Saturday, June 25, 2011

Last Stop Part 3... and a little history

     So, when I was about eleven years old, I thought it would be a great idea to stay up late on a Friday night and watch the late night scary movie. Keep in mind that up until then, my closest experience with anything close to a horror movie was Ultraman, Johnny Socko, and the various Godzilla movies (Destroy All Monsters was the best!). The movie I decided to cut my young horror-curious teeth on was Night Of The Living Dead. George Romero's black and white classic. For an eleven year old that had lived a pretty sheltered life, what was I thinking! Scared the crap out of me! And I LOVED it. Flesh-eating zombies. What a concept. And then the totally unexpected ending! WOW! I think the next one was Bad Ronald, a cult classic IMPO. Or maybe it was Empire Of The Ants. In any event, it took a long time before something else comparable in its scare meter came along. The next one that honestly creeped me out was at the movie theatre watching Jack Nicholson several feet high in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. For truly disturbing and uncomfortable imagery, and a classic for sure, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The original one. And then, the magic was lost for many years as a bunch of crap came out and I lost interest in horror movies for quite some time. Then I took a chance on a remake of a Japanese horror movie called The Ring and the magic was reinstated. It is truly a creepy movie full of atmosphere. And more recently, and yes I admit to seeing it, not a horror movie per se, but truly terrifying, The Lovely Bones. Stanley Tucci? Hated him. We'll talk more movies later. And books too. How about you? What movie, horror or not, truly terrified you? Here's Last Stop Part Three...

Last Stop Part Three

          The foursome met for dinner promptly at six o’clock. David and Carrie claimed one side of the table and Granny Muriel and strange and quiet William on the other. William kept his head down as they gathered, staring intently at the empty plate as if willing food to appear upon it. When David and Carrie had entered the room, the multi-course meal was already laid out across the expansive table. The four remaining empty chairs were all tucked tightly under the table, and upon noticing them, David remembered the other guest, Mr. Wright who was apparently late or absent.
            “No Mr. Wright?” David asked in Muriel’s direction. She glanced up from the table.
            “Mr. Wright prefers t’be alone and takes his meals in his room after we’ve eaten. He was very ad’mant ‘bout it.”
            “Oh,” was all David could reply with, then thought and added, “well, that’s what I hear about writers, or anyone creative really, ‘don’t mess with the vibe you know, stay in the groove’.
            Muriel looked at him a moment, possibly perplexed by his language, then smiled.
            “Yes,” was all she offered. Carrie reached for a towel-covered bowl that she assumed was rolls. Muriel reached across the table and tapped-not really a smack- her hand.
            “we got to say grace first, dear.”
            Carrie stared at her blankly, then looked to David, then back to Muriel.
            “Of course,” she said quietly. William gave out a sort of half-snort, half-chuckle; the first sign of any emotion the man had.
            “Yes, let’s say grace so we can eat. I’m starving,” David said, both because it was true and to also corral the tension at the table. He and Carrie weren’t very religious and so never gave much thought to thanking the Lord for their meals.
            “Lord, thank you for this food we’re ‘bout t’eat and for the comp’ny of our guests. You are the giver, we’re the takers. Amen. Alright honey, go ahead,” Muriel said to Carrie.
            “Thank you,” she replied and again reached for the rolls. David attacked the various bowls and had a full plate even before he had ransacked them all. In the center of the spread was a mound of barbeque stacked upon a platter. He took several pieces of the meat.
            “Pass me those beans please, William,” Muriel said to the man-child who held onto the bowl and shook his head.
            “William,” she again said. A slight curl rose in his lip, not quite a smile but a mischievous prelude to one. Again he shook his head. David and Carrie just watched quietly.
            “William, you hand over them beans or I’ll brain you good, you hear?”
            That was all it took. William frowned and handed them to his mother who let out a small, triumphant ‘hmmph’ sound.
            “Dear Lord. This is the best barbeque I’ve ever had,” David said, smacking his lips from the gooey sauce.
            “Thank you hon ,” Muriel started, “ if nothing else, we’re pretty well known ‘round here for it.”
            The idea that there was anyone ‘round here’ as Muriel put it amused David, who licked his fingers before continuing. Carrie gave his thigh a slap as to say ‘don’t be a pig, use a napkin’.
            “What kind of meat exactly is this? It has an unusual after taste,” he said, then thought and added, “a good one I mean.”
            “I know, and it’s a bit chewy too, ain’t it?” Muriel said, not seeming offended in the least bit, but merely stating a fact.
            “Yeah, it is. But I can’t get enough of it,” David said merrily, tore another piece off and popped it in his mouth. Muriel chuckled with delight.
            “Its lamb dear, slaughtered lambs,” she said. While this remark was odd and even a bit disturbing, it did nothing to slow David’s pace.
            “Try some,” Muriel said to Carrie. She looked at the meat, then raised her hand, passing on it. David looked to her, his lips slathered with sauce.
            “Really hon, it’s unbelievable.”
            “No. Thanks, really,” she said and continued to merely pick at the sides on her plate.
            David shrugged, Muriel shrugged, William did nothing but clean his plate. No one had noticed how fast he had consumed his dinner. He looked to his mother, not lifting his head but only raising his eyes.
            “Nice job son, you may be excused,” Muriel told him. William pushed his chair back and rose up, seeming to tower over the table and the three remaining diners.
            “Tell our guests goodnight,” Muriel said. William seemed to be struggling with his mouth until finally a quick and muffled ‘goodnight’ erupted from it. He pushed the chair back in and expediently left the room.
            The remainder of the dinner continued with David gorging himself even though his wife appeared to be disgusted by it. She picked her way through her dinner. David, between mouthfuls of food, told Muriel the story of how he and Carrie met, at a bookstore as he was trying to find information on the procedures for receiving a substantial inheritance. His aunt, who had raised him awhile and had no children of her own, had died and left no small fortune to him. Sure the lawyers would explain it all but he was hoping to get answers that were in a language he could more easily understand. As it turned out, it was very straight forward without any hassles. He was also looking for a good book on investing said inheritance and settled on ‘Investing for Dummies’.
Carrie had bumped into him as she was perusing the shelves of books. Simply an accident and yet one that fate seemed to bring them together. They ran into one another yet again in the bookstore’s in-house cafĂ©. They talked, sat down, talked more, and from there the relationship bloomed and flourished. Several months later they were married, Vegas-style and now here they were at this unusual and remote bed and breakfast.
            They wrapped up the night finishing the story of David and Carrie and were in the process of turning in when David glanced down at the decimated table. A thought popped into his head, surprisingly one that hadn’t occurred through the entire dinner until now.
            “By the way,” he said to Muriel, “Carrie and I walked around the house earlier and noticed that there doesn’t seem to be a kitchen. Where did you make that wonderful dinner?”
            Muriel smiled.
            “Well, the ‘riginal one was on this floor but it was too small for our barbeque operation. We sell it to some of the local markets you know. Anyhow, we put in a big one downstairs to ‘commodate.”
            “We found the stairs, but didn’t go down. That must be a hassle for dinner though. Bringing it all up here.”
            “I ‘spose you didn’t notice the dummy waiter,” Muriel said, “right outside the doorway in the hall.”
            “No, I guess not. Convenient,” David said satisfied, then added, “you must buy the meat at the market though. We didn’t see any animal outside anywhere.”
            “No, we raise our own. They’re around. We slaughter’em out in the barn.”
            “Oh,” David said, caught off-guard by the direct statement. He glanced to his wife who looked like she was going to be sick, “nothing but the freshest huh?”
            “Yes,” Muriel said, “goodnight now, I’m retiring after I clean up.”
            David looked at the table, then back to Muriel.
            “Can we offer you any help?” He again glanced to Carrie who gave him an ‘are you out of your mind?’ look.
            “Thanks, but you’re our guests, and ‘sides, I been doing this a long time. We got a dishwasher downstairs too.”
            “What’s his name?” David said attempting to make a joke that neither woman laughed at. He cleared his throat. “Okay then, goodnight. And thank you again for the meal.”
            “You’re welcome dear. Goodnight now. Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Muriel smiled a big grin. David noticed there was a piece of chewy barbeque stuck between her teeth.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Last Stop, Part 2

Welcome again everyone and Happy Father's Day to those that apply. Speaking of which, I want to share a video that they played at our church this morning that is off the hook. (How's that for a shot of true dorkappotomusness!) (How's that for a great made-up word?) When I decided to create this blog I didn't give much thought to how often I would post. I think about once a week is a good pace, or more often if there is something that just can't wait. Anyway, enjoy the video, then get to reading Last Stop, Part 2.

I just love the guy with the disney video. My wife says the guy with the socks and sandals remind her of me. I can only hope to be that cool(the 60 inch cut ya know).Ok, now for the real fun!

Last Stop Part 2

           The couple spent the afternoon wandering around the large house, admiring its beauty. They discovered the library which was actually two bookcases containing about eighty books in all, hardly a library. David had scanned the titles. A lot of classics, all of them fairly old, a few non-fiction titles, most popular the everlasting Dr. Spock’s baby book and other out dated volumes, and none by ‘Mr. Wright’. The books themselves were quite dusty on the top edges; as though someone dusted the spines, not the tops, and showing that none had been read in some time.
            The two also found the dining room, a twenty by twenty square with a large rectangular table with seating for eight, three on each side and one at each end. A crystal light fixture hung above the center of the table. There was no other furniture in the room, and it was sans any windows as the room was centrally located on the first floor. A doorway led into the room from the hallway alongside the staircase, and another at the opposite end which David and Carrie exited through.
            This doorway opened into an expansive great room, the grandiose of the first floor. The high, vaulted ceiling made no sense with the layout of the rest of the house, and David thought this room must have been added on at a later time. It had a more modern look about it, decorated a little more contemporary than the rest of the house, although still out dated. Like 70’s chic. There was a floral print sofa with oranges and browns, several wingback chairs, a desk in one corner, and a few tables, all arranged to face the focal point of the room. A cavernous fireplace, large enough to crouch in, surrounded by rough cut stone that ran all the way up to the eighteen foot high ceiling. And still there was no television set, let alone a plasma or LCD. David was impressed nonetheless and thought the room had to have been an expensive addition, more than what this seemingly hit-or-miss business could afford.
            David heard a rumbling sound, loud enough that Carrie heard it too and looked at him. It took only a moment for him to realize it was his stomach. They hadn’t eaten anything since their breakfast on the road on the way to the Last Stop.
            “Yeah, I’m a little hungry too”, Carrie said smiling,” shall we try to find the kitchen? A snack before dinner?”
            “Good idea,” David replied. The pair ventured off to find the kitchen and after wandering the entire first floor, was unable to locate one.
            “That’s odd isn’t it?” Carrie had asked David concerning the fact that there seemed to be no place for preparing meals. They searched a second time, a little more carefully just in case they passed a door that they overlooked. They walked down another long hallway with old photographs of people from long ago, many in the process of butchering, men and women both, wearing aprons and holding long, scary looking steel objects. The people in the picture seemed proud of their craft, and David assumed it was the family’s heritage.
            Again there was no kitchen but they did find a few doors that were closed. David opened each one, yielding mostly closets. A small closet under the stairs contained an unusual and somewhat disturbing find. It was full of stuffed animals of all sorts, bears, bunnies, cats and dogs. Some seemed brand new, and others were old and tattered with the stuffing rupturing from their fabric bodies. Some of these older ones were stained with what could have been mud or coffee perhaps.
            Carrie had given David that confirming look that asked at what point he would agree that this place was bizarre and a bit scary even. David only shrugged and shut the door. On their quest they came across another door which upon opening led down a dim, steep stairway. All that could be seen at the bottom was what appeared to be a cool, occasionally flickering light, like a fluorescent bulb going bad. David looked to Carrie and held his increasingly growling stomach.
            “The kitchen perhaps?” he said.
            “Go ahead if you want,” she answered,” but I lost my appetite two closets ago.”
            David sighed and shut the door, then checked his watch.
            “Well, its five-thirty, dinner’s in a half hour.”
            “I don’t think I’ll be eating much,” Carrie said, and looked at the closed door, then up and down the hallway. A door opened further down the narrow corridor and William came through it. He was holding a stuffed giraffe and his big hand squeezed it tightly. He glanced at the pair with nothing but a blank expression. He just locked eyes with them, held the giraffe to his chest, as if to hide it, then turned, shuffled down the hall and disappeared around the corner.
            “David,” Carrie said, “do me a favor.”
            “Don’t leave me alone here.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Last Stop, Part One

Welcome back. Had a great day. Horseback riding and Guitar Hero with my son. Life just doesn't get any better. So let's get on with it then shall we. I give you the first part of a long, short story( a problem I seem to have) titled Last Stop. Total word count is 12,185. Here it is broken into page breaks. Yes, it's a horror story. Enjoy.


“Oh gross. This is the place? Are you kidding me?”
            David looked to Carrie with exasperation. “Well, the GPS says so.”
            The pair sat in their car and examined the facade of the Last Stop Bed & Breakfast. Instead of the charming two-story building displayed on the B&B’s website, the structure was worn, the paint faded and peeling. The photograph on the internet had obviously been taken some time ago, perhaps as many as twenty years, David supposed. The building was the same, but existed desolate and solitary with nary another establishment in sight. David hadn’t expected the Last Stop to be so remote, and now the name of the place made perfect sense.
            The ‘gross’ that Carrie expressed no doubt had referred to the unusual bundles of barbequed meat, strung together with butchers string and hanging from the expansive overhang of the front porch. The odor that would occasionally waft over in their direction was so heavenly; it forgave the eerie sight of it. The front door began to open as David heard his wife’s voice.
            “I don’t want to stay here,” Carrie said as a woman emerged from the doorway that uncannily resembled Irene Ryan, the Granny character from the “Beverly Hillbillies”. David felt his wife of three months’ hand upon his.
The woman waved to the pair sitting in the Toyota Camry.
            “Hello!” granny called from the porch smiling. David glanced to Carrie.
            “C’mon. Let’s say hi at least. We don’t want to appear rude.” David looked to the woman and waved, then glanced back to Carrie who was fumbling with her cell phone.
            “What are you doing?” he asked.
            “Texting my brother saying goodbye since he’ll never hear from us again.” she replied. The brother that David had yet to meet.
            “Oh stop it. She seems friendly.”
            “Yeah, they always do.” Carrie said. The woman had walked down the steps from the porch and stood waiting and smiling.
            “Come on dear,” David said. The two exited the car and walked up towards the woman.
            “Hello,” David said as he extended his hand. The woman by-passed his outstretched limb and wrapped her arms around him. David was startled by the gesture and looked nervously to Carrie who only smiled. She turned and looked to the building. Granny noticed.
            “I know. I ‘pologize for the way the place looks all run down. I been meanin’ to fix ‘er up, but money’s tight and it ain’t easy tryin’ to find someone to come out this far to do the work.”
            “Sorry,” Carrie said, “I understand.”
            “S’alright dear. I’m Muriel. Why don’t you c’mon inside. I reckon you’ll find the inside more inviting.” Muriel said.
            The woman turned and started up the stairs. David and Carrie followed. As he was about to be engulfed by the bed and breakfast, David glanced over to a rather new looking, metal sided barn about thirty yards away and witnessed a large, scruffy man exiting the building carrying a stuffed panda bear.
            Strange, he thought, and decided to not tell Carrie what he saw so as not to increase her anxiety and concern. The trio walked into a foyer with a staircase leading to the second floor. David looked around, taking it in. The interior was the complete opposite to the outside, decorated in a rich, Victorian style. Red, floral print wallpaper covered the foyer and down a hallway leading towards the back of the house. Tchotchke’s sat upon remarkably clean shelves built into the wall. A grand chandelier hung heavily from the second story ceiling.
            “It’s beautiful,” Carrie said, looking around, seemingly impressed.
            “Thank you,” Muriel responded, “Like I said, the inside’s in better shape.” She turned to David, “don’t s’pose you know how to paint.”
            David glanced to Carrie who gave him a look that said, “yeah right”.
            “Uh, no, sorry. Me and home improvement don’t exactly get along.” Granny smiled.
            “Didn’t think so but thought I’d ask anyways.” As she finished her sentence, the scruffy man appeared in the doorway at the end of the hall and watched the trio uneasily. The bear was gone. David saw Carrie notice him, her face changing from smiling to, well, not. Muriel looked to the man and put out her hand, beckoning. He started slowly down the hall towards them.
            “This is William, my son. He can seem scary, but he’s ‘armless,” Muriel said, smiling to the man who hung his head, examining the toes of his boots, “He helps me keep this old place running. ‘Fraid of heights though, so he can’t fix up the outside of the place. Say hello to our guests dear.”
            William hesitantly looked up, trying not to seem rude, but also attempting to avoid eye contact. “Hello,” he managed quietly and left it at that.
            “Hi,” David said, putting out his hand. William looked at it dumbly, then looked to his mother who motioned for him to shake David’s hand. William put his hand out and David took it. It was frigid, making David feel quite uneasy, but it was too late to pull back. He quickly pumped the man’s hand a couple times, then let go and rubbed his own hands together.
            “Well, may I show you to your room, it’s upstairs. I’m afraid we only have one other guest right now ‘sides you. Mr. Wright, he’s a writer. A connection was made upon Muriel’s face and she giggled. “Ooo, that’s funny,” she said, “you have any baggage?”
            David, who realized he had been staring rudely at William, shook out of it.
            “Oh, yeah, a couple bags in the trunk.” He took out his keys and pushed the trunk button on the fob.
            “William, will you please retrieve their bags?” Muriel asked her unsettled boy, although he was no boy, he appeared to be at least fifty. William skirted past the trio and disappeared through the front door.
            Muriel led David and Carrie up the stairs and to a room midway down the hall. David counted five doors, all of them closed. He thought of Mr. Wright and wondered which one the solitary writer could be behind, tapping away on a typewriter, then thought, how silly, it’s most likely a laptop.
            The old woman opened the door and the trio entered into a beautifully decorated room, although the paisley wall covering was a bit busy and difficult to look at. Carrie glanced around and appeared to be pleased, almost admiring the surprising elegance of the room. A large, four post bed was the centerpiece, thick with mattress, linens, and a mountain of pillows. One window allowed natural light in and dust spun around in the rays coming through. Dual nightstands stood on either side of the bed with matching tiffany lamps. A door led to what David supposed was a private bathroom. A monstrous armoire sat against the wall opposite the foot of the bed.
            Carrie walked in, sat on the bed and had to rise up on her toes to do so.
            “Very comfortable,” she said. Muriel nodded in agreement. David glanced around the room, walked to the armoire and opened it to find it empty.
            “No TV?” he asked, somewhat perplexed.
            “For what?” Muriel said and smiled. David then walked to the window, pulling the curtain aside and peered out at the backyard, what little there was, and the expansive empty acreage beyond. He had a momentary sense of panic at the vastness of it all. He looked again to the yard. No pool either. He turned to Muriel.
            “What do you have for entertainment or activities?”
            Muriel looked up for a moment, as though an answer hung in the air, then back to David.
            “There’s a small library of books down in the sittin’ room,” she said, pleased with herself, “even a couple by Mr. Wright.”
            “Hhmm,” David replied and looked to his wife who only shrugged her shoulders yet gave him a “I told you so” reply upon her face.
            “Hope you enjoy your stay. Dinner’s at six in the dinin’ room. Feel free to wander, I’m sure you’ll come ‘cross it.” Muriel said.
            “Thank you,” Carrie told the woman who hung at the door a few moments, then pulled the door shut leaving the newlyweds alone. Carrie looked to David, gearing up to say something.
            “Don’t. I know. We’ll cut our stay short, make an excuse like business or something, but let’s at least hang around until tomorrow. Get a good meal and a good night’s rest.” He walked over to Carrie and kissed her on the forehead. “Next time you pick.”
            She smiled. “Next time.”
            There was a rustling and a thump outside the door, but no knock. The pair looked at each other, then to the door. David walked over, opened it, and discovered their luggage in a heap on the floor. He glanced to the end of the hall, then to the stairway. William was peering through the balusters, halfway down the steps. The two locked eyes, then William scurried down the stairs, out of sight. David turned back to Carrie who had stood up from the bed.
            “Bags are here.

The Strange Jekyll and Hyde-ish Introduction

Hello and welcome to what I hope will be the start of something magical. Or maybe terrifying. Or perhaps, (and most likely) comical. All of the above? Time will tell.

My name Is Keith and in case you haven't noticed I have a tendency to ramble, mostly at the expense of my own amusement. Like I'm nervously talking with text. Why the weird title to start? Well, you see there seems to be two sides to my persona. The easy going, hard working, family man that I am most of the time. The Jeckyll if you will. And then there is the darker side. The one that writes things that make people look at me and go, "That's gross" or "You're demented". The Hyde. He's a lot of fun, but he ain't gonna pay the bills. Although it would be nice if he could pay a few.

Jeckyll is an artist, a commercial painter, a horse rider, a husband, a father, and all around mostly normal guy. Hyde is a writer, an occasional artist(although he may be becoming one more frequently) an avid horror movie fan, particularly those of the late seventies and early to mid eighties, and every so often pops out into Jeckyll's life for some oddball comment. Both enjoy following the weather and watching The Weather Channel. Silly, huh?

I still don't know exactly what I'll use this blog for, or even if I will be able to keep up with it regularly. Jeckyll works a lot and when he's not there are always things that need doing on a farm. Blogging isn't necessarily a priority. But Hyde needs an out. He has a once-a-month writer's group that gives great input, but the material is limited to basically the room it is shared in. I hope Hyde will get a chance to shine here on what I called The Midnight Creepshow. Because it was with him in mind that this seemed needed. It's mostly going to be his show. At least that's the plan. We'll see how it goes. At the very least you may pick up some tips on home improvement, painting, art related advice, some cooking and baking, horse, farm, family talk and the awesomeness of Dr. Greg Forbes.

I am going to try to post stories, excerpts of stories and novels(well, novel so far), and any publishing news I have to share. Also I may go off on tangents about things horror. Movies, books, art, trips through cemetaries, whatever. So, hang in there. Check back occasionally, and hopefully we'll have fun.