Voodoo in Numbers
by Grace Lazarz

Red poured.  Red flowed.

A slash here, a stab there.  The maniac gleam of the water droplet spinning in her eye.  Nothing would stop her.

The lamp holding a too bright, too happy light bulb illumined her make-up heavy face, revealing the teardrops of perspiration along her upper lip, the shadows elongating her face.  It gave her the look of a possessed carnival entertainer.  Her blue sparks of eyes bounced through the night, eager for more...

More torture of the victims.

A smirk tugged at her sickly lips, the color of road kill intestines shriveling in the sun.  They stood out, the only thing on her face without make-up.   

She stabbed again.

"Having fun, Clayton Rinds?" her surprisingly sweet voice glided through the air.  She swallowed the saliva rising in her throat.  "Though you'd do better than this, eh?"

A leathery tongue moved along the edge of her discolored mouth.

There was more red and a tiny shout of satisfaction.  Now the victim was unrecognizable, lifeless.  She had done all she could do to it.

She pushed back her chair, panting.  Her eyes glowed through black, content with her work.  One thing left to do...

The victim was branded with a precise "F".  She capped her weapon, slid it behind one ear, and flipped the paper over.

The math tests were graded.

The light was flipped off, and she laughed herself home.

Grace Lazarz is a student who resides in Indiana.  She has had work in TeenAge, and has a story soon to be on Clockwise Cat.  She won Honorable Mention in the 2008 IUPUI Poetry Contest with her poem, "Naked."  She loves writing short stories of nearly any genre and the occasional poem.  Besides writing, she enjoys acting, soccer, art, and music.   Contact Grace.

Congratulations, Grace!  You story gave us a kick!  It's hard to believe you are only 15 years old.  Your work is impressive, and you have a great future in writing!  Keep it up!  Now, tell us a little about yourself.

I have wanted to be an author since the third grade, but it wasn't until about two years ago that I started writing regularly.  I am also an editor of my school's literary magazine.

Q. What would you want our readers to know about you?

To get a piece of work on a webzine is a big deal for me.  I am only a sophomore in high school, so anything feels like a big accomplishment.  I look at it as one step further to publishing a novel or a book of short stories.

Q. Do you write in a particular genre?  If so, what genre is it?

I enjoy writing nearly every genre, and usually combine different ones such as romance with magical elements or horror with fantasy.

Q.  What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

1. Likeable characters/characters you can relate to.
2. A strong beginning, ending.
3. Plot and description that is not cliche.

Q.  How do you develop your plots and characters?  Do you use any set  formula?

I usually get one solid idea to work around for my plot, and I build as I go.  Usually, when I am about halfway (or what I think is halfway) done with a story I'll make a short outline for the rest.  I tend not to follow it in the end, but it does help shape the story.  For my characters, I look for people.  For instance, the other day I saw a man in a jacket that looked like it was from the circus who was wearing pajama pants and throwing out an empty bottle of some sort of alcohol.  He may be appearing in my next story.

Q.  What do you do to unwind and relax?
Writing always relaxes me, of course.  But other than that I read, act in my local theater, sing, draw, listen to music, play soccer, and hang out with friends.

Q.  What inspires you?  Who inspires you?
One of my writing inspirations is Ray Bradbury, my favorite author.  I could read his stories over and over again, just because of his unique description and wonderful plots.  After I read something of his, I am inspired to write.

Q.  Are you working on any projects right now?
I am in the middle of several short stories and a piece that I don't know what it will be at the end--maybe a novellette, novella, or hopefully a novel.

Q.  What is most frustrating about writing?  Most rewarding?
The most frustrating part is when you write an entire story, hand it to someone to read, and have them say, "I don't get it."  Then you have to explain the whole thing, and you realize it was too abstract.  The most rewarding part is when you are done with a story and you read it aloud, and you as the author get caught up in it.

Q.  If I were sitting down to write my very first story, what would your  advice be?
Finish it.  No one's first story is good, don't expect it to be, but my first problem is always finishing a story.  If it helps, outline what will happen.  This also helps with the time flow of the story.

Q.  What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Just keep writing.  It's the only way you'll improve.

Thanks, Grace!

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