Choose the one word that most appeals to you:
Alabama· Banister· Carousel· Diesel· Exorcist
Choose another word that appeals to you:
Flatulence· Garage· Harried· Insensitive· Jambalaya
Choose yet another word that you find appealing:
Keepsake· Lamb· Massage· Nonsense· Oriole
Use these three words in a story.
Start with: Sometimes I feel just like a gerbil, running around and around on his wheel!
(Exercise from The Write Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer)
What did you come up with? Feel free to share!
…Here it goes – perhaps this is a little too much depth into my twisted mind…
Sometimes I feel just like a gerbil, running around and around on his wheel! The Exorcist sighed and picked up his cross, tucking it into his belt. Then he shook his head and grabbed the vile of holy water sitting on the edge of his desk. Is this all I’m good for? Is this all there is?
He crossed his office in two steps and tugged his robe off the hanger. His black robe. The white one would have to stay behind. He put the robe on over his head then patted the cloth over his stomach. The cross was secure and hidden. He tucked the vile into his pocket. No one would know. Unless of course they recognized him. But they wouldn’t. They couldn’t.
He pulled the door open then froze. Something was missing. Something was wrong. He closed his eyes, inhaled, felt his skin prickle from his toes, up his legs, to his neck. His neck. He walked back to the desk and scooped up his rosary, setting it on his neck and shoulders like a circle of glass. He exhaled then left the room.
No one acknowledged him in the streets. He was probably off to comfort a dying soul. Probably rushing to St. James where a convict would see his last light of day on the morrow.
He turned his head back when he reached Forthright Street. No one behind or in front of him gave him a second glance. He ducked into the shadows of the narrow lane and took off into a run. The beads bounced against the back of his neck. He could feel the vile slosh but the cross remained secure.
His nose curled. Several lumps of humanity lay sprawled on the pavement beside the door of a tavern. He didn’t stop. He didn’t care. It would only get worse.
His heart beat him along. Faster. Faster. Before it was too late.
The lane wound down and up. Left and right. He stumbled on a broken cobblestone but ran through the fall. The house was near. He ran down again, then up. Then left and right. He was certain he was going the right way but everything looked the same. Down. Up. Left. Right. Down. Up. Left. Right. DOWN. UP. LEFT. RIGHT.
He stopped, panting and soaked in what he wished was sweat. The door in front of him wasn’t familiar. Neither was this area of the city, even though he had just run in circles through it. It was the smell. The smell of terror. The smell of pain. The smell of fear.
Most mistook the smell for a particularly horrid brand of flatulence. Too much mead at the tavern the night before. Some kind of digestive infection. A genetic abnormality. If only it could be flatulence. If only a smell were all it was.
But the Exorcist knew the smell was just the tangible remains of what was beyond the door. He tasted salt and iron in his mouth and knew it was time to enter. To end it all. To stop the wheel from spinning round and round.
He reached into the pocket of his robe and grabbed the vile. He opened the cork with his mouth and let one drop fall on the handle of the door. It glowed for a moment. Then he grabbed it, ignoring its icy grip, and walked into the room.
His eyes watered. The smell was a combination of rotten eggs, spilled milk, and freshly stepped-in stool. It was always the same smell. But this time, the Exorcist would finish it. This time, he would not be defeated.
The house was dark, except for a glimmer of a light at the top of the stairs. He took a step, it creaked. He should have known. It always creaked.
He took off his belt, holding it in one hand while his other carried the cross. It was more of a sash made of pure silk. The finest he could lay his hands on. He had never had to use it. Now he would find out if it was worth his life’s savings.
It was made of two long pieces, one of which he extended in front of him and stepped on it lightly. No creak. He took another step. No creak. He walked to the end of the sash and laid out the second on in front of him. He stepped on it then picked up the first. He walked to the edge of the sash, this time stopping at the bottom of the stairs. Over and over again he walked along one sash, then the other. He made it all the way up the stairs without a sound and continued his way down the hall, coming closer and closer to the source of the light.
He stopped just outside the open door. His eyes were overflowing with tears. He felt his stomach lurch and suppressed a jolt of vomit. Then he heard it.
His heart pounded. He inched the cross up in front of his face.
He closed his eyes once and inhaled deeply. A rush of goosebumps tore over his skin and he stepped inside.
He stopped suddenly but couldn’t move. His eyes wrenched open. At first he saw nothing, then he looked down at the candle flickering on the floor. Before him lay a man. Or what should have been a man. His head and shoulders were covered in a sac of fluid. He was convulsing in slow motion. Each time his back arc up, the sac would expand and more skin emerged. Below the sac, the man was covered in fur. Or wool. And he didn’t have the torso or legs of a man. Instead, the man’s lower half had the flanks and hooves of a…
“Lamb,” the Exorcist whispered. The room remained silent. The Exorcist still couldn’t move and felt the vomit once again trying to run from the smells surrounding him.
“Lamb,” he said louder. He heard something. A crackle, so soft at first, then it grew louder. The man’s head turned. The Exorcist gasped. He stared into an eyeless face, a face that had contorted into laughter.
“Fool,” the half-man choked out. He convulsed and laughed at the same time. The Exorcist felt his skin soaking in his own fluid once again. It was close. He had to hold off just a bit longer.
“It is you who are the fool, Lamb.”
The half-man laughed again. “Oh really? And what makes you think that this time you will win? What makes you think that this time you actually have the power to overcome this? When, after so many times, you’ve failed.”
“Leave this man alone,” the Exorcist whispered.
“Think of all of those people you couldn’t save,” the half-man sneered. “The children, the women…all who died because you failed. You cannot defeat me. You cannot save him. You are too late. You are too weak. You hide behind that cross. Those beads. And yet, you cannot even move. You are nothing more than your flesh, and because of that, you have failed.”
The Exorcist remained silent. He stared into the eyeless sockets of the half-man. It was almost as if he could see the purification of its soulless evil lapping out of the holes. The Exorcist inhaled deeply, feeling the stench fill each of his pores. He blinked and focused with all of his might on the cross still extended in front of him. Slowly, his arms moved down until the cross was angled down before him, still extended away from his body.
The half-man snarled. “Is that the best you can do? Is that the extent of your strength? I almost regret being able to overcome you so easily, caught in my web without even a struggle. You cannot touch me. You cannot come near. And like the rest of the others, this man will die. And you can do nothing to stop it. After that, I will kill you…enjoying each moment before I move on to the rest of your disgusting race. I will enjoy drinking the blood of you and your kin.”
The half-man convulsed and the last of the wool and hooves disappeared into the sac. Before the Exorcist now lay a whole man, although the eye sockets still remained empty. The room shuddered and the sac evaporated around the man. Slowly, he stood and turned towards the Exorcist. Even in his nakedness, the man stood tall and confident, staring eyeless right into the gaze of the Exorcist.
Come on, the Exorcist focused on his arms. He felt the liquid trickling down his elbow and forearm. Just a little more.
The man stepped towards the Exorcist, stopping just inches away from his outstretched arm, the cross resting in front of the man’s abdomen.
He smiled. “Face it, old man. You are done. I hope your death is a painful one.”
He reached up, about to cup the Exorcists neck in his hands. The Exorcist looked down at his own arms and saw the dark river coating his wrist and his hands. And then it touched the cross. It glowed and the Exorcist leaned forward and fell into the hard body of the man.
The man choked and looked down. His stomach glowed, the Exorcist’s cross and hands imbedded into his skin. He looked back up at the Exorcist.
“How?” The man dropped to his knees, pulling the Exorcist down with him. The Exorcist’s knees hit the floor with a thud. He couldn’t’ pull loose. He felt the room swirling around him, sucking towards him. His blood flowed out of his pores and into the glowing wound of the man. The room spun faster and faster. The Exorcist was yanked forward, pulled towards the wound, into the man up to his shoulders. The man screamed and his neck shot up, the room sucking down towards him, into him. He glowed blue, brighter and brighter, until the Exorcist had to close his eyes. He felt the pressure sucking into one point within the man until the Exorcist thought he would explode.
And then it stopped. The Exorcist opened his eyes. Before him lay a man. Just a man. Lamb was gone. The Exorcist got to his feet and picked up the cross that lay beside the unconscious man. Well, Lamb was practically gone.
The Exorcist shivered. He looked at his hands. His blood still covered his skin. He chuckled and shook his head. It was a good thing he wore his black robe.