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Here’s your free PDF of this year’s work by our lovely sisters…and their shadows…
Just click on the link above to download.
See everyone again next year.
Maggie sat at her computer, debating whether or not to write a personal ad to place on Craigslist. She had been indulging in her little fetish for a while now, but had never shared it with anyone else because she was afraid of potential ridicule or rejection. Not only that, but she sure didn’t want any of her family or friends to find out about it. So, for the past few years she had been closing her blinds, putting her phone on silent, and slathering her entire body in marshmallow crème. The entire experience was so sensual. She enjoyed every last part of it, from the scent to the way it felt as it smoothly glided over her bare body.
Just thinking about being able to share this with another person was enough to help her to move beyond her fears, and she began typing. Once she had her ad written, she went over it at least five times to make sure that it was exactly as she wanted it to be. By the time she finished, the ad read:
Single, attractive, 27-year-old female looking for a fun guy to share some marshmallow fun with me. I’m looking for someone who wants to sensually spread marshmallow crème all over my body and pleasure me as I writhe in ecstasy. Not to worry, there’s definitely something in this for you too. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please send me a message and we can talk about it. Must meet in a public place before going any further.
Before she could chicken out, she posted the ad. Since it had taken her half the night to write it and gather the courage to post it, she closed her laptop and went to bed as soon as she had finished. Since sleep had been scarce, Maggie had set her alarm for the latest possible moment for work the next morning. Even though the first thing she wanted to do was to check her email to see if anyone had answered her ad, she didn’t have the time. So, she hurriedly got ready and left for work. Getting through the day at work was torture. The company didn’t permit employees to check personal mail, and cell phones had to be turned off upon entering the building.
She was counting down the hours until lunchtime, so that she could tuck out and check her messages on her phone. At 11:30, an email popped up in her work inbox. It was marked urgent, so she opened it up. The message said that there was a quarterly report due the following day which hadn’t been completed, so employees were being asked to forego their lunch in order to help get the report done. Maggie groaned in frustration. Oh well, she thought, at least they were bringing in a catered lunch. That helped a little.
The clock finally rolled around to five. She couldn’t remember the last time she was so excited to have a work day end, and that was saying something because she was always happy to get out of there for the day. A few of her co-workers had tried to get her to join them for drinks, but she begged off. Normally, she would have said yes without even thinking, but the suspense was killing her. She had to get home and find out if anyone had answered her ad. As soon as she got in the door, she kicked off her shoes and changed into her favorite shorts and a tank top.
When Maggie got into her email account, her eyes widened. There were no less than fifteen replies sitting there. Who would have thought that there would be that many people who shared her interest. She waded through the replies, and with each one she grew more disappointed. Most of these guys suggested something other than marshmallow crème, and others were so unattractive to her that no amount of marshmallow crème in the world would be enough to make up for it. Even though she almost gave up to make dinner, she decided to click on one more.
To her pleasant surprise, the guy, Brad, was really attractive and his message read that he had been happy to see that someone had posted an ad about his favorite thing in the world. In addition to that, he told her how cute she was. What impressed her the most was that he didn’t get all pervy on her. He simply asked if she’d like to meet for coffee and left his number so that she could text him. Without even thinking about it, she texted him that she’d like to meet him on Saturday in the late morning at a local coffee shop. He texted back right away that he’d see her then. She smiled all evening, anticipating the meeting with this man. Only two days to go.
Even though the rest of the work week was busy, it went by fast. She and Brad had texted back and forth a few times. He seemed so normal. She was on cloud nine. Even though she knew that some people might think that she was a freak because of her fetish, she thought of herself as a pretty normal person. Their texts were about simple, everyday things, like work and favorite foods, etc. The usual things that people just getting to know one another talked about. Saturday finally rolled around.
She was so nervous that she almost canceled their meeting. Thankfully she had slept late and didn’t have enough time to talk herself out of it. When they met at the coffee shop, she was pleasantly surprised to see that he looked just like the picture he had sent her. He grinned before giving her a quick hug, and opening the door for her to enter the coffee shop before him. Wow, she thought, handsome, smart, and a gentleman. She was wondering why she hadn’t placed an ad before. It didn’t matter, he was here now and that’s all that mattered.
After they finished their coffee, they decided to walk around for a while. After strolling for about an hour, they stopped at the park and chatted for a few more hours. When the sun began to dip over the horizon, they agreed that they’d better part ways. Brad walked Maggie back to her car, thanked her for a great day, and asked if he could see her again. He didn’t have to ask her twice. She agreed before closing her car door and driving home. Over the next few weeks, they continued to talk and got together each weekend for a day out.
After three weeks of knowing him, Brad asked her if she’d like to go camping the following weekend. Maggie happily agreed. She loved being out in nature. He asked if she’d like to toast some marshmallows while they were there. Maggie chuckled nervously and said that she would. Before they parted ways, he finally kissed her and told her that he’d bring everything that they needed. She drove home on autopilot. If it were humanly possible, she would have floated home.
After the longest work week in history, Maggie walked out of her house with her bag to wait for Brad to pick her up. After a few minutes, he pulled into her driveway with a big smile on his face. He got out and hugged her before taking her bag and placing it into the trunk. They drove for over an hour. Maggie had asked him where they were going. All that he would tell her was that she would be pleasantly surprised. He pulled his slate-colored BMW onto a dirt driveway which led to a beautiful cabin.
He was right, Maggie thought, she was pleasantly surprised. She told him that he hadn’t needed to go to the expense that renting a place like this had to cost. Brad laughed and told her not to worry about expense. The cabin had been in his family for about fifty years, and he had inherited it last year. They took their things inside the well-appointed log home and headed out for a walk to the large stream which ran through the property. Brad said that he loved this place because there was no one around for miles. She liked that too. After a long week surrounded by humming machines, ringing phones, and demanding bosses it was nice to get away from it all. Besides, she thought, there was no one near enough to worry about anyone seeing what they were likely going to do.
Once they got to the stream, Brad pulled her close and kissed her with a lot more passion than he had before. She leaned into him and met his passion with her own. The next thing she knew, they were on the ground tugging at one another’s clothing excitedly. There was no stopping them now. Once they finished, she couldn’t believe how amazing he had been. She was imagining what it would be like once the marshmallow crème came out later. He kissed her neck and whispered in her ear that he was thinking about it too. She smiled at him hazily. After a little while, they got up and dressed to head back to the cabin for lunch.
The day went by quickly, with the two of them hiking a few trails and enjoying a picnic dinner before heading back to the cabin for the night. Once they got there, Brad asked Maggie if she’d like to have a bonfire and have a little fun. Knowing what he meant, she said yes. Her entire body was tingling in anticipation. He told her to head inside and grab a shower if she wanted to while he got everything set up. She was a little stiff from all the walking, and headed inside to take him up on the offer.
Maggie finally made her way back outside. They sat by the fire talking for a little while. It occurred to her that while he had talked about having a heavy workload that he had never actually told her what he did. When she asked, he told her that he owned and operated a crematorium. She was a little weirded out by that, but brushed it off quickly. She told herself that someone had to do it, and that the pay must be good, considering his car and the cabin. Brad looked at her nervously and asked if she was comfortable with his profession. She assured him that she was. Maggie could see and hear his obvious sigh of relief.
After a little more small talk, Brad asked if she was ready to play. She was so excited that all she could do was nod. He brought out several large containers of marshmallow crème and opened them as Maggie undressed. As he smeared the goo all over her body, she writhed with pleasure. She could tell that he was getting excited as he slathered it on. His breathing was getting faster and his hands began to move over her with more force. Just when she thought that she couldn’t take anymore, he stopped. Looking over her shoulder, she asked what he was doing.
The look on his face had changed. The line of his mouth was very serious and the look in his eyes was almost feverish. When he told her to turn back around, she complied. She was game for whatever his surprise was. Next thing she knew, she felt him yank her arms out from under her. Finding her self face down on the ground, she tried to move but couldn’t as he had her pinned to the ground. Maggie was starting to get nervous now. She felt some sort of binding go around her wrists and ankles. Thankfully, he took his weight off her. Relieved, she rolled her body over to smile at him. The smile didn’t last long.
In his hand was a long pole. Brad proceeded to tie her to the pole before dragging her over to the fire. Lifting her feet first, he lifted the pole up and placed it between the prongs of a large metal bracket in the ground. Before she could even try to figure out what he was doing, he was at her head, lifting her by her arms and putting the upper half of her body in a second bracket. She opened her mouth to demand that he let her down, but before she could even get the words out, he shoved a rag in her mouth and spun her so that she was facing downward. To her horror, she saw the reason that she had been rapidly getting hot. He had placed her directly over the fire. She now knew that she was trussed to a spit, like a damned chicken.
He continued to turn her, over and over. She was uncomfortably hot. In her mind, she was certain that he was going to burn her to death. How could she have been so stupid? She couldn’t believe how easily she had been fooled. After a few minutes, the marshmallow began to sear into her skin. She let out a muffled scream. To her amazement he stopped turning her and took her down from the fire and put her on two more brackets a few feet away. He smiled at her. For a moment, she thought that maybe things would be okay…that maybe things had just gone a little too far and he had realized it. She noticed though that something about his smile was off. He turned and dragged a five gallon bucket close to where she was dangling.
She watched as he took the lid off and grabbed a ladle from the nearby table. As he tipped the ladle over her, she smelled chocolate. Her mind was racing as she tried to figure out what he was up to. After he had drenched her in the chocolate sauce, he grabbed a large sheet of something from the table and carried it toward her. At first she thought it was a sheet of plywood, but when he laid it on top of her, she noticed that it wasn’t heavy enough to be wood. Once again, her nose picked up a scent. It smelled like a giant graham cracker. What the hell?
He grinned that maniacal grin at her once more and told her how much he loved s’mores. Brad explained to her that he had made a mold and had made the graham crackers himself at work. He was so matter of fact as he gave her a step by step tutorial on how to bake things in a retort, which he explained was the proper name for the oven in a crematorium. Was he serious? She couldn’t believe that he thought she’d be interested in this. Then again, she realized that he probably didn’t care what she was interested in. Maggie was in a panic, her mind trying to figure out how to get out of this mess.
She snapped out of her reverie as he began taking bites out of the graham cracker and licking the chocolate and marshmallow from her body. Okay, she thought, maybe he would be satisfied with this and she’d get out of this alive after all. He was moaning in pleasure with each nibble that he took. After what seemed like hours, Brad had finished pleasing himself and took her down from the spit. She looked up at him and tried to smile. He ignored her, heaved her over his shoulder and carried her to a pickup truck behind the cabin.
After being unceremoniously dumped into the bed of the truck, Maggie understood that she was still very much in trouble. She just didn’t know how much. Finally, the truck stopped bouncing and the motor shut off. Moments later, Brad was lifting her back out of the truck and carrying her into a building. Once her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she realized that he had taken her to the crematorium. All of a sudden, the reality of what he was going to do hit her. He laid her on a table and opened the door to the retort. The inside was glowing so hot that parts of the fire looked white. Heaving her roughly off the table, Brad carried Maggie over to the open chamber. Right before tossing her in he said, “I like my marshmallows properly toasted”.
You’ve seen them leaning against a tree. Man or woman, all dark and mysterious. Just waiting for it to get dark so that they can move. Oh yes…you thought they were just yard decorations didn’t you? How foolish you are. When it gets dark they come alive. Waiting for their next victim. Did you ever notice how there are always more of them in the yard than there were before? Where did they come from?
Next time when you’re at home and walk past a window, look outside…NO ! don’t open the curtains, just peek through the edge. It isn’t there, is it? Where oh where did it go. You were in the dark hallway weren’t you? Now go to the kitchen. Do the same thing. Don’t open the curtains, don’t turn on the lights. Just peek. What the hell is it doing leaning out by the garden fence? That field only goes out to the Saffle farm, a short cut. There’s nothing else out there. The road is a dead end.
You are so very tired. You want to go to sleep. No one else seems to be bothered by the silhouettes.
Your husband put one out by the barn door. You hurry to look out the window in the guest room. You actually see it moving across the lawn. You are terrified and start to scream. Your husband comes running to you and asks what’s the matter. You tell him you thought you saw something in the yard. He calms you and says that it’s nothing. You do live in the country you know. There are all sorts of things that move around in the night. Now come to bed he says. So you follow him in and slowly go to sleep.
The next morning you have your routine. Get washed up, get dressed for the day and get breakfast ready. Your husband is a big eater and he has a full day of farm work to do. He won’t be back until its dinner time. Don’t forget to make his lunch and fill a thermos or two. One for coffee and the other with ice water.
When he is gone for the day and you are cleaning up the kitchen, the phone rings. You answer it and its the town busy body Maxine. You like gossip as much as the next person so you get yourself another cup of coffee and sit down at the table to talk. You ask her what’s new and she tells you that she’s calling to tell you that old Mr. Saffle died last night. His wife said they heard something outside and he went out to investigate. Mrs. Saffle was watching from the porch and said he just fell over. She called the Doc to come out and Doc said he had a heart attack. They took him to the county coroners office. You tell Maxine thanks for the call, but you have to go and you hang up the phone. For a minute you sit there in shock. You didn’t want to believe it.
Off you go running to the hallway and you peek out the window. Your knees start to shake and you realize that your worst fears have come true. There are two silhouettes out there now and one of them looks eerily like Mr. Saffle. You stand there looking out and all of a sudden they both look at you and tip their hats. Then they return to their original state.
You know you can’t say anything. You would be put away, so you wave back at them, close the curtain and go about your day.
So, like, once upon a time…someone opened up a door somewhere…and somehow, I managed to squeeze out. I walked right out of the Shadow and into the Light. What? Like it’s hard? Please.
I walked out of the Shadow…into the Light…and I began to live. Life as we know it, it could blow some people away.
Then comes ’round this little boy. Oh, no. I’m not into kids. Let me tell you. This was a grown man, by his outside looks–but get to know him and — yup–he’s a grown-up little kid inside sort. Jealous. Petty. Looking to be the center of attention, the center of someone’s world. I’m not that woman, for anyone.
I don’t have time for that sort of thing. As soon as I saw that about him, I straight cut him off.
He didn’t like that.
I didn’t care.
One morning, I woke up and he was just sitting there, smoking a cig, staring at me. He had this big ol’ jack knife in his hand.
“What do you want?”
I didn’t get a chance to say anything else, because he jumped up and slapped me across the face. That was a mistake. Not mine. The taste of my own blood does not instill fear. A show of violence, of supposed ‘superiority’ only uncoils the viper in my chest.
I woke up to his cigarette being crushed out on the back of my hand. The scent of singed flesh clung to the air. It seems he had been at it a while, trying to wake me up. Too bad he didn’t realize I have no pain tolerance…because I don’t feel pain.
He was ranting as soon as he saw my eyes open. I shrugged and tuned him out. Why should I listen to how I bwoke his widdle hweart anyway? I didn’t care.
I had assumed I would wake up all trussed up like a Cornish hen or something, but no. He wasn’t even that intelligent. From the feel of things, he’d gathered up whatever yarns and ribbons of mine he had found in the flat and had used those to just bind my wrists together.
Mistake number two.
There were countless little slices all over my body. Most of my clothing seemed to have been cut away with his big bad knife. Nothing looked deadly, or even more than I would receive from a rousing bit of playtime with my local domestic house cat.
What a letdown, really.
I knew what I needed to do, but why waste all his energy? He seemed to really be getting into his speechifyin’, so I let him rock it.
By the gods, that fool did go on and on and on.
Was he drunk, you might ask…nope. He chain-smoked like a steam engine sucked back coal, but he did not partake of spirits, you might say. He didn’t agree with drugs or chemical enhancement either.
Suddenly, there was silence. I looked over at him, my eyes half-shut, trying to play the part of terrified damsel in distress. I guess he had thought I would be hanging on his every syllable and he had asked me a question.
“Well?” he shouted.
I had no idea what he wanted, nor did I care.
I closed my eyes.
He punched me in the stomach.
He punched me again.
I opened my eyes.
He slapped me in the face. I guess he lacked the cojones to punch me in the face. His loss. Those were his last free shots of the evening.
I smiled and released the controls within. The Great Viper slowly calmly uncoiled. Bindings on me? No longer an issue. Disintegrated.
I stood up, still smiling, my eyes boring into his soul, never breaking his gaze.
I grabbed him by the throat and dragged him through the house.
He struggled. I felt like King Kong carrying…a insignificant dung beetle all over my island paradise. I did so carefully, however, so as not to crush the tiny struggling thing.
I threw him into the backseat of his truck.
He sneered, spitting as he spoke. “You can’t drive a stick.” He caught my elbow in his face. All I could do was hope that I hadn’t broken anything so badly that shards saturated his brain. That’s not what I wanted for him.
I started the truck…and sat back. The Viper did all the work.
I heard the boy gagging from behind me. What did I care?
I can drive a stick, but this isn’t my shtick, driving this truck. That is why the Viper and I work so well together.
I don’t know where the Viper drove us, but I did recognize the smell coming out of the joint.
Another ‘long lost’ door, out on the edge of nowhere, masquerading as a bar.
I slid the boy from the back of the truck. He’d pissed himself. Now that was a great thing. I’d have to drive all the way back, or all the way to wherever I was heading. with his fear-drenched piss enveloping me the whole way.
His knife fell out of his boot. I hadn’t even noticed it. It’s not as if something like that could do me damage, in any world.
I picked it up and wiped it gently on my own jeans. I prefer to use a clean weapon. The dirt, dust and blood had to come off of there…and since it was my blood congealing on the blade, I had no qualms about wearing it for a time.
I slashed both his cheeks with loving care.
I snipped open both thighs. I wasn’t trying to hit anything important. What was important was his fear and the scent of blood in the air.
I was chumming the waters here, you might say.
I heard the low din shift from general talk to a concerted hunt. Growls and mutterings came closer.
I knew I was safe.
Woe unto any other that might walk through that parking lot for the next hour.
But me, I have nothing to fear here. Not among my own kind.
I spat in his face, in his eyes specifically. I wiped that saliva across to get it in both his eyes.
That was to open his vision up so he could see what I saw.
He started shrieking, screaming, gibbering like a little girl in the middle of a wolf pack.
Mayhap at this point that is what he was.
I dropped the knife in the gravel and rubbed my hands over my legs to clean them off a bit.
I smiled and walked away. I left them the truck. Why should I be shackled with it?
Time to find a new place to thrive.
The Viper hunkered back down inside, nestled up like a squirrel for the winter in its nest. It gave a contented sigh and off to sleep it was.
We were again ready for anything. Ready for next time.
Night closes in and you know that soon, you should hide
Don’t be caught out after dark, when the doorway opens wide
Letting into our world creatures and ghouls of which you’ve never heard
Those who’ve seen them before have never spoken another word
Get into your houses and lock your windows and doors tight
Before they swarm over the land in an unholy blight
Sweeping rapidly over land and sea looking for prey
Sometimes it isn’t flesh they seek, but souls who will obey
If they catch you the choice will be to do their bidding or death
Either way you go, there’s no way back from the depths
Roam as you will for as long as there is light in the sky
As the sun lowers there will be no escape, ask not why
It is an ancient law as old as time which cannot be broken
The choice is yours as to whether you follow the rules or become another token
These rules care not for your rhyme or your reasons
Once the darkness sets in, it is hunting season.