Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 46

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 46!

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 all the way from Italy… Italia’s favorite doomsters, Lacuna Coil.

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The tune is… “End of Time”. Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/USXHxgWoS9g

This week’s Judge is the guru of Last Krystallos Publishing… Lisa Shambrook!

The challenge begins the moment you read this post and runs through 9PM PACIFIC TIME on Friday January 31.

Now go write!!!

 

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Posted on January 28, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I realized, standing there, looking into my eyes in the mirror, looking back at me, I hadn’t looked into them in years. I almost smiled at that. I’d told everyone, for years, I was OK. “I can look into my own eyes in the mirror, no problem.” And yet, I never did.

    “I should have noticed that.”

    I should have. Years ago. If I had, perhaps things would have turned out different. Better. I hadn’t. And it was far too late to change anything.

    “I never noticed how empty they look.” They looked glazed over. Dull. Like eyes that no longer saw anything. Eyes that no longer worked. If only I’d have looked years earlier.

    I started at myself, remembering her.

    “I’m supposed to cry, right?” I asked the me I saw in the mirror. “Or get angry.” But the me in the mirror never answered. He just looked at me, his empty, glazed over eyes staring into mine. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry. I stood there. Staring into those empty eyes.

    “The eyes are the mirror to the soul.” An old proverb I’d heard growing up. One I’d heard in countless songs. So many songs.

    “How can you see into my eyes, like open doors? Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become so numb.”

    I asked the man in the mirror, “Don’t people cry when they have broken hearts?” He just stared at me. A lifeless, empty stare. He didn’t smile. He just stood there. Carved of stone. As if he had no heart left. No feeling left. No soul.

    I remembered the note she’d left on the bed, where I couldn’t help but find it. Handwritten. She never wrote anything by hand. Unless she meant it. Unless it was special.

    “You don’t love me any more.”

    Those words echoed in my head. In her voice. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her, saying those words. “You don’t love me any more.”

    She’d left. Didn’t tell me where she was going. Just, “You don’t love me any more. Don’t try to follow me. Good bye.”

    I saw the tear stains on the paper. I couldn’t miss them.

    I looked at the cold, heartless, stone man in the mirror. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to scratch his eyes out. I wanted to rip his heart from his chest, and throw it away. He didn’t need it. He had no heart left. No soul. He was a walking dead man.

    And he stood there, in the mirror, his glazed, empty eyes, staring back at me. He never said a word. Never shed a tear. As if he were a man of stone.

    She’d written the words of a song on her note.

    “I’ve come to realize
    Tonight my friend the end of time
    Is not so far away
    We cannot pray to save our lives”

    I stared at the dead man in the mirror. “Cry, damn you. Cry.” I whispered the words. Knowing the man in the mirror wouldn’t cry. Couldn’t cry. He’d forgotten how so long ago. And I kept hearing her speak the words she’d written. Her last words to me.

    “You don’t love me any more. Tonight my friend, the end of time is not so far away.”

    And I knew. There was nothing left of the man I saw in the mirror that day. He’d reached the end of his time.

    571 Words
    @LurchMunster

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  2. Too Late
    by Stephanie Fuller

    Lit by a single, dim street light, Michael held Rose’s broken body in his hands. Weeping. Waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Praying they would make it in time. Time to save her. To hopefully undo what he had done. He whispered quietly to her, knowing she may or may not be able to hear him, “I’m so sorry. So, so sorry. I love you. I do love you. Please don’t leave me.” He heard a siren in the distance as a small crowd gathered.

    It was three years ago. They had met and fallen madly in love – a whirlwind romance. Rose was all he could think about. She meant everything to him and he knew that he was everything to her, too. After only four months, they ran away and were married. Together, they were able to afford a small apartment in one of the buildings on the outskirts of town. It was not the best area, but while they worked for something better, they had each other and nothing was going to change that.

    Then he met Margo. He had been out with some friends, drinking. She was at the bar as well. There was something about her – her curves, her eyes, her smile – it all drew him in. He couldn’t control himself from wanting her. It was quite obvious to Michael that Margo wanted him, in return. It started with her phone number on a napkin and it spiraled from there.

    Michael didn’t want to hurt Rose or worse – lose her. He wanted to be happy with her in the life that they had already built for themselves. Rose had even hinted that she wanted to start a family. Margo, however, would pop up at random when in the mood for a little fun. He knew Margo didn’t really care about him or his life with Rose. She only cared about herself. She was dangerous and next time they met up, he told her she needed to stop contacting him. He hoped it would be enough and that it wouldn’t be too late.

    A few days after his last encounter with Margo, he had caught Rose staring at him. This wouldn’t have bothered him, but it wasn’t with her normal love-filled eyes. It was cold. Confused. Questioning. Something was bothering her, but he didn’t know what. He decided to take her out for dinner and a movie – one of their favorite date night activities. Maybe that would help her mood.

    During dinner, Rose was quiet. They decided to walk to the theater because it was only a few blocks away. As they walked down an alleyway, Rose tugged on Michael’s hand to stop him. “Who’s Margo?”

    Michael froze, his heart pounding at that name coming from Rose’s lips. “Margo?”

    She nodded. “Yes. Someone named Margo called your phone while you were in the shower the other day. I didn’t answer it, but saw the name on the caller ID. Who is she?”

    He stammered. “She…well…she is a woman I…I met.”

    “You met? Did you…meet her often?” A single tear fell from one of Rose’s wide eyes.

    Michael reached out to wipe the tear from her face. “Yes. We met a few times. I’m sorry. I promise, it is over. For good.”

    Rose pulled away and started walking fast toward the main road. “I…I…can’t be here right now.” Before she reached the end of the alleyway, she turned to him, eyes filled with tears. “I thought you loved me.”

    That next step would be her last.

    As the ambulance arrived, techs ran to Michael and Rose, pulling her body from his grip. A police car pulled in behind and the officers approached the driver of the car to ask him questions about what had happened. Onlookers could see the driver waving his arms, and hear him yelling, “I didn’t hit her on purpose. She ran out into the street. I didn’t see her until it was too late…ask anyone here!”

    Michael sat alone on the sidewalk whispering to himself, “I do love you. I’m so sorry.”

    690 words
    @imafuller

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  3. I sit admiring the smile on your lips with a new appreciation.

    The fever creeps slowly back into your cheeks and you slump further under the heavy weight of the blankets. I try to dismiss the persistent thoughts that harass my concluding time with you. I call out to my imagination to dig out its brush and dab out the dark circles encroaching on your tired eyes, begging it to paint the life back into your flat, listless irises. Memories of those perfectly shaded, jade windows—that most definitely reflected your soul—flood my hopelessness, and I allow myself two seconds of false happiness, a happiness I had grown to take advantage of, until the blackness began eating at you. I had unknowingly settled into a state of habit and, of lately, had forgotten to even tell you what you meant to me. Hell… I’m not even sure I realized what you meant, until…

    I try to mask that which I know is so palpable in my features: my anxiety. If I were to show you that I care now, it would only leave you to worry about me, and I cannot allow you to waste time swimming in thoughts of what will become of me, when I went months without allowing you to grace my thoughts even once.

    It makes me flinch, and I pray you didn’t notice. I wish I could tell you now, tell you how your one-sided smile has been forever etched into my soul as a symbol of true bliss. How your touch is something I will feel for the rest of my life.

    Your shaking fingers curve into your messy hair. Such a subtle action has never meant anything to me before, but now it is everything.

    I try to study every inch of you, every feature, trying to carve it into my head permanently, forcing my ungrateful mind to remember your every detail forever—for both need and punishment.

    Crazed thoughts of ifs peck at me, reminding me that I will wake every morning wishing I had realized what was important to me and set aside what really meant nothing at all.

    It’s not at all funny how things can seem so imperative in the midst of a hectic life, but when that life is threatened, you’re somehow pulled back down into a humble reality, only… it’s a little too late.

    Words: 393
    crjennings1988@yahoo.com

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  4. He’d called her earlier in the day to confirm the time he was coming home. She couldn’t wait; the house was immaculate, and the dining room all laid out. She’d even polished the silver candelabra.

    As dusk approached she prepared the food. He liked it meaty, he liked lots of it, so she had gone beyond her usual expertise, but it worked as she set the dishes.

    Then she got herself ready, slipping into a comfortable and sexy black dress. She knew he’d like it. She smiled. It was perfect; he wouldn’t know what hit him. She giggled. No, he wouldn’t, but that was how she wanted it.

    She heard his car and glided down the ornate staircase, hovering on the bottom step as she heard his footsteps on the gravel path. He opened the door and paused when he saw her. His greeting caught in his throat as his eyes swept over her.

    “Avril, you look…amazing.”

    “Thank you Paul.”

    He shut the door behind him and put his brief case down. She could see a question forming in his eyes.

    “You want to ask me why, don’t you?”

    He stammered as he replied, “Well yes, I do, I…is there a reason?”

    Avril smiled at him. “We’ll get to that later, first I want you to enjoy it all.”

    She saw the crease flutter across his temple, but he remained silent while she led him to the dining room. When he saw the presentation of their meal he stood in the doorway blinking, and let out a slight laugh.

    “Come closer, take a look at what I’ve prepared.”

    “You’ve prepared? You mean this wasn’t catered?” Paul stumbled forward, peeking under the lids of the huge tureens. It looked divine.

    He sat down at the head of the table, and Avril sat at his side. She wanted to be close to him and share the intimacy of the moment.

    He watched her serve him, laughing as she piled all the food on to his plate, relaxing a little as she piled it on her own too. He watched her tuck in first before starting in on his, and they sat gorging themselves on all the meaty delights.

    Then she brought over a bottle of red wine she’d opened earlier. She poured a healthy quantity into both of their wine glasses, laughing as he raised his and took several swallows from it.

    Then his demure changed, the smile sliding from his lips.

    “There’s something in this, isn’t there?”

    She nodded while she sipped at hers.

    “But you’ve got the same, haven’t you?”

    She nodded again and gave a small smile as she said, “I’m not about to let you go out alone. We started out together and we’ll end together.”

    His eyes flashed with fear and rage as he regarded the glass, and threw the contents across the room.

    “I knew this was too good to be true! You haven’t done anything like this for me in years.”

    “You haven’t wanted me to; you’ve had ‘her’ to do it for you.”

    His rage dropped, but the fear remained. He swallowed. “You mean, Larissa?”

    “Yes dear, Larissa. Did you think I wouldn’t find out? Did you think I would be okay with it continuing under my nose?”

    “What have you done?” He whispered.

    Avril waved her arm at the table in front of them. “I decided to celebrate with a meal; a last supper if you will, while the poison does its work.

    Paul could feel his legs tingling. “But I haven’t drunk enough.”

    “It wasn’t just in the wine dear.” Sweat beads were breaking out on Avril’s forehead and she dabbed them with a napkin.

    “The meat?” Paul’s mouth felt strange, the edges had started twitching.

    “Yes, I marinated her well, Paul.”

    Paul managed to whisper, “Her?” as he started to slide down the chair.

    Avril was also struggling. Her glass dropped from her hand as her arm went limp, but she managed a giggled, and said, “Yes, Larissa. She had more meat on her than I thought. She tasted pretty good too, don’t you think?”

    The frozen look of horror completed it for her as she grinned her way into death.

    700 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  5. Getting It Right
    330 words
    @CharlesWShort

    As a child she was the center of my world. She gave birth to me, nurtured me and loved me.

    Then I spent several years where I abhorred her. She smothered me, embarrassed me and loved me.

    Eventually I ran away from her, her house and her rules. She worried about me, mourned for me and loved me.

    As a young woman I tried my best to replace her. I needed to find someone to replace the way she had stabilized me, uplifted me and loved me.

    Then I become a mother, and with grand arrogance, I endeavored to outdo her. I was going to do better than her when she raised me, damaged me and loved me.

    It wasn’t long till my teenagers told me they hated me. I turned into my mother trying to limit their opportunities for disaster and protect them from themselves. It hurt, not just because they said it, but because I knew I had said it. Now I understood all she had done was her best to guide me, teach me and love me.

    The time came when I swallowed my pride and called her. Then I went to see her. I told her she was right. She had always been right. And I asked her to save me. She said she would always be there for me. She understood what I was going through. And she told me she loved me.

    She became my mentor, my best friend, and my adult parent. We met for coffee, went antiquing, and swapped stories about how horrible teenagers behave. It humbled me when her horror stories were worse than mine. Thankfully she always did it with grace and always reminded me that she loved me.

    Finally she became my patient. As her body and mind failed I moved in with her. I cleaned her, changed her, fed her, and when the time came—I watched her die. Finally, I got it right. I loved her.

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  6. The mortar was chipping away, but the bricks themselves were stout, and the windows and the door were clean and shone with welcoming light. I shifted the valise from my right to my so that I could grab the doorknob, and grunted as the pain in my elbow came back. The last few days had been oddly pain-free, as if my body wanted to give me a present before we came on this journey, but there were no such things as miracles, and all journeys come to an end.

    I’d been in a lot of train stations during my time – sure, planes were faster, and for a trip across one of the world’s great oceans, there was no substitute – but I still felt the same thrill I had as a kid as I stepped across the threshold. This one brought back memories of trips with my grandparents across the country, off to see the Empire State Building and the Washington Monument and the Liberty Bell. There was even a pay phone, in an actual phone booth – not one of those aluminum contraptions that dotted the landscape before they all died out, but the kind Cary Grant would have ducked into while involved in some madcap adventure.

    A TICKETS sign beckoned me from across the room, and I shuffled across the oak floor to pick up the pass that would take me on this last journey. The floor in the center of the room was spongy, as if the supports weren’t as strong as they needed to be, and I moved as fast as my hips would allow me until I reached the counter. I didn’t think it really would rot out from under me, but I hadn’t come this far to fall into a basement, broken and twisted and crying in pain. There wasn’t anyone at the counter, and for the first time, I was afraid. Was I too late? Did – had I missed it? Sweat broke out on my brow, and I felt that pain in my chest – that pain that had first let me know it was time – come back, harder and sharper than ever before. I whimpered, not like a man of eighty seven, but like a puppy not yet weaned.

    As if he’d been waiting for my distress, the ticket clerk appeared. His blue uniform was neatly pressed, clean, and trimmed in gold, but how he carried the weight, I could not tell. He was the gauntest, least substantial man I’d ever seen, and the grin on his face was like my pain given sentience. “Ah, Mr. Alexander. My deepest apologies – I was out back visiting the necessary. I hope I did not cause you distress.”

    “No. Not at all,” I said, more to stop him from talking than to really answer him – questions like his were always rhetorical. I didn’t want to know him at all, didn’t want to see him any longer than I had to, and I didn’t want to hear him utter another word. Alas, the miracles still hadn’t appeared.

    “Very good. Just the one bag, sir? It is quite a long journey, you will find.” He laughed, and it was somehow worse than hearing him talk. “Well, it is of no matter – it’s not like you can go home and get it.”

    The agent pulled a tiny white slip from a yellowing envelope and stamped it, the red ink faintly reading “One Way ONLY”, and handed it out to me. I grabbed the ticket carefully, knowing I didn’t want to know what his touch felt like, and worrying that I would find out – that, and more – all too soon. He grinned again. “Track Seven, sir. Your train will be departing shortly, so if you need to visit the necessary, you’ll have to hurry.”

    I shook my head. I had to go, but I wasn’t sure how – they hadn’t let me eat since I’d died in the hospital, ten … no, eleven days ago now. But I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. The sign behind me pointed the way to the tracks, and I turned to shuffle down the hall into the eternal decay of time.

    697 words
    @drmagoo

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  7. Fiery Gift

    Candlelight flickers in the slight breeze from my movements as I set everything in the proper place. Darkness thickens as I complete the lines, closing off the circle of salt and sage. Stretched across the dirt road, head to the south and arms and legs outstretched, the tiny figure looks more like a doll than a child. Only the very faint motion of breath signifies that the delicate thread of life still remains.

    Following the instructions from the leather-bound book down to the tiniest detail, I repeat a variety of words that sound strange on my lips. Curls of incense tickle my nose, as if the night itself is trying to disrupt my concentration. This needs to be perfect, because the next new moon will be too late, according to the doctors.

    A stick cracks drily, and an old man steps out of the bushes nearby.

    “Kinda late to be out, don’t you think? Best get on home before somebody comes along.” With his boots and coveralls, he could have stepped straight off a tractor.

    “Look, this isn’t what it looks like. We’re not even on your land. Why don’t you go on home?” I implore.

    “Just heard you over here, and thought I’d see what the fuss was about. Kid there looks mighty sick to be lyin’ in the dirt. You ain’t one of them devil worshippers, are you, son?”

    “What? No. Although, I admit this does look a little odd…”

    “Good, because he isn’t coming.” The farmer grins, and his eyes glow red. Sharp teeth reflect in dim light. “What do you want?”

    “My son. He’s dying, and the doctors can’t save him.”

    ” And? Not really in the curing the sick business.”

    “This book says you can cure him, for a price.”

    The farmer scoffs. “Oh, a book. Well, I’ll make you a deal. I can cure his illness, for your life and soul. Deal?”

    As I look down at the ashen face of my son, his life flashes before my eyes. There are brief glimpses of school, weddings, and distant children. I’ll never see him do any of that if I do this, if it even works. If I don’t, though, he’ll never see that, either. “Forgive me for what I’ve done, but praying hasn’t saved our lives.” I whisper, touching his cheek one last time. Louder, I say “It’s a deal.”

    Placing my hands and feet touching his as the book instructs, I look down on my son’s closed eyes. Even with the cool of the night, sweat beads on his forehead as the fever threatens to rob him of his mind. The oily scent of the incense tickles my throat as I breathe it in deeply.. Against the darkness of the night, each breath I send out glows slightly, clinging to his clammy skin. My breath becomes harder to take in as his skin regains the vigorous pink of youthful vitality.

    My chest burning, I crawl to the other side of the circle. The farmer watching, head tilted at an odd angle, taps his toes against the dirt in an odd double stepped rhythm. My hands shake as I cover myself with the special oils to complete the final steps from the spell in the book. The pungent scent stings my nose as it evaporates from the heat of my body. Finally, all is ready. “My flesh and blood in you, Son. Tonight is the end of my time, but it pushes your end back.”

    Placing my hand in the flame of one of the candles, the flames shoot hungrily up my arms and across my body until they engulf me. Pain, so much pain as my skin blackens, I find myself praying that the end will come quickly, but the pain just goes on and on.

    As the flames finally take my life, the farmer laughs one time. “Good thing we keep putting those books out. People never learn. Oh, the illness will be cured. I like my vessels healthy.”

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  8. Northern Time

    Vlad raced through the desert, his goggles barely clear enough to provide a view of the dusty terrain. He had to make it back before it was too late. He gunned the engine of his Butlerbike. The setting sun glinted off the building skyline as he rumbled toward the city. The apothecary’s workshop sat just outside the city gates, the perfect place for amoral practices. Vlad pulled up just as the sun dipped below the city wall. He pulled his goggles off and adjusted the dial of his pocket watch to align the alarm bell with the sun.

    Vlad pushed open the heavy wooden door and walked into a cloud of sandalwood smoke. Gears whirred and cogs plunked all around as he walked to the back of the shop. What he needed wouldn’t be kept out in the open; he would need to speak with the apothecary herself. Vlad rang the bell on the shop counter. A red velvet curtain swished and Lady Veronica glided to the counter, her corset set just low enough to draw every eye to her bouncing bosom. Vlad licked his lips.

    “Can I help you?” Lady Veronica asked. She toyed with the amulet hanging from her choker to guide Vlad’s eyes up toward her face.

    “Ah. Yes. I hope so,” he stammered. That chest would be the death of him if he didn’t spit out his request soon. “I’m looking for a very rare item. I was told you were the person to see.”

    “I am the only person to see for rare items.” Lady Veronica shifted her hips, her bobbing bustle grabbing Vlad’s attention. He licked his lips again, his eyes drifting along the curves of the woman in front of him. Lady Veronica cleared her throat and Vlad’s eyes shot back up to her face.

    “The item you seek?” she asked.

    “Yes. I’m looking for a Time Compass, preferably an unused one.”

    “A rare item indeed.” Lady Veronica seemed to be sizing him up more thoroughly now. Vlad ran his hand through his hair, sending dust drifting down to the counter. He broke out a sheepish grin, hoping to break the silence. He was running out of time. Lady Veronica returned the smile.

    “You are in luck, my dusty friend. I just happen to have what you seek. Just a moment, please.” She turned and floated back through the velvet curtain. Vlad glanced at his pocket watch.

    Lady Veronica reappeared with a round golden object. She placed it in front of Vlad and gently pushed the latch to open the case. A spring pushed up, revealing a clock face attached to a network of gears made of emeralds. The pearl face glimmered against the green cogged background. But it was the hour hand that mesmerized Vlad. A brilliant sapphire blue, it spun slowly around the white and green waiting for someone to wind the compass and set the Northern Time.

    “Do you know how to use this?” Lady Veronica asked in a hushed tone.

    “I do,” Vlad replied.

    “Then you know you need the blood of a traveller. To set the Northern Time, you must become one with the machine.”

    “Yes.” Vlad pulled the straight razor from his back pocket. “And I will be winding the compass here if you don’t mind.”

    “I don’t. But I would like my payment first.”

    “And what is the price?”

    “A forgotten tear.” Vlad looked up from the compass. It was an odd price and one he had no doubt would come back to haunt him. But he needed the compass before he could leave. Northern Time was his only ticket back home.

    Vlad reached across the counter and pulled the beautiful apothecary into a kiss. She tasted like cream, peppermint, a woman. Vlad had missed her so much and he had to get back to the time where she knew him. As he pulled back, a single tear trickled down his dirty face. Lady Veronica smiled and collected her payment on the tip of her finger. Vlad slid the blade across his fingertip and watched the blue hand whiz. Once it stopped, he grabbed the compass and headed out the door.

    695 (words)
    @BrewedBohemian

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  1. Pingback: My Soul's Tears

  2. Pingback: #46 – Mid-Week Blues-Buster: Too Late | The Book Hipster

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