19 October 2013


I'm packing shells of tolerance with ribbons of black wine. Outside, three peeps from the mockingbird that doesn't know what manners are. I wait for my day to turn light. The sun rises like a memory, slow and dazzling--unmistakable in its meaning.
There's a cold undercurrent to the tropical breeze before it's shredded by the ceiling fan. The TV drones to itself and I understand why. There are no open ears.
Tongues test nerve. Tucked between the words "I" and "you" is the silent word. Wounds scabbed over until the next big spill. Dust replaces the sound of a working heart--pink and raw like undercooked pig. The pen is full of dissension.
Halls papered with footnotes of what was. Cracked sidewalk leads to what will be. Left over is am. An overturned, empty cup that once held warmth. 

15 August 2013

"Blue" #Fridayflash

Flashes spattered the interior of the Chevy, like fire and water, as Jerry sped through another red light.

“They getting any closer?” He glanced over the back of the seat where I sat crumpled against the door, Frankie moaning against my breast. 

Hot wet spread like a virus over my thigh. I clutched at my husband’s ridiculous politician’s tie. The clip gleamed like an executive pen, gold. 

“I can’t see,” I breathed at the ridge of upholstery against my cheek. 

Our blood pooled together, making us one for real. I’d once have given all of mine to fill his heart again. Frankie was fading, and I’d live to pay for his funeral. Black or blue hearse? Would the kids want to go? How many stitches?

Frankie groaned and shifted with the sway of our Impala. It was white, like his dress shirt had been. Washing away from the fender was angry red. Handprints, where Frankie’d grabbed the car instead of me. I was already flat and left as dead.

I dropped my gaze to his blanched face. His eyes rolled in his head like spotted cue balls. Anywhere on the ceiling, to the window, and finally to focus on me. 

“Is it serious?” 

Frankie’s speech slurred. Mother was a nurse. He wasn’t bad. He hadn’t stood in the way when Eddie showed his pistol, either. It was down to business, his old partner had said.

Business was bad for wives like me. 

I spread on a buttered smile. “Hold on, honey.”

Yesterday, those police behind us would have been in front of us. Tomorrow, we’d be famous, even if Frankie hadn’t just won the poll. 

Jerry cursed and wrestled with the steering wheel through deeper waters. Maybe it’d flood. Blood and water. Better than drowning in booze. I petted Frankie like the dog he was.

His suit coat lay crumpled in the floorboard, just within grasp of my straining fingers. I dragged the expensive fabric over Frankie’s face, drawing his attention once more. 

He needed a blood transfusion. The hospital lay just beyond twenty breaths. It took twelve, and Frankie couldn’t even deliver a good kick. His mouth lay open in final surprise. 

I looked surprised when they pronounced him dead at the scene. The police grumbled in disappointment and took Jerry in as a consolation prize.

Blue. His hearse was blue.

28 June 2013

"Domain" #Fridayflash

The taste and hint of the arising situation beckoned at the horizon like a low cloud. A wounded Titan of attitude, with the fortitude of a newborn prince. I smacked my hands together, knowing  the day should bring new possibilities, but a storm brewed at the fraying edge, a coffee that had stood too long. 

Tornadoes held domain over the open highway before my time. Dusty radials leaned against the splintered wall of an empty stable. Wind howled through the knotholes with a wolf’s cry as winter crept in.

The terrible ring of a plastic, beige motel room phone. My face was a landslide of emotions as words stung like killer bees. A swarm of change awaited beyond the peeling blue-gray door.

A shower. 

Dressed in an empty parking lot, I offered my body to the rain. Lightning concluded its argument. I had shit to do.

25 June 2013

How is Carrie? - An Update

Let’s just get it out there: I have fibromyalgia, you know, that funny-sounding condition you may have heard about.

It all started in January of 2012. One day, I discovered I couldn’t eat anything. After three days of not being able to even keep down water, I visited the doctor. He prescribed little purple pills designed to change the acidity in my stomach, which worked wonders. I was back on track, with a few minor changes to my diet. Once the pills ran out, I was left with few food options. I switched to mostly organic veggies, rice and fish. That seemed to help and so I continued on my way. During this period of time, I went from a US size 10 to a size 6. I was losing weight rapidly and it wasn’t intentional. I also started to lose strength. Jars were hard to open. I grew weary halfway through grocery shopping. The worse was yet to come.

My muscles began to twitch. At first, it was like a slight jump. They increased in area, then in severity. I found myself lying in bed, trying to will myself to sleep. I had begun taking Ambien as a sleep aid, which probably saved my sanity as well. The twitches travelled all over my body: in my arms, my legs, even my toes and fingers. I developed terrible migraines. Back to the doctor I went. This time, I was subjected to a battery of tests by neurologist. No nerve damage. Everything seemed fine. A ringing in my ears started. So, I went to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. Nothing wrong with my ears. The doctor’s viewpoint was cloudy on the fibro. He wasn’t sure if the condition even existed, and he didn’t have expertise on the matter.

Today, I am 118 pounds. I wear a size 4, and that’s probably because my hip bones are too wide to allow for a smaller size. My energy levels are variable. Weather can chase me into the bed for days. The cold weather in Indiana nearly paralyzed my right arm in a sheath of sheer agony when I went to my grandmother's funeral.

The "mind-fog" has been the worst thing. I can hardly remember half of what I want to do or what I was doing before, and that has been helped with the use of reminders, calendars, and paper lists tacked everywhere.

I’m still writing as time allows. I’ve cleaned up most of the stress I was under and have learned to deal with the rest, one issue at a time. This is the reason I’ve switched to releasing novellas and short stories, to allow me to still express my ideas at a pace I can afford.

With this said, I’m sorry that I was unable to release a full second Crooked Fang novel as I had hoped, but my novella, Traitors, will be released sometime in October. I've planned two more novellas after that, to finish up with the afore-promised second full novel, tentatively entitled Zero. I will also continue to try to post flash stories, along with any other brain morsels I come upon.

I thank you all again for your continued love and support. I can’t wait to bring you more of Xan Marcelles’s adventures.

All my best,

Carrie Clevenger

My first book signing, New Orleans, LA

09 June 2013


Hot, sticky words poured out of my throat like nothing else. My fingers clutched so tightly to the leather seat, I thought it would rip open. Springs and wires would burst out and entangle me, until I became part of the Benz. I would drive the highways forever more, until my bearings were rusted and holes punched through my fenders from the cancer of time. But, I was done talking. Silence hung between us like a sheet soaked with stale summer sweat.
On the other side of my window, the world blazed by. Farther away, a scenic array of life caught in slow-motion. A man in his sun-bleached yard, tipped into the ancient maw of his truck. A horse staring into space, tail absently swishing. Squares of existence. A plane ride made people seem even more unnecessary. Swirls of fields, Monopoly-sized houses, dark veins of rivers. Above all, the patient mashed-potatoes layer of clouds. Over those, the sun.

It didn’t matter where we were going. Whether I made an effort to be civilized. One of us was gone. He hadn’t seen the itchy, uncomfortable dress I was wearing and neither would she. She wouldn’t feel the fabric with vibrant colors against her skin.
My tears were hot, like they’d been boiling within, waiting for the right time to sneak out. They cooled on my cheeks from the air conditioning whirring from the vents. I sniffled, annoyed that I couldn’t save them for when I got there. Maybe those tears wouldn’t be so raw, so real.

But I had plenty. The funeral was tomorrow.