Tag Archives: short story

Poetry Friday ~ There’s something wrong with Emma.

18 Jan

Hi, everyone! I hope you all have had a great start to the new year.

 

First, I have some news. I have a new short story available on Amazon titled, Memoir of a Mad Woman. Today’s poem (my first attempt at a Sonnet) was inspired by this story. Memoir of a Mad Woman is a fictional memoir loosely based on the case studies of a female Psychopath and it’s aimed at an 18+ audience.

Mystery and Attract are this week’s prompt words chosen by Colleen Chesebro ~ The Fairy Whisperer.

*The catch is that we can only use the synonyms to these words in our poems.

Colleen hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called, Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge every Tuesday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your Haiku, Tanka, Haibun, Etheree or Cinquain poem. She is an author and poet, and also does book reviews and so much more on her blog. Be sure to check it out.

emma-memoir of a mad woman-psychological thriller-vashti quiroz vega-vashti q-short story-amazon-suspense-new_book

I can’t compare you to another girl.

You are an enigma that frightens me.

In your gleaming eyes I see rough winds whirl,

yet your smile makes me wonder what you see.

In life alluring souls are born to shine,

and everyone dances in their sunlight.

Except you, because you plan her decline.

Perhaps she’s not what she seems in your sight?

You see things in ways that others cannot.

Crazy thoughts in your head are real to you,

but in the “real” world would be a long shot.

Your madness is a thing to look into.

So long as you can breathe, and crazy spurs,

you’ll sing a deadly song of gray to her.

“Emma had nothing to lose but her mind.”

Blurb:

A short story from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Raised by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds.
She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree…
But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this sad but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

memoir of a mad woman-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-Poetry_Friday-book_review-the writer next door

I would like to share a wonderful review written by Author, D.L. Finn.

“Memoir of a Mad Woman” is a short, but chilling read. You’re taken into the mind of a young girl, Emma, who had a very unstable upbringing. Emma ends up in an orphanage. This is where she’s finally pushed completely over the edge. It’s brutal and almost unthinkable what follows. The characters feel real, which makes it all the more terrifying in their cruelty. How Emma responds to what she considers a complete betrayal, you can’t help but to root for her and feel her pain. I thoroughly enjoyed this psychological thriller and felt like I understood her madness. I highly recommend this well-written dark short story.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Take care!

 

 

 

 

Poetry Friday ~ Happy & Morose

3 Aug

Hi, everyone! Welcome!

oak_tree-Poetry_Friday-haiku-haibun-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-Facebook-The Writer Next Door-Tanka_Tuesday-Colleen Chesebro

There once was a tall oak tree who lived in a small forest. Night and day it complained about its noisy leaves. It protested when the leaves sang songs with the wind. It grumbled about the music they made when it rained.

One day a blue jay landed on one of its limbs and overheard the oak gripe about its noisy leaves.

“You know,” the blue jay said. “I once knew a cactus who lived alone in the middle of the desert. He was a sad and lonely thing with no one to talk to. The snakes, scorpions and other desert creatures avoided him, for he had sharp spikes all over its skin.”

“What has that to do with me,” the tree grumbled.

“Well, every time I land on one of your branches I hear you complain about your leaves.”

“So what,” the tree said.

“The last thing the cactus told me before it died of a lonely heart was that it wished its prickles were leaves, so that it may hear their melody,” the bird said.

“If I never hear another leaf sing I would be a happy tree!”

“That is a horrible thing to say,” the bird said, fluttering its blue feathers. “Your leaves are beautiful and the rhythm they make with the wind and the rain is enchanting. They also attract all kinds of birds, snakes, and squirrels. Your days and nights are filled with cheerful pieces of music, laughter and conversation.

“I don’t need music, laughter or conversation. I just want silence!” the tree yelled.

The bird flew away.

One hot, dry summer day a fire broke out in the small forest. Some of the animals escaped the wildfires but many were killed. The crown fire burned the trees up their length to the very top, and few survived.

The tall grumbling oak did survive, but it was no more than a scorched and leafless trunk with naked limbs. None of the nearby trees survived and were chopped down. The colorful birds and animals were gone and only soot and smoke remained. The oak’s world was gray and silent.

Months passed in a blur. The oak tree began to miss the happy lilting of its leaves and their verdant color. “If only I could hear them sing once more I’d be a happy tree.”

A year passed in the blink of an eye and the sad and lonely oak tree was ready to give up. He thought about the beautiful lush canopy it once had, full of lively green leaves. He missed their songs and music and the birds and animals they invited.

Every night the oak prayed. “Mother Gaia, please return my leaves, so that I may hear them sing with the wind.” But every morning he awoke to bare branches. The pain of living in silence, in complete solitude was too much to bear.

As the life began to seep out of its heartwood, he noticed a little green sprout coming out of the ground a couple of feet from him.

“Little sprout,” the oak tree said. “Grow tall with a strong heartwood and a huge canopy made verdant by a myriad of leaves. Always be grateful for what you have. And, be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.” And with those words the oak tree left the world of the living.

Poetry_Friday-Poetry-haiku-haibun-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-Colleen Chesebro-Tanka_Tuesday-Twitter-short_story

 

Do not wish away

the cheerful things in your life

on your grumpy days

 

Happy and Morose are this week’s prompt words chosen by Colleen Chesebro ~ The Fairy Whisperer. *The catch is that we can only use the synonyms to these words in our poems.

Colleen hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called, Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge every Tuesday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your Haiku, Tanka, Haibun or Cinquain poem. She is an author and poet, and also does book reviews and so much more on her blog. Be sure to check it out.

Enjoy your day!

 

Haiku Friday – Pink & Shell

21 Jul

mermaid-pink_hair-Haiku_Friday-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q-Poetry

“She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in.”

~J Iron Word

An enchanting mermaid swam through the oceans of the world trying to forget her past. You see, not long ago she found a young man resting on a strip of sand punctuated by palm trees, and it was love at first sight. She lured him to sea and they swam together. They kissed and caressed, as they laughed giddy with pleasure. She held him tight and plunged into the depths, failing to remember in cruel bliss that even lovers drown.

So she swam and swam, all the while the distance she created did not relieve her heartache. She came to a mystical land of pink sandy beaches. Relieved to be far from the terrain of men she rested. The ocean sighed and brought in the tide and as she breathed the salty air she felt a stir in her middle. She rubbed her belly and felt it pop. Soon after, she realized she was with child.

Although the child would be offspring to the one she had lost at sea––the one whose blinding smile still burned in her eyes––she swore to the ocean she would always care for it. But when a male babe was born in the likeness of her lost love she did not know how she would keep her promise. Every day she fed the babe and cared for him, only leaving him at night when she returned to the sea. She always left him sleeping, swaddled in palm fronds in a small trench she dug near the water.

Days turn to weeks and as the little male child grew, so did her suffering for he reminded her of the lover she held too long underwater. Finally, one night she prayed to the ocean goddess asking for help. After hours of tearful prayers she went into the sea to sleep with the coral. The next morning she awoke and swam dutifully to the pink shore to feed and care for her child.

When she arrived to the area where she had left him for the night––he wasn’t there. Swaddled in palm fronds was a large conch shell. She picked it up and examined it in her hand. It was the most exquisite shell she had ever laid eyes on. A soft, mellifluous sound escaped the shell. The mermaid lifted it to her ear and heard the voice of the ocean goddess, “This is your baby boy. He shall be easier to care for now.”

Pink-Sand-Beaches-Poetry-Haiku_Friday-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Vashti Quiroz Vega-mermaid

She danced with coral

Happy as a clam with pearl

Till in love she fell

pink-conch-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Poetry-haiku-Friday-Vashti Quiroz Vega-mermaid-RonovanWrites

 

Pink and Shell are this week’s prompt words chosen by Ronovan Hester of Ronovan Writes.

Ron hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge every Monday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your haiku poem. He is an author and poet and also does author interviews and much more on his blog. Be sure to check it out. Read Ron’s Haiku Prompt Challenge Guidelines for more information.

 


Vashti Quiroz Vega-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Haiku_Friday-Poetry-mermaid-pink-flash_fiction

Have a happy Friday, everyone!

 

Haiku Friday – Heart & Petals

28 Oct

Happy Haiku Friday and a warm welcome to my blog!

Heart and Petals are this week’s prompt words chosen by Ronovan Hester of Ronovan Writes.

Ron hosts a challenge that anyone could participate in called Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge every Monday, and you have until Sunday to create a post featuring your haiku poem. He is an author and poet and also does author interviews and much more on his blog. Be sure to check it out. Read Ron’s Haiku Prompt Challenge Guidelines for more information.

bleeding-heart-haiku-friday-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Poetry

Bleeding Heart

by Vashti Q

I see and I hurt

So my soul bleeds on paper

Core soft as flowers

I’ll live with a bleeding heart

Until the last petal falls

why_so_sad__beautiful_by_r_becca-d42gaqy-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Poetry

Illustration by Rebecca Blair (DeviantART)

“The more you suffer the deeper grows your character, and with the deepening of your character you read the more penetratingly into the secrets of life. All great artists, all great religious leaders, and all great social reformers have come out of the intensest struggles which they fought bravely, quite frequently in tears and with bleeding hearts.”

~D.T. Suzuki

“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.”

~ Neil Gaiman

Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-bleeding-heart-haiku-Friday-Poetry

In light of the season I thought I’d throw in a zombie. Check out my zombie story The Search for the Last Flower and have a fun and safe Halloween!

Writers Quote Wednesday – Fall From Desire

23 Mar

Hello everyone and welcome. It’s Writers Quote Wednesday. Today’s quote reminded me of a short story I had written a while ago, so I revised my story and decided to post it along with the quote. I hope you enjoy.

vampire_quote_writers quote wednesday_The Writer Next Door

Fall From Desire

By Vashti Q-Vega

For my transgressions, I was cast out of Heaven and exiled to planet Earth.

My fall was brutal as my six large white wings caught fire entering the Earth’s atmosphere. I cringed, cried and screamed as the flames consumed feathers and flesh. I looped and spiraled in the air, all the while stirring and reaching toward the flames, but there was no relief from the oppressive pain or the stench of roasted flesh. The fire was quenched when only the burnt bones of my wings remained. I wailed writhing in the air as the bony frames were yanked from my skeleton by a powerful force. This is what the male angels I led astray with my insatiable carnal appetite experienced as they fell from grace. I deserve worse for corrupting so many.

 

I splashed into a swamp.

 

The only light source was the brilliance of a full moon.

 

The swamp was dominated by woody plants and teeming with animal life. The water seemed to push down on me from all sides. I floundered and flailed my arms and legs, which only made me sink faster. I sank further and further into the swamp and away from the light of the moon. Soon, I was shrouded in darkness. My lungs burned for air. In horror, I screamed and warm, murky water filled my lungs. I shook and convulsed as alligators, snakes and all manner of swamp creatures witnessed the water take me away.

 

I opened my eyes. I was floating over the water. I survived? I was not sure how long I was unconscious, only that it was a different night—for the moon was no longer full. I trembled in fear and remained still, allowing the current to carry me wherever it may. As I came near the bank of the swamp, I took hold of a cypress’s knee, clambered to my feet and waded out of the water. I teetered and faltered, inexperienced in walking without wings. I am no longer an angel. The realization pierced my heart. What am I now? I broke the rules of celibacy in Heaven and tempted so many to do the same with my female ways. My lustful desires and sexual appetite were my ruin. Now I am alone, never to feel the pleasure of a caress.

 

My wide eyes flickered in every direction, trying to find a way out of the desolate and wild place. The potent, musky smell of decomposing vegetation and animal matter wafted into my nose, making me grimace with revulsion. There were no such smells in Heaven. Oh, how far I have gone from Heaven’s joyful fragrances!

 

I staggered in circles, my feet sinking into the spongy, wet ground. The moisture was so dense in this habitat that everything was wet. A film of moisture covered my naked body. Water soaked my long, blonde hair and pulled my curls flat. I heard the hooting of an owl. I turned toward a nearby tree and there it was, lurking in the shadows. Its large glowing eyes stared at me. Snakes slithered around my feet. Alligators remained immersed as they peered at me with their strange eyes peeking over the surface of the water. Where am I? There are only wetlands as far as I can see. How am I to survive here? I was not sure I wanted to live––not here. My body trembled, and desperate tears meandered over my cheeks and mingled with the moisture on my face. No one can hear me cry. I walked for miles. There were many sunrises and many moonrises, yet I remained alone in a world of swamps.

 

Swarms of mosquitos tormented me with their stinging and their buzzing in my ears. I had to deter countless attacks from snakes and alligators. I was covered in welts, bumps, scratches, bites and bruises from such attacks. My body itched, ached and throbbed. I deserve no less for sating my erotic desires without a second thought for the countless archangels, seraphim and cherubim I debauched with my impious, enticing and lustful ways.

 

I continued to wander the soggy swampland and began to feel an unfamiliar burning sensation in my middle. My strength was depleting, and I dragged my feet and panted. Feeling faint, I collapsed. I lay on the water-saturated ground and looked up at the heavens. What is happening to me? What have I become? I lay frozen for hours, feeling so alone, waving off a plethora of insects trying to invade my body. I would rather draw my last breath than spend the rest of my days alone in this sodden nightmare.

 

“What are you?” A masculine voice asked.

 

I jolted upright in a seated position and stared at a magnificent creature. “I––I do not know what I am. I have only knowledge of what I used to be.”

 

“Very well, then what were you?” He squinted his eyes and his eyebrows came together as he stared.

 

“I was once called Rachiel . . . when I was an angel in Heaven.”

 

He looked at me sideways. “You do not look like an angel to me.”

 

“Have you ever seen an angel?”

 

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I have, and angels have wings.”

 

“I, too, had wings. Large white wings—six of them,” I said, my voice quavering. “They were torn from me as I fell through the skies.”

 

He scrutinized me for a while with his piercing violet-blue eyes. “I believe you. I am not sure why, but I do. Perhaps something in your verdant eyes tells me you do not know how to lie.” His wide smile was stunning. “My name is Mendrion.” He was tall. His hair long, thick, the color of nightfall. Lengthy, heavy eyelashes framed his violet-blue eyes. His skin was like an ivory mist. He looked like divine pleasure. Enough, Rachiel! This is why you were cast out of Heaven! I shuddered and got out of my own head.

 

I gawked at his muscular body while he stared at my face and came closer. He searched for some of my hair that was not soiled, grabbed some and sniffed. He proceeded to nuzzle his nose against my neck, my shoulder, the top of my breasts. I closed my eyes. He breathed me in, taking in my essence. He looked up. I opened my eyes, and he stared into them. Then he walked around me, slowly, as he evaluated every inch of my bare body. He parted the long hair that fell down my back and saw the jagged stubs from where my wings used to stem. He passed his hands over them with a gentle touch, and then I felt him bring his face closer to smell the stumps. He came around to face me again.

 

“Are you in pain?” He did not look concerned but more curious.

 

“Since I have arrived on this planet, I have felt only pain, fear and sorrow.” I looked toward the ground.

 

“I can rid you of these malignancies.”

 

“How?”

 

“You need only say yes.”

 

I gazed at him. What am I to do? I am in much pain and I grow weaker with the passing of time. I shall not survive much longer without help. I bit my lip. I was unable to think with clarity.

 

“You do not trust me and I understand, for I have given you no reason to trust in me.” His voice was soothing.

 

“You are an elegant creature, but I do not know your mind.”

 

He grinned and lifted his muscular chest. He swaggered toward me and extended his arm. He passed his hand through my hair and caressed my face. Desire for him grew quickly inside me like a vine strangling all other emotions. Every fiber of my being was ignited. My chest heaved in rhythm with my shallow panting. It is happening again. I am overwhelmed with lustful desires.

 

“You, too, are beautiful to look upon,” he said. “But if you wish to rid yourself of pain and fear you must become what I am.”

 

“What are you?”

 

“I am vampire.”

 

I jolted and gasped. In Heaven, I had heard stories of such creatures from the Observers––angels whose task was to observe the beings on Earth. Vampires are the spawn of Dracul, the infamous son of Lilith and Satan. I recoiled from him.

 

“You know of my kind?” He came closer.

 

“I do.” My lips quivered.

 

“You need not fear me. I mean you no harm. I only seek what you seek.”

 

“What do you think I desire?”

 

“Companionship.” He extended his hand. “Come with me and never be alone again.”

 

I stared at his welcoming hand for a while.

 

“I shall offer this only once.” His piercing eyes were fixed on me. I reached my trembling hand to meet his and he pulled me toward him.

 

He held me tightly and pressed his full moist lips against mine. After the kiss I became lightheaded. Through eyes half opened, I watched as he opened his mouth exposing large canine teeth growing into fangs. I gasped, but before I could move, he sank his fangs into the flesh at the base of my neck. A combination of his saliva and my blood streamed down my neck. I cocked my head back and moaned, my eyes rolling back in their sockets. Both pleasure and pain moved through me. My body tensed. My entire being was at peak response. As he drew my blood greedily, I felt my body meld into his. A delightful pressure began to build inside me. I gasped and groaned with pleasure. The pressure continued to build until I thought I would explode. My body went into spasms of incredible delight, and my mind was flooded with a variety of pleasurable sensations. Then I felt a wave of dizziness, my body slackened, and darkness began to close in on me.

 

Upon opening my eyes, I saw the world differently. The colors of cypress trees became more vivid, and plants were verdant jewels. I almost felt the fragrances of nature. The alligators’ bellows and the hissing of snakes became mellifluous. I lay on the ground, and Mendrion sat next to me. He smiled, and I returned his smile. He kissed me on the lips, neck, shoulders and breasts. His hands caressed my body, and his touch was heavenly. As a vampire, my body was made for pleasure. I sensed so much more and every nerve ending in my body was excited. Every touch sent waves of pleasure throughout my body. I need not food, nor water—I may well live on his touch alone. I was in ecstasy, but then he stopped. He got to his feet.

 

“No, do not stop. I implore you.” I gazed into his eyes feeling affection for him and wholly devoted. “I love your hands and lips on my body.”

 

He extended his hand like he had done before. “Take my hand, Rachiel.” I beamed when he mentioned my name. “I shall allow you to keep your original name, for it pleases me. Now go and join the others.” His words filled me with confusion.

 

He pointed to the swamp.

 

I turned my face and gasped. My eyes opened wide with disbelief. There were other fallen angels like me in the swamp. They were all converted into vampires—no doubt in the same way as I was. There was not a happy face among them.

 

“Go on,” said Mendrion. “Take your place among them. You are now a swamp vampire. You shall feed on the blood of alligators, snakes, beavers, frogs and other swamp creatures.”

 

“I shall not!” I screamed. I clenched my jaw and held back tears. “You deceived me.”

 

“I told you only the truth. You no longer feel pain, am I right?” He waited for my response wearing a wry grin. “If you do not feed on the blood of these swamp creatures, you shall die a slow and agonizing death.”

 

“I shall go away!” I turned my head this way and that, my eyes flickering in every direction.

 

“You have nowhere to go. You belong to me now and there is no escape, for your blood calls out to me and I shall find you wherever you go. Besides, you can no longer live without my touch.” He was right—losing his caressing is what I feared most. “Join the others now, or you shall never feel the gratification of my touch.”

 

Upon hearing his final words my face slackened. I shuffled through the bog and entered the dark, gloomy water. I stood amongst the others, merely another beauty in the murky swamp. The others glared at me––another to whom they must share him with. We were all doomed to the same punishment. Our bodies made for pleasure and overwhelmed with desire, condemned to long for the touch of the same master.

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

Fall from Desire-Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog-Victoria Frances

Illustration by Victoria Frances

 

Colleen Chesebro is a writer, poet, and book reviewer. She hosts an inspiring event every Wednesday on her blog, Silver Threading, called Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Anyone can participate by choosing a quote by a favorite writer and posting it on your blog.

 

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Short Stories

17 Feb

It’s the middle of the week and that means it’s time for Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Welcome everyone! I love short stories. I enjoy writing them and reading them as well. I have written several short stories for this blog, although it has been a little over a year since I wrote the last one. That’s because I’ve been so busy working on my Fantasy Angels Series and what little free time I have left after working on my series I use to work on my blog posts, social media, and blogging.

I haven’t had the time to write short stories in a while and that makes me sad because I love doing it. Anyway, I have gotten several new followers since I posted my last short story, so I decided to post the links to some of these stories. That way, those of you that have not read them can check them out, if you like.

A Town’s Perception

Murder She WrotePart 2, Finale

Raven’s Masterpiece

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance, Part 2, Finale

The Cursed Tree, Part 2, Finale

The Writer Next Door

“I would also suggest that any aspiring writer begin with short stories. These days, I meet far too many young writers who try to start off with a novel right off, or a trilogy, or even a nine-book series. That’s like starting in at rock climbing by tackling Mt. Everest. Short stories help you learn your craft.”

~George R.R. Martin

“A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick – a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.”

~Neil Gaiman

“I love short stories because I believe they are the way we live. They are what our friends tell us, in their pain and joy, their passion and rage, their yearning and their cry against injustice.”

~Andre Dubus

“I find it satisfying and intellectually stimulating to work with the intensity, brevity, balance and word play of the short story.”

~Annie Proulx

Colleen Chesebro is a writer, poet, and book reviewer. She hosts an inspiring event every Wednesday on her blog, Silver Threading, called Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Anyone can participate by choosing a quote by a favorite writer and posting it on your blog.

Ronovan, from Ronovan Writes and Colleen have joined forces! He has been linking his #BeWoW blog share (Be Wonderful on Wednesday) now to include: Be Writing on Wednesday. If you would like to combine both posts feel free to do so and link them to Colleen’s post. She will make sure and add you to the quote wrap-up she does each Tuesday. Please make sure and check out Ron’s blog for more writing inspiration and motivation!

Enjoy your day! And don’t forget to read one of my short stories.

They will haunt you . . . 

A Town’s Perception – Short Story

31 Aug

 

A Town's Perception

 

Hello everyone! Thank you for visiting my blog today. I’m featuring a short story inspired by a nightmare I had. The nightmare was somewhat bizarre, as night terrors often are, but what I remember of it became the creative impulse that led to this story. I’ll call it a Sci-Fi/Horror.

WARNING: The story is a bit macabre.

 

( ^ Click PLAY to hear soundtrack ^)

 

A Town's Perception_Vashti Quiroz-Vega_The Writer Next Door

A Town’s Perception

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

It began with the moon.

One evening I lifted my eyes to the skies, and the moon appeared to have doubled in size. After that, all sorts of curious phenomena began to occur. Everyone in my small town was in a panic.

Strange swirls of indescribable colors were seen in the night skies. During the day the sun shone blood red and colored the skies pink. It was as if we had been transported to a different planet overnight.

When I saw the ships in the sky, I knew it wouldn’t be long before they came for us, and I was right.

In the middle of the day, they came. I watched them disembark their ships, small groups at a time. They resembled men of diminutive stature with large heads. They appeared to waddle rather than walk. They wore weird metallic suits with respirators attached to their faces.

I rushed to my daughter’s side. She lay on the bed in her room, stared ahead at nothingness and wailed, as she had done for days.

My poor child. Her mind was not equipped to handle this invasion. I held her tight. I would not allow her capture. Who knew what these small creatures were capable of doing to her—-to us.

I pushed the barrel of the gun up against her temple to keep my hand from trembling. The cold metal did not stop her wails. Poor thing, her voice was so hoarse. I would extinguish the fire in her gullet.

I pulled the trigger. She fell on her side, her eyes still open wide, as if she could still see this nightmare. I shut her eyelids and finally gave her peace.

It was my turn. I’d convinced myself, like so many others in this town, that this was the only way out. I was the last to take action since I was taught to always have hope, but even those of us who always have hope had given up.

The priest took most of the townfolk. After his last sermon, he instructed the congregation to get on their knees and pray. While the town’s people prayed, the priest left the church and locked the doors behind him. Then he set the church ablaze.

Pitiful man of God, his mind also handled the crisis poorly. He burned those people alive: men and women, young and old. He had invited my daughter and I to attend his last sermon, and I agreed to go, but my daughter was not doing well, so we stayed home and were saved from a horrific death.

I live a block away from the church, and I heard the screams and howls of the burning souls. I ran down the street and was met with a fiery inferno. The stench of burning flesh and hair made me retch. I released the contents of my stomach right there on the street. What did it matter? There was no one around to watch me. I saw the priest stagger from the back of the burning building. My stomach was tied in knots.

“Demons! The demons are upon us,” he shouted. “If you remain they will take your soul!”

“What are you talking about?” I gasped and pointed a shaky finger at the combusting church. “There are people burning alive in there.” I ran toward the church’s double doors. The heat of the blaze stopped me. I sobbed unable to act. Those were my neighbors. My friends.

“You have to burn! Otherwise the demons will take your soul. I burned them because the fire will purify their spirits.” He stared at me with wild eyes.

My hands flew to cover my mouth upon recognition of what he had done. My legs faltered, and I fell to my knees. I trembled uncontrollably as the priest took steps toward me. I extended my quaking arms before me.

“Stop! Stay away!” I made an attempt to get to my feet, but my knees buckled.

“My dear, you must not remain alive. The demons will take your soul.” His voice eerily calm. He continued to trudge in my direction.

“You’re right!” I shouted. My head nodding briskly. “I know I must die. I must tend to my daughter’s demise also.”

“What? Your young daughter is still alive?”

“Yes, she waits for me at home.”

“No, no, no!” The man of the cloth pulled on his sleeves and shook his head like a madman. “You must go to her! It may be too late already. The demons do not waste time. A young soul like hers is a prime target. Go to her! If her soul is still intact, take her life immediately and then take your own.” He took a lighter out and flicked it on. He bent over and put the small flame against the hem of his cassock.

I tried to scream as I watched the fire spread and grow on the flammable cloth of his priestly vestment, but I opened my mouth and sounds did not leave my lips. I gathered all my strength and lifted myself off the ground. I wanted to run. Instead I barely escaped the wailing priest who floundered, engulfed in flames. I staggered past him. The crackle and pop of his burning flesh lingered in my ears never to be forgotten. Noxious smoke attacked my nostrils. The stench was so great, I could taste it.

The very next day, the little men came.

It’s time now. My daughter is gone. The entire town is gone.

*

A gunshot is heard. Men in white lab coats and facemasks run into a young girl’s bedroom. On the twin bed, dressed in pink, lies a pre-teen girl and a thirty-something-year-old woman. Both females are deceased due to gunfire wounds to the head.

“We’re too late,” one of the men in lab coats said.

“Well, maybe it is for the best,” his partner said. “There is nothing we could have done to reverse the effects of the chemical agent.”

“It’s a shame what happened in this town.”

“Yes, but how could we know Compound K would have this effect on them?”

“No––we had no way of knowing that the solution we prepared to cause infertility in the men and women of this town would turn into a powerful, hallucinogenic, mind-altering drug when combined with their water.”

“We’ll have to look into the town’s filtering system before we try this again in the next small town.”

“I agree, but let’s not allow this small speed bump to deter our cause.”

“Doctors,” a young man interrupted, “you asked for bottled water?” The men nodded and each took a bottle. They hardly took notice of the fellow. The young assistant leaves.

“Of course it won’t deter us. Our cause to save the planet by ending overpopulation goes beyond a few casualties.”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call five hundred people a few casualties, but such things happen in the name of science.”

“Absolutely.” The scientist gulps down his bottled water. Suddenly, he sputters. His eyes widen. “Th-thi-this water was bottled right here in this town!”

The other scientist fumbles with the bottle, trying to see the manufacturer’s name.

“How could this small town have a bottled water company?” Wide-eyed and hands trembling, the scientist stares at the lettering on the bottle. He reads, “‘We take pride in our fresh, clean mountain water and we use the highest quality water filtration systems.’ They bottled this water four days ago.” He drops the bottle, and it crashes to the ground.

“No!” his partner yells. “We put Compound K in the water supply seven days ago!”

“Maybe it won’t affect us in the same way as the townspeople. We’ve only drank a small portion in comparison to what they must have drank in the course of several days.” His voice wavers and his body shudders at the thought of having ingested the solution that caused all the townspeople to go mad and kill themselves. The other scientist stares at him, unnervingly silent.

Unexpectedly, the first scientist cries out and recoils. “Stay away from me! Don’t come near me. You will never take me alive!”

“What is the matter with you?” Staring at his partner and looking perplexed the second scientist takes a step back. “Oh, no.” His face slackens as realization hits.

His partner continues shouting, “You’ll never take me alive, Nazi!” He grabs a lamp and charges.

The scientist wrestles with his crazed colleague and seizes the lamp from him. The madman bites him on the shoulder. The scientist beats the man on the head and shoulder repeatedly until the lunatic finally unclenches his teeth and falls to the ground dead.

The scientist falls back against the wall, panting. He slides down the wall, landing in a crumpled mess on the floor. He holds his head in his hands and stares at his partner’s limp body, whose blood meanders toward him. Rivers pour from his eyes. His body shakes and convulses.

His eyes do not reflect what his mind sees.

The flames of hell surround him while demons dance around and torment him with everlasting pain.

 

A Town's Perception

Copyright © 2013 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

Short Story – The Cursed Tree (Part 3) FINALE

30 Jul
Henri_Vidal,_Cain,_Jardin_des_Tuileries

Henri Vidal (1864 – 1918), Cain, Jardin des Tuileries

 

Hello! I hope everyone’s having a great week so far. I’ve posted the 3rd and final installment of my short story The Cursed Tree. How a story begins and ends is very important to me, so please let me know how you liked or disliked my conclusion to this story in the comments below. If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2 you should before reading the ending. Thank you for taking the time to read.

 

 

 

The Cursed Tree

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Cain returned home and was at his best behavior. He was obedient to his parents and kind to his brother. I must be pleasant and amicable toward my brother so that when the time comes, he shall not fear to follow me, Cain thought.

 

There was a consequence to Cain’s feigned behavior. As he became nicer to Abel and his parents, it seemed to him that they too became more pleasant to be around. Cain began to enjoy his brother’s company and his parents’ new praises and attention. It seems that being obedient to my parents and kind to my brother has its rewards. I am enjoying my time with them, Cain thought.

 

Four weeks flew by and the time had come to take Abel to the tree. Cain observed his brother as he protected and guided his sheep. Once more he felt remorse. He dragged his feet back to the tree.

 

“I have changed my mind,” Cain told the tree. “I know longer wish to see my brother’s life extinguished.

 

“It is too late now, Cain!” the tree bellowed, causing Cain’s head to ache. “He must taste the fruit I bear!”

 

Cain shook his head. “No!” he yelled. “I no longer desire my brother’s death!”

 

“For years all you talked about was your hatred for your brother,” the tree said. “You spoke of your hatred for Abel while you watered me. You spoke of your hatred for your brother as you pulled weeds from around my roots. You said over and over again, as you pruned and cared for me, how your life would be so much better if your brother Abel were not around!”

 

“Things are different,” Cain said. “I am an obedient son and a loving brother now. Since I have been good, my parents show me more love and my brother is kind to me.”

 

“How long do you think this shall last?” the tree asked. “You are not being yourself right now. You are being who they want you to be, and the day you grow tired of being an imposter, they, too, shall go back to the old ways. Remember your parent’s preference for your brother. Remember how they all looked down on you, as if you were lesser than they.”

 

Cain’s heart felt heavy. His face and body slackened. He stared at the tree through eyes blurred with tears. “You are an evil tree, and the fruit you bear is an abomination!”

 

“If I am evil, it is only because you have fed me the hatred that consumes you,” the tree said. “The fruit I bear is a product of your hatred and your evil soul.”

 

Cain’s eyes opened wide, his breathing became shallow and erratic. He turned away from the tree, unable to stand its evil presence any longer. Cain ran as fast as his feet could carry him. When he arrived home he saw his mother watering the root vegetables he had planted for her.

 

“Mother!” Cain yelled. Eve jumped. “Where is Abel?”

 

“I do not know. He went looking for you,” Eve said, looking at him with a confused expression. “What is the matter? You look pale and distraught. Is something wrong?”

 

“I must find Abel,” he said in a low, hoarse voice. Then he hurried to the hill where Able spent most of his time with his sheep. Abel was not there. Instead, Adam tended the sheep.

 

“Father, where is Abel?” Cain asked. “I must speak to him.”

 

“Your brother went off to look for you,” his father said. “He went by the river where he thought you would be tending your favorite tree.” Cain gulped air and his legs faltered. He plopped onto his knees. His father hurried over.

 

“What is the matter, son?”

 

“Nothing, Father,” Cain said, clambering to his feet. “I have been running around looking for Abel, and I am a bit tired. I shall be alright soon.”

 

Adam responded, but Cain did not hear what he said, for his pulse beat loud and fast in his ears.

 

“I must go now, Father.” Cain hurried to the small paradise he had created by the river. Standing next to his tree was his brother, holding a half-eaten fruit in his hand.

 

“Brother, you did not tell me your tree has yielded fruit,” Abel said. “It is the sweetest and most succulent of all fruits.”

 

Cain approached Abel slowly, shaking his head––large tears falling from his eyes.

 

“Did you not catch the stench of evil and death that comes from this treacherous fruit?” Cain asked.

 

Abel gasped. He dropped what remained of the fruit to the ground. His face turned pale and he dropped to all fours. He sat on his haunches, and his tongue wagged out of his mouth. He rocked back and forth. His mouth foamed and he held his hands in front of him like paws. Then he ran around in circles on all fours, making growling noises and tearing plants apart with his teeth before eating them. Abel approached Cain and sniffed him. Cain retreated from him, his face twisted in disgust.

 

“He is wild, eats grass and runs around on all fours. He is mad and has the mind of an animal,” Cain said, his face red with rage. “Why have you done this?”

 

“It is what you wanted,” the tree said. “You could not kill him because he was human, but now he is but a mere animal. Kill him. Or do you prefer he live like this for the rest of his existence?”

 

“No!” Cain shook his head and sobbed.

 

Abel continued to growl and paw at him.

 

Cain stared at his brother Abel. Tears flooded Cain’s face. Abel was human only in appearance. He saw that now. I cannot allow my brother to go on like this, and I shall not put my parents through the shame of watching their beloved son walk on all fours and eat grass. I shall do what I have to in order to make this right, Cain thought.

 

Cain grabbed a large jagged rock and walked over to Abel. He lifted the rock over his head. “Goodbye, brother,” Cain said, and brought the rock down on Abel’s head again and again until his brother’s skull became one with the ground, and his warm blood covered Cain’s face and hands and colored the verdant grass red.

 

Cain saw what he had done and shouted to the heavens as he pulled the hair out of his head.

 

“My brother’s blood calls out for revenge, so punish me, oh God! I deserve your worst! But before you do, please, allow me to watch the destruction of this evil tree! I implore you!”

 

The earth rumbled and the sky turned an ominous dark grey. Large black clouds swirled across the heavens, colliding with each other. Deafening thunderclaps made the ground tremble. A jagged lightning bolt ripped through the sky and speared the tree, turning it to ash.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

 

 

Tree-Lightning-the cursed tree

Did you enjoy the spin on this ancient story?

Short Story – The Cursed Tree (Part 2)

23 Jul

The cursed tree

Hello! This is the 2nd installment of my short story series The Cursed Tree. Be sure to read Part 1 if you have not already done so. I appreciate any feedback left in the comment section below. Thank you!

 



The Cursed Tree

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Cain gulped air and stared at the tree, openmouthed. “No! I cannot kill my brother!”

 

“Why not?” the tree asked. “You are much stronger than he is.” Cain knitted his eyebrows in thought.

 

“I-I jjust cannot kill my brother.”

 

“You have never killed, but your brother has killed many times,” the tree said. “Every time he sacrifices a lamb or a goat, he kills.”

 

“This is true, but it is not the same.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because taking my brother’s life is taking a human life.”

 

“A life is a life! Why did you protect me so if you did not hold this to be true?” Cain pondered the tree’s words. “If your brother Abel can take a life, then so can you.”

 

Cain jumped to his feet, nodding. He stared ahead––his blue eyes glittering with the prospect of revenge.

 

“Sacrifice your brother Abel so that you may walk in the light,” the tree said. “Once Abel is gone, you shall grow mighty in your father’s eyes.”

 

Without another word Cain rushed to find his brother. He found him on a nearby hill tending after his sheep.

 

“Brother!” Cain called.

 

“I am here, my brother, among the sheep,” Abel said, his long, golden hair a mess and flapping in the wind.

 

“You are always among the sheep. It is no wonder you smell like one,” Cain said with a mischievous expression. Abel chuckled until he saw that Cain held a large rock in his powerful hand. Abel looked at Cain’s face, then at the rock, and then at Cain’s face again.

 

“That is a large, menacing rock you carry, my brother, “ Abel said in a tremulous voice. “What do you intend to do with it?”

 

Cain gripped the rock until his knuckles turned white. He clenched his jaw and flared his nostrils.

 

Abel, who sat on the ground, jumped to his feet. He stared at Cain with wide eyes and took a step back.

 

Cain narrowed his eyes. He stared into Abel’s hooded russet eyes, looked at his messy hair and his sun-kissed honey locust skin. He puffed and slammed the rock on the ground. “What do you know of fear?” Cain said, turned and ran away.

 

Cain ran all the way back to the tree.

 

“I could not do it,” he said breathless. “I hate him. He is my brother, and I hate the air he breathes, but I cannot kill him.”

 

“Do you remember the promise I made to you, Cain?” the tree asked.

 

“You had promised to someday bear extraordinary fruit just for me,” Cain said. “What has this to do with my current situation?”

 

“Have you noticed the small flowers that have grown on my branches?”

 

“I have. Apologies, I have been meaning to compliment you on those, but so much has happened that . . .”

 

“Apologies are not necessary. I only mention them because in four weeks time a fruit will grow amidst each bloom. A remarkable fruit.”

 

“Remarkable in what way?”

 

“You bring your brother Abel to me in four weeks time, and have him taste my fruit. One bite will accomplish what you could not.”

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

 

 

The Cursed Tree

How did you like the 2nd installment of The Cursed Tree? Please let me know in the comments below. Thank you!

Short Story – The Cursed Tree

16 Jul

the cursed tree

Hello! Most of you know that I have been working hard on the edits for my second novel ‘The Fall of Lilith’. I haven’t had time for much else. However, I don’t like neglecting my readers, so I’ve written a short story series called The Cursed Tree. I will post it in three short installments. Let me know your opinion on it in the comment section below. Thank you and enjoy!

 

the cursed tree_vashti quiroz-vega_short story

 

 

I like your story. What a new and interesting take on the murder of Abel!”~Kristina Z.

The Cursed Tree

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

 

The earth rumbled, and the sky turned an ominous dark grey. Large black clouds swirled across the heavens, colliding with each other. A sweet, pungent smell drifted through the air. Once the rain arrived, other odors came. The pounding water shook the plants and trees and carried their odiferous particles in the air. Jagged lightning bolts split the skies, spearing trees and turning them to ash. Deafening thunderclaps made the garden tremble. God was angry. Man had betrayed him. The Garden of Eden would no longer be home to Adam and Eve.

 

Only one tree still stood among the devastated land: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It, too, was cursed and would not last long in the tumultuous storm of God’s rage. A powerful gust of wind removed a seed from this tree and blew it out of the garden and into the world.

 

The tiny cursed seed drifted to a large, roaring river and landed near its bank. The winds continued to bluster, covering the seed in moist soil. Buried and forgotten, the small seed took root.

 

In time, the seed pushed through the soil a green, quivering stem adorned with tiny, prickly leaves.

 

“What is it, Cain?” Abel asked, scrunching his nose.

 

“What does it look like? It is a plant of some kind,” Cain said.

 

“I know that, but what kind of plant? It looks different from all the other vegetation. I do not like it,” Abel said. His thick blond hair fell on his face as he leaned forward to take a better look at the small tree.

 

“I think it is a baby tree, and I do like it,” Cain said. “I am going to build a barricade around it to protect it from the animals.”

 

“Why?” Abel asked. “It is ugly.”

 

“I want to see it grow,” Cain said. “Besides, sometimes things that begin as ugly can grow to be beautiful.”

 

Abel crumpled his brow in thought. Cain wiped his brother’s hair from his face. He could not stand that Abel never tied his hair back. Cain always kept his dark brown hair tied back and neat.

 

Cain did as he said he would and built a barrier around the small tree. The boy visited the tree daily and made sure it was doing well. He even spoke to it.

 

“I know you probably do not understand my words, or maybe you do. I know not.” Cain said. “Nevertheless, I will take good care of you and see what fruits you bear.”

 

“Thank you,” the tree responded in Cain’s mind. Cain jumped, startled by the strange voice in his head.

 

Cain looked around and saw no one. His deep cerulean eyes stared at the small tree before him. “Di-d d-did you speak to me?” he asked the tree, shamefaced.

 

“I did,” the tree said. Cain gasped. He took a few steps back.

 

“How is this so?” Cain asked. “Trees do not speak.”

 

“Just because one never spoke to you does not mean that trees do not speak,” the tree said.

 

Cain gawked at the tree, unable to form words.

 

“Protect me and help me grow, and I shall bear extraordinary fruit just for you,” the tree said. Wide-eyed, Cain nodded in agreement.

 

Cain kept to his word. He continued to visit the tree almost every day. He pulled any weeds growing near it. He made sure the tree’s soil was moist and that it was receiving enough water. Cain also took care of the surrounding land. He planted fragrant flower bushes and verdant plants to grow along with the tree. Soon, he had created a small paradise with the tree in the center of it.

 

Cain and the tree had many conversations. Cain and his brother Abel did not get along and the tree had to listen to Cain’s countless accounts of fights and arguments between them. The tree was a good listener. As Cain grew up alongside the tree, he did a lot more complaining about his brother Abel, and the tree listened.

 

Years went by, and both Cain and his tree grew big and strong. Cain had grown into a handsome young man—tall, with long, dark hair, eyes blue like the twilight skies, and creamy skin the color of golden powder sand. He loved the land and knew how to work it well, and working it made him strong and muscular. Every seed he planted yielded luscious fruits, vegetables, and beautiful flowers.

 

One day, Cain came to visit his tree. He carried a basket filled with delectable fruits and vegetables. He grumbled under his breath as he kicked stones in his path. He let the basket drop to the ground. The fruits and vegetables spilled out of the basket and rolled in different directions on the lush grass. He fell to his knees and wept into his hands.

 

“What is the matter, Cain,” the tree asked. “Why are you so troubled?”

 

“Nothing I do is good enough!” Cain said.

 

“What do you mean?” the tree asked. “Everything I have seen you do has been extraordinary. Because of you, I thrive.”

 

“My father does not think so,” Cain said. “Only my brother, Abel can do right in his eyes.”

 

“It seems that your golden-haired brother does nothing but cause you grief.”

 

“Even God shuns my crops and acclaims his sacrificed lamb,” Cain said. “I am the eldest, yet I have always walked in my brother’s shadow. But there is nothing I can do.”

 

“Kill him,” the tree said, “you can kill him.”

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

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