I wanted to change things up a bit for Motivation Monday and start bringing in "special" judges once in a while.

This week's judge is a good friend and beta reader who I met in the last year through the #pubwrite group on Twitter.  She's offered to judge this week and offer a free copy of her book as this week's prize!

The Judge

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Karen Victoria Smith grew up with an Irish grandmother who tried to teach her the old ways and watched horror movies with her in the dark. KV lives in New Jersey with her family who patiently allow her to believe that in a 24-hour world the monsters are real.

Follow her on Facebook at K. Victoria Smith and on Twitter at @kvictoriasmith


The Prompt

You'll find monsters where you least expect them.

The Prize

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Wall Street has fangs. When international power brokers, creatures hiding in plain sight, threaten  Micaela and those she loves, will this heiress of a Druid legacy deny her power again and let others die?  A thrill ride of money, magic and murder across the globe.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I read this book last week and I can honestly recommend it for your library.  Imagine Sookie Stackhouse and company in the world of old money and ancient traditions. 

The story is fast-paced imaginative and full of multicultural flavor.

The Rules

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Comments

Karen Victoria Smith
05/28/2012 06:34

Thanks so much, Wakefield, for allowing me to be a guest judge, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's submissions.

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05/28/2012 09:11

“You’ll find monsters where you least expect them,” he said.
No shit! Really? I couldn’t help but think Tom was bluffing. Monsters weren’t real. At least not by any tangible reasoning that I could cling to. Why we were even having such a conversation was beyond even my scope of understanding – and I was the smart one – the practical one.
“You’ll want to be prepared,” he continued. “For when they do come.”
Could he even hear how silly he sounded?
“Tom you can’t be serious mate,” I said. “You expect me to buy this... bullshit?”
“It isn’t bullshit,” Tom insisted. “It’s very real and if you aren’t prepared they’ll get you.”
There was that word again – prepared – I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to be prepared for. Monsters, of course, but what sort of monsters were we talking about exactly?
“Are you um, shit... could you elaborate perhaps?”
“I’ll go one better than that,” he said. “I’ll show you.”
I screamed the moment the fear receptors in my brain told me to be afraid and that was barely one second after Tom began advancing towards me. He – my long time friend – was the very thing he was warning me about.
I smiled to myself realising at once that he was right. You really did find monsters in the most unlikely of places and among the most dubious of hosts.

@StaceyJMcIntosh
223 words

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05/28/2012 09:14

“You’ll find monsters where you least expect them.”

Half a dozen police officers clustered nearby, nodding sagely as though they’d collectively dropped a nugget of golden wisdom to admire.

“Remember the demon thing in Abbey Wood at midsummer?”

“Or the succubus in Twickenham,” another said with a leer. “Such a shame to put a beautiful shag like that down.”

“And the lycan in Barking.” This one prompted a round of laughter.

This group had seen a fair share of the world most humans managed to avoid. I listened to the banter, huddled into myself against the bitterly cold air of London in October. They caught my observation. I smiled and sipped cold coffee.

“So what’s the deal with Miss Scarlet?”

Oh yeah, cops always had jokes.

I ran a hand over my red hair and listened as they discussed my job and reasons for being here.

“She’s one of those Light Seer freaks. She crosses her eyes and sees the energy of the universe or some such bullshit.”

“Don’t be rude, Hastings. You’re just worried she’ll figure out your mom shagged a troll or something.”

I lifted my coffee to hide a laugh.

“Marshal Kelly?”

A tidy man approached. I raised a hand in acknowledgment.

“I’m Inspector Warren. Thank you for coming on such short notice.” I shook his hand and almost died from the teasing warmth of the brief touch. He took in my LBD attire. “My apologies for interrupting your evening.”

“Occupational hazard, Inspector,” I said. “The detective who called me here indicated an emergency?”

I’d been cooling my heels for over two hours without a jacket in near freezing temps.

“I’m not getting a sense of much urgency.”

“Ah, yes.” Warren had the decency to look uncomfortable. “We’ve traced the energy this far, but we’re not entirely sure what we’re dealing with. Standard measures haven’t protected anyone so far, so we felt it best to bring in an expert.”

I stood and got a low whistle of appreciation for the effort. I looked to the uniforms, but no one stood out as the guilty party. Warren glared.

“If you’ll just follow me, Marshal,” he said.

“Of course.”

As we passed the cops, I let the power leashed within me loose. I didn’t normally show off, but I felt they deserved a proper show. My eyes shimmered like opals, a dance of color and light. One of the cops crossed himself. The one who smiled caught my undivided attention.

I could barely make out the normal green of his human energy beneath a viscous sheen of black.

Black?

I’d never seen black energy before.

He waggled clawed fingers at me and I thought there might just be an emergency after all.

The moment passed as I let my sight return to normal. The officer looked fully human, but I knew what hid beneath the surface now.
My line of work had a monster-expectation-quotient of at least eleven. I always expected monsters.

Generally speaking, I got them.

@caramichaels
500 #WIP500 words

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Rebekah Postupak
05/28/2012 11:23

Love, love, love, love this. How the heck am I supposed to write something now?!

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Miranda Kate
05/28/2012 13:07

Excellent - I need more, when are you bringing the book out? ( ; >

05/28/2012 10:26

Looking Back And At Yourself
by S Jayanth
_______________________________

“You'll find monsters where you least expect them to be”, his mother said when he ran to her complaining that he was afraid that monsters maybe living under his bed. Jack was eleven then. Jack believed his mother for his own comfort. He strongly expected the monsters to be under his bed but since his mother said they live in places where we least expect them to be, he took courage in believing that the dark underbelly of his bed was home to no monsters.

Jack, as he slowly grew up, began to believe that there were no monsters at all and that he doesn’t need to be afraid of being eaten alive.

When he entered high school, he was just the same eleven year old Jack who was tender, honest, kind and caring, both at home and outside. But by bad judgement, his newly-made friends led him off the right path. Most of the friends he made were rich, and most of them did drugs and booze already. It wasn’t much time before Jack too got addicted to the dark side of teenage freedom. He hadn’t stopped to turn back and look at what he was becoming. He just lived the moment believing it is the best way to live life, he hardly knew he was living all those moments in a way that would bring disgrace to his parents. He managed to hide his outside life very well so that his parents did not know what he was when he stepped out of home.
Eventually, when he was 22, he left his home after he had an altercation with his father who came to know that Jack was doing drugs. When he left, his mother said, “Jack, where ever you live, hang as many mirrors as possible in your room”. Jack thought his mother was all devastated and so lost her mind. He went away to live downtown with his friend, choosing pleasures over parents.

Soon, sex and gambling got added to his ill habits. He was a handsome man, he knew it, and he plundered as much as he can from it, by trying to be a Casanova.

One day, Jack’s friend dropped him on the street next to where they live and drove away saying he has some business to attend. Jack was slowly walking to his apartment, feet not confident due to the dizziness in head caused by marijuana. He saw a lone woman walking by, he lost his head and started to molest her. That woman somehow managed to call the police. She was able to protect herself long enough for the police to arrive and take Jack away.

After a week, he was put to trial and when the trial was underway, one of the security guard came in and handed over a palm-sized parcel to the judge, saying it would help in the trial. Jack was made to open it. When he opened it, he found - a mirror. a monster.
_________________________________________________

497 words
@sankarajayanth

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05/28/2012 10:27

You'll find monsters where you least expect them. You think I exaggerate, that monsters are stories told to children at bedtime, or campfires to thrill them. But I am here to tell you they exist and I have seen their faces. They hide in plain sight. When you look at them you see what they want you to see, faces so bland that you really wouldn’t take a second look but you ought to. You really ought to...
The monsters are predators waiting their orders to take over the world. Oh I know what you are thinking. I’ve flipped my lid. If I hadn’t seen one of them I too would have thought the same. Should someone have told me the story, I would have called them out as liar a teller of tall tales.
I had been dating an amazing woman who lived next door Sharlene. I should have been suspicious. Why would a woman who looked as amazing as she did, date a schmuck like me? She talked in her sleep, my next clue that she wasn’t human. The third came when I arrived home early one evening to see her kissing a man in the backyard .At least at first I thought it was her kissing him, then I realized she was sucking out the man’s lifeblood; with her eight arms, each with a suction cup on a hand like appendage. She tried to tell me that she was sorry but I saw through her and him. She had made him a monster too, so he could help with her alien invasion.
I killed the two of them last night. He begged me to stop, but I knew he was changing. I did him and the world a favour. You know I did; her kind can’t be allowed to procreate the world. There is probably more of them. You have to let me get out there and find them there set to take over the world. What do you mean, you won’t let me go? I have to leave this place and stop the invasion. They are monsters.
Forgive me it’s clear to me now. You’re one of them and you keep me as your pet until the invasion is done.
Idiots don’t you realize he’s a monster too? He’s no doctor. No don’t drug me. I’m not crazy they’ll take over the world...so tired sleep and yet I hear voices it’s probably them must fight to stay awake and hear the invasion plans.
“Sad isn’t it a brilliant mind, a brilliant astronomer and astrophysicist, whose mind has snapped.”
“Sad? He brutally killed two people.”
“He’s still one of our patients.”
“He’s a criminal just like the rest of them.”
“The doctor says he may recover.”
“Who want to? He’d found out he killed his girlfriend and her lover.”
“Yes there’s that.”
Silly people, they’ve deluded you. Stop them or you’ll be sorry. Monsters are real. You see I’ve just discovered, I’m one of them too.
@SweetSheil
497 words

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05/28/2012 10:58

The Journey Part 5: Journey's End


You'll find monsters where you least expect them.

Jessa scrambled through the gate of the Colony with rubbery knees and trembling hands. The Keeper smashed the gate in the face of the Ravager, slamming the bar home. Jessa staggered, and the guard supported her with an arm around her waist, half-carrying her to a nearby stone bench.

"Sit for a mo," he said, "and I'll send for your Captain. Horse, right?"

Jessa nodded, still panting from her frantic final race. "Water," she gasped.

"Of course," said the Keeper, and handed her his canteen.

After gulping her fill, Jessa sat, zoned out. Far better not to think at all than to remember. She'd need to recount her journey soon enough.

"Well, and ye made it, then."

Jessa leaped up at the harsh voice, her hand flying up to her forehead in a salute. "Sir, yes sir." But her knees liquefied and she dropped back to the bench. Appalled, she struggled back to her feet. "Sorry, sir."

Horse exposed huge teeth in his long, lugubrious face, his version of a smile. "Here, lass, let me take the pack." He hefted it off her shoulders and began walking toward the barracks, certain that she'd follow. "Ye found the alloy, then?"

"Yes, sir."

"And Jazzy?" His furry brow lifted.

Jessa blinked back the sting in her eyes and swallowed the desert in her throat. "She didn't make it, sir. Ravagers."

Horse shook his head, his coarse mane of dark hair flowing around his shoulders. "Ah, such a shame. But ye've done well, lass."

Seated in his office, Jessa finished her report. "Cap'n, I found a leaf, at least I think it was."

When she described it, Horse said, "Well, lass, I think ye'd better report this to the Leader."

Jessa's heart leaped and sang for joy as she followed Horse to the Sanctum, where only a favored few entered. She said a quick prayer to the None that the Leader would find favor with her.

The Leader's eyes were deep and mesmerizing, and she dared not look into them as he ushered her into his Holy Place. Seated on a cushion before his throne she kept her head bowed, eyes down as she told him of the leaf.

"And were there no fragments you could collect and bring to me?" His sonorous voice echoed like angel choirs.

"The Ravager almost got me while I was looking for them."

The Leader rose and held out his hand, drawing her up. "Look at me, child."

When her eyes met his, Jessa froze, and when his lips covered hers she would have screamed, but she couldn't. Her thoughts, memories, dreams all flowed from her mouth into his and were absorbed into his being.

His jaw unhinged, swallowing first her face, then her head. The rest of her followed, and she knew no more.

Prompt plus 468 words
@dee_768

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Miranda Kate
05/28/2012 13:21

Episode 3 and I am left with my jaw hanging.....I need to know MORE! Great stuff.

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05/28/2012 11:41


“You'll find monsters where you least expect them,” I said, and looked up at the bartender.

He nodded wisely, and leaned forwards as he flung a white piece of cloth over his shoulder.

“I didn’t see you for weeks, I half expected you wouldn’t come back this time,” he said, and touched my hand gently.

I retracted it quickly, as a reflex, and his eyebrows narrowed.

“You can’t live in a world with monsters, and deny all human contact. It will change you, and not for the better,” he chided.

I rolled my eyes. I’d heard the speech a dozen times, and that was just this month. Harbor liked me; I knew that, I could see it in his eyes every time he looked at me. He didn’t mind my scars, physical or mental, and I should have jumped on it; both him and the chance of a happy life.

“Someone’s gotta do the dirty work,” I said, but cringed internally.
What a cliché to hand out, especially to him.
“How long you in town for?” he asked as he slid a rum & coke my way.

I stopped it with both hands and stared into the glass. It held promise of numbness, and promise of a night without nightmares.

“I don’t know. I have a job down south, someone claims they’ve seen a mermaid,” I said.

He laughed loudly, a bark of a laugh, but sobered quickly.

“I thought they were all like Ariel?”

I shook my head. Mermaids were not like pictured through Disney. I had a scar to show for it, a long jagged one.

“Picture Ariel, only with teeth as a shark and claws as Freddy Krueger. They swim fast, and they smell blood like a piranha,” I said.

I shuddered violently. Where there was a female, there was also a mate.

Harbor’s eyebrows knitted together.

“Why don’t you let the police handle it?”

He’d never once said it, though I’d been sure he thought it often enough.

“They wouldn’t be able to handle it, even if they did believe their eyes,” I said.
“I believe you,” he answered.
“You’re different. Most people are not, and especially not when it comes to monsters. Besides, I know how to fight them, and so it’s less dangerous for me,” I said.
“And still you come here, with a new scar to show, every damn month,” he huffed.

So he had noticed, and perhaps he did mind. My eyebrows tightened and I downed the drink and got to my feet.

“I make the world safer, and I don’t expect anything back,” I said, and then left.

He shouted something, but I didn’t hear it, I didn’t want to. I was in my car before daybreak, with a freshly bought net, a bucket of blood and a full tank of gas.

I felt the tug strongly. I knew where she was, almost as if she was calling for me, and yearning for me to get there so we could play.


@ChessnySilth
Wordcount: 500

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05/28/2012 13:26

You'll find monsters where you least expect them or when you least want them. Look at me, I blend in perfectly; I wear the same clothes they do, I have my hair cut short as many men do and I have a job in the center of the city. People that pass me on the street would never guess that I have killed thousands of people, drank their blood and fed on their—hmmm—sweet meats. I have been doing this for quite some time. No matter how much I try to stop, I cannot.

They pass me without as much as a thought, then they wish they would have been more wary of crossing my path, at whatever hour, when I decide they are “deserving”. A talent I’ve had to practice. The Darkness has at least taught me something; I see their souls as it does. I know everything about someone just by being near them and I use it to decide whether they will be my next meal. Some pray for mercy, others threaten and my favorite, the ones that don’t struggle at all as though they knew the day would come for them.

With the large body count in my wake, I wonder why the police have not found me and try to punish me as they have in the past? Do they see my victims as “deserving” as well? I guess anything is possible, but probably unlikely. I don’t see much press on my kills either, if any at all. It is as though they do not happen. Sometimes it feels as though they put these people in my path, knowing I will take them out without another thought.

Most people are good, believe it or not. Of course, everyone has some sort of dark secret they wish to keep hidden, but I see it, all of it. Don’t get me wrong, the hunger does not go unfilled; there are plenty of the “deserving” for twenty of me to feed. The Darkness does not understand my selectiveness but it no longer questions; however, it does taunt me still when it desires a soul more pure, like her, in its diet; I never give in. She will remain free of me.

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05/28/2012 13:28

almost forgot this stuff

@ChuckWesJ
374 Words

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05/28/2012 14:11

You’ll find monsters where you least expect them. A net wrapped around the creature and brought it to the ground. Covered in fur and feathers, the humans were quick to incapacitate it. The taloned foreclaws went first. The join of the wrist was small and all bone, easily sheared by their new fire-wrought blades. Fire was their weapon. A torch set fire to feathers, burning away the crest from the head and part of the net. The head was free now, but the humans attacked the feet next, lopping off both furry, clawed legs below the knee.

The beast roared in pain. “Please!” he cried. “I’m not your enemy. I was a friend to your leader, Cob. I saved him. Please!”

He could plead no more than that. Their metal weapons had many shapes, but this was the biggest, meant for fighting monsters like this. It was long and thin and the alpha male shoved it into the bird eye, right through his head and into the ground.

“We are powerful!” The one standing atop the dying beast shouted to the crowd. “We have our own strength and magic. We will not be helpless again!”

There was cheering in reply. Mothers brought babies to touch the fur and feathers, proving to them it was dead. “We can kill them,” more than one said to her child.

The men began dancing in victory, grabbing onto females who were eager to share the moment. The magicless humans could bring down the mighty immortals. They were not immortal.

In an aerie on the mountain, a human girl waited for her foster father to bring home meat for supper. Her gryphon brother keeping her company and chasing her around the cave. She stopped, however, an ominous feeling coming over her.

“Something is wrong,” Fae told Fel. “Where is Cytersaurcanther?”

The gryphon clucked in his throat. “I can’t even say his whole name!” he complained. “Let’s ask Mother.”

“Mother, where is Father?” Fae asked Twigentradendron.

“Don’t you worry. He probably just got wrapped at the council. You know they’re trying to figure out the best way to prevent the others from attacking the human colonies.”

Fae nodded, remembering. “I think something has happened to him,” Fae said, concerned.

Twigentradendron made light of her concern. “What could have happened? Someone stumped him with a really good question?” she clicked her beak in the gryphon form of laughter. “He’ll be home soon, Fae. Why don’t you and Fel go out and watch for him?”

Fae didn’t argue further, but looked down at the smoke rising from the human colonies. Fire could hurt and immortal, but surely nothing could kill one. Leaning into Fel’s furred leg, Fae tried not to worry.

453 words
@kimmydonn

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Miranda Kate
05/28/2012 14:47

“You'll find monsters where you least expect them” is what they told me and they were right.

I was living my life, and minding my own business and they just arrived, like someone switching on a light. They moved right into my head as though I had a vacancy sign showing, talking to me day and night, saying the most horrible and grotesque things and showing me such disturbing images.

I stopped sleeping; I couldn’t bear to shut my eyes and see the images and hear the endless nasty babble promoting them, wanting me to like them too. I would manage a couple of hours here and there when I fell asleep without trying, but the minute they started I had to find something to distract me; if not an actual person, the TV or the radio, anything to drown them out. They made me scared to be left alone; scared of what they would say and show me, and scared I would go insane if they didn’t stop.

Besides the weight loss, the tiredness was the first thing people noticed. At work I would just fall asleep on the spot; I wouldn’t even know until someone shook me awake. Sometimes it was only a couple of minutes, but other times it was hours. But the crunch came when I began to talk back to the voices; argue with them to shut up, even shout at them. I didn’t realise I was doing it out loud, until my work staged an intervention - well that was my name for it, as it got me taken away.

But in the end I was thankful they did. Finally I had someone to tell about the monsters in my head, about the things they did and showed me, and finally they gave me a drug that I could take that muffled them and some days stopped them entirely. Unfortunately those same drugs also stopped me from being able to do a lot of other things, like thinking for myself and undertaking simple tasks like dressing or showering, and meant that I had to live here now, in a special place.

But at least here I learnt the truth, that although there might not be monsters hiding under your bed, they could be hiding inside your head.

383 Words
@PurpleQueenNL

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05/28/2012 15:02

Like A Big Girl

You’ll find monsters where you least expect them. This is one of the ageless truisms that have existed for as long as there have been those to compose such things.

Submitted for your consideration is Miss Emilia Faye Carstairs. She is three and one half feet of sheer cute and adorable. Blessed with flaxen hair and cornflower blue eyes, this dimpled darling serves to satisfy this truism most accurately.

Emilia was the newest student of Ms. Stephenson’s morning kindergarten class at Springview Academy. Her mother had decided she must start now and not next year as she’d planned.
The problem was, Emilia simply did not belong amongst the others. The majority were acquainted with each other prior to beginning school. She was an outsider, an interloper, that most-dreaded of pariahs: “the new kid”. To Emilia, as with nearly any child her age, there was absolutely no worse thing to be than THAT.

Neither Ms. Stephenson nor her mother understood. Mommy told Emilia she must be a big girl and work through her problems.
Today, Emilia determined would be the end of the bullying. Within her Hello Kitty lunchbox were surprises for her classmates AND her teacher. Emilia could scarcely wait to unveil them but knew she must wait.

When crafts was over, Emilia stood in line with the others as they retrieved their lunchboxes. She sat at the same table as Tommy and Suzie and a few of her other tormenters. She ignored their snickers and jibes and unpacked her lunch.

Last of all was her thermos. She’d filled it, herself, full of the stuff Daddy used to run the mower. She carefully unscrewed the top and set it aside. In her other hand was a match taken from the kitchen drawer at home. She knew this would work. She’d seen it on that police show mommy was watching one night.

With a sweep of her small arm, she liberally doused the children. Before they could react, she struck the match the way she’d seen Daddy do on countless chilly winter nights. With an angelic smile, she tossed it amidst the squealing children.

Startled squeals became screams of agony as flames leaped up to engulf the students. Emilia slowly backed away. She wanted to make sure Ms. Stephenson had an unobstructed view of the situation. The horrified teacher ran for the small fire extinguisher.

Emilia exited the classroom, closing the door behind her. She reached under her blazer and removed the jump rope that had been in her lunchbox. Using a knot she’d learned from her Uncle Bert, she quickly tied it around the doorknob. She pulled the rope very tight and tied it to a water pipe that ran up the wall.

Convinced the door would not open without someone on her side helping, Emlia ignored the commotion inside the classroom and walked out of the school. She just KNEW Mommy would be so proud of her for working out her own problems like a big girl ought to.

500 words @klingorengi

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05/28/2012 17:43

“You’ll find monsters where you least expect them.” It was something that my mother always told me. Little did I know just how right she was.

I stepped forward to get a better glimpse of myself in the floor-length mirror. There wasn’t a single wrinkle in my suit, which was a plus considering that I was due at the office within twenty minutes. I cringed at the splatter that made it to my cheek, but a Kleenex I swiped from the girl’s dresser cleaned that up easily. All in all, I’d say this was yet another successful addition to my list of qualifications.

Things weren’t easy in this line of work. The screams echoed in my head at night. The visions of tear-streaked faces and pleading eyes haunted my memory at any given moment. It was why I didn’t bother to look at the crumpled body that lay lifeless by my foot. It was why I completed my assignments quickly, rather than take my time like I did in my earlier days.

“Another day in the life,” I murmured to my reflection, straightening my tie.

“The mob’s finest assassin.” It was a title I’d been assigned recently. It almost made this sound...prestigious. I supposed to them, it was. The money in my bank account was only further proof of that. However, each time I looked in my own cold, nearly lifeless eyes, there was only one thought that crossed my mind.

Never did I expect to find the monster living inside of me.

254 words
@msmithbooks

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05/28/2012 19:02

Interview Session # 1273

You'll find monsters where you least expect them. I’m telling you this now so you don't freak out when it happens to you. I mean, you seem tough and all, but you never really know about someone until they're eyeball-to-snout with a brain-guzzling Watoozi. Bottom line, I can't vouch for you until we get some dirt in your teeth and some blood under your nails. Or vice versa.

Imagine getting assigned to the First Responder Crew, looking all big and bad in that kickass uniform and then peeing yourself at the first sign of a hairless Sciradine or a slobbering Grunisteel. That would be a blemish on the company record and my reputation, not to mention what it would do to your uniform pants.

But I think I can swing a compromise. You want to come in as a temporary guy and, get a little on-the-job training, well then we can see what’s what. I got a couple community relations gigs this morning you can come along on. Lets, see. There’s a ribbon cutting at the Monsterial Obliteration Museum at nine and at ten, we're lined up for a rally against MAP. That’s the new humane based Monsters-As-Pets group fighting to get critters under 60 kilos registered as official pets.

Oh, and in the afternoon, right after lunch, I have an eradication scheduled over on the west side. That’s gonna get gory. We’ll have to bring a back up team and probably a tank crew or two. Yeah, that will be the one that tells me whether you have the stuff or not. If you can keep your lunch down in the middle of an eradication, I’ll pin a badge on you myself and tell the Big Boss to go straight to Plattersine if he don't like it.

Hey, don’t look so down, dude. I'm ready to go to bat for you. Like I said, you look pretty sturdy and I'm pretty sure you got the cojones, so all we really gotta do is get you familiarized with the various species and take-down tactics and you're gonna be good to go. Right? Tell you what. As a good will gesture, I’ll pitch in and loan you a utility belt from the company stock. Come into my office and while I get your measurements, I’ll run through the top five tips for dealing with monsters, starting with the most important lesson of all: you'll find monsters where you least expect them.


@bullishink / 414 words

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05/28/2012 19:36

"YOU'LL FIND MONSTERS WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT THEM," blares the cop show from the TV I turned off before going to bed. It's on now, max volume, sirens and screams bringing me downstairs with a hammering heart.

I pop into the kitchen and fumble a knife out of the drawer.

"Hello?" I waver. Ghosts. Gotta be ghosts. What else plays tricks like this in the middle of the night?

Ever since the divorce, appliances have been on the fritz, and lights go out too often. It's her fault. No, that's mostly a lie, it's mine. I'm the one who started acting "not myself anymore", like that means anything. I missed work a few times, yelled at her, yelled at my boss, and got fired. Did she have to kick me while I was crawling out of the rubble?

She took the kids, leaving me alone in a house meant for five people, the perfect feeding ground for malevolent forces to gorge on my self-loathing.

I slam the power button on the remote, but it stays on. A shiver crawls from the small of my back to my neck. I move at the TV quickly and press the power button three times before it recognizes my request. It powers down, and the house sits still, empty, dead but for my sigh of relief.

Giggling. From the kitchen. My body feels alive with dancing centipedes, forcing shivers into places like my thighs, where shivers are not supposed to be.

I run in, knife high, socks slip on tile, I slam into the fridge, and stab myself in the chest. I scream, louder than the stupid TV that woke my stupid mind up so I could freak out and stab myself. Something feels wrong in my chest. I can't seem to catch my breath.

Amidst my lurching inhales, I hear the unmistakable sound of stifled laughter.

"Why?!" I wail at the kitchen, causing the laughter to burst into full volume. The refrigerator starts to rock back and forth. I lie in its belly-flop path, bleeding, frozen.

The fridge teeters forward, threatens to fall for far too long, until the doors pop open like dropped jaws.

Inside, in place of the beer, mustard, bread, pickles, and packets of lunchmeat that were my staples, is a tunnel.

The tunnel is some forty feet of black marble, and there is a bright, sunny day on the far side, with a kite rippling in a warm breeze. The kite moves along and the line of the kite-string moves lower and lower, until a hand appears, attached to the string, attached to a body, which ends in large, translucent wings.

The body is covered in short black fuzz, and the wings flex gently, dusted with something like snowflakes of gold. As the face turns to me, it looks like a mirror of my own, with younger skin and much, much older eyes. A beautiful monster. Me, freed from myself.

It smiles, holding out the kite string to me.

I reach out, and gravity tugs the fridge down.

@agbeyer
494 words

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Rebekah Postupak
05/28/2012 21:39

“You’ll find monsters where you least expect them.”

I thumbed through the rest of the pamphlet with a shudder. It only got worse from there—glossy photos, testimonials, statistics, everything you’d expect to find. Don’t laugh, but somehow it’s so much more intimidating when sitting in the Office of Monster Catching waiting for them to call your name and talk you into the service you know you need but are terrified to sign up for. (Sorry for the run-on—goes to show how upset I am at the whole thing.)

Well, they called my name, and a lot sooner than I’d hoped. I folded the pamphlet up and tucked it neatly back into its spot on the rack. It really gnaws at me when folks leave papers on tables or throw them carelessly on the floor, especially in an office. There’s a RACK right there, for Pete’s sake, and it would take you exactly THREE SECONDS to put the thing back where you got it, would it KILL YOU to make that tiny effort???

Whoops. Deep breath. Sorry, got off track for a second. I hope you realized some of those comments were probably directed toward my ex, and didn’t take it personally. Anyway.

So they called my name, and into the back office I go, trembling like a closet door at midnight. (Arrrgh. Tense shift. Sorry. Into the back office I *went.*)

“Welcome to OMC,” said a soft voice. I could tell she meant to sound warm and fuzzy and soothing; I gave her three invisible points for that, even if I didn’t feel warm or soothed (I always feel fuzzy. Genetics.).

“Thanks,” I said.

“I’m Sylvia,” she said, pointing me to a chair. She was tall and slender to my short and squat, and I had to remind myself eleven times that she was there to help me, before I could stop hating her.

“Hi Sylvia,” I said. I didn’t bother introducing myself, since a folder with my name on it in block letters lay open on her desk. My own photo glared back at me from the inside flap.

“So, I understand—” and here she flipped through the pages of my file, like a monkey rifling a head of hair for lice, “—I understand you have a monster problem?”

I was thinking maybe it’d be all right to hate her after all. Was she going to make me spell it out?

“Yeah,” I said. “Monster problem.”

“Then you’ve come to the right place!” Sylvia grinned brightly, reaching into a drawer for a thick three-ring binder. “Let’s start with the basics. How long have you been single, dear, and what sort of monster is your type?”

I scratched an ear with a very un-ladylike shaggy finger, feeling sick. Soul-searching, right off the bat? There’d BETTER be one of their promised “least expected” monsters waiting for me at the end of this ordeal.

Or there’s no telling what I might could do.

(Make that “might do.” Sorry.)

500 words
@postupak

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05/29/2012 06:23

“You’ll find monsters where you least expect them.” Winston gave his sister a glance before putting his full attention on the saloon in front of them. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that there was a table of very pale card players and considering that there was a zombie standing by them, holding a plate of drinks, he didn’t think they didn’t just get out in the sun very often.

Serena elbowed him. “Don’t draw attention to us, geez. I was told that someone who can read the book would be found here.”

“You’re the one who is going to get us killed.” He scowled at her, pushing the glasses up on the bridge of his nice.

“Oh stop worrying.” She grabbed hold of his arm and pulled him towards the bar, giving the man behind a big smile complete with dimples and sparkling blue eyes. “Hi, I was wondering if a Henri Beauchamp is here?”

The big man was cleaning glasses, a patch over one eye. He paused and looked at her, dark face impassive before he gave a grunt and pointed a finger at the table of card players. He then went back to cleaning the glass, putting it down and picking up another one with slow, controlled movements.

“Uh..which one would be him?” Her smile faded a bit as she glanced over.

A bird had been perched on the shelf with the alcohol before it gave a twitch and its eyes opened up, glowing with a blue fire. Metallic wings flapped before it landed on the man’s shoulder, tilting a head to gaze at the siblings. “Henri Henri Henri.” A twitch of the head and if lifted off, flying over to the table and landing in the middle of it pile of coins sitting there. “Henri Henri Henri.”

Winston swallowed as the men grumbled over their disturbed game. “Uh, maybe we should come back.”

“Nonsense, we’re here now.” She gave him a grin, reaching out a hand to grab him by the arm, fingers tightening to keep them from shaking.

“Henri Henri Henri!” the bird gave another call before coming back and landing on the bar and giving a peck at Serena’s hand.

“Ow! Does your bird have to do that?” She glowered at the bartender.

Winston gave a small cough and patted her hand.

She turned back to see a thin man standing in front of her.

“I understand you wanted to see me, ma Cherie. I am Henri.” He pulled off the top hat and gave an extravagant bow, white teeth flashing in a grin. Up close, he was wearing some kind of makeup to cover of the coffee colored skin that was his natural skin tone. Black charcoal ringed his eyes, making it seem like there was only sockets.

“Umm…well, I have a book that I was told that you could read. The diary of Blue Mamaw?”

He paused before the grin widened. “It would be my pleasure.”

500 words
@solimond


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05/29/2012 06:47

Wysteria
By Lisa McCourt Hollar

You'll find monsters where you least expect them. Sometimes though, one person’s monster is another’s Savior.

Blinded by tears, Willow ran. She didn’t consider where she was going, she just ran, through the woods at first, then through a field, recently plowed by a farmer. The soil was moist and she slipped a few times, covering her shirt with mud. Willow didn’t let that slow her, running further, pushing ahead even though her legs were beginning to ache and her breath catch in her throat.

Her body could only run so long before it collapsed and her legs gave out a few miles from the highway. She couldn’t see the road, but she heard the cars. She imagined she was in one of them, the road carrying her further from her captivity. Laying her head on the ground, she wished she was free to live her own life. She knew she may have escaped, but it was only a matter of time before Steve found her, dragged her back to their home…her prison.

Her tears soaked into the dirt, awakening him. The spirit felt her pain and reached out to soothe her. She’d been abused, the hurt in her body seeping into the tendrils he reached out to embrace her with. He could take it away.

Willow stirred as whispery leaves brush against her legs. Her eyes fluttered open and she gazed into the eyes of a god. He brushed her hair back with a thin finger and told her to be still. Glancing down she saw vines reaching from the ground, encircling her legs. Slowly they creeped up her legs and she thought that maybe she should be afraid, but she wasn’t. She welcomed their embrace and when the branches reached her, coiling around her thigh, caressing her as they pushing into her, she didn’t resist.

***
Steve stood in the field, confused. The tracking device he’d implanted in Willow had led him here. He’d let her run, knowing that when he did find her, he would enjoy taking his time and bringing her more pain. But the only thing in the field was Wysteria. The plant was Willows favorite, she had to be here somewhere. Snatching a purple blossom from the sprouting vine, Steve crushed it, imagining it was his wife he was grinding beneath his thumb.

Turning to leave he stumbled. One of the vines had wrapped around his foot. Steve kicked his leg to loosen it but the plant wrapped tighter around his ankle, holding him in place. Frantic, Steve reached in his pocket for the knife he always carried, but another creeper reached out, wrapping around his wrist. Steve struggled but that only seemed to encourage the plant, which tightened around him. Pain shot through his arm as the bone crushed beneath the pressure. The vine continued to creep along Steve’s body, pulling him into the growing Wysteria. When it began to circle his neck, tightening and crushing his larynx, he thought he heard Willow laughing.

Word Count: 500
@jezri1

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Phoenix Lavan
05/29/2012 07:57

You’ll find monsters where you least expect them. After all, it’s their job to hide among you. Would you be scared of something that you see all the time? Even if it is dangerous, if you know where or who they are, they become much less of a threat. Easier to avoid.

That’s why I am here, watching you from the park bench. I look ordinary. I sound ordinary. I am ordinary. Except for the part where I am not. “Hello, Miss Greene. You look lovely as always.” I greet the lovely redheaded young woman who passes every morning at eight fifteen.

“Morning, Mister Vale. No coffee this morning?”

“Already imbibed. Have a fine day now.” I nod to her, she waves to me.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes. A monster wearing human skin. An empty vessel, some would say. Soulless to others. As for me, myself, personally… I prefer to think of myself as a hunter. My quarry just happens to be other humans.

And tonight when I reveal to you, Miss Greene, the monster inside me, the fear in your eyes, your muffled screams and your struggling to get me out of you will be my trophy. When your spirit breaks and you lay silent and still, I will end your suffering.

I grin inwardly at the prospects. The Vale of the shadow of Death approaches.

229 words
@PhoenixLavan

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Jeff Tsuruoka
05/29/2012 08:02

Gingham Death Song

“You'll find monsters where you least expect them,” said Mrs. Petry. “Wouldn't you agree, Sheriff Barton?”
The sheriff put his teacup down on the end table, next to his hat.
“I'll always be Rollie to you, ma'am.”
The old woman patted the back of his hand and sat down next to him on the settee.
“I know it, but I believe when a man's earned the right to be addressed by a title folks ought to go ahead and use it.”
“Fair enough,” said Rollie.
He looked around Mrs. Petry's parlor.
It was a room he'd been in dozens of times over the years and it never seemed to change.
The furniture -the old settee and end tables, a sideboard, table, and chairs- was the same. Gingham was everywhere from window treatments to tablecloth to Mrs. Petry's dress.
He tried to think of the last time he visited the house.
“It was right after my Wilson passed, Sheriff Barton. You came over with your ma and pa and brought me a chicken pot pie.”
“I do believe you're right.”
He took a sip of tea.
“Maggie radioed you wanted to see me?”
Mrs. Petry put her teacup down and cracked her knuckles.
She was a still a strong woman, wiry strong and as tough as they come. She raised seven sons, lost three of them to the VC in '71. Her husband, Wilson, was gone almost six years.
“Your pa was a good man. Good sheriff too.”
“That he was, ma'am. Thank you for saying so.”
“It's a damned shame, him up and vanishing like that. Must've been tough on you and your ma.”
It was.
In all the years since there'd been nothing new. Rollie worked the case some but the trail took him nowhere.
“Well, I called you out here today on account of the Wilkes and Thompson case.”
Rollie just about choked on his tea.
Donna Wilkes and Jimmy Thompson were a couple of hitchhikers who disappeared back in the late '70s. The case confounded Rollie's father. It ate at him right up to the day he disappeared himself.
“It has to do with your pa and the time he came to see Wilson and me about it.”
“I didn't know he questioned you. Isn't in the file.”
“Drink your tea, dear. I'll tell you about it.”
He took a gulp and winced. “I was gonna ask, what kind of tea is this? Kinda gamey.”
“Hemlock,” said Mrs. Petry. “Don't you like it?”
Rollie wanted to answer but couldn't form the words.
“It's all right, Rollie. I've never yet had one that cared for the taste of it.”
She got up and locked the front door.
“I'll be back to check on you in a spell. Then, if you're ready, I'll take you on down to the cellar to see your pa.”

@JTsuruoka
495 words (498 with title) according to my word processing program

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Jeff Tsuruoka
05/29/2012 08:02

Gingham Death Song

“You'll find monsters where you least expect them,” said Mrs. Petry. “Wouldn't you agree, Sheriff Barton?”
The sheriff put his teacup down on the end table, next to his hat.
“I'll always be Rollie to you, ma'am.”
The old woman patted the back of his hand and sat down next to him on the settee.
“I know it, but I believe when a man's earned the right to be addressed by a title folks ought to go ahead and use it.”
“Fair enough,” said Rollie.
He looked around Mrs. Petry's parlor.
It was a room he'd been in dozens of times over the years and it never seemed to change.
The furniture -the old settee and end tables, a sideboard, table, and chairs- was the same. Gingham was everywhere from window treatments to tablecloth to Mrs. Petry's dress.
He tried to think of the last time he visited the house.
“It was right after my Wilson passed, Sheriff Barton. You came over with your ma and pa and brought me a chicken pot pie.”
“I do believe you're right.”
He took a sip of tea.
“Maggie radioed you wanted to see me?”
Mrs. Petry put her teacup down and cracked her knuckles.
She was a still a strong woman, wiry strong and as tough as they come. She raised seven sons, lost three of them to the VC in '71. Her husband, Wilson, was gone almost six years.
“Your pa was a good man. Good sheriff too.”
“That he was, ma'am. Thank you for saying so.”
“It's a damned shame, him up and vanishing like that. Must've been tough on you and your ma.”
It was.
In all the years since there'd been nothing new. Rollie worked the case some but the trail took him nowhere.
“Well, I called you out here today on account of the Wilkes and Thompson case.”
Rollie just about choked on his tea.
Donna Wilkes and Jimmy Thompson were a couple of hitchhikers who disappeared back in the late '70s. The case confounded Rollie's father. It ate at him right up to the day he disappeared himself.
“It has to do with your pa and the time he came to see Wilson and me about it.”
“I didn't know he questioned you. Isn't in the file.”
“Drink your tea, dear. I'll tell you about it.”
He took a gulp and winced. “I was gonna ask, what kind of tea is this? Kinda gamey.”
“Hemlock,” said Mrs. Petry. “Don't you like it?”
Rollie wanted to answer but couldn't form the words.
“It's all right, Rollie. I've never yet had one that cared for the taste of it.”
She got up and locked the front door.
“I'll be back to check on you in a spell. Then, if you're ready, I'll take you on down to the cellar to see your pa.”

@JTsuruoka
495 words (498 with title) according to my word processing program

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Jeff Tsuruoka
05/29/2012 08:07

Sorry for the double post. Weird things are happening. When I came back to read entries this morning the one I posted last night was gone. So I posted it again and got an error message so I tried again and now it's here twice.
Hmmm.

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Rebekah Postupak
05/29/2012 09:11

Guess someone doesn't want you to see your pa.

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