Thanksgiving Flash Fiction: Turkey is Served

 

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The new baby.

I’m calling the following Thanksgiving story flash fiction in that it is well under 1,000 words. A quick and hopefully entertaining tale I jotted down at my kitchen table at 5 am this morning. Such is life when you have a new baby that needs to go out to potty every hour!

 

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Turkey is Served

“What a time for Ron to get called out of town on a trip,” my brother-in-law, Rick, said.

I was putting the finishing touches on the sweet potato casserole and was feeling a little annoyed to have anyone in my kitchen while I was cooking. Lately, everything had been irritating and the holidays were exacerbating my foul mood. I loved the cooking, but having my in-laws over for dinner was always daunting.

My sister-in-law, Rick’s wife, Lisa, always drank too much wine and spent the entire time bragging about her job and her decades-old business degree. Their kids were zombies attached to their electronic devices and never even grunted so much as a greeting let alone appreciate the excellent meal I always provided. Rod, my husband’s youngest and unmarried brother, usually brought his trollop-de-jour and spent his time ogling her and making kissy faces. My widower father-in-law did not waste the opportunity to remind us all that his only daughter, Regan, who never came to Thanksgiving, would be heir to all his worldly belongings when he died since she was the only one who helped him when my mother-in-law was dying.

He forgot about the part where I had actually helped, every day. Regan just happened to be present at the time of her passing. I had been at the hospital for two days and a night and had just left to go home and shower when she passed, but thank God for Saint Regan. Maybe it was because my name didn’t start with an “R” and thus I’d never be real family.

No wonder my husband could be such a monumental jerk, it was apparently genetic.

“Oh well, it couldn’t be helped,” I said.

“Can I help you with anything?” Rick said, and he glanced at his watch. “He had to leave in the middle of the night, huh?

“I guess so. He said the scheduled pilot got food poisoning or something.”

Rick grunted, “That’s my brother, always jetting off somewhere. Want me to take a look at the bathroom upstairs?”

“The bathroom?”

“Yeah, you said it was backed up and to use the one down here instead.”

“Oh! No, it’s fine. I’ll call the plumber tomorrow,” I said.

“Okay, then,” he said, and he left to plop down on the couch.

I was glad to have him out of my way. I needed to get the meat out of the oven, feed these people, and get them out of my hair. I would have to deal with the bathroom, but I couldn’t do it until after the meal.

Rick was right, Ron was always jetting off, as a commercial pilot it was his job. It had never bothered me that he was gone for days on end sometimes, that is, until recently. I had come to realize that he was never around when I needed him, like when his mom was dying. And before that, when I had to have shoulder surgery after a fall, he left to fly an overseas trip the day of my surgery. I had to have a neighbor bring me home from the hospital.

When I pointed all of this out to him and shared my thought that he was doing it on purpose, he said I was exaggerating and being over sensitive and paranoid. He started telling me that he missed appointments and dates because I forgot to tell him about them. We began arguing about it almost every day.

During one of these arguments, he literally smashed most of our wine glasses and then had the nerve to say I did it! He went so far as to cut his own head and tell me that I did it to him when I threw a wine glass at him! These types of incidents began to happen at least twice a day. I actually started to worry that I was losing my mind.

But now I know the truth.

Obviously, it was Ron’s memory that was faulty. Thank goodness because if he hadn’t forgotten to check the pockets of his slacks, I still would have no idea. If our dry-cleaner weren’t meticulous about preserving every little item left in the laundry to return to the owner, I would be clueless. But he is, and I’m not.

Admittance paperwork. Folded over into a small square as if he were trying to conceal it, which I’m sure he was. Daniel’s Behavioral Health Hospital blazed across the top of the first page. My name was neatly written in Ron’s hand on the line labeled, Patient Seeking Services. He’d been gaslighting me this whole time, just to put me away and be rid of me. Pretty clever, actually. Insurance would cover it, and there would be no financial hassle of a divorce.

No matter. A slice, a slash, and a stick and I was having the last laugh.

I pulled the roaster pan out of the oven and had to admit that it smelled like turkey. It even looked like turkey, but I knew it wasn’t turkey. Well, Ron had been a turkey if he thought his plan would work. I snickered to myself.

“Turkey is served,” I called to the rest of the turkeys in the other room. I couldn’t help but smile with pride in my resourcefulness.

sliced-turkey

***

Disclaimer! I just want to say that this is a work of fiction and in no way reflects any true holiday that I am aware of. My husband isn’t even a pilot!

Have a nice holiday and enjoy your family (hopefully not in the way of the story)! Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!

 

 

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Ghost Light Stories Featuring Author Richard Crofton

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By LouisHeon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17896781

Just in time for Halloween!

Ghost Light Stories Episode 2! Visit my YouTube channel and subscribe!

Connect with Richard Crofton:

Website: https://richardcrofton.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richardcroftonauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterCrofton
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16367519.Richard_Crofton
Amazon: Richard Crofton’s Amazon Page

 

Announcing Ghost Light Stories

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By LouisHeon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17896781

I’m a firm believer that you can never get enough scares in your life! That’s why I’m so excited to introduce a new feature to this site: Ghost Light Stories. Once a month you’ll be treated to a spooky tale either from myself, a guest horror author or from readers just like you!

A Ghost Light is a single naked bulb left burning in an empty theatre. For practical reasons, this light keeps someone from accidentally walking into to the orchestra pit or off the side of the stage, but it’s also surrounded by superstition. There is a widespread tradition that most theaters are haunted. One story goes that the Ghost Light allows the spirits to take to the stage in otherworldly performances when the living actors have left the building. In a little darker version, the Ghost Light keeps the spirits with evil intentions away from the theatre ensuring safety and success. Either way, you may wish to fire up your own Ghost Light before you hear these creepy tales!

If you have a story of your own you’d like to share with us, please email it to info@joyyehle.com  Fellow authors encouraged to play! You can also follow Ghost Light Stories on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7yz0LWLYNbdv-02mUvq0Aw

Enjoy!

Exorcists Take Over

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I always wanted to read The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. I wanted to know how scenes from the movie looked in written word. How did he use vocabulary to express the sights and sounds and smells? When I found an audio version, read by the author himself no less, I snatched it!

I will tell you that there is no other way to delve into a book about demon possession other than with an audio version. I got chills from the places of the text where the demon speaks. At one or two points I felt like I should pull my earbuds out and douse them in holy water! Weirdly, this book became my soundtrack as I trained for a 10K and anticipating the next installment served as wonderful motivation to get that next workout in.

As I was deep in the midst of my unique routine, I heard that FOX was making a television series based on The Exorcist. I was very curious to find out how the writers of the television series would develop their storylines. On the premier evening, I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch. My men were out at an overnight campout, and I was alone with my girls. It might sound weird, but it was the first time I found myself without my spouse overnight since my home security system, a large German Shepherd named Carmen, passed away. What if I freaked myself out and in turn scared my girls? As is true most times, my need to know won out.

I tucked them into the family room with a Disney movie and crept up the stairs to my room. I wanted to turn the volume low on the TV, I didn’t want them to overhear it, but it was stormy out, and the wind was howling through the eaves of the house. I adjusted the volume so I could hear and hoped the sound wouldn’t carry over the happy sounds of Disney.

The opening scenes with the lone priest walking through a ghetto, dark things scurrying in the shadows, and screams in the night had me expecting to go through the house turning on all the lights. Just when I thought I was going to be fine, the final scenes from the attic rolled across the screen. It takes a lot to scare me, and I was not disappointed!

It would have been easy for this show to be a rip-off of the movie, but it forged its own path into terror. As the story went on it got deeper, twistier, and scarier. The way the story intertwined with Blatty’s original tale was brilliant

Towards the end of the season, Ben Daniel’s character, Father Marcus, said the most profound line to ever be uttered on television, IMHO. Satan’s allies were torturing him, and all he had to do to make it stop was join them. He refused. The head baddy expressed his disbelief that Father Marcus would rather die for the Church that had excommunicated him than be a part of the evil that would welcome him. To this Marcus replied, “I’m not dying for the bloody Church, I’m dying for Him.”

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There is something terribly appealing about a character who reveals that his principles are deeper than you thought. He walks the talk to the bitter end, a man of integrity who knows where his true devotion lies.

These tales intrigue me, and maybe many of you, because they are scary to be sure, but deeper. Not just shock and jumps. They explore the ancient human question of what faith is and how hard it can be to hang on to that faith. It challenges us to ponder what exactly is it that we have faith in? And why. It begs the question, what is the purpose of suffering? They show us the power of mercy, sacrifice, and service to others. Most importantly, they tell us that we are not powerless against evil. Contact with evil will change us, but we can fight back. There is hope that we can overcome it.

William Peter Blatty passed away on January 12, 2016. I’m glad I got to hear his classic novel read with his intended character inflections and tone. It was fantastic. I let his word usage wash over my brain, I hope something stuck!

bookcoverexorcismJust when I was about to move on from this theme of possession that organically emerged in my life, my library app told me that a new addition to the collection might interest me. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. I loved HorrStor by this same author, so of course, I borrowed it! Not as chilling as the tales above but still good. I was a teen in the early 80’s like the characters, and it brought back some delicious (can you say TCBY) and cringe-worthy memories. It’s a coming of age story with the added challenge of a terrifying chain of demon-inspired chaos. Check it out!

I’m still open to this theme of possession! I’d like to read some Indie authors on the subject. I’m taking suggestions! I just watched Hostage to the Devil, a documentary about real-life exorcist Father Malachi Martin, and so now I think I’ll have to read his book by the same title.

What have I learned from all this? Well, if you happen to see someone you love speaking with an imaginary friend, acting strangely, and speaking in strange voices…you might need a Father Marcus. Or maybe…just maybe…they are a writer!

Until next time Never Turn Off the Lights!

Spooky Break on Election Day

Hello there! I hope you all had a terrifying and delicious Halloween. I sat in my driveway with my friend, keeping warm over a  portable fire pit, and harassed over one hundred trick-or-treaters! A hauntingly good time was had by all!

Now here we are into November. Election Day to be exact. I voted weeks ago by early mail ballot. I’m staying off social media today because I seriously can’t take any more. I will check up on results, but I’m done with the campaigning. So, I’m looking for distractions.

I’ll be working on my NaNoWriMo project (Shiver), the kids need haircuts, and I’m listening to this guy, Dark Waters. I first heard him on the Darkness Radio Podcast. I made the mistake of listening while driving. I was so into it, I ran a red light! Luckily I was on a deserted rural road.

Check it out.

I could listen to this guy for hours! Go to his YouTube channel for more! Did his Black Eyed Kids story freak you out? Then my book Dread will scare you silly. Check it out on Amazon, free with Kindle Unlimited for a limited time! I have a skinwalker story of my own I might share here sometime!

I hope you enjoyed our spooky time together today. Until next time, exercise your right to vote, and Never Turn Off the Lights!

5 Halloween Games to Scare You Silly

I love a good Halloween party. The costumes, the spooky refreshments, and of course, the games! 

I think we all know about Bloody Mary and Light as a Feather Stiff as a Board, but you know how I like to stretch your knowledge, it must be the teacher in me! Here are five lesser-known spooky games you can try for yourself. Play at your own risk, however. I don’t claim any responsibility for your safety!

Sweet Tooth Gnomeimp-945890_1280

The worst thing that can happen with this game is that a gnome will come and nibble at your chocolate bar. Personally, I don’t like to share my chocolate bar, so, no thank you. Furthermore, where does the little bugger go after he helps himself? Is he now loose in your house to nibble on other things? Like your hair in the middle of the night? Again, no thank you.

To Play:

  1. In a room with a ceiling light, place a mirror on the floor directly under the light, so the light is reflected in the mirror
  2. Suspend the chocolate from the light with a long string so that it is dangling just above the mirror
  3. Everyone sits down in a circle around the mirror
  4. One person should then pose with scissors ready to cut the string
  5. One person turns off the light and quickly rejoins the circle
  6. The scissor holder cuts the string (you should hear the chocolate bar hit the mirror)
  7. Everyone chants “ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Tooth, Please come” three times
  8. Everyone must remain completely still and silent and wait, soon you will hear a rustling sound (that’s the gnome unwrapping the chocolate)
  9. When the rustling stops, count to ten
  10. You may now turn the light back on

You will see that the gnome has either eaten some of the chocolate, left teeth marks where he nibbled, or possibly leave more chocolate behind.

Cat Scratcheyes-218185_1280

If you don’t mind being scratched by a ghost or possible demon cat, then this is the game for you! I mean, who doesn’t love evil unseen claws drawn across your tender flesh?

To Play:

  1. Two players, player one lies down with their head in the lap of player two
  2. Player two gently caressing player one’s temples while telling this story (there are a couple of different versions, but I like this one):
    “You are walking down a darkened road. You are alone with only the light of the moon to guide your way. Dark and lonely woods line each side of the road. Dry leaves rustle in the wind and the gravel crunches under your feet. You see a shadow moving in the trees. You hear something rustling in the underbrush. You pick up your pace, desperate to get past the woods. Then you see it. A dark shape of a large cat. Glowing red eyes focus on you. You run, but the demon cat chases you and jumps on you. It scratches you. One. Two. Three. Cat scratch, cat scratch, cat scratch!”
  3. The person sits up as the story-teller lifts the back of their shirt. Red claw marks will appear!

Charlotte’s Webdoll-1640841_1280

No, not the cute grammatically talented spider (did I just say cute in reference to a spider?). The name refers to the ghost of a little girl named Charlotte whose mother was supposedly hanged as a witch. If Charlotte likes your token, you will get the nice Charlotte. If she hates your offering, or you, you will get the bad Charlotte. According to players who have gotten the bad Charlotte, you don’t want her, at all.

To Play:

  1. Find a dark room with a large mirror
  2. Place two chairs facing the mirror with some space between them
  3. Place a table behind the chairs
  4. Put your token offering (a toy for a girl) on the table. Be sure you can see it in the mirror when you and your fellow player are seated in the chairs
  5. Together, say: We Want to Play Charlotte’s Web
  6. You may hear her moving around the room
  7. You may see her take the toy in the reflection
  8. Together say: Goodbye Charlotte
  9. Whatever you do, don’t turn around during this game, you aren’t allowed to look anywhere except at the mirror. If bad Charlotte shows up and throws a tantrum, well, I did say to play at your own risk!

The Midnight Gamedeath-1299194_1280

Remember playing hide-and-seek? A little tame for you? How about hide-and-seek with an entity who, if he finds you, will either trap you in a hallucination of your worst nightmare or rip your guts out? Now that’s a whole new level of motivation! This game takes real commitment, all night kind of commitment.

To Play:

  1. Turn off all the lights in your house and stand at your front door.
  2. Write your full name on a piece of paper
  3. Prick your finger and put a drop of your blood on the paper
  4. Place the paper on the ground just outside the front door.
  5. Place a candle on top of the paper and light it (adult supervision please)
  6. Close the door
  7. At precisely the stroke of midnight, knock on your front door 22 times, you must have completed the knocking before the clock reads 12:01 am.
  8. Open the front door and blow out the candle
  9. Bring the candle inside and immediately relight it, you have just invited the Midnight Man into your house!
  10. Now you move around your house with the candle to light your way, hoping to avoid the Midnight Man.
  11. If your candle goes out, it means that the Midnight Man is near. If you can relight it within 10 seconds, you are safe and can continue to move around to avoid him. If not, your only hope is to surround yourself with a circle of salt where you must remain until 3:33 am. Otherwise, he’s got you! If you make it to 3:33 am without having to resort to salt, you win…I guess!
  12. During the playing of this game, you may also feel cold spots, hear whispering, or see the shadowy figure of the Midnight Man in the darkness!

Seanceseance

The idea of summoning ‘who knows what’ not appeal to you? That’s ok; I have a game for you. This one isn’t real spirit communications; it’s just to scare your friends. Why? Because it’s fun!

To Play:

  1. Gather everyone around a table or sit in a circle on the floor.
  2. Hang a bottle cap from string to use as the pendulum (unbeknownst to the crowd, you have placed a tiny piece of tape or other sticky substance to the bottom of the bottle cap and layered it in sugar before hand).
  3. Light a candle and hold the pendulum just above the candle flame by the end of the string.
  4. Tell your victims that back and forth means a yes answer and around in a circle means no.
  5. Have them ask the “spirit” questions and watch the pendulum move
  6. Move the pendulum closer and closer to the flame until it is passing through the flame. Do this a little at time, so the victims don’t notice.
  7. Eventually, the sugar will catch fire and send out a burst of flames scaring everybody!

If my sister and cousins are reading this, now they know I’m a fake!

If you play one of these games or have one of your own, feel free to post in the comments! I hope everyone has a spooky, fun, and delicious Halloween. Until next time, Never Turn off the Lights!

Just in time for Halloween, Dread is Now Available!

We’ve all heard them. A terrifying tale that happened to a friend of a friend or my second cousin’s sister’s brother’s niece. That’s right, urban legends. One my favorite Halloween topics.During some research for a project, I found that some of these tales have roots in reality. A modern example of this is the Black Eyed Kids.

During some research for a project, I found that some of these tales have roots in reality. A modern example of this is the Black Eyed Kids.

It’s thought to have started with a story as told by a reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News, Brian Bethel. In 1996 he was sitting in his car, using the light from the nearby movie theater marquise to write a check. A knock on his driver’s side door pulled his attention, and he saw two boys in hoodies. The boys claimed that they wanted to see a movie, but had left their money at home. They asked him for a ride. He was overwhelmed with an irrational fear of the young boys. He hesitated and the boys got a little pushy. He looked away to check the time and when he looked back their eyes had changed, or maybe he could see clearly. They stared back at him with “soulless orbs like two great swathes of starless night.” Flight or fight kicked in, and he peeled out of there. As he pulled away one of the boys angrily shouted: We can’t come in unless you tell us it’s OK. Let us in!

After he shared his story on-line in 1998 stories of similar encounters flooded into paranormal podcasts and message boards. Hence, it’s status as an urban legend. But, digging a little deeper, David Weatherly writes in his book Black Eyed Children, that he discovered accounts predating television and the internet with similarities to Brian Bethel’s story. The sense of deep fear the children instill, the demanding persistence to be let in, and not noticing at first that their eyes are not normal are all common themes.

One of the stories I heard that really got my hair up was told by a fellow mom. I think this story resonated with me because I could so closely identify with her. We are both busy moms, and she lived in a semi-rural area like I do.

One evening on her way home, with her young son in the back seat, they made a pit stop at the local convince store/gas station. She parked in front of the store and ran in to get milk, leaving her boy in the car with his iPad. This is all pretty mundane everyday stuff in small towns.

When she returned to the car, she peeked in her rear-view mirror to check on her passenger. She was startled when she saw a boy sitting next to him. His head was covered by the hood of his jacket, and he bent to look at the iPad. She asked her son who his friend was.

“I dunno. He said he needed a ride, so I let him in,” was the reply.

Much to her horror, the strange boy lifted his face to her. His eyes shining damp black orbs against his pale skin. She screeched, jumped out of the car, grabbed her kid, and ran back inside the store. She tried to tell the clerk what was happening, and he assumed she was the victim of a car-jacking, so he called the sheriff. When the sheriff arrived, there was no sign of the strange boy.

She was too shaken up to drive her car. Her husband came and switched cars with her. On his way home in her car, he was involved in a car accident. Thankfully, despite his bumps and bruises, he was fine. The woman remains convinced that the Black Eyed Kid was somehow tied to the accident; either he caused it or appeared as a warning.

As far as I know, no one has ever come up with physical proof of these beings. No iPhone photos or video, for example. But stories have been shared from all over the world by people from every walk of life. Some from very credible individuals. There hasn’t been any proof of a hoax either.

So, what are they? Vampires? Aliens? Demons? Imagination? Hallucination?

What do they want? Your soul? Your body? Your blood?

No one knows.

In my novel Dread, I explore what would happen if these beings invaded a perfectly normal neighborhood and tormented perfectly normal people, just like you. What would happen if they let the BEKs in? Can they figure out what they are and what they want before it is too late?

All I can tell you for sure is that once you encounter the Black Eyed Kids, your perfectly normal life will cease to exist.

Dread is available for purchase from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and NobleTolino, 24Sybmols, Scribd., Inktera.

dreadcsfrontFourteen-year-old Nate Camden, who dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL, has just moved into Dark Pine Hills, a subdivision that has sat neglected and unfinished for some time. His father’s company has taken on the task of recrafting the area into a high-end development, a big opportunity the family can’t pass up. Nate does his best to settle in, and he quickly makes friends, even securing a starting spot on the football team. But it doesn’t take Nate long to suspect things are not as positive as they seem, just under the surface darkness lurks. It’s not just the discovery of neighbors’ family issues, or the protesters that claim the area is a paranormal vortex and should not be developed, or even the rumors that the surrounding forest is haunted. It is something much worse. Kids have come knocking, wanting to come in. The only problem is that judging by their soulless black eyes, they may not be human. Forced to believe the unbelievable, Nate will have to face his worst fears to protect the ones he loves.