Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 16

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 16.

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 comes to us courtesy of The Heavy…

Image

The song is, “Short Change Hero”… Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/P1QUZzeZoPQ

This week’s Judge is the creator and host of Visual Dare…. the fantastic Angela Goff!

That’s all from me…

We’re live from the second you read this until 4:30PM on Friday, June 7.

What are you still doing here?

Go write!  Now!

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Posted on June 4, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Traitor
    -Sania
    I am no hero. A soldier, yes. A shaheed in a few minutes too. But not a hero. The cuckoo in the tree is blissfully unaware. Maybe that’s the reason she is singing me to sleep. Back at Awaan people would be preparing for a feast. I smirk as I imagine the colour draining from their faces when they hear about me. Of course, they’ll only know I was killed at the hands of the enemy. The enemy is always closer than you think.
    For as long as I can remember I have been trained for what would happen tonight. I have been led to believe that our safety lies in the annihilation of the tribals. And I trusted the Awaan, until a month ago. A conpiracy had bacome visible. A plan had been conceived.
    My fingers trace random patterns on the ground-soon to be my death bed. The wounds on my legs are enough to, maybe, cripple me for life. But I don’t care. The tribals will find me soon enough, and my brown locks guarantee a shot to the head-no questions asked. But they’ll get the message. They’ll know what Awaan is planning for tonight. And maybe for once have the upper hand.
    The cuckoo continues with the melody-now accompanied by a cricket somewhere. The sounds soothe me but can do nothing about the blood seeping through my boots. Walking into the territory of the tribals was a deaths wish. But it had to be done. To save them from my people. To save them from me.
    Footsteps in the distance arouse me to my impending death. I think about Zane back home and all the lies he would be fed. Only he would know. He is smart for his five years- not easily brainwashed. I have taught him well. 
    The leaves rustle and I sigh. My actions don’t make me a hero. I just might be starting a major war here. I’m an enemy to those I’m trying to help and a traitor for those who I’m supposed to be helping. And as the song finishes and the cuckoo flits away, I close my eyes.

    Word count: 364 (including title)
    (Sorry I’m not on twitter)

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  2. The Minstrel’s Breakfast

    John had enjoyed himself last night. Free bed and plenty of board had sated him. It was hard work being a traveling musician, so many places didn’t allow you in, while others had their house favourites. When you found a place where music was wanted and even encouraged then it could be wonderful.
    His head though was banging now, he obviously hadn’t drunk his usual pint of water before bed. Scratching his forehead he could smell stale beer on his palm and he pulled his hand away. Not the best start to the day.
    Sitting up he found he was still fully dressed. A quick splash of water and fingers through his hair though and he was ready for breakfast. A good fry up could cure all ills.
    His table was laid and there was bread and butter waiting. Aromas of cooked meats wafted in from the kitchen. He was torn between elation and a gagging sensation. Maria came through carrying her broad smile, ‘Mr Simpson, you had a night didn’t you? Usual?’
    John nodded wordlessly and sat down feeling suddenly worse. He tried to recall the night, but couldn’t remember much past the first hour. The night had evidently been longer.
    Maria returned carrying steaming plates, which she littered around the table. It was constrained with John’s head now on the tablecloth.
    ‘Come on now Mr Simpson,’ she pleaded, ‘Get something inside, you’ve a big day ahead.’
    John’s head rose from the table and he could only just mutter, ‘A big day?’
    ‘Sure you remember last night, saving poor Helen from her drunk of a husband?’ she enquired, ‘Was both the right and wrong thing to do. I’m sure he’s not that great with a pistol either.’
    John’s head seemed to tighten and his eyes screwed up a little bit more. Pistols?
    ‘11 o’clock on the Common by the Aud Oak isn’t it? Usually is anyway,’ she mused, as she pushed one of the plates under John’s nose, ‘I’ll come and support you, be sure. No one likes that Frenchman.’ With that she left.
    Helen, it rung a bell. The young lady from down the lane.
    Mr Peterson then pottered in and sat at the next table, ‘Morning Mr Simpson, all ready I hope!’
    Everyone seemed to know more than John.
    ‘Mr Peterson, I… I don’t really seem to recall last night fully,’ John stuttered, ‘Did you see what happened?’
    Laughing and shaking his head Mr Peterson replied, ‘Well I guess you don’t need to hear everything do you? But the main points I suppose was that man was very drunk and pawing over his wife. You’ve a thing for her I suppose? He was very loud and most uncouth.’
    ‘Tell me I didn’t get involved. Why oh why?’
    ‘She asked you to go, but you wouldn’t listen. Said she didn’t need another drunk being a hero, if I remember right. Then you threw that punch.’
    John slumped back in his chair. He still couldn’t recall the evening. He also couldn’t remember the last time he’d fired a pistol. Or whether he’d hit anything. He always looked on the positive side though and he mused that at least the duel hadn’t been arranged for dawn. There was still plenty of time for breakfast and his appetite was returning, even if his memory wasn’t.

    (554 words)
    @zevonesque

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  3. The Intern

    “Who you running from?”

    The question was simple enough but I had no interest in answering it. I turned my head to survey the hitchhiker. Tight faded tee, could’ve been black at some point. Gangly build, no shave or shower in at least a couple days but he didn’t smell. Which was a bit weird for a guy walking in midday sun on a lone desert highway. Why the hell had I even stopped?

    “You hungry?” I asked pointing to a pink polka dotted bag at his feet. He bent over it, rummaging a while then came up with a granola bar and bottled water.

    “You gonna answer my question?” he asked, twisting the plastic cap off the bottle.

    I stared at the dusty, cracked pavement ahead. “You’re the hitchhiker, mister.”

    He nodded. “True. I’m Canton Haskill.” He paused like he expected a gold star.

    “Cool.”

    “Doesn’t my name ring a bell?”

    Soft heart be damned. I stomped the breaks, shoving the nose of the shiny, red Chevelle to the asphalt oven. “Get out.”

    The hitchhiker dislodged his hawkbill from the butter cream leather dash and threw his hands in the air. “Okay! No more questions!”

    I reached around him and yanked the door latch. “Too late.”

    “No, please, let me explain.” He swallowed hard. “I know what you did. And I want in.”

    I stared for seven seconds before words formed. And then wished I hadn’t let them fly. “You want in on what?”

    “Come on, Brynn.”

    Holy shit.

    My boot found purchase just under his hip and I shoved his skinny ass out of my convertible and stomped the gas. The passenger door slammed, and my hands shook as I gripped the rear view. I watched as the office Canton dressed in business casual set a coffee on my desk- two creamers, no sugar- brilliant white teeth and grass green eyes behind nerdy glasses smiled at me.

    Motherfucker.

    The Chevelle skidded to a stop. While he jogged to catch up, I searched for words that wouldn’t come.

    Canton put his hand on the door and worked to draw a breath. “I…won’t…rat you…out. I swear.”

    “Get in the car,” I growled.

    He leapt over the door and I shoved my Ruger .9mm into his throat before his weight settled fully in the seat. “And never that way again. You’ll scratch the paint.” He nodded and I released him. “Tell me what you know.”

    Canton cleared his throat. “You were offered a buyout seven times below what was owed you so you cleaned out and checked out.”

    I’d underestimated the boy. “Are you prepared to go to prison, Canton?”

    “If it means a chance at being with you? Hell yes.”

    “Can you shoot?”

    “No, but I can hack into the Pentagon on the president’s birthday.” He opened his hand and a shiny new driver’s license in Spanish gleamed my picture. I gawked.

    “Where did-” I met Canton’s stare.

    “We’re going to need a place in paradise, right?”

    @Valeriebrbr 501 words

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  4. DARK HORSES

    Thunder pealed across the horizon and the agitated roan sidestepped, hooves skidding for purchase on the rocky terrain.

    Charity soothed the horse, cursed the sky, and pulled the brim of her hat further down her forehead.

    It was still raining when she rode down the lone street of Suicide Bluff, a hiccup of a settlement primarily populated by drunks, gamblers, and soiled doves – and, if her information was accurate, the latest in a string of townships with the ill-advised aspiration of detaining Chance LaRue while the cavalry closed in.

    But she had ambitions of her own where Chance was concerned and nothing – not hunger, trepidation, or regret – would dissuade her from reaching him before the troops.

    Up the street, a body came tumbling out of the Last Rites Saloon and landed in the street, bloody and unconscious.

    One less jackwit to deal with.

    Mounting the steps and squaring her shoulders, she pushed through the saloon doors, stopping short on the threshold to assess the landscape and allow the inhabitants to grasp the gravity of their situation.

    Some greasy-haired fool said, “Looky here. Sweet Charity’s come to save our souls.”

    Tucking her duster behind twin holsters, she rested her palms on the cool pearl-handled Colts.

    The bartender sniggered. “Two barrels. Twelve bullets. Twenty men. That leaves eight of us standing after she empties the chambers. Anybody want in on that wager?”

    I’m not going to waste bullets on you but you’ll pay for that smart mouth.

    She braced her feet, and cocked the guns. “Move or be moved.”

    There was motion across the saloon, chairs and boots scraping the wood floor, hands going for hip and shoulder holsters, but she was faster, taking out every occupant in her path until she had an unencumbered view of the man at the back table – Chance LaRue.

    He looks awful damn healthy for a man who keeps trying to get himself killed.

    Eyes cold as a corpse, mouth thin as a spinster, voice rough as cheap whiskey, he greeted her. “Sis.”

    She holstered the Colts. “Can you walk?”

    His face softened. “I have two feet, don’t I?”

    She eyed the empty bottle. “Can you stay upright and make it to the door?”

    A man to her right said, “I have six chances of stopping him before he does.”

    Her gut rolled but she faced him, chin up, eyes narrowed, hands steady.

    He was halfway to his feet, gun in hand, when a red rose blossomed between his eyes and he crumpled to the floor.

    Not so drunk he can’t take care of himself – good to know.

    She nodded to Chance. “Let’s move.”

    Gun still in hand, he headed for the door.

    She followed him, moving backwards, pausing at the door. Gripping the handle of the bullwhip at her spine, she tugged it free, and sent it singing into the bottles behind the bar, reducing the inventory to wet shards of glass.

    She let the whip fly again, this time wrapping it around the bartender’s throat and tugging him hard against the counter. “Word of advice. Never bet against dark horses.”

    Chance was mounted on the roan when she stepped outside.

    She chose a sturdy paint gelding from the hitching post. “Calvary’s coming through the pass so we best take the ridge. I need you to nut up so we finish this business. Let’s find the bastard and kill him, put some flowers on mom and dad’s grave, and put the thing to rest.”

    “Your Choctaw send word I was here? Man’s a fine tracker but this isn’t the time for heroics.”

    She turned the horse into the storm. “In case you haven’t noticed, I can take care of myself. But a sharp eye, keen mind, and strong heart make my life a little more tolerable.”

    “I’m sorry I wasn’t there, Charity,” he said, glancing over at her. “I let my allegiance to the army overrun my family loyalty. I can’t make up for it, but I can make it right.”

    “And that’s why you’ll always be my hero,” she said, slapping his thigh with her reins and urging the paint into a canter.

    – – – – –
    695 words / @bullishink

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  5. Josie nodded and smiled and picked up another tray of champagne to offer the guests. She slid through the suits and gave them her glazed eyed smile, just repeating the same thing over and over in her head ‘Not much longer, you can do it’.

    When she got off it was late. The client offered to call her a cab, but she politely declined. She told them it was just a short walk and she would be fine.

    She loved the city at this time of night; it glistened in the darkness. The streetlights reflected the recent summer storm; the air moist and hugging her close. Many wouldn’t feel safe, but she did. She had found her place here, living amongst the millions of other anonymous people. It was only the work that sucked.

    She hated having to do anything, but money was a necessity and she was lucky to have found regular work. She reminded herself of that as she passed those huddled in doorways.

    But she also thought about the looks on some of those suits faces as they had looked at her – or more correctly at her body. She shuddered as she walked. It was all they really wanted, to touch her body, and on occasion she had to let them.

    Josie didn’t like to think about it too much, but after a night like tonight she knew she would get a call. She could say no, but then she thought about the wad of cash that would be handed to her at the end, and it was too tempting. It wouldn’t be long now before she would have enough to retire.

    Jack had got her into it, telling her she could do more than just play hostess at business functions. And it was always him who called with a request, having vetted the clients first. And she would do it too – for him, and he knew why. The thought made her smile as she turned her face up to greet the light drizzle that had started. It was heir own personal deal.

    And she was right; the next day there was a message on her phone. Just a time and a place, she didn’t need to know more. And when she turned up there were three of them waiting.

    The suite was luxurious and they allowed her to experience it as they wanted to treat her just right. They were respectful and gentle, even bathing her too. She was able to try out all the rooms, looking at them from all angles. They’d also left out the money on the ornate coffee table, which gave her something to focus on when she needed to. When they were done she left feeling more liberated than normal, and this time caught a cab home, thumbing the bundle of cash in her pocket as she went. Now it was Jack’s turn.

    Josie found another message on her phone when she arrived home, telling her to block out the weekend, and she did so with a big smile.

    He was waiting outside her apartment on Friday. The top down on his brand new red Mustang convertible – something he’d treated himself to as business was doing well. She climbed in looking forward to the weekend as he handed her the rings he kept in the safety deposit box.

    It was just a couple of hours drive away, but it was like leaving one world and entering another. Whenever he took her home she was treated like one of the family, and for the weekend she was – the daughter-in-law, the sister-in-law, his wife. Having spent her childhood alone moving from one sleazy foster home to the next, never really belonging anywhere, this was the closest she’d ever been, and she lapped it up, embracing the fantasy.

    And Jack played his part too as the dutiful husband – in every way. Sometimes she wondered how much longer she could do this, and sometimes she caught a glimpse in his eye on the way home that said the same. But for the time being it worked for them and they enjoyed the deal as it was.

    694 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  6. TURN OF EVENTS

    She spotted her target the moment she entered the bar. Adrian Massey stood out from everyone else in the room simply because he was black. You couldn’t miss him and even if his colour did not make him recognisable, his aura did.

    No mistaking that this was a very successful man who was used to getting what he wanted. From the short, beautifully styled dreadlocks, to the hand made, extremely expensive shoes. His whole persona screamed rich!

    Molly took a few minutes to watch him and gauge the surroundings. She had done this plenty of times before but these moments before she placed herself in her targets vision were always the worse.

    He could be gay, a married man faithful to his wife, or he may simply just not fancy her. That was not a regular occurrence but it had happened once and she had been forced to act in a completely out of character way by snuffing out a man’s life in a car park.

    It had given her no pleasure and bought worry and stress into her life. She liked, no needed to be in control of the situation. She needed time and a discreet location.

    Although Molly did not carry out assassinations often, they all had the same MO and they needed space and time between them.

    Too many men, stabbed in the heart and dead in hotel bedrooms would soon warrant a pattern that would not be difficult to pick up on.

    She was respected for her efficient results and trail-less killings by the person who commissioned her. She did not know this persons identity or even if they were a man or woman. She didn’t want or need to know. She simply collected her instruction when bid, carried out the hit and then watched the money arrive in a bank account she had held since she was twenty years old.

    The money in the name of Anna Billing had never been touched. It sat there waiting for the day she retired from the game and the killing. She had no need of the money, she earned more than enough to sustain a pretty good existence from shagging pricks like the good Doctor.

    Adrian Massey rose from his bar stool and headed in the direction of the toilets. In his absence she wandered up to the bar and stood a little way from his vacated seat and ordered herself a vodka and soda. She made sure her back was turned slightly in the direction he would sit. She did not want to face him head on immediately.

    As always she had dressed with the greatest of care, outwardly she looked glamorous and successful, but also fun and carefree in a dress that had cost her nearly three thousand pounds. Her obligatory sheer stockinged legs and feet finished in a pair of five inch high stilettos. Molly was already tall without the shoes and she made an impressive sight as she stood quietly and sipped her drink.

    By the time the evening reached it’s inevitable climax she was horrified to realise that she liked the guy. How had that happened? She was a cold hearted killer who fucked men and the occasional woman, for money. This was not good. Not good at all.

    She excused herself to the bathroom, lit a cigarette and sat on the toilet seat to consider her feelings.

    Her only option was to walk away. Let the guy live and miss out on payment which would undoubtedly mean that her contract would be cancelled and she would have to shag more pervs to maintain her lifestyle. And she wouldn’t be able to see him again anyway.

    So nah. She wasn’t doing that. She dropped the butt in the basin, straightened her blouse and smiled at herself in the mirror.

    As she re entered the bedroom it took her a few seconds to realise what she was seeing.

    Adrian Massey had her knife in one hand and the spare pair of stockings from her bag in the other.

    “Well Miss Anderson. Looks like we have a whole lot more in common than we realised.”

    691 words
    @vixenfiction

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  7. Just a Taste
    Sam sat at the corner of the bar, watching the door for the perfect woman. His wingman, James, pointed out each pair of large breasts in the place.

    “What about that one?” James asked. “Her tits are total tens. Or how ’bout the redhead over there with the small perky tits? She looks fun.”

    “Man you have zero class, you know that,” Sam replied.

    “Dude, I’m not the one looking to score in this meat-market.” James threw some beer-nuts into his mouth. “Who needs class,” he asked between chews.

    Sam rolled his eyes and took a sip of lukewarm beer. The right one would show up tonight; he could feel it in his bones. He focused on the door again, eyes bright with anticipation. Thirty minutes later, his patience was rewarded.

    The brunette arrived with a group of friends, but Sam immediately felt the connection all the way across the room. Her brunette hair swept just over her shoulders, her soft brown eyes glowed with excitement, and her lips – well, they were the perfect amount of full ruby red deliciousness. She wore a skirt short enough to invite looks but long enough to indicate a chase. Sam wanted a good chase. Her eyes darted around the bar, taking in the crowd. She gaze stopped when it landed on Sam. He tipped his glass and smiled. The hue of her lips spread through her cheeks. She gave an awkward smile before disappearing onto the dance floor with her giggling entourage. Sam’s smile widened.

    “So, are you going after her or what?” James asked. “That little miss priss is totally your type.”

    “Yes. Yes, indeed.” Sam kept an eye on the dance floor as he answered. He caught glimpses of the skirt or the messy bun a few times. Then she was on the edge of the crowd, moving to the dark music with a girlfriend. She threw him tentative glances at first then turned completely toward him. Her smile seemed more confident as she motioned for him to join her.

    “You’re in.” James slapped him on the back before getting up from the barstool. “Happy hunting, my friend. I’m heading over to those tens I spotted earlier. Don’t wait up.”

    Sam waved absently at his friend, never taking his eyes off the brunette. He stood, downed the remainder of his beer, and headed toward the beautiful girl with the tumbled hair. He didn’t say a word as he grabbed her hips and began to sway in time to the band. He loved the way surprise melted into delight on her face.

    *****

    Sam’s back slammed though his front door. He pulled the brunette into the hallway and kicked the door closed with a foot. Her full mouth moved from his lips down to his neck. His hands slipped up her waist into her blouse.

    “What’s your name?” he whispered.

    “Jeannie.” She sighed as he unsnapped her bra with one quick movement.

    “Jeannie, are you ok with this?” Sam asked. He wasn’t like James. He wanted consent.

    “Mmm-Hmm,” she said between kisses. It was all Sam needed.

    He deftly moved them to the floor. Her panties were off before she could moan agreement. He pushed inside her as he kissed her gorgeous mouth. The incubus drank in her essence, pulling out all her passion and desire with each thrust. Her eyes widened as her life force escaped. Sam was hungry; he needed her full soul. He had waited for the perfect woman and now he drank her dry. By the time he climaxed there was no body left, just a pile of ashes and bone.

    *****
    “Someone had a good evening,” James smirked as he kicked bones out of the hallway.

    “It was a very good time.” Sam smiled at his friend. “Back out tonight?”

    “Hell, ya!” James slapped him on the back and tossed his own bag of bones into the pile.

    word count – 652

    @BrewedBohemian

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  8. The light of the campfire was slowly dying out and the heat from the coals took the edge off the breeze coming in from the water. Patrick sat with his back to a dune, taking a drink from the bottle of whiskey and replacing it in the sand next to him. He looked down into Alice’s eyes; they were perfect ovals and an exquisite shade of green. Her head was resting in his lap. He leaned his head back.

    As Patrick’s eyes opened the light was bright and something was prodding his shoulder, as his vision cleared there was a man in a uniform poking him awake with a nightstick. “Sir, who are you and why are you here” he paused “and more importantly, why are you laying here with a dead woman” his accent a mix of Portuguese and Afrikaans. Patrick glanced at Alice, she looked so peaceful, and back up at the uniformed man, he was black, and carried a sidearm. Glancing around he noticed three other officers about 50 feet away speaking to a young man and woman who were in running clothes. I guess that is who found me. I suspect they didn’t expect to find a man with a dead woman in his lap, which would be a bit off-putting. “May I get up” Patrick asked. “No, please answer my questions” the officer repeated, directing the nightstick in a motion that said to stay where I was. “My name is Patrick Kelly, the woman in my lap is Alice Winstead, and she was my fiance” he paused “and we swam from our boat when we were attacked about 2 miles off the coast”. It was only a small lie. “When we saw the other boat start approaching us, we grabbed a few things and went into the water, the pirates weren’t interested in us after they had the boat”. Pointing to the rocky out-cropping at the south end of the beach “As we swam around to this beach, Alice got pulled under a rip-tide and I could not save her, she drown before I could get her to the surface” Patrick said eyes to the ground with a break in his voice. “May I stand up now”? The officer stepped back and waved his nightstick in an affirmative way. “May I see some identification” Patrick produced his passport, the officer reviewed it and said “You will need to come with me”

    The trip through the bush back to Maputo was mostly uneventful. When we arrived the officer passed me off to an Inspector Du Toit and he asked me every bloody question he could think of, the who, what, why, when and where of my trip. I explained to him that I was a teacher; I teach economics at Eden, but was on a visiting assignment at the University of Johannesburg and Alice was with Doctors without Borders. We sailed down the coast from Mombasa, and were due to put into port at Durban. After answering his questions for about two hours he seemed satisfied and told me I could go. Arrangements were made and forty-eight hours and 6 flights later the cargo plane from Spain landed at RAF Brize Norton and Patrick was met by a familiar man. “Good day Mr. Kelly” said the man extending his hand. Patrick took it “Good day to you Mr. Overstreet”.

    O: “Do you have the information”?
    K: “I do, but we have to go get it”
    O: “What do you mean *get it*”?
    K: Pointing to the casket coming off the plane.” It’s in there”
    O: “It’s in the casket”?
    K: “In her body, I had her swallow it and then made sure it wouldn’t come out until we were in a safe place”
    O: Glances at Kelly, says nothing.
    K: “She was working for the other side”

    Word count: 641
    No Twitter Handle.

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  9. MUSCLE:

    Muscle landed softly and walked slowly toward the man at the gate, careful not to scare him.

    “This is no place for you.” His voice had as much expression as a chunk of granite and everything about him was square. Muscle was surprised. She was a superhero, people cheered her, not asked her to leave.

    “I mean no harm sir. I saw the work going on with the wall and I thought I would help. I could use a…”

    “I know what you think you are, and what you ain’t, and his ain’t no place for no hero. On your way.” She looked to the town behind the wall. Grey. Stone. Silent. Flat eyes and emotionless faces, rippling muscle the only expressive things around.

    They were building a wall and the gods knew why. There was peace here and she knew it because she’d brought it about. Regardless, she could use some stretching, flying the skies for hours on end really does make one stiff.

    “Will you raise arm against me if I enter despite your warning?”

    “You don’t know who you are until you see what they do.” he responded.

    She had no idea what he was talking about and wondered if they left the infirm to guard their gates.

    “Things is different here, won’t do you no good.” Something in his stance suggested a moving aside to let her pass.

    She moved past him. No one said a word, no one looked at her, quite odd for a superhero. When she took a place at the wall they tossed the same size and same shaped stone her way. No acknowledgement of her superior strength and ability. She was disappointed, but she just wanted a break from the air, if they didn’t want her special kind of help so be it.

    She worked, catching and placing stones, over and over again. For a time she lost herself, but soon began to feel the stones never stopped coming, the wall never grew any higher, the grim silence began to wear on her.

    Her muscles ached and then cramped. Exhaustion weighed heavy on her. Realizing this her mouth opened in shock. She was a superhero and those things don’t happen to superheroes.

    “How long you been at the wall, girl?” She jumped at the rough voice so used to the silence she’d become. She looked and saw a small woman, lips puckered around a soft toothless mouth, deep wrinkles and a leathery face.

    “Maybe an hour or so.” Muscle answered, rubbing sore arms with aching hands.

    “Why you hear, girl? Here were things ‘r differnt and people don’t believe.”

    “I’m just here to help” Muscle replied as she moved to sit on a nearby stone.

    “You ever feel tired before, girl?”

    Muscle rolled her shoulder trying to break up the tension there. “No, actually. It is very odd.”

    “Not odd. Normal. For here. Where you think your power come from, girl?” The woman cackled, the cackle falling off into a lung wrenching cough. She grunted up a great ball of mucus she spat to the side.

    “Yes. Hero’s are born, not made.” Muscle answered.

    The woman bent double shaking with the force of hacking laughter. “How you know who you are until you see what they do?”

    Muscle said nothing. The man at the gate had said something similar. “You mean they,” she motioned to the people around her “are what make me? Impossible.”

    “Is it?” The woman asked. “They don’t believe. That’s why they build this wall. You say you never been tired before now. Odd you tired only in a place of nonbelievers.”

    Her legs felt like stone, her hands weighed a thousand pounds, the corners of her mouth were heavy and she had an overwhelming need to sleep.

    Alarm bells rang deep in her mind and something inside her stirred to wakefulness, pulled her to her feet, and forced her out of the town. The same guard was there with the same impassive stare.

    It was agony, but she walked, and the further away from that stone town the lighter she felt until late that night she was finally able to fly.

    Word Count: 695 (w/title)
    @ScrivK

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