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ON THE COVER January, 2008

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Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)

By  Ronald Kelly

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The distant rattle of chains. Then a long and mournful howl, bouncing off the shadowy walls in the dead of night, penetrating plaster and wood, squeezing like a cold draft through the tight cracks of the floor beneath his bed and prying his four-year-old mind from the depths of a sound sleep.
Brian sat up, clutching the edge of his blanket in his tiny hands. He peered into the semi-darkness of the upstairs nursery. Half of his surroundings were shrouded in nocturnal gloom, the other half etched in the silvery moonlight that shone through the window.
He sat there, his ears straining against the silence, trying to determine whether he had been dreaming or not. Then the horrible sound came again – a high pitched wailing like some animal torn between loneliness and insanity. Brian was about to call out for his parents, but the noise of rattling chains caused the words to freeze in his throat. There was the sound of metal links clinking one against the other, followed by the tortured screech of steel being stretched beyond its capacity. There came the brittle report of the expected break, and then unnerving silence filled the house once again.
Brian closed his eyes and listened for more sounds. He heard nothing at first, but then they came. First there was the faint creak of heavy footsteps on the risers of the staircase, then the noise of harsh breathing. He could hear the dreadful sounds as they reached the top of the stairs and then started down the hallway… toward the nursery.
Tears of fright squeezed from beneath his eyelids as he heard the creature halt in front of his door. The coarse breathing continued, sounding like the huff and puff of a fireplace bellows. A metallic rattle forced him to open his eyes. He could see the brass knob of the nursery door jiggling in a slash of moonlight. Whoever was out there couldn't get in. The door was locked. Brian's mother did that sometimes, for a reason the child couldn't quite understand.
But as a low growl rumbled from behind the wooden barrier, Brian knew that such precautions could not insulate him from the boogeyman that lurked on the other side. His suspicions were affirmed a moment later. A mighty snarl rang through the upstairs hallway and, suddenly, the top panel of the door split open, sending slivers of wood spinning into the room. A dark appendage of muscle, bone, and glossy black hair exploded through the jagged hole and Brian realized at once that it was the gnarled hand of some horrible beast that was groping through the darkness for him.
"Mommy!" he shrieked shrilly. "Daddy!"
Abruptly, the door exploded and the beast was inside. It was huge and shadowy, its shoulders nearly as broad as the width of his bed and its height mashing its pointed ears against the plaster of the high ceiling. The spattering of winter moonlight that filtered through the frosty panes of the window brought out the most horrifying features of his unwelcome visitor. The long ivory teeth dripping with glistening slaver, the dark claws twinkling like honed blades, and the eyes. The deep brown eyes that blazed like fire beneath ferocious brows.
Eyes that seemed hauntingly familiar to the cowering child.

Read IN's exclusive interview with Ronald Kelly about writing.

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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN This Issue
Gory Glory
Undertaker's Moon (Excerpt)
Romantic Intrigue
No Safe Place (Excerpt)
From The Docks To The Commons
The Care Vortex (excerpt)
Irish Mists And Histories
Shadows Will Fall (Excerpt)
A Mind On The Move
The Rush To Here (Excerpt)

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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