Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Kiss

            This is a short story I wrote for fun when our Creative Writing professor asked us to write a ghost stories for extra credit for Halloween last year. I decided to write about what scares me. It was actually fun to get it out of my head and onto the keyboard.

 Laura and her faithful lab, Scout, needed a run. There is a secluded canyon north of their small town that is six miles of runner's delight.  The only problem is that the trail begins up by the old blue house on Mile Hi Road. Anyone who has lived in their small rural town for long has heard about that house and the bad things that happened up there.  Very bad things.
            The blue house is vacant now- no one will buy it, but the Realtors have left their sign. The former resident is gone and most of the physical evidence of what happened has been cleaned and removed.  The pit bull that guarded this yard is also gone, only his thick chain remains.  The signs of vacancy are evident in the overgrown shrubbery and trees. This property never had a grass yard, because of the elevation and because it is an orchard property with lots of privacy.  It is more of a farm and the neglected fruit trees are now only attended to by the bears that leave their scat full of seeds.  
Laura parks at the entrance of the property by the "No Trespassing" sign. Sitting in the car she stares at the blue home where a young lady lost her life in a way no criminal should.  "It's only a house" she says to Scout, who clearly just wants to get out and chase some squirrels who now claim the property as their own.  " A house is not evil." As she says this, Scout pokes her head up from the back seat and licks Laura’s face.
            Laura gets out and begins to stretch, but her actions are quick and jerky.  She had never seen Ronnie herself because they moved to the community after all this happened. But she heard in the grocery store that he was a huge man, not fat- but strong. He must have been.  It had been said that he wore his dark hair long and unkempt- to cover the scar on his face.  “Small town gossip” she says to herself as she opens the passenger door and grabs Scout’s leash.  “Let’s go- my protector…..”   Scout jumps out of the car with enthusiasm and puts her nose in the air, taking in all the information about the area that the wind provides her nose. 
            They begin a slow jog from the entrance of the property along an arc around the house to the trail head. Laura's feet stick to a path on the furthest side of the road from the house.  A cool breeze brings the scent of pine and Laura takes a deep breath.  Her posture improves and her pace becomes more consistent.  Scout's gait is light and appears joyful.  
            Then Scout tugs on the leash as her strong Lab nose pulls near the dusty soil on the trail of some scent. Laura has to slow to a walk as Scout investigates; and Laura glances at the windows of the house.  All seems normal and quiet as they move on the road. A jay bird breaks the quiet morning, calling from a pear tree in the yard.  A young pine tree blocks the view of the upstairs oval window for a moment, and then Laura can see it again. She sees a large white object, almost like a life size balloon or something, just inside the window.  The hair on the back of her neck stands up as her hand firmly grips the leash and she inhales quickly. She slows to a stop and looks through the tree again at the window. Now she sees just a window.  No white figure. Just an old, dirty window.  “The light must have been reflecting off something…”
            Laura backs up to double check, her heart rate monitor registering a quickened pulse. Laura deeply inhales, shakes her head, and begins to jog- the gate is now in sight.  Looking quickly over her left shoulder as she goes, Laura sees nothing out of the ordinary. They are now past the house, to where the dirt road forks and she and Scout take the right fork to the trail.  They are now heading downhill and their pace quickens with the grade and in anticipation of their run.
          Suddenly, Laura and Scout turn as they hear quick footsteps following them.  A huge blue pit bull races towards them and Scout moves protectively in front of Laura and braces to meet the other dog bearing its teeth.  There is the deep sound of growling as the opposing forces of dog meet and the pit hit its mark on Scout's neck. She yipes loudly and in a moments time, Laura tries to figure out how to help and looks through the dust rising to see a large white figure heading her way. Blood is matting Scout's black coat as the pit quickly pins her to the ground. 
          Grasping her wounds Laura looks over at Scout and sees the life leaving her big brown eyes. The pit is growling and tearing at Scout's body.  Tears fall down Laura's cheeks and she looks away from her heartbreak…and into the eyes of hate.  The man is straddling her now and the smell of decay and blood overwhelms Laura.  He bends over closer to her face and his breath reeks. She turns from the smell, then quickly back- Scout being a more difficult sight. She is shaking and cold from loss of blood. Now she can feel his mouth on hers and she wants to puke or get away, but he is so heavy and she feels so very weak.  "Scout!!" she screams with her eyes closed.
          The wetness on her mouth is so disgusting that she opens her eyes again and sees Scout licking her face. Laura looks around from the ground, puts her hand on her pounding head and realizes that she must have fallen. She sits up and pets Scout, grasping her kind black face in her hands, "Let's go home, girl!"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Bowl Full of Buttered Popcorn & Milkduds Helps the Movie Go Down

This Sunday Ted and I watched a movie I have been meaning to see since the Academy Awards aired this spring. Having grown up watching Walter Cronkite on the evening news as he told America about the Vietnam War, I’ve never been fond of war movies. (Even though they often have great soundtracks!)  I didn’t really watch the news then, but I remember Mr. Cronkite wearing his thick framed glasses and white shirt with a black tie. I can still visualize the news footage behind him showing vegetation so unlike what I knew growing up in Colorado. And I knew we were losing our boys in the war in that far away land.

The Hurt Locker won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and I was finally brave enough to watch it this weekend. And I am so glad I saw it! The film is visually stunning and brilliantly done. The director somehow made an ugly place (because of the war) so beautiful at times. It was difficult to watch, but I’m glad I did.  The imagery in the film is breathtaking.

This is where I’m hoping you can help. Have you seen movies that are challenging to watch, but worth the time? As I was considering this, I made a list that I might add to as I think of more. Films can entertain us, help us escape reality for a couple of hours, make us laugh and make us cry. I like it when a film makes me think, is the catalyst of discussion and changes my outlook on life- if only a little while.

~Boy A- With all the PR for The Social Network in the media right now, I was reminded of a film starring one of the actors from The Social Network. Andrew Garfield did a brilliant job in this heart-wrenching film from 2007 about a young man released from prison for a crime he committed as a child. It raises the question of who deserves a second chance. I watched it with Teddy, and was so glad I didn’t see it alone…because there was so much to discuss afterward.

~Precious- Another movie I put off seeing, but which caused me to think for months to come. I can still ponder some of the dialogue near the end of the movie and had much to discuss with my daughter Amy who is laboring in the trenches of social work.

~The Stoning of Soraya M-  Wow! I heard about this movie on facebook and it will forever change how I read the gospels and the book of Acts. There are elements of stoning that seemed so unreal to me before I saw this movie. I will not be able to read about the stoning of Stephen, or Paul, in the same “matter of fact” way again. The incredible beauty of the land and people are also depicted in this film. But it shows ugliness being taught to the next generation of men. The day after we watched this film, there was an article in the newspaper about the controversy over another woman in Iran who is to be stoned. 

What challenging movies are you glad you watched?  (And why am I suddenly in the mood for a senseless comedy?)

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's all in a Name

Incredible pressure has kept me from starting a blog before now. What pressure? The pressure I felt when I clicked on the icon to “start a blog” and then read the first blank to be filled in. “Title of Blog.”  Hmmm. Title. Should it be a statement about me? What I am hoping to accomplish? Something clever? It all seemed too difficult, and like something to face later.

I have to say I am gun-shy of titles about me, since I had a bad experience with usernames. One day when we were having internet difficulties, I was on the phone with a tech guy who was being inappropriately flirty with me. And he was not flirty in a cute, complimentary way. It left me wracking my brain as to why. I hadn’t said anything inappropriate. He had my username and password and had asked if some of it was the year I was born. And I replied that it was. So, I asked Teddy (because he is a guy) if there was something up with my username that I didn’t understand. My username was a combination of the Girl Scout camp nicknames of myself and my best friend in fourth grade. And it was completely innocent and something I could easily remember. It was” thumperbunny62. “
Teddy laughed when he heard it, “Really Mom?” 
“What?!” I responded.
He asked, “What do they call the ladies at the Playboy mansion?”
”Oh” I said. ‘What do they call the rabbit in Bambi?!” I retorted!
I guess a lot depends on your point of view.

So, since I would like to use this blog to write, I thought about my writing and remembered how I “learned” to type working on the newspaper in high school. I typed like the old-school journalists with two fingers. And I got to be pretty darn fast at it, when my mom didn’t type my articles. It has been a bad habit that I still struggle to break and I am still a poor typist. Maybe this blog will help.
Signed by my new usernames- “Godsgirl62” or “Canttouchthis81”