Strawberry Perfume

Hello. 

That’s the only word I can ever manage to say to her, but it never gets a response. She floats by me every single day as if I’m a ghost or something. I know she sees me, but for some odd reason, be it egotism or repulsion, she refuses to even spare a glance my way. I’m not one for love and I’m not the kind of guy to chase women, but I want this one. No, I NEED this one. I utter my “Hello” as usual, but the girl with the blonde hair and strawberry perfume just floats on by.

What the hell, man? Is she a lesbian? Does she have a boyfriend or something? Well today we’re going to find out. I’m not one to chase women, but that’s all about to change. 

She exits through the door and I slither my way through, keeping just enough distance to see her and not be seen myself. The door shuts behind me and I’m outside, surrounded by the thousands of New York City skyscrapers, rude pedestrians, and honking taxis. The girl crosses the street and the crowd swallows her whole. Damn it, I’ve lost her. 

But wait… it’s in the air, I can smell it. That unmistakable scent of strawberries. I follow the scent and make my way across the street as well. I can see the mane of blonde hair flowing down her back and tossing through the crowd. She’s moving quickly, as if she’s afraid of something… or someone. Has she noticed that I’ve been following her all this time? Maybe, but it’s unlikely considering that she seems to be running to a particular place. She zigs and zags through the crowd and makes a sharp right turn through the double glass doors of a building.

Her perfume is my guide as I zig and zag through the crowd. I slam into a photographer and he falls backward into the crowd of people and many of them fall like dominos. Finally, I find the door she went through and push my way through. I’m standing in a lobby and I can see an elevator across the hall that’s just started closing. I can barely see her as the doors close shut. The indicator on top of the doors says that she’s traveling to the fifth floor. 
A security guard near the front door asks if I need help, but just as he utters the word, I spot a door leading to a staircase on a nearby wall. I have no time to waste. I push the door open and storm up the stairs. I’m skipping two, three stairs at a time, and I almost lose my balance, but I keep moving to the fifth floor. I push through the doors just as her elevator opens and she makes her way out and down the hall. She pulls out a key, goes to a door three rooms down, and opens it. Now is my chance. I sprint down the hallway and stick a foot in just as she closes it. I push the door back and step inside. Her face is a mask of surprise. 

“Who are you, and what the hell are you doing here?” She asks. Panic explodes in her eyes. 

“I say hello to you every single fucking day, that’s who I am.” I respond. My voice rises uncontrollably, but I don’t care to adjust it. 

Suddenly, she smiles. A devilish little smile. Behind her lips sit two rows of razor sharp wolf teeth. It all happens so fast. She morphs and her ears become pointed and dog like, and her body grows dramatically. Her clothes shred and fall to the floor, replaced by hulking muscles. 

My eyes grow wide. No, no, please. No! I run for the door, but she knocks me off my feet and pulls me back by my legs. She looks me in my eyes. “Hi.” she says. 

The last things I remember are the scent of strawberry perfume and two rows of sharp teeth coming for my neck. And then everything goes black. 

Nobody Hears You Scream

  

She appeared every night. She stood at the foot of his bed and watched him sleep; weekdays, weekends, holidays. No exceptions. He didn’t know her name. She never spoke a word as she glared down at him, unblinking, not moving a muscle. 

On the first night she appeared, Peter had just come home from a night at the movies with some friends, drank a steaming cup of cocoa, kissed his mother good night, and went to bed like he always did. He took off his watch and put it on the dresser, in the same place he always put it. He changed into his pajamas and put his clothes in the hamper the same way he normally would. He wriggled under the blanket and went to sleep immediately, just like always. 

He didn’t dream that night. His sleep was more for rest than entertainment, so only the darkness behind his eyelids greeted him. At least until the middle of the night. 

His eyes popped open, and that was the first sign something was wrong. On this night, his eyes were panicked and paranoid, desperate for an exit.

2:13 AM flashed on his alarm clock. He had gone to bed only three hours ago, so why was he already awake? Something trickled down Peter’s brow and he reached a hand to wipe it. Why was he sweating? He wiped his wet hand on his bed sheets and noticed that there was someone else in the room. 

An old woman with skin like a weathered plastic bag stood at the end of his bed. Her eyes were abysmal, and if you stared too long, they would probably suck you inside, never to be seen again. Her mouth was a violent line and her nose was shaped like a fishing hook. Her moss-like hair hovered just above her bony shoulders. The woman reeked like a New York City dumpster, ammonia, and gasoline. Peter’s body tried to gag, but couldn’t. 

“Who the hell are you!?” He tried to say, but no sound would come from his mouth. His eyes darted, horrified as he tried to repeat the question, but the words died on his lips. The woman and her abysmal eyes stared back, still as a statue. 

“ARRRRRRGGGHHHH!” He tried to scream at the top of his lungs, but his voice box failed him. This was unreal, he had to go get help. Peter tried to sit up, but his body remained pinned to the bed like it was tied with ropes. He tried to swing his legs over the bed, but they wouldn’t budge. Panic set in. He couldn’t leave his room and nobody could hear him scream. His windpipe tightened. It was like someone was choking him; hard enough to watch him suffer, but soft enough to keep him alive.

Who was she? Why was she there? Would she kill him? Sell his organs on the black market? Steal his soul? 

But she just stood there. Blue electricity radiated off her figure and adrenaline vibrated through Peter’s body.

The minutes and hours moved at a snail-like speed until the sun shone through Peter’s window. The incoming sunlight flooded the room and the old woman vanished into thin air. Her disappearance left Peter gasping for breath. He put a hand to his chest and felt his marching band of a heartbeat, relieved that his body could move again. Shaking, Peter swung his legs around the edge of his bed so he was sitting. He collapsed his head into his hands and sobbed.

Of course, his mother didn’t believe him. She said something like “That’s what you get for watching those horror flicks, it’s all in your head,” but he knew the truth. No matter how many times he told her, she wouldn’t understand. He couldn’t tell his friends either; they’d just say he was imagining things and tell him to “Man up, dude.” 

Ever since that first time, Peter awoke every night to the creepy old woman at his bed. He never knew her name. He never knew why he couldn’t breathe or why he couldn’t move. He never knew what she wanted with him. But one day, that woman would speak, and her words would change Peter’s life forever. 

-Daevone Molyneux

Secrets

  

The following story is inspired by this poem by Markus Røe:

  

Life is a funny device, the way a simple action can complicate everything.

There was a clown living in my closet. A clown, a real clown. It walked and talked, hell, it even breathed.

I always slept with my back to the closet, but ignoring the clown only served to make things worse. 

The skeleton under my bed groaned and rattled its shattered bones, screaming and begging for mercy like the day I took its life. 

Weeks prior, I sat in a dark room, tears staining my shirt. The light bill wasn’t paid and I had to carry a candle everywhere. I drowned in debt, and the danger of eviction hung over my head. The landlord pounded on the door like a one man SWAT team. I didn’t have the money, and asked him to give this starving artist some more time while my paintings sold. He stormed his way into the apartment, raising his voice and making threats. After that, I just… lost it. 

I googled “How to get away with murder” and did what the helpful articles instructed. And that’s how I wound up with a skeleton in my bedroom. 
The clown in my closet might have been a sign I was crazy, or a slice of karma there to bite me in the ass.

Although the landlord was no more, his skeleton was very much alive. It taunted me through the day, but that was nothing compared to my trouble at night. When I tried to sleep, the moans and groans grew louder, even louder than the day I killed him.

To achieve sleep was to win the lottery, but I never escaped the nightmares. Blood blinded my vision while bloodcurdling screams of loved ones deafened my ears; Family, friends, and children alike. Unbridled rage consumed me and I killed them all. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. I awoke the same way every time, my bed a swimming pool of sweat and the skeleton rattling with laughter. 

And then one night I couldn’t take it any more. I shot out of bed, the floorboards squeaking as I approached the window at the far wall.


I kicked through the window and peered to the New York City lights below me. The wind violated my clothes as I jumped off the ledge.

My body was a potato splattered on the concrete, awaiting the flood of news cameras and police tape that were sure to follow. 

Saltwater Sorrows

  

There’s a boy in my village who behaves like an old man. He sits, silent and reserved in a corner, looking toward the village gates while other children run and play, causing mischief.

I do not know his name, nor do I believe he has one. I have never spoken a word to him, and I doubt he even knows who I am. I watch him twice each day as he goes to the beach and stares out to the ocean for two hours and returns to the village with his head down.

He does this when the sun comes up and when the sun goes down, every day without fail, rain or shine. He stares at the waters as if waiting for something – or someone. 

I watch as he removes a golden locket from his neck and stares into it, tears flowing into the sand. Even a hardened old bag of a man like me gets choked up from the sight, especially since I’m the cause of the boy’s pain.

You see, normal people walk by and think nothing of the boy with the locket, but they don’t know his story. Not like I do. 

I am not proud of my past. I was the saltiest pirate of them all, or at least I wanted to be. Since I was a child, I admired a band of pirates in the village. When I was 30 something years old, I worked up the courage to approach them. I can still feel my nervous knees shaking from that day. They were a rowdy bunch who never smiled and looked at me like I was the scum of the earth. But the captain was different. 

He put an arm around my shoulder and blew cigar smoke in my face. I choked and fought every urge to cough the smog from the lungs. He told me I could join his crew, but I had to go through an initiation. 

We sailed out that same night. We anchored behind a boulder and watched as a young couple said goodbye to their son on the shore, likely promising him they would return in a few hours. They sailed off. We followed. 

The captain handed me a knife and jerked his head toward the ship. His desires didn’t need explanation.

I dove into those waters, invaded the boat, and climbed back on our ship, covered in blood that wasn’t my own. The men slapped my back and cheered. We celebrated and I ate more that night than I have in my life. 

The happiness faded when I returned home and saw the boy. He seems to appear wherever I am, as if by chance. My heart drops whenever I see him. He never speaks to anyone, and only indicated his desires with hand movements and shakes of the head. I can never stand to be in the same room with him. I watch him from afar instead and although it was so long ago, I still feel the weight of his parents’ blood on my hands. 

I’ve thought of approaching him on the beach to tell him that his parents would never return as they promised, but I can never bring myself to do it. I’m afraid of something that I can’t identify. Is it the ghosts of his parents or is it the little boy himself?

My past haunts me in my nightmares, and when my eyes are open. No matter what, I see the boy who waits and wishes for a dream that will never come true. 

Raccoon Revenge

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Noah and Terri bobbed their heads while the wub-wub-wub-wub of dubstep from the stereo shook the car with each thunderous wave. The picnic basket for the day’s festivities sat between them. They had been driving for what seemed like forever; Terri kicked off her sandals long ago and had her freshly manicured feet protruding from the opened window. After a week of her boss’s bullshit, she needed this little vacation and had to practically beg Noah to take her out on a picnic. And now here they were, not a care in the world, due for a day of fun and relaxation.

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What Makes A Story Worth Writing?

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Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know that I wrote a guest blog post today at Ashtyn Stann’s blog, Wonderland’s Reader. She kindly invited me over to invade her website with my nonsensical chicken scratch about what makes a story worth writing. If you’re curious about the writing process and what goes through my mind before I put a pen to the paper, I think you’d like to take a look.

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Why I Write Fantasy

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The world we live in is vast, full of possibilities, and it’s a unique place with unique people. But let’s be honest: it can also be a really boring place to live. It can suck the hope from your body and parade it around in front of you like a child with a new Christmas present.

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My Novel Update #3

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40,000 words. The feeling is incredible, and what was once an idea, is about to become a reality. I am so close to finishing this novel. Judging by the way things are going, The first draft will probably be finished at around 60,000 words. I would’ve hoped for at least 70k, but I’ll focus on the final the word count during revisions. I’ve been on a consistent writing schedule for the past week and it has helped my production a ton. So now that I can finally see the top of the mountain, I have a bit of news… Continue reading

The Influence Of Characters

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There is no better feeling than reading a good book. Books are handheld portals that send us to worlds we never knew existed. As readers, we become enchanted by the spellbinding powers contained on every page.

When you think about your favorite book, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Nine times out of ten, the answer is usually a character. Just think about it, the greatest books aren’t really remembered for their plot, but for their characters. I can’t explain why, but there’s just something about a well-written character that hooks and reels us in. Maybe it’s because within them, we see a piece of ourselves.

Let’s take a look at the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The first thing we think about are the characters. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Malfoy, Snape, Hagrid, and Dumbledore are all unique and have something special to offer us. The story of Harry Potter is extraordinary, yet the characters outshine it. Characters become best friends with the reader as they journey together from the first page to the very last. Together, we share hearty chuckles and cry painful tears. We’re put under a spell by their authenticity and sometimes know them better than they know themselves. Like a friend in real life, they may do something shocking and we say we’ll never forgive them, yet we do so anyway. It’s true love. We root for characters and hope they achieve their dreams, the same way we hope to achieve our own one day.

The same trend of character is used with movies and tv shows. When you think about your favorite movie or tv show, the characters come to mind right away. The Joker from Batman, Jack Bauer from 24, and Peter Griffin from Family Guy all have a seductive aspect to them, making us fall head over heels.

Who is a character that has impacted you and made you feel attached? What is it about them that you love so much? Leave a comment below.

My Novel Update #2

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Hello good people of the universe. I’m happy to tell you that I have now reached 13,000 words in my novel *confetti is thrown and party music starts playing*. I’m loving the writing process and I’ve learned a ton during these last 13,000 words. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

• Without my lengthy outline, I would be lost. There have been quite a few times when I was lost and all I had to do was check my outline and *Poof* problem solved. My outline is a road map that has saved me a ton of time that would’ve been used to think of which direction to go next. I’m not sticking to it religiously, there are some things that will change in later drafts, but it’s keeping me afloat for this first draft. Thank you Outline.

• Although I have an outline, not everything is planned out. Most of my scenes weren’t planned, so I’m making them up as I go along. I didn’t thinkmy outline would give me this much freedom, but there’s more liberation than I could’ve even imagined. For example, I wrote down “MC breaks into the castle to steal a royal artifact”, but that was a vague idea. I had to create that whole vision and weave it’s words into the paper.

• In the very early stages of this project, I felt the usual nagging voice that most writers hear in their heads. You know, the voice that tells you that what your doing is pointless, that you’re bad writer, how dare you think that you can write a book, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, that voice has disappeared a long time ago. After the first 5k, that voice has ceased to exist. Every first draft could use some examinations, but that will be taken care of during revisions. Even an established author like Neil Gaiman still has insecurities about his writing. Self-doubt is a part of the Writer’s Membership Package, and hits all of us at some point. The best thing you can do is just keep writing. Or if you’re a fan of Finding Nemo, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim. (If you read the above in Dory’s voice, then you’re awesome).

• I don’t know why, but sometimes when I write my characters’ dialogue, they speak with an English accent. It’s surprising, to say the least, but I find it rather amusing.

• I’m extremely stoked and ready to finish. I know it’s early, but I’m already imagining the cover of this novel. I see many different possibilities, but we’ll just have to see how it turns out.

My last few posts have been about this novel, but I’ll certainly be blogging about regular topics very soon. I have a post about the impact of characters on our favorite books and tv shows that’s due for posting in a few days. I’ll be doing these novel updates everytime I hit 10k, so that means the next one will come when I reach 20k.

Thank you for sitting through my cute little toddler-esque rant right there. The most important thing I would like to say is thank you for your support on this journey. I dream of one day showing you all this hard work I’ve done. One day, I will be able to say that my dream is my reality.