Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #16 New Image Prompt. Join in the fun! @pursoot #WritingCommunity

For the past sixteen weeks, Author Suzanne Burke, has been offering a photo prompt for flash fiction creation. While I’ve been inspired by several of the prompts, time has been a huge constraint for me as of late. But, this photo demanded that I stop the turning wheels and write something!

If you’d like to know more about her Fiction in a Flash Challenge, you can visit her website for all the details! Join in! You know you want to. 🙂

Aiyana huddled beneath the Buffalo skin and shivered. Mingan drew her closer and snugged the skin around her shoulders.

“Do not worry, my love. The call of the wolf speaks to my soul. Tomorrow’s battle will be successful.”

She turned her dark troubled eyes toward him. “How can you be so sure? I have a heavy heart and dread sits like a rock in the pit of my stomach.”

Mingan stroked her hair. “When I was born, the first sound my father heard was the howl of a mother wolf. He knew at that moment I would carry wolf medicine with me throughout my life. I am one with them. The howling wolf outside our tipi tells me she will be with me as we face our enemies from the east.”

“I want to believe you, my brave warrior, but I also know the power of the enemy you face. They outnumber us and are determined to eradicate all of our people.”

As if listening to their conversation, the wolf howled long and loud.

“Wolf tells me that she and her clan will stand with us. We will not be alone against this great enemy. We have magic they know nothing of. We will be victorious.”

***

Before the sun rose the next morning, Mingan slipped out of the tipi into the cold air. Smoke from the fires that had burned pinon wood through the night tickled his nostrils. The village medicine man, wrapped in a blanket, lit a pipe and motioned to Mingan to join him.

“We must give thanks to the nature spirits that walk and talk with us, young brave,” the old man said.

At the edge of the forest, eyes pierced through the darkness. The wolves were waiting and ready.

As Mingan squatted by the fire and shared the old man’s pipe, the wood popped in the fire, sending spirals of sparks through the air.

“Wahya waits,” the old man said. “They are united with us and this day will be a victory for our people.”

Mingan grunted, stood and stretched. The female alpha wolf stepped out of the shadows and howled.

Fresh snow crunched beneath his moccasins as Mingan walked toward her, hand outstretched. She didn’t move and when he reached her, he laid a hand on her big head. “Thank you, Wahya. I will feed your clan tonight. We will win this battle. You will join us by our fires.”

She lifted her head, sniffed the air, and trotted back to the others that waited patiently.

One by one, braves emerged from their tipis. Weapons were polished and talk was scarce.

If they won this battle, Mingan and his wolf clan would be the new tribe leaders.

Once they’d partaken in a small fare, they painted their faces, said their prayers and mounted their ponies.

Just before the sun slipped above the horizon, they rode full force into the army encampment a few miles away. As predicted, the lazy white men were still asleep, their bellies full of last night’s liquor.

The braves tore through tent after tent, destroying everything in their path. The wolves lunged headlong into the fray, going for the throats of the men, and ripping flesh from their bodies.

In less than an hour, the battle ended.  The wolves growled and circled the camp. The braves dismounted and gathered weapons, blankets, food and supplies they desperately needed to get through the hard winter ahead.

The army men that hadn’t been killed escaped with nothing more than the clothes they slept in.

It was over.

Mingan returned to his village victorious, and as he promised, the wolves joined them at their fires and ate heartily of buffalo and venison.

For the moment, they’d ended the threat of eradication of both species.

***

I hope you enjoyed the story. It was definitely inspired. I hope you’ll visit Soooz’s website and read all the entries! I think you’ll find them very entertaining.

Please follow S. Burke here:

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

And if you have a mind to do so, I’d love it if you’d follow me on my social media outlets!

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

PINTEREST

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” #10 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Hi, everyone! I’m super excited to participate in another Flash Fiction Challenge using a prompt provided by Suzanne Burke!

I honestly didn’t see any way I could possibly find time to write, but my muse wouldn’t leave me alone. So here I sit, late at night, posting the story I saw in my head in response to the prompt.

AN EMPTY PROMISE

Emily poured a fresh cup of coffee and strolled to the end of the rickety wooden dock for the hundredth time. Where was he?

She sipped the hot coffee and stared across the tranquil lake, searching intently for any sign of a boat.

A twinge of guilt crawled up her spine. Leaving a note was a piss-poor way of saying goodbye. But the thought of a confrontation and one more fight with Malcolm was more than she could handle. When he’d left for work that morning, she’d packed her suitcase, left her keys, checkbook and a note by the door.

It hadn’t been hard to walk away from a twenty-year marriage. In fact, it had been one of the easiest things she’d ever done.

She’d skipped and twirled like a giddy school girl when she’d arrived at Levi’s cabin, where she’d visited many times over the past few months.

Lying in the circle of his strong, tanned arms, Emily found her center. He made her feel like a beautiful goddess, and when they made love, the earth tilted on its axis.

She sighed deeply and tugged her soft sweater closer. Despite the warmth it provided, she shivered.

“Where are you, Levi?” She paced the length of the dock. He should have been here hours ago.

She checked her cell phone for the umpteenth time.

Malcolm would be home by now. How would he react to the note?  She could picture him sinking into his favorite chair and dropping his head in his hands. Well, she’d set them both free, and he should thank her.

“Levi will be here,” she said to no one. “He just got hung up somewhere.”

She thought about the first time she saw him. Desire stronger than anything she’d ever felt swept the length of her body, leaving her knees weak and the sweet spot between her legs moist.

It had been a girl’s night out. The crowded club was the perfect backdrop for Levi to saunter onto the stage and serenade the ladies.

He was a gorgeous specimen of a man. Long legs, tapered waist, bulging biceps, and the most striking blue eyes she’d ever seen. And when a lock of his wavy brown hair fell over those mystifying eyes, women swooned.

She wanted him.

That had been three months ago.

Now she’d walked away from her stable life. The home she’d built with Malcolm meant nothing anymore. She’d traded it all to be with this tanned god who made her feel alive.

The sun began to drop below the horizon, and she turned back toward the cabin.

“Surely, he’ll be here soon,” she told the birds. “He promised.”

Minutes ticked by, turning into hours.

Emily wrapped a soft blanket around her shoulders and lay on the sofa. Her eyes took in every detail of the love nest where she’d spent many blissful hours.

A lump of dread formed in the pit of her stomach.

Something had happened.

Maybe he’d gotten cold feet. Or, perhaps he’d met someone else younger, prettier and richer.

Emily thought back over every conversation, searching for a clue.

She tried for the thousandth time to call him. It went straight to voice mail.

What to do now? She couldn’t go back home to Malcolm.

Bitter bile rose in her throat. What a fool she’d been to believe she’d found true love.

While her life crumbled around her, she squared her shoulders and walked the length of the dock one last time.

A plunge into the icy waters would end it all.

Her cell phone buzzed, and she grabbed it.

Sorry.

The text lit up the screen.

That was all she got? What a piece of shit! She sprinted down the dock, grabbed her suitcase, and tossed it in the car.

She stared hard at the cabin. A can of gasoline on one corner of the porch caught her eye. Without hesitation, she doused the dried wood, lit a match, and drove away.

Never again would she believe an empty promise.   

***

Thanks for reading! Please visit Suzanne’s blog site and read all the responses to the prompt. Join in the fun!

And if you’re not already doing so, please follow Suzanne!

Suzanne’s author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

Flash-fiction Challenge – A Foreign World #FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

In response to the Flash-Fiction photo prompt from Suzanne Burke this week, here is my contribution.

A FOREIGN WORLD

“Oh, the memories.” I sigh, and squeeze his hand a little tighter. The dried orange, brown and yellow leaves crunch beneath our feet as we shuffle along the sidewalk.

He smiles down at me. “Yes, my love. I remember when we sat on this very bench and I asked you to be my bride.”

Tears came unbidden and trickled down my wrinkled cheeks. “We had a pretty darn good life, didn’t we, Harold?”

“Yes. Yes, we did, in spite of the hardships.”

“But, I no longer recognize the world we live in. Where is everyone? Why are the streets empty? There was a day when this park would have held the laughter of children and young lovers strolling hand-in-hand.”

“Let’s sit, Margaret. My old legs are giving out.”

We shuffled over to the bench and Harold brushed away the leaves that covered it.

He blew out a long sigh and leaning on his cane, dropped onto the very bench where we started life together fifty-two years ago.

“I’m troubled, Harold. No, I’m more than troubled. I’m scared. Not for me and you. We’re pretty much out of here, but for the ones coming behind us.”

Draping an arm around my shoulders, he pulled me closer. “It’s not the same America that you and I grew up in. Soldiers on the streets, looting, killings and so much hatred exists. You know it’s not even safe for us to venture out.”

“I know, but I really needed some fresh air. Thank you for appeasing me.”

“Oh, my love, that is what I have lived for these past fifty-two years. My greatest joy is to make you smile.”

“What is that noise? Sounds like firecrackers.”

“I think we better mosey on back home, honey. It’s getting closer.”

He struggled to his feet, then leaning heavily on his cane, reached for my hand.

As we shuffled back toward safety, I turned to look back at the bench that meant so much, only to see a group of hoodlums spraying graffiti on it.

“Harold, we need to move faster. Trouble’s coming.”

“I’m going as fast as I can go. Don’t worry, dear. I won’t let anyone hurt you. It’s just a few more blocks home.”

That’s when it happened. A blow to the back of his head, took Harold to his knees. I screamed and turned to face our attackers only to see sneers and glowing hatred in the eyes of what should have been intelligent young men.

“You old people don’t need to be alive,” one of them growled. “You’re just taking up space and eating food that belongs to us. This is our country now. Old people like you are a nuisance.”

I kneeled down beside Harold and cradled his head in my lap. “You’ve hurt my husband.” Tears flowed uncontrollably.

One of them laughed. “So what? What are you going to do about it old woman?”

The first blow knocked me backward onto the hard concrete, and I frantically reached for Harold’s hand. The second blow brought oblivion.

Then, I was flying and when I looked down, I saw the shell of our bodies lying on the concrete, our blood mixing together and staining the sidewalk.

Harold floated up beside me.  “We’re free now, sweet love. No more aches, pains or persecution. We’re free.”

He was right. I no longer had the familiar pain in my joints and his cane no longer had any use.

“What will happen to our once beautiful world?” I took one more glance downward to see the men who’d taken our lives strolling away casually as if nothing had happened. They laughed and joked and slapped each other on the back.

“I don’t know the answer to that. We may have to come back to find out.”

“I’m not sure I want to come back again. Maybe we’ll stay with the Angels for a while.”

“Whatever you say, dear.”

With his hand nestled softly in mine, we drifted slowly and peacefully toward the brightest light that you can imagine. Then we disappeared into it.

We were home.

I hope you enjoyed my contribution. If you’d like to participate or just know more about Suzanne Burke (by the way a fabulous writer), visit her website or better yet, pick up one of her books!

Contact Suzanne at …

Her author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

Some Recent #Reviews – @maeclair1 @pursoot @teagangeneviene @spolakoffauthor @maurabeth2014

It has been a while since I took the time to post some reviews for books I’ve read recently, so here we go!

If you want to hop over and purchase a copy of any of these books, simply click on the titles.

From the super talented author, Mae Clair – “In Search Of McDoogal.”

Quirky and Entertaining!

This short read from Mae Clair is funny and filled with quirky characters. When Brady mistakenly sells his girlfriend’s painting, her talisman, her treasure, (or so he is led to believe) he will move heaven and earth to get it back. He grabs his best friend, Declan, and the two set out to retrieve the painting before the girlfriend returns from out of town. The search almost reads like a “who’s on first” scenario, as they met dead-end after dead-end in a small town four hours away. The characters come to life and jump off the pages, from the love-struck Brady to the star-struck Dorie and a confused sheriff. I loved everything about this story. It is well-written, a quick easy read, and will make you laugh out loud! But my favorite part of Brady’s quest was his own discovery of how much he’d come to care for (no fall in love with) Vanessa. While the quest was to retrieve the dreadful painting, it accomplished so much more. If you’re looking for a lighthearted escape from life, this is a perfect choice! It is well-written and shows the diverse talent of this author! I highly recommend it!

From Author, S. Burke, “The Reckoning Squad.”

Full of Action!

This story gripped me and drew me in from the first sentence on the first page. Unimaginable tragedy strikes a young girl, Chastity, crippling her mentally for a long time. When she has to shoot and kill another classmate to save lives, she struggles to recover. Her desire to see justice served to those who deserve it send her on a path of becoming an FBI Agent once she graduates college. But, the unexpected offer to join an elite team appeals to her even more.
As the story unfolds, we see her bond strongly with her teammates as they face arduous training, with only a handful completing the training. But the bond cements itself as they begin to work cases and bring about justice in whatever way it takes.

When they’re assigned to an extremely high profile case and there is a breach, causing great loss of lives, things move into overdrive for Chaz (the name she shortened Chastity to after the school shooting) and other team members. The intricate web of deceit, murder, and high finance proves to be a challenge beyond anything they’ve imagined. These characters come to life at the hand of this talented author. I particularly loved the characters, Chaz and Zach, and the romantic tension between them. This story has everything any reader could want. It is a definite page-turner. I couldn’t wait to see the outcome. If you are a fan of fast-paced, deep stories, you’ll love this one! This story deserves to be made into a movie and I hope Ms. Burke has more in store for the characters going forward.

Suzanne Burke is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

From author Teagan Geneviene, “Brother Love – a Crossroad.”

An Imaginative Tale At a Crossroads!

This author serialized this story on her blog before publishing it, and I enjoyed following along then. But reading the story from start to finish was an entirely different experience. There are several things I love about this story. A girl who is ostracized because she happens to live in a house that sits at the crossroads and believed to be evil. A magpie, Jinx who can talk and sing is another aspect of the story I loved, But the tent revival setting and shenanigans that occurred captured me the most. This author took word prompts from her blog followers to include in each chapter of the story and that is such a unique idea. She also included some fun facts or educational information at the end of each chapter. This story is well-written. The only criticism I have for it is the way it ended abruptly. I would like to have had a more satisfying conclusion. Great story with an imagination that knows no bounds!

Teagan Geneviene is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

From Maura Beth Brennan, “Stardust.”

So Many Different Levels of Goodness!

I thoroughly enjoyed this short story. Maeve is a retired librarian and the children in the small town adore her. As a ritual, each year at Halloween, when the trick-or-treating is over, many children along with their parents gather in Maeve’s living room for stories and refreshments. Maeve is beloved by everyone despite her eccentricities such as riding her bicycle all over town. But, when she ventures out of her safety zone to visit a new supermarket, tragedy strikes in the most horrific way. Maeve is mugged by a group of thugs and would have met her death without the intervention of a young boy, Eddie. The two become best of friends as she helps him with his school lessons. That is until his older brother finds out, and makes threats he is known to carry out. Maeve is drawn to a chest left to her by her great-grandmother, where inside, she finds a shawl that she remembers being told was woven from stardust. That starts a series of magical events. I will not leave a spoiler for this story, but will say it is very well written and compelling with many different levels and layers of goodness! I highly recommend it.

Maura Beth Brennan is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

From author, Sam Polakoff – “Shaman.”

A Reincarnation Journey!

Dan Alston has spent a lifetime building a reputation – that of the last clean politician. He’s now serving in the U.S. Senate and represents his constituents with honesty and integrity. But things are not all rosy for the Senator. As his life starts to unravel, more and more strange occurrences – visions – voices and mystical possibilities unfold. This book gets off to a slow start and I was almost at 50% before the story grabbed me and wouldn’t let me rest until I reached the end. There are dual timelines and souls intertwined and reincarnated to learn lessons and for some, to seek revenge. The ultimate revenge to bring down the Senator and destroy the world at the same time is a huge undertaking for Maritza Coya and her accomplice. I won’t tell you what happens, as I do not want this review to be a spoiler. I’ll just say this is a journey from start to finish. While I am a believer in reincarnation, some parts of the scenario I found to be a bit unbelievable, but still entertaining. The last scene in the book left me confused. A wedding in Peru with both living and deceased people in attendance left me scratching my head. However, after contacting the author, it all became clear. The story came to a satisfying conclusion. If you are intrigued by reincarnation or mysticism, you will enjoy this book.

Sam Polakoff is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on these books. If any grabbed you, click on the title to purchase. I’m now reading a book by an author new to me, Linda Trout, and the title is “Tangled Promises.”

I’ll share my thoughts on this book later. What are you reading?

Cover Reveal – The Reckoning Squad @pursoot #RRBC

i AM THRILLED TO TURN MY BLOG OVER TO A FELLOW rave reviews book club member, suzanne burke!

Hello, and welcome to the Cover Reveal of my New Psychological Thriller.

“The Reckoning Squad.”

The Reckoning Squad Cover Reveal Banner.

The Reckoning Squad

By

S. Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.
Release Date: Monday FEBRUARY 24th, 2020.
Mystery>Psychological Thriller & Suspense >

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “The Reckoning Squad”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Reckoning Squad” my latest Psychological Thriller.

“The Reckoning Squad ” is due for release on Monday, February 24th, 2020.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order.

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement. Here’s my new baby . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi

Presenting “The Reckoning Squad” A Psychological thriller.

“The Reckoning Squad

THE RECKONING SQUAD HIGH RES IMAGE of BOOKCOVER

BLURB:

The Reckoning Squad was the new name being whispered in the darkened corridors of the powerful in Washington. The name was whispered with awe, and the whispers grew louder.

Twenty people had been carefully vetted and recruited to undergo specialized training. Training engineered to break them utterly, intended to shatter everything they once believed themselves capable of surviving. Only the best of them made it through the twelve weeks of hell. They now formed a cohesive black-ops unit, known as The Reckoning Squad.

Their facility is breached, and the team’s numbers are decimated. The survivors know that they’re in a fight for their lives. They have been betrayed from within. Trust has now become a rare commodity. They want answers.

The betrayers don’t understand just what they’ve unleashed.

But they are about to find out.

The Reckoning Squad are coming, and they have just rewritten the rules.

#

Here’s an extract from the Prologue.

Prologue.

New York: November 8, 2003.

Chastity Adams checked the time, ran a brush through her long blonde curls and hurriedly grabbed her school books. She shoved them into her backpack and slipped on her gloves. One quick look from her bedroom window was enough to tell her just how windy it was outside. The last of the fall leaves still clung bravely to the branches all the while knowing it was futile. The others swirled in small angry spirals across her backyard. She grabbed her coat, pulled on a beanie, and loosely draped a scarf across her shoulders. Chastity was unaware of how pretty she looked with her long curls falling in a soft curtain around her. Her mind was too busy to cloud it with vanity.

She suddenly recalled a decision she’d made yesterday.

Chastity hurried down the hallway to her brother Nathan’s room and knocked on the door.

Nathan stood looking down at her from his 6′ 3″, rubbing his eyes and leaning on the wall. “What’s up, squirt?”

Chastity ignored the nickname, she’d be thirteen in a couple of days then she’d ask her big brother to quit using it, “I was just wondering if you had some gloves and maybe a beanie or scarf you don’t ever wear.”

“Why would you need them?”

Chastity flushed a deep shade of pink, “There’s this boy at school, he kinda always looks cold. He’s still wearing the same stuff he was wearing back in June. It’s way too cold now for shorts and a tee-shirt. So, I figured maybe his folks just didn’t have enough money to buy him some warmer stuff, you know? I mean he could have one of mine, but he already gets picked on enough and adding bright girl colored stuff would just make it worse.”

“You off on another one of your missions to save the world, squirt?”

“I’m not! But it just doesn’t seem right that some folks have too much and some folks never have enough. That’s all.”

Her brother looked at her closely and nodded. “Okay. I guess I have some stuff I don’t really need.”

His sister flung her arms around him. “You are the best brother ever! You wouldn’t maybe have an old hoodie as well?”

Nathan knew he’d lose an argument with his kid sister. He had never been able to deny her anything. And the little minx knew it.

His eyes followed her as she left the room with her donated bootie. He tried to shrug off the thought that his friends may start looking at his kid sister a little differently, and soon.

Then he grinned and was comforted by the knowledge that the squirt was capable of laying them out flat on the ground, courtesy of the karate lessons she’d undertaken since the age of five. If she didn’t dissuade them they’d have to come through him. That wasn’t about to happen. This whole big brother thing had suddenly altered in a way he hadn’t anticipated happening quite so soon.

***

Travis Wilson shivered as he stepped outside and hurriedly locked the front door behind him. The baggy shorts and tee-shirt he was wearing gave him no armor to fight off the cold November wind. He steeled himself to brace it, picked up his violin case and hurried to catch the school bus.

He climbed on and made his way quickly down to the back corner and grabbed the window seat. He spoke to no one and kept his eyes averted, but he couldn’t shut his ears off from hearing the nasty comments from the other kids that sat nearest to him. “You going away to a beach somewhere, freak? Don’t much like your choice of swimwear.”

The guy had secured himself a good laugh with that one.

Then the other comments started. Kids seemed to grow braver when they formed a pack. Travis knew they weren’t all cruel, not normally, but the need they had to belong trashed all over their distaste at what they were doing. Driven by the desire to be considered popular inspired them to be as cruel as they could be. Their words lacerated his already damaged soul and Travis felt his face darken with the shame of it. He didn’t respond either by word or action, knowing they’d soon become bored with their bullying of him and move their spiteful tongues on to some other kid they deemed to be weak and an easy target.

He looked out the window and sighed with relief when he spotted Chastity Adams and her best friends readying to climb on board at the bus stop. Chastity was different from the rest of them. He always felt a little better about his day when she’d seek him out and give him a smile. He looked across at her then, just as she turned. He knew she had caught the wistful look on his face. She simply smiled across at him and turned back to her chattering best friends.

He caught the smile and burned it into his memory. He would remember it when the darkness descended again. It would help keep him warm.

***

Purchase The Reckoning Squad on Amazon.com

Again my grateful thanks to the generous folks sharing my Cover reveal with you today.

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

My Blog

Jan Sikes Top-Ten Book List for 2019

AND THE WINNER IS!! I am ashamed to say that I almost forgot to draw a winner for this blog post, BUT, I saved myself at the last minute. 🙂 The winner of the $10 Amazon Gift card is Stephanie Ortiz Jenkins!! Stephanie watch your inbox! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It is always a challenge to pick just ten books from the many books I read each year. Because it was so difficult this year, I have listed a Bonus book and also some fabulous short stories. I hope you enjoy my Top Ten, and if you see a book that catches your interest, click on the purchase link and add it to your TBR list!

PURCHASE LINK: WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

PURCHASE LINK: THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO

PURCHASE LINK: WHATEVER IT TAKES

PURCHASE LINK: THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE

PURCHASE LINK: VOYAGE OF THE LANTERNFISH

PURCHASE LINK: END OF DAY

PURCHASE LINK: VANISHED

PURCHASE LINK: MEMOIR OF A MAD WOMAN

PURCHASE LINK: THE LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME

PURCHASE LINK: WHEN CAN I STOP RUNNING?

PURCHASE L INK: REFLECTIONS

PURCHASE LINKS: RAVE WRITER’S INT’S SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA) ANTHOLOGY VOL I

CASTE METAL

VISITORS: A SHORT STORY MYSTERY

RED EYES IN THE DARKNESS – A SHORT STORY

MEGAMAX

SLIMMER

And, last but not least, I will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card to some lucky person! Just leave a comment and share this post to be entered! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! HO! HO! HO!

Welcome to the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! Day 13#RRBC #RWISA

Welcome back to the last leg of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Blog Tour where we celebrate great writing from our RWISA Authors!

Today I’m beyond thrilled to bring you Author Suzanne Burke!

THURSDAY’S CHILD

By Suzanne Burke.

Copyright 2019.

She hadn’t really intended this to happen. Oh, sure, she’d thought about it often enough, but thinking about something didn’t make it a crime. A convergence of circumstances had prompted her choice. Regret was such an outmoded commodity.

She checked her latex gloves fitted well, and flicked her dark eyed gaze across to where Peter Cameron lay, still and silent. “You brought this on yourself, Peter. Did you think me a complete fool?”

Carol moved across to the edge of the bed and stood over him. She reached down and flicked the blonde hair back from his forehead, then gently rested her hand there.

“You’re cold. Shall I fetch you a blanket?” Her laughter soothed her.

The man’s eyes were now open, and Carol revelled in the fear she witnessed in their blue depths. “Ah, there you are. How do you feel?” She laughed again. “Oh, silly me. You can’t feel anything. Can you? Such a handy little drug, and no taste I believe, especially in your malt whiskey.”

Peter Cameron’s blue eyes registered the words and Carol watched on as he commanded his brain to activate his fingers, his arms. He had no control of his voicebox. His brain refused to obey. He remained still.

“Oh, don’t fret so, darling. You’re not going to die … yet. The paralysis will last just long enough for my needs. It’s all in the timing. You need to helplessly contemplate what I may have in store for your immediate future.”

Carol walked away from him, and headed for the bar, whistling happily in anticipation. She placed his used glass and the bottle of Glenfiddich into her handbag, then poured a stiff belt of burbon into a paper cup, and seated herself comfortably on the sofa in the large living room and admired afresh the warm ambience of her surroundings.

“The best that all my money could buy.” Her voice brought her comfort.

She drained the cup and refilled it. When empty she crumpled it and placed it alongside the other items now concealed in the bag.

The wall clock reaffirmed that she had an hour remaining before company arrived. She nodded in satisfaction and rested.

With twenty minutes remaining she stood and checked on her captive one more time. “Not long now.”

A low groan came from the bed.

Carol gently stroked his cheek. “Are you terrified, my darling? Your eyes tell me you are. Good. That’s as it should be.”

Carol smiled in satisfaction and left the room, content to wait this out for a few minutes. At exactly 11.02p.m she heard the front door open and close again. A musical female voice called out, “Peter? Darling, where are you?”

Carol listened carefully from her dark space in the hallway. She held her breath as the woman came into view and she watched her enter the master-bedroom in search of her lover.

“Waiting in bed for me, darling? That’s different. I thought we were going to share a late supper.”

The woman sounded disappointed.

“He can be very disappointing. I agree.” Carol said from the doorway.

The woman jumped in fright and managed to say “Oh, my God. I’m not, that is, we aren’t, this isn’t.” She shut her mouth when her frightened eyes took note that her lover’s wife was standing in front of her wearing latex gloves and aiming a gun at her head.

“It isn’t what? An affair? Oh, please. Do you expect me to believe that you’ve come here to my home every second Thursday at 11.00p.m for 3 months to do something innocent?  Go ahead, enlighten me. I’m a reasonable woman. Convince me I don’t have a reason to hate you.”

“Please! I’m so sorry. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“Oh, no, Thursday’s Girl. It means everything. The others meant nothing to him, therefore I ignored them. Ah, but you, you’re different. Turn around, let me take a closer look at you.”

Carol walked across to the shaking woman and prodded her with Peter’s handgun. “I said turn around.”

The younger woman nodded and hurriedly complied.

“He does love a tight ass. Long legs too. That’s always a bonus.”

“He doesn’t care about me. It’s a … a fling.”

“Nice try.”

“I’ll end it and never see him again. I promise. I’m sorry, please. Let me go.” The woman was sobbing now.

“Don’t you want to know how I know you’re special?”

The woman shook her head. “I’m not ….”

“Shut your stupid mouth and listen!” Carol barely controlled her anger and shoved the nozzle of the Glock into her rival’s chest.

She drew a deep calming breath and lowered the gun slightly. “I know, because he’s been happy. Happier than he’s been for many years. The only thing that’s different in his life since the advent of his peculiar behaviour is you!”

Carol fished inside the pocket of the coat she was wearing and drew out a small velvet box. “He brought you this little diamond trinket from Caliago, his jeweller of choice. It’s an engagement ring for you, Thursday’s Girl. The ring size is smaller than mine, and besides I only wear emeralds. My contact at the jewellers tells me it’s worth upwards of one million dollars. I do hope it’s insured. Give me your hand. Let’s try it on for size.”

The hand the woman held out was shaking. Carol nursed the gun, and held out the jewellery box. “Now place it on your finger. Don’t be stupid enough to flex your hand. Slide it on.”

The diamonds glistened as the ring slid into place perfectly.

“And lastly, should you think me presumptive, then don’t. You see our darling Peter visited our attorney to get the ball rolling for divorce proceedings. I can only wonder that he made such a stupid mistake. Our attorney was the one I recommended twenty-years ago. He earns every cent of the additional fees I pay him every month.”

Peter groaned again from the bed and his lover stood there watching on, too afraid to move.

Carol smiled. “How tragic love is. How very sad that you came here to end your relationship. Peter Cameron had never been denied anything in his life. He couldn’t take the rejection. He apparently decided that if he couldn’t have you, then nobody would.

The woman began to scream, and Carol laughed with pleasure. “Oh, yes, scream. Go right ahead! We do love living out here. There’s a righteous freedom in having no near neighbors.”

The woman was still sobbing as Carol sat next to Peter on the bed and shot her three times in the chest. She calmly watched as the body was flung backward by the impact and dropped to the floor.

Carol gazed down on her for long enough to see the faint hold on life vacate her eyes.

Carol checked the spandex gloves, satisfied that they’d worked as they should. She placed the weapon down for a moment as she removed the other things that she’d need from the bureau.

Peter’s arm felt like a dead weight as she wrapped the tourniquet around his upper bicep. The veins responded beautifully, and Carol inserted the syringe and watched in fascination as her husband’s body jerked several times. She watched him begin to foam at the mouth. She watched him die. “Heroin is so deadly, if you don’t get the dosage just right. I believe it’s referred to as a ‘hot shot’.

She placed the Glock in his right hand and checked to ensure the trajectory married up with the bullet’s impact on his dead companion. Carol squeezed his fingers closed around the weapon with his finger on the trigger, then let his arm drop and the gun lay loosely in the dead hand.

Carol stood back and admired her handiwork. Content now she hurried outside.

She ran to her car secreted behind a tall stand of trees and drove it into her driveway, behind the visitors Porche. She let the car idle and punched in 911 on her iPhone.

“911. What is the nature of your emergency?”

“Please! Help me. I need help! Please!” The voice was frantic.

“I’ll help you, Ma’am, but I need you to calm down. Please tell me what is happening.”

“I heard a woman screaming! Then I think there were gunshots! Now I can’t hear anything. Please! Please, I beg you, please hurry, I think my husband is inside. Should I go in? I have to help him!”

“Please give me your address.”

Carol gave it.

“Do NOT enter the dwelling. Police and Paramedics are on the way. Stay on the line with me. Are you close to the house?”

“I’m outside in the driveway.”

“Please move away from the property. Stay away from the windows. They’re on their way.”

***

CNN breaking news.

“In breaking news! The body of United States Senator Peter Cameron has been found at his home. A crime scene now exists. Early indications from our sources indicate that another body has been found at the scene. Murder/Suicide has not been ruled out.”

“Tragically it was the senator’s wife who made the grim discovery. She is reported to be resting under sedation. In deep shock as these events unfold. Police at this stage don’t believe that a third party was involved in the tragedy.”

Carol listened to the excited broadcaster and smiled.

Then she settled down in her pristine hospital bed and drifted off to a contented sleep.

THE END

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Suzanne Burke’s RWISA Author Page

Jan’s Top Ten Books for 2018

I love to look back over the many books I’ve read throughout the year and put together a list of what, in my humble opinion, is the best of the best.

This year I read 37 books and let me tell you, it was no easy task coming up with only ten to put on this list.

I narrowed it down to the books that lingered with me long after the last word. I hope you enjoy my list and will find at least one new read to pick up!

As you can see, most of these authors are members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. It’s a great place to look for great books to read!

I have linked each box to the book on Amazon for your shopping convenience!

Day #9 Welcome to WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour #RRBC #RRBCWRW

PLEASE READ TO THE END FOR A NICE SURPRISE!

Blog Tour Banners

Thank you all for joining me today on this amazing showcase tour being sponsored by RWISA (RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS), an elite branch of the amazing RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

This showcase will feature 19 talented writers, each having their own special day to be featured on multiple blogs.  Please take a moment after you’ve read the author’s work, to click on the link to take you to that author’s profile page on the  RWISA site.  On my blog, that link will be the author’s name.

Today’s special guest: SUZANNE BURKE


Suzanne_Burke

“Shielded”

By

Suzanne Burke

I welcome the shield provided by darkness. Those sweet moments when I allow myself to sit in the velvet depth of silence and dwell only on what is to come.

For the past only exists to remind me of the challenges I failed to meet. The things I thought myself powerless to change. I know better now.

I have no room for failure here as I sit wrapped in the warm blanket of my darkness-inspired illusion of safety.

The soft glow of the clock now heralds your arrival. I feel my pulse jump in anticipation.

I check the window … again. No vehicle yet slows to a stop on the rain-drenched streets so many floors below.

I feel the twitch of the nerve in my jaw and suck in the air in an effort to still it.

I remind myself once more that external factors are likely responsible for your late arrival. I know you too well to ever believe that you would be late by choice. You are eternally predictable. That comforts me somewhat.

My neck muscles clench and I stand, stretching my arms and softly willing them to relax.

The clock rolls through another hour, and my calmness begins to falter.

I check through everything that I have prepared in anticipation of our meeting.

Grunting with approval at my readiness, I check the window one more time, and I gift myself a smile as your vehicle draws up and parks on the opposite side of the now quiet street.

The excitement begins to make itself felt and I shiver.

You will arrive soon, and all the waiting will end.

I lick my dry lips and take a deeply satisfied breath.

I hear the sound of the ping the lift makes as it stops on this floor. I hear your key turn in the lock.

I wait as you fumble for the light switch and flick it on. You swear in displeasure as the room remains dark. Now you search for your iPhone and seek out the torch app. The room in your immediate vicinity is caught within the boundary of its fractured light.

I smile.

My surprise still awaits your discovery.

You feel your way slowly along the wall and take a faltering stumbled step into the kitchen. The light switch disappoints you once more.

The language that follows that discovery explodes in the air. I hear you open the refrigerator to confirm to yourself that this lack of light has permeated the entire apartment. You shrug out of your coat and drop it to the floor, uncaring of the dirt and clutter it now lay amongst.

You find the bottle of scotch and slam cupboard doors seeking a glass. There are none. They lay in a disordered mess of unwashed utensils still awaiting attention on the food scrap cluttered kitchen bench.

I hear you curse as you stagger. The booze you’ve been consuming for hours rattles your movements and makes them disjointed.

You sit heavily in the easy chair uncaring of the scattered and dirty clothing that cushions your weight.

You unscrew the lid of the scotch bottle and take several satisfying gulps.

The anticipation makes me quiver now.

I have waited so long for this.

The cigarette lighter grants you a drag of the nicotine that is but one thing on your list of addictions.

The clock ticks over again and moves time relentlessly forward.

The bathroom awaits your imminent arrival and you curse again at your now shaking hands as you seek out your ever-present stash of heroin. You scream in rage and frustration when you finally acknowledge that there is none to be found.

I hear you slamming the walls with your now white-knuckled fists.

I reach across and flick off the power override switch. I illuminate the apartment.

It takes brief seconds for you to lurch back into view.

“Melody? Why the fuck didn’t you tell me you were here? What the hell! When did you get back?”

“I discharged myself from the hospital.”

“Oh. Good. This place is a mess. It needs cleaning.”

“Yes, Charles. Yes, it does.”

I watch you nod your head, pleased at my response.

You check your wallet, quickly counting the bills waiting inside. You confirm your decision, “I  need to go out. Fix me something to eat. I won’t be long.”

“Why do you need to go out again? It’s raining.”

I watch you glare at me for daring to question you. “I need a fix. I’m heading to see Freddy.”

“There’s no need. I stopped by and saw him on the way home. I wanted to give you a surprise.”

You smile for the first time. “Well, now. That’s fine. That’s good.”

“Do you want me to get it?”

You now wear your frustrated look. “Fuck yes. Of course. Hurry up.”

“Sorry. It’s a little hard to walk with my ribs strapped.”

“You’re always sorry. You’re pathetic!”

I access the bedroom and return with his fix, and watch as he draws it up and applies the tourniquet to his upper left arm.

“You broke my jaw again, and two ribs this time.”

You glare at me as I dare to disturb your concentration, “You shouldn’t aggravate me like you do. You know you asked for it.”

The smack hits you, and I watch as your pupils dilate. The sickly smile that you now wear is most unattractive.

I wait.

You look suddenly startled. I watch the confusion on your face turn to fear … and then a moment of understanding colors your now bulging eyes. “Fuck! Fuck, Melody! What did you d…………….”

I wait.

You make a gargled choking noise as you begin to foam at the mouth.

I wait for five minutes and then check for a heartbeat … I smile … there is none.

I need to be certain that reviving you is not possible. Fifteen minutes should do it.

I punch in a number on my iPhone.

“911. What is the nature of your emergency?”

“Oh, God … help me, please! Please! I’ve just found my husband. He’s not breathing. Please … I think he’s overdosed.”

The kind operator took my address, “Okay. Stay calm. I have paramedics on the way.”

“Hurry! Hurry, please, please hurry.”

I turn off the lights and sit within darkness’s velvet cloak. My iPhone torch casts a spotlight on your rapidly cooling body.

I smile.

The rigid look of fear on your now strictured face brings me comfort. “Did you like my little surprise, Charles?”

I hear the sirens approaching.

I laugh in delight as the heady rush of adrenaline-fuelled relief floods my system.

The dawn light is just filtering through the balcony windows. Soon now I’ll have no need to seek the comfort of darkness.

I wait now. I have finally regained control.

 The End

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

SUZANNE BURKE RWISA Author Page

How would you like to become a RWISA Member so that you’re able to receive this same awesome FREE support? Simply click HERE to make an application!

500th

THIS IS MY 500TH BLOG POST!!

TO CELEBRATE, I AM GIVING AWAY TWO EBOOKS (YOUR CHOICE) FROM AUTHOR, SUZANNE BURKE (AKA STACEY DANSON). LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED INTO THE DRAWING!

 

 

The Alternative – New Release from S. Burke

It is my honor and pleasure to host this author and her new release! I was lucky enough to be a beta-reader for this collection of short stories and I can tell you they are not only compelling but downright riveting! 

Welcome to Day 3 of my Choose “THE ALTERNATIVE” Blog Tour.

With my grateful thanks to my marvelous host.

Thank you for joining me here.

BOOK COVER

BLURB

There are those that cling unreservedly to the lifeboat that believing in Karma hands them so willingly.

They work, they live, and they function in a world that allows them the option of unreservedly trusting that Karma has no deadline.

Until they are handed the spark that ignites them into becoming the instrument of Karma itself.

There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.

Then, of course, there are those who believed in nothing and no one, to begin with …

These are their stories.

The stories of people both good and bad, who made the choice to exact “The Alternative.”

***

Today I’d like to share with you a glimpse of the story behind one of the stories.

Part of my book blurb reads

“There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.”

This story fits within this premise.

Chapter 2. Human Disinterest.

Within the pages of this particular story is someone I knew and loved. And whilst this is a fictional work, the persona of Jenny Thurston is intensely real.

In the story, Jenny runs a charity organization desperately trying to keep the people that found themselves out on the dark city streets, warm, dry, fed and alive.

Jenny takes up a large television network’s offer to do a feature piece focused on informing the public and making them aware of the circumstances that caused these folks to be out there. She puts up one hell of a fight to protect the unprotected.

My Jenny was barely eight years old when I  met her. I was eleven.  Jenny had the oldest eyes I’ve ever seen. We came from different places, she and I, both of them equally painful and dark.

Jenny spent her entire life fighting cruelty in all of its dark permutations. She inspired me to be stronger, she gave me loving arms without judgment to cling to. She opened her wounded heart to all those in need that she encountered.

She helped me to laugh, and she taught me that I was capable of loving unconditionally.

Jenny lost her ongoing battle with life several years back. She had no fight left in her. She took her own life. It was the only promise she ever made me that she had broken.

I hope I have somehow shared a glimpse of her strength, resilience, frailty and warmth within the pages of this short story.

I miss her still.

Here is a brief extract from the opening of Chapter 2. “Human Disinterest”

Jenny Thurston hung up the phone, then sat in her creaking office chair and gazed longingly up at the brief glimpse of sky visible in the confined space permitted to a two-story building surrounded by towers of concrete and glass.

Brad Levinson hesitated momentarily outside the door, and then he walked heavily, the sound of his intrusive feet deliberately loud to gain his boss’s attention.

“’Sup, Jenny?” he asked.

“I had a phone call, just now. CNN wants to do one of their ‘A Day in the Life of…?’ programs.”

“Wow, Jenny … I mean, hon, that is huge!”

“Oh, it’s huge alright. It’s not a focus on me or our work here they’re after; they want to do a three-part series based on interviews with our street folks. They want me, as the head of Street Angels, to gain them introductions after they have carefully chosen their preference. Jesus, Brad … they don’t give a crap. They just want someone guaranteed to spike the ratings.”

“Well, that would have been a fast conversation. You didn’t threaten them, did you … Jenny?” He looked at her face and found his answer, “Oh, Jenny … not again?”

He was trying hard not to laugh and failed miserably.

“Winter is coming fast, Brad. I don’t have time for this shit. You know we stand to lose a few. The donations always slow down around now.” Jenny smiled and then said, “Anyways, I made them an offer.”

She stood then and stretched her lean frame. “Let’s go over those rosters again for tomorrow night. You know it’s going to get crazy. Friday night and a full moon both at once. I’ll need our most resilient on duty. Can you contact the guys for me, please?”

“Whoa, go back a second, you made them an offer? Please tell me it wasn’t one they couldn’t refuse.”

“Yeah … Don Corleone, I’m not.”

Brad just grinned and said, “Coffee first?”

“Always.”

He laughed again. Jenny was like this most of the time. The other times weren’t so hard to witness, knowing that this Jenny … his Jenny would always come back.

***

Thanks so much for joining in my New Release Promotion. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Again my sincere thanks to my host, and to the great crew at 4 Wills Publishing for organizing my blog tour.

“The Alternative” NOW Available Amazon.com

Author Bio:

Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds- of miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.

Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.

Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in Kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.

Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke.

Suzanne Burke is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

My Blog

This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.