As the Curtain Flutters: Ghostly Post # 2

As the Curtain Flutters:  Ghostly Post # 2

Around age eight or nine, my parents built a house on my dad’s property…20 acres at the end of a gravel drive split off from the family land.  I was excited about moving into a brick house in the woods.  I even picked my room!

Most nights were normal.  Bedtime at eight or nine…everything seemed to be eight or nine back then.  I’d disappear into my imagination until I fell asleep.  However, as the attic fan pulled the curtains out from the window one night, I noticed a figure out between my window and the swing.  I did what any little girl would do.  I called out to daddy.

Daddy got up immediately and took his rifle out to check out the property.  I knew if he was there, I’d be safe.  This was just a given.  He came back in the house and told me that whoever it was, he was gone.

This went on for several weeks.  Every few nights, I’d call out to daddy that I saw the man outside my window.  Dad dutifully would check it out, never wavering or indicating he didn’t believe me.  Still, every time he would investigate the  area around the house and find no one.

I was becoming a bit nervous at this point and would do things such as clothespin my curtains together to keep from seeing the man and to keep him from seeing me.  However, looking back, he never seemed to look my direction.  Nor did he even seem aware of my presence.

One night during his visits, I watched from the crack in the curtain and noticed he stopped and seemed to be feeling around on the ground.  I never noticed this but he may have done this every night.  However, he seemed to be on the path we had worn out between the swing and the house, right in front of the seesaw.

The next morning, I went out to see where he was digging around.  Pressed into the ground was a necklace.  It had a gold pendant with a small, round opal inserted in the center and a couple of pink accent stones.  I pulled it from the ground and took it in to clean it.

I’m not sure the history of this necklace.  I thought it was a pretty princess necklace back.  Later, I liked to wear it with vintage clothes.  I never had it appraised because the accent stones appeared to be inexpensive.  I suspected it had little monetary value.

Except, it must have been important to him.  I never saw this man in the yard after that day.  He seemed to be at peace with the recovery of that necklace.   I do know I held onto it into my adulthood and I believe I passed it onto my daughter later on.

[The image is not of the necklace in story but I’m hoping to replace it with the real image later on.  This image was found here.]


The 6th Deck: Ghostly Post #1

The 6th Deck:  Ghostly Post #1

Years ago, I joined the Navy and found myself attending basic and apprenticeship training in Orlando, Florida.  We were in a barracks dedicated to female recruits that stood eight stories tall and I was of course on the top “deck” (we called floors decks in the Navy).  There were some quirks about being on the top deck.  The bathroom only seemed to have hot water.  Thus, even the toilets steamed like you were at some fancy spa resort.  The showers could make your skin peal off.  Therefore, we were constantly seeking other places to shower and take care of personal business.

The sixth floor was not too bad.  No one was assigned to that deck and we found ourselves wandering down there to take care of laundry, showers, and just to find a quiet corner.  At night, however, it was a different story.  Nobody wanted to be there at night.  Strange sounds could be heard in these empty spaces:  the scraping of furniture, the clacking of a paddle, the clanging of something beating on a metal surface.  However, as recruits, we were expected to stand watch on this floor.

To be honest, I was nervous the night I was assigned to the sixth deck watch.  Of course, it was the 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. watch.     I was late to watch because my bunkmate helped herself to my alarm and changed the time after I went to bed.  Thus, I arrived late and disheveled.  However, I did have the presence of mind to grab my bible.  Taking the watch, the other person responded in an irritated voice that this was the third person who had left her standing watch too long.  I tried to explain the situation but she waved me off, uninterested in my excuses.  I hoped that she wouldn’t report me.  Then I was alone.

Every so often, the elevator door would open and shut with nobody exiting.  It was always the one on the left.  I thought this was odd but not worth noting in the logs.  Strange noises could be heard and I pulled out my bible and began reading through Psalms.  I like 91 when I’m really scared.  It’s comforting to think that a thousand can fall at my side but evil will not come near me.  So I read through the Psalm and then moved onto another.

The elevator open and the roving watch stepped out as I slid the bible out of sight and stood at attention.  We greeted each other and they walked through the barracks.  When they returned, I asked if anyone was in the room on the left.  They said no and asked why.  I had heard some tapping.  They laughed nervously.  It wasn’t the first time they heard this report.  It was recommended that I didn’t write it into the logs and then they left.

I would like to say this was my last experience with the sixth floor activities.  However, one afternoon I jumped in the left elevator in a hurry from the eighth deck.  The elevator began its normal descent.  Then it drew level with the sixth deck.  At that point, the elevator dropped.  I know I screamed.  We fell from the sixth deck to the second.  Then the elevator settled out and finished its descent as normal.  We stepped off shakily and determined not to take the left elevator again.  I remember we reported the mechanical malfunction.  The duty officer laughed nervously and suggested to avoid that elevator.

That’s when we heard the story.  Six months earlier a particular recruit lived on the sixth deck.  She struggled with her choice to join the Navy and possibly other events.  We did not know for sure except that she was deeply depressed.  The woman decided suicide was her only escape.  She chose to slit her wrist to that end.  Only, afterwards she had second thoughts.  She entered the left elevator to seek help.  Sadly, she bled out by the second floor.  Once the elevator settled on the ground floor, it was too late.

We were nineteen and curious.  Therefore, we decided to explore the barracks in which she died.  Thus, we through our laundry into the washer and began to move from alcove to alcove.  One of the girls with me called out to come see what she found.  As she lowered the desk, she had discovered a ouija board carved into the surface.  It was noted that this particular space seemed much colder than the rest.  We ended up pulling our laundry and moving to another floor to finish it up.  From that point forward, we only entered the sixth floor when assigned to watch.  Nobody wanted this watch.

[NOTE:  I hope you enjoyed this story.  This is truly how I remembered the events as it occurred over twenty years ago.  I hope to share other stories over the next couple of weeks.  Happy October!]




Darkness filters through the mist…
The journey once begun
Now lay abandoned…
Frozen in a moment of time…
Trapped between unreal dreams
And silent reality…
Asleep in the branches of life…
Consoled by the promise
Of dreams’ sweet lies…
Twisted in the winds of delusion…
Unknowingly once lost
The trail left behind…
Reality distantly calls out
But the voice is drowned
By dreams’ roaring tide…

[Originally pressed on September 25, 2010 on Etchings]

Sometimes I dwell in the dark places…

[Originally pressed on November 24, 2015 on Etchings]

Sometimes I dwell in the dark places
Those dark places that hide in the deep recesses of my soul
I can get lost in that darkness…
I can get trapped in those places
Wandering about…
Steps heavy…
Not realizing…
That to escape
     I must…
          Reach toward
             The light

Darkness can permeate
If I stay lost within
If I don’t turn away
From the shadows
The longer I am here
The harder it is to leave
I get trapped in these places…
Caught in the trap…
Needing to escape

     I must…







[Written on December 10, 2013, this was posted to my first attempt at creating a blog.  It has a good message and I wanted to share it once again.  Image Credit]


“This, to me, represents love…” The letter was written to explain why they had to divorce. She shook her head in irritation. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband had no concept of love and staying strong through the hard times. She continued lost in thought when she almost tripped over the child curled up against the wall in the street.

Streaks of dirt only highlighted the deeper dirt that covered the child. His clothing was threadbare, the patches in the knees worn through. He didn’t meet her eyes. She saw many passed him by giving him no notice. But this was a child. All children deserved notice.

Kneeling down, she asked him, “Where are your parents?” He tilted his head as if uncertain what she said. He tugged at his ear and then she realized he was using a rudimentary sign language. She only drove into town to straighten out some legal matters. “Legal matters”…such a cold way to refer to the dissolution of a marriage. Still, she could not ignore this child. Decision made, she held out her hand.

The boy studied the hand with its neatly painted nails. He could not recall a clean hand offered his way. People on the streets would drag him along, making sure he made it to a shelter to get something to eat…most of the time. Sometimes, though, he hid amongst the trash, disappearing. She shook her hand with a little impatience. He saw her mouth move, knowing she was trying to tell him something. Finally, he slowly took her hand.

She hesitated at first before fully grasping the hand. She could feel the greasy grasp slide over her fingers. She fought against her instinct. She told herself, “It’s just dirt! It’s just dirt!” She pushed back the desire to put a handkerchief between their hands. Shaking away the physical discomfort, she continued walking down the sidewalk. The attorney wouldn’t be far and he could advise her about the child.

“Odd,” she thought. “My problem with dirt…with unclean things is what pushed my husband and me apart. Even…getting personal makes me physically ill. Yet, I am holding the hand of this dirty child.” She looked over at him as he squirmed a little and caught him scratching. “…this dirty, LICE RIDDEN child.” Reaching the entrance to the attorney, she turned towards him.

“I know you can’t understand me, but you need to trust me.” He stared at her uncomprehendingly, sniffing. Then he took his hand and dragged it across the offending nose. Fighting nausea, she shakily took that hand back into hers as they climbed the steps. “I can do this…I can do this…” she continued to chant as they opened the door.

“Hello, Mrs. Sanders. You’re a few minutes ear…” The receptionist cut her statement short. “Oh..oh…ummm…what’s this?”

“This is a who…and I’m not sure but we need to figure something out.” The boy stared out the window as rain began to fall. At least, he thought, I am dry for now.

Written in response to Finish That Thought. The prompt: This, to me, represents love.



Veridian awakened to reports of border skirmishes as the outlanders grew restless.  Commander Tarsus knew from experience what happened if these disputes were ignored.  It was why Veridian’s brother fell.  Pacifism only works so far.  The Dragon Lady differed from the Prince.  She would fight refusing to give up people to the slavery of the outer world.  Tarsus swore his fealty to her because she stood in the gap between the weak and weary.

“Tarsus, what do you recommend?” she inquired as her eyes raked over the reports.

“An immediate response.  Our people have retreated inward.  Some have already been taken, my lady,” Tarsus returned.

“Pull the citizens inward and release the warhounds in between the outer walls.”

Tarsus nodded sharply.  It would be bloody but it would stop the encroachment.  He knew his mistress.  She was already formulating a plan to free the taken.  She left no one behind.

(150 words)  (Photo Source)  Written in response to VisDare 150.

Human76 News

Human76 News

Human 76: Fragments of a Fractured World continues to make itself known with two award nominations and now (finally) a presence in the Kindle market.  Up for both the Anthology and Dystopia awards for this year’s Summer Indie Book Awards, voting will open in September.  If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, you will find all of the links below.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Barnes & Noble Nook and Paperback

Lulu Paperback

Lulu eBook


Back in June as we entered the initial release phase, Michael Wombat released an article full of Human 76 links where some of us authors gathered together bits and pieces of our story to share with you.  Indeed, the initial story of how Human76 came together is a tale to be told.  Since then, several others have written reviews and other lovely bits and pieces linked below.  So dig through our history, vote for us in September, and definitely buy the book.  (Proceeds goes to Water is Life.)




Alex Brightsmith on Behind These Walls


MS Manz on Leaving the Nest

MS Manz on Follow the Leader

MS Manz on Where the Wild Things Are

MS Manz on Glint

MS Manz on Behind These Walls

MS Manz on Hiero Worship

MS Manz on Human X

Mr. Manz plans to work through each individual story with his reviews.  So please keep checking back on his page.

Please continue to add links in the comments.  I know I missed quite a few.



Seeping past the influence of life’s journey,
she dove deep,
losing herself into the drag of society,

Sliding beneath the surface,
she dove deep,
disappearing within moments,

Kicking out past the shallow echoes,
she dove deep,
not looking back as she reached forward,

Pushing beyond expectations of others,
she dove deep,
grabbing hold of her own dreams,

(61 Words)

(Written in response to VisDare 149 challenge)

(Photo Credit)



Rya spotted Ink on the beam that connected two tall gate posts.  Calling Ink down only seemed to agitate him further.  Glancing about, she cursed a rather unladylike response to his lack of cooperation.  She hated to waste magic.  The new regulations limited them to a certain amount each month.

She began to muse through the problem under her breath.  “If I knock you off, it could stun you or you might get hurt.  I’m a lousy catcher.  I’m not old enough for a broom or I’d just fly up and let you step onto the straw.  I can use my magic to float up but that’s  a lot of waste.”  She studied him perched nervously willing another solution to come to light.

“Grrrr!  I guess we’ll just have to waste a bit.  I’d hate for you to fall and become a little Inkblot!”  Taking the wand out of her pocket, she telescoped it out.  “I do so love this collapsible pocket model.”  Glancing around once more to make sure she wasn’t being watched, she swirled the wand around her feet.  The simple incantation created a cloud that slowly lifted her up to the beam.  Once level, she held her arms out for balance as she stepped gingerly toward the cat.  “Familiars!” she muttered under her breath as she scooped the cat up in her arms only to promptly lose her balance.

Claws dug into her shoulder as she teetered over the edge, biting her lip in concentration, she grasped her wand once more and threw out a spell in panic.  The cloud of magic captured them and eased them to the ground.

“That wasted nearly a month’s worth!” she complained to the cat.  Ink responded with purring as he lovingly bumped his nose against her shoulder.  “I suppose you are worth it but don’t get yoruself in trouble the rest of the month.  I have no magic to spare.”