Write…Edit…Publish: Deja Vu or Voodoo – October 2018 #WEPFF

Welcome to the October  WEP+IWSG challenge.

On the WEP blog it states the following: “OCTOBER is the month for screams and chills, ghosts and ghoulies, mystery and fear.” I’m always hesitant to write anything linked to horror. However, it goes further to say: “Most WEP-ers go with horror for October but what if it isn’t your bag? No problem. Just interpret these prompts without a smidgen of anything extra-sensory.”
I may not feel comfortable writing “pure horror” but I kind of like the idea of “extra-sensory”.
This story is one I found amongst my flash fiction works-in-progress folder. I hope it scares you… even a little…

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Jungle Jamboree

It was spectacular, a treat for the eyes, a canvas splashed in shades of oranges-reds-golds, as the sun disappeared behind the horizon. As the light faded, the sharp outline of the thatched-roof bungalow was reduced to an eerie silhouette. The idyllic beach view of a few hours earlier, complete with white sand and cerulean blue sea forming a picturesque background, was now replaced by shadows, barely visible in the last few moments before the light disappeared completely.

An unmistakable scent of coconut wafted from the assorted cocktail glasses that were passed around. Twelve committee members were represented at the gathering. They spoke little. Each person occupied with his own thoughts and the story he would contribute. The nearby sea as the tide rushed in competed with the distant music of the jungle night. The heartbeat of the jungle was raw and primitive. It was living, breathing, pulsating; a cacophony of weird and wonderful sounds that combined to create a unique and sensual rhythm.

They could feel it. There was no escaping its power.

As the sun disappeared, a new atmosphere unfolded, thick and sizzling with anticipation. Nearby, masked figures formed a circle. The slow thump of a drum began. Grey clouds gathered and then, as if the fast-forward remote control button had been activated, the scene sped up, as more and more clouds joined in.

The drumming continued, sharp and demanding.

Time moved forward, restless and urgent.

Dark grey clouds weighed down, ready to burst open. Forked lightning slashed across the sky to illuminate a dazzling panorama of trees and bushes whipped to a frenzy by the wind. Raindrops bounced everywhere. The heavy drops changed into a merciless torrential downpour as the sky unleashed its monster.

The floor vibrated with the sound of drum beats and thunder, loud and jarring, like the approach of a marching band, the volume turned up to maximum level. Raindrops morphed into hailstones, pelting down with a vengeance, bigger and bigger.

The monster was in full force now.

As the monster raged, the thatched-roof bungalow remained intact. Inside the main room, important decisions were made. Lives changed, irrevocably as alliances were forged and long-standing friendships were put to the test. All the deliberations of the evening were undertaken with one goal in mind, which bonded each person to the other, in a strange manner; a goal each one was committed to, until the next clandestine gathering.

WORDS – 401
FCA – As per preference list below.

BONUS!
I’ve decided to re-post my poem from the October 2013 WEP challenge. I had so much fun writing this!
It boasts a collection of some of my favorite authors/poets. Poetry is my first love…but it’s since been ousted by flash fiction. But that’s a post for another day.
Here goes——————–

“I am trying to connect with the late Dr. Seuss”—-

And never imagined what chaos was about to be loosed?

The air filled with tension

Beyond comprehension

The lights all a-flicker

And my friend with a snicker

Which soon turned to a frown

His jaw dropped to the ground

And there stood the infamous man of all rhyme

He popped up, he hopped up

In the nick of all time

 

“You called and I came.”

Informed Dr. Seuss

And then all of a sudden

All hell did break loose

Go from here! Scatter! You’d better vamoose!

We turned – almost certain that this was a ruse…

And you’ll never believe it

You’ll never guess who

They waved in excitement

Thing 1 and Thing 2

They popped up they hopped up

What were we to do?

And the séance was now a glorious zoo!

Thing 1 and Thing 2, they chanted and ranted

Thing 1 and Thing 2, they puffed and they panted!

Poof! Poof! Poof! Poof! Poof!

And others popped too —

Wordsworth and Keats, right out of the blue

Steinbeck and Frost, and Sylvie Plath too!

Cleopatra rode by

In the blink of an eye…

Oh golly! Oh my!

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

 

What have you done? Send them all back!

And amidst all the chaos

We heard a loud CRACK!

The crystal ball shattered

Thing 1 gave it a WHACK!

 

A great flash of light ripped the black of the night!

A sound like a roar kept us glued to the floor!

A strong gust of wind seemed to blow someone in…

Thing 1 and 2 chuckled…

My shaking knees buckled…

 

Dr. Seuss in a panic, gave a cursory glance

To the flamboyant man, who walked by in a prance…

The master of wit

The great Oscar Wilde

In a bumbling fit

Like a small naughty child!

 

We were all in a daze…

Like being trapped in a maze…

But Thing 1 and Thing

Remained calm and unfazed!

 

And just when we thought we could take it no more

Take a wild guess who should walk through that door?

Unbelievable! Crazy! It was the last straw!

He was larger than life with a booming guffaw!

In bold velvet doublet and white pompadour

The Bard in his glory no-one could ignore!

 

“What manner of mischief doth here abound?”

He uttered in voice so deep and profound.

By Jove, the scene did the Bard so confound

He summoned a conjuror who was well renowned

A spinning vortex appeared from nowhere

Everyone was perplexed could do nothing but stare

 

We were all in a tizz

Flashing by in a whizz

A kaleidoscope moment straight out of showbiz!

People and objects  – zooming in, zooming out!

Backwards and forwards – with a scream and a shout!

VOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!

One massive explosion

Every atom was frozen…

Time and space were suspended

As the seer had intended

 

And all that remained at the end of it all?

A miniature cat

A red and white top hat

And a fine crystal ball!

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My post is a little early. There are already a few posts up, so I’ll start making the rounds over the next few days.
Remember to link your stories on Wednesday 17 October, to the WEP+IWSG badge over at the IWSG Facebook page.
Happy Reading! 

72 Comments

  1. Alex J. Caavanaugh on October 14, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Sounds like they weathered a real storm outside.

  2. L. Diane Wolfe on October 15, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    They possessed a strong hedge of protection.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 15, 2018 at 6:27 pm

      Protected by who or what? That’s the question…

  3. Elephants Child on October 15, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    They survived the storm. But at what price (and who paid it)?
    Loved your tale, and will be wondering about their secret plots.
    The bonus poem was a delight too.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 15, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Great points for me to ponder…
      Thank you for the visit! 🙂

  4. Olga Godim on October 16, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Love how your up the tension: “It was living, breathing, pulsating; a cacophony of weird and wonderful sounds that combined to create a unique and sensual rhythm.”
    A marvelous auditory image, very colorful, even though the story afterwords was a bit of a let-down. As if they expected something big to happen, but it didn’t. Maybe that was the point. Sometimes, the anticipation is much bigger and scarier than the reality.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks for the feedback.
      Gives me much to think about during the rewrites/edits… and the direction of the story.

  5. Denise Covey on October 16, 2018 at 12:53 am

    Hi Mishy!

    Great 2 entries. Loved both.
    There are ways you could have upped the tension in the first story, but you had some great elements. I always like having nature as representative of the goings on in the story. You’ve done this well. It really made the story more enjoyable.
    It might be just me, but i kept re-reading to see where they actually were. Were they on the beach? In a house? In a bar? That bit was confusing but most readers probably wouldn’t care. I’ve just been taught that it’s crucial to ground your reader early.

    That said, I loved it and I loved revisiting Dr Seuss. That was indeed a cracker!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 16, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      I think they’re on the beach… in a jungle type of setting.

  6. dolorah at Book Lover on October 16, 2018 at 5:17 am

    That was a lot of fun! Both of the actually. I enjoyed the creepy imagery of the storm, the night and jungle; then the rampant chaos of the Seuss seance. Made me laugh. Well done Michelle.

  7. Natalie Aguirre on October 16, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Great story. You started out really strong and got me totally hooked into finding out why they were meeting.

  8. Yolanda Renee on October 16, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Great story and so fitting with the weather causing horror all around. You do what you have to do to survive, but what was the cost? Loved the story and really appreciate that poem!
    Well done!
    Happy Halloween!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 16, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      I always say that I can’t write horror… but the cost is definitely “horrific”, though not necessarily in a gory way. Just need to figure it out…

  9. Hilary on October 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Michelle – loved the thought of the jungle closing all around them – I could see the liana style roots having a mind of their own … while the beasties had eyes that spied, and the insects rattled a few hearts; while the gatherers really had serious ideas to ponder for their and their peoples’ future … the monstrous jungle surrounds and I guess the tide could divide bringing another element in. Loved it … cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on October 16, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      Some great ideas… independent-minded liana style roots, spying beasties and creepy insects… and the tide as well.
      All would fit into this setting. Very appropriate.
      Thank you, Hilary!

  10. Tanya Miranda on October 16, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    I loved your flash fiction piece. It was so intense. The scene was described so vividly. I’m still not sure why they were meeting, except that decisions were made that would change lives. Were they good, bad, selfish? Seems like the start of a longer story…

    And I absolutely loved the poem! Such great rhythm and rhyming. I grew up loving Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, and a few other poets who wrote silly and fun imagery. And I have my kids read them too. You wrote a good one there…

  11. Michelle Wallace on October 16, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    They were definitely selfish!! 🙂

    I LOVE Dr. Seuss and all things Seussical.
    Thank you, Tanya.

  12. Jemi Fraser on October 17, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Wow – you can set a scene!!! Loved the build in the weather and the tension. Not sure how comfortable I’d be with decisions made under that thatched roof! 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on October 17, 2018 at 5:29 am

      I enjoyed building this scene! Thanks, Jemi! 🙂
      The decisions made under that thatched roof are definitely life-altering…

  13. ellis moore on October 17, 2018 at 3:49 am

    does Mother Nature
    love us or hate us
    will she kill us
    or our life be spared

    in her great
    massive Fury
    I wonder does
    she even care

    • Michelle Wallace on October 17, 2018 at 5:30 am

      Mother Nature adds to the problem!
      Thank you for the poem, Ellis.

  14. Lynda A Dietz on October 17, 2018 at 4:39 am

    I’m not sure what I liked better, the story or the poem! Both showcase your talents as a writer, that’s for sure. Great job, Michelle!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 17, 2018 at 5:31 am

      Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Lynda! 🙂

  15. Kalpana on October 17, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Untold eeriness in the story, nothing said, a lot left to the imagination. I hope I don’t think of this the next time there’s a huge thunderstorm. I LOVED your poem too.

  16. Susan Swiderski on October 17, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    You did a fantastic job creating an atmosphere in the flash fiction piece. The drumbeat, especially, resonated with me. Years ago, I mentored several teenage girls at church, and part of their catechism process involved visiting other churches. One Sunday, I took them to a charismatic-type church. (I promised their parents if any snakes came out, we’d leave!) Anyhow, drums were an important part of the service that day. There were other instruments, too, but the drumbeats stand out in my mind. They got louder and louder and faster and faster, inciting the people to dance… faster and faster, around and around, as though they were possessed. I envisioned that as I read your story, and it make me think maybe the drumbeats were inciting Mother Nature to “dance” wildly, too.

    And what can I say about the poem? Love it! You obviously had fun writing it, and I had fun reading it.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 17, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      Repetitive drumming that increases in volume/speed always creates an ominous tone. Foreboding.
      The drumbeats and Mother Nature in sync is what I had in mind…

      Thank you, Susan.

  17. Dixie Jo Jarchow on October 17, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Nice job. Loved the atmosphere. Watch for cliches “cerulean”. Etc. Excellent job.

  18. Joey on October 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I felt like I was in the jungle. Awesome descriptive passage!

  19. Adura Ojo on October 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    So many questions….the way it should be in an eerie tale. The poem delivers its own beauty too.

  20. Pat Hatt on October 18, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    They must have tapped into some mighty big juju to weather such a storm. Makes you wonder what they have planned. Great verse too, all the way through.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 19, 2018 at 10:53 am

      You’re the master of rhyme, Patt! Thought about you when I re-posted the poem.

  21. L.G. Keltner on October 18, 2018 at 11:58 pm

    That was so atmospheric! I felt the air crackling around me as I read, but I can’t help but wonder what’s up with the people inside that bungalow. Something is up.

    And that poem was so much fun! Thank you for reposting it!

  22. Nilanjana Bose on October 19, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I wonder what decisions were made within those walls? Why do I get the feeling that lives were changed, not for the better, but in some terrible heart-stopping way? For some reason the weather descriptions took me back to the formidable storms of the African coastline… evocative! And the poem was truly delightful.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 19, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      I had some terrible heart-stopping changes in mind… but I don’t write horror!! 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed it, Nila!

  23. Christopher Scott on October 19, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    An enticing tale of surviving a powerful tropical storm. One question remains; Did the group in the story create the storm, or was it already on its way there? Well done Michelle.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 20, 2018 at 4:40 am

      Did the group in the story create the storm, or was it already on its way there? Something worth developing… maybe a bit of both?
      Thank you, Christopher.

  24. Deborah Drucker on October 19, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    I felt like the people in masks were conjuring up a hurricane with their drumming. Not sure what the gathering was about as far as the relationships that were forged. Are they up to no good and the violence of the storm symbolized that? Mysterious story.

  25. Michael Di Gesu on October 20, 2018 at 3:23 am

    APPLAUSE!!!!!!!! You mastered ATMOSPHERE!!!!!!! You can give the old Blurb KIng a REAL run for his money! CONGRATS…

    LOVED the Poem as well, Michelle. YOU really have become the QUEEN of FLASH FICTION>…..

  26. Michael Di Gesu on October 20, 2018 at 3:24 am

    APPLAUSE!!!!!!!! You mastered ATMOSPHERE!!!!!!! You can give the old Blurb KIng a REAL run for his money! CONGRATS…

    LOVED the Poem as well, Michelle. YOU really have become the QUEEN of FLASH FICTION!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 20, 2018 at 4:42 am

      Give you a run for your money? I think not.
      YOU are the master of atmospheric description! 🙂

  27. Sally Stackhouse on October 20, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Great story and loved the poem.

  28. Shelly on October 20, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Hi, Michelle!

    Was going through my blog the other day and saw that you left me a message back in February. I know I haven’t been around. Last April, the doctor’s found a critter in my left breast. After speaking to 2 breast surgeons, I decided to do treatments the holistic way. No surgery, chemo or radiation. I also went raw vegan and juice 50lbs of carrots a week. I’ve also been put on Progesterone cream and iodine drops. I’ve also been told to keep my schedule light, and to get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. In the beginning of this journey, I was extremely sick. But now, I feel good. Also do IV and other strange therapies. Unfortunately, this has invaded my writing time since I still have to work.

    Anyway, I see that you’ve been a busy little beaver. Good for you.
    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    • Michelle Wallace on October 21, 2018 at 10:17 am

      Shelly, I’m so glad to hear that the holistic treatments have yielded positive results and that you feel so much better. 🙂
      The chemo and radiation choices? I don’t know… *long shudder*
      I’m sure that you’ll eventually get back to your writing.

      In the interim, you should try one of the speech-recognition programmes to record your ideas/writing… have you tried any?

      I’m still plodding along with my writing.
      ((HUGS))

  29. Toi Thomas on October 21, 2018 at 12:21 am

    I love the way you describe the storm. It’s like a living creature that the other characters have to deal with or endure. It’s quite scary from that standpoint, especially considering all the worldwide devastation storms have been causing lately. Not having a clear idea of where the story is happening added to the tension, but I feel like they are maybe in a cove, close to a beach. Nicely done.

    The poem was a delight. Very nice.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 21, 2018 at 10:23 am

      I wanted the storm to be “alive” to add to the atmosphere. Glad it worked.
      I didn’t plan on excluding the specific location, but I’m glad it helped to up the tension. 🙂 I had a jungle-type setting in mind.
      Thanks, Toi.

  30. DG Hudson on October 21, 2018 at 7:39 am

    And what kind of group was meeting for all of that weather clatter to be descending? A seance or a witches meeting? Just makes me wonder . The poem from 2013 I liked, it mentioned a few of my favorite poets.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 21, 2018 at 10:25 am

      I had a blast writing that poem. A fun experience which kept me on a high! 🙂

  31. Roland R Clarke on October 23, 2018 at 1:49 am

    Loved the way that you built such atmosphere in so few words – and then added that word ‘clandestine’. That took the tale to other places. Cleverly done.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 23, 2018 at 5:02 am

      I’m so glad you picked up on that. I was hoping to create the impression of an illicit gathering amongst participants who have done this before…
      Thanks, Roland!

  32. Rebecca Douglass on October 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    The storm was good, but I loved the poem! Though I was waiting for Chaucer to come in with the Wife of Bath. THEN you’d have a party, all right! 😀

    • Michelle Wallace on October 24, 2018 at 4:13 am

      Yes, Chaucer and the Wife of Bath would have completed the group of revellers! 🙂

  33. Operation Awesome on October 24, 2018 at 8:13 am

    So many wonderful words in this piece. You really built the atmosphere through your descriptions of the surroundings. And a bonus poem!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 24, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you for the visit… and happy you enjoyed the words! 🙂 I’m a logophile!

  34. J Lenni Dorner on October 26, 2018 at 7:11 am

    A very interesting meeting, to be sure! Good work with the senses. Felt like I was there.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 26, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      I can’t write hard-core horror. I’m glad you were drawn into the scene.
      Thank you, J Lenni!

  35. Jamie Lightcap Dorner on October 26, 2018 at 10:31 am

    I’d say you nailed the 5 senses. Good job.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 26, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      Even though it’s not “blood and gore horror” at least something worked.
      Thank you, Jamie!

  36. Rachna Chhabria on October 26, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Loved both your pieces, Michelle. I’ve always enjoyed your writing, it just keeps me hooked till the last word!

  37. Melissa Maygrove on November 7, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Wow! You’re an excellent writer! Love Jungle Jamboree! I also enjoyed the poem. It reminds me of the ones my family used to write to go with certain gifts. We love to roast people with them!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 8, 2018 at 6:20 am

      Thank you for the compliment! You’ve made my day! 🙂

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