Monthly Archives: November 2014

It’s Tea Time

Mal pulled a face as he took a swig of bitterly brewed tea.

“Here, look, I’ll spoon some sugar in or summat,” said Vaj, pushing one of the many strangely shaped buttons on his newly acquired multi-purpose tool. It glowed a dull orange every time an instrument flicked out.

“S’ like a Swiss Army knife, innit? How many doohickeys that thing have?” asked Mal.

Vaj shrugged bony brown shoulders. “Dunno, do I? I ‘aven’t pushed all the buttons yet, yeah?”

Vaj and Mal were professional grave robbers. Well, as professional as you can be when there’s no guild or union to join to make it official-like. They’d made up business cards, painstakingly cutting out uneven cardboard squares, hand-lettering each one in blocky print: Don’t Let Them Take It To Their Graves. It was amazing, really, the number of disgruntled family members who hung about cemeteries, whining. “I can’t believe Aunt Mildred was buried with that diamond brooch” or “Really, how greedy for Uncle Harold to wear that emerald stick pin in his coffin!”.

It was one such group, clustered away from other mourners, that had scored Vaj his new gadget. Five men, dressed in mourning grey, hats pulled low over pallid faces, murmuring in undertones carrying sparks of anger. Overhearing a random snippet of conversation, “it was OURS, it wasn’t HIS”, Mal had sidled over and pulled a card out from under his crushed cap with his version of a poncy flourish, tucking it into one of their breast pockets. Before he had the chance to execute what he liked to call his exit swagger, one of the men called him back.

“Oy, you, c’mere then!” The man beckoned with a talon-like hand. Surprised but pleased, Mal instead used his swagger to return to the huddle.

The man who had called to him gestured towards a large mausoleum, spotlighted in a beam of watery sunshine in the northeast corner of the grounds. “Your, uh, expertise. Does it extend beyond digging up dirt? What we need retrieved, it’s in there, not in the ground.”

Mal nodded. “Sure sure, just trade shovels out for crowbars, yeah?” Not that they’d ever done it before but he wasn’t about to admit that in front of these gentleman, who gave him a case of the heebie-jeebies. “Wot you need outta there, then?”

They had drawn Mal into their circle, whispering at and to each other, epithets directed at the dead man, and finally instructions. “You will find a number of strange looking devices within Branson’s coffin. We only wish to have one of them returned. The rest, should you be able to figure out their usage, belong to you and your partner. They will be your payment.”

Mal held his hands up. “Sounds a bit like Jack and his magic beans, mate. My partner and I deal in currency. You know, real payment for services rendered. Yer tryina tell me we might just end up with bits of junk that we can’t even figure out? How are we supposed to be able to turn that into profit?”

“Ah, but did not Jack end up with the Golden Goose?” It was a different man who spoke this time, although he looked much like the first man, and seemed rather pleased with his rejoinder.

In the end, Mal was swayed, and although Vaj did more than his fair share of complaining, they had duly gone to work with their crowbars. Once inside the mausoleum, they had discovered only one coffin inside; a large varnished box with intricately carved flourishes, set in the center of a marble dais. To their delight, there were no locks or seals to fight with and the lid opened smoothly on well oiled hinges.

Tucked in around the dead man there were indeed a ridiculous number of odd looking widgets and gizmos, like someone had upended a robot’s toy box in along with the body. Vaj reached for the only one that was even remotely recognizable.

“Look, this ones got a corkscrew on, and a little spoon, ha. What’s this one for though?” He punched at a button with a rectangular pictograph, but nothing happened. He shrugged. “C’mon, let’s just scoop up the lot of ’em, figure out how to make ’em work at home.”

****

Many miles away, in Amesbury, a startled group of tourists stumbled backwards as a slow, grinding sound rose from the ground. A swirling whirlpool of earth opened up, and a girl screamed.

“Stonehenge just fell down!”

***

I admit that I had a hard time finding inspiration from the prompts for Grammar Ghoul challenge #9- which is the entire point, of course, of having writing CHALLENGES. So kudos, Ghouls, this one stumped me, and I’m not sure how well I did 😉

The prompt word this week was ‘spoon’, and the visual prompt was a really adorable (because camels) short film that you can watch here, called The Egyptian Pyramids:

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Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

Cresting the Summit

Sarah felt like the beleaguered heroine in a Greek tragedy. She muttered as she searched for toeholds, fingers digging in to grip at the soft surface of the mountain she was scaling, trying to remember who the hell it was that had to do the whole boulder bullshit. She knew it was a he, and that he had to push this big ass rock to the top of a mountain over and over again, since it rolled all the way back down every time he reached the top. Well, whatever the hell his name was, that’s who she felt like. Prometheus? No, that was the fire guy who got his guts pecked out every day. Or his eyes. Maybe some days she felt like him, too, but that’s not who she was thinking of. Trying to figure it out was a welcome distraction from overthinking her current predicament, so she didn’t mind overmuch that she hadn’t landed on the right name yet.

A rank smell assaulted her nose each time she was stupid enough to forget not to breathe through it. “Phaw!” she yelled, smacking her lips, actually tasting the stink in the back of her throat. Bits of grimy crust stuck underneath her fingernails; bits of what, she didn’t want to know. She just wanted to put her head down and concentrate on reaching the summit.

She shuddered in fear that yet again, once she reached the top of this mountain, all she would see would be another, and another, stretching towards infinity, no end in sight. Searching inside herself, she was dismayed to realize that she really didn’t know how much longer she could keep this up. There was a part of her that just wanted to snuggle into a crevice, crusty smelly bits and all, and let herself be buried alive. It was hard to keep going, hard to traverse an entire mountain range that had just sprung up over night. She would have sworn that yesterday there was only a single mountain, more of a hill, really, nothing insurmountable. Then, some time during the night, she had heard voices, a rustling born upon a rumbling, and next thing you know…

She silenced her inner wuss, drowning the voice out with more muttering. “There’s gotta be an endgame, Sarah, just shut up and get to it, just a few more feet to the top.” It was a comforting lie to tell herself, as distance appeared to be relative in this landscape and she had no idea how far away it truly was.

With dogged determination, she grabbed and slipped, lifted and dug in, until finally she could flop herself over onto a plateau with all the grace of a slug. She scrambled to her knees, exhausted but driven by the need to see. She gained her feet slowly as she realized that she had finally reached the end – down this side was gloriously flat land. Energy rebounding, she pumped her fists in the air and hooted. “I’m done!” she yelled, doing an ill-advised happy dance on unstable terrain.

Down she went, ass over tea kettle, around and around and around. “Oh, well,” she thought, “at least I’m falling in the right direction.”

She caught up against something cushioned yet firm, and lay there until her whirling thoughts and dizzy limbs calmed. She glanced to the right and found herself looking under a couch and into a pair of feline eyes, blinking mere inches from her own. She reached out, scratched under his chin.

“Come on Sisyphus. I finally finished the damn laundry. Time for the dishes.”

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Aging Ungracefully

Flames lick the ground behind her, lascivious tongues of flame laving furrows of black and red and she stumbles her way from the forest, towards the road. The heat is oppressive, a dance that’s spun out of her control; what she thought she had held firmly under her thumb is writhing its way out, a filament at a time. Each breath weighs in her lungs after it tears through her throat, like swallowing dry bricks of gun powder, particle filled combustibles that float back through her cracked lips as she wheezes out and huffs, and digs for just a few more strides.

It was a game, just a game, she thinks, desperately searching for a path through the underbrush to lead her to fresh air. Her shoulders hunch forward as branches creak and crack and crash, the groan of the trees before they lose their limbs rumbling Earth gods challenging her to outrun their burning, wayward children. She has overstayed her welcome in this land.

A flash, matte black, a split second glimpse when she dashes around a half hidden lump of a log. She changes direction mid-stride, careening with feckless abandon, high stepping across the hot ground lest she be caught up by something hidden under the ashy debris.

She bursts through the tree line, tries to whoop and ends bent double, hacking and spitting polluted breath. She decides that breathing freely is freedom bellow enough. Before she pulls herself upright, she catches a susurrus from the corner of her ear that has nothing to do with fire. She looks up.

A dusting of snow glitters across the road, frozen motes dancing upwards on a wafting breeze. Coalescing, they swirl hypnotically, snaking across the asphalt away from her. She watches, rapt, as these snow snakes meet and twirl upwards, ribboning together, a form emerging from their wintry midst.

As the trees stood as Earth gods, so she too is a goddess, a goddess of the Sky, of Snow and of Ice. Her hair is carved in glittering whorls; her smile, when it breaks across her face, is tantalizing, terrifying, in equal measure.

“You must cross the road, at some point.” Her words strike the air with the ting of falling icicles, and the girl blanches.

“But…but…I would freeze. I have no protection.” She is not ready to be frozen in place, she does not want to be molded as this beautiful goddess is molded. Not yet.

The glacial goddess inclines her head. “This is the truth. I am implacable, yet not without mercy. You may bring a spark with you when you cross, so that you may remain fluid.”

Nervous now, the girl starts at a sting on her ankle, automatically reaching down towards the tender spot. A teardrop of flame clings to her finger, clambers into her palm with a purpose of movement and sits there, warming without harming, and glows happily.

“This will protect me?” she asks, although she already feels tenderly towards the tiny drop, and wants to protect it in turn.

“If you do not forget to nurture it.”

“Then I will cross.” She places a bare foot on the frozen road, and takes a tentative step.

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Parental Rights

This fucking skirt. I could give a shit less what I look like if I’m not comfortable, and this skirt sucks. It twists, it clings, it’s all over the damn place. Of course, I can’t stand still, so that could be a factor. My left foot bops, my right attempts to jitterbug. My shaking hand holds a cigarette that will burn down to the filter after a few cheek hollowing, lung harrowing inhalations.

I can’t decide which is worse – the grey outdoors where I’m standing, the sun on vacation, leaving us mortals clinging to its memory and feeling only half alive, or the painful harshness of the indoor fluorescents, the sadistic and efficient creators of which are on my find-out-I-have-a-terminal-illness hitlist.

No Smoking, says the door. Yeah. Fuck you.

I eye every person that passes, searching. Not you, not you, definitely not you; you do not have the answers to the questions that I am asking. I am twenty-five years old, defiantly clueless. You do not have the answers to the questions that I am asking.

Hello, I rehearse in my head. Hi. I’m your daughter.

Stranger words have never passed through my mind and I want to grab one of the grounded in well-being and ask them if they have ever had to say those particular words in that particular order. Excuse me, have you ever had the pleasure of introducing yourself to one of your parents? If so, how did that go for you?

Hi. I’m your daughter. Still strange.

I turn my head and I see her staring at me through the window. I was told she’s my grandma, but I’m not sure how to process that information. I’ve never met her, there are no over the river and through the woods cookie baking memories between us. As soon as she realizes I’m looking back at her, she looks away. Hi, I’m your granddaughter. Still strange.

My body can’t handle one more iota of nicotine, so I light another cigarette, and man, it hurts so good. There are so many butts strewn on the ground it looks like a homeless man came and made a collage. I look for pictures in them, like you do in clouds, but it’s just dirt and garbage. It’s nothing.

Hi. I’m your daughter. Still strange.

I take as deep a breath as my riddled innards will allow and pull the door open. Yes, that’s right, hush your conversations and stare. I will offer you a smile, regardless.

As the door whooshes closed behind me I am in another dimension. Though this first room is barely larger than my high school homeroom, I have never been somewhere that felt so cavernous.

I chant my mantra in time with my steps- Hi, I’m your daughter. Hello, I have never seen a single person in this room before, will you welcome me into your family with comforting arms, because this hurts me too you know, or will you all just keep looking at me like you’re more afraid of me than I am of you?

An arched doorway, into soft lighting, softer music, and the stink of flowers.

I know from television that the insides aren’t inside, the organs removed and weighed and recorded in posthumous posterity, and the mouth has been stuffed so you don’t notice the sunken cheeks. For a moment, looking at smooth eyelids, I get a mental flash of garish, cartoonish, giant black X’s stitching them shut.

I shake the image away, take a waxy hand in mine, and bore my words through the shell.

“Hello. I’m your daughter.”

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , | 27 Comments

Anthony and Eli

The stained glass imploded and the man sitting in the front pew turned towards the heavy wrought iron crossbars as they were wrenched apart by powerful, invisible hands.

“You do so love your entrances,” he remarked blithely.

The black cloaked figure descended, shiny pointy shoes making two little clicks as he settled to the floor. “But of course,” he replied. More tiny clicks from his heels as he made his way towards the seated man.

Anthony rose from the polished wooden bench and followed Eli up to the altar, dark curls shadowing his face. As they sat and settled themselves on the carpeted steps, Eli’s nose wrinkled at the overpowering scent of incense and, what the hell was that, lilacs? He shook his head with a grimace of distaste. He looked up, about to speak, and saw a tear drip onto Anthony’s silk shirtfront, the damp splotch spreading like a blood stain across the dark material. Anthony glanced down at it himself, and slumped over in a heap.

“Stop being so melodramatic, Anthony.”

“Oh, shut up Eli! God, you’re so boring these days,” he mumbled this last part, face pressed into the carpet. He rolled over and propped his head on his hand. “I’m tired,” he offered, by way of apology.

Eli shrugged. “They never really gave us a crash course on what exactly was meant by the job title Guardian Angel. I might have tried out for a different rank.”

“Yeah, well, we didn’t and now we screwed everything up, and we’re not ever allowed to go home again! Fucking Aslan guarding the pearly gates for Christ’s sake.”

Trying and failing to contain his laughter, Eli let it loose until he fairly shook with it. “How the mighty have fallen, you blaspheming angel,” he hooted. “Besides, it’s not like we got a healthy dose of free will mixed in with our angel DNA.

“It’s not funny! These damnable creatures don’t even want our help anymore. They call modern day wizards called Life Coaches now.” He switched topics abruptly. “Do you know a teen-age girl tried to seduce me the other night? After she asked if I wanted to smoke some weed with her.”

Eli waited a moment. “And…” he prodded.

“Well, shit. Her self proclaimed ‘bodacious body’ was…lush, but her face,” he waved a hand distractedly. “Vacuous. Vapid.” He shrugged. “Haven’t you ever looked at them like that, though? Seen something more in their faces, seen more than the sheep we thought they were?”

Eli sat silent for a few seconds. “Those are dangerous words, especially to be spoken aloud here.”

“I’ll say what I like, when I like, wherever I like,” he replied indifferently. “How could they punish us beyond banishment? Truly though, you’re telling me that you’ve never had a moment where this human you’re with becomes nothing a purely carnal creature, you no longer care what brought you there in the first place, you don’t remember what she suffers or what she needs, because she’s so close to you and you know you could just reach out and touch her?” He was crying again.

“No, Anthony, I haven’t.” Eli dropped his head into his hands. “You’re speaking poetry. They are not there to help us, you know this.” He pulled a handkerchief from a hidden pocket in his cloak and leaned forward with it.

Anthony shoved the hand away and drew backwards. “I like my tears just fine where they are, thank you,” he said petulantly. “You’re the one who wanted to meet anyway, so why don’t you start talking.”

“I don’t know if I can make you understand, because as you seem to grow closer to them every day, so I grow more and more dissatisfied at the end of each mission.” Eli glanced around furtively, as if the boss himself were present. “I don’t like them, they’re pointless and they’re boring. Nor do I care very much what happens to them. I find myself wanting to sabotage their meager little lives for my own petty enjoyment.

“Now who sounds like a madman,” said Anthony sarcastically. He stood and straightened his jacket, pinched the crease sharper in his pants, and lit a cigarette that had materialized between his lips with a lighter procured the same way.

“So, what do you say we give them what the really want?” Eli asked, an evil grin splitting his face.

“Let’s give ’em hell,” Anthony smirked back.

They ascended together, through the window that repaired itself behind them.

***

So ends my submission for the wonderful Grammar Ghoul Press, Challenge Numero SIX already: Go here, read the things, write the things, vote the things, appreciate the awesome Ghouls that populate the page:
http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-6/#more-612

This piece was completely inspired by the prompts for this week – the word bodacious and this really cool painting by Rene Magritte, titled Homesickness
homesickness

Cheers,
Shannon

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Courage

With my halcyon days so far behind me that
they no longer even cast a shadow,
as what I know to be my last years begin
to climb out of the depths,
wrapping their ropes around my ankles to
slow my steps, hunch my back,
eke the marrow from my bones,

I find myself wandering the cemetery
in the sunshine,
under fluffy clouds and winging birds,
to visit a plot that for a decade,
I pretended did not exist.

I stray from the path, because really,
why not, when there’s no one on guard;
I doubt there’s much market for broad-daylight
grave pilfering,
but I wouldn’t know much about such things,
myself

I had heard you were gone; even in introversion,
news travels as fast as the speed of a click
and there’s always some who
can’t seem to wait
to start a conversation with the words ‘oh hey, have you heard?’

I still thought about you all the time,
even then, so many years from
when I had last seen your face,
my own eyes shimmering tears, doubled
the sheen of those gleaming in yours
and then, pfft, never again

would I have looked longer,
I wonder,
if I had known that I would
never see you face to face again?
It didn’t seem like a thing that could be,
a truth that still made no sense,
when reality sits in your lap
and you don’t even realize you have company

And so here I am now,
shuffle stepping to your marker,
stooped and angry,
still mad, still furious, that you
couldn’t manage to be that man,
the one that I saw the first time that I met you,
that was leaps and bounds ahead
of the one that I left behind,
even though I loved you

i’m not here to say goodbye,
I’ve talked to you so often in my head
and doing it when you’re alive and not near
is even more pointless than doing it
when you’re already dead.

If my epitaph stood next to yours,
these many crumpled years later,
Yours, I think, would say goodbye.
And mine, mine would only say I tried.

***

So, I used to join in at The Speakeasy (which I really loved) with Suzanne, and it was brought back into the fold of the Yeah Write community – so I figured I’d give it a try over here.

I pretty much wrote the whole thing around the optional prompt that was given:
What is written in the stone?

As soon as I pound some more words out for NaNo, I very much look forward to reading the other stories. Click on the badge at the top of the post if you’d like to check out all of the other cool stuff going on.

Categories: Fiction, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

Blessings and Peace On All

A while back, I started doing this thing when I leave my house in the morning. As I turn the key in the lock, I say the following words: I humbly ask for blessings and peace on all who live in this home, wherever we may be. Then I picture all the members of my family and where they are at the current moment – the cats are usually sleeping (so that they can be well rested to terrorize as soon as I get home), the lizard is eating kale and carrots in her tank, the kid is at school, and the dude is at work, or still sleeping like a dirty rat.

As I walk outside, I open the request up, for blessings and peace for all who live in my city, and then in my state, the country, then on to the planet. I make sure to clarify that I mean all living beings, be it cockroaches or bald eagles or humans.

This began as much more of a self-serving practice rather than a magnanimous one, in that I believe that the happier others are, the less of their burden I will be required to carry. I’ve no trouble with empathy, and with sharing the load of a friend going through rough times. I will not lie and say that, along with my own crazy head troubles, occasionally that load gets heavier than I feel I can shoulder.

The mantra is kind of a life line for me. My tendency when overwhelmed is to go numb, to retreat to my Netflix and my cats, and untether myself from the tenuous connections of humanity. This, not surprisingly, leads to existential ansgty crises of what’s it all about, what does any of it matter, why should I even care. I relate to Holden Caulfield and Albert Camus, not my drunken upstairs neighbor, or my friend who keeps making the same mistakes in her life over and over again. I retreat to the above it all intellectual teenager that I was, when in fact I am the mother of a damn teenager and should stop it.

I’m not a particularly spiritual person, and while I definitely consider myself both a student and practitioner of yoga, it’s very easy for me to fall back into the I am an island unto myself mindset. It feels as if I blink and a month has gone by, and I must go through my list of contacts and touch base with those who really matter to me. Thankfully, they all know me well enough that my frequent sojourns into silence do not affect our friendship, but I still feel like a terrible person when I realize I’m not giving what I should to those who have given me so much more than I feel I’ve earned.

So I will continue to chant my mantra, as a daily reminder that no matter how alone and pointless I may feel at times, there is always a buoy bobbing somewhere to hug, to stop from being swept away to the Land of Meh.

***

This is my first non-fiction entry into the Yeah Write grid. I look forward to hearing if I missed the point of what they look for completely, or at least if I’m on the right track. I’d like to delve a little more into non-fiction work, so it can’t hurt to jump on in.

This seems like a pretty great community that I would definitely like to explore a little more. I admit to finding it a tad intimidating, but hey, jumping on in and all Head over here if you’d like to do the same: http://yeahwrite.me/nonfiction-writing-challenge-186/

Categories: Non-Fiction Nonsense | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

The Daughters

Cloaks slid off with a synchronicity of movement that bespoke a ritual oft practiced. Skyclad, bowls of flame at their feet, curvy and slim, tall and short, light and dark, the Daughters raise their hands to the sky.

The First tips her head, parting lips and opening her throat to sing out a high, clear note, held longer than should humanly be possible. The others follow suit to the last, a girl, whose voice creaks out like a rusty saw until she gathers her courage around her like the cloak she has just shed and forces the note to smoothness.

The offering bowls are gathered and carried with ceremony, placed around the feet of the girl; those who would become her sisters step back. She stifles a tide of hysteria, and not just a little terror, at the power she feels growing with each careful and studied placement. She sways on her feet as the song changes, tone and tempo evolving, pulsing, layering questing tendrils, crackling live wires of noise borne only upon their own strength.

In the midst of this growing maelstrom, only the First remains static. Her wide eyes drink in the moonlight and reflect it back from pools of black onyx, gaze fixed on the one this night is dedicated to, the last Daughter. Without lowering her lancet stare, she bends and places her hands, one each, on the two blades that lay in the grass at her feet. One offers acceptance and does not allow violence, but the other offers itself only in the cause of sacrifice. Of their own accord her limbs begin to move as the song worms into muscle to straighten her, crawls in her ears to bring the chosen knife behind her, and electrifies her skin to clasp her hands behind her and begin the walk of the sacred path to the Initiate.

From the blackness comes a drum, thumping, through the soles of her feet, echoing her heart’s steady beat. Crossing the center point of the circle, quiet descends like a blanket gently laid over a sleeping child and, swirling their arms in sinuous, circular motions, her Daughters fall in behind her, a sphere of flesh that dances yet, to the memory of music.

She stops inches from the girls face, brings up the blade she holds so that it hovers at the exact point between the Initiates eyes. The distinctive, scythe-like shape comes into focus, and the handle to tremble in time with the girls knees.

“Wicked,” whispers the First. “This blade names you. You have been found wanting of the purity that this family requires.” An inadvertent gasp escapes from her Daughters. She could not warn them that she had dreamed this outcome, and for that she was truly sorry. They had come with joy in their hearts, to welcome a sister, with love. Now, as their Mother demanded, they were required to offer her instead, with condemnation. Judgment is law, no appeals to be made.

Her arms were grasped, pulled behind her back, pushing her chest forward. They gather her hair in their hands and hold her, a wall of implacable limbs that does not seek to hurt but offers no succor.

The blade’s point pierces just below the collarbone, and as the First begins to drag it downwards, her Daughters chant. “Wicked. Wicked. Wicked.”

Blood wells, expertly carving a half moon around the areola, completing the symbol of the bolline, upside-down, as befits a Betrayer. The First cut as shallowly as she dared, and the blood that seeped out was thin. She does not desire to harm. The Daughters release the Initiate and the girl is held rooted in place by a power not of herself.

The fires at her feet began to dim, and as they go out, one after another, the flames begin to simmer behind her eyes. A whimper escapes her lips, and with it, fire dances. She is engulfed, from the inside out, tongues of fire darting from her nostrils, licking out from her ears, bursting her eyes from her skull with a sickening, melting pop.

And then she was no more. All that remains is a single, blackened blade of grass that is plucked to be tucked away.

The First turns, gathers them into a sphere of comforting arms. No tears, they are not permitted for one that has been denied, and so they must hide their desire to shed them.

“Remember, Daughters. It does not pay, to be wicked.”

***

Editing this story down to 750 words was truly a feat for me, slicing and dicing away, much like the First. This is my submission for Challenge #5 over at Grammar Ghoul Press – our word prompt was wicked, which I decided to make a lot of use of, and our visual prompt this week was the gloriously bizarre video for Spectrum, by Florence + the Machine. As her voice is one of my favorites to listen to when I’m writing, that added an element of fun for me.

Check out the Grammar Ghouls here: (DO IT): http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-5-open/

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments