What are They Doing?

[fictional work]

The day was just beginning as the sun’s firey rays peered through the blinds. A young couple lay nestled together in bed under a warm heavy comforter. There was so much to think about, and so much on their minds, but at this moment, their thoughts about each other consumed them, for each other was all that mattered.

Their apartment was high above the city streets where traffic was slowly mounting and pedestrians scrambled to get to work on time, but from the sounds of the day, it was not out of reach. Through the small opening in the window where the sun’s rays peered, the sounds of the city penetrated their lair. Some would say only beasts reside in lairs, but in a sense, the couple was beasty; two animals, heated with passion.

As her head lay in the comforts of his hairy chest, he ran his fingers through her hair.

“You’re a good girl,” he whispered.

She just looked at him and remained quiet, but it was the touch of his lips to her forehead and his breadth that washed over her face that ignited her primal lust. Like two animals, they rolled around entangling themselves in the bedding. Nothing else mattered.

4311 The House on Furnace Street Part 2

A work of fiction

By Francis J. LaManna

4311 Furnace Street remained vacant for the next 30 years. No members of the Ottenbury family showed up or called in to claim the property so it sat. Once or twice during the year employees from the Department of Public Works would show up and cut the lawn, that was in the beginning though. I don’t think anyone trimmed a bush or cut the lawn there in last ten years. People just avoided that place, it was like it didn’t exist. As a matter of fact, in all my years living in Scarlet, I’ve never even seen a For Sale sign on the lawn.

Old man Ottenbury died when I was in high school, I was a sophomore at Scarlet High, and I can remember walking past 4311 everyday on my way home from school. It felt strange-the whole area around his house was one big cold spot. It was eerie too like as if someone was watching me. Sometimes I would run home.

If you take Furnace Street all the way out until you come to the first cross street and cross over, Furnace became Gate Street. My parents and I lived at the end of Gate Street. Sometimes I would get that eerie feeling walking past Ottenbury’s and haul ass. A few years after I graduated Scarlet there was a series of stories in the local paper. Locals thought his house was haunted, and some people reported seeing the ghost of an old man standing in window. There’s a lot of people who think Ottenbury’s house was haunted at the time of his death, and that’s why he didn’t try to get help or leave. No one understood why he just sat there and bled out.

Well, I’m in my forties now, and I ended up buying a house of my own on Gate Street right across from where my parents lived. I don’t go near that house anymore, and here’s the weirdest thing. If I go out onto my front lawn at night when it’s dark and look in the direction of Furnace Street, the sky about that area looks like it’s on fire.

I wish there was a way of closing Gate Street-you know, completely separating our side from Furnace Street. In a sense it would be like closing the gate to the furnace; maybe make it a dead end or something.

4311 The House on Furnace Street

A Work of Fiction In Progress

By Francis J. LaManna

It was pouring rain and old man Ottenbury was moving frantically around his house trying to get the windows closed. It’s a good thing, however, not all the windows were open because a house that big could’ve been soaked by the time a man as old as old man Ottenbury got around to closing them. There was no Mrs. Ottenbury, she passed naturally more than a decade ago, and his three kids were grown with lives of their own.

That last window, the one in the living room area was putting up a fight again as it always had. It was near impossible to close; for old man Ottenbury at least. As he pressured down on the small handle, he steadied himself with his left hand pressed against the glass. And then it happened, the glass shattered underneath the pressure of his hand. The sharp glass cut deep into his arm from his wrist all the way up to his elbow.

Ottenbury pulled his arm free and sat on the floor beneath the window. It was still pouring rain, but the sound of rain was soothing. The carpet around the old man was soaked. He closed his eyes and let his thoughts flow, occasionally grabbing onto the memories of his wife. He loved and missed her.

The body of old man Ottenbury was found several days later when the rain stopped. A woman walking past the house noticed the shattered window. Upon closer examination she saw a head and called the police.

Mr. Simmsmore

“The trees are bare. Look! Large tall trees with nothing on them; they look as if they could touch the sky. Fruitless, death ridden, and bare-that’s what they are. Earth has gone into its usual slumber, Winter arrives, and darkness creeps in. Under the cloak of this cold season highway men and thieves ravage villages and torment townspeople,” Mr. Simmsmore paused for a moment as the group of children he was speaking to sat quietly around a fire.

“Just last year Ms. Whitlock was nearly beaten to death for a bag of coins,” he continued. I remember that evening-oh yes, it was bitter cold outside. She hadn’t made it halfway to the village center before being robbed. Thieves nearly ripped her arm off pulling that sack from her hands.”

The children sat with their mouths open. They really didn’t know what to make of Mr. Simmsmore. He was an adult so they had a natural respect for him, but to his peers, Mr. Simmsmore was the village idiot. He was a show in himself-a legend in his own mind they’d say.

Today, however, he had the attention of the children in his clutches.

“So you see children, you must be aware during the cold months. Stay close to your parents and never wander off alone. You will never be heard from again, perhaps, if you do. Don’t ever say old Mr. Simmsmore never warned you. But let me tell you something children, things change. People change, and the seasons change. It will not be cold and dark forever. Soon, very soon, the coldness will give way to the warm Spring breeze. The trees will bare fruit once again, and Earth will come to life. For the lives we live are attuned to the world in which we live. Death, life, rebirth and living again-we go around and around. Now, go home to your parents. Run!”

The children listened. The group jumped up and sprinted off, and Mr. Simmsmore laughed to himself as he took a quick sip of Brandy from his flask.

“Damn kids-always playing in my drinking spot,” he muttered to himself.

Tormenting Beverly, The Conclusion

How much worse could things get for Beverly. The matrix-this electronic prison broke her. It broke her mentally and physically. She was ashamed, embarrassed, and even though she was the victim, she now felt guilty.

That voice-that evil speaker who spoke to her through some type of intercom system gave her a choice, and she chose life. The voice was right, Beverly didn’t walk out of the matrix, she crawled out on her hands and knees. After servicing several strange men at the hole in the wall, the automatic connection to her leash was replaced by a human woman. This woman, who wore business attire, walked Beverly outside of the prison and down a soft dirt path to a bathhouse.

Beverly showered and cleaned herself up. She was given new clothes; a professional business suite and attache case. She tried to fix her hair, but there wasn’t much to work with.

There was an envelope on the ground outside of the bathhouse.

The note inside read:

Beverly, you were wonderful. I would like to thank you for applying to the Executive position at E-Mazing here in Chicago. If you’re still interested in working for our company, we would like to make you an offer and negotiate your contract. The work we do is private, and our clients are wealthy. They prefer to remain out of the public eye. What you experienced is standard for all new hires. Your cooperation and loyalty to our company and the clients we serve is top priority. Behind the bathhouse you’ll see a brick path. Walk that until you come to the gatehouse. There’s a package inside containing all your new employee paperwork and a video copy of your entire experience at E-Maze. Thank you.

“That’s what this was a about,” Beverly muttered to herself.

“A fucking job,” she screamed.

Beverly took her package and exited the compound.


Tormenting Beverly 4

Beverly reached into the second bucket and pulled out a pair of thigh high stockings. Naked and leashed, she sat down on the hard cold floor and pulled her stockings up as high as they could go.

“Very good,” it said.

“There’s nothing else in the bucket,” Beverly yelled.

The static from the intercom system went silent once again, and Beverly knew she was on her own for the time being. She stood up, the room turned from bright yellow back to blue and purple, and a short path revealed itself to her. As she walked forward, the rooms behind her turned dark.

There was no going back.

Beverly reached the end of the path, and darkness filled the space around her. There was a mirror in the room she currently occupied, and as much she didn’t want to, she decided to take a look at herself. Beverly was exhausted. The stress, the worry, the anxiety, the fear; she was completely worn out. The skin under her eyes was a little swollen an puffy-from a lack of sleep she figured. She looked down at her stomach; it was slightly sunken in. Without knowing the time or day, Beverly didn’t know when her last meal was. She was hungry though. Her flat belly was growling. Her lips were dry from dehydration. She was cold, and naked, and she smelled like urine.

Beverly was beautiful, and even through all the ugliness brought on by the kidnapping and this matrix, she was able to find a little joy in her reflection. She was lost in thought and a little delirious-swaying, as she stood looking at herself.

“Do you like what you see Beverly,” it asked.

She did, but this question put Beverly on the spot. She was now at a crossroad, and she knew it was decision time; keep fighting or submit, but how much longer could she go without food or sleep?

Too tired to even talk, Beverly nodded her head in agreement.

“Yes, I do too,” it said laughing. “Good. Good girl. Now, I’m giving you a choice. You can go left, or you can go right, but you will not walk out of here.”

Beverly decided to go left, and the room lit up red. The space around it was dark so she had to cautiously move to the perimeter, and feel her way outside the borders like she had done so many times before. She was like a blind person reaching out and feeling her way to freedom. As Beverly made her way around the red room she felt nothing but walls on the other side.

“There’s nothing left,” she shouted. “That’s not a fucking choice!”

She took a deep breath and walked through the purple and blue room to get to the room on the right side of where she started. The room lit up green. In front of Beverly, hanging down around her knees was clamp, and the clamp was attached to a thick metal chain that went all the way up to the ceiling. There was a piece of paper on the floor.

The Note Read:

I told you you wouldn’t walk out of here, however, I still gave you a choice, and it looks like you’re making the right one. After all, you’re so young. You have your whole life ahead of you. Why would you want to die in place like this? Now, I want you to get on your knees and attach the leash to the clamp.

Beverly dropped to her knees and reached behind herself to attach the leash. When the leash was secure a new path opened. Beverly remained still-still on her knees. She thought about what was written in the letter, she thought about what the voice said, and she considered her new surroundings. It was hard to see what was up ahead from her knees, but she could see herself clearly on the television hanging on the wall in the room. Beverly took another deep breath before leaning forward and letting her palms touch the floor.

The voice came back.

“Awesome,” it said. “I didn’t even have to tell you what to do! Good doggy.”

Beverly ignored the taunting voice and crawled forward on her hands and knees. Humiliation and shame washed over her as she crawled fully exposed through the purple and blue rooms. One after another, television after television; and every once in a while she would look up at the television to see if she was still on the screen. She was.

“You wanted to be a star didn’t you Beverly,” it asked. “Didn’t you want to be on television? Oh, you’re so talented.”

Beverly ignored it and kept crawling. Her knees were sore and her neck was cramping, but she kept crawling, and eventually, she came to a room where she could eat and drink. There were two bowls on the floor; dry cereal in one and water in the other. She drank and ate like a dog, and when she drank too fast the the chain would retract and yank her back. Sometimes the chain would retract for no reason at all and so hard it would pull her hands off the floor.

Not long after eating, Beverly crawled to a room with a small mattress. Her eyes lit up-she was craving sleep. It wasn’t much, but at least she was able to curl up on her side and rest for a while; and she was off the cold hard floor.

When she woke up she had no idea how long she’d been sleeping for. Still curled up on the small dirty mattress, Beverly wiped the tears from her face. She thought maybe she was dreaming-like all this had been a terrible nightmare that she’d awaken from, but it wasn’t. She laid there naked, dehydrated, and smelling like urine. The only thing different was the position of her chain. Instead of it going up to the ceiling, it was now behind her-attached way off in the darkness somewhere. Remembering not to stand, Beverly repositioned herself on all-fours. Forward was the only way to go; she looked at herself on the television screen and began crawling.

She crawled until a wall impeded her progress. The room she just left went dark-there was no going back. It was pitch black all around her. The purple and blue lights faded out until she could barely see the room she was in, but she could hear static coming from the intercom.

“Once again, you have a choice,” it said.

She heard the intercom switch off, and the room went silent. From above, a bright white spotlight accented the wall blocking her way forward. At the height of where her head was, there was a round hole. One round hole. The wall moved forward slowly-closing in on her. When it was several feet from her face it stopped, and in a panic, Beverly jumped to her feet.

“I don’t like this,” she yelled. “Stop this! This is going too far!”

Beverly let out a scream, but it was overpowered by the sound of the chain. The chain was changing positions again-going from behind her to overhead. When it stopped moving it began to retract pulling Beverly up onto her tippy toes. Then it went further until her feet were off the floor. Beverly reached up out of desperation-trying to somehow free herself as her feet swung freely. She was gasping.

The voice was back.

“Bad doggy,” it said while she hung there for a short time.

Beverly was eased back down to the floor, and the chain’s connection slid back behind her. She understood now. Life or death was the choice it was giving her, and choosing life meant she didn’t have much of a choice. She fell to her knees again and placed her hands on the floor. Obediently and seductively, she crawled like a dog-on all fours until the wall was inches from her face.

To Be Continued….

Tormenting Beverly 3

Pissed off and sad all at once is pretty much how Beverly was feeling. She grabbed the scissor off of the table and began cutting her beautiful black hair.

“Why waste time,” she yelled. “I know what you want me to do!” Clump after clump hit the floor, and when Beverly was finished cutting, she took the scissor and threw it as hard as she could at the floor. She was loosing it, and she didn’t give a shit, unfortunately, a bad haircut was just the beginning.

The green room turned back to that purple and bluish color, and a new path opened before her. Beverly stood looking down the long corridor. There was something off in the distance that caught her attention. Hoping the worst was now behind her, Beverly got a huge burst of energy and sprinted down the hallway. She thought she was sprinting to freedom, but eventually, the path ended. Darkness filled the space around her.

There was a static or something coming from the ceiling. Someone was trying to speak to her, but it wasn’t clear. Remember those old radios where you could turn the knob to your favorite stations, but if the dial was in between two stations, there was that static? Well, that’s what it sounded like at first, but the speaker tuned in.

“Beverly. Well done,” it said.

“What do you want from me,” Beverly yelled out. “Why am I in here?”

“You weren’t given permission to speak,” the speaker replied. “Now, do yourself a favor and close your mouth. I’d keep it closed if I were you.”

Beverly could hear the man laughing before the room went quiet again. The square to her right lit up bright yellow. It was a strange looking room; it couldn’t have been any bigger than a 6×6, but the ceiling was really high-maybe twenty-five feet or so. Beverly stepped into the room, and the space behind her went dark. There’s was no backing out now-no going back. The room was tight, she felt cramped in it.

When she looked up again she saw holes. There were round holes in the walls above her head. Strategically placed, theses holes began ten feet high, and there was one every few feet all the way up to the ceiling.

Beverly didn’t know what to do, there was just enough room for her to stand and so she stood there with her mouth closed. After several minutes a liquid came forth from every hole in the room. She thought it was water.

When she realized it was urine, she put her head down and closed her eyes. She was ashamed, embarrassed, and after several minutes, she was soaked. Finally, the peeing stopped, the room lit up purple and blue, and a new path opened before her.

When she stepped into the new square the voice came back.

“Very good,” it said. “See, I told you to keep your mouth closed. I wouldn’t steer you wrong; you listen well. Now, if you look to your left you’ll see two buckets. One is empty, and the other has something for you to wear. Put everything you have on in the empty bucket. Change for me.”

Beverly did as she was told; her eyes were filled with tears, her makeup was smeared all over her face, and she still had dry blood in her nostrils.

“Accessories first,” the voice said.

Beverly reached into the second bucket and pulled out a doggy collar. She fastened it around her neck and the attached leash dangled down around her feet.

To be continued….

Tormenting Beverly 2

The room Beverly stood in was bright, glowing with purple and blue lights. A florescent strip of white outlined the perimeter. Beverly was a young pretty girl in her early twenties. She was athletic and bubbly with a good sense of humor, but she wasn’t laughing now. An hour passed, and the blood flowing from her nose finally slowed down. After hitting the wall Beverly walked forward. She covered at least a mile by now, maybe a little more. Room after room lit up with purple and blue, while the previous space went dark.

She stood still for a moment and then slowly turned to her left moving with caution to the edge of the room. Beverly extended her arms into the darkness, and it appeared to be open. She didn’t want to commit just yet though; once she exited a room, there was no going back. She walked to right side of the room she currently occupied once again reaching out with her arms to explore the darkness ahead. Just beyond the border she could feel a wall. There was only two ways to go now, forward or left.

She knew had to try something different and so she made up her mind to go left. When both feet were planted in the new room the square space lit up green. The color change was a breath of fresh air. There was a table in the center of the room and on the table was a scissor. It wasn’t a scissor for cutting clothing or an art scissor; it was a scissor for cutting hair. Beverly recognized the difference as everything suddenly seemed to take on meaning; very specific meaning. The matrix she woke up in was obviously some sort of puzzle. Everything mattered, and perhaps the green lighting was a hint at the way to go.

Someone was tormenting Beverly, but how far would they go? Who were they? What did they want?

To be continued……..

Tormenting Beverly

The sweat dripped off Beverly’s forehead. She was nervous, and the pressure in her chest was unbearable. Anxiety was setting in. Several minutes ago she woke up on the floor of some type of matrix, and the thoughts of how she got there came crashing in all at once. Like a damn that could no longer hold back the pressure and force of water, her mind and body gave way.

She was kidnapped; a rag with a strange smell was placed over her mouth, and a dark sack was placed over head. “Why,” for a brief moment she wondered, but then quickly refocused her attention to the current issue.

“Who’s out there,” she yelled.

“Why are you doing this to me,” she screamed.

Beverly looked right and left, and then spun in a 360 to get a complete view of her surroundings. Florescent lighting lit up the mirage of rooms around her. The frustration built within her; without thinking she sprinted forward and ran straight into a wall. The unexpected collision sent her crashing to the floor. She sat there for a minute, again, collecting her thoughts. Every time she came up with a plan the matrix took it away. Nothing was as it seemed. Slowly, she got back to her feet; a stream of blood ran from her nose. The clear wall was a reflection of the path behind her so she wiped the blood from her face, turned around, and cautiously tip toed forward. White lights marked clear boundaries of each square space, and as she crossed the lines of white light, the squares behind her became dark.

Despite what appeared to be, there was only one way to go-at least for now. Beverly continued to move forward. The space behind her still darkening.

Cattitude 2, Donahue Goes to New Orleans

Don was getting lonely. He was aggravated and upset, and despite what he was trying to do, the reality was, his life was passing him by. Goddoo was an older cat in the neighborhood, and felt responsible for Don’s well being. Goddoo convinced Donahue to go to New Orleans with him, and he promised a time so good, Don was sure to get over his bitterness.

So here they were, two cats hanging out in Kansas now making their way over to the Missouri River. Goddoo works in mysterious ways, he and Don were floating along in a tube someone left on the river bank, and before the day’s end, they jumped ship onto a steamboat that was passing by.

GODDOO Photo by Kelvin Valerio on Pexels.com
DONAHUE Photo by Just a Couple Photos on Pexels.com

As the steamboat came to its trails end, Don and Goddoo hopped off and headed into town for some good old fun. They had a wild evening. New Orleans was filled with lady cats and cat ladies looking for party beads, and Don met himself a beautiful short hair kitty. He called her Baby Magic, and she was into all types of voodoo. Baby magic was exotic with mixed ancestry, and she loved Don.

Once Goddoo saw Donahue and Baby Magic getting along, he slipped away and into the dark night for some fun of his own. As it turned out, Baby Magic was exactly what Don needed. She put a good spell on him to reverse all his troubles, and in the morning, he was a new man.

To be continued…