The Ball that Disappeared

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“You can’t throw it over that fence. No one can,” said Pudgy.

The rest of the children egged Hugo on. Hugo tossed the dirty baseball in his hand, sweating his next move.

It wasn’t that he didn’t think he could do it – he knew he could. But if Hugo lost that baseball, he would have nothing left to remember him by.

“Just give me another ball,” said Hugo. “I don’t want to throw this one.”

“No!” said Pudgy. “It’s the only one we got.”

“But it’s my ball!” said Hugo.

“What’s the matter, too chicken?”

Hugo shook his head, then spit on the ground. He rubbed the spit in with his foot to buy himself some time.

The baseball had been a birthday present from his father. Hugo never forgot what his dad said to him that day:

“I know, I know. It might seem like a crappy gift, giving you a worn-out baseball and all, but I’m doing this on purpose. Hear me out, now – This baseball’s dirty, beat-up, and worthless. But none a that matters, because… Hugo, are you listening? It’s important to me that you hear this.”

Hugo rolled his eyes. “Yeah, dad.”

“Good. This baseball rolls along just like any other ball, and regardless of how hard it gets hit, it’ll always, and I mean always, find its way back home.”

He didn’t know it at the time, but those words proved to be the last he’d ever heard from his father.

“Just throw it already!” yelled Pudgy. The other kids continued to laugh.

Hugo narrowed his eyes, like something on the fence had caught his attention.

“What?” said Pudgy.

“How about I throw it at the fence? If I hit it on a line, will that shut you up?”

“Hit the fence on a line?” Pudgy turned to the other kids. “The wind has a better chance of throwing Hugo then that happening!”

Now the kids were cracking up hysterically, one of the boys laughed so hard he dropped to the ground and clutched his stomach.

Hugo snarled, then whirled the ball back and threw it with all his might.

The other kids watched with amazement, in disbelief at how fast the baseball flew.

“Woah,” said Pudgy.

The ball zipped through the air, remaining on a line as tight as a wire. It smacked the fence in no time.

“Holy crap, Hugo!” Shouted Pudgy. “You got a rocket launcher for an arm?”

The kids slapped Hugo in the back, shocked at how hard the skinny kid could really throw. The only one who wasn’t celebrating, however, was Hugo.

Measles noticed it too. “Guys,” he said, “Look!”

Measles pointed at the fence, right where the baseball had collided. Rather than the mark Hugo had hoped to leave behind, there was a hole.

“That’s Old Man Semos’ yard!” said Measles. “You’re not actually thinking of going over there?”

“Why not?” said Hugo.

“Because Old Man Semos got a guard dog as big as a horse!” said Pudgy.

Hugo gulped.

“And if that doesn’t kill you, Semos will,” said Measles.

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

Kiki the Cat

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The only thing the burglar loved more than money was murder. The feeling left him with a certain euphoria he’d never managed to replicate through any other means, and since he’d finished his prison sentence he’d been yearning to take another shot at it.

He looked at the picture frame, and it left little doubt as to whom the apartment belonged to – a short girl with brown hair and freckles. An easy kill, if he had to do it. He put the picture frame back down, and continued to look for more jewelry, pulling out one drawer after another. To his surprise, the door knob began to turn. The burglar picked up his handgun and rushed to find a hiding spot.

* * *

Sylvia finished turning the handle and entered her apartment. “Kiki, I’m home!”

Kiki was the name of her cat. It was the coolest of kitties, never one to startle in the face of stranger danger. It’s primary interest was to sleep, so Sylvia did not find it the least bit surprising when her cat didn’t run up to her right away.

What did catch her off guard, however, was that much of her furniture had been displaced. It appeared as though her apartment had been ransacked. After some more inspection, Sylvia found her favorite articles of jewelry were missing, including one special necklace given to her by her grandmother.

Sylvia slipped her phone from her pocket and began to dial 911. Before pressing send, however, a burdening thought got the better of her. Sylvia dialed her grandmother instead.

“Grandma?”
“Yes dear, what is it?”

There was a noise, someone or something in the room had moved. Sylvia thought she heard it coming from her windowsill, behind the curtains. She slowly and cautiously began creeping towards it.

“Grandma, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“What is it dear?”

“Your necklace. The one you wore on your wedding day, the one that you gave me for my birthday?”

“Yes, I remember. What of it?”

Sylvia began to cry. As she continued forward, she could swear the curtains were more bloated than usual. Tears filled her eyes. “Grandma, somebody stole it! I kept it hidden in my top drawer, and hardly ever wore it except on special-“

“Oh, don’t think twice about it,” said her grandmother, followed by a weary chuckle. “Let it be not the least of your concern… Tell me you contacted the authorities already though, right dear?”

Sylvia held the curtain with one hand, then stopped short of flapping it open. “No. I feel really guilty… I thought I should call you first.”

“Dear!” shouted her grandmother. “Are you crazy? If somebody broke into your apartment, for the love of God, call the police!”

“I was going to next!”

Something moved behind the curtain. Sylvia was sure of it.

“What if the burglar is still in there, darling? Call the authorities!”

“Ok,” Sylvia said, meekly. She pressed the red ‘end’ button on her smart phone. Rather than dial 911, she was too taken in by whatever waited for her on the other side of that curtain.

Sylvia slowly set the phone down on the nearby table, then held her breath as she prepared to uncover whatever waited behind that curtain. She knew deep down that grabbing a weapon or even a blunt instrument would be the smartest thing to do, but she was too impulsive a person to take precautions, even in the most dire of situations.

Sylvia gulped, then pulled away the curtain.

“Ahh!” She screamed, then fell back.

Her cat, Kiki, had just pounced out at her. She smiled and breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank God… It’s just you, Kiki.”

“Die bitch!”

Sylvia turned, but it was already too late. The burglar fired the bullet, and the last image Sylvia saw before she passed was his handgun pointed down at her.

 The End!

  • Thomas M. Watt

Marketing – Day 2

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Waddup.

So yesterday was a pretty big success. Got some new followers on this blog, one of whom has a very impressive blog and seems determined to make her debut novel something special (her name is Allison and you can visit her blog here).

Beyond that, I reorganized my wordpress page, ditched the old shit cover of “A New Kingdom” and gave it a flashy new one (that’s sick as fuck), and edited the first chapter of Way of the World. Off to a good start? I’d say a fucking great start.

So where do I go from here?

From what I’ve garnered, the next step is to create a twitter account and promote my books in various forums. I’ve also got this wild fantasy of dressing up as one of my book characters, going to a local book store, and calling people over with a loud voice, then smiling big, laughing obnoxiously, and then I get money and they walk away with my book. I’m pretty sure that’s all there is to selling, right? Haha, just kidding… I’m gonna fall on my ass but so what.

Eh. I am not looking forward to this marketing shit. Then again, I’m kind of excited to do it, because I’m single and it seems sort of like dating – if you’re a single dude, you ain’t ever gonna get any unless you get off your ass and risk making a fool of yourself. You know it’s true because there’s an expression that says “Only fools fall in love,” but I never heard anyone say “See that really shy guy over there who keeps scribbling in that notebook over there? Yeah, he gets a ton of ass.”

Thomas M. Watt

The Worst Kind of Marriage – Part 4

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Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Bethany was locked in the closet with Amanda, the young bible-clenching girl who had made the terrible mistake of knocking on Huerto’s door.

“We need to get out of here,” said Amanda. She was blonde and had a fresh black eye.

“I know.”

“Can we? I mean, how has he managed to keep you here?”

“Every window is boarded up. Every room is locked from the outside. He’s always within reaching distance of his rifle. And he never has any visitors over,” said Bethany. She’d been locked in the house with Huerto for four months.

Amanda swatted the hanger poking her. “What happened to you? I mean… why did he stab you?”

Bethany swallowed. “We got in a fight this morning.”

“About?”

Bethany felt her wound and winced. She stood at a hunch – upright hurt too badly. “I asked to go outside. Even if it meant having a gun in my side.”

“And?”

Bethany looked down and ran a hand straight through her dark hair. “And he got upset, picked up a knife, then stabbed me.” She sniffed. “A minute later he got out of bed to ‘make us some breakfast’.”

Amanda’s face went blank. “What kind of man is he?”

“He’s not a man,” said Bethany. “He’s a coward. A sicko with a gun.”

“I wish I never came here.”

A shout came from the other room. “Marriage ceremony! Later today, Huerto and the bitch with the bible!”

Bethany shot a glance at Amanda. “Marriage ceremony…”

“What?”

Bethany swallowed. “I know what he’s about to do. He’s going to wed you with the rifle barrel pressed to your temple.”

“So?”

“So,” Bethany said, licking her lips before going on. “So maybe that’s my time to do something. I remember where the knife is that stabbed me. If I can manage to get hold of it in secret, maybe I can kill him before he knows what hit him.”

“But won’t that put me in danger?”

“What?” said Bethany.

“If you lunge to stab him when his gun is at my head he’ll shoot me, and I’ll die.”

Bethany bit her fingernail.

“C’mon,” said the teenage girl. “You can’t take that risk-“

“In all the time I’ve been here, not once have I had the chance to hurt him. Today I’m either going to bleed to death or fight back. What would you do?”

Amanda looked terrified.

“What?”

“Please don’t get me killed.”

Before Bethany could respond, the lock clicked and Huerto swung the door open. “Wedding ceremony, upstairs!” He pointed his rifle at Amanda. “Get out.”

He waited for Amanda and Bethany to exit, then walked behind them. Bethany led the way, eyes glued ahead. Blood continued to drip down her nightie and the pain was getting worse. She could feel her legs shake as she stepped up the stairs.

Her eyes were dark, as was her hair, but her skin was pale. As they reached the top of the stairs her breath intensified. A strange feeling mixed with all the pain, fear and anger she’d had to live, day in, day out.

It was hope.

Part 5, Coming Soon!

 – Thomas M. Watt