Because it’s Friday, today I’d like you to relax with the rather silly form called Skeltonic, or tumbling, verse. In this form, there’s no specific number of syllables per line, but each line should be short, and should aim to have two or three stressed syllables. And the lines should rhyme.
Once upon a time there was a violent crime where someone stole a lime and threw it at a mime It happened in the street right there at my feet With a guy I meant to meet for dinner and a treat but before when the cops came they thought I was to blame It made me feel such shame to give them my real name so now I sit alone no one blowing up my phone I can hear my tummy groan My dinner date was blown.
Welcome to the book tour for supernatural thriller, Murder: It’s All in Your Head by Cynthia Hilston!
Murder: It’s All in Your Head
Publication Date: December 5, 2020
Genre: Supernatural Thriller/ Horror
Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio. But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time. In 2018, Cassie Meadows is on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit. Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane. In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father. In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?
Cassie pedaled her bike faster to school as thoughts of staying home alone on senior prom night plagued her. A flash of light blinded her. She shielded her eyes. Horns blared and tires squealed, and the whole bike shook to a stop.
When she opened her eyes, a wall of old books stared back. She rubbed her eyes and blinked rapidly, taking in her surroundings. Gone was the familiar tree-lined street with rows of 40-year-old ranches and split-levels. Sunlight filtered in through parted drapes. Unlike her house, where dust danced in light beams, this room sat still.
Her sweaty hands clenched into fists at her sides, her nails digging into her palms. A chill jolted up her spine and extended down her arms, freezing her in place. She gazed across the room. Marble pillars flanked an archway to another room across the vast library.
A faint noise came from another part of the building. Curiosity claimed her caution as she took a step. Realizing her fingers were wet, she glanced down and nearly fell over. Blood covered her large hands all the way to her thick fingertips!
Cassie gasped. She reached for her throat. A sharp intake of breath.
“What?” she croaked in a foreign voice.blo
A dream. This must be a dream. Her voice rang through her mind, but when she opened her mouth to speak again…
“This can’t be happening.”
Cassie’s hands grasped her throat, in a failed attempt to excise the vocal cords responsible for this new voice. When her fingers grazed whiskers, she raked them over the jaw and cheeks.
“No. N-no.” What the hell?
She closed her eyes and forced herself to take a long, slow breath. Okay, okay. Calm down.
When her eyes opened yet again to this new reality, Cassie gave a shuddering gasp. She felt like she was doused with ice water, the burn throbbing through her body. She tried to step again, but she wavered in this oversized body that wore like a linebacker’s uniform. The large feet lumbered with a clumsiness contrary to her agile body. For a girl who had taken gymnastics since she could walk, the dragging, teetering movement of this form almost stopped her efforts. But Cassie willed herself to move. One step at a time.
Just do the best you can. Her mom’s words echoed through her mind.
Her steps were short-lived as her dad’s advice died. She halted. A trail of red on the spotless marble floor led to an archway. Her nerves fired in overtime, and her head spun. She followed the path and exited the elaborate room into a hallway.
The sound was louder now. The unmistakable sound of running water.
“What’s going on?” Cassie whispered. She tried to ignore the voice. Really tried.
Something moved out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head to the right and landed on her reflection, only it wasn’t her face. A tall man of about thirty stared back. She ran her hands through the trim brown beard that contoured the strong jawline, confirming what she felt earlier. Liquid brown eyes under thick, wavy hair and a deep brow held confusion, panic. A sleek black business suit covered her well-built frame—fit for an executive who dined on caviar and champagne and rode in chauffeured limos. But against the black of her suit the blood extended, weaving an unknown horror story.
She shook her head. “This is impossible.” Yet the voice told a different story.
Her body trembled, and her whole being felt different. Cassie’s eyes fell on a picture frame below the mirror. Her fingers fumbled to pick it up. A younger version of the man in the mirror gazed out of the photo. He smiled, his face next to a gorgeous auburn-haired woman. The woman’s hazel eyes crinkled around the edges, her freckles standing out against her fair skin in the sunshine. It was a happy couple’s wedding photo.
Cassie returned the picture to its place, the frame now coated in blood. A drop of crimson marked the floor every few inches. This body must have come from the opposite direction through the house, for how else could she explain the blood everywhere? She rested a hand on the railing at the base of the stairway and gazed up the twisting steps. The running water came from upstairs. She took the first step and steadied herself. Something drew her toward the source of that sound.
Cassie reached the landing and glanced behind her. Her mark was on the railing, another path of blood. The tell-tale trail continued, decorating the floor in a macabre design, as she went down the hallway toward the sound. Her knees wobbled as a dizzy spell overtook her. She steadied herself with a hand to the wall and blanched at the red print she left.
Call the cops.
I don’t know what the hell’s going on.
She pushed herself from the wall and arrived at the bathroom. Water leaked under the door.
The knob slid under her slick hand. She used the end of her sleeve to grip it and pushed the door open enough to peek inside. Pink water flooded the marble floor. Her gaze traveled to the bathtub. Water spilled over the tub’s edge. A woman lay sprawled in the tub, her vacant eyes staring at the ceiling, her mouth open in a scream. Her head lay at an odd angle, her neck nearly cut in two. Blood ran from the gaping gash into the water.
Cassie tried to scream, but her stomach tightened. Bile rose and she vomited into the pooling water and blood. She slammed the door and collapsed against the outside, pulling her knees to her chest. Water soaked her pants, making the fabric stick to her clammy skin. The tall frame of the man’s body convulsed with the sobs of a teenage girl as she cried into her hands. Hands that weren’t hers.
“I want my mom.”
She couldn’t get the dead woman’s face out of her mind. As the scene replayed through her head, Cassie realized where she’d seen the woman before. In the photo. She had been this man’s wife.
Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction.
In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Supernatural and Outlander, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.
Today’s prompt comes to us from Juan Martinez. It asks you to think about a small habit you picked up from one of your parents, and then to write a piece that explores an early memory of your parent engaged in that habit, before shifting into writing about yourself engaging in the same habit.
Mother, turn the television up that is how high it can go? I hear the scratch of the nail on the callused skin, not scratching for purpose just a simple response to sitting legs to the side, crossed ankles paying attention to the movement of the toe against the sole except forty years later watching television, turn the volume down what is that scratching? My foot does not need it but my nail finds skin with a small callus to make a scratching noise like a memory
*****For any participants that do NOT like restrictions, please feel free to participate in any way you would like. It is great to read the contributions!****
Set up a timer or sit near a clock so you can keep track of the six minutes you will be writing.
You can either use one of the prompts (photo or written) or you can free-write.
Get ready and write for 6 minutes, that is it! Can you write a complete story? Can you think of a new Sonnet? Can you write 400 words? 400? 500? There are no restrictions on what kind of writing you do, but you should try to be actively writing for six minutes.
After you are done writing, include your word count and then post back to this page #Simply6Minutes or include your link in the comments section. Pingbacks are enabled.
*Feel free to leave your work completely unedited. I believe it is good to see, especially for new writers, that even very seasoned writers don’t write a perfect first draft.*
Have fun, challenge yourself if you’d like, read and respond to others’ posts.
To abide by the rules is an important point Like a leaf from a plant in the fall. Should that leaf decide to stay intact when it ought to fall Then fall in Spring The essence of nature peters within an inch of it’s normal existence making people wonder what is next.
MohawkValleyGirl https://mohawkvalleygirl.wordpress.com/ suggested I write another Sestina, the type of poem written yesterday for The National Poetry Month Scavenger Hunt. I like to take on challenges so here it is…
Where do I go from now until then making the decisions for two Living with someone yet living alone Trying to remain positive despite the darkness No one here is to blame We work with the life we are handed.
From the beginning we are handed to the one who has birthed us then There is no one to blame We came to the light from darkness And we are no longer alone.
There have been times I have felt alone But I am blessed with what I have been handed. I live in the light and escape the darkness I try to remember how it was then When I was alone, before there were two And there was no reason for blame.
When feeling down we seek a soul to blame Because we are feeling so alone We wish that there could be two But we live with the life we are handed Knowing that loneliness will be for then And the now is coming out of darkness.
We will continue to have periods of darkness We will look for the person to blame We may not find anyone then We will see that we are still alone Because our life is what we are handed And there may not always be two.
Bless the days when you are not one but two Remember you are out of the darkness You live this beautiful life you were handed. There is no reason to look for blame For you no longer feel alone You hold onto these feelings until then.
For what we are handed is the hope for two We then look to hope instead of darkness For we are the ones to blame when we are alone.
There was the day we met again my heart was soaring like the wind thinking we were together that day was more than anything for which I’d pray to know you did it just to see if you could hurt me like I hurt thee it pains me still to know how deep you went to hurt and make me weep.
This is a twist on a prompt offered by Kay Gabriel during a meeting she facilitated at the Poetry Project last year. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response.
To Me, From Me
Hello myself, I say to thee, in a letter I write to me. I’d like to say you are okay I think you ought to stay this way. You work real hard and care so much using all your time and such and so I’d like to say today that you can take a break to play play with words, play with sound Notice things that are all around Write them up, Spit them out Now that is what I’m talking about!
Hello to you, it’s me you know I think you’ve got a point to show. You care for others and your dad making him happy makes you glad. But don’t forget to care for you And one more thing before you do Think of all the people near who love you and will hold you dear.