Monday, January 29, 2018

...On Poetry and Fiction - Just "One Word" Away ("Nature")

Poetry and Fiction – Just “One Word” Away (“Nature”)
            Creating Poetry and/or Fiction is just “one word” away. One word becomes one idea, becomes one sentence, becomes one poem, becomes one story. You get to choose one special word, and allow the magic to happen. The power behind “one word” will prove magnificent. Just “one word” will breathe life into your poetry and place your fiction on the wondrous road of make believe. Just “one word” will lead your poetry and fiction into the hearts and minds of readers around the world. Remember, however, that it all must start from just “one word”. Today my one word is “Nature”.


                “Nature” introduced itself to me this morning, as I was making my way to the park. It spoke to me with a sprinkle of rain from its lips and a hint of sunshine from its eyes. I opened my raincoat and let it in, then wrapped my arms around it like a good friend. We continued to walk. We continued to talk. We smiled, we laughed, we skipped over puddles. Then we strolled through the park as “Nature” continued to speak. The trees swayed, lightning hit, thunder roared, and we ran for shelter. Once we made it safely under a brick enclosure, “Nature” left me standing there with a last sprinkle of rain from its lips. It touched me and kissed me, then said “good-bye”. I sadly watched as “Nature” took off and went about its business. I patiently waited until all calmed down, in hopes “Nature” would be back to walk me home.


Nature is Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall
     The whispering wind and echoing bird call
     The colored leaves that fall from trees
     And the thunder that brings us to our knees

It’s the sun that brightens the world with love
     It’s the audubon flight of an innocent dove
     It’s the rain that spills from a crying cloud
     And the kiss from a breeze so soft and proud

It’s the snow that blankets the world in white
    As we watch it fall with sheer delight
    It’s the song of the heavens; one great melody
    It’s the sound of Nature; in full harmony

Thursday, January 4, 2018

...On Poetry and Fiction - The "Snowflakes" That Live Among Us

            Have you ever noticed a snowflake after it has fallen onto your winter coat, or your woolen glove? Some are strange looking, others messy looking – yet there is always that one and only which stands out.  There is always that one and only that becomes your special friend for the day. The one that makes you smile, the one that speaks to you, the one that pays you a short visit as you walk along the streets. There is always that one and only that you hope would stay put on your coat or your glove, so that you could show it off to the next person you run into. You beg it to stay with a stare from your eyes. Unfortunately, it melts away as quickly as it appears. It’s beautiful. It’s regal. It’s enchanting. It’s a work of art, it’s a gift of nature, and it’s a message from God. It is perfectly formed, and is magically cut out as if it were created in an arts and crafts class. It resembles a piece of exquisite lace, or a miniature crocheted stitch from one of grandma’s doilies. Remember those?

            Children adore snow. However, what they see is “the sum of all of its parts” in one big snowfall, as they patiently wait to go out and play in it. They jump in it, talk to it, sing to it, laugh with it. They make snow angels, throw snowballs, build snowmen…and just enjoy the mystery of snow in the simplest ways, without question. If they listen closely, the snow speaks into their innocent ears in the form of a cold and tingly snowflake. Yes, snowflakes live among us through the whispers of nature.

            Adults adore snow too. Only before they see the beauty of it, they also recognize “the sum of all of its parts” in one big snowfall, as they wait to go out and shovel it. They walk in it, slip in it, drive in it, skid in it, and often times argue with it. They clear their properties so people can walk by, they dig out their cars so they can get to work or run errands, and they continue to watch those awful inches grow higher and nastier by the hour…But yes, adults too may enjoy the mystery of snow in the simplest ways; but most times miss its loveliness by wondering only about the effects of “the sum of all of its parts”.

            Sometimes in life, we are told to stop and smell the coffee – or stop and smell the roses. Well, while that is good advice, let’s add one more idiom to the mix. That is, “Stop and appreciate the snowflakes”. Their message is bright and clear. When the perfect one falls on top of you, take notice and befriend it. Let it walk with you, let it talk with you, let it teach you about life before it quickly disappears. The conversation between you will be subtle, yet perfect. Its perfection will tell you that there is something much greater than ourselves who is in control of our universe. What a gift it is to receive such a message through the beauty of a snowflake.


A gift of nature, a message from God
     They are a work of art - regal beauty
            So enchanting as they fall to earth

So white, so pure, and heaven-sent
     Exquisite lace – grand perfection
            Amazing to the naked eye

Kissed by angels upon descent
     Crocheted by hands of celestial pride
            So wondrous, so divine, the astral cousin

Stellar and glorious in magic and mystery
     Formation born of unrivaled magnificence
            Its pattern perfectly aligned – so picturesque

So reverent and saintly in its lone state
     Adored by its creator, viewed from up above
            One snowflake - then two, three, maybe four

A beautiful snowfall brings more and more
     The sum of all of its parts
            – yet one snowflake will roar!

Monday, November 27, 2017

…On Poetry and Fiction – “Voices” and “Rosalie and Michael (One Special Day)”

The following is an excerpt from my second novel (ebook), titled “Voices” – a work of contemporary fiction (mystery, suspense, romance); with an accompanying love poem, titled and connected to two main characters,  “Rosalie and Michael (One Special Day)”. (Creating a relatable poem directly connected to your work of fiction, is simply a summarization of your work with a twist of emotion through a symphony of words.)                                              

…Michael, sensing a deep mournfulness in the air by the heaviness of his conversation with Rosalie, chose to change the subject.  So he blurted out, “Well open your mail!  Edgar and I went out of our way to get it for you.”  Rosalie smiled and proceeded to open the white envelope… she took a look at the return address and noticed that it was from one of her publishers.  As she read in silence, Michael studied her face for the smallest clue as to what was in that letter.  After another minute of silence, Rosalie jumped to her feet and said, “They want to meet with me Michael!  They like the manuscript on my last submission – the mystery novel!  The one about the two friends who lived in the Victorian mansion!  My God, they want to discuss the manuscript with me!”  Michael responded, “You go girl!”  Then he lifted Rosalie up in his arms and twirled her around the living room as if they were dancing.  They were laughing like children, overjoyed at Rosalie’s success.   Edgar joined in too by jumping up and down, circling around and in between Rosalie and Michael, wagging his tail uncontrollably.  Edgar had no idea what they were so happy about, but he was thrilled to share this moment with them.  When they decided it was time to settle down, they breathlessly plopped themselves on the sofa and wallowed in Rosalie’s newfound bliss.  Rosalie was ecstatic, Michael was proud, and sweet Edgar ran off to sleep…Michael went into the kitchen and grabbed two champagne glasses, then walked over to the pantry and took out a bottle of sparkling wine.  He popped the cork, poured the wine, and shared this moment of love and success with Rosalie.  Their eyes were beaming and their hearts were pounding as they tapped their glasses together, sipping their wine in merriment. 

While sharing this moment, Rosalie suggested to Michael that if her book sells, maybe they should consider moving into a larger apartment in the city.  They both adored Greenwich Village…Michael loved the idea.  He commented that with her success on mystery novels and his success with children’s books, he can’t imagine them not taking the opportunity to start a new life with Edgar in the Village.  The city is just waiting for them, and they would fit in so well with the “artsy” types; and Edgar would make friends with all the “artsy” dogs.  They both shared a laugh.  Then Michael grabbed Rosalie’s hand and said, “Seriously though Rosalie, let’s not get ahead of ourselves now.  One step at a time.  I love the idea, but we have to take this one step at a time.”  Rosalie jumped into Michael’s lap and said, “We can dream and we can plan, can’t we Michael?”  Michael responded, “Of course we can.  That will be our dream and that will be our plan Rosalie.”  So again they tapped their glasses and sipped more wine in merriment.

…Then Rosalie had another brainstorm to share with Michael.  She suggested that they both put their heads together, share their thoughts and write a novel.  Michael listened curiously as Rosalie continued.  Rosalie thought they should turn their ordeal about Maria and the cellar into a mystery novel and call it “Voices”.   She added that it would be fiction based on real life events, which they experienced during this tragic episode in their lives.  She went on to say that it would be their project, and their story, and they could tell it honestly and respectfully. 

At first Michael thought that reliving those horrible events that Rosalie had to endure, all over again in order to write this novel, might not be the best thing for Rosalie.  Rosalie responded that it would be the best thing ever.  It would be the best therapy ever.  She explained that writing is her passion, and what better way to heal than to put it all down on paper – with Michael by her side.   She said, “You’re a writer Michael.  You should understand that better than anyone.  We write from experience.”   Michael just shook his head and said, “You’re a brave woman Rosalie, and an awesome writer.  Yes, we can do this together.  It will be my honor…Now let’s seal this perfect plan, together, in the comfort of ‘our’ room before little Edgar wakes up.” 

Rosalie wrapped her legs around Michael, as he carried her off to his bedroom, where they would define their dreams, plan their future, and create new and wonderful memories while frolicking under the pale blue bed sheets on Michael’s bed.  They would find themselves making passionate love in an endless tale that would soon become their life story. 

Rosalie and Michael (One Special Day)

As Winter snow settles upon my windowsill
and Spring showers caress my face        
As Summer sun ignites my spirit
and Autumn breezes whisper tales of love
As swaying trees whisper to the winds
and frolic in the clear, crisp air
I will hear Mother Nature’s voice,
as she wisely speaks to me
(It is then that I will listen
and forever think of you)

I’ll know God placed you on this earth
            so our paths may cross but once
And the birds and butterflies will dance for us
            in sunshine and in clouds
The children will laugh with innocence
The elders will stroll with joy
I will hear God’s voice in the shadows,
            as he wisely speaks to me
(It is then that I will listen
           and forever think of you)

Since all will be well within my world
           Where peace and love wear smiles
I will accept the gift allowed me
            and embrace the signs of you
Because today we will get to share
one gift that has a voice
A gift that wisely speaks to us,
So elegantly wrapped for two -
Hidden in a blessing, on this “One Special Day”  –
(It is then that I will listen
            and forever think of you)

Authors Note (For Spillwords) – Fiction and Poetry go hand in hand. Any work of fiction can be connected/accentuated by a poem of similar theme and emotion. Hopefully, that is what this piece has accomplished.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT (A Poem written by Phyllis P. Colucci) (Christmas 2017)




(A Poem written by Phyllis P. Colucci
  -    Spillwords Press)

The Christmas Spirit! Can you hear it?
The Christmas Spirit! Can you see it?
The Christmas Spirit! Can you feel it?

You can hear it in the laughter of the children, in the snow
You can see it on the faces of the shoppers, all aglow
You can feel it through the shadows of the Yuletide, long ago

The sights and sounds of merriment bring mounds of Christmas cheer
The smells of scented pine cones travel far and near
Roasted chestnuts on New York corners crackle every year
As the Christmas Spirit lights the season while it visits here

Large wreaths adorn huge wooden doors of churches along the way
And nativities remind us of his birth on Christmas Day
His love will live within our hearts as we speak to him, and pray
In hopes the Christmas Spirit can settle where it may

The earth lies calm beneath the stars, while the heavens sing with joy
Special blessings come like fallen snow for every girl and boy
And the children dream with innocence of “that” one special toy
While God works wonders in their lives, in spiritual deploy

The spirit touches all of us with hands of purest gold
Our souls enriched and made anew; yes, both the young and old
Through melody and sacred hymn, we invite the truth be told
So the wings of Christmas Spirit may awaken and unfold

Embrace the magic of the light that transforms darkness – oh so bright
The birds, the deer, the snow so white,
                greet the spirit through day, through night
Recognize that Christmas speaks through metaphor and essence,
                projecting sacred images of spiritual presence
So can you hear it, can you see it, can you feel it too?
Just be aware of echoes - from the spirit within me and you.

A  Note From the Author: The Christmas Spirit "speaks through metaphor and essence, 
projecting sacred images of spiritual presence".   - We must recognize the signs of Christmas and the true meaning of the season. When the Spirit of Christmas comes knocking, seize the opportunity and allow it into your home, and into your life. Share the blessings.
If you've never experienced Christmas in New York, you must ! ! ! MERRY CHRISTMAS ! ! !

Monday, October 23, 2017

...On Poetry and Fiction - "The Waltz of Ghouls" (Insomnia)

            “Insomnia” is a presence that slips into bed with you without your permission. It gets under the covers, steals your pillow, rests its nasty head upon your shoulder, and lays itself down beside you – and there is not one darn thing you can do about it! You twist and turn, sit up at the edge of the bed, pace the room, and gaze out your window – yet it’s still there following you and standing next to you every step of the way. “Insomnia” stalks you, terrorizes you, and doesn’t give up.

            One night I decided to embrace “Insomnia”. I couldn’t see it, but I knew it was there. I introduced myself with tired eyes and a half-smile, then moved closer to the far right of my bed and just let “Insomnia” sleep to the left. I felt its heartbeat, sensed its touch, and smelled its wicked scent. How ironic, I thought. “Insomnia” gets to sleep in my bed, while it keeps me up all night. So I decided to talk to it. I told it stories about my day, and tried to add some humor to my words. I thought the conversation would help put “Insomnia” to sleep and, perhaps, allow me to fall asleep as well. It didn’t work, however.

I knew “Insomnia” was listening, but it didn’t respond. It didn’t even laugh at my jokes. I came to the realization that “Insomnia” was far from friendly, which is something I knew all along; so why waste  time trying to befriend it. It’s just a lonely, malicious foe, looking for a place to hang out. So I let it stay in my bed, while I got up and walked over to my laptop and wrote a poem all about “Insomnia”. I named the poem “The Waltz of Ghouls”, since it’s actually a bizarre dance that occurs in everyone’s bedroom, at the darkest hour, forcing you to stay awake.

Once the poem was completed, “Insomnia” magically disappeared from my bed, and I got under the covers and fell fast asleep. I present to you, my friends, “The Waltz of Ghouls”:


Have you known the torment from the darkest hours of the night?
                Where wicked, whirling skeletons dance ‘til morning light?
                                Their shadows breathe quite heavily
                                                as they tip-toe ‘cross your bed
                                                ascending to the ceiling…drifting overhead

Their melancholy hissing echoes in your ears
                Tapping at your heart, rousing all your fears
                                Blanketing your weary soul with rash, undaunted fury
                                                raping all your virtues
                                                playing judge and jury

The Waltz of Ghouls has just begun at this haunting hour
                For there is no refuge – nocturnal demons are in power!
You may close your eyes to their performance and force the curtain down
                yet your soul will dwell amongst them
                                they will offer you the Crown   

A Queen they seek to rule their haven as they gather where they may
But No!  This shall not happen while you turn and look away
                …the dark is gone!  The light has come!
                …now they are lost in “day”

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

…On Poetry and Fiction (Dialogue-Only Writing Style)

            With this article, I’d like to discuss the “Dialogue-Only” writing style. Dialogue between characters can take place in a short story, novella, novel, or even poetry. It’s simply conversation between two or more characters with little or no narrative. In fiction, it can invite you to participate in the storyline; In poetry, it can take your heart on emotional journeys deeper than the words themselves.
            One of the first ebooks (novel) I ever attempted to write, titled "The Hand She Dealt to Me", actually ended up being a work of fiction written totally in "dialogue-only" style. I didn't realize the direction I was going in until I was half way or better, towards completion of the novel. That's when I stopped and questioned myself as to what the heck I was doing. With all the work and effort that I had already invested in this work of fiction, I decided to ride it out and continue on this path until I reached the end of my story. To my amazement, I was fully engrossed in the characters, the storyline, the twists and turns in the plot, the climax, and finally the ending. I surprised myself when I went back and read/proofread the entire novel. The reason being was that I also felt a much deeper connection to the characters - who they were, how they spoke, what they desired. I knew them. I knew them all and I knew them well. I felt their pain, joy, troubles, love, happiness, sadness, losses and triumphs. I no longer recognized if they were speaking through me or if I was speaking through them. Something different was happening here. It was a magical connection and a magical transformation between writer and characters.

       I actually felt a sense of accomplishment after using this style of writing. As a writer, I soon discovered that a “dialogue-only” writing style may possibly take a reader deeper into the minds and personalities of each character. The reader may find themselves seated inside the story, while the action and conversation happened in front of them, behind them, to the side of them, or all around them. It would be like reading a story in 3D. Much similar to reading a play, but more like watching a movie since this style offers the reader more depth, imagination and interaction.

      However, since this was a style I was not familiar with, both as a reader and as a writer, I decided to research the style to see if other authors attempted this. To my surprise, I found a bit of information out there which helped me come to terms with the fact that I had chosen a unique writing style - and was setting myself up for some serious criticism.  Through internet search, I came across the following article on “Dialogue-Only” writing style (at The by a young writer named Alexander Kalamaroff, August 9th, 2014, which was quite interesting:

“The dialogue novel is a unique creature. In it the conversations among characters are the primary or only means of narrative advancement—so the initial experience might be similar to reading a play or movie script, where we’re tasked to mentally dramatize what we’re reading. But the dialogue novel is intriguing because it is not meant for stage or screen. And compared to its compatriot, the monologue novel—which has a substantial history shaped by Dostoevsky, Nabokov, and W.G. Sebald, to name only three masters of that form—the dialogue novel is quite rare. While they can be challenging to read, dialogue-dominated narratives create amazing opportunities for philosophical inquiry, stylistic originality, and stunning creativity that are surely worth exploring.”

      ...So, in my opinion, readers either love the style or hate it. Some of my critics felt confused in keeping up with the dialogue, the characters, and who was speaking at the time. Others enjoyed it thoroughly, according to verbal and written reviews. I made it a point to use the characters' names quite frequently in order to identify the speakers so  readers could follow easily. I also made an effort to use separate paragraphs for each speaker. It seemed to flow smoothly for me.  However, I was the creator of this work of fiction. I owned it, I controlled it, I brought it to life. Of course it would run smoothly for me as I read it. So knowing that this work of fiction could somehow prove to be challenging to a reader, it's out there living amongst the many books on the Amazon market, waiting to be purchased by someone who wants to be challenged. Yes, it reads like a play, but feels like a movie. You may find yourself in the middle of the action, with a sudden urge to reach out to the characters. You will want to touch them, talk with them, laugh with them, cry with them, accompany them on their journeys; eat with them, drink with them, and whatever else tickles your fancy.

       You may be pleasantly surprised by this writing style, while enjoying a wonderful journey, with twists and turns that may place you so deep into the story that the only way out is to remain there until the very end. Ha! So if you are brave enough as a reader to be challenged by the experience, try a “dialogue-only” novel at some point. I can honestly say it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for someone.

      You decide - Here is a sample of that writing style from my first ebook; a novel titled “The Hand She Dealt to Me”:

      Oh Carla.  I didn’t mention a word of this to Steven or Julia last night.  Mike was over for dinner also, so I tried to forget about Amira the Fortune Teller and just be myself.  I had a really hard time doing that last night.  Steven thought I wasn’t feeling well.  I convinced him I was just a bit tired; that I did lots of walking during the day.  But I was haunted by her.  It all started yesterday while I was sitting on a park bench.  She approached me out of nowhere and asked me where I got my cappuccino, because she noticed the cup said “CafĂ© Bianca”.  She asked to sit down to chat, and I said sure.  She seemed pleasant enough.  I didn’t want to be rude.  She had a very heavy accent.   She’s from the Middle East, Lebanon I recall her saying, but she was living in Pennsylvania for many years with her parents.  She later married a gentleman she met in Pennsylvania, who was also from Lebanon.  Anyway, after her parents died, she and her husband divorced, “American-style” as she put it.  I got a chuckle out of that.  I found it amusing since she’s a foreigner.  It’s so funny how foreigners look at the “American” way of life.   They even have a name for everything we do here, good or bad  – “American-style”.   I don’t know if she was serious or just being sarcastic, but it was kind of funny to hear, especially with her accent.   Anyway, her husband went back to Lebanon.   She also told me she was very sad because she learned she couldn’t have children.  I felt so bad to hear that, because the pain on her face really got to me.  Anyway, I guess at that point she fulfilled her desire to come to New York and start a business.    She gave me her card and invited me to her shop.   I noticed on the card that this shop she was talking about was called “Amira’s Mystic Fortunes”.  I then realized she was a Fortune Teller.  Of all the people to run into.  Anyway, she claimed she was pretty new to the area and that I was one of the few people she had a chance to sit and chat with.   I was really taken aback by this.  It felt weird, like she purposely singled me out.  She looked me straight in the eye and said she sees I have some family issues going on and that I have an aura around me that shows I’m very concerned about my life.   She wants me to go see her.  She wants to give me a free tarot reading.  She wants to help me.   I told her that I don’t believe in that stuff.  I’m Catholic.  What’s even more ironic is that she told me that she’s Catholic too.  I thought she was Muslim, coming from the Middle East and all.  But she said there are many Catholics in Lebanon.  So we chatted a bit more about our families, then  - all of a sudden - Gary appeared out of nowhere.  So I used him as an excuse to get up and get away from her.  But wouldn’t you know it, as I walked home later on, I ran smack into her shop.  She was sitting outside.  I tried to avoid her, but she called out to me.  She truly wants me to visit her shop for a free reading.   She said she has some gifts for me.  A good luck crystal, some scented candles.  It’s like she is drawing me to her… Oh yes please, I’ll have two eggs over well and turkey bacon on the side.  Whole wheat toast, no butter.   Thanks. 

      I’ll have my eggs scrambled with rye toast and Canadian bacon, thank you… Okay, so Lia - just avoid her shop.  Throw out the card.  What’s the big deal?  I don’t understand why this is upsetting you so much that you couldn’t wait to tell me.  You don’t have any serious problems in your family other than the normal everyday issues we all deal with.  Everybody has family issues.  Come on now.  She’s not telling you anything out of the ordinary.   Steven is doing well at the pharmacy.  Julia is pursuing an acting career.  She has a really nice boyfriend.  You and Steven get along so well.  What is the problem here?  If anything, I would think you have a pretty good life Lia.  Forget about this “aura” she sees around you.  This is what these people do.  They get you to question yourself and your family so that you turn to them for guidance, while they take your money.  You know this Lia.  I don’t have to explain this.  You’ll see, that shop will close up in a few months and all of this will mean nothing.  That’s always what happens sweetie.  These fortune tellers move on and set up shop in some other place – after they’ve taken your money and practically your soul. 

      I know Carla.  I realize all of that.  Don’t you think I’ve gone over this in my head.  I was up all night playing this over and over, like a tape recorder.  

      Don’t you see Lia.  She already has you in her grip.  She kept you up all night with this!  It disrupted your sleep already?  That’s a problem waiting to happen.
     But Carla, you had to see her.  She is strikingly beautiful.  She had this strong presence about her.  An unusual and very strange magnetism.    You just had to be there.  You can feel it just being in her presence.  There is something about her I can’t explain.  You just had to be there.  She had long auburn hair, tied back with a gold silk scarf.  The scarf had sparkling rhinestones throughout.  It was gorgeous.  Her eyes were big and bright and so alive.  They were golden brown  like a  lioness,  outlined by very dark lashes.  They were mesmerizing.  They were piercing.    She was just absolutely gorgeous.   She had an olive complexion and she wore a subdued berry color lipstick.  She was about five feet four inches, medium build.  Other than that, she wore very little makeup.  In her ears were these very large gold hoop earrings with an intricate design in them; and she had half her arm adorned with colorful bracelets that jingled every time she moved.  You know how gypsies dress?  Well that’s how she looked, if that gives you a better idea.  I think all fortune tellers dress like that, so I think you get the picture.  Anyway, she had on an ankle length dress which had every color of the rainbow in it; brightly woven into vertical stripes that shimmered a bit. Very pretty.  Her boots were black with these really pointy toes.  Her shawl was a dark red and it was tied in the front with a big knot near her upper chest.  She just had this air about her.  I loved listening to her speak, with that very pronounced Middle Eastern accent.  She was just very persistent with me, but pleasant.  It seemed as if she could make a statement by just looking at you without exchanging words.  She had a special power that could draw you in, lure you in.  You really had to see her in person Carla.  Even her perfume filled the air.  It was like nothing I ever smelled before.  It was a mix of herbs and flowers, with a hint of fruit.  There was a bit of cucumber in the mix.  A very strange aroma.

     Lia. Stop it! You sound hypnotized by this woman.  How much time did you spend with her that you can describe her in such detail? You studied her to perfection.  From her head to her toes.  You’re not going to see her are you?  Give me that card.  I’m going to get rid of it.  This is nonsense sweetie.  You know what I really think?  You quit your job at the library too soon, not long after Steven opened up Roma Pharmacy.  I think you need to fill your day with more constructive things.  Now I’m happy for you.  Steven is doing well with the pharmacy, and that’s great.  You don’t have to work anymore. Terrific. But maybe all of this free time is not very good for your well-being. Maybe you need to get back into the workforce. Go back to the library. It’s only a few hours a day. I think it will be good for you.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

"Tricks" and "Treats" on Halloween Night (Spillwords Press: Halloween 2017 Submission)

The wind howled, the pelting rain charged at my windows, and the swaying trees danced in the darkness beneath the full moon. If this was any other night, it would have been okay. Tonight, however, it was Halloween and I was alone in the house. The lights flickered, the floors creaked, and ghostly shadows crawled up and down the walls of my living room, eyeing me from the ceiling.  My house suddenly transformed itself into an eerie dwelling for all creatures of the night. They slipped in through my windows, through my skylight, under doors and through my mind. They settled in, took control, and moved about as invited guests. To me they were unwanted intruders and I was their hostage.

As they continued to roam like gloomy silhouettes, brushing past the mirrors in the room, I snuck into the kitchen and made myself a cup of tea. Thankfully, they didn’t follow me. While they made themselves at home in my living room, I sipped my tea. I sipped away time in the kitchen, minute by minute, with every swallow. There was something about tea that always calmed me down. Especially when I drank it from one of Mom’s dainty vintage teacups, adorned with hand-painted roses. -  Ugh! The dainty little teacup did not work in my favor this evening. Even that precious teacup seemed quite out of place in a house that reflected the unnatural overtures of a freakish Halloween night.

I heard my big old Grandfather clock, as it chimed at fifteen-minute intervals. That familiar sound comforted me. It gave me strength. I walked back into my living room amongst the unwanted intruders, and stared right at them. I was fearful – but this was my home. I glared at them as their shadows swept past my couch. Yes, I sat down anyway and continued to sip cold tea; but my mind played tricks on me. I heard footsteps above me, coming from the bedrooms. Some were loud, others soft. They stopped, then started up again. I even heard ghoulish whispering with hints of laughter. Impossible! The man of the house, my significant other, was working late; and the kids were at a Halloween Party. No one was home but me. I sat there frozen in time and space. Was my house haunted? Absolutely not! I lived here with my family for many years and there was never an issue or a supernatural occurrence! Ever!  - I must be insane!

My imagination ran wild tonight. I rolled myself up in a ball on my couch, and decided to stay that way until someone came home. As long as those footsteps remained above me, I’d be okay. If they started coming down the stairs, I’d be ready to run the heck out of here. I listened and listened until they finally stopped. However, the ghoulish whispering with hints of laughter continued…then the footsteps started over again!  I gazed toward the stairs in the direction of the bedrooms as the footsteps subsided. Curiosity got me to stand at the foot of the stairs as I listened some more, while fear grabbed my hand and escorted me back to my couch. Oh my God, I was truly alone in this huge house. I didn’t even have the television to keep me company. It was out because of the rain. I had nothing and I had no one to save me from myself tonight…After several more minutes of this self-inflicted torture – the doorbell rang. I jumped for joy knowing someone else was out there, even though I was frightened by who it might be. I was willing to take my chances.

I peeked through the blinds and saw a group of anxious children dressed in their best costumes. They yelled out, “Trick or Treat! Trick or Treat!” – I was so relieved. So I put on my purple witch’s hat, grabbed my over-sized plastic orange pumpkin that overflowed with all sorts of Halloween candy and, with a great big smile, opened my door and dropped fistfuls of candy into each one of their bags. The little ghost thanked me, the happy princess jumped with glee, and the two shy skeletons ran off with their goodies towards the adult waiting at the corner. In a matter of seconds, they were all gone and I was alone once more. I apprehensively walked back into the “house of horrors”, ducked past phantom shadows, and took my seat on the couch again. I hugged my favorite throw pillow, and waited for my family to come home. All was quiet though the shadows still lurked around, climbed up my walls, and brushed past the mirrors. I was numb, and I felt intoxicated by the night. I blinked hard in hopes that the shadows would disappear when I opened my eyes.  They hadn’t. They were still there! However, “Divine Intervention” came to my rescue.  I magically dozed off while Halloween continued to breathe and thrive all around me; but I was safe in the arms of slumber.

…I felt someone gently tap at my knee. I opened my eyes – and there stood my kids and their father, with platters of cupcakes, cookies, candies, chips, pretzels and soda. They wore floppy black hats that sparkled with orange glitter, as tiny white plastic spiders sat in cobwebs across the brims. I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or if this was real. They all laughed hard, while I sat there in shock. I asked, “What’s going on? Why are you home so early?” What I soon learned was that they had never left the house. They were upstairs playing Halloween tricks on me, while preparing trays of goodies so we could celebrate this beautifully, terrifying night together – and that’s just what we did.

I must admit I was quite upset since they let me go on for hours feeling spooked, while they were upstairs having a grand ol’ time watching me.  Despite their little “tricks”, however, it was quite a “treat”.  I accepted their sweet, silly antics as the spine-tingling perfection it proved to be, on this spectacular Halloween night.