Skeletons – A Halloween Story

She was so familiar with the clanging of the metal door that she scarcely paid it any attention any more.  It protected the world from her as surely as her mind had learned to protect Lydia from the world.  Each and every day of her isolation started with the scene replaying over and over in her mind – she saw herself standing by the window.  She took out match after match and set the curtains on fire.  She watched the flames rise as she walked out of the room then shut and locked the door.  That’s when the screams began.  She saw it all in extreme detail.  It was only when she banged her head against the wall that the movie stopped.  The doctors had managed to take that control away from her as well.  It started with straps across her arms, legs and chest that confined her to the bed.  ‘So much easier to protect you with, my dear….’  Yes, she often visualized the doctors as wolves torturing their prey.  One day the straps came off – everything unfurling in slow motion as some potion was slowly and methodically eased into her veins.

“Lydia, you feel better now, don’t you?”  The doctors congratulated themselves as they left the room.

Lydia could only nod; Her world now moved at a snail’s pace.  The minute hand on the glass-encased clock took hours to tick from one minute to the next.  The echo from the slamming door reverberated in her head most of the day.  There was scarcely room in her head for any thoughts.  The movies still played over and over, just in slow motion now.  She could feel the drugs moving through her body and attacking her nervous system.  Her feet wanted to move, but they could not.  She wanted to feel her hair to see if the tangles were gone, but there was no longer any way to move her arms to lift her hands.  Sometimes she could make a finger move which intrigued her as she watched the tiny shadows on the crisply starched bed linens.

Lydia lived her life in 4 hour increments.  That’s how long the slow IV drip took.  Near the end of the four hours, she had moments of lucid thought.  She remembered where she was, but could not quite remember how she got here.  Today was Wednesday.  She only knew that because the new nurse told her.  She watched as the bag was taken down.  She looked at the new bag of poisonous liquid lying on the tray.  She could see the faces of the tiny demons anxious to take flight through her veins.  She felt a tear roll down her cheek – a rather unfamiliar feeling.  She saw her arm and her hand, battered from all the needles and the drugs.  She was defeated.  As she lay there waiting for the onslaught that would follow, she tried to see the nurse’s face.  Her dark brown hair shielded her features, but she did see a wisp of kindness there.  Then a strange thing happened.  The nurse gave her a shot and left the room without starting a new IV.  Lydia’s eyes closed and for the first time in weeks, she fell into a deep sleep.


When Lydia woke up, she spun into a momentary panic.  She was no longer accustomed to having thoughts of her own.  She glanced around the room.  It was different somehow.  The glass-encased clock was gone and she was aware of soft sheets beneath her body.  As her eyes managed to focus, she saw the sheets were a pale sky blue.  Something had definitely changed.


Lydia drifted back to sleep.  She did not hear the sound of the skeleton key turning in the lock nor did she hear the door open.  When Lydia awoke, the movie again played out in her mind.  It was no longer in slow motion, but it also did not have the frantic pace she had once remembered.  She slowly opened her eyes and saw the kind nurse standing by the window.  Window?  There had been no windows at the state hospital.  As the nurse spoke, her features came into focus.

“Welcome home, Lydia”.

Home?  Lydia could feel her heart race.  She saw the scars.  She felt the panic.  She saw flames rising and she heard screaming.  Then everything stopped.  This was no longer playing in her head.  This was real….

“You look chilly.  I thought I’d start a fire.”


Pull Up a Chair This May Take a While

First of all, I want to apologize to my followers for the blast of fiction stories late last night. I could not sleep so I decided to copy some shorts from my old blog here. What I did not think through was the fact they would all be broadcast to followers. I do not have a lot more, but I will wait and post them one a day now. I did keep the original dates intact so they would not fill the home page of my blog.

Secondly, Happy Birthday to my granddaughter. It is hard to believe she is ten years old! When I think about the last ten years I can do nothing but smile. She is a smart, high energy, loving child and I could not be more proud of her! I do not post pictures of my grandchildren on my blog so you will just need to believe me when I tell you how beautiful she is!

And Happy Halloween of course! We do not do much for Halloween these days since our home is isolated. No trick or treaters and no one to stroll by and check out the decorations. It is a little sad because this was always hubby’s favorite holiday and he always decorated to the hilt. Our garage is full of Halloween decorations. Last year they were temporarily transported to my son’s house for a big Halloween/birthday party for our granddaughter.

We are back in a period of rain and cooler weather. Yesterday we had 6.25 inches (15.875 centimeters) of rain and more than two additional inches since midnight. Weather predictions are for rain off and on throughout the day. I checked our drought maps this morning and we are showing slightly improved but not totally out of drought conditions. Trick or treating may be a tumultuous time for many across the state as a cold front is causing weather disturbances. Our temperatures are predicted to drop to 31°F in the overnight hours — a 38° difference from our high for the day.

My friend Lauren (who writes a great gratitude blog) was threatened by a new fire in California yesterday. It is unnerving to see smoke from your back yard and having helicopters hovering nearby. Thankfully, as of yesterday afternoon, they were able to contain the fire. I have 3 or 4 friends in different areas of California who are a little too close for comfort. Thankfully, none have been required to evacuate. Wildfires are so frightening and destructive and with hurricane force winds, difficult to contain.

I have my logo and am building my Facebook page. It is not ready for prime time yet. I will be taking photos of some of the jewelry I have created and will weave in some creative writing. I am happy with the idea of the logo, but I believe I will be tweaking it along the way.

Tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo. I am going to write stream of consciousness. I have a story floating in my mind so I will see where it takes me. This will be a no pressure endeavor. I plan to get up an hour earlier than normal and write early to kickstart my day. Of course, the month of November is filling up with other commitments, but that is one of the tests of Nano. If you want to write, you will make it happen regardless of the interruptions.

Tomorrow is also the day we will take hubby’s truck in for its first service. I am also planning to upgrade my phone tomorrow. It is exhibiting unpredictable behavior and randomly calling people if I set the phone down with a jolt. That’s never a good thing. Having an upgraded camera will be nice as well. So, order of business today is to get all my backups done.

Thanks for sticking with me through this post. I hope you have a great Halloween regardless of the weather.


1LinerWednesday – Come Ride With Me

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L. M. Montgomery

Yesterday when we saw the prediction for two days of rain we decided to rearrange our day and take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The rain and wind coerce the leaves to fall to the ground creating a caramel-colored brown carpet woven of the remnants of summer. We wanted to see the splendor while the trees still had the color in their hair.

The black bear cubs were out again where we had seen them a few weeks before. I captured a couple of photos and a short video. At the end of the video when the bear retreats into the woods, you can hear him growl if you listen closely.

I tried to capture a little of the winding road as we weaved in and out of the trees. The light plays tricks as it changes from sunlit spaces to dark protected shadows.

Hubby snapped a photo of me in front of this vibrant red tree. I am not sure what was with that stance — ha!

And these photos that follow? They need no explanation.Just enjoy them. I certainly did enjoy taking them.

What wisdom can you convey in one line? 1LinerWed is brought to us by Linda Hill. For all the rules and to read all the other offerings, click here ===> Linda G. Hill

Be sure to read all the comments and see how others handled their one line.


Health Screening for Men

We are all aware of healthcare screening for women. Monthly breast exams, annual mammograms, Pap smears. But we do not talk as often about screening for men.

So, to all the male readers or to the female readers that have men they love, let’s talk a minute about prostate cancer screening.

At the age of 45, every man should have his PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) levels tested. It is not a perfect test, but is an indicator of the potential for tumors in the prostate. If the levels are high, it may warrant further diagnostic testing or even biopsy.

Some prostate cancers are slow growing, but others are aggressive. Better to be safe than sorry.

If not for you, do it for someone who loves you.


Goings On

I did not blog yesterday. We left early on Saturday and drove to Charleston, SC to help my husband’s aunt celebrate her 85th birthday. She is a widow and the last living sibling in her family, so we wanted to be there to help her celebrate. She was well-pleased with the number of people who turned out to honor her. What a nice surprise!

This morning I am taking some time to update some general information about my blog. Now that I am beyond the 365 day blogging challenge, I wanted to update the direction and reason for my blog. I expect it to morph into something new over the next couple of weeks.

I have also been thinking a lot about my upcoming month of writing that is NaNoWriMo. If you are not familiar, National Novel Writing Month is a time when writers all over the world try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It takes place during the month of November every year. It is a great non-profit organization that supports writing and fluency which I think is pretty cool.

Commitments for November are stacking up which means I must plan to write more than the compulsory 1667 words every day. I love the chaos that is Nano. It is a time in which I really focus on writing. I do not always meet the challenge, but I always give it my best shot. This year is no different.

I have also been working on opening a FaceBook page for my artistic endeavors. Part of that is getting a logo created. I did not want to spend much money on a logo because I am sure my ideas about who I am and what I hope to show will continue to change over time. So, bottom line, I went with Fiverr to get the logo made. The designer I have been working with has been responsive with the biggest problem being me not knowing what I want. I have settled on something, though and it will work for now. Once things are up and going, I will share it here.

So, that’s the bulk of what has been going on in my life. What have you been up to?