So you can read my books

Thursday, August 23, 2012

YOU DO NOT KNOW THE DARK_Friday's Romantic Challenge

It is Friday's Romantic Challenge again.

Its prompt: Romantic Picnic.


Yes, a midnight picnic in a cemetery. Hey this is me we're talking about.

Let us join Victor Standish and his ghoul friend, Alice Wentworth,

having a midnight picnic beside the crypt of Marie Laveau:

{"I shall tell you a great secret: do not wait for the Last Judgement; it takes place every day." Albert Camus}

“You do not know the dark, Victor.”

Alice’s eyes were blue fire, her translucent skin spun moonbeams, her teeth sharper than regrets.

I flicked my eyes over this midnight graveyard as empty now as it usually was in the light. Adults these days shed all their yesterdays.

Guess because when the future turned out to be a cruel place, no proof of a better past would exist. And the loss would be survivable. I smiled bitter. I knew all about lying to yourself.

I forced a laugh, “Say again? I’ve lived years on the streets. I know the night all right.”

Alice gestured at the cemetery all about us. “You know city darkness … which is never fully black.”

She shivered. “There is power in the night, terror in the darkness. Here there are … things that do not believe in wrong or right … only prey and hunger.”

I gestured to the small basket in front of her on the sheet spread on the grass. “Speaking of hunger, I got you finger sandwiches.”

“What?” murmured Alice in her odd British accent.

“You know that child molester who got off on a technicality today?”


“Well, let’s just say that he’ll never play the piano again.”

Alice’s strange eyes hollowed. “Y-You?”

I shook my head. “Elu … which is where the rest of the pervert went. Elu gets hungry, too.”

Alice sighed, “Is he going to attend this ill-advised picnic as well?”

I faked hurt. “Ill-advised? This is romantic with a capitol R. We first met in this cemetery, remember? Right here. In front of Marie Laveau’s crypt.”

“That night almost killed you, Victor! There are no thresholds in a graveyard! Nowhere for you to run to safety. Oh, no!”

I turned around to follow her horrified look. Marie Laveau flowed across the withered grass towards us.

Her face was glowing like an instrument of dark grace. She never died, never used her crypt. Guess she just thought we lowered property values.

I gestured to our right. “The addiction counseling center is that way, Fright Face.”

Marie husked, “You always a smartass, boy?”

I shook my head. “No. Sometimes I sleep.”

Alice whimpered as she looked to our left. The shade of her insane mother rose like mist from Hell's open gate from the center of a ring of black mushrooms.

“No, not Mother. Not her!”

Alice’s mother smiled a thing of nightmares. “I shall show you both pain like you never imagined.”

As if. There were more flavors of pain than lies in a politician’s head. In my life, I swallowed most of them. It was part of the deep music, the big game.

I took Alice’s trembling fingers. “Everything important that will ever happen to you will involve pain. Like getting rid of in-laws and pesky neighbors.”

Marie laughed, “You be a fool!”

I shook my head. “I be Death’s son. And her I did invite to the picnic.”

Mother, in her traditional black robes, billowed behind Alice’s mother. The wraith blurred into smoke. Mother inhaled sharply, making a face as she consumed the essence of Alice's mother.

“Tasted bad as I knew she would.”

Marie Laveau backed up, her palm held out uselessly. “The Gray Man say I can’t be dying!”

I turned to Alice. “Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is. And it’s more common.”

Mother flowed to Marie faster than I could blink. She wrapped a sinewy arm around the voodoo queen. “Death is a door one person wide. Let me show you what’s on the other side, waiting.”

Then, faster than fingers become fists, the two of them were gone.

Alice turned to me. “You planned this?”

“Ah, planned might be too detailed a term to use. I just thought if I made us big enough targets, those two would stop hiding in the wings.”

I winked at her. "Now, we can get back to our romantic picnic."

Alice gasped, “And if your mother had decided to let us picnic alone?”

I made an uneasy face. “It’s not good to hold on too hard to what-if’s. You’ll get muscle cramps.”

She lunged for me. “I will show you cramps!”

I sprang up, racing between crypts and tombstones as she flowed after me. “Your finger sandwiches will get cold!”

As we darted between mausoleums, Alice smiled wide. “Your fingers look warm to me!”

I sighed. Victor Standish, saving the world one stupid suicidal stunt at a time.


  1. New meaning to "finger foods."

    This was a great read!

  2. Thanks, Jay:
    I wanted to bring something different and fun to the picnic theme. I'm glad you liked it. :-)

  3. Huh; literal meaning to finger sandwiches. I liked it.


  4. its such a nice blog to provides info
    hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!
    for more plz visit
    Debt management plan

  5. A very deep and dark kind of picnic story :)Good to read all kinds of stories, thanks to RFW.

  6. Donna:
    Yes, as Jay says, "Finger food!"

    Thanks for the nice words. My debts insist on being unmanageable!

    I wanted to upend the expectations of the readers from the prompt: romantic picnic. For poor Victor romance is hard found! :-)

  7. Only Victor and Alice could enjoy a romantic picnic in a cemetery. Think I'll pass on the finger sandwiches though.

  8. An interesting take on romance. There's a church and graveyard close to where I work. A lot of people eat their lunch there - kind of picnic. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  9. Alex:
    At least no zombie ants turned up!

    Romance is hard to find sometimes when the supernatural is involved! Thanks for visiting, Roland

  10. Very interesting take on the prompt, very enjoyable. Thank you for stopping at my blogspot

  11. Glad you enjoyed my effort, Nilanjana! Yours was a lovely entry, Roland

  12. This was a real hoot, made me smile! I like the alternative take on the theme.

  13. Dear Roland,
    Thank you for visiting and commenting on my post! It means a lot to me.

    In your post you have dished up an original picnic for Victor and Alice, in a graveyard at midnight!

    Great take on the theme!

    Best wishes,
    For the benefit of other readers:
    RFW No.43 - 'Romantic Picnic'

  14. Crikey, I got shivers up and down my spine each time I read your entry. I have to read it several times because there is so much in here that I miss quite a bit the first time round.

  15. Madeleine:
    Yes, Victor may think deep thoughts but he keeps his remarks snarky!

    I'm glad you liked my entry as I enjoyed yours, Roland

    Thanks for liking Victor's picnic with Alice. I like Victor of the smart mouth and deep thoughts. Your compliment made my weary night much better, Roland

  16. Great take on the theme, Roland. Love Victor's dry and sometimes sarcastic humour. It would suit Alice's British-Victorian sensibilities. They are so well suited. And that picnic is not anything if not ghoulish-romantic! Real fun to read:)

  17. Thanks, Adura:
    I always wondered what it was about Juliet and Romeo that made them love each other so. Was it just looks? Teen "love" can be like that sometimes.

    I wanted Victor and Alice to be the Yin to the other's Yang so to speak, to complement each other as no one else in their world could.

    If they are together, they are whole. Apart they are walking wounded. So watch out supernatural beasties when you take them on together! I'm really happy that you like their pairing. :-)

  18. Adura:
    I always saddened by the thought that Juliet and Romeo might have only been attracted to one another because they were attractive AND forbidden.

    How much more interesting I thought it would be if two lovers fell in love with the other's essence, the totality of their thoughts, wounds, and spirit.

    So I did it that first night when Alice met Victor beside Marie Laveau's crypt. Hey, that's the fun of being an author, right? :-)

  19. Hi Roland
    You humor flows throughout. I especially love the line, more flavors of pain than lies in a politician’s head. Great job as always.

  20. Gripping as usual Roland! I loved your take on the theme. You really have a gift

  21. Nancy:
    With this migraine, I have a really bitter flavor of pain right now -- and I have to take off for a long day of work, filtering blood, doing QC on platelets, and driving blood drives to our larger center. Whew! Victor!! I need some help here. Sell the movie rights to Spielberg of your adventures for me!!! :-)

    Thanks for the nice words. They were a balm to my pulsating head! Roland

  22. Ah,

    Two of my favorite lovebirds. And to have a celestial, nighttime cemetery picnic is the ONLY way to go for these two.

    Perfect prose, perfect imagery, perfect picnic.

  23. Ha Roland, what two or three more posts since Friday! Man! You are hard to find!
    But I found you at a ghoulish midnight picnic eating finger sangers. Only you. Romance in the dark. Lyrical prose, beautiful imagery.
    I'm glad Victor is still saving the world...

    Don't forget to come back to RFW if you'd like to vote for your favourite entry this week. Go with your gut. Really should be someone who kept to the word limit and has a romantic element! Poll will go up Monday AEST.

    Thanks for entering! We made our 20 goal!


  24. Thanks, Michael:
    I wanted to do something different for this theme. I even tried for 400 words, but alas, Victor is long-winded! :-)

    I sometimes make a new post from the comments of the one prior! Oops! I wanted to do something unique with the picnic theme. Like I told Michael: I even tried for the 400 word limit, but I would rather do a flash a little long than a little badly!! :-)

    I can't bring myself to vote against any of my friends which voting FOR someone would be doing. I am a softie, Roland

  25. Hello Roland.
    When I saw the title of this, I almost did a runner, but I was still intrigued. You did not disappoint and this was certainly one picnic to remember. I shall never look at finger food the same again! LOL
    Thanks for sharing.

    Moonlight Serenade

  26. Now that was in interesting, if ghoulish, take on a picnic. And you got a bit of fun and frolicking in there too. Good job.

  27. Andy:
    You can trust me not to go too far in the Twilight Zone for this challenge! :-) Yes, Victor shoves his hands into his pockets whenever he makes Alice mad!

    I wanted to do a different take on the picnic theme, something to be memorable and fun. I am glad you enjoyed this romp. ;-)