Ghost Voices #30days #30days2018 by Cherie Ann Turpin

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About six months ago I noticed what I thought to be a faint hum in my work elevator riding down to the street level after staying late to work on an assessment report.  For about three nights I had the impression I was listening to a radio or echoes from another floor, or at least a malfunctioning elevator mic.  I wasn’t sure of the source, and I didn’t get confirmation of its source from security downstairs.  Slightly spooky, but not enough to really care one way or another.

One month ago, I had another assessment project to complete, and this time my late night work sessions lasted until well after evening traffic melted into the night.  This time I noticed two distinct voices engaged in what seemed to be a somewhat intense conversation, only I wasn’t the one speaking, and no one else was riding down 29 floors to the street.  I began to record this strange, disembodied exchange with my cell phone, not knowing if it would make more sense upon playback at home than with me standing there hearing it.

It occurred to me that I was actually not hearing people still walking the planet, but ghosts.  I do know that one sentence emerged from my computer when I uploaded the latest exchange, a distinctly male voice that seemed to carry a quiet sliver of pain as it crossed curtains of existence.  It was a question, actually:

“Are you angry at me?”

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May 2018 #30days #30Days2018 Flash Fiction 30 Day Marathon Begins Today #CherieAnnTurpin

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Expect me today.  Rules? Look for the hashtag #30days #30Days2018, and help support me in my push to write 30 stories (200 words or more) in the month of May. I will make the entire month this year!  Look for recurring themes and returning/continuing fictional universes, look for sex in lit, lit that shocks, lit from tweets, lit from odd places like messages, hashtags, dreams, fantasies, masturbatory fixations, and yes, lit from headlines.  I promise to not censor and at some point have you fixated on who or what is making a guest appearance.  Please comment, and if you really like what you are reading, please leave a tip in my PayPal Donate link on the left sideline.

Stained Glass

It was in a nondescript flat, wooden box in the basement, a leftover from previous tenants now long gone. Or the tenants who came of left before the last couple who lived here. Rosalind couldn’t really tell, nor was she particularly interested in dragging that heavy box upstairs to take to the corner for trash day. Something about the box piqued her curiosity, though, especially the light that seemed to shine through one of the uncovered edges.

It took her an hour to pull and drag the box up the wooden stairs.

After finding a hammer, she flipped it to the prong side and began pulling out the nails, carefully tossing them in a neat pile. The wood seemed old, and gave way to her strength as she pulled out a large, round pane of stained glass. Looking at the wooden walls in the living room and dining room and the square window panes, it occurred to Rosalind that this could not have been installed in the house because it was too big for any house. It belonged to a church, perhaps a church long gone.

As she studied the design and colors, she noted the familiar image of the Virgin Mary and Child, how the pane seemed to capture the sunlight coming into the kitchen as if to store its ray like a solar panel. The room began to fill with a warm glow, and the air was suddenly fragrant with the smell of fresh roses. As Rosalind began to fill with a certain and familiar quiver of her state of “tipsy,” it occurred to her that no church would have commissioned such a work for their sanctuary, for it would not have been deemed acceptable for the masses.

What was once thought to be basement junk was now a center of attention in her living room as found art to outsiders who visited her as it hung on her wall seeming to have its own source of light even as the sun set outside.

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#ww470 #30days Never Ending Light

Waiting for night’s rest became useless about a year ago.

To be honest, I’m not sure my existence here is proof that I am alive. I could be in some sort of Purgatory. Food and water tends to be whatever I find on this island, and the cave I use for rest is warm–though strangely empty of inhabitants I would expect in a dark place in the wild.

But no one else and nothing else living beyond plants exists here. The sun never fully rises or sets. It hovers, as if time itself is waiting for something.

I remember life before the here that is now.

I remember falling asleep at night, waking up to go to campus for a meeting, and seeing/feeling heat as if the sun itself had landed in the middle of town. I remember the crush of debris and white-hot air as the megaton warhead exploded and my skin began to boil–then there was here.

Waiting.

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Revenant #30days #ww470

It was cold to his fingers when he touched the edges of the canister.

He expected to see a candle when he crouched to the ground to pick it up, but no, it was a free standing flame inside a lattice patterned canister in the middle of the park at night. The flame seemed to dance back and forth as he picked up the metal frame as if to speak to him. He looked at his German Shepherd companion keeping him company during his night walk and noticed the hair flailing out from his tail as he slowly backed away as if in silent alarm. The man returned the light to the ground and also began to back away, suddenly feeling dizzy and slightly panicked. The light began to ascend from its cage like a firefly and inch its way toward the man and his dog as they turned back to the narrow path towards home. Both wind and feet rustled through the forest as they fled from uncontrolled flames that now consumed dry branches and leaves left in their wake.

“Incursio” #6 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days) by Cherie Ann Turpin

Incursio #6 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days) by Cherie Ann Turpin

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My tabby cat Munchkin first noticed the strange lights in my pool late last night after spectacular meteor shower that lit up the sky. I thought the meteor shower was lightning at first, until I walked outside and peered up from my deck in the backyard. The clouds partially covered the flashes of light, but no thunder occurred. Munchkin scurried inside and ran under the kitchen table, her tail quivering. I leaned over the wooden rail and glanced at the sparkling night sky, slowly dragging a curl of smoke from my cigarette. The air was thick and humid, and the wind flowed on my skin like a moist pillow.

An unnatural stirring of the heavenly realm was afoot.

I finished my cigarette and walked into the house, sealing shut the sliding glass doors and pulling together the white curtains. The outdoor lights were left on, casting shadows on the pool below. I motioned to Munchkin as I walked down the hallway towards my bedroom, and she jumped up into my outstretched arms, purring away like a perpetual motor buried in fur. As I kicked off my slippers and sat down on the bed she curled up at the edge of the bed, her favorite spot. Clicking off the light, I finally fell into a deep sleep.

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After what seemed to be hours, I was awakened by a strange howl and hiss. Munchkin paced around the room, visibly disturbed. I looked at the clock on my cell phone: 3 A.M. What the fuck, I thought. I threw on a night robe and stuffed my feet into my slippers, then followed my shaken cat towards the sliding doors and pulled back the curtains. The outdoor lights were still on, and the sky looked, well, odd. Yellowish, like phlegm. I’d never seen clouds like that, but weather wasn’t exactly normal, lately. I noticed Munchkin staring and hissing at something and peered out towards the pool. It seemed to be glowing with lights like that same phlegmatic yellow. The water seemed to churn with an urgency to boil.

I carefully backed away from the glass doors and ran into the bedroom, leaving the lights off. I quickly dressed, and grabbed my purse, cell phone, and laptop bag. My cat looked at me, quietly pleading. I pulled her up and placed her into the opening of my purse and rushed outside to my car. As I pulled away from the house I noticed some people who had wandered outside to stare at the sky, while others were busy packing a few belongings and their children into their cars.

The invasion had begun.

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“the devil made me do it” by Cherie Ann Turpin #4 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)

“the devil made me do it”

by Cherie Ann Turpin

#4  (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)

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“The devil made me do it,” Gavin said, staring at Lil with that sick grin, his eyes burning with a certain satisfaction.  A short, thin blade covered in red flame pierced the night air as it propelled towards her chest like lightning.

Typical.  Gavin loved to brag.

It was and still is a common excuse given by many who commit acts of violence against another to blame the devil.  Such claims are occasionally written with fingers dipped in blood and other fluids still warm and steaming.  The devil, indeed.

In Gavin’s case, he was speaking the truth.  No horned man or Baphomet-like figure spoke to him.  No, this manifestation of evil was the true fallen angel who came to him as a result of an elaborate summoning with all the requisite ceremony Gavin was known to employ when engaging in invocation.  In short, Gavin opened himself to true evil in order to bargain freely and for that he would gain the unholy power and wealth to which he believed himself to be entitled.

Or so he assumed when he agreed to bargain away his soul.  Gavin was on an assignment, the kind of assignment that would, upon completion, see the majority of her blood supply pool around her body.  There were other women who would share the same fate if Gavin succeeded in his task of murdering her.  Lil already knew of this assignment, as well as the likely trajectory of his path long before this moment.

Lil rejected this same offer given to her by this entity, and she did so knowing that she would become a target for the next soul weak enough to fall.  It was a vulnerability common to spirit warriors who worked with the dead.  It was common enough occurrence for seasoned warriors like Lil to expect confrontations from the fallen one through weak vessels like Gavin, who lusted for power and glory at the expense of those humans he previously pledged to serve.  His greed blinded him to the pitfalls of trusting an entity who had not warned him about Lil’s secret gift.

Lil shook her head with disappointment in her former pupil as she warded off his attack with her right hand, flattening and rendering the dagger into dark space before her.  Raising and pushing both hands towards Gavin, she pushed him and the air around him in that same dark space, the dry, hollowed space of the Entrapped, a prison of sorts filled with perpetual longing for the water of life for the unfortunate wretch who attempted to do mortal harm to the one who possessed the power of Shadow Entrapment.  Until this moment, Gavin had no knowledge of Lil’s full talent as a spirit warrior.

Unlike Gavin, Lil avoided telling everyone specifics about her gifts.

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