The Quilton Sisters

 

Lorna Quilton is walking away from her parent’s house holding an off white photo album trimmed in gold close to her chest. It’s a little frayed around the bottom edges and it smells like that furniture polish that her Mother likes to use- Lemon Plus- not that it actually smells like Lemons Plus anything. But  Lorna finds it oddly comforting to find and latch onto the familiar and it soothes her nerves just a little, but not enough to keep the sweat from trickling down the back of her neck.

She thinks that if she finds a place to sit down and relax she can open the album again and she will not let herself panic like she did in the living room. Lorna is sure that she slammed the door a little to hard when she ran out of the house with the photo album clutched in her hands because she heard a bang and some shouting about the door but she could not stop-she had to get as far away from home as she could before someone asked her to explain herself.

She walked briskly, which was fine because the autumn air had a bite to it,  all the way to Jack Cross Park which is right across the street  from her high school.

It’s a shady park  where the city’s water towers ( painted a soft shade of green to blend in with the trees and grass because sure, that will camouflage two 125 foot towers full of water ) that only has visitors on the hottest days of the year because it’s always wrapped in shadows.

The towers themselves  are surrounded by white and pink rhododendron bushes  and barbed wire topped fence- but never mind the barbed wire! Someone got the elementary school kids to paint bread loaf sized wooden fish bright and cheerful colors and they’re swimming on the chain link fence to take your mind off the chunks of razors just over your head.

Lorna goes to the benches at the back of the Park and she takes a seat on a bench and she looks up, takes a breath and opens the photo album on her lap.

On the first page are pictures of her very pregnant Mom standing next to a Christmas tree. She’s smiling and she looks a little sad, but that’s probably because her feet hurt. She told Lorna once how much she hated it when her feet swelled up and how ugly they were and how her Dad wouldn’t even look at them because they grossed him out.

Then there’s a birth announcement for Mary- it had little birds and butterflies all over it and they were bearing the glad news stamped on a silken banner that baby Mary was a long and chubby baby, just like Lorna had been.

Lorna takes a breath, holds it and lets it out slowly.

She turns the page and her sister is a toddler, she’s learning to ride a bike, in other’s she’s playing with the family dog. As the  pages flip by slowly- because Lorna is forcing herself to turn them slowly, there are family pictures of vacations, Christmases, Mom’s new car, birthday parties, class pictures, and then towards the end there are wedding pictures and Mary is a bridesmaid in some and towards the end she is a bride herself.

Lorna is proud of herself. She did it.

She looked at pictures of her Sister without throwing the album down and running from it because

until about a half hour ago Lorna would have sworn she didn’t have a sister- but it was there courtesy of Kodak film.

 

She has a sister named Mary Quilton and they grew up in the same house and had the same parents but Lorna doesn’t  remember her.

It wasn’t that she just didn’t remember her- it’s not like she looked at that Thanksgiving picture where her Mom was wearing the sweater Lorna had given her for her birthday and saw Mary seated next to her Dad with her finger up her nose and something familiar popped out.

Tthere is an absence of feeling about the picture, the people in it feel like strangers, like interlopers.

Lorna guessed her Uncle Mert took the picture because he thought it would be funny to capture that moment forever. He loved to catch people doing silly or gross stuff on film.

That little tidbit did nothing to take away from her anxiety because she should have remembered that moment. The minute the flash went off and Mary was immortalized forever with her finger up her nose,  her Mother would have had a kittens.

Nothing.

It was almost time to start setting up for their Halloween party, Lorna should be there helping her Mother and their friends. But what was going to happen when she showed up and her sister Mary showed up an and Mary asked  something like ” How have you been?” because she guessed Mary would know her.

And Lorna would only be able to say, ” Pretty good. So. Who the Hell are you?

Lorna could see Mary sprouting horns, she could hear her skin crackle and split and turn red and Devil Mary would say, ” Hell indeed.”

Lorna closed the photo album and stood up.

Well, she had a hard time convincing herself that  scenario was less crazy then the situation she was in right now.

The five minute walk home felt like it only took seconds because Lorna did not want to be here- she did not want to walk into that house and face a Sister who had been living under the same roof with her and she had no  memory of her. Not a single one.

People were showing up with bags and boxes and plastic containers- Lorna guessed they were helping set up for the party  and on the way up to the house  she saw a slightly older version of the man Mary was standing next to in one her wedding pictures at the curb shutting a his car door. He reached up on the roof for a tote bag full of streamers and when he turned around Lorna was standing next to him.

She looked into his face and for just a second she thought he recognized her, maybe he knew her and that terrified her.

Then the look was gone and Lorna took a breath.

” Hey. Hi. Here for the party? You’re early so you must be here to help set up.”

Lorna nodded and  she looked towards the house. ” I’m here to help my Parents.”

” Oh yeah? And who are they? ”

” Marie and Harold  Quilton. I’m Lorna.”

The man from Mary’s wedding picture does not look happy. ” Look,  know it’s Halloween, but whatever you’re doing here, it’s not funny. Go on, get out of here before my wife and her parents show up. I mean it. Get lost.”

Lorna is still holding the photo album next to her chest and she lets it fall from her hands to the ground. Her face is a smooth mask without a single trace of emotion, but her eyes-

they are as dark as a basement in an abandoned and lifeless house and Guillermo steps back from her and bumps into his car.

Lorna’s panic reaches epic proportions, she is ready to scream, to cry to run but then it’s gone and the thoughts she does know push themselves to the front of the line and knows for certain:

she can’t remember Mary, she can’t remember getting her drivers license or graduating from high school or what she did the day after she was running across the street to catch her bus on the last day of school.

But she does know one thing right now.

” I’m here to help my parents.”

” With what? ” Guillermo asks hoping that she will not answer.

She does not.

Guillermo leans down to pick up the photo album because he has to do something and when he straightens back up with the album in his hands, the teenage girl pretending to be his Wife’s sister who died before she was born is gone.

 

MOUNTAIN VIEW

Marie Lourdes Quilton 65 and Harold Quilton  68

of Mountain View died October 31, 2019 in a traffic accident.

Funeral arrangements to be announced.

The Next Chapter

Hand to page

from

word to eye

the writer’s nightmare

is mine tonight.

 

Will I wake

will it end

will I ever sleep again?

 

The Writer’s Nightmare

is inside of my head

and it will feast on my fear

until I am cold and dead.

 

Am I gone

am I a ghost

am I just a neglected

and forgotten corpse?

 

Book in hand

trapped in a scream

am I bound to be

the Writer’s Next Dream?

 

amm

It’s Your Turn

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Halloween Morning

2019

 

” Baby needs to be fed.” he slurred into his pillow and Reggie Hull, never to be given a Father of The Year Award plaque  or Greatest Husband Ever Emoji on his Facebook Wall  went straight back to sleep.

Next to him,  Lindsey’s eyes opened, slowly one at a time and they eventually focused on the baby monitor on the dresser on the wall opposite the foot of their bed. She grit her teeth and knew she hated her life more in that second then in all the seconds that came before it and that was a Hell of a lot.

Reggie had said once when they were arguing about their situation , that the baby had voracious mindless appetite-just like it’s Mother and thanks to her their entire life would be devoted to that one task.

Lindsey had no reply to that because she knew it was true.

 

” I think it’s your turn Reg. ” she whispered.

” I don’t think it is. I’m pretty sure it’s your turn. I’ve done more than you so far.”

” Are you actually keeping track?” she hissed.

Reg hissed back because the last thing he wanted was for that kid to cry louder because  the monitor at the foot of their bed  was dancing and skittering around  with the force of the sound coming out of it,  ” Like you’re not.”

” Look one of us has to go be-”

The wail got a little louder and worse, there were no breaks in the cry. It was steady and insistent. We were at the ” I’m going to be firm but polite ” phase of this particular conversation.

Lindsey sat up and fought the urge to throw her pillow at the monitor- or to jump up and push th pillow down on Reggie’s face until his lungs deflated.  That’d teach him to drop his end.

” Why is it my turn? Because I’m a woman, right? I should just jump up and run out of her because that’s what we do when we hear a crying baby that needs to be fed at three in the morning. Well guess what Reg. I’m not that kind of woman.”

” We’re in this mess because of you.” Reg sat up and he did throw his pillow at the monitor. ” You wanted the life.  The house in the suburbs, the cars, the clothes the vacations, the Yoga classes.  Well, guess what it all came with a cost. You know that.”

Lindsey turned her face to the wall. ” So did you. ”

 

Lindsey wasn’t going to budge, but that’s not why Reggie got out of bed to feed the baby, to owe up to his responsibility. He got out of bed because at that moment he really hated his wife and if he stayed in bed next to her- well.

Like I said.

Reggie was never going to find a husband of the year emoji on his Facebook wall, ever.

 

The baby wasn’t just crying, the baby was in full Opera mode and he was angry- his little cries pierced Reggie’s eardrums and made his teeth hurt.

Reggie pushed the door open and there was the baby, waiting to be fed.

 

He or maybe it was a she, Reggie didn’t know, he didn’t care because the deal was they didn’t have do much except drop a few tidbits to it until  it was time for them both  to feed it.

The screaming baby was in the arms of his Mother- and she was just as vicious looking as the day he and Lindsey made a deal with her at the Crossroads six years ago on Halloween. Her skin was still pale green skin,  her  eyes were still dull and milky blue, her tongue still darted out from between her thin black lips like a snake and danced around the corners of her mouth with a mind of it’s own,

The world was theirs as was anything in it that they wanted and all they would have to do was Feed The Baby. Both of them. She’d let them decide who would feed it first. Until that day, she suggested a shovel, a crow bar, a saw and a cemetery with poor lighting would provide small sweet meals for the child, but the time would come when it would be  time for them both  to feed the baby.

The Baby and it’s Mother turned and looked at him.

She licked her lips and the baby held out it’s arms.

The door slammed shut behind him.

 

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

The Chair

Maybe, sixteen year old Thomas Gilder thought when his heart slowed down enough for him to think clearly, if I just relax and close my eyes I can figure how I got here and how I can get out because if I got into this I can get out too- that’s logical, or science or something like that right?

His hands, were clammy and sweaty and cold and they grasped the smooth arms of the chair with less force then he realized because he was very close to passing out. He bit his lips to keep from calling for his Mother. She’d be so disappointed in him if she knew where he was. He could not- would not do that to her. He would not call for her like he did when he was a little kid waking up terrified from a nightmare.

At least not right now.

Thomas turned his head and looked at the little window with the pale blue curtain drawn across it that was to his left

and he wondered why the room was painted pale green and why it didn’t really match the curtains in the window and why

he was sitting in this electric chair and how long it was going to be before the Executioner realized he was here .

Thomas looked up at the clock and watched the second hand crawl from one number to the next- not that he could read the clock. Most kids his age can’t but it gave him something to think about and when his thoughts got back on the Tommy Gilder train he made himself remember the walk down here, the instructions, and the RULES.

Maybe that was the key. If he could remember the short walk that brought him here maybe he could avoid the long walk ahead.

What ever he came up with, he had to snap himself out of this nightmare before the face appeared in the little window and saw him.

It was all over for him at that point, wasn’t it? Or maybe it really ended for him when he decided to heck with it and decided to not follow the RULES.

Thomas wasn’t bad kid, well- he knew if he had made a few better life choices he wouldn’t be here waiting for that curtain to be moved to the side and for Hell to rain down on him.

There had to be something he could do, maybe say he was sorry and that he’d never screw off and he’d promise on a stack of bibles to follow THE RULES but before he could put his thoughts into order and choose one of those flimsy options his out of control brain had come up with, the curtain in the small window opened and then the face of the Executioner appeared and it was indeed the face of his doom and a painful molten rain of words did indeed fall down upon him.

” Son of a bitch! Take your kid to work day. What can go wrong they said. You only work for the State. None of the dumbasses that nagged me to do this asked me what I do for the state.”

She took a breath which meant she was nowhere near finished yelling.

“What did I tell you about wandering off? This isn’t  a playground. I work here. I told you what the RULES were. So tell me. How the Hell did you get in there?

Chin to his chest, Thomas held up his Mothers keycard.

” Forget asking me for the car or for the password to WiFi at home which I am changing and NEVER going to give you. Forget ever hoping that I will forget this stunt. Get over to the door NOW.”

Thomas got up from the electric chair, he bowed his head and he walked slowly to the door.

When the door opened and he saw the Executioner- (or as she was known at home ” Mom” ) standing there with how miserable his fate was going to be written all over hear face, he knew his punishment would indeed be a fate worse then death.

Best Werewolf Movie EVER

This is the best, the finest the “GOD I WISH I HAD WRITTEN THIS WHY DIDN’T  I WRITE THIS SWEET BABY JESUS BECAUSE THIS IS THE BEST WEREWOLF MOVIE EVER.

Wolfcop.

I love this movie so much I’ve enclosed a link to amazon even  so you can buy your copy

NOW NOW NOW

 

“You had the claws and teeth

plus  you were drunk  so I know it was you:”

I haven’t seen the second movie, but I have it on order, plus Wolfcop is playing hockey so I have some high hopes for the sequel

Classes

Maggie Drew started to take classes, all kinds of classes after her world fell apart two years ago.

” Do something to occupy your mind.” Her friend Bernice said, ” That’s really important because at our age  Prince Charming isn’t going to ride up and save you. He’s to busy chasing a twenty year olds and he’s not going to have the time help two little old crones like us stranded at the side the road out.”

Bernice was laughing and tossing her  hair around like one of those girls in a shampoo or Tampon commercial, but Maggie got it. Bernice wasn’t talking about them she was talking about Maggie.

 

Just after September rolled around Bernice invited Maggie out to remind her that anyone who wore Pink during the Fall should be shot  ( yes indeed, pink was Maggie’s favorite color and it is always somewhere on her person ). They  were at a The Pie Stop when Bernice launched into her newest lesson in how Maggie should  present herself to the world and they were sharing something called a Milk Shake Pie. A milk shake pie  is something you got when you crammed a slice of pie into a blender with ice cream and smooshed it all together.

It looked like puke, but Maggie had vowed to jump into trying new things with gusto and she did, every chance she got.

Prince Charming wasn’t going to save her, like Bernice said,  so giving edible vomit a try  while she had all of this free time on her newly defined by Bernice- “old lady hands” didn’t seem like such a bad idea.  She wasn’t considering suicide anymore, but her stomach had a mind of its own.

 

Maggie spent all of her free time at the Community Center- she took sculpting classes and watercolor classes and oil painting classes and she took one on candy making and an entire course of belly dancing.

She even went to a series of lectures on Beekeeping- which if she had to choose turned out to be her favorite.

Bees, she decided would never endanger their hive by running off with another colony they hooked up with on a dating app after 35 years of marriage.

Bees, Maggie decided were pretty trustworthy when you came right down to it.

 

On one of Maggie’s  increasing number forced marches with Bernice down the ruined road of her life, Bernice noticed that Maggie always looked vaguely surprised when Bernice reminded her that her husband had run off and left Maggie an invisible Crone, stranded at the side of the road with the rest of ‘us Crones’

That was ok. Bernice was here to remind her. Because that’s what Crones did for each other. They supported each other, they were each others ‘she-roes’  and Bernice was happy to remind Maggie that is  where she was and belonged  in the grand scheme of life.

 

Maggie of course didn’t see herself as a Crone, but sometimes you had to let things slide- especially if you aren’t in a real position to get a word in edgewise. One should not be defined by other people. She read that in a self help book once- the cover had flowers on it and Maggie still had it on her bookshelf at home.

 

Bernice, oh Bernice, Maggie’s little cloud of bitterness drifted around to Maggie’s end of the street now and then to check up on her and to most importantly to remind Maggie that ‘ at our age’ women need to stick together.

That was  Bernice speak for” I’m going to hang out with you, whether you me to or not.”

Maggie had opted to drive instead off taking her motorcycle out on errands on one of those days that Bernice decided  ” Crones like us ” should stick together.

Bernice hopped into  car right after Maggie started it and the auto locks hadn’t kicked in yet. Bernice slipped her sunglasses down from the top of her head. ” So what’s up for today?”

For a second Bernice’s entire performance in that moment reminded Maggie of one of the men’s shaving cream commercials where a woman was on hand and ready to admire the amazing results of this must have product.

”  I have to pick up some supplies for a project I’m going to start work on. Want to come along?”

It really wasn’t an invitation on Maggie’s part, it was more of an affirmation- she had taken a class on making life affirmations  at that Community Center. They put their affirmations on poster boards in magic markers and decorated them with  glitter and their choice of stickers that the instructor had brought in for them to use.

She found that class to be very helpful in this moment, like what she was affirming in her head at that exact second  was that Bernice was a fixture in her life a and that this unhappy situation could really work out to become a positive experience and an advantage too.

Anyway, what she learned in  her class.

 

The craft store was big and bright and surprisingly  utilitarian for a place where creative people bought their fabrics and glues and wax and needles and chocolate molds and doll eyes.

The downside was that setup  didn’t really invite you stop and chat or browse. The racks and shelves invited you to find what you needed and be on your way.

 

” What class are you taking now?” Bernice pushed her sunglasses up over her forehead and tossed her head around a little and lifted her chin up when she was done.

On cue Maggie asked ” Are those the Dior sunglasses  your sister got you for Christmas?”

After a quick series of lectures on how ‘crones like us”  ( Meaning mostly Maggie) should dress and act and let their hair go gray ( meaning Maggie ) and should accept their invisibility status ( absolutely meaning Maggie because no way  in Hell would Bernice let herself go to seed ) Maggie jumped in.

Could you grab me that package of pins from the shelf over there?”

Bernice held back a smirk. For all of her classes and riding her Harley to work on sunny days, Maggie still needed someone to get stuff off of the to shelf for her.

 Bernice reached for one of the little acrylic boxes offering an assortment of pins ” Oh not those, -” Maggie reached over Bernice’s shoulder and pointed ” those”

Bernice reached up and as she did Maggie bumped into her shoulder.

” Oh sorry.” Maggie moved back and Bernice tossed the pins into the cart.

” So what class are  you taking now?  I think it’s great. Crones like us should share our talents with each other.”

” Actually, I’m not taking a class for this project. I’m sort of brushing up on an old talent of mine.”

Bernice wasn’t listening, of course.

Maggie let Bernice walk ahead of her and she kept her hands behind her back until Bernice turned the corner at the end of the aisle because

in one hand Maggie was holding a tiny pair of scissors and in the other a snippet of Bernice’s hair.

Maggie’s eyes went from dark brown to yellow and back again. Then she took the handle of her shopping cart and pushed it down the aisle to the check out counter.