Friday, September 23, 2016

Christine Benedict Brings Spooky Debut of Anonymous - Waaaay Cool!



It was the only house they could afford, but Debra Hamilton could not help thinking that the big old building, in such bad condition that it was black-listed, was...well...spooky! They had gone immediately to work since they only had enough money to stay in their motel room for a month. Things did move quickly with Greg and her both tackling the decrepit building...

It was only when Greg wasn't there that she was more conscious of the noises. Sure, she knew that it was a creaky old house and the weather and outdoor birds and animals would add to what she was hearing... Still, she had to be sure...

She had to be sure that she was not like her mother. The very disturbing reality was that her mother heard things--things that weren't there. With paranoid schizophrenic and manic-depression, both which could be hereditary, Debra was always on edge, wondering and worrying whether she was following in her mother's footsteps.

But when she followed a cat, and found many others in the barn, she gasped, seeing that one was hanging from the barn rafters. She knew it was real. And worse, it was already too late to help it...

Anonymous

By Christine Benedict


Back by the well she pumped water. This won't be bad, she thought. Otto isn't so different from any other pet; we'll be friends in no time. As she filled the bucket, she caught sight of the three hundred twenty pound toddler--what he was up to. He'd managed to get himself hung up against the tree where Greg had tied him... She didn't want to touch him. She didn't want him to touch her. Debra got directly behind him, apprehensive, back far enough to reach his hide. She patted his hind quarter to prod him...He wouldn't budge...
Debra swished the towel at Otto's face, trying to lessen the bugs, and snapped it accidentally in his eye. Otto jerked suddenly spooked. Debra hadn't meant to spook him but she had spooked him and she couldn't take it back. He kicked up his hoofs, bucking like a wild horse, his tree=truth=neck jerking the rope nonstop...
He stood still for a moment, suddenly aware he was free--free to chase Debra..She was already running, knowing full well that she'd been training him for this all summer. She ran on uneven ground, her flip-flops slapping her heels, weeds, waist-high, blackberry barbs stinging her bare arms and legs. She looped around a tree and ran behind the barn, dodging Otto, not like a matador would, but more like the clown sent in afterwards. A clumsy silly no one clown.On this side of the barn, she saw something odd set way back in the field, an old swing set. The image shifted through heat waves like a mirage, abandoned here for who knows how long. Debra widened her strides, but suddenly stumbled, her foot caught in a tangle of vines. She felt her knees buckle. She felt his horn graze her calf. But somehow she didn't fall, somehow she was able to keep her balance and fun. Otto was breathing heavily, she could hear him over her own sinking breaths. It was so hot, so damn hot. This is how we would die, she thought as she ran. He could gore her to death, and they would find her body there. He chased her to the swing set where she climbed up on a rusty teeter-totter seat, and boosted herself up to the center bar that connected the two A-frame poles...
~~~

Debra was just getting used to the place when Greg decided to buy Otto. He thought it would be no big deal for Debra to take care of him while he worked, but there was no way around it, she was scared of him and as he grew larger and larger, Debra was more and more frightened. Still, it was on a very hot day that she saw the bugs swarming Otto's face and had pity on the animal. She accidentally flicked the cloth and he became enraged until he had broken away and began chasing her. She had flashbacks of other times when she thought she was going to die and decided, this time it was for real. But she caught sight of an old swing off in the woods, climbed it and called for help...


The thing was, though, that when Debra was telling Greg what happened, he stopped her and claimed there was no swing set on their property... Indeed, they could not find it! Though, later, Debra did find some of the rusted parts of what had once been there of a swing set... That's when I knew Debra...and I...had both entered The Twilight Zone! Because what was happening in that old house was...truly happening...at least at the time it was happening...


I felt sorry for Debra with her fear of possible psychiatry problems. But I was already convinced that what was happening was outside of her mind...I was ready to agree that these paranormal activities were real... Spoooooky!

And then there was the groundhog she had to kill with a hoe...that wasn't there when they looked for it...

But that wasn't enough to keep readers on edge...

Debra had made friends with Julie, a close neighbor who, as they got to know each other, shared, learning more as friends do. Finally, Julie told her about receiving anonymous letters, which her husband had discovered and was accusing her of playing around whenever she left the house!

And then Midnight, the only feral cat Debra had been able to become close to disappeared...

Debra and Julie were trying to deal with their respective problems and would have a girls' night out at a local lounge... Julie thought maybe the man who was sending the messages might be there and she would politely ask him to stop contacting her. But of course, two beautiful women only received unwanted advances and when Julie was swatted on her butt. she used her left hook to knock him out and they ran! LOL I loved it...

But things got even more serious when somebody was identified as the possible stalker... Julie's husband had left, screaming that he'd kill him... And that night, the suspect was murdered...

And then it was Debra who became the victim...


Suddenly Debra was in her twelve-year old self, sitting in church, wearing her then favorite yellow dress decorated with white flowers...Mrs. O'Shell was playing, Sweet Hour of Prayer on the church organ. This church had given her refuge...Her mother was coming down the aisle now, young and beautiful, her hair dark and flowing. She scooted in next to Debra, beaming with something that looked like love. She touched Debra's brown, her fingers smoothing a worry line. "Pray Debra. Pray real hard..."
The singing stopped. Her mom disappeared. The pew disappeared. Someone was carrying her out of the church. She smelled that sweet honey smell. 
She awoke, disoriented, wrapped in the afghan in the back seat of her car, her rifle next to her. The car doors locked. How did she get here?
~~~



One Last Hint...


Benedict has given us a memorable novel that takes us into that unknown world where, sometimes, miracles just might be happening... Or else, you really are in the Twilight Zone! You decide! Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews



Anonymous is a finalist for the 2015 First Horizon Award http://www.hofferaward.com/HAFirstHorizonshortlist.html#.VWj-YM9VhBd 
A Finalist for the 2015 Indie Book Awards – First Novel (over 80,000 words) http://www.indiebookawards.com/2015_winners_and_finalists.php
A Finalist for the 2015 Eric Hoffer Award Short List http://www.hofferaward.com/HAbookshortlist.html#.VWkAwM9VhBc
And The US Review of Books posted Anonymous as First Runner-up in E-Book Fiction http://www.theusreview.com/USRhoffer.html#grand 

Christine studied creative writing at Baldwin Wallace University and Cleveland State University. Her short stories have been finalists for Perigee Publication for the Arts and The Fish Short Story Prize.