Hand soap bubbles; Excerpt: Corpse Flower

hand soap bubblesToday’s appreciation: The way the bubbles look while rising through the hand soap refill bottle.

They make me think of hot air balloons. The more the bottle is squeezed, the more air is sucked back in, and the bigger the bubble. Rising up past the rim and up through the viscous fluid to burst against a surface that’s actually at the bottom of the bottle–I couldn’t look away.

I think it’s good to enjoy the little moments in life. Sometimes it’s hard to see the ground for the leaves, but instead of crying for the hidden grass it’s nice to look up at the newly cleared sky.

At the very least, racing soap bubbles turns an everyday task into something a bit magical.

So on Thursday I had the biggest migraine I’ve had in over ten years. It was like someone stuck an ice pick in through my left eye and into my brain. It was absolutely horrible.

If you’ve never had a migraine before, you are truly lucky. Because it’s not just the skull-splitting pain, it’s also the nausea, the eye agony, and the weird and painful sound effects. After a really bad one it takes several days to begin feeling normal again.

I’d almost forgotten what a migraine felt like.

wish I could forget what a migraine feels like. Because that last one? No thanks.

It was so bad that I still feel nauseated when I focus for too long. So don’t be surprised if there’s future stories featuring scenes of insanely awful headaches and the misery that accompanies them.

Anyways, I’ve been scribbling on my NaNoWriMo story. It seems like there’s a lot more thinking happening than action, but I’m sure it will all work itself out.

Which sounds like some of the most hyperbolic bs I’ve ever spouted, but I’ve got a good idea where this story might possibly be going. There’s still another 10 days.


Title: Corpse Flower
Note: Dafydd — pronounced “DAH-vith”

Dinner had consisted of pimento-stuffed green olives and dill pickle spears. It made Dafydd think that his kidnappers were inexperienced, that or they hadn’t really believed they’d catch him. Either way, he had the growing fear that they were going to kill him. And there was nothing he could do to stop it.

Huddled on a smelly mattress on the floor, Dafydd wished he’d listened to his uncle’s head of security. The annoying man had told him he was being too predictable with his routine. He hadn’t listened.

Now I’m going to die here in this unfinished basement. The thought was a bleak one.

Hugging his knees against his chest, Dafydd allowed himself to cry. He needed an emotional release and tears seemed the safest. (Blood was something he’d promised to keep on the inside of his body. Self-harm was a suckers bet.)

He missed his family and his friends. He missed the comfort of his own bed and the sense of safety in which he used to sleep. He missed food that wasn’t vinegar and salt.

He’d only been here a little while, but he was ready to tell this whole situation goodbye.

If Dafydd could blink and wish his way home, he would have been long gone. As it was, for a heart stopping length of time, the walls seemed to loom close around him. There were thin lines of color radiating out of different parts of the cinder block walls, pulsating in-and-out with his frantic breaths.

It was only when spots passed across his vision that he realized he was hyperventilating. It was a new and unpleasant experience.

Digging his forehead into his knees, Dafydd tried to bring his breathing under control. It was harder than he expected, and he experienced a new level of empathy for asthmatics.

His lungs became the sole focus of his world. Every breath he couldn’t draw in was another silent scream for “Air!” that he couldn’t answer.

Tears filled his helpless eyes. Darkness edged across his vision. As he lost consciousness the door opened. Hard soled footsteps trekked across the room to stand next to the mattress. He caught a fading glimpse of dark denim pants tucked into ankle high black and tan work shoes.

“Is he finally out yet?” the owner of the shoes asked.

“Looks like,” came a reply from the door, but Dafydd couldn’t see the speaker. It took him a precious few moments to realize that his eyelids had closed.

Hands clasped around his upper arms, careless of any discomfort being caused. “Come and help me. I know he’s a skinny fucker, but he’s limp as a noodle. You sure the drugs aren’t gonna kill him?”

“I’m sure. Here, let me get these.” Dafydd felt hands close around his ankles, but that was it.

He was out for the count.


Carp. That was the first memory he had from childhood. He’d delighted in standing on the shore of the manmade lake and feeding pellets and bread to the black spotted brown fish. They would come so close to get the food that he could feel their wide mouths opening and closing against his fingers and palms.

He would stand on the shore for hours while his dad did “business” with his “friends.” Sometimes their voice would get loud, but he’d quickly learned not to turn his head to look.

It was the reason why he missed seeing the “friend” that shot and killed his father. And because he couldn’t specify which of the four men had pulled the trigger, the murderer got away. He’d let the gunpowder residue on his hands be his reasonable doubt as the four men had gone shooting a half hour before killing Dafydd’s scheming yet often bumbling dad.

A propensity for hanging around the wrong people had helped to kill Roland Danvers Cove. But an obsession with carp was what let his murderer get away.

Dafydd tasted helpless rage for the first time when he was seven years old. Standing in the DA’s office with his back pressed against the wall and the fingers of his left hand firmly jammed in his mouth. He’d stopped sucking his fingers when he was four, but he couldn’t resist after the news he’d received.

They weren’t going to pursue the case against his father’s murderer. There wasn’t enough evidence and he wasn’t a viable witness because he hadn’t seen anything with his own eyes.

He’d only heard the loud pop-pop! and when he turned his dad was lying on the ground.

He hadn’t seen the murder himself. But he’d seen the blood and he’d seen the body–his dad— splayed across the ground.

His first thought was that his dad would never sleep in that position. He’d lay flat on his back with his hands folded on his chest–like a vampire, he used to tease.

But he wouldn’t tease anyone ever again, and it was Dafydd’s fault. He should have known who did it.

He should have been watching his dad’s back.

He never went to see the carp again. He’d betrayed his dad by liking the fish more than him.

Because no matter how much he loved his dad, even at that young age he hadn’t liked him.

It wasn’t a surprise that someone would want to kill Roland Cove. It was simply unfortunate that Dafydd was present when it happened.

The feel of what might have been a dozen carp opening and closing their mouths against his arms and hands reminded him of the lake. Mouths nibbled at his fingers and tried to leave hickies up and down his arms.

He wondered if this was really happening. He wanted to believe it was just an odd dream, but he feared it was real.

His eyelids were too heavy to lift and his body was out of his control. He felt like a blind and deaf mannequin, his limbs deadened and immobile–there, but as far away as the moon at the same time.

He’d never felt so helpless before. Not even on that day.

The carp mostly worked their way up his arms and began darting here and there from his shoulders down across his chest.

He was becoming uncomfortable. He didn’t think those mouths were carp. Because when the rapidly multiplying carp spread down past his breastbone so a few could begin mouthing over his stomach, he felt the pressure of teeth in their mouths. Large pointy teeth that hovered over his flesh like a threat.

Maybe they’re piranha, he thought, and they’re just waiting for me to make a move. Then they’ll strip me to the bone.

But he couldn’t move. He was trapped wherever he was lying and there was no stopping what was happening. Even when it became painful and he couldn’t scream.

All he could do was endure.

Dafydd thought that his mind broke somewhere. He definitely felt different afterward, changed in some inexplicable way. His very perceptions seemed to have warped, the world becoming a high contrast mess of bright lights and darkly hued colors.

On first opening his eyes after waking back on his mattress, he immediately stuck his head over the side and vomited. His head was suffering from a spinning headache and now all he could smell was puke.

“Great,” he groaned, rubbing his eyes with his bandaged hands. Then he had to examine what had been done to him, because he hadn’t been wearing bandages before and now he was wrapped from neck to toe. His head was the only part of him uncovered.

He was terrified to see what had been done to him, yet at the same time he had to know.

Stiffly he ran his hands over his body. His sense of touch was subdued, but he got twinges at different points that told him he was wounded beneath the bandages. He could not tell how bad things were, so he refrained from adding any pressure. He had a feeling that he was going to be miserable later.

Or probably sooner than that, he thought at the sound of the door once again being opened.