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via Where the Winter Wind Howls by L.V. Gaudet

Where the Winter Wind Howls

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Halloween 2009 – 3 More Sleeps

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I’m noticing more houses on the street becoming playgrounds for the ghoulish creatures from the land of B horror movies and nightmares.  But it sure is a far cry from the fanciful ghoulish wonderland I remember as a child.  It used to be that you could tell a house’s motives even before the day witches, goblins, and vampires roam the night.  Almost all the houses participating in the ritual of Halloween treat giving had some kind of decoration.  Later, as droves of fairies, cowboys, and two-legged pumpkins roamed the darkening streets with all manner of monsters, each house told its own story.  Decorations meant they embraced this night.  No porch light and no decorations meant keep off my property, there will be no treats here tonight.  A decorated house with no porch lights meant the candy well had run dry.

Some things have not changed over the years.  Bigger kids mugging smaller kids for their candy, the occasional house being T-Ped or egged (usually the ones where the homeowner were less than kid friendly), and the stern admonition to not eat any candy until it could be thoroughly inspected by a parent.  And, of course, there has always been the ones verging on teen-hood and are at that awkward stage of being too old for trick or treating, but still long for those youthful days that are so fresh in their memories.  Eventually they manage to sneak off one way or another for some late trick or treating before all the houses shut down for the night.  I don’t mind those kids.  I was their age once and remember that longing.  Some of them even manage to come up with something resembling a costume, while others mumble and hang their heads, thinking they should be embarrassed or ashamed.

One thing that certainly has changed is the number of parents roaming the streets.  When I was a kid that one night of the year the dark belonged to the children.  Gaggles of giggling kids roamed the neighborhoods, racing from one house to the next, trying to hit as many houses as they could.  You saw the occasional preschooler waddling along, parent in tow.  But usually they were done before the school-agers were out.  They’d hit a few houses, and then quickly retire to the warmth of their homes to hand out candy.  Now, almost every group of kids has at least one adult guardian shadowing them through the darkness.  Parents keep a wary eye, homeowners keep a wary eye, and kids no longer race about with the same free-spirited enthusiasm as they did when they ran free once upon a time.  After all, they now have to behave and let their slower travelling parents, who are generally not inclined to race pell-mell from house to house, keep up.

Has the world we live in really become so much more dangerous over the years?  Or has the global world of technology and communication only served to make us more aware of the dangers that lurk in the night?  Are the dangers really that much more prevalent than before, or that we know of, or have we just turned paranoid?

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Today’s feature story is a double dose of flash fiction storys (1,000 words or less).

First up is “Snow“.  It is a somewhat surreal look at a how things happen around each of our own little worlds, separate from each other.  Oh yeah, and there’s a killer too.

Then we take a peek “Behind a White Curtain” where we look at this same story in a more focused way.  And that focus is on the killer himself and his world.

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A Halloween did you know:

Did you know that the custom of begging door to door for treats (trick-or-treating) while dressed in costumes dates back as far as the middle ages?  This was practiced not only at Halloween, but also when people went wassailling at Christmas too.  At Halloween people (mostly the poor and children) went souling, begging door to door for food.  They would be given soul cake in exchange for giving prayers for the dead.

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An interesting read – Halloween Candy

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Here’s a fun Halloween candy game for the kids. 

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And here is a frightening visage from HALLOWEEN 2008 (cue spooky music):

2008 10 31 sid 5yrs & robyn 45mos halloween (3)

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Bookmark Halloween 2009 - 3 More Sleeps by L.V. Gaudet

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Behind a White Curtain

By L. V. Gaudet

© December 2008

 

 

                It was quite bright and tranquil the day it begun, snow lazily falling and blanketing the world in a soft downy blanket of fluff, drawing a white curtain over all the ugliness of the world.

                However, there was a dark storm brewing somewhere, deep within the breast of one soul.  For some reason he came out only with the falling snow, his catalyst, harbinger of unpleasant memories and dark urges.  Otherwise, he hid away in his quaint little home, safe, a victim of agoraphobia, living life unseen.

                To everyone else it was a day as any other day, Saturday, and only days before Christmas.  The muffled scrape of shovels clearing driveways and sidewalks did not so much echo in the air as it seemed to be carried on the wings of the very snowflakes themselves as they slowly drifted down.  Other sounds hung in the air too; distant sleds bounding across the fields, the sudden grinding of a snow blower rattling like a lumbering abominable chain saw, and the shlish and scream of children tobogganing down a hill somewhere.  Somewhere a dog barked.

                To one man it was a very different day.  He paced restlessly, pulling at his hair, rearranging his safe little nest in agitation.  It was coming, the memories, and the urge, unstoppable.  Today he would leave his quaint little house.

                One boy played alone, trying to build a fort in the white downy fluff.  He kicked at the fluff in exasperation, unable to make it stick together to form walls.  When next his mother looked out the window, the boy would be gone.

                The man who took the boy was not a large man.  He was skinny and balding and had an air of impotence cum invisibility.  This was the sort of man most people did not even notice, forever overlooked and ignored.  Even his name was nondescript, ‘Ted’.  Then again, psychoses do not care about size, looks, or names.

                Ted’s slash of a mouth was frozen in a wide grin, eyes sparkling maniacally.  A giggle bubbled up like the bright red blood of the boy.  Red oozed warmly down, creating a gentle uprising mist as it soaked down into the pristine white snow.

                A scream bounced from snowflake to snowflake.  It did not sound right.  It was not the fun filled happy shriek of a tobogganing child.  It was shrill and desperate, torn violently from the throat, frantic and terrible.  No one noticed the scream, so lost were they all in their own activities, in their own private little lives of their own little worlds within this winter wonderland.

                The dogs heard it.  All around the little town, dogs barked and howled.

                It would snow again.  Soon.  And so, too, would Ted come again out to play.

#

                The air tasted crisp on his tongue, so intense was the cold.  It bit at his fingers and toes within their protected confines.  His nose stung and his lungs burned with each inhalation of chill air.  Wincing, he rubbed his hands together, blowing into his cupped fingers, trying to warm them.

                The cool light of the moon seemed colder, more distant, shining with an ethereal pale light wrapped in ghostly light circles as its light refracted off the invisible frozen air crystals hanging suspended in the atmosphere enveloping the earth.  The stars, their light much dimmer, tried feebly to point their little beacon lights to the ground below, like a distant warning.

                Ted looked up at the sky, the clouds rolling in, drawing a shroud across the sky, shutting off the moon’s pale light.  The snow had started to fall again.  Barely at first, scattered tiny flakes drifted down, growing bigger and thicker, multiplying in number, and turning into a dreamy soft down gently touching every surface.  With the snow came the memories.  He winced as the memories crashed through his head like a multi car pileup, unstoppable, uncontrollable, a shrieking dance of mental chaos.  Next came the urge, insistent, insatiable, and unstoppable.  He had to fix it.

                This time there was no scream bouncing off the gently falling snow, just a wet sort of gurgle, low and quiet, and the pristine white virgin snow slowly turning bright red beneath the pale night light of the moon.  This time even the dogs did not notice and the people mostly slept, safe in their own little lives and oblivious to the other little lives all around.  All except one man who did not sleep, but now slumbered forever.

#

                The dog came first.  It stopped, snuffling deeper, nose digging down, snorting into the snow.  Ted’s heart raced, eyes dilating, and nostrils flaring as he watched the dog.  The dog had found ‘the spot’.  He was about to act when the dog startled with a yip, turned tail and ran away, its trail following like a shadow.  The snow in the hole dug by the dog’s questing nose was stained crimson.  Like a soft sigh, snow continued to fall.  He followed the dog; he had to fix it.

#

                People moved about, safely cocooned in their private little lives, each doing their own thing and oblivious to the lives around.

                The woman walked with some difficulty through the snow along the edge of the trees where the snow was less deep.  Every now and then she cupped her hands to each side of her mouth and called.  She was looking for the family dog that had escaped off the rope tethering the animal safely in the yard.  She came across the tracks in the snow, thought for a moment and decided to follow the track into the woods.

                He watched as the woman found what was left of the dog.  He could almost hear her heart pounding faster, feel the constriction of her chest, and see through her eyes widened in horror.  The snow continued to fall in a lazy downy rain.

                He pounced on the woman.  Soon a crimson stain slowly began to spread across the pristine snow.

                It was not about killing; he just had to fix it.

 

 

 

 

Published:

Jan 7/09 online at Flashes in the Dark

        http://flashesinthedark.com/category/l-v-gaudet/

Jan 23/09 online at Patchwork Project

        http://www.patchworkproject.com/lvgaudet.html

 

 

 

Bookmark Behind a White Curtain by L.V. Gaudet (Horror Flash Fiction)

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Snow (Flash Fiction)

By L. V. Gaudet

© December 2008

 

 

 

 

It was a dark and stormy night.

 

No, actually it wasn’t.  That is just so cliché.

 

It was neither dark, nor stormy.  In fact, it was quite bright and tranquil with the snow lazily falling and blanketing the world in a soft downy blanket.

 

However, there was a dark storm brewing somewhere, deep within the breast of one fateful soul who will have a rather fate-less affect on those around.  Not so much in a way of lacking chance and destiny, but rather in a way of that destiny being one that is lacking in fortune and future.  It would be a fate resulting in no fate, no future, and ending in a finality of fatality.

 

To everyone else it was a day as any other day.  It was the weekend, Saturday to be precise; and only days before Christmas.  The muffled scrape of shovels clearing driveways and sidewalks didn’t so much echo in the air as it seemed to be carried on the wings of the very snowflakes themselves as they drifted down, billions of flakes carrying the sound on the faint draught of air that could not even be called a breeze.

 

The distant soprano rumble of sleds bounding across the fields could be felt more than it could be heard.  The sudden grinding of a snow blower starting rattled off the snowflakes like a lumbering abominable chain saw.  The shlish and scream of children tobogganing down a hill somewhere cut through the downy muffled hush brought on the world by the gentle snowflakes.  Somewhere a dog barked.

 

A scream bounced from snowflake to snowflake.  It didn’t sound right.  It wasn’t the fun filled happy shriek of a tobogganing child.  It was shrill and desperate, torn violently from the throat, frantic and terrible.

 

The scream didn’t register though, so lost was everyone in their own activities, in their own private little bubbles of their own little worlds within this winter wonderland, separate from all the other little bubbles, bouncing about each other without really touching.

 

At least, it didn’t register on the consciousness of any people living within their own little private bubble lives.  Most people live in their own little bubble, most but not all.  And dogs, dogs don’t live in bubbles; they are tuned in to the world around them.  It’s hardwired into their makeup.

 

The dogs heard it.  All around the little town dogs barked and howled.

 

It could be some time before one of these little private bubble worlds bounced and touched the little bubble world the scream was torn from, before someone learns the terrible truth behind the scream that everyone heard, yet no one noticed.

 

Perhaps the next snow fall.

 

 

 

 

The air tasted crisp, so intense was the cold, biting at fingers and toes within their protected confines, making noses sting and lungs burn with each inhalation of chill air.  It was too cold even for Jack Frost to be out performing his public service of decorating window panes with his intricate artwork.

 

The cool light of the moon seemed colder, more distant, shining with an ethereal pale light wrapped in ghostly light circles as its light refracted off the invisible frozen air crystals hanging suspended in the atmosphere enveloping the earth.  The stars, their light much dimmer, tried feebly to point their little beacon lights to the ground below, like a distant warning.

 

The clouds rolled in, shrouding the ground below, hiding it from the moon’s view, shutting off its pale light.  The snow started to fall.  Barely at first, scattered tiny flakes drifted down, growing bigger and thicker, multiplying in number, and turning into a dreamy soft down gently touching every surface.

 

This time there was no scream bouncing off the gently falling snow, just a wet sort of gurgle, low and quiet, and the pristine white virgin snow slowly turning bright red.  This time even the dogs didn’t notice and the people mostly slept, safe in their own little lives and oblivious to the other little lives all around.

 

 

 

 

A stray dog snuffled about in the snow.  It wasn’t a homeless or abandoned dog, just one that had escaped the rope tethering it in the yard.  The dog walked as if on a mission, purposeful, intent, tail and body tense, sniffing and snuffling at the snow as it went.  Deep tracks followed the dog through the thick blanket of snow.  The dog stopped, snuffling deeper, nose digging down, snorting.  The dog startled with a yip, turned tail and ran away, its trail following like a shadow.  The snow in the hole dug by the dog’s questing nose was stained crimson.  Like a soft sigh, snow began to fall.

 

People moved about, safely cocooned in their private little bubble lives, each doing their own thing and oblivious to the lives around.

 

Without a sound one of these little bubbles popped.  The woman walked with some difficulty through the snow along the edge of the trees where the snow was less deep.  She looked about her keenly, every now and then cupping her hands to each side of her mouth and calling.  She was looking for the family dog that had escaped off the rope tethering the animal safely in the yard.  At last she came across a track leading away from the trees and across the field.  Just beyond it lay another track, less defined as though made by less careful movements.  This track led into the trees.  She thought for a moment and decided to follow the next track into the woods.

 

She didn’t get far before she found the dog.  Well, what was left of the dog anyway.  Her heart thudded hard and fast in her chest, her breath caught as her chest constricted, eyes widening in horror.

 

Something slammed into the woman, knocking her sideways a few feet and down into the white downy snow.  A crimson stain slowly began to spread across the pristine snow.

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

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Spring

Spring

By Lori Gaudet

© Apr 2008

 

 

 

White snow sparkles, glistening in the warming sun,

looking wet as the warm air kisses its crystalline form.

Snow sweat drips, sliding lazily down the crisp snow,

Transforming it’s white crystals to clear shining ice.

 

Brown grass pokes up through the thinning snow,

reaching for the warming sun.

Wings flap, powerfully grabbing the air,

the geese are trumpeting their triumphant return.

 

The hare begins to shed his beautiful white coat,

turning gray-brown as he seeks out his mate.

The little red squirrel plays about in the warm sun,

leaping from branch to branch.

 

The ground begins to warm and soften,

awakening early spring bulbs.

Soon the trees will begin to bud ready to burst with leaves,

while the green shoots wind their way up to the warm spring sun.

Bookmark Spring by L.V. Gaudet (Poem)

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Arctic Trek

By Lori Gaudet

© Jan 2008

 

 

Footing was treacherous, and the icy blasts of wind froze us to the core, as we made our way delicately across the surface of hard crusted snow.  The frozen ice crystals crunched loudly beneath our boots with each careful footstep.  Blinded by the brilliance of the bright sunlight flashing off the white snow, it was difficult to see as we watched where we lay each footstep.

 

Previous to our perilous journey, a warm spell had started to thaw the fluffy white snow.  A subsequent cold turned those softened flakes into a layer of hard crust which looked deceptively like its former glory of pillow-soft down carpeting the landscape.

 

As we walked along this brilliantly white hard crust, we held our breaths, shielded our eyes from the blinding reflection of the sunlight, and tried to be as light as we could.  A sudden crack jarred the quiet day.  We looked at each other fearfully, knowing all too well what that ominous crack under our feet meant.  Someone had cracked the too thin layer of frozen crust.

 

Reaching, I grabbed the hand of the smallest member of our party just as the crusted snow beneath her boots gave way, caving in beneath her.  She fell through to the deep powdery soft snow beneath the crust, disappearing in its white depths as though beneath the waves of a silent ocean.  Luckily, I still had a firm grip on her hand and pulled her to safety on top of the hard crusted snow.

 

Eventually, we made our way to the safety of the giant trees.  But safety was not yet to be had.  There, we found the great hole of the furry dweller of one of the trees.  Luckily enough he was sleeping and did not appear to give us any trouble.

 

Soon, another peril found us as we gripped to the rough crags of bark of the great tree.  First one, then another of our little party vanished.  Vanished!  They were there one moment, and gone the next.  They have fallen into the great crevices in the bark of that gnarled old tree.  With great trepidation I searched for my two partners, almost becoming lost myself within the crevices and trunks of the great tree.  A monstrous twisted creature that, in truth, was not one tree, but four with the trunks fused and grown together at the base.

 

I found first one of my party, and then the other.  Finally, we began to make our way back across the thin layer of frozen crust.  We staved off the grumblings of our hungry bellies by crunching on broken shards of the snowy crust we walked upon, taking care that it was clean snow of course.  We almost lost all three of us into the depths of powdery snow as the crust gave way beneath our feet on that homeward trek.  We scrambled and struggled constantly back onto the relative safety of the frozen crust as it continuously cracked and gave way beneath our feet.

 

At last, we were nearing the safety of our home base.  The first of our party made it safely indoors and out of the icy blasts of wind.  But, she inadvertently released the beast that lay in wait trapped inside.  Without a care for its own safety, this huge monster barreled out past her, almost knocking her to the ground in its rush, the great hairy monster leapt with all its weight onto the fragile ice crust, breaking through.

 

But that was not the end of the monster.  It had no fear of crashing through that crust to the white powder beneath.  It just kept coming, thrashing as it continually crashed through the cracking snow crust.  The creature circled us clumsily, loping off and returning to circle us again.  We eyed it carefully, knowing it would soon charge.  And charge it did, almost taking out the smallest member of our party in its clumsy run across the broken morass of broken icy crust and powder soft snow.  As it ran past I pounced at the creature, wrapping my arms around its struggling body in a wrestlers embrace, pinning it to the ground.  The creature squirmed and fought, and the two of us wrestled it back to where we had it previously captive.  This hairy beast would bear closer watching.

 

The three of us survived our adventure – this time.  Now, as we three girls sit in the warmth and safety of our home base, the hairy monster laying snoring at my feet, we feast on our lunch and plan our next adventure.

Bookmark Arctic Trek by L.V. Gaudet (Poem)

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