Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 45
Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 45!
*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.
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 is a great tune by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.
Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/nFJbBiMNbEE
This weeks Judge is author & Minion extraordinaire… Nick Johns.
The challenge opens the moment you read this post and closes at 9PM PACIFIC TIME on Friday January 25th.
Posted on January 21, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
It was new to me. I had never feared death before. I had never had a reason to.
Truth be told, in all my thousands of years, the thought of death had rarely even crossed my mind. It was something that had never concerned me. Even in my weakest and darkest state, death had always been just a word, like pain and hunger; they were all just mundane descriptions for things I never had any reason to fear. But lying there next to her in her weak state, her body limp and her life frail, I feared death more than anything I’d ever feared before.
The situation in its entirety was just a sorrowing one. In my days as a poet, this ordeal would’ve been one that severed my soul, digging deep down to carve out the most miserable of words to ever plaster a writer’s page. It would’ve been an epic poem, one that would’ve reached out and draped its despondence over you like a heavy, depressing quilt.
I wished it were just a poem… so I could set it to flames, burning it down to the brittle pile of ashes it merely was, sending the dreadful story off into the breeze never to be told.
The thumping was subtle, almost unnoticeable now, and I could feel it slowing by the day. Her sluggish heartbeat was not only her lifeline, but mine now as well. I had never felt the need to bargain with death, or plead to the fates, or believe in a God. But I would have dealt with, begged to, or believed in anything, if it would have saved her life.
She trusted me. And hers wasn’t the easiest trust to earn. Trust is usually something I take. But I earned hers. And I earned her love; something I was proud of.
I wished I could stay there, just sitting in her company, watching over her frail and ailing body, caring for her. The idea reined over the alternative of seeing her look upon me with a deserved hatred for what I’d done, it reined over the thought of her running away.
I wasn’t sure what would become of me if she were to drift away. What would become of me if I had to face the aftermath of my failed containment? Being who I was, I had never had to face a consequence if I chose not to, but this was more than a consequence; this was a threatening sentence made of my own destruction.
If she died, my impending grief would swallow me whole. I would die, too. But if she woke… if her breath quickened and her heart found its strength, the look of hate and disappointment in her eyes, the look of… fear… that would be my true reckoning.
The scent of her blood thickened, and I moved over her as it flooded her hollow cheeks, depleting the paleness. I watched as her eyes fluttered weakly and her parched lips parted.
Maybe it was nostalgia, but I would have sworn my heart began racing.
Word Count: 512 email@example.com
Fangs Versus Sideburns
– – – – –
Val shoved the library door open and shouted down the hall. “What is that god-awful noise?”
Someone hollered back, “Wolves must have something trapped in the canyon.”
He materialized in the great room. “What I’m asking, numbskulls, is why you are allowing a pack of strays to interrupt my evening meal, tonight of all nights!”
“We could wake Karma and go check –“
The tic in his jaw pulsed several times before he could speak. “Let her rest. I’ll take care of it myself.”
The brisk autumn evening cooled his temper but he was in no mood to deal with humans and that’s what he smelled as he approached the ravine.
His whistle diverted the pack’s attention and he spoke into the confusion. “Tedesco’s pack respects my property boundary which means you’re strays. As such, I’ll give you a courtesy warning. Leave immediately and live.”
The bulkiest wolf shifted into human form. “Fair enough. We’ll take our meal and be on our way.”
“The humans stay. Call it a peace offering for disrupting my dinner.”
“We’re not leaving without them.”
Val descended into the ravine. “Who’s your second in command?
The man bristled. “What’s it to you?”
In one swift motion, Val snapped the shifter’s neck and put a hand on the nearest wolf’s ruff. “A good leader makes or breaks a pack. I trust you’ll take this lesson to heart. Now, get your mongrels off my property before my good humor curdles.”
As the wolves scrambled out of sight, the male human rose to his feet. “Thanks, dude. Another minute or two and we’d have been dinner!”
Val let his fangs drop. “Who says you’re not? I haven’t fed yet tonight.”
The kid lifted his chin. “Okay. All right. Take whatever you want from me. But the girl is off
limits. I won’t let you hurt her.”
Misplaced bravery might have amused him if he weren’t so hungry. “How are you going to stop me?”
“It’s not how. It’s why. Best friends are hard to come by and you don’t run out on them. What you do is stare down the devil himself and swear on your mama’s name to do whatever is necessary to keep your friend alive.”
True. Real friends were precious. Without Karma, he wouldn’t be standing on the cusp of gaining control of the city. He squatted and brushed the long dark hair off the unconscious girl’s face. “What’s the blood from? She didn’t get bit or scratched did she?”
“Nah. Took a header while we were running for our lives.”
“What kind of trouble are you in, kid?”
“The usual. Shitty parents. Shitty foster homes. That’s how we met. Girl’s a serial runaway. Can’t get her to stay under the same roof longer than a week. So, I go when and where her does and watch over her best I can.”
He smoothed his palm over her forehead, trailing his finger through her blood. “She’ll stop running when she finds something worth holding on to. Until then, so long as you continue to protect her, I’ll protect you. Go to the soup kitchen on Blythe and ask for Marvin. He’ll set you up with safe lodging and jobs. But breathe a word of this deal to little Miss Runaway, you’ll find yourself at the bottom of this ravine in worse shape than the wolf over there.”
“Message received. Thank you, but why would you do this for us?”
“Let’s say I know what it is to feel unwelcome and displaced. Besides, tonight I’m going to usurp the adept’s throne or die trying. So this is either the last altruistic gesture of a dying man or the first act of a brilliant public relations campaign.”
“Okay. Well, good luck with that coup thing tonight.”
He smiled and this time it was fang-free. “Didn’t plan on fighting to the death on an empty stomach but thanks for the support. Oh, and a word of advice. Lose the sideburns. Elvis left the building years ago.”
Kid had the balls to chuckle. “Yeah, and fangs are a dime-a-dozen down at the flea market but you’re still sporting them, so I suppose that makes us about even.”
– – – – –
698 words (used to add to a WIP) / @bullishink
Shelly saw him sitting at a table, by himself. “Damn, he’s cute.” So, she wandered over. She knew what she wanted. What she always wanted. One night. One chance to feel alive. To feel real. No strings. No repeat. One night.
She walked up next to him, “I don’t want to drink alone.”
He pulled the chair next to his out, but said nothing. Shelly took the seat. They both sat there, listening to the band, watching the bodies on the dance floor. She started tapping out the rhythms of the music on the table. He watched her.
“I wanna dance!” She stood up, and grabbed his hand to pull him to the floor. He resisted for a moment, as if thinking. Then, let her lead him to the floor. She didn’t know if he could dance. She didn’t care. All she wanted was an excuse to touch him. To put her hands on his shoulders, back and chest. To bump her hips into his. An excuse to feel alive for the night. Before she returned to reality tomorrow.
He let her lead. Let her do what she wanted. Touched her shoulders, her back. Met her hips with his.
They danced. Shelly loved it. Loved the motion. The contact. She loved being touched. She loved to touch. To feel. Alive.
When the music changed, and a ballad started, the floor filled with couples. He grabbed her, pulled her close, pressed his chest to hers, his hips to hers. She drank in the smell of him. The feel of her head on his shoulder.
They danced until she needed another drink. She led him back to the table. He ordered her drink, and his. She drained it. Leaning into him. Letting her hands move. To his thighs. To his stomach. To his belt, and more.
“Let’s leave,” she whispered in his ear.
They went to his place. Shelly got what she wanted. One night. To feel. To be alive. She wanted everything. She did everything. Tasted every inch of him. Felt every inch of him. One night. To lose control. To groan. To moan. To whisper, “More. More. More.” To cling to the motion. Back and forth. In and out. One night to feel whole. One night her emptiness left her. One night she wasn’t alone. One night she felt alive.
Spent, she pretended to sleep. And waited for him to sleep. Then, she slipped away. Got dressed. Left. One night. That’s all she wanted. One night. To feel alive. To feel real. Before she ran away again. To hide in a world where nothing was real. And no one felt a thing for anyone.
No one would ever hold her again. No one would ever touch her heart. No one would ever make her cry. No one would ever hurt her again.
Like he had.
She’d always make sure of that. She’d always run away.
The fog lay lightly on the ground as if it knew it wouldn’t last the morning. It had rolled in from the ocean overnight, but it would be sunny and clear by nine, nine-thirty at the latest. I’d hoped it would stay around longer – it’s so much easier to leave when you can’t see what’s behind you. I’d been packing for weeks, sneaking a sweater out of a drawer or a book out of the stack on your nightstand. I could stay, you’d say if I asked, a half-grin, half-desperate plea for a miracle on your face, pretending that your heart wasn’t breaking, but I wouldn’t ask. I didn’t love you, but I didn’t hate you that much.
You were almost feral in bed last night, pathetically transparent in your attempt to convince me with your body that leaving you would be a mistake. But you only convinced me even more to go. I’d had better.
I finished my coffee and left the mug in the sink, unrinsed. You were out of your favorite Kona blend – now you were, anyway – and I left the container in the Keurig to remind you that you needed more. The sun was starting to burn its way through the fog, and I knew that you’d wake up soon, a bit sore and sticky, and more than a bit hungover. Once upon a time, I’d have stayed and tried to ease the transition – let you cry and scream and curse me forever – but there was really no point. I had to go, and those scenes are just depressing.
Looking around one last time, I realized that I hadn’t pulled my DVD’s out of the rack. I pondered grabbing a few, but it really was time to upgrade them to blu-rays, so I left them for you. I wasn’t sure you’d ever watch them, but they had cost me quite a bit of money, so I lifted the gold frames your grandmother left you off the wall and slipped them in my backpack.
I heard a rustle from the bedroom, and a moan, and my heart skipped a beat. It was time to go before you woke up fully. You’d be fine, I thought. Or you wouldn’t. But not with me.
Finally, things were quiet and it seemed like my retirement was going to keep this time. No more did my bedroom look like an armed bunker, but I had actually managed to start up a collection of gnomes. Stupid things with big hats just made me happy, but not as happy as Thomas did. That would have been a life to stay in. Then these 2 “muggers” in the parking lot came after me. Muggers don’t have Yarygin heavy pistols or body armor. Now, looking down the barrel of a gun, instincts that been slumbering are waking up.
“Give me your purse and your phone.” One says over the top of his gun.
“Seriously? You can’t come up with a better act than this? I’m a little offended.” I say. I would put my hands on my hips, but they’re full of groceries and a cake.
“Fine. It makes no difference. Head or chest?” he shrugs, ignoring my posturing.
“Isn’t this a little public?” I ask, shifting my weight just a bit to free up a foot.
“That’ll be someone else’s problem, as long as you’ve been neutralized.” he says in a calm confident voice. It’s easy to be confident when you outnumber and outgun your enemy. Just the way I like people to see me.
Nodding, I pivot to the side, forcing him to shoot wide, while shoving the cake into the face of the other mugger, blinding him. Twirling, I catch the gun in the talkative one’s hand with the handles of the plastic bags, tangling him up and pulling his gun toward the ground. A quick chop to his throat and he crumples, and another to the chocolate villain and I’m all free and clear.
Efficiently, I toss their bodies into the trunk of my car, the groceries in the back seat, and drive out of town, finally breaking into tears about 30 minutes later.
Now, I don’t even know the face that looks back in the rear view mirror, tearstained with ruined makeup. Don’t get me wrong, but under the fake eyelashes, dye, and colored contacts, there’s still that little girl who wanted to join the Peace Corps to see the world so long ago. She never would have believed that she’d get sick of moving from place to place. Back then, though, she didn’t have as many scars.
So now, the back seat is full of groceries, the trunk with a pair of bodies, and me once again on the run.
Thomas will probably think that I’m just a runaway, though, and will never know how much he means to me. The flowers, the cards, the time spent and the innocent openness. He never needed to know about my past, and was just content to be part of my life.
That’s all gone now, and I’m back on the run. It’s not the first time, and until I get answers about who wants me dead, it probably won’t be the last. This time at least, I’ve got ice cream, and that’s a good start.
@BryantheTinker, 509 words
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