Saturday, July 23, 2016

Now Online: Lizardian Chapter 41

Chapter 41:

It was Monday night.  Maybe, it was Tuesday night.  The diner was crowded with the dinner hour.  Friends and family gathered around the tables and booths, talking loudly and laughing beautifully.  The smell of meals rushed by as orders were yelled back to the two cooks in the kitchen, and the waitresses were all a pink blur, wearing their short, pink uniforms with notepad and pen held tightly in their hands.  And there was a song playing on the jukebox.  It was definitely The Beatles, but what was the song?  It was Can’t Buy Me Love, but then all of a sudden, the diner went quiet.  And Jim Morrison came out of the kitchen with his guitar in hand, singing, Happy Birthday.

Laurel had a few choices for her birthday.  There was that one Chinese take-out place.  There was the large Italian restaurant on the outskirts of town.  There were a couple of mom and pop restaurants, small, but the food was always good there.  She chose the diner, which surprised her parents, but they agreed to it.  And North came with them, but nobody had said that it was her birthday.  Granted, it was a small town, but she never left the booth to go to the bathroom.  So, there was no way for her parents or brother to tell anyone that it was her birthday, so how did they know?  And now everyone was singing to her, and she grinned like an idiot.  She glanced over at North, realizing that he was the only one not singing, and that almost dampened her spirits.  She looked away from him and smiled more as Heather placed a small, white cake before her with sparkling candles.

“Make a wish,” Heather said to her and then winked.  “Make a good wish.”

“I wish…”

“Not out loud, Laurel,” her mother said with a large smile on her face.  “To yourself.”

Laurel stared at the sparkling candles.  She grinned like an idiot again.  She took a deep breath but then stopped.  She leaned forward and gently blew out the candles, and the diner erupted into loud applause.  It was so loud that she jumped, but then Laurel laughed about it as the crowd around the booth departed.  Heather stayed behind to cut up the cake, and Laurel was fascinated with how smooth she used the knife to dip in and out of the cake.  She was surprised at being given the first piece, and she said, “Thank you, Heather.”

“You’re welcome,” and Heather then distributed three slices of cake to Laurel’s parents and brother.  “I’ll leave the cake and knife here.  Anyone want coffee?”

“I do,” North said, but then his mother shot him a look.  “Soda.”

“Me too,” Laurel said with a mouthful of cake.  “Sorry,” and she swallowed the food quickly.  “Good cake,” and she licked her lips.

“Laurel,” her father said, trying not to laugh.  “Manners, please.  Coffee, Heather.”

“Me too,” Laurel’s mother said.

“Be right back,” and Heather walked away.

“Happy Birthday, Laurel,” her mother said.

“Happy Birthday,” Laurel’s father said.

“What?”  North realized that everyone was staring at him.  “Happy Birthday,” but he did not look at Laurel.

“Thank you,” and Laurel glanced outside to see a light mist of November rain that had started to fall.  “Thank you…”

The diner was empty.  It was brilliantly lit up a moment ago, but now it was dark.  Barely any sunlight slipped into the diner.  The booths and tables were empty.  The jukebox was dead.  There were no pink blurs except one, who stood grimly beside the table, and the other cook, Barry was leaning against the marble counter top, looking off into space.

“Where’s Kelly,” Mr. Freund asked as he closed the menu and handed it to her.

“She’s dead,” the waitress replied curtly.  “Before I die, would you like to place an order?”

Mr. Freund was about to respond when Laurel said, “Grilled Cheese and Orange Juice.”

“The same,” Mr. Freund said, not looking too happy at the waitress.

“You’re the hero, right?”  The waitress pointed a jagged finger at Laurel.  “Some hero.  You save that fucking kid, but what about the rest of us?”

“Hey,” Mr. Freund said.  “That’s not appropriate.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, teach.  Excuse me.  Is this some kind of pedophile thing?”

“Jamie, knock it off,” Barry yelled at her before storming into the kitchen.

“Whatever,” and the waitress stormed away from them.

“Jesus,” Mr. Freund exclaimed but then looked at Laurel.  “Sorry.”

“Don’t be.”  Laurel sat across from him and looked out the window.  “Why did you want to have lunch with me?”  She glanced at him and then again looked away.

“To talk,” Mr. Freund said.  “Just to talk.”

Laurel now looked at the man, who sat across from her.  His brown eyes were tired, and there were bags under them.  His brown hair was neatly combed back.  He didn’t look fifty, and maybe he wasn’t.  But he looked aged from everything that had happened, and he pushed his black glasses up his nose, which was obviously a nervous tick.  He smiled, and she smiled back.

“So,” Mr. Freund said.  “Have you written anything for that contest I had mentioned to you awhile ago?”

“No,” and Laurel jumped as the waitress returned and slammed their drinks down in front of them.  “No tip for her,” Laurel muttered, but Mr. Freund heard that and smiled.

“No,” he said as he drank his orange juice.  “Laurel, did you know that I had retired?”  He watched her nod.  “I was actually going to leave town.  I don’t know where I was going to go, but I just had enough.  And then I saw you save that kid, and...”

“Oh my God,” Laurel exclaimed, looking over his shoulder.  “What are they doing here?”

The sheriff and agent walked into the diner.  Mr. Freund turned toward them and nodded.  The sheriff stepped back toward the double glass doors and pulled them shut.  He flipped the OPEN sign to CLOSED.  Then, he walked up to the agent, and they slowly approached the table.

“It’s okay,” Mr. Freund said, surprising Laurel by touching her hand.  “They just want to talk.  That’s it.”

Now Online: Lizardian Chapter 41

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Silent Invasion

The Silent Invasion
by, Melissa R. Mendelson

I turned nine a week ago.  I was still a small nine, but I was a big boy.  At least, I believed myself to be, and of course, my little sister still had to chase after me.  She just won’t go away, and my parents scold me for pushing her away.  But that’s family.  That’s my family.  A normal family in a normal neighborhood.  Everything was normal until they arrived.

The phone started to ring every night at the dinner hour.  My sister would be in her chair, playing with her food and totally oblivious to the worried glances between our parents.  They would just stare at the phone.  When I made a move to answer it, my mother grabbed me and kept me in my seat.  They just sat there, looking at each other, and only late at night in their bedroom would I hear them talk.  And what they said was for no child’s ears, but I was nine-years-old.

The phone calls soon became sporadic.  They also rang later, much later.  From the midnight hour to five a.m., the phone would ring six times.  Then, silence.  Then, it would ring again, and I could see the bags forming under my parents’ eyes.  I too was being woken up by these strange calls.  My sister slept like the dead.

One day…  I think it was Monday.  I happened to be by the phone, and it was three in the afternoon.  It rang twice, and I answered it.  A strange sound met my ears, and I quickly hung up the phone.  But when my mother asked me who it was, I couldn’t answer her.  I had no voice, and she screamed when she realized that.  Then, she scolded me for answering the phone.  It took a week to get my voice back.

Shortly later, the letters began.  Strange names scrawled on long white envelopes with no return address.  My parents at first gathered these letters up after weeks of receiving them, and then they brought the letters to the post office.  The post master threw his hands up in surrender, saying that there was nothing that he could do.  These letters were meant for us, but he warned my parents to never open them.  And they warned me to keep them away from my sister, who liked tearing into things.

My father started coming home late.  After work, he would have these meetings that later I found out that he was holding.  He was trying to warn the people here of the invasion.  Nobody wanted to hear of it, and those that did left.  They ran the moment the phone calls and letters began, and the rest lived in denial.  But my father didn’t give up.  He wanted to fight, and I wanted to fight with him.  But when I discovered his secret meetings and asked him about it, he said that I was too small to fight.  I had to stay home and protect my sister, but I could see it in his eyes.  We were losing the fight.

It was late one night.  I realized that the phone was silent.  I had actually fallen asleep around eight p.m., and now it was past eleven.  I turned on my side facing the window.  That’s when I saw his face, his monstrous face pressed up against the glass, and I screamed.  And as I screamed, he laughed.  When the lights flashed on, he was gone, but the ghostly impression of his face remained.

My father had enough.  He drove into town with a bunch of others that were also fed up.  They demanded action, but the town superiors threw their hands up in defeat.  There was nothing that they could do.  The land was theirs, and we had to leave.  And if we didn’t…  Well, that was on us.

Many fled the town after that.  A few remained, stubborn or oblivious.  It didn’t matter.  This was their home.  This was our home.  Who were they to arrive here and force us out?  Why were they even winning, and why were we surrendering?  What made them better than us, but I was a child as many told me.  I had no part in this, but yes, I did.  I don’t want to leave my home.

Again, it was late one night.  I was just stirring from sleep when I smelled the smoke.  My eyes flipped open, and I jumped out of bed and out into the hall.  The flames were just moving up the stairs.  I raced into my sister’s room and pulled her from the crib.  Then, I hurried into my parents’ room, waking them with my screams.  My father sprung to action after that, somehow getting all of us out of the house.

As we exited the house, there they were, a black swarm gathering outside.  Their pale skin flickered against the raging flames ravaging my home.  Their mouths dropped open like that of those twisted dummies that ventriloquists used, and this awful sound sent chills straight through my heart.  And my parents grabbed me and my sister and ran as fast as they could from these monsters that watched us through narrow, black eyes.

My father’s old car screeched to life.  He flew out of the driveway, not caring if he hit them, and just as he came close, they stepped aside.  Then, he burned rubber down this once ordinary neighborhood block, which was now nothing but ash and cinder, or at least, it soon will be.  And all I could do was look back at them as they looked from one to another with this mangled gaping smile upon their hollow faces.

When we were finally in the clear, I turned toward my parents.  They were both pale and shaken.  My sister was still fast asleep.  I opened my mouth to say something, but no words came out.  Nothing came out, and my father in turn went to say something.  But he couldn’t, and then my mother couldn’t.  And we realized that it was too late.  They had won, and they had taken everything from us.  So, I sat back in my seat as the heat rattled out of the vents of this old car, and I cried.  I cried in silence.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going - Top 5

I will look upon myself in the past and sadly shake my head, but when I look forward, my younger self will say, "Is this you?  Are you going where you want to go?"

M.R.M. 

5.  The Groomsmen


4.  The Outsiders


3.  Stand By Me


2.  Pump Up The Volume


1.  Before We Go


Top 5 Emotional Rollercoaster Rides

Drama is the symphony to your heart, the knife to cut its strings and the last breath to reignite hope.

M.R.M.


5.  Catch and Release



4.  A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints



3.  Angel Eyes



2.  Personal Effects



1.  Disconnect

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Please, Stay and Guard Me

Please, Stay and Guard Me

by, Melissa R. Mendelson

The room was a soft white.  Lit candles decorated the furniture.  Their flames bowed and swayed.  Their warmth struggled to chase the coldness away.  They failed.  Still, they fought.

I pulled a wooden chair up to his bed.  He was lying on his back, staring up at the white ceiling.  Was he counting the cracks above him?  Was he curious to the impressions hanging overhead of nails slowly pushing their way through their prison after all these years?  There were faint spider webs too, vacant and hollow now.  I continued to sit beside him as his eyes moved from the ceiling to the plain white walls and then to the candlelight that surrounded him.

He was dressed in plain clothes.  He even had his shoes on.  His shirt was white, and he pulled his jacket closer to his chest as if he were cold.  He looked like he had just come home from work, if he did work.  He was always moving about, but not anymore.  Now, he laid here, looking like an old man, but he was not an old man.  He was just used up, and that was my fault.

I never thought that I had a death wish.  I don’t like remembering my brushes with death.  Do I remember the first one?  No.  I was an infant crawling along that just bumped my head, and I passed out.  My grandfather, may he rest in peace, was there at that moment, and he brought me back, breathing life into my small body.  If not for him, I would not be here, but was that the first time?  Again, no.  My mother almost lost me when I was in her womb, but my grandmother, may she too rest in peace, was there at that moment to save me.  I’ve been saved many times over including now.  It was all because of him.

Have I been reckless lately?  Yes.  I have.  I don’t know why.  I hate feeling out of control.  I hate being trapped inside a shoebox, living this hollow existence.  It angers me that there are those out there in this world that would jeopardize my life to satisfy their greed and selfishness, so I lash out.  I lose control, and he stepped in, saving me time and time again.  But time is no longer on mine or his side.  Time is the enemy now.  Time to pay the bill, and I can see it on his face.  And he knows, and I know.  I cannot save him.

He forced a smile at me, but he wouldn’t meet my gaze.  He had a beautiful smile.  Now, it was a sad one, and I tried to smile back.  As I did, a flame went out, and my smile vanished along with his.  And I could see the pain etch across his face.  He was holding on.  He was trying to stay.  He was fighting, but another flame went out.

What would I do without him?  I couldn’t think about that.  I wouldn’t, but I had to.  This was happening, whether I or he wanted it to.  There was no stopping it, and the light in the room grew dim.  Yes, he was losing the fight, leaving me behind for what?  To do what?  Who would protect me?  Who would guide me?  Who would love me?

He was looking at me.  He wasn’t angry.  He wasn’t sad.  He was calm like a storm that has come and gone, leaving debris and wreckage behind.  The world would be in ruins for awhile.  I would be too, but maybe all was not lost.  Maybe, there was still hope.  Maybe…   Who was I kidding, and I was crying now.  I couldn’t stop the tears.  They were falling harder and harder like a torrential rain, and then I felt his hand on my face, wiping those tears aside.  So, I fought and won.  The crying stopped, but as I wiped my eyes, I realized that he was gone.

The bed was empty now.  The room was black.  The flames had extinguished.  I was alone.  I was all alone, and I could hear the world outside the door.  I could hear the pain and screams.  People begging to be saved.  I was saved, and I abused it.  I abused him, and this was my fault.  Losing him was my fault because I just couldn’t stay quiet.  I had to push my limits.  I had to lose control.  I was angry.  I am always angry, and now I am alone.  And the world has just become a scarier place.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Previous Publications

Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine:

Doll House (Short Story): 2007
Essence (Short Story): 2010
When The Dust Settles (Short Story): 2011

Gadfly Online:

2011: Passenger; No Leaders Among Men

2012: We Are The Villains Of This Story; Letters Cast Away; Leaving Nowhere Behind; After Dark: My Favorite TV Shows; My First Taste of Road Rage; Bleeding Through Reality (Let The Fiction In); Rampage; Going Haywire

2013: Living According to Tolstoy; Welcome Back to Tango of the Road Rage Drivers; When I Tried To Become A 9-1-1 Operator; Alarm Set; King of the Lonely Hill; Never in Stone; Saving Gifted Men and a Touch of Paranormal; (Alien) Baby Got Back; Glass Eyes; One Way Ticket; Friendship Rises Over The Dead Zone; Hail to the Three Kings, Baby; The Death of the State Employee; Heroes in Dark; Beyond The Spielberg Dream (My Love of Science-Fiction); A Brief Glimpse Over The Edge; Ghost in the Sands of White (For Walter White); Bye, Bye Mr. Burn Notice Spy; Simple Thoughts; Feeling Yourself Explode (My Take on Being Mad as Hell); Never Meant to Love

2014: Burning Down The Doll House; Over The Porch; Concrete Dreams; Front Page; Cruising Along Fate's Darkness; Where I Hit Record; The Trouble with Past Lives; NeedlePoint; Rhythm of Life; Checkmate; The NY State of Mind Does Not Brake For Enlightenment; You Killed Me Before; Guns Talk (A Parody of 'Little Talks' by Of Monsters and Men); Bleu Room with a Red Vase: Catching A Star At Jones Beach; Dialing The 4400 (A Parody of Adele's song, Set Fire To The Rain); 'Slip and Fall': A Review of Nick Santora's 2007 Thriller; Movies That Speak Volumes; Faded Shades of Rainbow; Remembering The Final Cut: Dedicated to Robin Williams; Don't Forget To Tip Your Cows; Lies (Parody of Sia's song, Chandelier); I Am A Clone; Here We Go Again (Another Tango Driver); Gold Beyond Blue; If Sam Axe Died; Unions; Fragments of Broken Youth; Extra, Extra; D.T.A.; Footprints in Sand; Alien Dream; Along The Rails; Cellar Dawn; Seeing Through The Facade; Blonde Android Shutdown

2015: Flirting with Revolution; Wanting to be a Cool Kid; The Silent War We Wage; Taking On The Universe; 24 Won't Come Back No More (Parody); Death Made a Pie; Spirits Among Us; Underground; Book Review: The Branches of Time; Gone Without a Trace; The Parachute Kids; The World is not Black and White; The Quiet Room; War Of My World; Remains of Peace; Carry On Winchester Sons (Parody of Kansas's 'Carry On Wayward Son'; Hanging Out in the Drive Thru (Parody of Train's Drive By Song); Book Review: Fifteen Digits; A Bitter Mockery; Blazing Eagle; Comic Book Heroes Gone Wild (Parody of Skid Row's "Youth Gone Wild"); Broken (Parody of Rihanna's "Diamonds"); The Waiting Room; What If Heaven Were Really Real?; The Tin Man's Heart; Missing Horror Movies of Days Long Ago; Iron Thorns; Gone But Not Forgotten

Mouse Tales Press:

Waiting (Short Story): 2011
Clay Pigeon (Short Story): 2012
Bittersweet Farewells (Short Story): 2013

Eastern Crier:

Haunted By Regret (Short Story): 2010

Fiction 365:

Discussion (Short Story): 2011

The Useless Degree Magazine:

Touch of Winter (Short Story): 2015

Bewildering Stories:

Summer Over The Death of My Youth (Short Story): 2015
I'm Better Off With a Cat (Flash Fiction): 2016

WildSound:

Poem: A Child's Dream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjE12-BCy0c

Porcelain Log Line: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/porcelain_by_melissa_r_mendelson.html

Glass Skies Over Home Log Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE3usyyYlCE

The Unknown Rider (Winner of Twitter Short Story Contest):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCAMLsxZzRM

Waken Dream Log Line: http://wildsoundfestivalreview.com/2015/07/12/video-pitch-for-waken-dream-novel-by-melissa-r-mendelson/

Lizardian Log Line:  http://wildsoundfestivalreview.com/2015/10/16/video-pitch-for-lizardian-novel-by-melissa-r-mendelson/

Poem: Fragments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8tsG8Vesj8

Live Reading: Lizardian Chapter 1:  http://novelwritingfestival.com/2016/03/09/watch-chapter-1-transcript-reading-of-lizardian-by-melissa-r-mendelson-performed-by-amaka-umeh/

Bystander Magazine:

Glimpse Over Darkness (Poetry): 2015

Antarctica Journal Publications:

Poetry:
Shining Through The Echo (For Robin Williams);  Are We Real;  Behind The Door;  Here;  Stone Slate;  Dream Always;  The Hole Within Us;  In Shadow;  Memorial;  Scarred; Today; What Is Family; Cruelty; Drifting; Whenever I Hear A Train

Poetry Featured in the 2015 Soul Fountain Anthology of Poetry

Art/Photography:
Farmland;  Kayaker;  Blue Surface;  Silent Post;  Who's Ready For Church;  Fog Rolling In; Manhattan (4 Photographs); Country Fair (4 Photographs); Long Beach, NY (4 Photographs); City Drive (4 Photographs); Country Fair 2 (4 Photographs); Abandoned (4 Photographs)

Song Lyrics:
Remember;  Shut;  On White Wings I Fly;  Comic Book Heroes Gone Wild; Supernatural Love; I Am A Clone; I'm Not Coming Home For Christmas; Wings of Gray; Paint My Heart Red

Music Review:

Spaceship and "Shake Time Loose"; When I Listen To Music

Book Review:
Lizardian

TV Review: 
Just Talking About Science-Fiction

Blog Talk Radio Interview: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cagmedia/2016/01/30/an-artist-speaks-season-5-episode-1-with-guest-artist-melissa-mendelson