#AtoZChallenge: Sweetest Sound

Sonmore High School was quiet at midday, quieter than it had ever been.

Most of the students were in class.

A small group was hiding under the bleachers out by the football field. One of them had a packet of cigarettes, stolen from his mother.

A couple of young lovebirds had snuck into one of the supply closets to fool around.

Ms. Tanner was writing out an equation on the board. Her chalk slid along the slate surface without making a sound. Her students looked at each other in confusion.

Mr. Patrick’s class had been giggling about his odd haircut mere moments ago. Their grins turned to shocked stares as their voices died in their throats.

Stacy Hicks had been reading aloud from MacBeth in English class. She continued sounding out the words, looking around the room for any signs that the others heard her, growing more frantic as she saw the fear on their faces.

The boy by the football field dropped his cigarettes when he could no longer hear his friends joking amongst each other.

The couple in the supply closet screamed when their loving moans died away, but nobody heard them.

Not a sound was heard anywhere in the school. No talking. No yelling. No laughter. No droning lectures. No footsteps. No heartbeats.

Ms. Sybil walked into the library with a smile on her face. Silence at last. Just the way she liked it.

Blood Red

Don’t go into the forest at night.

That’s what the townspeople say.

It seems like common sense, or folksy wisdom, but there’s more to it than that. Nobody will say anything further.

Find a man in a tavern and buy him enough beer, and he’ll start to talk. He’ll tell you about the town and its secrets, of the mayor’s affair with the baker’s daughter and how nobody makes eye contact with Farmer Hill anymore, not after the rumors spread about the sounds that come out of his barn.

Buy him a few more beers and he’ll tell you about the girl. His eyes, though glazed with drunken pleasure, will show a flicker of fear. His voice, loud and jovial, will drop to a trembling whisper. He will beckon you closer and tell you about the red-hooded girl of the forest. Or at least, what appears to be a girl.

It’s believed that she is a spirit of some sort. She is definitely not of this world, and even her human guise is not without its flaws. Her eyes are too big, some say, and her teeth are too large. On nights when the moon is a pale shimmering disc in the sky, she is seen roaming the forests surrounded by wolves. They do not harm her and she does not mind them. They move as one.

He looks around, even though nobody is paying the old drunk any attention, then locks his glassy eyes on you. And if, he says, if you disregard the townsfolk’s warning, if you find yourself wandering through the trees in the darkness and you come face to face with the red-hooded apparition, tell her you’re going to grandma’s house.

She may let you live.

He runs a finger across the twisted scar running from his throat down to his chest and takes another swig from his beer mug. He will tell you no more.

As you leave the tavern, having paid for the old man’s booze, there is a sound of howling. The pale yellow moon shines down upon you, full and bright. Wolves. You turn away, but another sound follows the howls, a sound made by no man or beast of this earth. It is the sound of lost souls or vengeful demons or horrors yet unknown, wandering the land cloaked in a red hood.

Three Line Tales: Silence

tlt-w9
Photo Credit: Moritz Schmidt

They stared at her, unable to voice their horror.

She smiled and returned to her book.

Peace at last. Their silence was her reward.

I fell behind on Three Line Tales over the past month or so because of the April A to Z Challenge and various other matters that were pestering me for my attention. It’s time to get back into it. And I intend to catch up on all the prompts I missed, starting with Week Nine.

Write On!

Well, it looks like 2016 is off to a pretty great start in terms of writing!

My entry for Last Week’s Three Line Tales went on to become my most popular post yet, which is pretty awesome! If you haven’t already, you can check it out here.

And just yesterday, I got an email thanking all the writers that participated in the WEP Valentine’s Challenge and announcing the winners. As it turns out, I had the winning story!

When Yolanda and Renee at WEP announced that their first challenge of the year would be related to Valentine’s Day, I was stumped. Romance is not my genre at all, and I didn’t want to attempt to write something sappy. Part of me considered skipping it altogether, but then what’s the point of a challenge if you’re not going to challenge yourself?

So I decided to give it a shot. After a lot of thinking and several abandoned ideas, I finally came up with something that seemed like it would be a worthy entry. I was pretty happy with it overall, considering how reluctant I’d initially been about writing it. And it seemed to garner quite a bit of praise when it was submitted. But to win? That was completely unexpected!

And now, I’m more eager than ever to dive into more challenges and see where they take me!

My WEP entry is posted here.

Here are the runners-up, both of whom had wonderful takes on the theme:

Olga Godim – Hannah’s Rugelach

Writerly Sam – The Bridge Between Lost and Found

The full list of entries can be found on the WEP Challenge page. I’d recommend reading them all.

Tea Time

“More tea?”

“Oh, no more for me, thank you.”

“Are you sure? Not even a little bit?”

“Well…alright. Just one more cup.”

Jeffrey sipped his tea with a smile.

His body would be found two days later.

Just another victim of the baffling serial killer known as Mr. Teacup.