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EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

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Hello everyone! I just wanted to tell you guys about some new developments in my social networking life. Please follow me on my new Twitter account and please show your support by “liking” my new Facebook Fan Page! Thanks guys, here are the links.

Twitter @ https://twitter.com/Papparaci

Facebook Fan Page @ https://www.facebook.com/ThePapparaci

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The Trumpets of Jericho: The first letter

Authors note: On September 1, 1939 Adolph Hitler thrust the world into World War II by advancing his armies into Poland. Two days later Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany. This is a fictional account of a woman from Kansas who was called to help the Jewish peoples residing in Poland. This is the first of many letters she wrote home. Music to Read by: “Barber: Adagio for Strings, Op 11” David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

2 September 1939

My Bartholomew,   

   Hello my love, I wish I could bring you wonderful news of my stay here in Poznan, but darling I cannot do such a thing, at least in these dark times. The Germans have done the unthinkable and have entered our beloved country. Last night they came across the border unannounced and certainly unprovoked, Although miles away, we heard planes diving through the sky. The people here are fleeing for safety and I am so very terrified…my Polish is limited, but horror in the eyes is a language anyone can understand. And most of the locals are filled with it, including myself. Oh! How I wish you were very near to me right now my sweet, sweet Bartholomew! I need your strong arms wrapped around my waist, I need you to pray for the safety of these poor creatures. They are still scarred from the first war, I am afraid all the progress they have made these past twenty years is all for naught. The men in  the village have been up all night discussing ways to defeat the invaders without the aid of their own army! They are very brave, but I don’t think they are talking practical. I believe it was a rather serendipitous time for the Lord to send me here to help, the small villages on the outskirts of town are filled with old men and young boys, one young man, the same age as our Thomas, rode all night on his horse to bring us news from the border. What I gathered from my translator is the Nazis have monsters made out of metal (I assume he meant tanks) rolling across the landscape, thousands of heavily armed troops, and blood, oh Lord, how he described the blood and destruction! Those poor souls, my heart is breaking as each hour passes, the boy, Jedrik is his name, is weary from his travels and the women are feeding him bread and sausages. But he is talking in a fury, the peasants are smoking pipes and listening with rapt attention. I cannot bear to look at their downtrodden faces, their eyes are empty, and I think so are their hearts. Some are drunk and yelling retribution, but many men are already defeated knowing the might of Hitlers military. Many Jews are here with us and how I love them so! Bartholomew, they are the most fearful. There is a man here by the name of Ezekiel, he received a letter from a relative in Munich last month, telling him of the dreadful things being done to his people in Germany. They cannot buy bread, or soap, their synagogues are being razed to the ground! Bartholomew can you imagine that happening at home in Kansas? Why, Mrs. Leroy would run those thugs out-of-state herself! But I am afraid it is happening here darling. What can I do for these people other than comfort and pray and bake pies? I know nothing of wars and armaments and peace treaties. If they were to hand me a gun I would be liable to shoot myself, or worse, my host family.

My love, I had to stop writing because we’ve moved from our house to a farm ten miles east. I am scared. Never in my life have I known such dark terror. We had heard horses galloping close by and Mirka and her twin brother Mirek went out to see what was happening, the Germans are coming Bartholomew, they are drawing near quickly so we have fled to a small church. I have come to the realization that you may never receive this letter of mine, you may never see me again my precious husband and how that hurts me so! What will become of my Thomas? Was it foolish to come here to help the Polish resettle? I am not so sure, but as always, I believe His hand will guide my little group. My mind is playing tricks on me, I think I hear gunfire in the distance. Little children are crying, men are dying because of the wickedness and greed of mankind. Innocent boys will go to their graves fighting for this small nation. Pray Bartholomew, tell our friends back home what is happening to the world…now I know I am not going mad, planes are flying overhead, dropping bombs! The noise is hell. I am looking at the people huddled around the dark tables, they are exhausted due to our long journey today. I don’t know where we are, I am too skittish to ask our translator. I feel very much alone now. What was I thinking love? I am a homemaker from a farm in Kansas, I thought I could change someones life. But maybe I am. There is a little girl sitting next to me  Her face has dirt smudged across her forehead, she is wearing a brown dress with a white apron. There’s a blue handkerchief in her hair, she must be no more than four. She is a Jew. How could anyone want to hurt such a precious child because of their heritage? This is madness, pure and simple madness! You know my anger is nonexistent, you know I wouldn’t hurt a fly, but now I want to hurt those Germans. May our Lord forgive me, but I am looking at this child, watching her watch me and I would risk my own hide for her. Do you remember the stray cat that managed to find its way into our chicken coop last year and caused all that trouble? Remember the broom I used to chase it away? That is how I feel now Bartholomew. I want to chase those horrible Nazis away from my roost.

They are such a peaceful people, farmers and bakers and homemakers like myself. They don’t want trouble anymore than we would want it at home. Things are quiet at the moment, but things are very tense, no one wants to make a sound and it is dreadful. The silence is downright dreadful, not that it matters because I could not communicate even if I wanted to. My rudimentary skills would not be appreciated at the moment, I am just waiting and listening. Waiting for someone to tell me what to do, listening for inevitable gunfire to erupt. You know how I bake when I am nervous? It sounds so silly but I wish I could bake something right now. Anything to keep the fear away from this small sanctuary. The men are arguing now over something, I think it has to do with us just sitting around. Luckily the women here are talking some bit of sense into them. I keep hearing the words “Jews” and “Nazis” and “death”. Oh, I think they want to banish the Jews from here! Bartholomew! This is such a devastating travesty! They’ve done nothing wrong! I must go now sweetheart. I must do something because things are quickly getting out of hand and I will not allow this to take place, not while I am here. I love you with all my heart, tell our son that I love him too. I will write as soon as I can…

      Love forever, Gracie 


Delilahs vampires~Road to Antebellum

Authors note: Hello friends and fellow fiction geeks. This is part 2 of my vampire story. I hope you enjoy it, please read part 1 to catch up. I felt a cold, dreary night was a perfect night for a little horror story. 

The gloomy fog saturating the rolling valley was a living entity. With an indifferent hostility, it crept across the atmosphere, overpowering everything within its realm. The man riding shotgun was convinced they would be doomed if Brutus lost his way. But the stallion trudged forward without a thought, its massive head spliced the mist in half as it clumped down the muddy road towards its destination.

Delilah, once open for brief bits of conversation, had retreated into a disquieting  aloofness. Besides an occasional word of comfort to her beloved animal, she hid under her cloak and ignored the stranger sitting next to her.

An hour had passed since the murderer climbed into the front seat of her outdated wagon. He was still damp and angry for renting the car he abandoned. Hunger swirled in his stomach, but he pushed it aside as he began to imagine the consequences of not taking care of the business he was sent to resolve. Food was the least of his concerns.

“How far is the next town? I need to get to a phone and we’ve been on this fucking road for an hour and there’s no sign of life anywhere. How do you people survive out here in the boondocks? It’s the twenty-first century, why don’t you have a car? I might have to shoot myself if I lived here.”

The woman turned her head slightly and chuckled under her breath. They were passing a grove of barren apple trees that stood like an army of skeletons waiting for orders. A rotted wooden fence ran for miles on either side of the road as if attempting to keep the ghastly shoulders from escaping their barracks.

“You don’t say much do you? Your personality fits right in with the rest of this horror show. Look at your clothes, what is that? A fucking cloak?” He laughed and slapped the side of the wagon. Brutus snorted in retaliation.

“Things are different here. Our towns and villages are small, our people stay in when the weather is not welcoming. You can learn a lot from these woods. Nature is life’s greatest teacher.” Replied the mysterious woman.

The man looked at her scrawny frame with a mocking smile and observed his surroundings.

“Can you at least throw the horse into a higher gear? Can’t imagine we’re going as fast as possible.”

She turned her head at his remark.

“Why are you in such a rush? I told you before that I would give you sanctuary. This particular road is seldom used. You are lucky I stopped to help.”

“But you’re blind! How do I know you’re heading in the right direction? Talk about the blind leading the blind, can the horse see where he’s going or is he winging it too?”

“Oh, don’t worry about Brutus. He is smarter than you and I. He sees everything, I trust him with my life.”

The passenger ignored her and rubbed his hands together to warm himself. The fog was still thick and moist and denied the sun access to life on planet earth. He remembered the chill that had soaked his bones the night before and shivered.

“Wouldn’t happen to have an extra jacket back there would ya?” He asked while turning around to rummage through her belongings.

With a quickness he had never encountered, the woman grabbed his arm and looked directly into his eyes.

“No.”

If he was on the streets of Chicago he wouldn’t have hesitated to lay her out.

But those eyes. Those horrible, albino eyes penetrated his chest and struck fear into his heart.

“You must not touch any of my things. They are sacred, and private, and once we reach our destination I must ask you to keep your curiosity to yourself.” She demanded and released his arm.

He pushed his rage aside quickly and began to laugh.

“Well…I was taught never to bite the hand that feeds you. I’d hate to make you upset. What did you say your name was again?”

“Delilah.”

“Delilah, huh? And how long have you lived in these woods Delilah? I’m assuming you don’t get out much do you?”

“Yes that is my name. And I have always been here.”

He began to retort but howling erupted from deep within the foreboding apple grove. The hair on his neck froze instantly.

“Did you hear that? You need to move this fucking horse and buggy. I don’t want to get eaten alive by wolves in the middle of nowhere.”

“I told you this was no place for a hitchhiker. But fear not child, you are safe with me.”

“How so? Got a gun handy? Let me guess, you people use pitchforks and spades to drive away the monsters?”

She laughed an innocent, childlike laugh.

“There are much worse things to fear in this life. Dying shouldn’t be one of them. Like I said, as long as you’re with me, you’re safe…do you have a name?”

He hated not having a weapon on him. But if the old bat was confident and unconcerned, he would relax. If wild animals decided to attack their wagon, he would push her off and take control of the reigns.

“Well, if you’re Delilah, I guess that makes me Samson…Yeah, just call me Samson.”

She looked at him and nodded with understanding. In order to appease Samson, she gently snapped the reigns and snickered at Brutus. He obliged and began to trot faster, leaving the howls and orchard behind them.

Time passed slowly as they made their way up and down the same deserted road as before. Samson and Delilah said nothing to each other. The only sounds emanating in their world originated from hoof beats and the occasional squawk from a crow. The melody caused the stranger to fall into a restless slumber and he dreamed of terrible things.

Dark shadows filled a dimly lit stone hallway. Candles burned on the walls, the ancient purple rug underneath his feet was stained with blood. He couldn’t remember if he had entered the chamber willingly, nor did he recall opening the heavy oak door that led him to this place. His legs were rubbery and each step he took reverberated into the blackness in front of him. Picture frames hung every five feet but the portraits were faded from time and mildew distorted them beyond recognition. He attempted to shout for help but could not because his tongue had been removed. There was no memory of the diabolical procedure. No pain. Nothing. To make sure it was gone, he stood near a candle and put a finger in his mouth. Nothing but saliva and an empty space where it once resided. 

Something began to knock on the inside of the walls and was followed by soft crying. It sounded like a child’s voice. He put both hands on the ice-cold stone and put his head against it to hear better. But the crying stopped at once. 

He backed away and began to jog down the endless hall until more crying could be heard. He stopped and pressed his head onto the slabs once more. The mournful pleas died out and were replaced with whispers. Evil whispers. Whatever lived in the tomb of stone was not alone. He heard them whisper to one another. Quietly, as if they knew he was listening. 

Everything went silent. After a moment he backed away and stood all alone in the middle of the hallway. Urine ran down his legs and his heartbeat echoed in his ears. His eyes were trained on the floor and his arms hung loosely at his side.

In his peripheral vision, he caught a glimpse of a cloaked figure running towards him with arms outstretched. He saw no face, he heard no devilish screech, he turned to face it head on and when it was a few yards away he went to scream with every horror filled fiber in his being.

But his tongueless mouth would not allow it to ever escape his lungs. The creature laughed with an ungodly voice and pounced on him.

Samson jerked awake and felt sunshine on his face. Delilah stood over him with a smile.

“Are you alright child?”

His bearings were still lost and the nightmare too fresh. He reached for his tongue and smiled when the soft, spongy piece of flesh reacted to its owners fingers.

“Yes…I’m fine. I just had a bad dream. Why have we stopped?”

“Because we are here.”

“Here where?”

“The sanctuary I promised I would take you to. Welcome to my home Samson. Welcome to Antebellum.”

—-to be continued—–


Trifecta Challenge: Beautiful disaster

Trifecta: Week sixty-three: Write a 33-333 word response using the word path as your prompt word. Music to read by: “Below my feet” performed by Mumford and Sons. This story is 333 words. 

The man with something to prove cursed under his breath as the six o’clock train pulled away from Grand Central without him.  A boy with bright red hair watched with impartiality from inside one of the cars and gave the unlucky ticket holder a sarcastic wave goodbye. With a weary smile, he returned the wave and flipped the goofy looking teenager the dirty bird. Upon seeing this treacherous act of war the child turned to the person sitting next to him and began to tattle, but the mechanical beast made of metal and all things nightmarish, roared down the track and the tiny spat between the two strangers ended forever.

The next train heading south into Savannah wasn’t scheduled to leave for another eight hours. Mickey closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose and waited for the small, yet debilitating pain, to form in the back of his skull. He took a seat near a family of pay phones and wished he had chosen another path. His way of life, conduct and thought process were affected by whatever drink was placed before him.

“Breathe buddy. Just breathe. You’re going to be OK. ” He chanted to himself in a sing-song way. Jenna had taught him mantras and breathing exercises to help relieve some of his tension. On instinct, he reached into his breast pocket for the flask of vodka. It was not there.

“You’re a beautiful disaster Mickey. I love you, but I can’t tolerate this behavior anymore. The children are growing up without their father, you need to get help.”

Tears formed around the corners of his swollen eyes as he remembered the way she looked when she told him to leave. Dark hair covered her soft cheeks, eyes full of empathy, her heart full of undying love.

The world knew him as a successful author, his children knew him as a successful drunk, and his wife knew him as a beautiful disaster. A spark ignited his desperate heart.

                 


Trifecta Challenge: On a quiet farm in Paraguay

The Village Boy.

Trifecta Week: Fifty-one: Write a 33 word response to one of the three pictures provided. If you click on the linked picture, it will bring you to the Trifecta Writing Challenge homepage so you can see the other two!  I chose this one.

Pablo watched his father argue with the stranger from his position on the dilapidated tractor. He pretended to drive the mammoth entity with childlike amazement, despite the obvious bad news his family received.


Trifecta Challenge: Chasing Benedict

             

 Trifecta: Week Fifty-Nine write a 33-333 word essay/poem/story etc. using the word Intention as your prompt word. This short action/suspense story is my submission for the week, it is exactly 333 words. I hope you enjoy!

“Well sweet one, this is what we Americans call the last hurrah and I believe a toast’s in order! To those with perfect lives, or those under the illusion of perfection, I drink to you. But we must not forget the other creatures that grace the landscape of this planet, those bottom feeders, and those aptly titled plebeians. Their battle is for survival, they’re the lucky ones because they’ve unknowingly escaped the bewitching spell of vanity! I drink to fat stomachs and greedy souls who marginalize the poor and shove them into corners. I drink to you sweetheart. Your beauty is refreshing among all the ugliness in the world. Cheers!”

The belligerent man shot the warm tequila and wiped the remnants on his cheap windbreaker. He wrapped a fatty arm around the Spanish cupcake to his right, the one with the olive skin and nice legs, but she rebuffed his advance with a piercing gaze. Her rum and coke began to sweat through the glass, causing small drops of water to cascade down her fingers. She wiped her hand on a cocktail napkin and pretended to ignore his nonsensical diatribe.

“I’m sorry mi amor. I have no ulterior motives, no hidden agenda. My intention with you was nothing short of noble. I’m leaving this tropical nightmare tonight and you’ll never see me again. I was a good man once. You wouldn’t know it now, but there was a time… I understand you have no idea what I’m saying and that’s for the best. No one knows I’m here. They think I’m buried six feet underground talking to worms.”

She shrugged her shoulders without blinking and gave him a confused smile. He looked down at her large chest and was caught in the act. But she didn’t care; if he wasn’t the target she would let him have his way with her. He had stolen millions from her employers, and they had sent her to do the dirty work everyone else wanted to avoid.


Trifecta Challenge: Santa doesn’t do salads

                Trifextra: Week forty-six: This weekend we’re asking you to write 33 words that will make us laugh or smile.  Even a chuckle will do.

                  Santa Claus stuffed his large, dumpy ass down the magical chimney and groaned loudly. He couldn’t believe after years of negotiating with the elves, they still refused to build him an expensive gym.