I’ve often been asked where do my stories come from? It’s funny that a writer friend of mine who is also a horror writer often refers to one of my stories as the scariest thing she ever read. The name of the story is ‘Hidden Within.’ I never quite understood that until today.
My husband and I were talking about some renovating a house we own that the subject of a table came up. It’s an old original Formica and chrome dining set. In great condition. It has been in my hubby’s family for a while. Outside of the fact it doesn’t go with what I want to do in that dinette area, that set has got to go. This is open for debate, there is compromise, this set is going out the door one way or the other. If I have to take an as to the damn thing I will. I hate it.
You might think this has something to do with my decorating style, and actually it does, that doesn’t enter into this. I hate that table. Every time I had to sit down to dinner at that table when my mother-in-law hosted a dinner there and we had to sit at that table I cringed. I did everything in my power to keep my eyes from looking at that instrument of nightmares for me.
Yes, it is something that reminds me of things I never wanted to think about or revisit. Today I did. That table reminds me of my father’s mother and stepfather. To my knowledge the old man was harmless, but he walked with a limp and used a cane. I was terrified of that man. After his death when I was a small child, I had nightmares about him for years. I was told it broke his heart that I was so afraid of him. The sound his limp and that cane made would send me into screaming, crying fits every time I heard him coming through the house.
How bad was that fear? When I was in my thirties, I was having lunch with some friends from work and suddenly from behind me I heard that same sound. I went white as a sheet evidently, tears began to roll down my cheeks, I started shaking, and I had to fight off the almost overpowering urge to crawl under the table we were sitting at and hiding. It scared the crap out of the friends I was sitting with and they thought they were going to have to get me to a hospital.
Yes, it was a man with a limp and a cane; he never had a clue the effect he had on me that day. Can I tell you that I feel like an ass for responding to that man the way I did? It wasn’t something he caused but that fear wasn’t something I caused. This is a memory that goes back to when I was no more than six or seven months old. The poor man died when I was about two and evidently, I never got past that with him.
I was small enough to crawl up under the chair my mom was sitting in and grabbing her leg and holding on for dear life. I think she finally was able to pull me out from under the chair and get me to go to the man, but she didn’t have any luck with that.
The other part of the story was that my father’s mother was sitting at that table when the strongest of those memories come flooding back in on me. That woman I wasn’t just afraid of, I hated her. To this day I can not and will not refer to her as anything other than my father’s mother. She hated me too. She didn’t die until I was about five and the few memories, I have of her are of her being mean and spiteful to me. Actually, it was so bad that my mom and dad did everything they could to keep me away from her and never left me alone with her. She loved my brother, treated them great, but me, that was a whole different ball game.
So yes, I hate that table. I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with the monsters hidden within I’m about to tell you.
Children, like adults, are capable of hating but at early ages we aren’t able mentally or emotionally understand that emotion, especially when it is that strong. I think it also damages out ids. For those of you who might not know what that is a part of our psyche residing in our subconscious where our instincts and impulses reside. We all have one and from that little part of our psyche we can and will create our monsters. I think that is why that story scares her. Somewhere inside her she understands what that story portrays. The monsters inside of ourselves. Don’t think you do? I tell you what, the next time someone really makes you angry stop and think about what is going through your head at that moment. I promise you it won’t be sunshine and roses.
So where do my stories come from? From that dark corner of my psyche that I keep hidden from the world. You know, hidden within.
Last week we lost my husband’s aunt. She was an amazing woman who lived her life her way doing her thing. Intelligent, independent, tough as nails lady who stood maybe a little over five feet tall in her stocking feet and maybe weighed all of 85 pounds. She was the last connection to my husband’s past because she was the last of my husband’s father’s siblings. What goes with her is a lot of the family history leaving my husband with a vast store of knowledge that I hope he will put to paper soon. While attending this amazing lady’s funeral I had something happen that even my husband found a little strange and a bit creepy, I guess. For those of you who have read ‘Blood Lines The Curse,’ you’ll understand shortly.
This extremely lovely older lady walked up to him and asked him if he was Louis Matthews Jr. Of course he is, and with only a few sentences exchanged between them he called me over to meet her. As I have said before, a lot of the stories Buddy has told me over the years helped inspire ‘The Blood Lines Series’ and all these stories are near and dear to me. This lady however was special. There was a couple of people that anytime Buddy talked about them reached out and grabbed my heart in a way I can never explain. There were things that he never could answer about these two individuals so no matter how many times I asked there was a limit to what he knew.
That’s where this lovely woman turns the funeral into something I never expected and left me in tears. This special lady was a descendant of the family these two people came from. She handed me a piece of paper and written on it on was not only her linage but also the linage of the two people I’m talking about. You see they were her relatives. She told me she didn’t know why she felt she had to do this or why she had to come to the viewing, but she knew she did.
So just like Emma met Sue in the church in my book ‘Blood Lines The Curse,’ who helped Emma learn a little of her past through the life of this woman I met this lovely lady in this chapel Saturday who gave me some of the answers I had been looking for. Yes, I cried, I have tears rolling down my cheeks now. Like Emma in my book I was given a gift that goes so far beyond anything you can imagine.
I told this lovely lady I would be writing this, but I would respect her privacy and the privacy of her family so there will be no names given here. I can only tell you that I will cherish that piece of paper she handed to me and know that in writing that book I did the right thing.
So, to this lovely lady, thank you, and God bless you for what you did.
I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. I spent months trying to find the car I really wanted. When I say the car I really wanted; I’m talking make, model, year, and all the little features I wanted on this car. Yes, I’m that damn picky. To be honest, it took almost a year to find the car. There weren’t that many made and damn few of them were shipped to the US and I literally looked all over the US to find this one.
A couple of weeks ago I found the car, went through everything you go through to buy a car, drove over two hundred miles to meet someone who drove my car over four hundred miles to meet me and get the papers signed and me take possession of my darling new baby, yes it is my baby and if you don’t believe me, ask my husband. Came close to losing it before I ever got it home because I ended up having to take a detour to get home that I wasn’t expecting that landed me in the middle of a tornado. That was fun. Oh, the reason for the detour, a forest fire.
I finally I got her home safe and sound and my only problem with it now is trying to keep one of my girls from trying to take it from me. I’ve also got a four-year-old grandson who wouldn’t be above taking the keys to the thing and running off in it should he get the chance. Yes, he is that smart and you have to watch that little munchkin because he is quite ingenious. At times scary.
I haven’t had a lot of time to enjoy my new acquisition because this past week hasn’t exactly been an easy one. That’s another story and doesn’t belong here. It is forthcoming but, not here and not now.
Anyway, tornado and forest fire aside, I have my car and I will let the following picture speak for itself.
Most of us have heard of the old Route 66. Some of us may have even traveled on it. There’s actually still some small piece of the original sections scattered here and there running alongside the newer highways. That’s the thing, the newer highways. Route 66 isn’t the only old highway that has gone in the same direction, into oblivion. The newer roads may even carry the name of the old route, but it isn’t the same.
A lot of you may ask what’s the big deal. Well here’s the big deal. Just like Old Route 66 went the way of history so did a lot of businesses. It didn’t stop there either. You can bet people lost their homes and land if they were sitting in the way of that new highway. It’s called immanent domain and the people who were sitting in the way when someone in the government decided they wanted their property lost their homes.
Why am I bringing this up now? Yesterday I traveled down one of those roads. Highway 64 that runs along the southern part of the state of Tennessee. I’ve made that trip many times. At one time one of the most interesting trips across this state. There were all these neat old places scattered along its sides that made that trip an adventure. It wasn’t just the businesses either. It was the beautiful little homes that sat along the sides of parts of the highway. You see a lot of that road ran between two little ridges, so people had built these little homes, many sitting along a small stream that was just great to see.
The businesses are slowly disappearing, most have already given up the ghost. One in particular broke my heart.
Oh well progress is, what it is, and I guess running along an up and down rock wall lined, four-lane, highway at 80 or 90 miles an hour is far more important. Don’t get me wrong, the speed limit on that highway is 65 but finding people running along it at that speed is pretty much a rarity, even in hurricane strength winds and sheets of rain that totally blind you. Yes, it was that bad yesterday.
Anyway, to the history of that great old road, I salute you and for a while there will be a few of us still left who will remember what you once were. Now you’re just another big ribbon of asphalt.
For those of you who have read Nightmare Express you’ve seen the cover of the book. It features a black semi. I wondered what made me go with that idea and finally it hit me the other day while looking at that book cover. A black semi was the cause of one of the scariest nights of my life.
Years ago, while making a trip to Florida with my baby daughter and my mom we had made it to the panhandle of Florida and Interstate 10. We rain into a storm that was enough to make anyone nervous, but things got worse and I’m not talking about just the storm.
I made the mistake evidently of going around a black semi. It was creeping along, and I do mean creeping, so I went around it. I didn’t do anything aggressive, or at least I don’t think I did. Remember, I still had my baby, who at the time was about thirteen months old, and my mom in the car with me. I’m not stupid and I have always taken being a mom seriously. The thing is, the driver of that truck evidently didn’t like it when I went around him.
Next thing I know that ass was on my ass. He was so close that if I had stepped on my brakes for any reason you could have kissed mine, my mom’s, and most importantly my daughter’s asses goodbye. Yes, he was that close. I thought he was going to simply go around me but that wasn’t the case, he simply stayed on my butt. I put up with this for miles before I decided to speed up in spite of the storm which had gotten worse. He stayed with me. I finally moved over into the other lane, the one where you usually go around someone, and quickly slowed down so he had to pass me. Afterward I got back in the outside lane and stayed there. Now it was also night so that only made things worse as for as the conditions regarding driving. Anyway, I now thought I was OK as for as the situation was concerned. It wasn’t. I passed an exit and sure enough there was that truck sitting on the off ramp, yes it was the same one, and when I passed, he pulled out behind me again. He didn’t run right up on me again, but he stayed behind me. If I sped up any, so did he, if I slowed down, again he did the same. By this time the storm had gotten worse.
I finally decided to take a chance and the next overpass I came to I pulled in under it hoping the storm and the semi would pass us. Neither did unfortunately. The truck pulled over less than fifty feet behind me and sat there. True it could have been the storm that cause him to pull over, but it wasn’t. In spite of the storm I pulled out back into the downpour because my mom was beginning to panic over the truck. She was starting to get Gina upset, who had been angel through this whole trip. The truck pulled out and started following me again. This time he began to pull up closer on my rear as he had before. I was done.
I waited until he was close enough to me so that he couldn’t anticipate and do what I was about to do and once he was close enough, the first exit I came to I swerved at the last minute, no blinkers and no brakes, and took that exit. Yes, I took a chance but at the time I honestly felt it was the only one I had. The sound of that air horn followed me as I made it up to the road I had exited onto. I had no idea where I was, but I managed to figure it out. We managed to make it to our destinations without further incident. The one thing I didn’t do was get back on Interstate 10 that night. Yes, I was a little later getting to where I was going, and by the time I got there the family members we were going to visit were concerned but we got there.
I don’t know what was going through the mind of that truck driver that night, but I know he was up to no good. Don’t get me wrong. The vast majority of the people who drive those things, are good decent people, but like everything else, there are bad apples in every barrel and that bad apple contributed to the most terrifying night of my life. Not only did he put my life at risk that night but the lives of the two people I loved most in the world.
A couple of weeks ago I managed to tare a cornea in my right eye. How this happened I have no clue but let me tell you, it hurt. The other thing it did was make me feel like something out of one of my stories.
I spent almost ten days in the dark creeping around the house avoiding the light. At times I honestly had the urge to walk around doing crazy poses like you see in the movies but that would have required me getting close to some form of illumination. Not happening.
If I ever had the urge to destroy my expensive phone it was during that time. Every time it rang was bad enough but come on people, you want to send me a text message right now? I would have to hold the damn thing sideways to attempt to read the damn thing and as for answering those torturous little messages I’m still not sure what I may have responded with because that was done sideways as well. Hell, I may have threatened people without meaning to, OK maybe I did under the circumstances, but I certainly wouldn’t have put in writing. I’m not that stupid. It is far more likely that what I typed came out looking like some form of gibberish, but I haven’t had the inclination to go back and look. No one seems to be mad at me so maybe I didn’t end up insulting anyone.
Then there is my writing and or doing anything on my laptop. I turned down the brightness as far as I could and still see it and even then, I couldn’t handle the light. Actually, the brightness on my laptop is still turned down and I continue to have trouble being on the damn thing very long.
The one good thing was that they now have eye band-aides. Yeah, that’s what I said. It is like a contact, but it is simply to protect your eye while it heals so it doesn’t make you blow your brains out. I loved it. I could at least blink without wanting to reach up and rip my eye out. If you’ve never torn a cornea you won’t understand that but if you have, you will.
So, I am on the mend, I think. I can at least blink now without the contact band-aide, but I still feel a little rubbing sensation at the outside corner of my eye. I think I need one of those collars they put on dogs because I want to rub that eye constantly and constantly having to stop myself.
I’ve had this happen before, but I know how that one happened. I got slapped in the eye with a limb from a nasty bush while trying to do something nice for a friend. Boy that sounded awful, doing something for a friend in a bush. I was helping trim the damn things and nothing else, the bush that is.
Anyway, I am better, and I can now at least tolerate the light more. Oh, the real insult to the injury was I lost my good sunglasses right at that time. Try tearing your house apart in the dark for a couple of days looking for your prescription sunglasses instead of having to wear the pair you would with contacts which meant if I did leave the house, I left it totally blind. Thank God I didn’t have to do any driving during that time.