To the Nines

Welcome Coffin Hoppers! Prizes. Ghost Story. Inspiration.

In the garage the donut games have begun: the string is strung, and the donuts hang from it, light, sweet Krispy Kreme gems. The competitors have donned garbage bags to protect their costumes. The bags rattle and float, turning them all into ghosts. The Grim Reaper presides over the festivities, final arbiter as to who has eaten her strung donut fastest without using her hands. He’s an ironic Reaper, with a tag that says: 

Reaper's Humor

He’s not at all like the real thing, I say.

Not so very long ago, I had a cat named Beanie. Beanie was a spiteful, angry creature. Beanie was a meanie. She was was prone to scratching people who tried to pet her. She carved the Roman numeral nine into the soft flesh of a friend’s hand. IX: the number of her bitter lives. Beanie was my pet, but I can’t say I loved her – or that she loved anything. In her final month, though, she became kind. She purred, and allowed herself to be petted.

In late September, she weighed almost nothing and no longer could be convinced to eat. As I did every night, I wrapped her in blankets and settled her into a nook with a heating pad before I went to sleep. Sometime later, I heard her struggle out onto the hard tile floor; she was having trouble walking, and I rolled over to turn on the light.

And stopped.

The Grim Reaper stood in the corner, between my white dresser and the closet door.

He didn’t have a scythe, and I couldn’t see enough to tell if he wore the traditional cowl. I couldn’t see enough because he was an absence of light, a darkness so complete I’ve never seen anything like it, not even in Hurricane Isabel’s aftermath when all of the power was out. It was a darkness beyond anything you can imagine, and I was afraid that if I moved to help Beanie, he would take me instead.

Beanie’s struggles got worse. A lot of things about horror are trite, it turns out. Her breathing and bodily functions rattled: a death rattle.

I turned on the light and dropped down out of my bed to cradle Beanie; the entire time, she stared at the space between my dresser and the closet.

When she breathed her last, she was staring at the Grim Reaper.

We both jump a little at the sudden shouts and clapping. The donut game is finished, and all the participants are laughing, their faces covered in donut icing and joy. The ironic Reaper puts a plastic medal over the winner’s head, and he raises her arm: mock triumph.

Remember: you can win an ebook copy of my novel Stolen Climates by leaving a comment with the phrase “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor.


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Rumor Has It That I’m a Kreativ Blogger!

The nomination comes with a badge:

It also comes with rules, which I am going to (sort of) break.


Rule 1: Mention the person who nominated you, and link to her blog.

Rule 2 : Post seven things about me that readers might not know.

Rule 3: Nominate seven other bloggers for the award.

The first rule I won’t mess with, not only because I adore Kim and think you will, too, but also because I’m grateful she thought to nominate me. You may know Kim Koning from #storycraft,  as a member of #TESSpecFic, or as a contributor toTales for Canterbury. Kim is a wonderfully emotive writer, an authentically engaged member of the world-wide writing community, and a friend.  Please check out her blog, Wrestling the Muse, and follow her on Twitter at @authorkimkoning.

Rules Two and Three, I’m going to bend. Most Kreative Blogger entries give a bullet-point list of seven disembodied facts or tidbits about the writer. Instead of listing seven things, I’m going to write seven vignettes illustrating something interesting. In addition, while the standard Kreative Blogger response lists seven nominees in the same post, I will list one per post. This is mostly to give me time to find seven bloggers I enjoy who are not already nominated. If you have suggestions, please send them. I will consider any entries, writing related or not, provided that the blogs are fresh, enjoyable and, of course, creative.


The Faerie or the Dinosaur?

Aniko Gets Kreativ  #1

I have two nephews. The oldest is almost ten, the youngest has just turned five. The difference between their ages is almost exactly the difference in age between my sister and me. In a sense, watching the boys is like getting to look back in time to how my sister and I must have been when we were children. If we were boys, that is, and if I had been the younger of the pair. I say that because my younger nephew’s dreamy, imaginative approach to the world strikes a chord of recognition within my soul. I know him because he is like me.

My writing room is filled with trinkets and baubles that have personal meaning. My desk faces a bank of windows, and on the sill is where I keep my talismans. Last weekend, my younger nephew found a little sponge amongst the trinkets. It came from one of those capsules that looks like a pill, but when you soak it in water, the gelatin capsule dissolves and the compressed sponge blossoms. I’ve seen them sold in packs at the grocery store, often claiming the sponges will look like farm animals. The pack I got, though, was supposed to look like mythical creatures. The sponge my younger nephew found was a faerie.


He held the faerie up to me and said, “What kind of dinosaur is this?” I said, “That’s not a dinosaur, it’s a faerie.” He wasn’t convinced, so I pointed to each part of the sponge and explained what it was. Here are her wings. Here are her legs. Here are her arms, and this is the book she’s reading.  He watched patiently, carefully, thoughtfully. Then he said, “Well, why does she have a dinosaur tail?” He pointed at the draped hem of the faerie’s dress. Suddenly, I understood my mistake. What I called ‘wings’ were really the bony plates on the back of a stegosaurus, the ‘book’ was a spindly leg, and the ‘dress’ was a stubby tail.

My first Kreativ blogger fact is this: I have seen a faerie turn into a dinosaur.

My nomination for the Kreativ Blogger award is my friend Mari Biella. Her blog is thoughtful and well-written. She recently published her debut novel, The Quickening – if you like haunted house stories, you’ll love Mari’s story.