Flash Fiction #8 (Cowboy in the Desert)

Cowboy in the Desert

by

Alina Happy Hansen

 

He looks to the sky, the sun burns. The blue lake glitters in the distance. The sound of coyotes somewhere nearby. The gun is heavy on his hip, and his boots are full of sand. He takes a step then another. His chapped lips, cracked and bleeding. Hands limp and lifeless hanging in defeat. His horse dead, miles back, its black eyes shine in his mind as he shot it lying on its side dying of thirst. If he could just make it to the blue lake glittering in the distance.


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

Short Story Sample: The Bump

This is a rough draft of a short story I’ve been working on for a while.

WARNING: Graphic details and gore elements.


 

The Bump

by Alina Happy Hansen

 

Alison touched the back of her head. There was a tiny bump at the base of her skull. She pretended to scratch her head just so she could feel it. Yes, it was still there. Was it a bug bite? An ingrown hair? A pimple? A cyst? Alison wore her hair down; worried that someone would notice the bump. She tried multiple times to see it by positioning herself in front of her bathroom mirror with her compact angled behind her head but there was nothing visible that she could see just golden brown hair and the delicate curve of her pale neck disappearing into the collar of her blouse. Absentmindedly she found herself throughout the day touching the bump, trying to pick at it with her perfectly manicured nails which only ended in scratches and a red patch were the skin had been agitated.

The first night after noticing the bump she laid on her back in bed as usual but quickly felt an irritating itch where the bump was. After adjusting her pillow and realizing she was only comfortable sleeping on her side, she finally dozed off and proceeded to sleep like this the nights after. In the mornings she would get up, jog about three and a half miles then come home and take a shower. She lathered new shampoos into her hair till it was thick and foamy and then rinsed it out for a few minutes careful to make sure there was no soap left. Unsettled by the bump she had bought a slew of conditioners as well as scalp treatment products but nothing worked. Eventually her hair became dry and brittle and a soft down of dandruff began to appear on her pillows and shirts. Frustrated, Alison threw out the multitudes of bottles she had bought and began to ……

It was a couple months until Alison noticed the bump had grown. It was no longer the size of a mosquito bite but a lump. Again, positioning herself in front of her bathroom mirror, she looked for it, whatever it was. Feeling it out, she left her finger right on top of it then tried to see it in the reflection, again she could see nothing but the lump felt like it was the size of a ping pong ball. Alison attempted to look up information on the internet about skin growths but eventually drove herself into a state of self induced anxiety. Afraid someone would notice the lump on the back of her head she gave herself a perm and fashioned her hair into a large set of curls thick enough to hide the mysterious lump.

Alison looked up local dermatologists and started scheduling appointments. Alison would call on a Monday morning and schedule an appointment at the end of the week but by the time the appointment would come up she found herself driving home and walking straight into her bathroom. Sitting on the closed lid of her toilet, she would convince herself that the lump was nothing. The dreaded word ‘cancer’ surfaced occasionally in her mind but she would quickly dismiss it. Unable to see the lump in the mirrors reflection Alison tried to convince herself that the lump simply was not there.

At night Alison had to put a movie on to distract herself from the presence of the lump. Positioning herself up on a couple of pillows behind her back she fell asleep her neck strained resting against the wall. Alison noticed that she was getting frequent headaches now and her neck was stiff. She stopped jogging and began drinking a lot of water, reluctant to start taking aspirin regularly she tried eating more to cure the headaches but they only got worse.

Eight months passed and Alison had gained twenty pounds. She got a new perm every month and refused to cut her hair. She began to measure the lump on the back of her head. It was now about three inches long and half an inch wide. She could now spot a small outline on her scalp when she checked her reflection and in response bunched her curls together with pins to create a poof where the lump was. Alison didn’t want to go to the doctor and had not revealed the lump to her family or friends. She didn’t want to draw attention to herself. If she ignored the lump maybe it would go away.

Aware that she had gained a few pounds, Alison began eating only red meats and fresh greens. Her worry surrounding the lump had made her self-conscious. She had not been on a single date in months. The last date had ended horribly. She still remembered how Mark’s head had disappeared under her dress, his roaming hands feeling every curve of her back and buttocks, the slim dip of her belly, squeezing her full supple breasts. He had pulled her dress off and came up to kiss her neck. Then her heart began to pound as his fingers got closer and closer to the back of her neck. She jolted up and pushed him off. After that date he never called her back and she decided not to go out again until the lump was gone.

Alison stayed at home and found herself in the kitchen or bedroom unless she was at work which had become an increasingly uncomfortable environment since she had to leave to go to the bathroom and secretly check her lump multiple times a day. She wrote down the size and shape of the lump, scribbling doodles of the lump. She kept track of her water intake and details of what she ate and how long she slept, what positions were the most comfortable and which ones irritated the lump and gave her a headache.

It had only started happening recently that she would wake up and there would be a large spot of greenish ooze on her pillow near the back of her head. Her hair crusted and sticky, she searched the lump for a secretion but it looked unchanged only the mysterious fluid on her pillow would appear. She would wash her pillow cases daily and began to wear her curls wrapped up in a large handkerchief. She doused herself in perfume when she began to notice that her hair had begun to smell. It was constant and stagnant the smell of something molding. She would wash her hair before work, after and a couple more times during the night but the smell remained.

Regardless of Alison’s new diet she continued to gain weight, at the end of the year she had gained fifty pounds and the lump had grown to the size of three golf balls in a line on the back of her head. Alison found it harder and harder to sleep. She tried soothing ocean sounds, whale calls and even rain but nothing would do the trick. Whenever she did wake up she was tired, her head a massive throbbing weight on her shoulders. She had finally begun to talk herself into telling her mother about the lump. At the end of the week she would call her mother and ask her to go to the doctors with her. She collected all the pictures, notes, and drawing she had made of the lump into one folder as well as her eating and sleep habits.

Alison woke up the next day to the foul smell of the lump. It had permeated her room, her bed, her house. She lighted scented candles and opened the windows in an attempt to get rid of the smell. Instead of jogging, Alison now went into the bathroom every morning for a few hours to check the lump and wash her hair. She had gotten a magnified mirror and brighter bulbs to help her see the lump.

Short Story: Amelia (Part #1)

This is an excerpt from a short story series I started working on three years ago. Found these remnants earlier today and I am thinking about working on these stories again and posting my work.


Amelia brushed her long blonde hair, applied a little make up here and there, smoothing out her frazzled black skirt, she grabbed her long coat and pulled it on, more similar to a cloak than an actual coat, it was inky black with numerous pockets and a long hood that hung low when she put it over her head. Besides her blonde hair, she was all in black and ready for the night.

Her boots made  heavy clomping sounds as she stalked through the old house she called home, she opened the front door did a quick check over her shoulder to make sure the house was silent, no ghosts or dead would enter her house tonight, then shut it, and locked the door.

Tonight was the full moon, and it had been a while since everyone had gotten together. They were meeting at a local diner before sunset to eat before they commenced their rituals. There were seven of them now, even though there had been about fifteen only a few years ago. Many had moved on, gotten married, died, or disappeared. It was a constant struggle to keep the clan together.

The house was on the outskirts of town, and it took Amelia a little over fifteen minutes to walk to the diner. She could already hear them before she opened the door. The infectious laughter and arguments had already begun.


If you’re reading this Thank You, for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Mrs. Morrison’s Afternoon

This is a short story I wrote for a submission for thefirstline.com. This site gives a prompt called ‘the first line’ which for this particular submission period was, “Mrs.Morrison was too busy to die.” This story was declined but I am very fond of it. I also admire thefirstline.com for their ingenious prompts and amazing stories.


 

word count approx: 900

 

Mrs. Morrison’s Afternoon

by Alina Hansen

 

Mrs. Morrison was too busy to die. She could see a small pool of blood beginning to form on the carpet. The gun heavy in her hand Mrs. Morrison groaned; she needed a drink. What would she tell the kids when they got home?

A glass of scotch in hand, she shrugged off cleaning up the mess. She lit a cigarette while she put on her favorite jazz record. The carpet would have to be replaced. Surprised that no one had come knocking on her door about the gun shot, Mrs. Morrison sat facing the living room window so she could watch for cars.

Mrs. Morrison realized the logical thing to do would have been to call the police beforehand but it had never crossed her mind. It was an accident; she thought it had been a burglar. She poured herself another drink and flipped the record over to side B.

She had good aim though and now that she had a couple drinks, if she had to, she would say she was distraught. Stubbing her cigarette in the ash tray she wondered if anyone had even heard the shot. It had been about a half hour now and not a single car had even driven by.

Mrs. Morrison got up and peaked out the window to look next door. At this hour everyone had already left for work, all she expected was her elderly next door neighbor to be home but to her relief the driveway was empty.

Feeling a little buzzed, she decided she should clean up the mess. Surely there could not be that much blood. The record clicked, the needle swung back to the off position. Mrs. Morrison picked out a couple more jazz records trying to decide what she felt like.

It was a shame and she felt guilty. A catch in her throat, her eyes began to water. She put on another record, sniffling. It wasn’t her fault really when she thought about it. She had just been taken by surprise.

In her mind she went over the events; it was right after she had finished breakfast a door had shut down the hallway. There was no one home except her; she was convinced it was a burglar. Knowing where she kept her gun; she went to her bedroom to retrieve it, safely hidden where the kids would not find it.

She knew now how foolish it had been of her to not call the police but really it had worked out fine. Remembering that the safety was on she checked it, loaded and safety now off, she crept her way down the hall. Thoughts raced through her head, Was it just one burglar? Was he even a burglar? What if he was a murderer or a rapist? Her heart pounded in her chest but she remained calm enough to convince herself to walk up to the door.

Ear to the door, she made no sound, holding her breath for just a few seconds to listen in silence. She heard a bump and the sound of things falling onto the floor.

Slowly turning the knob until it clicked open, she took a breath and pushed the door open. The window was open; the curtains billowed in the wind. A shadow flinted across the room, Mrs. Morrison pulled the trigger; a shot rang out. Twinkles, the kid’s large fluffy black cat, was on the floor dead.

Mrs. Morrison was relieved it had not been a burglar. It was still horrible, what would she say to her kids? Should she even tell them? The cat had disappeared a few days ago anyway and they thought she had run away. She must have crawled through the open window and accidently shut the door.

It looked like some books had been knocked off the bookshelf that must have been what she had heard. Mrs. Morrison did not even like the damn cat in the first place. It had been a vagrant that just appeared about a year ago. The kids had taken him in and given him that ridiculous name.

END


 

If you are reading this, Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

The Door (revision/part #2)

Working on ‘The Door’, this is a revision. I want to show my readers my creative process; what I edit, delete, move or expand. I would also love to develop this short story into something a little larger.


ORIGINAL POST

It swings open slowly.The house is empty and the creaks keep her awake at night. It opens and there is only darkness beyond.During the day, the tea kettle screams. She takes it off the burner, pouring the hot water into a cup, tea bag floating to the top. The groan of the floorboards under weight, echoes from down the hall, she is still and waits, will it shut or open? The door lets in or keeps out, the darkness just beyond. 


Revision (Part #2?)

The house is empty, except for she. She lives there with the mold, the warped wood and ruffled roof. At night creaks echo through the house keeping her awake. The sun peaks into the room, a window cracked open, and her eyelids finally close. It swings open slowly. It opens and there is only darkness beyond. The groan of the floorboards under weight, the shadow creeping closer and closer towards She, towards the morning light. Eyelids open. There is nothing but sun.

The tea kettle screams. She takes it off the burner, pouring the hot water into a cup, tea floats to the top. Pull the string, the bag jolts, up-down up-down, the color swirls to life. She is tired. She does not hesitate, she gulps down half the cup. She lets the hot drink sear her mouth.


If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

The Door

It swings open slowly.The house is empty and the creaks keep her awake at night. It opens and there is only darkness beyond.During the day, the tea kettle screams. She takes it off the burner, pouring the hot water into a cup, tea bag floating to the top. The groan of the floorboards under weight, echoes from down the hall, she is still and waits, will it shut or open? The door lets in or keeps out, the darkness just beyond. 

An Encounter (warning: contains profanity and gore)

Here is a short story I wrote for a writer’s club competition that was declined. I’ve been thinking about this story a lot recently and was considering rewriting a few parts and expanding. I decided to post the original here, in case I post ‘An Encounter: Version #2’ when I make edits. This is to show readers the creative process involved in writing and the decisions that I make as a writer.

 


approx. word count: 1,200

 

An Encounter 

by Alina Hansen (original work, all rights reserved)

 

I brought Mark here so I’d get fucked in a haunted house. He was too scared; too freaked to even kiss me. This is why I should’ve brought Josh instead; Josh was down for anything. Doesn’t matter now. I’m screaming, Marks screaming and there is something cold attached to my arm. I look back and there is the woman in the corner holding onto each of us. I feel her nails digging into my skin and with a shudder and snap I hear the bone break in my arm.

Should’ve brought Josh, he carries a gun and I left my pepper spray in my purse in the car. I fall and I’m in something wet; it takes me a moment to realize it’s that girl’s blood. Her body is only a few feet away, her neck is torn out. I think Mark pissed himself, he’s curled up, face down and shaking. I’ve had broken bones before, comes with being an athlete and even though it fucking hurts I scramble to get up. The woman hasn’t moved she is just staring at us. She looks sickly with her face and dress covered in blood. This psycho’s gonna kill us too.

There’s a table leg on the ground a few feet away next to some broken beer bottles. I get on my knees and crawl with one hand, my broken arm useless. I’m waiting for her to come up behind me, to grab me again but I keep moving hoping I have just enough time to get that table leg. I fall forward, my face hitting the floor, my fingers wrap around the wood, and I pull it towards me. I can see a few nails sticking out of the end.  I stumble as I get up. I brace myself against the wall and turn around. The woman’s now crouched over mark and I hear him whimpering. I can’t see her face but her hand is poised in the air, her nails long and sharp. I take a breath and scream, lunging at her. I swing the leg at her head and she looks up just in time for connection. The woman howls and jumps back from Mark. The table leg stuck in her head, the nails digging into her eye and forehead. She grasps the wood and scuttles into the next room.

Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit I’m going to die! I’m going to die and I had a chance to fuck Jenny! Fuck fuck fuck fuck it hurts! That thing broke my arm! Is that blood? Oh my god it’s blood! I’m lying in blood! Should’ve convinced Jenny to go back to my place, why’d we have to come here?! I can’t look; it’s staring at me, those eyes, those dark eyes like an animal. Like the time we went to the zoo and the new exhibit had a black panther. The panther was just pacing, its eyes on the kids, big black eyes just glued to the little bodies and everyone could feel the hunger just emanating from it and they all laughed nervously pointing at the caged killer.

Jenny grabbed my hand, put it on her tit and told me to kiss her. Then the sound of someone walking up the steps, outside the house, opening the door; sound of girls giggling. Jenny said, ‘Be quiet and we’ll scare them.’ We waited we waited until the kissing stopped then she asked why I was breathing heavily. I wasn’t. There was a muffled cry and a crunch. We saw the woman her face buried in the neck of the girl and then the blood, the blood, all that blood. I looked at Jenny and her eyes were glued on them. I grabbed Jenny’s face and forced her to look at me. I tried to mouth the words, ‘We’ve got to get out of here!’ but she tore her face out of my hand and whispered, ‘Where’d she go?’ I looked back and the woman disappeared; the girl’s body motionless on the floor.

I hear a scuffle and scream then a howl right above me. I look up and there’s a club stuck in the things head, I can see nails in its eye. It moves back into a dark room.

“Mark get up! GET UP!” Jenny’s pulling me up and we’re running out of the house.

The car’s about a mile up the road. Jenny’s running ahead of me, she’s in better shape. Jenny’s yelling back at me, “Run! Dammit! RUN MARK!”

That little bitch blinded me! I want her dead! I want her and that little worm of a man! They ruined it! Ruined my night! I don’t want their blood, I want them dead!

I see the car. She’s opening the door and getting in, starting the car. I get in. The car tires squeal and we speed away. There’s a loud crash on top of the car, the car jerks to the left almost veering off the road.  I look up and the hood’s dented inward almost touching our heads. Jenny’s yelling at me to call the cops. She’s speeding up and I’m screaming as I see the long claws of that thing reaching down over the windshield.

Blood pools like sweet honey around the edges of my mouth. It overflows and I feel like the sun is inside me and I’m radiant, glowing with life. Her hair falls softly to the side as her head slumps against my chest. Her hair is so beautiful, looks like gold. I push her aside and she falls to the ground. My dress is stained with blood. How could I resist her? My affections have always been toward fresh young women with a glimmer of innocence, a shine behind the eyes; a heart not yet broken. Oh how sweet! Yes! I can still taste her on my mouth. I can feel the rush of heat spreading from my stomach to my arms and legs.

This house is dilapidated and shudders with every movement I make. A wonderful abandoned home on the edge of town to attract teens for sex, drugs and spiritual encounters. I hear a rustle in the next room, a scuffle of feet and whispers. I slip into a corner. I can hear them now; I think it’s a boy and girl. They’re muttering to themselves, I smell dirt and a hint of sweat. In a rush, there is a crash and a stampede of footsteps running for the doorway beside me. The house trembles in excitement. My instincts take over and I snatch them in the darkness, their screams bellow in pure terror hurting my ears. I tighten my grip, breaking one bone then another. I release them and they fall to the floor.

THE END


 

 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my work! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Short Story Sample: The Tenant

Hello!

In addition to my latest post (Sample of Poetry) I have decided to post a Sample Short Story for all my readers.

This short story ‘The Tenant’ was first written at the beginning of this year. As you may notice, it is extremely short. I should probably clarify that I love to write short short stories. I will probably post a few regular sized short stories in the future as well but for this sample I figured a short short would be perfect.

I plan on working on this story more in the future and may publish the changes later in the next couple months since I have a lot of ideas concerning this piece and multiple directions that I’d love to take it, if possible.

Synopsis: ‘The Tenant’ is a short short story about an occupant living in an apartment building. (Self Explanatory, I know).

 

The Tenant

 by Alina Happy Hansen

The letters piled up against the door. The carpet was a sponge that soaked it all up, fermenting as the days passed. The smell began to leak out, the neighbors began to complain till management was called and keys were found to open the door. A few weeks had passed since anyone had seen the tenant. The overweight scruffy middle aged man jingled and jangled the hoop of keys till he picked out the right one. Inserting the key and turning it till he heard a soft click. He opened the door slowly afraid of what he was going to find. Flies buzzed around it, landing on their utopia of decay. There on the table was a plate meat, rotten and slimed over dripping onto the carpet.

END.


 

If you are reading this, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my work. I hope you return in the future!

Thank You,

-Alina

Poetry and Short Fiction by Alina H. Hansen

Coming Soon in April 2017.

A blog written and maintained solely by the Writer/Poet Alina Happy Hansen. Poems and Short Stories will be published weekly on alinahappyhansenwriter.wordpress.com. All Poems and Short Stories will be the authors original works. They may be rough drafts, works in progress or a semi-polished piece but will be available to readers for the purpose of exposing the creative process.

Besides Poetry and Short Fiction this blog will also include:

Book Lists (Alina’s lists of ‘Read’, ‘Would Like To Read’, ‘Currently Reading’, and ‘Reference Books’)

Films, Music, and Art (reflections, thoughts and small critiques/essays)

and Notebook Excerpts (material I take out from my completed monthly writers notebook)