Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 15 – Ray Manzarek Edition

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 15.

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.

The rules;

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 4:30PM Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

This week’s tune is presented in memoriam of the great Ray Manzarek of The Doors…

Image

The song is… “Take It As It Comes”.  Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/MI_RVIl4ZsA

This week’s Judge is fellow flash fiction phenom… Lizzie Koch!

That’s all from me…

The challenge is now live and is open until 4:30PM on Friday, May 31.

So go write!!!!!

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Posted on May 28, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. “The Haunting of Anna”

    Leaf cannot let Anna catch her watching. The room in which Anna performs is above street level, but Anna stops if she feels eyes on her, and then she quietly moves into the private space of the house.

    Anna’s porch has long windows that act as walls. It is clearly an addition; one small window on the main frame of the house still remains and Anna does not pull down the shade when she stands at the sink. Leaf could easily see all the details of Anna’s house, but she only looks into the kitchen and the porch room. There are limits to how much one can invade another’s privacy, even if the object of one’s interest is an exhibitionist with some anti-social tendencies.

    Anna’s performances are many and varied. Sometimes at night, she dances on the porch in the dark. If the weather is nice, she leaves the windows open and her music wafts across the street into Leaf’s sitting room. The street lamps provide enough illumination for Leaf to see Anna gliding around in the exposed space. Anna also paces in the dark if she is restless, her feet rumbling on the floor as she performs her precise square over and over again in the early hours of the morning. This is how Leaf knows that Anna is an insomniac.

    The only night activities that Anna performs in light are reading and writing. Leaf especially likes how Anna presses her finger over certain passages as she reads, as if she is trying to absorb the ideas through her skin and let them travel up her bloodstream to the brain.

    Leaf is Anna’s friend, but Anna is not Leaf’s friend. They never speak to one another. Leaf leaves presents on Anna’s top step: an old book, a slice of cake, a piece of beach glass. Anna takes these presents inside, but Leaf never sees what happens to them. Leaf worries that Anna throws away these things: the book was never read and the kitchen did not light up when Anna took the cake from stoop.

    Leaf doesn’t know everything about Anna, and she’s constantly surprised by the things she learns. At each window, Anna has hung little bottles upside down. Most of them are rubbed hard with age and have a pale green. Some are cobalt or purple. Leaf did not realize one detail of the bottles until she overheard a conversation between Anna and a passerby.

    A woman stood outside Anna’s house and stared up at the bottles twirling violently in the breeze. The stranger’s back said that something bothered her about the bottles. When Anna came out to watch the approaching storm, the woman called up to her.

    “Those look a bit like spirit bottles. My grandmother used to hang them in a tree,” the woman said without introducing herself or properly greeting Anna.

    Anna’s face lit up. “Yes, that’s the idea I had when I hung them.” She leaned over the rail to talk to the stranger. The woman turned and Leaf could see her disapproving face.

    “Spirit bottles don’t have their bottoms cut off. They lure the evil spirits through the necks and trap them there,” the woman said smugly.

    Anna smiled the falsely apologetic smile of someone who does not wish to validate criticism.

    “Yes, I know. I don’t want to trap spirits. Who wants bottles of nastiness hanging where they live? Letting spirits know that I can trap them if I want to is enough to make them respect me.” The woman glanced sharply at Anna and shuddered before clipping off down the street as if escaping an insane person.

    Anna adjusted the bottles that had become entangled in the wind before going into the house and out of Leaf’s sight.

    On her darkest days, when Leaf struggles the most with being without being, she remembers that the bottles in Anna’s window are a warning to spirits. Leaf uses this to anchor herself to the land of the living: Anna is relatively tolerant of her still-human audiences. Leaf holds on to this life even though her passing is long overdue. She cannot bear to lose this last thing that she has without having.

    @violetgrendel 700 words

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  2. Time to Live, Lie, Laugh and Die

    She ran, her breath tearing at her throat, and her legs threatening to give way, but his crashing footfall still thundered behind her. She could barely recall his smile as her feet dragged through mental sludge.

    “C’mon baby…let’s have some fun!” He grinned and his eyes pierced her through. Her breath caught and her heart skipped that proverbial beat. “Time to live a little!” he said as he grabbed her hand and lead her to the dance floor where she allowed the pounding music to flood her veins.
    Caught in the moment and the euphoria of his blue eyes, she threw back her head and swayed, enjoying the way he looked at her. “Be back in a bit babe,” he said and sauntered off through the ocean of undulating bodies. He threw back a glance and she caught his wink.

    Fog coursed through her mind, and her steps became clumsy and tree roots crept close to her ankles. She leaped and sidestepped, and forced herself on as the echo of broken twigs splintered her heart.

    He sloshed the drink as he passed it to her. “Sorry!” His hand shot forward to brush the spillage from her shoulder, and desire at his touch burned behind her eyes. The cool drink sated her thirst and she let him take her hand.

    Now her eyes burned with tears, and the trees swayed tall and liquid either side as she ran. Fear twisted its knife in her back and darkness began to fall. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide and his voice boomed through the dusk. “Everything’s going to be okay! Where are you? Wait for me!” His words bounced from tree to tree and she ran unable to tell which way was left or which way was right.

    The drink took hold faster than she could imagine and as teasingly slow as he wanted, and it wasn’t long before she allowed him to hold her steady and lead her to safety. He laughed and she shivered as she wobbled and grasped his hand, leaning uncomfortably close enough for him to inhale her dizzy sweetness.

    His laugh resounded and the chill of the drawing night danced across her skin. She shook her hazy mind and swung into dense undergrowth, her skirts catching on brambles and the wind. She ducked beneath huge, fingered leaves and rampant thorns, ignoring trails of scarlet rising across her pale arms. Like Sleeping Beauty at the spindle she slipped into unwelcome slumber and her pursuer tore on through the night.

    Daylight dawned, casting rays of gold on her sleeping body and she slowly rose, fear manifest behind tearstained eyes. Frightened eyes darted from tree to tree as she escaped the forest’s cocoon. A heeled shoe and bare foot stepped warily, until a few feet away lay a body. A man tripped by roots and tangled bramble, an errant fallen branch a stake in his heart, now resting cold in death…and morning’s respite brought her time.

    (497 Words)
    @LastKrystallos

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  3. The night edged closer to pitch black as the clouds thickened in front of the moon. Cresting the last hill, Allie could see them now, the tiny pinpricks of light through the trees. It was a small campsite, but large enough to house the Girl Scout troop from the farming town upriver. They’d never done anything like this, but it was time, and she could hardly keep from trembling. At her side, though, Ryan clearly didn’t share her excitement.

    “C’mon, baby. We don’t need to do this.”

    “I’m not your baby. And you don’t have to come – I told you, but I’m not killing another goddamned cat.” She was afraid to speak above a whisper, not wanting to spook the girls spending their last night on the lake shore ahead. Ryan had been whining about this ever since she’d had the idea. He just didn’t have what it took to truly embrace their gift, and it was becoming a real pain in the ass.

    “You don’t have to kill cats. I know that’s not who you are. Just not this. There’s enough people out there that we can find – ex-cons, wife-beaters – but not kids. Please.” He hissed the last word, and Allie could feel her control over the night beginning to slip. If the girls woke up, they’d run, and she’d have a devil of a time tracking them all down before morning.
    And this was definitely not a night to leave witnesses.

    Allie signaled Ryan to a halt, and they squatted down behind a large tree. “I don’t know what happened to you in Tupelo, but it’s time to cut it the fuck out. We’re special. They’re not. There’s no more to the story. If you think because I let you sleep with me I’m going to let you stop me, you’re even more delusional than I thought you were.”

    She took his hand in hers, and stared deep into his eyes, hoping to find an answer that wasn’t there. He couldn’t take it for long, and looked away, his weakness clear. Allie sighed. “You’re not who I thought you were. So go. Maybe someday you’ll understand what you really are. But if you try to stop me, I’ll slit their pretty little throats with the shards of your bones.”

    Ryan slumped to the ground and nodded. They were through now, but he wouldn’t interfere. The same thing that prevented him from being her true equal would keep him quiet. Allie gathered herself, and refocused her awareness on the campsite. The girls were all that mattered now. Their beautiful sparks were weak and tenuous, but in that moment, she had never desired anything more. She’d guide each of them into the next world before dawn and wondered what it would be like to hold all of them within her at once.

    472 words
    @drmagoo

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  4. She inhaled the smoke deeply and held it while he desperately tried to make her laugh, prancing about the room like a nude nymph. It didn’t suit him, he didn’t have the physique for it; he was too skinny. Her mind drifted into thoughts about the perfect figure and how it could be possible, how it was only a matter of refining certain things in your life. She looked down at herself and smiled. No matter how much ‘munchie food’ she ate she didn’t seem to gain a thing. She watched her chest deflate as she exhaled and marvelled at how amazing the body was.

    Then he touched her and she felt it shiver along her skin. Every hair felt the touch of his finger as it ran up her bare thigh. She watched as he reached the top, hovering as though debating direction, then travelling on up her rib cage, faltering at a couple of moles and circling them.

    She inhaled air, watching her ribcage expand and his finger going up and down. She giggled and he giggled too, and then they couldn’t stop.

    The bed they lay on was messy, as though they had been there for days…and it might have been; neither of them knew anymore.

    The doorbell rang and they froze looking at each other with dawning horror that there was a person out there, potentially a straight person that they’d have to interact with. Paranoia crept at the edges of their thoughts. He rushed into some loose trousers, half falling in his attempt to look respectable, and running his fingers repeatedly through his hair as he left the room, shaking his head as though trying to clear it and not look quite so stoned.

    She heard laughter at the front door and then footsteps coming back. Two heads popped round the door and she grinned; it was play time. His two friends started stripping between drags of the joint they’d been working on and crawled onto the bed next to her.

    Now she had three fingers to watch and they just made her giggle more and more. She slipped into the fuzzy delight of pure sensation and went with it.

    The next morning she came to and found herself entangled in three other sleeping bodies. She tried to remember what had happened, but could only remember the smoking, giggling and lots of touching. She smiled to herself; they’d fallen asleep and nothing had happened. She knew it; it wasn’t the first time. So she just lay there and waited. It wouldn’t be long, and then the party would start again, but this time with some follow through.

    442 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  5. I took another step. Followed by another. Followed by 10,000 more. I walked. I walked for miles. For two hours. During that two hours, everything changed. All the anger I felt surfaced. I walked with clenched fists. At times my lips drew back like a snarling dogs. I’d have growled, if I could.

    The anger burned within me. Racing through my blood. I remembered everything. The way people pretended to care about me while they forced me out of work, sent me home on leave, ordered me to have no contact of any kind with anyone. All the while telling me, “We want you to get better.” As if ripping someone’s heart to shreds would make them better.

    Always the anger burned. But after a thousand or two thousand steps, it began to fade. My fists unclenched. My snarl faded. And my fear surfaced. I was afraid. Hell, I was terrified. Who wouldn’t be? I was out on medical leave. Not one broken bone. Not one stitch. Hell, I didn’t even have bruise. Except on my heels from walking stupid distances. But I was OK with that.

    I wasn’t OK with being out of work. Being at home. I’d lost my job. I’d lost my career. I’d lost everything. I knew that. It was my worst nightmare, come to life. And the people I depended on, and worked with every day for years had made that decision. They hadn’t even warned me. They hadn’t said anything. They’d waited until I was out of town, on vacation, to make the decision.

    They didn’t have the heart to tell me to my face.

    No one ever returned when they got sent home. No one ever had. It was the kiss of death. The end. I’d end up unemployed. Everyone knew that. I knew that. And I had no idea what to do. I’d had that job, that career, for 28 years. I didn’t know how to do anything else.

    And no one I’d worked with would ever talk with me again. Me. The one that came apart. The only one that came apart. Everyone else was fine. Happy. Professional. Working. And I’d come apart so badly, they’d even requested I never speak to them.

    What does it feel like when everyone you see every day is suddenly gone?

    As I walked, the fear faded. And my depression surfaced. The depression that got me sent home. The anxiety that caused my pulse to race, my hands to shake like tuning forks. And all I wanted was for the hurt I felt to end. Bruised heels, blistered toes, and me walking miles and miles, and I didn’t even feel the pain my feet were in. All I felt was the ache, the agony, of my heart and soul.

    It wasn’t until my depression surface, and faded, that I could finally breathe. I could finally feel. The moment I was in. I could see the sky, and the clouds in it. I could feel the breeze, and the warmth of the sun. I could feel the cold of the winter. I could hear the birds. It wasn’t until I’d walked through all the hurt, the fear, the anger, that I found myself.

    It was on those walks I finally learned to live.

    548 words
    @LurchMunster

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  6. GALAXIES OF TIME

    I sat on the cold exam table in the medical bay while waiting for the release sequence to finalize. When it did, I stood and greeted the lone occupant as she emerged from the alloy shell. “I’m Captain Nathan Stern. On behalf of the USS Navarrone’s crew, welcome.”

    “Adena Roman. Forgive me, but I’m still a bit too groggy to navigate through my credentials. Suffice to say I am the zeta you sent for. Give me a caffeine patch and five minutes, I’ll be ready to go.”

    “Afraid you’ll have to get your fix the old fashioned way, steaming hot muddy brew slopped into a mug. Our budget doesn’t allow for much more than coffee beans and chili beans.”

    She grinned, the warmth of it threatening the cold blue knot in my heart. “No worries. I like a good cuppa joe same as the next girl. Why don’t you fill me in on the way to the chow hall?”

    “We’ve been through a hellish couple of days out here. Only thing I can promise is that if it all goes south, we have enough shuttles to bail in time.”

    “My thirty second debriefing before I was translated here said the Navarrone lost the captain and zeta yesterday. Mind if I ask what happened? Because you and me, Stern, we’re the replacement team and I’d like get an idea of our odds -”

    I pushed the dining hall door open for her. “She was my sister.”

    “Who?”

    “The zeta we lost yesterday. And Captain Hicks was my closest friend. While we were preparing to land, there was some kind of electrical disturbance and – Hicks tried to save Bailey, but the current zapped them both.”

    “Damn it! You should have been relieved of duty not assigned provisional command.”

    I poured us a couple mugs of coffee, trying to maintain my calm, but I was close to breaking. “I’m the only crew member qualified to pilot and synch with a zeta.”

    She put a hand on my shoulder. “I know what you’re going through. I lost my twin to that maelstrom on Praetorieom two years ago.”

    My gut twisted and I sank into the nearest chair. “Right now, I don’t have time to grieve for myself or the energy to empathize with you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care.”

    “Reason I’m telling you is that I stole a skid and went out there after her. I lost every career credential I’d earned with that little stunt but I also learned something, something I’ve never told anyone. If the timing is right, I can trace another’s zeta’s electrical signature and suspend it for a time.”

    I stared into the mug as if the answer was there in the dark dregs. “I’m so tired and tore up that I don’t have any idea what that means.”

    “What I’m telling you, Captain, is that if the conditions and timing are right, I may be able to contact your sister and facilitate a final conversation – if you wish.”

    My heart was a drum hammering in my skull. “You can do that?”

    “Yes, but first things first. You get us in landing position and I’ll hold back the planet’s electromagnetic repulsion so you can put us safely on the ground. Soon as we touch down, I’ll scan for Bailey.”

    “You’re not worried about getting past the disturbance, if it’s there?”

    She grinned. “Not at all. I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I went looking for my sister, not only did I find and talk to her, but somehow, in my grief, I absorbed her signature and that amplified my power. Since then, I’ve absorbed others, taking their power in trade for the performance of last wishes -”

    I laced my fingers with hers. “We need to prep for landing, but trust me, soon as we’re landlocked and you’ve scanned for Bailey, we’re going to resume this conversation and it’s going to lead to many, many more engaging conversations.”

    She squeezed my hand and a current of power sang through my veins. “Lucky for us, Captain, we have all the time in the galaxies for conversations and whatever else we stumble into.”

    – – – – –

    699 words / @bullishink

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  7. RAIN SMELLING

    “Slow down. Breathe.” Mavie sat across from me on expensive leather and flashed her big fix-it-all smile.

    I looked at my best friend of twenty years. Really looked at her. Happily married, two beautiful children, financially stable, perfect earlobes, Mavie had it all. Suddenly it occurred to me; we no longer had much in common.

    Maybe nothing.

    Divorced and childless, I worked seventy hours a week at the firm for…what? A score of guilty lowlifes that didn’t deserve my hard work. I hadn’t been on a date in eight weeks. I didn’t own a dog. Or a fish. The last houseplant I acquired had withered in the Florida heat scorching through my apartment window four months ago. Hell, I was an orphan even.

    “What are you looking for?” Mavie asked when I threw up my arms and scanned my whole self.

    “Signs that life exists in this body.” I gave my knobby knees a hard look. “I’m officially dead.”

    “You are not dead, Ashley Peters.” I hated that name. Ashley reminded me of charred dreams. Peters was my aptly named ex.

    I shot her my best Eastwood glare as thick, gray clouds gathered. A clap of thunder boomed, grabbing my attention. I gazed at the swaying palm tree outside and smiled.

    “Now what?” Poor Mavie. I was usually stringent and predictable. This new random gave her hives.

    “I smell rain.”

    “What? You can’t smell…Ash?” I was halfway to the front door, unbuttoning my silk blouse. I hopped out of uncomfortable heels and unzipped my boring pencil skirt. “Ash?”
    When she gathered the courage to peek, I was making laps around my third-acre lot in a black bra and panties, soaked in warm rain and grinning like I’d just been handed a third place ribbon at first grade track and field day.

    Mavie gaped. “Do you have a brain worm?”

    I tipped my head back and laughed. Something I hadn’t done in years. I laughed long and hard and then came to my senses, leaving Mavie to dodge raindrops. I skidded to the landing and bolted inside, grabbing a towel on my way past the bathroom. I ran to my room and donned an oversized hoodie and a pair of yoga pants.

    I was nearing forty with almost everything left to do!

    I threw a suitcase on the bed and began filling it with swim suits and summer dresses.

    “Where are you going?”

    “Everywhere!” I brushed past her to grab a pair of running shoes from my closet.

    “What about your job?”

    “They were screwing people before I became partner. Like riding a bike!” I called, grabbing a pair of flip-flops.

    “Ashley Peters!” Mavie stamped her small foot. “You have no friends out there! Where will you stay? What will you do?”

    I straightened. And beamed.

    ***
    The courthouse clerk shoved smudged glasses up a thick nose and raised disinterested eyes to mine. “Can I help you.”

    I was pretty certain she’d never tried that out as a question before but I didn’t have time to introduce her to the wonderment of adequate customer service. I squared my shoulders and grinned. “Yes please. I’d like to change my name.”

    @Valeriebrbr 527 words

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  1. Pingback: Mid-week Blues Buster, Week 15 | Project Gemini

  2. Pingback: #MWBB 15 – Take It As It Comes | My Soul's Tears

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