This is another short story that I am considering featuring in the anthology, but I would love to have some feedback. Please spread it around and post, comment, repost and reblog please. And thank you in advance for the support. It is a rough draft so please don’t be too harsh about grammatical or punctuation errors, but also please don’t hesitate to draw my attention to it.
Another Time, Another Place
“Dammit, Grayson! I trusted you!” Nomie screamed, throwing his phone across the room in a fit of rage after he screamed at her for invading his privacy when she insisted upon looking through his texts. It hit the wall and she hoped she’d broken it to smithereens. She wanted to throw the computer across the room after she’d found his email open but was hoping to have a civilized talk about it first.
“It’s not what you think! Tony has been the one talking to all those girls! I don’t know why you’re going through all my stuff, anyway. I have nothing to hide!”
“Using your email? Really? And how dare you accuse me of not trusting you; I did until I saw those messages, and it’s not like I deliberately went on the computer to look at your stuff! I’ve never questioned you about your privacy before, but if you have nothing to hide then why did you make such a big deal about it when I asked for your phone PIN? How stupid do you think I am?”
“I don’t!” Grayson protested. “I don’t think you’re stupid. If Tony’s wife would have found out she would have freaked! That’s why I gave him my email info so he can use it from his house.”
Nomie’s world spun and as he spoke, she started to believe his words. He was so warm, so convincing. She knew that he would never hurt her. But that night as he held her in bed, something inside her kept her awake as he held her. She cried silently to herself as he snored in a deep sleep, cutting through her eardrums.
She wriggled out of his tight grip and went to the bathroom to wipe her face. How could he do something like that to her? He wouldn’t. She knew that in her heart. It was stupid of her to read his emails even if he’d left it open. He was right when he accused her of not trusting him after she questioned him about cheating. She looked in the mirror at her puffy-eyed reflection and scolded herself for being so silly. Then she slipped back into bed to a troubled night of sleep.
The next day while Grayson was at work, Nomie tried to forget it all but she just couldn’t focus. She sat at the computer to get some work done for her boss, the invoices she had planned to have done the day before when she ran across the email that stared her in the face, telling Tony, or Grayson, as she didn’t know what to believe, how good he was in bed. But she didn’t get past typing the date. May 10, 2015. She started crying, remembering what she’d found the morning before. She remembered that the phone had hit the wall but wasn’t sure about the damage yet. She went to where it had hit but it was gone, so she walked into the kitchen to grab a soda and found the phone on the kitchen counter. It was banged up pretty good and didn’t seem to work. Curious, she tried to turn it on—Nothing. He probably left it knowing it was a goner. Or was it?
She plugged it into the charger and turned it on. There were signs of life in it! He’d never given her the passcode but she tried the PIN from their mutual bank account. It worked, but she wished it hadn’t. The text messages and voicemails she found were heartbreaking. She recognized a few of the girls’ names from his email account, and she knew from what was said that the messages were not intended for Tony as he’d claimed, but had to be for Grayson. The last one she read before breaking down was sent ten minutes ago. “Where r u? R we still on for lunch today?” It was from some girl named Chrissy, the girl he talked to most.
In a midst of a panic attack the size of Texas, Nomie slunk to the kitchen floor and sobbed uncontrollably, saying an unintelligible prayer that it would all go away and that things would be different. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to know about these things, but she wished he’d never betrayed her trust. She knew she had to leave him, but how could she? She hadn’t heard his side, so maybe there was an explanation like with the emails. And maybe he’d die in a horrible accident on the way home and she wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. She felt guilt at her hope for his demise.
A cold wind whooshed by her, but she was too busy to truly notice. A few minutes later, she felt a presence. There was a thing standing in her kitchen that looked like a shadow that had been burnt to a crisp, but there was something sympathetic in its blue eyes as it looked upon her. She felt a calm about this entity, as if he, or she or it, was going to make everything okay.
“I know what happened, you poor thing. And I can make it all go away.”
She was desperate but cautious as she stared at it for a moment, trying to take it all in. Maybe it was just a hallucination. “How?” she asked, drawing the word out with skeptical reservation.
“He betrayed you. I can take you back to another time, another place, before the betrayal began. I can make it so that it never happened.”
“You can take us back to before all of this even started?”
“Yes,” said the crispy creature. “But in exchange, you have to give me your soul. Fair deal?”
“What does that mean?” she asked hesitantly.
“It means you can have happiness with your beloved once again while you’re both here on Earth, but your soul will be mine for Eternity.”
Without putting any thought into anything else that the Shadow-Thing said except for “happiness with your beloved once again,” she sniffled and whispered a feeble, “Fair enough.”
“And one more thing. You won’t remember anything that happened these last few days. I wouldn’t want that interfering with your happiness. I’ll take you back to a time before the affairs began.”
“When was that?”
“Chrissy was the first. He started a friendship with her on February the fifteenth of 2013. Do you remember the day before? He took you out to a nice Valentine’s Day dinner. He even went into work earlier than he had to because he couldn’t bear being home without you. That morning, they both stopped in to get a cup of coffee at the convenience store and stood in line together. Every day after that, Chrissy stopped at the store hoping to catch him and even waited until she saw his car before she’d set foot in the store. It was around March that he started falling for her and took her up on a lunch date, and when he got away with seeing her, he started seeing the others. But I’m sure I’ve already told you more than you can handle in your delicate state. I can change all that; I can make it so that they never even cross paths.”
“That bastard!” Nomie screamed. She thought of how she and Grayson had a nice dinner and went home early since they both had to work the next day, but they made up for the early-night-in in bed. Afterwards, he spooned her and gave her small kisses along her shoulder, caressing her body gently with his fingertips as he whispered sweet words in her ear. “I love you, baby. I hope I made your Valentine’s Day as good as you’ve made mine,” he said as she drifted to sleep, still feeling his loving touch on her skin. It was so perfect. “And I’ll forget all of this?”
She sighed, desperate for relief from the pain in her mind, heart and body. “Yes.”
Suddenly everything went black. She woke up on February the Fourteenth, 2013. It was the same as it was two years ago, but she didn’t remember it. She had a sense of deja vu all day but couldn’t pinpoint exactly why. But she ignored it. She was just excited to get home from work after he’d sent her a text about how he had a special surprise for her.
That night she went to bed feeling the most love for him she’d ever known for anyone. From the Five-Star restaurant to the sex, everything was perfect as she curled up in his arms and fell asleep in a state of euphoric bliss under his touch.
The next morning she still felt that sense of deja vu, but was still high from the magic of the night before to think much of it. He sat on the bed buttoning his shirt with a sly smile, He motioned to her with a “come here” gesture and pulled her in, giving her a long, seductive kiss. “Too much of that and both of us will be late to work. If we make it in at all,” he laughed. “That would be fine by me,” she said, wishing she could just lay in bed with him all day. Then she looked at her watch. “Well I’d better get going, I think I’m going to be cutting it a bit short here.”
“All right, baby. I still have forty-five minutes, maybe an hour before I have to leave. Gonna be lonely here without you.” He gave her a sad puppy dog look and she smiled. Then he pulled her in for one final kiss before she left the room. He heard some noise from the kitchen before the front door closed and her car started up. He felt so much more love from him than ever, but couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was last night’s escapade. And he also had a strange sense of deja vu.
He was going to leave early because the night before was so wonderful with Nomie that he was missing her like crazy, but something told him not to. It was a nagging feeling in his gut that if he left early, things wouldn’t pan out the way that Fate, or possibly some other Entity, had designed it to. Instead, he passed time by sending out a few emails. He didn’t realize that he’d let time slip away and then he headed out the door, knowing he would have to speed a little to get to work in time.
It was around 9:51 on the morning of February 15th that Nomie received the call that Grayson had been in a terrible accident. “Is he okay?” she asked with her heart pounding.
The officer on the other line hesitated before saying, “I’m sorry; Grayson didn’t make it.” He didn’t want to tell her that not only had his car been T-boned by a big rig, but it had pretty much crushed Grayson’s car with him in it. He had briefly rehearsed the right words to say to her before calling, but in a situation like this, he found it difficult.
A guy from the cleanup crew yelled, “We got another chunk of him over here!” as the officer grimaced at the lack of couth, hoping his voice hadn’t carried over the phone.
As the officer explained what had happened, Nomie crumpled to the floor, screaming as her co-workers ran to her to see what was wrong. her boss drove her home, promising that he would look after her car and told her to keep in touch and take a little time off if she needed to.
Grayson’s family was notified by police, which she was grateful for since she barely had the strength to relay it to her mother without choking up. Her mother called the rest of the family and ten minutes later showed up at her doorstep.
Nomie was quiet and could barely eat. She went into the corner of the living room where the computer was and noticed that Grayson hadn’t turned his computer off. Desperate to know what some of his last thoughts were, she sifted through his “sent” folder. Every message she came across mentioned her in some way, but the very last one was to his brother who was having girl troubles.
“If you ever find a girl like Nomie, don’t let her go. I hope someday you’re as lucky as I am.”
The tears began to flow in a neverending torrent. He was the most loving, caring, faithful and loyal husband any woman could ask for.
Have you gotten your copy yet, or can you handle it?
If you love horror, you shouldn’t be without this book!
You can imagine how thrilled to pieces I was when Todd Crawford made the offer to appear on my blog. He is a writer who holds his own, and at the same time he was more than willing to make any changes per my suggestion, though I had none. How can you make a suggestion upon perfection?
I was quite surprised by all of the kind things Todd had to say about me. It was very flattering to say the least! I adored this piece from start to finish, and as a lover of all things Halloween, it really kept my attention. Also, scroll to the bottom if you would like to find the official Todd Crawford links. Listed are the links to his new Youtube channel, Facebook Fan Page, and links where you can purchase his books.
Thank you, Todd, for allowing me the privilige of featuring your writing here.
Origins of The Black Season
Typically I save my Thank You’s, personal messages, and other formalities for the end of my analyses, but to mark the special occasion I’m going to start things off a little differently this time around. In fact, I’ve made it a personal goal to make everything about my month this calendar around a little different than any year past, but that’s another topic for another post (which has already been made in the format of a video by the time this shall have be “live”). Before we get all professional on this I’m going to give you readers and followers (Joslyn’s as well as my own) some insight into the conception of this holiday treat. In any case, the prompt of this article does not begin until the next paragraph, so feel free to skip my ramblings in favour of what you surely came here to read up on. A very short while back, I was feeling utterly dejected about the futility of what was then this coming month (October 2012, for you archivists out there) and how it would never live up to that of last year, especially with that having been the host of the first book signing I have ever attended (I refer to it as my own, but only in the context that the memories of it belong to me.) on a ritual walk which I try to perform nightly for two or more hours. Things since then have gone quite far downhill, leading me to this modern spleen, as Alexander Pope would have it, making it quite easy to reach my hand into any bushel flourished over the last year and pluck my daily excuse for not being happy or productive. It was on this monotonous journey traced time and time again over the map of Clarion that a Newtonian epiphany shone down upon me in the form of a brilliant ray of light. Things don’t have to be this way; this absolute voice of reason spoke to me in my moment of clarity. You don’t have to remain a slave to your former days; your best have yet to come. It commanded me to rush home, even more quickly than Charlie Bucket and to contact the names listed upon the address of my Golden Ticket querying of fun, seasonal promotions. Having recently reposted my history of the vampyre mythos, titled “Bloodlines,” and being so enthusiastic/supportive of that, Joslyn Corvis was at the top of my list. I don’t know each and every one of you readers here, (heck, I’d be surprised if I knew more than two of you!) or how aware you are of the rigorous scheduling involved in these guest posts, interviews, or any other blog event, but typically in my experience with bloggers, promoters, and authors is that these things are all set in stone at least one month ahead of time, leaving little-to-no room for walk-ins such as myself unless some cancellation occurs, Golden Ticket or no. Joslyn, on the other hand, was more than willing to put up with my impulsive query to make this guest post, much to my surprise. Even knowing Joslyn to be an altruistic, kind person, I was surprised that she didn’t reject my offer, and then chastise me for my hurried, excitable proposition about writing “something” for Halloween. She just made it happen. For all of these things I thank her, and I thank you all for giving me this time (whether I am worthy of your time is up to you, but your consideration is much appreciated) by reading my informative, personal history of Halloween. I hope that you all have a magickal, memorable holiday. (Well, except Lee Porterfield. I hope yours sucks.) I look forward to one that would be worthy of taking a vacation from Neverland to visit.
Halloween, as half of the four major religious holidays have, began as a Pagan celebration of the seasonal equinox (when the sun is neither away or directed towards the Earth, making it parallel to the globe’s equinox; the source of the other half of Pagan holidays would be the solstice, when the sun is either at its highest or lowest point in relation to the Earth). The Pagans, not to be confused with Wiccan or Neo-Pagan groups of today, were polytheistic tribal societies that populated Europe during the Iron Age. One may be familiar with gods such as Taranis, the god of thunder, or as we modern folks might know him as: Thor (literally making him the oldest member of The Avengers team), which are rooted in classical Pagan beliefs. Being an agricultural society, the seasonal changes were a major factor in their lives (much more so than simply having to put windshield wipers on their boats). The approaching of Winter (the season which Pagans believed to be the season from which the Earth began), or any other season for that matter, was truly something to be acknowledged. Samhain (later known as “Halloween”) was the season which the spirits of the dead travel on to the netherworld, and more so than any other time period they were an active factor in the lives of the mortals. Tributes such as bonfires, produce, and animal sacrifices (again, not to be confused with Neo-Pagan traditions of modern times, I assure you) were offered to the disembodied in order to preoccupy them until their spirits were at rest in the afterlife.
Following suit with other spiritual holidays, the original event of Samhain soon came to an end after Christian missionaries caught wind of this “season of the dead” business. As one is inclined to assume, (rightfully so in this case) anything associated with Pagan religions was considered blasphemous to the Christians, and must be done away with. As efforts of simply vanquishing the festivities did not prove as fruitful as his people had hoped, Pope Gregory The First had the brilliant idea of converting these Pagan rituals into Christian celebrations just as they intended to persuade the Pagans into the concepts of their religion. This, as we all probably could have guessed, paid off in spades. Those who remained faithful to their beliefs were persecuted as witches and cast into hiding, marking the origin of the term “Druids,” as well as that of the “Season of the Witch” (and you kids thought that Halloween III was the first recorded instance of its use)! Halloween itself is derived from the term “All Hallows Eve,” which soon translated to “Hallow Evening,” and finally “Hallowe’en.” (For a more in-depth recital of this history, check the source listed below from which I fact-checked this document. What is recorded here was merely meant to give a sufficient understanding of the backstory of the season.)
Just as the Celtic tradition fell prey to Christianity, all traces left of morality were soon forfeit upon the eve of Capitalism and what we now have today was born: a consumerist holiday ripe with candy, costumes, and late night Horror marathons. And I, for one, loved it as a child! It was around this time that I was presented with many classic icons of fright that have haunted my mind for years to come such as Michael Myers, Pennywise the Clown (otherwise referred to as “IT”), and Marlon Wayans’ afro in the original Scary Movies. The culmination of this obsession with the macabre accumulated in my 9th Grade year when I watched over one hundred holiday-themed films in the month of October, topping it off by watching the four Phantasm movies (let’s get moving on that fifth, Coscarilli and Co.!) and the entire A Nightmare on Elm Street series (starring Robert Englund, none of that remake nonsense). The next two years it was spent with high school friends who held no interest in the Horror genre, which is perfectly fine. I realized during this time that Halloween isn’t about being frightened, or who watches the most Horror movies, but rather enchantment. I used the comparison to Peter Pan earlier, and I think that is the most appropriate example out there, as left-wing (or the right, I don’t care, whichever the goblins are on) as it may be. The Black Season, my third book, and what I consider to be a “narrative anthology” was titled in part after the Autumnal season, in fact. The book debuted the weekend before Halloween, and had very Horror-esque themes to it (a dramatic inversion of martyrdom and also “Hansel & Gretel”, to name a few). What began as a superficial title meant to reflect my favourite time of year later became an introspection of my own state of mind, The Black Season itself representing a long period of time I spent depressed and how with the passing of this allegoric season, I could return to my former creative self. I think that really encapsulates what the “season of the witch” means to me, expressing yourself creatively in ways typically viewed as unacceptable and finding the fantastic in the literal world (rather than the literary). Perhaps spirits and demons don’t make visitations at this time of year, but that doesn’t make it any less grotesque. My challenge for those of you participating in Halloween this year is to become something that you never thought you could be, if only for this one Eve. I don’t care if you achieve it by putting on a mask, make-up, or just by indulging in a side of yourself kept locked away for a long time (please, nothing violent). I think that by taking this challenge up, we may find that whatever it is inside of us all that we are afraid of is actually quite delightful!
For those of you who would like a more thorough examination of the beginnings of Hallowe’en, I recommend this page, from which I fact-checked everything included in this document (aside from personal statements, of course):
“Todd Crawford is the author of the independently published novels a Clockwork in the Stars, The Final Gospels, and The Black Season. Born in Mercer County, PA, on February 16th, 1994, he is currently attending Clarion University of Pennsylvania. His writing style is recognized as descriptive, cynically honest yet whimsical. His works obsess over the geography of the human mind, existentialism juxtaposed with the politically religious, and nature hearkening back to the Romantic era of literature. He first published a Clockwork in the Stars through Lulu publishing, but released his latter works under the CreateSpace banner before reissuing Clockwork with his new label. Although his only currently released works have been of the literary outlet, he has indulged in other orientations of Art such as music (having composed a companion piece for his novel, The Final Gospels), film (having adapted his novella, Brighter, into a short film), and comic books. Crawford is currently working on his third (traditionally structured) novel, The Pilgrimage, an abstract commentary of politics as he is browsing agents to market the release.He enjoys and seeks collaborative opportunities with other authors such as his good friend Joslyn!”
My short story, “The Eraser” on the Amazon Kindle:
My novel, a Clockwork in the Stars on the Amazon Kindle:
A Clockwork in the Stars in paperback:
“Just another Star” on the Amazon Kindle:
The Final Gospels in paperback:
My anthological novel, The Black Season in paperback print:
My (new) official YouTube channel:
And of course, and finally, the link to my “professional” Facebook page:
I haven’t written in a while. At least, not on my blog. This is actually my first diary entry on my blog site! But I’ve been busy with some pieces for anthologies and the like, not to mention a horrendous toothache! One the size of Texas!
And it seems that the toothache came at the worst possible time! I love Autumn, and just stepping outside in the cool breeze and seeing the leaves glimmer in the golden sun just has a magickal effect on me! There’s all of this talk about Halloween specials on the telly, and I just love browsing the costume isles. But what I really love? Taking walks in the beautiful Autumn weather! And as soon as this tooth is fixed, that’s exactly what I plan to do! I’m not able to enjoy the season to its fullest extent, and even though I may not walk all year ’round, this is the time of year that I usually get back into the routine! I used to go out, admire the Halloween decorations, and every Thursday (or was it Tuesday?) I glued myself to the TV when Reaper came on. That was in the very first season, and it is hands-down one of my favourite shows ever! And I’d save my stash of YooHoos for that very occasion. Sometimes I’d just walk to the store to see what new Halloween merchandise they had, if any, or pine over something every time I’d go. And now, because of this toothache, I can’t. It’s more that I won’t, because I’m afraid I’ll end up hurting it worse when I have the pain at bay.
At the moment, I’m trying to think of a really scary story. Something scarier than my kid-friendly horror. But, I’m at a loss. I don’t know if I can pull it off! I think of all of my own Halloween and horror favourites, and you just can’t replicate the feel of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow. Or Dan Dillard’s The Diary of Ethan Jacobs. It just can’t be done! And when I take my walks, that’s what I focus on. I think about what I want to write about. What moves me, what scares me. And with some of the other projects taking my time, it’s hard to do that. Not to mention this toothache that’s been dragging me down, forcing me to take ibuprofin and strap an ice pack to my chin!
But I have faith that something will come to me, and I’m hoping it will be the creepiest story ever!