(better insist on de-caf, Henry–and for those helping with the countdown, this is 7 of the 24 to be posted before the finalists are announced. Gotta favorite? Bribe the judge, or stack the comments in favor of your pick. Invite all you friends to leave comments, too. Both of them!)
I am not yet out of oreos or the devil’s brew, so the marathon continues from the towers that are A Word with you Press in beautiful downtown Moscow. Here is another entry into The First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage Contest.
Devil’s Special Brew
by KYLE Katz.
She loved long enough to know, all reminders had to be discarded, burnt in a ceremony of goodbyes. The delicate poetry of compassion and kindness rushed through her veins like the smell of strong coffee, luring her to rise in the morning, craving… that first sip. Sarah experienced enough love to know, love’s fire would mount its horse and ride into darkness. Night’s merciful gust of wind would eventually…extinguish its bitter flame.
Reaching for the lamp. Life went dark. Love was gone. But she knew Henry would always be hers.
The sun rose, like it always did, settling on her fresh healed wounds. She caressed the bruise around her neck with the sweet tenderness of her fingertips.
Mornings burst of meaningless glares seeped through the torn sheer curtain awakening what little blood she salvaged to starve off her depression. She could not move, she could not breathe.
“Oh God please, not the nightmare again.” Sarah reached for her pills, staggered to the kitchen and made a pot of coffee.
Strips of antique silk curtain still draped over the side table rustled in the breeze. The curtains, she washed over and over again dissolving the stench of death. Sarah only managed to slightly iron away the devastation of pain he cast upon her. The rotting decay of flesh still ruminated like cheap perfume, through-out the apartment.
She could see the shoes– blue shoes with coffee stains, violently peeling from feet, slowly dropping to the floor, lay in anguish. The choking and gasping hanging from the ceiling beam, as toes twitched.
Sarah held back her wall of tears, as she sat quietly gulping down the fresh air in between her sips of coffee. She carefully poured his in a special cup. The strong smell of brew, wrestled with her feelings of recent memories they both shared sitting together at the breakfast table.
Her final conversation that mulled through Sarah’s head, choking her with his final goodbye. If only he would have listened.
“Henry my love, would you like a scone today. I made them fresh.”
“I’m leaving you Sarah. It’s too late. You must get help.”
“No Henry…I’ll change. I swear to you it’s not too late! Darling, let me get you a cup of coffee, we can discuss it?”
“No more discussion Sarah. I’ve done everything I could. I’ll be back to get my things.”
“Your things? Your things? Everything you have is because of me, including the curtains on the window, you bastard.” Sarah smiled.
“Now Henry…please have a seat. Let me get you a fresh cup.”
Henry broke his tortured silence. In a fury, he pulled, then ripped the curtains into shreds. “ You don’t remember? His knuckles tight with anger, Henry grasped the curtains in his hands and shook them.
“These were my mothers… her gift to US. But you have managed to rip and tear us apart for years. It’s done Sarah. Use these shreds for something useful.” Henry threw the slivers of regrets at her feet. “I’m telling you it’s over!”
Sarah pushed the pile aside, with the tip of her blue satin shoes, then grabbed Henry’s hand softly, leading him back to his seat.
“Oh Henry, you’re so full of drama. Too much coffee perhaps? Don’t leave in such a rage, you could get in an accident.” Sarah poured her last cup of hollow desperation as the steam rose passed her vacant eyes.
“Your antics won’t work this time Sarah. STOP pouring the coffee!”
“Oh god what am I doing. Henry ‘s gone.” Sarah looks down. “I’m pouring the coffee on my shoes. The nightmare again. PLEASE MAKE IT GO AWAY!
Henry, Henry where did you go? Henry don’t leave. Please.”
“The whisper fades but never stops, sir.” Said the bellman. “Sorry about your loss, Dr. Posten. Sarah was a lovely woman. Lock up on the way out, if you please, sir.”
“Johnston, Wait…did you hear that?”
“Yes, sir. Like I said it never stops. Last month the cleaning crew wouldn’t come near this unit. The staff had to clean it themselves. Good night, sir.”
Henry looked around one last time, two suitcases in tow.
Henry’s grip tightened, his eyes went toneless. Sarah’s favorite blue satin coffee stained shoes suddenly appeared, on the floor, the ones she was wearing when she was cremated. The lingering aroma of cheap perfume settled on his quivering mustache. A single fresh-baked scone, swirled upward in thin air.
Henry’s terror unraveled as his surveillance slowly followed his demise. Hanging from the ceiling, Sarah swinging peacefully– smiling– holding a scone. Ribbons of antique curtains tangled like a ball of tight yarn around her neck, strangled the cry for help.
“I told you not to leave. Double espresso darling?”
The smell of fresh brewed coffee locked the door! Henry was never heard from again.
31 thoughts on ““Don’t schlepp on my nude, frayed blues!” KYLE Katz invites you to coffee”
I love how the point of view shifts in this story and keeps the reader questioning and engaged. Very suspenseful and elegantly written.
Rachel, Thank you for your kind words. I’m so happy you enjoyed this story. It sort of creeped me out after I wrote it. So I guess i was on the right track. I usually don’t do creepy, but I felt very Edgar Allen Poe-ish that evening.
I Poetally believe you. Adding to your bank of trivia, as you may know that rather handsome lad holding the brush on our banner is my great great grandfather, Thomas Sully. We wrote in his journal of a young man, rather morose, who would sit wordlessly for hours and watch him paint. You guessed it-twas Edgar. Edgar returned the favor and mentions “a painting like Sully’s” in one or two of his stories. Sully accused him of being a raven maniac, and of course, what followed was a tapping on his chamber door, both, clean-shaven, nevermore. Google sully and poe together
Oh my. I hope he wasn’t occupying my brain. I felt woozy afterwards. I can’t wait to Google and explore this information. Poe Sully…was he scared too?
That was way kewl Thorn. I didn’t know. Seems the nephew also painted and may have painted Poe as well. Thomas Sully’s work was astounding. Love the portrait of Poe’s wife. I wonder what happened behind closed doors.
probly somebody got poeked
Only You. Which story did Poe mention Sully. I like to read it, if you know. Thanks.
When I see a published work by, hear a reading in a writer’s group from one Kyle Katz, my attention posing insides themselves go to a greater attention and focus like jets being flushed, armed and ready for an engagement with an undefeatable human being. I know I am in for an emotional depth that all other people I have met in my life’s experience simply lack no fault of their own. There is only one Kyle Katz when it comes to writing. Look throughout this contest and you will find overlaps of styles, subjects and characters, but not from this lady. She is a true original.
I confess that I heard this amazing story before it got further word crafted and adored it then. The flow of lyrical power focused as burning points are so smooth that the mystery holds up the reader with suspense, suspicions, giving us just a bit too little to jump to conclusions which is excellent. Much like the characters she leaves us hanging in mid-air. My friend Kyle masterfully plays with us like a Katz toying with us mice while being so graphic, raw and then again matter of fact about the most gruesome of events. Here she gives us a story of two parts that we are tempted to put together or figure out which is true and which is false. Who is sane and who is insane? The story sections together make us wonder if we are insane. The brilliance of this (from having done counseling for people with opposing stories of what has taken place), is that not all mysteries are solvable or should be. There are too many links in character, the blue shoes (excellent symbol for the anxious blues and the leaving and the stain of blood), the torn curtains for the hanging. Being a person who writes about the exploration of the psyches and the innermost person, I highly respect and am in awe of what you bring to your reader over and over again throughout the many stories which you have shared both in these contest and other venues. I said it before and I wouldn’t mind repeating it, you Kyle belong in the finals. Thorn here is one of your top three writers.
Note to Editor In Chief: “Blue Suede Shoes” is Carl Perkins to me.
Parisianne,Thank you for your in-depth evaluation of this piece. Everything I tried to craft here, you picked up on. This makes me know I have met my objectives. I had to rework this one several dozen times. I’d never worked in this genre. I actually did research and an interview on someone who is bipolar. I never knew the challenges one goes through and that fine line of keeping it together, showing the world you are really normal. The internal madness, which is the norm, can lead to desperation, where death is much more comfortable than life, by a long shot.
I love reading your stories, Kyle. They entertain readers with great word choice in a poetic telling. It reflects a facility in writing, almost a second-nature thing with you, and I suspect that as you type away, you’re smiling with delight!
Thank you Sal for your support and encouragement. I sometimes feel like someone else when I write. In this one I went insane…how would that feel? Insanity and coffee? Good combo. Oh Yes, I’m smiling, laughing at times and shed a few tears. Thanks for loving my stories. Honestly, i learned a lot from the writers on this very site. I’m so grateful for all of you.
Writers are all a little crazy, if you ask me! I remember as a young boy writing horror stories about gruesome murders and end-of-the-world mayhem, which I totally enjoyed. Then I had a few friends read them and it was a surefire way to lose friends. They tweaked their noses at me, screwed up their lips, and shook their heads. According to them, if I wrote about madness I had to be mad. But here is the truth we writers know too well: what we write is our vicarious walk along the edge, a place we either fear or choose not to traverse. Let’s go on writing as if the words squeezed out of our heads are coated thick with the goo of horror, the tar of madness, but we remain untouched by what plots develop.
Hear, hear! A liitle crazy? Smaller than a grain of sand…even smaller?Like an atom, exploding in every direction when released.
You are so spot on! My dad who never understood me use to say”What is wrong with that child?” Goo of horror? Tar of madness? It certainly helps to know that in a different part of the country, somewhere in-between paper and pen… we exist… and thrive on the edge of made -up reality. Thanks Sal.
Chills. The horror of the bellman’s ‘the whisper fades but never stops’…I never ever considered a whisper in those terms. Do you mind if I steal that line for one of my future entries? LOL just kidding Kyle. Thank you for a great story.
You may have that line if I can have ‘Whiskey Rivers’ Thanks for reading this Mike.It was my first attempt at this genre.
You’ve gone to the Dark Side and I like it. This is new for you and you slam dunked it. Keep exploring this genre, Kyle. All of us have a little madness hidden away in the darkest corners of our brain. Set it free…….
Very new Gary. I feel so wicked. I liked it! (villianous laugh follows.) A liitle madness is much more than I have hidden away. Please, next time you are traveling through sunny San Diego…stop in for a cup of coffee and my fresh blueberry scones. Love ya!
The words, “…burnt in a ceremony of goodbyes,” grabbed me and held me. Then, when I read of Sarah’s cremation, they squeezed tighter. Well done, Kyle. Thank you.
Thanks FJ. for your supportive words over the time I’ve known you. It means the world to me.
Poe is turning in his grave concerned that a living mortal dares invade his territory with intent of up to no good. You may admit this is a new writing thrill but I recognize withing the lines what makes this historic. The talented Kyle Katz.
Oh Michael. This was so much fun. I surprised myself. My son Judge who loves this genre and writes in this style effortlessly, told me I creeped him out. He won’t come near my blueberry scones. Thanks Mike.
It shouldn’t shock me that someone as spiritual as you has written a ghost story with a twist; the ending is ominous, leaving me wonder if their marriage continued to thrive somehow without the distractions of the body–and leaving me to wonder if they worked it all out somehow.
No matter what, in the end, for them, it’s a grave matter LOL
A grave matter indeed. Looks to me like you gave me another idea for a continuation. Distractions of the body?
Ouch! That one hurt. Great story,Kyle. Poe and Hitch would be jealous!
Thanks mama B for venturing in. I really appreciate your time in reading my story.
Well, That is certainly the highest compliment. One I will treasure. Thanks.
You have something about blue shoes. This my dear is brilliant and perfect. Wow. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned – even in death. Yowzer…where did this come from – wherever it was – do it again.
OOOOOOH! Scary and awesomely rich! You have done it again Sassyboots! I love the way you bring clothing in as a character… something like your character and clothing!
I always love the poetry of your fiction, the easy flow of it, almost mesmerizing.