Audible · Emergence Collective · voice acting

Audible update Friday edition

We are getting past the bumps in the road! Last week our area was inundated with forest fire smoke. The combination of unhealthy air to breathe and unhealthy air that damages vocal cords were just another hurdle to jump over. But the wind shifted, and Monday will be a recording day. Barring any more unfortunate events, I have high hopes of sharing the first chapter here for you lucky people! who knows, I might just continue to publish the chapters here for the entire book. I look forward to hearing feedback and opinions. Thanks for visiting!

Emergence Collective · writing · Audible

Audible Update

Here is another Audible update. If you have been keeping score, they are averaging every 2 weeks or so (but don’t put any money on that bet because of the human factor. (me, I’m the human and I am not super consistent) it is every 2 weeks or so because every other friday is D&D session and the DM is the voice actor) I leave him alone and not really discuss the progress much between sessions mostly because If I don’t regulate my excitement I will drive him crazy asking if he has any progress.

So, no progress. Life has a way of mocking me. He is enthusiastic and talented but like most of us has a day job and a private life that takes priority over vanity projects. However as mocking as life is, it is also cruel and indiscriminate in its curve balls that it throws you. This one is that a close friend of his recently passed away, and some health issues are still hanging about. I guess I will keep waiting. But as soon as I got something I will definitely post it! Thanks for visiting!

art · Author · Emergence Collective · writing

Deleted scenes

I enjoyed a long weekend; the “labor day” holiday here in the US, it is a holiday for the workman. Because, well, we all deserve a day off, right? I spent a lot of time making stuff with my laser. Honestly trying to build inventory to sell at craft fairs and such.

MC escher
Book box

LOTR

I should have been writing. I am not sure if I am procrastinating or not. I have reached a part in the story that kind of has me stumped. Trying to weave two parts of the storyline together. This happened once before in Emergence collective. I had written a chapter that sort of painted me into a corner plot-wise. The chapter was That Barney, after discovering he had the power to control some aspects of reality, decided to trim some fat from his entourage (He is a military commander, and he had been in Eastern Washington investigating a strange anomaly with a detachment of troops) So he manifested a gun and killed them all. Needless to say, this sent the direction of the story in an awkward place, I had to go into why he did, and deal with the ramifications of that action. Honestly it changed the tone of the story a created plot problems that I could not resolve. Ultimately, I scrapped about 4 thousand words and re wrote it. (You should check it out if you haven’t read it!)

I am in a similar position now, where the story has taken off in a direction that I need to steer back into the direction I had originally intended. (For me the stories write themselves and I feel like a bystander most of the time) So I have been procrastinating, pretending to think about the story issues, but also enjoying a hobby. I love to make stuff. I know, I know, I should be writing.

Emergence Ascended · writing

Emergence Ascended (chapter preview)

            Rain may be a bit strong of a word. Constant drizzle. That is what it actually is. The light wind blew the rain with just enough force to push it past the eaves and onto Will’s small apartment window. It had been doing this for a week straight and had no signs of letting up. Contrary to popular belief, Seattle, or just north of it where Will lives, did not get a lot of rain. At least in total inches. What it did get was a near-constant mist all winter long.

            The drip, drip, drip of water that leaked from his window pooled at the corner to eventually drip into the Tupperware bowl strategically placed under the window sill, waking him up. As sleep faded and he came to awareness, he groaned, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He overslept, not that it really mattered. He wasn’t late for work; he still had two hours before his shift at the library started. He sat up and stretched and checked his phone. No new texts, no new emails. Perfect.

            He followed his usual morning routine of shit, shower, shave, get dressed, and raid the fridge for some afternoon snacks for work. Check the weather forecast to see how many layers to put on, and head out the door to his favorite espresso shop.

            He got to the library early, as usual. He hated being late for anything. But starting work early for fear of being late wasn’t the real reason. He just really enjoyed being there. It wasn’t even work, to be honest. He sat at the desk sipping his coffee, contemplating that he had never even approached breaking a sweat at the library. And it is not work if you are not active enough to break a sweat.

            He sat at the desk sipping coffee, staring into space, lost in thought. Another reason why he liked working there. It was quiet, and you could let your mind go where it wanted. A loud thump on his desk made him jump, banging his knees on the desk and shooting a little squirt of coffee out of the little hole in the lid of the coffee cup, landing across his face, just barely missing his eye.

            “Farfegnugen!” He sputtered out. And looked at the stack of books that was just slammed onto his desk. On purpose, of course, his heart stopped, and he felt as if it wasn’t going to start up again. “It’s you.” He blurted. “Gees lady, do you have to keep scaring the crap out of me?” He said while wiping the coffee off his face and shirt.

            “Farfegnugen,” Chemy replied flatly. “It was ‘bejesus’ the first time,” she said with a mischievous smirk. “Are you okay? Every time I see you, you are well, like a zombie.” She said, sounding concerned.

            Finishing the reboot cycle, his heart thumped hard in his chest.

            “Uhhh…” That was all he could get out.

            She tilted her head, looking at him quizzically. “You are a strange one.” She said amused

He suddenly felt self-conscious and a little embarrassed. His face started heating up, and he could tell it was turning red. “Uhhh…” He stammered with a blank look. His eyes flitted from her face to his coffee, then back to her eyes. “Umm, you want to get some coffee or something?” he blurted out as if it was one word. Then he turned pale, shocked at himself.

Her eyes glanced at the coffee cup in his hand. “Nice recovery.” She said, as if it was a question but had no hint of malice behind it. He followed her eyes to his coffee.

            “Um, I mean. Uh, like you know. Sometime? In the near future, I’m at work and all.” He continued, feeling like he was digging a hole he couldn’t get out of.

            “Well, when you put it that way, how could I resist.” She said, amusement still on her face.

He looked forlorn, like someone had just kicked his puppy, and sighed. She looked at him curiously. “You do know I said yes? Right? She asked, starting to look like she regretted it.

He snapped out of his haze and shook his head. He had mentally prepared for rejection and was astonished that he was successful. “Um, Yes! Awesome!” He exclaimed cheerily, a broad smile on his face. Chemy subtly nudged the stack of books towards Will, hinting that there was an actual reason she was standing there. Will looked at the books taking the hint, and started scanning. Chemy reached into a little box that had a handful of three-inch-long pencils and a stack of notepaper that was on the desk. She took one of each and began writing as he scanned the next tower of mind-numbing philosophy books.

“Dostoyevsky, Kierkakgard, more light reading, I see,” Will said with a matter-of-fact tone. “At least it’s not as bleak as nihilism.” He continued as she finished scribbling on the paper and looked up at him. Her fiery hazel eyes locked him in place for a brief instant as she handed the paper to him and smiled.

            “Here is my number; gimme a text sometime.” She said with a genuine smile. “You know, in the ‘near’ future.” She went on, this time a little more wryly, and winked. Will’s cheeks flushed at that a little, but his nerves were calming down now that the awkwardness had passed. The last book he scanned was  “Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.” He glanced at her suspiciously. she noticed the look and defended herself. “Hey! I can read for fun too.”

            Will lifted his hands as if Chemy was pointing a gun at him. “I’m not judging!” he retorted. “It just looks like there isn’t enough time in the day to read all of this, let alone for fun.” He said, smiling as he gestured toward the tower of books she checked out. She smiled back at him, obviously not offended.

            “That’s a good one, though. I read it last week.” He continued

            “Did you?” she asked, but it sounded like an accusation and glanced at the Necronomicon tablet case.

            “Okay, okay, I listened to it, same difference.” He said with a shrug

She gave him a reassuring smile, saying, “I’m just messing with you.”

            There was a soft tapping on the well-worn carpet behind Chemy. They hadn’t noticed a line of people stacking up behind her, and the guy directly behind her was looking impatient. In a soft but stern tone, he said, “If you two love birds are done flirting, I really would like to get out of here before my lunch hour is over.” They both blushed deeply. Not that will could tell if she was. Her smooth skin was so black, but the sheepish look on her face was enough to know. She gave the man behind her an awkward, polite smile, slid the stack of books into her bag, and turned to leave. The man moved up and put a couple of paperbacks on the counter and his library card. Will watched as Chemy made for the exit. Just before she pushed the door open, she looked back at Will, pantomimed texting on her phone, and pointed to herself with a wink.

            The rest of his day went by in a hazy blur. It had been a few weeks since their first encounter, just long enough for Will to resign himself to the idea that he would ever see her again and had essentially given up. He grabbed his backpack and headed out toward home. His stomach rumbled, right on cue. Noodles, it is Will thought. Maybe there is some kind of magic or Something spiritual that he didn’t understand going on, and he should have noodles again, the same thing he ate the day he met Chemy. In the back of his mind, Will knew that he wasn’t kidding about there being Something magical happening. His parents would know if he asked them. But he wasn’t in the mood to go down the spiritual path they would drag him down. He got his noodles and began the short walk home, eating the noodles as he went. Will liked where he lived. Everything he needed was only a few blocks away from his apartment.

Audible · Author · Emergence Collective

Audible project update

I as a kid I remember reading Aesop’s fables book. Aesop was a slave storyteller in ancient Greece, and he bestowed stories that taught moral ideas and virtues. I took many of those stories to heart and tried to live those lessons in my daily life (I try). Patience was one of those lessons. One of the hardest to adhere to, but life is about practicing the hard stuff until it’s easy, so I will still try.  There is more that is bundled into it as well. Flexibility, understanding, and selflessness must be satisfied to be patient in my situation at least.

The Audible project is having some speed bumps that we are working out. Some usual Life crap that takes precedence over vanity projects and some technical issues that must be dealt with.  There were some medical things Zack and his family (The narrator) had to get past, but those things are smoothing out, and the technical issues are being brainstormed. The biggest technical hurdle is noise pollution.   I am a stickler for producing the highest quality I can achieve in anything I do. The Audible format has very strict guidelines about the audio quality for the recording as that represents their brand. Of course, they want the highest fidelity.

I bought the best recording equipment I could afford, and ironically enough, that equipment quickly pointed out how noisy his apartment is. The audio samples I heard, although decent, picked up every sound that our human ears has learned to drown out. The motor on the refrigerator, the fan in another room, and cars driving by outside, were accentuated by the microphone. Sadly, the audio is useless for Audible ACX guidelines.

Back to the drawing board, or to my amazon, actually. The solution is to get acoustic panels to soundproof the environment (which for now is more than likely his bathroom. I plan on making some modular panels (portable partitions) that can be set up and removed easily when it’s time to record. So, when you are listening to my book in the bathroom, getting ready for work, just realize that it was also recorded in one! Funny how life can come full circle huh?

More patience, waiting for my Amazon delivery, building the partitions, and then getting the recordings is in my future. Thank you Aesop for your philosophical teachings that I can now put into practice.

Audible · Author · Emergence Collective · spiritualism · writing

Where ever you go, there you are…

I am back from another camping trip. Did ya miss me? I’ve actually been back for awhile. However getting back into technology takes a bit of motivation. Dont get me wrong I am not one of those burn your TV kind of people. I think that whatever you choose to entertain yourself is the right thing to do. To me the concept of wasting time scrolling through Instagram or playing video games, or, watching tv is not a waste of time. And there does not always need to be “value added” or gain some positive benefit from that time “wasted”. After all, isn’t that why we work so hard, provide for family, get all the adulting stuff out of the way, so that we can have some downtime and relax or play. Anyway I’m rambling. My point is, I am not against technology at all, but my brain has a difficulty switching tasks from being in a natural environment to a technological one.

I can find Zen in technology. Stacking the virtual stones to make something beautiful from the chaos of the digital world, but it takes a little intention. Breathe in, breathe out… type some words. Ok.

Tomorrow I should have an update on the Audible project. The narrator is still getting familiar with the process and equipment so I have left him alone (My urge to request constant updates on his progress is an exercise in patience). I hope to have a snippet of Audio to add the blog but we shall see. once I do start to get audio chapters I look forward to sharing!

about me · Author · Emergence Ascended · writing

Being of two minds…

I managed to scratch out another chapter, but I can’t help but feel that I am dragging things out or procrastinating the decisions I need to make. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the last chapter so far. I think it is an important chapter and provides some needed elements for the story progression. This conundrum brings to mind something I read in the book “The man who mistook his wife for a hat” By Oliver Sacks (It’s a great read I suggest you try it). It is about various neurological disorders. One of them was about split-brain disorder where both hemispheres of the brain had been disconnected. The result was that each hemisphere was competing for dominance, Making decision-making impossible. Sort of an immovable object/unstoppable force situation since neither hemisphere was dominant, there was an impasse or stalemate in the decision. Like being stuck in the cereal aisle, there are too many choices to make an overall decision since each individual choice has equal merit and weight. That being said, I have a couple paths to take in the storyline and am having difficulty deciding which one would work better to get me to a satisfying conclusion. Ah, the struggles of an artist Thanks for visiting! If you thought this was interesting, please don’t hesitate to comment!

about me · Author · Emergence Ascended · writing

Choose your own adventure!

Yes, I was a book nerd growing up. One of the most influential books/series was the “Choose your own adventure!” books (Until I discovered H.P. Lovecraft in the 3rd grade). If you are not familiar, each book has multiple story paths and ends depending on how you make choices at key parts of the story. When the characters reach a point where a decision is made, you get a few to choose from, and your choice directs you to a new page that continues that storyline. It’s a great concept, and you can re-read the book for different outcomes. Very economical writing structure.

Now here I am, the master of the story choosing my own adventure to write. Its very exciting, but I am tasked with coming up with the paths and endings for myself. And that is the crux of it. Emergence Ascended has reached the point where I have to make some decisions and some of those decisions just might change the outcome of the story (of which I have already plotted in my head) There are character interactions that I have multiple situations to consider and that is proving to make things difficult to “get it right”. That being said, I have not been writing much on it (well on ‘paper’) but thinking very hard about how I want the rest of the story to progress. At least I am not one to back away from a challenge. Once I break free from this little speedbump, I am sure that the book will finish fast and be something I can be proud of. Thanks for taking the time to visit!

Author · Horror · writing

Itch part two.

Part two. Of course this is flash fiction a rough draft, unedited. I wanted to get the meat of it down, and I’ll file it into the category of “Ill work on it more later.”

He felt as if he was aiming for every pothole and bump in the dirt road. Not slowing for corners, he skidded around each one with literal wild abandon while planning his next move. No one knows yet. I have time to make it home and pack up. Just disappear. But to where? Ditch the company truck; yeah, that’s first on the list. Fresh clothes, oh the bank, take out my saving and lose my credit cards, cash from here on out. Lost in thought, his body on autopilot and coursing with adrenaline, the giant pothole in the middle of the road came quick, and he yanked the steering wheel hard to swerve around it as the front left wheel dipped into the ditch. Yanking hard again on the wheel, he tried to pull out of it but overcorrected and careened off the road catching air as he sailed into the swamp.

                The buzzing woke him. A constant, maddening hum. The dim light of the morning showed through the cracked windshield, sending rainbow patterns over the cab of the truck. The tree that had stopped him and cracked his windshield bowed over, pinning the truck to the swampy ground but saving him from plunging deeper into the swamp.

                Bruno tried to open his eyes. They were sticky with sleep and felt like his eyelids were swelling. He managed to pry them open and looked around, disoriented and confused about where he was. The buzzing again was loud in his ear as a massive mosquito flew through his open window. He wave his fat stubby hand to shoe it away, then noticed a series of large swelling bumps. Another huge mosquito takes the place of the one he shoed away fat with fresh blood, so fat it could barely fly, flew past his face. That’s when he remembered, and his panic began to renew. Shit shit shit! I gotta get out of here! He frantically pushed the door, but the mud had worked its way halfway up the door, and it would take a force of nature to move it. It didn’t even budge. The window then. Changing tactics, he climbed onto his knees and stuck his head out the window, but his keg-sized beer belly only threatened to get him stuck in an awkward position. Winded and out of breath, he sat back. The buzzing got louder, and he began to itch.

A shadow formed outside the truck’s window, like a cloud passing in front of the sun. But this cloud hummed with a disturbing resonance. Several mosquitos flew in and began to buzz in his face. He swats at them, irritated at the intrusion. He slapped a courageous one that had swelled to a startling red as it sucked on his leg. He smashed that one out of existence and then rubbed the sting on his leg. Another landed on his hand, and another. The cloud grew and darkened the outside of his window as the buzzing increased. “Fuck you!” he screamed in frustration as he swatted and slapped frantically. He felt as if he needed more hands, as the sheer number of the mosquito grew exponentially. A new panic took hold as the itch began to grow.

                Everywhere now. Every bit of exposed skin had begun to deform with large bulging bites. His hands, face, neck and even the top of his head were now becoming on continuous maddening itch. His swollen eyelids caused his eyes to blur and water, they itched. He rubbed them with the rough edges of his shirtsleeve, but that did little to relieve it. A sudden wave of convulsion overtook him as the primal part of his brain took over, and he began to rub and swat all over his body fending off the constant and incessant attack. Wave after wave of mosquitos flew in the window and mercilessly took full advantage of a captive dinner as they sucked and sucked.

                He must have passed out again. He woke to a blanket of mosquitos covering his entire body, greedily tapping him dry and the burning itch. Everything itched now. He pried an eye open and searched for something, anything to scratch with. He scrubbed at his body, trying to scratch every inch at once. And he cried out in agony, sending a swarm of mosquitos into the air, only to reposition themselves and begin again.”God damn it! I can’t take it anymore!” He shouted in pain and frustration.

                He saw the glint of metal from an old clipboard he didn’t use anymore; the plastic had cracked, and it was hard to write on. He snatched it up and snapped the board in half, exposing a jagged plastic edge. He started on his hand first. Dragging the edge along the top of his hand, leaving red trails as the skin scrapped away. The relief was short-lived, and he continued to rub the shard of plastic back and forth, getting redder with every pass. But it only made it worse and seemed to intensify everywhere else it itched. He dug in deeper, scraping skin away to the fat and meat below, not even feeling the pain of it, but it was the closest thing to the relief he felt.

                All he could hear was a constant buzz and the sound of his heartbeat. He couldn’t feel his hand anymore Thank god. But now he could stop scratching at his face. So swollen it was impossible to open his eyes he began to work the plastic clipboard on his face. He scraped and tore at the skin on his face. He dragged the slick jagged edge peeling of another layer, moaning in despair and feeling his consciousness slip into darkness.

Horror · Uncategorized · writing

Itch

Had to get this out, even though its not my WIP. But after a nice camping trip, this story came to mind.

CAUTION Graphic content ahead, you have been warned

Itch Part 1.

                Bruno drove down the unpaved road probably faster than he should have been. The tires splashed water from deep potholes far off the road into the swamp of the Florida Everglades. The service truck wobbled dangerously close to toppling over after he avoided a particularly treacherous-looking puddle as he careened onto the home’s driveway that was last on his list for the day.

                He skidded to an abrupt stop and shut off the engine. He put on the tattered ball cap with the logo of “Billy Bobs Air conditioning and plumbing”  and picked up a clipboard with the same logo, then climbed out of the truck. A blast of hot sticky, humid air washed over him as he stepped out and walked the twenty or so feet to the front door.

                The door opened before he could reach the entrance to knock, and an even warmer blast of air hit him from inside the house. Yup, definitely the right place, He thought. The door opened wider, and a tall thin woman with long dark hair stepped into view. “Miss, Bradly?” he asked as he looked down at the clipboard to verify her name and address. He could see her bare feet as he looked at the board, and his eyes followed them up her toned legs until his view was cut off by a thin bathrobe.

                “Oh, thank god! I thought you would never get here.” She exclaimed in a way of answering him. “It’s right out back.” She said, pointing to the house.

                She led the way around the side of her house to the broken air conditioner he was there to repair. Her bathrobe clung to her body, accentuating the curve of her hips. Damn, sometimes I really love my job, Bruno thought as he watched her hips sway as she walked.

                “Well, here it is, piece of shit that it is.” She said, motioning to the silent air conditioner.

“Uh huh, yup, these models are finicky; probably why they discontinued them about 5 years ago,” He said knowingly. “she’s not in bad condition overall, just needs a boost of coolant, more than likely.” He went on as he unscrewed a panel from the side.  

                I’ll be inside, sweating my balls off; just holler if ya need anything,” she said as she turned back to go inside. Bruno glanced again at her shapely hips as she walked away. Shook his head from side to side as if he couldn’t; believe his luck with such an attractive client.

                Bruno was feeling pretty good about himself. He managed to keep his eyes off her, for the most part, only a quick glance. He could indulge just a little and still not break his promise to himself.

He had been doing great. He hadn’t missed a single session with his therapist and has kept up on his journal. You know, really putting in the work, and he felt that he was passing this test. He voluntarily started going to a therapist; he knew that his sexual addiction was getting worse and he thought that he would be proactive. Don’t want to be one of those guys that eventually do something stupid and get thrown in prison, was his thought.

                A slight stinging sensation snapped him out of his thoughts as he saw a massive mosquito still swelling with blood as it sucked at his hand. He slapped hard, spurting blood from the engorged bug. God damn, that has to be the biggest damn skeeter I’ve ever seen. He thought, wiping blood onto his coveralls.

                He returned to his truck and brought back a coolant tank to refill the air conditioner and finish off the day. He wrapped up the last of the repairs, thankful it was an easy fix, and went to the front door. It was too hot, too sticky, and a cold beer was calling his name. His last call for the day, She is a beauty almost done; he could just about taste the beer. The door was ajar and he could only see a sliver of light coming from the window as he knocked with the corner of his clipboard. “All finished up,” he shouted through the crack as the sound of the air conditioner hummed to life in the distance.

                “Come on in.”She shouted back from what he assumed was her kitchen. He absentmindedly scratched at the swelling mosquito bite on his hand as he pushed through the door and stepped in. Miss Bradly walked from the kitchen holding 2 glasses of ice cold water, the condensation dripping from the glass in the heat. “You should start to feel it anytime now.” He said, motioning his head toward the air vent in the ceiling. She handed him the glass of water and noticed the mosquito bite on his hand. “Oh, looks like they got ya.” She said as he took a sip.

                 “Uh yeah, biggest bugger I’ve ever seen.”

“Let me get you some hydrocortisone for that. It’s gonna itch like crazy in a few minutes if you don’t get it on quick.” She said helpfully.

                “Oh, why, thank you.” He replied, genuinely grateful, and took another sip of water as she walked down the hallway to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. The bathroom light showed through her thin bathrobe, silhouetting her naked body underneath. He gave in and indulged another avarice look at her body as she walked, feeling himself stiffen and his heart quicken at the sight. He quickly looked away as she turned around and came back with a tube of medication. She handed it to him with a smile and said, “I go through a lot of this stuff around here, but it’s been pretty bad this year with all the heat; I swear, they just keep getting bigger and bigger.”

                He squeezed a dollop of the white paste and rubbed it on the increasingly itchy bite, feeling it quell it almost immediately. “Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.” He said in relief.

“You wouldn’t mind, would you?” She said, motioning to her back; I got a bit right in the middle of my shoulder blades; I swear they know exactly where I can’t reach, don’t ya know?” She turned away from him and let the robe slide off her shoulder to reveal her back. A nasty mosquito bite the size of a silver dollar was dead center of her shoulder blades.

                Bruno was stunned for a moment, not sure what he should do. His first thought was that this was wildly inappropriate, and if HR caught wind of it, he would possibly get fired for the liability alone. His second thought was, almost jokingly as inappropriate,  Dear penthouse forum… I can’t believe it happened to me… He smiled at himself for that.He squeezed a large glob on his hand and gently put it on the bite. She inhaled sharply, and he felt her skin turn gooseflesh for a second.

                “Oh, that’s cold..” she exclaimed through gritted teeth as he rubbed the cream. Bruno reached up with the full intention of grabbing her shoulder to use as leverage to help him rub the cream. As he awkwardly reached, his hand brushed the side of her breast. His heart beat in his chest so hard it almost hurt as his vision blurred and his penis stiffened immediately. Bruno lost himself. All of a sudden, he felt as if in a dream, a haze or fog he could barely see past. As he watched, seemingly from out of body, a fat sweaty man in blue coveralls and a blue ball cap tore away her bathrobe and shoved her to the ground.

                He wasn’t sure how long it had been. He found himself lying on the ground. The room was dark but cool as the air conditioner hummed along. His hands were sticky, and his head hurt from a gash above his thick brow. He put his hands on the ground to heave himself off the ground. A sharp pain shot up through his hand as a shard of something sliced into it as he pushed himself up. “Ahh!” he screamed and sucked air between his teeth as more fresh blood dripped from his palm. Standing now, he looked around see broken ceramic pieced from a destroyed lamp  Must be why my head hurts.

                As he scanned around, he noticed a dark shape in front of the sofa. His heart lurched in his chest as he recognized her body. He felt the thrill, tantalizing and electric as the memory of his fingers brushing her breast, then the urgency. It wasn’t me,  it wasn’t me! I did the work, everything, I worked so hard, so this wouldn’t happen. He looked back at her crumpled body by the sofa. He could see better now; his eyes adjusted to the dark. There was so much blood everywhere. He could see smears of it all over the wood floor, handprints, and footprints. He could almost make out the scene in his mind just by looking at it. The end table by the sofa and its missing lamp, but why was there so much blood? He gingerly touched the gash above his eye; it hurt but was no longer bleeding. He looked closer at her and saw an enormous amount of blood on her back, her buttocks, and legs. He noticed bits and pieces of the ceramic peppered all over her in red splotches. The scene didn’t make sense to him until he saw a heavy glass ashtray cracked in half lying next to her hand.

                Bruno scratched the mosquito bite on his hand, which strangely brought him back to his senses. His eyes darted around the room as panic overtook him. They’re gonna know! Oh god, it’s so obvious! He frantically patted his pockets, searching for his keys; finding them in his front pocket, he bolted for the door and burst out into the night. He ran for his truck and jumped in, starting it before he had even pulled the door closed. He floored the pedal down, sending gravel to shower the house, and drove off in a manic daze.