Friday Five June 4th

image bar express redeem privilege

Anaximander took the special members only entrance to the club. A rare privilege as he had fallen out of favor with the local

Vampire court. This was proof he had slowly begun to redeem himself. The Court had worked hard to develop an image of respectability and his flamboyant lifestyle had come under scrutiny. Too flashy. Too sensational. Vampires were trying to shed their decadent image and Anaximander’s infamous late night parties did not help. 

Anaximander wasn’t one to cling to the shadows and darkness in colorless rooms contemplating his immortality. He needed to express himself.  It was more fun to go our, meet people, make a few friends. 

He’d been cut out and cut off for twenty years wasting away in a coffin. And at the moment when he became to feel his mind slip and he wished for nothing but sunlight and dust, the current Queen had granted him a reprieve. 

It was his chance to get back into everyone else’s good graces. There were the usual vampires sitting around the chairs with cigars and drinks reading old times. He glanced over towards the bar. Several human thralls were sipping cocktails and laughing at shared jokes. A thrall! He wished he had one. It would keep him stable;give him some focus. He just needed to meet the perfect guy.

Recent Topics I’ve Googled

This is an interesting topic, so I decided I’d like to know what it is I’ve googled. Since most of my desktop searches are for work their wasn’t much outside of technical and work sites. So I decided to look at my iPad and phone to see what I’ve been googling. 

Episodes of Star Trek, no surprise. Tokyo Olympics. Lots of searches about the Shinkansen and bullet trains. I’m editing an SF story set in Japan and I fell down a research rabbit hole.

Then Liz Cheney, Christopher Columbus, and Ariana Grande: All in the same day and I can’t see how they are possibly related nor can I remember why they were connected. 

Fictional Characters I’d love to meet and why

Captain Picard.

Captain Sisko.

Captain Janeway.

If I met Picard we’d have Earl Grey tea and I’d listen to all his insights about being a captain. If Sisko, I’d like to live on DS9 for a few months and just see him at work. Janeway is awesome. I’d gladly be her first officer.

But I’m going to turn my attention to books. From ASOIAF I’d love to meet Barristan Selmy because he’s a favorite character and/or Tyrion Lannister. I’d also like to meet Stannis Baratheon because in the books he’s more interesting than the show, even if I don’t really agree with him. I’d love to meet Catelyn Stark also. I know many people hate her, but I loved her chapters in the books and I really empathized with her reasoning and her feelings of duty.

When I was young, Island of the Blue Dolphins was one of my favorite books and I always wanted to meet the main character who was based on a true story. I’m a huge fan of Ann Cleaves mysteries so I’d love to meet Vera Stanhope and solve a case with her. 

Friday Five April 30

Proper brand husband pigeon offend

This week’s entry:

Anthony strolled around the park, trying his best to look natural. This was not easy. He was a big guy, imposing, and he had to work hard to make sure people didn’t see him as a threat. He had tried to dress up but not to0 much-clean white shirt, and light jacket. He had no idea what he proper dress code was for paranormal investigators. This was the first time he had a potential paying client and he didn’t want to offend them or worse,  scare them off by dressing like a thug. 

He finally saw them. His contact, a woman named Lily, was sitting at one of the picnic benches with who he assumed was his client. She waved him over, and he made for them, scaring away a flock of pigeons as he stomped across the grass. He came up to them.

“Good Morning,” he said politely with a smile. Lily gave him a quick nod. She was a tiny woman, all skin and bones, and a constant ball of energy. He stood there stiffly.

“Thanks for doing this.”

“No problem,” even though he didn’t know what he was doing yet.

Lily turned to the woman seated beside her.

“This is Mrs. Peterson. Mrs. Peterson, this is Anthony Dawes. He’s the man whose going to help you. Trust me, he can do the job.”

Mrs. Peterson removed her sunglasses and stared at him coldly. Anthony didn’t know much about fashion but he could tell those were brand name clothes and expensive jewelry. She had money. And it was obvious she wasn’t thrilled about a meeting in a public park.

She held out a hand. Anthony shook it. He had a feeling she was testing him.

“Should I explain?” Lily said enthusiastically.

Mrs. Peterson shook her head.

“Lily speaks highly of you. And Principal Wright mentioned that you were skilled in dealing with unusual events.”

That surprised him. Principal Wright never mentioned hanging out with the wealthy and well connected. And he was surprised the old man told anyone else about the strange events at his house. He filed that away to ask about later.

“I help where I can.”

“My husband and I have purchased some property near the coast. We’ve renovated a hotel that we expect to open to customers for the summer. However, there have been issues.”

“Ghosts,” Lily butted in. “It’s ghosts.”

A look of displeasure crossed Mrs. Peterson’s face. Anthony couldn’t tell if it was the mention of ghosts or being interrupted. It was probably a combination of both. The woman fiddled with a diamond bracelet around her wrist and resumed.

“Unusual happenings have halted renovation. The old hotel was in a dilapidated state.”

“It used to be a drug den. And prostitution. Lots of suicides and overdoses. It’s probably brimming with ghosts,” Lily had clearly done her research. For her, this sort of thing much be exciting.

Mrs. Peterson sat up straight, glared at Lily, and continued.

“My husband believes it’s business sabotage. I have a reason to believe we should pursue other possible explanations.”

“I’m thinking a poltergeist,” Lily said oblivious to Mrs. Peterson’s glares. 

“I’d like you to investigate. I’ll pay you a substantial one time fee and I expect results within the week. I’m a believer, Mr. Dawes, but I’m no fool. Don’t think you can string me along.”

A poltergeist. Anthony had never dealt with a poltergeist, but he’d done his reading. In the ghost world, they were some of the strongest. It wasn’t an easy job to agree to take on and maybe he should turn it down.

“You’re up to this Anthony,” Lily said. She sounded confident even if he didn’t feel it.

“I’ll do it,” Anthony said.

copyright Echo Ishii 2021

Friday Five April 24

Words: increase retire dairy hiccup verdict

Anthony watched the end of the clip. He saw the tiny thin, defeated man with long, lank dreadlocks, being led away in handcuffs. It was always painful to see and he hated that the local station wanted to make a spectacle of him. 

The jury is expected to reach a verdict quickly in the Lester Solomon case.

Anthony shoved his phone back in his pocket. He’d had enough. And he knew the  man was innocent. The increase in crime wasn’t just a social problem; Anthony know knew there were other, darker forces at work. He didn’t have access to a car at the moment so he’d taken the bus into town and walked down the streets. Paranormal investigations was not an easy job to do without a car, so he needed to fix that soon. How? He didn’t know since paranormal investigation and ghost hunting didn’t pay either. 

Losing his car was a bit of a hiccup in his long term goals, but he wouldn’t give up.

The Main Street  had been gentrified. People who moved from New York to the south to retire quickly got bored with the lack of high arts culture and fine dining in Coverton County so young entrepreneurs had moved in to fill the gap. The place he was looking for was an old converted dairy distribution factory. They’d kept the look but turned it into one of those boutique, hip eateries with lots of overpriced food, now called Cow-don Bleu.

He walked in and took a look around. A family of four sitting at a side table. A couple looking over a menu, sitting close.  And over in the corner Anthony noticed him.

Other people in the corner wouldn’t pay much attention, but Anthony had learned what to look for. The man had a hat pulled low over his head, and the hair was shaved down but it didn’t change the fact that he was the spitting image of the man hauled away in handcuffs. Others at some point may remark on the similarity but this was more. He  was Lester Solomon -or rather his  fetch- created out of hair and twine and made all too real. He saw the telltale mark on his forearm which others might dismiss as a simple tattoo. But most importantly he ‘felt’ the lack of humanness. He was the second fetch Anthony had found. There was a nest of them were out there and a real Lester’s survival depended on him finding them all.

To be continued…at some point.

Copyright Echo ishii 2021

Creative Outlets I enjoy

My main creative outlet is writing; but it has a different focus when I’m working on things to submit or publish. I’m a newbie so I’m still searching for my own voice. Recently, I like writing horror and spooky stories. I’ve had fun doing Friday Five and I’ve taken the starter posts and written some full stories. I finished a full 6K story from one post and turned over to a beta group; I want to submit it to a few markets.

I’ve started a novella based on my last entry.

I’ve always enjoyed a ghost story. I make them up for my husband and daughter when we go for a short hike. I made up another for one of my English language students. They had fun with it. Lately, I’ve explored making spooky video shorts.

I don’t have other outlets. I suck at knitting, sewing, or anything remotely related. I can’t sing or play any instruments. My daughter is a budding artists-she likes art and illustration. Me? I can barely draw a smiley face.

Friday Five April 9th

So, this time I’m giving Friday Five another try. This week’s words are: hell, railroad, chief, abridge, past

The obelisks burst up out of nowhere, where the railroad used to be, past where my cousin used to live. We called the police chief but we doubted there was anything he could do. There had been several cases of these obelisks popping up out of the ground in the last few months. The fact that it happened out here in our little town frightened me. What were the chances? 

I wasn’t keen to go, but my sister and her boyfriend begged me. Since her car had been repossessed and he had a suspended license, that left me. My sister asked to borrow my car, but she doesn’t have the world’s most reliable track record. When I picked up Shirley and Stan, he already smelled strongly of alcohol. He was a friendly drunk, never mean, but that didn’t change the facts. But this wasn’ t  the time to have another lifestyle management meeting with Shirley and Stan. 

I pushed the pedal to the metal, so they say, eager to get where we needed to go. 

“We need to get pictures of it,” Stan said from the backseat. “We need proof.”

“We will,” Shirl eysaid confidently. She was sitting beside me, with her seatbelt on, but straining her neck to look out the front window as if something or someone would jump out in front of us. Of course, given the state of things in this county lately, that might very well happen. 

We were not the first ones to arrive. Everyone parked by the side of the road and headed across the field towards the obelisk. Any minute now, state authorities were bound to show up. Stan had jumped out of the car before I even unbuckled my seat belt and was racing across the grass. Shirley was right behind him. I was slower, like always, but I managed. I locked the car-because I had common sense- and made sure I had my wallet and my phone on me. I walked briskly, rather than running like a fool. I didn’t trust what might be in the grass in the middle of the night. 

The truth was, I was terrified. Everyone was acting as if the obelisks were some wondrous event. A Nobel winner in physics was on the news everyday talking about it. I’d even bought her book-well the abridged version for the layman. I didn’t understand a word of it.  Twitter had all the conspiracy theories known to man and even the president tweeted the possibility of alien contact. I’d love to be the optimistic, but I’d seen things in my life that proved otherwise. 

The closer I got, the larger the obelisk, looked. My heart began to race and my palms were sweating. The feeling of panic gripped me, and I thought about fleeing. There were hills of dirt were the object had pushed up out of the ground, and a few were trying to climb it sliding back down. The closer I got I noticed the foul smell and the dirt-like dog droppings and winced. How could they stand it? 

I walked towards to the obelisk, near enough to touch it, but I didn’t dare. It was smooth, but as I looked closer, I noticed the sketching on the sides that looked like faces. Round faces, oval faces, square faces; all with wide opened eyes and wide open mouths and no noses. Liquid dripped down the sides, as red as blood, and I backed away. My blood ran cold; my hands shook. The obelisk began to move, getting taller, pushing more of the earth up. The man on the dirt hill fell over and sank into the mass. People began to scream. This thing was coming up to us from the bowels of hell and there was nothing we could do to stop it. 

To be continued

Copyright 2021 Echo Ishii

What my last meal would be

I was too busy last week to post, but this is food. I can manage food.

My final meal will be…
A brunch with big fluffy biscuits, baked potatoes with sour cream, corn pancakes with black bean sauce and guacamole, grits with butter, and fresh raspberries. And hazelnut coffee. None of it does my cholesterol level any favors but since it’s a last meal who cares? Then I’d have a dessert of devils food cake with cream cheese frosting and/or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

It’s cherry blossom season so I thought I’d share:)

Friday Five: March 12

Sit, portion, fiber, inflate, beef

Helena held her breath, hoping it would work this time. No sudden moves. Every fiber of her being told her to show no fear. She didn’t know what would happen if she did because she’d never summoned a creature from another realm.

She’d tried a few times now, but all she’d gotten was a wisp of the creatures snout. She needed a better enticements. She gone cross town to the speciality grocery store  high grade beef. It broke her already thinly stretched food budget, but this had to work. If it did, she was willing to endure instant noodles for all her meals until payday. 

She had a rented room built over her step mother’s garage. She was 22 and still living at home. It was not how she’d imagined things. Her stepmom and her dad were on vacation for the week, so it was as good a time as any to summon mystical creatures from the other realm. Her mother had been a powerful sorceress- so she heard- but up to this point, Helena had shown no real talent. That’s probably why her mother had taken off and left her with her dad. 

Well, mom would be proud if she could see how far her daughter had come. Helena unfolded the wax paper and took out a portion of the beef. It was still raw and bloody. She heard a spectral sniff. The hound was there even if it wouldn’t show itself yet.  She sat it down on the floor and waited. The sniffing sounds grew closer as well as the sound of paws across the wood floor. She heard a low growl, and smelled the musk of dog breath. Strong, but she’d smelled worse. The air shimmered in front of her eyes and suddenly the creature appeared. A hellhound.  It gobbled up the beef, saliva dripping on the floor, and eating through the wood like acid. When it finished, she stood in awe and stared. The hellhound staring back, sitting like an eager pup, its tail thrashing back and forth. She thought of her boss Harvey- he of the wandering hands and inflated ego. Fire her, would he? There was a surprise coming his way tonight.

“Well pup”, Helena said, “it’s time to fetch.”

Friday Five: March 5

Once again, I’m going to try the Friday Five writing challenge. I don’t have more ghost stories today, but just a short montage inspired by my day trip to a castle. Enjoy the photos.

bracket, teacher, import, maze, moral

The man watched the ship swaying in the bay as the waves beat fiercely against the rocks. Men were moving as fast as they could to unload its riches. The  Provincial Lord seldom imported objects from faraway places and he wasn’t a man to be disappointed. A rough looking seaman handed the box over to him, and he turned to begin his climb to the castle tower. 

The lord seldom left the tower these days. His courtiers and concubines kept to the lower palace, and he could hear them singing and laughing through the rain. Once in a while, he caught a glimpse of a beautiful kimono sleeve gliding past the sliding bamboo doors. But  a low born man like him had no business gazing on the concubines of feudal lords. 

He began is climb up the maze of steps, sometimes veering left and sometimes right but always up and always steep and as the rain poured down all the more difficult. He served the lord as a teacher of languages; Dutch at first, and now English, but only to the retainers. The lord himself had no interest in crude languages from foreign barbarians. To him, they lacked manners and morals. But the great lord was intrigued by the objects they made-mechanical machines, like the bracket clock he now carried up the steps. It has a gold display with and ebony finish and a chime as beautiful as birdsong.  It was made by one of the finest clockmakers in London.  London. The teacher said the words under his breath, liking the strange sound on his tongue. London. Blackpool. Leeds. He’d only seen them as names on a map somehow imagined them as worlds of gears, wires, and clockwork. 

In such a world, he mused, I’d have a machine of gears and steam that could carry me up these steps. He was getting older and worried that soon the feudal lord would think him too old to keep in his service. And then, where would he go? What would he do? Perhaps, he thought, he still had enough health to travel to this place called London and see it for himself.  

Kakegawa Castle, Kakegawa City, Japan