Alright then, food for fun readers. Today we are going to do something veeeeeeerrrrrrrry different. You know the chatty and pleasant and upbeat food prose you read at food for fun? Not going to find it here today. Not even a crumb. Instead, I agreed to help my most excellent blog friend, Mark, when he asked for participants in a writing game of sorts. Mark is head honcho of Nano Poblano 2014 (read all about it here) and though I wasn’t able to commit to posting every day in November, I agreed to be tagged in his reindeer games.
So the dealio is this: I was recently tagged by peacelovegreatcountrymusic (who assures me that I do like country music, though I am not fully convinced of this) to continue a story that was started nearly two weeks ago. It is not a food story (outside of a few references to bad soup and cream-filled donuts) and there is no recipe. But it’s all about writing and I’m game. If you like a dark tale, please read on!
The Blog Hop rules are simple:
1. Add a new post on your blog with these rules, the story so far, and who’s been tagged.
2. Title and tag the post as Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story.
3. Add at least two sentences to the story.
4. Pick another Pepper to tag. (Preferably one who hasn’t already been tagged).
5. Add a link to your chosen Pepper’s About page to the Tagged list below.
First things first. I refilled my flask using the larger bottle of Jim Beam tucked away in my bottom desk drawer. After stashing the flask deep into the pocket of my coat, I left the office for the parking lot where I climbed into my rusty 1997 Honda Sedan. The short distance was covered quickly and soon I pulled up in front of the small house on Maple Lane where a good man had been brutally murdered. Even from the outside, there was a stillness. A sense of dread. Nothing good could come of this visit. I took a swig from the flask and reluctantly left the car to walk the front steps and ring the doorbell.
The original story started at Fish of Gold.
Edward walked into the hotel lobby just as the sun began to light up the city. He dragged a large, heavy trunk to the reception desk and rang the bell.
As he waited for someone to answer the bell, he tried to calm his breathing and wiped his sweaty brow with his coat sleeve. He heard a soft thud from the trunk and jerked his head towards it. His eyes had just a touch of fear in them as he listened for any other sounds. He never meant for things to go this far.
When the concierge emerged for the door behind the registration desk Edward stood up straight and tug on the lapel of his coat and says, “Er.” The concierge huffs and says, “Yes, may I help you?” Edward clears his voice and stutters out, “Mr. Maddox told me to deliver this trunk here for him.” Before the concierge could respond Edward abruptly turns and quickly runs out the door.
“What the …,” the concierge half-yelled as Edward cleared the door and ran down the street of still-waking businesses.
The concierge, Randy, was now more than a little put out. First, he had been interrupted while playing Candy Crush at the end of a dull night on the desk. Now, he was having to deal with miscreants leaving junk in the lobby. He hoped his boss didn’t walk in at that moment and chew him out for it.
Well, Randy thought, “I guess I can prop my feet up on this at the desk.” He slowly, but carefully as not to ruin the flooring, started to drag the trunk into the office.
As Randy dragged the Victorian-era trunk with brown leather-bound maple paneling and shiny brass studs nailed into the trim, he noticed that the weight wasn’t distributed evenly. Grunting when he tried to lift the heavy luggage over a snag in the office carpet, he finally maneuvered the large object into position. This would be perfect for resting his tired feet, so he plopped his posterior into the cushy high-backed chair and threw his feet up into the light side of the trunk.
Still bitter about his Candy Crush high score getting interrupted, he decided to pull up Plants vs. Zombies instead. Circulation returning to his legs, he vowed silently that no zombies would eat his brains tonight. He’s seen “Walking Dead.” They weren’t getting him or his sunflowers. Maybe it was thinking about zombies, perhaps it was thinking about how immobile he was if the zombie apocalypse hit, it could have even been the soup he made for dinner, but something didn’t sit well with him.
And then he heard and felt a thud coming from inside the trunk.
He whipped his feet off the trunk so fast, one of this shoes went flying across the room, knocking over a coffee cup. Dregs oozed out from between the cracks of his boss’s favourite mug.
“Damn it,” Randy exclaimed momentarily forgetting the sounds from inside the container. And then the screaming started.
The day clerk, Hank, had just entered the hotel lobby when he heard the screams coming from the office behind the reception desk. He ran fast as he could into the small office and saw Randy slumped in the cushy office chair, wide-eyed and breathing heavily, and wearing only one shoe. Randy’s face was ashen gray and he was literally shaking.
Hank saw the large, antique trunk, its lid open and some sort of thick liquid inside. “What the hell, Randy?” he asked. “What was all that screaming about? And what is that trunk doing here?”
Randy extended a shaky hand toward the open trunk and pointed. All he could say was “something.” He said it several times, his eyes filled with fear.
Hank looked carefully at the trunk and then walked slowly closer to it. That’s when he noticed rancid smell and a trail of dark liquid leading from the old trunk out of the office and into the hotel lobby.
At precisely the moment that Hank’s addled brain (which, franky, was a rather slow-moving machine in the smoothest of situations) caught up to the reality of what he was witnessing, the sounds of pandemonium crashed into the ears of both men. Screams seeped in under the doors. The metallic crunches and thuds of cars unwillingly having their shapes rearranged filtered through the lobby windows. Hank imagined that he heard bones snapping and blood dripping amidst the chaos, but certainly that wasn’t possible. Was it? Hank locked eyes with Randy, both faces reflecting terror to the other. What had been in the box? More importantly, would they be held responsible? Given his usual weasel-like demeanor, Hank made a brave decision: He would go have a peek at the street to get a better idea of what he had gotten himself into. Inhaling deeply for courage and balance, he shifted his foot to begin the short walk back to the lobby doors. And that’s when he noticed it … he was standing directly in a puddle of the sticky fluid from the trunk, and it was working its way through every opening of his shoe.
All of a sudden, both of his feet started to burn like he had just finished walking on hot coals. He certainly was getting paid enough to deal with such crazy shenanigans. He should have been a lawyer, just like his mother wanted him to be.
A quick detour to the mens room appeared to be in order, and whatever lurked outside the lobby doors would just have to wait. Leaving a trail of shoes and socks and rancid ooze behind him, Hank pushed through the washroom door, noticed that the cuffs of his pants were ruined and decided to drop those too.
He hopped up to the counter, turned the taps on full blast and plopped both of his burning feet under the gushing, cooling water. It immediately turned a sickly greenish purple. One of the cubicle doors opened and a stunned person stopped dead to take in the sight of a disheveled boxer-clad day clerk effectively occupying two of the sinks, decided against washing his hands just this once, and hurriedly scuttled sideways to the exit. Hank heard the door open, he heard the door close, and in between over the thudding of his own heart, he heard the muffled sound of chaos from the streets.
Outside the hotel, meanwhile, Detective Dick Richards swore loudly and then crammed into his mouth the last third of that cream-filled donut that had distracted him enough to slam into the school bus stopped in front of him, causing the city bus following too closely behind him to make an unmarked-car sammich.
All the school kiddies looked fine, but they were bellowing on the sidewalk outside the hotel, the same joint that he’d been casing undercover for weeks now, waiting for those clerk clowns Randy and Hank to take the trunk from that middle man Eddie. Cripers. Those clerks watched so much HBO they probably thought that trunk held zombies or vampires or something. Dick Richards wanted to clean up this mess outside so he could get back to his binoculars and watch for the next player in the game to show up.
Detective Richards was squirming out the passenger side window and was hanging upside down as Detective Sargent Beverly Hills approached his accordioned vehicle. Dick would know those gams anywhere. Bev had the best legs in the Department, although Andy Highwater on bicycle patrol came in second with his long, tanned….
“What the hell are you doing Detective Richards? You are required to stay put while the fire fighters use the “jaws of life” to remove you from this mess.”
“I’m fine, Bev.”
Dick lost his purchase on the car and dropped like a stone further out the window, slamming his head on the curb, effectively knocking himself out. Meanwhile, a HAZMAT Team showed up to contend with the dark ooze that trailed from the hotel. An uniformed officer ran over to Beverly and informed her that a dead man had been found in the men’s washroom of the hotel and he appeared to be one of the desk clerks. An EMT was tending to the revived Detective Richards, so the Detective Sargent followed the Officer into the hotel and to the washroom, relieved to leave the pandemonium outside. Beverly stopped in the washroom doorway, stunned by what she saw.
It was not possible, was it? Given her line of work, she had seen many corpses. But this one was different; this corpse was her ex-husband Hank. “Oh, Hank. What did you get yourself into?” she moaned softly to herself. Despite their divorce, she had no hard feelings toward Hank. He had always been a nice man. He was just so…dim-witted. Ending up as a murder victim in a hotel bathroom was proof, as far as she was concerned, of his general ineptness.
The hardest part of this job was never knowing when you would meet a corpse you recognised.
Slim chance, but there was Hank, with his pale cheeks pressed up against the mirror. A noticeable crack in the glass, overshadowed only by the putrid stench of…what WAS that in the air?
Beverly began to step closer, instead turned away covering her face. A ringtone echoed, and she fumbled for her phone. As she accepted the call, she realised it was not her ringtone but, ‘Everyday I’m Shuffling’, Hank’s favourite song when they were still together.
She hesitated, ‘…Hello?’
‘Hello Bev…you never read my poem’ – the call ended and a text came through.
Beverly sank to her knees frantically trying to open the text with her now trembling fingers, the officer wondering what this idiot woman was doing, tapped her shoulder. Beverly glanced at him and gestured to the phone, ‘It’s from…him’, she mumbled – pointing at the corpse of her ex, ‘I can’t read it, we must read it!’
The officer – being a gentleman – read:
‘You held me with my fears
With a gaze of distant years
Your face reflected in the glass
I breathed in, the scent of arsine
You tried to help me stand,
Then I saw within your hand
Your axe about to thwack
The mirror will expose your crack.’
Heads down, engrossed in the text, they almost didn’t see the dark reflection in the mirror. They looked up just in time to dodge the large axe that seemed to be heading straight towards them. When they turned around, the black cloaked figure was rushing out of the restroom, laughing maniacally saying “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. Bev and the officer looked at one another quizzically, was it a clue? What seemed most odd to Bev was the voice of the cloaked man. It sounded just like Hank, but how could that be when she was looking at Hank’s dead body, laid out on the bathroom counter before her? It was becoming clear that this wasn’t a normal murder scene and they were dealing with a lot more than contaminated ooze.
Bev’s face felt cool like a slither of ice had been brushed across it, crimson fingertips rose to wipe away a slick of almost slimy sweat from her brow as the other grasped the mobile. Legs weak, trembled like a baby doe as she attempted to rise not initially noticing the officer’s thick hairy topped hands that went to aid her. His greedy digits apparently needed to slide under one ass cheek, stealing a squeeze before hoisting up as the other paw wrapped around her slender upper arm brushing rather too keenly against freshly starched cotton covered breast.
Though Bev was in shock, she detested this Officer, his actions causing a reaction akin to touching an electric wire as delicate hands rose with purpose, palms flat slamming in to his portly chest, pushing with determination and anger. Neat little heals slipped amongst the acrid slime on the floor as shrill voice shouted “Get your grubby hands OFF me Officer you dirty DOG!” as whhooooooosh, feet went out from underneath the enraged patron of order.
Slender body crumpled and bent like a piece of old parchment as limbs flailed in attempt to block the obvious conclusion of her action. The accused Officer did as instructed, moving away, only to see the saucy morsel crash to the floor, raven locks billowing over slippery floor as a ‘CRACK’ of skulls echoed over the tiled floor.
“OH BOLLOCKS” could be heard loudly from the restroom. “SHE’S DEAD THE SILLY BITCH” followed with a tone of indignance at the inconvenience of it all. He crouched down just to double check, muttering “what a waste.” Thick set knuckles tugged the mobile from her grasp, standing to stretch as leisurely as a rise from a good nights slumber, cracking a few joints before proceeding to leave.
“FORENSICS” he bellowed, doing a quick dart back of body avoiding being face slammed by the opening bathroom door as a group of officials rushed in. “WATCH THE FLOOR” he yelled, tucking the mobile in to his trouser pocket, leaving and murmuring “you know what to do”.
Heavy footsteps slowed a moment as a “buzz buzz” was felt against his hip. The phone gyrated like a limber pilates teacher as sweaty fingers lifted it out, swiping to open the message “I am watching you, you filthy pig faced man, don’t ever touch my ass again!”
The Officers mouth resembled a breath starved goldfish momentarily as he turned, retreating to pop his head back in the restroom.
“She is dead isn’t she?” he asked the gang of forensics.
“Oh yes man, head split open like a melon” one geeky spotty male answered.
A sigh of relief escaped stubble ridden lips as he turned to leave feeling a slither of cold, as cold as ice pass his face.
Blinking repeatedly, a form appeared, floating before his eyes; it was Bev as if made of glass, or water, shimmering almost ethereal like, turning and advancing towards him. He glanced entranced by the pure beauty of what was before him, oblivious as she opened her mouth as if to scream. A sound not heard by others catapulted through his brain, as if splitting it in two, eyes burning and bulging as hands pushed either side of his head as if to hold it together.
Time slowed, everyone slowed, sounds of voices became blurred, movements merged one in to the other as the silhouette of glassy form left.
“This is officially the worst migraine,” thought the officer.
He looked in the mirror in order to fix his hat. It felt tighter than usual. Funny things happened to him whenever the migraines made their presence known.
As he adjusted his hat, he caught a glimpse of Bev’s silouette in the mirror. By the time he saw the hammer in Bev’s hand, it was too late. He was right though. This was the worst migraine the officer would ever have.
Hours later, Detective Dick Richards knelt just outside the restroom door and put a hand over his nose to try to stifle the thick stench of blood emanating from the room. Now there were five bodies in the restroom, and a trail of bloody foot prints leading down the hall, into the lobby, and out to the street.
Richards took out his cell phone and dialed an old, familiar number. It only had three digits. All of them were the same.
“Yesssssss?” a voice hissed on the other end of the line.
“The plan’s been foiled again. The contents of the trunk are… missing. At least five people are dead. Five good people.”
“And you think I care about thisssssss?”
“No, of course not. But it’s my job to keep you informed. What’s my next move, boss?”
“Since the contents of the trunk have been misplaced, His Excellence will not be pleassssssed.”
“Clearly.” Detective Richards fidgeted, wondering what exactly His Excellence would come up with as punishment this time. Another trip into The Pit? Richards shuddered to think of the time he accidentally misplaced the twelve virgins to be ritually sacrificed.
“Don’t worry, Richardsssss. The Great and Powerful Cortoogoo has wonderful plans for you. Now, it is time to move on to the next step. You must acquire The Key.”
Tiffany Van Helsing, Demon Hunter, hated early mornings with all her heart. She especially hated really early mornings. She also hated cold weather and field work a whole lot and when all three combined as they had this morning, it was extra-special annoying.
She supposed it was all part of paying her dues as the youngest member of the infamous clan of Van Helsings, who had been running a wildly successful Supernatural Critter Disposal company for the past 100 plus years, since Old Gramps Van Helsing first took a cross to Count Dracula in the 1890s. It still wasn’t fair, though. Her older sister, Morgana, not only got the the Van Helsing raven curls, height and slender but super-humanly strong build, but she got all the plum assignments too, tracking only the highest-level VIP demons in their swanky jet-set, private club and Monte Carlo yacht environment. Tiffany got five feet of ordinariness, mousy hair, a tendency to put on a few extra that time of the month, and all the crappy jobs. Oh yeah, and she inherited Grandma’s ability to see ghosts. Big whoop.
She had brushed past five spirits already as she gingerly picked her way through the fragile dawn light over the loose branches and slippery leaves of the deserted forest. Damn it, she hated the 5-inch heel over-the-knee platform boots she had to wear on hunting expeditions too. “I mean really,” she bitched to herself for the umpteenth time, “who the hell tracks demons in a boots and a leather mini skirt when it’s 40 degrees outside?” She’d been pushing to update the mandatory uniform for years, but Morgana loved it, and Morgana always got her way. What she would give for some tennies and warm fleecy sweatpants. “Oh well,” she sighed, absent-mindedly tugging the skirt leather over her exposed butt cheek. “Once I corner this evil detective, stop him from opening a portal from the underworld and releasing hellspawn on the unsuspecting populace, I should have time for a Pumpkin Spice Latte from that new Starbucks across from the office.”
She reached the top of the hill, and crouched suddenly, cursing under her breath as her stiletto heel snapped a twig in the chilly silence. She could see her target, Detective Dick Richards, below her in the faint light, all dolled up in the Standard Issue Robe and Pointy Hood, etching a pentagram in the loose dirt of the hollow. He had already set out a bunch of candles and she could smell the stench of burning incense. Looked like a basic Key Invocation to her; shouldn’t take long to wrap this up. Then she could get on to some warm pumpkin-spiked goodness and much more comfy shoes.
Tiffany was so taken by the thought of it, she could almost smell the intoxicating combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and corn syrup in the air. “Soon enough,” she thought.
Upon completion, Detective Richards rose and began to walk the perimeter of the pentagram. Once. He still couldn’t shake the stench of the hotel bathroom. Twice. The blood. The weird black slime in the sink. Beverly. Poor Beverly. He’s always liked her. Why did she have to get all caught up in this? It was almost enough to make him turn in his black robe, for good. “Damn it!” He’d lost count again. It had to be perfect, or it wouldn’t work. He fell to his knees, quickly erasing the pentagram in the dirt with his hands.
Tiffany, seeing her golden opportunity, agilely leapt to her feet. She took a solid step backward for momentum, a little too solid. Her right stiletto pierced the ground, lodging itself firmly in the mud. Tiffany didn’t hear the leaves crunching behind her as she struggled to free her boot. It came loose all at once with a jolt. She spun, struggling to regain her balance, and found herself nose to nose with Edward and the unmistakable smell of cinnamon. “It’s your favorite,” he said coyly.
The psychiatrist looked at the strange child before him. He had been referred by the school guidance counsellor. Several dolls lay in disarray with a tiny trunk at the side. Blood, blood, blood he said. Was this possession? That was the last thought before he was thumped on the head by a toy hammer and bludgeoned to death.
This was the portion written at peacelovegreatcountrymusic.
“He was odd from the moment he was born,” his tearful mother blurted out. “I knew the whole time I was pregnant that he wasn’t gonna turn out right.”
“I watched for all those warning signs I see on Dr. Phil but nothing ever happened. One night, I woke up to check on him and he was standing over my bed whispering. When I tried ushering him back to his bed, he said he only took orders from the shadows.”
“I slept with my door locked that night.”
My left temple was on fire and I knew I should have turned my phone to silent. This was going to be one long-ass day and the flask in my pocket was bone dry. I put on my badge and checked my holster.
Who has contributed so far?
Fish of Gold
To Breathe Is To Write
Silently Heard Once
Not A Punk Rocker
Inspiration In Progress
Nerd in the Brain
Knocked Over By a Feather
Lucy at the Excessive Gardner
Debra at Booking It
Idiot Writer at Idiot Writing
Storm Chaser At Parenting A Teenage Tornado
Eclectic Odds And Sods
Destino at Chasing Destino
Cheney at Blog Apocolypse
Drunk On Life
Love Marriage Worms
food for fun
I am tagging Deborah at Notes Tied on the Sagebrush to continue the story.
What fun I like how you continued the story.
thanks, Suzanne. You can get yourself on the list to move the story forward should you have ideas! I’d like to move the tale a bit more in the culinary direction so maybe we should get more food bloggers on board 😉
Yes shy not great idea naybe i will hop jn
seriously? that’s awesome! Head over to this link and leave in a comment that you are willing to play the story game.
Tell them Liz sent you 😉
You did an amazing job! You should be proud of what you wrote, that is great!
Thank you, Apple 😉 My contribution is small, but I’m not so much into dark stories. I just wanted the guy to go out to lunch! 😀
I was in the same boat! I don’t read that type of story, but everyone worked so hard and wrote so well. I wanted to contribute something lighter. If he drank and didn’t eat, he would never get that case solved, so your addition is perfect.
I need to borrow your flask after reading all that murder.
With you on that, Kerbey. This is not the stuff I usually read much less write. Thanks for coming over though. Are you sure you don’t want to hop on 😉
I haven’t been on a horse since I turned 30, and hopping on this would break my hip for sure.
Let’s pass around the flask. I need a swig, too, Liz. Great job on the story, food writer! Nano Poblano all around. 🙂
I was thinking we could pass the larger Jim Beam bottle around, Mark! Was fun to try something out of my comfort zone. Though like I told Apple above, I just wanted him to order chili at a deli counter.
Yes, chili today, Hot tamale. 🙂 bada boom.
yikes! i’ll need another swig –
no kidding–that story was so not my thing. But it’s good to step out of your comfort zone, yes? Appreciate your support here so very much, Beth. You’re amazing 🙂
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Wow! You’ve definitely got some writing chops, and not just for food! 😉
lol, HD. Note that I didn’t write any more than a paragraph and in that time the only thing that really happened was his filling a flask with bourbon! Appreciate your compliment, though, so thanks 🙂
At some point, it could be fun to pass the baton on a food-writing sort of game. No grisly brain spattering scenes allowed.
oh oh oh and guess what: Next movie in my netflix queue is Diva. (Did you tell me about that one?)
That sounds fun! I wonder how that could work?
I probably did recommend Diva to you, or at least mention it. I have shown it in my film class to illustrate great mise-en-scène at work. Let me know how you like it!!!
Jeez–I just stopped in to be polite and loyal to you and now I might be hooked! LOL!
Kerry! You are so good to me and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate you’re being “polite and loyal” 🙂 Glad if you liked the story. Way too dark for me, though I keep saying that it was good to try something new. Life isn’t always hearts and flowers, lemonade and rainbows. But I like to keep it that way (mostly) with the books I read, movies I watch, etc. figuring real life is hard enough.
Hope you are well 😀
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Very impressive Liz. Although I must admit it made my skin crawl. Way to step outside the box.
I did ok if I made your skin crawl, then 😉 Though my part was tame compared to much of it. Can’t say it’s my preferred literature genre, but the things we do to help our blog friends, yes?
Appreciate your visits tonight! You’re on a reading roll 😀
I must admit it’s not a genre I generally read, but I did “enjoy” the post.
As to playing catch-up. We’ve been working crazy busy hours the last several weeks, so I haven’t had time to read until now.