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Sunday, June 29, 2014

We Are the Children



The hands on the clock seemed to be frozen, as Katy continued to internally debate this decision. It had been two months since her ordeal began. 61 days trapped inside this bland hotel room waiting for the judge to call, waiting to face her demon. The thought of Charlie staring at her, no, looking through her was enough to send her into a panic. But, she knew that Charlie, and most of all, his family, must be stopped. It had been nearly three-years since she turned her back on the family and escaped the mental and physical torture on the ranch.

"How much longer do I have to wait?" Katy asked John, her court assigned protector.

"I couldn’t tell you Katy, they are still laying out the timeline of the murders," John said, "So, this could take a while."

"Damn, I need this to end. I don’t know what's worse, the thought facing Charlie again, or spending another month secluded away in this room," she said taking a sip of her lemonade.

For Katy, this nightmare was killing her. When she ran away in 1968, she thought she would be free; she never wanted to look Charlie in the eyes again, to have him stare into her soul. He was a master manipulator preying on the weak minded to satisfy his lust and desires. The women in his cult were nothing more than whores, used as pawns in nightly drug induced orgies.

At first she thought, these forays into sin were fun parts of the hippie culture back in 67. Free love, sex, LSD, and marijuana lined the tables and she could not get enough. But, Katy was naive and soon realized something more sinister was at work. A runaway, she met Charlie at a party in the desert. Almost immediately, she felt a spark.

18, broke and alone, she jumped at a chance to join the family and soon moved into the ranch. Soon she discovered that she was just another pretty face in this crowd, and not the special blossom Charlie convinced her she was that night when they met.

"You OK, Katy? You seem disconnected today." John said peering across the table.

"No, John, I will never be OK," she said, "Soon the world will know I was one of Manson’s whores!"

"Stop that. You left over a year before the horrific incident," he said.

"Maybe, but I knew something bad was going to happen; I knew someone was going to die. " she said.

Katy remembered the day she knew something was wrong. Charlie started preaching his own gospel, manipulating the word of God. More terrifying to the young daughter of a preacher was the fact that most of his followers believed his prophesy that a racial apocalypse was at hand. She watched as the craving for bloodshed was growing inside the ranch. She knew she had to escape.

On a cool 58-degree night, she slid out the window of her cabin, making sure not to disturb any other family members; she quietly made her way to the edge of the property. From there, she stumbled through to rough terrain. She remembered the rocks piercing her sandals and battering her feet; the cacti grabbing at her legs and slashing her flesh. She had to push through. She had to escape.

Even today, some three-years later, those scars from her ordeal are still visible lining her legs and feet. They marked her body on the outside the same way Charlie's touch stained her insides. Unfortunately, a harsh truth was setting in. The longer the prosecution made her wait in this bland hotel room, the more she felt like she was making a mistake. She knew that she could not face Charlie; she recognized that she still loved him. Indeed, she was still part of the family.

What could she do? She volunteered to testify, to talk about the early stages of Helter Skelter. Would she have to, or could the state win their case without her? Yes. Yes, they could, she thought. There is no way that the testimony of a Manson disciple, one that fled the ranch years before the massacre, could make a difference.

"John, I have a question. Be honest," she said.

"Yes, Katy, what's that?" He replied leaning toward her.

"Does the state need me to testify, or could they win without me," she said, "the longer I sit in this room the more I realize that I made a mistake coming forward. I want to go back into my own seclusion."

"Well, I can understand that, this has to be hard on you, digging up these terrifying memories, but there is nothing I can do. You have to testify," he said.

"John, you are basically my only contact with the outside world. Hell, my telephone does not even work. Do you understand that? Please, can you talk to the DA for me?" Katy asked.

"Katy, I'll think about it. Maybe when I turn over with the night shift tonight, I can make a call. “Relax,” he said, “nothing will happen to you here!”

Katy smiled as she continued to sip on her lemonade. Little did John realize his answer was not good enough for

her; that her internal strife was building. She knew that she could not face Charlie again. But, what was she to do?

What’s that, she thought as the chant of, "Kill him, slaughter the pig, kill," filled her mind. At last, the long dormant voice in her head erupted from the nether. Unfortunately, she knew there was only one way to silence them, one way she could be free. She would have to murder John, and escape this godforsaken tomb.

"John, come closer, I want to tell you a secret," she said.

John moved toward Katy as she closed in. The silence shattered when the glass of lemonade cracked his skull.

"Forgive me John, for we will always be Charlie's children."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Slender Man Awaits...

One of my students is fascinated by the Slender Man. As we are having a quiet day in lab, I decided to take this time on Friday the 13th to add something to this micro-fiction phenomenon, and in the process allow Mike to finally meet this tortured soul.


As Michael turned the corner, he knew something was not right. The cool June wind cut through his soul, the heavy atmosphere made every breath a challenge. He could feel this unnatural darkness drown his reality.  Something or someone was near; standing tall as a shadow stalking his every step. All of a sudden, winding his way down the overgrown path toward his house felt like a huge mistake.

“Brittany, is that you?” he said as he crept toward the lights that sat off in the distance. “I know it is Friday the 13th, but come on… This is not funny!”

There, in the moonlight, a faint outline rose through the mist. The sounds of silence echoed in his mind as he realized that what stood before him was not Brittany. In fact, it may not be human. He could see the web of tentacles glisten in what was left from the glow of the full moon. His heart raced; he knew what lay ahead.  Michaels’ dreams have been answered by the almighty, as faceless tormentor waits.

At last, he can become one with the Slender Man…

Saturday, May 31, 2014

In Search Of... The Baltic UFO



As I sit here at the First Annual Pennsylvania Literary Festival, I decided it was time to write something as I wait for interested readers to swing by my table. Here is a tale I wrote inspired by the mysterious Baltic UFO anomaly... 
For the crew, it was hard to fathom that the entire nine-day underway period searching for shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea has bore no fruit. With an estimated 20,000 shipwrecks, the odds of that happening were astronomical, almost impossible! Yet, here they sat on a miserable January afternoon with nothing at hand. Not only were their frustrations mounting and their bodies aching, there legs were weary from the swollen seas spawned by the blustery Northeast winds. Little did the crew know that their lives were about to change forever?
With one sweep of their fish, the entire navigation suite of Sea Crawler One became a mixture of emotion. At last, the moment they were waiting for throughout their harsh expedition was possibly at hand. Finally, their exploration along the murky depths of the Baltic Sea produced something tangible, something amazing.
"What is that?" Malachi Evans, the ships lead archeologist said, "call the Captain! He may have some idea."
"Captain Alexander, your presence is requested on the bridge," the first mate said into the microphone.
At first, the team could not believe their eyes. The size was immense, a saucer shaped artifact, as big as a 747 is definitely unusual. Circular, smooth edges, rough lines trailing behind, yes, this had to be some type of crash site. That is the only theory that makes sense. The Baltic Roswell, is that what this is? No, that cannot be true; aliens and UFOs are not real, are they? That thought echoed through Malachi's mind as he contemplated the next step.
Surely, this craft could not be a plane, could it? Yes, the Nazi regime World War II, or the Cold War empires of Russia or America did possess unfathomable technology that was held outside the view of the populace, but not one piece of the declassified machinery resembles what lies beneath us. This debris, this relic appears to be almost otherworldly. Could this be the evidence many are searching for? Could this be the proof that we are not some?
There are other options as well, he thought. This platform could be an altar rising from the dreary sea floor, much like Stonehenge rises from the lush green landscapes in England, or as the pyramids tower over the sweltering desert in Egypt.
"Where is the damn Captain?" Malachi yelled, "we need to take a closer look, this side-scan sonar can only give us so much detail."
At that moment, the Captain burst upon the bridge, "what's going on up here?"
"Sir, you have to see this!" Malachi said, "It is incredible."
Puzzled by the excitement, the Captain appeared uneasy, everyone had experienced a shipwreck before, he thought. Silence overtook the bridge as their stoic leader closed in on the machine. What would gee think? What was the next step? Captain Alexander peered into the bright digital display, which was saturated by static from the contour of their strange discovery. A pause, a gasp, he shook his head and focused even closer.
Without raising his head, his eyes still firmly fixated on the artifact, "in all my life I have never..." He said.
Perplexed, he stood back, overwhelmed by the discovery. A proud tear could be seen falling from his swollen eyes, "Malachi, do you have any idea?"
"No sir and I would hate to speculate, we must take a closer look." He replied.
Unfortunately, both he and the Captain realized that would have to wait until spring, when the waters of the Baltic Sea would embrace a dive team or submersible. They would have to document the location, the evidence and hope to secure funding for another expedition.
"Malachi, do not tell anyone what we have found," the Captain said, "document your data and initial thoughts along with the location, while, I make a log entry.”
In haste, the captain turned and scurried toward his sea cabin. Stunned and likely in shock at the conversation they overheard; the bridge crew was left speechless. What was it? What has the Captain so cautious and excited?
Deck Log – January 28, 2012
It was another dreary day on the Baltic, the howling 40-knot winds made it hard for the Quartermaster to maintain course and we were five degrees off our planned search grid. That ended up being a blessing though. For 30-years I led my crew in search of a discovery we could be proud of, something we could tell our grandchildren about and today, we may have found it.
I was in awe when I first saw the remains sunk meters below the dark frigid waters. They were immaculate as they rose from the rugged seabed sitting softly upon the bottom, like an altar awaiting mass. This relic is not of our time or possible our universe, I can tell that. I cannot be certain of what it is, but I know it is unlike anything I have witnessed by these two eyes.
The curvature and dimensions cry out some type of craft, yet, the data is too inconclusive to make an accurate assumption. I know the greatest empires: the Romans, the Greeks, the Byzantines- had marvels that pale in comparison to this beauty. Yet, I cannot help but think this site belongs with those famous wonders. This site belongs to the ancients; this mystery must be solved. -    EA. 1/28/12
While some of the crew would move on, others will return when the weather turns and a more detailed study can be had. For Captain Alexander and Malachi, their search for the truth will never end.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Look At His Pain - A Zombie Attack

The skulls, not the skull, th-th-they are eating him!”
             “What George, no way!” John said, “They must be mutating… We must find a lab!”
             “I do not know about you, but any type of shelter would be perfect right now,” Richard said.
             “Oh God, they are sharing him; engulfing him,” George sobbed. “Those maggot lovers are drinking his blood!” 
           The revolting sea was indeed devouring him; his screams for assistance drowned by the disturbing sound of his meat being torn apart. They tore him limb from limb until his divine grey was unveiled for the mass. They were fighting each other off for a chance at one piece of his delicious meat. His last chance of survival snuffed out by a single bad decision. What was the world coming to?
            “George, you are right! We must find shelter… Give me time to go through my journals,” John muttered. “The answer must be there, it has to be.”
              “Come on guys, over there,” Richard said, “the cemetery gates are open, maybe we can find a crypt to barricade ourselves into. Maybe the smell of death will keep them away.”
               “Yes… Yes… The cemetery is a great idea Richard,” John said, “our redemption can begin with the Lord!”
               “George... Come quickly before they see you, Paul’s death will allow our escape,” cried Richard.
               “Look, that tomb, the door, that could be perfect!” John said moving through the gates, “there I can hopefully determine where my formula went wrong.”
               “Enough already John; we are in no position to attempt any type of experiment. Maybe once this hoard passes, we can return to our lab by the river,” Richard scoffed. “Maybe we can return to where this plague began.”
               “George, over here!” shouted John as he entered the vault.
               “I’m here, close the door!” George screamed as he took the final steps into the ossuary.
                Richard looked at their situation, “we should be safe here; maybe we will survive this terror.”
          “Maybe,” John replied, “if we are lucky.”
            Incredibly, it appeared as though the tomb may save them, as the undead mob went by instead of searching the cemetery for dinner. What as it that kept them away, was it the overwhelming scent of decay? The scientists sat staring at their temporary sanctuary, thankful to be alive.  They were thankful that they did not become like Paul.