Sinister Abode: Part 2

This is Part 2 of a short story I wrote called Sinister Abode. You can find Part 1 here:


“I must be losing my mind. My forearm is stinging and red from pinching myself so many times. The baby is crying louder. PLEASE don’t make me go into that house. I hate old creepy houses. MY CELLPHONE! I’ll call for help! Where is my cell? It’s not in my back pocket where I normally keep it. I scan the ground and finally find it in the grass. My hands are shaking so badly I can barely press the button to turn it on. It’s not coming on.

“Shit. It’s dead.”

Maybe I should just run down the road and find help. I yell out Zack’s name again. I’m starting to sweat now in the cool autumn breeze. The baby starts crying louder. I’ll just knock on the door and see if anyone is home.

The wooden stairs squeak as I walk up to the front door. I knock on the door, it slowly swings open.

“Hello? Is there anyone home?” No answer. The baby is frantically crying in the room to my left. “Zack are you in here?”

I make my way into the room to my left towards the baby. Dust covers the sofa, and fireplace mantle. Above the fireplace is a large painting of a middle aged man, with short dark hair, straight lips, and holding a gun. His eyes follow me as I make my way to the doorway on my right. I walk through and see the dining room table with porcelain dolls sitting on each of the chairs facing my direction. I’ve never liked porcelain dolls. I can feel their eyes following me. I take the candle from the china cabinet. Darkness is coming. I’ll need this to have some light. I find a book of matches on the shelf and light the candle. The baby’s cries sound like they are coming from the next room. I go through the swing door and its hinges let out a high pitched squeak.


The kitchen is enormous, and the smell is absolutely rancid. The bananas on the counter look as if they have been there for months. My stomach is turning and I feel like I’m going to be sick. Why does the crying baby sound keep moving? Is the baby crawling around?


I run back into the dining room to see what the sound was and find one of the chairs tipped over. The porcelain dolls are all staring at me. Weren’t they facing the opposite direction before? Tingles start at my toes, work their way up my entire body, and finish with icy tentacles at the base of my neck reaching up to the top of my head.

Suddenly the baby is screaming! I run back into the kitchen, and go through the doorway on the right. It brings me into what looks like a library.

I feel something crawling on the back of my neck. Petrified, I wipe my neck and an enormous spider falls on the floor by my foot. Without hesitation I stomp on it and feel slightly satisfied. I look at my hand and see blood. I feel the back of my neck again and find a cut. What in the world? Did the spider do that? The baby starts to cry again and now the sound is coming from the main hall. I make a right through the doorway out into the hall and see something go around the corner at the top of the stairs.

“HELLO? Is someone there?” I feel like running away and crying. Should I just leave and go find help? If no one else is here the baby needs help, I can’t just leave it here alone. I hear footsteps upstairs and then the baby is screaming. The sound is piercing my ears and breaking my heart. I run up the stairs as fast as I can, taking them two at a time. I go into the first room. It’s the bathroom. The shower curtain moves slightly. I’m holding my breath waiting for what feels like an eternity.

“Maybe it’s the baby.” I think to myself.

I slowly reach my hand out, take hold of the curtain, quickly draw it across and jump back at the same time. It’s empty. I hear the faint sound of a baby crying. It’s coming from the heater vent. That’s why it keeps sounding like it’s coming from all over the house! The baby must be in the basement and the sound is carrying into the vents!

I run down the stairs, make a left down the hallway, then a right, and find myself at the top of the basement stairs. I can hear the baby crying very loudly. This is definitely where that poor baby is. Through my panting I yell out, “I’m coming baby! I’m on my way! Don’t worry!”

WHAT will she find in the basement? Stay tuned for Part 3…


Sinister Abode Part 1

I wrote a short story called Sinister Abode, for a writing contest a few months ago, after making the decision to get back to writing. It is my first piece of writing in over two decades other than my journals. Here is Part 1.

“Sinister Abode”

By Amanda Drover-Hartwick

“Sleep slowly fades away and almost immediately my head is pounding. I start to stretch and realize I’m not in my bed. Suddenly, I am aware that my face is pressed up against the grass. I open my eyes and sit up fast. UGH not a good idea, now my head is spinning. The sun is just starting to set. Why am I laying on the grass? How in the world did I get here? I’m trying hard to remember what happened and how I ended up here but I’m coming up blank. Ok, Addison – what is the last thing you remember? HEY! I remember I was driving in the car with Zack to the Halloween party. Where IS Zack?


I put both hands around my mouth and yell, “Zack”.


No response. I look around for the car but I don’t see it anywhere. I manage to get to my feet, turn around, and stumble back from shock. Standing before me is the house of my nightmares. It is a huge, old, house that has seen better days. A shiver runs up my spine and I feel as if the house is watching me. Did I just see something move in the upstairs window?


I can feel my heart pounding in my chest and notice I’ve been holding my breath.


I yell out Zack’s name again. I’m listening so hard for a response that I can hear my heart beating in my ears. My hands start shaking and I realize I am all alone, in front of this creepy house, no other houses in sight, and I have absolutely no idea how I got here. I start taking some deep breaths to calm myself down. I can feel my heart rate slowing and immediately hear a cry. What is that? Where is it coming from? Is that Zack? No it’s not Zack, it’s a BABY and it’s coming from inside the house.”

You can find Sinister Abode Part 2 here:

Book Review: Motherhood by Lindsey Williams

Motherhood, a novella written by Lindsey Williams, successfully portrays the personal growth, and turmoil, one undergoes when becoming a mother, but in a hellish, stuck on an alien ship, way. Be warned, there are fictitious, squeamish events, that may be triggering for some people.

Motherhood by Lindsey Williams

Jess Richards wakes up in a 10′ x 10′ steel room with no memory of how she got there. The idea of being in a room with no visible doors or windows was scary on its own, learning that she was obducted by “dirtbags in a costume”, was even more terrifying. Finding out they were indeed dirtbags, but not human, was the ultimate level of terror for me. Seven foot tall aliens with hairless silvery-beige bark-like skin, eyes with no pupils, and a piggish-type nose. Sound creepy yet? Well, when you find out why she’s there, and what they are doing, you’ll feel even more squeamish.

One of my favorite sentences from Motherhood is, “She snickered, this turning into a self-deprecating nervous sort of laughter that died a swift and awkward death, as the stark reality of her situation took root.” Oh ya, don’t you just love that? I love how the author, Lindsey Williams, writes in a gritty way. Jess is a confident, intelligent, witty, sarcastic woman, who loves to take charge, and swear a lot.

This story spurs some interesting questions to ask oneself. If you’ve gone through an incredibly painful, and emotionally stressful experience, is it better to survive remembering every thing that happened? Or would you rather have your memory erased?

This was a fast, page-turning read for me. I would love to know what happens next!

You can find Motherhood on Amazon

Why Volunteer?

volunteer   [vol-uh n-teer]

1. a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.

2. a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

Watching my mother volunteer is what inspired me to do the same. I have volunteered at many places since I was a teen: Fundraisers, tutoring, social chair, teaching assistant, safety rep, Relay For Life committee, and parent council, are some at the forefront of my memory. Whenever I start feeling depressed, or lost, I volunteer. It always helps to center my mind, and remember what is most important in life.

“It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”  ~Tom Brokaw

Some people think only rich people, or retired people, have the time to volunteer. That is simply not true. The size of your paycheck or bank account has nothing to do with being able to give a little time to help others.

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Volunteering is not a “woman” thing.
My husband volunteers at our children’s school sometimes, and he loves it. I swear, volunteering together is better than marriage counseling. Give it a try sometime, and let me know how it goes. 🙂

Volunteer when you can.
Some of us can volunteer everyday, others once a month. The more you do it, the better you’ll feel.

“Volunteers are paid in six figures… S-M-I-L-E-S.”  ~Gayla LeMaire
Since September, I’ve been volunteering at my children’s school, helping with school trips, parent council fundraisers, hot lunch program, and I also work there part-time doing lunch supervision/yard duty. I’ve been able to get to know many of the kids at the school. One of the little girls, Kelly Mae, was moving to a new house, and a new school, so she made me a going-away present.

Kelly Mae's picture

Kelly Mae’s picture

As she handed it to me, she told me she loved me, and would miss me. It took everything in my to not bawl my eyes out right then and there. When I got to my van, I cried, tears flowing down my face. Children are amazing, and they will appreciate you in ways that adults never can. As we grow up, we somehow lose the ability to tell friends exactly how much they mean to us for fear of sounding “corny”.

Volunteering provides health benefits
Volunteering helps you feel like you are part of something, which will help anyone who feels lonely, or is struggling with depression. There is an increasing amount of evidence that shows those who volunteer have lower blood pressure, increased physical activity, and even increased memory retention.

doing good does you good

Everybody can be great.  Because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is no such thing as “the right time” or “when I have more time”.
We all have 24 hours in each day, and 7 days in a week. You have the ability to choose what you will do with the time you have.

Help one another; there’s no time like the present and no present like the time.  ~James Durst

Volunteering can help improve your career, or even find a career.
You’ll meet new people, learn new skills, try out new roles without job-hopping, and having volunteer work on your resume will help you stand out.

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”  ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Lead By Example.
What impact does seeing you volunteer have on your children?
When your children see you giving your time and talent to help others, they will be more likely to do the same. Volunteering together as a family is one of the best ways to strengthen your family bond.

Are you now wondering where you could volunteer? It’s time to do a Google search, ask friends and family where they volunteer, and check your local paper.

If you volunteer let us know in the comments! I would love to hear more about what you do, how you help, and how it has helped you 🙂