Sequence: My Garden Overflow (Short Story)

Most avoid looking directly into the sun, but I embrace it. Laying on the plush grass making contact with the Beloved while the glare penetrate my every core and seeps into my minds eye. I am wide open to receive it’s code.

“Blessed sun take me where no one else can go, your warmth is unlike any other,” I said while my arms are out stretched, welcoming. “Possess me, Creator, I need to draw strength from your being.” I lay there, arms garnering the unseen forces that come to me, alone on this earth, hugged by only nature.

It came soft and caressed me, entering first from my arms, then the cavity of my chest which made me groan slightly. It was not painful, more so, it was as though I was being filled up, brought to life as though I was a tree, feeding. It flowed down and up within my limb stems and leaves. I lay sighing, short gasps, the oxygen escaping me. “This is love,” I responded.

This original short story, essay is written on the fly and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All photography was made/taken by Ms. Gumbs, all rights are reserved by her in February 2022 (C)

Muse of Mine —A Villanelle (Poem)

I now know the singular purpose of his lips
As his whispers form and conjure spells
In response, my chalice overflows, he is thirsty and sips

A Drinking in bits of me and sweet lusting, touching my hips Sultry brown eyes engaged for the longing mood compels
I now know the singular purpose of his lips

Kisses so rare, so sublime creating heart skips My marvel monarch invoking while incites In response, my chalice overflows, he is thirsty and sips

A His Charm speak more powerful than the sunlight His presence on par with those celestial beings I now know the singular purpose of his lips

Intentions bold, sets me on fire, as this muse fits
He is skillfully undoing inhibitions parting thighs In response, my chalice overflows, he is thirsty and sips

Touch, the love language he speaks, alluring me
The moon comes closer to glimpse, listens and tells
I now know the singular purpose of his lips
In response, my chalice overflows, he is thirsty and sips

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in February 2021 (C)

Death Stills: A Short Story Part One

The blue flashing lights of four black police sedans are silent in front of the two-story house. Everything seems perfect on the outside, embellished in blue siding with a charcoal colored roof and chimney. Yet, from the open front door, you can see dirt and blood commingled into the rug. Upon entering the foyer, there is a putrid blend of rotting flesh, urine and excrement. There is also bare footprints, of various sizes, going in and out of the house with the trail halting at the door’s entrance. The 35mm camera clicks go off throughout the house, capturing every moment of the past few hours.

The forensic photographer, Billie Adelson, does not blink an eye when he captures the first body on the living room floor. At the foot of the fireplace, the body of a middle-aged and overly tanned man lay face down, except–the neck and head are at an abnormal angle. The blue sweater and khaki pants he wore have no bloodstains, gashes or so much as a wrinkle. The man is wearing dress shoes which color closely resembles his khakis. Billie captures photos of the blood-mud fusion foot impressions smeared in a semi-circle around the deceased. There are no discernible signs of a struggle and a weapon to determine the cause of death. The dead man’s last cloudy gaze fixed directly into the entrance of the dining room and kitchen.

A detective wearing coverings over his shoes, stops to speak to Billie before he enters the dining room area. He motions to the top of the entrance, where the words are written by fingers in ash, “We EAT here?” Billie snaps some shots of the words written grotesquely on the wall and zooms in on the messy script. The detective moves past Billie and walk into the dining room.

The atmosphere is heavy with the blend of stagnant blood, decomposition of meat, and food left out on the table. Surrounding the elaborate dining room table, sat two more corpses. All are motionless and perched in their seats. A blonde woman in her thirties or early forties sat at the head of the table, farthest from the entrance. Her glassy eyes were so wide it seems as though it bulge from her head. Billie gulps loudly and the detective looks at him with concern but said nothing. He nods and Billie continues his tour of photos. The blonde had a black scarf with white and red roses which was made into a bow and wrapped tightly around her throat. Upon closer examination, Billie notices traces of blue-black bruises near her jawline. He also notices her posture seems posed, like a mannequin. As he examines her visually and notices that her hands lay on both sides of the salad bowl on the placemat in front of her. Her palms of her hands face up. On the right side of the blonde is a pallid brunette teen, judging from her development she was probably between the ages of thirteen to sixteen. Taking the time to close in with the focus on his camera, Billie captures the neck trauma and multiple puncture wounds. Her eyes, now glassy and almost colorless, stare downward but her chair was positioned towards the blonde rather than under the table. Her hands were also set with the palms up on the table as the blonde woman. Behind the teen is a large portion of blood that is still pooled on the tiled floor and gathers near the rear corner of the room.

Two detectives, a male, and a female are comparing notes. The female said, “I believe there was post-mortem manipulation of both bodies. I have a hypothesis that perhaps they were killed in or around the room and then were posed at the table for some significance which I am bewildered, but…another instance shows that there may be multiple murderers.” The male detective nods in agreement and moves to examine the slashes in the girl’s neck.

The female detective notifies Billie that there was a final body upstairs, in the bedroom adjacent to the staircase. Before taking the first step to climb the stairs, he sighs. He has been in the business of forensic photography for 12 years now, he is still fairly young in the business. The odors, blood and corpses do not unsettle or irritate him. But today, in particular, it is taking a toll. Just two weeks ago he buried his mother. A week before that he found her alone and dead in her apartment. After all these years seeing strangers dead, seeing a loved one dead that he has emotions and memories attached, gives him a different perspective on the business now. Everyone is someone, to someone else.

Once he arrives at the top of the stairs and looks straight into the room, where the final display must be recorded–the moment, the essence of departure, and what remains. The male investigator was working on lifting fingerprints on a mahogany desk near the window, which was open. The bed is directly in front of the door and a deceased young woman lay face-up across it. In bloodsoaked yellow sheets and comforter, her pearly arms and legs sprawled out to where they resemble a starfish on a beach. As though she prepared to sleep, she wore a nightgown, which was lavender in contrast to her pale white skin. The nightie is long and covers most of her limbs except for her head, thighs, and arms. She had a collection of blood on her dress where her heart rests silently in her chest. Then the camera flash goes off again, documenting the stills of her soft shoulders to her delicate but bloody fingers and feet. Billie shakes his head and then continues to take snapshots of her bloodstained feet. He focus on the possibility that the smeared footprints from the living room and foyer, some may belong to her. But hers are just some of the many barefoot impressions captured on his camera. Numerous footprints are bigger than his and he wears size twelve in men’s shoes.

He looks at the investigator and inquires, “who is she?”

TO BE CONTINUED…

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

Unfinished Business at Hollow Manor – A Short Story

A few weeks ago my mother was lowered into her final resting place of the EverGreen Memorial Park. My three siblings and I surrounded the hollowed burial place to mourn her passing. As I stood there with glass tears in my eyes, my mind filled with the bittersweet memories that still held images of my mother—her presence, her voice, her hugs, kisses, her love.

After the somber ceremony we went to my mother’s home. She hadn’t moved since we all lived together decades ago. Reluctantly, we walked into the house. None of us wanted to be there, but mom left some loose ends and we couldn’t decide who would be the one to tie them, so we all decided to work together. The house looked as if it was vacant for months—no dishes in the sink, brown house plants, stack of newspapers sitting on the coffee table. None of us were ever really good with keep up with her, so mom’s illness came as a total surprise for us. In some semblance of respect for her, we pooled money together to hire home care nurses to watch her. Some of us—two of us, came to visit on a monthly bases. Her passing was still a surprise, however. We separated and each took a room to complete. The emotions flowed heavily as we sorted and collected forgotten memories of our lives—joys, disappointments, successes and regrets.

By the time we were done going through all the things that once mattered, the feeling of a life long lived seemed to flow about. It was her home. It was our home. Even though she’s gone, It will always feel like our home. We all lived most of our lives there. Some of us grew up, left, returned and left again. Our very beings were forged within those walls. As we gathered in the black SUV, still shedding our tears, our hearts were full. But grief took us in waves. I sat in the passenger seat, watching our home shrink away on the horizon and I smiled through the grief. I smiled as the happiness followed us from behind.

Credit to Jae Davis, as Editor of this story.

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

TOUCH HUNGRY: CHAPTER THREE – SHORT STORY

CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER ONE

CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER TWO

At the end of the work day, Frankia came home to relax, but first, the plants need to be tended to, watered and touched. Plant care created such a sense of tranquility and oxygen production within her studio apartment. During her encounters as a plant mama, she would feel her mood lighten up while the connection and appreciation of nature heightens. Touching all the plants reminded her of how precious life is, daily.

As she observed each plant she realized something. The Sliver Leaf blades were taller, it was not a drastic change but subtle.All the plants seemed to have shrunk…perhaps. She wasn’t sure now, that in one night one plant grew or the others became smaller. Her instincts told her to measure the mysterious flora that she purchased and see if her suspicions were correct. Immediately, she picked up a sheet of white paper, a pencil and measuring tape to record the data. The tallest leaf blade was 16.4 inches long.

Then suddenly, her fingers grazed the Sliver Leaf and she was paralyzed, frozen in her retreat. Everything within her was still, her heartbeat escalated. She thought, “what is happening?” She could not tell how long she was standing perpetually in place. It felt as though she was under a spell, which made her as a stone statue. The light from the window, declined into dusk as she stood. After what seemed like an eternity, she could feel her body slowly relieved of this hold.

When her body was, once again, fully in her own control, a sense of panic filled her chest. Confusion flooded her thoughts: Was it the plant that caused this reaction? How could a plant do this? No, no I may have to go see a doctor, I may be sick. She thought. Denial, disbelief and rationalizing what happened during this incident made her slow her movements and gently lower herself to sit on her couch. She was exhausted but decided to move towards the bed within her studio space to lay down. Surprisingly, she was able to drift to sleep as soon as her head laid on her pillow. Deep slumber took her and she did not realize that this was part of the enchantment.

TO BE CONTINUED…

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

TOUCH HUNGRY: CHAPTER ONE – SHORT STORY

Frankia Krane collected the small shovel, potting soil and a terra cotta planter pot set from the garden supply shop. She took her time looking at all the indoor plants in the nursery. There was a vivid array of selections all about her and every time she passed a plant she wants that very one, then two steps ahead she would fall in love with another plant.

She finally came upon a plant that was very unique from the others. The leaves were similar to that of a snake plant or Dracaena Trifasciata. Snake plants usually have speckles of green and cream colors, naturally detailed in natural waves and ripples with long, tall blades for leaves that look as though they want to reach for the sky. The only difference is that the other plant bared leaves with a texture like that of a lizard or reptile, with splotches in spectrums of browns and greens, with varying tones commencing from the very tips of the leaf to where it connected to its roots, hidden in the rich dark brown soil. The tag on the pot read, Dracaena Valiveal, also known as the Sliver Leaf Plant.

As though the plant’s leaf was charmed, Frankia instantly became compelled to caress the Sliver plant’s leaves. The texture of the leaves instantly incited an emotional response from Frankia. While she stood there near the table, stroking the leaves of this two-foot tall plant, she did not care if anyone was watching her. Though not far in distance, the store clerk, an aged woman stood watching her as she smoothed and massaged the plant’s blossoms. A cooing sound escaped Frankia’s lips, and a calm and nurturing feeling washed over her mind and body. She was not consciously aware of herself in this moment. There was also a cautionary note below this plant’s name that read, “please do not touch.”

“Excuse me ma’am, can I help you” The older woman who was on staff at the garden shop offered.

“I was looking for a new houseplant…and I think I found the perfect one!” Frankia responded.

“Well,” said the employee, “This one is a new species, similar to the snake plant that its origins are from the Congo Basin.”

“Congo? You mean in Africa? Well…”

The clerk spoke abruptly. “Oh yes. They both have origins in that region of Africa but the Sliver Leaf grows specifically in Equatorial Guinea, deep in the rainforest…growing wild, but still very rare.”

Frankia only blinked, then her attention went back to the plant.

“Oh and please do not touch it. Just water occasionally and we have a specific liquid…serum that helps with its nourishment. If you would like to purchase it, I’m available to receive your payment.” The little old lady said then motioned towards the direction of the cash register. Frankia immediately picked up the plant pot and followed the little old lady to the front of the garden shop.

TO BE CONTINUED…😬

CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER TWO

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

All What It Seems -Poetry

Camera poised for poses of smiles and laughter

Concealing a union’s sunset

In a horizon of demise

Portraits foreshadowing tragedy

The fights that brewed and rumbled before

The capture of curled lips with crooked intentions

Memories to play the perfect role

For an audience of none

All rights go to Juana M. Gumbs as her original poem. 01/04/2021

12/7/2020 #Untitled Poem

Here comes night

I, tortured

Fighting sleep again

Which becomes

Too familiar

To the demon, Death

And falling, falling

Memories lost to a trickling end

But alive outside the reaches

Of the outer realms beyond me

Lost sense of self

Obliterated by the varied roles

In dynamic technicolor

Steadily played like

Keys on a Casio.

Everything is melodic until…

Every key harmonizing

Crescendoing into tones of doom

Who am I this time?

Time the illusionist

With it comes lessons learned

Titled the best trickster

The foe and if grasped right

The fiend that swallows

All semblance of your sanity

SHORT STORY: LOST AND FOUND

“Where is it,” he muttered to himself.

The very last time Tonio saw his wedding band was before his afternoon swim. No, that was yesterday…or perhaps 3 days ago? But it has to be at the gym, he thought, still very frustrated.

Lucia, his wife had not noticed yet. Well, not to his knowledge. He quickly threw on some clothes, a jogger pant and a T-shirt, and ran out the house.

Pulling up to the gym, he became anxious, then steadied himself to perform the task of asking the front desk clerk a question.

“Hi, is there a lost and found box? I need to find an item that I think I left here.” He avoided eye contact with the clerk. He dreaded telling them what he lost.

The clerk put on the most sincere grin and asked, “sure, I’d love to help! May I ask what was it that you lost?” Concern on the clerks face, he was eager to assist. “Well…” hesitation from Tonio, “I lost my wedding band and…”

“Oh yes! A young lady brought us a wedding band yesterday. You are in luck!” The clerk said, he never missed a beat on showing pure sincerity. “Hold on for just a moment.”

The clerk moved swiftly going out of sight to retrieve the wedding band.

Tonio waited anxiously. He turned his back from the clerk’s desk. Relieved, he began wondering who turned in his ring. Who found it?

“Here is your ring, sir.”

Tonio turned to face the clerk. Stunned, he realized who it was and his jaw dropped.

This original blog post and short story was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her. August 2020(C)

SHORT STORY: AwAkEn (Limited)

It was a faint touch on the shoulder that stirred her from sleep. The sun crept across the window, but she wasn’t conscious of it in the least. The second touch was on her elbow, then on her ankle, then an aggressive tap on the brow. This rouse her from sleep abruptly.

She sat up quickly from the shock, realizing that no one was in the house she slept soundly in for the past several hours. Her breathing quickened and she searched around her bedroom, but there was no one.

All rights reserved to Juana M. Gumbs 08/2020