If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ghostly Flash Fiction Blog Hop...Don't forget to vote.

So, I think blog-hops are a ton of fun, and a great way to meet new people. When I saw Jessa Russo's "Ever" Flash-Fiction Blog Hop, I entered without even thinking. First of all, you can win the book. Who doesn't want a story about a girl and a ghost falling in love, right? Especially since we're getting close to Halloween. The fact that some other awesome prizes are up for grabs just made it better.

Sadly, I never considered that I'd actually have to WRITE flash-fiction about a ghost. haha. To someone who struggles with too-long word count on a daily basis, writing a thousand word story was a huge challenge. It took me ages to get something I liked. Hopefully you guys like it too.

This is a blog hop (I may have mentioned that) and people have to vote for their favorite entries. To vote, just leave the word VOTE in the comment section. haha. Easy enough, right? The blog hop list is at the end of this post, so be sure to check out everyone's entries. Thanks guys!

Anyway, I hope you like meeting Jack and Mori as much as I did. So here it is--my first foray into flash fiction: 

BEYOND

My father is obsessed with where people go after death. He swears Heaven and Hell are legends of parallel worlds. He claims the energy released during death propels a soul into the world beyond this. He thinks if he traps that energy, he can travel worlds without the inconvenience of dying.  He experiments on the most vulnerable souls—ones with no shields. Ghosts.  

 “Morrigan-Persephone! I said get my voltage-amplifier!” 

I frown at my full name. Like naming me after the goddess of death wasn’t bad enough without tacking on Hades bride. Someday, when I’m free, I’ll only answer to the nickname he hates.  Mori.

At my desk in the corner of the cavernous lab, I deliberately knock my schoolwork to the floor. 

My father mutters, “Clumsy bitch.” 

I crouch, slowly gathering my things. My eyes flicker to the tiny plexiglass room in the lab’s center. White candles and salt encircle it. Ghost prison.

Behind the plexiglass walls, Jack watches me.  Contrary to beliefs, ghosts aren’t transparent. Except for radiating a soft luminescence, Jack is just a hot seventeen-year old guy.  Dark, perpetually-mussed hair and eyes the color of He’s still in the torn jean-jacket he’s been wearing since his motorcycle skidded off the bridge.

His voice fills my mind. “Get him the amp.” I shake long blond hair over my bruised cheek, hiding what happens when I don’t obey my father. Jack bangs on the glass. “It won't hurt me.It's okay.Please, Mori." He can't be sure about that, but I reluctantly stand.

All ghosts sound different. The angry ones hurt, like knives carving my mind. The sad ones are like prickly burrs. The lost--icy water. But Jack…Jack’s all summer.  

“Godamn it, Morrigan!”

I hurry to hand my father his voltage-amplifier. He snatches it, glaring. His latest experiment involves slamming electricity through Jack.

 Returning to my desk, I glance at Jack's cell. Nobody else would see him huddled in the corner. They’d see an empty room.

My father loves bragging that his experiments on my mother during her pregnancy made me into his secret weapon. He doesn’t care that my mother died from his experiments. He cares that I’m “extraordinary.”

 I see ghosts. Hear them. I sense when someone’s dying. I find my father souls. Even knowing ghosts feel pain, knowing how many disintegrate after my father’s experiments, I’m too scared to refuse. I’m as bad as him.

My father stands. Thin and balding, he appears harmless--except for he’s holding something like electrified prongs. As he approaches the glass room, Jack shuts his eyes.

With every step my father takes, I remember.

Jack in the hospital, his charcoal hair sketched across the canvas of bandages. He melted my defenses, even then.  I tried to stop my father from taking him. I woke in the lab, bloody and bruised. Jack was already behind glass. Dead-- his essence imprisoned. He still asked, “Are you alright?”

I pretended I couldn’t see him.

 Jack wouldn’t give up.  

Mid-way through the first week he was yelling in my head. “I know you hear me. I can tell!” By the end of the second-- begging. “Please? Just look at me, Mori.”

That’s what won me. Not Morrigan. Mori.

I remember Jack’s grin when I finally looked into his eyes. “There. Was that so hard?”

His dimple deepening when I answered, “You’re a pain in the ass.”

Over the months, Jack became my first friend. I finally tried stealing my father’s key to release him. It took weeks to recover from the beating. And somewhere in all that, our friendship became…more.

My father approaches Jack and something in me snaps.

Then I’m running, skidding on the linoleum. As my father steps into Jacks room, I crash into him. He stumbles as Jack yells, “Mori! No!”

But sixteen years of fury is exploding. Kicking, screaming, I grab for the glowing prongs.Everything happens so fast…

 My father jabs wildly with his weapon.

 Jack dives in front of me.

 The electrified-prongs pass through him...and slam into my heart.

Excruciating pain. Roaring pulse. Flash-grenades of memories and emotions that aren’t mine. My face hovers before me. But not the weak, bruised girl from my mirror. This girl has a bright smile, autumn-sky eyes, hair like sunlight. In Jacks eyes, this fearless girl is me.

I crumble. The pain slips into numbness. Calloused hands help me stand. Only…my body’s still on the ground. Strong arms surround me. “Don’t be scared.”

Jack’s breath is warm. He’s solid. Alive. I’m not.

He turns me. “Look.”

I gasp. An archway hangs in the air—showcasing a Technicolor world. Jewel-like birds trill in kelly-green treetops.  Puddles of rainbow flowers splash the emerald hills. Cobblestone ribbons unspool towards the horizon.  

 “We’re free, Mori.” We step towards the doorway together.

My father breathes. “It worked.”

 I turn back. He’s smiling fanatically. He doesn’t see his dead daughter--just the doorway.  In killing me, he finally opened it.

Jack and I move like one person. In some ways, we are. I feel his emotions, see his memories. When my father hit us with that current, We were hit with that current at the moment of my death. Some part of our souls…melded.  Jack loves me. It’s all I feel, all that matters.

To my father, we’re invisible. He steps towards the door. Jack and I thrust our hands towards him. The whole, “ghostly-moving objects” is crap. Ghosts don’t have enough life-energy to move dust. My father should walk right through us.

Instead, he flies backward, crashing to the floor. For a split-second, our eyes meet. Somehow, he sees me. I flip him off and slam the door. The handle melts. Maybe I am extraordinary.

My father screams.

 Jack laughs. “Nice! Now come on!”

As we step through the archway, it disappears. The grass is downy-soft. The air smells like I’d imagine starlight would. But I’m not looking around. I’m looking at Jack. He leans in. My whole world becomes his mouth, soft and hot against mine.  

53 comments:

  1. Very nice! Now, I'm thinking if you're in need of a new idea, this is just begging to be a full-length novel! So get writing! Bossy, aren't I?

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  2. haha...Yes, you are. But, honestly, I was thinking the same thing. :) I'm not sure about right now (My son will kill me if I try to work on anything but our book) but I think, eventually, I'll be coming back to this one.

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  3. WOW!!! I was on the edge of my seat reading this! I have chills and the last line brought tears to my eyes! You MUST write a book about this. I would buy it in a heartbeat.

    Thanks for entering the contest! Good luck!

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    1. Wow is right...as in, "Wow. You actually read my story...and you liked it." You just totally made my day! Thank you!!! I hope I get some people to vote. :)

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  4. That's an awesome story. Good job, Tamara! Yes, you could totally expand this into a novel. :D

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    1. Thanks Andrew! So glad you liked it. ;)

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  5. I LOVED this story-wish it was longer-this would make a great novel!

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    1. Thanks Terri,
      Making it longer seems to be the general consensus. I've written two books and have an idea for a third on the back-burner. They're all completely different, but they've all involved parallel worlds to some degree. Now this one. I think I have a hang up. haha.

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  6. I am SO proud of YOU!! You are so talented!!! Great writing!

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    1. Thanks, Mike. But you didn't write "vote" in the comments. Are you not voting for me? :(

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  7. So chilling! I have always thought abusive fathers were scary.
    Awesome premise!!!
    I've finally got mine posted:)
    Thanks for sharing yours:)

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  8. VOTE!!

    That was great -especially for a first go at flash fiction (which I love doing... it stretches the mind, right :)

    Hope you win - and I agree with the others, make this into a full ms... but only after your WIP with Son :)

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    1. Yeah...definitely mind-stretching. I want to write more of it. I've always struggled with too-high word count, so it's really good practice for me! Thanks for your vote!!

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  9. That was an incredible story. I was on the edge of my seat as I read it. I could feel her hopes, dreams, fear of her father , sadness over the loss of her mom and her love for Jack. This really was amazing. It takes a lot of talent to write such a suspenseful piece with so few words. I was captivated.

    You have my vote. I hope this is how I vote for your entry.

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    1. Thanks so much, Melissa!! Yup. That's how you do it. :)

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  10. Thanks a million for voting for mine, Tamara! There is a tiny teeny weeny problem. You voted on the wrong post. It's the one under that one:)

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    1. oops. haha. Sorry! I'll come back and fix it!

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  11. My vote's for you. Nicely done. Flash fiction is hard to pull off.

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    1. Thanks Anonymous!! Sadly, the vote doesn't count unless it has a name attached. Anyway you could comment not anonymously? Pretty please?

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  12. You've got my VOTE! Hope it sticks this time! lol.

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  13. Hi! I found your blog through Jessa Russo's blog hop and read your entry. Wow. That was beautiful. Guess you've found yourself a new follower!

    VOTE!

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    1. Wow. I have been getting my butt kicked in this contest. Like...seriously whipped. haha. So THANK YOU!!!! I am actually having one of those crappy days (writing wise) where you begin to question what the hell you're doing. haha. So, I really needed the boost of someone liking my story. Very appreciated. And thanks for following!!!

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  14. Wow, I really liek this and I agree with the others: you should turn this into a full novel!!

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  15. Oh I love this story! I like that Mori got revenge on her father after so many years of abuse, and that even though she's dead, she's with someone who loves her. Beautiful ending :)

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  16. I'm not sure if I have to have a blog to vote, but if not:

    YOU HAVE MY VOTE! :D

    You really made me care about these characters in a very short amount of time. Really, really well done! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jayme! And no, you don't need a blog to vote. :)

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  17. You've got my vote:-) Two Jamie's in a row!

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  18. VOTE! you did it again Tam...goose bumps yay!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Shawn. Sadly anonymous votes do not count. I probably should've mentioned it. Could you pretty please vote again as you? :)

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  19. Wow! I loved this! Great job! I'm glad I finally got around to reading the rest of the stories. I'm working my way through them! I'm going to be following you back! I'm excited about reading more from you! :)

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    1. Thanks! That's so funny that you picked today to comment because I was just telling my daughter about your story. She loved it too and instantly said she wanted to hear more. :)

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  20. VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!!! great! proud to know you.

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  21. So bittersweet and beautiful! A lovely story! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  22. Love it! SO good! Thanks for sharing!!

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I love to hear from everyone! Thanks for the comment. :)