The Watchmen Part IV – A Horror Novella

I stand outside for a moment and watch as the cars pass by. Everything moves so much slower here than it does in Dallas. No one seems to be in a rush, or cutting each other off. It really is beautiful and even from here I can make out the mountains in the distance. I will be going back to my place tomorrow. I still have to figure out what I will say to my parents─ what I can possibly say to anyone. Devon’s smile flashes in my mind. I find myself wondering if he will smile at me like that again after my live stream. I think given time, I would have liked to get to know him better. I’m not sure in what way, but I know that I enjoy his company. I certainly don’t want him to die the way everyone did in my visions. No one deserves that. I trudge into my room, set my keycard on the nightstand, and then drop my bag on the floor. Whether I want to or not, I am going to the funeral tomorrow. Not just to show my support to the company, but to talk with a Devon. Maybe Zedd spoke to someone before he passed away or he had confided in someone from our department. I’m not sure of the dynamic between him and his team, but I know that he and Devon seemed comfortable talking to one another. I can worry about that tomorrow. 

I pick up my phone and check my messages. Mom has sent me a link to a pie recipe she found and asks if I would like her to make it this year. Leave it to mom to ask something like that a solid three weeks before Thanksgiving. She has always been that way, about as anxious as they come to getting everything in order. Last year she had managed to cook a full traditional Thanksgiving meal and a full vegan one for her sister. Aunt Marie is obsessed over a few things─ her fine wrinkles, the little bit of weight around her tummy, and the horrible meat industry and how they all lobby together to get the public to buy into meat and animal products. I will get a link to a documentary at least a few times a year. Everyone has an agenda she would say. Though, admittedly she probably isn’t wrong about the lobbying. I’m sure it happens in just about every industry. I admire her for it none-the-less, I certainly can’t do it. I tried being a vegetarian for a while and promptly lost my shit. Even my mom had broken her no cursing rule and told me to stop being such a bitch. I still laugh at that from time to time. My mom, miss prim and proper cursing me out and shoving bacon in my face. I guess we all have our limits and I apparently am a real asshole when I don’t eat meat. I open up my work emails and skim through. There are a few messages from corporate about Zedd and a personal email from Devon. It is titled ‘I’m sorry for all of this.’ I immediately open it. 

Hey Kate,

I just wanted to say again that I am so sorry your first week happened this way. Zedd was a good friend of mine and to say that I am in total shock is a bit of an understatement. I hope that this hasn’t changed your mind about working for us in any way. I hope to have you on our team for quite some time. I’ll see you in the office tomorrow, we’re all going to work half a day and then attend the service. You are more than welcome to join us or head home. You won’t be judged either way. 

Take care, 

Devon  

I reread it and then hit reply. 

Devon,

I want you to know that I plan on staying with the company for a long time. In no way is this anyone’s fault and I would never hold you or the company accountable for someone else’s actions. I’m sure that Zedd had a reason for all of this even if we couldn’t understand them. I lost a good friend of mine this way in high school. Just focus on the good times and the time you shared together. I’ll see you tomorrow at the office. 

Yours,

Kate

I am surprised to find a bit of wetness gathering in my eyes. This stirs memories of my friend James. It would have been eight years ago now. In some ways, he reminds me of Zedd─ quick witted, shy, but very vocal when he was passionate about something. Why is it that some of the best people in the world take their own life? This thought seems to depress me more over the years. I remember taking several psychology courses talking about how some of the most brilliant minds struggled daily with depression. I can believe it. Seeing the world as it really is has to have its downfalls. 

I sigh heavily on the bed and then shove my feet into the shoes on the floor. I just want to be done with all of this. It’s killing me knowing that there is nothing that I can do. I’m done with it all, especially feelings. I have a few hours before I head back to Dallas. We are expected to be in tomorrow morning, so I will have to get back to my place in time to shower and dress. I am not sure if I have something appropriate to wear to a funeral. Most of my clothes are very casual and the few dresses I own are sun dresses. I can’t exactly show up in a flowery sundress to a co-worker’s funeral─ jeans just seem disrespectful. After a little bit of searching, I find an online delivery service that will pick up something from a nearby store and deliver it tonight. I quickly browse through some dresses and pantsuits before deciding on a loose pair of slacks and a blouse. Thankfully I have a pair of decent black flats at home just for this sort of occasion. Now I know why my parents had told me to always have a pair of black dress shoes. 

I sigh, browsing through the T.V. It has been a long time since I’ve been to a funeral. The last one had been my Nana Genny’s. I remember it being a very cold day. It was the sort that makes you shiver no matter how many layers of clothing you had on. I was still in my teens, old enough to understand death, but still too immature to understand. It hadn’t really hit until grandpa Jay had started dating again. When he remarried, mom stopped talking with him. I’m not sure why she did, after all he was only human. I never hated him for it, he had been with nana for over forty years. It must have been hard to be with someone for so long and then suddenly they are gone. I don’t think I would want to be alone either. I still call him from time to time to check in and see how he is doing. Grandpa Jay had hoped someday mom would come around. I do too. A chill runs along my arms and up through my head. I wonder if maybe I am getting sick from all the stress. I am not sick often, but when I do it normally takes me out for a few days. I had the flu once as a child and I’ll never forget it. It is probably why I get my shot every year and wash my hands like it is some sort of religion. The kids always poked fun of me for it, but guess who never gets sick? Let them laugh, cleanliness always wins and I am the proof. 

After wasting some time browsing my phone and trying again for the hundredth time to find these mysterious Watchmen, I decide that a trip to the sauna sounds better. I am pleased to find when I arrive that there is only a family in the pool and an older man in the hot tub. The sauna is people-free. I slip my shoes off and walk into the steamy bliss. The length of my body stretches out on the bench and I wiggle my toes. It feels amazing. The heat stings my lungs a little but I don’t mind. I just want this chill to melt from my bones. I only remember feeling this way once, and it had been the flu. Hopefully I’m not getting sick. I close my eyes and breathe deeply, only focusing on my breath drawing in and then out. I imagine that I am floating in my own ship in the middle of space, staring at the small particles floating by. The sun heats my back as I face out toward the galaxy. Jupiter looms nearby, huge and deadly─ but beautiful. I am mesmerized by the swirling multicolored gas. I bathe in the warm glow of the sun as it kisses my bare skin. I am completely alone. This has been a form of meditation for years. The thought of being completely isolated and floating through space comforts me. I think it would have the opposite effect for most people. To me, it is heaven. Lately I find myself wanting to be alone more and more. I could live by myself with my computer and art. Art has been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember. I would love to sit outside and draw everything I saw, especially people. I have brought my sketchbook along for this very reason. It’s probably time to do something that calms my nerves before the funeral. I also will need to present something at work. We have weekends off but I never stop drawing. It brings me joy to paint and draw more than anything in this world.

I take several long breaths. Don’t think about that now, I say to myself, think about the warmth. I focus on the heat and my breath. Suddenly, my mind wanders to the first night I had experienced this─ the first night that I had experienced Them. Despite the terrifying sensation of another being thriving off of my pain, I am curious about what They are. Their black hoods flash in my mind and I can see nothing but blackness behind them. Their long, thin bodies would disappear into a sort of translucent grey haze. They never move and stand perfectly still. Deathly still. The beings never say anything, they don’t need to. You can just sense them. Sort of like when you were a child and try to sneak up on your parents. No matter how quiet you thought you were being, they would turn around and shout, ‘boo!’ scaring you instead. Only, these things were dense. They press in upon you until you cannot breathe. Your breath becomes shallow, and your chest feels as though you can be crushed alive at any moment. Your heart feels like it is being torn from your chest. And then comes the cloying, damp air as they invade our plane of existence. They stand there merely existing when they shouldn’t. These awful, horrible creatures shouldn’t be allowed to. And yet I feel as if I can get used to that if it were something as simple as being uncomfortable. Nothing compares to the sensation of death after gruesome death. If this is as bad as my visions, I would lay there and suffer until they decide to release me. Death isn’t what scares me, living does. Please let it take me out in a blast of fiery glory. It will be a welcome end to my suffering. 

There is a thought that is beginning to sprout with each passing day. Little by little, I water it and entertain the idea. Zedd was right to do what he did, and I think that I will follow suit. Whatever these creatures are, they aren’t going to stop. I just know that I will die as slowly as possible. Besides, even if I can stock up and get the hell out of dodge, what then? It won’t save me from the fallout. The odds of me finding someone with an underground bunker that’s willing to share is slim to none. There has to be a few of them out there, right? That won’t save the human race. Because in the blink of an eye, entire cities will be wiped out. There will be a lull as the survivors try to seek shelter or help, but by then the radiation sickness will start─ and then black rain. The bombs will take people out in the city right away but the ones just outside of it will suffer this horror in tenfold. People like my parents, people’s families. Even if a decent size population somehow makes it, the hospitals won’t be able to keep up. It will take decades to recover from it. I sigh and my eyes open. I stare at the wooden ceiling above me. I want to be helpful. I want to be one of those people that decide that no matter what, humanity can prevail and I can save them. The truth is, no matter how hard I try or what I say, I have zero proof. And proof is all that matters. If it were me listening to someone say that the world would end, I would laugh and roll my eyes and then move on. It shouldn’t matter to me, but it does. It’s frustrating, and maybe we were both crazy but it doesn’t stop me from getting my feelings hurt. Humans are weird, emotional beings and sometimes I hate being in my own skin. All I can do is try and warn them all and then I can leave with a clean conscience. As dumb as this idea is, I will make it my mission for the next five days to do what I can. I don’t want to live in this kind of world but I can help everyone else that will be stuck in it. 

This week’s adventure in flood land

Not going to lie, this past month has been hard. Our entire (very up to date vaccinated staff) office got the new variant of COVID. No one in Dallas is talking about it, but several of my buds working in hospitals have said they’re filling capacity again.

So. That was fun.

My new hire was a complete bust. It was a hard lesson learned not to purchase work attire for them before seeing if they stay.

It took a couple weeks, but finally got a new hire and man she seems great. Here’s hoping.

Because I had to hold down the fort while people were in quarantine, I ended up getting it myself. But I can’t shut down so I had to power through, take meds, sanitize everything several times a day and warn customers. Let’s just say burn out was putting it lightly as to what I was feeling.

Oh, and it was great getting a one star review because I wasn’t able to answer the phones and a lot of text messages. 👍

Thank goodness they removed it after I explained the situation and apologized. It was just exhausting. But finally, we were able to get things back on track.

So the new girl was hired, business was running smoothly, and I got to spend an awesome weekend with my daughter.

Then it happened.

Around 3:00 a.m. I woke up to my entire downstairs flooded.

My life was down there. My daughter’s life was down there. I managed to save computers (at least I hope, I have been leaving them off just in case.)

I was in shock most of today, trying to dig through what I could salvage. I had to be really careful because flood water contains sewage.

Literally 90% of her stuff was not salvageable. A good 60-70% of mine was also not.

The most devastating thing was my recording equipment. I can’t even think about that without feeling like I’m about to cry. I just bought that equipment and it’s gone.

And this isn’t even everything. It’s all I have the heart to post. For my recording area.

All my downstairs furniture, specialty cooking ware, food, craft supplies, art supplies, easels, paintings, the list goes on. Several thousand dollars gone. Just. Gone.

I can really use some good vibes guys, and virtual hugs.

Take care everyone. Hope all is well with you.

Love Grey

News! Podcasts, they are a comin’

So, if you’ve been keeping up with the new stuff recently I’ve been releasing my podcast shows again! You can check them out here.

It’s been a long journey getting to where I have now vs. where I was at a few years ago. Getting my life balanced has been a real struggle. I know that what I’m doing with the podcast can be seen as a hobby, but rest assured I pour my all into these when I make them.

I really want to transport the listener to somewhere else for a short time─ something haunting and beautiful to escape to. Or to nerd out together over the creepy, crawly, supernatural goodness. I really want to thank you all for taking time out of your days to listen to my audio-shorts and read my stories. It certainly means the world to me.

I will be releasing these every other week on Tuesday mornings. I’m working on nailing down a time, but I’ll try to have them up before 8:00 a.m. CST. Part three of this series will be up Tuesday, April 12th so don’t forget to catch up and listen to parts 1 and 2! Feel free to peruse my older productions as well and I hope that I can provide your mind with a sense of child-like wonder delving into these mysterious worlds.

xoxo,

Grey

New Horror Podcast Is Up! Link In Post.

We kick off season 1 of The Haunting Hour with part 1 of a horror short called My Family Is Falling Apart. You can check it out here. We begin our story seeing through the eyes of a heartbroken father as he struggles through a rough divorce. But this isn’t like any other divorce─ his ex becomes increasingly strange and then without warning his daughter disappears. Follow along as the twists and turns unfold in this dark mystery.

Not suitable for children under the age of 13.

Our twitter story threads posted here!

Below are our Twitter story threads. I’ll continue to update this and post it as we near the end of our journey. If you would like to join in on the fun and vote, you can find me here on Twitter. There is an active vote going on now! 

Today is an unremarkable Tuesday, you wake up, get ready, and slide into the driver’s side coffee in-hand. You have a team meeting, so you are leaving earlier than usual today and it’s still quite dark outside. It’s a new town with a new job for less hours and better pay. You got a good deal on a new place that’s less than thirty miles from the city.

You turn onto the main road, spirits high with possibilities of a new life. It’s quiet out where you live and you’re nestled behind a patch of woods. The neighbors are just a few minutes apart and the amenities are centralized. You chuckle at how boring you’ve become.You had taken the time over the weekend to get to know the city, so with confidence you turn left onto the main road and hum along with the music. 

You’re aware that you have to drive for several minutes before you hit the main highway, but after fifteen minutes you begin to second guess your turn. The trees haven’t grown any less sparse, in fact they look incredibly dense. You deliberate for a bit but decide to stay the course. Maybe it just seemed to take longer than you remembered. You shrug it off and crank the music up, there’s still plenty of time left. The road twists and bends, you don’t remember it being hilly either. It’s become narrow and to your surprise, the trees have cleared to reveal you are fairly high on top of a steep hill. You need to turn back but quickly realize there isn’t even enough room to do so.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone in the area so you put your car in reverse and slowly back down the hill, steering it into the middle of the road so that someone would have the chance to swerve if they needed to. The road swells a tiny bit and you are able to turn around. All too soon, you find yourself at the end of the road. It’s a T intersection with only left and right. You frown, confused at your predicament─ you hadn’t turned at all. Upon closer inspection you also notice the pavement has turned to dirt. Completely flustered at this point, you pull out your phone. There’s barely a bar on your connection and it keeps changing between the edge network and one bar. You call out to your phone assistant to open the maps app, but the only thing popping up is ‘lost connection’. You inch forward into the grass to get out of the way, cut the engine and step outside. Maybe you’ll get a better connection. The air hits you like a blast chiller, a wall of freezing winds beat against your face and skin. Your teeth chatter as you glance at your phone. 

The second bar pops up and you quickly call up to work to let them know you will be running behind. You get a hold of an admin at the front desk and are transferred over. After what feels like an eternity, the line clicks and your manager picks up. They sound confused. You quickly explain what’s going on and that you’re running behind. There’s a pause on the other end and then ask, “who is this?” Your face flushes as you realize they probably haven’t memorized your name. You explain that you just started and wanted to let someone know. There’s another long pause and then, “I think you have the wrong office.” I frown and repeat the phone number back to them and then give them the name of the company. “Yes, that’s correct and you have the right office─ but no one works here by that name.” Maybe my paperwork was shifted around I offer and that we were having a meeting this morning to go over progress on our projects. This time, they sound irritated, “Look, I don’t know who this is but we don’t have a new employee. If you worked here you would know the meeting was rescheduled for next week.” No one told me, I responded, starting to get a little miffed myself. I told them to ask Ben and that there was probably a little mix up. In any case, I will be up there as soon as I can. He says nothing and hangs up the phone. How odd.

You can get a signal but still can’t open your maps. The worst of it is you can’t see a road name to even call and ask how to get back. You look back and forth and then back at the road you drove on. The road is so bad that you worry you might blow out a tire but you manage to finally come to a part of it that has calmed. You continue down the path until it finally gives way to pavement and then ends at a main road. You purse your lips and look in both directions tapping your fingers on the steering wheel. If you don’t remember turning down the road to begin with, how in the hell would you know which way to turn? Just how many T roads were in this city? You glance out across the field to get some sort of idea on where you are, but all you can see is slow, creeping fog. Your attention turns to the left and you spot flashing yellow lights. Your curiosity is peaked, but on the right you can vaguely make out what looks like a city. 

You’re not sure, but it could be worth driving toward the yellow flashing, it could mean construction workers and help. On the other hand, it could just be warning lights and it would be a waste. After deciding to turn left towards the lights, you drive for several minutes before finding the source of the light. Shocked, you see the entrance of a tunnel. A long, dimly lit tunnel with yellow blinking lights looms ahead. You come to a stop just outside of the tunnel, unsure if you want to proceed but ultimately decide it’s the best option. The end of the tunnel isn’t in sight but does look vaguely familiar. You press the gas pedal and slip into the darkness. 

You drive down what feels like the longest tunnel in history, but still can’t see the end. 

It’s beginning to dawn on you that you haven’t seen a single car, or anyone for that matter. The sickly yellow lights flicker every hundred feet or so creating an eerie twilight effect. The abysmal amount of light they put off couldn’t light a house, let alone a tunnel. Even in dark tunnels you can see some sort of light. Something isn’t right. You become more and more apprehensive the further in you travel. Are you being paranoid or is it getting darker? The lights have now taken on a faint green hue. Your foot eases up on the gas pedal and you slow to a crawl. The green-lit area continues for quite a way down. You’re in a straightaway, no more bends, and an end still isn’t visible. Your panic mounts as you turn back toward where you came from and the road is nearly pitch-black.

It could be just your mind playing tricks on you, though, so you manage to turn your car around. You can’t shake the feeling that you need to get out of here as soon as possible. The air here is stagnant with a distinct musty smell and you can’t put your finger on it, but

The primal part of your brain is in full force, screaming to run away. You barely make it out of the green lighted space when your car dies. You look down at your gas tank meter and see that you still have plenty of gas. Maybe the air down here is causing issues?

You know it’s total b.s. but at this point it has to be something non-gas related and you don’t want to even think about the possibility of being stranded here. You try starting it up again, but nothing happens. Not even a click. Your heart races as you fail again and again

to start it. You glance around nervously to see if anyone is around but only the ghoulish glow and silence surrounds you. Taking a deep breath you grab the door handle and push. You wince at the noise echoing down the tunnel sure that at any moment something horrible

Would rush toward you from the shadows. The air is heavy on your lungs and you struggle to feel as if you can draw in enough air. It’s heavy and─ wet, saturated with a cloying damp sensation and musty. The air actually tastes musty with the scent of three week old bread.

You roll down your window, put the car in neutral and push the car toward the lighted part of the tunnel. The car instantly roars to life, nearly giving you a heart attack. You reach over, put it in park and hop inside─ eager to get back on the road. Just like before as soon

as the front end crosses the threshold it dies. Curious, you put it in neutral and back it up. It again fires up. Maybe your original theory is right and the air is weird. There’s nothing more you can do except turn back and continue down the road the way you were going.  

You travel several miles in the milky-green twilight when a blue light catches your attention to the left. You slow down and peer over. It’s a small gas station with a convenience store. You sigh in relief and pull into one of two spaces.

He still doesn’t respond. You’re stuck mentally trying to decide if you need to bolt─ Then a thought occurs to you, in your haste to get out of here you have forgotten to check and see if you need gas. You take a deep breath and turn back toward the counter

“Um, sorry. I also need gas, I think. What would cover all of those?” Your eyes raise up but you’re surprised to find that the attendant is gone. You spin around quickly but there is nothing there either. You can clearly see the pumps, but no price listed on their sign

You spin back, expecting him to be right behind you but only the same empty counter with the twenty dollars greets you. You rummage through your bag and pockets but only find another twenty and some ones tucked away. You place everything you can find on the counter and walk briskly back to the door. You reach for the handle and freeze. The breath sticks in your throat as you stare at the reflection in the window on the door. 

The blood slowly drains from your face─ you can’t move, can’t breathe. A sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach forms as you realize that there is definitely something very wrong with the store clerk. His reflection sits unnaturally tall, so tall in fact that the ceiling is less than a few inches from his head. To your absolute horror you see his head is bent at a 90° angle. His face is distorted, you can’t make it out but his body reminds you of the daddy long legs you used to play with as a child. Your legs won’t move, you’re stuck staring at the abomination─ fascinated at your impending doom.Insect-like noises fill the space, like a loud brood of cicada’s calling for their mates. But this is different, it’s paired with static-y type sounds that vibrate through your chest and head. You stagger back, clutching at your head. This is it, the moment your body snaps into action. You shove the door and bolt outside to your car. The food spills everywhere as you shove the key into the ignition and lock the doors. Your car roars to life and you slam it into reverse then peel out of the parking lot.

You put enough distance between the gas station and the car that you finally slow down and pull over. You let out a long shaky breath, your hands trembling as you grip the steering wheel. What the hell was that, you wonder. You take in long, steady breaths trying to make sense of what happened. Your heart beats so hard and fast you can feel the blood rushing through your head and chest. In your haste to get away you now realize that the tunnel has grown lighter. Instant relief washes over you as you see an end to your concrete prison ahead. Your shoulders relax and you hit the gas, screaming toward the end of this hell. You can’t believe it, the car finally clears the exit into the beautiful night air beneath the open sky and bless them─ the stars. Your eyes drop from the sky back down to the road. No. It can’t be, it’s impossible. This can’t be real. Your lip quivers and tears stream down your face. The entrance to the tunnel stares back at you. The small patch of land between the tunnel you exited and the tunnel in front of you is no more than 500 ft away. The stars are twinkling above you and the surrounding area is lush and green. It would be beautiful if it weren’t for the fact that a tunnel waited for you at the end. You want more than anything for this day to end. It started out so wonderfully─ new job, new life ─ you had even left early to make sure that you were on time.

Not only had you become lost, but upon calling your new job you were told that your job didn’t exist and no one was even hired. That could all be chalked up to a clerical error but─ this? Where the hell are you and for that matter, how the hell do you get out? What in the blue hell is happening? Why is it happening to you? Your breath comes out fast and shallow and you can feel your chest tightening the more that you think about everything. You nearly jump out of your skin when your phone rings next to you. You snatch it up and look at the screen. The text displayed just says ‘unknown’. Probably spam, but hell maybe there would be a salesman on the line─ someone that can help. You answer quickly and wait for sound on the other end. You hold your breath nervous that it may just be a computer on the other end. “Hello, are you there?” The man asks. “Yes,” you reply “I’m here! Please help me, I’m lost and my phone is barely getting a signal.” The caller pauses for a moment, “you said you are lost?” Your shoulders sag in relief that a real person is on the other line. “Yes, I am. Please, could you call someone to come and get me?” His voice is soothing, like butter coating a warm pan, “Of course I can. What was your last known location?” you pause thinking about how many turns you had made. Your voice shakes as you reply, “I was on highway 134 going toward I-35 when I somehow got turned around onto a mountain trail.” Your chest relaxes a degree as you can remember more, “there was a point on the Path that got too small so I had to turn around. I somehow spilled out onto a T in the road, then I turned around and made it back to what I think was highway 134 again. I took a left at that T and went through the entrance of an extremely long tunnel.”

“Mm hmm,” he said, sounding as if he were filing his nails on the other side, already bored with the conversation. You’re angered by his shitty attitude, but keep it to yourself knowing he is your only option to get out of here. You stutter but continue “I-I’m not sure where I am, but I know for a fact that I am now outside and there is another tunnel ahead of me. Please, please help me.” The man on the line sighs, “have you tried driving through the other tunnel?” Your temper flares, “I won’t drive anymore, my car is close to being out of gas please, just call emergency services and give them the general area, these calls are recorded right?” He chuckles, “yes, something like that.” You can’t believe how much of an asshole this guy is being but you take a deep breath and try to let it go. “Go through the tunnel,” he states. His demeanor has changed, almost threatening. “Didn’t you hear me─” “You shouldn’t have taken them.” Your body goes ice cold and your hands begin to shake uncontrollably. “Please,” you plead. He laughs on the other line, “go through the tunnel” he yells.

The line goes silent and you stare at it for several moments. The phone falls from your hand as your eyes drift up to the tunnel entrance. You can’t bring yourself to go back into that tunnel, you just can’t. There has to be a better way. You glance at your phone in hopes to find that signal has returned, it hasn’t. You make the tough decision to turn off your phone to conserve battery. The car charger works, but not nearly enough. If only you had remembered to bring the portable charger with you. Firm in your resolve you decide to exit the car and search the area. Maybe fresh air will help clear your head. You close the car door softly, just in case there is another murderous entity nearby. The open air feels magical against your skin and a warm, gentle breeze caresses you. You look around the area and sigh. There doesn’t appear to be any lights near which means no houses or city. You’re in a more elevated area so you can see hills and mountains in the distance. From either vantage point no sign of civilization seems to exist. It’s you, nature, and a road of never-ending horrors. The real problem is figuring out which way to go. Your pulse quickens as you realize it will be a guess─ one that could easily end your life. There is a small part of you that wants to believe you can make it out of this alive. You can’t bring yourself to accept that, somehow you feel it may be the end.

Without many options other than driving into that damn tunnel, you just have to make a calculated guess. But before that, there is something bothering you about what the creature and the man on the phone said. Why were snacks and drinks worth so much? Come to think of it, in your haste to get away you haven’t even looked at them. You open the driver’s side door and slide in, pulling the door closed next to you. Your hand connects with something crinkly and you fish it out from under the seat. You flip the chip bag around and scan the entire package, but can’t find anything out of place. Next you find a candy bar but it too just looks and feels like a normal one. You reach again and find a drink. It’s not very cold, but is still covered in a dewy condensation. You hold the bottle up to the dim light and your eyes grow wide. You inhale sharply and quickly toss the bottle on your passenger seat. Your lips tremble as you fight to keep it together, to not scream your lungs out. No, no, no, no! Inside the bottle, almost perfectly preserved is a fetus. You retch uncontrollably but only bile manages to come up. No way. There was absolutely no way you would drive through that tunnel again. You climb out of the car and try to make yourself think. Had there been any turns? Had you just gone straight? If you had continued west after your turn it would mean that the way back to the main road you came from is to the south. The problem is, you aren’t sure if that is any better─ everything has been deserted. Which leaves north, or further west paralleling the tunnel but not going into it.   

Where the Silent Ones Lie Part I – A Horror Novella

My gaze shifts to outside as his words drone on. I can see his lips move and hear the deep rumble coming from his chest. I can’t make out what he is saying but it really doesn’t matter─ anything he has to say after tonight would be pointless. I flinch as I feel his hand close over mine to give it a gentle squeeze. I understand that he is just trying to comfort me, but my skin crawls at this small invasion. His words go up at the end, the sounds registering to my brain as a question. I turn and tuck a loose strand of hair behind my ear.

“Sorry, what was that?” I ask. I shift myself to face toward him but my eyes are cast downward. I fidget with a straw wrapper focusing on pulling and then pushing it in my hand like a tiny accordion.

He sighs, “I asked if you were ok to drive home.” I offer him a quick smile, waving my hand in front of me, “of course I’ll be fine, Paul. It’s less than twenty minutes from here.” He regards my cool demeanor for a few seconds and then nods. “Alright, well just you know, take care of yourself and call me if you need anything.” My head moves mechanically up and down as I smile. The same smile I use when I want someone to believe that everything is hunky dory in Zen’s world.

A few more words are exchanged between us, I make promises that I don’t intend to keep, and then I stand and leave. There’s no doubt in my mind that Paul is feeling incredibly guilty, so I made sure to lay it on thick. No sense in making him fret for more than a few moments. Besides, it isn’t as if he personally made the decision.

I slide into my car, adjust the mirrors for the hundredth time, and pull out of the tiny parking lot. My car groans in protest as I drive over the familiar dips and bumps. The city has long forgotten these roads. It’s absolute murder on my 2001 Honda Civic. I’ve had great luck over the years, only needing to replace the main belt, spark plugs, light bulbs, and just recently, a new radiator. Thank god for the internet, I would have been out of a car for months if I had to have someone else repair it. I pull up to the main road and plug in my phone. No one would be pulling up behind me at this hour. By now I am normally rolling the pastry dough and prepping them for the long day ahead. My chest tightens and I feel my throat constrict. I fight the urge to keep everything down. I breathe, focusing on the air that exits and then fills my lungs. After several seconds I manage to calm down and draw one more deep breath.

I tap the screen on my phone and bring up my favorite playlist. I skip past the first few songs before settling on a metal band with a seriously awesome female vocalist. Her range goes from angelic high pitches to low, raspy growls─ she is definitely something special. I close my eyes as the beginning chords fill my car, her voice a silvery whisper brushing against my ear.

This time,

This time,

This time─ I’m really saying goodbye.

I’ve survived this long with one hell of a fight,

Clawed my way through the trenches,

You carved out of our lives.

Never-ending climb

to the other side

While you watched from above

Hoping that we would die.

Well watch this.

The car roars to life as I pull out onto the main road, the windows rolled down. The combination of cool air and heavy guitar rifts sends my heart soaring and for the remainder of the drive my troubles fly away.

*

The well-lit parking lot is a welcome sight as I pull into my normal spot by the light post. I am a few hours early so no one will be here yet. I reach down and grab the neatly packed bag in the back seat. As soon as I get inside the store, I make the rounds turning on the music, coffee machine, and re-stocking the fridges.

After all of the morning duties are taken care of I walk to the front and scan the parking lot. No one is here yet so I quickly cut off the lights and walk back to the lockers. Beth had a habit of getting here early but normally no more than thirty minutes. The handicapped stall is calling my name─ it has it’s own closed off room. I shut the door behind me, set my things on the chair, and then slide to the floor. I draw my legs in close, wrapping my arms around them and then rest my forehead on my knees.

It’s going to be OK. It’s going to be OK. I chant silently. Except it isn’t. I’m prolonging the inevitable pile of shit that is suspended above my head waiting to come crashing down on me. How long will I have this time? What’s going to happen when I have to skip on rent─ again. Andrea is extremely lenient and knows my situation, but that can only go so far with anyone. I have a sneaking suspicion that she isn’t charging me what she is charging the other tenants. I’m surprised that she already hasn’t put a notice to vacate on my door. I’m already behind by at least six weeks and now this. I will be respectful and go tell her today about the situation. I’m going to have to ask for a week or so to move all of my things and hope that she will be kind enough to let me. The bakery has been having problems and I knew it but with only me and one other employee on each shift I was hopeful that I could stay there longer. I squeeze my eyes shut then gently massage the bridge of my nose.

I try again to repeat the phrase a few more times until I convince myself, for the moment, that it’s true. I stand on two shaky legs and then turn the shower on full blast. I rotate the nozzle almost all the way to the left, cranking it up as hot as I can stand it. No matter how hot it is I still can’t shake the chill in my bones. My teeth chatter as I rub my body vigorously with soap.

My mind wanders to the inevitable and I sink into myself allowing a little of the truth to come through─ I have nothing left. My chest tightens and I struggle with my thoughts, trying to shove them down. It won’t help to think like this, I need to focus on work or whatever else gets me out of this mental hell. I’ll just go apply to every place I can think today and early tomorrow morning. I pause for a moment thinking on what day tomorrow is. Thursday I remind myself, Thursday is your day off. I’m torn between asking for more hours or just using a full day applying everywhere I can. Most places want you to fill them out online but with how things work now an algorithm sends your application to HR and you have to know what to add to it. I am horrible at filling out the damn things but maybe I can search up some templates and fill them out at the library.

I’m drying off when all of a sudden a huge boom resounds across the floor. My hands shoot out but only manage to slide across the slick walls. My teeth slam together so hard I’m sure they are going to break. Searing pain jolts from my elbows and knees and then runs through the extent of my body. Everything hurts but it doesn’t stop me from quickly shifting myself into a fetal position. The floor undulates beneath me, and I stare in wonder at the small blocky tiles rippling seamlessly like water. Is this what an earthquake is like? Finally, the ground stills. I lay holding my breath for several seconds not sure if it is safe to move. I let all of the air escape from my lungs, then draw in a deep breath. Reassured that nothing else is coming, I slowly pull myself from the floor and on my feet. Cautiously, I peek out from the shower into the main workout area. Nothing is out of place or broken and there is no sign of damage that I can see from here. I glance up at the clock and frown, it is almost time for Beth to get here. The last thing I need is her wondering why I’m taking a shower here. Then again, I could always explain that I came in early to work out. I think Beth may be onto my situation or have her suspicions so I decide not to chance it.

After getting dressed and making myself look presentable I stuff my bag into a locker and walk to the front. I’m almost through opening the registers when the beep sounds. Beth walks in and smiles, “hey Z- you’re here early, did your shift end sooner today?” I smile and nod, “yes it did. I think Paul could sense that I am running on fumes.” Her eyes take on a concerned look and she places a hand over mine. “You have looked pretty exhausted lately. Everything alright, hun?”

Beth is the only person that I don’t mind touching me. She really is a sweetheart and I almost feel guilty for lying to her, “oh, nothing I haven’t handled before.” I place my other hand on top of hers and gently squeeze before adding, “I really appreciate it though.” She smiles at me and then reaches for something from her bag, “alright sweetie, well anyway, I brought you some of my homemade biscuits and jam.” I perk up, grinning from ear to ear. “Did you really?” I’m practically radiant, clapping my hands together. “You spoil me too much, I’m going to put on so much weight if you don’t stop!” She raises an eyebrow and purses her lips as she gives me a quick once-over “From the state of you I’d say you need it. You can’t be more than a hundred pounds soaking wet.” She’s just about nailed it. I laugh it off “oh, I just forget to eat half the time I’ve got so much going on.” She shakes her head, “well you get some food in you, I don’t want to have to wheel you out of here on a stretcher after you pass out from hunger.” She’s only half joking and I know it. I clear my throat and start over, making sure that I count all of the one’s correctly. Beth turns back toward the locker room, leaving her offering on the counter.

Something occurs to me and I call back to her, “Hey, Beth?” She spins back around smiling, “what’s up sweetie?” I pause for a minute, trying to form a cohesive sentence. “Have you had any crazy earthquakes, or really hard vibrations when you’re up here?” She cracks a smile at me and cocks an eyebrow, “hun, I haven’t had any hard vibrations like that since Obama was in office.” She sighs and shakes her head, “man I need to get laid.” We both laugh and I feel a little better, Beth has that sort of effect on me. “My sad dating life aside, no I haven’t had anything like that happen here. Did something happen this morning?” I nod, “Yeah it was really strange, like the whole earth just shifted. You didn’t feel anything driving in this morning?” She purses her lips and tilts her head, “no sweetheart, I sure didn’t.”

The uneasiness creeps back in but I shrug, “guess it might have been an earthquake or something.” Beth nods, “yeah that or the new construction up the road. I think they’re pounding in some large beams for the foundation.” She pauses and then smiles wickedly, “wish someone would pound me like that.” I shake my head, “you’re awful!” Her grin widens, “hey, you must feel it too─ I have literally never seen you take time off and no mention of a boyfriend,” then she adds quickly, “or girlfriend whichever floats your boat.”

I shake my head, “go back to work pervert.” She laughs and turns back toward the office. I glance over at the food Beth brought and sigh. My mouth waters and it takes everything in me not to scoop them up and devour them right then and there. I know how that will look to her and I can’t stand the thought of making her worry. She has enough on her plate as it is. I don’t know how she manages to put on a happy face every day and be such an uplifting person. Her daughter and son passed away just last year on their way home from Thanksgiving. Beth once admitted to me that she felt at least partially responsible insisting that they rideshare with their cousins. It was just one of those freak accidents, a literal once in a million chance. They had all just made it into the city and decided to pickup food downtown. Sandra and David, Beth’s children, and Grace, the younger of the two cousins, had decided to stay in the car while Grace’s older brother, John went in to pick up their order.

The next thing he knew there was a deafening crash from outside. It took John a long time to talk about it but after getting over the shock, he had described in great detail what had happened. Apparently a man desperate to end his life had chosen that exact moment to leap from the top of the hotel. It still gets my blood boiling, how can someone be so selfish? I mean, taking your own life is one thing─ but to snuff out another’s without a thought is reprehensible. I still can’t believe Sandra is gone. Beth’s daughter was something special, just as kind and caring as her mother. That girl was going places, she was done with high school by fifteen and working on her masters in neurology. She would have started med school next year. While David might not have been the ideal son and sometimes him and Beth didn’t get along, he did love his mother very much. He wasn’t as ambitious as Sandra but he did just get his first office job and in less than a year got promoted to assistant manager. They both were very dedicated workers─ something Beth had drilled into them for years.

I wipe the registers and counters down with strong cleaner. Normally the people that closed were young and never bothered to clean. With the virus nearly shutting down all of the gyms around town, we really couldn’t afford to get sued over uncleanliness. These damn kids think they’re invincible and have a clear lack of motivation to do anything. I once opened up to find someone hadn’t even removed the cash from the registers. I suppose I could understand though, the pay here is abysmal. I look up and realize it’s less than five minutes until open. I rush to the office, lock up the cash, lock the door, and run back to the front.

Our usual is out front and waves at me as I unlock the door. He smiles at me as I let him by. “Hey Chris, how’s your morning?” He returns the favor opening the second set of doors. His face is comforting as always, I can’t help but relax near him. His deep timber washes over me, “always better to see your shining faces. You and Beth are awesome, always open on time.” I chuckle as he strides to the men’s locker room. “What can I say, you keep some normalcy to my days. I like to think I do the same for you.” He gives me a thumbs up and disappears around the corner.

The first part of the day went by a little slow it was one of those days that there were a steady stream of people but not enough to keep my head completely focused on work. I frown looking over at the clock, come on lunch rush I plead silently. I look outside and sigh heavily, the sky is an angry shade of grey. It meant that we would slow down quite a bit, it didn’t always mean that but today was fairly chilly. I suspect it will last until the rain takes a breather. Probably until I leave, I think bitterly. I frown and walk over to the cleaning closet to grab some disinfecting wipes. I might as well make use of my free time. Beth steps out of the office and smiles, “you going to wipe down the machines honey?” I nod as I pull out a set of gloves, “yes ma’am. Figured I should make good use out of my time.” She grinned and patted me on the shoulder, “girl, can you please clone yourself? Or at least light a fire under all these kids asses.” I chuckle and shake my head, “you remember what it was like working your first few jobs, right? It’s hard to care making minimum wage.” She places her hands on her hips in mock outrage, “why, miss Z, it’s as if you are suggesting we don’t make a livable wage here!” she clicks her tongue and shakes her head. I smile shaking my own head, “oh I know it isn’t your fault Beth, you already pay me more than I know they would like you to.” She groaned, “hun, if it were up to me you would be salary with full benefits, no over-time.” She smiles and I notice her eyes dart from me to the floor. I laugh nervously and pat Beth on the shoulder, “oh I’m just teasing, we both know how Taylor can’t go without her latte and Justin, bless his heart, would be lost without his Tesla and three thousand dollar shoes.” We both burst out laughing as I turn toward the machines. I wave my hand to shoo Beth away, “you go relax, I know you are up to your eyeballs in budgets, schedules, and whatever other ridiculous tasks Taylor has you doing.” She sighs rolling her eyes, “yeah and speaking of which watch your ass, she’s on another one of her rampages. We were down by six percent last month and she’s flipping her shit trying to find a way to cut back on expenses.” I frown over at her “you can offer to cut my hours if you need to I don’t want you having to deal with the queen-of-bitches if you can avoid it.” She lets out a deep breath, “don’t you worry about me sweetie, I’ll lay off one of these lazy brats if I need to. But, unfortunately you won’t be able to work doubles for a few days, possibly a week or two.” My chest tightens, “oh” I say unable to come up with anything else. My mind’s racing but I manage to smile, “no worries. I’ll see if I can’t pick up a few more shifts at the bakery.” I flinch inwardly at the lie. Beth looks at the ground again unable to meet my eyes. “If it makes you feel any better she wanted me to cut more but I managed to talk her into cutting several of the brats hours instead.” I grin wickedly at her, “does this mean I get real breaks?” She snorts and walks back to the office calling out, “don’t press your luck kiddo.” I release a long breath of air not realizing that I have been holding it in. I really am lucky to have someone like her around.

I am supposed to work a double today but that’s gone out the window. Shit, I won’t get pay from the bakery until the end of the week. At least last week I was able to work a few double shifts so pay should be decent enough to make ends meet. At least for gas, food, electricity and water. Rent is another story. I pause and then do the math in my head─ holiday pay! I should actually be able to pay rent. I’d completely forgotten that last week was thanksgiving. Whether that’s enough to keep my place, I don’t know. At least I can try. The end of my shift comes way too fast and I dread every step out to my car.

#

Andrea peers over at me from across the table, she’s quiet but her face has hardened. I’m shifting nervously, waiting to hear what she has to say. I know that look and this isn’t going to end well. Unable to hold it in any longer, I break the silence, “I understand Andrea, I don’t expect a miracle. Can you please give me one week to get all of my things moved out and clean the place up?” I’m getting more worried by the second as she looks me up and down. Her arms cross in front of her and she sighs, “well, at least you were honest with me. To be frank, that space has been paid off for quite some time.” She picks up her cup of coffee and takes a long sip. “You know I try and be as forgiving as I can for you because I know about your situation. Tough having to work two jobs and barely make ends meet, been there a few times in my life.” She takes another sip and then gently sets the mug back on the table. “Listen, hun, I know how things can get, especially right now─ but I’m in the same boat with many other tenants. With the pandemic and job losses, I’ve got more than a few properties we’re going to have to take legal action against the tenants.” She shakes her head, “it really is a shame what has happened to them but now that the government has lifted the restrictions on rental properties, I have got to start getting paying tenants in here. I’m already starting to dip into my savings just to stay afloat.” I fidget with my hands, unsure of what to do with them.

My voice cracks as I respond, “no, really I understand. I’m so sorry that I’ve been behind and I know at the end of this month it will be two months.” My eyes start to burn but I take a couple of deep breaths and try and fight back tears. Renters have heard every sob story in the book, mine will just come off as manipulative. “After holiday pay this past week, I can go ahead and give you this month’s rent. If I’m able to get out of the lease and have a week to get everything ready, I can be out of your hair by beginning of next month.” She’s still quiet so I add nervously, “and I can have it all cleaned and tidy for anyone that you may need to show the space to.” Andrea regards me for a few more seconds and then nods. “Alright, but I need the space to be spotless and you have to be ready to leave if someone is coming by.” My shoulders sag and I can breathe again. “Thank you so much Andrea, I really appreciate it.” I fish out the envelope with my money and hand it over reluctantly. I planned on keeping a bit for food but having a warm bed for a week sounded much better. I’d be able to have plenty of water and some snacks at the gym. She takes the crisp envelope, counts the contents and then crosses over to her computer. The gentle sound of her nails hitting the keyboard somewhat settles me as I wait patiently for my receipt.

Her delicate flowery perfume contrasts her firm, business-like personality. It makes me wonder if there is a hidden feminine side to her. Even though her words are kind, there is a ‘don’t fuck with me’ vibe behind her fierce green eyes. I respect the hell out of her for it, you have to have a stiff upper lip to own properties. I have a theory that she can sense a lie from a hundred feet away, maybe more. “Alright, so I’m not going to charge you for the last few remaining months of rent owed. I just need you to sign this agreement that you will be moved out by─” she looks at her watch, “December thirtieth.” I take the paper from her, initial all of the marked sections, and then sign my name. “No problem,” I say double checking that I had filled everything in, “I’ll hand in the keys the day before so your guys can look it over for move-in ready.” My hands are shaking something fierce as I quickly hand the paper back to her. I’m practically burning a hole through her table with my eyes as she glances through my signed copy. “Thanks again for being so honest with me and saving me the time of going through all the legal motions,” she says softly and then adds, “It really does mean a lot to me.” My knuckles are squeezed together so tightly that all the color has completely drained from them. I know that my voice will betray me if I respond so I choose instead to smile and nod.

After several seconds of awkward silence it dawns on me that we are done talking. “Anyway,” I say, “on a personal note, thanks for being a kind person and putting up with me. On a business note, I’ll hold up my end of the bargain and hopefully you can get someone placed there soon. I’ll check around and see if anyone trustworthy I know needs a place.” Feeling better I reach out my hand to shake before realizing I shouldn’t and quickly withdraw it. “Sorry,” I say, “force of habit.” She laughs despite the situation, “I do the same thing all the time. It takes quite a bit of getting used to.” This is the first time I have heard Andrea laugh. It somehow warms my heart hearing it. I’m almost to the door when I hear Andrea call out, “hey, Zen?” I freeze and then turn toward her, “hmm?” Her face softens, “All things aside, I hope things do get better. Just, take care OK?” I’m on the brink of losing it, but manage to whisper a thank you. I wave and smile again before stepping out into the rain. My place isn’t too far from the main office so I opted to walk. The cool wind and wetness on my face and hair helps clear my mind. I have a lot to think about, even more to take care of, and a week to make it all happen.

Back To The Grind – A Pleasant Reminder That I Live in Texas

It’s Tuesday, I’m recovering from a previously long and exhausting workweek. The AC industry is no joke in Texas. Many families can barely afford to cover bills, let alone pay to have a service company come out.

The DIY industry has boomed over the last decade or so since the internet has been empowering homeowners with knowledge. Which is kind of great and horrible at the same time.

Since the beginning of the year, I have progressively watched the cost of A/C equipment go up by 5%-10% twice in the first quarter, and now they are saying it will go up again. As a business owner, you come to expect these sort of setbacks. People expect things to go up a bit, especially with the state of things recently. But try explaining to your regulars when the cost goes up by 25% – 40%

Refrigerant cost has more than doubled since last year, copper has gone up a whopping 200%, and steel a staggering 400%. Think that’s bad?

Shipping is far, far worse. Yes, we can all guess that because of COVID-19 things have progressed slower than usual but this is an entirely different beast. A shipping container from Asia, on average, last year was around $2k per container.

This year? That number has gone up to $20k as of late. An 800% increase.

Let’s just think about that for a second. 800% increase.

Even domestic shipping and freight have been steadily increasing every month since last year.

It’s a tough time for many business owners, it’s a tough time for customers, it’s just tough.

As you can imagine the unique industry I work in brings in some…characters to put it mildly. Imagine living in Texas during the pandemic, with a slew of under-educated, narcissistic mans-man sorts that consider themselves godly church-folk. Now add in just enough YouTube knowledge to make them dangerous and the ability to buy the parts online and buddy─ you’ve got yourself an insufferable man-child.

I’ll definitely take these guys any day over an engineer, however. I’ll explain that particular hell in another episode.

When you live in a place like Dallas, you know that your experience will be different depending on which part of the city, and neighboring cities you are in. If you are anywhere outside of Downtown proper or just outside of a metropolitan area, without a doubt you are dealing with apathetic, single-minded individuals that find this whole pandemic to be blown out of proportion. While, just like any sensationalist news, that does come with some truth, ffs have a brain.

I have signs posted everywhere. Before someone walks in, after they walk inside, all of our employees wear them. And yet, for ever 1 person wearing a mask, 3 do not wear one.

Look. I don’t like masks, I’m vaccinated, I constantly wash my hands make a real effort to not touch my face or dig up my butt crack at work and touch other things, and I keep my distance. But you know what, I wear a flipping mask. So why, in the nine hells, can someone not wear a mask for fifteen minutes or less?

Because, dear friends, I may live near the dessert but I’m drowning in a sea of idiots.

They all, literally, have the exact and I mean verbatim, word vomit. I’ve even heard such phrases as, “my wife is a nutritionist and we refuse to get vaccinated” as if she is at the pinnacle of medical discovery and working hard on the front lines with dying patients. “I’m vaccinated,” yeah, so am I and viruses mutate, next. “The flu has killed more than Covid-19″─ herpa derp─ “I’ve had it, it’s nothing─ berpadee derp herp─ “It’s a conspiracy against white men and it’s racist─ derpa herpadee snort snoot─ “Biden is going to be the ruin of this country─ deeherpa doo da─”

These are not made up conversations, yes, these people do exist. P.S. For anyone jumping on the Right v Left train and that can only identify with one side of the argument and mudslinging bullshit, please go over to the children’s table and learn something called critical thinking.

Biden, by the way, is not democratic. He is what the Republican party used to represent.

The sheer amount of idiocy would surprise many people. I’m not talking about normal people ignorance. I’ve had customers come in for a few years now, we got along great, had differences in opinions politically but nothing we couldn’t ever reach middle ground on. This has been such a weird last two years and really makes me sad. It’s like people have gone completely polar opposite on damn near everything happening. They just need a reason to take their anger out on everything, and everyone. I can’t believe the words leaving people’s mouths right now.

At this point, I have no sympathy for people raised a certain way. When you cannot see reason, you cannot be reasoned with. Therefore, yes, you are a danger to society.

The amount of times that I have heard, “well, I haven’t gotten it once and I’ve been fine, or, everyone in my family got it but me,” is embarrassingly high.

Yeah, no, you got it you just didn’t have symptoms. Congrats, you’re a super-spreader. Even if you didn’t get it, your family did and they spread it. And I’m sure if your dumbass didn’t get a shot, your family damn sure didn’t. Unless you have a teen or young adult with some sense in the house that got vaccinated. For those that seem to think this is a good thing that weeds out the population, while logically I get what you are saying, fuck right off you miserable asshole.

You want to know something? I’m about to get real savage. If you are too fucking stupid to not see people getting this, struggling with their lives, even some of your precious leaders getting it and dying or fighting for their lives, then I have zero sympathy for you. As a matter of fact, I think there should be a waiver that if you refuse to get a vaccine, you also wave your right to get treated in a hospital.

Just so there is no confusion, if you are waiting on a vaccination and on a waiting list─ you are just fine to be treated. For the assholes that try and get clever by being on a permanent waitlist, you can go ahead and get ready to spend a long time in prison. Let’s go ahead and leave the hospital beds open for people that are actually trying to help themselves and others. You got a strong opinion that you undoubtedly stand behind, you’re a big strong adult, you can take care of yourself. The only exception to this rule are children for obvious reasons.

But I digress.

I explained the earlier info to paint a picture of the type of customers we get daily. Today, I had a gentleman from Hong Kong impart top secret knowledge to me that the vaccines were poison, Japan can confirm apparently. 😐🙄

As frustrating as it all can be, at the end of the day it feels good being able to help families. Especially in times when it seems like we all desperately need it.

Anyway, these are my thoughts on a Tuesday. Have a great day lovelies. 💞

Xoxoxo

Grey

Update: Ready to write again!

Hello all! I just wanted to let you all know that I have been working to finish my other horror novel The Watchmen https://cagreyson.com/2019/10/22/the-watchmen-part-i-a-thriller-short-story/ and will be posting another one that I have been working on as well! I’m excited to get it to all of you and even more excited at the motivation I’ve been having to write again. It’s been a rough road for me emotionally but I am ready to get out there again.

I really appreciate the kind words I have received recently, they have gone a long way and haven’t gone unnoticed. So, really, thank you so very much. I’m hoping to have the first chapter up this weekend! I hope that you can enjoy it with all your hearts. ❤

xoxo – Grey

Happy Lunar New Year!

This is a special time of year for me, one that we celebrated along with the Gregorian calendar that most American’s celebrate on the 31st of December and 1st of January. For those of you that are new to my blog, my stepfather practically raised me and he was Chinese. Each and every year I would delight in staying up all night with the family (let’s face it, I was a kid and staying up all night and missing school was sort of the best) the delicious foods, bright red envelopes, decorating the house in red, and the wonderful lantern festival at the end.

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I remember staring at those as a child and praying my hardest for a better year for my family and for myself. It was a time for reflection, closeness, and joy. Though we weren’t entirely traditional (my stepdad did not believe in the superstitious aspect) which would drive his dad crazy as a traditionalist, always scolding us to not be negative during that time, or go out on certain days, or not cleaning until it was OK to do so─ (because before then, you would sweep out the good luck!) we would still have the get-togethers, have wonderful food and the excitement of new experiences.

And let’s not forget the fun red envelopes we received from the grandparents. We weren’t allowed (much to our disappointment) to open them once we got them, and they often never went to us but to our parents ‘for safe keeping’ but just getting those were a ticket to imagination as we heard stories about how they would ward off evil spirits.

To this day, I still love to celebrate as an adult and while my SO might not understand it (especially since I’m white) it will always be a part of my life.

Wishing you all the Happiest of New Years and may you find wealth, peace, and happiness this new year.

❤ Grey

 

The Fat Man – A Christmas Poem (funny)

So for those of you that follow my Twitter, you saw my Christmas tradition of ‘Battle with the Fatman’ I do every year. The tradition continues with this year’s shenanigans. For those of you that missed it, here it is:

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

I was waiting alone for him to come out.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

I’d lined them with noise makers to know when he’s there.

The family was nestled all snug in their beds,

Unaware of the battle that was ahead.

 

 

My dog Ketti laid in my lap, And had just settled in for an evening nap.

When out on the lawn there rose such a sound she leaped from my lap and barked very loud.

Away to the window I rushed to see,

If the fat man had finally gotten to me.

The moon shone brightly on the new fallen snow,

As I waited impatiently for him below.

 

When what to my eager eyes did appear,

but the fat man himself and nine tiny reindeer.

Faster than a bullets through the sky they flew,

And he yelled and snarled his commands to his crew.

On,dasher! On, dancer! On, prancer! and Vixen.

On, comet! On, cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!

Rudolph guide us to that home, travel fast,

For this night we’re going to kick major ass.

So up on the house top the reindeer did fly,

& I reached under the couch & gripped my .45.

 

To my utmost dread I heard on the roof,

the scraping & pawing of each little hoof.

As I tucked in my elbows & was turning around,

Down the chimney ‘Saint’ Nicholas came with a bound.

 

He was dressed in armor from his head to his foot,

and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of guns he had flung on his back,

and he looked like Clint Eastwood but…really fat.

His eyes how they squinted,

His voice, how it scratched!

And he sized me up as he struck a match.

He lit the cigar that hung from his grin,

And he gave a hearty laugh whispering, “what trouble you’re in. ”

 

He reached behind him & drew weapons with a jerk,

And said not a word as he got straight to work.

The first shot fired mere inches from my head,

And I rolled to the ground thankful to not be dead.

I took a second to gather my wits,

When the couch in front of me was blasted to bits.

 

Quicker than lightening I aimed for his face,

but the asshole had teleported to another place.

Ketti stayed hidden as the battle waged on,

the coward, no doubt, was probably long gone.

My family was clueless, or they’re fraidy cats too,

but I won’t let that stop me from killing his crew.

If I can’t take him out with any of my moves,

then I’ll aim my next shot up toward…The roof.

 

With a massive grin as the fat man gained ground,

I squeezed the trigger and he froze at the sound.

His head shot up and his body went slack,

then I lowered my weapon, aiming at his back.

This was my chance, I must make it work,

it was time that he learned to stop being a jerk.

He’d terrorized this town for the last damn time,

and my finger found the trigger as the clock began to chime.

 

The blast was deafening, but my grin stayed fixed,

I’d finally got him that jolly little bitch.

But as the smoke cleared, my grin faded away,

the bastard had managed an impossible escape.

I roared at the magical lights that filled the room,

And swear to the nine hells that I’ll get him, soon.

This year managed to be a bust,

but next year, yes, next time he will be crushed.

 

You can follow my mini-campaigns weekly on Twitter as well for more awesome adventures. ❤ Greysanta