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Is the phrase "Once upon a time..."
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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 Psychosis pt 1

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Michael Pasquale


Number of posts : 32
Age : 40
Location : St. Augustine, FL
Registration date : 2008-07-22

PostSubject: Psychosis pt 1   July 26th 2008, 10:01 pm

Here is an actual short that I am working on. I am still hashing out the ending though, so....

©2008 Michael Pasquale

Jason Theed awoke to the ringing of his telephone. Slowly, he maneuvered his arm until his hand finally found the receiver. His mind was still half in and half out of his dream world, though he was slowly grasping more and more onto reality. His wife began to stir a bit next to him, letting out a slight groan, but then promptly rolled over onto her opposite side and proceeded to continue to sleep. Once again the phone rang, keeping him from slipping back into his dream world.
He numbly removed the receiver from its hook, and brought is over towards his ear. “Hello,” He breathed gutturally into the phone, hoping that this wasn’t the type of phone call that would result in him actually having to get up, though with the run of luck he’s been having lately, he was bracing himself for the inevitable.
“Jason, it’s Mitch. I’m sorry to bother you at this hour, but-“ But it was too late, Jason thought to himself. “There’s been another incident Jason.” His voice grew sterner, almost icy.
“Ok. I’ll be right there,” Jason said, yawning immediately afterwards.
“Take your time; the guys are still trying to get everything fully under control over here.”
“That’s fine,” Jason said. “I’ll see you soon.”
“On the corner of Fifth and Polluck,” Mitch said before finally hanging up.
Jason just sat there at the edge of his bed, running his hands through his hair. His wife Tess floundered onto her side, so that she was now facing him-one eye open and one eye closed-and lovingly reached her hand out to caress his arm.
“You’ve got to go, don’t you,” Tess asked, not wanting for him to answer yes to her question.
“I’m sorry baby. I haven’t got a choice in the matter.”
“I know. I know what it would mean to you to finally reach the end of all of this.”
Jason did not answer right away. Instead, he took a moment or two to think about what she had just said to him. Finally, he took a deep breath, slowly exhaling outwards. “Not just to me,” He yawned as he stood up, “To their families.”
“I know,” She said. “Promise me you’ll call me later when you have a chance?”
Jason turned his head back towards her, smiled, and then walked down the hall towards the bathroom. The tile was cold on his feet, sending slight shivers up his legs, which eventually found their way and traveled up his spine. His head swam in a literal pool of sludge and vomit from the amount of drinking him and Tess had done the night before, but as far as right now was concerned-duty called.
The morning air was warm and full of humidity, causing him to immediately begin to form slight droplets of sweat around his brow. This summer heat has been absolutely unforgiving this year, he thought to himself. He shut the door to his two bedroom home-leaving the cooling sensations of the air conditioner behind-locked it, and started for his police issued Crown Victoria. Next to it, sat Tess’s little Volkswagen Bug, all yellow and cute with its matching flower sitting on top of the dash. He smiled a private smile to himself as he unlocked his car. Finally in, he cranked her up and began to back out of the driveway.
“What do we have Mitch,” Jason asked as he crossed under the yellow police tape and into the scene of interest.
“Well, it’s definitely our guy,” Mitch said as he pointed towards where the body was.
“The same M.O. as all of the others, but this time he decided to add a little pizazz or something with this one. Jason, he knows were tracking him. This time, he left us a little present. Actually, he left you a little present.”
Jason looked up at his partner, confused and yet intrigued at the same time. Mitch motioned for him to follow over towards where the body lay behind a couple of large blue metal dumpsters behind one of the many Jiffy’s that span all across the city. The heat radiated all around them from the black asphalt ground.
“Why does he always leave the bodies where they cook in this heat,” Jason asked. “It isn’t bad enough that he’s killing them, but he’s making us have to peel them up off the ground too. He’s doing this on purpose. Who found this one?”
“An eleven year old girl found her,” Mitch said.
“Jesus Christ,” Jason said as he removed a pack of Camel Lights from his breast pocket, tapped out a single cigarette and lit it.
“Well it’s certainly the same M.O. alright; A young girl, maybe around seventeen or eighteen years of age with long brownish-black hair that was braided and tied around her neck, stripped completely naked, covered in this grease or Crisco-like substance, and then posed for maximum shock value. Poor girl,” Jason said.
“Tell me about it. I’m glad that her parents weren’t the ones who found their little girl lying here like this,” Mitch said as he knelt down next to the body.
“No. I meant the little girl who found her here like this. Can you imagine? Being an eleven year old girl and stumbling on to a scene such as this one? Seeing this sort of a thing will more than likely haunt her for years to come, essentially, making her a second victim to this crime.”
Mitch continued to kneel next to the girl’s body, considering what his partner had just said, but quickly putting it off to the side. “Open her mouth though,” He said, as he handed Jason a pair or latex examination gloves. “He left your trinket inside her mouth.”
Jason stretched the gloves methodically over each hand, all the while studying the body that was before him. Yes, she was only about seventeen or eighteen alright, but she looked and was developed as though she were in her mid twenties. She had a stunningly beautiful face Jason thought to himself (Despite the whole being dead thing), as well as a beautiful figure about her. He knelt down next to Mitch and carefully opened the girl’s mouth with the end of a pen that he had inside of his shirt pocket. Her lips were purple-blue, though still moist and sticky with saliva and that greasy stuff. She had perfectly straight, white teeth that must have cost mommy and daddy a fortune in dentistry bills to get and maintain. Her tongue was swollen slightly, as well as pushed off to the side by the object that happened to be lodged inside of her mouth. Carefully, Jason pulled it up and out using a small pair of tweezers that one of the crime scene officers had on them.
It was a folded piece of photo paper, with Jason’s name clearly written on it so that it would be easily read when her mouth was opened. Unfortunately, it was typed and not handwritten, which meant that there was not going to be any hand writing comparisons anytime soon, however, he would most definitely have it inspected for any sort of prints on its surface. Mitch stood eagerly by, waiting for him to unfold the photo paper so that he might catch a glimpse as to what it was. Jason began to walk away from where the girl’s body lay, and motioned for Mitch to follow.
“I’m sorry. I just had to get the hell out from under this sun,” Jason said, wiping the line of sweat out from his eyes.
“Tell me about it,” Mitch replied. “I can’t remember last summer being this hot. I mean, it was hot-don’t get me wrong or anything-but damn man! This is enough to cook...” Mitch quit talking abruptly, thinking about the string of bodies that have been turning up over the last three months, covered in cooking grease and directly underneath the sun where the bodies have all literally cooked themselves to the asphalt. “Sorry,” He said suddenly.
Standing now inside the Jiffy-where there was plenty of fresh, ice cold air-Jason held the photo paper and began to open it. Mitch maneuvered himself so that he might catch a better glance as to what was on it. The store bells chimed as a young boy came strolling in; also apparently trying to escape the torturous heat of the outside world. He looked up at both Jason and Mitch, stopped for a moment, staring, before he finally smiled at the both of them and headed towards the back cooler where all of the ice-cream was kept. Mitch chuckled under his breath, but was immediately thinking that ice-cream probably wasn’t such a bad idea at the moment. Jason finished opening the folded photo.
“God damned bastard,” Jason said. He shoved the photo into Mitch’s hands and then proceeded to storm out of the Jiffy, slamming the doors on his way out. Mitch stood there looking at him as he quickly disappeared back into his car and sped away. With this, the young boy reappeared back from the coolers carrying a Nestlé chocolate and peanut ice-cream cone in his right hand. He nodded and smiled at Mitch as he approached the counter where a middle-aged man warmly greeted him with a smile of his own. Finally, after a few moments of trying to process all that had just taken place, Mitch looked down into his hands; into the photo that had caused Jason to react the way that he had.
“Oh God, no,” He said, staring at a picture of Jason’s mother, leaving the apartment building that she lives in across town. There was a time and date stamp on the picture that showed that the picture had only been taken two days ago. Mitch quickly folded the photo back up and stuffed it back into his pocket.
“Phone,” He shouted at the store clerk, who in turn, pointed outside towards the front doors where a row of three pay phones were bolted onto the store’s front wall. “Figures,” He mumbled as he headed for the doors.
Jason raced up Normandy Boulevard with his cruiser lights swirling their magical red-blue symphony to all those who cared to look, telling them that this was, in fact, a real emergency. His heart pounded in his chest like a thousand bass drums, beating in sync to some sort of hauntingly familiar melody. Even his mind was racing, whispering to him thoughts that he would rather not listen to, though they had most certainly been there the whole time. He tried calling her on his cell phone again, but the line just rang and rang. ‘Hopefully she had just gone out somewhere,’ he thought aloud to himself. He had first tried calling her the moment that he got into his cruiser and sped off down Polluck Street to no avail then either. He entered into the southern district of Pirate’s Cove, four miles from where his mother’s little apartment was, and had to slow down a bit due to the number of children playing out in the streets. Someone, perhaps a fireman, had opened one of the hydrants for them and the kids were seriously eating it up. He couldn’t help but smile as he watched the children playing in the gushing water, finding their own means of escape from this blistering summer heat. Again he thought to himself, ‘If they only realized what sort of a monster was out there, lurking.’
He passed by another group of rowdy children, playing in yet another opened hydrant when his cell phone began ringing. He
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Michael Pasquale


Number of posts : 32
Age : 40
Location : St. Augustine, FL
Registration date : 2008-07-22

PostSubject: Psychosis Pt2   July 26th 2008, 10:02 pm

He looked down at the caller-id, but saw it said UNKNOWN CALLER on the screen. He sighed briefly and then picked it up. A slight stream of water slopped itself across his windshield, causing him to momentarily pause before answering the phone.
“Hello,” He said, hoping it would be her calling him.
“Jason. It’s Mitch,” Said the voice on the other end. “Are you heading over to your mother’s apartment now?”
“Yeah. I’m almost there.”
“Alright then, I’ll meet you there,” Mitch said.
“No. I‘ll call you when I find something out. Until then, why don’t you finish up there,” Jason said.
“But, Jas-“ Mitch tried to say, but was promptly cut off.
“Look Mitch, now he’s bringing my family into this, and whether or not my mom’s ok, I have to go on my own. This sick bastard isn’t playing by the typical rules any longer.”
Mitch stood there with the phone towards his ear, trying to think of something to say, but could only feel the roasting heat beating down upon the back of his neck, burning him unmercifully. “Fine Jason. Is there anything though that I could do that might help you out though?”
“I appreciate your wanting to help me, but as soon as I know something, I promise I will call you back. What number are you at right now,” He said, pulling out a little notepad from inside the center console of his car, along with a pen.
Flustered, Mitch read off the number on the payphone from which he was calling from. “Seven two nine, five eight five four.”
“Got it,” Jason said. “I’ll call you back soon. I’m pulling up in front of her apartment building now.” He closed the flap to his cell phone and placed it back down into one of the cup holders where he normally kept it while he was driving.
Her building was one of the older buildings in the district, having been erected back in the early nineteen-twenties. It was a nine-story, red brick building with one of those turn-style doors that children liked to go round and round in. Above the entrance was an equally old wooden sign, with the words SHADY ACRES engraved into it, and the words looked as though they had a fresh coat of black paint on them. Jason had always felt the name of the building most certainly lived up to its owner’s reputation-shady. He stepped out from his cruiser and peered up towards the fifth floor where his mother resided. He could see her window right from the street and although everything looked copasetic, still, this haunting feeling still daunted him. He closed the door to the car, locked it, and pushed his way past the rotating doors, into the buildings lobby and out of the heat.
“Good afternoon Mr. Theed,” The young girl behind the counter said as he emerged from the door. “How are you doing today?” Jason merely nodded, completely ignoring the girl, and immediately headed for the elevator. The button lit up with life as he pressed it, leaving him just standing there, waiting.
‘DING!’ The elevator reached the lobby, announcing itself for all who cared. Jason, now growing impatient, shifted his weight from one foot to the other while waiting for the doors to slide open. Another sound of the bell and the doors did finally open for him. He was about to rush in, but had to catch himself from doing so, less he knock over an elderly lady who was having an exceedingly difficult time walking. She looked up and smiled a toothless grin, extending her arm out towards him in hopes for a bit of help. Jason sighed under his breath, but took the old lady’s arm and proceeded to help her out of the elevator. She thanked him and patted him on his arm before finally turning her attention away from him and onto the young girl behind the counter. Jason now rushed into the elevator and located the button with the number five on it; which he pressed immediately after finding it. He stepped against the back wall of the elevator and waited for it to do its thing. The doors slowly began to close as he watched the young girl say something to the elderly lady, and although he couldn’t hear what she was saying, he figured that it must have really upset the old gal for she immediately held her hand up towards the girl and promptly raised her middle finger to her. The doors closed without the slightest sound, as the whole contraption hummed to life, lifting him floor by floor, until it reached its predetermined destination.
‘DING!’ The doors finally opened up to the fifth floor. It was a long hallway, littered with numerous doors on both sides before finally reaching the end of the hallway. He stepped out from the elevator and proceeded down the hall towards the door that belonged to his mother, which was located all the way down at the opposite end of the hallway. The doors closed behind him and he could hear the thing beginning to hum back to life again as it either climbed or lowered itself to the aide of yet another resident of the building. Various sounds filled the hallway from the neighboring residents: sounds of babies crying, children playing, music blasting, and people arguing. There were three long, vertically hung fluorescent light fixtures, each about four feet long, illuminating the hallway. It was the third one-towards the end of the hallway where his mother’s apartment door was-that happened to be flickering on and off in rapid succession. For months, Jason had been trying to convince his mother to move out of this dump and in with both Tess and him, but she being as prideful as ever had refused his offers, telling him that there was absolutely nothing wrong with where she lived. She told him that it was perfectly suitable for her and her needs. Jason finally just let his argument go.
The boards on the floor creaked as he neared his mother’s door, reminding him of those old horror movies he and his brother used to watch long ago. And if that weren’t enough to bring back those good old childhood memories, the light that had been flickering on and off, suddenly died just steps away from his mother’s door. Jason stopped for a moment and looked back down the hallway from where he came, now completely overtaken by those silly childhood delusions that had made him hide underneath his covers as a child when it was bedtime. ‘Jesus! What’s wrong with you,’ He scolded himself. Moving on, he now approached the door and was about to knock when he saw it. It was right there, taped to her front door. It had his name typed on the front of it for him or anyone else to see. He knew instantly that his mom wasn’t the one who had left it there. He snatched the paper off the door, opened it and read it. Within that instant, a burning panic overcame him and he immediately drew his gun and began to bang on the door.
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Michael Pasquale


Number of posts : 32
Age : 40
Location : St. Augustine, FL
Registration date : 2008-07-22

PostSubject: Psychosis Pt3   July 26th 2008, 10:02 pm

Mitch decided to head back to where the crime scene investigators had been working, trying to process all of the evidence. It was a bit past noon and the mid-day’s sun had certainly been taking its toll on all who were out underneath it. Clay Jargensen, the lead crime scene investigator, had just finished carefully scraping the cooked flesh of the girl off of the asphalt and had gotten the body prepped and bagged for the medical examiner. He was drenched in sweat, as was the rest of his team. Mitch strolled up towards him, also rapidly getting drenched in sweat.
“Lovely weather we’re having, huh,” Clay asked with a moist smirk.
“Shit! Tell me about it,” Mitch replied, wiping his forehead off. “Anything else interesting here?”
Clay looked around to see where the other members of his team were and after a moment or two, he felt fairly sure that their conversation would not be overheard by anyone else other than them. “Actually, yes.” He stood up and motioned for Mitch to follow him over to his truck.
Giving a final glance for good measure, Clay picked up his Nokia digital camera and turned it on. “While I was photographing all of the evidence, I noticed something odd about the body,” He said as he scrolled through the images that were stored in the camera’s memory.
“Normally, as with all the other victims, their entire bodies had been completely covered in this grease substance right?”
Mitch shook his head in agreement.
“Only with this one,” Clay continued, “there was a large spot of her back that was covered with something else; something that stopped this part of her flesh from cooking itself to the ground. I haven’t any idea yet as to what it is, but I’ve sent off a sample of it to the lab for analysis.”
Mitch rubbed his hand to the back of his head and thought for a moment before finally saying something. “So, if he used something other than “cooking grease” to make sure that the skin didn’t cook, was there something that he was trying to protect?”
Clay’s eyes brightened. “I thought you’d never ask.” He said as he handed Mitch the camera. “You see, I thought the same thing and so I carefully tried to strip the stuff away to see what was underneath it, and this is what I found.”
Mitch looked at the picture that was being displayed on the camera’s screen and had to stare at it for long moments, trying to get his brain to fully wrap around what he was seeing. Clay too, stood there next to him with his brows raised in utter shock. Finally, Mitch handed back the camera and just staggered backwards.
“I’ve got to get a hold of Jason-and now!” Mitch said. Clay too, nodded in agreement as Mitch turned and began running back to where the payphones were located. Clay looked back down at the screen on the camera, now having his suspicions confirmed as to what it was on her back. Looking up and out of this digital picture, was a perfectly drawn image of Tess, Jason’s wife.
“Mom, you in there? It’s Jason,” He called frantically, but there was no answer. He took a step back, then lunged forward, kicking right next to where the knob on the door was, bursting it wildly inwards with the sheer force of his blow. The door swung open, revealing the inner workings of his mother’s apartment. It was a complete disaster! Everything that once had been neatly arranged now lay scattered and broken into pieces here and there. Cautiously, he entered the apartment, still with his gun drawn. He was now in her living room. Her coffee table, the one that he bought for her when he was promoted to homicide, lay across the room smashed. Its glass toppers were also shattered beyond recognition. The television had a giant hole through its screen with a medium sized bronze statue of an Indian woman carrying her child, sticking out through the gaping hole that once was the screen. Torn pages from various magazines were scattered about the floor, along with the seat cushions from her couch, which were savagely ripped up and their stuffing joining the scattered magazine pages.
Clearing the living room, Jason made his way towards the kitchen where the hallway was also located. The fridge door was wide open and food had been left rotting out on the floor. Also, Jason notice that there was a small pool of congealed blood on the kitchen’s linoleum flooring, further increasing his anxiety about the situation. The hallway seemed relatively untouched; save for pictures that were torn off of the walls and left lying on the floor. Jason made his way down the hallway, first approaching the bathroom. There were no signs of recent life in there, so he proceeded back down the hallway to where his mother’s bedroom awaited. The door was shut and he could see a glow of light emanating from underneath the door. There was also a putrid stench radiating from behind the door; a stench of death and decay.
Jason flung the door open to a sight in which he certainly was not prepared for, despite his best efforts to brace himself for the worst. The room was completely covered in blood spatter and gore from one side to the other. The bed too, was saturated in the thick, metallic scented fluid. Immediately he was forced to cover his nose and mouth from the stench of it all. He began to gag and dry heave, for it managed to waft its way into his nostrils. The air vents in the room were stuffed shut with towels and the window had been open, allowing for everything to just sit and fester in the penetrating summer’s heat. This room faced towards the back alley so no one would have been any wiser to the events that had undergone in here. As he stood there looking around, trying to assess everything that he was seeing, he heard a brief scratching sound coming from one of the closets. Cautiously, he made his way over towards where the closet doors were located. There were two of them-both normal wooden doors, which opened into two separate walk-in closets-though one of them happened to have already been opened and its contents pulled out, scattered all along the floor. Again he heard it; a slight scratching sound coming from behind the second closet door. With gun raised, he reached for the knob, turned it and swiftly threw it open.
Jezebel, his mother’s cat, scurried out into the bedroom, nearly causing him to shoot it right there where it stood. He breathed a huge sigh of relief before finally looking back down to the animal that was now circling in between his feet, purring loudly. Just as he was about to kneel down to pet the cat, he noticed that it was drenched in some sort of fluid. Its coat was matted down on to its body, and he could tell that it wasn’t water due to the reddish tinge. Slowly, he spun around on his heel and peered into the closet. Much like the other, everything had been ripped down and was now lying on the floor. Towards the back, against the wall, was a large mountain of clothing. He looked it over, and at first, didn’t notice anything strange about it until he looked down at the floor beside it all. There, he saw a large pool of blood, most of which had been soaked up by the clothes, but still a pool none the less.
“Mom,” He said, as he tossed his gun off to the side and began tearing at the massive mound of clothing; tossing them out of the closet in handfuls. After a few moments, he uncovered a limp female arm. On its wrist, Jason saw the Bulova watch he had bought for his mother on her fifty-eighth Birthday and panicked.
Whether it was pure adrenalin or the mind numbing heat that had been beating on him since entering the bedroom, Jason lost all hold on reality. Like some madman clawing at the walls in a padded cell, he too, desperately began clawing at the clothes before finally removing enough of the pile to see his mother’s upper half. He looked closer at her, wiping the tears from his eyes and immediately fell backwards onto the floor covering his mouth. His breath had been completely sucked from his body and he was now gasping. His head began to pound and his stomach was churning, but still he forced himself to look at her. Her eyes were open, looking back at him in death. A large portion of the top of her head had been blown off and just then, Jason noticed that there was something sticking out from her mouth. Again, he had to force himself closer to her, even though it was utterly destroying everything in him that he had left. Slowly, he reached out a shaky hand and tried to grasp the object in his fingers, all the while half expecting for her to reach up and grab his hand, dead eyes and all. With a good grasp on the object, he pulled, falling back away from his mother’s body once again. For a long time, he sat there looking at neither her nor the object from which he just excavated from within her mouth. He sat there quietly sobbing, looking away from the gore, away from his mother, and away from the harsh reality that his life as he knew it, would most certainly never be the same again.
As he sat there crying, he began to hear a faint ringing in his ears. For long moments, the ringing continued on and Jason could no longer ignore it. He looked up, trying to get a fix on where the sound had been coming from, before finally realizing that it had been coming from him. He looked down at his hand, at the thing that he had gotten out of his mother’s mouth and then turned his attention to his pants pocket. It was his cell phone that had been ringing all this time. At first, he was wondering why the thing just hadn’t gone to voicemail, but decided it would just be best to answer the thing and tell who ever it was on the opposite end to just, ‘piss off!’
“What,” Jason said, not even looking at the caller-id to see who it was.
“Jason, it’s Mitch. I’ve got something here you should probably know about.”
“He killed my mother,” Jason said absently into the phone.
“He what! Jason... Jesus,” Mitch had said, at a complete loss for words.
“I’m going to kill this son of a bitch myself,” Jason said with a sort of tone in his voice that had made the hair on the back of Mitch’s neck stand straight at attention.
“Jason,” Mitch said finally. “On the body of the latest victim, Clay found something underneath all the gunk that he puts on their bodies.” Mitch waited for a moment for some sort of response, but got none.
“It was a picture of Tess,” Mitch said finally. “It was drawn on her back.”
Jason just sat there not saying anything, but now looking at what had been inserted into his mother’s mouth. It was another piece of photo paper and it had been folded into a tiny little square. He could tell by the creases and the slight discoloration that is was an older photograph; unlike the one that was found in the mouth of the dead girl. He pulled out the piece of paper that he found taped to his mom’s door-the one with his name typed on it-and reread it.
Don’t you just love family reunions? I do!
Despite how troubling this was for him to cope with, he opened the photograph and looked at it with sheer incomprehension. There in the picture stood both he and his brother Roger when they were younger; probably about eleven or so. Roger had been the taller of the two in the photo, but only by half an inch or so. Both boys stood there, grinning toothy grins at the camera. Both he and Roger had blonde hair, even though his own had turned brown with age. Both were dressed similarly: dirty pair of blue jeans, white T-shirts that had also gotten dirty, and a New York Yankee’s baseball cap. They were outside in the picture, standing in front of the old barn house that their father had built behind the house. Jason remembered when this picture had been taken. It was right after he and his brother got finished helping dad nail up the last bit of wall to the side of the barn, and mom had come outside with a pitcher of lemonade and a few glasses for all of them to drink with. She was always taking pictures, saying that they were the window into a happy family. Only now Jason thought things weren’t so happy anymore. His mother was dead, lying in the closet with half her head blown off and his brother...
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Michael Pasquale


Number of posts : 32
Age : 40
Location : St. Augustine, FL
Registration date : 2008-07-22

PostSubject: Psychosis Pt 4   July 26th 2008, 10:04 pm

“Jason, did you hear what I said,” Mitch said into the phone, bringing Jason back from memory lane.
“Mitch. I think that I know who it is,” Jason said, with great desperation in his voice.
“Really? You know who’s been doing all of this,” He asked, puzzled.
“Yes. I think that it’s my brother Roger.”
“Your brother,” Mitch asked in complete shock.
“I’m going home Mitch. Have someone come over to my mother’s house to take care of this for me will you? I need to go and check on Tess,” Jason said.
Mitch stood there for a moment, dripping sweat in full on buckets now. “Yeah man. I’ll send the crime lab over there and I’ll meet you over at your house just in case you need help with anything,” He said. There was no answer from the other end. Mitch hung the payphone up and stood there thinking for a moment about everything that had just transpired. His brother killed their mother, Mitch thought to himself, trying to wrap his brain around that but was seemingly having trouble doing so. He then decided that he needed to make a call into his Captain and explain the situation to him, hoping that perhaps he might be able to make some sense out of all that was happening.
Mitch picked the phone back up off the receiver, deposited the proper amount of coin and dialed into the precinct. After a couple of rings, the operator finally picked up on the other end.
“Thirty-seventh precinct, how may I direct your call,” She said.
“Yeah, this is Detective Mitch Wienor (He cringed, as he always does whenever he has to say his last name), I need to be connected to Captain Sumner please,” He said. “It’s an emergency.”
“One moment Detective,” The woman on the other side said.
Mitch heard the familiar ‘click’ of him being placed on hold, and then the on-hold music began playing. He stood there, being serenaded by glorified elevator music as well as having the back of his neck thoroughly baked by the sun to a crisp, golden brown. His thoughts were still reeling within his mind about everything that had happened, as well as everything that has yet to happen.
“This is Captain Sumner,” A gruff voice from the other end of the line said, cutting off the riveting music.
“Captain, Mitch here. Jason believes that we may have a suspect in the “Cook” murder case,” Mitch said.
“That’s great news! Both the press and the Mayor have been all over my ass about this one. Who does he think it is, and I’ll have some of our boys go and pick him up for questioning.”
Mitch paused for a moment before finally speaking up. “He says that he believes that it’s his brother, Roger. He also said that Roger has killed their mother.”
“His brother,” The captain asked surprised. “Is this some sort of a joke Mitch?”
“I don’t understand what you mean Captain,” Mitch said, now even more thoroughly confused than before.
“Mitch, Jason’s brother died when he was twelve along with his father. It was some sort of farming accident.”
“Captain, are you sure? Jason-“
The Captain cut him off mid-sentence. “Mitch, I’m telling you that his brother is dead. You need to get to wherever Jason is and find out what the hell is going on.”
“Yes sir,” Mitch said before finally hanging up.
Jason slowly made his way from inside his mother’s house, to where he had his car parked outside. He stood at the door to his car and stared blankly at the apartment building, before finally getting in. He sat in the seat and picked up his cell phone and as he drove away, he called Tess.
The phone rang once, then twice, then ten times before finally kicking over into voicemail. It was her, speaking for the both of them. ‘Hi! You’ve reached Tess and Jason. We’re not home soooo... Leave your stuff after the beep.’ He smiled at the sound of her voice and at the safety within. He redialed the number, in case she was in the shower or something. Again, the phone rang and rang, then went off into voicemail again. He hung up and proceeded to drive faster now.
After about another twenty minutes or so, Jason pulled up to his apartment and immediately jumped out and headed for the door. He found the door unlocked, and partially open. Again, he pulled his gun and rushed in. Unlike the scene at his mothers, there had not been any damage done here. This was somewhat a relief to him; though not much. He made his way room by room, trying to find some trace of her, until he came to their bedroom. The door was closed and he could feel a wall of heat emanating from behind the door. There was a loud ‘thwack’ sound as the door burst open, with Jason spilling in from behind it.
Anxiously, he looked around the room and within a matter of seconds, his eyes locked onto the bed. There she was; exactly how he had left her earlier this morning. He lowered his gun and moved towards her. The heat in the room was stifling. He quickly noticed that the air vents had been pushed closed and the two windows in the room had been opened fully. His stomach dropped as she came into clear view while he moved closer to her. She was still and at that very moment, he saw the pool of crimson around her head. He saw the entry point of a bullet hole-along with small fragments of bone and brain matter-on the side of her head. He was at a complete loss for words or reason. He holstered his gun and contemplated for a moment about going to where his wife was laying, but the thought of his brother was still there. He believed him to be somewhere in the house still-waiting. The sounds of sirens began filling the air and Jason walked out from the bedroom and headed to the living room. With his life crashing down all around him, Jason sought an end to all of this; starting with his brother.
Jason emerged from the hallway, tears streaming down his face, but his vision had never been clearer in his whole life. He looked up and over towards the far left corner of the living room and there he saw him. Roger stood in the corner with a grin across his face and holding a gun in his right hand, which was hanging limply at his side. The sirens grew closer now.
“You did this,” Jason shouted at his brother.
“Yes, I did. You knew all along that it was me; even if you couldn’t admit it to yourself. You knew though. You knew what I was.”
Jason pulled his gun and aimed it at his brother, who merely stood there; not putting up any resistance, before Jason finally lowered his gun again.
“Why? Why did you have to kill them? Why did you have to kill any of them,” Jason said, pacing back and forth, keeping his eyes on his brother the whole time. At that point, three police cruisers pulled up to the apartment and Jason could see Mitch getting out from his car.
“I killed them because that is what I am. I killed mother because she forgot about me and I killed Tess because you didn’t deserve her,” Roger shouted back at Jason.
Mitch came running into the apartment with his gun drawn and immediately spotted Jason. “You ok,” He asked.
Jason raised his gun towards his brother again; aiming it right at his chest. His breathing was long and heavy. “I have this son of a bitch now and he’s going to pay for what he has done.”
Mitch looked over to where Jason was aiming his gun and was now even more thoroughly confused than before. Perhaps it was the sweat that was stinging at his eyes, or it was merely the heat playing tricks on him. Jason was aiming his gun at a coat rack, screaming at his dead brother. Within that instant, he understood everything. He understood just how delicate he was going to have to be about this.
“Jason,” Mitch said, catching his partner’s attention.
“Your brother, Jason, is dead.”
“No he’s not! He’s right in front of you and he killed them,” Jason’s voice cracked.
“Jason, listen to me,” Mitch now pleaded. “Both your brother and father died many years ago. Surely you have to remember that. There’s nothing over there except for a coat rack. Come on, put the gun down and we’ll get you some help.” Jason now saw the other officers standing outside his apartment-all with puzzled looks upon their faces.
“But he killed them,” Jason said again, re-raising his gun at his brother.
“No Jason... It wasn’t him. He’s been dead for years now,” Mitch said, trying to be as sympathetic as possible. “It was you, Jason. It was your brother, inside of you, that killed those people; that killed your mother and Tess.”
Upon hearing those words, that door inside of Jason’s mind-the one that had been closed for so long-finally opened, showing Jason the truth behind the words. He saw everything as it really was now. He saw himself killing his mother, killing Tess, and all those girls. He saw it all, in clear vivid detail and he hung his head in acknowledgment to these facts.
“Come on Jason, let me get you some help,” Mitch said, moving slowly towards him now.
Jason stood there, swaying side to side in the heat, looking at not only Mitch coming towards him, but also at the other officers now walking in through the door behind Mitch.
“I’m a monster Mitch,” He said, fully crying now.
“No Jason, you just need some help. It’ll be ok, you’ll see,” He said, extending his hand towards his friend.
Jason stepped back, away from Mitch, mumbling to himself. Mitch could only make out bits and pieces of what he was saying: I did it, I killed her. He repeated these over and over again before finally looking up, locking Mitch’s eyes with his own.
“All of this, I did. Not my brother? My brother’s dead,” He paused to wipe the tears from his eyes. “No amount of help that I could get can ever undo what I have done. Not to my mother. Not to Tess. Not to those poor girls and their families.”
“It’s not your fault,” Mitch said.
“Maybe not in your eyes,” Jason said, now raising the gun to himself. “But in my eyes.”
The sound reverberated throughout the whole apartment complex with absolute finality. One ‘pop’, and the sound of another body hitting the floor in front of his partner’s feet brought all of it to a close. Now it was Mitch who was crying, covered in blood and essentially, the “cook’s” last unwilling victim.

Hope you enjoy it.
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Michael Pasquale


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PostSubject: Oh yeah....   July 26th 2008, 10:05 pm

I almost forgot to mention...

I have only done one edit to this so far. I am still a long way from this being "complete", even though I suppose it is for now.
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PostSubject: Reply   July 27th 2008, 9:51 am

It read like it was hashed out. It did have a good presence. There really were not any grammar or spelling errors. I thus cannot fault you on form.

A lack of structure and emotion however is not present. There are number of really obvious inconsistencies (awakened at night, then he complains about the heat of the sun). There are some jumps in plot that really make no sense. Through all of this you are attempting to put some feeling and depth into the story, but it misses as the reader is generally wondering why.

My first recommendation is to choose a perspective. Every scene could almost be done by either Jason or Mitch (and in many you switch back and forth). If you are going 'police-story' then you want to choose Mitch. If you are going 'sinking into evil' then you want Jason. Choose one or the other and rework the story accordingly.

The second recommendation is to dedicate yourself to taking the time to have the stories make sense. WHEN did Jason do these things? He has his job as a cop, and he must spend time doing investigations (and a major murder investigation takes time). He then has wife (and family?) duties. Now you are also having him plan and execute these murders?

Also, you cannot quickly do an emotional roller-coaster of having a trusted member of society revealing a hidden personality. Yes, cheap mystery TV will try to get away with it, but I hope that you have higher standards (I doubt that you could have lower). It takes time to fully bring out feelings and depth, and it takes time to establish a character as real enough where an emotional roller-coaster can be felt by the reader.

Finallly, yes, you did seem to follow one set of advice that I will spout. I often quote Zelazny and say, "You start as close to the end of the story as possible." You did that. Still, why did Jason suddenly feel a need to reveal himself and do such horrible things NOW? Something had to have happened.

Keep working. You have a good presentation. Just put more work into the substance.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Re: Psychosis pt 1   July 28th 2008, 10:16 pm

I do agree with you on everything that you had said. I originally wrote this because I was planning on entering it into a contest (which I did), but due to the stringent word count requirements, I was forced to cut a whole lot out just to qualify.

All in all however, I like the idea of the story and thus, feel that I will rehash it out into a complete novel; thus enabling me to use the actual ending that I had originally thought up for it.

The perspective does jump between Jason and Mitch, but that was my original intent, though since so much had to get cut out, it does jump more than I would have liked for it to. I feel that if I were to rewrite it out full length, it would most definitely make more sense.

Thanks though for your constructive insight into my story. I do appreciate it.
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Psychosis pt 1
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