Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Love, Obsession & the Deep-Freeze"

I have one more story that has been published that I would like to share with you. "Love, Obsession & the Deep-Freeze" was first published in Midnight Times, issue 14, in the summer of 2006. It will also appear in print in issue 37 of Outer Darkness Magazine in the summer of 2007.

I was reading Stephen King’s book On Writing (which, by the way, I encourage any aspiring writer to purchase–but more on that later) when this story came to me. In the book Stephen King sets up a writing exercise in which he gives you a common situation, has you switch the roles, then tells you to write about it.

"Love, Obsession & the Deep-Freeze" was born, loosely, from that situation. As I have said before, some stories come easy, like a trip down a water slide. Some come hard, like a fat man squeezing through the cat door.

This one ... it was a fun ride all the way to the water. I did have to rewrite it a couple of times before I captured it just right, but that’s all part of the job, isn’t it?

Brandy liked the story, but she wasn’t too fond of the title. "It’s seems a little too long," she told me. It is the longest title of any of my stories, but still, what a title! It came to me out of the blue. An epiphany (or apostrophe as Shmee in Hook would say). I thought it was poetic. Dark, yet beautiful. I sent it without apology into the world.

And looky there! Not one acceptance letter, but two.

Oh, come on. I’ve been losing arguments to this woman for over eight years now. I’ve got to boast a victory, no matter how small. It could be a long time before I see another one.

All joking aside. "Love, Obsession & the Deep-Freeze" was an enjoyment for me to write. I hope you will feel the same about reading it. It is dark, and a little sad, but all my stories are seasoned with those spices. That’s just who I am, I guess.

I am not going to print the story here. Just like "A Town Full of Holes," I want you to visit Midnight Times ( and check it out there. Or if you want, order your advanced copy of Outer Darkness, issue 37.

That would be just fine, too.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"The Monster's Box"

"The Monster’s Box" was published in the Spring/Summer, 2005 issue of Fighting Chance.

Of all the stories I’ve written, this is the one that my wife deems her favorite. Of all the stories I’ve written, this one has caused me the most pain.

I love the fantastic and impossible. Monsters, aliens, supernatural gunslingers that travel the dimensions–those are my kind of stories. "The Monster’s Box" isn’t at all fantastic or impossible (although the title would suggest different).

The story is about real pain, real monsters. It is a subject that hits very close to home. There is absolutely nothing in this story that is real. I am not the main character. It is a story, not a memoir. But it is a subject that I know a good bit about.

I didn’t write this story with the thought of seeking publication. I wrote it out of frustration and hurt. Maybe that’s what makes it my wife’s favorite. Its honesty.
What is sweet nectar to her is bitter water to me. The words cut me when I wrote them–they cut just as deep every time I pass by. But please don’t confuse pain with regret.

The Monster’s Box
by Gabriel Beyers

I stand staring into a box. Inside the box is something I love and something I hate. The box belongs to a monster. I know that seems foolish and simple, but it’s the truth.

I can’t remember when the monster came into our lives; perhaps he was always there. If I press hard into the thick swamp of my mind and force myself into the wilderness of my memory I can feel him there. Red hot and angry.

When I was young, I spent my nights being startled awake, not sure what it was that woke me. I would lay there, staring into the dark ceiling, mute with fear, listening to the monster’s growls slithering up and down the halls. Could my mother hear him? What if he found her?

All I could do was pull the covers over my head and clog my ears with my fingers. Sometimes it took me hours of lying like that before sleep would come again.

Years went by, and soon my little brother came to share my fear of the night. The monster, who had limited his visits to once or twice a week, was now coming every night.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Man Divided

They say that time is constant. By which I mean every hour is sixty minutes, every minute sixty seconds ... blah, blah, blah.

I’m sorry, not to be unscientific, but I just don’t see how this can be true. The hours, the minutes, the seconds that I spend droning away at work (I won’t bore you with what I do. It’s too depressing.) seem so much heavier than the same time I spend on writing. Seconds do not equal seconds my friends.

The hardest part of writing, funny enough, isn’t the writing at all. It’s digging up the time to put your butt in the seat. I have a saying: I work to live, not live to work. Isn’t it a shame that we waste so much time working our lives away, missing out on the things we love most. We ration ourselves out like the last piece of bread divided among an army.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for my job. It’s just frustrating when you read what established writers have to say on the subject. Oh, I read fifty novels a month. I write ten hours a day. I don’t worry about my household chores. I just sub them out to someone else.

Yeah right!

Read a lot. Write a lot. This is what is said to be the key to becoming a good writer. I don’t disagree. But there are only so many hours in a day. At least eight go to work. Another two to four go to maintaining the house after work. There always seems to be some obligation reaching in an stealing another couple of hours or so. Sleep ... can’t forget sleep. I’ll give that necessity five hours, on average.

So what’s left? Not enough.

So here is where I’m divided. Do I read? Do I write? Do I edit? Do I spend the time submitting my work? Or should I write an entry to my blog (one that maybe no one will read)? All of these are important. All.

Maybe someday, when I’m established, and someone is paying me to do the things I love, I’ll have more to ration out to my army. It will probably still be bread, but at least there will be a few more slices to work with.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"Fox Lane"

"Fox Lane" was published in Seasons in the Night, Volume 4 (the same issue in which "A Town Full of Holes" made its second appearance).

The story came to me by accident in a way. I was asked to write a short story (at the time no one knew that I was a writer) for a Halloween party; one that could be read while the group was being led through a spooky field to an old dilapidated house.

Most of the elements of the story are true. There is a Fox Lane that is little more than a driveway. There is a withered old house. And yes, there was even a mummified cat in the house. But as for Ida May and her coven of kitties – I told you I had a strange imagination.

The party went well, the haunted house was scary, and the story ... well, you can figure out the rest.

Fox Lane
Gabriel Beyers

There is a road in Monroe County, Indiana, called Fox Lane, that is nothing more than an old winding driveway leading to an abandoned farmhouse. This house once belonged to Tom and Ida May Fox.

Tom and Ida May never had any children, and neither had any living relatives, so when Tom passed away in 1939, Ida May found herself completely alone. Ida May began taking in stray cats to keep her company. It was just one or two at first, but soon the number grew to around twenty. When Ida May went to town (which she rarely did) she would talk to everyone she could about her adorable little babies. It wasn’t long before the local kids nicknamed her the Cat Lady.

Sometimes on a full-moon night, when there wasn’t much else to do, the children would sneak out to the Cat Lady’s house to watch her walk down the path leading to her husband Tom’s grave. She would be dressed all in white, carrying a single rose, with the largest pack of stray cats anyone had seen tagging along behind her.

One night two drifters came by and, thinking no one was home, decided to sneak in to see what they could find. They broke a window and climbed in. The sound of breaking glass woke Ida May, and she went downstairs thinking that her babies must have knocked over a vase.


Friday, October 20, 2006

"A Town Full of Holes"

Although "A Town Full of Holes" was my fourth published story, it was not the fourth one written. It was actually the second (technically the third if you count "A Tiny Decision", but it was never published due mostly to the fact that it was horrible).

That is one of the frustrating situations you find yourself in as a writer. You spend all this time on first writing the story, then finding a suitable publication. Then, if you’re lucky enough to get a response at all, it’s usually a rejection. After several re-submissions you finally score. Someone gives you the big OK. You frame the acceptance letter, celebrate with some Starbucks, and then you wait ... and wait ... and wait.

"A Town Full of Holes" was accepted by Midnight Times in April of 2004, but wasn’t actually published until January of 2005. Three month after that it was published again in a magazine called Seasons in the Night.

Writer’s Market had Midnight Times mislabeled as a print magazine, but it is really a webzine. I didn’t find this out until the editor, Jay Manning, sent me an e-mail saying that he was interested in my story. I prefer print magazines (my own personal prejudice) but I agreed to let him publish the story. One of the best decisions of my life.

Midnight Times is an excellent publication, full of talented writers and wonderful stories. Normally I would paste my story here, but I want to encourage you to visit Midnight Times. So, if you would like to read "A Town Full of Holes," go to or click on the link to the left. It will be in the archives; Winter 2005, issue #8.

An interesting side note (or maybe not): I originally wrote "A Town Full of Holes" for a contest. I stayed up all night so that I could make the deadline. At somewhere around 5:30 A.M. I finished. I was pleased with myself. I liked the story; felt that it had poured from me with very little trouble. I went to save the file, but my exercise in sleep deprivation had caused my brain and my hand to go all Jekyll and Hyde. Instead of clicking save, I clicked exit.

Now fully awake, I rushed to reopen the file, praying the whole time that I had hit save somewhere close to the end. I hadn’t.

The story was just a few words shy of 4,000. When I reopened the file, there were only 2,000 words. I spent the rest of the day (luckily I didn’t have to work) rewriting those lost 2,000 words. And that second time was nowhere near as smooth as the first.

They say that a bought lesson is the best kind, and I believe it. I am now a habitual saver.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Good-bye to a Great Friend

Her name was Annie. Her hair was soft and black. Her eyes were brown and full of kindness. It didn't matter to me that she walked on all fours, had a big nose, and wagged her tail everytime she saw me.

My wife and I weren't looking for a dog when we found Annie. We went to Petsmart that day to buy fish food. It was Saturday - the day they truck in the strays from a nearby shelter. We turned down the aisle and there she was.

Annie was a Schipperke (little sheperd). I had never heard of that breed before. She looked like a black fox to me. Neither her ears nor her tail had been clipped, and there was a bit of red in her fur. Later we would discover that this branded her as imperfect. Nothing was further from the truth.

There was one thing wrong with her, we discovered. She limped on her left rear leg. We were told she had an infected toe - nothing serious. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Our vet informed us that Annie's hip was dislocated and that she needed an expensive surgury to correct it. Man, had the dog only a couple of days, and already she was costing us! The shelter told us they would take Annie back and give us a refund if we wanted.

We knew what would happen if she went back. A date with a needle. We couldn't stand the thought of that. But we didn't have the money for the surgury.

My wife started calling around, seeking for any kind of finacial aid we could get. A couple of days later we received a phone call from the shelter. Because we were willing to keep Annie despite her injury, they decided to cover the cost of the surgury.

Annie was good as new. For four years she filled our lives with ineffible joy. From the way she would stand on your feet and lean on you so you'd have to stay and pet her, to the way she would grunt when you rubbed her ears, to her mistrust of squirrels ... I could go on forever.

And she never complained; never gave us any grief. She was by far the best dog I have ever known.

A couple of months ago Annie stopped eating. She weighed twenty pounds at her heaviest, but quickly dropped down to sixteen. That may not seem bad, but you lose 20% of your body weight and we'll talk. A blood test told us two things. Annie was older than we thought (five to eight years older), and her kidneys were no longer functioning like they should.

Our time was short.

We didn't want to put her to sleep. My wife and I agreed, we’d do it if we had to, but we hoped we wouldn’t have to.

Last Saturday Annie had a bad day. She had trouble walking, but what made it worse was that when she saw you, she’d wag her tail. Her eyes were as bright as ever. Her mind was there, but her body was just not holding out.

My wife held Annie on her lap, crying, and asked Annie what we should do. She didn’t seem in pain. No whining, nothing. Always a wag, though. We knew she wasn’t going to answer us, but we were wrong.

The next day, October 8th, Annie had a better day. She was walking fine. She drank some water, even ate some ham (it was the only thing she would eat at this point). My wife let her outside to sit in the sun. I went to check on her a few hours later.

Annie had dug herself a little hole under the deck stairs years ago. She loved to lay there in the cool dirt. That’s where I found her. I called her name. When she didn’t wag her tail I knew.

Annie - ever faithful, never complaining, always loving - gave us our answer. She spared us from having to make the decision.

She still looked like she was asleep. I buried her under the trees where she guarded against an army of squirrels - protecting us perhaps.

I have never felt so heartbroken over the loss of a pet. She was a wonderful friend, and I am thankful for every day of the four years we were blessed with her.

So if someday you are reading a story by me, and you come across a little black dog that looks more like a fox; one that is intelligent, loving and faithful - everything a dog is supposed to be - know that it is the spirit of Annie.

And know this: No matter how well I portray her, I could never give her justice.

Thank you, Annie. I love you.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"The Fire Lady"

"The Fire Lady" was published in Fighting Chance, Winter 2004 Issue.

It is one of three Flash Fiction stories (under 1,000 words) that I have attempted. I feel more comfortable in longer stories. It is hard - at least for me - to develop characters, plot and keep the story going in so few words.

I don't feel this is my best work, but the story still holds a certain charm for me. The young boy Tom reminds me of one of my nephews - an imagination better than any book or movie. This same nephew seems to remind both of my sisters and my mother of how I used to be - and hopefully still am.

The Fire Lady
Gabriel Beyers

Tom and Andy stood in the alley beside the general store and watched the train go by. The long chain of boxcars slithered down the tracks like some giant, poorly built mechanical snake.

"What d’you s’pose is in those cars, Tom?" Andy asked. He looked down at Tom; a small four year old boy with deep brown eyes that were out of place next to his blonde hair.

"Lots of different stuff," Tom replied. He looked up at the tall man beside him and smiled. Andy had a head full of long stringy red hair that was always falling into his eye (a mean dog took one of his eyes when he was young). Andy’s skin was ghost white — but that was hard to see under the thick layer of grime that covered him.

Tom didn’t care that Andy was dirty, or that he only had one eye. Andy was his best friend.

"What kinda different stuff?" Andy asked.

Suddenly a clap of thunder exploded in the sky, and Andy felt the wave roll over his body. Tom began to look around frantically. His lips were quivering as he tried to speak. "Something is happening. Something bad."

"What do you mean bad?"

Before Andy got his answer another clap of thunder roared above. The sound was deafening and the blast wave was so strong it knocked Andy and Tom off their feet. The sky came alive with a moment of rippling fire, then the town’s lights were extinguished.


Friday, September 22, 2006

"Aunt Maddy's Chair"

"Aunt Maddy's Chair" came next. It was published in Peeks & Valleys in 2004.

Writing is such lonely business. Sometimes you have to travel through a wilderness of rejection slips (Lord knows I've a pile of them), crawling on hands and knees, almost to the point of breaking, before you get to that sweet oasis the Acceptance Letter.

When I first started this journey I had no idea that the wilderness would be my home for somewhere close to a year. I was discouraged. I was downhearted. Did I want to give up? Sometimes. But I plugged on. Why? you ask.

Because it didn't matter if anyone wanted to read my stories. It hurt my feelings a bit, but that still wasn't the point. I put words to paper so that the people in my head - the ones I'd been talking to for a while - would have a place of their own and give me some peace. I know, I know. I promise you, I'm sane.

True artists create out of love for their creation. Not to be noticed, and definitely not to get paid. Don't get me wrong. Getting money to do something you love is a nice perk, but not the spine of the act.

I realized something in that wilderness. I love to write. Sitting here, right now, writing this blog ... I'm in Heaven. If I'm so poor I can't afford the paper, I'll write my stories in the dirt.

When I came upon an oasis with "The Barn" I was overflowing. When I received the letter for "Aunt Maddy's Chair" a few weeks later ... I wanted to do back flips in the yard.

Aunt Maddy’s Chair
Gabriel Beyers

Jacob Lydel stood at the door of the tiny box style house. He looked at a pyramid of unclaimed newspapers resting on the porch. Aggravation stabbed at him. Someone should have brought her the paper, he thought. Everyone knows how much she likes reading the newspaper. Then he caught himself. I mean liked. A ripple of embarrassment moved from his scalp down his back. His wife Audrey was always telling him how insensitive he was, but his Aunt Maddy had only been dead for a couple days now. Anyone could have made the same mistake.

"You all right, honey?" Audrey asked. She shifted their son Eli from one hip to the other. Eli let out a little whimper then went back to surveying his new surroundings with wide eyes.

"Yeah," Jacob said turning around, "I’m just looking for the key." He searched his pockets, finally finding the tarnished brass key in the inside breast pocket of his jacket. Connected to the key by a tiny ring was a piece of paper. The words, MOM’S HOUSE KEY, were written in black marker on the paper key chain.

Jacob turned the key, and with a minor nudge of his shoulder, opened the door. The smells of stagnate hospital air strangely mixed with mildewed carpet wafted around them.

"You go ahead in," Jacob said. "I’ll go get our bags."

Audrey stepped past him stopping just inside the door. "You sure this is all right?" she asked before Jacob had a chance to leave. "I mean, is Brandon okay with this? His mother just died. Staying in her house seems sacrilegious or something. We could still find a hotel." There was a desperate plea for reconsideration glinting in her eyes.

"Yeah, it’s fine," Jacob said. "It was his idea. Besides..." Jacob’s voice curled into the broken pitches of an old woman’s; his best imitation of his aunt. "Aunt Maddy would have called us all damn fools for gettin a hotel room, when she had perfectly good rooms goin to waste right here." A sinister smile crept onto Jacob’s face. "You’re not afraid of sleepin in a dead woman’s house, are you?"

Audrey slapped Jacob’s shoulder. "That’s not funny!" She shifted her weight and gave a quick glance inside dark house behind her. "Have some respect!"

"Oh, calm down," Jacob said. "I was just kiddin. Besides, Aunt Maddy would’ve thought it funny. She always did loved a good scare."

"Yeah, well, it’s still not funny. Now I’m not gonna be able to sleep tonight."

"We’re just stayin one night. We’re headin home right after the funeral tomorrow. Just go on in and get comfortable. I’ll get the bags and be right back." Jacob started through the yard towards the car. He stopped and turned to Audrey, who was setting Eli on the ground. "Hey, if you see Maddy in there, just hand her Eli. She always liked playin with little kids."

Audrey snatched Eli back into her arms and shot Jacob a look that said: Laugh it up. You’ll get yours.

That night, after a fine meal of delivered pizza, they settled into the livingroom. Jacob and Audrey sat on the couch flipping through the only four channels that weren’t blocked from the TV. Eli was on the floor scribbling on a piece of paper with a crayon. Dried splotches of pizza sauce clung to his face like the rosy cheeks of a doll.

"Who dat?" Eli asked pointing to an old brown reclining chair just off to the right of the couch.

"That’s Aunt Maddy’s favorite chair," Jacob replied never looking up from the TV.

Eli stared at the chair for a moment then went back to coloring.

"Do you think he talks okay," Audrey asked, "y’know– for a two year old?" Jacob was too busy channel surfing to answer, which landed him an elbow to the shoulder.

"Ow," Jacob yelped. "I don’t know. I don’t hang out with a lot of two year olds. He could be a freakin genius for all I know."

"Fweakin denus, fweakin denus," Eli repeated with hysteric joy.

"That’s just great," Audrey said glowering at Jacob. "Why don’t you teach him to curse while you’re at it?"

"If it’ll make you feel better," Jacob said with a smile.

After ten minutes of idle threats, Audrey finally got Eli to quit repeating his father’s bywords. Audrey knew it was boredom, not the threat of a spanking, that quieted her son, just as she knew that he would start back up again right in the middle of church someday. Murphy’s law.

The family sat quietly for awhile. It was Eli that broke the silence.

"Who dat?" Eli pointed to the brown chair again.

Audrey sat up. She made a couple of quick glances between Eli and the chair.

"She looked awful, didn’t she?" Jacob asked.

The question caught Audrey off guard. "Who looked awful?" Audrey reluctantly pulled her eyes away from the chair.

"Aunt Maddy," Jacob said. "At the viewing today. She looked so thin; like a skeleton. And that wig she had on– it wasn’t right. It didn’t look anything like her real hair. Too short."

"Well, that’s what chemotherapy does to you. It eats away the good parts just the same as the bad." Audrey felt the urge to look at the chair, but she forced her eyes to stay on the TV. "No wig would’ve looked right. They never do. Besides, you can never find one with long hair. Not as long as her real hair was, anyway."

"Who dat?" Eli asked, pointing to the chair again.

"Who is who?" Audrey asked Eli. Her voice was loud and full of panic.

"What’s wrong?" Jacob asked, a bit alarmed by his wife’s voice.

"Eli keeps pointing to the chair and asking who’s that. It’s freaking me out." Audrey shook as cold chills crawled the length of her body like a thousand cold fingers.

"Will you quit it?" Jacob asked, a little aggravated. "I was just kiddin earlier. If I knew you were gonna to be a baby about it, I would’ve just kept my mouth shut. He doesn’t mean who’s that, he means what’s that. He’s just askin about the chair." Jacob stared at Audrey, waiting for a response, but she kept her eyes on Eli.


Monday, September 18, 2006

"The Barn"

This is my first published story, "The Barn." It was published in Mudrock: Stories & Tales, volume 2, issue 2, in 2004. The editors of Mudrock Press have went their seperate ways (on good terms) and the magazine will now be known as Mud. Bradey Allen and Scott Geisel were excellent editors to work with. I have set up a link to Mudrock Press.

The Barn
Gabriel Beyers

My father told me to stay away from Mr. Witfield’s barn. He said Mr. Witfield was gone now; that a family from Chicago had bought his farm. I nodded with all the sincerity of a teenager, and my father saw right through it.

"I mean it," my father said. "This isn’t like before. No more sneaking out. No more barn."

I had never seen my father this way. It wasn’t anger that I read on his face — it was fear. Dad always yelled at me for sneaking out to that barn. He did it with a kind of half grin to let me know that the scolding was mostly for the benefit of my mother. After all, Dad knew why I went. I never told him, but somehow he knew.

That barn was the place I went every weekend to meet with Laura Price. It was the perfect spot. Mr. Witfield was old, but that barn was older still. He never used it anymore. It just stood quietly on the back of his farm like an embarrassed child.

Every weekend Laura and I would sneak out and meet up in the loft. It started out innocent enough — just a flirting dare to see how far the other would go. It wasn’t long, though, before natural curiosities took hold. My father understood that; at least I had always believed he did.
I promised my father that I wouldn’t go to the barn, and that I would make sure Laura got the same warning. Satisfied, my father dropped the subject.

In the back of my mind I knew I would get caught — someday. A good beating was sure to follow, but it was worth it. The things I was learning in that loft with Laura Price was worth a lifetime of leather belts and green switches across my backside.

My father seemed to grow more anxious as the weekend approached. He watched me with a different look on his face, like a person trying to steer a small animal in the direction of safety without startling it into the path of harm. I was the picture of calm. I never let my guard down for a minute. Whatever my father read in my face, it wasn’t the truth.

That Friday night my father stayed up longer than usual. Did he think he could get me that easily? I had planned for this. Laura and I weren’t supposed to meet until one o’clock; two hours later than normal. When I heard my parents go to bed at eleven, I felt an excited euphoria pour over me. The stakes were higher tonight, and that made the prize seem all the more sweet. The anticipation from eleven to one nearly killed me. I had to stop myself three times from getting up and leaving early.

When one o’clock finally came, I rolled out of bed, pulled my homemade rope ladder out of its hiding spot, then repelled out of my bedroom window. I crept off of our property with the stealth of a shadow.

The five miles to Mr. Witfield’s farm went by fast. I was young with a purpose — a dangerous concoction. As I stepped over the threshold of the property I felt a shiver run over me. I stopped and looked around. The trees melted into a black backdrop that, when mixed with the bright half-moon, made the barn stick out like a week-old corpse at a beauty pageant.

I began to wonder just where Mr. Witfield had gone. I couldn’t remember anybody talking about the old man moving. We hadn’t been to any funerals. What happened to him? My Dad said he was just gone.

And who was this family from Chicago? I hadn’t heard of any newcomers in town. Hadn’t seen any moving vans, no brown boxes — no lights in Mr. Witfield’s house. Besides, Chicago was a hundred miles away. Why would someone in Chicago buy a farm in Indiana, and not move there?

Then something happened that washed away my curiosities. I remembered Laura was waiting for me in the loft.

My walk to the barn was a strange one. I hate to use the cliche: felt like someone was watching me, but that’s what it was. I had never been frightened of that barn before, but as I stood in front of the large swinging doors, my mind raced with all manner of dangers that might be waiting inside. Maybe it was my father’s vague warning. Or, perhaps, I felt no ominous feelings at all, and it only seems that way now that I look back. It’s been too long to distinguish.

I pushed through the doors, wincing at the shrill creek from the rusted hinges. I could see nothing but darkness. I pulled my pocket flashlight out, turned it on, then moved to the ladder leading to the loft.

I wasn’t sure if Laura was there yet, and I didn’t whisper her name until I reached the top. No answer. She wasn’t there. I found the propane lantern that we left there, lit it, then waited. At that moment I would’ve been glad just to see Laura’s face, even if there wasn’t going to be our normal night of experimenting. I hated the solitude.

I don’t know how long I sat there waiting for Laura to show up, but I knew she should’ve been there by now. I just knew something bad had happened to her. Whatever it was that scared my father — it had found Laura. I had to go look for her.

I stood up and stretched my legs, which were half asleep. Then I heard something that made my heart nearly explode into my throat. It was the sound of a motor gurgling and gravel skipping out from under rubber. It was a car. Someone was driving to the barn.

I jumped in a kind of weak-kneed way at the lantern, nearly knocking it over with my gangly hands. I heard the car stop outside. I looked for the lantern’s gas valve but it was hiding from me. A car door slammed, then another. I just knew my mother and father had come to get me. I was going to get my beating; probably with the lantern if I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off.

Then a third car door slammed. I was so thrown by this, I almost forgot about the lantern. I killed the fire just before the barn door opened. Light drifted up from below. I heard footsteps shuffling on the dirt floor.

"Jimmy," a thick, raspy voice said. "Why in the name of the Pope did we come out here?"

A voice that I assumed was Jimmy’s answered: "Tony, will you tell Sammy why we’re here?"

"Because stupid," Tony said, "it’s quiet. Nobody’s watchin. It’s a good place to do business."

I pushed myself up on my hands and knees and crawled towards the edge. Looking back it was a foolish thing to do, but when your young, curiosity outweighs fear. When I got to the ledge, I looked down. I gasped as I saw a small wad of hay fluttering down right over the head of a very large man.

"So whatever happened to the old fart that owned this joint?" the big man asked. It was Sammy.

"You’re standin on him," Jimmy said.

Sammy stepped off the small mound of dirt he was standing on, and the wad of hay drifted down behind him, unnoticed. With that tragedy averted, Jimmy’s words started to seep into my brain. Did he mean what I thought he meant?


Sunday, September 17, 2006

How It All Started

Some writers are blessed early on with the knowledge of what it is that makes them happy, and what keeps them going. They are able to sharpen their skills; find their voice and write, write, write. I was not one of those writers.

I have been writing for only five years. As I look back on my life I see all the signs: a love of reading, all the English classes I could take, an enormous imagination, and the habit of re-writing the endings to stories I didn't like. But, as is always the case with me, simple and obvious never sinks in right away.

By the end of my high school days I had grown bored with school. I was all set up to move on to college, but I just couldn't do it. I didn't know what I was going for, and I didn't have the money to waste on four years of education just to get out and do something else. When you're eighteen there are so many pressures to "know what you want to be" and "prepare for your future." I'm twenty-nine and only now do I have a basic sketch.

I don't lament missing college (sometimes I do, but not often) because I believe there is destiny behind the major decisions in our lives. Had I went to college I most likely would have missed the person who made me realize that I wanted to be a writer. She's the one that encourages me when I cry out, "Why am I doing this? I could be playing Nintendo." She's the one I write for. I met this pretty lady when I was nineteen and married her two years later. Oh, the wife is his Ideal Reader, how cliché, you say. Maybe, but truth anyhow.

It was in our tiny two bedroom apartment out by the county fairgrounds. We had been married for somewhere around three years. I must have been complaining a lot about how I could write something better, or how fun it would be to be a writer instead of a concrete finisher. Brandy turned to me with that crap-or-get-off-the-pot look and said "Why don't you write something then."

I'm sure I had been milling it over for a while. As I said, it takes me a long time to do anything. But it was her words - not those of anger, not of aggravation, but of stern encouragement - that put my butt in the seat. Even if she won't admit it, I think Brandy knew I could be a writer before I did.

Brandy and I tell this story different, but the end result is the same. This is my blog so you get my version.

I didn't tell her I had written anything. It was just a few paragraphs - the beginnings of a larger work that had been rolling around in my head. Brandy, playing on the computer, found it and asked where I had downloaded the story. She wanted to know who it was by, and what happened next. I was happy to tell her that I was the author, but sorry to say that I wasn't sure at all what happened next.

It was the best compliment anyone has ever or will ever pay my writing.

That paragraph turned into a novel. But I knew it needed a major polishing. I'm still polishing it today. I turned to the short-story to build up my name and hopefully help me land an agent.

That is how my journey started. It is the first paragraph. What comes next? you ask.

I wish I knew.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Little About Myself

My name is Gabriel Beyers. I was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, where I continue to live. I am twenty-nine years old and have been married to my wife, Brandy, for seven years. I've worked in a couple of different fields but my passion is writing.

I have published seven stories since becoming serious about my craft. They are:

"The Barn," Mudrock: Stories & Tales, Volume 2, Issue 2. (2004)
"Aunt Maddy’s Chair," Peeks & Valleys, Volume 4, Number 3. (2004)
"The Fire Lady," Fighting Chance, Winter 2004 Issue.
"A Town Full of Holes," Midnight Times, Winter 2005, Issue 8 & Seasons in the Night, Volume 4. (2005)
"Fox Lane," Seasons in the Night, Volume 4. (2005)
"The Monster’s Box," Fighting Chance, Spring/Summer 2005 Issue.
"Love, Obsession, & the Deep-Freeze," Midnight Times, Summer 2006, Issue 14.

This is mainly a place where I can discuss my joys and frustrations of trying to become a professional writer in today's market. Soon I hope to add the above published stories so anyone can come by and take a look at them. I hope you enjoy them.