The Changeling


Introduction: Just when you think you know someone they go and change on you.

Her whole arm was throbbing painfully. Wincing, she pulled up the sleeve of her light sweater and it certainly looked worse than it had this morning. Shaking her head in irritation she abruptly stood up from the table spilling coffee from her overfilled mug. She watched as a dark brown ring soaked into the freshly laundered tablecloth.

“Making a mess in my kitchen again Lisa?” cried her sister as she swept into the room clearing the mess on the table.

“Oh, well no, I got scratched by that cat next door when I chased it out of our yard and now I think it’s getting infected,” she said as she picked at the wound. “That old bitty next door told me her cat had its shots but I don’t believe the ugly old witch!”

“How can you know anything about her? She just moved in and seems nice enough,” Cindi said as she dabbed at the offending ring.

Lisa half-heartedly listened to her sister as she stared out of the window. She was compelled to look. There was a bird outside and she found it fascinating! She watched it take off and blurted out, “It’s getting away!”

Cindi turned to look at her sister with surprise, “What did you just say?”

Lisa was standing at the window at rapt attention. Cindi frowned, something was going on with her sister and she was going to find out what. Before she could ask any more questions Lisa ran to the back door muttering to herself with excitement and left the kitchen leaving the door wide open.

Cindi ran after her calling out, “Lisa Marie this isn’t funny you better stop it now! What’s got into you today?”

She didn’t know what was wrong with her sister but she knew Lisa wasn’t in her right mind because Lisa didn’t like to get dirty nor did she like nature much. Her tastes ran to men and more men, and expensive shoes.

Lisa’s arm wasn’t hurting anymore and she felt stronger than she ever had before. What was this incredible feeling? She looked down and noticed she had kicked off her shoes and lost them. She should be worried about those shoes they had cost a lot.

She ran after the bird for a block but it doubled back and landed in a tree in her next door neighbors yard. She had to catch that bird and moved slowly towards the tree.

Cindi pulled up short when she caught sight of her sister in the neighbor’s backyard on her hands and knees. “What’s wrong with you Lisa, you’re scaring me! You need to get out of that yard and come home. ”

When she was closer she stopped in her tracks shocked at what she saw, “Why, Lisa just look at yourself!”

Lisa wondered just who this strange lady was and what she wanted from her. She heard a twig snap and turned her head back to the tree just as the bird chirped and took off. She lowered her tail and before she turned to face the lady blackness enveloped her.

“Making a mess in my kitchen again Lisa?” Cindi said cheerfully as she leaned over the large orange tabby cat and petted her head.

She wiped up some milk that had spilled on the floor and admired her handy work. Lisa Marie thanked her with a loud, “Meow!”

© Rebecca Sanchez 2013


Hot As Hell


Introduction: To assume something can make an ass out of u and me but expectations can truly be hell.

It was hot as hell! Driving through this damn desert for my book signing near Los Vegas wasn’t my idea but it had to be done. The date had been booked by my manager for months in advance and my loyal fans would be waiting.

There was nothing to see but scrub plants, sand, and more sand. I had the air conditioning on high and wasn’t feeling it. I tweaked the nob getting nothing hearing a noise that sounded bad.

Belching steam and lurching like a drunk my overheated car came to a stop under the relentless sun. I tried to restart it but it was dead. I exited the only protection I had against the hell outside only to fill my lungs with hot air.

I looked around me half expecting the devil to make an appearance. The sand went on forever in the shimmering heat. There was no oasis like in the movies I was stuck in the middle of nowhere and I was going to be late!

I got out my trusty cell phone only to find no service. I searched my car finding nothing but an empty water bottle and a quarter. I expected lunch at the book signing event. My stomach was complaining already.

Nothing to do but start walking. I wasn’t on a highway I was on a backroad and it was deserted. There was no traffic whatsoever, not even a tumbleweed crossed my path.

My throat was parched and after a few miles, I felt dizzy and nauseated. I didn’t see one house or farm along this hot dusty road.  I sat down next to a barbwire fence that went nowhere for a rest and passed out.

Waking up it was near sunset. It still hadn’t cooled off after all of that time and no cars had passed me. I checked my cell phone and it was still without service. I was starving with a hell of a thirst but at least I felt a little better.

Then I saw her! She was strikingly beautiful, not unlike an angel as I gawked at her wondering where she came from. There were no signs of any transportation or buildings nearby.

Her makeup was perfect, she wore a skimpy sun top and blue jeans that fit her shapely body like it was painted on her. Her violet-purple eyes were bright and inviting as she looked at me but said nothing. Her look was inviting me to join her I stumbled to my feet.

It was odd she had a rope she was spinning around and around. First, it spun around her and then not. She was very good with it doing tricks like a cowgirl. As I got close she quickly threw it around me.

I felt as if under a spell as she talked to me with her eyes. They had a glow to them I’d never seen before. So, so, beautiful I forgot the heat, my thirst, my car and my predicament.

She started dancing with and around me the rope moving about as she circled. I had no idea who she was but could care less about asking. I never felt more captivated by a woman. Maybe I could get away but did I want to?

Embers rose from the large fire nearby filling the sky. Surely the fire was there before and I had missed it. Physically I felt wonderful on top of the world! There were a million stars on this moonless night but I only had eyes for her.

Suddenly, she dropped the rope and kissed me passionately. The kiss made me muzzy I was a goner. Her hands were all over my body at once. She couldn’t get my clothes off fast enough ripping my shirt. I could care less.

Now both of us naked we sank down in the sand where only the sky bore witness. I was eager to have her and she was ready for me not making a sound.

Her fingernails raked my back as I entered her deeply. It felt like nothing I’ve ever had before when suddenly I saw bright lights as a horrible pain raged through my back. Panic gripped me, the cuts felt deep; to the bone!

She rolled us over getting on top and fucking me with wild abandon. I was bleeding profusely and in no time we were covered in my hot sticky blood!

The pain was horrible my flesh was being ripped off in pieces and it’s then I heard her. Her terrible laughter was echoing off of the distant canyon walls.

She sat up on me smiling down with white pointed teeth as her tongue flashed snake-like from her hideous gaping mouth. Her eyes were yellow and her breasts and naked body had been slashed with satan’s great claws.

That repulsive creature finally stepped off of me as the devil himself showed up. Thankfully, I passed out but my last thought rang clear as a bell.

I had expected the devil to make an appearance.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2016

That is Liz Taylor in this photograph (which I animated) that inspired me to write this story.

The Puppy


Introduction: Discovering a puppy in a post-apocalyptic world makes a little girl’s day but the puppy draws more attention than she bargained for.

The little girl paused in the hallway of the old hotel listening. She was 10 years old and alone searching for uncontaminated food and useful things to use back at her hiding place.

She strained to hear the faint noise-there it was again! A whining noise of some sort. She wondered what it could be. Not many good things were alive anymore. Watching her step she continued her search.

It was 2018 and ever since the crippled nuclear reactor explosion went underground in Fukushima it was like this in San Francisco. Instead of the fog the city used to be famous for, it was now a thick, unromantic radioactive haze filled with vile things that will kill you eventually and for good. And you don’t want to come back as one of them!

She was drawn nearer to the noises that were coming from room 11. She was hunting for food, water anything she could find to keep surviving. She was one of the lucky ones but did not feel lucky today. Looking for untainted food was a full-time job and she was hungry.

She was a pretty little girl although you would never guess as her hair was matted, she was filthy and she lived like an animal. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she counted the beats to calm herself as she pushed the door open.

At least she still had a heartbeat; the older ones turned first. She kept her blade-sharp just in case but she must be fast. She lived this long because her blade was always ready and she was quicker than most.

She heard the noise again, this time, louder and looked around the room still not believing her ears. Animals were pretty much dead now everything alive was killed and eaten. Yet there it was again and it sounded like a dog.

When she saw it she fell in love. The black puppy was terribly excited now his sharp barks piercing the silence. It was straining to get to her tied to a table leg in the middle of the room with a rope. It was skinny and dirty but it was a real puppy!

She saw no one just a wreck of a hotel room that from the looks of it had no food and nothing to offer her but she found a puppy and now, there it was!

She stopped in her tracks, surely this was a trap! She drew her blade her blue eyes searching the hotel room very carefully. Surely they were not smart enough for tricks?

She came out of the shadows tentatively holding her hand out to the puppy. When she got close enough it licked her face and she laughed at the rough tongue tickling her skin. She put down her blade and picked up the puppy. It was warm and didn’t seem sick, but where did it come from?

The puppy struggled in her arms yelping and she tried to quiet it. She cut the rope and surveyed the room as it was getting dark and it was bad to be out at night. She spent too much time tracking the puppy and now it won’t stop making noise. She pulled it into a closet so they weren’t out in the open.

Suddenly, one of them entered the room! She tore her shirt and stuffed a piece of it into the puppy’s mouth. It struggled and made too much noise so she automatically broke it’s neck as the thing passed their hiding place.

She was used to being near them and became very still. She noticed that the puppy was bleeding from the nose but she stayed quiet, thinking how she might salvage the day. They never found her this way she was good at hiding.

The vile thing had almost left the room but it spun around at the door. Her soul went cold as she realized it had caught the scent of the puppies blood and it was all for naught.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2014

The Bridge


Introduction: When you’re alone, pay attention to where you’re going and don’t talk to strangers.

It was a foggy day but I jog daily no matter what kind of weather so I trotted out to my car. I arrived at the park and grabbed my gear for my workout. It was like pea soup outside but I finished tying my shoes and promptly got started.

I’d been jogging for a half hour when I entered the glen. The fog suddenly dissipated and although the sun was not out the area had an eerie light. I saw my path ahead but it looked different. I stopped and uncapped my water bottle taking a long drink as I looked nervously about. Everything seemed just fine I was lost and just being silly. Then I saw the bridge!

It was just down the path through the glen. Surely I took a wrong turn? The path I take every day has no glen or bridge. I could see it clearly but I rubbed my eyes anyway. I consider myself a very sensible person and at the moment I was feeling a little mad.

I looked up to gain my bearings. Trees were blocking out the sky and I didn’t recognize anything. I walked closer and couldn’t believe it but the bridge was beckoning me I felt drawn to it.

As I approached I saw a very old arched bridge made of hand laid stone. It had ivory growing all over it and the trees nearby were very thick so all I could see was green. I heard the water underneath as I got closer although I knew there was no creek in this part of the park but there it was!

Before walking onto the bridge I paused, held my breath and then stepped forward. I felt a strange electricity run through me as I walked to the middle of it taking in the illusion. Or was it real? I pinched myself like in the movies and I felt it!

“It’s a beautiful day today isn’t it?” Said a voice.

Startled I blurted back automatically, “Well, actually it’s been foggy and…” I glanced around frantically yet saw nobody on the bridge.

“Down here! On the creek bank,” he called out.

Then I saw “him.” He was strangely dressed in earth colors and blended in like an optical illusion and I was thinking he was precisely that.

I finally found my voice; “I don’t believe it” I said flatly.

I surprised myself at how calm I felt but I was confused and felt light-headed. The man had 2 arms, 2 legs, and a head firmly on his neck where it belonged and I could tell he was a man but that was where any comparison ended.

“Excuse me for surprising you like this but I’m a troll and surely you’ve heard of trolls and their bridges?” He was smoking a pipe and I was wondering what was in it.

“I don’t believe in trolls and this bridge does not exist so I must be dreaming.” I needed to finish my workout and had things to do deciding I must be in a section of the park I didn’t know about.

“Sorry to be rude but I must be on my way can you please tell me how to get back to the main parking lot?”

“Not so fast! You can’t leave this bridge without paying the toll.” His face remained smiling but his features took on a menacing look. He was short and stout but looked a lot more dangerous and had sharp pointed little teeth.

I was speechless! I still had to get some work done today, I was lost and now I had some homeless freak accosting me after getting lost. I found my voice, “I’m sorry err….whatever your name is, but I must be on my way now. I don’t carry money with me when I do this…”

“One gold coin you can pass, no gold coin trespass. You will not cross without it.” He rudely interrupted.

What could I do but look at the little troll spouting rhymes and laugh, “Okay, I enjoyed our little talk but you have kept me far too long.”

As I reached the end of the bridge I was bounced back hard on my rear. Surprised and angry now I scrambled to my feet.

“” I stammered. As I spun around the troll was on the bridge facing me and he seemed much bigger now.

“I will give you nothing,” I screamed at him.

“You will not cross,” he said and now he stood squarely in the way. “One gold coin you can pass, no gold coin trespass.”

He kept growing and was even larger as he continued, “I have been waiting a long time to escape it was easy to fool you into coming here. You really must pay more attention to where you’re going.”

His head was cocked quizzically to one side like a cocker spaniel. “What’s the matter cat got your tongue?”

And indeed it had. My head was spinning and I felt light-headed. He smelled of cinnamon but something very bad on top of that and he seemed to fill the sky it was making me sick. I saw the whole world turn upside down as everything went dark.

I awoke in the dark and I jumped to my feet in surprise scattering the pile of damp leaves I was lying in. As they landed on me I dropped my gaze to my bare feet and screamed. I didn’t recognize it as a scream really, kind of pitiful.

Then I remembered the troll was gone, and my feet were not mine! I was under the bridge and ran to the water’s edge to see my reflection. My mind raced with past events as I looked at the stranger looking back at me. I had on earth colored rags and no! Surely that could not…be…me?

“It is you and you are now the toll-keeper,” someone said. I knew that voice.

His reflection was in the water his face near mine only he was now a normal looking man. I twisted my head around to look behind me and he was not there! I heard his voice as he spoke in a monotone telling me my fate.

“One gold coin they can pass
no gold coin trespass.
No gold coin then you must trap
another person to take the rap.
Trespass they take your place
taking tolls with a troll’s face.”

It sounded like a bad fairytale surely it’s not real! My mind was slow and sluggish to comprehend as he finished.

“I lost track of time under this bridge but you will remain here until you lure someone here that can’t pay. It may sound easy but the trick is finding a person in the right frame of mind and getting them to step on the bridge. When you put your foot on the enchanted stone you were caught in my trap. Didn’t you feel it?”

I was too stupefied to answer him still staring at the water.

He continued,”I am just a man as you see here but made the same mistake as you, losing everything because of one weakness.”

“What was that?” I managed to croak and he answered me as his reflection faded from my sight.

“Vulnerability my dear, you were vulnerable enough to fall into my trap!”

© Rebecca Sanchez 2013