Category Archives: thriller

A poem a day keeps the wrinkles away #poetry #worldpoetryday #nationalpoetrymonth

Wolrd poetry day

If you’re an avid (or is that obsessive?) reader as I am, you’ve surely encountered those articles that proclaim reading is not only a pleasurable experience, it also helps to preserve many aspects of our minds, even assisting in slowing the aging process. This Friday, the 21st, being World Poetry Day, and with National Poetry Month in April fast approaching, I felt it the perfect time to celebrate the many advantages of reading.

If you aren’t a regular reader, but would like to be, I suggest subscribing to The American Academy of Poets’ Poem-a-Day. It’s a fantastic way to initiate reading something each day as most of the time the poems are short and, (for those of you who claim “allergy” to poetry), the older, and usually long, poems are few and far-between. Often they are profound, sometimes silly, even outright hilarious. Plus, you may discover that you absolutely adore poetry, or you may decide one poem each day is not enough and start reading more and more and voila, you’re a reader! You might even be inspired to write your own poetry, something I encourage, even if you don’t know the difference between a sestina and a stanza. No one has to see it if you don’t want them to.

I could go on and on about the many reasons reading, and writing, poetry is so good for our souls, but I believe it’s better to give you a couple of my favorites. These particular two may make it seem I’m morbid but no, I just like the profoundness of both, and I believe, upon reading them, you’ll understand why I love poetry so much.

The Bolt, by Mary Kinzie

That girl so long ago walked, as they all did, shop girls,

Little cousins, and church friends, to the unflattering

Hack of the hem just where the calf begins to swell,

Felt ruchings of the bodice’s stiff panels

Gal the flesh beside the flattening ornate

Armature of underwear (like pads and straps

For livestock, fretted by tooling and bright studs),

So she must yank her knees against

Pounds of rigid drapery in the storm of heat,


Trailing through the pestering, gray heads

Of Queen Anne’s lace, wind raveling

Her hair and sweeping through prolific

Jagged-bladed grass – a wind that pressed down

There like God with both His hands, mashing the air,

Darkening the hole where the dry mouth of the wood

Yawned to drink the stumbling travelers already touched

By the heavy sacs of rain that broke and ran

In gouts down saturated pleats of surge…

Here that girl ran last, so long ago, to be run through

By one long lightning thread that entered, through

A slender purple bruise, the creamy skin of her temple,


The instant that it happened, nobody remembered

How she looked or spoke, so quickly had she blended

With this evocation of her having been.


This was the past: a stroke of imagery stare-

Frozen, finished in suspension.


I love how the poem uses two definitions of bolt – a bolt of fabric and a bolt of lightning.


I Felt a Funeral in My Brain, (280) Emily Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s poems were not titled, only given a number).

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,

And Mourners to and fro

Kept treading – treading – till it seemed

That Sense was breaking through –


And when they all were seated,

A Service, like a Drum –

Kept beating – beating – till I thought

My mind was going numb –


And then I heard them lift a Box

And creak across my Soul

With those same Boots of Lead, again,

Then Space – began to toll,


As all the Heavens were a Bell,

And Being, but an Ear,

And I, and Silence, some strange Race,

Wrecked, solitary, here –


And then a Plank in Reason, broke,

And I dropped down, and down –

And hit a World, at every plunge,

And Finished knowing – then –

*I love how the ending here is truly as abrupt as “the end” always is.


And here is [the link to] a poem I wrote, She Saw It Comingwhich was originally a flash piece but readers’ comments led me to realize it should’ve been a poem all along.

Who are your favorite poets? What are your favorite poems? Why do you believe you’re attracted to these particular poems and/or poets?

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The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Nurse #fridayflash #amwriting #fiction


Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors! The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Nurse, possibly the shortest flash I’ve ever written, is rated PG-13, according to my standards.

 mad nurse framed

The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Nurse, by Deanna Schrayer

The nurse stretched her thin lips wide to reveal a mouth full of jagged brown teeth. She held the needle up beside my face, and though her lips didn’t move, I felt her sour breath lick my ear. “Don’t worry,” she said, just before this….this noise escaped her….It wasn’t so much a laugh as it was an otherworldly gleeful madness erupting from her gut. “Don’t worry,” she’d said, and pointed the needle towards my neck, “this won’t hurt a bit.”


I just finished a couple of terrific reads, (one of which has inspired me to dribble out all sorts of, I gotta say it – mad – stories like this one) – be sure to stop and browse my bookshelf while you’re here.

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Goodnight, Demons. Goodnight. #fridayflash #amwriting #fiction

frdayflashbadge02Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

My stories are always written in the voice of the characters but I often take the liberty of heavily editing after transcribing what [the characters] tell me, (though I try my best not to censor them). But Goodnight, Demons. Goodnight. is straight from the protagonist. Warning: Goodnight, Demons. Goodnight. contains violence and strong language and is therefore rated R, according to my standards.

Goodnight, Demons. Goodnight., by Deanna Schrayer

His hands are gripping the wheel so hard he feels the indents his fingers are bruising into the rough rubber. He squeezes harder, wanting to punish something, someone. Her. The steering wheel of his Camaro is her and he hurts her, he crushes the life out of her, watches her face go white.

The back tire bounces off the road, jolting him into letting loose of the wheel. Quickly he takes hold of it again and jerks the car back onto the road, fishtailing into the left lane and he panics, stands on the brakes and slides sideways into the ditch on the other side of the road.

In mere seconds he sits facing the other way, the direction he was coming from, nowhere near wherever the hell he was going. He doesn’t recall touching the gear shift but the car is in park, the green light blinking furiously in the dark, the headlights revealing nothing but the tip-tops of centuries-old oaks and pines.

He grabs the door handle, pulls but the door won’t open. He pulls harder and slams his shoulder into the door and it flies open as if it was never even attached to the car to begin with. The adrenaline jets from his feet to his head like somebody, something, shot it straight into his hip through a needle and he swings his legs around and bursts outside, knowing he’ll hit the ground running, but his feet barely touch the gravel before his legs stop working and his whole body crumbles to the dusty earth. His head jerks back and forth automatically, checking, making sure no one saw his stupid ass but there’s no one there, of course there’s no one there.

He can’t see a thing, it’s so dark out, the fog thick enough to be its own wall. But he knows where he is. The spot. The boulder jutting from the hills announces itself like a damn advertisement for Lover’s Lane even though the place has never been called Lover’s Lane, only Dead Man’s Curve so that when someone asks are you dying tonight what they mean is are you getting laid.

He hears the creek rushing in the near distance and realizes his ears had been ringing until that very moment. The Camaro ticks and pings beside him and the heat searing from the tires burns his cheek. He shakes his head and blinks several times, trying to clear the dizziness that’s making him want to puke. His hands shake as he latches on to the ground and he stands up, slowly, his legs still feeling like fucking Jell-O. It pisses him off and he punches the hood of the car like he’s fighting for his life, the jolt piercing his shoulder and neck, forcing its way out through his damn teeth! 

Good. He deserves the pain.

He punches the car door hard and it hurts so good he has to do it again and again until finally he misses the frame and smashes the window out. Warm blood slides down his arm and he wonders if his wrist is slashed open.

A high-pitched wail screams through his skull and his face is bouncing off the car. He feels like a giant just picked him up and threw him with all its might.

Suddenly it’s no longer dark, it’s so bright he thinks he’s staring into the sun, and it stings!

Then he sees her.

His back is sliding down the side of the car and there she is – she’s standing right in front of him, planted on the road like a strong oak, her arms stretched taut in front of her, her little hands gripping his Beretta harder than he’d gripped the steering wheel. He smiles and forces his eyes wide open. The fog is gone. But the dark is back. As his body hits the ground again he sees….no one. No one is there at all. But he sees the gun, he sees the gun fall from his own bloody fingers. He sees nothing else.


The first couple of times I heard Demons by Imagine Dragons I was cleaning the house and I liked the upbeat tune so much that I paid little attention to the lyrics. Last week I sat down and actually listened and was astounded by the images that came to me. Those images are the story you just read.

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That Night by the Creek #fridayflash #amwriting #fiction


Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

I started two different flash pieces this week and they both decided they wanted to be much more than that, at least shorts, so I’ve put them aside to “perfect” for submission and decided to recycle for today’s story. That Night by the Creek was originally published as a #fridayflash on The Other Side of Deanna (now closed) in May of 2011.  It is rated PG-13, according to my standards. I hope you enjoy!

That Night by the Creek

That Night by the Creek, by Deanna Schrayer

Momma pulled off the road in the gravel alongside the creek and cut the headlights. It was so dark I couldn’t see the chicken leg I’d been eating. I heard the tall pines rustling as if it were windy but I felt no breeze at all, even though all the windows in the car were down. I heard the frogs croaking, the creek trickling, (normally it would be rushing but it hadn’t rained in weeks), and Momma breathing heavy. “You ‘bout done with that chicken Stella?” she asked.

“Almost,” I said, wanting to know why she cared, why we had stopped in the dark at such a late hour, but not daring to ask.

“Hurry up,” she said, “I gotta get our contraband outta here so Daddy won’t know we bought fast food.”

“Contra what?” I asked.

“Never mind,” she jerked the chicken leg out of my hand without even having to feel around for it in the dark. In a second I heard a dull thud as it hit the road. Then the flame of her lighter erupted in front of my face, barely missing my nose and she dug around under my feet in the floorboard, gathering up the wax paper and straw wrapper I’d carelessly dropped. “Look around,” she told me, “make sure there ain’t no more trash in here.”

I didn’t understand why she was whispering like we needed to keep our eating a secret but I did as I was told. I found another straw wrapper but it was crushed up and brown, it couldn’t have been from the meal we’d just had. I turned it over with my toe like I would a dead beetle and Momma smacked my leg, hard. “I said get all the trash Stella!” She reached down and picked it up, stuck it in the bag with the rest of the trash, leaned over my lap, and tossed the bag across me and out the window.

Her bushy yellow hair tickled my cheek. The trash went over the bank and landed near the creek. As Momma sat back up in her seat her elbow hit the glove box and it popped open. The faint light inside showed a pair of jumper cables, a bunch of wadded up paper, a pack of gum, and a package of Wet Ones. Momma sat real quiet, not moving to start the car or even to close the glove box. Finally she reached down and opened the Wet Ones, pulling several out and throwing them in my lap. “Here,” she said, “wipe all that grease off your hands.” I did as I was told and she took the dirty rags from me and threw them out the window too.

Momma straightened in her seat but she didn’t start the car. After a minute her lighter flickered back to life and I watched her puff in hard as she lit a cigarette. She’d been smoking Virginia Slims for about a month now, claiming if Daddy could drink then she oughta be able to have some vice. The smoke curled across the car and into my face, shoving its way up my nose and making it itch. I held my breath. Every few seconds the tip of the cigarette would glow brighter and Momma released a heavier breath; it sounded like she was trying to sigh her soul right out of her body.

When I heard a loud snap outside my window I jumped and banged my head on the roof. It sounded like when Daddy broke wood up for campfires. I looked out but couldn’t see anything. I rolled up my window.

“Stella!” Momma whisper-yelled. I glanced towards her voice and looked intently at the spectre-like form of her transparent face above the flame of the lighter. Her eyes slowly moved from mine to the window behind me then grew wide with terror. “Get down!” she screamed.

Before I could reach the floorboard glass shattered all around me and thick, suffocating arms wrapped around my neck. I couldn’t see Momma anymore.       


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To take or not to take – PAD challenge #poetry #poems #amwriting

National Poetry Month 2013

How have you been doing with Robert Brewer’s Poem a Day challenge at Writer’s Digest? (If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, see this post).

I’m happy, (and a bit surprised), to say I’ve written a poem each day this month. So far anyway. That’s not to say the poems are great, or even publishable, only that I’ve been writing; one day I even wrote two. So, the point of the PAD challenge is working for me, and I appreciate you very much, Mr. Brewer, for picking my fingers up and making them fly!

There have been some terrific poems in the comments section of the PAD posts; with so many poets expanding their imagination beyond all limits I’m left embarrassed at the thought of sharing the words I’ve tossed willy-nilly on the page. However, I’ve produced one that I rather like, (incidentally, the only one that has nothing at all to do with some part of my life), and I’d greatly appreciate your opinion – both for feel and for technicality.

This poem To take or not to take, was inspired by Day 3’s PAD prompt: ‘tentative’. I suppose the reason I like this one [more than the others] is because it’s one of those stories that flew at me in a rush the second my fingers hit the keyboard, (something all we writers know is too often rare and always cherished). That also means this is in first draft, (a.k.a., rough). Unfortunately, WP makes formatting poetry a bit difficult – the lines should be a single space closer to one another than they appear here. Okay, I’ll hush now and give you the poem:

To Take Or Not To Take, by Deanna Schrayer

He didn’t know what he was

doing, his filthy hands filching  

through her purse as she

chattered and chattered beyond the

closed door. “Did you see the look

on his face when I….”


was he searching for? Lipstick? Face

powder? Her money,

encased in faux silver wallet,  

or flowery tissue that  

had swiped at her eyes

in the theater? What could

it be ——? A trinket? Was that it…

a souvenir?           No….


Nonono, he wouldn’t believe it!

This was not him. At all. 


Yet, as she opened the door he swiftly

              shoved her

gold-plated Zippo in

his pocket and




I’d love to hear some of your poetry, if you feel comfortable with sharing feel free to leave a poem in the comments, or provide a link to the address your poetry resides.

I’ve written short stories for years and though I still enjoy penning those, I am having a blast with poetry!

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