Tag Archives: flash fiction

10 The Woods – The Inspection is over (2015) by LV Gaudet

1The Woods:

1 – The Woods – The Dare (1985)

2 – Thirty Years Later – The Old Bennet House is for Sale (2015)

3 – The Woods – Jesse Hears a Noise (1985)

4 – The House – First Entry in 30 Years (2015)

5 – The Woods – Return to the House (1985)

6 – The Woods – Inspecting The House (2015)

7 – The Woods – Return to the House (1985)

8 – The Woods – Inspecting the Bedrooms (2015)

9 – The Woods – Kevin Escapes the Tree (1985)

 

2015

 

The buyer has had enough of this morbid shrine to those who are no longer here.

“Is there a basement?”

The realtor pauses, thinking about it.

“I should have read the file on this place,” he thinks, dismissing it almost as quick. The commission wouldn’t be worth the extra time. He thinks fast. Do the other houses in the area from the same period have basements? As far as he remembers some do, some don’t. Some have only a crawl space or a partial basement, an area dug out just large enough for the furnace and hot water tank. He has about a seventy-thirty chance it has at least a partial basement.

“I think so. Yes, it does.”

If he’s wrong, it won’t matter after the auction if this guy bites. If he bites.

“You never did say if you are married, have a family. Do you have any kids? There’s a school not far from here. Playground too. It’s an older neighbourhood, but things circle around, as they say. You know, circle of life and that sort of thing. New neighbourhood, young families move in and have kids, fill up the neighbourhood with kids. The kids grow up and move out, have their own kids. The neighbourhood gets old, fills with grandparents and empty nesters, no more kids around. The school gets empty. But eventually people move out, go into nursing homes, and new families move in. You get a new cycle of young families moving in and having kids. Lots of kids around again. Circle of life. This neighbourhood is in a rejuvenation phase, lots of new younger families moving in.”

“That’s not what they mean.”

“About what?”

“Circle of life. That’s not what it means.”

The realtor is a little annoyed at being corrected. He pushes past it, just wanting to get out of there. He finds the house a bit unsettling. He has better things to do too. The game is on this afternoon and he could be sitting on the couch with a beer watching it.

“You know, if you want this house you could probably skip the auction. The thing is, with an auction, there’s the risk someone will outbid you.

Whatever you are planning to bid, just make an offer now. I think I could convince them at the municipal office to take the offer.  We can go draw up the paperwork right now.”

If this buyer has spent this much time walking around, checking the place out, and hasn’t made any disgusted faces or disparaging remarks, there has to be some interest. If he can pin him down now with a formal offer, he won’t have the time between now and the auction to change his mind.

He makes his move, leading the buyer out of that grisly bedroom with its appalling bedding and towards the door.

They reach the living room, so close, only steps away from the exit.

“So, where’s the basement?”

The realtor falters. “The basement?”

“I’d like to see it.”

“Damn,” the realtor thinks, “more time wasted.” He fights the urge to glance at his watch. Looking at the time makes a buyer feel rushed, as if they aren’t as important a something else. It doesn’t matter what else. It can lose the sale. He loses, glancing at his watch and hoping the buyer doesn’t notice.

He looks around. He has no idea where the basement is. It’s not a large house, so the options are limited. He remembers seeing a closed door in the hallway and another in the kitchen. Halls have closets, kitchens have pantries, and kitchen broom closets were not uncommon for houses built when this house was. It’s fifty-fifty.

He turns to the hallway. The buyer follows.

The realtor opens the closed door they had walked by earlier.

“Linen closet.” He nods as if he meant to show him the closet, doubling back to lead the way to the kitchen. The buyer dutifully follows, letting the realtor be in charge despite his lack of usefulness.

They enter the kitchen and the realtor looks around. The buyer spots the door immediately, but it seems to take the realtor minutes of checking the kitchen out.

The buyer looks at the door, but makes no move to touch it. In the time they have spent in the house, he has touched only one thing, the comic book.

He just stands there staring at the closed door, waiting for the realtor to notice it, as if he somehow is loath to touch the house.

Finally seeing the buyer staring at the door, the realtor realizes it is there and pounces.

He opens it with a small flourish. “The basement.”

The buyer peers down into the darkness swallowing the bottom of the old wooden stairs.

The realtor looks at the buyer, hesitates, and then leads the way down.

The stairs creak under their weight. They can feel the slight sag of the wood with each step. For a moment, the realtor imagines the rotting wood giving way and falling to be injured below. He grabs the railing, but it proves to be less stable than the stairs.

They reach the bottom of the stairs and the realtor is more than happy to get off the rotting wood steps. They look around.

The basement is not in complete blackness. There is no electricity to the home, so there are no lights to turn on. The small grimy basement windows allow some light into the gloomy basement. It’s the typical lower middle-income family home basement.  Crude cement walls and floor, cracking where the years of weather shifting the home caused weak spots to split, are dull and adorned only with shelves and items hung for storage. The unfinished basement is storage for old things the family chose for whatever reason to sentence to the basement rather than throw away.

It is infused with a vague eeriness as basements, particularly unfinished ones, will be.

The buyer steps forward, his shoe making a dull scraping sound on the concrete floor. He shows more interest inspecting the basement than he did the rest of the house.

“He’s looking for something.” The thought flashes through the realtor’s mind. He pushes it away. Silly nonsense.

The realtor moves forward, roaming the basement and pointing out the obvious, trying to make conversation in the too quiet cellar.

“Furnace, hot water tank. They look old, but I’m sure they’re serviceable enough. There’s no rust or water stains on the concrete around the hot water tank, so it looks solid. Probably hasn’t leaked. It has been thirty years though, so you might want to drain it and flush it out a few times before using water from it.

He pictures the sludge that is probably filling the tank right now. Black and slimy with long dead algae that bloomed and ran out of oxygen and died. Putrid and rotted to nothing but oozing black slime. The stench will be foul.

“The basement floor is a bit heaved up, but not too bad considering the house has sat abandoned for thirty years. Check the foundations and the weeping tiles. With proper drainage it might just settle down flat again. You could fix up this basement, finish it, and double your living space.”

“I’ve seen enough.” The buyer heads for the stairs, leaving the realtor to tag behind, taking the lead for once.

“Are you ready to make an offer?” The realtor asks hopefully. “Like I said before, you can make an offer now, skip the auction, and scoop this place up before anyone else can. You aren’t the only one I’m showing this place to. I have someone else coming to look at it later too.”

The lie rings hollow, both on his lips and in the buyer’s ears.

“I’ll let you know,” the buyer says, dismissing the realtor as he heads out the door.  He pauses on the way to his car to take one last look towards the backyard where the yard meets the woods.

 

Follow The Woods installments

 

L.V. Gaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are and The McAllister Farm
where the bodies are

 

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions? Find out in Where the Bodies Are.

 

The McAllister Farm-cover 1

Take a step back in time to learn the secret behind the bodies in Where the Bodies Are:  The McAllister Farm reveals the secrets behind the man who created the killer.

 

Link to purchase these books by L.V. Gaudet

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

 

Follow L. V. Gaudet:

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Google+

Instagram

Pinterest

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LV Gaudet, author

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9 The Woods – Kevin Escapes the Tree (1985) by LV Gaudet

1The Woods:

1 – The Woods – The Dare (1985)

2 – Thirty Years Later – The Old Bennet House is for Sale (2015)

3 – The Woods – Jesse Hears a Noise (1985)

4 – The House – First Entry in 30 Years (2015)

5 – The Woods – Return to the House (1985)

6 – The Woods – Inspecting The House (2015)

7 – The Woods – Return to the House (1985)

8 – The Woods – Inspecting the Bedrooms (2015)

 

 

1985

 

Kevin wriggles in the dirt and leaves, squirming and struggling to pull free of the fallen tree imprisoning him, feeling like it is trying to press down, to push him down and bury him in the dirt beneath it.

Sobbing openly despite the possible repercussions it would normally lead to, the incessant torment and teasing from his brother, Jesse keeps frantically pawing and scratching at the frozen soil.

It’s softer here because the rotting deadfall has been a successful catch for falling leaves, the loose detritus wasting in a soggy mush. The warming early spring days have softened up the melting ice, loosening the rotting leaves once he manages to break the thinning ice.

He stops and grabs Kevin, pulling on him. He repositions, bracing his feet against the tree to pull harder. His feet feel like they will sink in, the wood softened with rot and giving somewhat in to the pressure.

Kevin inches out, and again with Jesse’s next tug.

They look at each other. They have hope. They renew their efforts, Kevin squirming and wriggling and Jesse pulling with all his might, inch by inch until Kevin is finally free.

Exhausted, they both fall on each other, laughing out the fear and stress and relief.

They hug each other as brothers will after a moment of extreme stress.

“I thought I lost you there,” Jesse says.

“Never.”

Kevin struggles to get up and Jesse helps him. It feels strange to him, the younger brother helping his older brother up when not so many years ago it would be the other way around.

They fight a lot, as siblings will. But Kevin is generally there for him, looking after him.

Kevin looks at Jesse.

“Are you ready to try it again?”

Jesse pauses. Every time they try to leave the yard, they are back here in the woods.

He nods. Even as his head makes that bobbing movement he feels as if his body is swimming; swimming through mush, reeling, floating.  Rushing at breakneck speed through time and space, all at once.

“Okay, let’s do this.”

Kevin climbs over the tree, stepping high yet again over the snow and naked brambles and twigs of the woods, heading for their back yard. Jesse follows.

They reach the yard. The snow is littered with their broken footsteps from their earlier time spent playing in the yard. The half-buried bike poking up from the snow like a skeletal corpse. Conspicuously absent are their earlier footsteps from their previous trips back to the house or their attempts to leave the woods.

It is just as they expected it.

“This way.” Kevin leads the way, this time following the edge of the backyard to the neighbour’s yard.

They make it to the back edge of the house.

Kevin looks back, nodding. So far, so good.

Jesse speeds up to move closer to Kevin.

They pass the back corner of the house, heading up the side yard.

They pass the first bedroom window.

Kevin feels the urge to break into a run. He holds back.

Jesse reaches for his hand and Kevin takes it.

They keep going.

The second and last window on that side.

“Yeah! We’re doing it! We’re doing this!” Kevin cries out happily.

“Yeah!” Jessie copies.

They look at each other and laugh, full of relief, and start sprinting for their goal, the house next door and freedom.

 

 

 

Follow The Woods installments

 

L.V. Gaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are and The McAllister Farm
where the bodies are

 

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions? Find out in Where the Bodies Are.

 

The McAllister Farm-cover 1

Take a step back in time to learn the secret behind the bodies in Where the Bodies Are:  The McAllister Farm reveals the secrets behind the man who created the killer.

 

Link to purchase these books by L.V. Gaudet

 

 

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

Follow L. V. Gaudet:

Facebook author page

Google+

Instagram

Pinterest

Twitter

WordPress

LV Gaudet, author

2 Comments

Filed under L.V. Gaudet, writing

A Dog’s Wisdom

This month I thought I’d share with you a short story I wrote about 18 months ago. It subsequently appeared in Quill and Parchment, an online e-zine. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Joe is sad today. He sits and taps with his fingers. He stops tapping for a moment and says something aloud, which I don’t comprehend—I understand maybe 200 words, mostly commands, and sentences are outside my understanding. The concept of “opposable thumbs,” which he once told a friend is what leaves Man inferior to the lower life forms, is beyond me. When he asks me if I want to go for a walk, it’s “walk” I respond to. I look up from where I’m laying, at Joe’s feet, to see light flicker across his face as he goes back to tapping.

Earlier, while it was still dark outside and before he started tapping, he stared into the light and said, “Another rejection letter. I’m a slave to the whims of others.” I don’t pretend to know what that means, but it made Joe sad. He sighed and put fire to one of those sticks he sucks on without ever eating. I don’t like those sticks; they make me sneeze. He sipped from the cup on his desk—I can smell its bitter scent—sighed again, and began tapping. I find the sound pleasing because it brings Joe contentment.

I can sense Joe’s moods as easily as I can detect my favorite smells—grass, bacon (another word I know) and Joe’s scent. The woman who used to come around no longer does, and I sense from Joe sadness in her absence, but also ease. They often raised their voices at one another, which left all three of us unhappy.

Joe finds the smelly sticks soothing, and the steaming liquid in the cup, which he pours from a larger container in the kitchen, leaves him feeling more alert. He calls them his muses. Still, there is an underlying sorrow to his mood this morning, despite the tapping, which usually leaves him feeling good. He stops tapping to sip from the cup, and he puts the stick between his lips; I watch its end glow and smoke rises lazily from its end. Joe leans over to scratch me between my ears and then goes back to tapping. A moment later he stops and, looking into the light, eyes moving from side to side, says something I don’t understand. Then he sighs and says, “Shit,” which is one of the commands I know. I’m confused because I’ve already been outside.

Joe gets up and takes his cup with him to the kitchen. I follow him and as he pours more liquid into his cup, I sit salivating, and stare at the door behind which he keeps my treats. A moment later the door swings open and Joe reaches in to get me a Milk-Bone—another word I understand. “Good girl,” he tells me, “you’re so easy to please.” Then he scratches me between my ears before leaving for the den and more tapping.

I don’t know why Joe is so sad. I wish he could be more like me. I’m happy with my morning shit, a walk, a tummy scratch, fresh water in my bowl twice a day and food in my dish, along with the occasional Milk-Bone and table scrap. I’m happiest when Joe takes me to the park and lets me run free among all the wonderful smells. I wonder if Joe would be happier if he had four legs and could run free with me.

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The Art of Fluff

Words, words, words. How much filler does it take to write a novel?

 

The number one obstacle I have to overcome every time I work on my books is adding content to reach my own preset goal.

 

Word count holds me in its grip. I am like an athlete, word count is my coach, and he is screaming, “More! Give Me More!” (Okay, I stole that line from Police Academy)

 

I condense by nature. For a number of years, I have often thought my true calling as a writer was as an editor in the condensed books section of Reader’s Digest.

 

Is it necessary to describe, in minute detail, the number of leaves on the tree? Is it relevant to the story? Is there a story behind each fallen leaf?

 

What if my writing is just Fitzgerald filler? Do I need to write fluff just to fill a page with words that have no significance to the story?

 

Surprisingly, I have mixed feelings about the answer. My strong suit in writing is flash fiction. However, since I began writing full-length novels, I can see first-hand why there is a need for a bit of pouf.

 

It is probably a good thing I was not around when our long-winded forefathers wrote the Declaration of Independence. I would have condensed it to something like: We will drive your despotic ass out of our country if you try to take our freedom away and we have the Divine One riding shotgun. Pffft.

 

I continue to evolve as a novelist and, instead of trimming the fat, I am realizing that a little fat is a good thing. I am learning to embrace a bit of fluff.

 

J J Dare is the author of “False Positive” and “False World,”

the first two novels in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy

 

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