New Short Story from Lisa W. Tetting

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Hi Lovies,

I am excited to announce that I wrote a short story that was included as a part of theAL Emerging Writers Alabama Emerging Writers Anthology put out by Z Publishing Network! The book was released in August, but I waited to announce my inclusion because I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Only 2 chapters of my story were included in the book because I mistakenly exceeded the word count.

However, as a treat to all of my newsletter subscribers, I am sending out the entire story. Currently it is not available anywhere else, but I may release it on other platforms in the coming weeks. To be one of the first to read my story all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. You can do that here!

In the meantime, here is what the story is all about:

Accusing Mr. Loving coverReid Loving is gorgeous, charismatic and a great person. Because of his job as a high school sociology teacher, he is surrounded by overzealous, hormonal teen aged girls, who are all clamoring for his attention. When he takes an interest in Amelia, a female student with a learning disability, unfounded rumors start to fly.

Shante Jackson has her eyes on Mr. Loving and will stop at nothing to get him. Her jealousy of Amelia causes her to use her popularity for evil in an effort to get rid of her. Unfortunately, her seventeen year old mind cannot phantom the trouble she can cause for Mr. Loving, when she spreads nasty rumors about his relationship with Amelia.

When Mr. Loving is accused of a heinous act, he is raked over the coals, with not only his job, but his freedom in jeopardy. The photographic proof does nothing to prove his innocence. Amelia is the only one who can save him after he is accused of this unspeakable act. The police and district attorney don’t believe Amelia is being truthful, until she provides the smoking gun against Shante. However, it may be too little, too late to save Mr. Loving’s reputation, career and impending marriage.

Thanks for your support over the years and please let me know what you think of the story. I have created a profile for the story on Goodreads for you to leave your feedback. Add it to you TRB list. Click Here.

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New Short Story in SOUL Magazine Issue 5

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Nnekas firstHi Lovies,

Just a quick chat to let you guys know what I have going on. I wrote a short story called Nneka’s First about a little African American girl who deals with discrimination on her first day of kindergarten. Her parents, with the permission of her teacher, teach her classmates a lesson in tolerance.

You can read my story along with other stories and poems from some very talented writers in Issue 5 of SOUL Magazine, edited and curated by Candis Johnsonavailable on lulu.com. Click here to purchase it.

SOUL issue5 Cover

Southern Horror Stories – New Release!

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HORRORJust in time for Halloween, I decided to release a short story collection of Southern Horror Stories!

Here’s what it’s about:

The mistreatment of slaves has caused the captives to fight back. Tired of the mistreatment, the slaves want revenge and blood. Follow six separate stories of betrayal, violence, bloodshed and revenge. These short stories show what can happen when people have been pushed to their limits. In Barren Plantation find out why we use the word barren for people who cannot have children.  Caleb’s Stitches shows how to turn the tables on a mad scientist. Climb inside the Mind of Hope if you think you can survive the insanity. Read about a spooky way station for escaped slaves in The Underground Hell Road. Pirates of Slavery is a bloody story of revolt, while Slave Island will lure you to a dangerous island that you can never leave.

Disclaimer: Not suitable for young children. Contains violence, sexual content and paranormal activity.

 

My Southern Horror Short Stories Collection is now available as an e-book on Amazon for $0.99. Click Here to get your copy. It is a 6 story collection of fictitious slave stories. You can read excerpts of Barren Plantation and Mind of Hope by clicking on the highlighted titles below:

Story 1: Barren Plantation

Story 2: Caleb’s Stitches

Story 3: Mind of Hope

Story 4: Underground HellRoad

Story 5: Pirates of Slavery

Story 6: Slave Island

Couch Convos w/ Lisa W. Tetting featuring Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl

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couch convos (1)

Welcome to another edition of Couch Convos with your girl, Lisa W. Tetting. Today we have a special treat for you. Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl, aka EC, joins us to talk about her short story trilogy, Stella. It is a unique take on racism, slavery and provides a history lesson we all need to learn.

Part I

LWT: Welcome EC, let’s get started. What was your inspiration behind Stella?

YY: “Well, I used to teach third and fourth grade creative writing as part of a Home School program and we studied black literature a lot. In that process, Stella was conceived during an assignment I’d given my students on writing about that era, about slavery and discrimination. I always seek to be an example, especially to children, so I occasionally participated in these assignments to show my students that we were in this together and if I could do it, they could as well. That is when I wrote the first chapter, or part, of Stella. I saved it because I started to like Stella! And I knew I would build on her life at some point in the future.”

LWT: I’m glad you save it! Why did you choose to make this a short story trilogy as opposed to a novel?

YY: “I felt that drawing it out, which I would have had to do for a novel, would have taken away from the simplicity I am trying to achieve with these books. I don’t want my readers to get bored and because of the way Stella was designed, I think a novel would have done that. Of course, there is always room to add more, and always room to clarify. But I want my readers to have something to think about after reading these books. I want to leave yall hanging a little bit; it’s a lot more fun. It provokes the individual to go on his own search and to think more. The idea was to make it short, sweet, and to the point. Ideally, I would like for each book to be under 100 pages.

LWT: That being said, there is a difference between the e-book and the print book, why did you decide to make them different?

YY: “This was a mistake actually! I sent everything in to the various distributors, Amazon, B&N, etc., for the e-book version. Afterward however, I realized that I wanted to add more to the prologue to really capture those scenes and I also wanted to lessen the broken language of the slave scenes so that it’s easier to read. Because I could not reedit the e-book, I just reedited the print book and decided to make it a special thing since you’d generally pay more for the paperback than the e-book anyway. So I turned this mistake into a marketing tool. That is, if you want the deleted scenes you’d have to get the print book!”

LWT: Explain Cynthia’s belief that she is not a racist, yet she believes blacks and whites should be separate?

YY: “Cynthia is an example of the upbringing of many Europeans who are the offspring of parents who have been taught racism. It has been said that many black people still exhibit characteristics of slavery because of the deep rooted trauma they’ve incurred. But the same is true for some white people. If we believe that African Americans have developed character traits that go back to chattel slavery, then is it too far-fetched to say that whites may have also developed character traits that go back to their fathers? So, Cynthia’s mentality is attributed to a kind of generational, institutionalized racism. For instance, Cynthia makes the statement that her Aunts tell her all the time about how it was better to live in the 60s when the races were separate. Cynthia then really believes she’s not racist and in her mind she may not hate blacks, but racism shows up in her heart because it was planted there.”

©Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

©Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

LWT: That is very profound and gives us all something to think about. What is your opinion on the concept of Separate but Equal?

YY: “In my opinion, it should have been Separate but Unequal. I am also of the opinion that this was not necessarily a bad concept. Of course, I don’t agree we should have been bitten by dogs and burned to a crisp, but I do believe that Blacks have always been called to be different. Everything that black people do is mimicked by people all over the world because everything about them is unique. Everything about them is special. Everything about them is unequal. The separation of blacks during this time in history actually helped us to maintain a more communal mentality than integration did. It was our inability to acquire the same jobs as others that motivated us to build what would later be known as Black Wall Street. The Greenwood community of Tulsa, Oklahoma was one of the most successful and wealthiest African American communities of the 20th century. Black people were also the first to Home School their children when they couldn’t go to the same schools. Upon integration however, we lost a lot of that culture and that family bond we once had. Our children also did not receive the same kind of education upon school desegregation and many of them began to fail. It has been said before and I’ll say it again, we are a spiritual people. And it is the bible that says to envy not your oppressor and to choose none of his ways.”

LWT: Speaking of racial divide, please expound on the concept humans were meant to be divided by nationality as opposed to race.

YY: “Historians and Scholars have deemed Genesis Chapter 10 of the bible as The Table of Nations because it’s basically a description of the genealogy of man, the nations divided from Noah. These nations have been traced back to the various people spread across the world. For instance, Magog has been traced back to the Russians, Hungarians, Goths, etc. Madai goes back to the Meds or Indo-European people. The Kushites, who lived south of Egypt in what is the Sudan today, are the Ethiopians and Nubians, and according to the record of Egypt, the Somalians go back to Put. So forth and so on was man divided according to his lands. Race, a term first used by a French physician Francois Bernier, who was the first to use the word race as a category for classifying humans, focuses solely on physical attributes and characteristics (race) as opposed to land, language and livelihood (nationality). We are called blacks but black is not a nationality. Meaning it does not have land, and it does not have language. It does not have these things because black is a color. But we identify ourselves as blacks because man has divided the world into shades and colors and sizes, this is race. In fact, Science has a lot to do with the usage of race to identify a people. Although there is uncertainty about the correctness of the term “race” versus “species” to classify human variation, Bernier relied on categories based on outward physical characteristics such as skin color. To make a long story short, the Almighty divided the world into Nations of people. Man on the other hand, divided it into races of people and by attributing psychological value and importance to race; this became what we know as racism.”

LWT: What is your opinion on people who pass for another race?

YY: “I think people who pass for another race, in addition to whatever issues many of them have or feel in regard to their own physical attributes, are also on a quest to understand more on how to rightly place themselves among the races. If race does not actually exist and we are all nations of people, where does that put the person who does not fully understand what nation they are from? If race does exist, where do we rightly place the person of a mixed race? Could they pass to position themselves among one people? So, you know, I think the answer is rooted in nationhood and a sense of belonging.”

LWT: That being said, how do you feel about the Rachael Dolezal issue?

YY: “I find the Rachel Dolezal story intriguing actually. I do not feel betrayed nor do I think she’s crazy, but I believe she understands more about black people than she’s letting on and that she is trying to mimic that. For instance, in a comment on whether or not she was African American, Dolezal stated: “I don’t understand the question.” That was profound to me because I tend to give people a similar answer about what it means to be African American. I use these terms, Black, African American, for the sake of understanding but like Black, African American is also not a nationality; it’s just a combining of two continents, the continent of Africa and the continent of America. The ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Libyans never spoke of a place called Africa even though these people were indigenous to that continent. In fact, the word Africa is foreign to many of the indigenous people living there today. The name Africa is Latin and it was Leo Africanus, a Roman, who called that land mass Africa, in honor of their military general who defeated Hannibal in the Punic wars. And as I stated, there has always been something special about black people that other people have wanted to copy and in that aspect I believe Rachel was really trying to mimic a restored identity. I mean, don’t tell a white woman she can’t wear a black hair style and excuse Beyoncé for wearing a white hair style. I’m just saying if we gonna keep it real, keep it all the way real. Black women have been trying to be white for years.”

LWT: With such passion for bettering the race,why do you choose to use the “N” word in your writing?

YY: “I use the “N” word in my writing because my stories are representative of real people and real people use the “N” word despite their Nationality. I also use the “N” word in my writing because I think it’s foolish to think that getting rid of a word will get rid of the behavior associated with it. I’m all for change, but as long as certain behaviors exist, so will these kinds of words. Black people will always be known by mockeries, proverbs, and bywords as long as they are unaware of who they are and as long as they are comfortable living their lives in ignorance.

LWT: Tying this back to Stella, why is this story so relevant in today’s society?

YY: “I believe the so called Black people today are the direct descendants of the ancient Israelites and that their entire existence has been prophesied about in the bible. For nearly 400 years black people have suffered at the hands of their oppressors. From slavery, to Jim Crow, and to police brutality, if there is any kind of suffering going on you can be sure that we are in the midst of it. And if we are not dying in the streets we are suffering from incurable diseases, our children are in the foster care systems, and our brothers and sisters hang out on the corners like wild bulls in a net. And if they aren’t strung out on the latest drug they are in jail. African Americans comprise the highest prison population both black men and black women. I read an article once that prisons estimate how many more beds to add to their cells based on the reading scores of 4th grade black males. This story or these kinds of stories rather, are more important today than they were fifty years ago because slavery is being taken out of the history books. Our children know nothing about whom they truly are or where they come from. Many of them don’t even know about the events of The Civil Rights Movement, we’re talking about the basics. So, I hope that my books can be a stepping stone to increased understanding in a world that seems to be without structure and without placement for the so-called African American people.”

LWT: How do we combat this epidemic of misinformation that is fed to the masses about slavery and history in general?

YY: “I believe Self-Revolution is what is necessary to combat the level of misinformation that plagues us today. I mean, as a people we have to change. In the 1960s and 70s black people spoke a lot about a revolution to come and many of them stood up and declared themselves revolutionaries. Revolution by definition is a change in power or organizational structures, and so many of our people at that time sought to spark a revolution among our people. They did this in many ways but the way they didn’t try was Self-Revolution and because of this many of these revolutionaries are no longer with us today. But the revolution has not ended. You see the problem with the revolutions that they were bringing is that it always started on the outside, but in truth if one seeks to create a change or reversal of a condition it has to begin on the inside, it has to begin with self. You’re only capable of changing lives if you yourself have been changed. Black people, and all people, who wish to see a change in their conditions have to first seek a change in themselves. To love ourselves enough to reverse our condition will help to bring about a reversal of the condition that plagues the world, which is a lack of love. Love is a universal language and can be understood by all people. When a baby emerges from his mother’s womb he is crying out for love; he must be reconnected to her breast, literally or figuratively, to continue to receive that love. This is what the bible talks about from the beginning to the end; it teaches us how to love. I can walk down the street in China and help an elderly woman across the street and she’ll understand that language. That’s because the law of Love inspires discipline and compassion among all people. It is the umbilical cord that connects us to our creator and the rest of mankind.”

Part II

 LWT: Switching gears, let’s talk about the business of writing. What tools do you use to market your work?

YY: “I use a combination of online and offline methods to market my work; mostly online since social media has made it easier to be visible that way. I have an Author Website, a Newsletter, and social media accounts across the board. Whatever is out there I’m on it. I blog, I tweet, I post, I upload, all of that. I try to be everywhere there is to be online. Offline is the part I think is important for me to explain because we often lose sight that we need a combination of both. I don’t have a lot of money, but I try to run my writing like a business so when promoting offline I’m marketing myself as an online merchant. I don’t have the funds to carry around boxes of books, so I carry business cards and flyers instead. Professionally designed and printed flyers with my book covers and contact information on it. I also try to always have at least a sample book to present. But in all of this I’m putting my books out there as part of an online store. In this way, people know to expect to find me online and if they don’t have internet access they can always request an offline form. Fill that out, mail it back to me and I will process that order. That combined with the blessing of social media gets the job done.”

LWT: That is amazing advice! Now, tell us about your experience using iTunes?

YY: “I actually have not experienced using iTunes hands on. I didn’t upload my e-book to that service directly, but it was sent to iTunes, Amazon, and B&N directly from my publishing platform so my books can be available at multiple places. When I get my Publishing Company off the ground however, I’ll have a better answer for you! But in brief, what I love about iTunes is that it gives readers another venue in which to purchase books. Like I said, I’m trying to be everywhere there is to be online. Whatever you want, I got it. That’s my motto: “Using Digital Technology to Create Unique Reading Experiences”. So if you want to download Stella from iTunes, I got you. You can do that.”

LWT: A one stop shop. I love it! Do you find doing book reviews helpful to exposure for your work as well as other authors?

YY: “I do. Not only do I enjoy writing book reviews to help others, but I really believe that anything an author writes is a kind of advertisement or marketing if you will, of their work. Of course, we all have those moments of personal writing on our blogs, social media and all that, but I also try to keep in mind that everything that I write is either useful or harmful to me as a writer. Writing Book Reviews for me is like a diamond in the ruff. It’s helpful for the author but it’s also helpful for the writer of the review; if you can convince someone to buy a book based solely on personal opinion and critical analysis that says a lot about you as a writer. It’s not just about exposure for the author, but it also helps me to sharpen my writing skills. If I like the book, I don’t want to just tell people what the book is about, but I want to help interpret the authors’ message for his or her audience in a way that will compel readers to buy. So I’m like promoting and learning in the process. And it’s a lot of fun too. You get to read all these great books nobody would ever know about if not for Self-Publishing.”

LWT: That is a blessing in itself. Please give other indie authors 5 tips to successful networking?

YY:

  • Have an Author Website where ALL of your work can be found in one place. Even if it’s on Amazon, put the Amazon links on your website. Make it easier for people to find you.
  • Create Social Networks for at least the top 3:

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

  • Create Business Cards you could pass out to people you meet on the street. You never know who you’ll run into so keep it professional.
  • Save your Contacts. Surround yourself with people who can help you, especially those who are professionals at what they do and save their contacts. If you consider yourself an author you should have at least a few (non-related) author contacts.
  • Be Visible: Make your presence known online and offline. Stay in the loop.
©Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl

©Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl

LWT: Tell us what genres you have written in so far and why?

YY: “I’ve written Poetry, Sci-Fi, General Fiction, a Screenplay, and now Historical Fiction and Short Story. Poetry, obviously, was the reason I got into Self-Publishing in the first place. I didn’t have a desire to do anything outside of publish my poetry. I am also becoming really interested in science because my husband’s a science nerd! He’s a handsome nerd though, he’s no Geek, there’s a difference! LOL. He doesn’t have the goggle glasses and pocket protectors going on! But he is really intelligent and wise and I learn a lot from him. Consequently, I became really interested in writing about the future and advanced technology; designer babies, flying cars, and all that weird stuff and, most importantly, tying these things into scripture and the end times and all that. So that’s where the Sci-Fi comes in at. The screenplay was just something I wanted to try my hand at. I’ve written plays before for my High School and watched them being played out on the stage and was actually in some of them, so I wanted to kinda bring that back so that’s why I wrote Pearls Before Swine which is actually a play not a novel. I pretty much want to try my hand at every genre if possible! I’m looking at Romance kinda sideways though, I don’t know, I’m not really into Romance like that. I like to read it but I don’t think it’s really my style from the writing POV. Historical Fiction and Short Stories is something I’m really digging right now though and I think Stella has shown me my primary niche.”

 LWT: Since you write poetry in addition to books and short stories, how has spoken word helped you expand your readership?

YY: “Yessss! Finally a question about poetry! What took you so long? LOL. Having this skill has really blessed my readership. When I’m on stage or somewhere and I open my mouth to spit that piece, people are instantly interested in me individually which includes my work across the board because people love stories. What I’m quickly learning is that behind each product is a story, a narrative and it is that story that draws people in to support that product. As writers we are that product and we have to sell our stories. A book is good but it must have a heartbeat behind it too. For instance one day I was at this Open Mic spot right, in Shreveport, and these sisters were so drawn into this piece that I did about black women that they said that they will follow me everywhere and that just blew me away because I’m really into awakening the sisterhood. I was like ooookkk well, here’s my card, look me up! I don’t really share stuff like this though because I’d like to think I’m a pretty humble person and I don’t really need people thinking I got fans and whatnot. But I say this to say that poetry increases my readership a lot because of the power of spoken language and how it makes people feel. Maya Angelou said it best: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

LWT: Sorry I took so long, but I was warming you up. LOL. Speaking of people not forgetting how you make them feel. Social Media is a way to make an impression. How has social media helped you with building your readership?

YY: “Oh man. Social Media has given my readership like, steroids! I mean, I met you through social media! I get to communicate with a lot of authors and readers and professionals, by way of social, so that’s great and the feedback is awesome. My blog is doing better than any other blog I’ve had in the past (I’ve had two) and my website is starting to see some real traffic.”

LWT: Speaking of websites, how important is it to have a great author website?

YY: “I’m glad you asked that Lisa because I am actually in the process of upgrading my Author Website. It’s OK but nowhere near where I want it to be so hopefully my readers will be seeing a nice upgrade soon. Having a great Author Website is critical to an Author. As I talk a lot about on my blog, writers should treat this like a business. And any great business needs to invest in a website where people can go and view all of their products. Like I said when you asked me to give tips, create an Author Website and put ALL of your products on there so that people know where to find you. Even if you’re on Amazon, embed your Amazon links into your primary website because you need one place people can go. The idea is to drive as much traffic as possible to the website. If at all possible, get a professional to design the site for you. It has to be fun to visit, but also very easy to navigate so don’t try to do too much. Simplicity is always best.”

LWT: You are up for a small business grant from Merchant Negotiators; tell us about your budding business and how things are going?

YY: “I am so excited about starting this business! I don’t know if I’ll get the grant but as many of you who follow my blog already know, I want to do more than write books. I love writing but my passion for teaching has got to be included in some way. Eventually, I would like to start my own Publishing Business to help other Indie’s to get started (For the non-writers out there Indie is short for Indie Author or Independent Author). Not only do I want to help others to publish their own books, but I would also like to offer a few Self-Publishing packages even if they would like to publish elsewhere; a place where they can still come to me for Book Cover Design, Formatting, Editing, or whatever they need to help prepare the book for publishing. Right now I am in the process of registering The Literary Korner as an LLC or Limited Liability Company, polishing off the Business plan, and setting something up for those who would like to invest in this vision.

LWT:  That sounds like a great plan and I look forward to following the progress of your company. As far as writing goes, what is coming up next for you, EC?

YY: “Well Lisa, I have so many plans for this coming year that I’m excited about and I’m just taking it one step at a time. I want to stick to the Short Story Genre so hopefully more short stories are coming. Right now though, Stella Book #2, Beyond The Colored Line, releases on the 24th and I’m putting the finishing touches on Book #3, The Road to Freedom, before sending it to my editor which I’m really excited about. I think yall are really going to love it! Its part of the Stella series and takes you back to the Freedom Rider age. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to get this Publishing Business off the ground so there’s a lot to do but I’m excited.”

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, another edition of Couch Convos in the books. To connect with EC please click the links to her Social Media sites below. You can purchase her books at most online retailers or via her author website. Don’t forget to pick up Stella, available now and the sequel Beyond The Colored Line available on August 24th.

Wanderlust

Click the pic above to purchase

Author Website: www.theliterarykorner.com

Blog: www.thepbsblog.wordpress.com

Email: ahouseofpoetry@gmail.com, yecheilyahysrayl@theliterarykorner.com

Facebook: ThePBSBlog (Blog)

Yecheilyah Ysrayl (Personal)

Twitter: @ahouseofpoetry

Instagram: @yecheilyah

Pinterest: ahouseofpoetry

LinkedIn: Yecheilyah Ysrayl  

Barren Plantation: A Short Story – #2 in a series of 6

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© DM Tetting - Used with permission

© DM Tetting – Used with permission

“It’s my time”, I called out to Mistress Mary. She was looking scared to death, but then she turned bright red and anger took over.

“This little bastard better be black as night Pansy or I’m gonna kill it.” Miss Mary whispered in my ear.

It wasn’t my fault her husband, Massa Barren kept sneaking in my quarters after dark and taking advantage of me. I was in love with James and we wanted to jump the broom, but Massa Barren denied us. He threatened to kill James if he saw us together so we made sure he never did.

“No Miss Mary, please don’t kill my baby!” I pleaded.

The pains came quicker and grew worse with each minute. I tried my best to hold that baby in because I knew it wasn’t from James. Mama taught me to be a modest lady, and I would not allow James to bed me until I was his wife. When I popped up in the belly, I had to tell him the truth about Massa Barren. I would have taken that secret to my grave, but there was no hiding it, I was with child. That baby was coming and even though it cost me the man I loved, I still wanted it. I had been sold away from my mama and papa when I was twelve and I knew I would never see them again.  I could never leave my child on purpose and I would not let anyone take my baby from me.

“Pansy, I know you’ve been with my husband and this baby better not be his.”

Panic set in and I tried to get up to run. My legs would not hold me and I was trapped here under the care of a woman who hated me and just threatened to kill my almost born child. I loved my baby and I would do everything in my power to save it.

I started praying “Oh Lord, please save my child from this wicked woman. Touch her heart Lord and let her see my baby had no choice in how it came to be. Let her have mercy and give my baby to me.”

My prayer was almost begging and I was crying and screaming from the pain. Finally I pushed her out and to no one’s surprise a white baby with beautiful hazel eyes and straight hair looked at me as she took her first breath. I reached for her but before the midwife could hand her to me, Miss Mary said “Don’t you hand that thing to her. It’s an abomination and it must be killed.”

My baby girl started crying as if she knew what was about to happen. Everyone in the room began to panic as Miss Mary snatched my baby from the midwife’s arms, held her upside down by her feet and slit her poor little throat with a knife.

“Here’s your demon child”, she said as she tossed my baby at Massa Barren’s feet.

I screamed and cried and crawled to my baby. She looked so beautiful as her body lay still on the attic floor. “Clean up this mess. I don’t want that thing’s blood staining my floor. Every little drop of my baby’s blood was emptied onto that attic floor and I would not allow anyone to touch it. In that moment I was entranced.  My baby’s blood served as energy and I bathed in it.

Massa Barren yelled at me, “Pansy now you stop this. Get up from there. Somebody do something.”

I kept rubbing the blood all over me. I needed to feel it on me. Then I heard this loud chanting that seemed to come from the walls of the attic, the floorboards and the furniture. It was surrounding me. The chant was in a language I had never heard, but somehow I knew what they were saying. I started chanting too.

“ Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna! Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna! Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna!”

Over and over again I chanted the foreign words, faster and faster the chants rang out. The room started to spin and I was in the center, covered in blood. It was as if I left my body and was hanging upside down on the ceiling staring at the show down below. The midwife ran from the room screaming “She done gone soft in the head!”

All of the other slaves ran leaving me in the attic to grieve. They were deathly afraid of me and refused to come into the attic even when faced with whipping. I stayed in the attic for six days and nights chanting away. When Massa Barren had enough of the deathly smell, he sent the overseer to the attic with some male slaves to drag me downstairs and bury my baby. I was forced to take a bath and wash my child’s blood away from me, but by that time it had done the trick. I no longer needed the physical blood as it had seeped into my soul.

“Charlie I want her cleaned up and get one of the house girls to clean out that attic. It stinks to high heaven in this house because of her. You bury that baby out in the slave cemetery and mark it. The poor thing didn’t have a name so just place a cross on the grave.” Massa Barren instructed.

I screamed and kicked and fought the men until they threw me into a big barrel of hot soapy water. Then two women I have never seen before tore the dress off of my body and began washing me.

“It’s gonna be alright chile. God got your baby now. Ain’t nothin’ can hurt her no mo’. She the lucky one”, the one lady said and the other broke out into song.

“God got your babay, yes He do. He got her on His lap and she waitin for you. You almost left us but it ain’t your time. Don’t let the devil take your mind.” 

The first lady joined in and they sang that song over me the whole time they scrubbed me clean.  When they were finished washing and dressing me they combed out my hair and took me to the grave to see my baby one last time. I wrapped her in a cloth my mama had tied on me when they took me from her. When the first shovel of dirt hit her little body, I screamed in pain. The pain I felt was from every mother who ever lost her child and the sound bellowed from the depths of Hell!

Days went by and then weeks, but my longing for my baby girl never stopped.  I named her Oni which means born on sacred ground. Since slaves were not allowed to read and write, I went to the cemetery after dark and carved her name into the wooden cross Mr. Charlie placed on her grave. As I was leaving her I saw a light in the cemetery and I was drawn to it. The sacred ground was filled with chanting and I began chanting too

“Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna! Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna! Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna!”

Then before me appeared a sexless figure who informed me it was my duty to protect all the babies born to this plantation. It was up to me to ensure they were never taken from their mamas. No other mother on this plantation would ever feel the wrenching pain of losing a child. The figure handed me some herbs and instructed me on what to do.

The next morning I set out to fulfill my purpose. I got water from the river just where the turtles sunned themselves.  I mixed the water with the herbs and crushed them with a rock to make a paste. The whole time I was working I was chanting

“Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna! Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna! Choluma, Tonari, Olanhna!”

Then I went to the well pretending to draw water for Miss Mary, but instead I deposited my potion. There was a flash of light at the bottom of the well and I kept chanting. Then I heard the dark figure from last night say, “It’s ready.”

I drew water from the well and proceeded to take it into the house for the white folks. Everyone got their water from this one well so I knew everybody on the plantation would drink my potion.

Instead of doing my usual house chores, I decided to take all of the field hands some water; especially the women. They couldn’t get enough of that water.

“This some mighty fine water, Miss Pansy. Where yall get it from? Surely, not that old well.”

“It’s plain old well water.” I answered.

“For sho’?” they replied.

“For sure.”

When I was finished with my rounds, I went back to the house to make sure all the ladies in the house had some too.

“Oh chile, I sho’ was thirsty. Thanks you Miss Pansy. You know Miss Mary don’t let us take no rest.”

“I know, but she don’t mess with me no more so I do what I want. If you need water, then I will bring it to you.” I boasted.

It was true, every since she murdered my baby, Miss Mary had taken ill and blamed me. She would not come within two yards of me and would not allow me to handle her food. I did however, handle her water and she drank it plentiful without knowing.

Several months passed since the well incident and no one was getting popped; a very unusual occurrence around Barren Plantation. There was always a slave girl being bred to the biggest, strongest male slave so they would have plentiful slaves around, but that changed. Since Oni was murdered, no other births had taken place on the plantation. The girls, who thought they were popped, simply got their monthly and they thought they were mistaken; No one was more than three months along.

One night Massa Barren hosted a dinner party and I heard his guests discussing the lack of babies.

“Now Sam, the whole region is buzzing about the lack of babies coming out of your plantation. Did you put a ban on your slaves?”

The room filled with laughter and then Massa Barren replied, “No, nothing like that. We are breeding them as much as possible, but nature is not cooperating.”  

More laughter continued and then the mean lady with the pointed nose said, “I hear tell this place is cursed!”

The room went silent. All the servants knew to keep their eyes frozen to the ground and their ears wide open. We listened as the lady spun a tale of the curse of the murdered baby. She told my story as if I had not been standing there except she was missing some of the reason why. The white folks imagined it was only a punishment to Miss Mary for killing my baby, but it was a punishment for all dead babies.

Miss Mary was enraged, “What kind of woman have you brought to my home, Sam? She has been raised with no manners, no manners at all. Who would dare partake of a host’s food and then shame them with the same breath. I want you out of my house! Right Now!”

The lady with the pointy nose stood up with a slight grin on her face and said, “What’s the matter sugga, too afraid the tale of the murdered little baby will spread? I’ll leave, but you remember this; the truth will set you free.”

In an instant the party was over and Miss Mary was on a tirade. “I want you gone and don’t ever show your face around here again. What trash you have brought into my home Sam. Just trash. Imagine the whole district spreading such lies about such a fine lady as me.” She cried and she ran upstairs from shame.

I could hear Miss Mary wailing all night long about her poor reputation. She said nothing about the poor baby whose life she spilled on the attic floor. The next morning she demanded to see me in her bed chambers, the very place I had been forbidden to go since the murder.

I entered cautiously, “You wanted to see me Miss Mary?”

“Yes Pansy, come in here. I have a question I want to ask you”

I came inside the door as she beckoned me to come closer. “Shut the door Pansy and come over here.”

I had no desire to close the door, but it wouldn’t matter anyway, she killed Oni in broad daylight when the door was open, so why did she want the door closed now? What more could she possibly do to me? If she was planning on doing me the favor of slitting my throat, I wanted her to know I welcomed it. I was no longer timid, I slammed the door and marched right up to her. The time was here for us to have the long awaited showdown.  I could hear the other slaves gathering at the door to listen.

“Who’d you tell about that abomination you bore?” Miss Mary inquired.

“I told God about my baby, Oni if that’s what you mean. My child was no abomination.”

“Don’t back talk me girl. I have no patience for it today.”

I looked her dead in the eye, “I will say whatever I please and you won’t do a thing to me you haven’t already done.“

Miss Mary was shocked at my sharpness and said, “Listen to me you witch, I know you’ve been spreading rumors about me killing a poor innocent baby, but that thing was a creature straight out of Hell.”

I slapped her across her face leaving my hand print behind. “Don’t you ever speak of my child like that again. I love Oni and she was a beautiful child even after you took her life. It’s not my fault your husband can’t keep his hands off of me, but I never wanted him. He forced me and I got popped. I was in love with a man, but he forbade it and then used my body for his pleasure. If anyone is an abomination it is Massa Barren!” Finally, I let the words that had been burning in my throat leak out. There was no going back now.

“I don’t believe you gal. All you little slave girls run around here just waiting for your chance at Master Barren. You are a seductress and a whore!”

“Believe what you want, but your husband is a liar a thief and a molester. I curse you, him and this whole ungodly place. Till the end of time, there shall never be another baby born to anyone who dare come to this plantation; slave and white, visitor or resident. Anyone who crosses the gate of Barren Plantation either by force or willingly will suffer the “Barren Curse! No woman will birth another baby and no man will produce one. Your evil bloodline will end with you! From this day forward all people unable to have children shall be known as Barren.”

With those words I walked out of the room as Miss Mary clutched her chest in agony. She fell to the floor and died. That was some forty years ago and this plantation is just about give out. Massa Barren went broke and tried to sell the slave, but no one would but us. Once he died, those of us left stayed on to run the plantation for ourselves. Nobody dared to come onto the property so we found our freedom in a way. We had animals and vegetables and the water we needed to survive and were grateful the curse did not cover the animals. They drank the river water so they were never infected. I still visit Oni’s grave everyday and wait for the day I will see her again. Until then I remain Barren.

This is part 2 of a new Southern Horror Series I am writing. Please check out my Pinterest site for a visual scrapbook.

Mind of Hope: A Short Story

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No Return

As I sit here reflecting on my life I see things so clearly, now. Where was that clarity when I needed it? I am currently locked away in this dank and dirty hole in the wall with dozens of other former slaves who are touched in the head. The so called doctors keep me locked away from the rest of the residents, which is a blessing because I am not really insane. I just needed a break from reality for a little while. I think I will be ready to go out and find my way in the world soon. At least that’s what Dr. Richards says. He told me it would help for me to think back to when I started having the feelings of rage and hate; I think I found it. For a former slave, the feelings of rage and hate came when I took my first breath. Almost everything in my life to this point has made me want to go inside of myself for a while and just hide. Let’s see…

I was born into a world of poverty and despair, but there was just enough hope to keep me going. Hope was a gift given to me by my papa before he was murdered. In fact that is my name.  There is no doubt about it; Papa had enough hope for the entire world, in his little finger. I wonder what it would have been like living in his head. I wish I could have jumped in there and run around for a while. We were close, him and I, but sometimes he drifted off into another time and place. My mama called it “checking out”, and I was not allowed to bother him when he was like that. Sometimes he would talk out loud when he was “out”. At first it scared me, but once I sat still and listened to what he was saying, it all made sense somehow.

The older ladies on the plantation said, “Yo papa is touched, little Hope. You stay way from him when he like that. It’s such a shame such a fine looking man is battling demons in his head. ” For some reason the ladies were afraid of him; as if he would hurt me if I got too close. What they didn’t know was my papa was the gentlest man on the Jones Plantation, and nobody was going to keep me from him, except maybe Old Massa Jones. He owned us, so he got to do whatever he wanted.

“Come here child” he demanded of me. “Yes Master Jones?” I said with the urgency of a snail. I hated being called over for one of his senseless talks. He never seemed to want anything except to stop me from working, and then complain that I wasn’t working. “Girl, don’t you ever call me Master. My name is Massa Jones. You hear. Don’t go using that fancy talk your mammy and pappy done teached you. I don’t want no educated slaves round here.” I conformed to his will, “Yes Suh, Massa Jones.”  It was always like that with him, he just couldn’t stand the fact my parents were educated Negroes and taught me how to read and speak English better than he could. That’s the chance he took by stealing a free man and enslaving him. My papa could read and write with the best of the scholars. One day while he was walking home from a lecture, he was kidnapped and forced into slavery.  I can’t imagine what it would be like for a man who was born free to have his most treasured possession taken away from him and being forced to submit to the will of a man with half his intellect. I came to the conclusion, this was the reason Papa started “checking out”.

All of the ladies on the plantation, even the white ones, had eyes for Papa when he wasn’t “checked out”, but he only had eyes for Mama.  Miss Cynthia was the worst one. I heard her talking about Papa one day with her friend Miss Jenny, “He’s just so muscular and tall. I wonder how it would feel to be held in those big ole black arms of his.” Miss Jenny almost fainted, “Cynthia I can’t believe you would say such a thing. Why he’s nothing but a beast. He’s dark as midnight and those big hands would crush you to death. You better hope your brother don’t hear tell of you liking him.” “And how, pray tell, will he find out; unless you plan on divulgating my private secrets. If I had a friend to do that it would be just shameful. I might have to tell all of her ungodly secrets to anyone who would listen.” Miss Cynthia threatened. “Besides,” she continued, “he is just about the best looking Negro man I have ever seen. Just look at that wavy hair and that broad chest.”

Just then Miss Cynthia spotted me spying on them and snatched me up. She threatened to whip me until I bled if I told anyone. I acted dumb, as usual. It was my way of not having to do what the white folks wanted me to. I would pretend not to understand what they wanted until they would give in and leave me be. “Now get out of here. Your services will no longer be required in the house. Since you want to act like one of them, you can just pick cotton like the rest of your people.” Just like that I was removed from being a house servant, and sent to the fields to toil and sweat in the sun. I did not mind because I could finally be with my parents all day. I no longer had to put up with the beatings from Miss Cynthia just because the wind blew or the strange looks from Master Jones. For some reason he had taken a liking to me, and was always trying to get me alone. Miss Cynthia had noticed, and has hated me every since. She had been waiting for any excuse to remove me from the house and now she had one.

“Why did she put you out of the house, Hope?” mama asked. “Mama I don’t know,” I lied. “Well she had to have a reason, and you’d better tell me right now!” Mama had a certain way of talking that meant business. If I did tell her she might get mad and fight Miss Cynthia, but if I didn’t tell her I would get the switch. Just thinking about that switch made the flood gates open. “She was lusting after Papa and I heard her. When she caught me spying she got mad, and made me leave the house for good.”

“What you say child? She got eyes for my man? Well I’m gonna show that heffa who she’s messing with. She’s not getting my man lynched because she wants to know him.” Mama went on and on about Miss Cynthia liking Papa, and then my life changed forever in less than five minutes. Mama marched right up to Miss Cynthia on the grand front porch; the very one all field slaves were forbidden to approach. Before she had time to react, Mama spit dead in Miss Cynthia’s face and said, “You best stay away from my man, white woman.”  “Helen you must be out of your mind to approach a fine white lady with some nonsense about her liking some big, black buck.” She was guilty and would have let Mama off with a warning, but Mama would not drop it. “Hear me good woman; nobody slides up to Henry Jones, but me! Try me if you got the notion.”  Miss Cynthia face looked like it was melting off under the sweltering Carolina sun. Her hands started shaking, and she did not know what to do. Nobody dared to talk to the owner of a plantation like that, especially not a southern belle like Miss Cynthia. Miss Jenny was so mad there was smoke coming from her ears, Cynthia are you just going to sit there and let that slave girl talk to you like that on your own porch. I wouldn’t stand for that kind of sass from any of my slaves. They would get the whip for sure.”

Just then Old Massa Jones came outside to see what the ruckus was. “Helen what is going on round here? I can hear Miss Jenny screechin’ all the way in my office.” Mama looked him dead in the eyes and told him “Keep your sister away from my husband! My child heard her talking lustful about him, and I don’t want my man lynched. You better keep her in her place or I’ll do it for you.” I always knew Mama didn’t play when it came to Papa. She had beat Julie so bad she couldn’t walk, for rubbing up on Papa one day. Even so, I never thought she would talk to white folks like that. She must have lost her mind and Massa Jones was going to help her get it back. “What you say to me Helen? You forget I am the massa ‘round here and you the slave. Can’t stand for no back talk from no slave, even if it is you Helen.”  Mama did not back down. “Do what you got to go, but keep that woman away from my man!”

The next thing I knew Mama was sailing off of the porch, and landed on the ground face first. She tried to get to her feet, but Massa Jones was quick to knock her back down. With his boot in her back, he began to whip Mama with his walking stick. Then I heard Papa running and screaming, “Get off of my wife, you devil!” The next few minutes were in slow motion. I could hear someone screaming, but I didn’t realize it was me until Massa Jones yelled at me to shut up. Massa Jones was beating Mama senseless, and she was broken and bleeding from every inch of her skin, her ears and eyes. I had never seen anything like it in my life. I could see her skin being peeled back with every lick of Massa Jones’ stick. Eventually Mama stopped screaming and went limp. “She ain’t dead yet, throw some water on her,” Massa Jones called to one of the new male slave. The sting of the water hitting her open flesh was enough to jolt Mama awake. She could barely whimper, but her face showed the pain was too much to bear. The merciless beating continued until almost all of the life drained out of Mama. With her dying breath she told me “Remember who you are Hope and never let them kill you. Be strong and honor your ancestors.” With that she was gone and I wanted to go with her.

Meanwhile, two other men were holding Papa back with ropes, while Massa Jim, the overseer, got his shot gun.  Massa Jim pointed his gun at Papa and said, “Get back in that field and get to work. You need to make up for Helen’s share so you better get humpin.” Those horrible men would not even allow us to clean Mama up, and bury her. They let her lay in the hot sun attracting bugs and smelling to high heaven. Massa Jones forced Papa and me to continue picking cotton with Mama baking less than 100 yards away. As sad as I was, I could see Papa was almost uncontrollable. He kept talking to Mama and telling her he was there, and he would honor her. I saw a crazed look in his eyes, not like when he “checked out” this was different.

Henry Jones was the son of a warrior, and he must avenge the death of his wife. Papa started pacing back and forth and mumbling something in the old African language he taught me as a little girl. I couldn’t make out what he was saying, but I knew it was never good for him to start chanting in the Orangolo language.  Papa retrieved a machete he was hiding in the field, and cut Massa Jim’s head clean off his shoulders. The hot blood splattered all over the pure white cotton staining the ground and Papa’s hands. “HELEN!” papa yelled so loudly everyone stopped what they were doing to see what was going on. He bent down and picked up the severed head holding it in the air he shouted, “They Kill my wife I take their life.” With those words Papa charged through the field and struck down every white man he saw. He was headed to the porch on the big house when I heard the loud crack press through the air. Massa Jones was standing on the porch with his rifle and tore a hole through my Papa’s chest. Just like that I was an orphan.

I stood quietly in the cotton field drenched in blood. I had not noticed before, but it was all over me, in my hair, on my face, and my clothes. All of a sudden a blood curling scream came from the depths of my being and I could not be silenced. “Chile, it’s alright chile. Please stop screamin’ or Massa Jones gonna come over here an git ya. Please chile don’t make it worse fo yoself.” Old Miss Janie pleaded with me, but there would be no peace today; not after they just killed my family. I stopped my screaming and started laughing. Old Miss Janie started backing away from me. She told the other slaves, “I seen this before. She done gone mad.” All of the other slaves in the field followed Miss Janie and backed away from me while mumbling to their selves. I was mad, but not the insane kind. My anger had crossed over into my being and everything I would do from this point on would be my revenge on the Jones Plantation.

I closed my eyes and remembered the last words my mama said to me “Remember who you are Hope and never let them kill you. Be strong and honor your ancestors.” When I opened my eyes I could see my ancestors standing before me along with my parents. They told me I was the last in our bloodline and I must survive. I would have their protection as I navigated through life. Right now, I was being instructed to exact revenge for my parents’ murders. I must use my brain and outsmart them because they would be looking for me to become violent. I listened to the instructions, and remembered them exactly. I allowed the wisdom of the ancestors to guide me. “You must act like you are sick from grief. The lady of the house will take pity on you, and invite you back in to work there. Once you have re-established yourself as a servant, you must be on your best behavior. At the dawning of the full moon, you go into the woods where your papa took you to pray. Under the big tree with the markings you will find an herb growing. Gather the herb, but mind you do not let it touch your skin. Use a cloth to gather it. Chop the herb up and put it in the white people’s food. It will paralyze them and once you are sure they can’t move you must chop each one of their heads off and hang them on the front porch, covering yourself with their blood. Do not swallow their blood! Nobody will harm you because we will be there to protect you. You will be taken to a hospital and once you are released, you will have your freedom!”

I followed the instructions of the ancestors to the letter. The cook came down with severe stomach pains, so Miss Cynthia informed me I would be cooking alone. The ancestors came to me and guided my hands. The herbs were placed into the potatoes once they were cooked and mashed. Everyone loved my mashed potatoes so I knew they all would eat extra helpings. Once they were unable to move, I went to work using the same machete Papa has used to avenge Mama’s death. I started at the head of the table with Massa Jones, no hesitation just a quick slash of the sharp knife and his head rolled onto the floor. The rest of the room was horrified. I could see it in their eyes. They may not have been able to move their body parts, but they were fully aware of what was happening. I took pleasure in torturing them one by one. Each slice of a throat was righting a wrong done to my ancestors. I saved Miss Cynthia for last since, after all she was the one who started this downward spiral. She watched one by one as everyone she loved was violently snatched out of existence. “This is for my mama”, I said as I slid the sharp blade across her pale throat. “If you would not have been lusting after my papa, none of this would have happened.”

As instructed I hung the severed heads above the front porch, covered myself in blood, and waited for someone to discover what I had done. Papa had already killed the overseers and they lay dead in the cotton field. No slave wanted to bury them, and there was no one left to make them. When the other slaves saw what I had done they cheered and celebrated. I convinced them to help me give my parents a proper burial, and then most took off for the North to snatch their freedom. To buy their silence I wrote them all freedom papers using Massa Jones’ stationary and wax seal.  The few that remained were too scared to leave and decided they would run the plantation until a new white master came along. I sat on the porch and waited for three long days. When they finally came to see why Massa Jones had not been seen in the area, they were scared out of their minds. The news spread fast about the insane slave girl who slaughtered all of the white people, and hung their heads from the porch. Dr. Winston came and would not allow them to hang me. “She is obviously touched in the head. Let me take her to the state mental institution for Negroes and get her the help she needs.” Dr. Winston was a well respected member of the community so they did what he said.

So now I sit here waiting for the doctors and nurses to say I am ready to leave here. The ancestors still appear to me every day, and I listen to them. They have not let me down yet. “Soon you will be released from this hell and before those white folks can lynch you, we will guide you to the North and Freedom. Nobody will know what happened here and you can start your life over. You’ll get married, have two beautiful children, and teach them about your family history all the way back to the Orangolo people.” I wonder what my husband will be like.   What kind of life will we build together? For now, I Hope and wait.

© Lisa W Tetting

I hope you enjoyed reading Mind of Hope as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please check out my accompanying Pinterest page for a photo scrapbook of the story.

Demon Seeds – A Short Story

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Hi Guys,

I’ve been a little busy working on the debut of my novel. As Tuesday draws near, I get more and more excited. In the meantime I wanted to post a short story I wrote for a local contest. I did not win unfortunately, but I had fun writing the story, We had to choose a work of art from around the Tampa area and write a short story using it as inspiration. I chose street art of course and went a little out of my comfort zone. I hope you enjoy:

6006It was a beautiful spring night when my husband Mark and I decided to go to the movies with our friends, Judith and her husband Tom. We had already spent the early evening watching the sunset from the window of a waterfront restaurant, and decided we were not ready to go home. The orange and yellow sunset shimmered over the calm waters of the gulf. Looking at the water made me feel tingly inside, and I snuggled closer to Mark holding his hand. We were far from newlyweds, but enjoyed each other’s company like it was our first year together. We had no children, a choice we made together when we first got serious, and enjoyed the quiet life we were lucky enough to have. Judith and Tom were quite the opposite. Their marriage was young compared to our fifteen years, and they started having children right away. Four children in seven years was something that horrified me. I don’t know how they did it, but they always seemed to have smiles on their faces. I guess some people are just meant to be parents.

We decided to see a new thriller type movie that stared one of my favorite actresses, Ja’net Fenty. She always played a strong, memorable role and I was excited to see this new one. We purchased tickets, got popcorn, drinks, and candy, and proceeded to choose our seats halfway up the stairs. I sat in my normal end seat with Mark next to me, then Judith, and finally Tom next to her. The theater had a few other people, but there were plenty of empty seats for the early showing. We were enjoying the movie until an elderly couple entered, with about twenty minutes left. The loud and obnoxious lady was clearly from New York from the sound of her accent, and she refused to shut up. I couldn’t believe how rude she was, and then she did it. The lady dragged her decrepit husband up the stairs, and they sat directly behind Mark and me. I couldn’t believe it. First of all, it was obvious they did not pay to see this movie; secondly they were loud, probably because she was sporting a huge hearing aid, and lastly she had the audacity to sit directly behind me, when there were a ton of other seats just waiting for her. This woman had a total disregard for everyone in the theater, and continued fussing about her bunion and several other bodily functions, that no one needed nor wanted to hear about. I had enough of, and turned around to ask her to be quiet, after all I paid to be there, and I was enjoying the movie. The old bat refused to be quiet, and in fact, spoke louder just to annoy me. After several attempts on my part to silence the lady, Tom jumped up and sped off to get the manager.

Once the manger was able to remove the squatters, I thought I would be able to enjoy my movie, but I guess that’s what I got for thinking. Tom called over to his wife and told her they were leaving. At this point, I was still very annoyed about the old couple, and now these two were moving around and talking. To say the least, I was not in the mood for their shenanigans. Judith stood up and exited the aisle, then she did something very peculiar; she stood over me smiling and staring with an almost glassy stare. At first I was startled, and then I realized she must have wanted something. She actually thought Mark and I were going to leave the movie before it ended. She beckoned for us to come with them, but I whispered to her that we would be staying till the end of the show. My goodness, I wondered if people actually enjoyed going to the movies anymore or if it was just a place to gather and be social. Well, I was enjoying this movie, and no one was going to make me miss the ending. I told her I would call her later, but she kept hovering over me looking confused. Just then I felt my husband kick my ankle; that was his signal not to move. After being married over fourteen years, we knew each other’s signals. He did not want to leave with them, and neither did I. Finally after what felt like an eternity, Judith gave up and she left the theater with her husband. Mark leaned over, whispered a thank you, and giggled about not wanting to run into those god awful children that always seemed to appear out of nowhere. We giggled some more and then I finally was able to see the ending of my movie.

Traditionally Mark and I waited until everyone else had left the theater before we exit, and that night was no different. We sat in our seats laughing and enjoying each other; just talking about the events of the night, and how glad we were to be alone. As we entered the lobby to leave the building, I felt Mark slow down. Suddenly, he pulled me backwards. When I turned to see what was wrong, he pointed as he ducked down. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There in the lobby stood Judith and Tom. Before I had a chance to move, their children materialized out of thin air. It was like they beamed down from the Starship Enterprise. I knew we drove separate cars to the movies, but I also knew the kids were not in their car. How in the world did they get there? Better yet, why was the entire family still there? It was like they were waiting for us. Mark grabbed my arm and pulled me back towards the hallway where we exited via a side door. As we made our way to the car, we saw them exit the building and try to catch up to us. Mark drove out of that parking lot so fast I thought I might lose my dinner.

We decided to stop off at a local coffee shop to avoid going home right away. It just so happened they were having open mic night, so we decided to stay and listen to the poets and the music. In between sets, we talked about the odd behavior of our new friends and realized they were stalking us. Mark expressed his need to rid himself of them, especially the children. He felt there was something almost evil about them, and we should find a way to put some distance between us and them. I did not have any issue with what he was saying, because I was freaked out by Judith after tonight. I also felt Tom was a little too controlling for my liking. I was usually able to tolerate children to a certain point, but their kids made me want to commit murder. I informed Mark that it should be easy to get rid of them because we had only known them for a month. In fact, this was only the third time we spent time together as couples. I first met Judith in the bookstore where she was buying a book by my favorite author, and we struck up a conversation. We found that we had a lot in common and decided to hang out. Later, we decided to bring our spouses together; the problem was they always had their four demon seeds with them. I don’t mind a well behaved child or two, but four unruly children just won’t do.

We stayed at the café until around 11:30pm, and when we arrived home we found a car in front of our house. Mark and I looked at each other in disbelief; Judith, Tom and their four kids were waiting for us to come home. This was just about the scariest thing that had happened to me. We thought they must have been insane to actually go to our house, park out front, and wait hours for us to arrive. I was weirded out to say the least as we parked in the driveway. My facial expression gave away what I was thinking, as usual, but sadly it made no difference to Judith. Tom and the kids stayed in the car as she stood on the sidewalk talking to us. At first I tried to convince myself something must be wrong, but Judith quickly dispelled that theory. She stated they wanted to come into our house, and hang out with us. By this time it was after midnight, and we were ready to go to bed. I promptly informed her it was too late for hanging out, and that her behavior was very much like that of a stalker; it was unacceptable.

My words were wasted on Judith; she was like a brick wall. Finally, after explaining that she and her family would not be coming into our home for the third time, Mark put his foot down. He yelled at Judith, informed her we would not be hanging out ever again, and pulled me into the house. We secured the house, but were afraid to go to sleep for fear they would break in. Thank goodness for the coffee we drank at the cafe. We took turns looking out of the window, and noticed the family was still out there in the car until we called the police at 5:00 am.

When the police arrived they found the entire family still sitting in the car waiting for us to come outside. I observed the patrol car pull up behind them and shine lights into the car. The officers sat in the car for a few minutes, which led me to believe they were running the tags on the car. Suddenly there were police sirens and several police cars arrived almost instantaneously. There were also several huge black SUVs that blocked off the street. There were men in combat gear all over the place. I decided this needed to be captured on video so I started recording it with my phone. There was an epic standoff happening in front of our house, and it was with people we had just spent an evening with at the pier and the movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes as Tom, Judith and the four kids jumped out of the car on the passenger side, closest to our house. They each had guns, and commenced to shooting at the officers. Mark tried to pull me out of the window, but I had to document this battle. I was careful and ducked down, but there was no way I was going to miss this. Good thing too, because it turns out those damn kids were not kids after all. I watched as they changed into these strange looking creatures with green skin, three eyes and six tentacles.

The men in the black SUVs were prepared for the transformation, and flanked them. One of the four was killed, and the other three were captured. It turned out Judith and Tom were victims of mind control, and were forced to befriend us in order to gain access to our house. Apparently, our house was built on an intergalactic nexus that would have allowed the creatures to contact their home planet. The feds informed us if they would have succeeded, the aliens would have launched a full on invasion of Earth. It was our instinctive dislike of those children that prevented the creatures from gaining access to our home.

According to intel obtained by the military, they were physically unable to enter the house without being invited, just like vampires. To keep us from telling anyone, the feds tried to erase our memories, but Mark and I were prepared. We blocked their attempts by wrapping aluminum foil on the ends of our eyeglass arms. We fool them into believing we had forgotten and hid the video recording. I wondered… What would have happened if we had liked the children? What they will come disguised as next? I doubt we will stick around to find out.