Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Story a Day May Challenge, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Still and Strange Story A Day May: Day Three

Still and Strange

“Marilyn? Are you in here?”

There’s no answer, only some faintly disturbing sounds coming from somewhere deeper in the house – Marilyn’s room, maybe? Ophelia listens, tipping her head to pinpoint where the repetitive sounds are coming from. This damned mansion is so huge and empty, it’s hard to tell.

Things echo.

It makes her shiver, but she doesn’t know why.

She takes a step. Listens. Takes two more. Listens. Pinpoints a likely doorway, and heads for it.

Yes. The sounds are more distinct; she can follow them through a vast room with wine-red walls and marble trimmings. It makes her think of an empty heart. She hurries through – she doesn’t like this space, or this house. But it’s where her sister lives –

And something about Marilyn’s message says that she’s in trouble.


And she’s all alone in this huge, hollow, house.

That makes Ophelia hurry. Room after room. She doesn’t pause to look; she just gets a faint sense of color, shape – and a uniform cold sterility.

Was this ever really a home to Marilyn?

She can hear murmuring now, along with that rhythmic noise. Short bursts of Marilyn – chanting? – and punctuations of heavy breathing, short and tight.

She’s getting close – but now her steps slow, and her heart is a too-large burden in her chest.

Ophelia needs to go to her sister. And she doesn’t want to.

Things are never easy with Marilyn. Everything’s got complications and land mines with no markers. Every word and breath might bring disaster.

“They call him the Doll Maker.” That’s what Marilyn’s chanting, sing-song, and yet somehow flat. Hollow, like this damned mansion that looms in from all around. “They call him the Doll Maker.”

Ophelia reaches a door. It’s cracked open. Marilyn is inside.

So is whatever today’s trouble is.

“They call him the Doll Maker, Doll Maker, Doll Maker.”

Ophelia pushes the door open. The room is huge, but crowded with tacky furniture, like what people might put out free on the road, or shove into their basements.

Marilyn is on a battered and ugly plaid couch, her back to the door, long golden hair snarled and stringy, but still shining in the gloom.

Rapunzel, Ophelia thinks, for no reason, and reminds herself that this isn’t a fairy tale. This is her sister, and she’s in trouble.

Marilyn is moving rhythmically, and still chanting about the Doll Maker. Is it a song she’d learned as a little girl?


“They call him the Doll Maker, Doll Maker, Doll Maker.”

Ophelia edges closer. She sees a pile of something soft, and something glinting in Marilyn’s hand as she raises and lowers it.

And she sees the gallon of orange juice, half gone.

That tells her Marilyn is tripping – something she should probably have already guessed, by the flat chanting.

She isn’t going to get a coherent answer. Marilyn never trips halfway – even now that she’s pregnant. Ophelia’s tried to talk her out of it. Marilyn’s tried to stop, again and again.

She’s trapped. In this hateful house. In her addictions. In the pain that causes them.

Ophelia hates that more than the house. What did her father do to Marilyn, when he ran off to be with her own mother?

“They call him the Doll Maker, Doll Maker, Doll Maker.”

He broke her, that’s what.

Ophelia edges around. Marilyn is hacking at a pile of what looks like Raggedy Ann dolls with a pair of scissors. Her hands are bleeding.

And her swollen belly is so close to those blades!

Ophelia gets closer, sits on the edge of the bed. She waits, breath stopped, until Marilyn lifts the scissors again, then reaches out and gently cradles her sister’s hand.

Marilyn blinks. “They call him the Doll Maker, Ophelia.”

“I know.” Truth is, though, she doesn’t. She doesn’t have a clue what to do to fix what their father broke. All she has is instinct, so she goes with it. “Tell me about him.”

“No one ever talks about it, but – shhh! It’s a secret!” She goes still and strange, then points at the mass of mutilated ragdolls with her free hand. She whispers, “They all have the same face. Every. Single. One!”

What’s happening in Marilyn’s mind?

Is it related to her past?

Will Ophelia be able to help her?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another installment, and we can explore this new story seed together!

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Story a Day May Challenge, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

“Messed Up” Story A Day May: Day Two

Language Warning (Just once; but you’ve been warned).

“Messed Up”

Marilyn sinks into the couch. She used to think that was just a saying…but then, she’s never been on a trip like this before. She’s literally sinking into the couch. She thinks she might even be becoming a part of it, its plaid pattern flickering over her skin, shifting to match her coloring, then back…she is a couch-girl, and the couch is a girl-couch.

That makes her giggle little crystal gems that shatter into a million gentle singing shards when they hit coffee table or floor.

“Fuck, I’m messed up,” she says, but there’s no one here to hear her.

Was there ever?

Had there ever been?

Not that she can remember. It seems like it’s always been this way – all alone in this great big, beautiful house that’s almost a mansion everywhere but here in her apartment sized room crowded with tacky old furniture she bought at yard sales, thrift stores, or just found on the street.

Right now, she almost wishes they were here, because she’s messed up, and this trip is just starting, and maybe it’s stupid to be alone right now.

But there isn’t anyone here but the servants, and they don’t like her any more than she likes them.

So Marilyn takes another hit. Why not? She’s alone and messed up, but she can’t get into too much trouble as a couch, can she?

She flicks on the old-style, boxy TV. She had to pay someone to come set things up so it was tied into the new house system, but works like it used to, with the flickery, jerky pictures. She paid him with sex, and he said thanks with this trip, and enough Molly for two or three more. They’d taken it together, and thanked each other again, but now he’s gone, and she’s here alone. Messed up, with her new TV to try…

She rolls through channels with the clumsy old remote big enough to use for a weapon if she has to – if she’s ever not a couch again, that is. More giggling crystals –

And then she freezes, white-knuckling the remote.

She’s on the screen. She’s older, now. Maybe seventeen. Eighteen? Around there.

But it’s her. And she’s being hugged by another girl, with black-hole hair. Does that hair want to devour her? Does Marilyn want it to?

There’s a baby. Not moving. Mouth gaped open. It breaths funny; chest and stomach don’t move together.

She knows the baby is her baby. Her girl. Her little Lavender.

She’s seeing the future. No one else is here. No one else can see.

She’s seeing her dying daughter, and Marilyn knows she has to die, too.

Does Marilyn really see what she thinks she sees?

Will someone notice she’s in trouble?

Where are her parents?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another installment, and we can explore this new story seed together!

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Challenges and Contests, Enterprise fan fiction, Flash Fiction Pieces, Just for Fun!, Story a Day May Challenge, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

The Music and the Man: #StaD May; Day Two

For Story A Day May, Day Two (click the heading to see the full post with prompt by writer Jerry B. Jenkins).

Standard disclaimer. I don’t own them, I don’t profit from them, but they insist on telling me their stories, so I’m sharing them with you.

Prompt words: (I can always make use of more!)


  • disco

  • Ferris Wheel


  • hypnotic

  • deep waters

  • lifeline

  • omitted

  • new worlds to conquer

    And now, for today’s story!

The Music and the Man

T’Pol was pulled down through deep waters with no lifeline. She was a child home alone; T’Les was still at the Academy. Images played on her monitor:

A most illogical song about a “Ferris wheel”, and a strange dance called ‘disco’.

Then herself, grown.

Music – hypnotic, like the human male with ocean-blue eyes, smiling at her. “New Worlds to Conquer!” He laughed.

Illogical. It was merely a dream brought forth by her recent research into aspects of humanity omitted in her formal training – their entertainments.

Illogical, to dream it.

But the music and the man still wove through her.

Where is T’Pol?

Who is the man with the ocean-blue eyes?

Why is she hearing music?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another 100 word installment, or visit the brand-new series link!