Friday’s Gremlins

Friday was the best night of Jenny’s week, the night that the gremlins were the quietest. She was pretty sure that it had something to do with her Friday night tradition, celebrating the end of the week with her roommate Rachel. This Friday night seemed a bit different though, and Jenny wasn’t sure that the usual cure was going to cut it this time.

***

For as long as she could remember her grandmother had referred to the voices in Jenny’s head as gremlins, always reminding her of her doubts and insecurities. The gremlins were convincing, they regularly prevented Jenny from participating in the things she most wanted to try.

This week had started out like any other week. Jenny arrived at work on Monday morning confident in her abilities, but as the week went on, the gremlins made her life hell. They made her doubt herself, constantly telling her she was making mistakes. By Friday she was positive that she was going to get fired for being incompetent, even though she’d done nothing wrong. On a normal Friday, Jenny would then go home to spend the evening contemplating her impending doom with her roommate, a bottle of red wine, and some dark chocolate.

***

“This Friday is going to be different” Jenny wasn’t going to let any gremlins get in the way. Tonight was supposed to be her first official date with the tall, dark, and mysterious Jared. Jenny had always been attracted to men who had an air of danger around them, despite the fact that they never seemed to notice her. This was what made tonight so important. Jenny had been trying to score a date with Jared for weeks now, ever since she spotted the rugged scruff on his mischievous face. Like her, he had an interest in the darker side of life. She really wanted this date to go well, which of course sent her gremlins into full battle mode.

“You are going to bore him to death!”

“You will get broccoli in your teeth!”

“You are going to fart in front of him!”

“Just stay home!”

Jenny was trying to ignore the gremlins, but this time they behaved oddly. Tonight it was like they only had one voice; louder and more real than ever. Jenny decided to call on her trusty sidekick Rachel. She was always ready, willing and able to help chase away the gremlins.

“OH! Did you get a pet? I thought we agreed not to have pets in this apartment.” Rachel jumped back slamming the door.

“What on earth are you talking about?” Rachel had clearly been hitting the red wine a little too hard tonight.

“Over there!” Rachel pointed at a mangy unidentifiable creature curled up in the corner, “You know I don’t like pets and I don’t want to have to clean up after the mess they make. Look! It’s already chewing on your shoe!”

Jenny spun around. Something was gnawing on the sparkly black ballet flats she had picked out for this evening. At first, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She hadn’t brought any pet into the apartment and she was sure it wasn’t there two minutes ago. Jenny dove across the room to rescue her shoes from certain destruction, then she suddenly heard the voice of her gremlin come from the ratty ball of fur. “He won’t like you,” it said.

Jenny screamed “Did you hear that? It spoke!”

“Don’t ask her that, she’ll think you are crazy!” the voice replied.

The fuzzball finished chewing a hole in the shoe and propelled itself over to Jenny’s favourite purse as if by magic. It started eating the corner of that too. “I decided to come along on your date tonight, create some extra fun,” it said. “There is no way for you to stop me from ruining your date. You might as well give up!”

***

This can’t be happening. Was Grandma right all along? That gremlins can become corporeal when they really want to ruin a good thing? There’s no way I’m facing an ACTUAL gremlin! Jenny thought she must be imagining it, but since Rachel saw it too, it had to be real.

“What do we do?” she panicked. Jenny was not in the mood to handle this.

The gremlin started whirring around the room. Like the perfect storm the devilish beast was destroying everything in its path, all while spewing out insults at her. “You will embarrass yourself so much that Jared will tell everyone about his date from hell, Nobody will ever date you again!”

“We have to do something!” Jenny cried while dodging broken pieces of her once-prized dragon collectables.

“You’ll never stop me, you aren’t smart enough to figure out how to defeat me,” it smirked.

“Oh, so there IS a way to defeat you!” Jenny dove behind the bed hoping for a moment to figure out a plan.

***

Wondering about her own sanity, Rachel barely managed to commando crawl to the doorway and escape into the hall for safety. She grabbed the phone and started dialling the police, then slammed the receiver back down. They’d never believe she wasn’t just drunk. It isn’t like any sane person would believe what was happening.

Rachel decided she needed to calm herself down and figure out a solution to this gremlin problem before there was no apartment left. She poured herself a glass of red wine and grabbed a handful of dark chocolate. This ought to clear my head a bit, she thought as she slugged them back as quickly as possible.

***

Suddenly Jenny burst out into the hallway and saw Rachel. “That’s it! You’ve always said wine and dark chocolate can fix any problem!” Jenny grabbed the red wine from her roommate. “If drinking red wine on a Friday night can silence the gremlins in my head, then perhaps it has a similar effect on an actual gremlin!”

Just then the gremlin burst out into the hallway. “I’m saving you from yourself! You should thank me for stopping you from making horrible choices in your life,” it said as it started barreling towards Jenny.

In desperation, Jenny reached out and doused the gremlin. The gremlin screamed in terror as it was soaked in red wine. It hissed and bubbled as it disappeared into a puff of smoke.

“Well that was some quick thinking,” Rachel panted.

“Yeah but I’m still shaking like a leaf” Jenny stuttered, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it to my date tonight.”

“Here, eat some dark chocolate. That should calm you down. You have a big night ahead of you, and when this turns out to actually be something you’ll have a great story to tell!”

New Beginnings

DEALT IN SIN

by

Sasha Hanton

Morgan wants power so she makes a deal. What she doesn’t account for is deals with a demon always come with a hidden cost.

New Beginnings Anthology BookBaybZ Author interviews

Sasha Hanton grew up in the tropics of Darwin, Northern Territory. From a young age, she devoured books and iced coffee, both of which she continues to intake on an almost daily basis. Now living on beautiful Bribie Island in Queensland her time is split between writing and spoiling her puppy Miley.

Sasha, who has a Bachelor of Journalism from Bond University, has dabbled in the journalistic profession but finds fiction far more fascinating. Her first published work The Short Story Press Collection draws on her love for a diverse range of genres and passion for short stories.

Throughout her life, she has been a lover of history and mythology, and at any time will find some way to weave one or the other into her storytelling. When she’s not writing or reading she can be found walking her dog and volunteering.

Q.   Which book left you empty inside once you finished writing it?

I have an ebook called Customerpocalypse which was pretty draining on me to write. Mostly it left me empty because I wrote it during a difficult stage in my life, I was working in a tiresome job and coming home dead tired but forced myself to write it for NaNoWriMo. The subject material and genre were also very outside my normal zone; it’s more of a comedy and handles working in customer service and living in a post-apocalyptic society.

Q.   Have you ever read the ending of a book after only reading the first few chapters? If no, why, if yes…why?

Yes because I was very dissatisfied with a plot development that was occurring so I peeked at the ending to see if I was interested in finishing the book (it was the first in a series)—I wasn’t.

@aaronburden

Q.       Who is the best villain you have written to date?

To date probably the only overtly villainous character I’ve written is Celtic, a malevolent spirit in my manuscript It’s All Magic to Me (which I’m currently sending out to publishers).

Q.    Best closing scene, you have written?

I actually really like the closing scene I wrote for Customerpocalypse, both the original closer I wrote for it and the epilogue closer I added later. For a book that completely drained me I’m really satisfied with how I ended it.

Excerpt from your story.

The heady smell of lavender choked the air. Shadows danced across the walls, twisting with the flicker of candlelight. Morgan sat in the centre of the room, her burgundy hair tumbling over her shoulders and creating a veil over her face.

She had agonised over every little detail in her preparation and it had taken days of planning to acquire the resources for the ritual. The thick white chalk lines alone had taken over a day to correctly mark on the cement floor. Twisted words rolled off her tongue as she started with a whisper, slowly raising her voice. Her eyes were closed, the strain of keeping them that way but a small price to pay if this worked. She felt a breeze surrounding her, heard the low whistle piercing the silence and sensed—deep in her gut—the pull of magic, fear and anxiousness.

“Who summons me?” The voice assailed her ears, its words creeping inside her and writhing beneath her skin. Biting her bottom lip and clenching her nails into her palms, Morgan struggled to keep her eyes closed.

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