Nana’s Girl- Flash Horror Freebie

HI FREN!

It is Black history month so here take a little Blackity Black Black ghost story. Written using my fave prompr book no seriously get it. Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side.

Now here we go. Unedited and hot n fresh.

Prompt-1.102  

Begin a story with the line, “It was when I died that….”  

 ~~
It was when I died that I understood what Nana had meant by, get free at all costs. When I was a baby, everyone said I was her spitting image. Same big black eyes, same crooked right eyebrow, same deep brown skin and as I got older the same stank ass attitude and habitual resting bitch face. There was a picture of the two of us, I think I was four and we both had the evilest expressions. It was my favorite photo. 

Mama said that we were one soul in two bodies like twins separated by time and blood. Nana used to like to take walks at night, the street dudes always spoke so nicely to her. She took me on occasion when I couldn’t sleep, we were both nighttime babies. The first time I was about ten and it was the kind of hot dank night nobody really sleeps very well, we wore almost matching housedresses, she held my hand and we shuffled along together in the deep of the night.  

“Nana, what time is it?” She checked her watch, “it us 2:57 AM. You know what they call 3 AM?” I couldn’t stop staring around, I never got to see our neighborhood at rest. Even the various houseless folks, pimps and hang rounds had gone to bed. I was fascinated by the quiet, I stopped and pointed at shiny eyes peering at us from under a porch. “Nana, what is that under there?” She looked and reached into her purse, she tossed crackers into the yard and a plump opossum waddled out to her bounty. “Look, she got babies.” 

Many nights we walked together that way. We fed the raccoons, opossums and ne’er-do-wells. I loved how even the hardest dudes were so soft and deferential to her. “Hey Mrs. Gennessee. Hello Nina.” I remember one of them, Nana and I called him Walter, everyone else called him Big Money. “Hi Walter. How are you?” He like most of the guys never quite met my eyes, he held his hat in his hands and fidgeted like a child. “I’m good Miss Nina. I um, here.” 

He thrust a paper bag into my hand and Nana handed him a little old babyfood jar. He took it, gave us a strange, terrified smile and sauntered away as quickly as his manhood would let him. “Nana, that ain’t drugs is it?” I gave her the paper bag and she chuckled. “No, you’ll see. Come on baby let’s go home.” The gangsters always found us, Nana showed me how to make them specific mojo bags and oils they anointed themselves in before they went to war. 

When I was 17 at 2:57 AM on February 19th, Nana visited me one last time. I felt her weight on my bed and I pulled her down to cuddle me. “I don’t want you to go. It is our time; Pisces season is just starting.” She held me and stroked my hair; I felt her whisper in my ear. “Freedom. No matter what Nina Simone Gennessee. You hear me?” I turned to put my face in her soft wrinkly neck, I put my hands in her hair like I did when I was a tot and I wanted 2:59 AM to last forever. 

After she was gone, my hair started to turn grey. Just a scattering of delicate silver coils just like hers. My ass got wider, I started to limp a little bit and favor carrying great ugly bags that tinkled with jars and mystical nonsense in them. On my 50th birthday, March 10th at 3 AM I stood in front of the house my Nana had been born in.  

Long before I was born my Grandfather disappeared. Some said he ran off with a loose woman from down the street, others that he was on the run from the law. But, as I stood there watching the play of shadows on the crumbling walls, I knew. I sprinkled salt and a few other things, I watched the spirit trapped inside the remains of the structure rant and rave. I saw Nana right there on the porch, shotgun in her lap and a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth. 

When I died, my daughters and granddaughters laid in bed with me. I told them stories, I told my eldest grandbaby, my baby where to find my most secret herbs, recipes and ephemera. And as 3 AM bore down on us, I saw my death and somewhere in the light, ultimate freedom. Before I went, I told my girls like Nana told me.

“Get free baby by any means necessary. Any. Means.”

No Pomegranates.

A Persephone/Hades retelling.

Inspired by my friends Ken and Roger. Also inspired by this old youtube vid.

~

“Please don’t do that.” My voice sounded strange to me, it felt serrated and too mixed and melted. I tried clearing my throat, I looked for something to drink and found a glass of lukewarm water on the bedside table. I gulped and listened to my insides slosh; I cleared my throat again. “Please. Please don’t.” I sounded better, the other voice whistled and hung in the air. Stop what?  

It took me a while to get up and I felt the cold breath across my naked belly, I ran my hand across the skin there and held it. I let the feeling of my soft belly sitting in the palm of my hand sooth me, when I rolled onto my side, I felt the cold again as long fingers curling around the curve of my ass. “I said please don’t, I have to get up.” 

Stay?  

The plaintive whisper in my ear carried the deep chill of winter in New England right before it freezes or snows. I remembered the sharpness of the air, the way it made my teeth ache and tasted like my lover on my tongue. Please? Percy. I had plans. I had things to do. I had no time for, I lost my train of thought when the cold moved up my body, an invisible hand trailed from hip to breast, to my hair.  

When their cold settled into my hair, I felt my body respond. I wanted to remain stoic, say no but, that cool sweetness on my scalp undid me every time. “It isn’t time yet. Come on.” The memory of winters past slide across my neck leaving chill bumps, the voice followed. But why? I only offer a respite. I miss you. Say my name my love. Just once? 

I rolled over and pulled the blankets off of me. I was starting to sweat, and I couldn’t stand it. Not in that moment. I stood and finally looked at the window, it was still dark out. “Feralis Deus.” I felt the air still, the ambient temperature in the room fell and I sat by the window to get ready. I spoke their sacred names as I unbraided my hair. 

“Profundus Jupiter, Amenthes, Agelastus. Should I bang on the ground now to propitiate my deus?” I fluffed my afro out and the coolness moved from the nape of my neck up my scalp, I thought I said no again but, my mouth followed my body. “Host of our Beloved dead.” It was still late summerish and the heat lingered, it wasn’t time yet. 

Temptation. Must I lure you? I saw the words in a little puff of cold mist that caressed my face as it went by. I wanted to say no. I knew what could happen, but I needed it. I wanted it. I wanted my deus. “Impress me.” The room warmed back up and the air was instantly heavy on my naked body. I felt the sweat bead under my breasts and belly, the sheen of it across my lower back. Outside.  

My little house was not quite secluded but very private. I liked my nudity, smoking time and privacy too much. I walked out back and sat in my favorite chair, wait. Please. “I will wait.” It was hot, too hot for my taste and I immediately resented the sweat and fleshy reek of me. I still hate the heat.  

Wait, beloved.  

The only thing I liked was the light. The golden light of the burgeoning sunset deified me. I stretched out and let the sun turn me from a regular ole Black girl into a Golden Goddess. I waited. When the light faltered, I looked up to see big dark clouds racing in and gathering. The first blast of frigid wind brought me to my feet, and I walked into the yard.  

The air temperature plummeted in what I could only think of as a nosedive, I giggled to myself, giddy with the sudden barometric pressure shift. Fluffy ominous storm clouds crashed above and after a long couple of moments the snow began to fall. It was the heavy, big snow I loved. Temptation beloved, come, come home. 

For years I had resisted the temptation, ignored the burning desire between my legs. I missed my lover. My Deus. We had each other for so many lifetimes, it was the first time I thought about giving in. I was near to going inside as the snowfall turned into a whiteout and my deus silenced the world in a frozen thrall. “More?” 

Wind howled in my ears and caressed my now frosty skin; icy fingers played my ridiculous gum drop nipples. Secretly, I eased open and ready and hot in the one place the wind could not go. “More.” In no iteration of myself have I ever been easy to please. I want extremes and my deus, my Amenthes delivered. 

When the whiteout blanketed my immediate world, I felt the hairs on my arms and legs rise. Something was going on in the air above me, but I couldn’t see it. The world stood still for a bare sweet moment and then it happened. Swirling snow settled to a constant flow of fluff and glitter and then the sky opened and lightening streaked across the sky and just behind it, thunder. 

My mouth ell open and I stared up at the sky as bolt after bolt of lightning flashed and the thunder boomed so hard, I could feel it start in the tiny bones of my ear and in the very depths of my wet cunt. Now? For all my caution and patience, I could not deny me Deus. I ran into the whiteout with my arms open. Ahead of me in the dark I could just see the outline of the arms that would welcome me into Winter.  

A Winter. Broken. – Freebie fiction

HI frens! I have news but we’ll get to it another day. Part of me doing whatever I want to with my words, here is a story inspired by beloved writer Christopher Ropes. I am not sure if this is fan fiction or no but this is inspired by his piece from Nox Pareidolia, which I reviewed back here. So enjoy this lil haunted thingymajiggy.

#

Their hold on me had long since loosened. When I went back everything was the same, suspended in time as the snow fell in silent glory. For years I’d heard the whispers in my dreams, seen and felt the gaze of her. My dreams and heart were haunted by the long shadow of her, Moher Hawthorne. I stood in the doorway of one of the rooms, the air was so thin I could see into the Veil and across it. Time moved behind me but not in front of me. For the first time, I understood that I had come home. He had left a hole in the world only I could find.

“Ser Campbell.” I knew her voice. Her shape. I could see just the bare outline of her moving through the still air. When she touched my cheeks with her rough warm hands, the way she smiled down at me I thought I was going to cry but I smiled. “Yes ma’am.” My voice tore at the air, it was never the same after what happened. “You look like him. Come.”

She led me through the house. The empty halls and abandoned rooms throbbed with pain, eons of pain leached into the very earth with blood and terror. It was no haunt, it was the truth I had known elsewhere. “Mother Hawthorne?” She allowed my arm to snake around her waist and she held me close, “yes child?” As we stopped in front of an empty window, I watched the appearance of footsteps in the snow heading away from us and I could hear the echo of her own mad laughter. “I’m afraid. What if, what if he doesn’t want me?”

I let her walk me into the whiteout and I felt her body move with silent laughter. “Hush Ser Campbell. There has been none other than the two of you to end the story.” Before I could respond she was gone, I heard from behind me the rising howl of laughter and felt her spirit rush by and into the whiteness. I heard her cries on the wind, what she’d said to him before she disappeared. I walked into the snow and felt the hood torn from my head and watched the world tilt and slide around me. On the ground I saw a word, and settled down.

The Veil between us had always been thin. I knew that. My life was ruined the day they came. In that when, I lost my Daddy. I had only been 6 years old and they took him, they hurt him, they ruined us. I lost the heart of my Mother that day and until I was 16 all I knew was desperate terror. Until I felt the pull. For a moment, I saw his face in my dreams and he whispered, hope. I carried his whisper inside my soul until I found the place where the Veil would lift and we could be together again.

Time was running out, the snow was slowing and I had to go. I retraced Mother Hawthorne’s steps and took as big a breath as I could. “Thank you! Thank you Mother!” I hollered and gamboled like a newborn fawn, I galloped through the empty hallway cackling and howling with laughter and fear. I was never graceful and the thunder of my steps outpaced the howl of the wind outside. I burst through the right window and I saw him rise from where he knelt writing in the snow. The wind whipped his hood back and I started screaming, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy wait!”

Brother Campbell didn’t know how many times the scene had played out. His last moments with Mother Hawthorne, his own bitter tears. The sudden loss of so much of his own sorrow had left him adrift in time. He was something worse than a ghost and had almost given up. He’d figured himself to have been just a conduit for the others, for Mother Hawthorne. And then through the eternal bellow of the winter storm he heard it and as he turned to face the old g=house he saw. The snow and whatever the Veil was, gave him a split vision.

His living beauty daughter, whole and unharmed juxtaposed against the ungraceful creature galloping full speed at him. There have been precious few who have gone to their real earned eternal rewards. Brother Campbell had given up the comfort of his own suffering for Mother Hawthorne. He had left the last remnants of his own humanity, the last thing to tether him to the Earth he knew for the others. The snow paused almost and there she was. “Daddy! Daddy!”

The sob he’d held in his gut for he didn’t know how long broke. The young person who flung themselves into his arms was not the ravaged 6 year old he’d lost. “Daddy! Daddy!” They were the daughter he could have had, the potential he’d thought existed but never dreamed to hold in his arms. “They call me Ser Chris Campbell. Is that, is it okay?” He wept, his tears stung his frozen cheeks and he felt the smile crack his frostbitten skin and he looked down at them. “Yes. Of course. Of course, my baby. My darling. My love.”

The two hugged and wept, they laughed and understood. When he could speak he finally asked, “how?” Ser Chris smiled up at him, they pointed at the ground where the word he’d written over and again was disappearing under a fresh layer of snow. “You left hope here.” He pulled her hood up and took her hand. They had few real options in the world and he couldn’t stand the thought of returning to the world she’d been taken from. They stood together a ways down the path, they turned to watch the house.

The old house moaned under the weight of the snow and the release of generations of rage and pain. As they watched it began to rot and wither away until all that was left was the rubble of the foundation. “Daddy, we have to go now. They will rest.” They watched the shades of Mother Hawthorne and others run and laugh and fade until they too were gone and there was only the sound of the snow and the Campbell’s breathing.

Brother Campbell looked down into the face of hope and he understood how Mother Hawthorne had looked the last time he saw her. Ser looked up at him, their big eyes full of the brightness of moonlight on snow and they looked at him as a martyr beholds God and he understood. They bent together to write one last thing in the snow. As they set out arm in arm, Brother Campbell’s tears gave way to laughter. He laughed and ser laughed and they understood. They all, understood.

Tiny Fictions- Microprose From my Phone

I have been writing microprose on the memo function of my phone. Below find some plucked from my archive.

#1 We never left that golden moment. We knew then, how to be immortal. If only: for a minute.

#2 You’ll know them by the shadows behind their eyes and the blood in their breath. They are the quiet ones.  You’ll know. We all know.

#3 Through the heavy morning. The sun still wants what she wants. She wants I feel her own heat taken in and returned with glory. She wants to kiss my skin like the lover she will never know. She wants to know the sweetness of brown skin and hair that reaches for her too. I tilt my face up. Watch her burn the clouds and smile.

I’m hers. I am always hers.

#4 We see her, all of them. We know them, we Innocents who will not see, we Innocents who must not believe know how her. She walks with q switch in her hips and death in her eyes.

We know. We refuse. It is our right and our demise.

#5 He died.

He’s still dead and I’m still mad. He never saw me confidently reading poetry or heard me drunk and singing dirty blues. His hand still sits on mine sometimes, when I write things that hurt. He’s gone but not.

Occasionally when I write something a little lyrical I hear his shy voice, singing low the way he liked to sing to me on the phone.

But, he died.

~

Short writing lesson babes.

Don’t be afraid to play with microprose. Try a new voice, try a POV you don’t usually use. Try out vocabulary you don’t usually use. Try out, abandoning the traditional Western idea of a story and do something else. Make it like a poem.

Micro/super short flash is a really great way to do this. I also recommend doing it to limber up like stretching before you work out. Sometimes I also use these when I want to write a new story. So remember my loves, don’t throw that shit away.

Your turn, give it a shot.

Jaggery and Cream – Flash written on the bus.

 Jaggery and Cream

by

Shannon Barber

 

Her lover likes to paint the slight concavity of her empty sockets. Daisies today. She always sits still and allows this silly indulgence, it keeps her lover quiet for a while,  their rants softened by contented soft humming. “Pretty, pretty. Flower baby.” She smiles at the soft nonsense.

“What color daisies?” She can feel her lovers soft sweet smile, “white in the left, blue in the right.” She doesn’t smile so as not to disturb her artist. Her lover has the smoothest most gentle touch, for monsters their lives had entwined into a softness that rarely showed itself for what it was.

She likes to feel the heat of her lovers breast. The naked hot weight of it resting on her near skeletal arm a hot reminder of life. Her lover in their turn loves to brush their long nipples against the ridges of her body, the protuberance of eat gnarl of bone far surpasses anything else.

They are jaggery and cream. All and nothing. The emptiness of after the end and the full ebullience of the beginning. They go on forever.

When her lover is done, her blank eye sockets run with color and life. She smiles and knows her lover has tears on their cheeks. “I only wish, I hadn’t taken your eyes. But I love that I took them.” She always forgives her cream lover. Always.

Don’t Throw That Shit Away

HELLO my favorite Space Babes.

Let’s talk about holding onto your stuff.

I write a lot of shit. I have tons of scraps of stories, bits of poems, lil snatches of research and whatnots. From one of my fave books about writing, the classic On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King,  one of the lasting lessons for me was to stop throwing stuff away. Way back when I was a baby potato, writing in absolute secret I was terrified of anyone finding out and I was so embarrassed by how bad I was at writing, I’d write stories, read them once and tear them up. If I was feeling particularly upset, I’d burn the pieces.

Very dramatic.

Once I started using computers regularly, I did about the same thing. I wrote stuff, decided I was too shitty to live and deleted them. I did this for probably the first decade (from let’s say age 13 through about 24) of me becoming a writer.

After my first reading of On Writing, the first thing I put into practice was not in fact keeping what I wrote. I still had a bad habit of just deleting anything I didn’t believe in immediately. Back then, I was very vested in being published in very specific ways. I was mainly writing a lot of erotica and copy for a few adult sites. I occasionally got a horror publication here and there.

My criteria for what I’d keep or not keep came down to being held hostage by the Literary Canon. Cis, white, hetero unless it was queer for hetero eyes. That was what got me into the industry. I didn’t believe that my secret work (the baby versions of a lot of what I’m doing now) was worth keeping because I was taught otherwise. On occasion, I ventured into literary Black territory and was usually not rewarded in any way by doing so. There was a time when, I had the audacity to be very Black and Queer on the internet and I lost a really lucrative job because after my employer checked my personal stuff (a blog and whatnot) he sent me a very worried email that I couldn’t really write “normal”.

Fast forward to earlier this morning. I was casting about looking for an older story I was thinking about reprinting and I found a treasure trove of things I tucked away in my cloud storage. In the past five or so years I’ve suffered some catastrophic data losses and computers dying and taking years of work with them so, stumbling on things I wrote in 2010/2011 feels so good.

I spent some time reading some of my early noir, I have the first 60 pages of a super natural/werewolf buddy detective thing I wrote way back in 2010ish. I know that much of the going writer culture is to be terribly embarrassed by your old work. Hide that first novel in a drawer, be charmingly embarassed in interviews when asked about your early work.

I reject that entirely. I am not embarrassed that once upon a time I didn’t know how to walk and routinely shit my pants. Now, I can (well I’m not great at it but) walk and I learned how to use the toilet. I’ve evolved. I’m proud of my growth as a human. I am so proud of myself for learning and changing.

From being confined to writing explicit work featuring a LOT of white people to now I have tucked away in a folder erotica that transgresses gender, race, and a few very creepy kings with impunity. It was purchased by a now defunct publisher so I might go ahead and publish it.

Look.

You cannot step back and appreciate your own growth if you hide where you were. I don’t believe in shame about how we become the artists we are. That is why I’m rarely ashamed to show a first draft. I’m rarely upset that I have a snippet of a story that just will never ever work. I’m proud that I’ve found my voice and having this back catalog of stuff that shows me the way I got here is fucking amazing.

Don’t be ashamed.

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Play. When I say play I mean just fuck around. Never written sf? Give it a shot. Try stuff. Let go and play on the swingset and write a crappy ass horror story or a super cheesy love story. As I’ve said in my creative loveletters, make something ugly. Paint something, put together a puzzle, just do something. Get a weird idea and see where it goes.

Don’t throw it away.

Okay below, find a good chunk of the weird buddy werewolf thing I started and may yet finish.

Continue reading “Don’t Throw That Shit Away”

Lit News and whatnots.

OH hey you. I got news. You want news?

First, go read my newest piece up at Heavy Feather Review. It is a wee tiny murdery bloody thing.

What else?

I am pretty close to reopening a centralized writer page on facebook. I don’t really want to but, I also need ONE spot to promote shit cause, I’m about to have some shit to promote and doing it EVERYWHERE is just exhausting. That said, I’m going to make it lit af, promote other folks. It’ll be awesome. AND I will invite y’all to follow along.

What am I working on?

Most important thing is The OG Self Care Like a Boss Compendium. What the shit is that? Well y’all, after a heavy amount of straight plagiarism this year alone, I’ve decided to put together a big ass weird guide with everything. I’ll be releasing it on Amazon as both an Ebook and a print book. Currently, it is a big ole chonky 52k words and I’ll probably be adding another 20-25. More info when I get closer to the run up to launch.

What else?

I’m writing like a mother fucker. My economic situation took a bit of a shit but, unlike in previous times, I’m not letting that crush my creative drive. I’m not doing freelance. I haven’t frantically tried to figure out how to get another job. I’m dealing and that is huge.

I know bloggin has been slow af.

OH also, a new thing. You can find a brand new look at some of the self care material and some other stuff over on Kofi. If you see something you like please share it with your people.

The OTHER thing about a new facebook author page is that, I am very likely to use it as a vehicle for writing and craft stuff. So for realreal. Keep your eye out.

If you’ve got projects, books to promo etc. Please feel free to drop links in comments and check each other out.

Yeah, Write #390- Death in the Jungle

Death in the Jungle

The corner was busy, always busy.  The same grimy business of survival. Cars passed, girls and not girls on the stroll, bindles and cash got passed. Things are the same forever but, folks’ bodies remember it all. It was business as usual in the jungle.  In the bright of daylight when the shadows hide nothing, shots echo.  

But when they all ducked, nothing was there.

Call Her- Microprose Practice

Call Her-

Microprose practice for Christine.

by Shannon Barber

How to raise them, stand hand in hand, speak and dream together. Sing the scabrous music of the Outer God. Call Nephren-Ka, Goddess of Bloody Tongues.  

Sing children. 

Fm’latgh. 

Burn. 

 Call her- 

Leviathan.

Yeah Write #373- On Post Coital Sagacity.

 

On Post Coital Sagacity.

by

Shannon Barber

My roommate watched me kiss her goodbye. I grinned at him.

“What’s wrong sugar pie?”

I was fuck drunk and slightly slurry.

“How the fuck?”

He gestured at me, then the door, then my crotch. I let him smell her on my breath.

“Pussy sapience. Nighty-night, booboo.”

“Night, asshole.”

###