Flash Fiction – The Beach House Part 4

The Beach House

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Part 4

After slamming the door to her bedroom, Jen started pacing. She was shivering and the walls felt like they were thumping in time to her heartbeat, closing in on her and retreating with each pounding beat. She knew she should change out of her wet clothes but she felt stuck and the more she thought of reaching for her bag and pulling out dry clothes, the faster she paced.

She’d never known Walter to act like he had on the beach. He was always the happy, carefree one; always finding a joke in whatever was happening, but on the beach, he had stared at her so strangely. He hadn’t even flinched when the sand flew into his face and swirled around his head.

The weight of her thoughts kept pushing her from one end of the bedroom to the other, back and forth in a steady pace as if the monotony would help calm her thoughts.

The bang on the door rattled the room and made her catch her breath. Her head flew around, expecting to see the door flying open and Walter standing in the doorway, but it was closed. Thank God she’d had the presence of mind to turn the lock.

“Go away, Walter. I’m still mad at you.”


She kept her eyes on the door, wondering if he would listen to her and go somewhere else or if his strange behavior would continue. After staring at the door a few more minutes without hearing another sound, her eyes started wandering around the tiny room and stopped on a small shelf she hadn’t noticed when she dropped her bags off earlier.

It looked empty and she was about to look away when she realized there was something on it. She had to tell herself more than once to move forward, but she finally stepped toward the shelf and reached up. It was just high enough that she couldn’t quite get a grip on whatever was up there, so she pushed it with her fingertips until it fell off the shelf and landed on the hardwood floor with a soft thud.

It was a book.

Picking it up, she brushed away dust that had settled on the top of it. The outside was leather and there was an elastic strap wrapped around it, holding it closed. There were no markings on it, so she couldn’t tell exactly what it was, but if she had to venture a guess, she would have said it was a journal of some sort. She turned it back and forth in her hands, weighing the decision of whether or not to open it.

She glanced toward the door, but the only things she could hear were the faint sound of the not-too-distant ocean and the creaks of an old house settling in the night. She knew sleep wasn’t happening any time soon, so she started unwrapping the band as she slowly made her way to the bed.

Sitting down, she opened it to the first page and realized her guess was correct. It was a journal, and the handwritten words were strewn sporadically across the first page. She flipped a few pages and saw that the words were less and less organized the farther she went. Sometimes the writing was neat and precise and at other times it was large with only a few words on each page. Those stood out the most and she couldn’t help but read them as she turned the pages.




The more she read, the more horrified she became. She flipped all the way to the end but the last few pages were empty. Not knowing why, she turned back to the very last thing that had been written.

I have this strange feeling that it will happen today. The water is calling me. It surrounds me in my dreams and I hear it rushing towards me during the day. I can hear it even now as I sit here writing this. I don’t want to die, but he has other plans. There was never any hope for me. What is hope, after all, but a fleeting dream that evaporates in the cold light of reality. His reality…”

Jen was mesmerized by the final words that somehow seemed to fade off the page. She was turning the pages back to start from the beginning when another bang fell on the door, only this time there was more force behind it and she heard wood splintering.

The book fell out of her hands as she jumped to her feet, her heart skittering in her chest. Another bang and the door split from the lock and slammed back against the wall. Her eyes opened wide as she watched Walter race toward her and grab her throat with both hands, lodging a scream on its way out so the only sound that escaped was a pitiful screech.

She flailed her hands, trying to grab onto his arms, scratching and clawing at his vice-like grip as it continued to squeeze tighter and tighter. Not finding escape, she started reaching her hands behind her, on the bed, anywhere she could feel, but there was nothing there. Her eyesight was going black around the edges and the scream she wanted to release through her mouth echoed through the crevices of her brain after finding no release.

Realizing she wasn’t going to force Walter to let her go, she tried one last thing. Her eyes met Walter’s, hoping her plea for mercy was written in her eyes and that it would translate into his. What she saw was Walter, the man she loved, but Walter was no longer behind the eyes that stared back at her with a vacant expression.

Her eyesight was a small pinhole in a pool of black and Jen watched as he tilted his head to the side and squeezed even harder. She felt a single tear fall out of her right eye and slide down her face before her world finally went completely black.

I don’t have any excuse for my long absence. I think I just needed a break, but the small break I thought it was going to be turned into almost an entire month. I’m going to work my way back to posting more often and will get this story finished now that I have a pretty solid plan for an ending. It’s pretty funny that I had no idea what was going to happen when I wrote the first three parts. I will post another part on Sunday and keep to my original plan going forward.

Thank you to all my followers for hanging in there with me and for your constant support. I love this writing thing. It really is my passion and has the added benefit of helping me cope with this crazy thing called life.

SoCS – Some Exercise and Some Inspiration

Not all of you have been following me since I began this journey, but last July I posted about a tragic event in my life and how much it shook me and changed plans I had made for the rest of the year. I didn’t go into much detail since it wasn’t my story to tell, but today was a milestone and I can’t help but write about it, even if I have to stretch the “some” in there to make it fit into SoCS.

My sister was diagnosed with a blood clot less than a year ago and while I’m more grateful than I can say that she survived and it didn’t turn into a stroke or anything worse, I’m amazed at the journey she has been on and how long it has taken to recover. She isn’t completely there yet, but she has come leaps and bounds from that three-day hospital stay and needing help just walking from one room to the next.

Last year, my sister and I were engaged in training for the Tough Mudder. That didn’t actually happen and won’t happen this year. It was a long-shot when we signed up for it and I’m not surprised I didn’t actually make it, but just the thought that I could do it and spent four to five months actively engaged in exercise and working towards it is something I’ll never forget. It helped me see what I’m actually capable of.

Just to put things into perspective, last year, my sister and I were clocking 30-33 minute 5Ks and our times were continually improving. Needless to say, she hasn’t been able to run since her diagnosis, but it’s a goal she has set for herself. She loves it way more than I can say I do.

I’ve watched her in her darkest moments when all she wanted to do was go home and I’ve watched and listened to her reach milestones and goals. I can tell you she has never lost hope and never given up. She has learned acceptance, and (probably the hardest thing for her and me) she has learned when to push herself and when to accept her pain. If only we could all deal with illness and setbacks with as much grace as she has shown in the past year.

Today, I’m not sure if she had an ultimate goal besides finishing 3 miles. She’s walked two miles in the past few months, but I think it took her 45 minutes or more. Today, we walked 3.2 miles in a little over 56 minutes. The last half mile was a test and I wasn’t honestly sure if she would make it. She had a moment when she slowed way down and I told her we were so close. She said her brain wasn’t communicating with her legs anymore, but instead of giving up, she started telling her legs to move forward, just put one foot in front of the other, and within a few moments, she was back on pace. When we could see the finish line, we started jogging. It was a slow jog, in fact slower than what we were walking, but she jogged across the finish line. I have no doubts that she will continue to push herself and will get herself back to her normal running pace and we will be all over the race scene by next year.

She inspires me every single day, but today I am overwhelmed with pride and joy and hope.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt was “some/sum.” Feel free to click the link and join in.


SoCS – Picking at Bones

I have a bone to pick with myself and unfortunately for you, I’ve decided to do it here on my blog. Besides, once an idea hatches from a prompt, it’s difficult for me to try and find something else and usually leads to staring at a blank screen fighting with words.

I just looked up the origin of “a bone to pick” and it’s said the origin is around the 1600s in England and it has to do with two dogs fighting over a bone, or a dog picking a bone clean. I think it fits very well, even if I’m not fighting with someone else. It’s an internal battle that rages on and I’m having a hard time breaking free. At times, I wonder when the bone will ever be picked clean, but I think it’s one that continues to feed itself so there is no end.

I’m sure that all sounds pretty melodramatic, and I suppose I am at this point. The worst part is that I realize I am the only person who can decide to change. I am the only person who will set myself free, but it seems that there is always a reason to continue down this path I’ve found myself traveling.

I’ve blamed it mostly on my job. I’m more stressed than I used to be. I work harder than I used to. My hours are different. And I suppose those are all valid arguments for a time. But the two things that would probably help me the most are the two things that I’ve let slip over the past months.

I’ve completely stopped exercising which has led to an uncomfortable addition to certain parts of my body that makes it difficult to fit into my clothes. To make matters worse, I decided at the beginning of June that I needed a tiny break from blogging just to recharge since I had blogged every day for two months. The “tiny” break has turned into almost a full month and I’m missing my creative outlet and all the lovely folks I connect with through my blog.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set my alarm to exercise in the morning and simply turned it off and went back to sleep. I can’t tell you how many different ideas I’ve had for blogging that I’ve simply let slip between my fingers. And the worst reason that I could have ever thought of to stop doing the two things that make me immeasurably happy is “the day job” that does hardly anything to fulfill me and only seems to make me unhappy of late.

When you read this, I will be hiking with my boyfriend and my son. I’m hoping this will be the kick-start I need to get my ass off the couch and back outside running or doing yoga. I need it. I need to do things that give me an outlet; otherwise, I feel like I will waste away into a deep black oblivion where all I see is work stress and all I feel is hopeless.

No more picking at bones that spin in spirals and have no end. It’s time to start again. Right now!

I appreciate all your patience, especially if you made it through this drivel. I think I needed the release and I’m feeling better. 🙂

I would love to hear how you’ve pulled yourself out of depressing slumps. You probably won’t give me any more insight than I’ve already had, but maybe it will make us both feel better – you in the venting and me for feeling not so alone.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G. Hill. Today’s prompt was “bone.” Feel free to click on the link and join in. Perhaps others will have more upbeat things to share.


Teaser Tuesday – By The Light Of The Moon

I think I’m addicted to Dean Koontz. Maybe it’s just me, but when I read his words, I’m simply in awe of how he puts them all together and manages to tell an intense and satisfying story. He does all those things right that we so often find in writing guideline books/blogs. He doesn’t bash you over the head with too much information all at once – he sprinkles it in a bit over time but still keeps you engaged by his description of a hamburger joint of all things. I find his writing compelling and it often shows me how I want to write. Mostly, I just sit and only wish I could write as good as he does.

I suppose if I had a truckload of books that I’d written and published, perhaps I would be that good too. Who knows. What I do believe is that practice makes better and better over time, so maybe I should stop fidgeting on the sidelines and jump into the game. Maybe…

On to the Teaser! Today’s book is “By the Light of the Moon.” I’m intrigued and can’t wait to find out what the hell is going on. It’s another of his books that I don’t want to put down. You can find this particular teaser on page 50 of the paperback that was published in 2002.

“He seemed to avoid such directness not solely because of his severe psychological disorder, and not merely because he was pathologically shy. Sometimes, in a fanciful moment, Dylan could almost believe that Shep’s withdrawal from the world, beginning in early childhood, had occurred when he had discovered that he could read the secrets of anyone’s soul by what was written in the eyes… and had been unable to bear what he saw.”

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Feel free to click the link and join in.

SoCS – Boom!

One of my favorite expressions lately is “Boom!” But not in the sound-effect way, so does that mean I’m taking it out of the realm of onomatopoeia and turning it into something else? I don’t know, but I can honestly tell you that I’ve thought quite a lot about what to write about today and the only thing that came to mind was this word.

As many of you know, I started a new job in February. It’s been a stressful transition to say the least and I still feel that I’m trying to adjust to a new place, more stress, actually having to work at my day job rather than working for the few hours I had something to do and blogging the rest. My boyfriend always tells me to be careful what I ask for. Turns out, he was right. Apparently, the Universe noticed how much I bitched about how little I actually worked at my last job and here I am with so much to do that my head spins and I come home exhausted, not wanting to do anything at all besides vegetate in front of the TV.

Working with my supervisor, we managed to fulfill a particularly demanding task that I didn’t think was going to happen, so I was actually really excited when we managed to do it. An email went out thanking both of us for what we had done and she forwarded it to me and our manager and all she said in her part of the email was “Boom!”

I actually love this word when it’s used like this. It actually seems to say exactly how it feels to complete a job well done. (I use the word ‘actually’ way too much, but since this is stream of consciousness, I can’t go back and change it. It’s one of the many things I edit out of my writing constantly. It’s like I can’t get my full meaning across unless I add more to it. It’s frustrating, and now you all know…) It’s not even that it was a job well done. It’s more that it was an impossible task and we managed to complete it. So, to that, I say “Boom!” as well.

There must be something in the air today, because I felt like this post was all over the place just like our lovely host, Linda G. Hill, said hers was. You can still join in the chaos by clicking the link. The prompt she gave us for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was to use an onomatopoeia.


SoCS – Truth or Myth?

Did you ever wonder why our parents found it necessary to scare the shit out of us when we were children?

If you eat cookie dough, you’ll get worms in your stomach…

Don’t crack your knuckles or they’ll get big and gnarly and gross…

You’d better go to bed early, before the boogie man comes to get you…

The thing about these little bits of scariness is that in this particular day and age, there is so much information floating around just at our fingertips. You want to know if something is true or not? Type the question into Google or just ask Siri.

I made the mistake of telling my daughter the knuckle thing just recently and she laughed at me. She happened to take a medical anatomy class in high school and her teacher said it was a myth. If anything, cracking your knuckles actually helps release tension and is good for your hands. There are things that can make your knuckles huge and your hands gross and gnarly, like arthritis*, but it doesn’t happen from cracking your knuckles.

Obviously, the other ones I’ve listed are clearly scare tactics, but there are others that actually make you wonder, is that really true? I’m betting that most of them are crap, and it makes me wonder why parents find it necessary to feed their children lies. We are raised that lying is a bad thing, but we are inundated with them when we are children – Santa Clause to name one of the big ones.

I remember when my mother told me the truth and I cried and cried. It was traumatizing, but somehow we make it okay to do this to our children as, I don’t know, “all in good fun?” I admit that I did the same thing with my own children, but I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had felt the same way when I was younger that I do now. I started to change my ideals as they were growing and I didn’t make a big show out of the “reveal;” I just stopped hiding the fact that I was the one putting the presents under the tree. They eventually figure it out on their own and either ask or just start talking about it openly, but I no longer agree that lying to our children, especially in an attempt to control or scare them, is the right way to bring them up.

I still have things I say that make me stop and think, is that really true or is that a myth too? Luckily, I have all that information at hand, and you can bet I ask.

It always makes me laugh when an intense argument happens over information. Why don’t we just look up the answer? I usually do. Some of that comes with being a perfectionist… although now that I think about it, that isn’t an entirely honorable reason to want information. I don’t like feeling like an idiot when I firmly believe something is true, only to find out it’s been bullshit all along.

Perhaps it will make you think twice when you pass along a myth you heard as a child. Nine times out of ten, there is no validity to the claim whatsoever.

*I would just like to point out that I didn’t look up whether arthritis does this to your hands, although maybe I should. 🙂

Note: It must be my mind frame, but I honestly thought this post was going to have a bit of fun in it, but I think it comes across as something else, and since it’s stream of consciousness, I can’t change it… So, just know that I really meant it as a funny, “geez why do we do this” post, and not a “what kind of monster are you?” sort of thing.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G. Hill. Today’s prompt was “information.” Feel free to click the link and join us! (and now the link is actually there…)



Teaser Tuesdays – The Botanist

I am currently reading The Botanist by L.K. Hill. I am lucky enough to know the author personally, she is my niece, and I attended a book signing on the day the book was released. I’ve been anticipating reading the book since I bought it, but I’ve had a hard time finishing the other one I was reading. I don’t put books down easily, but after only reaching page 300 of 600 after a month and a half, I decided enough is enough. It very well could have had something to do with the fact that I kept thinking about this one!

I picked up The Botanist a few days ago and can’t stop reading… I’ve been so busy, I wish that were true, but when I do read it, I wish I could read it until it was finished, but I can’t, so I try to make time when I can. It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to finding out what’s going on. If you like murder thrillers, this one is worth picking up. I’ve put a link to the Kindle edition on Amazon.

Here is a link to Liesel’s blog so you can check it out as well: http://musingsonfantasia.blogspot.com/

My teaser is from page 11.

“He could never escape the images. Eyes open or shut, asleep or awake, laughing or crying, he always saw them.”

Teaser Tuesday’s is hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Feel free to click the link and join in the fun.