Archive for January 5th, 2009



By L. V. Gaudet

© January 2009



                He dipped a finger into the pool of blood.  It was a casual gesture, dabbing at it lazily like paint in a paint cup.  Careful not to drip the crimson wetness from his fingertip, he brought it to the canvas.  Gently and with great care, he spread the blood about the canvas, creating a brightly splashed picture.

                He didn’t know who’s blood it was, nor even if it were human, animal, or something else.  Where the blood came from did not matter.  It was the magic, the life that once throbbed through the veins of something living and feeling; that is what mattered.  The odor of the blood filled his nostrils.  It was a little sharp, kind of salty.  If he tasted it, he knew it would taste salty, red, and a little bit like smelted iron.  It smelled good, fresh.  It had to be fresh or the magic would have faded away.

                The canvas he painted always changed.  Sometimes it was large, an entire field of battle.  Sometimes it was smaller, a group of marauders falling upon a caravan, or an attack in the dark dirty recesses of a city’s worst areas.  Sometimes it was tiny, the sweet breath of an infant drifting through tiny pouty lips.

                The canvas he worked today with such care was the rocky crags of a mountain.  As he painted, the canvas vibrated with a dull rumble as of a thousand distant hooves stampeding.  This was no stampede, however; at least, not one of living creatures rushing across the ground in a frenzy of fear.  A few pebbles clattered across the rocky terrain, kicking up tiny puffs of dust as they went.

                The group travelling low on the side of the mountain paused, looking around with startled eyes.  They felt the faint vibration of the ground, their ears barely picking up the distant rumble.  A child stared curiously at a small rock that rolled and clattered past.

                With a deliberate and practiced hand, he painted the mountainside, coloring bright red trails down the rock face.  The rumbling grew louder, the ground shaking with increasing fury.  The pebbles and rocks already lightly clattering down the mountainside were chased by larger rocks, boulders, and clouds of billowing un-breathable dust.

                The small group, related families forced to relocate, began to scramble in a frightened panic.  They grabbed at children, dropping some belongings, keeping only that which was essential for survival.  They ran this way and that, growing confused with fear, running for their lives.  One woman tripped and fell, her infant clutched protectively in her arms, scraping her arm and leg on one side on the sharp rocks.  A little stunned, she lay there breathing hard, staring at her husband who had been hurriedly picking through their meager belongings, discarding anything they could not eat.

                He gently dabbed a spot of red upon the head of the man.

                Looking almost bewildered, the man stared at his fallen wife, pleading with his eyes for her to hurry to her feet and run.  A boulder flew by them as if hurled from the mountain by a giant invisible hand, flying past between the two with unstoppable momentum.  After it had passed by, the man’s headless body stood there, wavering slightly, his head now a small red smear being painted down the mountain by the rolling boulder.

                So intent were the terrified people on fleeing the rockslide that most of them did not even notice the dark and terrible winged creature that swooped down silently from the sky, its tattered cloak flapping like the rotting sheet wrapped about a corpse.  The creature seemed somehow indistinct, as though only a shadow of it could touch this world.

                The man’s wife watched in horror, a terrible scream tearing from her throat as she watched the monster swoop down and grab her husband’s headless shoulder with the long fingers of one taloned hand.  It turned its faceless head towards her as it reached down with the other hand into the new orifice that used to be his neck, and tore away the shadowy shade of the man writhing and fighting to remain sheltered inside the dead body.  The creature’s blood red eyes remained motionless and locked on her as it stole her husband’s soul.  With incredible speed, it lifted off, swooping away into the sky with its still struggling cargo.  The man tried to scream as he fought the powerful monster that spirited him away, but could not.  He was but a shadow, without form or a body.  On the ground his body still stood there, wavering slightly, then slumped slowly to the ground, its heartbeat slowing, slower, stuttering to a stop.  Perhaps half a minute had passed.

                He continued to paint his canvas of rock and lives.  Very few would survive.

                The mountain shook violently, those who missed being crushed by the falling rocks found themselves gasping and choking on air that had been replaced by dust, unable to breathe, suffocating.

                The black creature swooped down from the sky again and again, stealing souls from the broken bodies as their life ebbed away.  Always it moved swiftly and silently, with deadly precision.

                When the violent shaking of the ground stopped at last, the rumbling faded away into the past, and the dust began to clear on the soft breath of the air, the aftermath became apparent.  An ugly gash scraped down the mountainside, a trail of broken debris showing the path the rockslide had taken.  Red smears of blood marred the scene, a gruesome testimony to the death and destruction, matching exactly the red smears of blood he lovingly painted on his canvas.

                A child wailed.  A woman’s hand poked feebly from the ground, waving weakly, smeared with blood and dust.

                He had a name once.  It has been so long since he has heard the name uttered that he could no longer remember it.  Most called him by another name.  Death.

                His dark cloaked shoulders shook, the rotting fabric shreds moving as though its tattered remains were made of delicate gauze.  He wept for the newly collected souls.






Jan 23/09 online at Patchwork


Jan 30/09 online at Flashes in the Dark







Bookmark Blood by L.V. Gaudet (Horror Flash Fiction)

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By L. V. Gaudet
© June 2008


Here are two princess sisters,
Princess Robyn, and Princess Sidney.

“Time for dinner,” said Mommy.
And the princesses sat at the table.


When they looked down at their plates
what did they see?

A little spoonful of peas each,
for Princess Robyn and
Princess Sidney.

“Yuck!  No peas for me,”
said Princess Robyn.

“Yuck!  Yuck!  No peas for me,”
said Princess Sidney.

“Eat your peas please,” said Mommy.


Princess Robyn made a silly face,
and hid a pea under her seat.

Princess Sidney made a funny face,
and hid a pea in her belly button.

A look passed between the princesses two,
who giggled and wiggled and thought,
“where can we hide the other peas too?”

“Eat your peas please,” said Mommy.


Princess Robyn ate some ham,
then hid a pea beneath the jam.

Princess Sidney ate a carrot,
then hid a pea inside her pocket.

“Eat your peas please,” said Mommy.


Princess Robyn ate some rice,
then hid a pea not once but twice.

Princess Sidney drank some water,
then hid a pea inside a cup and saucer.

“Eat your peas please,” said Mommy.


And this went on and on,
until all but one
of the peas were gone.

The princess sisters two
looked down at that last pea
and thought, “hmmmm what to do.”

Into the mud where no one will see,
they hid that last green pea.
in the pot of Mommy’s tree.


“I’m glad you ate all your peas,” Mommy said,
as she tucked
princesses Robyn and Sidney into bed.

And with a smile on their lips,
each princess let out a big sigh.
Today they were up to tricks,
and hid every pea down low and up high.

They lay down their princess heads,
and closed their sweet eyes,
as they lay in their princess beds,
and slept with soft sighs.


Late that night
she snuck out of her bed.
And down to the kitchen Princess Robyn went prowling,
in search of a snack to stop her tummy growling.

When she got there, what did she see?

In the mud beneath Mommy’s tree
was the princess’s last little pea.
It had grown into a tiny green seedling,
that darned last little green pea.


Away Princess Robyn ran,
back to their bedroom.
To tell Princess Sidney a tale
about a pea she must see soon.

And together the two princesses
crept back to the kitchen.

And there they did find
that the little green pea seedling
had already grown
into a little green pea vine.


“What do we do now,” Princess Robyn did whine,
as they sat and stared at the little green pea vine.

Princess Sidney said, “I know just what to do.”
“We’ll hide it in dad’s old shoe.”

But that old shoe was pretty ripe and rare,
And that little green pea vine sprouted up even bigger there.


Dad’s old shoe
was so very old and dirty,
That little green pea vine
sent out roots from one to thirty.

Right before the princesses
Round staring eyes,
That little green pea vine
Wiggled and wriggled,
And grew into a BIGGER
Green pea vine.


Princess Sidney stared at the vine
growing in Dad’s old shoe,
and she cried, “this certainly won’t do!”
The princesses two pulled on that vine,
They pulled and they yanked and pulled again,
And finally freeing that green pea vine,
they said together, “now what will we do?”


Princesses Robyn and Sidney looked about.
From room to room they ran,
looking for a place for their pea vine,
until they spotted the little garbage can.
Princess Robyn lifted the lid and looked inside.
Princess Sidney leaned in to look too,
and with a smile she exclaimed,
“this perfectly will do!”



So the princesses two stuffed and shoved
that green pea vine down deep,
down into the trash where it will keep.
But before the sisters could turn and go,
That darned pea vine did grow and grow.
Up the trash can lid came,
And the little green pea vine did the same.
It grew faster than in dad’s old shoe,
And sprouted leaves one to thirty-two.



The princesses eyes opened wide.
And with a shriek and a wail,
the sisters two pulled that vine
from the garbage pail.
They tried shoving it under a couch cushion or two,
but that certainly would not do.
That little green pea vine was too bushy,
and made the couch much too cushy.
There had to be some place they could hide it,
somewhere the vine would fit inside it.



They were getting worried and nervous now.
They were going to be in trouble aplenty.
Instead of eating their dinner,
The princesses hid their peas from one to twenty.
They stuck that pea vine behind the books,
shoving it into nicks and nooks.
But that pea vine stuck way out,
It was too big and stout.
The princesses two looked askew
They just didn’t know what to do?



In a hurry they pulled that green pea vine out,
from pages of fairies, dwarves, and one old granny.
Out from behind all those shelves of books,
and from each and every nick, nook and cranny.

“Now what will we do,” exclaimed the princesses two.
“It didn’t work to hide it in dad’s old shoe!”
“It wouldn’t stay in that garbage can,”
“And the sofa looked like a big leafy van!”
“The bookcase was a frightful mess,”
“We couldn’t blame Jack’s beanstalk for this!”



Princess Robyn and Princess Sidney
sat upon the floor with a pout.
They thought hard and they thought long,
while that pea vine grew leafier and more stout.
Princess Robyn said “I have an idea to share,”
Princess Sidney agreed, “we’ll go there.”
And rub-a-dub-dub,
they hid that green pea vine in the bath tub.
But that faucet did drip drip drip and drop,
and that green pea vine drank it with a slurp and a slop.



That green pea vine sopped every last drip drop,
And before the princesses very eyes,
It wriggled and jiggled, it itched and twitched,
And suddenly it grew two and three times in size!
“Oh no!,” wailed Princess Sidney,
as a green pea vine sprout grabbed at her knee.
“Stop, stop, stop,” Princess Robyn did shout,
as green pea pods did sprout and sprout.
They covered mouths with their hands,
they must not wake mom and dad from their dreamlands.



The princesses had to really think hard,
whatever they did the pea plant grew and grew.
They must shrink down that silly plant,
“Think, think, think, what shall we do?”
The pea vine liked dirt, mud, and water.
It needed to get smaller and smaller and smaller.
There must be something they can do,
better than hiding it in couches, tubs, and a shoe.
How to make a pea vine plant shrink?
The princesses did think and think and think.



They pulled out their craft box,
Robyn and Sidney, the princesses two,
and found their craft scissors.
These princesses thought they knew just what to do.
With a snip snip and a cut,
They chopped that green pea plant all up.
They had a pile of vine and of leaves,
And another of pods full of peas.
The pods all opened wide,
And all the peas rolled outside.



They started feeding leaves to their pet bunny,
Sir Charles had an appetite that never did stop,
He ate and ate and ate, bringing down that pile,
But then with a full tummy down he did flop.
Still they were left with leaves a-plenty,
and stems of vine ten times twenty.
Add to that two buckets of peas,
“What shall we do with them, if you please?”
Princesses Robyn and Sidney thought low and high,
And thought maybe, just maybe put them outside.



Off to the kitchen the princesses did go,
with all of those peas and chunks of vine.
To find the backyard and composting heap,
but just what did those princesses find?


When they stepped through the kitchen door,
they were met with a sight from ceiling to floor.
An impenetrable jungle in their kitchen there was,
green leafy pea vines in every inch below and above.
The princesses two gasped in shocked surprise,
the poor girls just could not believe their eyes.



Now remember that earlier in our story,
our princesses two were being naughty and sly.
At dinner they did not eat their peas,
and instead hid each pea down low and up high.
Now each of those peas did sprout and grow,
all night long they wiggled and jiggled and grew so.
And a green pea vine jungle took over the kitchen,
scaring away their little pet Smoky the kitten.
Those princesses surely made a frightful mess,
if only they’d eaten more and hid a  spoonful less.



All night long those princesses did work,
a-snipping and cutting with their little craft scissors.
Chopping all those pea vines up into little pieces,
until their fingers looked like those of green lizards.

Then they spent hours toting and carting,
shoveling and scooping until their arms were smarting.
Hauling buckets of pea vine leaves and shreds,
hiding them in neighbors garden sheds.
At last mornings rays were on the horizon,
but still they had buckets of peas by the dozen.



From down the hall they heard somebody stir,
soon mom and dad would learn what they’ve been up to.
In a panic they began to eat and to eat,
and their tummy’s filled up with all that green goo.
At last they fell into their beds,
asleep before they lay down their heads.
Sleep away that stuffed little tummy
poor little Princess Robyn and Princess Sidney.
The Princesses woke up that day,
feeling a little pea green but dared not say.


And just when you thought our story was through,
and things could not get more silly …
Here come our two princess sisters,
Princess Robyn and Princess Sidney
Their mommy called them to come to eat,
they shuffled and dragged their feet.
Their tummies were still sore,
from all those peas the night before.
With a shuffle and shrug they sat at the table,
but to eat would they be able?



When they looked down at their plates what did they see?
A little spoonful of green beans each,
for Princess Robyn and Princess Sidney.
“Yuck!  No green beans for me,”
said Princess Robyn.

“Yuck!  Yuck!  No green beans for me,”
said Princess Sidney.

“Eat your beans please,” said Mommy.

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Who Do You Write For?

By L. V. Gaudet

© January 2009



This is yet another one of those age old questions about writing.  When you write, who do you ultimately write for?


Do you write with your reader in mind?  Do your thoughts linger on what that publisher or agent might like?  Do you write for a loved one, a deep need to release some pent up thoughts and feelings, or simply for yourself?


I write for myself.  There is no mystique about it, no secret driven need to share archaic feelings, some terrible event from the past, or whimsical fluff, you know the stuff some stories are made of.  No, it’s much simpler than that.  I write for the joy of writing, the pleasure of that story materializing, coming alive as if on its own, at the tips of my fingers.  My stories grow and develop as they see fit, working their plots in ways I mostly could not have foreseen.  The story itself has a drive of its own, a need to be released, to come alive like a Frankenstein creature.


I think this is important.  Without that creative force writhing its way free with a power of its own, writing would be predictable and mundane.  Boring.


It is only later, in the endless editing, that I read the story and contemplate the needs of the reader.  What does a reader need in order to enjoy the story?  It should be easy enough to read for the reader to be unwittingly drawn into the story, to become a witness rather than just a reader.  The reader needs to feel the story, feel what the characters feel, and feel as though he or she is a character within the story witnessing the events around.  The reader needs to feel compelled to continue reading the story.  It should flow easily and as if by some grand design.  Surprises need to be surprising, but also plausible and need to fit neatly enmeshed within the story.


It is also only within the endless editing that I consider what a prospective agent or publisher might want.  To consider this question too soon would only take away from the voice of the story, sucking away its life like a thousand tiny bloodsuckers.  Always, I keep in mind that each agent or publisher represents but a single mind, or perhaps a handful.  Each has their own personal tastes and preferences.  Just because one might not like a story, does not mean the story is lacking or bad.  It just means you need to find one whose tastes run more in keeping with the voice of the story.  Of course, not all writers are good writers or talented.  And not every story written even by a talented writer is worthy of being published to the masses.


Writing is a labor of love.  Treating it as anything else would be like living a lie, lessening the voice and value of the work.  To write for any reason other than the pure enjoyment of it would be to slog away at yet another task we do simply because we must.  That, surely, would come out in the weakened voice of the writing.  Writing without the love of writing is as dry and lifeless as the hard plastic keys your fingers poke unenthusiastically at.

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