Sunday, May 27, 2012

A SMILE, REFLECTING ~ Lily Childs


   
A SMILE, REFLECTING 
By  ~ Lily Childs



She’s seeing as though through a mask, its hugging surface woven of fine leather and peeking with thorns. Woe betide the kissing man who will surely die from her spikes.
 
Counting down the seconds with bites of her blackened nails she begins to worry her lovers won’t come. They must! She is tearing at the skin now, ripping sore shreds away. Saliva slips into the wounds, puffing the flesh.
 
At last their car pulls into the driveway. He gets out first, does a comedy run around to her side to open the door. She’s looking beautiful tonight – he’s probably telling her that as he lifts her hair and speaks softly into her ear, his hand slipping down that long, slender 
neck.
 
It’s strange to see them together. She is used to having each of them to herself. Is this wrong? Can I do this, can I share? The plan doesn’t seem as solid as it did yesterday, when she’d whispered the invitation.
 
“Don’t tell.”
 
They’d each acquiesced with a flush of the cheek; he in the morning, she - just minutes before 
midnight.
 
But they must have told.
 
It changes everything.
 
They let themselves in, as instructed. She hears them utter meaningless words in low voices as they pour themselves drinks from the bar. Hers will be green gin and his, a dash of single malt. Their giggles entice; the ice in their glasses chimes louder than bells in the expansive hallway. She hears the clatter of heels and soft shuffle of Brogues on parquet. Her breath rises a notch in the dark, keeping time with every step of their feet as they mount the creaking staircase.
 
She will greet them as never before.
 
Her look is of love as she opens the bedroom door - naked as the rose petals that cover the floor, the windowsill, the bed. Her hands drip with 
blood as red as the rose petals that cover the floor, the windowsill, the bed. The daggers are sticky in her hand – one for each neck, one for each heart.
 
She can share after all.
 
As they stand - adulterous eyes taking in her body - she opens her arms. They cannot help themselves, and move towards her. His fingers reach for her waist. He slips them into the open holes she has slit beneath her ribs. His wife drops to her knees; her kisses 
will sting.
 
The descent is all she has dreamed of. Slow, an emptying of life-force, a giddying plummet towards the fabled little death. She smiles as they carry her to the bed; she has been waiting to offer herself up to them this way for so long.
 
They are clumsy. Surely they share the desire to drink her dry? Light flares in her memory and she swallows a missed beat of the heart. Who are these people? How did she get here?
 
Lights off.
 
The lovers fall and fall again, sobbing with tears of seduction, eyes wide open, throats wide open – giving themselves to her in a rush. The game is no longer hers to command, she tells herself, slipping over wet skin. She wonders if she ever really told them the game was theirs all along. Their faces reveal a different truth and she wonders then, if they even know she
is.

  
Outside, sirens scream like banshees; closer – closer still. She wonders at the noises in her head. They’re of radios and cell phones and panic and fear. Someone else’s fear. They slam doors and bang doors; break doors down and come running.
 
She twists her head this way and that. Her lovers lay on either side, throats glistening. His still has the stiletto blade standing erect, though the flow has ebbed. Her dagger has toppled to join the one at her heart making a crucifix between her small breasts.
 
“Oh, hell.”
 
A man creates a shadow on the wall. She watches him lift his phone to his mouth.
 
“Emmerson? We’re too late. 
They’re dead.”

She hears him talking to Emmerson and the others that now crowd the room, of stalkers and escapees and mental health and danger and delusion. Of Mr and Mrs Radford, newly-wed.
 
Her mask is lifting, taking with it the cobweb barbs and the cord that has tightened itself around her thoughts for so very long. In the rush of release she observes the scene in all its stark reality, seeing clearly for the first time in years – and understands what she has done.
 
“Stop her! Somebody, stop...”
 
She reclaims the knives, studies them for a lucid moment, then remembers. Her little lovers; glistening steel and sharp as the razors with which her mother cut 
her own wrists. When was that?
 
All is well. All is well. She plunges the daggers into her neck, welcomes the warmth that sprays over the sheets and onto her skin.
 
The growing crowd makes the oddest of sounds. She watches them spill their insides; opens her mouth to tell them she is sorry but all that comes out 
is red.
 
It feels better now, this darkening, wet place. She doesn’t know the man and woman beside her, though she’s been in their house for a while. At least they will always be together. The thought makes her happy and she is filled with joy at having learned to truly share – their home, their love, their lives – whoever they were.
 
Pulse.
 
People blur in and out.
  
Pulse.
 
Someone leans over her to press her scarlet fountains, leaving the blades in situ.
 
Pulse.
 
Lightning, is it lightning? It flashes over and over, turning the world into negative and negative and negative and so maybe, just maybe - it’s a camera and... 

 
Pulse.
 
...why would they want photos of me?
  
Pulse.
 
Of us?
 
Pulse.
 
Perhaps we’re a work of art.
 
Pulse.
 
“Smile for the camera”, someone should say.
 
Pulse.
  
She does.
 
Pulse.
 
‘We’ve lost her.’
  
Pulse.
  
Pulse.
  
She grins. Her smile reflects back from the stilling steel.



© Author Lily Childs
~ Another stunning Debut ~ AT THE BIJOU



Now I've seen everything. 'Stilling steel' and 'blades in situ'. Me ~ a man of evocative suspense and mystery. Imagine that. 

Absolutely*Kate has cajoled the one, the only, the wilds we know as Lily Childs to debut AT THE BIJOU ~

Our Ms Kate tried to tell me the projectionist was running "THE SHADOWS OF OUR NOIR" show, but I told her shadows were but mere pinpricks of undeterred light once she let Lily in AT THE BIJOU. She's put all the staff into such a fright.

Absolutely*Kate:  Oh Al, come on, it's not that terrifying. Lily Childs is the epitome of suspense, gut leveling as it may be. We're lucky to have her here. So the jujubes got shook up and the Snickers bars quit laughing. Lily's going places, star to the firmaments, that kind of lofty launch. The gal has stage presence, I tell ya.

Presumably, the voice of Mr Hitchock: "Luck is everything... My good luck in life was to be a really frightened person. I'm fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn't make a good suspense film."


Absolutely*Kate:  Mr H ~ But you're a hero, cinematically speaking. You give pleasure to millions of movie'goers. 

AH: "Give them pleasure - the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare."


Absolutely*Kate: Ahhh, AH, I see . . . teeming talents such as you and our Ms Childs simply let your 'style' be your enigmatic voice-over. Here comes Lily now, why don't you announce to the folks who she thinks she is and I'll ask her who she's going to be.




Aspiring? 

Lily is a writer of horror, twisted crime, dark fiction and poetry who sees beauty in everything. She is the author of the Magenta Shaman urban fantasy short novella series and has recently released the first volume of her extreme horror short stories Cabaret of Dread through Ganglion Press. Her ebooks are available to download from all Amazon platforms.


Lily is Horror Editor at award-winning ezine Thrillers Killers ‘n’ Chillers, alongside Crime Editor/writer Col Bury, and Thriller Editor/best-selling author of the Joe Hunter series, Matt Hilton. She blogs regularly at Lily Childs Feardom  and you can follow her on Twitter @LilyChilds and facebook.com/lilychildsfeardom

CURIOUSITY OF THE KATE sails on .  . .
 Absolutely*Kate: Ahoy there Lily! All you've done in your professional writing career is quite daunting. Your debut AT THE BIJOU is natch, a killer tale, a bloody taste of dark Noir pulsed out to the finish. Your followers, from Feardom come . . . are legendary in their legions, so Predictioneers have preached, but Lily where do YOU see yourself in your own realms of reality?

LILY CHILDS ~ Feardom's
Voice intuiting Time itself

You ask for Manifesting? 

Hmm, Lily is currently working on various supernatural mystery novels in a lighter than usual literary style. Her third Magenta Shaman novella is taking shape and Lily is considering a related non-fiction book on shamanic journeying. She continues to write extreme horror short stories and already has enough dark tales to fill Cabaret of Dread Vol. 2.


And my dreams? You wish your BIJOU audiences to know my Dreams? To become a full-time author of traditional books that carry the logo of a great publishing house on the spine; of books that fill physical as well as virtual shelves. And not least, to become that “proper writer” her daughter already believes in.
  
Absolutely*Kate ~ But Lily, when did spirits speak that you had the inner knowledge to communicate through your vivid stories?


 LILY  ~ They called me as a child, made me ask questions that ‘the grown-ups’ didn’t seem to be able to answer. They still can’t.
  
I’d write about invisible dancers in the grass and bluebell-capped, winged faeries; I rewrote biblical tales to meet myth and other diverse religions. No-one approved so I gave up – on and off. Now I write for myself, because I can’t help it. But the spirits are still there, oh yes.



 A*K  ~ Oh, believe you me, we sense those spirits. But ~ Why / What / How (or all three) make a Lily Childs story so fluent, so vivid . . . and yet while endearing to sense or senses . . . so startling?

 LILY  ~ Flow and trances; I just let it all hang out and don’t question the emotions the act of writing raises - whether stark or sensual - nor how inappropriate the content is. Plus I rarely stop once I start and have completed many a tale with one eye open and the other all-a-twitch, but as soon as it is finished I’ll put the story away for a few days before looking at it again. I love it when I don’t recognise everything I’ve written, but then anyone that knows me will be aware of my sieve-for-a-brain – I don’t remember anything. Maybe it’s a defence mechanism, but for writing short fiction, it works. And that’s why when I’m working on a novel, I have to keep notes.


 A*K  ~ Ahhh, 'awareness' speaking ~ Any place or time ~ where would you be right now with your out-of-body-transfer skills in full soar?

 LILY  ~ Dallying in Crete or Samos during either Equinox – any century, not that you can often determine time when you’re picking herbs, wandering though olive groves or offering a libation at sacred stones.
 
I’m a forest rather than a mountain girl, so would be happier running with a boar than flying with an eagle; though that’s not to say I haven’t ruffled feathers in a meditation or ten. Currently I’ve been walking with man-sized herons; they’ve not got a lot to say for themselves but they walk tall – with grace. I think that’s all about dignity. It’s something I need to learn.



 A*K  ~ Dignity? Grace? I sense those time'old truths underlying so much of your scribing. It's your *magick* toppling over traits which intrigues. Is it truth and not madness that you can turn a creature into something other than their apparent self? What then, dear Lily would you turn *me* into?

I'm in Lily's spell ~ You?
Bohemian Kate, it is my belief that we exist on many levels and layers, and whilst we might not perform True Blood-like shape-shifts in the physical realm, I know we can do it on the spiritual – and of course, in fiction.
 
I have no doubt; you – my jewel-gathering friend are a Magpie, neither earth-bound nor sky-trapped. I would set you free on shamanic flight to dip in and out of psyches and souls, discovering and rescuing and – why not, occasionally stealing something pretty for pleasure.
 
My father has always affectionately called me Maggot (sounds lovely, doesn’t it) from the original country name for this curious bird Maggot-Pie – a nod to my child-like obsession of all thinks twinkly. This is heightened in you, me thinks. You seek out the sparkling on this earthly plane, soaring high and gathering your finds with an astute beak and welcoming wings/arms. You appear here, there and everywhere – a single bird but seemingly in flock, and like in the English tradition, we writers all nod a greeting to you, with no pecking order.
 
You’ll perhaps appreciate that this warm evening – after answering your question this morning - I sat in my parents’ lush garden in the late sun watching a pair of magpies that have nested in a fir tree. They flew round and about us whilst my father waxed lyrical on their habits, with no prompt from me, until the female climbed - no danced - up the trunk of the tree as though it were a ladder. An allegorical ascent perhaps.
 
Finally, the great beauty of this bird is that the unimaginative simply see black and white, but anyone that cares to look closely will experience every shade of blue and green in its feathers, contrasting with pale and pure crystal translucence. That’s what you are, Absolutely*Kate, never simply pie – and you don’t need me to turn you.


Wish your Greater Truths, Lily . . . 
Wow, soft sigh and heartfelt knowing your words stroke my spirted heart. They take the cake, as we say here in America. In this case . . . how fortuitous for *energy* AT THE BIJOU, that it's YOUR birthday cake at this moment in time!


HAPPIEST CELEBRATING ALL YOUR LIVES, LOVELY LINGERING-ON-THE-MIND, LILY CHILDS. Our thanks for greater truths sparking spots, kliegs and yes, magick moonlight you've morphed through mahoghany double doors AT THE BIJOU.



Thank you so much for publishing A Smile, Reflecting and for this gorgeous chat. It’s been a pleasure to laze on your sofas. I might just take a nap... 
                                                                                                  xx Lily Childs
          

Pleasure is truly Ours 

~ *AT THE BIJOU* ~
"Where Writers' Raves are Readers' Faves"




14 comments:

Anthony Cowin said...

Loved every word from the head of the page to its feet. More glorious shimmering in the darkness from Lily, who seems to grow and fly with each new tale. A truly enjoyable addition to my sunny Sunday morning. Thank you Lily and Kate.

Harry said...

Oh boy, someone sure has a lot of mopping ahead of them.

Grisly from the get go and for some reason I did worry about the clean up. But what made it for me was the utter detachment and quality crazy you penned up for the psycho who should have maybe been penned up.

Great work Lily!

Good to see the curtain rising At The Bijou A*K!

Blaze McRob said...

A great rising of the curtain indeed! Blazing bloody beauteous behemoth bemoaning bombasticism! Naturally, this kind of tale is right up my alley. Lily can not take a nap on your couch, Absolutely one. She has more tales to write!

Blaze

Lily Childs said...

Such lovely comments Anthony, Harry and Blaze; I thank you from the bottom of every endless depth.

And Kate, oh Maggie of the Pie, I spent the afternoon on England's green hills today amongst the corvid nests and the leaping hares (via the pub for lunch, of course); I swear I saw you there - were you the dainty creature dipping in and out of the grasses, a-laughing at the sun?

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

WOW!! Is it alright to breathe now? Can I breathe now? Dare I breathe now?

I jest not, Lily... a single breath caught in my throat... suspended as my eyes devoured the tale... senses over-wrought with the vividness and dripping detail of the scene unfolding before me... the pulsing madness echoing all around...

"...she swallows a missed beat of the heart." I think my heart missed a beat or two as well.


If you were to blindfold me and read only that first line... without hesitation, the name Lily Childs would spring from my lips.

Brilliant... dark... deliciously dripping horror that could come from only one mind... Brava, Lily... BRAVA!

ajhayes2 said...

First Off, Happy Birthday, Lady Death. Secondly: Son. Of. A. B--. Sorry about the almost cuss word. But, I mean, Holy . . . Cow (yeah, yeah that's it. Holy Cow. Like Lovecraft, DeSade, Bradbury, Wollstonecraft Shelly and every other classic horroe wreiter are now muttering to each other, Just who the Hell is that? Thanks for the nightmares Lily. I know I'll be twitching and scratching all night long for a while. Aw shit . . . er . . . aw shucks! One just scurried up my the back of my neck just now. Brrrrrrr.

K. A. Laity said...

Here's to us magpies!

Col Bury said...

One for sorrow... two for joy...

That's what you brought us here with this exchange of boundless delights.

And, the story, well, that was summat else! Once our Lil hits a writing rhythm, it just pours out and overflows, providing the reader with spills of lavish wonderment.

Deserved hat tips to both of you.

Regards,
Col

Kristin Fouquet said...

My heart still races from "A Smile, Reflecting." Eerie goodness.

Kate, you are the hostess divine. Happy Birthday, Lily! All the best to you both.

Chris Allinotte said...

Lily, you put the "viscera" in "visceral." I loved this story, from the dreamy opening, to the very moment our protagonist started down the trail to her final gush of red. What makes this so compelling is the subtle undertone of sadness that weaves in and out of the lust and the amusement your killer feels. Powerful stuff.

And then to top it off with a stellar, show-stopping sit-down with the in-komparable *Kate. The previous comments have the right of it - you do leave one breathless!

Shaun Adams said...

Breathless, Yes Chris, that is the feeling I got reading your story Lily.
I envisaged an artist whose brush is sharp steel and who only deals in shades of red. A breathless read and fascinating interview with Kate.

Thank you both.

Lily Childs said...

Veronica, I'm sorry to steal your breath, like a cat sucking life from a child's lips (that's what they used to say in them thar olden days), but am glad too that it left you a-shiver. Thank you sweets.

AJ, thankee for the best wishes - I can honestly tell you that no-one has ever said "Happy Birthday Lady Death" to me before and I shall be framing it for perpetual inspiration. Cuss away; my ears can take it.

K.A. Laity; flying high - black and white and blue and green and all and everything in-between.

Col; I value your opinion so much - thanks for 'enjoying' this little tragedy of mine.

Kristin; chuckling at "eerie goodness", thank you too, for the birthday wishes. Yes Kate is indeed divinely generous with her hostessness (and Merlot), for which we are forever grateful.

Chris, we all know how you love the Madness; I was kind of hoping you'd like this too :-) I truly appreciate your appreciation.

Absolutely*Kate, you are an angel - and that's a fact. CAKE - you made me a CAKE!! Thank you so much for everything (wipes green icing from chubby cheeks). xxx

Helen said...

Happy Birthday again Lily! Chilling story!

Jeanette Cheezum said...

I felt a little faint and then I realized; I had held my breath trying to take it all in. Lily, you've done it again. Mesmerizing.

Ms. Kate always the gracious hostess. You made everyone feel at home.

There was an error in this gadget