Author Archives: Jo Ann Schneider

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Welcome to this week’s Spooky Flash Fiction Friday!

Five more weeks of haunting fun to come!

Mrs. Doubtfire: Terrific or Terrifying?

Today’s Flash Fiction Friday is brought to you by:
Mrs. Doubtfire
An Open Bag of Candy Corn
A Corn Maze

“Oh dearies!”

I jumped at the screeching voice, and glanced behind me. It was too dark to see much beyond the previous bend of the corn maze.

“Who thought putting a creepy Mrs. Doubtfire in here was a good idea?” Carol asked. My had was numb from where she’d been squeezing it since they’d released the haunting characters into the maze. Just as twilight had faded into darkness.

“It’s a genius idea,” Brad said. Although I was pretty sure the laugh he let out was a disguise for a tremor in his voice.

The corn to our right rustled, and Brad’s date, Angela, let out a scream.

“Shhh!” we all said.

“Help is on the way, Dear!” Mrs. Doubtfire cried.

Another rustle came from our right.

Pounding footsteps sounded from behind use.

“Run!” Brad yelled.

He didn’t have to say it twice. Carol bolted, dragging me behind her. I could barely keep up. Maybe I should stick with asking out girls from the band, instead of a soccer player. She was making me look bad.

Brad went left.

“No!” I yelled. “Not that way!”

He didn’t listen. Carol had me around the corner and to the next junction before I got another word out.

“Stop! This is the wrong way.”

Carol slowed to a walk, but kept moving. “Are you sure? I can see the light.”

I glanced around. Clouds had rolled in, obscuring the moon and stars from above. Dark clung to the path around us and nestled in the cornstalks that lined the way. A little light came from the street lamp that stood at the beginning and end of the maze. “We’re going to have to go further in before we can get out,” I said.

She gave me a skeptical look.

“Trust me. I’ve played a lot of D&D. I know my way around a maze.”

A chorus of screams sounded from the direction Brad and Angela had gone.

“Told you,” I said.

A moment later Brad and Angela reappeared, running hard.

“Go! Go!” Brad waved his arms frantically. “She’s right behind us.”

Angela kept screaming. I was impressed. She should join the choir.

“Which way?” Carol asked.

I considered, churning the problem in my mind. The thump of running footsteps coming toward us sped up my thinking process. “This way.”

Everyone followed as Carol once again dragged me forward.

We rounded a few corners, then stopped to catch our breath. I doubled over, not used to so much running, and Brad raised his hands above his head.

“We’ve already been this way,” Angela said.

“We have?” Carol asked.

Angela nodded and pointed at the ground. “I’ve been leaving candy corns at every corner.” Plastic wrinkled as she flashed us the open bag from her purse.

I squinted and found the single candy corn.

“Smart,” Carol said.”

“Then which way do we go now?” Brad asked.

They all looked at me.

I went through the parts of the maze we’d explored in my mind. The haunting creatures had us cornered in one section. I looked at Carol. “We’re going to have to get past Mrs. Doubtfire.”

“No way,” Angela said. “I’m not going anywhere near that crazy lady.”

“I think it’s a man,” Carol said helpfully.

“Why?” Brad asked me.

“I think they’ve got us trapped,” I said. “They’re not supposed to touch us, so we need to find a wide spot in the path, lure her to us, and then get around her.”

The snap of a corn stalk sounded from behind us, and we all froze. My heart, which had just gone back to normal, sped up again. Carol’s fingers squeezed mine.

“I hate this plan,” Brad said.

Angela tugged him back. “There was a wide spot over this way.”

I stared at her.

“What? You’re not the only one who plays D&D.”

Carol looked at me, and I shrugged. “Why not?”

She snorted. “Why not.”

We followed Angela, walking slowly, which allowed us to hear other sounds coming from the maze. Another group screamed from our right. Running footsteps seemed to circle us. A flash of white bolted across the path in front of us.

We all screamed.

“Dearies!” Mrs. Doubtfire cackled.

“I swear, I’m never going to watch her movie again,” Brad said.

I silently agreed.

Angela stopped and pointed. “There it is.”

We all peered ahead. The path was wide enough for three people. We should be able to get past Mrs. Doubtfire.

A high-pitched, fake laugh carried on the wind, and resolved as a man dressed as a nanny—complete with what looked like whipped cream all over his face—stepped out onto the path.

“There you are, dearies.”

“This is not right,” Brad muttered.

Angela shook her head and didn’t move.

I looked at Carol. “Coming?”

She pressed her lips together and nodded.

We passed Brad and Angela, and approached Mrs. Doubtfire, who clasped her hands together and waited.

“What is she going to do to us?” Carol asked.

“I have no idea, but we’re getting past her,” I said.

Mrs. Doubtfire’s smile got wider as we got closer.

We clung to the opposite side of the path, our shoulders rustling the corn stalks.

When we were ten feet away, Mrs. Doubtfire stepped into the middle of the path, which meant we would be really, really close when we went by.

I glanced back and found Brad and Angela following us. When I returned my gaze to Mrs. Doubtfire, I found her closing on us.

She laughed her high, fake laugh, and pulled something from her apron pockets. “It’s a run-by-fruiting!”

I yelled, and lost at least a year off my life, as she pelted us with something small and hard.

Carol screamed, then pushed me into a run.

I stumbled, but she kept me upright as we got around the next corner.

Brad and Angela appeared a moment later.

Angela held out a piece of candy. “Look, Apple Jolly Ranchers.”

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Clamshell Box: Week 4

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Unfortunately, the longer fabric I ordered didn’t get here, so I haven’t covered the outer shell yet.

I did build it! It goes over the inner tray, and everything fits right!

There’s enough of a gap for the fabric, so I feel good about it.

Check out that perfect gap!

Here’s hoping my fabric comes in this week so I can finish this baby up!

Knock on Wood

Just a couple of pictures of the finished inner tray. I added a filler piece (the blue) then the final cover for the bottom (the green).

I swear the colors will all match at some point.

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Welcome to my Spooky Flash Fiction Friday!

From now until Halloween there will be haunting 🙂

Busted by a Kid in a Turtle Costume

Today’s Flash Fiction Friday is brought to you by:
Someone Standing on Your Front Porch
A Jack-O-Lantern
A Haunted House

“Is that lady letting her toddler come to the door by himself?” Henry asked.

“Looks like it,” Jacob said. “No, wait, he’s got an older sister.”

Henry brightened. “Have I mentioned how much I love Halloween?”

“You’re on porch duty,” Jacob reminded Henry.

“I’m on it.” Henry sunk through the wood floor, floated through the basement and into the small space under the front porch. Falling dust accompanied the clumping of the children’s steps as they climbed toward the front door.

Henry reached up to the top step and pulled at the essence of the board. It squealed as the older sister stepped on it.

She let out a gasp and jumped to the porch.

The little boy giggled.

Younger children were often more amused by the ghosts antics than frightened. However, the girl was a prime target.

Henry put his head through the wood to get a look at the duo. He kept himself invisible. The little boy wore some sort of walking turtle outfit with rubber swords strapped to his shell, and the girl wore a police officer’s uniform.

Strange that she wanted to be in law enforcement but was afraid of a few noises. She reached out a trembling hand and hit the doorbell.

The best part about haunting this particular house was that the older man who lived there had literal loads of money, and loved Halloween. Not only did he give out what he called full-sized candy bars, but he often had a bucket of small toys for the children to choose from.

Oh, and he thought it was funny that Henry and Jacob liked to haunt him.

A sliver of humanity could see ghosts. Charles was one of them. He’d actually befriended Henry and Jacob when he’d moved in. In all of Henry’s limited wanderings, he’d never met a human like Charles.

In order to give the ghosts more time to give the kids a bit of a fright, Charles always took a long time to answer the door.

Jacob, who was better at manipulating the elements than Henry, sent a blast of wind at the kids.

The girl screamed.

The boy giggled again.

Charles finally got to the door, and it opened with a screech—augmented by Henry scraping claws on the hinges.

The old man was dressed as a zombie, which also made the girl scream.

The little boy held out his jack-o-lantern and said, “Trick or treat!”

The girl swallowed and followed suit in a small voice.

“Well, well, well, what have we here?” Charles leaned down to examine the costumes. He held the candy bowl in one hand and the toy bowl in the other.

“I’m a ninja turtle,” the boy said with no small amount of pride. His face beamed. He puffed out his chest.

His sister tried to look brave, but was probably having a hard time considering Jacob was whistling softly in her ear.

“You’re mean,” Henry said to Jacob.

Jacob grinned.

“A ninja turtle?” Charles straightened and searched his toy bowl. “You might need some ninja stars to go with your swords.”

The little boy jumped up and down when Charles dropped the plastic stars into his jack-o-lantern.

The girl bit her lip as Charles looked for her offering. “Hmm. Let’s see. Ah, here it is.”

Jacob blew on the girl’s neck, and she shivered.

Charles dropped a pop gun in her pillow sack. “Now pick a candy bar.”

They both did so quickly.

“Thank you!” the little boy practically yelled.

The girl nodded.

Just as they turned around, Henry grabbed the door and slammed it against the side of the house.

The girl jumped and ran down to the road as fast as she could.

The boy laughed, and pointed at Henry. “Funny ghost.”

Henry froze.

Jacob cocked his head to the side.

Charles’ eyes went wide. “You can see them?”

The boy pointed at Jacob. “Funny.” Then he turned around and toddled down the stairs.

Henry and Jacob floated over to Charles.

“I’ve never met anyone else with my ability,” Charles said. “We should keep an eye on that one.”

Jacob nodded.

Henry spotted the next group of kids. “Teenage boys.”

Charles chuckled. “Do you thing you two.”

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Clamshell Box: Week 3

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I may have board measurements for a prototype!

Well, sort of.

Notice the stupid seam there? Yeah, that’s supposed to be at the corner.

I got carried away with the chamfers .Oops. My bad. In my defense, that will be covered up.

The fabric I bought locally isn’t long enough for what I need, so I’m having to break it into two pieces and put a seam on the corner.

It worked last week, but I changed the dimensions, but apparently (in a senior blonde moment) wrote something down wrong, then cut them before I checked twice.

Go ahead. Point and laugh. Shame me. I deserve it.

In retaliation, I’ve used my mad Googling skills to order bigger pieces of fabric. Take that, corner seam!

Ignoring the fabric issues, the box looks pretty good!

The books fit!


There’s a bit of a gap on the ends, but I’m okay with it. Better then the books not fitting.

My next step for the boards is to make a jig so they are easier to cut. Right now I’m using a utility knife and a metal ruler. I need something more reliable.

If my fabric comes in the three days promised, I may have a progress report next week.

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