After The End, first chapter

Hi, I thought you guys might want to see a preview of my next novel After the End. Here we go:

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”

Richard Bach

“When things aren’t working out for people, the end of the world seems like an easy way to wipe the slate clean.”

Evan Glodell

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Revelations 6:8

The Last Hurrah

The trip was going really well until the announcement. Continue reading

The Strange Bush

Sometimes I ponder,

That bush over yonder,

The purple shade of its leaves

It stares sometimes at me, you see?


I swear to you, that it’s true

That sometimes at night, when I’m filled with fright,

The hue of the leaves turns blue


Now, Doug, I’m not crazy, you know I’m not sinful or lazy

A hard-working, sound man I am


But I swear it’s true, the leaves turn blue,

At night when no one can see

At night through the window I see flashing lights,

While I lay in my bed, filled with dread


But it won’t scare me anymore, you see?

For nothing in the world will overcome me,

Not some stupid bush


I’ve come up with not just one plan, but three,

To destroy this looming bush


I must leave now, but Doug please promise me,

That you will look after my wife and child,


They both need a gentle touch, one gentle and mild


I will be back if I survive,

But this poem ends now if I don’t escape alive

Fireworks Show

A dance, a craze,
A look, a gaze,
Fireworks in the distance, a hot night,
Two stupid guys getting in a fight
The night is young, full of wonder,
The wild ones play while the safe ones slumber
What is this life, what is the meaning?
Why do I have all these feelings?
I push them down, a man doesn’t worry,
He’s neutral and bustling, moves in a hurry
The stars are so bright, but a rocket drowns them out,
While the masses of people babble and shout
I heard fireworks have been around for ages,
Even shot off of Elizabethan stages
Were they the same as us?
Did they wonder and fuss?
I conclude that it’s likely as I ponder and sightsee
Moving away from the mass to the empty downtown
The masses deserted to The Park for the dark
Fireworks show

The Looming Pine


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The tree has a long and sordid history, starting with when it killed my uncle Luke back in ’87. He was clearing brush from around the edges of my grandparents’ property. As he was raking up pine needles underneath the tree on a clear and windless day, somehow a branch spontaneously snapped off, landing directly on the crown of his head and killing him instantly. I was too young to remember him, but my parents told me about it years later.

In ’90 my grandparents found a deceased homeless man propped at the base of the tree’s trunk. They lived in a small town two hours from the nearest city, and the cops could provide no answer as to why the man had decided to bring himself up to the tiny northern town, much less how he’d died. Not two months after that a local boy plowed into the tree on his four-wheeler and painted the trunk with his brains. The tree is by an off-road bike trail, sure, but it’s prominent and practically the only obstacle on the whole route.

Four years after my cousin died in nearly the same way, only he was on a dirt bike. Travis was always reckless, but he was an experienced rider, and after what had happened to the other boy he should have been extra-cautious of the pine. Grandma was the one that found him. She said his helmet had all but disintegrated, and what was left of his head looked like “…a tomato that’s been stepped on.” My aunt’s wails at the funeral still haunt my dreams. Continue reading

The Edge of the Earth


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Beyond my back yard on the acres that I inherited from my grandparents sits the edge of the whole world. Maybe the edge of the universe. No one who hasn’t seen it would ever believe it, and everyone who’s seen it is dead now besides me. The last one was my brother when he came up from Spokane last month for a visit.

“I’m going to go on a hike up to the spot,” he said after we chatted for maybe fifteen minutes. “Do you want to come?” I almost asked him what spot but I knew which by the look in his eyes. There was something else there too, something that scared me. I declined and he took off out the house and up the hill with out another word. He hasn’t been seen since.

I know he’s gone, I can feel it. Continue reading

The Moving Painting


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The painting is driving me mad, why won’t it stay still? At every slight movement I make it twists and turns in kind, the demented, wrinkled old man encased in its frame running this way and that but always staring at me whenever I look squarely at it.

Hannah, the day nurse, told me the painting is really a mirror. I know she’s lying to me though.

A Haunt


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There are people in my house, and they won’t go away. I can’t see them, but I can hear them walking around while I’m trying to sleep. Sometimes I run out to confront them but they scatter off, their footsteps pounding across the floor. I yell and I plead at them through the walls to be quiet, but they just wail back in return.

They’re the worst thing to happen to me since my death.

I’m Your Best Friend, and You Don’t Even Know Me!


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She thought the text was a joke at first. “I’m your best friend, and you don’t even know me!” it read, the white space behind the text glowing comfortingly. Arienne laughed, wondering how whatever friend had sent the text had managed to make their number show up as “XXX-XXX-XXXX”.

Wanting to retrieve the current novel she was reading, Awake, so that she could settle into the couch for a late night of reading, she started up the stairs to her bedroom. She had just reached the top of the stairway when she heard something ram into the front door once, twice, and then burst it open and ran into the living room in a split second. It roared triumphantly as she stood paralyzed, a monstrous and inhuman scream.

Her phone lighted up with another message. “But you will soon.”

An Illusion of Memory


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You were at the psychologist’s office because of the bad dreams you’d been having. Dreams that you’d killed a girl when you were in high school. Normally you’d write such dreams off as nightmares, but though you know you didn’t have anything to do with it, this girl actually disappeared. “Please sweet Jesus bring our little girl back to us,” you remember her mom saying on national television as you studied for your AP finals.

“I’m ready to see you now,” Dr. Heston says, ushering you into her office. You spill your guts to her, telling her about your nightmares, how the girl disappeared and eventually her stepfather was found guilty of her disappearance, but how you kept having dreams that you killed her. “In the dreams it’s the middle of the night and I wake up for no reason,” you say. “I’m just an observer, and my body moves on its own. I get out, walk out the back door, walk to her house, and sneak in her window”–this is when you start crying–“I, I smother her, and then take her to my back yard and bury her. That’s when I wake up.”

Though initially alarmed about your revelations, on your next visit Dr. Heston says “I looked up the case, and it’s clear her stepfather did it. He confessed both to a fellow inmate and then later in court. I think you have unresolved childhood issues that need to be dealt with, though. I propose we go to your parents’ yard and dig where you think you buried her in your dreams. When you see that there’s nothing there perhaps this deranged illusion will leave your mind.” Though you think she was a bit wordy, you agree. As you work swings, you meet her there the next night at 10pm, about an hour after your parents hit the hay. “Go on, dig,” she says, handing you a shiny new shovel that she must have bought just for the occasion.

When you uncover the skull, she has just enough time to gasp and turn to run before you hit her in the temple full on with the spade-end of the shovel. While you push her now lifeless body into the hole on top of the skull you start to weep, but a moment later you start laughing as you realize you’ll just forget about this too. After all–you’ve done it before.

Headlights (Flash Fiction)


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The car sits idling outside my house, its headlights cutting through the otherwise complete blackness. It’s raining heavily, and every few seconds the windshield wipers on the car brush up and down the windshields. The god-awful squeal they make reminds me of when I was when I was growing up on the farm and dad would slaughter the pigs at the beginning of spring so the hams would be ready for sale by Easter.

The headlights click on and off, and I know she’s spotted me. I draw my hand back from the blinds like they are white hot, and stumble back from the window.

Despite my best efforts, a sob escapes my mouth. Tears follow rapidly. I know I was drunk. I know I shouldn’t have driven that night. I had blacked out–not that that’s any defense–and her headlights are all that I remember after leaving the party.

I’ve done my time, society has forgiven me. So god, oh god, why can’t she?