Horror in the Bathroom

It had been such a normal night. Lynne had dropped into dreamless sleep.  Waking, she paused  to enjoy her doll collection ,  and then stepped through the half-open bathroom doorway.  Flicking on the light, she turn toward the toilet.

She blinked, looked again.   Please, please don’t let this be real! She squeezed her eyes shut, opened them; afraid to look directly into the toilet, she let her gaze drift there slowly.

It was still there, only now its ugly, sinister head was resting on the rim.

Screaming, mindless, she slammed the bathroom door and ran.

“Snake!  Snake! Snake in my toilet!”


The God of the Mountain is Still God in the Valley

Mountaintops and Valleys

Describe a time when you quickly switched from feeling at the top of the world to sinking all the way down (or vice versa). Did you learn anything about yourself in the process?


I know, I know.  I’m coming in late with any comments on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks, but it’s the first thing that came to mind, so I’m going with it.

I’d been out grocery shopping.  It was a gorgeous day in my corner of Pennsylvania, where September and October are rewards for July and August.  My 19-year-old daughter was home, doing some cleaning.

I was bringing in the first load of groceries from the car.  When I came through the door, I was surprised to see my daughter sitting on the floor, tears running down her cheeks, watching the TV.   She turned to me, a look of shock on her face, and said, “Mom, I think we’re under attack.  They’re not calling it that, but  I think that’s what it is.”

Just about that time, we watched in horror as the second plane flew into the second tower.

You all know the rest.

It brought me down from a beautiful, productive fall day to  hours of darkness and utter helplessness as, unable to turn it off, we watched New York City struggle with the aftermath of the evil that had been done.

I am thankful for this song:



You’re having a nightmare, and have to choose between three doors. Pick one, and tell us about what you find on the other side.


Alexis struggled to pick one foot up as she set the other down. It felt as if someone were holding her ankles, making it nearly impossible for her to move. She knew she needed to run, but her body just would not cooperate. There was nothing in front of her but swirly mists, black and grey, with no light to show her where to turn.

There was no sound. She knew she was screaming, but her voice was swallowed up into the void and there was no one to hear, no one to help. The Terror was chasing her, laughing a terrible laugh as it watched her struggle to go nowhere.  How was it she could hear that awful laugh, yet her own screams were silent?

What was this terrible place? Oh, if only she could fly!  Up and away, free to soar above the horror that held her. There was no escape, and no one to help.

As the mists swirled and dipped in front of her, as she strained to see any way out,  she finally did see three closed doors. What were they?  How was she to know which one to choose?   She watched as the doors loomed ever closer.  None of them seemed a safe choice, yet she knew she had to do something! She stretched out her arm, groping and reaching to touch one of the doors.

“I don’t care which one I go through,” she thought. “Nothing could be worse than where I am now, with the Terror behind me and I can barely pick my feet up to run!  Oh, please, just let me go through one of these doors! it doesn’t matter which one!  Nothing could be worse than this. . .Oh, NO!!  NOOOOOOOOOOO!”


I’ll Tell You Everything!

( 101, Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page
What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. If you’re up for a twist, write this post in a style that’s different from your own.)

When I opened my eyes, and the cloud of drugs had dissipated, I saw something suspended directly over my head. It was semi-dark in the room, and I couldn’t make it out at first.  Then, slowly, the reality became clear.

A huge net was indeed suspended from the ceiling. It bulged out in some place, was concave in others. Those places changed every few seconds, and I began to realize that there was something alive in the net. Something alive and trying to find a way out.

As I watched in growing horror and fascination,  I realized other things as well.  I was bound hand and foot, my arms and legs spread out in opposite directions.  My head was also restrained, clamped by some evil tool that kept me from moving anything save my eyes.  I had a raging thirst. My throat was on fire, and I was desperate to work up just a little saliva to moisten my lips and throat.  I was cold; I wondered how my throat could be so hot and dry while the rest of my body was bathed in clammy sweat. I was covered with goose bumps, and shivering hard against the restraints. I realized that I was naked. Completely.

My concern, though, was that net above my head. It was the size of a small sofa, as far as I could see. What terrified me was that I thought I knew what was contained in the mesh, and the horror of it was making my misery excruciating.

Training my eyes and ears on the net, I was sure I could see separate bodies.  Writhing, wriggling, sinuous, slithering bodies. Sibilant sounds came now and then, causing the cold sweat to run freely off my body.  And then, suddenly and clearly, I saw the unmistakable reddish glare of eyes that were staring staight into my own terrified eyes!  Those eyes seemed to emit hatred toward me, and a determination to do me harm. I was mesmerized. I was horrified. I almost fainted with fear.

And then I heard the voice.  Calm, soothing and reasonable, the voice spoke my name. “Well, Mr.  Blakesly.  It seems you’re in something of a predicament.  You know, my friend, I’d be glad to help you out of your situation. Of course, you know that means you would owe me something in return. Do you care to bargain with me?  If not, all I have to do is release the cord, and you will be smothered in poisonous, angry serpents. You won’t last long. Ten minutes at most, but what an enjoyable ten minutes–for me–it will be.”

I could hear the the insinuating sneer in his voice, almost see the satisfied smugness on his face.  Finally, after chasing each other across oceans and continents, my archenemy had me completely in his power.  Little fragments of the events of the previous day began to flash through my mind, but I couldn’t hope to follow those flashes.  At the moment, all I could think of was finding some way out.

“What do you want?”  I croaked.

“Come, come. You know exactly what I want. I want everything that resides in that magnificent brain of yours. Every contact, every password, every code, every plot. And I believe I will have them, won’t I?”

A small noise above my head had me straining to see. I realized that the net was closer by maybe an inch.  A stench issued from the net. Snakes have a foul odor.

“Let me go, and I’ll give you what you’re asking.”

“Oh, no.  Oh, my, no.  That would be most foolish of me, wouldn’t it?  You’ll empty your head to me right where you are, and THEN I will consider setting you free.”

“I can’t think straight with that horror hanging above me!”

“Well, then, let’s bring it a little closer so you can see exactly what you’re looking forward to.”

And the net came down again, hanging barely six inches above my head and chest.  Individual snakes were clear now, huge ones and smaller ones, all of them ugly and evil.  My worst nightmare.  How did he know?  How could he possibly know?

“All right. All right, I’ll tell you everything. But I have to have some water. Whatever you used to put me out is making me thirsty. Please, water, and then I’ll talk.”

“Oh, Mr. B., you disappoint me.  I thought you’d hold out a little longer, so I could toy with you just a little more. Well, if you’re ready to talk, then of course you may have some water. After that, we’ll chat–just you and I and our slithery friends. If I doubt any word that comes out of your mouth–well, I think you know what will happen.”

I heard a metallic click, and the screech of an unoiled hinge. A little more light  came into my dungeon, enough to show me the true horror of what hung so close above me. As the man who entered helped me drink from a bottle, through a straw, I watched my nightmare.

“Thanks,” I said to the guard. “Don’t go away.  I’m going to need lots more water.  There’s a lot to tell.”


Newlyweds (Blogging 101, Day 27: Build on the Popular)

(Today’s assignment:  Find the post that has received the most views, likes, or comments,  and write a related follow-up post.)

I searched in my stats, and discovered all kinds of interesting things there.  The most-hit post over this past week was You Never Knowhowever, my all-time favorite, aside from my About  and Archives,  is from the daily prompt Third-rate Romance. And here’s my follow-up.


There have been many other funny incidents throughout the course of our marriage.  My husband is not a guy who can tell a funny story and have everyone in stitches. He’s no Jay Leno or Johnny Carson.  But he enjoys good humor, and he can take a joke on himself. Now and then he likes to play a joke on me.

We’d been home from our honeymoon for about a week. We moved into the rental half of a duplex owned by our landlady, who lived in the other half with her adult son. It was an old place, and needed some serious cleaning. She didn’t want us to paint or repaper the cabbage roses in the living room, though. 

Terry’s job had him up around 5 a.m., an ungodly hour when normal people are still deep in slumberland. Because I wanted to be a good wife, I got up with him fixed his breakfast and lunch, and kissed him goodbye.  It was just barely getting light outside when I closed and locked the door.  I knew I wouldn’t sleep well if I went back to bed, so I decided to take my shower and get ready to face a day of deep cleaning.

It was an old rickety metal shower stall, with a plastic curtain and ancient fixtures. Rust was more noticeable than the white paint on the walls of the shower. As I happily soaped up, shampooing my hair, I started to sing.  I did not hear the footsteps.  I did not hear the bathroom door opening.  I did not hear the stealthy progress of the rubber-soled workboots.

The whole neighborhood, however, heard my shriek of horror when a hand came pushing through the shower curtain and grabbed at my arm!  The screaming went on and on!  I remember thinking, “Why doesn’t that woman stop her screaming?”  I backed into the corner of the stall, washcloth waving madly at the groping hand, soap and water flying all over the place as I shrank into a huddled ball of tears and shuddering gasps as the hand turned off the waterand pushed back the curtain.

“Linda! It’s just me! For crying out loud, stop screaming!  Someone’s going to think there’s a murder going on!”

Trouble was, I could not stop. I was completely hysterical. Terry finally yanked a towel off the rack, pulled me to my feet, and wrapped me up. Still sobbing, all I could do was shiver.

And then he said, “What are you so upset about?  I was only teasing!  For crying out loud, knock it off!”

What was I upset about?  WHAT WAS I UPSET ABOUT?  Well, for one thing, we lived a scant mile from the Stillwater State Prison in Minnesota. Escapes happened. Sometimes.  Really.

For another, I was a new bride, getting used to this whole marriage thing, getting used to a new apartment, getting used to being pretty much on my own during the day.

I remember when my crying turned from stark terror to sheer rage.

“How could you DO that to me!  That’s NOT FUNNY! That’s just mean and ugly and I think I hate you!  Get away from me. Go to work. Go away, go away! NO! Do NOT try to hug me now. Do NOT!”

Well, 45 years later, I think I’ve forgiven him. He never did it again.  I guess he figured it really wasn’t worth it.