Tag Archives: storytelling

SPOTLIGHT: Teagan’s Books | Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

10 Jul

#CreativityFound is one of my favorite hashtags, but I use it sparingly, and only when the person or subject matter is truly deserving. Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene is clearly worthy because she is the epitome of creativity and imagination.

“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

~Native American Proverb

Teagan Riordain Geneviene-author-spotlight-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-vashti quiroz vega-writer-novel

 

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, is a true storyteller with a vivid imagination. She enjoys interacting with the readers on her blog and her readers take part in the creation of her serial stories. A southerner by birth, she was “enchanted” by the desert southwest of the USA when she moved there. She had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences in both the southern states and the southwest. Teagan writes many types of fantasy, from what she likes to call “quest type” fantasy, to urban fantasy, to fantasies with a dash of mystery. Her blog, Teagan’s Books contains serial stories written according to contributions from viewers.

Teagan’s major influences include Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris.

The novella version of the serial that helped establish her blog is now available.

The Three Things Serial Story is a spontaneously written (“pantser”) story. Everything in it — characters, setting, plot, was driven by “things” left by readers of the blog Teagan’s Books, episode by episode. Each week readers left three more things. The story evolved according to what those random things inspired. The serial began with oscillating fan, which brought me the vision of the 1920s setting. The era and narrator continued in two more serials that followed. While it was not great literature, it sure was a fun ride!  Here’s a trailer to put you in a Roaring Twenties mood.

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

“Creativity takes courage.”

~Henri Matisse

The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Teagan's Books-book-author-spotlight

Check out Teagan’s other books here.

Teagan Riordain Geneviene-author-spotlight-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Vashti Quiroz Vega-blogger-novel

Connect with her on Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Teagan Riordain Geneviene-author-spotlight-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Vashti Quiroz Vega-blogger-novel

Be sure to visit Teagan’s blog, Teagan’s Books. It’s one of the most creative, colorful and fun blogs you’ll ever visit.

 

Have a wonderful week and join me on Friday for ‘Haiku Friday’!

 

 

 

Writers Quote Wednesday – Mystery

20 Apr

Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”

~Albert Einstein

What is Mystery?

Any affair, thing, or person that presents features or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation.

I’ve decided to put myself out there and post a section of my work-in-progress, Dracúl. This is my first draft. Dracúl follows The Fall of Lilith and is the second installment of my Fantasy Angels Series. I thought this section had a lot of mystery, so it went well with this week’s theme.

Vashti Q-Dracúl-The Fall of Lilith-Fantasy-novel-fantasy-angels-series

Chapter 1- THE AWAKENING

 

I awoke to darkness and the smell of musty earth and mold. I gasped, feeling disoriented to the time and place. The air was humid and stinging cold. Trembling I shifted on the moist ground my eyes flitted in every direction searching for a source of luminosity. Filaments of moonlight scarcely passed the towering trees that surrounded me.

I raised my shadowy vision to the skies but did not gaze upon a single star. Instead, I saw a mass of dark, branches looming above me. The cold breeze blew and made the trees rustle like living things. Bare branches seemed to come at me like clutching clawed hands. An eerie howling and whistling made by the wind moving around them gave me a jolt.

My pulse began to thump loudly in my ears drowning all sounds except that of my fitful panting.

“Where am I?” My voice sounded small, brittle and unfamiliar. I was but a child. A boy.

Unsure what to do, I lifted my upper body off the wet earth and squinted into the dimness of the forest.

My mind was clouded. “Who am I? Why am I alone in this darkness?” I squeezed my eyes shut and then sprung them open again. My vision began to clear, but my mind was still a fog.

I passed my hands over my face and head. I inhaled sharply as my hands ran across two pointy projections extending from my skull. Shaking, I passed my hands over the rest of my body and noticed the skin below my waist was different from the skin on my torso, arms and face. My lower body was covered in dry, smooth scales cold to the touch.

Images of a tall creature with long extremities filled my mind. Where are my lower limbs? As my vision adjusted to my surroundings I saw that I had no legs. Instead, I had a scaly tail––like a serpent. There was a heaviness tugging on my backbone. I shook to remove the hindrance, but instead a huge pair of black, spiky wings distended from my back. My body tensed. “What sort of creature am I?”

Once more I closed my eyes. When I reopened them I saw colors––grayish green moss covered rocks and russet trees, a sea of gold and copper covered the ground as crisp leaves float down from trees and curl into the moist earth. I gazed at my arms and hands. My skin was red––as red as blood and my hands were clawed.

“Was I abandoned here?”

I wished to escape, but my reptilian lower body would not move. A gust blew chilling the air and blowing the trees. I feared getting ensnared by the trees’ clutches if I took flight. Hostile screeches from unknown creatures pierced the air. I whisked my head to and fro searching for the origins of the sounds futilely. Terror seemed to thwart logic and rational thinking.

Colleen Chesebro is a writer, poet, and book reviewer. She hosts an inspiring event every Wednesday on her blog, Silver Threading, called Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge. Anyone can participate by choosing a quote by a favorite writer and combining it with a poem, story or excerpt and posting it on your blog.

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.

Haiku Friday – Guide & Map

17 Jul

RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge

 

Happy Haiku Friday! This week’s prompt words are Guide and Map. Hmmm, not exactly poetic words. Well, this is what I came up with this week. I hope you like my haiku.

The Writer Next Door_mind_mapping

Mind Mapping

storyMindMap

storytelling_The Writer Next Door_haiku_Friday

A mind map is a powerful graphic technique used to visually organize information and unlock creativity.

Have you ever used this technique for storytelling, blogging or to plan an event? Has it worked for you?

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!

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Am I A Sucker?

14 Nov

Am I A Sucker?

The other day I went to a nearby supermarket to buy strawberries, pineapple, kale, spinach and parsley for a smoothie I planned to make the following morning. The grocery store was busy for a Monday evening. I looked around and, of course, picked up a few knickknacks that were not on my shopping list—but what else is new. When I finally got to the checkout line, there were two people ahead of me (not bad).

I was caught up reading the latest gossip about Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus in the trashy magazines located in the racks conveniently placed near the register, when it dawned on me the line had not moved at all. The man at the head of the line took off, leaving all his groceries behind. The cashier pushed his groceries to one side and told the lady ahead of me to come forward. As she did, she asked what had happened. While the cashier explained, my ears were alert and focused (imagine a Chihuahua with its large ears standing at attention).

The man had forgotten his wallet at home, or so he claimed. As the cashier processed the groceries, her customer grimaced at the story, twisting her mouth and rolling her eyes. Then, as she was paying, the man suddenly returned. He explained to the cashier that he had misplaced his wallet and couldn’t find it. The customer sucked audibly on her teeth, shot him a dirty look, and walked away with her bags of groceries.

The man’s face wore an expression of complete humiliation. He continued to offer explanations to the woman behind the counter as she checked out my groceries. From the corner of my eye, I saw what he had come to get. There was no beer, whisky or cigarettes. As a matter of fact, his groceries consisted of staples: a pack of chicken drumsticks, milk, eggs, bread, a small bottle of vegetable oil, peanut butter, tomatoes and a package of American cheese.

I peeked at him and noticed his shoes were worn down to nothing. His pants were baggy and worn, as was his shirt. He had the look of a man going through hard times.

The cashier gave me my total. I paid. I left the supermarket.

As I walked away from the building, my heart grew heavy. I sat in my car. I’m not claiming to be Mother Teresa, but I couldn’t stand the thought of that man going hungry. I left my car and returned to the market. I ran to the checkout line. The man was no longer there, but his groceries still lay cramped in one corner. I asked the cashier where the man was, and she told me he had just walked out the door. I told the cashier I would pay for his groceries and then rushed to get him, but not before receiving a weird look from her.

I caught up to him at the corner and told him to come back to the store—that I would pay for his groceries. He refused. It took me quite a while to convince him to take my money. I finally told him he would be doing me a favor. The older man smiled faintly, took the money, and gave me his blessing. At that moment, I felt a weight lifted from me.

I’m not rich, and I know I’m no saint, but my gut told me this man really needed a break. He looked like he could be anyone’s dad. He was clean and did not smell of alcohol, and I could see anguish in his eyes. I was compelled to help him.

Some people I know tell me I’m a sucker. They say he went to the grocery store looking for a sucker to pay for his groceries. My answer to that is, maybe he did. Perhaps he was that hungry and that desperate.

So what do you think? Am I a sucker? Or did I do the right thing? What would you have done if you were in my shoes?

middle-aged-man_Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

Thank you for visiting my blog

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TERROR

14 Oct

TERROR

(^ For creepier effect turn on sound-effect)

Hey everyone! Continuing my efforts to completely creep you out this month I will begin with a hair-raising quote by the master of horror: Stephen King. Enjoy the story. Oh! If you’d like to heighten the creep-factor, press play on the sound player just below the picture of the strange doll. Enjoy!

The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…

~Stephen King

TERROR

 by Vashti Q

He touched me. His cold fingers lay upon my bare shoulder and made me shudder. His breath, icy, lingered on the hairs standing on end at the back of my neck.

 

I turned quickly.

 

No one.

 

My eyes flickered in every direction searching for his likeness. I was alone in my room.

 

This is not the first time this has happened to me. He still torments me. It was not enough to do so while he was still among the living. He visits me now as he did then . . . only at midnight.

 

At first it was only a touch, and he was gone—back to the place where phantoms dwell. Cold and piercing as was his contact, I preferred it to the unspeakable things he now does to me. I can’t get away so I lie awake, waiting for him, as I did not too long ago when he was still alive.

 

Alive, in the dead of night, he used to leave my mother in a drunken sleep and sneak inside my bedroom. He’d put a hand over my mouth and threaten to kill me if I spoke a word to anyone of the vile acts he would perform on my teenage body. Back then my mind would escape, leaving my body to suffer the terror and pain. I escaped to a faraway place to be by myself. Being alone then was a blessing. When he was finished with me for the night, I’d lie writhing in pain, bleeding and sobbing against my pillow as he once more made threats to end me before departing my room.

 

There is no escaping him now. He haunts my mind, my very soul, and being alone now is synonymous with hell. How do you rid yourself of a ghoul—an evil spirit that plagues your slumber? I wish I knew. Night after night, he tortures me. My shrieks and howls go unheard. I am on my own.

 

Tonight I will put an end to my suffering. I can no longer endure the hurt and anguish he inflicts on me. I should have done this long ago. Perhaps this would have been a better solution to ending the agony, rather than the one I ultimately chose.
Uggh! As I run a piece of glass along my wrist to the point of bleeding, I tell myself the excruciating pain is only temporary. My hand shakes uncontrollably, making it difficult to finish what I began, but I am determined to end this nightmare. I will be rid of him once and for all.

 

Argh! The agony! It is as if I just forced white-hot pokers into my arms. My fingers cramp and seize into claws. Slitting one’s wrists is not the painless, glamorous death the movies make it out to be. It is repulsive, foul, excruciating. I watch the blood gush out of me like geysers. There is gore everywhere. The smell of metal and fear assaults my nostrils. My chest feels tight. I scream. I cannot prevent myself from screaming in anguish. The pain. Oh God, the pain!

 

I feel a chill in my bones. I have an obscure sensation like something is expanding inside of me, filling me with haze. I . . .  I–––

 

 

*

The doctor bent over, hands on knees, panting after running from the other side of the hospital. “Nurse, how could she do this with your station right outside the room?”

 

“I heard nothing—only silence—but when I entered the room to administer the nightly medications, I found her like this.”

 

“Did you . . . ” deep breath, “move the body?”

 

“I found her just as you see her.”

 

“In all my years tending the mentally insane, I have never seen anything like this.” The doctor pulled a small tape recorder out of his lab coat and pressed the record button. “The patient is nude and covered in blood from head to toe. Her eyes are open and they gaze at me as if they could see me. Her arms are extended, her hands together, one over the other, palms up, resting on her thighs proximate to her knees. Her legs are crossed at the ankles.” He paused and took another deep breath. “The only visible wound on her body is a large laceration on her chest. It begins inferior to her sternum and extends to the left. It appears to be self-inflicted, although I have not been able to locate the instrument used.” The doctor gulped and continued. “Lying on the palm of her hand appears to be–––her heart.” He switched off the recorder.

 

“Do we have to move her?”

 

“Call the police.”

 

 

*

“This is how they found her?” one of the orderlies asked.

 

“Yes. Neither the doctor nor the police wanted to move her,” the other hospital assistant said.

 

“Strange. She looks like she’s just sitting comfortably in the chair, waiting for someone. Her dainty hands offering her heart as if on a platter. She should be slumped over, but she’s sitting upright and alert. Her open eyes look aware, and her face has an innocent tranquil quality. She looks as if at any moment she would break words. I don’t believe she was capable of doing this.”

 

“Of course she was capable! Both the doctor and police confirmed it. One of the CSI police noticed a large piece of glass jutting out slightly from the gash on her chest. She used it to cut herself open. I don’t understand how she could have that expression on her face after all that pain. Her faint smile and serene expression are unnerving. Besides, no one that ends up in this place is innocent. She murdered her stepfather in cold blood while he slept. Her mother awoke to find her straddling him, dressed only in his blood and gore. She stabbed him seventy-eight times. Her mother said she saw a demon in her eyes that night.”

 

“Why did she do it?”

 

“She claimed her stepfather abused her sexually.”

 

“Surely that must have driven her to it.”

 

“No, it would have been impossible for her stepfather to abuse her since he was paralyzed from the waist down.”

 

“Oh.” The orderly gawked at the young girl’s corpse. “Wow, she must have really been crazy.”

 

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

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Readhead Girl – Ballpoint Pen by VianaArts

 

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Hell’s Half Acre

11 Oct

Hell's Half Acre - Wyoming

Hello! I had said in my last post that for the rest of the month of October my posts will be of the spooky variety. I believe I am definitely delivering on that today. The following story is based on true facts as witnessed by a friend of mine that prefers to remain anonymous. Now I have to warn you, this true story is not for the faint of heart. My friend claims this story is true and since the incident occurred he and his friends had not spoken of it…until now.

^CLICK PLAY

 

 

 

Here is his story…

Between the scraggly Florida bushes and the misting rain, Kit could barely make out the two small tire tracks where the remains of a road used to be. She was sitting in the backseat of the pickup truck, behind the guy she was trying so hard to be brave for and his best friend beside him. She chose the backseat because she felt that if she were behind him, he wouldn’t let anything get her. Kit’s best friend was sitting beside her as the four of them slowly made their way down the winding path, farther and farther into the woods.
In a voice as brave as she could muster, trying to hide the trembling from the shivers running up and down her spine, she said, “Why do they call this place Hell’s Half Acre?”

creepy woods

Johnny looked at her in the rearview mirror. The lights from the dashboard reflected ever so elegantly in her already bright green baby doll eyes. He could see she had her light brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, exposing the soft curves of her face.
With a smile he replied, “The story goes that in the 1930’s, a schoolteacher took her class out to the old sawmill on a field trip. That sawmill is where her husband had worked. One day while she was teaching at school, he disappeared, along with their three children. She didn’t know what had happened to them, and the unknowing was said to have driven her insane. That day at the mill, she killed all the children in her class before committing suicide. They say sometimes at night, you can still hear the old mill running, even though it was completely abandoned in the 60’s. There hasn’t been any power out here since it closed. They also say she has been seen walking down the road at night in a white dress stained with the blood of the children she murdered.”

Old, abandoned haunted Mill

Old, abandoned haunted Mill

Even though Kit usually found Johnny’s voice soft and soothing, the longer he talked, the more his words swept through her like a cold winter wind, chilling her to the bone. She had been raised in a church that believed in heaven and hell, demons and angels. Maybe that was one of the reasons she decided to come out here tonight—to see if everything she had been taught was true. Maybe she could bring some reality to match the faith she was told was so necessary.
Now Johnny was talking with Cody. Kit couldn’t really hear what they were saying, nor did she care. She focused on the schoolteacher’s story and on the old Live Oak trees that reached out above the grass-covered road as though they were trying to suck all the light out of the world.

Old live oak trees
“Kit, you gonna make it girl?” Shelley was leaning across the seat looking at her.
Her real name was Kathleen, but her friends called her Kit, short for Kit Kat. She turned from the window and looked at Shelley, who was such a great friend. When Kit first moved to town, Shelley was the first person she met, and for some reason, they just clicked.
“Yeah, I’m good.” That was the best lie she could come up with at the moment.
As the last of the light faded from the day, the rain started to fall more vigorously. Lightning lit up the sky, which only made the Live Oaks’ reaching arms seem that much creepier.
Johnny looked back over his shoulder. “Around this next corner, there should be a sign that says ‘Entering Hell’s Half Acre.’ Help me look for it, alright? They say not to drive your truck past the sign. Said it pisses the woman off!”
As they rounded the corner, Cody hollered. Johnny, who was still looking over his shoulder, spun back around and hit the brakes all in one motion. With no warning, the engine died. Without its constant hum, there was nothing to hide the thumping of Kit’s heart.

 
A loud clap of thunder shook the truck. The four friends stared out the front windshield. Kit’s fingers gripped the door handle of the truck so hard, she could no longer feel her fingers. At the right front quarter panel of the truck, covered in small green and brown vines, was the old sign: ‘Entering Hell’s Half Acre’.
A woman stood in front of the truck, peering back at them through long, wet, pitch-black hair and with eyes red from the tears of blood she had been crying.

Ghost of crazy teacher that murdered the children

Ghost of crazy teacher that murdered the children

Another flash of lightning and a loud clap of thunder. Kit’s heart raced faster and faster. She was frozen. Everything in her wanted to scream, but her chest was so tight that she couldn’t even make herself breathe.

Kit staring at the unbelievable!

Kit staring at the unbelievable!

Underneath the wind-driven raindrops that crashed against the windows of the truck floated the whir of large saws starting up and the screams of horrified children. Kit could see Johnny desperately trying to restart the truck. The engine was dead!

 
The wind blew harder, as though this hell storm was solely concentrated on that one horrid half acre of the world forgotten by God. Another loud scream from a child—so much pain and fear in the sound that it penetrated Kit’s soul. For the first time in her life, she felt like she had been totally isolated from God. All she wanted to do was leave, but fear ripped through her body, leaving her paralyzed.

Terrified child
The next bolt of lightning was so bright that Kit was sure it hit the truck. For a moment she lost focus, like someone had just taken her picture with an oversized flash from a camera in a pitch-black room. The truck rocked back and forth as thunder bellowed its way through the four corners of hell.

Scary ghost
When the roar of thunder subsided, Kit’s eyes focused once again beyond the windshield—but the woman was gone. Soft raindrops tapping on the window and the comforting purr of the engine were the only noises she could hear.
Johnny instinctively slammed the truck in reverse. As they made their way back down that long, dark, empty road from the place nobody should ever go, not one of them spoke a word. The absolute truth of the children’s cries on the wind and the woman, cold as the grave, standing in the road just past the sign were evidence enough for Kit that if there was a devil that could hold such a place on this Earth, then there must be a God to protect us from him.

 
What the four of them had seen and heard was never spoken of that night — or any other time since. But if you ever find yourself in need of evidence of what lies beyond, there is a small grass road out in the country that will take you under the old Live Oak trees to the end of the vision of God, and you will find what is truly unholy….

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Spooky Nights in October

10 Oct

Halloween

Hello, one and all! Welcome! The month of October is associated, at least in the USA, with Halloween. Many people love this holiday and count down to the 31st. All across America, there will be parties and costume contests as the official date approaches. Even Universal Studios dedicates a portion of its theme park to “Halloween Horror Nights” —an event I’ll be attending this year (and posting pictures ;D)

Halloween Horror Nights The Walking Dead

I’m scared already!

There are many people who do not celebrate Halloween. Some people claim that it’s an ungodly event marked by devil worship. Well, I hate to inform them that every night, there’s probably devil worship going on somewhere in the world. Anyway, this has always made me wonder about the origins of Halloween. I looked into it and in today’s post, I will share with you what I’ve found.

goth girl  with ghost
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain is a Gaelic (Irish, Scottish) festival marking the end of the harvest season (summer) and the beginning of the cold winter, or the “darker half” of the year often associated with human death.
Celts believed that on the night before the new season (what we now know as Halloween), the boundary between the worlds of the living and dead became indistinct, unclear. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed the ghosts of the dead returned to Earth.

Celtic Samhain Celebration

Celtic Samhain Celebration

The Celts believed the spirits caused trouble and damaged their crops, but they also thought the presence of the phantoms helped the Druids, (Celtic priests), to make predictions about the future. Celts were entirely dependent on the natural world, so these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
During the celebration, the Druids built huge sacred bonfires where the people gathered to burn crops and sacrifice animals as offerings to the Celtic deities. To honor the gods Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.
When Christianity spread throughout the Celtic lands, the church changed the festival of Samhain to All Saints Day, which was a day to honor the dead. The celebration was similar to how the Celtics used to celebrate Samhain. Later, All Saints Day was changed to All Hallows Eve and, eventually, to Halloween.

All Saints Day

All Saints Day

So there you have it. A little insight into how Halloween came about. In the spirit of Halloween (no pun intended), I will be posting scary stories and all things spooky, as well as Halloween recipes, decorations, costumes, make-up and more. So hold on to your butts! Here we go…
I will start you off easy today with a few Halloween cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy!

Yummy! Sludgy Chocolate Martini

PHOTO BY: Kraft
Yummy! Sludgy Chocolate Martini

Sludgy Chocolate Martini

 

What you need

1
Tbsp.  chocolate syrup
3
 Halloween OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 1/4 cup)
1/2
cup  chilled brewed strong MAXWELL HOUSE Coffee, any variety
1/4
cup  vodka
1/4
cup  chocolate-flavored liqueur
1
cup   light vanilla ice cream
2
Tbsp.  PLANTERS Creamy Peanut Butter

make it

 POUR syrup onto small plate; place crushed cookies on separate small plate. Dip rims of 2 martini glasses in syrup, then in cookie crumbs.

SPOON any remaining cookie crumbs into prepared glasses.

BLEND remaining ingredients in blender until smooth; pour into prepared glasses.

kraft kitchens tips

DEEPER-CHOCOLATE MARTINI
Prepare using light chocolate ice cream.
VARIATION
Omit the peanut butter for an equally delicious martini.
NON-ALCOHOLIC VARIATION
Substitute 1/2 cup chocolate milk for the vodka and liqueur.
Spooky drink - Midnight Mary

Spooky drink – Midnight Mary

Midnight Mary

Original ingredients for the Midnight Mary #3:
1 1/2 oz North Shore Aquavit
1/2 oz Benedictine (not B&B)
3/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz galangal syrup
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 1/4 oz clarified tomato water
Fresno chile bitters
Nitrogen frozen basil foam
Garnished with heirloom tomato and pigmy basil

An easy at-home version that has proven delicious:
1 1/2 oz North Shore Aquavit (or sub other brand of aquavit, gin, or tequila — all work very nicely)
3/4 oz lime juice (fresh-squeezed)
1/2 oz simple syrup, or to taste (1:1 sugar to water)
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 basil leaves (or other fresh herbs of choice)
Pinch of salt

* Place halved tomatoes in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add lime and simple syrup. Muddle well to extract liquid from tomatoes. Add remainder of ingredients. Add ice, shake well, and pour through mesh strainer (to collect solids) into a chilled coupe.

Hot Dog Mummies

Hot Dog Mummies

Breadstick Mummy Dogs

1 roll/pkg Pillsbury Breadstick dough (12 count)

12 hot dogs (I think it should work with sausages too)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll all 12 breadsticks from package. Cut each into 3 equal strips. Take 3 strips, one at a time and wrap around 1 hot dog starting from the top of the hot dog. (Each hot dog has 3 thin breadstick strips around it). Leave a small space towards the top of the hotdog to make mustard eyes. Continue wrapping all dogs then place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

2. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Use mustard or ketchup for the eyes.

Bat Bites Aren't they cute?

Bat Bites
Aren’t they cute?

Bat Bites

Recipe Time

Prep Time: 50 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 130
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 4g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Carbohydrate: 7g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg
  • Sodium: 154mg

Ingredients

  • 1 (4 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces soft, mild goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 8 pitted olives, sliced
  • 32 peppercorns
  • 32 triangular blue corn chips or free-form wing shapes made from leftover tortillas from Ghost Chips $

Preparation

  1. Mash together cream cheese, goat cheese and pesto. Chill for 40 minutes.
  2. Shape mixture into 16 2-inch balls, about 1 heaping tsp. each. Roll in black pepper and poppy seeds to cover. Press two olive slices into balls for eyes and place peppercorns in centers for pupils.
  3. Insert chip on either side of ball for wings; serve.

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