Flash.Fiction: The Ghosts of Northgate

Every week, Indies Unlimited has a flash fiction contest, and every now and then, the image and prompt calls to me. I love all things grizzly and creepy. If you’ve read my novella Couillon, you’ll understand. I think I scared some of the people in my writing classes because in my short stories, someone always gets killed in a disturbing way.

This week’s flash fiction prompt was the picture included here and a prompt:

Photo Copyright K. S. Brooks

Northgate Sanitarium was an extension of the state prison system. The facility specialized in  experimental treatment of the criminally insane. Some horrible stuff went on there.

Abandoned in the 1950s, the old building has been linked by rumor to a few recent disappearances.

I had just gotten my first job as a journalist, working for the Northgate Observer. I thought it would make a good story to spend the night in the old sanitarium. Back then, I guess you could have called me a skeptic…

This is my response, my story:

Snow had fallen the night before, covering the campus and dampening any sounds from the surrounding areas, making the outing feel isolated and forbidding. And just downright cold. I followed along behind the shivering research students as they investigated the Northgate lockdown area, you know, the ward where the real crazies were kept. Now that the facility was closed for good, these students had keys to even the most appalling parts of the building.

I kept asking them questions, trying to steer them in the right direction without literally pointing out that they didn’t have a clue, but the arrogant little prats just ignored me. I could show them things. Scary things. Real things. After all as a reporter I had investigated Northgate, way, way back before some of them were born. They should at least pay attention. Should at least give me some of the respect I deserve.

This group wouldn’t even be here if only I’d been allowed to write the article I wanted to write, an article exposing the experimentation done on the unwilling. Unwilling, insane criminals, yes, but still unwilling. In my original research, I had uncovered atrocities that needed to be exposed. Doctors allowed to do whatever in the name of science. Doctors allowed to maim and mutilate. And kill, all in the name of science. If only…

If only I could just get these students to listen, I’d show them where the bodies were hidden, where my body was buried with all my notes.

Flavor #32: bookend robbins

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is Flavor #32: A local ice cream parlor invites you to create a new wacky flavor. It needs to channel the very essence of your personality. What’s in it?

I immediately thought about a favor based on the way books [physical books] smell. I know from experience there is a slight vanilla smell when you crack open a book and shove your nose into the crease, but I couldn’t pin down all the other subtle factors and wanted to know more before I submitted this brilliant [even if I do say so myself] idea of a book scented ice cream.

So, of course, I went to the web. According to Smithsonian.com, that old book smell is a combination of grassy bits and vanilla. Yes, I’m paraphrasing.

Based on that, in my mind, the ice cream base would be a rich French vanilla with tons of those lovely black vanilla specs in it. Swirled through would be a puree of wheat grass and finely chopped sugared dandelion leaves. I think it would be beautiful, and as long as the sugar out weighed the acidity of the wheat grass and dandelion leaves, it would be pretty damn tasty.

But what to call this new flavor?  I’m not very good at being witty. Sarcastic, yes. Witty, no.

I finally came up with bookend robbins.

 

 

 

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Book Cover Colors??

IMG_20140601_185313A FaceBook friend posted a link today that has me pondering the effect of color on the human psyche.

The article is Roses are Red, Violets are Blue: Here’s How Color Affects You. The premise of the article is that because “42 percent of males and 30 percent of females around the globe claim [blue]’s their color of choice” many savvy marketing firms use blue as a primary color in their logos. Followed by red and green, or combinations of primary colors. Now think about it, about all the logos you see everyday and about how many of them use primary colors.

Having worked for Big Blue for many years, where the corporate indoctrination class used to be called “Paint ’em Blue,” well, I got to thinking seriously about it. And the corporation I currently work, their logo is mostly red, but yes, there’s the blue, drawing the eye as if it were flashing come buy something.

So does this preference for colors also filter down into the publishing world? Do books with blue color schemes sell better? I’d love to see statistics on how many books have blue as their primary cover color.  [If anyone out there knows of an article regarding cover colors, please reply to this post.]

Both of my books have black on beige color schemes, which I like, but I wonder if they would attract more attention if they were blue. And red or green. Or yellow. When my next novel is ready to publish, I’m really going to have to play with brighter colors. Hey, every little bit helps.

By the way, if you could take a peek in my closet, you’d see that my favorite color, unlike 30 percent of females, is black. Yes, my favorite color is also the favorite color of many serial killers. Or so I’ve been told.

test post

blahdyblahblahblah…

 

 

more blah but great test to run

 

having too much fun constructing the web page itself to write a blog post.