Archive for original

Poem: “ROOFTOP PARTY”

Posted in Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2015 by smuckyproductions

Not all ghosts have yet died. 

ROOFTOP PARTY

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Upon this murky hollow
The congregation waits:
City a ghost in the distance
A dome of brown night above them
Even the darkness is not real

 

Their floating hair wreathed
In timid moon, cloying streetlight
Too weak to reach their faces
Conceal the drunken sheen
Of desperation, voices
Uniform cacophony of
Blearing silence
Wordless, yet their mouths gape

 

Glued to empty cups,
Failing places on this wasteland,
Smoke wise enough to drift away,
Faces they can’t see
And would turn from anyway –
These ghosts deny their state
To the point of a half-life
Resurrection, false reflection
Because actual breathing
Repulses them –
Better to draw fractal air
That will not show the holes
In their rotted lungs

 

To be one of them is to be blind
As they are –
To observe from the edge
Extracted defunct tooth
To listen to empty mouths
Spouting garbled pleas
Is to know
And to fear
And to pity
What they do not see

 

An era ago I was a ghost
Not yet dead, shivering
Beside the moonlight
Straining for a shock of flesh
To understand – but you
Cannot return once
You see them screaming
And do not scream back

 

I lurk on the sides
No better than a vulture
Yet no worse than one, either
For I keep my tongue
And solitary cries comfort
When their non-skin chills

 

My muse is the throng
Of these grinning creatures
Who have forgotten their name –
What use is a wordless muse?

Yet still I lurk
And on the coldest of nights
I, too, would trade
My name

 

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Poem – “NOVEMBER’S SHADOW”

Posted in Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2015 by smuckyproductions

A new poem for a cold day in late fall. 

NOVEMBER’S SHADOW

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November and it’s over.
What burned gold wilts brown
And fire is just glass
Reflecting neglectful sun.

I see two paths, crusted with frost
Mud impressions but no sign

Wind flat grey on brown tree
Divined yesterday,
Ashed today
Forgot to spell names or remind
Which way to run

On days like this
I can hear the dark.

Short Story: HER MASTERPIECE

Posted in Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2015 by smuckyproductions

I did this as a writing exercise, but ended up really liking the result. Let’s see if you guys think the same. 

HER MASTERPIECE

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            She knew he was watching, but she didn’t stop. Her palm skin had melted into the handle and her arm swung of its own volition. The burn of her muscles radiated to her mind and heated her thoughts so that she did not care about the eyes that had chained themselves onto the mess of a head beneath her. She knew he could hear the crunch more sharply than she, with the heat sizzling in her ears as it was, and she envied him for that. The sound of Mrs. Tergell’s breaking skull was the detail she had looked forward to the most.

With a blaring tang the blunt head of the hammer snapped off its mount and bounced into the air. She howled and ducked from it, but it clattered into the gutter a few feet away. When it settled and the street grew silent, her ears were still clogged with the muffled cries and squelches of impact. Several moments passed before she grew accustomed to the loathsome quiet. Then she turned to face the watching man, searing with rage. He, after all, had caused the hammer to break, and had cut her triumphant percussions cruelly short.

He stood where he had halted upon rounding the corner. When he had first appeared, his jaw had gone limp and his arms had dangled like severed puppet strings. She had expected him to scream or to faint, but he had remained upright, almost mocking her. The rage stemmed from this parody of her expectations. Now she faced him and wielded the jagged handle. He was meant to scream, plead, or piss himself. But he had not moved at all; only his expression had altered, pulling taut into a nearly lustful grin, cracking all the way up to his impossibly dark eyes.

“How wonderful,” he said.

The rage, so red and metallic before, sizzled into the steam of shock. Her thoughts produced no logical response – in fact, they had ceased altogether, chased out by the battering echo of his two words. She stared at him, dumbfounded.

Somehow managing to widen his grin, he extended a puppet arm – far too long – and pointed at the sticky pulp of Mrs. Tergell’s corpse. “What do you call it?” he exclaimed. “It’s marvelous! Brilliant!”

Her fingers lost all tension and the handle slipped through them. “Oh – I…” she stammered.

“No name, then? Even better – very mysterious,” he said. His legs began to quiver and he clapped rapidly. It seemed that he had begun to dance. “I’ll take it,” he shouted, pointing to the dark sky. “For one point five. No less. Or even two. Anything. Name your price.”

Understanding crested over her mind like a radiant dawn. She, too, could feel herself grinning. Beholding her masterpiece as a mother would her first, most angelic child, she said, “Two point five.”

Short Story: TRICK FOR TREAT

Posted in Halloween, Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2015 by smuckyproductions

In time for Halloween, here’s a little story about a different kind of trick-or-treating.

TRICK FOR TREAT

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Dressed in a white sheet, the shape went out at sunset, when the bare branches were black against a sky of fire and the cries of children lilted on the wind. No one looked twice at the shape. Gliding behind the other costumed children, he looked like any other little boy. He did not speak and was not spoken to, until the group he followed reached the porch and rang the doorbell. Creeping up the steps, past fresh pumpkins leering with ephemeral faces and false spider webs drifting in the brittle air, he waited for the tribute like the other children, but did not say “thank you” and flee giggling to the next house as they did; and the adults, looking down at what they thought was a child, would pause, smiles fading, and speak. When they went quiet and had shut the door, he was free to dissolve into another group, and at the house next door, would do the same.

When the adults leaned down and looked into the holes in his sheet, expecting to see the glint of eyes, they spoke in soft voices. They said, “Well, no, I’m not sure I do love him;” or, “I meant to throw those dirty magazines away, but I couldn’t stop staring at them, I couldn’t look away.” He listened as they went on – “He doesn’t look at me anymore;” “I never wanted to touch that student, but he was so, so beautiful;” “You know, sometimes I do wonder, I do want to know what she would look like dead.” In their whispered tones the words had no more substance than the autumn wind that curled around them. They flitted off into the leaves, into the moonlight, and into the holes in his sheet, where they twisted and hardened into something material. Once the words could no longer sustain themselves, he left. The speaker would stand frozen for a moment, frowning and staring at the ground, trying to understand the hollow that had formed inside their chests. It never took them long to realize that they would never understand, so they trailed back inside. He did not know what happened to them after that.

The violet evening and black night shrouded him for long enough, and allowed him to visit many houses, hiding in the folds of plastic devils or cheap satin witches, who he knew did not see him. Only the adults, herding their children down the street or stumbling on their way to a neighbor’s party, would stop and watch. Once the moon began to peak in the sky, and the children were dragged back into their homes, he would no longer be safe roaming in the open. With no one left to camouflage him, he faded back into the night, from whence he had come. The sheet fluttered away and stuck in the branches, a ghost of its own; and he, uncovered, became an It, blended seamlessly with the dark. Under the cold moon and the black branches, he could feast on the treats he had plundered, the breathed secrets that had been tricked from the mouths of those who refused to acknowledge them.

Short Story: THE LITTLE BOY IN THE WOODS

Posted in Halloween, Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by smuckyproductions

As Halloween is less than a week away, here’s a quick story I wrote a couple years ago. 

THE LITTLE BOY IN THE WOODS

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Since there was no one to play with that day, Cameron Beck went to the woods alone.

He was often alone; his father worked long hours, and his mother was usually at a friend’s house, unless she brought a friend home – they were always men, always smelly men – to stay in her room all day. Even then Cameron was left by himself, because she shut the door and didn’t open it when he knocked or called her name. He was accustomed to loneliness, and as a result had built up a legion of made-up friends who liked his company. They had come to him recently, when his mother’s friends were over almost every day, and they knew all the rules to Cameron’s games and never made him mad. The only problem with these friends was that they couldn’t catch a ball when he threw it, and when they tried to play hide and seek he always knew where they were hiding.

Now, he stood in the leaf-littered grove of dying trees, a few yards away from Green Eyes, who had blue skin and red hair and eyes the color of a Christmas tree. Green Eyes was Cameron’s favorite friend, because he always knew the best jokes to tell, and Cameron liked to have the chance to laugh.

“Ready?” shouted Cameron, as he arched his arm and prepared to throw. Green Eyes said he was.

Cameron threw the ball, and there was a very brief moment of hope that he had every time; hope that Green Eyes or Big Feet or even Lemon Head would reach their arm up and the ball would not sail through, but land on solid flesh. The moment was short-lived because the ball travelled fast, and as always his friend’s hand was no more concrete than the wind, and the ball would hit the ground unperturbed.

Green Eyes said he was sorry.

“It’s okay,” Cameron said. He was sorry, too. “It’s not your fault.” And it wasn’t; if anyone was to blame it was himself, for picking friends who couldn’t catch the ball.

But he was really sorry when he saw his ball had fallen on the other side of the river, a good five feet of rushing water, which was much too high for a little boy to cross. A blackness like rotten bread fell over him. It was his favorite red-with-blue-stars ball, which his father had given to him for his third birthday. When he looked to Green Eyes for advice, his friend wasn’t there anymore, which happened most of the time. There was nothing to be done, and no way to retrieve it.

Then, from afar: “Is this your ball?”

It was a child’s voice, a boy’s, though there was something unusual about it that made Cameron’s skin prickle. He dried his eyes and looked across the river, where his ball had fallen. The speaker stood there, indeed a boy, smaller than Cameron and dressed in old-fashioned clothes that looked dusty. There was nothing remarkable about his features – on the contrary, they were faded, like an old photograph – but Cameron did not pay attention to these details. He was focused on what the boy held in his pale, soft hands: his ball.

“Yes,” Cameron said. “That’s mine.”

“I thought so,” the boy said. The words echoed out of his mouth, like they had been played through a radio, but their tone was bright and pleasing. “It’s very nice. Would you like it back?”

Cameron nodded with vigor.

“Come closer, then,” said the boy. He seemed to choke on his words. “I cannot throw that far.”

He does speak strangely, Cameron thought. It didn’t matter; he wanted the ball back more than anything. He walked across the crackling brown leaves, careful not to trip on any hidden branches. The boy looked eagerly at him, with an excitement Cameron recognized from his dog’s eyes when food was being poured into her bowl.

Cameron stopped a yard or so from the river. An unrecognizable fear had gone up before him like a wall and he didn’t want to go closer. The boy’s face looked funny from this close.

“What’s wrong?” said the boy, bright still. “Come closer.”

“Can’t you throw from there?” said Cameron.

The boy shifted and his features tightened. “I can’t get closer. I’m not allowed to. I can’t reach you from there.” His face was eager again, but it wasn’t subdued this time. He looked hungry.

The ball was so near, sitting in the boy’s hands. Cameron stepped to the water’s edge, close enough to feel the spray on his bare legs. The boy was grinning now, but it wasn’t a nice grin. Cameron decided he didn’t like this boy anymore; once he got the ball back, he would go home and stay in his room and never come to this part of the woods again.

The boy’s teeth parted and a voice that wasn’t human said, “What’s your name?”

Cameron told him.

“That’s a nice name,” the boy said; the words were cold. “Tell me something, Cameron; do your parents love you?”

Cameron couldn’t breathe, but he forced himself to nod.

“I wonder,” said the boy. He didn’t sound happy anymore.

Through his constricted lungs, Cameron brought through his words. “What’s your name?” he said.

The boy’s mouth twitched into what should have been a smile but looked more like a sneer. “I don’t have a name,” it said.

And his arms stretched across the river, lengthening like they were made of rubber. Their slimy wintry fingers, claws, gripped Cameron’s shoulders. The terror was so great that Cameron could not scream, but only watch with frozen eyes as the boy’s head bubbled and dissolved into a white shapeless mass; the sneering mouth became a gaping cavern, wide enough to fit a little boy inside. The throat was lined with a million glinting razors, each row small and unmentionably sharp, shifting and writhing separately from each other in a gleeful vortex. Cameron started into that monstrous abyss where only madness could exist, the abyss that had no end, and though he didn’t know what was happening to him he could sense that he had lost his sanity.

The tentacle-arms lifted him high, over the water and over the yawning madness, and he was able to scream only when the rotten hands dropped him into the razor tunnel. His last conscious emotions were horror and despair, until the jaws rippled shut and Cameron Beck was lost.

Mr. and Mrs. Beck never found out what happened to their son. No body was recovered, and the police found no sign that the boy had been in the woods at all. The detectives grouped his case with all the others from the area, which by that time had amounted to seven, all around the river. The investigation went on for months, but since no progress was made, all of the cases were closed and left shamefully unsolved. The Becks carried out their divorce and never spoke again.

The red-with-blue-stars ball was never found either. It remained where it had fallen that day, concealed well by leaves and weeds and snow, until the water rose and carried it away.

SABBATH SOLITARE: A Poem by Ben Larned

Posted in Halloween, Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2015 by smuckyproductions

Here’s a poem that I wrote in the spirit of this month. Thought it was about time I posted some original writing on here. The photograph is also mine.

Enjoy, and share. 

SABBATH SOLITARE
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Black thoughts moan silent in the eaves tonight.
Shadow-leaves imitate frenzy
Lightless, blowing in the breath
Of the phantom calling

Calling who –
Not me.

The voices do not break glass
Or call me into their circle
Wreathed in bleeding flame,
Ecstatic rites of black minds
Freed in false leaves, moon smoke
Sighing joy of the dead

The circle will not part for me
Nor admit my bones, forgotten inside
Deaf tombs obscured by howls
Darker than those which envelop
The hordes, agonized

But not alone

Project my spectre into a white
Hollow where no dead go
Where whispers echo

And put their howls to shame