Vignette #30 “The Racetrack”

Before I can help it my fingers are flying across the keys, and I’m helpless to stop it. The thoughts are racing by, each one trying to overcome the others. Many succeed in flying straight ahead to the finish line, but some are left far enough behind to get trampled and lost in the mess on the track of my mind. My fingers are helpless in the competition. They just keep tapping and pressing and moving to the instructions they’re given, like announcers trying to keep the rest of the audience informed. The racing thoughts that get lost come out in bits of shattered fragments on the rapidly filling once blank page. A random horseshoe in the middle of a sentence that otherwise would have made perfect sense. A lost stirrup, ripped from the saddle lying by itself at the end of a paragraph, or a scrap of paper with the headline ripped from the top to be hidden somewhere else in the dirt of the track.

It takes a moment, after the burst, before I realize the race has ended. The winners are clear on the page. I need a deep breath because it’s over, and even though I haven’t even left my seat I am exhausted. I’m not part of the competition anymore, I’m a bystander, a visitor looking on from the stands. As I go through the sentences it is just like watching a recap on a screen. By the time I reach the last word, my mind and fingers in tandem have had to edit and cut. Getting rid of the things that don’t make sense, disregarding the racers that came in last, and painting the victorious in the appropriate light for the prize winning picture.

But this is just the derby, wait till the stakes get higher.

Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Flash Fiction – “Ghost Town”

It doesn’t matter if the air is empty. I’ll tell you the truth. It is never really empty.

It doesn’t matter if at night the city is quiet. I’ll tell you the truth. It is never really quiet.

My brother is standing right next to me and he is totally, completely fine. He’s thinking about dinner I’m sure, he is almost always ready to eat. Words are coming out of his mouth with that easy way he has as if everything is and will always be okay. I’ll tell you the truth. I am not okay.

To him the air is clear, the city is silent. To me the air is filled with things I wish I couldn’t see. Some people call them visions, others spirits. Most people hear nothing at all, but some of us hear the whispers, the moans. To me it always sounded more like crying, and right here this little pocket of the universe is full of tears.

“I’m thinking tacos?” My brother says offhandedly.

I shrug my shoulders, my back pained with tension but my voice calm. “Whatever you want.” Gently I pull him over to my side of the sidewalk. The gesture is somewhat to get him moving again, but mostly its just to avoid one of the ghosts.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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“Fairytale”

Once upon a time…
is how I shall begin.
A castle wrought in ivory
and knights dressed in tin.

A jovial king
made of poultry
and sweet pie.
A dour queen
subdued to never question
how or why?

Money and power
the kingdom
had renowned.
With two princes to boot
hunting in the woods
to be found.

The older
of the two
was strong and fit
but the younger
was smarter and
drowning in wit.

One day the older got an idea
to take his little brother
out to hunt deer
only his motives
in the situation
were very unclear.

As usual they rode together
on black horses
of noble breed
until the older deserted
the younger, losing him
in the woods was the deed.

The younger called out
and realized too late
that he was alone,
left to die
with his whereabouts
unknown.

Days passed
into weeks
and the king and queen
mourned their loss
of the little prince
gone and unseen.

The prince
was never to return
do you see?
For in those
very woods
he built his own country.

He used his head
to find shelter
and food,
he made friends
with the foxes
wild and shrewd.

He survived
and grew older
in a castle of trees.
A kingdom of nature
that stretched all
the way to the seas.

Did you think this was
a story of revenge
and deceit?
Sometimes the best comeback
is living well
and not falling to defeat.

The younger prince knew
what his brother
had done,
so he did one better
and lived a happy life
under the sun.

Living well
is retribution
kept hush
because swords are flashier,
as is dying
in the dust.

But don’t think
the older prince
still got to be.
His kingdom fell to ruin
while the younger’s
is still free.

As this is a fairytale
and I the crafter
all that’s left to say is
that prince lived happily ever after.

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©2020 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #29 “Wayfarer”

There is a path stretched out behind you. It’s concrete made with no bends in sight. As straight and narrow as the length of a computer screen, the width of an office desk, and the depth of the manager’s suit covered gut. The sun is the color of a fluorescent light, and the air is as stuffy as a hot classroom. Expectations, rules, the conventional like shackles pressing down onto your shoulders and binding your feet to the floor.

There is a path curving ahead of you, serpentine and shifting. There is no way to know what is going to come at you next on that mist covered trail. It changes its shape at every turn depending on the decisions you make, and there will be many decisions to make. Monsters lurk in the depths, some friendly and some not. Different than the behemoths you’ve fought before. These are stronger, and will swat the weak at heart away with a single slap across the face. There’s no tradition on this path to hang across your shoulders, but there is no guidance either.

And don’t forget the paths stretching to either side. You could go right where all the noise of the roaring waves is. Take off your shoes and let the sand crowd around your toes. Let the water call you in closer and closer till it caresses your skin. Let the call draw you in further and further till its over your head and all you can live, see, breathe is ocean.

Or, you could go left into the silence of the woods. Trees will stand over you and their leaves will cover you from the rain, while burrows will protect you from the wind when the storm comes to call. You can stay as long as you wish but this path can run around and around in circles confusing even the most skilled travelers. Everything will start to look the same until you forget there was anything different before.

You can even sit down and stay just where you are. The safest spot of all… at first sight. This is the one with the greatest risk to gain the greatest loss.

So, chose wisely.

Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

Living Life #20 “How Far”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

Photo by Eugene Triguba on Unsplash

Jenna didn’t know how this night was going to go.

Headlights appeared over the bend of the hill. Glaring and warning they careened off the low hanging branches of the trees and the concrete cracks in the road. When they reached the tombstones Jenna ducked low. But only when they reached the tombstones.

“I’m sick of doing this at night.” she hissed to the weeping statue of an angel next to her.

The angel answered, “As if we can do this in bright daylight.” Or at least it had the appearance of such before Jared stepped out into the dark. Dirt up to his knees, boots scuffed to his socks, and a scowl to scare a bear away. Her brother needed to take a chill pill.

“Well…” she drawled. “There have been dealings before when the sun was up too, ya know…”

“Yeah, as well as the rest of the world.” He pulled a pack from his pocket and in the next breath there was a cigarette already up and lit and in his mouth.

“People visit cemeteries.” Jenna argued haughtily.

“Not private ones…” Smoke snaked up into the night. “when they don’t have permission.” His footsteps made barely a sound as they crossed the grass over to her.

“Are you sure this one’s information is good?”

“We can trust him. He’s not one to go back on his word, and besides…” he flicked an ash at the fresh mound of earth next to the angel. “our end of the bargain is done.”

“My end.” Jenna looked down at her own hands, all smudged and grungy, and she wondered when the last time her fingernails had actually been clean. “You really shouldn’t smoke.”

Another set of headlights rolled down the road, only this time they scoped slow and steady, and eventually stopped as the bright shine hit the marble of the tombs. Finally.

Jared took a long drag, and responded, “It’s not like it can hurt me.”

Right now.” she hissed.

Jenna didn’t know how this night was going to go. What she did know was how far she would go. No matter how much they bickered, no matter how different their attitudes or ways of dealing with the world she knew how far she would go for her brother.

All the damn way. And back, if she had to.

As the man emerged from his car, Jenna came out of her hiding spot.

“I didn’t think you would actually come alone.” The gruff man barked, his headlights illuminating the slop on his shirt and the acne on his neck.

Jenna hardened her jaw. She was told that whenever she was in a bad mood that she scowled just like her brother. “I keep my word.” Jared took two pointed steps forward, though Jenna knew her brother was protective there was no way for him to protect her now.

At least not until this man told her what she needed to get him back from the other side. “Now you keep yours.”

Living Life # 18 “Decorating The Tree”

( a collection of independent vignettes)

The tree was taller than she was. Green as the forest in summer beyond her backyard and as prickly as the thorns on the dead bouquet in the vase on the counter. Tooth and nail it dragged through the back door leaving a trail of needles like gingerbread cookie crumbs right to the far corner of the living room. It did not come easy, but she didn’t back down. Not even as she had to hoist it into the stand with only minimal help from the wall.

A stepladder was necessary for the lights, and even though there was no one there to help she took her time. The stool danced around the wood floor and the lights were placed string by string until it was her feet waltzing around the ground instead. The cord was gently plugged in and then the house seemed a little brighter, the fir now lit up like a star. The tree warmed up to her a bit then. But only just a bit.

The red beads were next, and then the gold tinsel. The tree certainly wasn’t going to bend for her but she didn’t need it too. She rose to meet it again and again, and swayed around and around. The fire in the background crackled and snarled but it was only empty threats. The light emanating from the small space was too golden and too warming to be anything but a sarcastic friend. Being inside, the tree realized, was a lot different than being outside. A little more snug and a little less lonely.

It paid no mind to the silver bells she planted along its branches, and the red ornaments felt as light as air as if they were barely there. The rest that were piled on were mismatched and worn. A little blue sled with the year 1982 scribbled on the bottom, a fading snowman with two buttons missing, eight bronze deer then four gold ones and a rocking horse no bigger than her palm. Before long all the spaces were filled and instead of feeling weighted and tired the tree noticed the perk to its branches in the mirror across the room. Maybe it should have been a little nicer to her on the way in. She had plucked it out of the solitude of the harsh winter wind, gifted it a steady stream of water and shelter, then given it decorations to cloth and adorn it. The tree liked her a bit more than it had before, making its emotions swell now to twice what they had been.

A drop of sweat like a melted snowflake slid down her temple, and the tree could see she was tired. She absently moved to put her hand down on the end table nearby and the tree wanted to warn her but it had no mouth to speak.

When the glass shattered, it was loud. The wit of the fire was drowned, and the glow of white lights on the tree’s branches left her eyes. Quietly, the young woman bent down and as she kneeled careful of the broken bits, she looked much smaller than she had when she originally hauled the tree in. More like a girl, left alone in a house, with a few modest lights and threadbare ornaments that really didn’t matter much if one thought about it, unless they were reflected in her eyes.

The picture was face up on the floor, but in the shadow of where the lights couldn’t reach. Piece by piece and sliver by sliver she picked the edges up, cupping her hand to her chest. The picture, still in the frame, was last. Another tiny snowflake ran down her cheek, but the tree knew there were was no sky above their heads. She took a deep breath and in the next moment she rose and walked away. A minute passed, and then two. The tree wondered if maybe it should have at least tried to warn her, though it had no means to speak words. But then, she came back. And she wasn’t alone.

There was petite angel cupped in her hands where the glass had just been.

The stool made its return, and with the fire cackling quietly in the background, she rose one step then another. Even then though she could barely reach the top. An inch more of height and everything would have been okay. She didn’t have that inch though, so the tree gave her the inch instead.

With all its might it buckled its trunk and the young woman stretched her toes until finally then the angel was set on top. Blonde hair, white gown, a happy mouth and golden wings graced the room.

The young woman stepped down from the stool, and that’s when tree liked her most of all with the lights in her eyes, the fir needles in her hair and the angel in her smile.

Living Life #17 “________”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

Tick, tock.

You stare at it. The longer you look the more it looks back into you.

The more you start to hate yourself for all the time you are wasting. And have wasted in the long, endless days before.

All the research and all the work and long nights, and eons spent typing away at the computer. all. for. nothing.

Because everything you had written, you now hate. And so you are back at the beginning again.

The dreaded blank page.

And time is rushing by.

Tick, tock.

Living Life # 16 “Spelled.”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

Cassie spread the the pages of the tome out before her. It was easier to read the handwritten scribbles and see the crawling illustrations this way. They scattered across the page and in the dusk light, almost seemed to be moving with a word jumping a few lines here or the picture of the lemon going fuzzy and then rapidly going into focus again. After she lit the three candles, it got better. The dust was a different issue.

The book had not been touched in over twenty five years, Cassie was sure. It had been her grandmother’s a long time ago. She had passed it onto Cassie’s mother and then she had passed it to the attic where it sat long and lonely for a quarter of a century. At least till it had found its way onto the kitchen table right now. Every time Cassie flipped a page, a cloud went up, a cough rattled her throat and the dust clung to wood of the table in tiny finger prints.

So she began by lighting the sage. A small bowl, the bundle of herbs and a match that burst and then died. Then that was complete. It filled the room with a rush of scent, earthy and natural, taking over the air and it wasn’t long before the dust was forgotten.

Looking at the tome was like reading a manual for building a chair or a recipe for pumpkin cookies. All that needed to be done, now that she could see and breathe, was follow the steps.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

The pot of boiling water on the stove was starting to salivate, the water sputtering out in rabid little pops. Lifting the lid she tossed in a sprig of rosemary, then another. The water simmered down, satisfied for the moment. At least until Cassie threw in the frankincense and myrrh. Together the words ordered, so as to help the reach of her little cooking stint. A dash of salt for safety, a bunch of roses for attraction, and then the clove to keep the whole thing tightlipped from the world. Or at least her mother.

Rubbing her hands together Cassie stirred the contents and a gray smoke cloaked the room mingling with the sage burning on the counter.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

Now only a few bits left to add, then the incantation.

Bubble bubble
toil and trouble

dusky air,
lock of hair

leaves of rose,
two blue bows

a ghost’s kiss,
a snake’s hiss
the pretty things
you shouldn’t miss.

On this eve
meet my need.


Help to find
a steady mind

to guide me through
this witch’s brew

To see the past
understand at last
the hidden truth
my question asked

and granted answer
to become advancer

and much more clear
in the way of seer
. “

The candles went out like a sigh. All was quiet. Even the night outside was still… all except for her heart which stuttered for a beat, then two. What did she do? Had it worked?

Cassie didn’t feel any wiser. Or, any less confused. Maybe her suspicion had been wrong and Grandmother hadn’t been a witch at all…

A purple spark jumped from her fingers lighting the room in a flash, then another. Cassie held up her hands and stared. Again, her hands sparked, brighter this time, because she was aware. It danced like a little beam of static across her palms, and then back.

“Cassie…” called her mother from upstairs. “how you doing Sweetie?”

“Magical Mom.” she smirked. “Just magical.”

A pause, then “Are you being sarcastic?”

Cassie shook her head and called out, “No!” Then quietly to herself, “Not this time.” She clenched her fists but the purple flickers remained.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

Living Life # 15 “Oblivion”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

It was just like a drum that was picking up the tempo. My heart, that was.

“Can you see him?”

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. A rising crescendo I couldn’t get a handle on. “I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.” The most I could make out was an outline. The slope of the stairs with the creaking last step, the lamp with the twisted metal where I had scraped my shoulder, and the barricade of wood nailed to the door. There were only traces of light trying to find a way in through the cracks in the boarded up windows. It had to be nearly dawn by now.

“Not for long.” Dmitri leaned back against the surface of the overturned dining room table, brushing his shoulder against my own. The contact pushed my already frayed nerves more on to the edge, making me wince. He didn’t seem to notice, as he continued “We have to hold out.”

That was the goal… but the longer the music played in the background, the harder it was to control my breathing. That drum in my chest and the phonograph were marching a perfect beat to the classical music that hadn’t stopped playing the entire time. In an empty mansion, with no one around for miles, I guess even monsters needed something to fill the silence that too much solitude brought on.

I almost felt bad, for a second. The smell of blood was too prevalent for the feeling to last any longer. It was dripping down my arm, faster than I could stop it and Dmitri was no better off. The monster had stabbed its nails into his side.

“He’s going to find us again.”

Dmitri grunted, guttural and low, and in hindsight it might even have been a laugh. “Beyond all doubt.” Between the smell of blood and the creaking last step it was a matter of moments.

The music was getting louder by the second and I knew that it was getting closer. It seemed to follow wherever it went. In the library it had been overwhelming, like trying to fight with an entire orchestra bowing in your ear. Not ideal circumstances for a hunt.

Behind the fallen table, I stood up. The hiding spot would not hold forever. Nothing could. Not even immortals were entirely safe. Dmitri looked up, but he didn’t say anything. I sidestepped carefully over his long legs but he caught me quick, with startling strength, and squeezed my ankle. Then just let me go… as quickly as the gesture had come. I nodded, but in the dark who knew if he saw.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. BANG.

Exposed and hesitant, I stepped into the center of the foyer. The strings were getting louder from upstairs so there was only so much time. Dodging any pointed furniture and watching for any debris on the tile floor I edged my way closer to the window. It was just planks of wood covering the light. All I had to do was rip one away. That would be enough.

Anchoring my fingers around the edge of the board, I pulled.

And it didn’t budge.

“You are not strong enough for that, Love.” My heart stilled. At the top of the stair, his shape was clear. Skinny like a scarecrow and his silhouette edged like barbed wire, a shadow moved taking one leisurely step after another easing his descent down. Splinters hooked into my fingers the harder I struggled and the music, despite my rush, became deceptively slow. Mellow even. Nice, soothing…

His hand was at my shoulder in barely any time at all. With almost no effort, he turned me around. In that little glint of light his fangs seemed almost beautiful. But then again all vampires were beautiful. And humans couldn’t help but be entranced by pretty things. But the wound on my shoulder put me in no mood for pretty.

Just revenge.

At the opposite end of the room, Dmitri ripped off a board from a different window and the sun came streaming in. The music hitched as the vampire hissed and with sudden, brutal clarity the world slowed into focus again. I stabbed the monster through the heart.

Then the music finally stopped.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

There was sunlight streaming in. Groggily, I opened my eyes to the window.

Bang. Bang. Bang-

With a thump my alarm abruptly went silent. I placed my phone back on the end table and sat up slowly. It was morning… one day over and another beginning. I threw the covers off of me, and then cringed.

“My shoulder…” I massaged it, squeezing the muscle to relieve some of the tension but not even that made all the pain go away. Rolling my neck, I blinked still not quite awake. “Must have slept funny… what was I dreaming…?”

But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember any of it at all.

Snapshot 9/30/19 // Waking Up Because September Is Ending

Currently listening:Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day
Currently reading: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Currently watching: Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir S3

I am going to be real with you guys right now. I sort of… faded in September. Nothing bad happened really, the weather wasn’t terrible and my friends and family were all doing great which at the end of it all made everything worth it. I, unfortunately though, sort of lost the swing of writing. I had to cover a lot of shifts at work, felt very uninspired with anything I attempted to write, and descended into a morose mood at the heart of which had me missing summer terribly.

(Me, beating myself up all month )

My goals for September were simple:

  • Keep working on my WIP which I technically did do, in dribs and drabs. I got nowhere near as far as I wanted to because my head was just not into it. It was a chore to write and think about, and that is not how this is supposed work. The reason I wanted to write it in the first place was because it was supposed to be something that I wanted, needed to get out and do. It’s supposed to feel like if I don’t keep pounding away at that keyboard I will never feel settled. It’s supposed to make the world around me fade and make me fall into the story. And I had none of those feelings. So for October I’m doing a reset. Reworking the plot and replanning the characters, that way I’ll be geared up for NaNoWriMo in November.
  • Focus back on my Living Life vignettes. I wanted to at least post two this month and trust me I wrote two but neither were nowhere near posting material. So for October, while I’m getting my head back on straight, I am going to try and focus on getting out at least one.

Heading into October then this is the plan:

  1. Rework my WIP
  2. Post 1 Living Life vignette
  3. Go pumpkin and apple picking, because honestly this is fun and puts me and Autumn on better terms lol. (I don’t hate you Autumn, I don’t I promise. Summer is just like the peanut butter to my jelly, or like the Cat Noir to my Ladybug.)

What I Read:


Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I started this book last year and vowed to only read one chapter for every time I went to the beach. I finished it this summer, one year later. It was written in 1955 but even though that seems so far away, the lessons it teaches are still relevant today. The book has a magic to it in two ways, or at least it did for me. 1) It will keep you calm, I promise, the prose is very mellow and thoughtful. Then, 2) It demands to be read by the sea. I took away a great deal from it and its simple, but often overlooked in today’s world, lessons gave me clarity to reflect on my own life and give me the mental capability to relax. So if you need a major mental chill, or a 1950’s revamp to simplifying your hectic life I highly recommend.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. This is my second reread of the book. The first time I read it was a few years ago and this time around it was still a good read but I liked it less then second go round. Still glad I read it though! I really liked Peter’s message at the end, “all things end happy”, because it gave me hope, even if the ending overall was bittersweet. I also loved that it was narrated by Tink. On the other hand, I didn’t really connect with how the author handled some things so skip to the next bullet point if you want to avoid some spoilers. I really hated how the author handled Wendy and how everything went down with her. That plot point seemed weak and she was written with the intention for the reader (at least in my mind) to hate her. This portrayal of Peter I also didn’t want to grow up. It didn’t seem to fit his character for me so when he left to go to England with Wendy and grow up, IDK , it just really rubbed me the wrong way. He was depicted as wild and untamable in the book and it didn’t connect for me that Peter would want to leave Neverland. The bittersweet ending though made sense to me in that Tiger Lily and Peter shouldn’t have ended up together but they were still soulmates and each served their purpose in the other’s life to help them grow and change. Not all soulmates have a happily ever after but their impact on the other’s life still remains in how they both grew from the beginning to the end of the book.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt is what I am currently reading and let me tell you this book is good. It’s very dark academia aesthetic and I only have maybe a third left of the book to go. Next month I’ll talk more about it but damn. I highly recommend this book. It was the perfect pick to distract me through my September blues.

What I’ll Be Writing (hopefully, fingers crossed):

If the fates and my will power allow be on the lookout for at least one Living Life vignette this month, maybe a poem (I was dabbling with two this past September but neither is finished yet…), any book tags that hit me like a car crash, and then at the end of the month my strong and steady Snapshot! update post. At least I can do these on time lol. Small victories!

Here are some links to posts I enjoyed this month:

– Siobhan @ Novelties “Beyond the Blurb | Bloggers, Embrace Hiatuses, Don’t Run From Them
– C.G. @ Paper Fury “Pantser Vs Plotter | Which Is The Best Way To Write Your Book?!
– Caro @ bookcheshirecat “Getting Back To Writing #2: Into The Editing Cave
– Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner “My Editing Process Part 1 (template included!)

Wow, it felt really good to actually sit down and write this. It has been a long blah month. Watching Miraculous (it is so CUTE and I am both equally in love with Cat Noir and Luka ❤ ) got me through the doldrums but moving forward October is going to be a lot better. I’ll make it better, and get back into the swing of things (or the spook of things because it’s almost HALLOWEEN!). Now it’s time to turn off the repeat of Wake Me Up When September Ends.

How did yall’s September’s go? Hopefully a lot better than mine. What sort of things do you do to get through the blah days when all you want to do is sleep?

Till next time,