Author Archives: alanaicapria

April 27, 2015 – NaPoWriMo days 26 & 27

“The old house had thirteen bedrooms, thirteen bathrooms, and thirteen doorways on each of its three floors. The old house was inspired by another old house across the country but then, old houses always had superstition in common. It was the same way hotels always skipped the number thirteen. Something unfortunate happened in one house and then the same unfortunate event happened in another house, those two events being linked by a tenuous pattern that became more obvious the longer it was considered.”

***

“There was a little center that looked like an indentation. I liked digging my fingers into it. I stretched the meat out, then removed my fingers. Sometimes I packed items into the indentation. I pushed in dolls’ severed heads. I pushed in matchsticks. I pushed in balls of gray dryer lint. I pushed in small pieces of plaster that came from the crumbling walls. Then I scooped all those items out.”

The last week and a half have been rough on the posting front. It’s because I had to edit my newest manuscript and thus, wasn’t doing as much writing as normal. Editing is a time-consuming task but I’m always relieved when it’s finished, not only because the task is finally done but because at least I know the manuscript is as polished as I can get it. Now that the edits are out of the way, I can get back to my usual writing. Currently, I’m jumping between two manuscripts, one that is a re-do of an old project and one that is brand new. Today’s post has an excerpt from each of those projects.

April 25, 2015 – NaPoWriMo days 23, 24, & 25

“Every time the men threw a fishing line into the ocean and waited for a bite, they hoped to haul up yet another dead girl, maybe one a little fresher than the last, and then the body would put on ice and stared at until the men’s eyes watered. Was it wrong that when the dead girls were considered, stomachs growled and all anyone could think of was squeezing lemon juice onto pale limbs?”

***

“It rained while the men looked at the dead girls. The windswept sand became packed down. The drops left faint pockmarks on the beach around them. When their hands were not on the dead girls checking their skins’ clamminess, they tilted their heads back so they could catch the rain on their tongues. I tasted the rain through them. The droplets danced in their mouths. The water was delicious. I wished I could drink it for myself.”

***

“I tapped my fingernails against his forehead, then pushed his head back. He barely resisted. Before his scalp could touch the tub bottom, I reached beneath his head and pulled the drain plug. Water poured past him. I shoved him down. His head landed on the drain. He became suctioned to the hole. I straddled his waist, weighing him down, and no matter how he moved, he could not throw me off. His hips bucked but I stayed on. I said, I PROMISE THAT I WILL TEACH YOU.”

April 22, 2015 – NaPoWriMo days 21 & 22

“Sometimes the women wondered who the first man was who ate a meal prepared by the bleed and died immediately after. Sometimes they wondered who gave them the blood originally and not even I had an answer for them. There were stories about the beginning that not even I knew. The women wrapped towels around their hips to keep the blood from flowing over the sides of their panties, and then they laid upon their beds, pulling the blankets over their heads until in that smothering dark, they fell into a fidgeting sleep that became wet, then somewhat drowned.”

***

“He kept a small tin of oil-packed anchovies beside his soap. I hooked a finger in the side of his mouth, then pulled his jaws apart, my smile growing the wider his mouth became. When his jaws cracked, I let him go, then took the anchovy tin. I gripped one small fish by its slick tail, then dangled it above the water. He watched the fish helplessly. I brought the fish beneath the bath bubbles and wiped it over his mouth, smearing him with grease. The oil came off the preserved body and made a rainbow cloud in the water.”

April 20, 2015 – NaPoWriMo Day 20

“You smelled the blood everywhere. It came from the sidewalks and the street lamps and the underbellies. It came from car exhaust and window shades and door cracks. It smelled as if you smeared your face along the walls of an abattoir basement. The smell was that strong. It was thick with copper and grease and flesh. You gagged on it. You were ill with it. You opened your mouth wide and you vomited the blood up. This was not your first blood smell. You knew countless other blood stenches and each was as strong.”

April 19, 2015 – NaPoWriMo days 18 & 19

“No matter where we turned, the mermaids were there, staring at us in the way only dead girls could. There were so many photographs on display, the town began treating the building like a museum. First one person went in, then four, then hoards of us. We came into the police station in the morning and stayed until late afternoon. We walked from wall to wall. The officers walked around us but got distracted by the mermaids. We stood with them in front of the mermaids, all our eyes directed at the waterlogged cheeks.”

***

“You went to the fishmonger. You bought pounds and pounds of fish. You chose a wide assortment. Small fish and medium fish and large fish. You liked the way the fish smelled. You leaned close to the icy display cases and inhaled. Sometimes the townswomen would pass by you and comment on how much fish you purchased. You explained that you were a pescatarian. By that, you only ate fish. No vegetables, no grains. Nothing but fish. You said it so sadly, as if it were a sickness you could not help.”

April 17, 2015 – NaPoWriMo days 15, 16, & 17

“We said no one made pancakes as well as father. We said father was the best at getting the ice cubes from out their trays. We said the sky was purple when it was meant to be blue and the basement stairs were now rope ladders and there was something walking back and forth in the attic. No matter how we pleaded with father, he would not respond. We went through the kitchen cabinets, pulling drawers out and looking behind. We crawled around beneath the dining room table.”

***

“Mother said she heard father whispering in her ear. She said the house had a room picked especially for them. We could knock on the door but there was no guarantee that we would be allowed in. Mother said the hammer was ours now. She said we should fill the basement with grease, then concrete. She said we should break the walls down, then cleave open the lake until the water spilled out, leaving the well form empty. Mother said we should prepare dinner together once a year at least. The older we became, the more spread apart we would be.”

***

“We went to the room beneath the stairs, pushed the table out of the way, and forced the door open. We used the tools mother told us to collect. We used a screwdriver and crowbar. We pried the door from its frame and when it snapped open, we gathered in the entrance to stare. The room was empty. It was a small room, a broom closet size, with barely enough space for a single person to step inside and turn around. There were no lights in the room. We stepped inside and touched the four walls. We knocked on the tightly packed shelves for any signs of hollowness.”

April 14, 2015 – NaPoWriMo days 13 & 14

“Mother had her hammer. She switched it from hand to hand. She swung the hammer and broke a hole through the plaster. Mother cleaved the wall apart. The plaster chipped and shattered, revealing a large black space. When the space was as tall as mother and as wide, mother put her hammer down. She stood before the hole for a long, long time, then gestured for us to come near.”

***

“The mother outside the hall turned the hammer in her hand, then directed the metal head at her other hand’s thumb. She shattered the nail. Her finger turned black immediately. The bruise spread from fingertip to bottom knuckle. The black was tinged with green and yellow. It was such a large splotch. It seemed contagious. But the splotch was just a splotch. And the mother outside the hole waved her hand in front of her face for a moment, shaking her hand hard to change the blood flow. Her finger swelled with rushing blood. The bruise darkened. It puffed. She aimed the hammer at her thumb again, swung, and missed. She said her thumb was lucky.”

April 12, 2015 – NaPoWriMo days 11 & 12

“There was something in the basement. It jerked and twitched. It was not a monster. It was mother but without her mother face. She sat in a corner, rocking in her favorite chair, which was bashed and splintered. Each time she rocked, the back of the chair struck a wall. The chair grew weaker and weaker. The splinters grew larger, changing from shards to planks. The chair disintegrated beneath her. Mother rocked the chair into oblivion.”

***

“Mother was barefoot. Her clothing was soggy upon her. Mother lay on the tiles for a long time. Half of the tiles were gone, patched over with thick layers of uneven plaster. The plaster created a thin floor that was best not to walk upon. And so mother lay to the side of that gone hole. If she rolled onto the plaster, the hole would reopen, and mother would drop to the basement.”

April 10, 2015 – NaPoWriMo day 10

“We gathered around mother and beat the loosened floor with our pots. We broke through the floorboards. We shattered the concrete. We made a hole that looked into the basement. We and mother stared into the basement bowels. We looked at the illumination. We saw the places where the creature had shit. There were piles of feces everywhere. The mounds were brown and stinking. The smell came up from the hole. It smelled like meat. Dirty, rotten meat. Mother brought the hammer down again. She widened the perimeter of the hole.”

April 9, 2015 – NaPoWriMo day 9

“We could not tell them apart: the thing in the basement and mother. Each had the same yowling quality to their voices although mother spoke and the thing in the basement hummed. Both bled from the corners of their mouths. Their tongues poked out to collect the blood that flowed. Sometimes they shook involuntarily. Their bodies shuddered so violently we thought they might jar their bones out of position. The thing in the basement did not attack. It stood in the doorway, shuddering and humming. It cowered when mother came near.”

April 8, 2015 – NaPoWriMo day 8

“Mother made dinner. It was the bloodiest meal served in the house. The chicken was raw and stuffed within an underdone roast beef. Red drippings splattered the linoleum flooring. We tiptoed through the puddles. When we sat at the table, our chairs were all wet with roast beef juice. Mother did not think there was anything wrong with the spillage. She said juice was simply a part of the meat. Mother cut the chicken-beef thing and we watched the pink spill out.”

April 7, 2015 – NaPoWriMo day 7

“What was beneath the door gobbled the food. We heard the chewing, the crunching. The plate slipped along the slit of door, moving to the left, then to the right. What was behind the door pushed the plate out the slit, then pulled it back in. We held our breaths and waited for the hand to be revealed. But the hidden thing would not be unveiled. It kept its body out of sight. It did not matter how we squinted. We saw nothing. We heard what was there but there was not even a foot to view. The plate clanged against the landing, then pushed out the slit again. The plastic dish had no food left. It was licked clean. The staircase creaked again. The steps moved away from us.”

April 6, 2015 – NaPoWriMo days 5 & 6

“Mother always roasted the chickens’ bodies whole. She left them feathered and adorned with their combs. She made us pick the unwanted pieces off with our fingers, then pile them onto a small dish that she would then slip beneath the basement door. Mother held the hammer in her fist while she waited for father to carve the roast. Usually mother did the carving but the hammer was in her carving hand. Father did the carving too slowly. Father carved until his hands shuddered. Then mother took over.”

***

“We wanted to know what mother did with the meat she slipped beneath the basement door. She collected all the poultry pieces, all the bits of roast beef trimmings, and then she brought the plate to the door and shoved it beneath. We heard something slurping in the dark. We heard a monster sloshing around. The stairs creaked beneath its weight. The monster wanted to devour everything in the house and mother gave it meat so that it would not eat us.”

April 4, 2015 – NaPoWriMo day 4

“Whenever we entered a room she occupied, mother stood with her back to us. Despite turning away, we still heard her sobs clearly. When she finally faced us, her eyes were bright red with irritation. She took to keeping the door to the under-the-staircase room locked. The dark something slammed the door open otherwise. Even with the lock in place, the door still rattled relentlessly. The dark something wanted in but mother would not allow it. Because she knew the dark something wanted to enter her secret room, mother did not go inside either. The lock was meant for all. The room was no longer accessible.”

April 3, 2015 – NaPoWriMo day 3

“There were chicken corpses buried in the basement. A man with a gray face threw plastic dome-encased roast chickens down the stairs. I caught the chickens in my arms and the plastic was still warm. I did not want to eat the chickens. But my stomach growled and I felt feverish. I ate the chickens while whispering Chicken corpse chicken corpse chicken corpse. I ate the meat with a spoon.”

April 2, 2015 – NaPoWriMo day 2

“Mother locked us in our bedrooms. She said we could not come out. Not until she said so. Until that time, we had to remain locked away. It was because of the things that followed her into the house from the lake. Mother was not herself but she was not the most dangerous in the house. The invisible things were. They watched us when we were not looking. The woman monster was in the basement. She was dead but still rasping. There was liquid in the balloon-like lungs mother cleaved open with her hammer. Mother made such a mess of that woman’s body. She slaughtered it like she did the Easter lamb.”

April 1, 2015 – NaPoWriMo Day 1

“We ate our dinner and mother bled. The blood came from beneath her fingernails and out the teakettle’s spout. The blood iced up in the freezer, creating square bricks of hard red. Father dropped one cube, then two, into his glass of water, and marveled at how the color floated, then unfurled. We played with our forks and knives. We stuck the knife points between the fork tines, cleaning them of anything too small to be visible. We scraped, then cleaned the knives upon our plates. We left brown stains behind. None of them would be washed away.”

It’s April 1st and NaPoWriMo has officially started. I’ll be posting writing every day this month so keep checking back.

March 28, 2015 – Excerpt

“Mother stood in different parts of the room. Sometimes she was near the door. Other times she stood with her forehead pressed to one wall, then the other. When mother was at the back of the room in the place we could not see, we heard her knocking her head against the wall. She did it just hard enough to bruise but so softly that her skin did not break. Mother went into the room and slammed the door. Mother came out of the room and slammed the door. Mother walked around the room, babbling.”

March 27, 2015 – Excerpt

“We followed the red balloon. It was as leaden as mother said it would be. The red balloon moved in circles. It went to the left, then weaved to the right. It was an engorged balloon. It was more biological organ than it was latex entertainment. When I stood near the balloon for more than one minute, my skin began itching. That was part of the radiation. The degenerating cells destroyed everything living in the vicinity. Even if I kept my hands away from the balloon latex, the radiation was catching. I felt it crawling through my muscles. I scratched my elbows and removed a patch of skin.”

March 26, 2015 – Excerpt

“Mother pointed to the ceiling. Mother said we had to crawl. It was the easiest way to escape the fire and travel the length of the hospital without causing our feet to cramp. There were ducts up there, long passageways that moved between the floors in a space that was forever unoccupied. From those crawlspaces, we could see into every room. We could find father. We could look upon the sick and the weary. We could study the doctors. We could see the burned remains of that which was cremated out of its misery. Mother said that in order to reach the space, we had to make a ladder.”

Only six days until the start of National Poetry Writing Month!

March 21, 2015 – Excerpt

“It was night. The lights went out. I was alone in the room, strapped down to my slab of a bed. I could not move. I strained and heard slithering. The slithering came from the corner behind the door. The door was closed. The bathroom door was closed as well. The small closet doors were closed. I could not see anything but the faintest of dusty lights filtering in from beneath the door. The door did not have a glass window on it. It was a heavy piece of wood with a handle. It was the same door that I faced day and night. Sometimes the door was closed but most of the time it was open. This was not one of those times.”

March 20, 2015 – Excerpt

“We wanted to play hide-and-seek but the last time we did, mother ruined our game. She did not let us play without her and then she came chasing after us. She knew where we were before we got there. We decided to play the game without saying it was a game. There would be no counting. There would only be the walking, then the hiding. We hid in the basement. The boiler thumped behind us. We hid in the laundry basket, behind the water heater, and just beneath the stairs. The stairs were grained slats nailed together without a wood back.”

March 18, 2015 – Excerpt

“Mother spent all day in the kitchen cooking a soup that was too red and hard to be poured into our bowls. Mother used all the rotten vegetables found at the bottom of the garbage pail. She wet the dish sponge and wrung it out into the soup as a sort of broth. She added bits of her hair and the lint at the bottom of the laundry basket. She put in scraps of meat which smelled like motor oil and bathroom fungus. She scraped the mold from the grout and tossed the fuzz into the pot as well. The soup smell wafted through the house. Mother stirred and stirred.”

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