Paranormal Animal Encounter – Part 2


Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev /

My grandmother would often recount a story to the family of an experience she once had when she was a new transplant to Washington, D.C. She didn’t yet drive, relying on bus transportation to navigate the city.

Details as to where she was going are hazy in the family memory. Was she headed out to a job site, or was she headed home from one? Grandma was a talker, so unfortunately the tendency was to drift off into an almost-meditative state when she was in storytelling mode, which was pretty much anytime you were with her or on the phone. (This is why you should tune in to what older folks are saying, for those questions you’ll have later.)

The other details are clear. One evening, she said the bus she was on let her off at a stop. It continued on before she could catch it once she realized this was not the right location. The night was oppressively dark. She was in an area outside of D.C. that was still rural at that time, well before its later development into mega-suburbia.

She could see nothing around her, including any houses. It didn’t help that her eyesight was always poor. Now it was compounded by a pitch-dark night with no streetlights to aid her. A dog appeared by her side, startling her. Friendly, wagging its tail, she didn’t fear it. The dog began walking, looking back in the way an animal will do to indicate it wants you to follow.

With no other options, she followed. Soon she saw that the dog had brought her to a house. Relieved, she went up to the door and knocked. The homeowner opened the door, and Grandma explained how she had been let off at the wrong stop. She mentioned how thankful she was that their dog had rescued her and brought her to its house, since there was nothing and no one else around.

The homeowner said, “What dog? We don’t have a dog.” Grandma described the animal, of which there was now no sign.

“Never seen a dog like that around here. No one we know has a dog like that.”

Without the dog there as proof that she hadn’t been seeing things, she let it drop and accepted a ride back to civilization. But she remained convinced that the dog was a ghostly spirit that had assisted her in her time of need.

Have you ever had a paranormal pet/animal experience? Please share if you have or know someone who has!


Short Story Celebrating the In-Between

Won’t you sit down and stay a minute? Grab a mug of something warm, relax for a few–and thanks for reading!

she_sleeps-2Into the Out There
D. Lara Smith

“Vines, vines, vines… the planet is being eaten up by them.”

Derek Ross kicked at the leafy undergrowth while roughly thwacking away at tendrils that grasped at his face and clothing.

Thompson Peters was two paces behind him, sticking close because the vines were no sooner trampled down by Derek’s boot before they snapped back up in defiance. He eased his glasses to the top of his nose. It was a repetitious, habitual movement he did even when his face wasn’t sweat-slicked—and sometimes when he had already taken his glasses off before bed. He wanted to get contact lenses before he started high school, but he would have to ask his mom to spring for them after she’d just bought these glasses six months ago. Not likely.

“It’s kudzu, and it is theorized that global warming—”

“Seriously, dude?” Derek stopped and turned around. “You keep talking like that, and every senior in high school is going to want to beat you up.”

“What are you talking about? Wait until they find out you’re a Mensa candidate.”

Derek shook a fist at him but kept moving, his emo-black-dyed hair in spike-jutting clumps.

“Besides, seniors don’t pay as much attention to freshmen as you think they do. That’s what my mom said.”

“Thompson, your mom is old as dirt, so what does she remember about school from back in the dinosaur age?”

Thompson felt his cheeks flush. He slapped a reaching vine away from his face. “Don’t talk about my mom.”

Derek stopped and glanced back at him. “Just playing.” He shrugged an apology as he unscrewed the cap from his water bottle, tilting his head back and taking a long swig.

“So, how far in did your brother say this old cemetery was again?” Thompson asked.
Derek tapped the remaining drops of water into his mouth. “That stoner? He had no idea, just said he and his bunch of stoner friends walked and walked… like that tells me anything.”

“Um, Derek, did you just finish all your water?”

“Yeah, man, I’m thirsty!” Derek wiped droplets of perspiration from his upper lip. “We aren’t going to be out here that long.”

“You still need some for the rest of the walk. We’re not even there yet! And I only have one bottle with me.” Thompson reached behind his back and reassured himself that the bottle’s sloshy weight was still tucked into the elastic band of his shorts.

“So you’ll share it,” Derek replied in what he considered his menacing tone.

Thompson ignored it and changed the subject. He’d known Derek since they’d been just out of diapers. “How often does your brother and his friends come out here?”

Derek laughed so loud that it was like a sharp crack in the air, scaring a bird from the tree cover above. Thompson jumped, and was startled again when Derek turned on his heel and suddenly walked back toward him. Thompson straightened his shoulders, mentally kicking his own butt. You’re already creeped out and you haven’t even seen the graveyard yet.

Derek stopped in front of him and then turned so he could walk in step with him. They quickly got into a simultaneous rhythm of whacking at and stomping on vines as Derek talked.

“They came out here exactly one time,” Derek said, his arms now animated to punctuate his story. “They obviously weren’t stoned enough, because my brother said the place gave him the heebies. Check it out… Devon said there was this old broken-down church that looked like the hammer of God came out of the sky and smashed it up like it was made of Lego’s. He also said there are some old tombstones, all crooked and broken like no one has come out in a long time on Mother’s Day or any of those other happy-crappy holidays to leave any flowers.”

“So what’s so scary about that?” Thompson asked. A knobby tree branch caught him in the face, knocking his glasses askew.

“Hey, you all right?”

“Yes. I guess I’m not a very good bushwhacker,” Thompson said, rubbing at the spot where the branch had thwacked him good. It stung, and his eyes were tearing up.

“They were scared because they’re a bunch of pansy-ass stoners. Besides that, they said the place just felt weird, had an eerie vibe. They thought they heard something, or saw something.”

“Like what?”

Derek gave him a light punch in the shoulder. “Don’t know, but I think you’re about to find out—look right through there…” Derek pointed ahead and off to the right.

Thompson squinted. His new glasses weren’t as good as his old ones; he still felt visually-challenged. “What am I looking at?”

“The stone building?”

Thompson was silent until his eyes adjusted to the light beyond the shadowed tree line. “Oh, man! There it is… that has to be it. Do you see gravestones?” His pace picked up along with his excitement, and next thing he knew, he had greenery and dirt in his mouth along with the sensation of his head being used as a gong.

“Dude, are you okay?” Derek knelt beside him.

“I can’t see anything… I think I hit my head.”

“Well, your glasses fell off. Here you go. Oh, yep, looks like you smacked your head. You’ve got what looks like a red bump there, or maybe that’s blood. How many fingers am I holding up?”

Thompson pushed Derek’s hand away. He felt embarrassed for tripping like that. Damn vines! He got up and brushed off his clothes. His mom would be so mad if he came home with his new back-to-school clothes all stained up. Thompson looked down and saw a grass and dirt stain on his new white polo shirt. He kicked at the vines in anger and spit the dirt out of his mouth. His water bottle had shot free from its elastic bonds, and as he bent over to retrieve it, his head swam. After a quick swig, he shoved the bottle back inside his waistband.

“Come on, let’s get this over with.”

They trudged into an open area where the abandoned church and gravestones were huddled in a close grouping. “One, two, three…” Derek began counting the crooked stones, voice trailing off as his finger worked the air. “There are only eighteen graves here. What kind of dinky cemetery is this?” He leaned down in front of a tilted headstone and began pulling a vine clinging to its rutted stone surface.

Thompson looked around and noticed there were no trees in the center area. There were trees on the outskirts, standing like silent sentinels, forming a perimeter. The vines weren’t as respectful, though, their tendrils and suckers grasping at everything within reach. It bothered Thompson to see that, and he began pulling at the encroaching invaders, yanking them with all of his strength to break free their tenacious grip.

“I can’t read this one. Can you read that?” Derek asked, pointing at the stone Thompson had just cleared off.

Thompson knelt down and tried to make sense of what looked like scratch marks on the stone, even running his fingers in the nicks and grooves to see if he could read it by touch. “I can’t tell what it says. It’s too worn down.”

The humidity was getting to them both. It had been somewhat cooler under the tree cover, but without it, the air was much warmer and had a cloying, slightly rotten smell. Both Thompson and Derek had beads of sweat on their forehead and upper lips. Their clothes clung in spots to their clammy skin.

Salty sweat droplets slid down into Thompson’s eyes, making his eyelids reflexively squeeze closed, and also into the wound on his forehead, making it sting anew. He took off his glasses to swipe at his entire face, then reached around to retrieve the bottle of water. He drank a good bit of it, trying to slake his thirst as well as remove the still-lingering taste of dirt from his mouth.

“Can I have a swig, man?” Derek asked, his hand outstretched.

Thompson rolled his eyes. “Don’t get any backwash in it.”

“Yeah, whatever man.” Derek snatched at the bottle. But he didn’t quite have a grip as Thompson let go, and the bottle dropped between them, spilling the remaining contents.

“Are you kidding me?” Thompson screeched, hands smacking up against his forehead.
“Ouch, ah,” he groaned as he struck the sore spot. His fingers gingerly explored the growing knot.

Derek grabbed the plastic bottle and stood up. “Sorry… but look, there’s about one sip in there. Here, hang on to it.”

Thompson sighed, shaking his head. “Go ahead and drink it. We won’t stay long. There’s really not much to see and I’m hot as an exploding star.”

Derek threw back the last sip of water, shook the bottle to confirm its emptiness, then heaved it.


“What?” he laughed. “This place is already all littered up. Look around—broken stones, fallen-down church, vines trying to eat everything. That bottle will be swallowed up, too, in no time.”

“This place should be considered a… a sacred site.” Thompson thought of his father’s grave. Every holiday, he and his mom took the long drive out to the cemetery, Thompson cradling a bouquet of flowers, careful not to crush their petals before they could be placed with solemn ceremony into the flower holder at the head of the grave. He was always careful not to step on the spot where his father’s face would be.

“Come on, let’s keep looking, see if we can read anything that tells us how old these dead people are.” Derek walked to the next stone and knelt down. Thompson went to another and did the same. They continued in silence, moving from stone to stone until they’d just about run out of stones to read.

“This place isn’t that creepy. I don’t know what my brother was so freaked out about. Probably trying to get one over on me. Hey, come here and look at this!” Derek yelled, waving excitedly.

Thompson hurried over. Derek was kneeling in front of a gravestone that was on an end closest to the tree line. “What is it?”

“I can read this one! It says, ‘She sleeps! Be still.’ What does that mean? And why put an exclamation mark? Bizarre-o, if you ask me.” Derek looked up at Thompson, his face distorted in puzzlement, and then he bent toward the top of the grave. “Hey! Wake up, lady! You’ve overslept!”

“Stop it!” Thompson hissed. It was creeping him out.

Derek laughed and shrugged in response and stood up. “Well, she’s asleep alright, taking a permanent dirt nap. I wonder who is supposed to be still? Us, or her?”

Thompson shook his head. “I don’t know, doesn’t make sense. Maybe they didn’t know what else to say. What’s her name?”

Derek bent down to read the stone. He leaned closer, then felt with his fingers. “I don’t see anything else. That’s weird. What kind of gravestone doesn’t even have the person’s name?”

“I don’t know… I need to sit down a minute.” Thompson sat on an especially cushy-looking entanglement of vines, clutching his head. “I have the worst headache.”

“Probably that big rock you’ve got growing out of your skull.” Derek walked over and peered closer. “It’s all purple-looking now. Nasty.” His face screwed up in disgust. “Scoot over, I need to sit down too. I would give anything for a soda right now. I shouldn’t have eaten all those chips earlier. My mouth feels like a salt shaker.”

“I told you not to drink all your water.”

“Okay, mom, thanks for that advice. Little late now.” Derek pulled at the leaves around him, breaking them free of their stems. He got a devilish look on his face, his mouth twisting into a wicked grin. He whispered, “Do you think this place is haunted?”

“Shut… shut the hell up, man.”

“Whoa, foul language! But that won’t stop… the ghosts!” he bellowed.

Birds squawked out of the treetops, startling them both. “I’m going to have a heart attack. Would you cut it out?” Thompson blew out a breath and squeezed his eyes shut.

Something moved behind them, and they both jerked around in unison.

“What the hell was that?” Derek whispered.

Thompson scanned the woods around them. “I don’t know… maybe a deer? Or a really big squirrel? I’m not a Boy Scout.”

Shhh hehhh ahhhh…

“Did you hear that!” Derek semi-shrieked.

Thompson felt a chill whoosh over him, turning his sweat into a myriad of icicles the length of his body. The sky had gone overcast.

“Look, it just got real cloudy,” he whispered, pointing up.

“Clouds don’t make sound,” Derek retorted.

“Unless it was thunder.” But it hadn’t been thunder. Thompson looked around for the source of the noise. He pointed again.

“What?” Derek jumped back as if someone had thrown water on him.

“Will you calm down? I’m just trying to show you—the trees are blowing around. It’s the leaves making the sound.”

Derek visibly relaxed, heaving a deep breath. “Just wind. Okay.”


“What the—”

“Holy he—”

Both boys scrambled to their feet. Thompson felt his head and vision roll separately, his equilibrium thrown off. Derek grabbed his arm and hissed, “You see that?”

About twelve feet in front of where they stood, a mist was forming above the vine cover. It swirled lazily, growing taller as it filled out. Derek and Thompson stood, mesmerized. Thompson was only vaguely conscious of Derek’s vise-like grip on his upper arm. It hurt, but in a distant sort of way.

Now a crack of thunder did sound directly overhead, and a zip of lightning shot out of the now-heavy dark-cloud formation, striking a tree and sending sparks shooting like fireworks.

The mist morphed into the figure of a woman. A dress formed, then arms. Hands reached, the fingers both beseeching and beckoning. The head took shape, then a face developed with distinctive features: mournful eyes, a slash of cheekbones, mouth, lips. The lips parted and yawned wide, stretching into an elongated jaw line that looked wolfen.

A keening issued from that chasm, then a moan joined the keening and grew louder before an immediate ratcheting up into a shriek that pained Thompson’s eardrums. The boys simultaneously clapped their hands over their ears. Thompson’s hair stood up and adrenaline flooded his hormonal pathways. Instinct took over as rational thought stopped.

In unison, they turned and crashed into the closest opening in the tree line.

Approximately twenty-nine hours later, a search and rescue team discovered the boys, who were now seated on a log, shivering despite the heat.

“Shock,” said Freddie Wilkins, EMT-trained and wilderness medicine certified. “You hear that gibberish they were talking?”

The team’s lead, Reverend Dave Carson, nodded. Wilkins shook his head, laughing. “An abandoned church and cemetery. I’ll tell you, we’ve all been all through these woods. Never seen any such thing, and there’s no structures like that on our map. My guess is, both are dehydrated, and the one has that nasty bump on his head, says he doesn’t even remember how he got it.”

Reverend Carson was chewing on a small stick he had fashioned into a toothbrush. He believed in keeping the weight of his pack to a minimum, but he valued clean teeth. “You hear that bit about the ghost woman? Said a warning was right there on her gravestone, “be still” or some-such. They think they disturbed her because they pulled some vines off the stones. They think this ghost haunts the graveyard and won’t allow anyone in to take care of it. Asked if I knew any legends.”

Wilkins rubbed at his chin. “Hallucinating, drug side effects, who knows what. Scaring themselves and each other mostly.” Wilkins grinned expectantly. “So, what’d you tell them?”

Reverend Carson pulled his cap off his head and wiped a line of sweat from his forehead. “Same thing I tell all these kids that come out here to do drugs and end up getting lost. Don’t know any legends offhand, but I’d make it my first priority to find out as soon as I got back to my base. Seems to satisfy them enough they can relax.”

Wilkins shook his head. “Everyone who gets lost out here says the same thing. Must be some kind of urban legend they pass around along with the communal bong.”

“That’s what I’m figuring. Well, I manage to get a lot of new members this way, it seems. I give them my card and tell them to come to services, and maybe they’ll find answers to their questions. They seem open to the message. So, I guess every cloud has its silver lining.”

Wilkins slapped him on the back. “See you next call-out, Reverend.”

Reverend Carson gave him a wry smile. “Keep the peace, my friend, and make sure you color within the lines.”

Do You Know When You’re Being Watched?

urban woods

In the woods, hiking alone, I often suffer from attacks of scopaesthesia.

Also known as the “psychic staring effect,” scopaesthesia is the twenty-five-cent word for the sensation that comes over you of being watched but not something your vision has picked up. For example, having the prickly feeling of someone’s eyes on you, causing you to turn and scan to see who it is.

Oh yeah, there are some hikes where I get it bad. When the feeling comes over me, it’s all I can do not to start running blindly. But then I visualize myself tripping on a tree root and all of the squirrels and birds and crickets laughing at my expense. That usually snaps me out of it—along with a long, lingering scan of my surroundings.

But what if there’s more out there than just squirrels… birds… crickets…

Some contentious theories have been expounded and actual experiments conducted to measure what turns out to be an elusive answer as to what, exactly, is responsible for experiencing that knowing.

We have a gaze detection system that makes us sensitive to the positioning of others’ eyes. Also, our eyes differ from animals in that our gaze is more easily detectable: think about the amount of white around our eyes when compared to a cat or a bird, for example. For humans, the white is considered a benefit because it helps us to communicate. But for a predator? They want to blend…

Some skeptics don’t believe that the “knowing” you’re being watched is anything more than capturing some sort of tip-off picked up by our peripheral vision. What that doesn’t account for is the feeling that comes from behind you. Some believe it has to do with a sense at the cellular level—a quantum effect. Researchers have devised tests—some in search of a legitimate answer, others simply to debunk the whole idea altogether.

One center created an experiment that began in 1995, “Do you have eyes in the back of the head?” A whole lot of statistical numbers later, there is evidence supporting that people aren’t imagining that sense of uneasiness they get and urge to turn around to see who or what is watching them.

Regardless of what science can prove or not prove at this point in time, go into the woods. When you feel like you’re being watched, just ignore that feeling and keep on your journey.

And if you find you can’t ignore it, that your body hair is standing on end and tingling like so many Spidey-senses, and your curiosity is just burning and you need to know… Stop. Don’t turn around. Wonder a moment if you’re about to be ambushed. Leave your senses open to someone’s—or something’s—approach. Wait and see if anything happens.

I dare you.

If Rules Don’t Apply When Civilization is Intact, Then What Happens When…

DSC_0240 (2)

In our society, the veil of civilization is at times peeled back to show the fine line between what constitutes ‘civilization’ and utter chaos. Apparently, laws really are optional, and pleas for forbearance on behaviors must only apply to a minority of people.

One area where I’ve noticed this in recent months is in the midst of doing outdoor activities. Of course, on the trip to and from locations, I see an incredible number of drivers talking on cell phones and texting, despite it being against the law.

The first example was during a day hike at Cunningham State Park. There’s a trail that leads to falls. I hadn’t been there in a long time, so the built-up trail that ended with a platform area for viewing the falls was new to me. Posted signs state that you need to say off the area around the falls, and one stated that it’s a delicate environmental area. That didn’t stop the horde of people who were on the outside of this decking platform, frolicking in the water after tromping through that sensitive environmental area. One man, who was carrying a baby, could barely gain foot-purchase on the slippery rocks. It was mind-boggling, the number of people looking for ways to circumvent the guided trail in order to get to the water. The rules didn’t apply to them. Delicate environmental areas are a concern for someone else—not to be a hindrance to their wants.

The second example was during another hike at Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, there is a prominent sign at one of the trailheads that states bicycles are prohibited. I was walking on the trail, zoned out in a nice, nature-induced meditative state, when I was shocked out of it by someone behind me saying, “Excuse me.” It was a guy on a mountain bike. The rule didn’t apply to him. Or maybe he justified it as he rides a “bike” and not a “bicycle,” if you’d like to twist yourself into a knot to give the benefit of the doubt. (In which case, he should have had a guardian accompanying him since he can’t navigate the real world and understand meaning.)

The third example was during a kayaking jaunt at an area that’s a proposed national marine sanctuary in the Potomac River: the Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay. These are scuttled ships dating back to World War I. It’s a historic site, and there are signs requesting that people stay off the shipwrecks. However, two boaters had pulled up into the exposed back of one and climbed aboard to set up a tripod—scaring off the osprey nesting there—and take cheeky selfies. Rules—and respect for something historic that can’t be replaced—did not apply to them.

It’s a challenge to not get disgusted with all people, based on the actions of the few. (Actually, at the Falls, it was the masses scrambling all over the sensitive area–the few were on the built-up pathway.) And because my mind bends in that what-if direction, it’s even more of a challenge to not extrapolate out to a wider context with higher stakes. What if the SHTF (“stuff” hit the fan) and it was more than delicate environmental and historic sites at stake? One would hope people wouldn’t be so glib about following the rules that are in place for the common good.

Expect the best, until proven different? Or be prepared for the worst, and pleasantly surprised should you see the best? I’m hanging onto hope should we ever find ourselves in the midst of an apocalypse.

Soft… with Potential

DSCN0596Over a period of six weeks, I watched “The Island,” a survivor-style show hosted by Bear Grylls. It’s always fun to read the comments section of sites like for the array of snark, humor, and armchair analysis. One recurring complaint was that the show had some scripted material. Also, I couldn’t help but agree with some viewers’ remarks that the men seemed somewhat unprepared, while others commented that the participants seemed downright soft. The purpose of being going to the deserted island was for the men to test their capabilities when cut off from the modern essentials, reaching deep for a different type of hunter-gatherer roots than what is used in the bustle of modern society.

Unlike some Hulu commenters, I have a hard time pointing out someone else’s pillowiness when I have become quite soft myself. Last week I suffered a slight meltdown when my internet and phone service went down for a few hours, interfering with my ability to work. Then—same day—the water pressure pump went, and I had no running water until the following day. By that point, I had regained phone service, experienced one last hiccup with the internet, and still had electricity, so the “hardship” was minimal. And while I was inconvenienced, the time frame was less than 24 hours of hassle. Luckily, I didn’t have to search an island for a fresh water source or boil my water to kill pathogens.

It’s part of that modern society handshake deal I recently touched on. But while I wrestled with the autopilot habits we’re accustomed to, such as flushing the toilet and turning on the faucet to wash my hands, I also found that my brain was already thinking of means for adapting to the situation. For example, running a dehumidifier fills the reservoir with the water pulled from the air. Voilà: a source of water to fill the toilet tank after lifting the interior apparatus just enough for a manual flush.

So, deep beneath my civilized layer I’m soft-with-potential when it comes to adapting. A little toughening is a current pet project—no deserted island required.

I’ll be co-presenting a workshop at the Mid-Atlantic Fiction Writers Institute Conference on Saturday, August 8th. Here are details for the MAWFI Conference:



Twitter: @mafwihcc


The Number One, Must-Have Survivalist Tool

Doomsday Housing Plan / Image courtesy of Duron123 /

Doomsday Housing Plan / Image courtesy of Duron123 /

I attended a Preparedness & Survival Expo in August.  One excellent speaker, Jay Blevins, who has been featured on National Geographic Channel’s “Doomsday Preppers,” talked about the 6 foundational aspects of prepping. At the top of the survival list?

Having the proper mindset.

This means having the will to survive, even when things get downright ugly, insecure and uncomfortable–and in the event of a ‘doomsday’ scenario, they inevitably will.  Having a strong mindset allows you to handle being outside of your comfort zone and losing your creature comforts.  That’s not a bad life skill to have for just everyday scenarios that can be their own scaled-down, personal version of doomsday, such as job loss.

I know I’ve gone soft in terms of handling anything outside of my comfort zone.  I’ve been running my writing consulting business by day, and working on my own writing on the side, including a collaborative effort at the Waterfront Writers website.  I’ve noticed that the outdoors features prominently in my stories.  Maybe that’s because lately, my outdoors pursuits have fallen by the wayside, and I feel the lack of connection with nature in my life and that sense you get of being able to find your way if needed.  In my comfortable world, this present shifting of priorities has been a good thing on the one hand, but also a mini-trauma–one I can luckily undo by shifting priorities around a bit so I can re-connect to the outdoors.

One thing I used to do to get out of my comfort zone is to go camping.  I didn’t go camping this year–and I realize that isn’t sufficient preparation for having a survivalist mindset when it’s only car camping.  But there was no way I was going to get my son to backpack, so I was always happy to just get the little gamer that far out of reach of a game console.  I have, however, had survivalist scenarios occur while car camping, such as camping next to neighbors where I wasn’t sure about their survival prospects after I’d listened to hours of their noisy shenanigans well into the night.  But I digress…

In a doomsday scenario, you may have only the bug-out pack on your back, and the only fire pit and picnic bench at your disposal will be what you create out of what you find.  And with that, you’ll need a mindset that accepts the situation and flows with it.

Car camping does serve to take me out of my self-created bubble world and remind me that I still have a lot to learn about self-reliance–and that means above and beyond earning a living.  My mindset is just fine for the daily dramas of life.  But you can always be mentally stronger, and it’s an area I want to explore more in-depth.

But not tonight.  I need a hot bath, a steaming cup of tea and then a little television.

How about you: do you feel you’d be mentally prepared should complete chaos and anarchy occur? Leave a comment! And if you don’t mind, go take a look at the website I’m collaborating on – we have four chapters posted for our new web series.  Help me justify my ‘gone soft’ condition on the Waterfront Writers