We Are Hunted : Part 3 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

I need to know more.
Is our journey worth
The fear waiting.
“Join us. Help us find the door.”
Luke won’t let
Nightmares stop him.
 
He grins and nods. “Tell me more.”
“Quick and dirty,” I begin,
      “There may be a way out of
      Hotel Hell.” His eyes light up.
            José shudders and I squeeze
            His hand. Luke let’s out a cough.
      “I got lost earlier and
      A snake warned me that something
Is different about us. He
Said this place is where people
      In comas go but he could
      Tell that I was dead. So I’m
           Thinking the experiment
            We were part of is keeping
      Our bodies alive even
      After death so we can see
What happens here and report
Our experience.” Luke laughs.
      “You got all that from a damn
      Talking snake?” I roll my eyes.
            “Like the talking goose you swear
            You saw during the study.”
      “I’m not sure that wasn’t part of
      This whole damn thing.” I giggle.
 
“I’ve seen wild shit here, let’s get the fuck out.”
I squeeze Luke’s neck and tell him all
      About the doors and the
      Eleven floors.
“I can’t go,” Tommy cries. “Why not?”
“Something tells me I’m not ready.” I frown.
      “This place ain’t as
      Scary as my old home.”
 
      One last hug for Tommy.
Into the park.

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We Are Hunted : Part 2 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

My broken wrist burns.
As Tommy comforts,
José smashes.
“Get those froggy ass fuckers.”
Soothing hands
Caress my wrist.
 
“No nightmare is off limits.”
The words leave my mouth and stares
      Chase me down. Others come out
      The shops that line the city.
             Grateful faces storm the streets.
            “You stopped them! You saved us.”
      At least a dozen humans,
      People stuck in Comaland.
“Lakil!” a familiar voice
Breaks my neck as I search for
      The source. From a shop labeled
      Meats, I see him. I run fast
            Ignoring my burning wrist.
            I leap into his thick arms.
       He squeezes me and tears fall.
      “He got you too?” Luke questioned.
I nod. “But I got him too.
I stabbed him right in the heart.”
      Luke grins then weeps, “Does that mean
      He’s here too.” I shrug and huff.
            “I think so, and here he seems
            Far more terrifying with
      Teeth and claws.” Luke sniffles and
      Shakes. “Nightmares reign in this place.”
 
“We’ve noticed,” I reply as José and
Tommy join my side. Luke quivers.
      “From the study,” Luke says.
      “So strange,” I add,
“There must be a connection, right.”
“This seems like what Lisa described after she
      Came back from the
      Hospital,” José adds.
 
      Did a mad scientist
Trap us in hell?

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We Are Hunted : Part 1 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

A city inside
A hotel—so weird.
Street lights loom down.
“Anything is possible.”
In The Pit
Right above hell.
 
The road is wide with tall doors
Against no walls, standing there
In a large park—fever dream.
I walk up to the door marked
Three and turn the knob. Bright lights
Blind me as a motor bike
Speeds through the door. I fall back
And José jumps over me,
Shielding me from danger—joy.
Three more motorcycles storm
Through the door and surround us.
I want to slam my eyes shut
But the blue burning flames that
Surround their amphibian
Heads send my body into
Shock. José squeezes my arm.
Flaming biker frogs—nothing
Is off limits in hotel
Purgatory. Tommy groans.
José swings his bat as the
Biker frogs circle us, their
Flaming faces grinning wide.
One of the frogs grabs Tommy
And my knuckles soar through fire.
 
The frog drops and his bike speeds off, crashing.
Tommy smashes the frog’s head fast.
“You shouldna done that,” one spits.
His tongue slaps out.
It wraps around my arm—snaps it!
I shout and squeeze the tongue with my left hand.
I pull fire frog 
Off his bike, fist flying.
 
José bashes the two
Still not grasping.

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I Freak Out: Part 3 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

Bushes shake, leaves dance
My bones come to life.
It waits out there.
“José is that you? Tommy?”
I quiver.
Then the howl calls.
 
Is this my fear? Death coming
Back to finish my ass off.
Hunched in the shadows, it stands.
Almost as tall as me, the
Body of a man, the head
Of a jackal. He’s come back.
I turn to run, it pounces.
My instincts kick and punch fast.
No chances to bite; my fist
Flies into it’s growling jaw.
Saliva soaks my face—thick.
It’s like a werewolf. Starving.
I holler and shove it off.
I jump to my feet and sprint.
I refuse to look back as howls
Shake the trees around me—quake.
I see the valley and I
Leap into José’s warm arms.
“It’s right behind me,” I yell.
José gasps and squeezes me,
His bat close. Nothing follows,
No teeth, no howls.“What was it?”
“A were-jackal.” I tremble.
Tommy rolls his eyes. I glare.
 
 “Well there’s the thirteenth door, might as well.”
 I break free from José and nod.
 Tommy turns the door knob.
 It creaks open.
 Four steep steps and we hit pavement.
 It’s an empty cityscape, the ceiling
 Reminds us we’re
Still in the hotel-realm.
 
The black road is wide and
Leads to more doors.

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I Freak Out: Part 2 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

I stop and kneel next
To a giant tree.
Ten of me ‘round.
“How’d you get in this hotel?”
Nothing makes
A lick of sense.
 
I don’t cry, I want to but
I never learned how, I can
      Pout though, and I do just that.
      “He’s lying,” something hisses.
            I spin and search for the voice.
            I look up and a giant
      Yellow boa constrictor
      Stares me straight in the eyes—starved.
“Don’t worry I don’t eat souls,”
It hisses. “Your fear is the
      Only sustenance I need.”
      I tremble as rage consumes.
            “You don’t know my fears” I spit.
            “Maybe so, but the fox lies.
       He says that danger awaits
      Those you left behind without
Telling you, why you’re here now.”
I perk up and it can see
       My hunger for knowledge—feast.
      “What is this place?” I utter.
            “A resting place for stuck souls.
             When the mind dies but the brain
      Keeps the body trucking on,
      You humans come here to wait.”
 
“So like Coma-land?” I stutter. It nods.
“So I’m not dead.” The snake giggles.
      “You’re dead but something in
      Your world keeps you—”
The snake coils around a branch.
“Something’s hunting. Take caution. You’re brand new.”
      The snake slithers
      Into the foliage.
 
      More riddles, then a howl
Makes my blood freeze.

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I Freak Out: Part 1 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

I should bolt and go
Let some nightmare beast
Feast on my flesh?
“I have so many questions.”
Where am I?
What is this hell?
 
“Fuck this,” I shout. “Foxy, where
You at? Come back and explain
      What the fuck is going on!”
      Tommy shivers as I freak.
            “Chill out,” José breathes, squeezing
             My shoulders and catching my
      Perplexed gaze. He should kiss me,
      But he doesn’t and my shame gets
The better of me. I rip
And run into the thick woods
      Behind us. José screams my
      Name but I do not look back.
            I’m afraid of people, their
            Expectations, their judgement
      When I can’t meet those twisted
      Expectations. I know where
It comes from, the shame, but I’m
Ashamed to admit, just
      Shame wrapped and slapped in more shame.
      I just want to write and read.
            When I was alive, I didn’t
            Need football, like my dad hoped.
       I didn’t need kids, like Mama
      Wished and begged. I needed love.
 
It didn’t have to be unconditional.
I could change for a love that wouldn’t
      Look at me and expect
      Some false dream shit.
Yes, my belly hangs and I’m built
Like the linebacker son my dad wanted
      And I’m not too ugly 
      To get married,
 
      But nobody asks me
Who I could be.

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So Why a Serial Novelette?

In many cases the difference between a novel, novella, short story, and novelette is word count. Novelettes have been classified as having anywhere from 7,500 to 20,000 words. Its shorter than a novella, longer than a short story, and more specific/focused than a novel. To me the difference lies in the story you’re trying to tell.

When plotting and structuring a story, I like to dream up the start and the end both internally (character) and externally (the world). For me, novelette’s can happen in vast, amazing worlds but the real bulk of the tale is about how the character(s) transform and change or make a major realization about themselves. My novelette’s focus in on how the character progresses in the world, whether they are actively navigating it or passively begin pushed along by the plot. I present the character’s desire and fear and explore how the inciting incident forces the character to question and tackle that desire and fear.

All stories start and end. Start does not mean beginning and end does not mean closure. A tale is meant to explore and express. Artists, writers, authors, and storytellers can define and structure their stories in any fashion they desire. Novelettes, though short, are full stories like all other storytelling forms, the only difference is that exploring and expressing must be done succinctly. Writing novelettes push me to focus in on the internal conflict of my characters and explore how they navigate the world while facing their fears and obtaining their desires.

Novelettes are fun and challenge me to get my ideas across in a small amount of words and scenes. I love it!

I also, would like to share another poetry form with you all in this post, the Sedōka. A Japanese poetry form made up of two tercets (three-lined stanzas) of 5-7-7 syllables each.

Without Me

Why you gotta act
Like you can do it without
My kiss, my lips, my shadow?

Don't make me expose
The beast you have inside you
The one that feasts on lost souls

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Something Watches: Part 3 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

Fire splits the ground
Smoke and molten rock
Spit from below.
“We can’t get two chill minutes,”
I tremble.
The wonder fades.
 
The three of us stumble back.
From inside the smoky ground
      A giant red fox leaps up.
      It bares its teeth and begins
            To speak. “You don’t belong here.”
             “We really died,” I whisper.
       “Death isn’t an end throughout the
      Cosmos, only a new start.
But you have much unfinished 
Business.” I stare as it speaks.
      “There is a way for you to
      Return and save those you left
              Behind. They are in most grave
             Danger.” My eyes bulge. “Jackal.”
     “More grave dangers remain there.”
      José rubs his chest and gasps.
“How do we get back,” I plead.
The fox whips its tail. “There is
      A door in the boiler room,
      A gateway to unfinished
            Business. The journey will be
            Treacherous.” Tony grumbles,
      “How many floors are there?”
      “Eleven, where you stand.”
 
“Each floor has an exit to the next. Find
The thirteenth door on each floor, but
        Beware of your nightmares,
        They roam free here.”
Riddles and vague expectations.
The fox howls and turns to smoke. “I’m insane.”
      “Nope its real,”
      Tommy replies, pointing.
 
      The thirteenth door creaks and
I know fear waits.

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Something Watches: Part 2 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

More terror coming
What other nightmare
Creatures roam there?
“That sounded very human,”
I whisper.
More scared, lost souls.
 
José jolts to the door and
I frantically follow. My
       Chest feels like its tightening.
       This ain’t a living body.
             We reach the edge of the cliff
            And catch sight of a young man
      Running from a huge head of
      Lettuce with teeth; it’s chasing
On thick dirt covered roots. I
Freeze. It’s leaves spread as it wraps
      One of its roots around the 
      Screaming young man. José leaps
            From the top of the cliff and
            Smashes the grasping root—splat.
       He lands on his feet, so
      I breathlessly take my shot.
I stumble over the edge
But José catches me quick.
       “You can get hurt here,” he says.
       “You just need some more practice.”
            The young man stumbles into
            Us as the lettuce, squeals and
       Sets its fangs on the new meat.
       José squeezes his bat tight.
 
The lettuce doesn’t stand a chance, wilted, bruised.
The young man squeezes José’s neck.
      And part of me wants to
      Slap him—breathe bitch.
“You saved my life!” the youngin’ shouts.
“What’s your name?” José gives a grin. “José.
      This is Lakil.”
      “I’m Tommy.” he smiles big.
 
       The ground begins shaking,
What new terror?

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Something Watches: Part 1 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

He makes me feel safe.
I never really
Looked at him twice.
“Am I so shallow? Hell yes.”
Maybe he’s
Growing on me.
 
“So what you been doing for
The last three days?” I question.
      He walks over to a low
      Hanging hammock by a small
            Window in the shack and flops.
            “To be honest, I’ve just been
      Exploring,” he replies. “Wow.”
      “As scary as it may seem
This place is fascinating.”
I scrunch my nose and snicker.
      “You haven’t even looked for a
      Way out?” He rolls his eyes and
             Swings in the hammock, nodding.
            “We died, there is no way out.”
      I sigh, “So you really think
      This place is a bus stop on
The route to hell?” He giggles.
“Purgatory is a place
      Souls go to ‘clean up’
      Before going to heaven.
            If you believe in that stuff.”
            “So then shouldn’t we be looking
       For the next shower and get
      Our buts out of here,” I remark.
 
He glares. “Can’t you just relax, nothing here
Can hurt you that you can’t hurt right
       Back. Its not like before.
       We are Kings here.”
I shake my head. “We’re stronger here.
Faster. The only thing holding us back
      Is fear,” He adds.
      His lips catch my eyes quick.
 
      A scream jolts me back to
This new Doomland.

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