“To All a Good Night” Holiday Short Story

7b2eee95d9b48097898427d286089372

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

The breeze sneaked through the crack in the window as the noises in the house disturbed Adam Ballinger from his slumber. He rustled under his covers, feeling the cold tickle his feet. This was no ordinary Christmas Eve; there was something whispering in the trees. Lifting himself from the bed, the young boy rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Another thump from downstairs made him thrilled that Santa had finally arrived. He swung his feet from the bed and tiptoed across the oak floor. Not one little peep came from the boy’s mouth.

A jingle and jangle echoed from the tree downstairs just around the corner from the last step of the stairs. He pressed his back to the wall, cautiously creeping to investigate the noises, but there was something sinister in the air. It was not jolly and filled with joy. Tonight the cold air was like a ghost warning him to run back upstairs and hide under his bed.

The wicked giggle broke the silence. An eruption of sparks and whistles cascaded around the corner. Adam continued to the final stair and when he peeked around the corner Santa was not there. It was an estranged elf sitting at the stoop of the fireplace. A cigar balanced between his fiery red lips and his round doll eyes twinkled with a blaze of hate. The boy stepped into the doorway and watched the elf blow a puff of smoke from his mouth. The bell jingled from the end of his hat as he rubbed the stubble across his jaw.

“Where is Santa?” Adam asked with a shiver. “And why are you not in his workshop?”

“Kid, it’s all a lie. There is no Santa Claus that funnels down the chimney or reindeer that fly. Your mother and father lied. It is all a hoax to distract you from reality.” The elf coughed and got to his feet. His green shoes curled back like the ends of candy canes.

“Who are you? Why are you saying those things?” He stepped back to the doorway. His eyes rolled over to the staircase, where the shadows toiled from the tree branches outside.

“I’m the helper that haunts your dreams on Christmas Eve. The Christmas spirit you never hear about in the dark abyss.” The elf walked towards Adam and flicked the cigar into the tree. The embers caught the rug on fire and the branches engulfed in flames instantly.

Adam watched as the joy turned to horror. He tripped on the first step and crawled to the top landing. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw saliva dripping from the elf’s sharp teeth, the elf’s eyes thirsting for Adam’s blood. He ran down the hallway, but the door extended further from him. His tiny little fingers wiggled in the air, but he could not reach the door handle. A tug on his ankle made him roll across the floor. When he flipped over onto his back, he saw the elf overpowering him and glaring down at him like an insane elf from hell. Adam crossed his arms over his eyes.

“Mom, Dad, help me!” His cries rattled the walls of the hall and a light consumed the darkness. “Help!” he screamed as the elf’s sharp nails dug into his neck.

The bitter cold no longer gave him chills. Heat underneath his back and around his face made him cry harder. Flames surrounded him and smoke billowed overhead.

THUMP!

The noise pounded in his head as a hand grabbed him from the hallway. His body was whipped into the air and he was hung over someone’s shoulder like a sack. His eyes burned from the heat and he dared not try to speak. A final jolt through the front door brought the cold Christmas air rippling down his back. He looked up into the sky at the white specks of snow, the moon hanging high, and the trees rustling in the wind. When he saw the fire truck and the police cruisers in the cul-de-sac, he realized the fire had consumed the house.

“You’re going to be okay, kid!” the firefighter yelled, plopping Adam onto the back of an ambulance. The man turned to the police. “I’m going back in to find any other survivors.”

Adam watched the windows explode, shards of glass glistening in the air. Pieces of the curtain fabric blew through the broken windows. It was a ruined Christmas for Adam, but was the elf only a dream? He looked up towards his parents’ bedroom. There was the menace, blood dripping from his lips. The glint from his mother’s wedding ring twinkled from the severed hand. It was not a dream, the fire was a distraction and Christmas was the fuel that awakened the beast.

A blinding light flashed over Adam’s shoulder. He saw his father running towards him with another woman – the neighbor a few houses down. Adam closed his eyes as tears rolled down his cheeks, but all the chaos disappeared in a matter of a blink. A chill brushed his sleeve, and when he opened his eyes, he heard the sound again.

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

The room was black and the chill from the open window tickled his feet. He was excited because Santa was finally here. Adam flipped his feet over the side of the bed and ran to the door. He raced down the hall to the stairs where an orange glow lit the foyer below. When he turned the corner, the elf was waiting with a blood-stained grin. The elf dragged his feet towards the boy and flicked the cigar at the tree. Flames engulfed it instantly.

“You thought you could run. How did that work for you? You even hid like a mouse in a hole. You will always remember this night especially because you caused your mother’s death.” The elf gestured its head towards the floor.

Adam looked down and there was the culprit: a pack of matches between his feet. He turned around to discover the fire consumed the walkway behind him. The elf’s lips curled back into his mouth as he reached out to grab Adam.

“They all think they can escape their nightmares, but your fate was already decided when you died with the flames…”

William Lloyd Biography

William Lloyd has a home in Atlanta, Georgia, where he enjoys spending his days playing music and watching football. His specialty genres are horror and suspense as well as science fiction/fantasy. He released his first novel Horizon in May 2014 and is currently working on a new novella called Afterlife: What Happens Next. He loves playing golf, video games on PlayStation 3, and reading horror novels in the evenings. He attended college at the Art Institute of Atlanta, where he studied Audio and Video Production.

Author Page

https://www.facebook.com/willlloyd25

Interview with the Awethors Featuring Lisa Veldkamp

Hope everyone is doing well today! I rushed in this gem this morning for a last minute interview before I break for the week. Poet and Short Story author Lisa Veldkamp is with me to discuss some of her poetry in the book “Nothing is Forgotten”, and her upcoming release of the teenage short “The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow”.

Lisa Veld

William:  In “Nothing is Forgotten”, were there any memories in particular that sang to you? Maybe a memory that constantly reminded you of your past or a lesson learnt?

Lisa: Well Will, I’m a firm believer of the concept reincarnation. So actually Nothing is Forgotten should be taken quite literally. Apparently I have not forgotten. I’ve had flashbacks of several lives, sometimes alone, sometimes shared with people I love and know in this life. So this collection is about those memories.

William: That is a very interesting concept that intrigued me about you. Hence, why you’re on the blog today. What is your most memorable reincarnation memory?

Lisa: Most memorable reincarnation memory. Wow, okay… *throws aside the feeling of being judged a lunatic*

I guess the most memorable are the ones which are related to people I know in this life. Some I’ve shared my memories with. And some just find it rather uncanny I seem to know them so well. What moves them or makes them tick. Oh dear, that’s my cover blown! Fact of the matter is, I do know them. I know their soul. And even though souls evolve, you still recognize them. Well, I do anyway. Not the human being in this life perse, but on a higher level, I do. It’s not a great conversation opener, trust me Some things are best left hidden in shadows. Me, I like the quiet.

William: No one will judge you here, and I’ll be here to defend you if they do. No worries. Writers and poets like you are a fascinating find for anyone that is looking for something new and different to read. What kind of tone does your poetry have?

Lisa: Someone once said my poetry reads a lot like lyrics, which is why my second collection is titled When Words Start To Sing. I’m a visual kind of person, so I try to create images, which leads to conjuring emotions. Or so I hope.

William: What can we expect in your upcoming short story “The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow”?

Lisa: I’m very excited about it! It’s my first short-story and the first story I’ve written for teenagers. My family-in-law lives in Sweden and whenever I’m there, I’m in another world. A peaceful world, full of hidden depths and I can almost sense the trolls, hiding behind the trees and rocks. That’s how The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow came to life. It’s about Eydis, a little troll girl who falls in love with Talib, a human boy. One big problem, humans aren’t supposed to know trolls exist!

William: I for one am amazed at the idea of this story. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a troll falling for a human. It’s very unique and I can’t wait to grab it to see this love story take place. When you were growing up, what was your ideal fantasy world?

Lisa: Ideal fantasy world would have Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. I loved those books as a child and I still do. Back then I didn’t have a dog, I was an only child like George and I desperately wanted an island of my own! Their adventures were just so glorious, yes, that would have been quite something.

Nowadays I would say Hogwarts. When someone said to me: “You do realize it’s not real, right?” I wanted to kick him for spoiling my adult escapism. Harry’s world is far from perfect and those dementors scare the living daylights out of me, but I’d take on Voldie and his death eaters any day and twice on Sunday just to be at Hogwarts. Bring it on!

William: I understand that now you have a dog named Miss Ginger Rogers. Can you give us a little background on her and what breed is she? She seems like a very sweet dog from what you have on facebook.

Lisa: Hahaha, she’s a mixture of a Papillon and something else. People have also called her a mini version of a Duck Toller Retriever and I can see why. She’s from Romania, where she was roaming the streets with another little male dog. They named her Ginger Rogers because of her colour and he became Fred Astaire. Fred was also adopted by a Dutch family, but we never saw him again. We picked her up at Schiphol airport. It was love at first sight!

William: I can see why it was love at first sight. I remember when I brought my Husky Shepard home and I just about devoured her with love and kisses. Sweet girl. Her name is Luna. Sorry for veering off a little bit, Lisa. Back to your short story, what role does your main character have in the story? Maybe a few characteristics?

Lisa: Eydis is a pretty troll girl (her own words) with yellow eyes and a long smooth tail with a tufty bit on the end. She loves her family and she is heir to the thrown. However, she also loves Talib, a human. She’s very loyal to her tribe, so she struggles with her feelings for Talib a lot. She’s wise beyond her age, partly because she lost her mother when she was very young and partly because she has the gift of the shamans. Building bridges. How this works exactly, you’ll just have to read the book.

William: I couldn’t help myself, but I understand you have a novel coming out October 31 called “The Elemental.” Let’s break to a video trailer that gave me goosebumps from the start of it.

William: Just an amazing video that I did not want to let fall at the tail end of our interview. You really have captured a sense of urgency in this trailer that is pulling me even more to just want to have another one of your novels in my hand.

I want to dig deeper into your own life. How have your parents impacted your writing so far?

Lisa: My parents always taught me to think outside the box and to chase my dreams. My grandmother used to play writing games with me when I was just a little girl and poetry runs in the family. Reading and writing was quite common in my family and also among my friends. My best friend is an awesome writer, even though she does something completely different now. She’s always been a great inspiration to me and one of my biggest supporters.

William: Parents seem to be the backbone for most authors which is truly inspiring to hear. I want to rewind back to your upcoming novel. I understand you had a dream about “The Elemental”. What was the dream that you had which nudged you in the direction of a writing career?

Lisa: Ah yes, the dream. The dream actually came later. It started with a vision at Pinkpop festival 2009. Placebo was headlining and they were about to play ‘Come Undone’ under the most perfect pink, purple sky. Brian, the singer, said the song came to him in a dream. That’s about the last thing I heard, because when they started to play, I drifted off to another world. The world of Catherine van Dyk, the main protagonist of the story. That’s how it all started. Later I dreamed the entire story, the complete trilogy and I took it as a sign. For weeks I listened to nothing else than Battle for the Sun, at that time the latest Placebo cd. I think I drove everybody crazy. Now, almost six years later, it will see the light of day on October 31, with Halloween. Never thought it would come to this.

William: I understand you love London. I’ve read that you quoted it as “the city where magic dwells”. Why do you feel this way? Maybe describe a few examples.

Lisa: Lots of cities hold magic, but London is special to me. It’s hard to describe, but anything can happen in London. This is the city of James Bond, the city where JK Rowling created Diagon Alley. In short, things are hidden here. Best way to describe it, is a heartbeat. Our hearts beat at a certain pace. The moment I arrive in London, mine falls in sync with the beat of the city. I’ve fallen in love with many places, but I never had this experience. This is why, to me, this is the city where magic dwells.

William: London really is a wonderful place once you pinpoint all the amazing art and writers that grew out of those parts. Is there a favorite coffee house that you enjoy going to?

Lisa: Sigh…. Barista Café, what can I say? They’re my home away from home. Over eighty percent of The Elemental was written here. I love the coffe, love the menu, the buzz of people coming and going and, of course, the staff. They’re just amazing and so supportive of my writing. Whenever I have a deadline coming up for example, they keep an eye on me. If I have my iphone out too often I get this look. The look that says: “Don’t you have a deadline coming up? Put the phone away.”

Irritating as hell, but very helpful. Love those guys!
William: It’s an awesome feeling though when the people around you push and motivate you to get those books rolling. Especially if it’s the ones that are serving you or watching you write in a coffee house. It’s quite extraordinary! If only all of us could have those kind of people watching over us.
So Every author has music that they listen to. At least I’m pretty sure most do. What kind of music do you listen to while writing? What do you enjoy listening to in general away from your writing atmosphere?
Lisa: Obviously, Placebo. Brian really is my muse. I devour his lyrics and then transform them to something else. My own interpretation of the meaning behind them, my emotions.
But I’m quite eclectic when it comes to music. I love Chopin, Dustin O’Halloran, Lavinia Meijer, Muse, Foo Fighters, Valentine, A-ha, Paul Simon,  Mumford & Sons, Sarah McLachlan, Ella Fitzgerald, too many to name. Oh, and I’m a big Frank Sinatra fan. Nothing beats Placebo though.
William: You definitely have a great group of artists there, Lisa. I just want to say thank you for letting me dig into your creative spirit and mind today. It was fun with many laughs, trolls, and memories. I’m sure all of the readers out there feel more inspired hearing about your stories and your back ground.
The Elemental
If you would like to follow Lisa Veldcamp and keep up with her writing progress follow her at any of the links below.
Lulu Link to purchase her poetry:
Thank you all for dropping in this weekend for all the wonderful interviews that took place on my blog. If you get a chance, give all these awethors a round of cheers and I’ll be back next week for two more awethors that have grabbed the interest of many readers’ hearts from the start. Thanks again and if you are interested in an interview, please send me an email: lloyd.jr@aol.com. I really won’t bit you like a troll. Well, maybe a little…

Let’s Play a Game

527231

I’m going to start a story and who ever wants to add on to it just comment on this post. Make sure you follow the story from the last comment made because then this whole thing could get screwed up and end up sounding like a jumbled mess.

There was a man sitting by the pond with his dog. He was skipping rocks as a light breeze caressed he cheek. A strange sound alerted him from behind a tree…

In Reverse (3)

Rose bushes lined both sides of the escalators, and a stone fountain sat in the middle of the courtyard at the top of the stairs. Water spewed from the multiple angels that relaxed at the edge of each giant bowl. He watched all of his employees intersect on the main belt that led into the office building ahead. Everyone was too busy to notice each other with their digital screens blocking their view. Joseph shook his head knowing that this was not the life his fore fathers would have wanted for society.
He looked up at the high ceilings in the main lobby. Many of his employees lined the many hallways on each floor trying to reach their destinations. He was happy everyone took pride in the new technology his company created. He stopped at his destination, where the Corporate Overlords were waiting for his arrival.
The wooden doors opened to a room with a long oak table that reached from one end of the room to the window that stretched across the exterior wall. The leader of this group of murderers, rapists, and thieves was sitting at the head of the table. Joseph rolled his eyes.
The sun glistened off the top of the dark bald head. He was a few inches taller than Joseph, and his stature was more professional. His brown eyes looked up at Joseph, peering over the black rims of his glasses. He casually pulled them off and stood up with a twinkling white smile. Joseph could only imagine what crap was about to spill from this idiot’s mouth.
“Ah, Joseph, I’m so glad you could bend your schedule to our liking,” the man said.
“I mean, there’s not much else I could do to avoid it since your boys hacked into my system, Mr. Bonsu,” he said, pulling the chair out in front of him.
“Yes, well, it was very important that we speak with you about this new operating system you’ve created.”
“What about it? Last time we talked about it, you slandered it into the ground, remember?”
“Mr. Apoch, I assure you I never intended to slander your creation. I just wanted to make sure we were going in the right direction with your vision.” He sat down and flipped through a screen on the desk. He twisted his wrist and skimmed his finger across the surface. “I’m sure you’ve read the headlines today.”
Joseph saw the articles about his project appear on the screen in front of him. He chuckled and flicked his finger to the side to trash the articles.
“Yes, I did. Now, why are you guys all of a sudden interested in my operating system? Last I checked it was a waste of time in your books?”
“Please, leave what I said in the past, Mr. Apoch,” Bonsu said, looking to each one of the overlords. “These men are not here to listen to our grudges. They are here to invest in something revolutionary. Something that could tear through the history books.”
Joseph bit the inside of his cheek and pressed a button at the side. A file appeared on his desk, where he tapped it with his index finger. He flipped through the contents finding copies of his work with the Nova Operating System. He flicked a switch underneath the table and the lights turned off. The middle of the table illuminated with the files and diagrams of the human brain’s neurons flashing in unison.
“I created Nova because I wanted to hold on to more than just memories of someone I had lost. I wanted to hold on to the very essence of her being,” he said, flipping through the files. “As you can see in the diagram above. I took multiple feeds from her brain to create an operating system that could communicate with her same voice. I even tweaked it to the point, where I could save the multiple messages and wisdoms that she had held inside her.”
“How does this system work, and why should we invest more money into it, Mr. Apoch?” Bonsu asked, looking up at the diagrams.
“A system like this could pretty much bend the laws of life. We could use it for just the simple purpose of extending the life’s soul. It could be used to replicate a person’s essence in a home…”
“Basically, we could extend the life of a message and no one would ever guess the person has died, correct?” Bonsu asked.
“You mean completely replicate the mind of a dead leader?”
“So to speak.”
“Yes, you could possibly completely replicate the mind with the right technology, but we are still decades away from actually fully replicating a human’s mind,” Joseph answered, turning the lights back on. “Mr. Bonsu, Gentlemen, I’ve only created a means of replicating a person’s voice and soul. I have not reached full mind and thought replications.”
“Hmm…” Mr. Bonsu stood up from the desk. “If we fund you, can you have something ready for use within three months?”
“Three months? I already told you, we are decades away from creating anything that you are wanting, Mr. Bonsu. It’s just not possible to have it ready that quick!”
“Gentlemen, you may leave,” Mr. Bonsu said, looking at everyone in the room. All of the overlords left the room with their digital screens turning on as they stepped onto the conveyor belt. “With the rise in your stock, and the billions we have to offer, I’m sure you can find a way.”
“Billions?” he choked on the word.
“Yes, billions. We’re not talking hundreds of millions, Mr. Apoch. We are willing to invest billions into your company to create this system.”
“What for?”
“That is none of your concern. Your job is to just make sure you have something in our possession in three months,” he answered.
Joseph shook his head, flicking his teeth with his tongue. He watched Mr. Bonsu follow behind the rest of the overlords to the main lobby and out of Helix Headquarters. Joseph kicked the side of the desk and plopped back into his chair.
“How the hell am I supposed to create eternal life?”

In Reverse (2)

He opened his eyes and saw the white walls surrounding him. The shades at the window snapped to the top of the frame, and the sun’s light engulfed the room. His fingers tingled from sleeping on his arm weird. His lungs rose and fell inside of him as his heart hammered against his chest. All of his emotions swelled inside of his stomach, ready to burst. He scanned the walls, watching screens ignite to life with schedules, times, and locations.
“Nova,” he inhaled.
“Yes, Joseph?” the computer’s voice sounded like Mikayla. The same sweet tone entered his ears and took away the anxiety building in his chest.
He shook his head and flipped the covers off of him. The bed spiraled ninety degrees to the right, where his bathroom door was already open. The sheets pulled themselves off of him and rolled up into the footboard. His body slid down the mattress as the bed stood up on the footboard. Joseph stepped onto the conveyor belt that led into his bathroom.
“Shower on,” he said, feeling the multiple mechanical arms from the walls slipping his pajamas off. He stepped into the bathroom and the temperature was set to his comfort zone. “Thanks, Nova.”
“You have a meeting with the Corporate Overlords this afternoon, Joseph. I have assembled you…”
“Whoa! What? Corporate Overlords, what the hell do they want?” he asked, looking up at the ceiling, where a blue screen appeared. He saw the scrambled image of Mikayla. “Well, are you going to tell me?” He grabbed the shampoo from the edge and squirted a dab in his palm.
“That is classified,” she answered.
“Classified? So now they have taken over your operating system?”
“I have your clothes together in your closet when you are ready, Joseph. They will be waiting at Helix Headquarters.”
“A meeting at my office then? When did we authorize these guys to hack into the system and change all of my schedules, Nova? Did they hack into your firewalls, while I was sleeping or something?” He rinsed his hair and left the shower. “I guess I’ll find out at my meeting then,” he said, walking to the closet, where his suit was ready for him.

* * *

Joseph slid his finger down the inside of his black jacket as he pushed his blue tie down to his navel. He combed the sides of his head and slipped the comb into the inner pocket of his jacket. The conveyor belt led him to the front door, where an escalator was waiting to take him down to the street. A wide clear screen appeared in front of him as his mother appeared on the screen. His head reacted with a painful migraine panging at his temples.
“Joseph? Joseph? Is this thing working?” she asked, tapping the screen.
“Mom, stop, I can hear you,” he answered, squeezing the top of his nose with his index finger and thumb. “What is it, Mom?”
“I was worried about you, sweetie! I haven’t heard from you in days, and I feel like you’re trying to avoid me.”
“Impossible, Mom. The system has always set up our days together. When the time is right, it will schedule our family time,” he said, knowing he has the ability to fit her in his schedule. “Actually, I have to go. I’m kind of in a hurry.”
“How can you be in a hurry? It’s not like the system would make you late.”
Joseph scratched his head and turned his attention to the side of the screen, where his company stock appeared. He saw the points elevate in ridiculous increments. He flipped the screen over his mother while pretending to listen to her.
“You’re right, Mom. I’m just a little preoccupied.”
“Preoccupied? Seriously, son, do you think I’m just some rag you can toss to the side? I want to see you! You’ve been avoiding me I know it!” Her voice cracked.
“Yes, I’m sorry. I’ll be a better son,” he answered.
She continued to ramble on with tears and anger, while he flipped through the local news. There were multiple headlines that read: “Apoch Discovers Eternal Life”, “Helix to Release New System in June”, “Death of Loved, Life of Soul”
He read through the headlines realizing why he was summoned to a Corporate Overlords meeting. Joseph smiled and let out a sigh. He flipped the headlines out of the way, watching his company’s stock soar on the screen.

“…I know she died from a freak accident, but seriously, Joseph. You really need to…”
“Wait, what?” he interrupted. “Mom, please, I don’t want to talk about this. Let me call you back later. I’m walking into a meeting,” he said, disconnecting the feed. “Finally,” he said as the conveyor belt pulled him onto the escalator to Helix Headquarters.

In Reverse

The scent of evergreens surrounded Joseph Apoch as he chased after the woman he loved, Mikayla Nova. His lungs tightened from exhaustion and the thinness of the air. The canopy of leaves above blocked out the light from the sun, and fireflies flickered their butts around them. Mikayla’s white dress flailed behind her and her brunette curls bounced off her back from her footfalls. Joseph locked his eyes on her, while thrashing at the leaves from the bushes.
“Mikayla, wait!” he exclaimed, pushing through the dense underbrush. “We are wandering too far. We are getting to close to the barrier!” He watched the trees pass by him. The markings on the bark warned him, and he knew where she was leading him.
Mikayla screamed in agony as her fingertips emblazed in a red flame. The fire continued up her arm, leaving a trail of ash behind it. Joseph saw her blue eyes widen as her face was consumed to dust. He turned his head away to avoid the sight of his wife being eaten away from the outside in by the barrier. The tears in his brown eyes dripped in the palms of his hands. He glimpsed at the cloud of ash that settled to the earth, leaving a mound of what was left of Mikayla.
He felt the energy of the barrier behind him as he looked up at the multiple waves of red, orange, and yellow reach into the sky. His anger built inside of him knowing the barrier was a curse created by a group of men that feared their people, and greed turned their hearts into the same ash that laid before Joseph on the ground.
The sound of the birds above and the light breeze that kissed his cheek reminded him of Mikayla. He outstretched his hand towards the barrier in hopes of dying with her, but his fear ruled over his courage. He closed his eyes feeling the heat of the wall of electricity.
“I can’t,” he said, dropping his arm to his side.