Warning: Some of these stories and excerpts include language not suitable for children. All writing on this site is property of Heather Arneson.
Excerpt from Fragments of the Day, by Heather Arneson
It was the mother of all-nighters full of Sangria’s, poppy seed-tainted tongues and bristly suits sifting through Sydney Sapphire’s lips. She bit through words she knew would create a reaction of excitement in what she once considered the stronger sex, because it was more than just about money or self- aggrandizement. It was a war of the world and spirit.
Whispers of terra ponderosa melted into a sour-sweet reminiscence, piss-golden in the moonlight, welling underneath it like a feverish séance, as she remembered Vaughn Angelli. Even if the statue of his memory was weathered and falling apart when she touched it, it held magic, promise of a new beginning in a beaten down night, turned new somehow. It left her in the storm walls of the city of Buenos Aires, and eventually at a hostile where she swore off fruit and late night card games for a whole month. A few drifters speaking Spanish and Italian intermittently stepped lightly around her, as if on air, reminding her that poverty could rear its ugly head at any time, even to the most cultured. It never lied to anyone, and took everyone for granted, gracing even the most innocent with its insipid halo. It danced in the mirror in front of her, as she caught her reflection in the child-sized mirror in the hallway.
She couldn’t figure out why anyone referred to her as a starlet back home in America. In her mind, she wasn’t as beautiful as Monroe or Grable, just an inflamed grape about to burst off the vine, only a party favor. What did those producers want to torture her for? Those men had her time but
did they have to insult her intelligence and dangle glamor in front of her? It was as if they carelessly grafted her heart and bullied her to apply herself, demanding her to sell the damn thing, already. The entertainment industry made her sick, and she was their defamed poster child.
She didn’t want to cry, and she hadn’t since her brother died, but the tears started to fall. It was a strange happenstance for her, the past gracing her in its perfect love, meeting her undignified. She kissed the mirror, merely smudging an outline of her lipstick. It was a parlor trick she usually reserved for times when she wanted to draw attention from a wealthy and focused business man, not the type who looked twice at even the most tempting ladies in sight when a business meeting occurred. However, she knew how to make any man’s head turn the right way, which was always hers.
A selfish miscreant of a girl she saw herself being in those moments, taking something that wasn’t what she really desired, but wanted the attention and the monetary gain all the same. Stealing was second to its brand of soul-crushing and calculated offerings, alike in their disgusting avarice of worldly material.
She had a different mission in mind that night. That cool whisper of his spirit calmed her frame and his voice sprung up suddenly like a scream of being caught during a game of hide and go seek in her childhood; barefoot and steeping in the summer air, exhilarated at being found and relieved the anticipation was over. She knew he saw the truth in how she lied with her own life force, ignoring that self-propagated hell because it was better than being unloved. Her soul is what he saw, and it was something she had to get used to as well.
She blotted out the lipstick mark on the mirror with another more purposeful smooch, while a man ogled her from behind, an almost menacing yet captivated look in his eye as he smiled with lust-lorn conviction. It was as if he wanted to reach down her spine and gut out her insides as he kissed the back of her head gently.
She swiftly turned around, “Mirror is yours pally, and thanks for helping me remember the bottom line,” she felt extra sure as he seemed nearly calmed by her accusatory offering, “and not the bottom loin, mind you. Pity, seems like yours needs attention.”
Sydney walked to the reception desk and whistled at the young male working purposefully in back, filing paperwork away, “phhewwww...I need an express check-out, mister.”
“We don’t really do that here,” He answered briskly, with a solid blink of dismissiveness.
“I saw on your brochure...never mind, I paid earlier, and I think I just owe you for today. I need to get out...”
“Si, I remember. Dinero, mas, Americana.” “But I just said I want to check out.” Without saying a word, he handed her a brochure, “there you
“Have you ever seen the Twilight Zone?” She paused for a
response, but after a few seconds of him staring back blankly, she added, “Sorry, that was a bit unwieldy of me. Le nest pas la mer faux te...”
“Do you have the key?” He gaped at her with a blend of boredom and frustration.
“Okay, now we’re on the same page. You know, a little more espresso or limonada, something to spice up the lobby would help
as well. It feels kind of like a social space in a mental ward. Sorry, bad joke.”
“I own the place. I appreciate the feedback, but I only spend on what I can afford. That’s your change there on the counter. Have a good night,” He swung over to the next table where a guest rolled a cigarette and he joined him in rolling his own.
By Heather Arneson
Crawling on the eyelash
Of your scrutiny
Opens the doorway
Blinks like chance
While words smudge
Truth of who you are
I’m in this inside-out world
Yet another day of searching
Waiting, watching, while you’re talking
Spirit flies from here
By Heather Arneson
Do you know the feel of a retro mind?
It takes on shape
Like the dead still of the ocean
Vision after a race
Cue the light bulb
You’d leave no trace
Black as quarry
Life possessed by light
Do you know the feel of a retro mind?
It’s a technogateway
To an elaborate scheme
That targeted the economy
Gutted your dream
Would you like to be an artist?
Dare to have a voice?
If you heard the critics already
Before you even tried
They may have already made you feel
The new mind blind
Forget what they say
Ignore what they write
If it’s a blitzkrieg of jargon
It’s the walking dead inside
Who cares how you speak afterwards?
They just know how to change the world
Is that right?
Show them how the soul can fight
By Heather Arneson
Subir a las estrellas
tu cielo parpadea
cobra vida y espera
para el abrazo
para siempre si dudas de ti mismo
asi que toma tu sonrisa
lanzarlo como un cometa
porque eres tan hermosa
como tu cielo te lo permita
By Heather Arneson
climb to the stars
your heaven blinks
springs to life and waits
for the embrace
forever if you doubt yourself
so take your smiling
sacred hurt off
hurl it like a comet
because you are as beautiful
as your heaven allows
By Heather Arneson
My friends I stir awake
To walk with me in my
I feel alive like them
Unified in spirit
We take a bow to greet
The fleeting present
While we become
Our own world’s keepers
While you watch vigil at your own life
Love drew me into you
It showed me all my worth
Much more than what you are
Laying in shadows of what you could have done
You will wait and you will see
Love made me stronger
Love made me bigger
Than you will ever be
By Heather Arneson
Crawl and play
Scattering and creating
Static in the
Dreams a vision
Beauty sighs like
Falls and rises
So we can love
By Heather Arneson
Gerald spent his Fridays performing his “clean routine”; this included gutting fish, organizing his tackle gear, and thrusting himself into improving the appearance of his suburban with great fortitude and thoroughness…and occasionally throwing in laundry to the mix. He was stout, of average height with a pleasant demeanor, but one in which was sure to make some of the females uncomfortable at the laundromat, because although he was aware, he couldn’t control himself in spite of it and had a penchant for staring at them. Therefore, he stayed away as much as possible, and instead chose to forcefully vacuum, scrub and wax his vehicle, all the while thinking of what it would be like to watch ladies just be themselves. Simply put, he had a terminal case of the stares.
A definite seasoned gawker (he was in his early 50’s), Gerald looked as if he could be a comedian, walking onto the world’s stage, dressed to not particularly impress—or a sailor taking a break from the sea and putting her down like a beloved book. He would then don his car hart jacket, scrunch his head into a wool stocking hat and feel in his heart of hearts that his life was also worth living, much like the wild, raging waters that ran within him—he was a man, but it didn’t have to bother him as much anymore.
He longed to try on women’s underwear, and was neither a pervert nor predatory, in fact he considered himself protective of women, in general. However, he cultivated a habit of devouring females with his eyes, unfortunately, wherever he went; although, it was entirely out of admiration. Gerald thought them to be quite delicate, almost like foreign beings—and although he was asexual most of his adulthood, he found solace in observing the fairer sex-it was as enjoyable as the act of coitus itself.
Living in the Midwest, he didn’t come across many people who yelled at him like in his native “Coney Island Lagoon.” Much to his chagrin, he occasionally would encounter a teenage girl, merrily distracted by her friends or classmates, and just as he began to settle into a hard gaze, she’d turn briskly in his direction and shout, “Wha’ you lookin’ at?!” It was all so sudden to him, and this type of confrontation challenged, yet did not deter him. He was a strong and silent type, he was told. A bashful sort when it came to actually striking up a conversation, though, this inclination never joined hands with his long-lost eye raping…he never really learned to stop, much less even slow it down.
Then, one day, he met Henrietta. She went by Etta to everyone else, but he got to know the real lady—or, at least that is what she seemed at first. Hey, life was already complicated, without even trying to figure out women before that! Especially for Gerald. Etta was old enough to date in his mind, as she was in her 40’s, but not too old to expect a solid insurance plan for their twilight years. And she did her best to maintain a youthful appearance by dying her hair, though she had soulless eyes and a bit of a skeletal gauntness to her facial structure; her sleek black hair reminded him greatly of the objects of his attention years ago! What he didn’t realize was that she was not only a hairdresser, but also a part-time swindler. The pace of Etta’s talking could rival any auctioneer’s, and she surely had enough gossip to fill up anyone’s ears if she ever had the chance to do so. And in that small town Gerald and Etta met in, she really did have the time and opportunities.
He felt like she was the big fish in his sea, and the tide of life would carry them to marriage and the heights of love’s rapture. Though, as single-minded as she was about trying to put her energy towards controlling a situation by pathetically garbling what little truth she knew, Gerald unwittingly matched it with his focus onto her. In fact, many people didn’t know it, but he was a self-made millionaire. The only reason Etta’s head was turned in the beginning was she heard from an older client who was a little senile and didn’t even remember his name, only recounted that an “older male in town who looks disheveled is actually the richest one…but he’s definitely a window watcher-if you know what I mean…”
From that point forward, she plotted her attack on his finances and good sense, creating a ritual onslaught of gossip against any female in his vicinity, fluttering her eyes and fluffing her hair at him, then promising him a lifetime of ecstasy with her. However, she wasn’t smart enough to realize that her loudness and his not-so-subtle, yet quiet presence, would crash into each other and lead to the destruction of their relationship.
Unfortunately, his heart broke when he overheard her at work talking to a younger male who was also not very bright, and that she “couldn’t wait to get that old sap as a ball and chain, and then the games could really begin. You and me, baby. Just you and me again.” Although he was entranced by her, she reminded him of a witch in a wicked dream, lovely yet hurtful, fascinating yet demonic, but all the same he had to trick her so she’d leave him alone for good and he could escape that fallen angel. He couldn’t understand how the sequence of her attacks worked on him so well. He pondered, maybe I should see the forest for the trees, as they say. Being the brilliant, albeit socially-awkward inventor and business person he was, he still never truly grasped what that meant.
Over breakfast one day, as Etta prattled on about their wedding plans, Gerald turned it over in his mind like an egg he wanted to crack and pour all over her face for others to laugh and point at. She was, after all, more immature than his own niece, and deserved such a petty belittlement. But, being a big picture person and having aspirations far higher than her eye-line, he knew he had to devise a plan that she would fall for—and her being an obvious sociopath, he didn’t want Etta to find out about it even after the fact.
His heart strings were already tangled in knots, and he didn’t need them to be feverishly pulled at by a creepy imbecile. Her gibberish, coupled with his denial—clouded him for so long, even causing him to mistake her empty jabbering for worldly charm at one point. He was ashamed of himself, and living and working in the same small city she did, he knew it wouldn’t be easy to shake off a loquacious leviathan.
Gerald foresaw her dragging his name through the muck, after realizing her dreams of feeding and paying her man child and real love interest would go asunder. He knew that her God-given opposable thumb coordination might cut him off from his own home, and that was a real and frightening possibility. He was at a loss as to how to deal with this criminal, and his ocular incidents of entrancement didn’t gain him a lot of trust in town, so he knew it would be a difficult situation once his reputation and business took a beating. Gerald decided to call up his good friend Al, an old hunting buddy and someone he lost contact with over the last year due to his co-dependent relationship, to see what his thoughts were on the problematic situation.
Al often didn’t mince words, and offered his opinion immediately upon being asked, “Got yourself a slut that just won’ t go away, huh?! Well, waiting for grouse with those highly-focused peepers of yours helped you with the hunt, but pray-tell, how will you get rid of the smear? She’s not something you just can return at Fleet Farm.”
“That’s why I called you, Al. I need your help.”
“What I would do is meditate on it. Pray. Feel what you want to do and do it—not just think. You need to feed her some bullshit like she’s been doing to you. Fight fire with fire. That’s my advice. But get some back-up. Me, for example, I know that kid she’s been seeing behind your back, and I know where he works—over at that farm house where they sell pumpkins and food…”
“He’s the least of my worries. I need her gone. I never knew how creepy she really is. Man, was I lost in my own head.”
“You are lost, but it’s called heartbreak, man. I’ve been there—and not just with that blow-up doll that deflated.”
Gerald thought long and hard for a minute as he stared at himself in the mirror and imagined wearing a bikini top. He suddenly felt a sense of purpose again and crafted a plan. “For some weird reason, when you were talking about your blow-up doll, it got me thinking about how her mouth is always open and not ever saying anything…I’m going to blindsight her into leaving me.”
Several days passed, and the silence was palpable in Gerald’s large home in the country, despite his fiancé sitting across the table from him, flashing eyes that brimmed with hateful smugness he once mistook for passion; however, her visage started to crumble the longer she was depleted of the energy she took from his reserves. In an attempt to regain whatever love she thought they had, she harped on him about plans for their wedding, and even faked being warm for a few moments.
Finally, her tolerance wholeheartedly diminished on the fourth day, when the silence still wasn’t broken. “I thought we were going to discuss wedding plans! Why do you just stare at me and say nothing? I’m dying here, buster!”
Gerald simply replied, “I’m feeling tired, that’s all. Don’t take it personally. Aren’t you going to ask if I need to go to a hospital?” He glanced down at his watch and raised his eyebrows at her, suspiciously.
She gasped, exasperatedly, “Uh! I..huh, I’m through with this. I can’t take it anymore. You can keep that underwear you bought me. I don’t need it anyway. Also, I’m keeping the ring. You owe me that.”
“But I thought you said your underwear was holier than you were. Bad joke, anyway. Huh, you didn’t even make me laugh…funny,” he muttered under his breath.
“What?! What did you say to me?”
“I’m not feeling well—like I said.”
“Oh—so that’s how you’re gonna’ be, then? That’s how it’s all going to go between us? Well, you—you’re just weird!!”
Gerald’s life went back to normal after that, and he even met a decent woman while he was bird and women watching at the park. Etta, on the other hand, was blindsided, and even divulged “he would just look at me and not say anything.”
His reputation and even business grew as a result of him being known as a mysterious lothario of sorts.
By Heather Arneson
Brain sparked your habit
This is what I know
Made you go head to head
Toe to toe
The lying, laughing, crying
They wanted you to hear
Tools for the manipulator
For turning on your fear
If you listen to them
The world is just a test
In tuning out sin
Demons haunt the hedges
Their gardens tended by hate
Cultivated your mind early
Forced you to meet good people much too late
But you can turn your back to sadness
Form a line that’s all your own
Walk with your head held high
You’ve got your own garden that you’ve grown
Spectrum [2nd Edition]
By Heather Arneson
The only way to diminish the darkness is to shed light on it.
When a group of children break into Grange Manor, an abandoned mansion once owned by serial killers Charles and Elizabeth Grange, they open themselves up to a malevolent force, bound for world destruction. Notorious for years, the specter activity piques the interest of novice ghost hunter Mario Martinez, who resolves to expose it for his own acclaim, as others become a part of its history.
Spectrum [2nd Edition] is available at online stores, including: Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Barnes and Noble. I wanted to make it affordable, so that it would be accessible to anyone (it is $5.00 or less, depending on the company). You can preview some of the pages on these sites as well!
Also, please check out my review blog on this site, for irreverent betchiness: