A gal eerie of desire Part 1 of 5 – Wednesday Exhibit.

Reading Time: 7 minutes

A Gal Eerie of Desire

By Jenny K Brennan

Part 2.

Mild explicit warning. This content is for adults. And don’t say I didn’t say so. Enjoy.

Part 1 of 5 — Wednesday exhibit

Another day had passed without incident. It was the way I liked it. Boring and uneventful, worry free and totally uncomplicated.
When the front door to the office building clicked shut behind me and I started toward the parking lot, my thoughts flashed to Angie. I really wished she would stop pestering me. Why I agreed to go out with her was still a mystery. I wasn’t interested in her. Not that way, had said as much. It wasn’t that I disliked her or anything; I just didn’t understand why it had to be so complicated.
Girls. They had so many needs. Romantic dates, cozy evenings with wine and… I shuddered despite the heat. One night she had brought out a tattered book of erotic stories. When I turned to her and asked, “What’s that for?” she had looked at me in that way that only women are capable of, and left. I supposed she had expected me to say something else. Or do something. It was just unfortunate that I had to keep working in the same building as her, where she could give me the look and a snide remark whenever our paths crossed.

I pushed Angie out of my mind and sighed.
The sunlight hit me full force as I rounded the corner and I squinted in the glare.
No, too much bother. I had much more interesting things on my agenda. I needed a cold shower, and all I wanted was to head home, to my one bedroom flat, where half a left over pizza from Gus’s waited for me in the fridge. A package from Amazon might even be waiting in the mailbox. Then there was that buggy Ajax app. That was about as much excitement as I felt like dealing with on an average day. Nothing could beat calm and orderly, organized and scheduled.
And then I saw her.

Still, perhaps nothing at all would have happened, if I hadn’t looked up at that exact moment to point that stupid transmitter at my little Toyota to disengage the lock. Most days I didn’t even do that as I always parked in the same spot. Except this morning as some inconsiderate brute parked across the lot with a huge truck and I had to find another spot.
So as I looked up, the woman just happened to be in my line of sight, watching me.

Her gaze, direct and fixed, hit like a punch in the gut. She didn’t look away, and I couldn’t pull out of the stare. An odd familiarity surged through me, reluctant to surface all the way, as if I aught to know her. I didn’t, but I should.
Suddenly, the damn tie was strangling me and I pulled at it, realizing that it was already hanging loose below the first two open shirt buttons.
Her eyes. I knew them, but she was a stranger. Something hacked away chunks from my mental level and projected it into a wobbly spin. I knew her, but from what? Where?
Without thought, my legs slowed, my body adjusted its path and I stepped toward the beautiful woman.
Somewhere beyond her, the Toyota beeped. Had I pushed the button? I couldn’t remember. The key fob was slick with sweat. I dropped it into a shirt pocket and wiped my hands on the denims.

Those eyes, intense, intriguing. There was a message there I couldn’t understand; something I needed to figure out. At the same time, some little part of me was sure I couldn’t and wouldn’t. And why not? I had no answer, just knew. There was something forbidding, a hard edge in her face.
She stood outside of “The Crone Cone”, a shabby looking ice-cream shop in the corner of the parking lot, on a patch of hot pavement where the air wavered in the relentless sunlight. Only after several moments I noticed the sticky toddlers glued to her hands, each holding a dripping ice-cream cone, blessedly silenced by their melting pleasure.
She kept looking at me, but something in her was changing. She raised her chin a fraction and let her eyes wander over me, curiously assessing, seemingly coming to some kind of conclusion in the short moment it took her to take me in, dissect and analyze me.
She glanced down at the children as if she had never seen them before and frowned, surprised to find her attached to these… creatures. After only a moment, though, her features smoothed and she resumed observing me.
She seemed flustered and moisture dampened her skin, made it shimmer in the heat. A strand of hair was plastered across her chin; another trailed a bridge over one blue … were her eyes blue? Green? … eye. The stray lock formed a static curve toward her ear where it joined a swell of thick dark … was that auburn? Red? Mahogany? … hair falling unchecked and heavy half way down her back.
A simple strapless summer dress in off-white hugged her body. Clinging in fashionable wrinkles it reached mid thigh. She wore no shoes. Bare feet? In the city? Her deep tan would suggest many hours outdoors. She had perfectly shaped toenails on perfect small feet. The rest of her was fit and lean but fragile and soft at the same time.

A drop fell from a leaky cone and made a white and sticky smudge on the top of her foot. She didn’t seem to notice. My imagination made a very vivid show of the translucent substance though. To my horror I realized I had a hard-on and drew hot air through my teeth. I liked feet, sure thing, perhaps more than most, but this was ridiculous. I imagined small soft toes wiggling along a row of fly-buttons. Even after hastily looking away, the image lingered.
If the day hadn’t been so hot, the flush creeping up my neck would have been so much more visible and not just a little embarrassing. I blinked and focused on her face again, feeling both silly and strangely bothered. A corner of her mouth had crept up in a shadow of a smile and perfectly shaped eyebrows moved upwards a tiny bit, just enough to make me certain she knew what kind of images I had fashioned in my dirty mind.
Surely she knew, and she didn’t mind.

I took another step toward her. She tensed and flashed a warning sideways glance and shook her head. I quickly shifted my eyes and altered my steps slightly as a man came up to her. Shit. I made it past them as if that was where I had been heading all along. Some guy. He handed her something. I took care not to glance back at them, unnerved and annoyed by the hollow place in my memory where I knew that this woman should reside.
After getting in to the car, thanking all the benign deities for air-conditioning, I watched the woman who had just become my obsession, the man and two little children, the latter three meaning nothing to me. They walked away along the hot pavement, toward the corner of Helen and Aurora, stalked by their skinny afternoon shadows. I had a funny feeling that she straightened up, held herself tall for me. Just me. She knew I was watching. She moved so smoothly, gracefully, despite the two toddlers pulling and jerking her arms this way and that, chattering and demolishing their afternoon treat.
She paid them no mind, simply looked straight ahead. That lady would radiate serenity walking through a war zone. Nothing would move her.

A toddler stumbled, fell on hands and knees, and mashed the ice-cream against pavement. She leaned down, stayed just like that, for just a few moments longer than strictly necessary. I let out a slow breath.
“You did that on purpose.” I made perfectly clear through my teeth as she soothed the child. I watched her move away and gears in my head spun, smoked, glowed bright red from friction. They didn’t move me forward any.

I knew her from somewhere; I just knew. When had I ever been blessed with such company? Now just face it— someone like that would never even glance at me and even if, it would be while elbowing her friend to make sure she wasn’t the only one laughing.
But she had looked at me. Actually looked at me. Smiled even. Some cruel impulse had for a second almost made me talk to her. Why for Gods sake would I do something so stupid? But she had smiled hadn’t she?
I stole a few moments of watching her ass which was tightly fitted in that skirt, the tanned skin of her arms and the perfectly shaped calves and ankles. No doubt, she knew she made an impression in that dress, although I suspected that with such a body she could walk around in a potato sack and still turn heads, harden soft parts and dampen panties. She was just that fucking hot. How could I not look?

In my traitor of a brain, an image materialized— my hand at the back of her knee, slowly sliding it up toward and then slipping under the skirt, finding the place where that tantalizing shade promised both damp hot skin and slick moisture.

I thought about her on the way home. While checking the mail, fixing the hose to the washer, and while pretending to read the TV-guide, she haunted me. I couldn’t place her, and it was driving me up the walls. Around and around, gears grinding, no movement.
Her face, her body, her need. Need? Holy fuck, the only need going around was mine. Don’t kid yourself you retard. She had kids for fucks sake.
And that guy, I couldn’t quite recall what he looked like. Tall, blond? Yeah, whatever. He didn’t belong with her. A flash of hot sharp jealousy burned in me, an irrational rage toward anyone who would dare touch her, and anyone who had ever been with her in all the ways I could only imagine.

“Slut!” I heard my own voice but I didn’t recognize the whiny squeak. I sat still for a moment to gather up what was left of the sensible me. The feeble chuckle that came out when I realized there was precious little to collect was no more recognizable. Idiot. It was no use; the hamster wheel turned again and I was back where I had started. I knew I had to let it go, if not the stubborn fantasies then the idea that it had anything to do with me. That one look. It had been one look and it was driving me out of my mind. This was not the me I knew.

I ate the pizza, because I had to eat. I showered, because that reek of sour sweat kept following me around, so it had to be coming from me. The TV stayed dark, the PC remained cold and quiet.
I couldn’t dislodge her from my mind even for a second. The lingering feeling of recognition kept nagging. It wouldn’t ease.
Nor would my erection.

To be continued….

Continue reading?
Part 2.

Don’t miss the next awkward and silly thing happening on Studio Chaotic!


Cover image: Sculpture by J K Brennan, photo by D G Brennan.

Phobia – A not so irrational fear Part 2 of 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Phobia – A not so irrational fear.

By Jenny K Brennan

Part 2 of 2
Read Part 1 here.

“Trust me, you little shit!” I said to the bug. I barely recognized my own voice. I drew in air through my nose in short raspy drags as I rraised a heavy boot and drove it down hard. The thing didn’t even twitch before I crushed it and
squeezed its insides from its shell with a sickening wet crackle. White
stringy slime and black flakes appeared around the edge of the boot.
I stepped back, dragging my foot, and scraped the thing off. “If you hadn’t
bothered me, I wouldn’t have bothered you.”

I stared for another moment and walked to the front door, giddy with
delight. I had to tell David. I smiled, threw the door open and rushed out
on the porch. And there I stopped, fought, and failed, to swallow a whimper.

Crawling, turning, shivering, the oily bugs covered every surface. Patio
set, the truck, garden shed, all layered in shiny black beetles. As I
watched, a clump fell from a maple branch, and my bamboo windchime clattered
for the last time, scattering bugs as it crashed to the ground.

“David, where are you?”, I choked on the words and my legs crumbled beneath
me. I turned toward the garage to call again, and I saw him.

He lay just beyond the porch, covered in bugs. Their thick blanket broke up
as I stared; revealing blue cotton, pale skin, a shrivelled limp hand. They
evacuated his body in moments.

“David.”, I tried to say, but it was locked as a scream in my head.

Cold, numb, I somehow found my feet and went to him. As I dropped down
again, all but one creature moved away. It shivered and buzzed madly,
struggling to get free from a thin gold chain that had slipped between hard
shell and flimsy fraying wings, trapping it.

I grabbed it; wrapped my fingers around bug and chain and ripped it loose. I
felt it shudder and crack, before throwing it into the crowd of retreating
bugs, trailed by a sparkle of gold. I released the scream, a horror without
words, in rage without limits. Then, I saw his face and stopped. If I hadn’t,
I never would have. David didn’t like screaming, he was.


I touched his cold skin. I brushed away his hair and stared at his open
eyes, his slack mouth, waxy white features.

“David.” I whispered. “I killed it, David. I’m not afraid of bugs anymore.”
I looked up from my dead husband, to the house, our house. It was theirs

Thousands, millions of black silent monsters covered every surface. A slow
river of insects poured over doorframe and threshold, taking possession.
That was the final straw. “Evicted am I? You just knock yourselves out you
fucking bastards! Did you forget me? I’m right here!” I screamed. I raged, I
cursed and pleaded until my voice broke.

I lay down beside David and held him, wondering why they wouldn’t come to
take me too, to ease the pain that scraped, clawed, and scratched at me with
its inevitability. “I’m going to wake up soon. Any minute now.”, I told
David as I smoothed out a wrinkle in his shirt.

I pulled my legs up, dragging the heavy boots along the grass, and then I
could smell it. A sharp, sickly bitter scent. It came from the shoes, from
the remains of the one I had crushed. The bastards wouldn’t touch me. I
glared at them, empty of fear. “You fucking cowards!” I sat up and something
eerily like a laugh escaped me, “We’re not having such a great day, are we
honey?” I refused to feel the burning behind my eyelids, and postponed any
recognition of ache.

I eased my feet out of the death-marked work boots, grabbed them both with
my usable hand and threw them. They landed on the porch and bugs nearby
shuffled, jumped, or flew from the scent of death.

In the few seconds remaining, I rolled David onto his back, snuggled close,
pulled his hand on to his chest, and braided our fingers together. I closed
my eyes.

The sharp rustling started, increased, stopped. I knew what they were doing;
they were shifting, preparing, then they would jump.

I waited.

Phobia – a not so irrational fear- Part 1 of 2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Phobia -A not so irrational fear

By Jenny K Brennan

Part 1 of 2
Go directly to Part 2 here.

“Kate, don’t look.”

But, I had to look. I sat on the floor with the vacuum next to me, poking at
sticky cobwebs in a cupboard with the hose. I needed a break anyways, so I
killed the machine and made the mistake of looking up.

David stood rigid at the sink, an expression on his face I had never seen
before. I turned my gaze to see what he stared at and froze; the insect
above him dominated my narrowing vision. I wished to sink into the floor had
it been possible, would have been very comfortable between floor joists.
Until David took care of it. He always did.

Illuminated in unforgiving clarity by the afternoon light, the bug clung to
the cupboard corner. It was the size and shape of a kiwi cut in half
lengthwise, sleek and oily black. I couldn’t see its legs under its dome of
bisected exoskeleton, and didn’t care to.

Without looking away from it, David reached a hand toward me. I placed the
end of the vacuum hose, a hard plastic pipe, in it. He moved it into
position and nodded. I pushed the button, realizing as the machine started
whining that it simply wouldn’t work. The bug was too big, the pipe too

He poked the insect with it; there was nothing wrong with the suction so it
should have, in the least, trapped the flat black thing on the end of the

Its reaction was instantaneous: It convulsed and shivered, whirring fast,
its biological motor in overdrive. It jerked away from the plastic and
jumped. I shrieked. The shell unfolded, sprouted wings, and launched my way-
droning, hissing. I screamed, ducked and dived, scrambled on all fours
behind David and then stood. Shuddering and flaying my arms about my head;
I could do nothing but whimper: “Get it! Get it! Get it off me!”

“Hey, easy, honey.” David’s voice registered only when he put his arms
around me. “It’s not on you! Sweetie, it’s not!” I cowered in his arms, and
opened my eyes, allowing my arms to drop away from my head only when I could
see for myself that it was so.

“Holy fuck!” David breathed and held me tight. He reached down, shut off the
vacuum, and sighed. “I guess I need to take care of that, huh?”

The thing sat silently in the corner, where dry wall met drywall, just above
the wayne-scotting, protected by the shallow ledge, a small shelf filled
with crystal trinkets on one wall, and a framed wedding picture on the
other. “I can’t get it there.” David said. “Not without…”, he trailed off.

I knew what he meant. That was not a bug that could be easily squished in
paper towel, nor flattened with fly swatter. This thing was unreal; it was a
bug from hell. I could still hear the vicious humming; still feel the
displaced air as it swept passed. I took a deep breath and nodded.

“I have spray in the garage. It should work. Kills everything.” I chose not
to hear doubt in his voice.

David understood. Spiders, flies, Daddy longlegs, wasps, earwigs, ants. He
accepted my fears. I loved him for not making fun of me when I panicked, for
his patience. And the terror eventually eased. These days I could clean off
cobwebs, and hear a bumblebee fly about without screaming. I understood
David’s oft repeated words: “If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother

“Do you want to come?” He mumbled. I stood stock still and shook my head. If
I let it out of my sight, I wouldn’t know if it got away… He nodded. “I
know. I’ll just be a sec, ok?”

I trembled, but allowed him to ease from my grip. “If I don’t bother it.” I
said with more conviction than I felt. “Go.”

He kissed my forehead, let a hand linger on my shoulder, and then stepped
through the doorway to the hall.

I pinned the insect with my eyes, daring it to move, begging it not to.

I listened as David opened the front door and stepped onto the porch. The
door closed and I was alone. With that. thing.

I watched it. It still didn’t move.

David’s steps faded. I cursed our decision not to connect the garage to the

The creature shifted, emitted a shrill rustling, and stilled. My heart
hammered, every muscle burned with adrenaline, I was paralyzed by fear.
“David, please hurry.”

It jumped, unfolded its wings, and came at me. I screamed, flung my arm as
I stepped back. A hard thud against my hand silenced its frenzied droning. A
searing pain spread across the top of my hand, but quickly turned numb.
Astonished, I stared at the thing as it sat on the floor like a large black
pimple. I held my arm to my chest and backed away, breathless, as I couldn’t
seem to find air between heartbeats.

Keeping my eyes on it, I reached around the doorframe and grabbed a pair of
boots from a shelf. David’s, big, clunky, bug-crushing work-boots. Just what
I needed. I glanced from boots to bug-too far to throw.

“Now, you just stay right there.” I wheezed. I fumbled, couldn’t seem to
grip the boots, or feel anything below my left wrist. I glanced at my arm
and quickly looked away. There was no time for it now. Fear would have to
wait. I had a job to do. Keeping my eye on the bug, I pulled the boots with
my other hand, and stepped into them.

“Don’t move.” I hissed, taking a step. My left hand grew numb from
fingertips to elbow, skin waxy white. I felt no pain, just an icy tingle.

“This won’t hurt one little bit.” I stepped closer.

Continue reading in Part 2 here.

Doggy snatchers. A NaNoWriMo winner (Unfinished). Chapter 1 – The unmentionables

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Doggy snatchers

By Jenny K Brennan

Chapter 1 – The unmentionables

Kent street West – Early Saturday

Out of impenetrable dark came a sound, a chitter chatter, as from a thousand rats. It rose and intensified. One chattering voice said. “How’s that? Can you move?” Several seconds of expectant silence passed where not a single rat even dared breathe. An intake of breath, a clearing of a clogged up throat, then a hoarse male voice answered. “Yeah, I can move eh, but I can’t see. These beings need light you know.” A moment of silence was quickly replaced by agitated chatter.

“Oh.” Rustling, tippy tap of small things moving around in haste.


“Aaaahhh, shit, cut it out. It hurts, the light, it burns!”


Darkness returned. Titter tatter, hushed chatter. Heavy breathing, and the Canadian voice muttered. “I have to be careful with that. Ok, my lids are shut now. Turn that light on again.”


He sat in a chair, naked but for a single sock; semitransparent beige crumpled and twisted around the ankle, its mate nowhere in sight. F3212 shivered in the raw, musty air. He was muscular, tattooed from neck to wrists, topped with a head of blond tangles, and proudly displayed innumerable scars on every limb but his penis. It dangled loose over the edge of the chair where he sat slumped. The man, who in the deepest crevices of his mind knew his name was Calvin Roberts, and not F3212, carefully opened his eyes, and squinted at the light, slowly adapted to it.

The big man blinked grit out of his eyes, and found himself looking at the soft wrinkle of flesh between his legs. “What is that?” And then he knew. The body knew, so F3212 knew. He didn’t quite understand it though. It seemed to serve several different purposes, of which one was to reproduce.

Reproduction F3212 understood. In this specific specimen’s patterns of thoughts though, the relationship with the opposite sex, what apparently was called females, or bitches, or babes, or skanks, or any of the names in this body’s library of vocabulary, was more complex than seemed strictly necessary.

And so F3212 probed and found many hidden places in Calvin’s mind. Places that F3212 did not want to go again. Places that not even Calvin wanted to go.

There were so many conflicting emotions, so many strange preferences. Although F3212 suddenly understood Calvin’s need and also shame over his cross dressing, those ideas and images would take long to ponder. Odd, but intriguing.

A slightly fuzzy ball of multicolored light, with fragmented swirls and streaks of black dancing across its diffuse surface, waited for F3212 to acknowledge successful transfer. The little creature, twenty-seventh of his kind, one of only forty-two qualified for human insertion, stood unsteadily on an undeterminable number of pointy stick-like limbs that moved independently to each other. They propelled the creature in little hops and jumps, skips and spins. But it stayed where it was, on the armrest, next to F3212’s left digit… hand. It paused in its pulsating and spoke, tap, tap, tapping its many feet that were not feet. Titter tatter.
“Something amiss? Your… face changes in a way I believe is agitation. Or something called horror. Is it horror this body makes you… feel?”

Calvin, who wasn’t quite Calvin, screwed up his face, opened his mouth wide, probed parts of his body with strange but familiar digits. He closed his lips, pursed them, and drew them back, working the fleshy muscle inside the mouth in experimental flops and contractions. He gurgled, wheezed, ground the teeth, and moaned. He pinched a red protrusion on his front. Nipple, the body advised, and analysis could be considered complete, if not totally satisfactory. “No, it is confusing. This body is so very… so strange.” He stood up, tried his weight on one foot, then the other. He bent his knees, stretched his arms, felt the rough growth on his face. “Functional, if not optimal. It will do.”

He turned to the little flickering light, which if flickering lights could look apprehensive, looked apprehensive as it tic, tic, ticked away with the many feet and leaned a little ways away from the human that was not a human. Calvin’s face changed, became rubbery with shifting sensations and contradicting impulses. A spastic move seemed to shift everything out of true and a shiver traveled through the body. Then it stopped, leaving the human perfectly still.

F3212 saw through the human’s eyes, could speak using the human’s tongue, but the connection to anything beyond Calvin’s natural perception faded. Stunned by a sensation never experienced before, F3212 watched the lights dim a little bit, felt all other senses dull, and lost control of the body. Not for long, just a short slip that shouldn’t have been possible. But long enough to change everything.

Calvin offered a thumbs up and a splitting of the teeth and lips in something that should represent joy. In this particular body however, the sensation that provoked the grimace had a strong leaning toward malice. Wicked happy. That’s what this body was feeling. Rage mixed with satisfaction. So strange.

He spread the fingers of his right hand, fisted them, spread them again but this time he bent the first finger, placed the thumb on the first finger’s nail, moved it to the small maintenance worker that had arranged this particular snatching, and flicked it off the armrest.

The ball of light exploded in a quick white flash and a series of agitated beeps and squeals. Calvin laughed. When B27 landed on the bare concrete floor, it sprang up and tittered off to the open ventilation shaft and turned, stomping its sharpened limbs in fury. “We do not appreciate such attitude, F3212, we will not accept another failure. You know what to do. Just don’t forget. Humans wear clothes. The runaway must be returned. Report here when successful.”

B27 could have saved itself some trouble, because F3212 didn’t hear. The awareness of many had vanished. The thing that couldn’t happen, had just happened. F3212 was alone.

With a final huffing squeal, B27 turned and rapidly disappeared into the dark shaft. It would lead out. A group of lower level operators, flickering in green instead of white, quickly followed the boss and vanished.

Calvin was alone in his basement, where the unmentionables had found him, passed out on a soiled futon mattress. Why he had gone down there to drink himself stupid, not even Calvin the way he was before, and sober, could have answered.

But Calvin was no longer alone in his head, nor was he even remotely sole master of his flesh, bones, or thoughts. He was strong though.
He stood silent for a long while. Fascinated by a wonderfully complicated view of life, new knowledge, novel sensations. He knew what had happened, and he also knew he should curl up and shriek in terror. Most would. Calvin was strong though, and no little brain sucking alien would take him down without a fight. Nothing would suppress Calvin Robert’s urges.

He relaxed back in the chair, letting his curiosity lessen his resistance. Just for the time being. Because really, what the hell did they want?

The thing inside him suddenly knew with painful clarity that they had made yet another mistake. Yet one more bad judgment. Even as The alien regained control over Calvin the human, it realized that these creatures could not be controlled, not for long. The little parasite was revolted and at the same time, intrigued by all the possibilities the new body could offer, and wary of its power.

For now, F3212 was in control. F3212 would find the runaway and bring him home, away from this terrible place.

But F3212 felt something that his borrowed body wasn’t capable of.

F3212 was afraid.

Sandelina – A children’s story for grown up kids

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Jenny K Brennan
Copyright 2013 Jenny K Brennan


She wasn’t there. That’s just the way it was. Sandelina was not on the bed. She was not even under the bed. Old Grumbler was there, and the really old Teddy. Teddy was kind of broken though, a little bit blind and deaf and hairless. He had been a good teddy for the longest time, until he started loosing bits and pieces of himself. After that, he started looking at Chrissie a bit loopy-eared and squinty-eyed. Teddies can look a little bit mean when they drop pieces of themselves. But Teddy never looked mean even after losing one eye and other bits. He looked sad. Chrissie didn’t like sad toys.

Anyways, old Teddy could stay under the bed where he couldn’t look at her so squinty-eyed and sad. And Grumbler could stay there too. They could sit under the bed with Chrissies busted up book about blue balls and green houses. Because houses weren’t green, not for real, and Chrissie was too old for baby books anyways. Grumbler and Old Teddy could learn about green houses and purple buckets; what a silly thing, buckets weren’t purple. She guessed that maybe they could be; there were red buckets and blue buckets after all. But Chrissie had never seen a purple bucket so she didn’t quite believe there were any. There were bunnies under the bed too. That was another silly thing. They were just pieces of hair and soft stuff, sometimes little pieces of other things like paper or dirt and grass, but Chrissie knew that real bunnies had legs and a head and a tiny fluffy tail. No dust bunny Chrissie had ever picked apart had any of those. They were just kind of long and almost round, made up of all the things the vacuum cleaner didn’t find.

Dust bunnies. Mommy really was silly sometimes.

But she still couldn’t find Sandelina. Not in the plastic toy box, not under the blankets. She was definitely not on the window sill chatting away with Porky, Tuft-tuft, or Tiny Evelina-Bob. Sometimes Sandelina crawled into the corner behind the big closet, but she wasn’t there either.

Chrissie thought hard and long. After looking through everything she could think of, even inside the closet although Sandelina would never go there, she went out on the landing outside her room and even looked on the floor there. No Sandelina. Chrissie scrunched up her face and scratched her head with one stiff finger.

“Hm.” She stepped over to the table where the upstairs phone stood, surrounded by all kinds of letters, and papers, and pads and pens, and all that stuff that Chrissie wasn’t allowed to even think about thinking about drawing on with her crayons. But no one could stop Chrissie from thinking about something. A little bit of thinking never hurt. She didn’t always have to do what she was thinking about doing, right? Well, she wouldn’t draw on the important papers and letters. Again.

She dropped down on her knees and looked under the table. There was a space there, a dark little corner between the table and a big plant that Chrissie wasn’t allowed to touch. Or eat. She wouldn’t do that either. Not ever again. Sandelina was not in the dark space where she could have been. Sandelina was really good at hiding.


She scratched her head again and shrugged. It couldn’t be helped; this was a problem she couldn’t fix. She bounded down the stairs with one hand hovering above the round wooden railing. She didn’t need to hold it anymore, Chrissie had good balance. Mommy even said so. She bypassed the last step at the bottom with an elegant hop and pin wheeled only a little at landing. She walked through the hall and into the living room.

Mommy sat on the big sofa with papers all over her legs, a pen in her mouth and the sparkling new glasses almost all the way down on the tip of her nose. The pen wiggled back and forth and papers rustled. Mom took the pen out of her mouth and scribbled something on one of the papers, and then she put the pen back and started moving papers around again.

“Mommy?” Chrissie knew that mommy was working and didn’t really have time to talk. But it was an emergency. And if anyone had answers to everything… well, almost everything, it would be mommy.

“Uh huh.” Mommy didn’t look up, but she was listening, kind of.

“I can’t find Sandelina. I think she ran away.” Chrissie stated her case decidedly and made sure to speak every word carefully, putting just a little bit of emphasis on the running away part. She nodded slowly and wrinkled her forehead to emphasize the seriousness of the situation.

“Again?” Mommy mumbled in that far away way that meant she wasn’t quite listening.

She still didn’t look up, so Chrissie dropped the frown and stepped in front of the paper shuffling mommy. It wasn’t as easy as it may seem. The table and the couch stood close together, and between them, were mommy’s knees and briefcase. Once in position, Chrissie placed her hands on mommy’s knees, bent forward and tilted her head. Her nose almost touched mommy’s nose. She waited. She could see mommy’s eyes move back and forth, looking at a paper lying on the sofa next to her leg. Chrissie leaned that way, and down a bit more, until she could look up into mommy’s eyes. She waited. Mommy’s eyes twitch, blinked, tried to look through Chrissies head and at the paper with all those important things written on them. But Chrissie also saw one corner of mommy’s mouth move a little. Chrissie smiled. “Mommy, can I have a minute of your time?”

Mommy straightened up and laughed. She sat back and looked at her daughter for a long moment. “Where did you learn that, Chrissie?” Resigned but still smiling, she continued. “Oh, don’t answer that. Now, Sweetie-pie, how can I assist you?”

“Sandelina is gone. Really gone. She is nowhere. I looked everywhere. Even under the bed, and in the closet, and on the bed, and the hall table.”

“You didn’t move anything on the table did you?”

“No mommy, just listen. Not in the toy box and not on the floor.”

“Did you look under your clothes?” Chrissie nodded. “Under your pillow?” Chrissie nodded again.” Mommy frowned a little bit. “Well, honey, I can’t really help you look right now.” She sighed and shuffled papers around for a bit. Then she looked at Chrissie again. “Don’t pout. I’ll help you look when I’m done this…” She sighed and didn’t look happy one bit. “It’s a nightmare. It needs to be done tomorrow. But I’m almost ready. We’ll look together when I’m done ok?”

Chrissie nodded but it would feel like forever. It wasn’t like Sandelina to be gone just like that.

“I’ll tell you what sweetie; while I finish this, I want you to look in your room one more time, do it for me. Maybe she came back already, who knows. And you can see if she is hiding in my bedroom if you don’t touch anything. She might have crawled up in my bed. You know she comes with you sometimes right. So my bedroom, your room, and she might even be in the kitchen. Do that, and if you still can’t find Sandelina, I’ll help you when I’m done.”

Chrissie sighed but looking for Sandelina was better than not looking for Sandelina.

She started with the closest room, the kitchen. But there was no way Sandelina would go there. Maybe she had followed Chrissie there for breakfast. She dropped down on all fours and crawled under the kitchen table. She didn’t really have to do that, but making sure Sandelina wasn’t on any of the chairs was easier that way. There were no dust bunnies under the kitchen table, but she found three dried macaroni spirals, a pink hair band, a piece of Barbie, and only one chair had anything sitting on it; a big crooked pile of more papers. She put the little piece of Barbie in a pocket along with the hair band and the three macaroni spirals. She flopped down on her tummy and looked out from under the table, through all the chairs. She could count all the chairs, if they weren’t more than ten, but she thought there were more than ten legs, almost like a cage, but she could escape. It was easy. She crawled out on the floor proper and looked back at the wicked cage that had tried to catch her and maybe eat her too. She looked around the entire floor by way of sliding around on her tummy, head up, kicking feet and pulling with flat palms until she had made a full circle. She made another circle just to be sure, but Sandelina was not on the kitchen floor.

Chrissie stood up and scanned all the counters and flipped the lid up on the garbage bin. “Ew!” Whatever was in the garbage made her nose crinkle up and tickle. She pinched her nose and peeked down at the nasty. “Ew!” She said again. No Sandelina, but why was there a pink sock in there? It lay jammed under an empty jar of icky stuff. She tilted her head and leaned a little bit closer. There was nothing wrong with that sock. She put a finger on the fluffy pink fabric, and then she saw another one. It was one of Daddy’s; black and not soft at all, not like Chrissie’s socks, and it had holes everywhere. She giggled and let go of her nose. “Ew! Extra eeeew!” She said and closed the garbage bin.

She looked around one last time before returning upstairs. She bypassed the door to her room and pushed open the next one. She stepped through and looked around. It smelled a bit funny in there; something that kind of tickled her nostrils but not quite. More like burning. Like when mommy cleaned windows. She looked at the little table next to mommy’s big mirror. “Don’t touch anything.” She remembered mommy saying. With a final longing look at all the different bottles and pretty boxes, she looked away from the crowded table. There wasn’t any room for Sandelina to sit there anyways. And Sandelina was definitely not allowed to look in the drawer either. Absolutely no way. Chrissie sighed.

“Hm.” Sandelina was absolutely positively not on mommy’s bed. It wasn’t very hard to see, because there was nothing at all on it. Mommy and Daddy’s big fat bed was naked. It really was naked. The big fluffy comforter was gone. So were the sheets. The mattress was still on the bed, but it didn’t look comfortable at all. The pillows were gone too, but she found them piled up on the fancy dresser in the corner. They were naked too. They were all white, but they had been blue, Chrissie thought. Blue and silky, with ribbons all around the edges. Chrissie liked the ribbons and picked on them sometimes when nobody watched. But the blue silky pillow cases were all gone.

But if Sandelina wasn’t in the bed… She dropped to her knees and looked under the bed. Funny. Mommy didn’t have any pretend bunnies under her bed. None at all. No Sandelina. She lay down on her back and slid under the bed. She looked up at the wooden boards that held the mattress up. They looked naked too. She slid around on her back, watching the world turn all wrong. It felt funny, so she made another sliding turn and giggled and sneezed. She slid around another half turn and wriggled her way out head first.

She lay absolutely still on the floor, turned her head this way and that; maybe Sandelina was under the dresser. Nope, clearly not there. Her searching gaze fell on the pile of pillows on top of the dresser. Was Sandelina stacked with the pillows and lost?

The pillows; three big and two small. That made five. One by one, Chrissie moved them to the floor. She turned them and patted them to make sure there was nothing hiding in or between them. When all the pillows had been searched and lined up on the floor next to the dresser, Chrissie flopped down on top of them to think for a minute or two.

Where was Sandelina? When had she last seen her? It was so hard to remember. Mommy always told her to think and to concentrate; then it would come to her. But that was so silly. Things didn’t just come to her when she thought about them. That was kind of magic, and Chrissie had tried, actually tried really really hard. Magic wasn’t real at all.

Chrissie hated to try to remember when there wasn’t anything to remember. But maybe she could figure it out if she thought really really hard.

But the only thing she could think of was Sandelina’s soft pretty face, flexible arms, and real plastic shoes with real Velcro. The pretty dress with buttons that mommy had put back on a mega million times at least. They always fell off in the laundry Mommy said

Chrissie frowned. Laundry? She looked at the naked bed, dug the back of her head into one of the naked pillows, and looked up at a very naked window. Chrissie climbed out of the mountain of fluffy nakedness and strolled out of mommy’s bedroom and down the stairs. She avoided the last step again and made a marvelous landing in almost perfect balanced fashion. But instead of turning left after the stairs, she turned right and spent a few moments in the laundry room.

She hop-skipped to the living-room and flopped down on the couch next to mommy, humming under her breath. It was a melody she and Sandelina had made up yesterday. It was just before Chrissies doll tried to dance on the kitchen table, tripped, and fell face first into Daddy’s macaroni spirals.

Sandelina had looked funny with cheese sauce all over her face, but Daddy hadn’t laughed at all. Mommy had given her that look; she remembered now, that look that only a really tired mommy gave to Chrissie after a long day. Chrissie knew what that look meant. So she had picked up Sandelina and held her out to mommy. “I think Sandelina needs a bath Mommy.”

So Mommy had sighed and taken the sticky doll by the hair and said. “I think Sandelina can help me wash curtains and pillowcases tomorrow then. It will do her good.” Sandelina had been gone ever since. Chrissie had forgotten, but now she knew. Sandelina was nice and clean now and had finished tumbling around and around, maybe she was still a little bit warm and dizzy.

Mommy was almost done moving papers around. She was stacking them on the table, and had taken off the glasses. She had put the pen away and now she turned all of her to Chrissie, not just a little bit, and looked at her. “I bet you found Sandelina already.”

Chrissie shook her head. Then she nodded and said. “Kind of found her a little bit almost.”

“What on earth do you mean? Well, where is she then? I know you can remember where you put your things if you just try. So, how can you kind of find Sandelina? Where is she?” Mommy frowned and narrowed her eyes at Chrissie’s widening smile. “What are you not telling me?”

Chrissie shrugged and squinted hard, smiling. She folded forward and rested her head on her knees, peered up at mommy. “It’s ok Mommy. If you think really really hard, you can remember too.”

Mommy went very still and said. “Don’t be bold little missy.”

Chrissie cringed a little. It didn’t go quite the way she had thought it would. But it was alright. Mommy wasn’t angry, even if she had that way of wrinkling her forehead and not blink for a long, long time.

Chrissie sat up on the couch. Sit straight, mommy always said. “Here’s a deal mommy.” She said. “I did a lot of thinking. Very lots of thinking. I looked everywhere. Just like you said.” She continued and looked mommy straight in the eye. But she couldn’t quite stop the giggle. Not until mommy frowned even more. She hurried to finish. “Well mommy can you think a bit too just for me can you? I want you to remember what I remember.”

Mommy curled up her eyebrows and twitched her lips a little as she considered the deal. Finally she sighed, shuffled her important papers a little bit, and looked back at her daughter.

Ok, Chrissie, tell me what I should think about.”

“Sandelina, silly.” Chrissie said quickly.

“Yes. I understand that it’s Sandelina we are talking about. Could you give me a hint?” She held up a hand and measured a tiny space between thumb and forefinger. “Mommy is not as good at thinking as you, Chrissie. So help me out. A little.”

Chrissie giggled for real and pulled her feet up on the couch, hugging her knees. “Think about supper, and daddy, and then you can remember.”

“Supper?” If possible, mommy’s face crinkled up even more.

Chrissie nodded. “Yep. Supper yesterday.“ She pressed her lips together and zipped them shut with a finger. It was hard to giggle with the mouth closed though. Really hard. And mommy looked so funny the giggle would explode any second. She squirmed and rocked back and forth, swallowing giggle after giggle until her tummy felt all wobbly and warm. And mommy’s body didn’t move at all when her eyes and mouth went here and there, and she chewed her lip so hard Chrissie was afraid mommy would bite it off.

“Oh sh—” Mommy’s eyes flew wide open and she clapped a hand over her mouth. Then she hopped off the couch and disappeared into the laundry room. When mommy came back a moment later, she smiled that pretty mommy smile. “Sandelina,” she said to the doll, “I’m sorry I forgot you in the dryer.” Sandelina just smiled as she lay in mommy’s arms. Chrissie reached and Sandelina came to her.

When Sandelina found her place in Chrissies lap, a little bit warm and very tumbled and clean, mommy leaned over and kissed Chrissie on the forehead. She sat down next to her and straightened Sandelina’s hair a little before saying. “Chrissie, you know what?”

“Chrissie returned mommy’s gaze, hugging Sandelina. “What mommy?”

“I think Sandelina has the best mommy ever, ever, ever. I think we could all learn something from her.”

404 – A piece of morbid flash fiction

Reading Time: 3 minutes


A piece of morbid flash fiction.

By Jenny K Brennan 2014

Listen to Billy tell the story in the October madness episode of the Studio Chaotic podcast Released October 7th 2014.

Is it dead yet?
You consider lying. You try on a couple of words that might fit. Puffing your lips, rolling your eyes skyward as you think about it. You consider googling for synonyms of “no” that would make it feel like less of a lie. A quick googling for things that could possibly but more likely never be of any use was a good practice. Such a wonderful way to procrastinate. Procrastinate? Adjourn, postpone, reschedule. Is that all there is? You google “procrastinate” and defer the delaying of putting off the suspension of life any further.

No, lying wouldn’t do it. The thing is truly dying. Or already dead. Who knows these things anyways.

But as realizations go, it couldn’t be any more immediate. It was in fact a knowledge that had come to you over time through endless suffocating spans of expectant seconds, minutes, maybe even years of swimming through sludge. Pile after pile of the stuff, come to think of it. You always knew the day would come. Hoping it would pass by; the reality of the end.

The thing that is going to die flail’s and thrashes in a bloody puddle on the floor. It can’t get air despite so much oxygen lying all around it in exhausted heaps. As things go, of course they are just perfectly placed out of reach. Fancy that. When failing to beseech the machine, the thing crawls through the slippery dirty muck that used to be its life, falls over on its side and starts scraping at its face with hands that are sometimes deformed claws and sometimes little more than ghostly tendrils of sickly bitter smoke. Again and again, ripping old scabs, fresh white scarring, shredding them open. If it could just die. Just die already.

Violent seizures grip the thing. They let up and then attack again with little time for reprieve. The thing lie on its back and seemingly disjointed limbs slam into the hardwood floor. Bone barely covered by raw flesh pound the unyielding wood, never missing a beat all through the spastic measures. In-between spasms, a chattering and a breathless sizzle filled the throbbing silence.

That beat actually has a rhythm. You think dreamily and try to find it with the side of one thumb and a #2 pencil.

The thing gasps. Immediately it sucks in all the air in greedy gulps harmonized with whimpers of relief. Harsh ragged breaths calm the body and the thing rolls over on its other side, panting slowly. It extends a trembling hand towards the machine and clicks. And clicks. It will be alright now. Wide hopeful eyes search the machine for solace, for a reaction, for something. But the machine heaves a forgetful sigh and turns away. Without pity it chokes its connections, breaks its workflow, and allows connected bits to come as they please. What does it care? The machine doesn’t worry over whether the thing has time to find what it needs before cutting off the world once more. Maybe the broken thing on the floor is already dead, pallid and panting in a growing slippery stain of its exposed viscera. Guts and organs glistening while cooling quickly in the glimmering light of the screen. Yes, it is dead, had been a slowly rotting corpse for a long time now. And that realization, as realizations go, is a mother fucker of a kick in the head. It had been there for some time. But denial is a powerful thing.

Powerful indeed, you ponder with your finger hovering over the faded keys. You google the word “Cat” along with the word “viscera” and immediately regret it. The thing on the floor moans and coughs up pieces of broken glass, a used condom, and a couple of four gig SD memory cards.

You quickly forget the dead thing on the floor with its unsavory chucking up of gore and other artifacts. It was after all just a thing. A thing that comes and goes, leaving its sticky handprints all over you in the moments when it has the strength to rise and approach you. Probing gently, viciously groping at unborn fancies. Its comforting caress a teasing fleeting whisper of chaos and quietly constructed melodies that has never been there before. It leaves its morbid taint of colors and words with no clear chain of command. It leaves its sprinkling of jumbled instructions.

Assemble this. Make of it what you will.

But dead things don’t provide feedback. Nor does it speak of the manner in which it would help if it could.

Because at this moment; perhaps not ad infinitum, perhaps not for a moment longer than it takes for that breath of yours to settle down, the thing is very much dead.

The machine killed the muse.

With a prompt to check your connection, and with cold disregard for assured efficiency, it will kill again.

And again. And again, and again.