I recently released my new book, Spirit and the Phoenix (Book #3 in the Spirit and the Wolfman Series). I’ve spent the last couple of weeks relaxing and dancing in a few Salsa shows.
I’m part of an amazing dance team lead by Cristian Oviedo (12X World Champion) and Dasha Reut. My character Scarlet from my first novel, Dancing the Salsa, would be very proud of me!
But now, vacation time is over. I’m ready to dive into writing the rough draft of the fourth book in the Spirit and the Wolfman Series. I always start the same way. I ask my characters questions in my writing journal and learn all about them through their replies.
As you can see in the title of this post and the werewolf picture, I’ve decided to start with the main bad guy, Hayden. I actually know very little about him. I’ve alluded to him in Spirit and the Vampire and Spirit and the Phoenix, but I haven’t really sat down and seen life through his eyes.
So, that’s what I’m doing today. Most of my villains are grey characters. But Hayden seems to be dark grey, if I’m being generous, and almost pitch black if I’m being honest. I guess this is to be expected since he did murder his own father and most of his siblings. It is his mission in life to kill any relative he finds.
I think there is always a reason for a person’s madness, although madness is not how I would characterize Hayden. He is more of the coldblooded, calculating sort. As the oldest living Alpha male werewolf, son of the First Wolf, he is power-hungry and destroys anyone who might prove a threat. He has set a plan in motion which will bring his latest targets (victims) to his doorstep.
Hayden has a story to tell, and this morning I’ve started chatting with him. i imagine that it will be a long conversation.
That is always my first step before writing a story. I step into the mindset of each of my characters. Most of what I write in my journal will never make it into the books. But this is my favorite part of the process.
From what I’ve learned, I’m an intuitive writer, a discovery writer. The story unfolds bit by bit, page by page, and few details are known to me until I see the words appear on the page.
So, this is day one of my journey.
Thanks for reading! If you’d like to share more of my “behind the scenes” writing journey, please subscribe to this blog. To learn more about my books and join my newsletter, visit linktr.ee/raeshellrozet
My new book, Spirit and the Phoenix (Book #3 in the Spirit and the Wolfman Series) is now available on Amazon!
Here’s a copy of the book blurb on the back cover:
Time is running out. A pack of bloodthirsty werewolves, the First Descendants, are coming to destroy everyone that Spirit Taylor loves. Can she unlock her power as a Phoenix before it’s too late to save them?
In this third book of the Spirit and the Wolfman Series, Spirit’s love for Jack will be tested. To unleash her power, Spirit must uncover the truth about her past. Jeremy Curtis is the only one who can help her do that.
Unfortunately, Jeremy happens to be her vampire ex-boyfriend from a previous life. He has been in love with her for centuries. Now that he knows she’s alive, Jeremy wants her back.
If you’re looking for a magical romance with a touch of gothic flair, join Spirit as she wrestles not only with monsters from the Underworld but also with a heart torn between two great loves.
I’m so excited to share this story with you. I’ve worked on it for the past year and a half. Jack and Spirit’s love story is a complicated one! But their story isn’t over yet. I’m already working on Book #4, which will most likely be the finale. To learn more about the Spirit and the Wolfman Series, visit http://linktr.ee/raeshellrozet
This story was inspired by my own night travels. About ten years back, I used to live in a small town. I fell in love with Salsa dancing, and the nearest club was an hour away. So, for years I’d make the drive alone, often returning home on the dark, lonely road in the early morning hours.
But one night, I forgot to fill up my gas tank. I had so much fun dancing; I didn’t even notice that my gas tank was perilously close to empty until I saw the low fuel light turn on. I was a good thirty minutes away from home, and I’ve never understood, even until this day, how I made it home safely coasting on fumes.
I’ve often wondered. What would have happened if I had not been so lucky?
So, I’d like to tell you a story about another woman. She happens to come from a small town like me, or perhaps even the same small town, and her and I are a lot alike. After all, we both love to dance. And sometimes, we can be a little reckless. But unlike me, she is at a club listening to DJ Max.
“It happened at a club not far from here on Halloween night,” DJ Max looks at the lot of us hanging around outside drinking.
The live band is playing, so DJ Max is taking a break before it’s his turn to entertain us again. He’s been in this dancing scene longer than most of us, for almost thirty years now. Dancing has been good to him. He’s charming, friendly, and the women adore him.
I settle in with my drink to listen to him talk. I have an hour-long drive home tonight, so I’m drinking a soda. My best friend, Suzie, was supposed to make the drive with me, but she’s sick with the stomach flu. Halloween only happens once a year, so I decided to make the drive solo. Plus, I had already bought my costume, a 1920s red flapper dress with fringes that look fantastic when I spin.
“Her name was Daisy. She was a new dancer, and this was her first Halloween Salsa Night. Daisy had to drive two hours to the Salsa club, south on the 101 Highway, taking country roads and backways,” DJ Max begins, making eye contact with each of us, to make sure we’re listening.
“I heard it was a guy named David,” Efrain interrupts.
“And it was the Pacific Coast Highway,” Pablo, a plump Salsero, blurts out before taking a swig of his beer.
“Wasn’t it north? She was headed to a club in San Francisco, right?” Maria pipes up, swishing her long curly locks with a flick of her hand, as she takes a seat next to me.
“Like I said,” DJ Max gives them an annoyed look, which seems to be enough to quiet them. “Daisy was headed south on the 101 Highway, and she didn’t care about driving alone at night, because more than anything, she wanted to dance with Fernando.”
“You mean Ricardo,” Rodrigo interjects.
“Look when you tell the story, you can call him Billy, Bob or Fred, all right. But Fernando,” DJ Max raises his voice a little louder and stares us down with a raised eyebrow, challenging anyone to interrupt again. We stay quiet. Satisfied, he continues, “was the dancer that had captured Daisy’s heart. When she danced with him all her troubles floated away. He was exciting, the best dancer in the area. When he danced, people watched. And when Daisy danced with him, she felt beautiful,” DJ Max pauses so we can let his words sink in.
I know that feeling. I feel that way about Daniel. He’s an amazing dancer and when I dance with him I feel like I’m able to move in ways I never have before. Every time I visit the club, I hope to see him. He’s sweet. Daniel always asks me for a dance, but never more than one. He dances with everyone.
“Daisy was so excited to get to the club that night she forgot to fill her gas tank before leaving town. She didn’t notice that it was only half way full until she was miles into her drive. She shrugged it off. Daisy figured that she could always stop off to get gas on her way back,” DJ Max takes a sip of his beer. He doesn’t have to say what we all know. That is a mistake that will get her later.
I feel fidgety. I don’t exactly like hearing a Halloween story about a woman traveling alone at night. At least I breathe easier knowing my car has a full tank of gas.
“Now, Fernando was a player. There were so many women after him, even though he wasn’t the most attractive looking guy. His hair was receding and his belly expanding, but that didn’t seem to bother the ladies. Because when he danced with them, he treated them like a queen. Unfortunately, he didn’t treat them that way off the dance floor, and that made more than a few jilted women upset. In fact, one was mad enough to slash his tires, so he never made it to the club that night,” DJ Max looks at the men and shrugs. A few of them look guilty, all of them take a swig of their drink.
“Daisy was extra excited that night, because Fernando had finally noticed her the Saturday before. He had asked her if she was coming to the Halloween Salsa Night. Unbeknownst to Daisy, Fernando had asked all the women that same question. But in Daisy’s mind, it meant that Fernando would be waiting for her. She used part of her rent money to buy an expensive costume and had her hair professionally done, just for him. But, he never showed.
Daisy was the last one to leave the club, hoping to the last minute to see Fernando. She cried as she drove home and didn’t remember to fill her gas tank. It wasn’t until Daisy was deep into the back country roads that she stopped crying long enough to realize the tank was empty,” DJ Max takes a breath and shakes his head.
“Daisy never made it home. Her car ran out of gas, and cell phones don’t work well in the middle of nowhere. She tried to flag down a car, but a tired truck driver didn’t see her standing in the middle of the road, and she was struck dead,” DJ Max lifts his drink and everyone follows his lead. They take a big swig for Daisy.
“It’s said that Daisy visits the Salsa clubs on Halloween night. She’s searching for her Fernando, desperate to be in his arms twirling about the dance floor, feeling beautiful. Most of the time, she’s disappointed. At midnight, she vanishes, once again sad that Fernando never showed up. But every now and then, Daisy finds a dancer that is so talented she believes he’s Fernando. In her happiness, she’ll kiss him on his cheek. But it is the kiss of death, and her lips are as cold as ice. That’s how you know you’ve danced with Daisy,” DJ Max finishes his tale.
“Yep, my friend Joe said he danced with her last Halloween in Miami,” Michael chimes in. “She was a gorgeous blonde dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. He was pretty sad when she disappeared at midnight.” He laughs before taking a drink.
“So, follow these rules on a Halloween Salsa night,” DJ Max starts up again. We groan and laugh.
“First, never drive alone, go with friends!” He starts. I feel a chill on that one. Oh well, I’m here. What can I do?
“Second, if you have your heart set on a beautiful girl give her a kiss before taking her home,” he nods to the guys. They seem to agree.
“Third, if you meet a stranger on Halloween, check to see if they’re around after midnight,” he smiles at us. “Okay, that’s it for me. I’ve warned you. The band is singing their last song. I have to get back to work. Come on, baila! Get off your asses. It’s time to dance!”
I trail behind the group as we head back in. I watch from the doorway to see if I can find Daniel on the dance floor. So far, he hasn’t shown up, but that’s to be expected. The best dancers come a little late.
DJ Max is setting up while the band finishes their last song. The dance floor is buzzing with excitement. I watch Superman dipping a French maid. A pirate furiously spinning Cinderella. And then, I see Daniel. He’s wearing a Zorro costume.
The classic black hat and mask create an air of mystery, but his green eyes and devilish grin are a dead giveaway. He has a signature style. No one else moves like him. He captures the nuances of the music with such expression, I could watch him forever. But suddenly, I am whisked away to the dance floor by Dracula.
“Are you having fun?” Vlad the Impaler asks. I nod as he signals a right hand spin.
As I dance with Dracula, I catch glimpses of Daniel. I’ve been dancing for five years, but I’m nowhere near Daniel’s level. I’ve been practicing every day, trying to improve, hoping he’ll notice. He’s so incredibly handsome tonight dressed all in black. Just the thought of him approaching me makes my heart race. Will I ever grab his attention?
Oh, well, I decide to forget about it for now. Dracula and I are having too much fun to worry. This is Halloween night, and Daniel is here. I give into the dance and enjoy feeling alive. The music pulses through everyone and without having to say a word we all feel connected.
My song with Dracula ends. I start to leave the dance floor, but I feel someone touch my shoulder. I turn and see Daniel’s green eyes. Have they always been this green? He’s smiling. He holds out his hand to ask for a dance. I place mine in his, and off we go.
Yes, I’d know him anywhere by the way he moves. I’ve been dancing with him for five years now, just one song at each Salsa Night, but somehow it’s added up. I can follow him flawlessly. I know he can feel it too. We are completely in sync. He pulls me in closer this time. Holds me for longer. I hear him laugh. I see him smile more. Tonight is different. All my hard work has paid off. After the song ends, he doesn’t let me go. We dance another.
In fact, we dance so many songs in a row, I lose count. This is what I’ve always wanted. I wish he’d take off his mask and hat. He’s intoxicating in his Zorro costume. I’ve always had a thing for Zorro, but we feel so close tonight. I’d love to see his whole face as we dance.
“This is the last song before midnight!” DJ Max announces. I turn to look at him. He’s holding his drink in his hand. I think he’s had one too many. With a big smile, he winks at me, an inside joke for those of us who know Daisy’s story.
He plays my favorite song. Before I know it, Daniel has me flying about him. Has he ever danced this good? He surprises me with new combinations, and I love it! He pulls me close and this time he doesn’t let me go. I feel how warm he is and my heart pounds as I’m sure there is something real happening between us. I laugh, and he lets me go into crazy twists and turns about each other until the song comes to a finish.
I end up in his arms, and he leans in close. I take one last look into his green eyes before his lips touch mine.
He pulls away.
“Your lips are cold. They’re like ice,” I hear him say. I open my eyes and see him staring directly at me with a weird look on his face.
“Daniel?” I ask. He shakes his head and takes a step back. He bumps into Pablo.
“Whoa, watch it, Jacob,” Pablo teases as he puts a hand on Daniel’s shoulder to steady him. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, Jose. There was a beautiful girl dancing with me, and she just disappeared. Did you see where she went? She was right here wearing a red flapper’s dress,” he tells him pointing straight at me. Both men look through me as if I’m not there. I wave my hands. There’s no reaction.
Pablo looks around the room and then at me, square in the eye, and tells Daniel, “Nope. I saw a girl like that earlier when I was outside, but I don’t see her anywhere now.”
Daniel shakes his head and walks off, almost bumping into me as he passes by.
I run to the bathroom and lock myself in one of the stalls. I can’t stop trembling.
Why were they calling each other different names? Why did they pretend I wasn’t there? DJ Max’s story and Daniel dancing with me all night, did Daniel and his friends pull a prank? Did Daniel realize how much I liked him and decide to make fun of me? They’re probably out there laughing with DJ Max right now, having the best Halloween night ever.
I see a Halloween Salsa Night flyer taped to the back of the stall door. I remember how excited I was last week when I saw this advertisement. DJ Max wearing a Frankenstein costume with a Salsa band behind him. I feel so angry at him. I could scream, but something catches my eye. I take a closer look at the flyer, and I feel my hands tremble. It doesn’t say DJ Max. No, it says, “Salsa Halloween with Ghoulish DJ Gary.” Shaking, I leave the bathroom.
I walk through the club, but no one notices me. The bouncers at the door don’t even bother saying goodnight as I pass by. I just get in my car and drive. I just want to go home.
For most of the drive, I feel numb. I replay the night. The creepy story, DJ Max, Daniel, dancing, the poster, and none of it makes sense. I just keep driving.
It isn’t until I am on the quiet country road that I start to relax. It was a hoax. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they recorded it on their cell phones. Tomorrow I’ll see it posted on Facebook. Everything from the urban legend to the icy kiss, an elaborate scheme that they can use to advertise their next Salsa Halloween. I breathe easier.
I glance down at the gas tank, grateful that I filled it earlier before heading out. My heart skips a beat. It isn’t full, not even half full. The gauge is hovering right above empty.
I’ll never make it home.
I take a deep breath. Even if I didn’t dance with Daniel, didn’t I have a good time? The music and energy of everyone around me, feeling so alive. And wasn’t Zorro to die for? His green eyes and devilish smile watching my every move. So what if Daniel didn’t show up this time. There’s always next year.
I smooth the red color along my lips and with it offer a simple prayer, “Change me. Change me into something else.”
“Do you like it?” The makeup lady asks. I look at her, Miss Perfect. She is wearing a perfectly white coat, her hair coiffed in generous curls, skin glowing (with the help of translucent powder, of course), and a smile enhanced with a complimentary shade of pink.
“Yes, I’ll buy it,” I answer. This is the exact color I saw on Mark’s collar.
The makeup lady rings up my purchase, and I stare into the mirror. The color is quite stunning, but my clothes don’t match it. A woman with this color of lipstick saunters through her day in clothes much classier than mine. I collect my fancy shopping bag with my red lipstick tucked inside and head over to the clothing department.
I look at myself in the fitting room mirror. “Yes,” I think. This is similar to the clothes she wore. It matches the lipstick. I recall seeing Mark seated in our favorite restaurant next to a beautiful woman. She was dressed in an elegant white silk blouse with a classic black skirt and red heels. Not a hair dared to be out of place on her pretty little head, I remember. Her nails had a French manicure, perfect for holding Mark’s hand as he leaned in close enough to smell her expensive perfume.Yes, this is the outfit I will buy today. All I need now are the red heels.
At home, I take one last look at myself in the mirror before heading out to the coffee house to write. I look like a different person with my silky white blouse, stylish black skirt, and stunning red heels.
In my closet, I see my old wardrobe. I have the heart of a Bohemian. My side of the closet is brimming with colorful skirts of all shapes and patterns. My blouses are treasures excavated from vintage shops. My closet reflects my writing life, nothing is color coordinated or organized. Mark’s side of the closet is empty. He gathered the last of his belongings last night.
I grab my new handbag (black to match my skirt, of course) and laptop. My writing notebook looks at me like a dog expecting to go on his daily walk.
“Not today, my friend,” I tell my notebook. Today, I will write on my computer. That is what sophisticated writers do, they don’t waste time on handwritten rough drafts scribbled haphazardly on white pages. I feel a twinge of guilt as I close the door behind me. My notebook knows I share my thoughts with it first before launching the words into the digital world. I am leaving my best friend behind.
I sip my coffee as I stare at my computer. I had to order a regular coffee. Would a woman wearing this outfit order a Venti Chai Tea Latte with almond milk and three pumps of raspberry? I think not.
Several men have noticed me. My handsome barista even winked at me before refusing to take my money. There is one man in particular that keeps glancing my way. He’s around my age with blonde hair and blue eyes. I’ve never had a man that good-looking stare at me before. What an upgrade from Mark! It must be my new outfit.
Everything would be perfect if I wasn’t suffering from a horrible case of writer’s block. No one would guess the terrible distress I am under. I have only written one sentence in the past half hour, “I can’t think of anything to write.”
My journal back home smiles. Yes, I am helpless without it. My colorful clothes would love to offer their inspiration, but I owe them an apology first. Trying to be someone else, I’ve blocked off access to the true source of my creativity, my self expression.
“May I join you?” The blonde hair, blue-eyed man asks.
“Sure,” I smile and gesture to the open seat.
“My name is Trevor,” he introduces himself and extends a hand.
“Nice to meet you, Trevor. I’m Sylvia,” I reach out, shake his hand, and smile.
“Are you a writer?” He asks.
“Usually, but not so much today,” I laugh. “Do you write?”
“No, but I love to read,” Trevor answers.
Wow! I think to myself. The outfit works like magic! Look at the men it attracts, handsome and smart!
We spend the next hour sharing our favorite books. We seem to like the same authors. I love hearing his thoughts and reactions to the storylines. He doesn’t just read books. He considers them on a deeper level. They haunt him just like they haunt me. Mark never bothered with reading. It’s nice to have someone to really talk to, especially someone this handsome.
“Can I take you out to dinner tonight?” Trevor asks.
I feel butterflies flit in my stomach. I’d love to say yes. He’s so handsome! Plus, I’d love to talk to him some more. But I have only one outfit like this, sooner or later, he’d see the real me. I’m not eager to set myself up for another heartbreak.
“I’d love to, but I’m not sure it would be a good idea. I’m going to be honest. I never dress like this. In fact, I’m kind of allergic to these clothes. I haven’t been able to write a single word while wearing this outfit, and I’m sure you wouldn’t much care for how I normally dress,” I smile back at him awkwardly. I’m already regretting my honesty. It would have been nice to have one last conversation with him.
“How do you normally dress?” He laughs.
“Oh, I am pretty much a mess of different colors and vintage clothes which I put together randomly based on how I feel that day,” I shrug my shoulders and just let my words be what they are.
“I have a confession,” Trevor replies. “I’ve read all your books. I almost didn’t approach you, because you look nothing like your picture. I saw you were trying to write, so I took a chance. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I guessed right,” he smiles. “Please join me for dinner. Wear whatever you want.”
I accept his offer. I have the perfect clothes in mind. I’ll pass this lovely outfit on to the thrift store. I’m sure they will be a good fit for someone else.
Thank you for reading! Please subscribe to the blog to see all of my latest stories. My debut novel, Dancing The Salsa, is available at Amazon.com. I have another novel that will be released within the next few months! I’ll be sharing more details in the near future. Be sure to visit my website raeshellrozet.com to see more short stories and videos!
I love all forms of storytelling. I have an insatiable appetite for books and movies. But it isn’t often that I have a story read to me, like a story told to a child before bedtime.
Here is a tale that I wrote a few months back. It has four parts. It was inspired by my daily life working at the Junkyard, which I believe to be the perfect setting for a murderous “lunatic on the loose” story. I hope you enjoy it.
Part I A Junk Yard Horror Story: Another Day, Another Dollar
Part II A Junkyard Horror Story: Benjie Harris
Part III A Junkyard Horror Story: Batter Up!
Part IV A Junkyard Horror Story: Sammy vs. Benjie
Bonus Videos! Here are some videos I made while writing this story. It shows the inspiration behind the tale. I recorded it at the actual Junkyard that Sammy (and I) both work at!
Thank you for watching! If you’d like to watch more of these stories in the future, please subscribe to the blog. You can also visit my website at raeshellrozet.com. I’ve just release by first book, Dancing The Salsa! You can find it at amazon.com/author/raeshellrozet. See you soon!
Have you ever felt jealous? What does a jealous person wish for? This video is a nod back to the old tradition of storytelling. Sometimes, it’s fun to have a story read to you. I call it, “The Wishing Fountain.” It all begins with a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger….
The only blankets I knew as a little girl were handmade by my grandmother. She lived far away in Hawaii, but she made blankets for us. Not only for us, but for all her children, and her children’s children, and even in later years for my boys-her great grandsons.
The blankets were a beast to make. My mother recalls helping her mom in the evenings when she was young. Together, they would cut tiny strips of used clothing that the family had outgrown. Her mother would then sew these tiny fragments together to create a blanket like no other.
The blankets were larger than what you find in a department store, and when you cocooned yourself inside the warmth was amazing.
I remember studying her blankets many times when I was sick with a flu or stomach bug that kept me in bed. Wrapped up in a bundle of colors and unable to move much, I memorized the printed fabric.
I imagined the shirts or skirts that might donate such crazy prints with huge flowers, bright orange hues, and miniature cars. My grandmother lived in Hawaii where Aloha shirts are famous. I wondered. What the hell kind of shirts did my grandfather wear? The thought would cheer me up even with a high fever.
I tried to recreate one of her blankets when I was in my early twenties. It was painstakingly hard. I admit I abandoned it halfway done.
Trying to find the energy to cut and sew tiny pieces of fabric together after working, cleaning house, and taking care of my boys seemed like a cruel way to end the day. Buying a blanket was cheaper, faster, and saved my sanity. Why, oh why, did my grandmother do this?
At first, the blankets started out of utility. They were poor. I mean they were really poor. My grandparents lived on a Sugar Cane Plantation, my grandmother would pull roots to make soup, and the family had to use an outhouse. There would have been no extra money for blankets.
But later, when my grandfather became a mechanic she could have afforded to buy blankets. Why did she go on to make dozens more?
It wasn’t until I started writing my first novel that I stumbled upon a possible answer.
I think it was her one extravagance. In a world filled with dirty dishes, laundry that continually piles up, and meals that are cooked, eaten, and need to be cooked again-the blankets remained finished. Not only finished, but beautiful and one-of-a-kind. Something only she could make.
As she ran her hand along the bits of sewn cloth, perhaps she could see the lifetime of her family woven together by her own hand.
When I write I gather pieces of myself and tuck them into the narrative. The fiction is peppered with a memory of my mother here, my sons there, and friends I’ve met along the way. Each fragment twisted to be unrecognizable to others, but obvious to my own eye whenever I re-read my work.
My grandmother gave me more than her blankets. She handed down a need to create and remember.
In that way, even though I can’t sew worth a damn, I am a Blanket Maker’s Granddaughter. Thank you, Grandma.
This blog post is dedicated to my mother and grandmother. Both women are beyond amazing. My grandmother has already passed, but I know in my heart she keeps track of all of us.
If you like this blog post, please subscribe! Visit and like my Facebook fan page, Raeshell Rozet, the Dancing Writer and stay up to date on all of my latest writings. Thank you for reading!
Special Note: This is the final section of a four-part series. If you haven’t read Part I, Part II, and Part III, please scroll to the bottom of the page so you can start the tale from the beginning.
I resist the urge to run straight out back where the cars are neatly stacked in tidy rows. Instead, I cut to the right and go behind the office into the oldest part of the yard where the cars are crowded together, and there are more places to hide.
I move quietly and quickly, trying not to disturb anything that might make a loud noise. I listen for everything, but hear nothing. No footsteps behind me.
Did he follow me out? Or is he still waiting for me in the office? Sitting on my chair, fiddling with his knife, biding his time until I do something dumb like make a run for the door.
A thought strikes my mind that chills me. What if Ernesto comes back? What if Benjie gets to him first?
The awful scenario plays before my eyes. Ernesto walking through the door unaware, and Benjie plunging his knife into him over and over.
I shudder. That horrible knife! I wince at the possibility of it cutting into my skin, going deep, of what it can do to me.
there! I warn myself.
focus on the bat in my hands. I recall feeling the thunk as it struck his body.
This is not impossible! If I hit him once, then I can hit my again!
I have to stay hidden. I crouch low behind a grey Chevrolet Venture van. I don’t want to go any further into the yard. If I hear Ernesto call out for me. I want to be close enough to warn him.
The cars above me give some cover. I consider hiding in the van, but nix the idea. If I stay in one spot, Benjie will find me. I don’t want to be trapped. No, I have to stay mobile.
I feel my
hands shaking, so I grip the bat tighter. No matter what, I will whack him as
many times as I can I vow to myself.
giant! My fear talks back. Look at Dave and Bob, they’re both dead! Strong
guys, mechanics who worked on cars for years. What can you do?
The weight of the bat gives me an answer. So help me, I will take out his legs and cut him down to my size.
I see Miss Kitty sitting in the row next to me. I’m crouched close to the passenger side fender and she’s just a few feet away. Her back is to me. She doesn’t look in my direction. I don’t dare call out to her. She keeps looking straight ahead.
I hear footsteps coming up on the other side of the van, heavy steps. I see his plaid flannel shirt through the car window and smell his stench. That nasty smell of not bathing for days. He’s heading towards Miss Kitty.
Why doesn’t she run? She must know he’s behind her! He’s almost close enough to grab her. She’s not moving! I see him start to lift his knife.
He’s not hurting Miss Kitty! The thought burns through me as I swing hard and I swing low. I hear the crack of the bat as it hits the shin.
cries as he doubles over to grab his leg.
“Keep hitting!” I yell at myself as I strike again whacking his upper arm and watch as his body wrenches in pain.
enough. He starts to get to his feet. He’s
not staying down.
I hit him again as he starts to rise. This time he stumbles back into a car.
The car is missing its door, so I’m expecting him to fall into the front seat, but that’s not what happens.
He’s sucked into the vehicle. That’s the only word for it. The car sucks him in with such force that his back slams into the passenger side door, and I hear the thump of his head against the glass.
We look at
each other dumbfounded.
He tries to lift himself up, but he can’t. He’s stuck. Superglued. Banging his arms in panic, pulling on the headrest, trying anything to free himself, but nothing works.
He looks at me again. Hateful eyes, as if I am to blame. I shake my head as if to say no, it’s not me. His lips curl into a half smile as he throws his knife at me. I see the blade, but before the tip crosses the threshold of the car it disappears into thin air.
eyes grow wild. He starts screaming, but the sound is drowned out by a dozen
car alarms. The yard is alive with the obnoxious alarms coming from all
I watch Benjie scream in terror with his mouth open and eyes wide. His fists pounding the car, but I can’t hear him.
He melts into the front seat and the passenger side door. Any part of him touching the vehicle dissolves into it. Quickly going away, even down to his head resting on the front seat. His hateful eyes still looking at me. Blaming me. Until that too is gone, and there is not a single trace of him left. The car looks as it did before.
The car alarms stop. All is quiet.
Should I be
afraid? Benjie is gone, right? I didn’t imagine it, but then again I can’t
exactly believe it, either. Whatever it was, it saved me, didn’t it?
Miss Kitty breaks my thoughts. She hops onto the front seat of the car and looks at me with her green eyes. She wants me to come to her.
I’m scared, but I trust her. I lean inside and nestle my fingertips into her soft fur. I feel her love, and I feel safe. Gratitude. Miss Kitty reminds me to be grateful.
“Thank you,” I whisper inside the car. Miss Kitty purrs. Satisfied, she rises and hops out of the car. I follow her to the office.
Sammy!” Ernesto’s voice fills the yard.
I yell back.
I watch him run towards me. His eyes scanning all around. His hand clutching the crescent wrench.
“Sammy, the police think he’s here. They found a hole in the fence between our yard and Steve’s place. There’s footsteps leading onto the yard. They’re searching the place. I’m so glad you’re safe. I’m sorry, Sammy. I never would have left you if I’d known!” Ernesto’s voice has a slight shake to it. He holds me close, but his eyes keep scanning around us.
I see several police officers enter the yard, guns drawn, looking into the cars.
“Did you see
him?” Ernesto asks.
“Nope,” I answer. Yep, I’m lying. The guys here never listen to me. They never take me seriously. Even Ernesto, who I love dearly, would never believe my story.
“Is Steve okay?” I ask.
“He’s messed up really bad, but there’s a good chance he’s going to make it. Sammy, I’m going to close the yard until they find Benjie. It’s too dangerous,” Ernesto announces as he pulls me closer to him.
“No way!” I
look up at him and smile. “Listen to me, I don’t think we have to worry about
Benjie Harris anymore. I’m sure he’s long gone. Let the police search the yard
and then it’s back to business.”
Sammy? You’re not scared?” Ernesto laughs.
“Of course, not. I don’t think the Junkyard will let anything bad happen to us. We belong here,” I laugh and snuggle up to him.
sure?” He asks one more time.
“Yes, my love. Another day, another dollar!” I place the bat on my shoulder and walk hand and hand with Ernesto back to the office.
The Junkyard is open.
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Special Note: This is Part III of a four-part series. If you haven’t read Part I and Part II, please scroll to the bottom of the blog and click on the previous links to read “A Junkyard Horror Story” from the beginning.
you seriously bringing that to work?” Ernesto grins at me as I walk into the
“Another day, another dollar,” I answer back. I like feeling the weight of the bat as it rests on my shoulder.
I’m not a
baseball player, but I am good at swinging things. My Grandpa, a sports connoisseur,
taught me to play tennis.
I remember Grandpa’s words, “The power doesn’t come from the shoulder. It comes from the shift in the weight of the legs, the turn of the hips. The whole body, the power comes from the entire body and drives through the arm.” Grandpa would tell me this again and again. Then, I would practice for hours.
“Just don’t whack me by mistake!” Ernesto shakes his head and smiles. I’m a sucker for that smile, even after being together for ten years. It gets me every time. “At least, you’re here. Bill and John aren’t coming in,” Ernesto’s smile disappears after breaking the bad news.
Why?” I ask, even though the answer is obvious.
“They called in sick, but I think they’re just chicken shit scared. Most of our neighbors are closed for the day. Steve, next door, has the only shop open on the block,” Ernesto tries to smile again, but his eyes tell me that he’s worried.
Lorenzo aren’t here. That’s unusual,” I say out loud as I realize how quiet the
office is with just the two of us.
“Nope, looks like you’re the only brave one,” Ernesto says as he takes my hand and pulls me close to him.
“I want you to go home,” he tells me as I settle into his arms.
closing the shop?” I ask. I know money is tight. We’re struggling to make the
rent by the end of this week.
“Yes, we’re not going to get many customers today, and it’s not safe. Not with everyone gone. I don’t want you in the office alone. In fact, I don’t want you here at all.”
going to make the rent?” I see the worry cross his face before he can hide it.
the shop, but I’m staying to take off the engine for Francisco. That will cover
the rent for this month,” Ernesto answers.
lock up the place. I’ll be fine. When I’m done, I’ll head home,” he kisses my
cheek to reassure me.
“I have a
better plan. We lock the doors. You take off the engine, while I stand guard
with my bat. Then we head home together,” I take a step back, stand tall, and
place the bat back on my shoulder.
I’ve watched Ernesto work seven days a week for the past two years. He loves this place. No lunatic is going to take away his dream, not when I have a bat in my hands.
smiles back at me. He knows how stubborn I am. He shrugs his shoulders and
starts to gather his tools.
I might sound brave, but I’m terrified. Still, I’m not letting him stay here by himself. So, the two of us head out into the yard. He gets to work on the engine, and I keep a watchful eye out for any movement. So help me, I will spot Benjie if he takes one step in my yard.
Hours go by without so much as a sound. Ernesto and I barely talk to one another. It’s a silent agreement that we want to get this over quickly and head home. I try to stay alert as possible, because with Ernesto focused on his work I’m the only one watching out for us.
“Help me! Somebody please help me!” A gut wrenching scream cuts through the quiet. A man in pain calls out. It’s not just pain in his voice, but terror. You can feel it.
“That has to
be Steve!” Ernesto jumps up from under the car. We run towards the office.
want you to stay here,” he tells me.
coming with you. I’m not having you go over there alone,” I can feel tears
ready to spill out, because I already know what he’s going to say.
time. I might have to fight, and I can’t be worried about protecting you.
Listen to me. I want you to lock this door behind me and don’t open it for
anyone! You hear me! No one! You are safe in here,” Ernesto gives me the look
that tells me arguing is not an option.
the cops,” I tell him trying to think of anything I can do to help.
“Not yet. We don’t know what’s happened. He could have just had an accident. I have a cell phone. I can call them. If I don’t call you in five minutes, then go ahead and call the cops, okay?” He grabs our largest crescent wrench and heads next door.
With my hands shaking, I try to lock the door behind him. Damn it! I forgot it’s hard to lock the door with my keys. I’ve been meaning to get new ones. I have to jiggle it for a while to get it to work. By the time I have myself safely locked in, tears are already running down my cheeks.
I try to breathe and calm myself. I still have my bat. It hasn’t left my hands all day. But what can I do to help Ernesto? He’s over there without me. What is he walking into?
I look up to
see Miss Kitty standing just outside the door leading into the yard. We always
prop it open so she can come and go as she pleases. She’s a few feet away. She
must have heard me crying.
“Miss Kitty,” I call to her as I start to walk towards her. I see her look beyond me and hiss. In the reflection of the window I see a figure and without thinking my body reacts.
As I turn, I use the power of my legs, hips, and everything I have within me to swing. I hit him full force in the chest. I feel a thunk and remember to carry my swing all the way through just like my Grandpa always told me.
I only watch for a second as Benjie stumbles and falls. His hand with that wretched black 1915 Ford Model T tattoo gripping a long bladed knife.
I have no
chance of unlocking the front door in time, so I race into the yard. My
right-hand clutching my bat.
I don’t dare
call out to Ernesto, because I don’t want to get him killed. Besides, if I
scream I’ll give away my location.
Benjie in here with me. Neither one of us can leave.
thinking, he must be extra pissed off at me. I did just crank him with my bat.
Stay tuned! Part IV (the conclusion) will be coming soon!
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Special Note: This is Part II of a four-part series. If you haven’t read Part I, please scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the link “A Junkyard Horror Story” to start the tale from the beginning.
“Another day, another dollar,” I mutter to myself as I pick up the empty Mc Donald’s cup and toss it into the trash bag. Every day, I walk the yard picking up garbage. Why can’t these guys throw away their own trash?
I feel uneasy after yesterday’s news about Dave’s murder. Ernesto checked the yard this morning and reassured me that it’s safe, but I don’t really believe him. All I see are hundreds of places a killer can hide. The chicken skin on my arms whispers that I am right.
There are so many freakin’ cars! They are stacked in pairs, one on top of the other, forming corridors throughout the yard. The cars are constantly being shuffled around, so a clear passageway in the morning can become a dead end by afternoon. It’s an acre of ever-changing twists and turns.
A person can get lost in this labyrinth. I can’t count how many times I’ve searched for Ernesto out here, shouting his name into the wind, only to eventually give up and wait for him to resurface on his own.
As I approach the office, I hear Paulo’s voice bellowing out. Bill and John, our workers, are standing next to Paulo, hanging on his every word. Bill, dressed in a blue plaid shirt and jeans, is a foot taller than the rest of the guys in the room. The kid is only twenty and never talks much. John is shorter, wider, in his mid-fifties, and always smells of cigarettes. Ernesto is center stage behind the counter. Lorenzo is in his usual spot holding up the wall. I see Old Man Conroy in the mix. Conroy is in his late sixties and has been a mechanic for over forty years.
“Benjie did it again! That bastard got Bob. Stabbed him to death in his own shop! The cops still haven’t caught him,” Paulo shakes his head and stretches out his arms to show his disbelief. He continues on, “Benjie better hope that the cops catch him before I do. If I get my hands on him there’ll be nothing left for the police!”
Although none of us think Benjie has anything to fear from Paulo, we share his anger. I can’t believe it. Bob was one of our regulars. He called me every day asking for parts.
I feel shaky and lightheaded as I understand what this means. The police search didn’t scare Benjie away. He’s still here.
realize that Bob’s place is on the corner, that’s only half a block away,” John
points out as he looks at Ernesto.
I feel my heart in my throat. I didn’t know that Bob’s place was so close to ours. That’s too close. An uneasy silence takes over the room as we think about what that implies.
Benjie about ten years back before he went nuts,” Old Man Conroy breaks the
silence. “We worked together at Jose’s Auto Repair shop, before Benjie bought
his own place.” He pauses waiting to see if anyone wants to say anything, but
we are silent as children listening to a ghost story. Old Man Conroy clears his
throat and continues on.
real quiet. Kept to himself. But he got the work done and didn’t bother anyone.
He had a real liking for the Snap-on tools. You know, the real expensive ones?”
Conroy laughs as if remembering an image from the past, “Benjie’d be wearing
torn up jeans and shoes with holes, but he had himself a nice set of tools.”
are nice. I don’t keep any at the Junkyard. Tools are lost and stolen too easy
here,” Ernesto jumps in.
Conroy nods in agreement and starts up again, “I remember when Big Fred tried to steal himself one of those beauties. Benjie caught him. Didn’t say a word. Just walked over and broke the big guy’s nose. Blood was sprouting everywhere. Maybe even broke a couple of teeth, I think. All it took was one punch,” Conroy shakes his head obviously still impressed even after all these years.
“I thought Fred would sue, but something about the crazy look in Benjie’s eyes made him think otherwise. A week later, Benjie quit the shop and bought himself his own place. I didn’t see him much after that, but shortly after the killing started,” Conroy pauses to look around the room catching our eyes. As if to say to us, it’s starting again, watch out.
“Who did he
kill?” Paulo’s loud voice snaps us out of the story.
Conroy smirks and looks at Paulo, “Well, you’d think he’d kill the loud fat ones. You know the ones always interrupting and running their mouths off. But no, the scary thing about Benjie is that he’d kill anyone. Customers would stop by his shop and then never be heard of again. A fellow mechanic might get an unexpected visit from Benjie and be found dead the next day. Cops found one grandma stuffed in the trunk of her car, dead for three days and stinking, but the car was in good repair and washed clean.”
I watch the men in the room. I can see the guys shifting the weight of their feet, fidgeting, like most men do when their scared but afraid to show it.
“None of us
felt safe until they caught him. No one suspected that quiet old Benjie was
doing the killing. Never heard of a motive. It’s like he just woke up one day
and decided to start killing,” Old Man Conroy finishes the story and starts to
walk towards the door.
“Well, I’ll be heading out now. You won’t be seeing me for a few weeks. I have some vacation time saved up, and I’m thinking now is as good of a time as any to use it. Best of luck to you guys. Watch out for one another,” and with that Old Man Conroy walks out the door leaving us to chew on his words.
His words haunt me for most of the day. The guys are all in the yard. Bill and John are outside chatting and possibly working. Ernesto is showing off his 1950 Ford Deluxe to Paulo and Lorenzo.
The office is too quiet. There is nothing to distract me from Conroy’s story. I feel ready to jump out of my skin. I imagine Benjie sneaking up behind me ready to strike.
Even Miss Kitty is missing today. She usually hangs out in the office with me, but I haven’t seen her since breakfast. That’s it. I decide to go looking for her. I’ll drag her back in here with me to keep me company.
I try to
feel for her location and only one thought comes to mind. The black van. It’s
silly, but I decide to try my luck.
Spooky as ever, I find her sitting in on the hood of the van looking at me. She doesn’t hop down and run towards me like she normally would. No. She waits for me.
I’m scared. Even though I know that Officer Frank checked the yard yesterday and Ernesto looked around this morning, I have a bad feeling about the van. It feels wrong. But looking at Miss Kitty sitting on the hood, it’s almost as if she wants me to come to her.
I swallow my fear and decide to look inside the van myself. I’m not a wuss. Maybe seeing that there is no boogeyman hiding in there will settle my nerves.
My hands tremble as I grip the sliding door handle. I take a deep breath and ready myself to run if I see anyone. I slide the door open. Thank God, there is no one there. I breathe easier. I look around me instinctively to make sure there is no killer behind me like in the movies. But no, it’s just me and Miss Kitty.
As I’m ready
to close the van door, a red and black object catches my eye. It’s a screw driver
lying on the backseat. I recognize the signature handle. The red handle with
two black stripes on the sides, a Snap-on screwdriver. My right-hand shakes as
I pick it up. Miss Kitty meows and rubs up against my boots reminding me where
“Let’s go, Miss Kitty,” I tell her, hoping she will understand. I walk quickly to where the guys are. I watch to make sure Miss Kitty is following me. My eyes dart everywhere praying I don’t see Benjie. I feel the panic racing through my body as I rush over to Ernesto gripping the screwdriver in my right-hand.
call out as soon as he is in earshot. The guys look up at me, all of them;
Ernesto, Bill, John, Lorenzo, and Paulo but then go back to talking amongst
each other. Paulo being the loudest, of course.
start to tell him as I reach his side, but he puts out a hand as if to tell me
to wait so Paulo can finish talking.
decide I’m not waiting. “Look at what I found in the van!” I show him the
screwdriver. He doesn’t react.
Snap-on screwdriver!” I tell him. Still, no reaction.
“I found it
in the black van. Miss Kitty has been acting strange lately. She’s been hanging
out by the black van instead of with me, just staring at it. As if something
was inside it. I took a look for myself and found this, a Snap-on screwdriver!”
I hear my voice sounding high-pitched, not the calm tone I want to use.
The men look
unimpressed, and Paulo starts talking again, “You should have Rodrigo paint it
for you. He gives the lowest price.” I feel ready to scream at someone. How can
they be so stupid!
I hold the
screwdriver up high and speak more slowly so they can connect the dots, “Remember,
Old Man Conroy said that Benjie liked Snap-on tools, right?”
that belongs to Benjie?” Ernesto laughs and the others join in. “Anyone could
have left that here. I think you’re just getting worked up because of Conroy’s
story. Everyone tells lies around here. I bet he didn’t even know him!” The
guys all nod and look at each other in agreement.
think he was lying. I’ve been around a lot of liars, and have seen many here at
the Junkyard,” I stare down the men around me. “I think he was telling us the
truth. I have a bad feeling about this Ernesto, a really bad feeling about
check the yard again so you’ll feel better,” he kisses my cheek and Paulo starts
I walk away. I turn one last time to look at them huddled around the 1950 Ford. I think it will be a long time before he checks the yard, if ever. Yeah, I’ve worked the Junkyard long enough, I know when someone’s telling a lie.
home!” I call out to him. He might have tried to argue with me, but I didn’t
stick around to listen. Why should I? They don’t listen to me.
I gather my
stuff. Miss Kitty jumps up on the counter for one last snuggle.
worry, Miss Kitty. I’ll be back. No one messes with my Junkyard,” I whisper
into her ear and listen to her purr.
Stay tuned! Part III coming soon!
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