Dear Michael

Dearest Michael,

I hope this letter reaches you. I have so much to be thankful for and everyday is a blessing. But, honestly, I am afraid I’ll not see you again.

I sewed up a deep wound today and this is how it went:

“Please hold still,” I told the patient nervously, knowing that he did not understand what I said. “If you keep moving this will not heal…”

“He does not care to heal.” The words came from an elder who stood behind me, watching me closely. The man wore a mask, as did the young man I operated on, and so far, he has been the only one to speak to me in English. “He only wants to fight once more before he dies.” The man on the table jumped as the needle pressed into his skin, jerking the needle from my hand. “To die on this table will endanger his life in Paradise, to have you touch him has made him unclean, that is why he cannot die. If he dies here he will certainly go to hell.”

“I’m doing the best I can,” I told the man, holding the needle close to ripped flesh, “but if he keeps moving he will certainly die here.”

At this point the man on the table passed out. Maybe from fear of eternal damnation, maybe from the loss of blood. His leader must have thought he died because he hit me with in the stomach with the butt of his rifle. I fell to the floor. Suddenly, angry words came from outside the room.

I hate to be telling you this, but I have to tell someone.

I am now directly in the middle of a holy war, although nothing about it seems holy. I knew where I was going to be before I came here, but I did not tell you the truth. I apologize for that. I told you I would be living in Jerusalem, but that is not where I went. Instead I went to a small town near the Syrian border because they needed doctors.

I am still at the school house, just like I said in my last letter. Remember, I told you about the children who were learning English and Bible scripture? That was true, but the children are no longer here. Only a small, rubble-filled building remains. The entire village has been abandoned.

Before the militants came, we had transformed school room into triage and another into a small operating theater. Doctors from the area came regularly to learn new procedure. As a result, many people were receiving medicine. Only now, it all seems pointless. All of our work has been reduced to smoking remains.

Don’t be mad, I’m so sorry.

We heard the explosions getting closer days ago.  We decided we would all go back to Jerusalem. I wanted to leave so bad and come home to you and the kids, but it all happened so quickly. Before we had a chance to pack, men arrived and began giving us orders. It seemed they only wanted medical attention, when we were taken hostage.

We are now trapped and the leader — I can’t spell his name — killed Steven and Matthew. He cut their heads off while they were still alive. I started crying because they were the only men with us and they beat me.

Now there’s only three women in our group and we are all Christian. It seems our captors have no conscience about what they do to us.  One minute they do not want to look at us, then their hands are all over us doing terrible things. Patricia has been wounded and won’t stop bleeding. I have tried all I can. I’m afraid she will die soon. I am the only surgeon left and I think I will be kept alive, but I do not know how long.

I’m sure this will be my last letter to you, my love. I don’t want you to worry. By the time you get this letter I will either be saved or dead. I need you to know that I am not afraid to die. I feel that I am doing God’s work even when I sew together the enemy’s wounds. I can feel mother’s presence all the time.

Please, give the children my love and tell them that I am with the angels. Tell them I am with grandma. Will you do that?

For now, I just am trying to think of my mother and how we used to stay up late and sew quilts for the homeless. Momma always told me I had the hands of a surgeon. When I graduated and began work at the hospital, she told me I could change the world with God’s guidance. Even now, I believe that is true.

Please dearest Michael, do not mourn me for too long. Your love is so strong and it has been my greatest strength here. Promise me that you will show another your wonderful love.

Yours forever and ever,

A Ghazal and a fun Haiku Chain

I often write poetry as a way to relax. This is a few poems I found that I’d written in 2008, back before I wrote Poetry Principia. They still make me smile and I hope they will you as well.  I know that Haiku are usually about nature. These are not, though they do reflect my nature.

The last poem is a ghazal.   I put an explanation of a Ghazal below from poets.org for those who are interested in poetry.

“The ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet’s signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet’s own name or a derivation of its meaning.

Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians.”

  excerpt:  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/poetic-form-ghazal


Fun Haiku

The Implant

the lines move faster
if you get the chip implant
you can get cash back


Therapeutic Reading

I’m going to read
sit back and relax to words
yeah that’s the ticket


Smart Cops

It was broadcast live
America’s Most Wanted
suspect got away


Cascading Cellulite

She sat before me
with her second set of thighs
cascading downwards

Birthday 2009

A new Lovecraft book
H.P. for my birthday rocks
and a movie too


She called me Stupid

I was called stupid
I ask dumb questions sometimes
if I need to know

Writing Caused This

A blog can hurt me
a comment can make me fly
writing incites both

Divorce

You’re my one and only
well, besides those few women
But, they mean nothing.


The Ghazal

“The Night I Write”

Sitting near the window, under the moon, In the light I write
Harvesting thoughts that form from dreams, during the night I write

It has been my pleasure to write about my life, an undertaking of soul
As it happens, my lines bright design illuminates the night I write

Dark characters do die too soon to be born alive once again to sin
and hide in the shadow and in the dens to survive the night I write

The village where I create my men and the wives they so love
comes ever so close to disaster within the darkness of the night I write

The men cry, “Thad, thou hast done ill and evil to us mere men.
”I have learned they deplore all the sins and despise the night I write.

Two Books from my past: “Sins and Tragedies” and “The Edward Ballaster Project”

Books come and books go, but the people you work with stick around in your head and sometimes you want to turn back time and work with them again. There are three who come to mind very quickly. I worked with them both on Sins and Tragedies and The Dark Fiction Spotlight. The three writers are Stacy Bolli, Stephen W. Roberts and JD Stone. This was the first anthology I was part of and it went together without a hitch.

I worked on a project that included many writers. There is a list of the names at the end of everyone who worked on “The Edward Balister Project.”  Take a moment to look them up and see what they are into now. I know I’m going to.

Here is the review of “Sins and Tragedies.”

Sins and Tragedies Reviewed by Charlotte Emma Gledson – Author of ‘The Lonely Tree and Other Twisted Tales of Torment’.

Sins and Tragedies will take you on a tragic voyage into the deep and twisted minds of four talented authors. This is a collaborative anthology composed by the staff members of The Dark Fiction Spotlight, bringing the reader twelve tales of trauma, terror, tragedy and torment.

Stephen W. Roberts, Thadd Presley, Stacy Bolli and JD Stone, showcase their talents by weaving morbid tales with bizarre and curious scenarios that will tantalize the reader, yet leave them unnerved.

Stephen W. Robert’s contribution to this collection feature, ‘A Voice Within’, ‘Rose’s Roses’ and ‘Clutch My Heart, Nevermore’. Each story is written with menacing grace, pain and trauma flowing naturally within every sentence. Stephen W. Roberts is a heartfelt and beautiful writer who targets your inner emotion with his pungent tales of dark personal horror and tragedy. ‘Clutch My Heart, Nevermore’ is a poignant account of a suicidal father, and ‘A Voice Within’ deals with a fatal car crash that takes the life of a young couple. Stephen writes with a graphic poetical approach, trickling the reader with empathy for each character that leaves a lingering shudder of intense sadness.

JD Stone pens, ‘Glass Atrophy’, ‘Phantom Weight’ and ‘Cursed Blessing’, all three written with vibrant horrific vocabulary leading the reader to experience the very essence of the story. With ‘Glass Atrophy’, one can be part of the sights and smells of an exotic yet squalid region of India, and then indulge in the graphic horror that soon unfolds. ‘Cursed Blessing’ tells of a rock band sharing a very dark bloody secret. JD Stone is a writer with a natural skill of the narrative, stained with a chilling brutality that will leave horror fans satisfied.

Stacy Bolli stories comprise of, ‘Momma’s Boy’, ‘Toilet Troubles’ and ‘Music Of The Swamp’. I respect the way Stacy is unafraid to venture into new territory for a female writer. ‘Toilet Troubles’ will leave you squirming and itching but also with an evil smirk on your face. ‘Momma’s Boy’ is a tale of a vampire hybrid that soon unearths his darkened past. With an ability to menace with her descriptive prose, she is a fine example of a skilful female writer within today’s horror genre. Stacy Bolli writes with conviction, wit and an understanding of the darkness that dwells within us all.

Thadd Presley’s, ‘The Treatment’, ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Halloween’ are vivid accounts on the depravity of human nature. Thadd writes with a passion and rawness that can be unsettling, perfect for the current horror genre. In ‘The Treatment’ the taboo subject of paedophilia is written with sensitivity, yet bringing home the true horror of child predators. With ‘Halloween’, domestic violence is portrayed at its very worse. A beguiling writer, Thadd leaves the reader wanting more, yet you are left reeling from his explicit and dynamic stories.

Reviewed by Charlotte Emma Gledson – Author of ‘The Lonely Tree and Other Twisted Tales of Torment’.

Transplant

Transplant

by Thadd Presley

She has no patience. Neither do I for that matter. We must except that Love is something for which we all must wait. First, waiting all those long years to grow up, then waiting for that special someone. If we are adults by this time, we wait respectfully for the divorce to be final, so life can finally begin.

Some of us — some of them, I mean — don’t wait for anything. They uproot and trek to the love they’ve found, settling. For some it works wonders, like a miracle from the hands of an angel.  Others, though, have a hard time of it.

Like a patient getting an organ transplant, they hope it will take. All the while,  a nightmarish fever dream begins to take place in their unconscious mind. causing them to cast about and say the wildest things.

As if their body is rejecting the much needed organ transplant, they can’t seem to hold onto anything in this new life. Everything they touch disappears. Their hopes and good intentions bleed back into the dream-foam from which they’ve constructed their new life.

Nothing satisfies them. Things they feel, taste, and want only remind them that they are not happy. And all this happens while the real world ebbs and flows around them, many wonderful things go unnoticed and no one knows what to do or how to help.

There’s no pattern. Just one day everything is good, the next day everything is bad. The people who care most are hurt worst by seeing a friend in such misery, but, she has no patience. Neither do I, for that matter.

The Breakup

  “The Break Up”
by Thadd Presley

She called me from a pay phone downtown and told me it was over. She didn’t cry and she didn’t explain. She just said that it was over and she realized she no longer loved me . When I pleaded with her to tell me what was going on and how this could have happened, she blamed it on the summer and my part-time job at the mall. She said if I would have only been around more she would have never met Brad. Brad who, I asked. His name was like being doused in freezing water; out of no where, it stopped me in my tracks. How could she do this? How could she be with someone else so quickly? When I asked her if she had cheated on me, she hung up. I listened to the phone beep for three full minutes before it stopped. I continued to hold it to my ear for a minute longer. Then, I threw it against the wall.
During our argument, I kept my voice low. My father used to like Sally, but since he learned we were dating he didn’t want her around the house and wouldn’t let us be together, which is why I took the job at the mall. It gave me a reason to be out of the house and a place we could meet and see each other.
I knew my dad was downstairs. I imagined him sitting in his reclining chair, drinking scotch, when I was on the phone. Then he heard the crash of the telephone and I didn’t have to imagine anymore.
I knew he was on his way because the chair makes a certain sound when it is closed to fast, like a spring being tightened too much. It wasn’t fifteen seconds before I heard his thuds coming up the stairs. There wasn’t any chance he was going to my brothers room, although Jimmy’s room was across the hallway from mine. My dad never thudded to Jimmy’s room. It was only towards me that my father thudded.
Bang, Bang!! went my bedroom door and then it opened quickly enough to send a gust of air across my small roll-top desk. Two pages of algebra notes were caught up and swooped onto the floor. My dad’s eyes were bloodshot and he wasn’t in a good mood. He hadn’t gone into work for the last three days and he’d spent most of the time in the living room watching television. Now, that my mother was gone for good, he could drink at home. He used to go to the bar, three blocks away.

He surveyed my room for a moment, looking for something out of place. When I didn’t say what the noise was, he spoke: “Why are you crying?”
“I’m not,” I said and cringed.
“Don’t lie to me.” He rubbed his hands together. “Just don’t give me a reason tonight, I’m not in the mood.”
“I’m not giving you a reason.”

It wasn’t the first time my dad hit me, but it hurt worse than ever before. He never hit me hard enough to hurt, it was more of a warning, but the damage was always there. Killing very slowly my heart and spirit.

When I sat still and didn’t respond, he stepped forward. “You want that I do it again?” He asked this in a tone that I knew was going to get worse the longer I didn’t cooperate. But I got a surprise. His face changed, his hands went down. When he realized I was genuinely upset, his voice softened.
“Why are you crying? Tell me.”
“I’m crying because Sally broke up with me and pretty much admitted she has been dating someone else.” A wave of sadness filled me, tears ran from my eyes, not in drops but gushed. I coughed and gagged on the emotions that came out. I’d never cried so hard in my life, not even when mom left. I was having a break down.
Then dad started laughing.
“Is that all?” He said, turning toward the hall. “Hey Jimmy, come here. Hurry.”

I looked at him in disbelief. How could he be laughing at me? He knew how hard this relationship had been. How much I’d sacrificed to be with her. He had to know how hard it was going to be for me because of how much I loved Sally.
He knew…

My brother poked his head into my room. “Jimmy, look here,” my dad beamed with happiness, “we got some great news today and I want the whole house to hear it.”
Jimmy had heard from his bedroom and all the commotion, but he was too nervous to comment, so my father did it all for him.
“That’s right, Jimmy,” my dad continued, “Sally done called and broke the relationship off.” He put his hands up, “Thank God!! Am I right?”
This made me so mad that, for a moment, I didn’t care what happened to me. I stood up knowing I was going to punch my dad, but Jimmy saved the day.

He looked at me and noticed the small spot of blood at the corner of my mouth. “You mean, you’re not going to hit Joselyn anymore?”
“That‘s right son.”
“So, it’s true,” he asked me. “Sally really broke up with you and you’re not going to be a lesbian anymore?”
I started to say something, but my dad interrupted. “That’s right Jimmy, your sister’s not a dike anymore and we can all go back to the way it was.”
This brought such a big smile to my younger brother and I couldn’t do anything that would take that smile away. He’s suffered right along with me.
“Dad’s right. Sally broke up with me and it’s over. Cool, huh?”

He jumped for joy. My dad stood up and gave me a hug. Then he kissed my forehead. “Damn, this is such a good night.” I smelled the scotch on his breath and for the first time in my life I wondered if it would help me forget Sally ever existed. “I gotta call Fred. He’s been having the same problem with his daughter.”
I quickly glanced at the corner and saw the broken phone beside my tattered Teddy bear.
“Would you call from downstairs, so I can get ready for bed? I just want to sleep for now.”
“Sure, anything you want, darling, anything you want.” my dad said as he was leading my brother our of my room. “Anything you want…”

Easter, Bloody Easter

Easter, Bloody Easter

by Thadd Presley

“That’s exactly what she told me,” Anita said, handing the sheriff her ID. “I just don’t know what else to do. She said she would kill me if I so much as came down here.”

The sheriff held up his hand to get the attention of an officer.

“And we both know she can.” She was scared and it showed.  “You have to help me.”

“So she told you not to come here and you came anyway?” The sheriff was surprised. Anita shook her head and then, realizing that she was saying no, she nodded.

“Yes, I had to. She has my brother in her basement.”

“But, she said she would kill you.”

“Yes, I know. Please help me.”

“OK.” Fear was visible in the sheriff’s eyes. “Just stay right here.” He waved again for an officer. “I have to make a phone call and get this straightened out.” The sheriff rose from the chair and walked towards her from behind his desk. “Just to be sure. You’re mother has your brother locked in the basement and she is going to kill you because you came down here and told the police?”

“God, yes. What is wrong with you?” Anita was starting to get frustrated. She had already spent thirty minutes explaining to the police that her mother had gone crazy and was torturing her brother.

“Nothing is wrong with me, Anita. I have to get the facts straight. Don’t you see that it’s hard for me to believe a story like this. You’re mother is one of our town leaders and my boss’ wife.”

“Yes, call my dad. Please! I know he’s out of town, but he will tell you that she has been acting funny lately.”

“That’s exactly what I’m doing.”

The sheriff was almost out of the door when Anita screamed.

He turned around and saw blood pouring from her eye. “Dear God,” he exclaimed and ran to her. “What did you do?”

Anita couldn’t answer him, although she tried. Her mouth just wouldn’t say the words.

“Sheriff Coffee,” a deputy called, then he saw the blood. “What’s happening to her?”

“God only knows, Stephen. Get in here and hold her still.”

Stephen entered the small office and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The young girl was sitting in the expensive leather chair with her head lolling from left to right. A thin stream of blood was spurting out from the corner of her eye with every heart beat.
“What is she trying to say,” the sheriff asked. It was obvious to both men that her mouth was moving and words were slowly being formed, but it was in slow motion. Much to slow for them to understand.
“Here.” Stephen pushed a blank piece of paper on the sheriff’s desk.
“Try to write on this, Anita.”

There was no time to think. The sheriff barely had his hand out of the way when Anita used her bloody finger to draw on the paper. She moved her hand back and forth and up and down, lubricated by the blood on her hand.

“What is that?” the Sheriff asked.

“Good Lord. It’s not one of those pentagram things is it?” Stephen looked at the dark red scribble and put his hand on the desk, trying to settled his spinning head. But, it did no good. He was suddenly overwhelmed by dizziness, puke rushed up his throat and sprayed out of his mouth and nose. The sheriff didn’t have time to flinch before the hot, grey, half digested oatmeal landed on his shirt and fell, stinking, on his trousers.

“Damn it, Stephen, pay attention,” he said. But, it was too late. The deputy had passed out and was sliding slowly across the desk, into the floor.
“Anita, please, look at me.” The Sheriff straightened her up as he said it, wanting to get the situation under control. But as Anita continued to draw on the paper with her own blood, the sheriff realized that she had drawn a stick figure. What was she pointing at it, trying to tell him something. He felt as if he was running out of time. “Someone get in here.”

“If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you,” a voice said. He whirled around. 

“Anita?” But he realized it wasn’t her voice. There was no one else in the room with them.

“If you tell, I will kill you.” He knew the sound was in his head. As suddenly as he realized it, a pain shot through his temple down to his right hand. He instinctively knelt down and held his head in his left hand.

“Who’s there?”

“No,” Anita said, forcefully. “He won’t tell.”

“Who’s doing this?” The sheriff demanded.

The voice was louder. “I have you all right here with me.”

The pain in the sheriff’s temple grew and warm liquid flowed onto his lips and down his chin. He reached for his gun and saw that his shirt sleeve was red. He realized it was blood. Before he lost consciousness, he knew what she was trying to draw and he almost had time to laugh.

Why didn’t she listen to her mother? What could he have done to help her? The police are no match for a voodoo doll.

Fiction Weekly Begins

I suppose the best place to start is by telling you why I started a blog. That’s not an easy question to answer because my reasons will change every day.

First I think a blog will help me stay focused on what I’m doing from week to week. It will house my thoughts and writing and act as a bulletin board for submissions and goals I want to achieve. It will also be a central place for anyone who is interested to find my stories. Eventually, I will move all my stories to this blog. More than anything, though, I want this blog to become my journal, allowing my path to be followed and remembered.