I will be reading my flash fiction piece “Serpent of Hope” for Theater 29, Thursday May 7 Online
I will be reading a short story at this event, it is free you can reserve tickets at
“Serpent in Love” will be re-mounted as a staged reading for One Night Stand’s Time Machine. It first appeared in One Night Stand in the Garden of Eden.
“To Be Her” – a reflection on being a Marilyn Monroe impersonator.
“Sexual Abstraction” – a man is possessed by a sexual demon.
“You Have Come” – a hiker finds an abandoned cabin in the wilderness inhabited by a love lorn specter.
Currently working with artist/husband Mike Raab on my new graphic novel – working title Storytime – it will be a dark tale of lost dreams . . .
This was inspired by a writing contest I entered that centered around two sisters who had an unusually close relationship.
Cipher Sisters Blue World
By Gina Wencel
“What will we do today?” Darcy asked as she snuggled close into her twin sister Lucy.
“Play. No kindergarten classmates or ugly Ms. Milleau who smells of mildew.”
Darcy giggled as Lucy unwrapped herself from her arms and marched into the hallway of their Oregon home. They should be in school, but Mama wasn’t home, so they had pretended to walk to class, doubling back to let themselves in with the spare key under the birdbath. Now they would be by themselves for hours.
Lucy decided to put on hot water for tea. She was very good at carrying the heavy tea kettle and very sure of herself as she turned on the gas and lit the burner with the flash of a match. “Let’s have tea,” she shouted and held her soft, chubby hand against the warming metal of the kettle. She waited until she felt it grow quite hot, then she nodded and pulled the chair over and stood on top of it to reach the dishes and cups high above.
Darcy came in, dancing a bit of the new dance routine their mother had taught them. She twirled about her sister, as Lucy lifted the dishes and cups in her small arms. They were heavy, since they were stacked, and she had to wait for just the right moment to jump down so as not to collide with Darcy. When she did jump, the dishes rattled, but were safe. Then they both turned at once to the table where she placed the dishes solidly down.
“We are going to dance and sing that song about the south in that smoky place,” said Darcy, “I wish we didn’t have to,” she kicked her leg up high.
Lucy sighed, Darcy was the more skillfull dancer of the two, but Lucy had the better voice. “Even in talent,” their mother would say, “they perfectly balance each other.” But Lucy remembered what the director had said after that last audition. “Too bad their talent isn’t combined in one, don’t like hiring two kids no matter how cute.”
“Darcy has the water boiled?” asked Lucy as she set the tea service.
Darcy pirouetted to the kettle and listened for the bubbling, “I think so?”
“Don’t you know?” asked Lucy.
“You want me to touch it don’t you, I will – I can do it really fast.”
Lucy laughed and shouted for her to do so, and Darcy did, licking her finger first as one would before touching the underside of a heated iron.
“Hot” said Darcy and giggled. With effort, she pulled the kettle off the burner, and poured the scalding water into their favorite teapot. It had been their grandmothers and was made of china with delicate blue designs that the girls liked to make stories out of.
“Are we going into blue world today?” Darcy asked excitedly.
“What do you think?” said Lucy smiling.
The blue world of the teapot. How they loved to sit and stare at the designs while finishing each other’s sentences. The blue lines would become a world filled with valleys, seas and serpents. Only after a very long time, would they be able to see themselves wandering on the surface of the kettle, playing hide and seek with everything around them blue, as blue as the sky before school started.
“We are going to go into the blue world!” Darcy said in a sing song, hands clasped in front of her as she took her seat at the exact same moment Lucy did. Lucy nodded and decided to sing that song Mama had just taught them about cotton and the sky. Darcy hummed with her as they waited for the tea to steep, then they each poured each other a cup of tea. They sat very close and began to stare at the teapot.
“If we could only live in the blue world,” Darcy said as her hand reached out and clasped her sisters tight under the table.
“Yes,” said Lucy, “no more Miss Mildew and all those children. Always around us. Just like Mama.”
“Just like Mama, but they stare and whisper. They never know which one of us is staring back at them. They never get our names straight.”
“It’s like we are one person, they’d rather we be just one.”
“But, we are,” whispered Darcy.
Lucy smiled faintly. “I see us,” she said “look at us. We are singing and dancing and the blue world is opening up.”
“Yes,” Darcy said, “and we’re dancing and singing that song! We dance and sing it exactly the same, we are the same.”
Lucy didn’t answer she was already on the surface of the teapot looking back at herself and Darcy, but there weren’t two of them sitting there, there was only one.
To Be Continued . . .
I cannot stop the ugly truth that flows from my lips. The words that cut and tear, that bruise my tongue, almost shatter my teeth. If you were looking at my face and could stop listening to my voice, you would see terror in my eyes, pleading. My nose would be flaring as if I were an animal trapped in a cage, angered and bewildered. My ears would be stained red, because blood would be dripping from them, for my words hurt my ears just as they hurt yours. I am hated. There is no pity. There is no end.
I was not born this way, I understood how to be loved. I had always been careful, didn’t speak out of turn, didn’t speak without thinking first.
It pleased people. I told them they were good, I told them they were whom they wished to be: kind, loving, self sacrificing. I was so sensitive that I could pick out what they wanted to hear, as if they sent me cues. It was if they lead me through their inner maze to the heart of the thing that lay hidden, the shameful thing that must not be revealed even to themselves.
I had a gift.
Then something happened, I went to sleep one night and I had a dream. But, this dream was different, it seemed as if I were awake and I had travelled to another realm. That I had gone into a deeper, truer world. In this world, I climbed a great tree and nestled myself in it’s strong, muscled branches. I began to weep. The limbs of the tree stroked me and soothed me as if it were human. Then the tree spoke and it’s voice was the whisper of a falling leaf. I could not make out the words, yet I had a profound feeling that I had been told a great secret. I stopped crying. Then, a tiny branch with new green buds snaked around my throat and all at once I was lying in my bed, disoriented and breathless.
The next morning, when I spoke I didn’t have the capability to lie anymore, the stamina to hold back the truth. When they came to talk to me, no thought barred my utterances. I told them their dark secrets: how they hated their kin, how they wanted to take what wasn’t theirs, how they wanted to rape and kill, and in the end, die by their own hands. They looked at me aghast, distressed, ashamed. They told me my consonants were coated with oil and my vowels dusted with ash. They told me I had betrayed them. I had. That loved person was gone, and now I was someone else.
I was cursed.
I left town and found myself a deep, forest. I built a hut to live there and a garden to sustain me within the trees. Quietly I live, but lately they come. More and more each day. It began with that first young man. When he rapped on my door and stepped into my home I almost wept with joy. I wanted so much to touch him and be held. He called me by a name that was not mine and he waited. He nodded his head at me and the ugly words came out. I was distressed because I had wanted to keep him with me, but the truth came unbidden. When I had told him what I had known, he was not shocked. He did not look destroyed, he smiled. He thanked me and gave me a gift. It was a necklace, a fine, golden choker. Then he was gone. Now, it seems so many seek me out and demand my voice. They call me “Truth” and when they leave they are no longer themselves, or rather what they thought they were. For many, the light shone on the hidden thing, seems like a blessing. They tell me they are free. Some kiss my feet, others the lips that shamed them. But, they never stay.
I watch the sun set and I watch it rise. It seems I will be this way forever. I finger the golden chain around my throat and it causes me to grip my flesh as if I want to tear my voice box out. I want to understand, to plead, to speak, to know – my hidden shame. But when I’m alone . . . I am speechless.