Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 13 -Note Time Change!
Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 13.
This is a flash fiction challenge. The prompt is a song. You are not required to write about or even mention the song. It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan. If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.
500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.
Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.
MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST
The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at 1:30PM Pacific Time on Friday. You read that right. Pacific Time.
**I made the command decision to extend the challenge into Friday. I don’t get online until after work anyway so why not give people a little more time to work?**
This week’s prompt comes courtesy of Kira Skov.
The tune is, “Riders of the Freeway”. Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/_rl6WCUgo_Y
This week’s Judge is… the incomparable Cara Michaels!
So there you have it.
We’re live…. Challenge ends at 4:30 on Friday May 17.
Are you still here?
Posted on May 14, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.
Allie pulled her hand back, the knife slick with blood. The sparks were so much more vivid when they died slowly, in pain. His bowels spilled out over his lap, and she poked at them with the serrated edge, listening to him howl. As always during these times, her mind bifurcated, and her anticipatory joy was overlaid with lectures from medical school. She’d loved dissecting bodies in class, of course, but nothing compared to seeing the organs pulsing and contracting, doing their jobs because they didn’t yet know that the person they belonged to was being brutally eviscerated.
When it came, she gasped in ecstasy. This was the biggest one yet – filled with rainbows invisible to human eyes, swirling in kaleidoscopic patterns around his empty corpse. It trailed along her fingers, and Allie felt it again, the sense of knowing, of understanding, of acceptance. Her parents had taken her to church every Sunday for years, and she’d heard lecture after lecture on the sanctity of life and God’s Love for His Creation, but they were wrong. This is why we were put here, she knew, for the weak to give their beauty to the strong.
Her bike was parked across town, and she watched the stars fade into dawn as she walked, letting the high of the spark carry her after a long night. She could see them long after the sun rose, bursts of X-Rays and radio waves which pierced her eyelids like angels. Allie couldn’t wait to get back to the road on days like this, pine trees to the east, the Pacific to the west, and the next kill somewhere up ahead.
She knew that something was wrong before she rounded the corner. Fuck. Ryan was sitting on her bike, toying with her helmet, and looking every inch the scruffy rebel that made all the ladies weak. Allie knew better, though. He was the weak one. He saw the sparks, too, knew what they meant and how to draw on their power, but wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t kill anymore, not after that night in Tupelo, and he’d been after her to follow his lead, like that was going to happen. There was a look on his face, though, that said something was different about this visit.
“I’m in trouble, Allie. And you’re the only one who can help.”
392 words. If you’re interested, we first met Allie here: http://projectgemini12.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/visdare-18-inspect/
Samantha pulled under a sagging awning and parked next to the gasoline pump. Despite the station’s desolate appearance, it teemed with patrons seeking reprieve from the baking heat. It was the only one she’d seen for miles but the rows of gas pumps on each side were all Sam cared about. She left the keys dangling in the ignition, brushed long locks off her shoulder and plopped her clutch on a dusty pump to pry her credit card from the wallet section. She pulled the nozzle out, made her selection and let the pump do its thing.
Sam pulled a squeegee from a once-white bucket and smeared muddy water over her windshield. As clumps of muck rolled off her car, a new Charger rolled to a stop at the pump next to hers. Its candy red paint gleamed under the white hot glare.
If I drove that, I’d be pulling into Sacramento instead of melting in Arizonian Hades.
The driver opened the sleek door and new leather scent wafted as he slid out. He nodded and went inside. Sam heard the pump click and stepped over to retrieve the hose. She was aiming the nozzle at its cradle when she heard her door slam. She turned, nozzle still in hand, to watch her car throw dirt in her direction as it fishtailed on the dusty lot.
“Was that your car?”
Samantha looked at the man heading toward her. The owner of the Charger.
“Are you okay?” he asked, shock covering his face.
Thought pistons fired in Samantha’s head as she formed a plan. She swallowed hard, slammed the nozzle down and snatched her wallet.
“Miss?” It worked. Her silence drew him close enough to grab his keys.
“I’m sorry,” She yelled as she hit the panic button and opened the driver’s side door.
“No! Fuck no! There’s no way I’m letting you steal mine.” He ran around the other side and ducked inside before she threw it into gear and slung gravel. He clambered and grasped for a hand hold as he pulled his feet inside and reached to close the door. She braked and merged onto the highway, then shifted gears and roared past the station. “Are you insane? You can’t steal my car! How about calling the cops?”
She glanced at her captive. Dark hair, healthy tan, a thick build that filled a pair of faded jeans nicely. “I’ve had my fill of cops.”
“Right. How ridiculous to suggest law enforcement. What now, Deputy Do It Yourself?”
Sam smiled and ran through the gears. Wide tires chirped and devoured pavement, transforming tumbleweeds into brown blurs.
“My name is Samantha. Everything I own is in that car. I didn’t survive two years of hell and a torturous divorce to have it stolen by some filthy meth-head.” She focused on her car coming into view. “What’s your name?”
The Charger’s owner seemed to balance his attention between the car ahead of them and what she had planned.
“Fasten your seat belt, Harper.” He cringed but obeyed.
Sam squinted to judge distance, but her Honda wrinkled in shining heat waves. She drew up beside it and a grease-haired scuzz grinned at her from the driver’s seat. Harper threw questioning glares between them. Samantha let off the gas.
“What are you doing? Please do not hurt this car.”
Sam cut a hard right. The Charger’s nose rammed the Accord’s trunk, forcing it off the road and out of control. Rocks peppered their windshield. The carjacker overcorrected and left the highway again as soon as he entered it. Sam’s Honda spun in the dry desert brush until it came to a stop against a tall saguaro.
She killed the Charger and bolted out. The carjacker rested his bleeding head against the steering wheel. Sam yanked the door, grabbed his collar and tossed him to the dirt. She sank her boot into his ribs and when he rolled, she set him up with matching fractures.
Sam popped the trunk and pulled out two black duffel bags. She unzipped one and tossed them both in Harper’s lap.
Slowly, Harper peered at large bills peeking through the open zipper.
Samantha grinned. “Where to, Harper?”
@Valeriebrbr 700 words
Title: The Road Trip
I’d never envisaged that it could be this good. Top down, Lara Del Ray blasting out of the car stereo, and nothing but desert on either side.
The heat was encapsulating; the speed of the car causing it to whip round us. The skirt of my thin summer dress billowed, and my long hair dashed round my face. I threw my head back and laughed. It was exhilarating to be here be on the road, seeing it all, with him.
Theo’s grin widened and he clasped my leg. I put my hand on top of his and moved it a bit higher up. This time he laughed.
I’d never imagined that we’d get this far, not when I thought back to the chance encounter in the bar in New York. Some would say it was destined; some would say third time lucky, but we said ‘the time was finally right’.
I was surprised he was still interested. I thought he’d want someone younger, not older. And that’s what I’d said ‘Not found yourself some nice young blonde thing, yet then?’ And he’d laughed, with that twinkle in his eye, the one I had dreamt about for years, hoping to see again.
Road trip, that’s what he’d said, just you and me. I thought a week, maybe two. Here we were three months on having embraced the best of middle America. That was the benefit of being freelancers, you could take it anywhere. We were living the dream.
We saw the signs for the California state lines and both ‘whooped’ at the same time, falling back and laughing. Then he squeezed my leg again and I knew the next motel sign would have to be a stop over. He was irresistible.
By the time we found one we liked the look of the sun was setting, and after testing out the bed, we sat out on the verandah with pizza and beer to watch the stars come out.
That’s when he surprised me by falling to his knees in his boxer shorts and taking my hand. He even produced a little box containing the most beautiful diamond and amethyst ring.
I was speechless. With one hand clutching my chest and the other reaching out to take his, I sat forward in my little purple camisole, and he said the words only my wildest dreams had known.
“Will you make me the happiest man alive and do me the honour of marrying me?”
I must have whispered yes a dozen times as I smothered his face in kisses.
“I’m surprised you didn’t clock him with the torque wrench!” murmured Steven, standing at a safe distance behind the bike. Thalia tried not to grin, but couldn’t stop her lip from curling into a smile. “If I were a lady, I’d have punched him a while back,” he added.
“If I were a lady, he’d still be waiting for it…thankfully, I’m not a lady!” Thalia raised a wry eyebrow. “You don’t need to wait around, I’m almost done.” She flashed him a glance and tightened up a nut.
He shrugged. “Actually that’s not true, when Danny gave you your marching orders this afternoon and you refused to go…he left it to me to see you off site.”
Thalia glowered beneath a layer of engine grease, her cheeks reddening despite the smears of oil. “I said I’d go when I was ready, he doesn’t get to order me about!”
Steven shrugged again. “He’s the boss’s son, and he did fire you…”
“Small detail,” she seethed. “Okay if you’re waiting, slide the tool box closer will you?”
The metal box grated across the concrete floor, echoing throughout the hangar as Steven pushed it with the toe of his boot. Thalia glanced up, her eyes flitting about, but he was right, everyone had gone.
Thalia stood and arched her back, stretching and working out the crick in her neck.
“I won’t offer to help,” Steven grinned remembering the crack Danny had received as he’d touched Thalia’s shoulders unbidden. She shook her arms and caught his eye, for a moment energy crackled and Thalia’s defences caved. She laughed.
Steven reached down for an oily rag and searched for a clean edge. He began to rub the motorbike’s engine, polishing it, rubbing in circles and Thalia looked on with feelings brewing inside she wasn’t entirely sure of.
She picked up her chamois, and watched him polish, his eyes intent on the metal and his tongue poking out of the corner of his mouth as he concentrated. The setting sun threw orange blazes across the hangar and set his thick blonde hair on fire. He glanced up, and squinted, blinded by the sudden sun. She blocked the light and cast her shapely shadow across the bike.
“It’s okay, I’m not going to hit you for polishing my bike,” she spoke softly and handed him her chamois. His fingers brushed hers as he took it and she inhaled deeply, unconsciously allowing his grimy, gritty sweat to permeate her mind.
“You’ve turned this heap of junk into something quite spectacular,” he said as the soft leather stroked the customised Indian Bobber.
She watched again as the engine began to shine beneath his deft fingers.
“You know we could take it out…” she began.
“It’s not yours…” He grinned as her eyes sparkled even in the gloom of shadow.
“I know, but I’m sacked and I’m not coming back, are you coming back tomorrow?”
His heart raced. If she left, there’d be nothing left to come back for.
She grabbed her leather jacket and pulled it tight across her breast, buckling it up and watching his face as she shook out her dark hair. His Adam’s apple bobbled unconsciously in his dry throat and then he was zipping up his own jacket. She threw him a pair of goggles and slid hers over her head and over her eyes. Her boots clipped on the concrete and she swung her leg over the low-slung bike.
It came to life between her thighs and growled, its voice snarling through the empty hangar.
Thalia glanced at Steven and pulled on her soft, fitted gloves as it purred beneath her. She curled a finger at him and smiled.
Her teeth shone in the evening glare and Steven knew he’s been snared.
He climbed upon the back of the rumbling bike and closed his legs around her rear. His arms, hesitated for a moment, then stretched around her waist and she squeezed the throttle.
Moments later they were gone, headed up the vast, open freeway, with only memories left behind.
If anyone wants to read the intro to this piece, it can be found here: http://thelastkrystallos.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/five-sentence-fiction-goggles.html
Beyond the Horizon
“Thanks for the ride Man.”
Dark spots from his approaching headlights still blinked in my vision, but pizza, tobacco and sweat reached out to me from the truck cab.
“Get in or get lost Kid. I got a schedule.”
I swept my rucksack up into the and followed it close. We pulled away before I got the door shut and I slid across leather polished by too many passengers.
“How far you headed?”
“Far enough.” Words escaped through the gap between chapped lips and a grimy hand rolled cigarette.
He flicked a lighter and his dark stubbled face leapt into angular life, before skulking back into the shadows of the dim illumination from the dash.
“So it’s a girl, right? It’s always a girl. They’ll be the death of you Boy. Broads I mean. Man killers, every one.”
I cracked the window but the smell just gathered tighter around me like cobwebs on your face in the morning.
“No? A story for a ride Son. That’s how it works.”
“…I’m going to meet her…”
The cigarette flared, then languid wraiths of smoke curled from his nostrils before diving for the window and freedom.
“So, this girl you’re meeting..?”
I closed my eyes and rested my head against the cracked headrest, shutting out the strobing monochrome scrub flashing past the rusty wing.
“It was Jeff, her Daddy. The police wanted her to testify, but she was scared Man… and it was her Daddy, you know? The Sheriff called her at work, followed her to my house, sat outside the house all night, but Jeff, he’d just laugh. If she was late, well, he called it a reminder. Told the Sheriff she fell. He took it up with Jeff in the diner, but without a witness, Jeff knew he was home free.”
The truck engine droned like an angry metal bee and the tyres roared.
“I tried to tell her, you know? She had to get away, her Daddy was trouble, real bad news. No future for us if she stayed. Told her I’d set her free. So I did…”
The trucker turned, deep sunk eyes fixed on me like a mongoose watching a snake.
I saw her face in the reflection of the windshield.
The tyres rumbled onto the gravel verge, a stony tattoo beating on the underside of the body, and her jerked the wheel. The tyres gave a banshee scream as he stomped on the brake. The truck stalled and I looked across at him to find myself staring into the steel blued tunnel of a snub nose revolver in his shaking hand.
“But I’m going to meet her…”
“Out.” The barrel twitched me on my way and I slid out into the cool night air.
The truck leapt into life, drenching me in a shower of dust.
The single tail light dwindled against the first whispers of dawn’s approaching skyline.
I caught the memory of her scent on the breeze. I could meet her here as well as anywhere, I figured. I pulled open the bag, feeling inside for my carefully stone whetted ticket.
David did not mind the walking. He had been doing it for days knowing there would come a time when it would be too much. For now he did not have the nerve to hitch. The car sped past him by several feet before the turn signal lit up. He recognized the car. It was at the motel where he had spent the night and the small road side diner where he ate breakfast. He had never seen the driver though. It pulled off to the side with emergency blinkers flashing. David stopped looking behind the way he came and part of him wanted to turn back. He could see cigarette smoke escape the driver’s door just before the passenger door swung open…
“I’ve seen horror movies start this way,” he mumbled aloud.
He approached the door slowly peaking inside. “Where are you heading?” He remembered her now, the woman with the red hair and tight jeans a couple of the truckers had made rude comments toward but she never gave them a second look.
“Not a bad man are you, sugah? My momma always warned me about those bad boys. Of course she failed to mention to me they were the most fun.”
He immediately thought her accent was from northern Georgia or southern Tennessee. “I like to think not.”
“Throw your bag in the backseat and climb in,” she turned looking at him. Her lips were strawberry red, matching her wavy hair as it fell down on her shoulders. Her face was thin with a sharp nose. He noticed mostly her big green eyes, friendly eyes.
“All right.” He tossed his bag into the back seat before climbing into the passenger seat. He glanced into the mirror on his side, heart still racing. He knew this could have been a mistake, every story in his life that started with a beautiful woman ended in some sort of misery. “Where are you from?”
“Chattanooga,” she replied. “Heading to Vegas.” She looked to him flashing her big smile. He was certain of it now, this woman was trouble. She was someone who could get almost anything she wanted with a flash of her smile. “You?”
“Atlanta,” he replied.
“Running to or from something?”
“Away from,” he replied. He wanted to say from someone with a smile like yours.
She reached to the glove box opening it and his heart stopped when he saw the pistol, eyes wide he looked too her and then back to the glove box. “Don’t worry, sweetie.” She flipped around a moment until the badge was just as visible as the gun. “You’re safe as can be.” Federal Bureau of Investigations, but his heart still raced. “What’s your name?” He watched as she pulled a new pack of cigarettes out closing the door in the process.
They’d traveled the better part of the day when she pulled into the gas station, David was happy to get a chance to stretch his legs. “Pump the gas for me will you.” David circled to the driver’s door as Trisha messed around in the trunk and then headed into the station.
The trunk of the car squeaked open, and he let his curiosity get the best of him as he opened it further. His heart nearly stopped. The man was in suit, black and professional with his hands bound and gag in his mouth. “Ah, sugah, hate to give you the wrong impression.” He looked up to see Trisha with her arms crossed and big confident smile. He looked back to the man with his cold blank expression; the felt of the trunk was covered in blood. An open duffle bag at his back filled with money. “That there is what happens to bad, bad men.”
As I came through the door, a dark-haired man stepped over a pair of corpses and handed me his gun. In that moment, I realized every word Fabrizzio had fed me over the last year was a lie. I hadn’t been drafted into this elite government agency because they needed my singular skill-set. I’d been setup to facilitate the deconstruction of Paladia’s notoriously honorable police detective, Paolo Luna.
It was Paolo who’d handed me the gun moments ago and who regarded me now with a vacant stare that told me he’d been effectively neutralized. Why hadn’t they just killed him? Why reprogram him as a passenger? And why assign me as his handler? Sure, his name was scrawled across half my auto theft collars but we didn’t have any other connection or history, so why use me to burn him?
I waited until we’d cleared the scene and were on the freeway to blow off steam courtesy of the fuel-injected throttle-bodies and for a handful of glorious miles, we tore up the asphalt. He sat beside me, enjoying the ride with a smile that almost reached his eyes. Soon as we hit the five mile marker, he suggested that we listen to some music. I yanked the mp3 player out of my jacket and tossed it to him, struggling to keep my facial expression relaxed.
The internal prompt to listen to music was part of the protocol to keep him within a five mile radius of a control team while he was in the vulnerable post-action lull, when his consciousness might surface due to a variety of unpredictable stimuli. Listening to the next song on the mp3 player would program him for his next assignment and then he’d be indomitable until it was complete and he returned, full circle, to his fragile five-mile state.
Unfortunately, the songs just sounded like music to me, which meant I received my part of the assignments – when and where to drop him off and retrieve him – as he deemed necessary. Fabrizzio would stay conveniently out of the picture until the playlist came to an end. My stomach clenched. I’d never get my passenger beyond the agency’s reach. He’d always be just five miles away from another assignment.
Two hours later, we were camped out in a low rent motel. While he showered, I glanced at the mp3 player. Twenty-two songs left in the queue. We were in the loop for twenty-two back-to-back assignments. They were going to grind us to death long before I could figure a way out. How could I accomplish anything with just five miles opportunity every day?
A shadow fell across room and I looked up to find him moving towards me. For a heartbeat, I forgot that he was a cop, a passenger, a man in mortal danger, and only saw a powerfully built, darkly handsome, fiercely charismatic man, one who continued to fight battles he couldn’t win simply because he was sworn to serve and protect.
His kiss surprised me but more than that, it provoked something in him and he drew back, astonishment stamped across his face, and uttered a single word. “Josette.”
My name. My real name, not the one that had been fabricated for me and encoded in his programming. In a flash, I had become the unpredictable stimuli that would unlock Paolo’s mind. I just needed to keep provoking him until everything shook loose.
I slid out of my jeans and t-shirt, lay back on the bed, and held out my hand. His mind was still under lock and key but his body was under no such restraint. I felt a twinge of awe as he settled himself over me, his taut dusky body a pornographic promise.
We were both passengers on this mutha-luvin’ freeway from hell but Fabrizzio forgot a little thing called road rage, and Paolo and I were about to flip-a-bitch on the bastard.
– – – – –
@bullishink / 654 words
The forgotten park bench moves from bright sunlight to mossy shade while Gary waits for Shelley to return to their home in the forest. He hardly notices the passage of time, though he is starting to feel cold. With evening descending, he folds his lanky frame to fight the chill, pressing his skinny legs up against his chest, tucking bony knees up underneath stubbled chin.
Digging his hands deep into his jeans’ pockets, Gary discovers a cigarette stub he saved and the lighter Shelley showed him how to use. Just as he’s trying to match the two items, there’s a noise. He pauses to calculate what’s making its way through the underbrush. Listening to the crunch of dry leaves, he decides it’s only a squirrel so he returns to the conundrum of lighting his smoke, and to waiting.
Waiting is what Gary does best. He waits a lot for his wife, Shelley.
When their lives intersected twenty three years ago, Gary fell in love with Shelley because she was a capable woman; he could tell by the confident way she carried herself, by her witty conversation, the books she could quote, the names she could drop. Of course, he doesn’t remember any of that now. Faulty wires during electroshock took most of it, leaving behind indeterminate but constant static.
He hears another noise, this one louder, so he stands up and shakes the kinks out of his legs. Because footsteps and leaf crunching always prelude Shelley’s reappearance, Gary is confused when two uniformed police step out from among the trees.
“Where’s Shelley?” Gary asks.
“Sir, I don’t know who Shelley is. Can you tell us who you are?”
“Gary… I’m her husband, Gary.”
“Looks like you’ve made quite a little homestead here. But camping isn’t allowed in the park, sir.”
Gary looks back and forth, from the police now wandering through the campsite to the parting in the trees where Shelley always come back. “Is Shelley with you?”
“Look, sir – er, Gary, is it? I think you better come with us. We can have someone from the city pack up your belongings later.”
“Will you tell Shelley?”
“Sure, sure. Do you have any more clothes, Gary? Like a jacket or a sweater? It’s October for God’s sake.”
“Oh, hey Mike. There’s a sweater in this tent. Here you go, buddy. Put this on.”
They watch as Gary struggles to manoeuvre the buttons on the sweater he’s just been handed and put on. After a minute, the older policeman walks over and buttons it up for Gary. Then, the three of them walk single file into the golden leaved trees, to find their way to the parking lot.
When they’re back at the station, the police watch Gary as he sits at one of the vacant desks, slowly chewing the ham sandwiches they’ve brought him. Intermittently, Gary stops, looks expectantly towards the front door, then goes back to his food.
“So Mike, aren’t going to tell him about the note?”
“Look, Chuck. You and I barely understood what it meant. Do you really think ol’ Gary is going to get it?”
“I know, but geez, they are married. He has a right to know she’s taken off.”
“Maybe, but I’ve got a feeling that she’s got a right to life outside the park, and away from him.”
The younger policeman nods at his partner’s sentiment, then they both get busy filing reports.
Gary eventually finishes eating. He turns his chair to face towards the station’s busy front door.
And, he waits for Shelley.
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