Press Release: Women in Horror Film Festival Update

Press Release: Women in Horror Film Festival Update

Meet Horror Icon Lynn Lowry at the Women in Horror Film Festival!
Lynn Lowry, the iconic horror actress from films such as George A. Romero’s “The Crazies” (1973), David Cronenberg’s “Shivers” (1975), and Paul Schrader’s “Cat People” (1982), will be in attendance at this year’s Women in Horror Film Festival! Lynn also recently starred in the indie horror hit, “Model

Lynn also recently starred in the indie horror hit, “Model Hunger” (2016), directed by Debbie Rochon.
The Women in Horror Film Festival, which will take place from September 21 – 24 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA, will be a great opportunity for horror fans to come and meet this special guest. Lynn Lowry will be selling autographed posters, photos, DVDs and Blu-Rays at the event.
Tickets can be purchased in advance via the Women in Horror Film Festival website. The Women in Horror Film Festival is also currently accepting film and screenplay submissions. Films and screenplays may be submitted via the Women in Horror Film Festival FilmFreeway page.lynn-lowry-135677
All finalists in all categories will receive a complimentary VIP pass to the festival. Winners in all categories will receive a custom designed trophy from genre sculpture artist Karl Libecap of Monster Dork Studio. Feature film finalists will be considered by international distributor, Terror Films, for distribution and the winning feature film will be featured in a 2-page spread in Dead,Buried and Back.

Screenplay winners will receive prizes from Inktip, Screenwriters University, The Writers Store, and Jungle Software. The best student film will receive a filmmaking grant, as well as a session with Mark Simon, who has worked in the industry for over three decades on major motion pictures such as One Missed Call, Nightmare On Elm Street 3, The Breakfast Club, Risky Business, and more. There will be even more prizes for winners and finalists TBA! The Women in Horror Film Festival also currently has table reservations available for genre artists, vendors, authors, and performers. Tables are limited, and may be reserved at www.wihff.com.

Serial Scribbler : Tips This Season From the Serial Scribbler

This season on Horror Addicts, I’m going to focus on how to build your brand, as well as giving you some tips for building your business as a writer. Below is an outline of some of the things we’ll cover. I hope you’ll get something out of it, and let me know how they work for you!

  • How to build your brand
  • Should I get/be a mentor? What are the benefits?
  • Should I give/get critiqued? What are the benefits?
  • Pointers for building a successful website, and is it necessary to have one?
  • Do’s and Don’t’s for engaging your audience
  • Is Self-Publishing for you?
  • Should I get an agent?
  • What to look for in a publisher
  • I got a one-star review, now what?

Have a question for me and would like to have it answered here? Email me at vasquez@stitchedsmilepublications.com! Don’t forget to put “Horror Addicts Question” in the subject title!

 

 

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Lisa Vasquez is an author (The Unfleshed: The Tale of the Autopsic Bride, The Unsaintly) and CEO of Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. She volunteers for the Horror Writers Association as the Publisher’s Liaison and is a mentor to authors both there, and with her own company. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies which can be found both on Amazon or on her website: www.unsaintly.com

By The Fire: Episode 138 Challenge 2

Hey horror addicts, In Episode 138 of the horroraddicts.net podcast The Next Great Horror Writer contest moves forward and the task this time is a little harder. This time the contestants had to write a 250-300 word story about a monster. Participants were tested on their ability to scare with description in a short amount of time, and be judged on their monster, scare factor, and complete story concept. Sounds like a hard task but not to a good writer.

I love this challenge because it deals with monsters and what horror fan doesn’t like a good monster story. My favorite monster has always been the werewolf. I love the concept of having a split personality and not being able to control it. The person who becomes a werewolf can be the nicest person in the world but when the full moon comes out he becomes a savage monster and he can’t control his blood lust. My favorite comic character as a kid was The Incredible Hulk for the same reason. Dr. Banner was a genius and a humanitarian but when he got mad, the beast came out. The same concept holds true for Dr. Jekyll And My Hyde. The idea of a savage beast living inside you that has to come out from time to time is an idea that doesn’t get old.

Another monster that doesn’t get old is vampires. There are so many different ways to tell a vampire story and every vampire can have a different personality. It surprises me how many vampire novels I’ve read that all come up with a fresh spin on an old mythology. A good writer can make any monster interesting. Maybe one of the contestants will have an idea for a new monster that none of us have ever heard of before. There is always something new to add to a monster story.

What kind of monsters will our writers use? Werewolves, vampires, a human monster or maybe something else out of the ordinary. Is 300 words enough time for a complete story, an imaginative monster, and a big scare? In the hands of a good writer, it is.  Who will you be rooting for in this competition? Do you have your own 300-word story you want to share with us? What is your favorite monster and why?  If you have an opinion leave a comment on this blog post and let us know your feelings. Be sure to listen to episode 138 and hear what are contestants come up with.

 

Press Release: The Sound of the Possessed New Music

Available now, on Spotify and other streaming retailers:

Jenn Vix’s side project The Sound of the Possessed. This is a psychedelic indie rock band.

#NGHW 300-Word WINNER! Naching T. Kassa

Winner for episode #138

The Laughing Man

by Naching T. Kassa

The heart was still warm when I found it near the latrines. It hung from the barbwire fence like some hellish Christmas ornament, dripping blood into the muck below. I wasn’t sure who it belonged to.

It might’ve been Private Jefferson’s or Lieutenant Blackmore’s. They’d gone missing and Sargent Collins had laid the blame on the Hun’s doorstep. I knew the truth, though. My mum had told me long before I took up my gun and gasmask.

“Go to sleep, Johnny,” she’d said one night before bed. “Sleep before Laughing Man comes. If he catches you awake, he’ll rip your heart out and hang it up to dry.”

“Does he come every night,” I had asked.

“He does. If you smell almonds, he’s coming. And, if you hear him whisper your name, he’s testing to see whether you’re awake.”

“What if I can’t sleep?”

“Best pretend, love. Pretend and pray.”

The memory of her words kept me from the trench and the squirming shadows which filled it. I returned to my dug-out as quickly as I could.

The blanket had grown cold in my absence. I huddled under it and would’ve drifted off if the scent of almonds hadn’t wafted in.

“Johnny?” a voice whispered.

I froze. Something moved in the moonlight. It dropped to all fours and peered through my doorway.

“You awake, Johnny?”

Moonglow didn’t favor the creature. Instead, it laid bare every flaw in his leprous face. I shut my eyes but the image of oozing sores remained. He hadn’t changed.

“Johnny?”

I answered with a snore as I had always done. A moment later, his cold hand clutched my throat.

“I’ve always known you were awake,” he said.

Laughter echoed throughout the dug-out and, like a malevolent lullaby, it bore me to my final rest.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW TOP Seven 300-word Stories

TOP 7 / 300-WORD STORIES featured on #138

  1. 1: LARVAE by Sumiko SaulsonLARVAE – A sliver of sunlight pierced the stagnant air of the subbasement, illuminating claw marks in the mossy walls. Under the stream of light I observed bloodstains at the base of my torn nailbed. I winced. The iron-rich smell would attract the creature.Its piteous mewling arose from the depths. I nervously kicked soil into the tunnel at my feet. I had to escape before it returned. Clutching the soil, my fingers dug deep within. Quickly, I ascended. I was six feet up when I felt a tug at my feet. Looking down in horror, I witnessed the creature’s bloated, white body creeping up my pants leg.

    “Get off me, foul thing!” I screamed, kicking the hideous larvae. It was three feet long. Its maw oozed putrescent yellow fluids reeking of fetid lard. That evil oral emanation hit toe of my sneaker, melting canvas and eating away at flesh. I screamed in pain, kicking loose the shoe, sending the maggot dropping below with it.

    The small crevice at the top of the well was just feet away. Heart racing, I redoubled my efforts to scale the wall. A nail broke with a gut-wrenching crack. I felt blood rush out from under the cloth, hot and sticky. I began to calculate how much pressure it would take to knock the wooden cap off the well.

    A new sound emerged. Loud buzzing that grew rapidly closer. I felt wiry hairs touch the back of my neck. Against my will, I turned to look.

    A monstrous fly stared at me with its compound eye. It’s voice, high-pitched and querulous, vibrated against my maddened eardrum. “I bet you didn’t know we evolved,” it said, arrogantly hissing before its mandibles slid into the unyielding flesh of my eyelid, tearing asunder the fragile orb underneath.

    2: THE PET by Daphne Strasert

    THE PET

    You first found your precious baby while she cowered under a car—tiny, trembling, more fur than flesh. Such a helpless angel… you couldn’t leave her to the cruelty of the streets.

    You recline on the couch, Netflix droning in the background and your snuggle muffin nuzzled against your chest. Her breathing lulls you into the blissful space between sleeping and waking. You stroke her fur, careful to avoid the sharp spines, and trace each of the prominent bones that protrude from her back. The tip of her tail coils around your wrist, forming a vice of soft hair. Loving cupcake, you’d do anything to keep her happy.

    You coo at her and she raises her head, blinking each of her four eyes in turn. A rumbling hum passes from her body through yours and she stretches to rub her nose against your arm. She nibbles at your finger and three rows of jagged teeth prick your skin, a minor pain while you swim in an ocean of bliss. Warmth trickles along your hand, followed by the rasp of your sweet pumpkin’s tongue and a crunch as her jaw snaps bone. You murmur affectionate words of encouragement. You would never deprive her of happiness over something as insignificant as an appendage. She gnaws at the edges of your mangled finger, mewing between nips.

    Blood and flesh—you have plenty to spare for your darling. After all, your body is useless if it cannot cater to her. Any pain is worthwhile if you can provide what she needs. Isn’t that what you want? To be with her—a part of her—together forever? You’ll give anything for your dear pet. Even your life.

    Especially your life.

    Story 3: LINGUA by JC Martinez

    LINGUA

    The rotten smell comes from the body it left in the shower. It’s grown worse. It’s almost my time.

    I hear something. A muffled splash, like a wet towel hitting the floor repeatedly. Its footsteps. Then, another sound, like the towel getting wrung. It’s disposing of the body. It’ll come for me next.

    I close my eyes as the closet doors fly open. I close them hard, but I still see it. There’s nothing human about its shape, except for the… tongues. It’s all made of lilac tongues, grouped together like tangled hanks of yarn. I don’t know how it sees, for it has no eyes. I can make out no noses or ears either, just those tongues that wiggle wildly in all directions.

    It grabs me by the waist, pulls me toward it. God, no. It yanks my feet, lifting me effortlessly. The tongues are everywhere now, all over my legs and arms and torso, leaving a slimy trail that dries swiftly over my skin.

    Its tongues are over my closed eyes too. It pulls gently at my eyelids, as if caressing them. I want to scream, but I don’t. All I can do is cry silently, and that’s exactly what it wants.

    It tastes my tears. It drinks them.

    Over the next weeks, it’ll keep me alive, feeding me that strange marmalade that I don’t know where it gets from. It’ll keep me alive, savoring my tears and sweat and saliva, and any other body fluid that it craves.

    After it grows tired of my taste, it’ll leave me to starve to death in that putrid shower. I’m not sure how it’ll do away with my body, but since I can see no other, I guess it’ll devour it whole.

    So much for an open-casket funeral.

    Story 4: BLOODWORM by Jonathan Fortin

    BLOODWORM

    It started with wriggling under her fingernails. Sam ignored the feeling. It was late, and most of the office had left, but she had to finish this report.

    Then came heat, flushing her back and brow with sweat. Sam slipped off her hoodie. She was probably reacting badly to the meds she’d ordered off eBay. They’d looked shifty, but she’d had no choice—this scummy place didn’t provide health insurance.

    The wriggling sensation spread through her body. She felt dizzy and numb, her fingers punching random keys. “Shit…” She couldn’t let this distract her from the deadline. She tried to sit up.

    Her body didn’t respond.

    A red worm poked out between her knuckles. Then another, from her wrist.

    Terror hit her like a train. The meds—did they house parasites? Was she now their host? She’d been so stupid to take them!

    She tried to scream, but instead fell off the chair and became fetal on the floor. She choked as worms crawled up her throat and out her mouth like regurgitated noodles. They plugged her nose and burrowed out her eyes, popping them. Pain rushed through her as worms ripped out her back and twisted into sinuous, red-soaked ropes.

    Blind, she felt her body rise up from the floor, like a puppet. She took steps against her will.

    “Sam?” A voice. Her boss! She tried to tell him to run, but her mouth was blocked. Vomit rushed up and back down again.

    She couldn’t stop. Her hand collided with something, just as her boss began to scream. She pummeled over and over amidst wet sounds until the screaming ceased.

    Sam felt his still body with her fingers. She felt worms slip out from her and burrow into him.

    And then, soon after, she heard him stand.

    Together they lurched.

    Story 5: The ODDMENTS Monster by Adele Marie Par

    Corners hold secrets that burst forth like rotting fruit when darkness falls.

    A blackness within the dark. Shapes that form to become objects of dread as they begin to move. A puppet dance with no master.

    This is the jerky, raggedy birth of the Oddments Monster.

    Tommy’s safe world no longer existed. It had exploded into shards when his father died.

    The house became a lifeless tomb that he and his mother shuffled through.

    She trailed dust and dirty clothes behind her.

    Tommy was a ghost, incorporeal, unheard.

    Perfect conditions for the Oddments Monster.

    Wrapped up like a mummy in his bed, Tommy waited. Frightened into silence and rapid puffs of breath.

    A crackling sigh vibrated around the room. A slithering sound followed, evocative of a snake shedding its skin.

    The atmosphere became heavy. He gulped air like a fish stranded on land. He felt compelled to look and when he did…..

    Blackness filled his dirty clothes. A striped t-shirt wavered and flapped. Jeans bent at the knees and wobbled into an upright position. A crusty, grey handkerchief became a face. The centre puckered inwards to form a rudimentary mouth.

    The monster moved.

    Tommy cried.

    It lurched towards him, eyes made from lost buttons. Black as coal with twin, red, pinpricks of evil intelligence behind them.

    The raggedy thing leaned over Tommy’s paralyzed body.

    The stench of its breath was forgotten memories and sorrow.

    “Dust and ashes you will be, Tommy boy.”

    His trembling bladder gave way and the sharp smell of urine drew the monster closer.

    Ancient bubble gum drooled from it’s puckered mouth and dribbled onto Tommy’s face.

    He opened his mouth to scream but the monster kissed him. He tasted death and dirt as the monster sucked his breath.

    Story 6: THE LAUGHING MAN by Naching T. Kassa

    The heart was still warm when I found it near the latrines. It hung from the barbwire fence like some hellish Christmas ornament, dripping blood into the muck below. I wasn’t sure who it belonged to.

    It might’ve been Private Jefferson’s or Lieutenant Blackmore’s. They’d gone missing and Sargent Collins had laid the blame on the Hun’s doorstep. I knew the truth, though. My mum had told me long before I took up my gun and gasmask.

    “Go to sleep, Johnny,” she’d said one night before bed. “Sleep before Laughing Man comes. If he catches you awake, he’ll rip your heart out and hang it up to dry.”

    “Does he come every night,” I had asked.

    “He does. If you smell almonds, he’s coming. And, if you hear him whisper your name, he’s testing to see whether you’re awake.”

    “What if I can’t sleep?”

    “Best pretend, love. Pretend and pray.”

    The memory of her words kept me from the trench and the squirming shadows which filled it. I returned to my dug-out as quickly as I could.

    The blanket had grown cold in my absence. I huddled under it and would’ve drifted off if the scent of almonds hadn’t wafted in.

    “Johnny?” a voice whispered.

    I froze. Something moved in the moonlight. It dropped to all fours and peered through my doorway.

    “You awake, Johnny?”

    Moonglow didn’t favor the creature. Instead, it laid bare every flaw in his leprous face. I shut my eyes but the image of oozing sores remained. He hadn’t changed.

    “Johnny?”

    I answered with a snore as I had always done. A moment later, his cold hand clutched my throat.

    “I’ve always known you were awake,” he said.

    Laughter echoed throughout the dug-out and, like a malevolent lullaby, it bore me to my final rest.

    Story 7: Always Hungry by Cat Voleur

    ALWAYS HUNGRY

    It was horrible when the sound stopped. For the last few hours Kimi had been forced to listen to the slurps of the creature’s messy eating – interrupted only by the occasional cracking and crunching of bone. Sickening though it had been, it was preferable to the silence in which she was now stuck.

    They have an insatiable hunger for human flesh that grows as rapidly as the beasts themselves.

    Her grandmother had believed strongly in the Algonquin lore with which she had been raised, and Kimi had heard many such stories growing up.

    If only I had listened.

    The beast had stopped eating, which could mean only one thing; it was out of food.

    For a moment it lingered, still crouching in the bloodstained snow a safe distance from dying campfire. Elongated limbs extended from the emaciated torso at strange, unnatural angles. Even in the warm glow of the embers Kimi could see that the skin stretched thinly over its skeletal frame was a sickly, mottled gray.

    It was all she could do not to gag as the thing straightened and she caught a whiff of its decaying scent.

    At its full height, she saw that it was clearly taller than it had been prior to the feast, and Kimi gasped at the realization its head would now be level with the branch where she was hiding.

    It turned toward the noise.

    For the first time she could see it in all its grotesque glory. Teeth jutted in all angles from the gaping, gore-filled maw. Its distorted facial features were dripping with blood. Worst were its eyes – two black orbs that were sunken deeply into the deformed skull, reflecting no light.

    She knew in that instant she would not be spared.

    The wendigo is always hungry.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

GUEST BLOG: C. DARWIN DECAY PART TWO by J.C. Eickelberg

GUEST BLOG: C. DARWIN DECAY PART TWO by  J.C. Eickelberg

Part One

“It’s nice to see you again, Dominic,” his mother said.

“And nice to see you, too, Elizabeth.” He turned to his son. “How have you been?”

“About the same as when we talked last,” he responded. “Just touching on the topic of family inheritance.”

“I see. What concerns do you have?” Dominic asked his grandson. His cloak fell off his shoulders and arched away from his sides, mimicking the angel’s wings. Logan saw Dominic’s cloak wasn’t clothing. It was a pair of wings. A figure glided to his side, as graceful as any angel.

“Good evening, mother,” Logan’s father said.

“Good evening, Gregor,” she said. “This must be that grandson of mine. My how you’ve grown into such a handsome young man. You’ve got your mother’s dark hair.” She smiled at the young man sitting on the plinth.

Logan stared at the winged couple standing in his yard. They were the warm grandparents he remembered from his youth, with the exception of the wings. He didn’t remember their wings from previous visits. He had wondered if they had passed away given their rare contact with him. When he flung out the insult about being a gargoyle, he never expected to see them as real. His grandparents appeared as close to his imagination of what one would look like. Then he looked at his father. There was no mistaking the resemblance to his grandfather’s bulky form and grandmother’s kind eyes. The only exception was his lack of wings. Some gargoyles he’d seen were grotesque. His grandmother was regal in her beauty and his grandfather was noble in his bearing. Both were preternaturally tall and well defined for their apparent age. And nothing like the bestial ornamentation on an old building.

“Logan, you are part of a long line of special beings,” his mother said. Her sable complexion glowed warm with love, but stern. She soothed his fear and uncertainty.

“Where are your wings?” Logan asked his father. “And yours? And mine, for that matter?” He looked at his mother.

“Mine were damaged too badly when I was younger to keep. Unfortunately, I had to have them removed. I have the scars to prove they were there. Yours weren’t formed correctly,” Gregor said. “Your mother was the donor of the DNA used to correct your ‘anomaly’.”

“Your anomaly was malformed wings,” his grandmother said. “I would have offered to donated my DNA, but your parents pointed out you would have been the only flyer in town. No one would have been around when it came time to get you acquainted with flying. Your grandfather and I spend a lot of time visiting family all over. Accepting communities of our kind are few and far between. Wings are a rarity here in your town. If your wings were left as they were, your spine would have become misshapen.”

“Logan, I wasn’t born with wings. I was a rarity for our kind. No wings meant I could walk among everyone and not get pointed at or taunted.” Elizabeth went to sit next to her son. “I love your father for who he is. Not for something he’s not or doesn’t have. I know the story of how he lost his wings. He knows I never had them. I almost wished I had wings to experience flight, but then I realize in this day and age, we don’t have the freedom to fly like your grandparents could in their youth.”

“Logan,” his grandmother said. “Your wings gradually reduced to nothing after your treatment. Your parents didn’t tell you because they wanted you to grow up like other kids in the neighborhood. No wings meant you wouldn’t have to hide them or explain them. Your grandfather and I lived in a small community that accepted us and treated us as equals. Neighboring villagers tended to treat us as demons, or worse. Some of my family were killed for being who we are.”

“Even though you don’t have wings like we do,” his grandfather said, gesturing to his wife, “we still love you as much as we love your father and mother. It makes no difference to us. You are family. You have your special traits you’re learning to use, and honing very well from what I’ve seen.”

“What you have seen?” Logan asked, astonished they knew so much about what he did in his spare time. “I haven’t seen you in years.”

“I saw you intercept and catch that hawk. Your timing was very good,” he said. Logan recalled the large shadow crossing the driveway when he leaped off the roof. “I saw you walk out of the house, but not how you stalked the squirrel. Your agility and reflexes are phenomenal. Aren’t they Althea?”

“They most certainly are.” She saw Logan’s confusion. “We were far above the hawk, waiting for shadows to lengthen. Riding thermals is just as invigorating as it was when we were younger.”

“I have so many questions to ask you.” Logan looked at his grandparents. Wonder and awe welled up in him. He remembered seeing images from folk art and old architecture of gargoyles or creatures more animal-like than the beings in front of him. His grandparents were quarterback and cheerleader good looking, even in their advanced age. “How old are you? Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?”

“A good place to start. We grew up in a small town in the mountains long before airplanes were thought up. Our town was the last to get electricity, and still has a population of our kind. There are many of us out there. You may have seen the gargoyles on old buildings?” Logan nodded, remembering their beastly appearance. His family did not resemble those animals. They all could walk down the street with no second looks. His father appeared as normal as anyone he’d seen at the store. The wings his grandparents had were the only obvious difference between themselves and people in school. “We are not those creatures. Wings are the most obvious similarities. Some other features are more easily left unseen.” Althea tapped a lengthened canine tooth with a long nail.

Logan looked at his fingers. His nails (or were they claws?) didn’t show their length like when he caught the hawk. He thought about them and they extended with a little effort.

“I know it’s harder for us to hide those,” Gregor said, extending his claws. They lengthened significantly. “Some of us can get away with longer ‘nails’.” He looked lovingly at his wife, who checked a rough edge on one claw.

“That I can do,” Logan said. “What about this?” He stood and removed his shirt. What had started as a downy covering of hair was filling out to a glossy coat of fur.

“Goodness,” Althea stated. She examined the color of Logan’s thickening pelt. “You certainly have your mother’s coat and color. It suits you handsomely.”

“Grandmother, no other kids have this much hair. I’ve been able to hide the claws and teeth. No one else I’ve seen in school has hair like this.” Logan’s angst came out in his protest. “People have wondered why I don’t go to the pool. I want to go. I want to have friends that accept me.”

“We will always accept you,” Althea said. “You may not have wings, but we love you. I’m jealous of you in one thing. I’ve never been able to climb as well as you do. I’m sure there are kids that would want to know how you can climb like you do. Friends will come. If they accept you, then keep them. You need to be patient with others and find how they react to us before letting them know what you are.”

“Logan. Unfortunately, your hair isn’t so easy to explain to others. Some babies were hairy. Some don’t grow out of it.” His mother gave him a coy smile. She pulled her shirt up as if to pull it over her head.

“Mom!” Logan declared as he turned his head away.

“Logan. Look at me.” She was stern.

Logan looked toward his grandparents. They showed no shock, or surprise at his mother’s action. His grandmother gestured back to her daughter-in-law.

“Logan. Your mother has more to tell you,” his grandfather said. Sternness demanding Logan to return his attention to his mother.

She stood closer to him now, shirt in hand. Wearing a skimpy top he’d seen her wear during dance practice, his mother stood unperturbed without a shirt. Logan had never seen her without something fully covering her torso. He saw the same velvety layer of hair covering her shoulders and bare belly that covered his torso.

“Yes. You have inherited something from me that doesn’t quite fit in with everyone else.” His mother watched Logan’s face. Acceptance came slowly to Logan. “I’ve seen some people watching you. Most looked who at you were taken by you. I’ve seen admiration of your good looks. That anomaly you had, wings notwithstanding, would have left you hunched over. The little bit extra I gave you through that DNA treatment meant you weren’t going have funny looking wings on a hunched back. It may have meant a little more hair, but you can deal with it. I’ve seen how well you’ve grown into it.”

“Might this be one of those classmates that watches you, Logan?” Grandmother Althea asked.

Logan peered over his shoulder to see his grandmother looking back toward the house. Her wings were wrapped around her shoulders, appearing as a cloak in the growing darkness. With a place to look, Logan turned to see someone coming down the driveway. A friendly smile on the newcomer’s face.

“Good evening, Michelle,” Logan’s mother said. “What can I do for you?”

“Good evening, Mrs. Everson,” Michell said. “I wanted to drop off your dance shoes. They came into the store today. I thought I’d save you a trip to pick them up. It’s on my way home.” Michelle smiled warmly. Seeing Logan, a twinkle appeared in her eyes. “Hi, Logan.”

“Hi, Michelle.” Logan smiled back. He forgot about his trepidation of fitting in at school. He also forgot about the shirt in his hand.

“I don’t want to interrupt a family get together.” Michelle gave the shoes to Logan’s mother. “See you at school, Logan.” She turned to leave. As she did, she pushed some hair behind her ear. Logan noticed the tuft of hair on the top of her ear. Michelle fluttered her fingers at Logan and went back down the driveway. Shock settled on Logan’s face.

“Mom,” Logan said, looking at her. “Did you know?”

“Know what?” she asked, innocently.

“That’s she’s part Lynx,” he said.

“No. I knew she liked you.” Logan looked at her, not believing her. “That’s why I told her to stop by with the shoes when they came in. She lives half a block down. I’ve heard you talk about her. I also know you’re too hard on yourself and wouldn’t have talked to her.”

“Logan,” Grandfather Dominic said. “You have more to learn about the community you live in than you know.”

“That young lady is a start,” Grandmother Althea said. “Take it from a mother. Sometimes a son needs to have his eyes opened a little by a parent.”

“Yes, they do,” his father said, humbly. “Just as they need to keep in mind, not everyone is ready to accept someone equally linked to a bird of prey, a jaguar, and a human. Or another animal.” He glanced down the driveway at Michelle.

“Mom, I thought you had a panther in your family.” Logan’s shock of being known was wearing off. “I’ve never seen spots on you.”

“I have one. A ‘birthmark’ on my leg. Michelle recognized it in dance class for what it was. When she asked about it, without concern, I knew she could be accepting of a certain young man I know. Like not having a tail, I won’t miss a mopey teenager getting over whatever it is you have to get over.”

Logan looked to his father.

“Like your grandmother said. Sometimes it takes someone else to open your eyes. You have three generations who accept you for you. One of them was a stranger to you.”

“Was a stranger? I’ve never talked to her outside of class.”

“You have your chance to get to know her. You’ve always wanted to fit in. Now there’s someone you can talk to about getting in touch with your animal side.” Gregor looked at his son. “I almost let your mother get away. Don’t do that with Michelle.”

His mother tugged the shirt out of his hand and balled it up. She put it on against his bare torso and said, “She’s not a stranger to most of the neighborhood. Michelle’s a keeper. Don’t let her get away. Chimera or not, you have a life to live.”

“I will. Do me a favor first,” Logan said, looking at his father.

“What?”

“Don’t burn dinner. I’m wanting something with no char on it,” Logan said.

“Now do your mother a favor,” his mother said. “Set the table for five. Your grandparents are staying for dinner. I’ve got some cooking you can help to finish.”

“If I’d known, I’d have gotten the squirrel, too.” Logan chuckled.

“Glad to see you’re out of your funk. Now go in and wash your paws. I don’t want to see feathers at the table,” Grandmother Althea said.

 

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J.C. works and lives in Wisconsin.  He has a beautiful wife and two active boys.  He enjoys spending time with family, reading, and, time permitting, writing.  Haunted and spooky places have always intrigued him.