Posted in #Monday, #Monday Writing, General Writing, Monday Short Tale, Mondays

I Don’t Think I Want To Be Here Anymore Finale

Hey, Ya’ll! Welcome back to PEP! I’m still testing PEP’s new name. It may change with the first Monday Short Tale of October. 

Which just as a reminder, October’s Short Tales will be a continuation of the Haunted College Boys arc. I’ll post all previous pieces this Friday just to catch everyone up. I’m also going to post the Wednesday Writing Prompts this Wednesday and a post either Tuesday or Thursday with the first stop of my road trip. I meant to this last week but have spent the last few days either busy or simply feeling tired.  I get spells like that occasionally. This spell appears to have mostly past, which I’m thrilled about as October 1 is just a couple of days away. My favorite time of year starts about September 10 and continues onto January 5. My mom’s birthday is Sept 15 and I usually hand-make her something. I didn’t quite get it finished this year before the trip so I’ll be giving it to her shortly. Then Halloween and spooky season starts Oct 1, My birthday and Thanksgiving is November and then December is Christmas followed by the start of the new year. Add to the special dates, the weather cools and fall starts followed by winter, my favorite seasons.

I’m going to be giving myself a special challenge this next month similar to my drawing challenge of June. Except it’s going to be one for drawing and another for writing. Some I’ll post here and some I’ll post on my Patreon. I’ll give the link again when I’ve uploaded the first pieces.  

Now, what you’ve been waiting for, the finale of I Don’t Think I Want to Be Here Anymore. I promise, the title makes sense by the end. 

Martin distantly heard screaming as he stared at where the man had been. It took him too long to realize it was his own screams he was hearing and stifle them before they gained the wrong attention.

He heard Camden, “Martin, you have to remain calm!”

This was too much for him. He took off down the main tunnel they’d started on, leaving Camden to run after him.

She caught up to him just as he narrowly missed slamming into the wall at the end of the tunnel.

His hands in his hair, Martin groaned, “It’s a dead end, now what?!”

Camden, keeping her wits around her, glanced up, realizing she could see light.

“Look! Up there!”

Martin looked up and realized they’d come to what was likely another entrance, except this hole looked smaller than the one he’d crashed through and no more accessible than that one.

“That doesn’t really help. We’re really in the exact same case as earlier.”

“Except I’ve regained my power. As long as dawn is a few hours away, I’ll regain my strength soon enough. It’s clearly more dangerous down here than we realized.”

As Martin felt icy hands grab him under the arms and lift him in the air, he had the distant notion, ‘What if this is the exact same hole we fell earlier, and we’ve just run around in circles.’

He dismissed it the next second, it wasn’t possible, was it?

He was right, it wasn’t the same place he’d fallen in earlier.

It was worse.

 


As soon as they’d cleared the hole, he felt something strike Camden and her arms disappeared from under his arms. He immediately began falling back in the hole and just barely managed to grab the edge.

Camden flew backwards, back slamming into a tree, arrow lodging deep into the trunk through her chest.

She winced; she hadn’t realized she could feel pain as a ghost. But of course, for however long she’d been a ghost, she’d primarily stuck to the trails she ‘remembered’ from being alive.

She looked up in time to see another spirit dancing around the hole and human hands grasping the edge. She realized Martin had nearly dropped back in when she’d been shot with the arrow.

She struggled to move but the arrow was a spirit weapon and had her pinned to the tree. She heard an agonized scream and realized the spirit was no longer dancing around the hole. Now it was standing directly over Martin. She grabbed hold of the arrow, ignored the burning in her hands, and yanked with all her might.

She dropped down, barely keeping on her feet, as the arrow came out. Ignoring the pain in her chest and her hands, she started running to the hole, taking aim.

She threw the arrow, praying it would make its mark as the spirit continued standing on Martin’s hands, waiting for him to drop.

It hits its mark.

The unknown spirit flies back, struck with its own arrow, and Camden grabbed Martin’s wrists just as his hands gave in and let go.

She pulled him up, wincing from the looks of his hands.

A bit delirious from the pain, Martin muttered, “I don’t think I want to be here anymore.”
Camden looked around, getting her first true look at just where they were, “I don’t think either of us want to be here anymore.”

Somehow, they’d managed to come up in the middle of a territorial battle.

She couldn’t see the cliffs where they’d been headed but saw what looked like a small campsite in the distance.

“Come on. I see a tent. Maybe they can help us!”

She kept a tight grip on Martin’s wrists, the moon recharging her even as she used her power.

They managed to get out of the center of the battle unnoticed and make it to the campsite.

Martin, having regained his senses, “Hello!”

Nothing.

“Anyone here?!”

Still nothing.

Martin took a closer look at the campsite and didn’t like what he saw.

“Camden. Look. I think this campsite’s abandoned.”

The tent was nothing more than rags, the fire pit having long since fallen to pieces, cooler turned over and what remained of the camper’s backpack was all over the campsite in rags and trash.

Camden didn’t respond.

Scared she’d disappeared on him again, “Camden? Camden?!”

Camden jolted out of the trance she’d fallen into when she’d seen the yellow t-shirt hanging on a branch near the campsite.

“I’m here. I’m here. Sorry. I think… I think this may be my campsite.”

“Yours?”

“That shirt, the one on the tree over there, it looks so familiar.”

Martin knelt, ignoring the pain in his hands, and ruffled through the little that was still intact of the backpack.

At the bottom of the mess was a wallet.

He pulled it out and opened it. There was a student id within. He, of course, didn’t know what Camden looked like, but the name on the university id was that of a Camden Stewart.

“Camden, look.”

Camden looked at the familiar wallet in Martin’s hand and the id.

“That’s me!”

Martin’s eyes suddenly burned, and he dropped the wallet to rub them.

When he was able to open them, the young green-eyed brunette woman from the id was standing in front of him.

“I can see you now!”

She looked up from the wallet she’d been studying fast enough to, had she been living, give herself whiplash.

“Really?”

“Apparently, I just needed to know what you looked like alive. You know your name now, anything else you remember?”

Camden’s brow furrowed, “I don’t- Wait!”

Just then, different scenes of the woods they were in flashed across her eyes.

She gasped, “We have to leave, now!”

She grabbed Martin’s wrist, pulling him towards where she remembered leaving her jeep. She’d left the key in the sun visor, so he’d be able to start it to get back to his car without going back through the woods.

“Wait, what’s going on!”

“No time, come on!”

Camden pulled him along, Martin noticing she was now regularly looking up. He had a feeling she’d just remembered her last hours.

Indeed, she had. And she didn’t want Martin to suffer the same fate.

 


 

But it was too late.

The animals that had been released into the woods from the same people who’d used the underground tunnels and caverns left from French and Indian war for experimentation on them and unsuspecting campers had already spotted them.

Or rather, they’d spotted Martin, unable to see Camden.

Chills ran down Martin’s back as he heard a feral noise. He wasn’t even sure if he could qualify it as a howl or growl. He just knew in his gut it didn’t bode well for him. He no longer allowed Camden to drag him, now he threw himself into running beside her towards a small hill.

Camden was glad Martin had managed to pick up on the danger he was now in. It let her regain more energy now that she wasn’t pulling him.

They scrambled up the hill and Camden saw her jeep.

“There! The key’s in the sun visor, use it to get out of here!”

Even as he scrambled into the driver’s seat and pulled the sun visor down, “What about you!”

Camden got into the passenger seat, “I’ll ride as long as I can. I don’t think I can leave the forest, but you know where I am. You can get closure for me as long as you get out of here!”

Martin jammed the key into the ignition and started the jeep, throwing it into reverse. He revved the jeep around into drive and started driving down the two-lane dirt road. He wasn’t even going to stop for his car. He’d come back for it in the daytime.

Seeing something moving in the trees, Camden had a spark of an idea even as dread curled in her gut.

“Where’s your phone?”

“In my pocket, why?”

Even as Camden reached for his phone, a large thump sounded from the hood of the jeep, the entire car vibrating from the large mass that was now crawling towards Martin.

“Crud!”

Even as he swerved the jeep, trying to knock the chimpanzee off, more landed on the back. Camden took pictures of the chimpanzees as they leapt into the jeep and onto Martin.

His screams told her he was paying the price for her choice of an open-roof jeep for a car. He was meeting the same fate she had. Only she’d met the chimpanzees in the middle of the woods, and they’d run her into a hole where she’d fallen, breaking a leg. They hadn’t followed and she’d eventually died from slow blood loss from her injuries and starvation.

The jeep ran off the dirt road and crashed into a large old oak, crumpling the front hood completely.

The crash jolted the chimpanzees from their unmoving meal, and they disappeared back into the woods.

Ghostly tears poured down Camden’s cheeks as she stared at Martin’s wrecked corpse. She blamed herself.

Even if he’d survived the chimpanzees, the crash would’ve killed him as a fallen branch of the tree impaled the windshield right where his head would’ve been had he not been slumped over the wheel.

 


 

She jolted as Martin’s voice sounded, “Are you going to stay in there or are we going to start exploring like we started this morning?”

She turned and saw Martin just as he had been alive. She realized Martin had joined her and the other spirits as permanent residents of these woods. She climbed out of the jeep and hugged him tightly.

“You remember everything?”

“Yes. I’m one of the lucky ones.”

Camden left his phone in his body’s hand where she’d stuck it just before the crash.

As such, Spirit Martin pulled the phone out of his pocket and turned on the flashlight, having died with it in hand.

The two began walking, eventually running and laughing with their newfound freedom and friend, seeing no reason to stay with the jeep.

It would be found, or it wouldn’t. Only time would tell.

 


 

A few days later, the wreckage was found when Martin’s friends alerted the police he’d never returned. The phone had just enough battery to show them his last minutes before it died. They also found Camden’s wallet in his pocket and her family gained closure as well.

Eventually, the chimpanzees and other creatures were rounded up and the spirits of the woods were finally at peace once more, no more joining their ranks from such gruesome deaths.

 


 

They say that if you stand on the cliffs at midnight on a full moon, you can hear a young man and woman laughing and might even get a glimpse of a flashlight as they run through the woods.

Fin
©Paula Crofoot

 

So, what did you think? Feel free to comment down below, I promise I’ll reply. 

‘Til Next Time, Friends! 

 

No act of Kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

 

Posted in #Monday, #Monday Writing, General Writing, Monday Short Tale

I Don’t Think I Want To Be Here Anymore partie 5

Hey Ya’ll! Welcome back to PEP! I’m back home and back to work. I’ll be posting about the trip in different posts over the next couple of weeks. 

It was a fun trip. It’s been 11 years since my last road trip. Since then, it’s been three Disney cruises, one Carnival cruise and one Holland America cruise when we were able to travel. Between finances and, before I worked for myself, me never having time off from my last jobs, we weren’t able to go somewhere every year. 

We couldn’t decide where we wanted to go considering finances and time constraints. So, I came up with an itinerary of off-beat and oddball places in the Midwest directly due north of Texas. I came up with the list via Atlas Obscura. That site is awesome, the name is a link if you want to check it out. Each day was different, depending upon where the coin flip directed us the night before. We didn’t get everywhere, due to time constraints and just how big and flat Kansas really is. But I still have the itinerary and we have to go past some of it on our way to either Utah-somehow we’ve missed staying the night in Utah despite being in every state surrounding it- or the top North-West.

So look for updates on my trips, including pictures, in the coming weeks.

I don’t have a new story in my Medium Publications, Sunday Fabricated Stories or Wednesday’s Weird Tales of the Unknown this week due to the vacation. I’ll them for you next week.

On a side note, though, I think I may have a new name for Paula’s Eclectic Paradise. I’m going to test it out, see how I feel about it. I’ll show you soon!

So without further ado- Here’s this week’s Monday’s Short Story: the latest installation of I Don’t Think I Want to Be Here Anymore.

Camden could feel herself growing stronger; it must be after sunset. That boded well for her but not for Martin. Dark wouldn’t affect her, she could see anywhere but Martin, being a living human, his danger would grow.

“Martin.”

“Yeah?”

“The sun has set.”

“Uh, how do you know that? There’s no way for us to see out.”

Martin shone his flashlight around the tunnel to prove his point. Nothing but dirt walls as far as human and ghost eye could see.

“I’m stronger. I would only have grown this much stronger so quickly if it’s dusk.”

“Okay, that’s good. Could you get us out of here now?”

“If I had any idea where here was, maybe. But I can’t see through these dirt walls any more than you can. I’m afraid I’d take us into something even worse than this.”

“Fair enough. ‘Sides, you should probably reserve your energy in case of another fight.”

The two walked on in calm silence for a while.

Martin came to a stop as his flashlight showed a hole in the dirt wall. He moved the beam around and discovered that the ‘hole’ was an opening in the tunnel and there was another on the opposite wall. They weren’t large but big enough for him to get through. He doubted Camden would have an issue, but he had no idea how big she actually was.

“We have a problem.”

Another one?”

“Ha ha. There’s a tunnel to the right and left. Should we continue straight on, head left or head right?”

“Oh, dear. Any one of them could be more dangerous than the other two.”

“Exactly. I guess we could pick one, go down a ways and if we don’t find anything or we’re not comfortable for any reason, we can come back.”

“Works for me.”

Martin waved his hand, pulling the old eeny meenie miney moe routine and chose the opening to the right. He started walking, waving the flashlight around, hoping to pick up on any potential dangers. These tunnels were old but firmly packed, yet he hadn’t come across any sign of life, or even un-life.


Camden stopped as she heard something that made her stomach twist.

In a hoarse whisper, “Wait!”

She saw Martin stop and fortunately, he remained silent.

It didn’t take long for Martin to hear the step-drag sounds that she did. He promptly turned and started turning back the way they’d come. She followed; ears still perked for the steps. If she could breathe, she would’ve sucked in a breath as she realized the step-drag was getting faster. It was matching Martin’s footsteps.

They made it back to the original tunnel and came to a stop.

Martin realized the step-drag sounds hadn’t stopped but rather, had sped up.
There was nowhere for them to go so he raised his flashlight, shining beam down, ready to use it as a weapon as the step-drag grew closer and closer.

His skin turned white as a young man walked out of the tunnel they’d gone down, what remained of his left leg making the dragging sound they’d been hearing.

His eyes locked on them and he spoke, pain evident in his voice, “Don’t go down there! Leave! You can’t stay here!”

He fell forward, Martin plastering himself against the tunnel wall, landing face first on the packed dirt and not moving.

Before Martin could step forward to check on the clearly injured man, he vanished.

©Paula Crofoot

Who vanished? Martin or the dead guy? What do you think happens next? Do Martin and Camden manage to escape? Does Camden ever discover who she is, how she died and why she died? 

I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

‘Til Next Time, Friends!

All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your

 

 

 

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Posted in #Monday, #Monday Writing, General, Mondays

Not Here Today But will be Back Soon

Hey, Ya’ll!

I am currently on vacation today and didn’t get time to write the next part of I Don’t Think I want to Be Here Anymore before I left last Wednesday. As such, I will post it later this week when I’ve returned.

I’ll also have pictures of my trip as it should be fun. We’re doing a road trip- a bit of a flip a coin trip. I’ll fill you in on all the details soon!

I also don’t have a Sunday Fabricated Stories or Wednesday’s Weird Tales of the Unknown due to the same reason.

Until then, here’s something to inspire you in your own work! 

Now that your eyes are open, make the sun jealous with your burning passion to start the day. Make the sun jealous or stay in bed.

‘Til Next Time, Friends! 

Posted in #Monday, #Monday Writing, #Writing Prompts, General Writing, Monday Short Tale, Mondays, Sunday Fabricated Stories, Uncategorized, Wednesday Weird Tales of the Unknown

I Don’t Think I Want to Be Here Anymore Pt 4

Hey ya’ll! Welcome back to PEP! 

Here are the links to last week Wednesday’s Weird Tales of the Unknown and this week’s Sunday Fabricated Stories. 

Malevolent Spirit Pt 2

Shade

These are friend links so even if you’re not a member of Medium or a free member and only have so many stories; these won’t count but I can definitely use the reads; and if you are a member and enjoy the story, please clap for it. 

I’ve also started a Patreon: Shadow Queen, where for three dollars a month, you’ll be able to join the community I’ll be starting soon and get early previews of stories I post there as well as exclusive stories. These exclusive stories will include pieces of my as of yet unpublished novels. 

Now, onto this week’s Monday Short Tales. I believe I Don’t Think I want To be Here Anymore will likely continue until Sept 23; then a quick little short story followed by continuation of the Haunted College Boys. I’ll post a special edition the week of the 23-30 that will be the entire saga until now. 

Martin groaned as he opened his eyes.
“Ow, my head hurts.”
“Oh, good! You’re awake!”
Martin jolted as a voice rang in close quarters.
Quickly, his memory flashed back even as his head throbbed.
“Spirit?”
Spirit winced as Martin’s voice was weak even as he struggled to sit up.
“Do you think you could climb out?”
Martin’s eyes slowly adjusted to the dark and he looked up, now realizing just where they were.
“No, I don’t think so. I don’t see anything I can use as a hand or foot hold. Can you lift us?”
“No. I’m too weak and it’s not yet dusk. I’m growing stronger but I won’t be back at full strength until dusk.”
“Okay, so we gotta figure another way out.”
“There’s a tunnel there but I don’t know where it goes. There’s something else.”
Martin waited for Spirit to continue but she didn’t.
“What?”
“This hole is familiar to me. But I’ve never been here before.”
Martin frowned, but remembered that his friend was a ghost.
“You sure you don’t remember being down here before?”
She shook her head before remembering that Martin can’t see her.
“No, I don’t remember this hole but something is eerily familiar.”
“You don’t remember how you died, do you?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Maybe you fell down, not necessarily this hole, but another hole in this forest.”
“But where do all these holes come from?”
“There’s a tunnel there. Maybe’s there’s a set of underground tunnels that no one knows about.”
“But what are the tunnels from?”
“I don’t know but I think we’re about to find out. There’s no other way out of here. But before we go further, what is your name?”
“I think it’s Camden.”
“You think? You don’t know, for sure?”
“No. Like my death, I know I’m dead, but I don’t know how and I don’t remember my name. I think it’s Camden.”
“Well, that’s what we’ll use for now. Let’s go.”
“Okay, we’re sticking together, right?”
“Yes. You’ll have to help me though, remember that I can’t see you.”
“Of course.”
Martin looked around the tunnel as he and Camden slowly made their way down. He was thankful he’d packed a flashlight in his pack in case of dark patches of woods. He’d never expected to need it for a tunnel.
There didn’t appear to be anything remarkable about these tunnels, worrying him. Why were they here? He’d hear horror stories about underground tunnels, after all.
©Paula Crofoot

Hmmm, just what are those tunnels for? Are they connected to the malevolent spirit Martin and Camden ran into earlier who had another spirit follow them? Or are they even worse than him? 

We’ll have to wait and see. 

I’ll also be posting a writing prompt on Mondays as well as a special post just for writing prompts on Wednesday: You are the owner of a magical book which tells you what you most need to know at the moment when you open it. But, it is not always things you want to know. 

‘Til Next Time, Friends!

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Posted in #Monday, #Monday Writing, General Writing, Monday Short Tale, Sunday Fabricated Stories, Wednesday Weird Tales of the Unknown

I Don’t Think I Want To Be Here Anymore Pt 3 + Special Announcement

Hey Ya’ll, Welcome back to PEP!

First, I have a special announcement. Paula’s Eclectic Paradise is moving back to this location from here on out. Our new location was not only doing quite what I’d hoped it would be but it wasn’t free to upkeep and I’m out of money. However, even without the money issue, I’d been thinking on and off about returning to here as this was not only the first home but was more successful in my mind. This is the location that was more comfortable, the other was an experiment that didn’t work out. That happens, it’s what life is about, make mistakes, get messy, grow and learn. I’ve learned and now this blog will be all the better for it.

photo of open signage

However, there will be some changes over the next couple of months. It’ll still be a lifestyle blog and you’ll still see my writing here like you have been. However, I’m hoping to do some upgrades eventually as well as a few other changes I’ll let you know as they happen, including some color changes and a new name. There will be some additional posts each week as the blog is modified into more of the lifestyle blog.

I’ll also be going back over the last year’s worth of posts and updating them to what was at the other location, starting with the last two weeks so you can keep up with the current Monday Short Story saga.

But enough on that for now, I’ll keep you updated as changes are made.

Also today is Labor Day for those that are fellow Americans so Happy Labor Day. Enjoy your day off if you’re lucky enough to not have to work today.

shallow photography of usa flag

Don’t forget to check out this week’s Sunday Fabricated Stories: Mystery House or last week’s Wednesday’s Weird Tales of the Unknown: Malevolent Spirit Pt 1.

Without further ado: Here’s the next part of  I Don’t Think I Want To Be Here Anymore.

Martin crashed through the trees, no idea where he was going. He hoped he was headed to the cliffs but a gut feeling told him he wasn’t. He wished his spirit friend would appear, something he’d never thought he’d ever hope for.

Martin sucked in a gasp as something very cold grabbed him around the middle and shoved him to the ground. His arms thrashed, eyes closed, hoping he was hitting something.

“Stop!”

It took a few moments, but Martin registered that voice as his spirit friend and his arms slowed as his eyes opened.

“Spirit?”

Sounding tired, “Yes, it’s me. We can’t stay here.”

Martin climbed to his feet, “I’m not headed towards the cliffs, am I?”

“No. It’s not safe here.”

“Are you okay? You sound tired.”

“I’m okay. But between fighting that unfriendly spirit that attacked you and just now, making contact with you which isn’t easy, I’m a little exhausted.”

“Do you need to rest?”

“Not now. When we get to the cliffs, I can rest.”

Martin walked in the direction the soft breeze pushed him in, just thinking to say, “Thank you for fending off that spirit.”

“You’re welcome.”

Just as the sun made it way to its high noon position, the cliffs came into view once more.
Martin sighed in relief before groaning as he realized that just because he could see the cliffs didn’t mean he could reach them. Coming to a stop before he fell down into the valley below them, he saw that if he stayed to the outskirts of the woods, he could still make his way to the cliffs without putting himself or his friend in danger. He still didn’t have a name for her but knowing she was tired, didn’t want her to exert anymore energy trying to communicate with him. He didn’t know if it took spiritual energy for her to talk to him since he couldn’t see her or not.

He was careful to tread the careful balance between the outskirt of the woods and the edge of the earth the woods ended on. But before he knew it, the earth gave way under his feet and he tumbled down into a sudden hole, screaming the entire time.

He landed harshly, breath knocked out of him, head spinning, stars flashing in his eyes.
Spirit landed on the floor of the hole in front of her friend, terrified he’d just fell to his death. But his chest was moving, telling her he was still, in fact, alive. She looked around, chill running up her transparent spine, as this looked eerily familiar even though she knew she’d never been where they just were.

She wished she could lift Martin and get them out of here. But she was too tired and it was still several hours from dusk, when she would regain all of her energy. So all she could do now was wait for Martin to regain his senses and hope they could get out of here by climbing up rather than go down the tunnel she could just see.

-Fin (For Now)

©Paula Crofoot

Now where have Martin and Spirit landed? Just what does it mean for them and why is it somewhere familiar for Spirit despite never having been there before? Comment below if you have theories. I’d love to hear them.

‘Til Next time, Friends.

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