Tuesday, October 20, 2015

WEP - THE WORKSHOP

The first part of the WEP – Halloween Challenge is to discuss a favorite frightening tale, movie, novel, photograph, or painting. For me the most frightening movie ever made was the Nightof the Living Dead. I saw it at a drive-in with my older brother, and while I watched it with my eyes covered; I saw enough to freak me out for life. I can't watch zombie movies to this day, and even have nightmares after a discussion of them.



I've always believed that humans were the true monsters, but zombies embody everything horrific about death and the undead. While I can write horror stories, I'm also very easily frightened, and yet Halloween is my favorite holiday and Stephen King one of my favorite authors. I prefer reading horror to watching it - the gore is too graphic - but my brain can separate all that for me in a book.


My contribution to the Youthful Frights vs. Adult Fears Challenge is based on one of my childhood fears:


THE WORKSHOP

While soaking in lavender and bubbles, long forgotten memories flood her mind.
"Allison."
 Her mother's lilting voice beckons her deeper into the past and a memory she'd suppressed for seventeen years.
*****
"Allison."
Her mother's voice floats into her room like the warmth of an angel’s caress.
"Allie, I need you."
Allison hurries to the kitchen.
"Hey, sweetie pie, I'd love your help with dinner."
"Sure, Mom, what can I do?"
"Go downstairs and get a jar of green beans and pickled beets. To celebrate Halloween, we're having dad's favorites. Hurry, he'll be home soon. Then we'll all go trick-or-treating."
Allison shudders. The basement; that horrid dark swamp of ghouls. There's no way, not tonight! Yet, she moves toward the basement door. The dull chop of steel against wood as her mother continues to slice potatoes follows her. Her hand shakes as she twists the doorknob. Opens it. Just a crack. Then she flings it open with a forced confidence she's trying to possess.
The scent of rot crinkles her nose. Green eyes glow in the dark. He's at the bottom of the steps. She's sure he's a beast with horns, enormous flesh-ripping teeth, and open sores that seep poison. Frozen in place, he calls her name. Allison screams. Slams the door and runs.
Her mother finds her cowering behind the recliner. Comforting arms pull her close. "Honey. There's no such thing as monsters. I go downstairs all the time. Daddy fixed the light. It's bright now. No more shadows."
Allison presses closer.
Her mother kisses her head. "We'll go together? I'll prove to you there's nothing to be afraid of."
Allie shakes her head. "I saw his eyes. He called my name."
"It's your imagination. I'll prove it." Her mother pulls her to her feet. Hand in hand, they return to the kitchen.
Despite her mother's reassurances, tears roll down Allison's cheeks. She plants her feet. Fear stops her from going any farther. Not even her mother’s look of disappointment can budge her.
 Shaking her head, her mother marches to the basement door. "This is the last time, Allie." The light clicks on and she starts down the stairs. "Wait til your father gets home, young lady. I wanted to tell him how you'd helped prepare dinner; how grown up you are. Now what will I say?" Her mother's voice was strong and assuring as she descended and gathered the needed jars, even though scolding.
Allison wipes away her tears. Mom's right. I'm eight, not a silly little girl. It's time to grow up.
She hears her mother's returning footsteps. I'll make it up to her. Tonight, I'll do the dishes without a fuss. Allison bravely stands in the doorway, an apology on her lips. Relief fills her when a smile says all is forgiven.
Then her mother stops.
Her look of terror shouts run!
The beast's claws’ are clasped around her mother's ankles. Shrieks of terror reverberate through the house. The jars burst and splatter their contents. Her mother's body thuds down the stairs to the concrete floor. But it's the beasts’ howl that will forever haunt her nightmares.


*****
"Allison!" Her husband's voice jerks her back to the present.
They'd moved back into her childhood home two months ago. An inheritance, even though her father had known how much she hated the place. She'd wanted to sell, but Tom insisted on moving in.
"Where are my tools?" 
The back door slams and muddy boots stomp across clean floors. "How many times do I have to tell you to quit messing with my stuff?" His voice grows louder with each word. "Damn it, I'm talking to you! Son of a bitch!"
He storms into the bathroom. He'd broken the lock a month ago when Allison hadn't answered his call quickly enough.
 She pulls her knees to her chest. "I moved them to the basement like we agreed."
Tom yanks the plug on the drain. "Where's dinner?" He looked around the room. "Think you're still a beauty queen? More like an old hag. Look at this crap!" With a swing of his arm, Allison's toiletries shatter against the tile floor.
She squeaks out a response, "I had the workshop built for your birthday." She stands and grabs a towel as the water circles the drain. "The contractor finished today. The workbench and all your tools are organized." Allison waits for his response, hoping his hand won't add to the colors already on her cheek.
Tom relaxes.
Allison manages a smile. "Happy Birthday. It's a day early, but go check it out. You'll love it."
"I'll be damned!" He grabs her by the hair, twisting it around his oil-covered hand until her head and body are at his mercy. He gives her a sloppy kiss and bites her lower lip, drawing blood. He tears the towel away and touches her roughly.
He'll never, ever touch me again, she vows.
"Don't bother getting dressed," he growls.
Allison watches him leave; remembering the day his strength was something she admired. His footsteps fade, but she waits naked, immobile, body and mind numb. With the bathroom door open, October's chill circles the room hunting for any remnant of warmth. Shaking off the fear and a gnawing foreboding, she washes the grease from her hair and his touch from her body.
A moment later, she hears his screams and returns to that frightening moment from the past, but only for a second. Smiling for the first time in months, she finishes cleaning his filth from her soul.
Wrapped in a robe, Allison rushes to the telephone repeating, "Call the police, then the real estate agent." She dials 9-1-1.
Footsteps turn her into a statue.
Covered in blood, Tom appears in the kitchen door. He proudly holds the horned head of the beast. "That new hatchet sure came in handy." He grins.
Then he scowls, walks slowly forward, and raises the ax …
~~~~~~~~~~
988 words/FCA
Yolanda Renée © 2015

Read more entries HERE!




66 comments:

  1. OMG! This is awesome Yolanda. Loved the way you connected the present with a past horrific happening and fear! No wonder. Who'd ever forget something so terrifying happening to their mother. And now a brutal husband moves in and she hopes to move him on out. Ouch! Not quite! Now my eyes are shut, imagining the end...

    Like you, I prefer to read horror than watch it at the movies. Just too graphic that way. At least you can skip words in a story when the blood starts to flow...but I didn't skip any of yours.

    Great entries so far?!

    Denise :-)

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    1. You're sweet Denise, thanks.
      I really can't take the gore and physical horror, at all! And yet I do love the genre. Odd, I know!
      And yes the entries are magnificent!

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  2. I remember the original night of the living dead. Those kind of zombie movies always scare me. People trapped in a house surrounded by zombies. I could see it coming with Allison's mother but I did not see the ending with her husband. Too bad he found the hatchet. Chilling. Happy Halloween.

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    1. Zombies are very scary to me, my brother laughed all the way through the movie. He enjoyed that kind of stuff. Me, I ran into the house and had nightmares for weeks! :)
      Thanks, Deborah!

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  3. What a truly nasty twist in the tail.
    I am so very glad that I am reading these in the daylight.

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    1. I know what you mean EC,
      It's late at night here, and I'm not looking forward to going to bed - at all! :)

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  4. Ah, the best laid plans. Great twist at the end -- though I wish he had gotten his just reward.

    I write of zombies with a 7 year old Victor Standish -- but with humor and heart -- I try to give my readers fun with the thrills. Stephen King says zombies are analogies to our fear of terrorists and of our world transforming us into emotional zombies., Thanks for the kind words on my Halloween post, :-)

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    1. Thanks Roland,
      I actually changed the ending. My son loved the first version, he hated this one. He wanted the guy gone too. I see it this way - she dialed 911 and the cops show up and shoot him dead before he can do her harm. I like a Happy Ending too! :)
      Thank you for your kind words!

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  5. "They're coming to get you, Barbara." Best line of the movie.

    Great write-up here. Poor girl though. I so didn't want her to die but well done on a great ending.

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    1. Hi Ivy!
      How do you do that? Put the bat as your photo? Cool!
      I'd forgotten that line - yeah funny - NOT!
      Read my comment above. I still see her getting away. I have too! LOL

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    2. Ohhhh, I see. Like at the DVDs, where they have more than one ending. But I gotta say, even though I wanted her to live, it's great the way you ended it.

      Headed to bed ... zzzz.

      PS: I had squash after that post and no problems. Just all part of the fun of healing. Win some, lose some.

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  6. On yeah! Some men are worse than beasts. That was awesome Yolanda. Not what I was expecting at all, which made it all the better. So many twists :)

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    1. Thanks, Donna, that means a lot to me, coming from the Queen of horror. You write it better than most, and I can't wait to read your entry! I actually envisioned the house I lived in as a child. It had the worst scary basement of all basements and I knew there was a monster under the stairs. :)

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  7. Whoa...creepy and so scary. The beast won't get her but the true beast will. Well written.
    Nancy

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    1. Thanks Nancy, most of the monster are real!

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  8. A monster in the basement in childhood and in her bed when grown up, some women have awful bad luck. That ending completely freaked me out! Great twist, and completely didn't see that coming. Well done, as always Yolanda.

    Btw, I too prefer reading horror to watching it. Remember watching Nightmare on Elm Street way back and being reduced to a shaken, knock-kneed bit of jelly :)

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    1. Hi Nila,
      I know that knock-kneed bit of jelly well! LOL
      Thanks for the kind words!

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  9. I love this! I'm glad I've never lived in a house with a basement, I wouldn't want to go down there either! I loved how the story ended, great job :)

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    1. Hi Laura,
      I never found them fun. Newer homes have finished basements, but all the homes I've lived in had the spooky ones - including my own. We put in bright fluorescent lights and that does help. LOL

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  10. Sometimes the beast turns out to be the person haha basements seem to house many fears.

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    1. Hi Pt, way too many fears for my liking!

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  11. Oh no!! I was about to be so happy for her! Ugh, that sucks. This is fantastic! A nice twist on the basement fear.

    You now, I don't think I've watched Night of the Living Dead all the way through, but I love, love, love zombies!

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    1. You love zombies, Madilyn? I worry for you. LOL
      So many do today, it amazes me. But you have to watch that entire movie - talk about a surprise ending!

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  12. LOL, I just read Elephant's Child's comment. I must say I agree with her. As usual, great writing and we can all learn from both you and Denise. I enjoyed reading The Workshop, Yolanda. That first sentence had me pulled in. What a way to begin the tale. And such an awesome twist. YEAH! The ending was perfect. :-) Tweeting this.

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    1. Thanks Robyn!
      You always make me smile! Thanks for tweeting!

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  13. Wow! This is amazing, Yolanda. I love the way you've connected the past, and the present. And the twist, I didn't see it coming. I was thinking the poor girl would be free from the brutal husband, and the twist hit me. Great writing.

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    1. Thanks Kiran,
      It took several rewrites to get it perfect for Halloween! I like a happy ending, but it doesn't always work!

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  14. Oh wow this story was fantastic! Gave me goose bumps while reading and I wanted to scream "no!" at the end. Well done!!

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    1. Hi Julie,
      Thanks, your kind words mean the world!

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  15. Oh God, it's Carrie all over again. You tricked me. And did a fabulous job of it. Congratulations.

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    1. Hi Feather,
      Yes, Allie didn't have a chance, did she? :(

      Delete
  16. Oh, that ending!!! It totally took an unexpected turn and I loved it and yet . . . I wish Tom had gotten eaten.

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    1. Hey Tyrean, I do too. He should have, but he was much stronger in his evil! :(

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  17. Suspense twist at the end, leaving us hanging. . .I sympathize with the character - I didn't like musty old basements or dark closets either. . . Enjoyed this, Yolanda! A pity she married such a creep.One thing I was unclear about - I assumed the mother died? Yet no one investigated what caused it? That thing was left to cause trouble again? I know I ask too many questions.

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    1. Hi D. G:
      Yes, her mother died, and everyone, including the father assumed she'd fallen down the steps. Sorry if that wasn't clear. A child witnessing that would have blamed the monsters in the basement and the adults would have said, "there now, it's alright." Then shook there heads and moved on. Her father lived there for years afterward and never saw a thing. Some monsters choose those they haunt and poor Allie was chosen. Thanks!

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  18. Oh this is horrible. So well written, it feels almost real. And the ending... I'm too upset by it.

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    1. Sorry Olga, it's the need in me not to be typical. LOL

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  19. Hers mothers death
    as a child she remembers
    yet in that final moment
    the ax will end her

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    1. Hi Ellis, this is wonderful, thank you! Sums it up just fine!

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  20. Definitely a great twist. And you took a childhood fear many people have and made it real. Eek!

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  21. I've never watched Night of the Living Dead, but then, I've never been able to manage horror movies. I can do ghost films, even though they'll have me sleeping with the lights on for weeks, but anything remotely gory gets a pass.

    Loved the twist in the story! I thought I knew exactly where it was going and was glad Allison used one fear to take care of another. And then Tom came back...

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    1. Thanks Arpan,
      I've slept with the lights on too. Not a comfortable thing!

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  22. Very sharp and vivid description from Yolanda KING. I was thinking I might rent that house out myself but now it's too late since the surprise is gone. I wonder how many realtors lost their lives to that house. I guess they just disappeared one day and no one ever questioned. :) This story proves that you don't always need a happy ending to have a great story! Thanks Yolanda for having the contest/story telling. I remember our groups back in PA at the diner. We all had a great time without computers or electricity .. just imagination.

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    1. Thanks Jeff, you're too kind!
      No happy endings are too common.
      Loved those meetings, and so miss them and all of the members!

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  23. Oh, oh, OH! This is by far the creepiest story I've read so far. I was really kind of hoping Allison was going to be done with her husband...

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    1. Hi Bish, that would have been a good thing, sorry!

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  24. Night of the Living Dead is quite a film, eh? Cool that you saw that film in its proper spirit, and that it was so scary... or maybe not so nice? A worthy outing indeed. Story here you've wrote is very jaunting, just in time for Hallowe'en.... Nice going!

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    1. Night of the Living Dead, is a horrific movie, and I'm sure did what the producers wanted, but I hate it to this day! :) Still a true inspiration for all horror writers!

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  25. Whoa. That's a frightening twist at the end. Definitely an adult's nightmare!

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  26. Oh, oh, OH! This is by far the creepiest story I've read so far. I was really kind of hoping Allison was going to be done with her husband...

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  27. Ohmerhgawd! I can't watch zombie flicks either *dripping body parts, bad hygiene, slurred speech, no thanks, I'm good* I knew there was a sneaky twist coming and it didn't disappoint! So sad to think someone's hubby is worse than the horned beast in the basement.

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    1. Hi Samantha, I can't help but wonder what kind of music would go with this story! LOL

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  28. Night of the Living Dead is a classic!

    I love your story! The horror of what happened to her mother gave her an idea of how to deal with a terrible husband-only to have him triumph in the end. The twist at the end took an already great story and made it perfect!

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  29. OMG! Super creepy!
    Poor Allison, she was destined to be haunted by a beast. And the beast in human form is the worst kind!
    What a twist at the end! Didn't see that one coming. *shudders*
    Well written, Yolanda!

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    1. Thanks Michelle, appreciate your kind words!

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  30. Whaaaat! Did not see that coming at the end. Dang, too bad for her. Now that's some scary stuff. Love it.
    I never really got into zombies; didn't like or dislike them. Then I met my husband and grew to appreciate them because he loves them; I mean he love to watch zombie movies though he hates zombies and is currently preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

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    1. Hi Toi!
      Amazing, you've come around for love! LOL

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  31. Sometimes the real monsters are the ones closest to you. I hope it all works out in the end. Great writing, got me going.

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    1. Hi Sally, I left that up to the reader, she did dial 911! :)

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  32. That was most definitely a twist that I did not see coming. I love it!

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  33. Double whammy eerie! These stories are going to keep me up at nights for a long time.

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    1. Sorry about that Lee, still such fun!
      I actually had a nightmare that first night too! LOL

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