The Dance

Putting My Feet in the Dirt February Writing Prompt: An Unspoken Language

Picture by Howard Chandler Christy  for  Scribner’s in January 1916.

Her guests were bobbing for apples at her  Valentine’s Day party when Mavis Cross looked out the window and saw the man standing under the Maple Tree in  her front yard.

She looked over her shoulder, furtively and with a little smile she pushed her nose against the window so that she could get a better look at the man, dressed from head to toe in black.

He held his arms up-he was asking her to dance.

She nodded and raised her hands and he stepped forward

she stepped back.

He stopped and whispered and she heard him clearly in her right ear

she nodded and dropped her hands. Mavis was smiling. She was giggling. She was blushing a little too.


Mavis Cross turned toward away from the window, she waltzed around and around to where her guests were bobbing for apples.

She waltzed to the fountain where the apples were bobbing in the water and her guests were laughing and gurgling and making little jokes to each other.

Mavis dropped her arms to her side and she glided up to the fountain and looked down into the water and back up again.

She smiled.

Her guests smiled back.

Then she reached out and put her hand on the back of one of her guests’s neck and she pushed down.

Nobody could pull her back, she was so devilishly strong, they said.


Later some of the guests  would swear  that they saw the man Mavis was dancing with and they saw the both of them reach out and drown Marina Trask . They couldn’t understand why other people would swear though that Mavis was dancing alone and that she drowned Marina alone.


Mavis said, when the police asked, when her lawyers asked, when the Doctors at the Asylum asked why she drowned Marina Trask, she  told them that the Man under the tree asked her to dance and as they danced  he asked if she wanted to raise a little Hell and  what he said sounded like a grand idea.

So she said yes.

Go ask him yourself if you have any more questions, she said. He’s probably under that same tree.

Just waiting to ask someone else to dance.



The Monster on Washington Street

I saw a monster

on my way home from work yesterday.

It was standing by the boarded up pizza place

with it’s hands buried in it’s pockets

I tried to not look at it

as I walked by

I tried to pretend it wasn’t there

but that was a lie

and we both knew it.


” Want some pizza? ” it said.

I didn’t shake my head, I didn’t slow down, I just kept walking.

” I can get you some pizza, if you want it. ”

I was almost past  the monster just a few more steps and I would never see it again

Just keep going, I told myself.


” Hey Anita, want some pizza? ”

It knew my name.

The hairs on my neck stood up, my spine stiffened.

My lip curled above my teeth.

” Come back here. I’ll get you some pizza and then I’ll snap your neck. Got that? I’ll get you some pizza and then I’ll-”

I stopped. I turned around. It had threatened to snap my neck.

My neck


The monster looked at me.

The hairs on it’s neck stood up, it’s spine stiffened, it’s lip curled over it’s teeth.

” Get away from me. ” It said. ” Get away from me.”

I pulled my hand out of my pocket and as I did I flexed my fingers and one by one  my long sharp razor claws broke to the surface.

” I can get my own pizza. ” I said as I drove my thumbnails into each of  the monster’s eyes. ” I can get my own damn pizza. ”


There’s a monster on Washington Street, its turns the same corner everyday.

Stay away from  it.

Don’t talk it, don’t bother it.

Just let it walk on by.

And whatever you do, if you are going to offer it pizza- you better not be playing around.


When They Fall

Putting My Feet in the Dirt Prompt#2 Erasing Clouds


Photo by Andrew Beatson on

The clouds above my head can float down and smother mountain tops

they can  wrap themselves around the tallest trees and cling to the sides of hills

without making a sound.

Sometimes they drift down and stroll through dark alleys and there is not denying it-

Clouds may look puffy and sweet like sweet little lambs drifting through a field of blue grass covering golden yellow fields in the morning and red and orange in the evening

but do you know what I think?

I think they’re wicked.

Sometimes, just because they can,  I think they dive into the ocean and when they break they turn into waves


unforgiving  towering walls of water that can break bone, shatter ships made of metal and wood and their hands can sweep whales to the shore as easily as they can pry open your jaws and fill your lungs with-



Tea Time

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like

to bake a batch of poisoned cupcakes” I asked my friend- not because I was interested in baking poisoned cupcakes but I was desperate to change the subject


if I had to hear her talk about her unnatural affection for her brother

and the story about how she slept with the man she felt was responsible for her other brother’s suicide one more time I was probably going to skip the cupcake part and drink the poison MYSELF


her story about her twisted desires was boring.

Her story was boring the first time I heard it and it was boring the half millionth time I heard it.

She wrote poems about her brothers, she bought artwork that reminded her of her brothers, she even had pictures of them next to her bed.

” No.” she said stopping her well worn tale midsentence. ” You know, this is a pretty important story from my life and what you said just now was totally non-supportive and not something a real friend would do.”

” I’m sorry. ” I said.

” What kind of thing to say is that? Poisoned cupcakes. Who would actually  bake and serve poisoned cupcakes?”

I shrugged as she picked a shortbread cookie off of my cookie tray and began to nibble at it.

” An idiot” I said after some careful thought.  Cupcakes take forever to prepare. Cookies though…” I said. ” I can mix and bake and fill and cut those things out like-”

She dropped the cookie back on the tray and our afternoon tea ended.

At last.