write a story in 55 words or less. The challenge runs every Wednesday, beginning at noon and ends every Thursday at noon, and is hosted by author Lisa McCourt Hollar.

Make Him Take This Pill and I’ll Call You in the Morning

Molly slumped in her chair. She was feeling weaker this morning and could barely lift her arms to scratch the constant itching sensation on her neck. Her husband sat beside her in their doctor’s office, and she wished Dr. Lewis would hurry up. He was already ten minutes late. A damn doctor should be on time to his appointments, especially when delivering a prognosis.

Her husband, Bill, reached over and took her hand. “No matter what the test results, we’ll get through this together.”

She nodded her head and thanked God she married such a wonderful man thirty years ago.

Doctor Lewis walked in carrying Molly’s medical records. “Good morning, and how are we feeling this morning?”

Molly rolled her eyes. “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling worse.”

“Sorry to hear that,” the doctor said, and shifted his eyes to Bill and frowned. “I have good news and bad news for you both.”

“Please, good news first,” Molly said.

The doctor opened Molly’s records. “Well, the good news is all your test results came back negative. There’s nothing wrong with you.” The doctor frowned at Bill again.

“So what’s the bad news?” Molly said. “I suppose you’re going to tell me I’m a hypochondriac?”

“No, no, you’re not a hypochondriac. Your blood count has been down significantly as we already knew. So when Bill came in last week for his annual cholesterol check, I also had his blood tested for another disease. The bad news is Bill was recently turned into a vampire. Your husband has been draining you of blood at night, probably while you’ve been sleeping.”

The couple looked at each other then back at the doctor. Neither spoke. Both their faces contorted with disbelief and confusion.

“I know. I know.” Dr. Lewis said. “It sounds unbelievable, but it does happen, albeit rarely. The good news is there are treatments for you both. Molly, I’ll write you a prescription for a high powered iron and you’ll be feeling better in a couple of weeks.

“Bill, your cure is as simple as taking one pill.” The doctor pulled a pen out of his pocket and reached for his prescription pad. “Do either of you have any questions for me?” he asked while writing out the script.

“I’m not sure what to ask,” Bill said. “I mean, you’re accusing me of drinking my wife’s blood and that sounds—”

“This is serious,” the doctor said while pointing his pen at Bill. “If you don’t take the pill I’m about to prescribe for you, you will kill Molly. Do you want to kill your wife?”

“No, of course not.” Bill swallowed hard.

“Then you’ll take the pill without question and all will be fine in the morning.”

The room was silent while Dr. Lewis finished writing the prescriptions. He handed them to the Molly, “You make sure he takes the pill, Molly. Right before you turn in tonight. If he doesn’t, I’ll have to report him to the CDC.”

Molly nodded.

“Don’t worry, doc. I’ll take it,” Bill said while he helped his wife to her feed.

* * *

The following morning Molly woke up shortly after ten o’clock. It was the longest she had slept in weeks and was surprised Bill hadn’t woken her earlier. She got up and walked throughout the house looking for Bill, but the house was empty.

Maybe he went out, she thought and called his cell phone. It rang from somewhere in the house. Molly followed the ringing back to the bedroom and found his phone on the night stand. She hadn’t noticed when she got out of bed that the covers were up over his pillow. Bill never left the bed so neat when he got up in the morning.

She pulled the covers back to a horrific sight. A shadow of Bill’s body. He had spontaneously combusted in the middle of the night.

Molly’s phone rang. It was the doctor’s office. She answered in a hurry.

“Molly, it’s Dr. Lewis, calling to see how you’re feeling?”

“I’m fine,” she said while crying. “But Bill . . . he’s dead.”

“Well, what did you expect. He was a vampire. The only cure for vampirism is death.”

Fine Chopper Art

zombieteethThis week’s 55 Word Challenge is to write a story about how the survivors of the apocalypse have fun with zombies. I went the creative arts route.

The artist examined the outline of the Mona Lisa he copied from memory onto the wall. “Now we glue the zombie teeth on the drawing,” he said. “The tricky part is matching the shades of decay to the original piece by Leonardo da Vinci.”

“What is this called again, Daddy.”

“A mosaic, honey.”

The 55 Word Challenge is a contest to write a story in 55 words or less. The challenge runs every Wednesday, beginning at noon and ends every Thursday at noon, and is hosted by author Lisa McCourt Hollar.

Story a Day in May

I just joined Story a Day in May today. I had found this event last year and put it on the Visionary Press calendar, but forgot about it until I checked email this morning and found the reminder. At first I posted I wished I had time to do this event. Then I realized that was an excuse and decided to make time. This is the perfect challenge for me right now. I even dragged Blaze McRob and Lisa McCourt Hollar into this challenge. We’ll see if any of the other Visionary Press authors bite. Drop by hear daily to read a story. I’ll also post it on the Friday Frights website.

I personally plan to use this challenge to teach myself not to over edit my work. I’m only allotting 2 hours at most to write and edit each story. No limits on word count. Now I’m off to edit the first story. Wrote it in 30 minutes this morning.

* Re-published

1-A Flash of Green to Black

2-Big Betty*

3-Nightly Drawing

4-Missing Time

5-Millions Served

6-Had a Great Fall

7-Nearly Complete*

8-Fine Chopper Art

9-Ain’t No Guarantees*

10-Things from Planet X

11-The Price of Ugly*

12-Happy Mother’s Dead Day

13-Alive and Kicking

14-Eternally We Connect

15-Damn Postman

16-Merry Dead Soul*

17-The Hiding Place



20-Photo Enforced

21-The Fairy God Mother’s Fix

22-Make Him Take This Pill and I’ll Call You in the Morning

23-Lessons for Kittens

24-Brain Portal*

25-Tinkering Around*

26-Modern Day Convenience

27-Momma’s Boy*

28-Out of the Ordinary

29-Mrs. Sprat*



Thoughts of Foul Boys


Neilan Thunblom is a 4th grader at Meadow Point Elementary. He enjoys listening to music, playing on his computer, and playing the piano. He also enjoys taking photographs and drawing pictures of nature. For the above picture, Neilan used the fall leaves to set the background for his dad’s art pieces. The brain piece looks like it comes out of a skull as a Halloween theme.

Neilan created this photo for a book cover for W. J. Howard’s first release of Grand Scares, a collection of her #fridayflash stories. He’s also helping his Dad with future covers.

Neilan is pictured below
with his father Chris.

This was an extra special week to write #fridayflash for the Horrific Visions theme over on the Vamplit Blog. This week I’ve written another young adult story featuring the photograph to the right, taken by my young friend Neilan Thunblom of his father, Chris’s pieces of art. You may have noticed that I plan to use this picture as a cover for my first six months of #fridayflash. Please leave a comment for Neilan if you like his picture.

Jack stood on the front porch of his home, sipping a box of orange juice his mother insisted he drink before heading to school. He stared next door, waiting for his best friend Lea to emerge from her house like she did every morning at exactly the same time. This morning she was late according to his Spiderman watch. Ten more minutes and they would have to run to school to make it before the bell rang.

Two more houses down the screen door opened with a screeching whine then slammed back against the doorframe. The boy who exited the house turned and yelled a word Jack was not allowed to say through the screen then stomped down the stairs.

Jack twitched and his heart skipped a beat but not because of the commotion the boy was making. Fudgy was double trouble: both neighborhood and grade-school bully.

Every morning, Jack and Lea made sure they left for school early enough to avoid Fudgy. This morning it was too late for him to escape the bully’s wrath. Fudgy had already seen him. Any attempt to flee would result in worse punished later.

Just as predicted, Fudgy stopped at the bottom of Jack’s front porch steps and leaned casually against the railing. Fudgy skipped his usual insulting greeting and instead pointed at his black t-shirt. It read, “Your lunch money or your life.”

Jack sighed and reached into his pocket for both the dollar bills his mother had placed beside his cereal bowl that morning. He held it out but Fudgy didn’t move, expecting Jack to come to him. With his arm far reaching, Jack descended the stairs as if approaching a hungry tiger, then retracted with a jerk when the bully snatched the money from his hand.

Out of the corner of one eye, Jack caught sight of a reddish-yellow leaf, falling from the maple tree that shaded the porch in the afternoons. It landed behind Fudgy, covering the head of his sister’s doll where it sat on the lawn. She never picks up her toys, he thought.

The leaf appeared to grasp the doll’s face then turned black and shriveled in an instant. Beneath it the ground collapsed into a swirling softball-sized hole. A root burst from the hole and lashed at the neck of the doll until only the head was swallowed down into the ground.

Jack stood by, his mouth gaping open, not sure what to think or do.

“Hey, retard,” Fudgy said while mashing his fist into his palm. “What’s your malfunction?”

The sound of Fudgy’s voice distracted Jack from the unbelievable sight. He was about to point down at the hole when Lea walked out of her front door.

Lea happily skipped down the stairs and approached Fudgy without fear. “Hi, Fudgy,” she said. In her opinion, being nice to Fudgy would somehow transform him into a good person.

Fudgy replied by pointing at his shirt.

Lea held up a brown lunch sack.

Fudgy repeated his demand by pounding twice on his chest.

“I’m not thirsty today anyways,” she said and pulled fifty cents her mother had given her for milk from her pocket. She handed it to Fudgy with a grin.

Jack leaned to the side when he noticed the swirling black hole had again widened. He pointed his finger at it this time.

Lea’s eyes followed his lead. “What is that?”

All at once, the doll’s head shot out of the hole. It hit Fudgy in the center of his back with enough force to send him stumbling forward.

Jack jerked backward and lifted his arm up for protection, sure the bully would take the strike out on his face.

Instead, Fudgy reached down and picked up the head and stroked the surface. “Funny looking rock,” he said then threw it down onto the sidewalk. It shattered into white powdery chunks like chalk and released a potent stench of rotting garden mulch.

All three of the children backed away, Lea holding her nose closed and Jack tripping as he retreated up the stairs.

Fudgy was sure they were playing a practical joke on him. He held up his fist from where he now stood over the closed hole. “You did that on purpose.”

Time seemed to stop as Jack and Lea waited for the bully’s next move. At the same time, the wind rustled through the old maple, loosening a dozen or so leaves that floated in slow motion down upon Fudgy’s head. He swatted at them as if shooing away flies, but they clung to his hair and face. “Get them off,” Fudgy tried to holler.

Jack and Lea rushed to help out, but it was too late.

Again, a gap opened up and tree roots emerged like king cobras snakes, dancing upward and wrapping around Fudgy like threads on a screw. In unison they spun the bully, drilling him into the ground until the earth sealed over his head.

Frozen from fright, both Jack and Lea stared down at the spot where Fudgy had disappeared for nearly a minute before Jack said, “Should get a shovel?”

“No, we should tell his mother!”

They were about to run down the street when the hole reappeared. This time it launched Fudgy’s brain at the sidewalk where it shattered beside the crushed doll’s head.

Jack and Lea looked at each other but didn’t say a word. They were, however, thinking the same thing. The hungry abyss must be sickened by the taste of plastic as well as the thoughts of foul boys.

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