Sunday, September 29, 2013


 "Thank you for sharing, Tara. That was a very touching story. I think this was a big break through," says a suited woman.

 "Thank you, Tara," a group of a dozen echoes in unison.

 The woman named Tara nods and her lips pull back over her teeth into a garish and forced smile.

 The suited woman claps her hands together and turns toward a sandy haired man. "We have a new visitor today. Would you like to share?"

 The man looks around nervously, as though he expects to be rushed from behind at any moment. "I . . . I don't know. I don't really know what to do . . .what to say."

 "That's fine dear. We have all been there. Just start with your name and why you are here," the woman says.

 "Oh. Ok. Well, my name is Mike."

 "Hello, Mike," the group chants.

 The interruption startles him and Mike is slow to being again. "I . . . uh . . . I have a problem. I have . . . become a monster." As he speaks the words tumble out, each more effortless than the last. "I have become a monster and I don't think I can control it. I have no idea how long this has been happening. But I don't like who I have become."

 "We are here for you, Mike," the group answers.

 "Mike, think hard. Try to remember back. Hindsight is a powerful tool. Try to remember what might have been the catalyst."

Mike pauses and looks thoughtful for a few moments. "I guess it must have been that time," he says, more to himself than to the group.

 "Tell us about it, Mike," the woman presses in a gentle voice.

 "I'm an accountant. Or at least I was before all this mess. I was sitting in a meeting when a client just started screaming at me. I have know idea why. She was just screaming bloody murder. I couldn't take it. I just lost it. I lost control and couldn't contain myself.

 "After that, things just went down hill. I can't sleep. I'm utterly exhausted. I'm angry all the time. I have destroyed all of my relationships, shredded them to irreparable bits. All I do is eat and fight. I feel as if there is an empty void inside of me that I am trying to fill with food and violence. I hate myself."

"Mike, when did you become aware of your self-hatred?" the woman asks.

"It was last week. I was standing there, trying to fill that damn emptiness inside of me with a bloody drumstick, when I looked up and saw myself in the mirror. It had been so long since I had looked into a mirror and I hadn't seen the monster I had become. I was disgusted. I am disgusted. I . . . I'm hideous and have done nothing to stop it."

"Mike, you have taken an important first step tonight. You have realized that you have a problem and you have come to get help. The next step . . . the next step will be more difficult. In time, with our help, you will learn to accept that you are who you are. You will learn to love and embrace all that is you."

Mike shrugs and hangs his head. "I sure hope so."

"You are not a monster. To us, you are beautiful," the group sings as they surround and embrace him.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Kraken

The Kraken pulled me deeper, the pressure squeezed in from all sides and my lungs burned for air. At first I fought the demon and struggled to break free. At first the pain was excruciating, his limbs constricting ever tighter. But before I knew it, there was no more agony, only the contentment of being in a lover’s embrace. I should have died; my primal reflexes should have overridden my conscious intelligence.  I should have opened my mouth and gasped for sweet air and then the icy black water would have flooded in and filled my every cavity. What little was left of my consciousness would be consumed with panic; the creature in me would convulse violently as my body made futile attempts to purge and survive.

But that didn’t happen. At some point I accepted my fate and gave into my captivity. Had I died and not realized it? Had the creature done something to remove my need for air? Was I somehow breathing the water? I cannot say. All I know is at some point breathing became unimportant and the only thing of interest to me was the mysterious destination of the Kraken pulling me ever deeper into the pitch black world of the frigid abyss.

Whether he sensed my acceptance or had created it by some ancient magic, the beast relaxed his grip and instantly I was transformed from a prisoner held captive by the iron grasp of a fearsome monster into an honored guest of the ruler of the deep.

I held tightly to one of his massive tentacles as we plunged deeper and further into the unknown. Hours? Days? Months? Years? Time meant nothing, so I could not begin to tell you how long or how far we traveled. Just as my perception had been transformed by the acceptance my captivity, so too did my acceptance of the cold limitless black transform my surroundings. Suddenly, the abyss was neither cold nor black. All around, the waters teamed with life. My host’s subjects flashed and glowed vibrantly in a rainbow of color. A dozen shrimp the size of large dogs, glowing orange with blue spots, swam beside us and pledged fealty to their ruler. The Kraken acknowledged them with a blink of his great eye. As the shrimp disappeared into the depths, a turtle-like creature covered in scales that throbbed with a blood red light approached; he had news of a rebellion in the shallows. With a low mournful cry, the Kraken dispatched a sperm whale, who had been tailing us all along, to assist the red turtle in removing the usurper from power.

They came and went, in all shapes and sizes; some from the depths while others were representatives sent from the distant shallows.  Some brought gifts of loyalty and news but many more begged sage wisdom from the ancient ruler. As time progressed, the squeaks and chirps, foreign to my ear, melded into an elegant language of the sea. I watched, listened and learned and, in time, the great Kraken spoke even to me. In that moment, I found myself at home in his kingdom and swore to him my life. He accepted my offer graciously and told me that our journey was at an end. We had reached our destination.

After a lifetime of traveling through the kingdom of the deep, I looked around and found myself in the strangest land yet. There was blue sky above with avian creatures dipping and diving; deep green water below; and ahead was solid dry land with trees that waved in the breeze. The Kraken had returned me to the surface. After our great journey, our destination had turned out to be the very point at which it began. I had been taken as a captive and returned as an envoy to the world of men.  

I cried as I bid farewell to the Kraken for he had become my master, my brother, my father, my teacher and my friend. The destination mattered naught, for it was the journey that had led to my birth as a Siren, singing the song of the sea and calling the upright walkers to my lord in the deep.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Thought I'd go out of the box to celebrate the real zombie holiday. This is my first attempt with Inkscape. Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Delirium Jane: Part VII

“Gibson, what in Poseidon’s fury are you doing?!” Graham barks at the young man fumbling to un-cleat the main halyard.

“Aye, sir!” the youth quickly cries with an uncertain look on his face.

“Gibson, it wasn’t a yes or no question! Stop what you are doing this instant!”

“Aye, Sir!” he yells and jumps away with his hands in the air as if he had touched a hot stove.

Graham turns to face Zac. “Mr. Parker, what was my command?”

“Belay the main topsail sheet, Sir,” Zac answers confidently.

“What does that mean? Use words our pathetic Mr. Gibson might understand.”

“Tie off that line with the red tracers,” Zac points to the white and red rope dangling loose above the line Gibson had been trying to untie.

“Good,” Graham nods, satisfied with a reasonable answer. “Mr. Wilson, what would have happened had Mr. Gibson been successful in his folly?”

Wilson, a stocky square built man in his early forties with a shaggy beard and ponytail, shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders.

“Of course not. Fuckin’ dense. The whole lot of ya’. Skip means to set sail next week and only half of you have the basic commands down and none of you have a lick a’ common sense.”

I glance at Gibson’s line and trace it out. Almost instantly I recognize not only what would have happened but what could explain Gibson’s confusion. “Chief, the mainsail would have dropped and since the topping lift is loose, the boom would have also dropped. An unsecured boom can result in serious injuries and damage.”

“Thank you Jane, at least one of you has been paying attention.”

“Oh, one more thing, I don’t think Gibson realizes that a ‘sheet’ is a line and not the sail. I think he thought your command meant to secure the mainsail.”

“Enough. That’s enough. I’m done for the day. I need a stiff drink before I try to convince the Skipper that leaving next week will be suicide. Jane, you have the conn. Get the gear stowed and see to it that Gibson knows his damn vocabulary for tomorrow.”

“Aye, Sir.”

Graham spins on his heel and marches across the deck of the schooner and disappears over the gunwale into a dinghy to take him to shore.

“You heard the man, let’s get her put to bed,” I yell and watch aa the men scurry off to drop the sails, secure the lines, and wash the decks.

It had taken little effort to convince Skip to let Zac join us. He had said a young moldable mind with a strong body would be a welcomed asset aboard his ship. That night, Cook called a community meeting and gave Skip the floor. That’s how Gibson came to join us. We spent two awkward nights in an uncomfortable alliance with Cook and then made the trek back to the edge of the field where we had left our 4Runner.

On our way back to Port Clyde we looped around through Liberty and nearly ran over Wilson and Carr as they jumped in front of us with their arms waving. Skip had nonchalantly rolled down his window and asked them if they had any plans. Immediately, they began begging for a ride. They said they would go anywhere and do anything as long as they could get in the SUV. They even offered up their weapons and what few supplies they had on them. Moments after the door shut a herd zoms burst from the trees and filled the road around us. Skip calmly shifted into gear and left the monsters without even leaving them a snack.

With all the seats full, Skip called it a successful recruitment effort and turned us toward the coast and our new homeport. Once in Port Clyde, he took us to an old captain’s house at the top of a hill that overlooks the harbor and now serves as the pub and general meeting hall. He introduced us to those that were around, dropped a bottle of wine and bottle of scotch on the table, lit a joint, took a drag and passed it around. He told us to have a good time because the work would start tomorrow and then he disappeared.

The next morning, Graham woke us before the sun rose and moved us aboard our new home which was moored in the harbor. She is an 80 foot twin masted schooner that goes by the name of Delirium. For three weeks we saw neither hide nor hair of Skip while Graham trained and drilled us in the operation and maintenance of our new charge. Our hands became first raw and then calloused from handling her lines. We learned to work as a team and take care of our ship. He taught us to sail the little dinghies and eventually we released Delirium from her mooring and took her for short sails just outside the harbor.

At the end of the second week a storm blew through and Zac and Carr both got horribly seasick. Graham just shook his head. How could they ever hope to sail the great blue if their stomachs could turn while at moor in a sheltered harbor.

At the end of the third week Skip reappeared out of the fog with three more recruits and announced that we would sail within a fortnight. The men all stared at him blankly; only Graham and I knew the implications of his words. We had learned much, but we weren’t ready and there was no way we would be ready in only two weeks, especially with three new crewmembers. I knew it. Graham knew it, but all he could do was drive us harder and push us further.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The List

Haha! I'm back bitches! I know I've been bad. I have been silent for way too long. But I'm sure you guys can forgive me, right? I mean, we all have our own apocalypses to deal with, not that I've been dealing with flesh eating zephyrmongers but I have been busier than a one legged midget in an ass kicking  competition (as one of my good friends would say).

So here's the deal, just in case you haven't been following my brilliant musings over on Becoming Leigh Fischer, I am back and on a schedule. Surviving the Apocalypse will now be updated every Sunday, no later than 10 PM EST (though I will probably be a couple minutes late tonight, but it is my deadline).

Unfortunately, I do not have the next installment of Delirium Jane (she will be back next Sunday . . . probably . . . maybe). But I do have a short story for you. This is a recent short I wrote in response to a Lifetime Movie writing prompt. I took my inspiration from a local woman's real life apocalypse. My hometown peeps should appreciate this one. Enjoy!

The List

Rebecca, Kerri, Vickie, and Alice have all met for their weekly book club meeting at The Leafy Dragon, a small café in town.  They sit at a round table picking at sandwiches and salads, gossiping about anything other than whatever book they were supposed to be reading.

“Did you hear? The list is coming out today,” Rebecca says as she fiddles with her iPad.

“Of course I’ve heard. When was the last time we had something so scandalous go on around here?” Vickie squeals with excitement.

“I know, this is so much better than that time Margie’s sweet angel made the arrests section of the paper for drunk driving,” Kerri adds.

“You know, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if her husband’s name is on the list,” Vickie chuckles.

“How fabulous would that be?” Rebecca says with a devilish grin. “Could you imagine? Perfect Margie’s gorgeous husband . . . paying for sex!”

“I don’t know. I don’t think that’s very funny. They have had a lot of trouble lately and are going through some tough times, they aren’t so perfect,” Alice says quietly to her friends.

“Funny, her troubles don’t seem to have changed her attitude at all,” Kerri sneers.

“It’s up! The list! I found it! The Journal has it posted!” Rebecca cries.

The three other women immediately jump to their feet and push back their chairs. They rush around the table and crowd over Rebecca to get a look at the rumored list on her beautiful glowing crystal ball.

“Roger Adams? The high school football coach, Roger Adams?” Vickie asks.

“Must be. He’s the right age and I am pretty sure he lives on West Side,” Rebecca answers.

The women cluck excitedly as they scroll down through the list of men’s names, ages, and town of residence. 

Many of the names they don’t recognize, but when they catch sight of one they do, there is a roar of laughter and hushed speculation.

“Oh my. Harry Richards.”

“What a shame.”

“Mary must be devastated.”

“Chris Taylor? That’s Samantha’s new boyfriend isn’t it?”

“I’d say that was Samantha’s new boyfriend.”

“Look, Leo Warren.”

“Not surprising.”

“Not at all.”

As their eyes drop to the last name on the list, their chatter ceases and they stare in disbelief.

“No . . . it can’t be,” escapes from Kerri’s lips

“Of course not sweetie. There must be another Mike Wilson in South Ridge,” one of her friends says without conviction.

Kerri nods, but she can feel the burning in her eyes as they begin to well with tears and she knows the truth. She knows her husband has been linked to the scandal of the decade, if not the century, and her life as she knows it is over.


The headline first broke three weeks ago, ZUMBA INSTRUCTOR ARRESTED FOR PROSTITUTION! The headline alone was sensational enough for the small city, but as the days passed and the police continued their investigation, more and more details were released to the public.

It really was a fabulous story, unlike anything that had ever been seen before. A beautiful young woman in her early thirties open’s a new zumba studio. She’s a local girl. Older folks remember her as a child and everyone else remembers going to school with her. Her business is wonderfully busy, but then again, zumba is all the rage. It is the perfect success story for a lovely girl. And then the gorgeous façade falls apart. She is arrested in the middle of one of her classes in a thrillingly public display of police power. It is soon released that she has been charged with a list of felonies a mile long to include prostitution, conspiracy to commit prostitution, and tax fraud and evasion. The absolute best part was that she kept meticulous records of all her clients. 137 johns were listed over a two year period. It was rumored that the list contained notables including a few politicians, a local news anchor, and a county judge.

Once the names had been scrubbed and the paperwork filed to bring charges against the johns, the list was released to the public and that is when all hell broke loose.


“Michael! How could you do this to me? Do you have any idea what it was like? How humiliating it was? Right there in the middle of The Leafy Dragon!” Kerri screams at her husband in their kitchen later that night.

“God Kerri! You find out that I’m cheating and you’re upset about where you found out? Only you!” Mike screams back, exasperated.

“Everyone knows! It’s everywhere! You should have seen the look on Vickie’s face.”

“Oh I’m sure I can-“

“And Alice couldn’t even look at me!” Tears stream down her face as she crosses her arms and looks away from her husband. “It’s not just cheating. This is so much worse. It’s so . . . so . . . so public.”

“I didn’t even want to do zumba. It was your idea,” Mike mutters.

“What? So this is my fault? I didn’t realize that you were incapable of working out and keeping your dick in your pants! Should I also be concerned about what you’re doing with Greg when you go play ‘basketball’ with him?”

“No! Of course not!”

“What am I going to do? Just what am I going to do?”

“I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I know exactly what I’m going to do.”

“And what is that, Michael?”

“I’ve already gotten a lawyer. I’m going to fight this.”

“But that means . . . You can’t! I won’t let you!”

“You won’t let me? Try and stop me! There is no way I am going to jail over this. My lawyer thinks I have a case.”

“But if you fight it in court and go to trial it will be all over the news. You can’t. Just when people will be starting to forget, it will start all over again.”

“Kerri, don’t be ridiculous. This is my life, my freedom, we are talking about. Not some bad dye job you don’t want anyone to see.”

“Michael, think of your children.”

“I am, damn it!”

Headlights beam through the kitchen window as a car pulls into the driveway, silencing both Mike and Kerri instantly.

“Not a word about this,” Kerri hisses at her husband.

Seventeen year-old Lisa walks through the door and stares at her parents. Kerri is leaning against the kitchen sink with her arms crossed. Trying to look natural and comfortable, she forces her arms to her sides and grimaces at her daughter. Mike shifts his weight awkwardly with his hands shoved into his pockets. His eyes dart about the room avoiding contact with the other two women.

“So it’s true,” Lisa says quietly as she closes the door.

“What’s true, sweetie?” Kerri says in a voice all too playful.

 “Mother, cut the crap. It’s all over town. Everyone knows. Did you know Milo was running a pool? Little bugger made 500 bucks.”

“What? A pool?” This time Kerri’s ignorance is sincere.

“Yea. When the cops first said they were gonna’ release the list, he started getting kids at school to bet that their dad’s names were on the list.”

“What kind of kids bet against their own fathers?”

“Well, at first it was just the kids that know they have shitty dads. But as the pool got bigger, more people wanted in, just in case . . . I think some of the teachers even got in on it.”

Kerri stares at her daughter in disbelief, trying to make sense of her words.

Lisa shakes her head. “I should have listened to him. Right from the beginning he said Dad was a sure thing since Dad did zumba.”

“That doesn’t mean anything. She had plenty of legitimate students,” Mike says defiantly.

“But you weren’t one of them!” Kerri screams, ending her momentary ceasefire.

“Where is your brother?” Mike asks his daughter, ignoring his wife as she bursts into uncontrolled sobs.

“I dropped him at Zach’s. He didn’t want to be here for this. Can’t say I blame him. I’m just here to make sure she doesn’t try to kill you or something.”

Mike smiles weakly at his daughter. “I’m sorry kiddo. I . . . this wasn’t . . . I didn’t . . .”

“It’s ok, Dad. Me and Milo, we’re gonna be fine.” Lisa walks to her father and wraps her arms around him. “Mom, is another story.”

Mike kisses the top of her head. “No matter what happens, remember I love you kids. I always will.”


Kerri hasn’t left the house in days. She is too ashamed to be seen in public. Mike wants to move out, to give her some space and time, but she just bursts into tears and cries that having her husband walk out on her would only add insult to injury. Instead, he sleeps in the guest room and spends long hours at the office.

“Ma, you should get cleaned up and go out to dinner with Aunt Alice. She was asking about you,” Milo says. He is a precocious fourteen year old who frequently forgets his age and place in the world.

Kerri continues to surf through the endless TV channels. Lounged on the couch, she wears red plaid pajamas and a pink bathrobe. There is a half empty box of tissues next to her on the floor and dozens of used ones crumpled and scattered about. An empty pint of Chunky Monkey is tipped over on the coffee table and the last of the ice cream has melted, dripped out and congealed on the wood.

“Ma, you stink. It’s August and you’re wearing flannel. When was the last time you showered?”

  Kerri ignores her son’s pleas until he shrugs and gives up, leaving her to wallow.


“I heard that she hasn’t left the house in over a month,” Margie whispers to her husband while they wait for the high school band performance to begin.

“And where did you hear that?” Jim asks, humoring his wife.

“Laura told me.”

“And our daughter is always such a reliable source,” Jim says dryly.

“Well she heard it directly from the horse’s mouth. Or damn near. The Wilson Boy-“

“Milo,” he corrects.

“Yes, yes. Milo’s locker is next to Laura’s. She overheard him telling his friends. They were placing bets.”

“On what?”

“On when she’s going to leave the house!”


“Of course I can’t blame her. What he did to her . . . she’s ruined.”

“She’s not ruined, it’s just an affair.”

“An affair? It’s prostitution. It’s public. In the newspaper. On TV. I bet they’ll even make a movie about this. It’s humiliating. If I were her, I would probably kill myself.”

“Baby, that’s a bit harsh. And why do you even care?”

“That bitch is always spreading filthy lies about me . . . shhh the band is starting.”


At 9 pm on a Wednesday night approximately six weeks after the list was released to the public, Channel 6 cuts from a sitcom to a news anchor in his late thirties with beautiful wavy brown hair and a sparkling smile.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this late breaking report. Just moments ago, an hours long standoff between police and a local woman ended in tragedy. We now go live to Jessica Thomas, on site. Jessica?”

The image cuts to a blonde woman standing in a residential neighborhood with a police officer.

“Thanks Tim. I am standing here with Officer Reynolds who was the first officer to report to the site and has been here through the whole ordeal. Officer what can you tell us?”

“Yea, I got a call ‘round 6. Neighbors had called in a domestic. Said there was a lot of yelling going on. When I got here things were pretty quiet. I knocked on the door. No answer. I tried again. Still no answer. As I started to walk away I heard someone scream ‘she’s got a gun.’ At that point I radioed for backup. It turned out the mother had taken her husband and two kids hostage.”

 “What happened next, Officer,” Jessica coaxes.

The officer shakes his head, suddenly distraught. “We messed up. Damn, we messed up bad. We waited too long or we rushed too soon. We did something wrong. We were trying to negotiate. We thought we were getting somewhere with her. Then all of a sudden . . . bam . . . bam-bam . . . . . . bam. She killed them all and then she kill-“

“This interview is over. Reynolds, get back to the station,” another police officer says as he rushes up and puts his hand in front of the camera.

Jessica tries to hold onto her scoop. “Officer, we are-”

“This interview is over; the Chief will be calling a press conference within the hour. You can get your story then.”

The feed cuts back to the handsome anchor in the studio.

“We will keep you posted as this story unfolds and details become available. We apologize for the interruption and now return you to regularly scheduled broadcasting, already in progress.”

The feed jumps back to the sitcom, leaving viewers to speculate about what had happened, whose family had been ruined, and why.