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Friday, August 24, 2018

A Political Poem ... Of sorts: It All Got Crazy Somehow

It All Got Crazy Somehow

You know what I did,
What I did today?
I tried really hard,
Really hard to pray;
Pray for the anger,
And pray for the hate,
Pray for the people,
Whose words we ate;
I don’t think it did much good—
My prayer

And the people have ears,
That cannot hear;
They have eyes
That cannot see.
There are only two sides,
Two sides so few.
One side is right
And the other, too
Their hearts are mad
Their minds are on fire

There is no answer to satisfy,
The minds that are on fire;
The eyes that cannot see
The hearts in sinking mire

There was peace once,
Once in the Garden
But deception came,
And it all got harder.

The Singer sang,
“Creation is tired, and my children are angry
They hate,
They’re sad,
And painfully mad,
What have they done?”
Is anyone willing?
Yes, even one
To remember the cross
And what was done?

“And my children return;
Return to dust.”

“Where are my children?”
The Singer asks.

“Where are my children—the true and just?”
(Copyright 2018 by Deborah L. Alten)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter: A Horror Story

Blood On My Hands

There’s blood in the courtyard, creeping into every crevice. A living force swirls it in all directions, gradually covering every stone till it slithers among the white lilies. An eerie hush envelops the garden withering within the shadows cast by three rugged crosses. 

Walking through the courtyard, I tremble as my eyes follow a path of bloody footprints. Above me a mourning dove sings, then flutters its wings but remains perched; her cooing song haunts the dusk-like hours.

From noon till three the sun had stopped shining. The darkness had taken our breath away.

“I think we killed an innocent man today,” I whisper. “But my orders were to—”

“There’s so much blood, so much blood.” In the growing shadows a woman crawls on hands and knees, disturbing the pool of blood.

I hang my head. Shame can choke a guilty man.

She sobs, her tears dripping into the pool. Each tear, sparkling in twilight, splatters spots of red on her dress. It doesn’t matter, she’s already stained.

“You knew this man?”

She looks at me with sad eyes. “Yes, He was my Son. But not really.”

I raise my eyebrows. “Why did He let me … let them do that to Him?”

Slowly she stands to her feet and examines the cuts on my hand. I flinch. There’s a thorn embedded in the flesh near my thumb. I look away as she masterfully removes it. She smiles as she returns to her impossible task.

There’s not enough rags, I think, or enough buckets. “Leave it,” I tell her. “I’ll take care of it.”

In the cool of the evening, having failed to clean the courtyard, I take a long walk to the place of the Skull. No amount of water could have washed His blood off my hands. It stuck, it burnt, it outlined my fingernails. I don’t like how His death is affecting me. “Let it go,” I mumble. “He was just another man.”

As I struggle up the hill a daunting breeze fights with my newly-assigned cloak: A gift for my first kill. It’s a guilt offering. Maybe I’ll leave it at the foot of His cross. I wonder if anyone will remember Him?

As I near the Skull I watch someone taking His lifeless body off the blood-soaked cypress. The wind rustles the one part of his loincloth that isn’t sticking to his flesh by oozing blood. I take a deep breath, keeping my distance. My heart beats through the walls of its chambers as I remember His words: “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

My ears are ringing. It’s deafening. I can still hear the echo of the hammer hitting the nails. I pierced his hands and drilled through his feet. "No!" I sigh.

“Were you … are you the Son of God?”


It was a still small voice but it knocks me off my feet, down the hill and into the wild brambles. The thorns pierce my flesh. I moan.

The way home feels unfamiliar. My shadow seems disconnected or there’s a second person walking beside me—invisible? Did I hammer the nails into the Son of God? Is there a greater sin?

Each tree I pass reminds me of Him: Every cypress, cedar, and pine shudder; spindly arms shooting out ready to devour me, laboriously uprooting themselves. I run, stumbling through creeping shadows, as a red moon rises. A raven caws, bringing an end to a day of infamy. It is finished.

The world will never be the same. What will I do with His blood on my hands?


Religious Easter Comments

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus he gave up the ghost. 

Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. (Luke 23:44-47)

Please click below for more
of my flash fiction chronicles 
available on Kindle.

Short Tales of Secret Worlds
Mrs. Shackles

My Easter Poem: The King On A Cross

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Free Flash Fiction: Where Dragons Live

by Deborah L. Alten

“There are no more dragons, sir.” Gha’enna caressed the innkeeper’s face with the back of her sun-bronzed fingers. “Perhaps you’d be so kind as to pour me a pint of ale, slice me a piece of bread, and spare me a bowl of warm stew.” Her lips were close to his, her nimble fingers unfastened the buttons of his disheveled shirt. “Here’s me last few pence.” 

He trembled at the mere touch of her skin on his. “Keep it.” His voice a quiver. 

She threw a bloody tether onto a table and brushed off the crumbs. Her green eyes fixed on the inn keeper. Never trust a man who … Well … never trust a man.

The stale bread, dipped in warm stew, satisfied her hunger … for the moment. She washed it down with badly-brewed ale. Suddenly she slapped one hand onto the coiled-up tether as she pinched her throat with the other. She grinned nervously at the inn keeper who raised an eyebrow. 

“I smell a dragon.” The innkeeper grabbed a knife. 

“I told you, sir. There are no more dragons. You would call a lady a liar?” 

He stood frozen, mesmerized, as moonlight danced through her long red hair. And that smile rendered him powerless. There was nothing he could do but stare. She knew he believed every word that fell from her lips. “Forgive me. Ne’er would I call a lady by such a name.” 

“Indeed.” From the corner of the dimly-lit tavern, a figure rose from the darkness. 

His voice was like a rushing wind and deeply disturbed Gha’enna. She jumped at the first sound of it. The voice seemed familiar, but she placed no memory to it. A heavy black and bloodstained cloak covered him. His face not visible. The innkeeper cowered behind the bar. 

The man crept closer. “You would not call a lady a liar?” He turned to Gha’enna. “She is no lady, Innkeeper.” 

Gha’enna held tight the tether. She backed away from both of them.

The man adjusted his cloak as he made his way around broken chairs and spilt ale, toward her. “Where have the dragons gone, my Lady?” 

“I have slain them all.” 


“Have your eyes seen them then? Where and when have you seen one?” The tether in her hand stiffened. Again she touched her throat; an attempt to dislodge something she could not quite swallow. Her eyes searched for his, to no avail. She coughed as she gasped for that extra breath of air. 

“Innkeeper, has she blinded you with her beauty? Her words, or perhaps the sweetness of her lips has held you captive.” His gloved hand appeared from under his cloak. Chainmail rattled beneath it. “She makes fools of men, and her paths lead to spirits of the dead. At night she stands at forbidden doors. Do you not see the dragon?” 

“I only see her,” said the innkeeper.

Gha’enna giggled. Then unexpectedly she flung the tether across the room. It coiled around the innkeeper’s neck and tossed him high above the tables. An horrific, wicked growl tore the roof off the tavern. One blood-curdling scream and the innkeeper’s feet dropped with a splat into a puddle of his own blood. The other parts of his shredded body, burned, then swallowed or trickled like bloody crumbs onto the dirt floor. 

The knight unsheathed his sword against the fury of dragon fire, but Gha’enna’s red wings carried her away before he could plunge it into her cold heart.

**(This book is FREE till March 4th)**

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Her Bloody Valentine: A Mrs. Shackles Adventure

Deep in the forest, near the bend of the river, a man, under hood and cloak, trudged over a stone bridge dragging a scythe. The wind followed him through the front door of a dilapidated cottage into a candle-lit living room.

Fourteen-year old Oliver Krankston, the banker’s son, cowered against the clay wall. Uncomfortable in his faded long johns and saggy woolen socks, the boy trembled. He squinted toward the flickering flames. “Mr. Fetters,” he whispered, “did you find him?”

Mr. Fetters shook his head. “No.”

On the wooden floorboards a long trail of bloody footprints glistened in the soft glow. Mr. Fetters tossed a few logs onto the fireplace while coughing up blood and vile. “Get to sleepin’.” His words were slurred.

“Why did you take me?"

“Your father owes me his life. I’m collecting.”

Oliver opened the palm of his hand, unfolding a crumpled-up paper Valentine—from Lily Payne, it said. He hoped she had received the one he sent her. There might have been blood on it. Maybe she’ll rescue me.

“Don’t fear, child.” Mr. Fetters flung his black cloak over the scythe propped against the stove. “She might just care enough to take your place.”

Oliver quickly put all thoughts of Lily out of his head. “You can’t have her!”

Later that evening, a pounding on the door startled Oliver out of a restless sleep. The door almost creaked off its hinges as Mr. Fetters opened it.

“Mrs. Shackles and … Lily Payne? A pleasant surprise.”

Mrs. Shackles shoved a shoebox into his hands. “Give me the boy!”

“Only if you have his father in this shoebox.”

“I do.”

Mr. Fetters raised his eyebrows and opened the box. He recognized the banker’s hand. His displeasure became obvious as he flung the box into the snow. “He was mine!” he bellowed. “The boy stays!”

“No!” Lily wrapped her tattered blanket tighter around herself and shoved her way into the cottage. “I am here to take his place.”

Snow cascaded off the roof as the cottage rattled on its foundation.

“Mr. Fetters,” Mrs. Shackles’s eyes widened, her head slightly tilted, “you do not want to mess with that girl.” She hobbled inside, shaking her head and rubbing her chin. “Oh, she’ll be a burden to live with if you make a hero out of her.”

“You think I won’t keep them both?”

Mrs. Shackles grinned. She straightened up and raised both arms out to each side. Two large, black wings slowly tore through from the lower part of her back. The right wing was frayed. And then … a loud piercing scream broke through the howling wind. Two bodies slammed through the door, finally blasting it off its hinges. Lily and Oliver picked up the scythe together and crept out the back.

Dark, spiny wings squeezed tight around Mr. Fetters. He gasped, but she had caught him off guard. Just before his last breath Mrs. Shackles released him into the river creating a large and loud splash.

Turning over and over, his cloak cocooned him and carried him downstream.

Mrs. Shackles tossed the severed hand into the murky water. “All you had to do was take it.”

Oliver squinted into the waters. “Is that my—”

“No, child,” Mrs. Shackles said. She blew out a painful breath. “It’s just a hand. Can’t quite remember whose father was attached to it.”

Lily wrapped her tattered blanket around Mrs. Shackles. “Let’s go home.”
“Yes, let’s.” Mrs. Shackles picked up the scythe. “Ah, there it is. I thought I had lost it forever.”

Find out what else Mrs. Shackles has been up to? 

"Mrs. Shackles: Her Bloody Valentine"
Copyright, 2016 by Deborah L. Alten (yep, that's me)

Debby A.

  • Mrs. Shackles says to buy your loved ones some chocolate for Valentine's Day.

    Gourmet Valentine Chocolate Keys
    9 Chocolate Hearts

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

    She Flies: A Poem to Honor the Bluebird

    When shadows shift
    When snow first falls
    She sits alone:
    A bluebird calls

    The Branches sway
    Winter's breeze so cold
    Snow swirls to rain
    Her distress unfolds

    Shall she be brave;
    Fly through the storms?
    Night shadows twist
    To horrid forms

    How will she fare
    When moonbeams flicker?
    How will she dare
    When sleet turns thicker?

    Once more she cries
    Though echoes fail
    She bears her soul
    On wings she'll sail

    An eagle's span ...
    She flies

    Debby A.
    Copyright, 2014 by Deborah L. Alten
    photograph by Debbie McEachern

    Friday, July 25, 2014

    End of the Night

    Drops of moonlight cascade from the world above.
    Water reflects and turns into stardust.
    It's the time of night when worlds collide and surrender to each other.

    Her fingers trace the moonlight as the water parts, soothing her soul.
    She drifts into the silver hues of the painted sky;
    It is the end of her.

    The night is now adrift, moonlight fades to dawn
    A shower of silver stars deflect to the other side.
    The memories of dreams caress the lesser light.

    Dusty streaks of sunlight filter through curtains of autumn leaves,
    Wafting on morning breezes.
    She sings with the sparrow,
    And laments with the coo of a mourning dove.

    It's the time of day when worlds separate;
    When the sun softly greets the horizon.
    It is the end of her.

    In the distance she hears the hum of city shrills,
    Engines sputter to life on overcrowded streets. A siren screams.
    And finally she whispers: …
    "I don't exist here anymore."

    Her light disconnects from this world,
    She fades into day.
    It is the end of her.

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a
    Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

    Debby A.
    First published
    Deborah L. Alten, Yahoo Contributor Network
    Dec 3, 2013

    photo by MakeLessNoise
    Wikimedia Commons