Warning: Some of these stories and excerpts include language not suitable for children. All writing on this site is property of Heather Arneson.
By Heather Arneson
“Mesmerizing...that is how one describes a sunset, definitely not a murder.” Those words started my new fictional thriller series, but bro, it’s not flying for me this time. However, since I quit my job and have no other form of income, I’m expected to write one that is, just to pay some bills.
Humans are interesting creatures. The hues that normally don’t show up on the sky’s canvas seem to inspire awe and reverence of eternal beauty, and all I have to show for my work is, well, me. Therefore, I’m just going to write as myself, in this letter to you, the main dude in my life.
I wish I could feel as awestruck as others, but that would make me normal. I am anything but, and tonight as I knock back a beer, teetering on the edge of my seat, in fake anticipation of the sun driving its madness down, I listen to my new wife and try like hell to agree with her about how romantic the moment is with me, but it isn’t coming off as sincere.
She still has enough pure love of the potential of seeing nature’s grandiose goodbye that she continues to remind me just how simple life’s pleasures register in her mind, while I bear witness to them as an outsider. I look through her eyes and voice as if looking at pictures of family members who aren’t mine, the light fluttering between each of the pages, and I’m confused as to what time it is, now. I’m starting to remember what it was like growing up, and feel regret for the fact I created a position, headhunted, and hired myself to fill it. But I’m just an unpaid actor, plain and simple.
As the sun becomes lost in its own glorious shadow casting, hugging me, she whispers that she wants to make love to have some communion with the beauty in the world. She’s just high, maybe, I think because she doesn’t usually talk like that. I’m not going to ask, because I got too drunk again, and typing this makes me feel like I’m flying with her, past time itself. I’m not above anything, though, as you know.
I feel hesitant that one of the islanders’ might see us, but Jehon reminded me that no one was around, and it was so dark that if someone walked by they would probably not see us anyway. We were on the beach, mind you. Out in the open. I joked to her that I should order Sex on the Beach more often, and although my body is excited, I can’t help but feel my true warmth and how it remains lost with the sun with the buzz I feel. But how does she know I’m not just playing a part, like some kind of freaky mime? Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the details!
Her eyes blinked, only slightly awake, and she shifted her head from side to side to scratch an itch on her face, but when she turns towards me in our hammock, I’m speechless, because I noticed a huge spider crawling...on her head. She probably didn’t feel it because she had one of those elaborate pink and blue flower scarves wrapped around her head.
I am amused because I know this spider is not going to get away, and smile because I know at least on our honeymoon I can feel like the tough guy I know I am inside. But before I can lift it off of her head without her waking, she blinked and she screamed, “I’m arachnophobic! Why didn’t you tell me a spider was on my face!”
“Oh no, now the spider got away,” I said disappointed I wasn’t able to kill it.
Now, fully awake and startled, she glared at me and chastised me for not upholding my husbandly responsibilities, “Why didn’t you kill the spider? But more importantly, why were you smiling? Didn’t you see a huge spider on my face?!”
I mean, okay, this was going to be a hard one to get out of, I thought. She had me caught off guard, and I didn’t even have scotch tape. Ha, I know, weak joke, but I’m hurting here for a few different reasons, and getting drunker as I write.
“Look, honey,” I replied, “I thought I could get it in time. I thought, you know, before you woke up.”
“You know, sometimes I feel you put on a different face to me than when you are alone,” She said, all cocking her head from side to side, and I’m thinking, she has me pegged. It kind of creeps me out sometimes.
I hug her because I know this tidal wave will soon pass, and if she was in fact arachnophobic, I couldn’t imagine how petrified she was, and I might be a bigger ass than you’ve told me. What bothered me was that she was actually angry that I didn’t kill something. I mean, what kind of lunatic did I marry, I started thinking. Harsh I know.
“Sorry. Don’t worry. It will be okay. I didn’t know you were arachnophobic. Let’s just go to bed,” I said, finally.
The island was still that night, and Jehon was all too interested in keeping spiders at bay. She covered her head with another colorful shawl one of the islanders sold her that day, while I dozed off thinking about all the faces I didn’t show her, wanted to, including impressions of notable celebrities and then ultimately killed that thought off in a dream about Neapolitan ice cream eating crabs.
When I woke in the morning, I was on the ground, with the hammock half-entangled around my feet. Jehon gently touched me to see if I was all right. Dude, I married a hottie and a sweetie.
“Looks like you had a rough night’s sleep. I’m not too fond of sleeping on hammocks either. Want to get up, so we can go get some breakfast?” She asked in her sweet- tea pitched girl voice.
The menu that day had crustaceans and kiwi, and I enjoyed every bit of it. The calm of the ocean, the breeze, not working, and especially making excuses not to write made this paradise. I had things in common with the island. It was apart from the world, treading above water, fighting to be pure. I set aside my plate for more, and Jehon kissed my hand like I was a king. I felt like one, and now that we were married I wanted to make her my queen every night, beach beneath my bare skin or not.
She still didn’t know the whole truth about me, and no-one ever will, but that didn’t stop me from feeling that she might understood me. At least, she knew I meant her no harm, and more importantly would protect and love her the best I could. I hoped that was enough for her. Then again, she was broken like me. I mean, she got high twice before she knew me.
“Let me know when you get hungry again,” I offered, and I picked her up and then we ran until we got near a coral reef.
“Honey, I really want to take pictures. I’m going to get our camera!” Jehon urged me.
“Pictures, now? Alright. Go get the camera,” I responded as I hated pictures, but knew how important it was to her.
When she returned, I had my pants rolled up and was about ready to swim, the sun was so bright and I felt a huge sunburn coming on, so I ask her, “Did you happen to get sun block?”
“Oh no! I’m sorry. Here, I’ll go get it. I’ll be right back!” She said to me.
“No! Don’t worry, sweetie,” I said, “I can manage. I just want to go for a quick swim,” I think I said, but I was wasted then, too, so can’t remember.
After I uttered the words, an islander loudly talking on his phone walked by me. I had the instinct to push him in my drunken haze, as he bumped into me in line at the market the other day, but that was no reason, I know. The thought was just fleeting, and it was not even that serious of a notion, but apparently Jehon saw me looking at him just at the right moment, and caught it on film.
She slowly lowered the camera, and looked at me for a bit as if she were going to be sick, and addressed me, “Lou?”
“Yeah? Are you feeling alright?” I asked in response, worried since she had a fever the day before. “Why were you looking at that man like that?”
“What do you mean, sweetie? Don’t you recognize your honey-grubbing bear?” I think I asked her or some bullshit like that.
“I don’t know. It might sound silly, but you looked at him as if you wanted to kill him!”
Then, she whispered lovingly in my ear, “Lou, you know when I mentioned I had a fever? Well, I’ve been getting it the past couple mornings. Lou, I think I’m pregnant.”
So, when I thought about the postcard, I thought, nope, because, obviously, I had to let you know the whole story leading up to the crazy news.
Peace, Your Bro
By Heather Arneson
“The true opioid of the masses is heroine…Tom McHolland, a notable newspaper columnist was quoted today…”
Shaneese, a 70 year-old woman from Louisiana, who lived through Hurricane Katrina and multiple drive by shootings, walked over to her radio and clicked it off.
“They’re all saying things that sound good, look good for them, but tell me something I don’t know,” she talked at her radio, anyone with good news for a change, or just any sort of realness, she hoped for each day, “I’m sick of hearing about Trump, about nuclear threat, riots, I just want my COVID shot, that’s all I’m saying, and I can go back to my diabetes anonymous meetings again,” she laughed.
“What’s wrong with people knowing you have diabetes? Most everyone our age has got it,” her husband, James “Jim Sunday,” as people called him replied. Joking was his way of calming her, and he did it with more ease than any person she ever knew. “Jim Sunday” because he was the best-known black preacher north of the Mississippi swampland. Always with a smile to share, kind words to say about someone’s child. Losing his youngest to the crack epidemic instilled in him a lifelong suffering that was only quelled by worship of God in church each Sunday and joking with his wife. They had an enduring love that inspired their community of Braxton, and the couple constantly fed each other stories of their youth to stave off any empty nest syndrome, or lonely heart maladies.
“I love it when you talk dirty to me, pastor.”
“Hey, now! Do not make me invoke the gospel! Not Sunday, yet, girl.”
“Alright, but we should do something about helping the youth out there. These politicians and their bosses from who knows where talking about heroine being the main problem, you know it makes me feel angry because so many of those rich, upper-class people and their cronies drink the venom to get drunk off the snake and then spew it out onto the innocent to make them pay.”
“Preach on and I understand exactly what you’re saying. Alcohol has debilitated this country from the start and they want to lay their oil lines, infecting cropland, blame all other drugs as being epidemics like they are the latest hot topic, it isn’t right.
“This country is going to go up in flames like a crack rock.”
“America isn’t so free, is it? The true opioid of the masses is money, and those people laughing about other people’s problems, well, God will not be merciful on their souls…even if the all-mighty-dollar is on Earth. I feel sorry for them,” James shook his head, “Free is when we know each of our brothers and sisters in the world, no matter where they are, will not be punished for being ill, victimized or in pain. Freedom land is a new place we can make, Jim Sunday, and you can start with a sermon, and encourage people they can influence with their words and so on.”
By Heather Arneson
Words can’t describe
How I’ve felt time slip by
Each moment sparked a memory
You say it like it’s crease on linen
But I saw a flame to burn a broken mirror
Tossed away but endangered still
You’re a canyon of these lost memories
They grace your house
Like a windowsill
You’re able to stand proudly
Because leaning on me
I take the fall
Not feeling sorry for myself
But for you
I listen to God’s given call
Betray Him with a whisper
I’ll swear I cannot hear
Tell me I’m forgiven
I’ll say you have no fear
You promise me the sunrise
When I see shrapnel at your feet
But I’ll tell you I’ve been to Heaven
So in death there’s no defeat
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!
By Heather Arneson
The strangers’ skull stared at me again today, wrapped around the back of his head as he budged in front of me on the conveyor belt to work. I wasn’t able to see his face, and wasn’t expecting the same image would be facing me as I tried to drown out the voices in my head to be only numbed further by a more peaceful panging of mindlessness on the job I knew would happen later. Unfortunately, the kid just didn’t care about coaxing out my paranoia, symbolized by the fictitious blanched bones as a poser to me, amidst my own ghostliness I lived with everyday of my life. Yet another “coincidence incidence” I called them, and it was teetering on the edge of sheer annoyance as usual, but tipped over by the fact I had fiber glass in my lungs already from the factory emissions near my apartment windows. I couldn’t stand it today, and instead of look at his thoughtless head bobbing to the tune of complacency, I remembered my scaly hot red rash from pollution, as well as my ambitions previous to the nuclear war and subsequent stalemate and jumped that airport walkway.
Luckily, I didn’t land totally on my ass, and I noticed the guy look back at me, with concern and not shock; I guess he wasn’t going to murder me before work after all and get his month’s worth of pay. These days, you never knew who was a mercenary, but I was already a target from the day I was born, albeit a random one.
You see, before the catastrophic confluence of America being hit with a nuclear bomb that killed off 500 million of its citizens and the stock market being obliterated, I saw a doctor to explain why I kept getting throbbing pain near my occipital lobe during windy days. After X-rays, cat scans and several hearing tests, I was told I had a metal chip in my brain. And from the looks and sounds of it, I guess it was probably administered intravenously by a nefarious government worker and dark web participant very close to the time of my birth, just a few weeks afterwards. The doctor explained that the type of metal included traces of copper, which wasn’t used after 1983 in experiments on what he termed “randoms.” In a way, he offered that I was different, as I always believed, but in a randomly-selected-for-bio torture that I felt for years and could attest to now with proof. The voices in my head were indeed transmitted from present or formerly employed government workers, willing and ready to sabotage my thoughts with evil and petty harassment.
Were they born or bred to be that way? I didn’t care anymore, with all of the pain I experienced psychologically and physically (much less than I’m sure they hoped to inflict), I just wanted the culprits dead. The five senses of sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing were deadened at times by my twitching eyes (a sign my nerves were being shattered by abuse of the switch they pulled to send me negative thoughts or auditory hate), and my inner ear deflecting the flow of pure air into a well of guilt and shame over feeling crazy and schizophrenic.
One of the questions I was asked by the doctor before he gave me the final assessment included, ever suffer from clinical depression? In all of my years on Earth, I was horribly depressed twice and so low the second time, I was hospitalized for it. It was a time in my life I never want to experience ever again, and after leaving that doctor’s office, realizing that humans inflicted that torture onto me which resulted in that, made me want to kill for the first time in my life, beyond any comprehension or reservations.
I took my paid days off that week to systematically hunt down the very people who did this to me, and I not only got rid of the voices forever, I obliterated my assailants’ homes. Of course, being an angel of mercy, I did not kill everyone in their family. Only them. It was personal with me always and, therefore, I took them away as a favor to the world in the most personal death imaginable: while in their homes, alone, unaware and just being themselves without me, with God watching who they were fold into the death they doled-out daily-I brandished my will, allowing me to become who I was meant to, finally.
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