Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 44

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 44!

*NOTE THE NEW END TIME– 9PM Pacific*

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.  IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at 9:00PM Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

This week’s song prompt comes to us from Cuban-American singer/songwriter… Nil Lara.The tune is… “How Was I to Know?”  Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/w5EnWpK1bdY

This week’s Judge is the founder and chief cook & bottle washer of Daily Picspiration… Miranda Gammella!

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through 9PM PACIFIC TIME on Friday January 17th.

Now go write!!!

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Posted on January 14, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Muse

    I take my brush and dip it in the clear water, and the color bleeds from the bristles like a storm cloud dangling a dozen tornado fingers. I watch the water change color and try not to think about that damn song. You’re going from bar to bar playing it. I’m sure it seeps sympathy for you into your audience like the indigo seeps from my brush. “He’s so sensitive,” your chords whisper to them.

    When the storm clouds push down on the landscape, what the land is becomes irrelevant. There is nothing but all-consuming tornado then. When the paint gives color to the water, the water becomes the color. The color does not become the water.

    Sometimes your friends will stop me in the store or on the street. “You really hurt him,” they’ll scold. “Have you heard that song he wrote about you? You didn’t even explain why you left him. You just disappeared.”

    When I loved you, I was always the land swept away by the storms of your creativity. You were never the water, bleeding out the colors I loaded on my brush. It took me years to realize I was nothing but muse to you.

    Next to my garbage basket but never in it is my box of evidence. Only I can read the contents. There is the apology card that is ripped up and taped back together for the night you threw my easel through the window. You got a whole album out of your manufactured regret for that. The now desiccated daisies you picked on your way back from the tantrum produced by my demand for time alone to paint transformed into the sweetest, most lilting melody I’ve ever heard. My half-finished sketch of you playing your guitar uncrumpled in your imagination and became your most requested ballad.

    I win when I don’t need the box, when I feel my own pain louder than I can feel yours. For you, a muse cannot also be a creator. Your muse is an echo chamber that amplifies your passion. She is a pocket of air that is siphoned up to move the notes into place. She is the water, not the color.

    Does it matter that I left you? I am still your muse. You and your fans are still demanding that I hear your pain. You are still insisting on coloring me with your emotions. You didn’t have enough sympathy to notice when I left myself. It does not surprise me that you are bewildered that I left you.

    Word Count: 425 words
    @ eaavery@yahoo.com

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  2. I trudged through the knee-deep snow, my bare feet sinking through the icy crust to press into the loosely-packed fill below. The street was full of cars, but none of them were hers. She wasn’t at any of the parties inside the brick and wood and plaster that kept the people of this world separated from the vagaries of winter. The warm yellow glow and high laughter that spilled from the windows was my life, once, although I hated it. I hated her, hated what she made me feel.

    No. I loved her. I hated me.

    Around the corner, the scene changed. She was walking with me now, having left the party to come find me. “But.” I said. “You weren’t there. I was alone.”

    “You still are alone. I don’t want you. I’ve chosen someone else.”

    Her feet didn’t crunch in the snow as she walked, although she left footprints to mark her passage. “You look awful. Fat. Bald. Naked in the snow.”

    I looked down, following her gaze. How had I not noticed that I was out here naked? It was much too cold, and what if someone saw.

    She read my thoughts. “Oh, don’t worry. No one cares. How I ever lay there with you on top of me, I’ll never know. Here, take my gloves.”

    Now the cold came, and her gloves were not nearly enough to cover me. “I have to go. They’re waiting for me, you know.” She left me outside, by her car, the blue one parked on the street. I tried the door – she wouldn’t have left me here if there wasn’t some salvation, some protection from the cold. She didn’t mean what she said.

    The handle was cold and unyielding, and the wind arose in the west.

    Parties would be letting out soon, as people told themselves they weren’t too drunk to drive home to relieve the babysitter. I would be exposed. Caught. She’d left me here.

    But she was right. No one cared.

    333 words
    @drmagoo

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  3. Crushed Petals

    Tennyson wrote how it was better to have loved and lost and all but I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to agree with his assertion. When I look back and think about you, which even after all this time is still way to damned often, I can see what I did wrong pretty clearly. The bitch of it is that I know me well enough to know I don’t think I could ever have really done things any differently.

    For the longest time, I told myself my biggest mistake was just that I loved you too much. In my mind, I guess, I could rationalize that away as a venial sin at worst. In the grand scheme of things there are a lot worse things a man could do than that. The bad part is…those worse things…I was guilty of a lot more of them than I was willing to admit to. And it was in the doing of those things that I drove you to leave me. I know that now.

    Loving you too much to the exclusion of living for myself was wrong. There were opportunities I should have taken, dreams I should have made realities and possibilities left unexplored in my bottomless desire to be with you and devote my all exclusively to you. When someone does that it doesn’t have the effect they expect it to. The hunger for what could have been but never was eats away at them in some deep, dark, hidden place inside. Eventually that hunger manifests as regret or resentment or reproaching. It creates not a bond but a chasm. And it was in my failure to do things that I drove you to leave me. I know that now.

    There was so much going on in my head…in my heart…in my soul that I silenced and shoved to the back burner in the mistaken name of love. Whatever it may have been was cloaked and disguised. Sentiment became smothering. Hugs became strangleholds. Devotion became obsession. I know that now.

    The finest wines need to breathe to achieve their sweetest bouquet. The birds that sing the most sweetly do not do so encaged but when they fly free. The most beautiful of roses are crushed and their petals bruised when they are clutched too closely and not left to live in their natural beauty. I know that now.

    I imagined us together for all of our lives. I imagined us growing closer each day of our lives until we were inseparable and inconceivable as anything but a single presence. I imagined so very many things that never came to be…could never come to be…because in all of my imaginings I left too little of myself open to the infinite alternate possibilities Fate can bring to pass.

    So, while I never imagined you would leave me…you did. While I never imagined my world without you in…just such a world now exists. Of all my sins and shortcomings, of all my dreams and my delusions, it was not my inability to imagine that doomed us to be apart but only my failure to channel that imagination to different possibilities. I know that know. But believe me when I tell you that knowing a thing and accepting that thing are two very different propositions altogether.

    553 words @klingorengi

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  4. SKIN AND TEETH

    She’d been gone a week before I thought to go back to the beginning. Made it to the ledge overlooking Alpine Lake by mid-afternoon and was looking out over the national forest, catching my breath, when I heard movement behind me.

    Turned and found myself trapped against the drop by a pack of wolves. Surviving an attack wasn’t likely. Running would be pointless. Jumping might have worked but not without a chute.

    Glanced back at the pack to reassess the situation and saw Cora in their midst, fearless and unflinching.

    Given the circumstances, I cut to the chase. “I don’t care that you lied about being with the Forest Service or that you left in the middle of the night.”

    She gazed at me, her strange hazel eyes full of shadows. “Then why are you here?”

    Kept my stance open, unthreatening. “I’m curious. Why did you hire me when you’re as accomplished an outdoorsman as I am?”

    “Needed your knowledge of the territory. I apologize for letting things get personal. Now, if that’s all … you should get moving or you won’t make the valley before dark.”

    “Thing is, I’m already in the dark, Came up here hoping for some light.”

    She hesitated a moment, fingers skimming through the fur of the nearest wolf. “You want answers? Suit yourself. You remember my partner? Rutledge?”

    I nodded. Hard to forget a man who could plow through a rack of ribs and still be hungry.

    “Look at the wolf to your left. Keep watching him. Don’t scream. Don’t run. Just watch.”

    I’d seen a lot of strange and terrible things, overseas and out here in the back country, but nothing like skin absorbing fur or bones restructuring themselves. After five minutes of contortions, the wolf stood before me as a man with Rutledge’s capable body and affable face.

    I looked to Cora for reassurance but in her place was a silver wolf.

    Rutledge’s voice brought my attention back to him. “She believes demonstrating is easier than explaining.”

    I eyed the ink on his chest. “That tattoo official?”

    “Yeah, I served same as you. Told her you’d be a natural fit for the pack but she said she’d made a mistake getting so close to you.”

    “Or maybe she didn’t like what she saw up close,” I said, yanking my shirt over my head and exposing the burned and scarred tissue that ran lengthwise from my collar to my hip and wrapped around half my torso.

    He came towards me, slow, easy. “She isn’t like that. You need to understand what’s going on. Reason we’re here is that her mate was killed a few months back and we’re chasing justice. Girl’s heart is still busted up pretty good. Look, changing is brutal. Every time. The pain is -”

    Pain and I were no strangers. We put on the gloves every day. “I have no illusions about what you just went through.”

    “I’m just saying you shouldn’t make this decision lightly. And don’t do it for her. Doesn’t work like that. Mother Nature and our Alpha make those decisions.”

    Anything would be better than the way I was living before Cora and Rutledge pawed their way into my life. Even if she never warmed up to me again.

    “Life after the corps punched a hole in your psyche. The pack can fill that void, that need for camaraderie and structure. You want in, it won’t be easy, pretty, or kind, but I’ll get you through it.”

    I scanned the furry faces silently watching me and let my shirt hit the dirt. “Yours wasn’t the naked starlit body I was hoping to catch a glimpse of tonight, Rutledge. Nothing about this night has gone according to plan but I’m not going back to veterans clinics or tv dinners, so whatever we need to do, let’s get to it.”

    I’d have let him bite me because he was a stand-up guy, in spite of his lack of pants at the moment, but when that little silver wolf broke from the pack and headed for me, hope blossomed in my chest fast as the blood spurted from my thigh when she sank her teeth into my skin.

    – – – – –
    700 words / @bullishink

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  5. She walked out onto the balcony, leaving the raucous noise of the party behind her, and leaned out, looking along the beach. She spotted him some distance away sitting on top of a dune.

    She kicked off her shoes and made her way to him, digging her feet hard into the sand to reach the top of the dune, plonking herself down beside him once she got there. He sat looking out to sea, arms hanging loosely over the top of his pulled up knees, a bottle of beer still in one hand.

    He glanced at her and smiled.

    She asked, “You okay? Not up to partying?”

    “Nah, not really.”

    He proffered the bottle and she took a swig, following his gaze out to sea.

    “I’m sorry Meg, I shouldn’t have come.”

    “On the contrary Gerry, I’m glad you did. I wanted you here.”

    He smiled at her, his eyes twinkling in the dying light. “Did you now?”

    “Yeah, it’s been too long since you came to one of my shindigs; they’re not the same without you.”

    “I’m getting too old for this kind of partying.”

    Meg laughed out loud and he joined her.

    “Old? You don’t know what old is yet boy. You’re still a babe in arms!”

    He grinned taking another swig from the bottle. “You’re not THAT much old than me.”

    She grinned back at him. “I know.” Then she put a hand on his arm. “I know you’re hearts heavy right now.” His smile faltered. “But you’ve turned down all my offers of a one on one meet ups, so I thought maybe in a crowd you’d feel safer.”

    A frown creased his brow. “You know me too well.”

    “Yeah I do. And sometimes that ain’t good for either of us.” She took the bottle from him and swallowed a mouthful hoping that it would keep her buzz going and she wouldn’t say anything she’d regret. She refused to make eye contact, instead looking out at the horizon, waiting for him to speak.

    He sighed. “I feel stupid. I thought she was the one. We even got married. And when it started to derail I thought I could get it back on track, but she wasn’t interested. I tried everything. I kept hoping, you know?”

    Meg nodded. “Been there done that, as you well know.”

    “Brad?”

    “Yep.”

    He nodded.

    “So what do I do now?”

    “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep on moving forward.”

    He shook his head. “I don’t know how to do that.”

    “You’ve got to let her go Gerry. She’s gone, and she ain’t coming back.”

    “But…”

    “There are no buts sweetie, it’s out of your hands.”

    “So I failed.”

    “You can’t look at it like that. Society wants us to, but sometimes relationships don’t work out and that’s okay – as long as you tried, you didn’t fail. You had your time together, remember it fondly, but accept that it’s over. Be sad, grieve for it even, but then move on, and remember that there is still life out there, a life you can be a part of.”

    He held her gaze, giving her a small smile. “Wise words.”

    “Yeah, and they took me a long time to learn, I promise you!”

    His smile grew to a grin. “Is that what getting old brings then?”

    Meg laughed. “Absolutely.” She waggled the bottle. “This is empty. Come on, come back to the party. It’s no fun without you.”

    His eyes sparkled at her again, and she ignored the flutter in her stomach. He stood up and dusted the sand off his shorts, reaching out a hand, to help her stand up too. As they walked back to the house he put his arm round her and pulled her into him, kissing the top of her head. “Thanks. I needed that.” She put her arm round his waist, and said, “Anytime.”

    They walked in silence, until the sounds from the house greeted them. Then Meg looked up at Gerry and said, “And now it’s time to get you drunk.”

    He threw back his head laughing, and said, “Definitely.”

    685 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  6. Apologies

    Tommy looked up, eyes bleary with too much smoke and whiskey as the tall elegantly dressed man sat down next to him at the bar. They hadn’t seen each other in a very long time and Tommy was pretty sure he didn’t want to see him now.

    “Ya know some days I’m pretty convinced this isn’t a bar it’s just a room in Hell built special for me. You’d think having a fight with your ex-wife would preclude having to also spend time with the sonuvabitch she hooked up with after me.”

    Death smiled wistfully, “I thought I caught her lingering scent, jasmine and irritation.”

    Tommy snorted a laugh, “Accurate. May as well join me. I’m drinking to broken hearts and ex-wives.”

    “Sure, but I wouldn’t have believed your heart broken by either ex-wife. I never thought you cared much for the first and the second didn’t leave you until you both agreed it was best.”

    Tommy poured a solid three fingers of Bushmills into a second glass and handed it to Death, “Just shows what you know eh? Lili was like nothing I’d ever seen in my short life and she was so beautiful, when she laughed it was like the entire world sparkled. She quite literally took my breath away and I, being a total fool, had no idea how rare that was. I also had no idea how dangerous it was to fall in love with a woman like that.”

    “She loved you too ya know. Even with your ridiculous demands, you were a hard act to follow.” Death sipped his whiskey slowly as he glanced sidelong at Tommy.

    Tommy lowered his head in shame, “I want to blame it all on Him for being petty and manipulative, but if all the years in this damn bar have taught me anything it’s to own the fuck up. I honestly just wanted to appease Him so he’d leave us alone but she didn’t see it that way. I thought it wasn’t much of a sacrifice so we could be together, I know now I was wrong about that, but even today it stings. I didn’t think she would leave. But she did, without a backwards glance. I had never hurt like before or, possibly, since. That first broken heart is like no other.”

    “There was enough hurt to go around and the truth is she glanced back plenty, but I don’t think you could see it. It took your second wife to pull your head out of your ass and by that time, well, your second wife was pretty captivating too. She’s still one of my very favorite people to ever live.”

    Tommy smiled a little, “Mine too. I know I owe Lili an apology or two but I’m still working my way through the one I’m trying to live for Evie. I’ll get around to it.”

    Death finished his drink and put a hand on Tommy’s shoulder, “It isn’t easy being the Firsts but you’re doing pretty good now. Thanks for the drink Ada…I mean Tommy.”

    Tommy smirked a little as Death left his bar.

    Words: 518
    @MissBliss

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  7. Hitting the Wall
    by A J Walker

    Jacqui Keating picked up her handbag and rifled through it, urgently looking for something. She was humming a tune she’d picked up somewhere along the morning, but she couldn’t think where – perhaps it was on in the bar the night before?

    Dave tried unsuccessfully not to notice her ritual performance.

    ‘I’m off out,’ Jacqui announced as if to an audience. Only Dave was there.

    ‘Oh, okay.’ Dave said looking up from his book, ‘Where you going today?’

    Jacqui shrugged, ‘Just meeting a few of the girls, the usual. You have a good afternoon. I’ll see you later.’

    She blew a kiss at him and with that walked out of the door.

    Dave looked at the wall, as if some message would flash up on it. Nothing materialised.
    Without thinking he slammed the book on the table sending a couple of magazines flying.

    ‘Fuck’s sake!’

    At the window he looked out and saw Jacqui flagging down a cab, preening her hair before crouching into it.

    She was never in these days and when she was she barely talked to him. She hadn’t even noticed how low he was – or at least hadn’t said anything.

    The taxi drew away.

    A mug flew through the air in slow motion and smashed into the accusing silent wall. It seemed to shatter into shards even slower, a ceramic bloom across the living room. Dave had forgotten he’d had it in his hand.

    He’d been mulling about things for weeks now: his life on the edge of hers. Her complacency about him.

    Dave stormed into the bedroom and found the big suitcase from the top of the wardrobe – it was full of blankets he hadn’t seen in years, which he carefully piled in the corner of the bedroom. Less carefully he stuffed the case with his clean clothes and a couple of jackets, then from the bathroom he took the shaver and his toothbrush.

    Back in the living room he quickly typed up a note onto the PC, using words like; complacent, ignorance, not working, loved, better for both of us, and goodbye.

    So it was that Dave Baldock completed his afternoon flit. He turned to look at room he’d felt turn into a cell – the magazines on the floor, the broken mug pieces – it wasn’t even the debris of a middle class riot, a cat left to its own devices would have left more of a trail. Dave wondered whether Jacqui would notice the mess, the note or even the fact that he’d gone.

    He closed the door quietly behind him.

    (426 words @zevonesque)

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  8. Unanswerable

    Reality hit this morning, in the rain, like a blow to the chest. As I fell kneeling in the rain, my hands dug into the soft earth, almost as if I needed something solid. Something to anchor my mind on as unanswerable questions spun past. Forgotten, a flower fell into the mud, staining the pristine innocence with the harsh soil.

    So many thoughts race through my mind. Why did you have to leave me? What could I have done differently? I just want to take you in my arms, take you back home, and make this all go away. That can never happen now, after the choice you made. We were supposed to be together forever, chasing dreams on the way to the next glowing sunset. There won’t be any more burning sunsets, though. All the sparks have been extinguished and the colors turned to grey skies and fog.

    I never thought that this could happen, so it took me completely by surprise. At first, thought to be a terrible joke. Finally, it was brought to hard stony truth here, clothes soaked and hands caked with mud. I never thought that you would go. There were problems, challenges and mountains that you faced. Together, we could have overcome them in time. We just needed a little longer.

    I remember one time, taking a trip to a cabin in the mountains. Everything fell apart, from the luggage being lost to the cabin being rotten and infested by vermin. We were together, though, and sat on the porch, listening to the afternoon rain dancing through the leaves, and splattering over the bare floors inside. That became one of our favorite days, I had thought. You would love this rain, it should be soothing and nurturing without the frenetic swirling of a storm.

    Maybe wherever you are, you can find some of that healing and nurturing.

    After some time, I stand, knowing that I need to move on, but lost and without direction. The rain has washed my hands clean, but my heart feels like it’s still entombed.

    “Why?” I whisper, knowing that to be an answer that can never come.

    Finally, I turn and walk away, putting your headstone behind me.

    (369 words, @BryantheTinker)

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  9. I cried like I had never cried before, not when my Grandma died, and not when I lost Sly. I really wanted this baby, and now he? she? was gone. I never even got to see my child, or find out about her, or name her.

    And I never even got to tell Sly he was gonna be a daddy.

    My whole life, taken away. Just like that. In a moment. Two moments, actually, I guess. I dunno. All I knew? I hurt. I hurt. Physically, mentally.

    I curled around my empty belly in my empty bed under 1,000 quilts. I stared through my tears and the open door at Sly’s Aunt Trina, who sat quietly on the couch, continuing to crochet on the damn baby blanket, a blanket I had no use for now; a blanket I was never gonna be able to look at.

    “Why do you keep working on that?” I sat up and howled. “I don’t need it now! There’s no baby! My life is over! Ruined! I wish I were dead! ”

    She calmly put down the crochet needle and started ripping stitches out, pulling the yarn with measured flicks of her wrists. I abruptly stopped crying and just stared at her.

    “Jessie,” she said gently, “life is like crocheting an afghan. One snag, one mistake, and everything you’ve worked for can come apart so fast it’ll make your head spin.”

    She stopped undoing stitches, stopped ripping them out the way I felt I had been ripped apart, and starting crocheting again.

    “But the beauty is, with a little work, and a little determination, you can make it right again. You can make it good as new, and possibly even better.”

    She worked silently for a few minutes, then held it up.

    “See, honey? This blanket means hope. You may never want to look at it again, but I’m gonna keep working on it. And if you don’t want it, I’ll give it to someone who needs it.”

    She put it down, got up slowly from the couch, and joined me on the bed.

    “Have faith, darling,” she said as she put her arms around me. “Have hope.”

    363 words
    @dsavannahcreate

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