Tag 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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The Hitchhiker: Part 2 of Sarasota Mist Dugan’s story #fridayflash #amwriting


Welcome to my new site, This Side….Over Yonder!  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!

Read part 1 of Sarasota Mist Dugan’s story, The Trip, on The Other Side of Deanna here.

The Hitchhiker is rated PG-13, according to my standards.

The Hitchhiker, by Deanna Schrayer

Sara had been driving for six hours with the music blaring so loud she hadn’t heard her phone ring. When she pulled into a convenience store lot she saw there were several new voice mails. Her husband would still be at work another hour, he wouldn’t have even found her letter yet. Sara knew Michael would be calling when he saw all the lights on at home, never mind the letter.

She scanned through the missed calls and understood why there were so many messages – Alex had called seven times since noon. He’d been trying to get in touch with her all week. She’d ignored every ring and immediately deleted every message he left without even thinking of listening to them. Now, as she stroked the phone and stared at a scrawny man marching into the store, Sara turned the car off and punched in her code to retrieve voice mail.  

Propping her head up with her hand, she placed the phone against her ear and listened.

“Sara, it’s Alex. Where are you? Are you all right? Please call me, I’m getting worried.”

She deleted the message and listened to the next.

“Sara, I really need to talk to you. Why aren’t you calling me back?” There was a moment of silence and then an excessive sigh. “Listen, I’m sorry about what I said. I just…I’m…will you please just call me?” Was that exasperation in his voice? Sara had never heard such from him before. She pulled the phone away from her ear and stared at it as if she might see Alex’s denim blue eyes coming through the screen. For a second she almost wished she could, but quickly she forced herself to forget about her lover; she never wanted to see him again. Her thumb hovered over the keypad, twirling a circle in the air as if unsure which button to land on. Finally she clicked end. “No more drama in your life Sarasota,” she told herself.

A rapping on the window of her car startled Sara into dropping the phone. It hit the console and bounced into the passenger floorboard. A young woman gawked at Sara through the glass, holding her hand salute-style across her forehead and squinting as if she were bird-watching on a blinding bright day.

“Are you all right ma’am?” the girl asked. She bobbed her head, causing her short blonde ponytail to jump about like an overexcited child. Sara thought maybe she should be the one asking the question. She reached for her phone as she rolled the window down a couple of inches.

The girl looked as sweet as she could be, but something told Sara to be careful. “Yes, yes, I’m fine, thank you,” she told the girl and started to roll the window back up.

The girl shot her hand through the crack, “Wait, wait, hold on,” she screeched. Sara backed away from the multi-colored, bitten fingernails nearly scratching her face. The girl glanced about nervously and Sara saw that what were likely beautiful green eyes were now puffy red and widening with fear.

“Listen,” the girl said, settling her gaze on Sara, “I know this seems weird and all, but I’m not a thief or anything, I just need a ride down the road a piece. Do you mind?” 

Sara’s mouth hung open in astonishment. She’d never picked up a hitchhiker before, couldn’t even recall having the opportunity. The girl looked towards the store and began trembling. “Please,” she said, her wrist dangling in the car window like bait waiting for the big catch. She bounced in place as if unable to hold still.

Sara shook her head to dislodge the warning signals firing through her brain. What could it hurt to give the girl a ride a couple of miles? Obviously she was scared to death of whoever waited in that store for her, and she was no bigger than one leaf of a willow tree. “Okay,” Sara said, “come on, get in.” She rolled the window down for the girl to retrieve her hand and unlocked the door. The girl ran around the car and jumped into the passenger seat before Sara could even reach up to start the engine.  

She studied the girl a moment, doing her best not to wrinkle her nose at the putrid stench of cigarette smoke mixed with something like…was it diesel? Maybe it was fear. How old was this girl anyway – sixteen, seventeen? Oh God, was Sara helping a runaway? What had she gotten herself into now?

The girl looked through the windshield and a tiny peep escaped her. She slid so far down in the seat she was almost on the floor. “Please,” she said, covering her head with both arms, “please hurry.”

As Sara pulled away she looked in her rear view mirror and saw the man this poor girl was afraid of. He was a lot smaller than she’d expected, scrawny in fact, in stained jeans and a dirty tee shirt. His dark hair looked to be stuck to his skull with grease. He scanned the parking lot and stopped mid-stride, looking around suspiciously.

“Hurry!” the girl screamed, beating the back of her seat with open palms. She was sitting up now, watching out the back window.

The man’s eyes lit upon Sara’s Camry and landed on her own in the mirror. When he saw the girl those sweet little boy blues changed to a blazing purple ringed by fiery orange. He rushed to an old scarred pick-up and jumped in fast. Sara reflexively gunned her engine making the tires screech as she pulled onto the road. She looked over to see the girl hugging the back of her seat, her eyes opening wide with fright. Sara had time to realize shattering glass was the loudest sound she’d ever heard before dark engulfed her.


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