Because Amazon.com did not give me the option of what to use as a sample for my short story, I am giving you my own. The following is an excerpt from “The Trickster: A Horror Fable Of The Spirit Realm” Copyright 2014 By Shayne Workman, available now at Amazon.com Kindle Store for 2.99.
By Shayne Workman
Jordan sat in the chair holding Suzie. “How is daddy’s little princess this evening.” Suzie answered with a toothless grin and a coo. Jordan laughed, it never ceased to amaze him the way it seemed children, even those as new to the world as his daughter could have such a wonderful sense of understanding of the world around them. “You get that from me don’t you? You get that from daddy, you’re a smart one and you’re going to grow up and help change the whole world aren’t you?” Jordan’s wife Amanda was standing in the doorway from the kitchen watching this with a smile on her face. “Just as long as she doesn’t take after you where it comes to changing diapers.” Jordan smiled as he looked over his shoulder. “Yeah, I’ve never been much good at the dirty work. Hopefully that is something she inherits from her mommy, so she ends up better rounded than me.” Amanda walked through. “I put the order in for Chinese, it should be delivered here shortly.” She said. Just then Suzie opened her mouth and spewed formula down Jordan’s arm. “Aaaggh, Heh heh, I don’t think our little girl likes the sound of that very much.” He said, handing her off to his wife as he went to get a wet rag for all of them. “How are finals going so far?” She asked as he came back into the room with two damp wash cloths. “Same as usual, frantic. You know I have to wonder if half of them even realize that they do more to hurt their chances of doing well, when they work themselves up in a frenzy like that, instead of having a well laid out plan of attack and just calmly executing it like they have some sense.” Amanda smiled as she wiped off Suzie’s face with the rag. She loved her husband, he had always been good to her and so far he was proving to be an excellent father, but remembering what she had been like in college when they first met, she wouldn’t want to be one of his students for anything in the world. As she looked at her daughters face she wondered if, in time maybe she would actually teach him the value of not always being so heavy handed. “Try not to terrorize them too bad, many of them are still just kids themselves and not everyone can be a super brain.” He shook his head as he unbuttoned his shirt. “It’s what I get paid for dear, I mean, what happens when they fail and drop out? I’ll tell you what happens, they go and work these sad little minimum wage jobs and grow jaded and hateful because they are trying to raise their own families and can barely make ends meet because they think the world failed them, instead of the other way around and they end up making everyone else around them miserable including the brats they fail to raise, who in turn poke fun at anything that resembles a ray of hope for humanity. Do you want our daughter growing up in world like that? I don’t.” Amanda just smiled, heavy handed she thought to herself.
Later that evening Jordan sat in his study going through his stack of papers. Amanda walked in. “I just put Suzie down for the night, hopefully.” Jordan smiled as he peered at her from the page he was reading over. “I take it you’re about to put yourself down for the night.” He said. “Yes, it’s been a long day. Are you coming soon, or are you still going to be awhile?” She asked him. “I have a few more things I want to try to catch up on, then yes I will be in.” She walked over to him and bent down to kiss him goodnight. “Try not to wear yourself too thin.” He gently kissed the back of her hand. “Just a few more things I swear, it’s been a long day for me too.” He watched her leave the study and then went back to reading the paper he had in his hand. His vision was getting a little blurry he noticed. Maybe I’m more tired than I thought. That won’t do and these papers aren’t going to grade themselves. He thought to himself. Taking off his reading glasses and rubbing his eyes, he leaned back in his chair. Suddenly he caught himself thinking about the strange looking Voo Doo dog, it was clearly a mutt, but it was decent sized and the shape of the head suggested that it had Pit Bull in it somewhere. He laughed. Jesus, it’s almost like I’m getting obsessed over that damn dog. Just put it out of your mind. He thought. He continued sitting there leaned back in his chair.
Jordan jerked awake sitting bolt upright in bed. He had just had the strangest sensation one could have in a sleep state, he had felt himself falling. He took several deep breaths to balance himself. That feeling wasn’t all that had him confused. He remembered being in the study what felt like only moments ago, but there was daylight outside and for the life of him he could not remember ever coming to bed….last night? Good Lord. He thought, it really had felt like only a couple minutes had passed since he had been sitting at his desk. He decided that he would ask Amanda when he got downstairs, because apparently she had beaten him at getting up. “I’m starting to think everyone’s right, I need to go a little easier than I have been.” Thirty minutes later he was downstairs ready for his day, but he was slightly distressed that there was no sign of either Amanda or Suzie. He went into the kitchen to the fridge where they always left notes to each other if anything had come up that required one of them to leave without the other one knowing. There on the little magnetic dry erase board in Amanda’s writing was a note that read. “Took Suzie with me for my yearly checkup.” Jordan breathed a sigh of relief. This day had already started out strangely as it was, this however, was a sign of normalcy.
As he walked out the front door his neighbor Henry smiled and waved. “Good morning Jordan, are you off to the university?” Jordan waved back. “Good morning Henry. No I don’t go in today. I just thought I would go for a walk, get out of the house you know.” Henry continued smiling. “It’s certainly a beautiful day for it.” He said. “It certainly is, well I’ll catch up with you later.” Jordan said and continued on his way. He never noticed the odd stillness of the day, or the fact that Henry was still watching him as he walked away with the same smile on his face. He walked to the market he had been to the day before to get a bottle of water, he had planned to walk to the park and knew he would be thirsty by the time he got there. As he walked up to the counter he noticed that it was the same girl who had been working the evening before. She was smiling at him as though the berating lecture less than twenty- four hours before had never happened. “Have you nees ruoy dog again since yesterday?” She asked pleasantly. He shook his head and laughed nervously. “I’m sorry, what did you say?” This time honestly wondering if he was hearing things a little off. She smiled raising her eyebrows. “I dias, evah uoy nees ruoy god niaga ecnis yadretsey?” He drew his head back shocked, clearly she was trying to mess with his head over what he had said to her the night before and she even had the nerve to continue smiling at him without even missing a beat. “Sir, are you alright?” She asked him, still smiling. He was about to ask to see the manager when someone next to him said. “Hey buddy can we move it along? Please and thank you.” He turned his head to see that there were already five people in line, but what disturbed him was the fact that every single one of them including the one who had just told him to hurry up were all staring directly at him and they all had the same smile on their faces as the girl behind the counter. Jordan, who was getting a little freaked out by the whole encounter, put his water down and walked out of the store, looking back once he saw that they were all still staring at him, just staring at him and smiling.
He turned around and saw at least thirty people who had been just walking by a moment ago, stop dead and stare at him smiling, just smiling. One man had stopped as he was crossing the street and waved at him. “S’ti a lufituaeb yad ot eb evila t’nsi ti?” He said, before suddenly getting plowed by a guy in car who was too busy looking out his window at Jordan smiling to notice someone standing in the street. Jordan yelped at the sight, slapping his hand to his mouth. He began fumbling for his phone to call 911, as the phone rang through he expected to hear a dispatcher on the other end. “Yes, I would….” His eyes widened in terror at the laughter he heard. “Heh heheh heh heh heh” The man who had been hit lay twisted and broken his eyes staring at the sky, but he still had that same smile on his face. Jordan dropped his phone. “Hey mister, would you like a hot dog? They’re really good.” Came the cheerful sounding voice of the young girl working the hot dog stand. She too was smiling at him. He couldn’t take it anymore. “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? HUH? REALLY!!! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?” He heard a snarling noise behind him and he turned to see the same dog he had seen all week. It started barking at him, startling him, but not as much as the buzzing noise that he heard in his head as it barked. A buzzing noise that was broken here and there by words spoken in a voice he had never heard before. “Danger, ped, me, out” These were all he could make out and he hadn’t even done that until he started running as fast as could to get away from the mad scene.
Looking around he noticed people on their porches, looking out windows, all of them were staring at him, and all of them were smiling pleasantly. This is a dream, it’s just a dream. He thought, as he started crying. “I want to wake up now, WHY CAN’T I WAKE UP NOW?”
Amanda found Jordan in Suzie’s room holding her and gently swaying, he was smiling as he looked at his wife. “I was on my way to bed when I heard her wake up.” Amanda smiled at him. “It’s one in the morning you know.” He nodded and lay Suzie back in her crib. He smiled at his little girl. “Daddy’s little princess, I could eat you up, yes I could, yes I could. Night, night baby.” He said before following his wife to the bedroom. They lay down together. Amanda almost immediately closed her eyes again. Jordan lay on his side staring wide eyed into the darkness of the room, a wide grin slowly spread across his face.