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.


Small Blessings

Day 27

Today’s blog will be short. It was a day of plans that did not quite work out the way I envisioned them. I will be fortunate to get a short blog up and continue my 365 days of blogging.


HalloweenAs everyone prepared to celebrate Halloween, we made the drive to see our granddaughter and help her celebrate her birthday. When she was born, this day was transformed to be less about Halloween and more about her. Of course as children, they still celebrate Halloween, but for me, it is about this joyous beam of light that God brought into our lives.

We knew we could not spend a lot of time because they were going trick-or-treating and we had to get home for my husband to go to class. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a relapse and we had to cut our visit short. It was not the kind of day we usually have with them and that was disappointing but it could not be helped.

We have always loved Halloween. We do not decorate any more because we do not have trick-or-treaters where we live. We used to do it up big and had tons of kids come when we lived in more urban areas. I miss it, but not as much as my husband does. It was always his favorite holiday.

Letting Go

So, tonight I had to let go of the expectations I had for the day and just appreciate the blessings I had been given. At least we made the trip, saw our children, got hugs from both our grandchildren and watched our granddaughter open her gifts. It was a day of simply enjoying the bounty of small blessings with our family.

In this world at this time, I cherish these days of small blessings.

Nothing means more than this.

“Count your blessings and enjoy them.
Live, laugh and love.
Be kind and gentle.
This is life.” 

George Pornaris

Blog, Holidays, Writing

Holidays at Home

Day 6

It is early October and I am already thinking about the holidays. I love the hustle and bustle of this time of year. I do not go out shopping near as much now that we are retired, but I love to bring the holidays home.

Fall Holidays

In years past, we loved to do the house up big for Halloween. Partially because it is my husband’s favorite holiday and also because we always loved to see the kids come trick-or-treating. One year hubby even built a make-shift wooden coffin to decorate the front yard. Between the holidays we stored it up in the rafters of the garage. It was such a hoot when we put the house on the market. The realtor called after showing the house and said the client was very concerned that we had what looked like a coffin in our garage.

We now have a granddaughter who was born on October 31st so it has become more about her birthday than celebrating Halloween. Being closer, we may not see her on the exact day of her birthday, but we try to make a trip to help her celebrate. Of course, we also live in a rather remote location, so sadly, we no longer have trick-or-treaters.

I always think about my Dad at Halloween, too. Ghost stories were a big part of our youth and my Dad was the best story teller. He had a very deep bass voice which was very fitting for scary stories around a campfire or even just hanging out at home. There was nothing like everyone gathered around hearing the same tall tales we had heard over and over again. Even though we had heard them many times, Dad still had the ability to startle you just at the right moment. I wonder if kids still like ghost stories?

Mystery Writing

IMG_7069The local library is having a Mystery Festival writing workshop next weekend. I am so tempted to sign up. It is a two day workshop featuring Wofford College History Department Chair Dr. Tracy Revels (a Sherlock Holmes aficionado) and Edgar Award-winning playwright and author Phillip DePoy. Sounds like a lovely way to spend a fall weekend.

Part of my love of these upcoming holidays is also related to my love for autumn. The trees are just starting to turn. The dogwood trees turn first and slowly other trees start to turn yellow, red and orange. We live in an isothermal region so our weather is rather mild and we usually enjoy fall color through Thanksgiving.

A Time for Family

Thanksgiving follows with lots of cooking, tradition and family. Family meals are a big part of the holiday for us, whether it is here or at the home of one of our children. We talk, laugh and give thanks for all our blessings throughout the year. It is also a time I really start to miss my family who have passed away, but I try to live fully while holding their memories close to me.

We had new floors put in our house last fall and changed our furniture layout somewhat. I am already imagining what furniture we will move and where to put the tree this year. We go to Waynesville, NC to get a tree but I will post more about that when we make our annual Christmas tree trek to the mountains.

IMG_7076I do not want to get too far ahead of myself in thinking about the months to come. But I will start to slowly bring out a few Halloween throw pillows and hand-towels. I will also try to coax my husband into unpacking our Department 56 New England Village pieces so we can enjoy them throughout this festive season.

In a couple of weeks we will take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the fall color. I look at the small Japanese Maple we have and it’s burning red color change and am excited to see the mountains in full color. I hope it will be a vibrant year.

But right now, back to enjoying the first little glimpses of fall with anticipation of what lies ahead.


“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” 
Lauren DeStefano