Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 48

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 48!

 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 is a beautiful instrumental piece by the guitar duo known as… Rodrigo y Gabriela.

The tune is, “11:11″… Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/V3veR_23Q9w

This week’s Judge is the Grand Poobah of Office Mango & host of the Love Bites Blog Hop…  Laura James!

The challenge runs from the moment you read this post until midnight PACIFIC TIME on Friday February 14th.

Now go write!!!

 

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Posted on February 11, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. The Insurance Adjuster

    No one deterred him as he strode down the hospital hallway. Not the timid nurse following in his wake, not the security guard hiding behind his newspaper, and not the black-robed priest blocking the hall until suddenly thinking better of it, ducking into the chapel, and letting the door whoosh closed behind him.

    He pushed through the office door, took the phone out of Dr. Villanova’s hand and put it back on the receiver. “Just because you have a better education than me doesn’t mean you can keep putting me off.”

    Villanova’s face darkened with anger. “I told you, Mr. Ortega. He doesn’t have insurance coverage. There isn’t anything more I can do. Now, get out before I have you thrown out.”

    Ortega wasn’t bothered by the terse words or tense body language. “Nobody gets injured on my clock without me taking charge. Think of me as an insurance adjuster. I review the facts, weigh fates in the balance, and act accordingly. Far as Manny Gutierrez goes, screw the insurance company. Bill me directly.”

    “Your dirty money won’t ease his pain and suffering.”

    “Maybe not but we both have a reputation to uphold and a vested interest in his recovery. I know you don’t like my tactics just like you know once I get my teeth into something, I won’t let go. But I’m going to make it tolerable for you to swallow the bitter truth of circumstance.”

    Villanova shook his head “Are you really going to stand there and offer me a bribe?”

    Ortega headed for the door and pushed out into the hall. “Who said anything about a bribe? I’m talking about introducing you to my representative. Come have a look.”

    Villanova stopped short when he saw Ortega’s sister chatting with a nurse. “You’re a real bastard, Jose.”

    “Ah, that’s better. We’re down to first names now. The way it was when we were still friends.”

    “Does Rose know you’re using her to get to me?”

    “You always underestimate her, Diego. She came of her own free will. Although, she did go back and put on a pretty blouse and some mascara when I told her you were the doctor in charge.”

    “Look, I don’t like what happened to Manny any more than you do but I can’t let you run roughshod over hospital personnel and protocol.”

    “I enlisted Rose’s help because I’m going to be out-of-town for a couple of days and need someone to oversee Manny’s care. Mind you, this trip has nothing to do with tracking down whoever turned Manny into a punching bag. Previously scheduled business south of the border. You know how it is.”

    “What am I supposed to do with this information?”

    “Use it to buy the kid some time. Keep him here until I get back. That way he’ll know it’s safe to be on the streets again. That way you’ll know there won’t be any more casualties like this. Maybe we don’t work the same way, Diego, but we both repair things. You fix people and I fix situations.”

    “And what about Rose?”

    “You know the answer. She’s the reason we fix things. Guys like you want out of the neighborhood. Guys like me want to preserve it. But people like Rose, who don’t have any agenda other than rallying around folks and bolstering spirits, they’re what make a neighborhood in the first place and keep it going through good times and bad.”

    “Don’t kid yourself, Jose. If it weren’t for Rose, I’d have walked away from this you and this neighborhood a long time ago. But I know she’ll never leave and so I stay, even though she doesn’t know why.”

    “If that hasn’t changed by the time I get back, Doc, I’m liable to fix it.”

    Villanova sighed. “That’s the problem with insurance salesmen. They always have something else to sell you.”

    Ortega chuckled. “I’m an adjuster, not a salesman. And this time it’s not just something you need, it’s something you want. Come on now. Get your shirt tucked in, Doc. We’re going to say ‘hello’ to your future, ‘good luck’ to Manny’s, and quite possibly ‘goodbye’ to mine.”

    – – – – –
    692 words / @bullishink

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  2. The Whirlwind

    There was a fly buzzing against the screen and the small metal fan that came with the place was whirring and slowly oscillating around the hot dry efficiency apartment. I sat staring at the now blank screen of my laptop on the cracked faux wood kitchenette table breathing in and out as slowly as I could manage. It was either that or screaming and I figured that might disturb the neighbor lady.

    The message had been short and straight forward, “I have brought Lizzie home for a visit. If you want to see her you will have to come back here to do so.”

    My teeth were grinding as I tried to hold in the building rage. Lizzie. My 15 year old niece who was supposed to be in boarding school in Massachusetts but who was apparently in my ex’s hands now. Even though the school knew he wasn’t allowed to take her anywhere. Even though there was a restraining order in place. You’d think that would be enough to at least keep my orphaned niece safe from that bastard. But my ex was smooth and rich and powerful and he could convince just about anyone to do anything. Except me. He thought he knew what he was doing. He always thought he knew what he was doing. He thought this was a smart way to get me to come back so he could make more excuses for hitting me.

    He was lucky I didn’t kill him then. I could have, but he didn’t know that. I’d left in an effort to avoid that, well and to get the hell away from him. But now the inevitability of this battle seemed to be racing towards me like an out of control freight train. I’d left in the hopes that I wouldn’t have to resort to a finality that would steal a mother of her son, even a son she was afraid of and didn’t trust. But apparently James had decided to insist on it.

    Well then, so be it.

    I got up and stripped down to my underwear. I pushed the meager furniture out of the way and started the kata. Slowly at first and then speeding up until I was spinning through the movements as my body warmed and sweat flew off me. Eventually I slowed until I sank down onto my knees for a brief meditation. When the rage was gone and I was filled with nothing but the clarity of my chosen path I rose and walked to the bathroom. I showered and stared at myself in the mirror. I picked up the scissors and started cutting my dark red hair, watching it fall to the floor around me. I stopped once it was about a rough inch all around. I smoothed it back against my skull for riding, nothing to distract me, blind me or get grabbed in a fight.

    I dressed in cargo pants and a long sleeved T, stomping into my 20-holed Docs. I walked to the trunk that doubled as my coffee table, opened it and started pulling out the gear I would need. Blades and sheaths for wrists, back and boots, a shoulder holster for the Springfield 1911 custom and the back holster for the Benelli M4. The Benelli itself was in the bottom of the trunk with all the necessary ammo.

    I weaponed up, pulled on the leather riding jacket and put on the final holster, settling the shotgun into place. I walked over to the laptop waking it up and hit reply to the email.

    “I’m coming. Get ready to reap the whirlwind.”

    @MissBliss
    Word Count: 605

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  3. “You know the answer. She’s the reason we fix things. Guys like you want out of the neighborhood. Guys like me want to preserve it. But people like Rose, who don’t have any agenda other than rallying around folks and bolstering spirits, they’re what make a neighborhood in the first place and keep it going through good times and bad.”

    Damn woman…that is the shit!

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  4. Random Access Memory

    I feel the sand between my toes
    As a golden sun slowly dies
    I have no idea where it goes
    As the evening breeze slowly sighs

    The gentle sigh becomes so sharp
    Is the sound I hear still a breeze?
    What do I hear? Is it a harp?
    No harp I know sounds such as these

    I walk along towards the source
    Each step makes the notes clearer now
    The sound is a guitar, of course
    From on a hill, upon the brow

    Two guitars meld sounds so tender
    Harmonised notes so slow and deep
    Melodies flow and meander
    With beauty that will make me weep

    As I approach, I see a couple
    A man, a woman sitting facing
    Plucking strings with fingers supple
    I see a face, my heart is racing

    I feel a fear. How can this be?
    A face familiar, features known
    How can this man I see be me?
    He looks at me, I have been shown

    The face is real, mirrored image
    The last rays of sun gouge my eyes
    Burning out all thoughts of courage
    All chance of reason in me dies

    The woman looks upon me now
    She speaks to me in tones so pure
    Asks me to recall when and how
    Gently saying, “You must be sure.”

    Breeze now cooling down to a chill
    I must recall what needs to be
    Known by her sitting quiet still
    Waiting for me to answer me

    Chill settles deep into my bones
    Music recedes into the night
    Leaving only sad sounding moans
    Memory is a fading light

    I struggle and cry to bring it back
    I need to know what surrounds me
    Within my mind I hear a crack
    I see flashing lights breaking free

    In the glare of this light, they fade
    The man, the woman, the music
    I see how far my mind has strayed
    Thoughts trapped in a plate of Aspic

    Clear to see but I cannot reach
    Into space that holds the answer
    Bloodied thoughts sucked by a leech
    Eat at me as if a cancer

    So quietly, I hear her voice
    Speaking to me in urgent tones
    C’mon, my love, you have the choice
    Please, please don’t you leave me alone

    Light returns, I see, I see her
    My mind flicks here and sometimes there
    Random access is still a blur
    But it returns and now I care

    She smiles at me and pats my screen
    Laughing and saying, “What a hoot”
    “I really don’t know where you’ve been”
    “But that was the longest reboot!”

    428 words
    @ScotsJamaican

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  5. Magical Border Music
    @BryantheTinker, 628 words

    She sat there as we all waited for the train, her smoldering eyes burning into my soul, then moving on to leave impressions on the hearts of the next body in the throng. She seems to have packed very little, just a long bag leaned against her legs heavily. She notices me staring, and then smiles at me. Nothing gentle hidden in that smile, but not unkind either. Her eyes are fierce and calm, with answers to the questions floating among the stars kept safe and secret beneath thick lashes.

    Around the corner, a train engine’s rhythm starts to echo, a wave of sound that carries through the crowd and disturbing the stillness of waiting. Anticipation lights up the faces of dozens of travelers, as their vacations or loved ones become one step closer. The woman grabs her bag, and stands. Grasping the hand of a nearby man as they pass, she stands in line for the front of the passenger car. He weaves into the crowd headed for the back of the same car.

    As we dutifully crawl on, the woman slides gracefully into the very front seat. A few rows back, I manage to find a seat where I can keep looking at her and her smooth dark skin showing around a black shawl. With a lurch, the train starts to pull out of the station. The air starts moving through the railcar, no longer stiflingly warm, and along the way picks up a hint of morning desert blooms, mixing with the various smells of people mixing. The scents are sweet and sour, and constantly changing.

    Shortly after, the woman fiddles with her bag, pulling out something large and dark, shining in the sunlight slanting in the window. Above the noises of the train, a melancholy song rises up, notes pulled from the strings of a guitar. No words come with it, but the notes are carefully placed to speak of joy, loss, and desperation straight to the heart. The crowd goes silent, engrossed in the hypnotic song. In my mind, the song takes me to a villa in the springtime, lanterns burning and dancers twirling, before meeting my fondest love under the moonlight.

    So wrapped up in the entrancement am I, that the stranger has to nudge me twice to get my attention. Looking over, I see a pistol pointed straight at me, over a simple bag half filled with wallets and jewelry. Never speaking, he places the bag right in front of me, waiting for me to make my offering. I almost don’t mind placing my wallet inside, just so he’ll leave and I can return to the music. He continues to the last few passengers before reaching the woman, and she stands. As the train slows to take a turn into the canyon of our destination, she takes her guitar and steps gracefully off of the train. He follows immediately, and silence descends on the railcar just as we pull into the station.

    Police are waiting for us at the station, and roughly take us off the train, disrupting the spell of tranquility over the crowd. Angry voices rise to fill the silence as officers ask questions and passengers demand answers. When the officers come to get my description of the robbers, I try to remember any little detail. Think of anything that will help. The only features remaining, though, are those dark mesmerizing eyes and the song that she wove as we trundled down the tracks. From the frustration of the police, everyone seems to be similarly forgetful. Some officers even accuse us of collaborating, but someday they’ll see. They’ll finally meet her, and become lost in those eyes as well, a lifetime lived the too short a time they are together.

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  6. PIlls and Regret
    by Stephanie Fuller

    The desert sun beat down on the rooftop of his Chevy as he drove, creating an oven effect inside. Dane wished his old beater car had working air conditioning. That wasn’t his only wish. Dane wished a lot of things: that he had been honest about being scared, that he had never left town, and that he sure as hell had never broken her heart. At the time, it all made sense. Break it off while he could. Six months later and a single text from Abby’s sister, Maggie, stating that Abby had swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and he knew he was wrong.

    When he saw the text a few days ago, he immediately grabbed cash and what clean clothes he could find sitting around. A quick stop to the corner gas station for a fill up and he was on his way back from where he had run away. He was almost there and only hoped he wouldn’t arrive out of luck.

    Dane had barely eaten much while on the road. He needed to make sure he had enough cash to get to Abby. He decided early on that stopping at a convenience store would be good to grab some miscellaneous foodstuffs, negating the need to eat at a diner or restaurant. More time on the road.

    As Dane got closer, he started to see the hospital signs. With every sign, he looked at the sky and said, “Please,” because the updated texts he was getting from Maggie were not promising. He found the hospital and pulled into the visitor parking. As he neared the front entrance, he found Maggie sitting there, waiting.

    “They think we found her in time, but won’t tell me for sure what is happening or if there will be any lasting effects. Go see her. She’s in room 509. Hey, Dane…I still think you are a jerk for leaving, but thank you for coming back.”

    Dane ran down the main corridor till he reached her room. As he reached for the door, it opened and a man in a stained doctor’s coat and scrubs exited, shaking his head as he walked past Dane. Did that mean what he thought it meant? Was she really gone? He pushed the door open slowly and peaked his head inside half expecting her body to be still on the hospital bed, turning colder by the second. Instead, what he saw made his heart practically leap out of his chest.

    Abby was sitting up, facing the window with her eyes closed. She turned when the door hinges creaked. Eyes wide and filled with tears. “Dane? What are you doing here? How did you…”

    Interrupting her, he walked to her bedside. “It doesn’t matter what. Or how. Or why. I’m here. That’s all that matters. Well, and that you are alive and safe.” He reached over and touched her cheek with his hand, lightly rubbing her lips with his thumb.

    She sighed and leaned into his hand, closing her eyes. “Dane. I’m so sorry. I couldn’t take it. Couldn’t take life…without you.”

    He sat on the bed. “You don’t need to be sorry. I wasn’t honest with you before about my feelings. I was scared and ran. This is all my fault. Please forgive me.”

    Abby opened her eyes and looked at Dane as fresh tears wet her eyes. “I forgave you the moment you left. I did this because I felt empty and everything I tried didn’t fill the hole in my heart.”

    “I’ll never leave again. I regret it every day, but felt like if I came you wouldn’t let me back in. I couldn’t live like that. Can we go back to the way it was? Or maybe start new?” Dane looked at Abby with eyes, pleading and hopeful.

    She ran her fingers through the front of his hair, fixing a few strays. “Of course. That’s all I want.”

    Abby moved to one side of her bed and reached out to Dane. He grabbed her hand softly and kissed it. Lying down next to her, she was able to put her head on his chest and they sat in silence. Together.

    698 words
    @imafuller

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  7. Such a mix of beautiful and bitter-sweet in this collection of stories. I didn’t mean to sit here and read them all but I couldn’t stop myself. They are all THAT good. 🙂

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  8. Sarah sighed again. She hated waiting on a target to bring in. This bar was a dump and her partner was new to her. The Paranormal Investigation and Justice Department (PIJD) had paired her up with a Normal. All Paras were being paired with normal humans now. It had something to do with departmental cooperation or something idiotic like it. It wouldn’t be so bad, but this guy was a complete newb. Sarah doubted he’d ever even seen a Para before he was paired with her, and, despite the hints she’d given him, he wasn’t even knowledgeable enough about Paras to guess what she was.

    The door creaked open and a monster of a man walked in. He was very hairy, very muscular and the size of a bull. Bald-headed and covered in distinctive tattoos, his steps thudded across the room to the bar. Sarah felt a tingle in her head which signalled that this was their guy. Her instincts were never wrong. Besides, he looked too much like the description they’d been given to be anyone else.

    Sarah looked over at her partner. He was checking out a text on his phone and hadn’t even noticed the brute walk in. She’d be better off without his interference anyway. Sidling up to the bar, Sarah brushed up against her target.

    “Oh, excuse me,” she breathed at him, as if brushing up against him had been some sort of accident. As much as she hated using her gender in this way, she’d learned early on in her career that flirting could be useful. Besides, it was important to the safety of the others in this sleazy bar that she get this one outside before confronting him. If he shifted while indoors, things would get bloody.

    The beast of a man turned to her and leered. “No problem. You can bump into me any time you want to,” He placed an arm around her waist, about to pull her closer and that’s when she heard her partner’s voice behind her.

    “Get your hands off my woman.” His voice was like steel. “I think we should take this outside.”

    This hadn’t been part of her plan, but she had to admire his technique. Maybe he wasn’t useless after all.

    The target turned to Sarah. “I’ll be right back after I squash this guy like the tiny little bug that he is.” He patted her rump and started to follow Sarah’s partner out the door.

    Not about to be left behind, she followed them both. As she exited the bar, the first thing she noticed was that the target was in mid-transformation. Newbie partner had his gun out, but unless he’d already switched to the department-issued silver bullets, they weren’t going to do him any good. She had to act fast.

    Her grey wings unfolded from her back, no longer hidden by the cloaking spell and her skin hardened, supple to her but as hard as stone to anyone else. Her eyes glowed red and she grabbed her target by his neck and lifted him, one handed. He struggled and wriggled against her hold, but couldn’t break free. She threw him down and leaned into his face before he could stand up again, looking as though about to kiss him but instead breathing a blue gas into his mouth. The gas temporarily immobilized him.

    It would last long enough for them to haul him into PIJD. Her partner had already called the pick-up crew.

    Shedding the darkened, hardened skin and re-cloaking her wings, she turned to her partner. “Glad that’s over. What do you say we go get a drink at somewhere a little nicer than this place?”

    614 words
    @moonduster

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  9. Adana’s Song

    The clink of glasses and the low murmur of voices drifted up to the stage. Sweat soaked through Adana’s tank top and inched its way down to her guitar strap. The humid night air made her eyelids heavy but it also made her voice husky. She exhaled a sigh and stepped into the spotlight. Her fingers slipped down into familiar patterns along the guitar neck, her callouses holding the strings perfectly. Her right hand glided across the body, pulling out the notes her mother had shown her – a lovers song. The crowd hushed as Adana began to sing.

    He came in through the back door of the bar. Adana recognized his dark eyes and beautiful black hair even with the blinding stage light obscuring most of her view. He was poetry standing on two legs; he was the one for whom Adana sang. His gaze found hers as he moved forward through the crowd. He stopped just behind the first row of tables and Adana’s heart soared as she began the final verse.

    He reached behind his back and a scream emerged somewhere in the crowded room. Adana knew what was coming; but she could not bring herself to look away from those enchanting dark eyes. The first shot rang out in time with her music, the lovers song now a duet. The sound echoed in her ears as she continued to sing, her soul reliving every moment they had shared. Her fingers danced along the strings, giving life to their love as the second shot rang out. She played the last chord as heat and pain blossomed in her chest. She knew it was her heart breaking; breaking for a love she would never know again.

    Adana watched him as the hot summer air turned cold and her passion for him seeped out of her body into a sticky pool on the stage floor. She saw him smile as her body dropped and she smiled in return. She knew she would relive this moment for a thousand years just to see those eyes smile one last time.

    ***

    Jason flipped off the open sign and began closing early. Again. He’d only been open for a month but he’d thought someone would have stumbled in by now. He was the only bar in a twenty mile radius. He’d heard rumors before he had purchased the business. Some nonsense about the building being haunted and a murder decades ago. But he hadn’t thought superstitions ran high enough in this modern age to impact his profits this much. No one had stepped foot in here since the workers had finished the renovations.

    Jason poured himself a double then plopped down in a chair next to the stage to nurse his drink and his aching wallet. After a few minutes, the clink of glasses and the low murmur of voices drifted up to the stage. Sweat soaked through Jason’s shirt as he looked around the empty bar.

    493 words
    @BrewedBohemian

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  10. Maria waited over an hour at the backstreet motel for Jason but couldn’t wait any longer. Throwing the key on the counter, she walked out, wrapping her coat tight around her, shielding her from the sudden downpour.
    The main street was deserted, the only sound the clipping of her heals.
    A car rumbled behind her, slowing down. The tinted window slid down and Maria smiled, hiding her surprise at seeing her brother.
    “What are you doing in this neighbourhood?” he asked.
    “Seeing a friend,” she replied, her story already prepared. If Carlos knew she was seeing Jason, he would flip. As head of the family, he decided on who she should date.She climbed in next to him.
    “Which friend?”
    “Rita, she’s having problems with Zak.” She stared out the window, the town lights slowly disappearing in the distance. It was silly feeling nervous being with her brother but she knew what he was capable of, had seen him blow a man’s brains out for just looking at her.
    The car drove slowly around winding roads, deeper into the desert and Maria felt uneasy, not because they were going completely wrong way but because she hated being around when Carlos did business, reminding her how feared he was.
    The car stopped and Maria saw another car ahead where two men stood, the headlights flooding a usually dark desert.
    “Get out,” Carlos ordered. She did as she was told despite the rain. Her hair whipped around her face but she saw, through tangled strands, a man kneeling between the two men.“Come,” Carlos said. She followed him, trying not to stumble in her Louis Vuittons. “Do you know this man?” Carlos asked as one of the men pulled back the kneeling man’s hair, revealing a bloodied, battered face. She stifled a gasp, biting down on her quivering lip as Jason was thrown to the floor. “I asked do you know this man?”
    She shook her head, unable to speak. She watched Jason crawl back up. He was swiftly kicked in the stomach, groaning as he curled up on the ground. She inhaled sharply, holding her breath, trying in vain not to let her feelings escape and betray her.
    “So you do know him?”
    She nodded, looking into Jason’s eyes. She saw no pain. His eyes spoke to her, silent words of love. It looked like he was mouthing something to her, words of love, she was sure and a faint smile passed her lips.
    A loud bang vibrated through her, rattling her bones, echoing through the night. Jason tumbled to the floor, blood oozing from a neat hole in the middle of his forehead. Screaming, she ran to him, cradling the lifeless body in her arms, tears streaking her face, his blood smearing her skin.
    “He was a cop!” Carlos bellowed above the wind. “A fucking cop! He was only seeing you to get to me you stupid bitch!” He threw a shovel at her feet. “Now dig!”
    Maria obeyed, her heart empty, her body shattered. She knew Jason was a cop, that’s why she didn’t tell Carlos. But Jason wasn’t interested in him. He truly loved her. He didn’t even know she was Carlos’ sister.
    Exhausted, Maria fell to the ground as the men pushed Jason in the shallow hole. She watched as the desert sands covered his beautiful face until they patted the sands down and walked away.
    Just Carlos and Maria remained. Even the rain stopped as he stared down at his little sister, a traitor. There were no words and Maria knew he would banish her, disown her. But she didn’t care. Nothing mattered now Jason was gone. Carlos would do her a favour, freeing her from his empire of terror.
    She heard the distinct click of his gun and looked up, gazing down the barrel. She didn’t see Carlos’ tears. She didn’t feel afraid. She saw Jason, when they first met. It was her last thought as a bullet ripped through her heart. Maria slumped on Jason’s grave.
    Carlos calmly walked back to his car, he didn’t look back once. Darkness descended and the desert was at peace once more.

    694
    @Lizzie_Koch

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  11. I hate those old sayings about couples. “We are one,” and all that crap. I really hate the one, “We are soul mates.” Tell me that one, “We’re soul mates! Is she your soul mate?” and I swear, I’m gonna bitch slap you. “She’s the missing half of my soul!”

    Jesus. Get a life.

    Even that one from Princess Bride. What was it? Oh, yeah. “True love.” Yeah. That crap. Tell me, “It’s true love,” and I’m gonna sing, “True Love’s Kiss” from Enchanted. You know. That first ten minutes when that silly cartoon part is on, and everybody’s singing about true love’s kiss.

    I’m all about understanding, and coöperation, and being best friends. Yeah. That’s what she is. She’s my best friend. She understands me. I like to think I understand her, but hell, I don’t even understand simple things like what to say when someone asks me, “How are you today?” So, I gotta be honest. I probably don’t understand her at all. But I like to pretend I do.

    I can tell when she’s happy. Usually anyway. I mean, she likes to cuddle when she’s happy. Or maybe I’ve got that backwards, and she likes to cuddle ‘cause it makes her happy. I don’t know.

    I just know she’s my best friend.

    You ever heard those duets. The really good ones. The classy ones. Not like say, Beyoncé and Kanye West. Mushy, market driven crap. I mean the good stuff. Like Kenny and Dolly. Or Streisand and Diamond. Or even Ross and Richie. Now those are duets. Two individuals, singing a song, making it more than either could make it alone. Yet both stand alone. Neither needing the other.

    Friends. That’s what it’s about.

    If we could sing, we’d be a duet. But we can’t sing. Or, you know. I can’t sing. I croak. In a monotone. It’s like I sing one note, and make it louder or softer. So, we’re not that kind of duet.

    We’re more of a duet of instruments. Violin and Viola? Nah. Two cellos maybe? I don’t know. We’re not like that classical stuff. We’re more like two guitars. Acoustic guitars. Yeah. And we play different notes. We’re good alone. But when we get together. We’re better than we are alone.

    Yeah. We’re like that. A guitar duet.

    So, don’t talk to me about that soul mate crap, or how we’re each the other’s half. We ain’t any of that crap. We’re two separate people. Two individuals. But beautiful music happens when we get together.

    Yeah. A guitar duet. I like that.

    429 Words
    @LurchMunster

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  12. Mellow. Definitely mellow. I sip the golden liquid in my glass and look at my companion. He watches the guitarist. Warmth radiates from my lips to my stomach and I can feel all tension in me dissolve. The light plays on his strong features giving definition to the laugh lines around his eyes and mouth. I let the music sway me and he turns that smile my way. The heat in my abdomen raises a notch. Whatever I am drinking has melted my usually uptight inhibitions. His eyes sparkle and he holds his hand out to me. Long elegant fingers on a work strong hand, I like the combination and slide my own onto his palm. He curls his fingers around mine, not possessively but protectively and helps me stand. He leads me through the tight crowd to the handkerchief sized parquet dance floor. My brain does not even consider protesting my lack of dance skill; with his arm around me I can do anything. The music seeps into my muscles and his strong sure confidence moves me fluidly around the floor. As holiday liaisons go, this one is perfect. Tall, handsome and confident and knows how to choose an expensive wine to woo me with and we don’t speak. I cannot speak his language. I lean my head into his shoulder and breathe in the scent of him. My senses are in ecstatic overload. Musk and spice and hot skin in my nostrils, music caressing my ears and wine tingling my tongue. Best of all, this wonderful dance on my last night here. The last notes of the song fall into a hushed silence then dissipate into the appreciative roar of the crowd and I yell my own appreciation as if I were some teen groupie. He tugs me gently back toward the tiny table against the dark timber wall and I wonder at being in a place where my purse and wrap are where I left them. A new tune starts. Lively and full of bounce and he leaves for the bar, smiling over his shoulder at me. I smile and wait for him to turn then squeeze my way through the crowd. I leave with no explanation. Better to go now and savour this lovely Valentines night and all the romantic ideal of an exotic encounter. I flag a taxi and give the address of my hotel. I don’t allow myself to imagine any what ifs in the ride through the night bright streets, no need to sully it with unrealistic expectations and no regrets. At the lobby I collect my key and smile my language ignorance at the clerk. In my room I pack my suitcase. It is an early flight.
    I buckle my seat belt. I slept deeply and woke up still feeling mellow. I found a smile playing around my lips. I have decided I like smiling and intend to develop a few smile lines of my own. I slide on the headphones. I don’t want to talk to my seating companions. I tilt my seat back, close my eyes and think about the man I met on my holiday; the one who will dance through my dreams for a long time to come. I am interrupted by an air hostess tapping my shoulder. She hands me an envelope and says it is from the pilot. There is a CD case inside and a note in a fine strong hand inviting me to dance. My whole starts new smile lines.
    586 words
    @cc_lark

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  13. my whole face starts new smile lines 🙂

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  14. These are all so beautiful!

    Like

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