Readers on Deadline (ROD #22)

Dame Rinda

Readers on Deadline (ROD) is a monthly Deadline Dame feature where we post an intriguing image and invite readers to be inspired and share the results in up to 250 words right here in the comments.

There’s a two week deadline, so entries will have to be in by midnight when I post my next regular Deadline Dames post, which is midnight December 1st.   The Dames will pick the entry that most intrigues us, post that entry in the next month’s ROD  along with a link to that writer/reader’s site-if there is one included.  And you get a prize!

( We’d like to add a request for our readers not to re-post pictures.  Some are stock photos and those are fine, but quite a few of them are used with written permission from the artist.  Thanks! )

The winner of ROD #21 is STACY! Email your mailing address directly to me at rindaelliott@deadlinedames.com and I’ll get your copies of HUNGER and MAGIC AT THE GATE to you! We had a couple of entries that intrigued and the discussion was fun, so thanks to all who participated. I personally loved the characterization of the protagonist you packed into this tiny scene, Stacy. ;) Congratulations!

“You’re seeing things,” I said, continuing my garden work.

Cassie shook her head, her eyes still wide with fear. “I saw something, Lexi.”

I let the shovel fall and took off my gloves, wiping sweat from my eyes. “Have you been drinking your tea?”

She stared at her feet. “I told you it makes me sick.”

My sister had been seeing things since she was born. Up until she was five, I just figured she had a good imagination. But then I had spent a full day watching her scream hysterically as bruises mysteriously appeared all over her tiny body. I just didn’t know what to do about it. And I still didn’t.

Sitting on the bench, I pulled her onto my lap. “Okay. Tell me about it.”

“A girl was standing right there.” She pointed towards the wall.

I rubbed her back awkwardly, doing my best to comfort her. Somehow, the maternal instinct women are usually born with had bypassed me completely. “What did she look like?”

“Her eyes were…” She hesitated, thinking of the word. “What’s the glowy rock?”

“Amber.” I said.

“Her eyes were amber. She had dirty brown hair and she stared at me like this.” Cassie placed her hands in front of her face, as if she were hanging over a fence, but ended up looking more like a dog begging for food. “I think she wants to eat us.”

“Eat us?” I smiled. “I think only Zombies eat people, and you can’t see zombies…”

The next ROD image is by Dave Dyet. I picked it to go along with this next prize but you can write about anything. In fact, let’s see how creative you guys can get. <rubbing hands together>

 

The prize is Dame Rachel’s MY SOUL TO STEAL. You’ll be getting your copy a little early, too. ;)

Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can’t just pretend nothing happened. But “complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn’t just an ordinary girl. She’s a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people’s fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.

And Sabine isn’t above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants.

About Rinda Elliott

Rinda Elliott loves unusual stories and she credits growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and horror kept them amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, Rinda tried to separate her darker side with her humorous and romantic one. She published short fiction, but things really started happening when she gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, she loves making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with her husband and two children.

Please visit Rinda at her website/blog: http://relliott4.wordpress.com/

Comments

  1. “What is it?” he asked, gingerly testing the Wall with one finger.

    “What do you mean, “What is it?” What does it LOOK like, dammit!”

    The Wall was closed. Not only was it frozen shut, but souls were still attempting to come through.

    “Sir, I don’t know what I can do. We have to tell him. If Master knew about the panic that is spreading in Otherside, maybe he would…”

    “Maybe he would suddenly grow a conscience?” Disgust dripped from his words like acid. The dark figure glared at him; the cold steel in his expression produced chills in the air.

    “But…,” the small pale figure squeaked, clearly terrified.

    “You shouldn’t start presuming to tell me what to do.” More ghastly images appeared on the Wall, one horror stricken visage after another.

    The eerily empty hall echoed as he walked away. The small pale figure turned again and stared up at the Wall. There was nothing he could do about the creepy silhouettes appearing on the walls. The once liquid Wall was still as death. In fact, the entire Wall marked Death.

  2. Congrats Stacy!

  3. Thanks so much for the win last week, Dames! You have no idea how much I needed a boost! We are all grateful for the way you always encourage and support those of us who are still navigating the unpredictable waters of the publishing world. :)

  4. Sweat-covered bodies gyrated on the dance floor, and loud hip-hop music pulsated from the overhead speakers, overwhelming bass making the floor quiver. Iridescent lights shone over the crowd. From across the room, I could see a tan-haired man gazing at me, trying to shoot me glimpses furtively.
    He was looking at me with an intense gaze, the one that made my legs feel like jelly and my pulse race unequivocally. The corners of his lips twisted up into a dirty smile, and my heart pounded, threatening to explode in my chest.
    Even from across the room, I could see his lips forming the words: “I want you.”
    But before he could speak the words, even think them through, a horrible feeling wrenched through him, or so I thought, and I watched him collapse into a heap on the dance floor. A few fellow dancers screamed as he catapulted toward the wooden ground.
    I watched his eyes find mine, and I also watched as an utterly horrifying scream erupted from his throat. It was guttural, deep, primal.
    It also gave me great fear of what was about to happen, about what was in my future.
    Pulse pounding and heart racing, I fell to the floor, and died.

  5. Germaine Dulac says:

    “Oh, god. Not again,” I groaned, as Tiffany came rushing into the kitchen.

    “The third time this week!” she cried.

    “Yup.”

    “God, I hate this apartment!” she said, stamping her foot.

    Not that anyone could hear it. The floorboards were vibrating loudly, the windows rattling in their frames.

    Tiffany crossed her arms. “What the hell is he doing down there?”

    “I don’t know,” I said, staring down at the linoleum. “Black magic?”

    Tiffany glared at me. “Living above a necromancer was a bad idea. But no, you just had to have this apartment.”

    “You agreed,” I shot back.

    “Only because—” Tiffany stopped, looked down at the floor. “Oh, that’s lovely.”

    The floor was no longer shaking, it was thumping under our feet. I could feel a heavy, fast beat rising up through my legs, reverberating in my bones.

    Techno. Again.

    “Fucking necromancers,” Tiffany muttered. “You have to curse him.”

    “No way—”

    “Then talk to him!”

    “Fine. But you’re coming with me.”

    Three minutes later, we were standing outside of Apartment 7.

    I pounded on the door with my fist. No answer. Tiffany gave me a tiny shove from behind. I took a deep breath and gripped the knob, twisting.

    And froze on the threshold.

    Rasha was standing under a strobe light, his hands held aloft, techno blasting in the background.

    A woman lay on the floor, screaming. She had black pits for eyes, half her face shrouded in shadow.

    I knew her.

    “Holy shit,” I whispered. “That’s the landlady.”

  6. Neron watched the female scream and writhe on the floor. Her cries of pain were starting to get on his nerves. Never mind the sobbing. He actually had no idea how males could stand it. Females wailing, begging for mercy, tears scalding their cheeks, it was all very… boring.
    How many times had they sacrificed them and failed? Neron hadn’t thought it would be that freaking hard to get a virgin around here, but no, since the humans above had nothing better to do than screw their little hearts out before they knew better.
    The demon pinched the bridge of his nose, and moved to rub his itch-tired eyes.
    “That’s enough, Samael,” he ordered, looking through the surface of his mirror. The human female was there, pressed up against the glass, her eyes nothing but hollow pits of despair and agony. It tasted wonderful.
    “We haven’t even got all her blood out yet!”
    Neron growled, showing off his fangs. “Do as I say.
    Samael’s cloud-white eyes flared open, his fangs puncturing his lips in surprise. Blue blood trailed down his chin and landed on the female’s head, hissing and sputtering.
    “She’s pure,” Neron remarked, surprised. How old was the human anyway? His eyes caught on the shine on her teeth; she had braces. Now, why did that bother him?
    “All the more reason to drain her right now.”
    Logic was what he needed. Except, he couldn’t forget her braces, and the daughter that had them as well.

  7. murgatroid_98 says:

    The dream started as it always did. Ellie lay in bed in a child’s room, waiting, dreading what was to come. What always came.
    The door slowly opened, its hinges creaking, as the old woman crept in, her hand behind her back. Her toothless gums glistened as she smiled sweetly.
    “Grandma, please don’t,” she pleaded in a whisper, unable to call out, unable to move.
    The old woman kept smiling, creeping toward the bed, saying nothing as she brought the knife from behind her back.
    Ellie woke with a gasp to find her herself in her own room. She sighed with relief before she noticed the shadowy figure holding something that gleamed metallic in the dim light from the bathroom.

  8. “Christ” I said glowering at Dave

    “But Darling it’s who you are and I love you” He said big brown eyes widening and face looking mystified.

    I felt like throwing the damn thing at him how could he not understand. Instead I turned my back to the easel and him. The stupid lug followed me comming to stand just in front of me. The great big creton I had thought I loved just a the pulling of a ribbon and lifting of a sheet ago

    “I know I’m a freaking monster and you know I’m a FREAKING MONSTER” I screamed “But WHY, WHY! would you feel the need to paint me like THAT!”

    I shoved him in the chest so hard that he fell back on to the sofa. I just stood above him arms out streched, fingers curling into fists, taking him in. He looked genuinely stunned. What was I doing with this big blond lump. How could he think that his depiction of me as Munch’s the Scream was a suitable damn birthday present (true to life or not).

    What a pile of nonsense I had been speaking to my sister this morning; artistic lovers just getting you by instinct my flamming foot. Insenstive jerk.

    While I was standing steaming with anger Dave had recovered enough to to stand from the couch grabbing me roughly round the shoulders and glowering into my eyes.

    “I just painted who you are…………………………..

  9. ***** – sorry I posted this the first time without filling in my name! or email address!

    “Christ” I said glowering at Dave

    “But Darling it’s who you are and I love you” He said big brown eyes widening and face looking mystified.

    I felt like throwing the damn thing at him how could he not understand. Instead I turned my back to the easel and him. The stupid lug followed me comming to stand just in front of me. The great big creton I had thought I loved just a the pulling of a ribbon and lifting of a sheet ago

    “I know I’m a freaking monster and you know I’m a FREAKING MONSTER” I screamed “But WHY, WHY! would you feel the need to paint me like THAT!”

    I shoved him in the chest so hard that he fell back on to the sofa. I just stood above him arms out streched, fingers curling into fists, taking him in. He looked genuinely stunned. What was I doing with this big blond lump. How could he think that his depiction of me as Munch’s the Scream was a suitable damn birthday present (true to life or not).

    What a pile of nonsense I had been speaking to my sister this morning; artistic lovers just getting you by instinct my flamming foot. Insenstive jerk.

    While I was standing steaming with anger Dave had recovered enough to to stand from the couch grabbing me roughly round the shoulders and glowering into my eyes.

    “I just painted who you are…………………………..

  10. I was dark as I made my way through the forest all I had was moonlight to guide me. The trees looked tall and threatening and taunting, like I was trapped. I heard footsteps and knew that they were coming.The vampires. I also knew that they wold catch me. I just coudn’t run away from them. I was looking for a place to hide and I saw a tree. Its branches were low and it looked easy to climb.I climbed until I was sure they couldn’t see me .The trees would cover my scent so they can’t track me.I hear a man’s voice saying “Where is she? She was right here!” I hoped they they couldn’t hear my heart which was pound a mile a minute.The one person who could help was the person who I was anrgy at.But right now I need him.If I really have powers then this has to work.I called his name through my mind.Please please please work I begged.NICHOLAS. Please help. And that was when I heard the rustling ******

  11. DramaQueen says:

    “I’m telling you, she’s dead,” Katherine shook her head disgustedly, leaning against the wall. She grimaced and looked toward the shed, positioned in the overgrown bushes. “She looked dead.”
    “She could still be alive,” my brother Jack countered, drawing near the old wooden structure. “We could still help her.” He propped the creaky door open, swinging the flashlight around to look.
    It was a girl, cowering on the ground and trying to shield her face from the light. Dirty dark hair, highly arched back and the impossibly thin fingers with untended fingernails could only mean one thing.
    “Get away from her, you idiot!” I hissed, reaching for Jack. One second, that was how long it took me to get to him.
    I was one second too late.
    The creature launched herself at Jack, clawing and tearing. I heard the horrible, almost imperceptible sound of flesh ripping and Jack gave a blood-chilling scream.
    Katherine, her face ashen, grabbed the girl – the thing – around her neck and pulled, throwing her back into the shed. She slammed the door and tried to lock it with trembling fingers.
    I knelt by Jack, brushing his blood-drenched hair away from his face. “I’m fine,” he tried to wave me away but only succeeded in raising his hand a few inches.
    “Jackie, you’re bleeding to death,” I murmured. He gave a weak smile.
    “That’s what I get for trying to help, eh, Susie?”
    “Jack?”
    His eyes drifted shut, never to open again.

  12. Her scream echoed, bouncing eerily off the walls. She ran into a dark alley, fiercely hoping to find sanctuary as fear guided her.
    It was so similar to a horror movie scene, Becca almost laughed. But Becca never laughed.
    It wasn’t part of the job.
    “Just stop running,” Becca muttered darkly. “It’s been a long day. Let me kill you and get this over with.”
    The girl stared with big, terrified gray eyes. Her honey brown hair was matted, framing her chubby face whilst blending with the glow of the streetlamps.
    “Why?” Her voice shook. Tears glided down her cheeks. “I’m just a girl. My name is Savannah Brown. I didn’t do anything. We didn’t steal that money, I swear.”
    Becca gritted her teeth. Knowing their name always made doing her job a thousand times harder. It was the humanity that the name gave them – making them more alive than before. Light from the streetlamp spilled on Savannah. Shadows were cast over her face.
    This is my life, Becca suddenly realized. Shadows and light. Either dark or not; never in the middle. Right and wrong. Good and evil. Becca’s existence was grimly black and white. And the other, painfully ironic similarity between the night and Becca’s life was that darkness outweighed the light.
    “This is my job, Savannah Brown. It could be your fault, or it could be a misunderstanding. I don’t care.”
    Did she?
    Shadows and light. And the echo of a gunshot

  13. How long had I been polishing the mirror?

    Sluggish and achy, I could only move my eyes from the reflective dark facade to the window—ugh, layered in dust already?—where light slipped through the blinds.

    Moonlight.

    A familiar fear crept into the residual dream-haze. Four hours gone, maybe five?

    Super… a new record.

    With a now-pounding heartbeat, I knew an anxiety attack was looming. Yet my mind traveled the distraction route, destination semantics: is it grammatically correct to use “sleepwalking” if it keeps happening while conscious? Narcolepsy doesn’t work, “visions” sounded borderline sacrilegious, and I refused to call them “daydreams” on princip—

    Sharp ringing cuts off thought, the warning too late. Not a panic attack.

    A recall.

    Fragments invade my mind in replay.

    Me in the obsidian mirror. Drown, drown in darkness. A reflection too pale. Not me. Her. Long hair flutters, a dark shroud preserving pained eyes. Familiar. The mouth stretches too wide. Silent screaming fills my head. My jaw throbbing in empathy. Can’t look away. Empty soul, bad mirror, inside to outside. Run, run it won’t stop.

    Stop.

    Stop!

    NOW NELCY!

    A sob erupts from my throat and I’m wrenched to the surface. Everywhere, the aftershocks are raw and stinging just like every recall before. I dimly realize my nose is bleeding before I stumble into a smooth, cold resistance. The mirror. Abuelita’s mirror.

    Fresh terror drowns me. The mindless chores, the busy work? I wasn’t just being punished for running away.

    This was a test.

  14. the witch and the warlock ran into the nearest safe house they could find. the phone rang laura answered the phone a little frightened when she put it down she screamed. lucas ran over and tried to stop her becasuse if she continued they be able to find them. after
    laura calmed down
    lucas asked her “who was at the phone how could anyone know were here we just got here?”
    laura answered as if it was obvious ” my psychic sister luna of course”
    “well what did she say that got u to scream” said lucaus
    laura started to cry “lunas the only one left they came int the school and destroyed everytrhing and everyone. she was able to leave just in time before the cleaners started killing and taking powers
    “are u sure maybe some escaped
    no said laura she scriued and could onlh find us, which means us three are left and the cleaners wont stop till they get us
    tne door bell rang and lucas jumped. he sent a thought to her head ” i luv u go find ur sister i could tell its the cleaners they want us to think there her.
    there was not ime fro laura to reply the cleaners burst throught the door and killed lucas and laura screamed and screamed with all her might with vengence in her mind she somehow was able ti kill the cleaners but it was to late lucas was dead and it was just her the only think she could do was find luna so she left

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  1. [...] the deadline for the last ROD and the prize is a copy of Dame Rachel’s MY SOUL TO STEAL. Go hereto check it out.  And speaking of Dame Rachel, she’s also in a chat at Harlequin’s [...]