Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.6

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 6.

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 MIDNIGHT Pacific Time on Friday. You read that right. Pacific Time.

This week’s song prompt comes courtesy of the great Nina Simone…
The tune is, “In the Dark”.
Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/HmANmf7fXUI

This week’s Judge is author, temptress, and host of the Thursday Threads flash fiction challenge… Siobhan Muir!

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday April 25th.

Now… go write!!!

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Posted on April 22, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. In the Dark, a Choice

    I close my eyes, fighting to keep the count straight, trying to keep the rhythm going.

    I’ve danced this dance too many times not to know when it’s close to ending. My lips touch his, and the taste is bittersweet. I know I’m losing him, but I can’t let go– I never could.

    So I fight to keep the dance going. I signal the conductor for another refrain, and then another but the band is tired and I can feel the rhythm slowing.

    I know the steps– I know them by heart and I can feel myself fumble as emotions get the better of me. I beg him with my eyes, but his are closed as he loses himself in the dance. I want him to look at me– to tell me it’s all right but I know how this ends.

    We never really had enough time, we never do and I can feel my old enemy creeping onto the dance floor. In the end, no one really calls the shots. The dancers come and do their part until our dance partner makes his choice and walks away with the one he feels is right.

    My challenger moves closer and I can feel her hand on my shoulder, ready to cut in. I try to push the hand away but I know I can’t keep this up. If I fall, I lose, and I’m a sore loser.

    It’s not my place to call the dance, but just this once I wish I could… to tell him to rally, to beg him to stay. My lips touch his one last time, a final gift, a final prayer.

    When I move away I see his eyes and smile. He’s made his choice. For now he’s decided to stay, but it’s a long ride from here to the hospital, and anything can happen.

    @mishmhem
    Word Count 310

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  2. The Detective and The Dressmaker

    He stands at the edge of the rooftop terrace, looking down into the breezeway, where lights twinkle, music plays and people dance. The scent of night-blooming jasmine pirouettes in the descending twilight, mingled with the bouquet of fried rice and roasted duck so prevalent in his neighborhood

    India’s voice drifts over his shoulder, as expected and welcome as a favorite melody. “It’s rude not to attend a party thrown in your honor.”

    “Yes,” he says, turning and holding out a brown paper package bound with pale pink ribbon, “but I’m not so crass as to forget a gift for the hostess.”

    “Nor so gauche as to forgo impeccable attire,” she says, reaching past the gift to stroke the collar of his white satin blouse.

    He takes a step back. “Go on. Open the box.”

    She lifts a black crushed velvet scarf from its nest of tissue paper. “Oh, it’s exquisite. Thank you.”

    “Thank you for the party. And for the job. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the work.”

    “Screw the police department and their dress code,” she says, wrapping the scarf around her neck and settling her long brunette hair over it. “You could make a very lucrative living on your own, Jun, without their censorship.”

    He looks across the rooftops at the surrounding buildings. “They haven’t accepted me here either.”

    She scoops up the ribbon from her gift and playfully ties it in a pretty bow around his throat. “You haven’t given them a chance.”

    He smoothes a hand down the seams of his black linen skirt. “I didn’t give you a chance, yet here you are.”

    “Yes, but only because I wore you down. And still, you’re full of mysteries.”

    He arches a well-penciled brow. “Like?”

    “I’ve been altering your clothes for months now. I know every intimate detail of your body, save for one. But I’ve never asked because the answer wouldn’t change who you are.”

    He stands still, a proud silhouette against the sky.

    “And it wouldn’t change my intention of sharing a celebratory dance with you. Here. Tonight. In the dark.”

    His jaw tics. “Where no one can see us.”

    She catches his hand in hers. “I’d be happy to dance with you downstairs. Or in the street. Or at a club. I’m not ashamed to be seen with you. In or out of an SFPD uniform, you’re an outstanding detective. With or without makeup and heels, you’re a brilliant, complex, gorgeous man.”

    “And you’re more tenacious than the plague,” he says, making no move to close what little space remains between them.

    “Today, you saved the daughter of a very influential man. Now the Russians will come to you instead of the police. And your own countrymen will come to you too, in spite of their reservations, because your actions were honorable. So, yes, when it comes to restoring your reputation, after the despicable way the department disgraced you, I am shamelessly tenacious. Will you begrudge me that?”

    He closes his eyes and sighs. “How can I, my precocious tigerlily?”

    She tugs his hand. “Then dance with me.”

    “If I do, there won’t be any mystery left between us.”

    “There will always be mysteries between us. Different customs, different worldviews, different goals.”

    He pulls her into an embrace, holds her body close to his.

    “Oh,” she says, a smile curving her mouth.

    At the edge of the garden terrace, the scent of jasmine permeating the air, the sound of music rising from the breezeway, and the Russian dressmaker in his arms, detective Jun Song dances in the dark.

    – – – – –
    595 words (new words added to a WIP) / @bullishink

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  3. A hollowed sound hovered over the house, as if an airplane took off and stopped mid-air. The walls shook and windows vibrated, and Jaycee opened her eyes in the dark. She listened, straining to imagine the source.

    “Honey, do you hear that?” She reached across the bed, feeling for her husband, only to discover a cold spot.

    Sitting up, she pulled the covers up, clutching them to her bare chest. “Mark?” she called out louder. Her voice echoed, cascading with the cacophony from above before dying out.

    Where could he have gone? The clock shone 2:22. They’d been asleep for a few hours. She leaned over toward his side of the bed, stretching to reach the wall switch. It clicked, and nothing. No light to chase away the nighttime heebie-jeebies.

    It couldn’t be a power outage if the clock still worked, she thought. Maybe the bulb burnt out – at an odd time.

    She shivered, a chill dancing up her spine. Really, she’d rather not get out of bed, dangle her naked feet over the edge for whatever may lay in wait underneath to grab her and drag her to the darkness.

    Look at her, as frightened as a child after a nightmare. Maybe she should crawl under the blanket and hide. Mark was bound to come back to bed after he’d finished whatever wanderings he’d gone off to – for a snack, or investigating that noise himself.

    Her conscious nagged at her, though. As an adult, she had responsibilities. She couldn’t think only of herself. What if he’d gotten hurt, or was ill?

    What if it was an alien spaceship abducting young married couples for tortuous experiments?

    Shaking her head, she banished the image. A brilliant spotlight shot in through the window, briefly illuminating the entire room. Her eyes protested the sudden infusion of light, and she cried out in surprise. As quickly, the light flashed off, leaving glowing spheres hovering in her vision.

    Maybe it was a police helicopter, out searching for an escapee or someone who’d committed a heinous crime. Surely Mark heard her, and would come, right?

    Alone.

    With a deep sigh, she resigned herself into action. She crawled toward the foot of the bed, and slipped on her nightgown. Jaycee placed her feet on the frame, and leapt out away. Yes, she felt a bit silly but no monsters sunk their claws into her tempting flesh. From the dresser, she grabbed the Maglite. It clicked on with a dim but comforting yellow cast. The batteries must be running out. She’d have to remember to replace them.

    As Jaycee moved down the long hallway toward the front of the house, a creak stopped her. Was that her, him or something else?

    The pitch of the sound escalated, like an engine picking up speed and varoom, it whisked away.

    Silence.

    The emptiness filled her with sorrow and remorse. She ran, crashing into the door jar, overcompensating and smashing her hip on the corner of the piano. The closer she got to the front of the house, the more the fear spread in her chest. She stubbed her big toe on the wood floor. Nothing mattered, only finding him.

    The front door gaped wide open, and the full moon threw light over the porch steps. Mark stood in the middle of the grass, wearing only his boxers, staring upward. The damp blades clung to her soles as she crossed the yard, and touched his shoulder. He turned, mouth ajar and the moon reflected in his pale blue eyes.

    “Did you hear that?”

    @LouisaBacio
    592 words

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  4. week 2.6

    Finding romance.

    The lights are low and the dance will be over too soon. Music drifts from the building. Late

    night smooth, wraps around the entwined couples on balconies, sliding into the ears on

    hidden paths in the shadowed garden. Golden splashes from the arched doors form lazy

    pools in the dark grass. The scent of crushed flowers settles heavy over everything.

    In the dark space behind a solid brick wall he leans against her and puts his fingertips to

    her mouth.

    “Hush, keep still.”

    Her heart races like the horses she watched earlier in the day; this whirlwind day. The music

    makes her want to twist sensuously, lifting her arms into the cool night air. She wants to

    dance more and let all the bubbles of energy in her limbs flow out of her fingertips but he

    holds her pinned against the wall and hushes her.

    “Be still my dusky little plum.” His hot breath on her face.

    “No one can see us here.” His breath on her lips.

    “Just you and I.”

    Her heart skips a beat. He presses his lips to hers. She wants to coil her arms up and wrap

    them around his neck and revel in the moment but they are pinned behind her with his

    strong hand holding her wrists together.

    Their mouths become the epicentre of volcanic heat. She is not aware of anything but the

    kiss. No sound, no scent, no other sensation penetrates that bliss.

    He lifts his mouth from hers and the cool air rushes between them. She giggles.

    “Please be quiet and do keep still.” He whispers. The harsh edge of his words sends a

    warning signal to her brain.

    She feels the solid roughness of the stone at her back. The chilled night air teases bumps

    across her shoulders. The music has ended. She tugs her hands and he hesitates then lets

    them go. She pushes away from the wall and puts a fingertip in the middle of his chest.

    “It was fun” she whispers “but I am no one’s little plum and I need to move.” She shimmies

    and wriggles but he can’t see her in the dark. He reaches out to grab her and fills his

    hands with empty air. She skips along the path.

    “I need music and movement in my romance.” Her voice floats back to him. “I will miss your

    kiss, a little.”

    Then she is gone and he is alone. In the dark.

    409

    I have reformatted this three times and attempted to put double spacing in here to make it easier to read but I don’t know if it will cramp it all up again when I hit post comment. Hopefully it wont. 🙂

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  5. The Easter Ball was in full swing when the guests were plunged into darkness. Those brave enough, stayed on the dance floor as the band slowed down but the majority pooled around the bar where a couple of candles staved off the darkness, as far as knowing what the revellers were drinking. Ellie swayed to the music, enjoying the feel and the space, the freedom darkness brought.
    She thought she was alone until a hand skimmed down her bare arm. She felt warm breath on her face as an arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her in tight, feeling his athletic body against hers. His hand reached for hers; smooth, gentle but firm, clasping Ellie’s as he lead her across the dance floor without protest or question.
    No words were uttered. Even the band seemed to disappear as Ellie sank into the arms of the stranger. His stubble brushed against her cheek as a finger trailed down her bare back. Shivers of excitement travelled through her body, giving her goosebumps.
    “What’s your name?” Ellie whispered.
    “Shhh,” came the reply as a finger pressed against her lips. Under the blanket of darkness, he stopped whirling her around. They both stood silently, motionless before he cupped Ellie’s face in his hands. Her beating heart was the only sound as his lips grazed hers, a barely there touch before caressing her neck. She pressed her hands against his chest, feeling the definition under the silk shirt, moving up to his broad shoulders. Her fingers combed through his thick, soft hair, wondering what colour it was, wondering how he sounded, the colour of his eyes.
    Darkness brought intimacy in a room filled with people, took away inhibitions and made Ellie feel she was the only woman in the world. Usually, Ellie was the last to be invited to dance, people feeling awkward around her but the darkness put Ellie on the same level. She wished, whilst her stranger held her, the lights would blaze and people would see her, Ellie with this tall, handsome man, hoping he would gaze down upon her with just as much affection as he had shown in darkness.
    “I must go, thanks for the dance,” he said in a deep, brooding voice that Ellie had already imagined.
    “But, I don’t know your name.”
    “You don’t need a name,” he replied, crushing his lips on hers as his arms enveloped her. “I’ll see you soon,” he said.
    “But-”
    “You’ll know it’s me,” he replied. Ellie stood alone. She heard footsteps and chatter around her. Her heart felt heavy. He’d seen her in the cold, naked light and left her.
    “Oh my God! Who was that you were snogging?” Marie’s voice shrilled.
    “You saw?” Ellie asked.
    “Everyone saw! Everyone! He’s the hottest guy here!”
    “You mean he stayed when the lights went up?” Ellie asked.
    “Of course he did! What, you thought he’d take one look at you and run a mile?” Ellie shrugged. “Oh Ellie! When will you learn! You’re blind! Not a monster! He liked you for you not because you can’t see.”
    “Hey,” the deep, brooding voice said, “I noticed you needed a drink before the power cut.” He handed Ellie a flute of champagne, guiding it into her hand.
    “You did?” He reached up her spare hand, pressing it to his face.
    “You have a lovely smile,” Ellie said.
    “So do you Ellie, so do you,”

    565
    @Lizzie_Koch

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  6. When Hope Dies

    Sleep evaporated as the bare bulb flickered, and shadows danced on the rusty door as he burst into the room. I turned towards him as my heavy eyelids opened. His eyes softened and butterflies fluttered in my stomach. His footsteps pounded across the floor, covering the space between us quickly. Just a few paces away, he paused and I leaned up on my elbow. My body moved slowly and his lip curled in a wry smile as I cursed.

    I am one of the last.

    I was lightheaded, and the hum of the generator chugging away next door filled my ears, or maybe my heightened senses filled the silence, I wasn’t sure. I lifted my body, gently swinging my legs over the side of the bed and stared at him.

    That smile I adored tickled his lips. I sighed and held up my hand as he stepped closer. I shook my head and he waited and as I gazed my belly growled.

    “Hungry?” He chuckled.

    My eyes slaved across his body as I nodded. “Oh, yes,” I replied.

    Pins and needles tingled in my toes, spreading across my feet and up my calves. I let the sensation spread and die then stretched my toes and feet. I felt life flood back into my exhausted body.

    A machine blipped and I dragged my eyes from him. Wires fed from the machine into my hand and I considered the device I was attached to.

    “I’m still waiting…” his voice pierced me and I grinned, pulling the cannula from the back of my hand.
    Crimson bloomed, pulsing like the blood coursing through my quivering heart. I tore a strip of the grimy sheet beneath me and wound it around my hand. An automated voice, which crackled, echoed in the stark, empty room. “Life preservation terminated. Life preservation ter…” I pulled the lead from its base and stared into his eyes, a smile of promise flowering on my pale face.

    He stepped forward, reaching me in only one step, and placed his fingers on my lips, his gentle fingertips pressing lightly against my dry mouth. My heart somersaulted and my mind whirled as he leaned close. His fingers trailed down my chin, tracing the contours of my neck and across my collarbone. I shuddered, my breath catching in my throat and tingles exploding as his fingers danced across my translucent skin.

    The generator in the adjacent room sputtered and gulped and abruptly stopped. The light flickered off plunging my room into darkness. I heard my own gasp echo softly as he whispered in my ear “Stay still, please, be still…” and his breath sighed across my neck.

    I relaxed in the blackness letting his lips caress my skin, letting his scent wind itself into my brain, letting his touch simmer in my memory.

    Maybe I am the last, I can’t remember anymore. So for a few minutes more, hours even, I’ll take my romance in the dark, until I’m finally gone and there’s nothing left behind…

    (502 Words)
    @LastKrystallos
    http://thelastkrystallos.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/blues-buster-when-hope-dies/

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  7. Flakes

    Morty watched the dust laze in the triangle of light as he kicked off his sock, still sopping wet with seawater. The dust reminded him of the old snowglobe he used to keep on the mantle at the old place, back when he had a mantle to keep knicknacks like snowglobes on. He grinded his teeth on his cigarette and narrowed his eyes. He swore the snowglobe had a cactus in it, a cactus wearing sunglasses and a sombrero, holding a sign that read “Cool in Camp Verde.” The whole concept now seemed so bizarre to him that he wondered if he was misremembering it.

    Reed, smile ablaze, knocked on the doorframe of Marty’s bedroom. Plaster rained on the overpadded shoulders of his sports coat. “Knock knock.”

    “What did I tell you about redundancy?” Morty grunted. “Now look at you. Covered in snow.”
    Reed tossed a legal pad onto Morty’s lap and sat next to him on the mattress. Morty shifted until he was a more comfortable distance away from him.

    “What is this?”

    Reed slapped the legal pad. “The numbers! The numbers! I showed that guy I know the picture and he told me all this, yeah, look there– he still didn’t really believe me but am I inviting him over? Nah, bad news all around, that guy is not a dinner guest if I ever didn’t meet one–”

    Morty squinted at the pen scratches all over the page. He could maybe make out a “2” here and a letter “t” there but that was about it. He waited for Reed to calm down and start making sense but that didn’t seem to be happening.

    “Just tell me how much we’re getting,” Morty said, shoving the papers back at Reed.

    “That’s what I’m saying,” Reed insisted. “The numbers are different depending what condition it’s in. If we can keep it alive for a few days, we’ll get twice the amount than dead. Which is upwards of three thousand dollars.”

    “Three thousand– Sure. That. Let’s do that,” Morty agreed. “We’ll just get… uh… whatever they eat.”

    Reed pulled a small white plastic bottle out of his pocket. “Picked it up on the way home.”

    He rose and Morty followed, because the last thing Morty wanted was for Reed to be alone in the room with their Upwards of Three Thousand Dollars.

    “You keeping it in the kitchen?” Reed scoffed, glancing at the grease-encrusted pans. He squatted down next to the table and rapped on the glass of Morty’s largest tank. The fish inside gave Reed a dumbfounded look.

    “Don’t bother it,” Morty said.

    “Titan Bass are ferocious predators,” Reed said. “Gotta humble him a bit.”

    Reed unscrewed the cap off the bottle and tapped its side over the tank. Rainbow flecks spilled onto the surface of the water. They clung to it for a moment before they fell.

    “Whoa whoa whoa, we got a ferocious predator here and you’re giving him food for betas?” Morty exclaimed.

    “Just for now,” Reed said. “Enough to tie him over until we catch the kind of stuff he really wants.”

    Morty sat in front of the tank. The bass had put up a good fight, but now it looked pretty ordinary. Dull, even.

    “What do you think is going to happen to him?” Morty asked.

    “Entree with garnish and a glass of Pinot,” Reed replied. “What else?”

    “Hm.” Morty grinded his teeth. The flecks of fish food floated around the bass’s wide, glassy eyes.

    “You ever been to Camp Verde?” Morty asked.

    “Where’s that?”

    Morty shrugged. “I don’t know. I can’t remember.”

    The bass hit against the side of the tank like it intended to turn around. It faced Morty again, but its eyes never really looked at him.

    “I can’t remember,” Morty echoed. “I can’t remember.”

    634 Words @SareeseFeet

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  8. Skin

    Skin on skin, silk smooth in the dark. Tongue tips caress. She is blonde and lissom, picture perfect cliché who knows it, long legs scissored around him, as they begin their dance in the dark. They are faceless in the dim; in their nondescript room with instantly forgettable furniture, where before they were nameless – deliberately so. All the easier to walk away, after the event. Their slow build has become burn; the spark kindled from smoulder over the course of the night, as they toyed with it, passing it back and forth. Now they play upon each other. He kisses her neck; feels her pulse quicken slightly as she shifts to grant him access. Turning. Yielding. Fingers at his shoulders, signals signposting the way. She lets out a breath. Turns back towards him, tresses tickling his bare shoulder, as they, too, touch, tempt and tease. Her smile says she know how it will go; holds promise at its edges. It is in the curve of her raised eyebrow; the heat in her eye.

    He knows how it will go, as he feels her heart beating faster beneath his palm and runs a finger across her lips. That they two will dance. In the dark. The nails curved slightly into his skin tell him so. He reaches for her, to catch her lips with his, to pull her closer in, though she is his already. This is how it will go.

    He breaths her in, as his mouth touches hers; his tongue a taste test, getting the feel for her; of her. This is the moment. He senses the change as it happens; the realisation. Her fingers have found the spot – the one he took care to hide from her, until they lay in the dark. Until she could not see. Still, she has discovered as she explores – the puckered slough; the rough ridges behind his back – a harsh contrast to the skin surrounding it. The place it starts – the change – once it sets in. No hiding it from tentative touch. Now, hesitation sets in. The pause as she realises simple has departed and she is in the company of complex. Still, she reaches in again, for him, with which his appreciation for her grows. He thinks he likes her, which is helpful in the circumstances. He intends to know her better. All the way; in deep.

    Now his kiss is harder, as he tells her, stay still; his hands at her wrists, though she is pliant beneath him, the hold not strong. He breaths out; long steady breaths, into the mouth open below him, lips parted. Deep into the receptive throat – into the heart of her. She makes no sound as it happens. He knows she is not able. He has been here before. This is how it goes.

    Sense loses itself amid sensation, as it happens; before she comes back to herself, stretching languorously. Satiated; not spent. Unlike the body slouched across her, which she moves to one side, seeking not to disturb, though she knows he will not stir. That is not how it goes.

    She observes the dried husk before her. The dessicated remnants far removed from the humanoid shape she knew so well. Intimately once; each now dulled digit, cloaked in dusky powder, resembling dust. He will be missed; at least by her. This is her penance; dues paid, to that before the now. Homage to her then.

    He crumbles easily; after, when she places her hands on him. Runs them over what was once the face and neck of a living counterpart. Flakes disperse across the sheets, coming to rest upon them. The body is as easily disposed of, with a series of caresses; a gentle touch. Little is left now of what once held form and feature. It takes but one large breath outward to drive the skin from where it lies; a parody of snowfall, across the empty room. She watches the dust motes fly, float, then settle, as they, too, end their dance. Takes a step forward, testing the balance; the new distribution of weight, to which she is not yet used. Skin from skin, in the dark.

    @FallIntoFiction

    (700 words)

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  9. The Sunny Side of Darkness

    Do you remember the old song about the sunny side of the street? I do. I always walk on the sunny side of the street. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.
    The sunny side of the street is on the opposite side from the shady side of the street. I don’t like the shady side of the street. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.

    The shady side of the street is where you find the beginnings of the darkly shaded alleyways. I don’t like the darkly shaded alleyways. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.

    The darkly shaded alleyways lead to darkness. I don’t like darkness. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.
    Well, for your information, darkness leads to the Dark. I don’t like the Dark. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.

    The Dark is a very scary place. It is not just the absence of light. It is a palpable thing, the Dark. It has a solidity that sunshine cannot attempt to penetrate. It is where dark things hide, in the Dark. I don’t like dark things. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.

    Dark things have many names and many shapes. Dark things are what we all fear. I don’t like fear. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.
    Fear comes from incidents that have already happened. As they have already happened, you know they can happen again. I don’t like incidents. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.

    Incidents always happen in the dark. It might be just a feather light breeze across your brow. It might be a hand gently touching your ear. It might be a tug at your bed cover. It might be the sound of tiny feet scrabbling across a wooden floor. The common factor to all of them is that they happen in the Dark. I don’t like the Dark. Do you want to know why? Well, even if you don’t, I’ll tell you.

    I only dream of walking down the sunny side of the street. I know what it looks like. I saw it once, when I was a child. Only once! I fight to retain the memory.

    I saw it for a while but the dark things led me into the shade and then into the darkened alleyway. I felt the first shiver as I passed along the alleyway. I heard the noises, the scrabbling, the rattling and the banging. Eventually, when we reached the darkest part of the darkness; they took away my childish toys. They wouldn’t let keep not even a one; my pretty toys, all gleaming and sparkling in the sun. Even the blood looked pretty on the sunny side of the street.

    I heard a door squeak open, the noise just like one of the dark things. As they pushed me into the Dark and slammed the darkened door behind me, I screamed as loud as I could but was only answered by the screeches and wailing from the other Darks.

    Now all is quiet apart from the scratching and scrabbling noises I hear as the dark things try to come for me, again.

    I know you can’t hear me.

    @ScotsJamaican (589 words)

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  10. A Taste of Romance

    Even though the darkness of night closes in, I close my eyes to savor the moment. Not a sound disturbs the moment, this simple time, and the excitement makes my heartbeat race. It took a seeming eternity for him to lead me back here to his home, and to let the darkness fall like a gentle sigh.

    He seems to like to feel as though he’s in control, even here. First, telling me not to move, and then he presses his fingertips to my lips for silence. As if I would ruin this moment by something as guttural as speech. His hands press and explore, all part of this dance in the dark.

    In the dark, he cannot see me as our moment approaches. He thinks that this moment is about him, but he couldn’t be more mistaken. Time passes as my anticipation builds. I can feel his heart beating, and hear his breath in my ear. The darkness wraps us tighter, and I enjoy the comforting embrace. I cannot help but smile, enjoying myself in this time.

    Finally, the moment is right. I trace my lips along his face, down onto his neck. He moans with enjoyment and assumption. Leaning over him, my hands press him down, gently. I taste his nighttime sweat, still sweet without the harsh salt of saturated sunlight. I can’t help a brief pause, I linger just to savor the taste.

    My jaws come together with a satisfying crunch, removing his larynx and most of his throat. He is stubborn, and it takes several seconds of holding him still before he lies still. In the moment, our romance is in full blossom. The warm metallic taste sends me to another place, ecstatic and euphoric. A place where my spirit dances freely, entangled in the blackest of darkness with such a wanton penetration of my body and soul that we are whole. In the space of one fluttering pulse, the power of the stars is ours to wield and direct as we desire.

    And then another pulse beats, and the moment is gone. Another pulse of my heart, at least, as his remains still. His smile remains, still imagining the woman that he saw, the illusion. Here in the darkness, I’m not pretending, as there is only space for reality.

    I lick my fingers and wipe my lips on the bedding. For now, our dance is done, but the night is young, and we can yet find romance in the dark.

    @BryantheTinker
    415 words

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  11. Dance of the 12 Princesses

    Am I still dreaming? I wonder as my eyelids slowly part, revealing a blurred image of figures in motion. I blink again and I see ball gowns gliding across a golden floor. It appears that I am still caught in this reoccurring dream I’ve been having. In my dream, my eleven sisters and I are dancing in this magnificent ballroom, dressed in our best gowns. The ballroom is enormous with pale green walls and rows of floor-to-ceiling windows draped with luxurious cream colored curtains. The ceiling was a masterpiece of smooth clouds reflecting the warm colors of sunset. We have the same dance partners every time. Mine was a man who could have only been of my own creation because he was perfect.

    This has to be a dream. I hope, but it really feels like I am waking up. The images are becoming more crisp and clear and I begin to grow dizzy as my partner spins me across the floor. The music tickles my ears as though it was the first time I heard it.

    “Reece?” my perfect partner asks as I slam into his chest. “Are you all right?”

    I push off his chest and trip over my absurd heels. I stumble, barely missing my sister Giselle, and ungracefully recover. She doesn’t even notice me. Her wide, glazed eyes are fixated on her partner as she giggles about the latest palace gossip.

    I looked around and see that this is the case for all my sisters. “Wha—what’s going on?” I stutter.

    My partner, whom I call Agiel, rushes over to me and snatches me in his arms. “Don’t let them know you are aware.” He cautions under his breath as he effortlessly repositions us back into the dance.

    “What’s going on?” I ask under my breath.

    “Smile and dance.” He instructed with a smile. “Keep your eyes on me.”

    Something tells me to do as he says, but it’s hard. I’ve never been able to hide my feelings, which I’m sure is going to get me and my sisters killed. Something feels very wrong and my heart is banging against my chest in alarm.

    “Don’t look at them!” he snapped, still smiling.

    I look back into his big blue eyes, only this time I’m not enchanted by his good looks and it probably shows.

    His head leans on mine as he brings his mouth close to my ears. “Your sisters are under a very powerful and fragile spell designed to gather information by infiltrating the victim’s mind. Smile. This is all part of a plan for us to invade your world and exact vengeance on your father for casting us out. Laugh like I said something sweet.”

    I try to giggle, but it comes out more like a strangled sigh. A plan of revenge against my father? Casting out? What is he talking about?

    He twirls me around and slowly leads us toward a massive wall drape. When no one is looking, he slips us both behind it.

    “Here.” He says, handing me a small, folded up piece of parchment. “When you leave tonight, take this to your father. It is your only hope.”

    I take it and hide it in my bodice. “What is it?”

    “Information.” He runs his fingers through my hair and shakes a few locks loose. “You need to sell it.”

    I can’t help but to blush. “Why are you…why do they want revenge?”

    He frowned. “We all have demon blood in our veins and were deemed unholy by your father and exiled to the shadows.”

    “De…demons?” I squeaked.

    “You must dance through the pain or they will notice. I’ll try to lift you off your feet as often as I…”

    “Why are you helping me?” I blurted.

    He is taken aback and then shakes his head. “Well…it’s…”

    “It’s what?”

    He grabs my face and kisses me hard on the mouth. I’m shocked and only barely return his kiss out of pure reaction. He pulls away, his eyes downcast. “I thought I hated your kind.” He looks up at me and holds out his hand.

    I take it and he leads me onto the dance for the last time.

    @Chelle87Fox
    697 Words

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  12. Nathan unlocked the door as Kyle leaned heartily against his shoulder, trying desperately to press up against Nathan’s form for as long as possible. He was lean, but sturdy, and Kyle wished he could bite the long expanse of exposed neck before him.

    “Okay, Kyle, time to climb.” Nathan motioned for Kyle to grab the railing, and Kyle did, ascending with Nathan helping him along.

    “You don’t have to do this. I’m perfectly capable of crawling.”

    Nathan chuckled and Kyle liked how it vibrated against him.

    “It’s for my own piece of mind,” he replied, ever so close.

    They made it up the steps and Kyle leaned back to flip on the light switch.

    “Nice place.” Nathan let go of him and Kyle moved over to the arm rest of the couch to perch, but ended up wavering too much for success. Nathan hauled him back up under his shoulder again. “Where’s your bedroom?”

    “What?” Even in his drunken haze, those words buzzed through his body like a shock of electricity. Kyle never thought he would hear those words from Nathan Everett’s mouth.

    Did Nathan smile? It was impossible to know in his current state and so near to Nathan’s face. He was more blurry than anything.

    “You need sleep.” Nathan said.

    Kyle didn’t argue. He knew he was a goner. He just hoped he wouldn’t have to pay for it too much tomorrow. “Down the hall last door on the right,” he said, or maybe slurred.

    Nathan helped him down the hall and into his bedroom. When Nathan went to turn on the lights, Kyle protested. “No light, please.”

    Nathan set Kyle down onto the bed and leaned over to remove Kyle’s shoes.

    “You’ll get some sleep, right?” Nathan asked, and Kyle felt a hand on his leg.

    Kyle nodded. Bad idea. His head spun. “Nathan, I think I’ve had too much to drink.”

    Nathan chuckled. “Probably.”

    “I’m sure I’ve embarrassed myself thoroughly tonight.”

    “Not at all,” Nathan replied, and he could feel Nathan’s warm breath near him. It wasn’t displeasing.

    Kyle humphed. “You’re humoring me. I’ve been a complete idiot.” He tried to look up and into Nathan’s face, but it was shadowed by the night.

    “No, you’re completely adorable,” Nathan said in that husky voice that drove his female fans wild and made Kyle want to….

    Kyle blinked. Did Nathan just complement him? Or was this more humoring? Regardless, he threw a hand out to pat Nathan on the chest, but instead of patting his hand stayed there on Nathan’s breast bone.

    “You’re not so bad yourself,” Kyle said, much lower than he expected it to sound. He wished it hadn’t sounded so cheesy. He wanted to take his hand away, but found he’d rather just stare at it as it laid there. He moved his fingers slightly, fascinated by the feel of soft cotton over rigid bone. He heard the intake of unsteady breath, and wondered who it came from. He trained his eyes on Nathan’s face, but it was too dark and his vision was too blurred to make out his expression.

    Nathan’s hand came up to cover Kyle’s and squeeze. The simple gesture made Kyle’s entire body shudder.

    “I’m going to jet,” Nathan said, “They’re waiting for me.” He took Kyle’s hand and slowly removed it to rest on the bed. Kyle wanted to whimper. Yes, he’d definitely had too much to drink.

    Nathan got up and walked to the doorway. “Night, Kyle,” he said as he turned to go.

    Kyle thought he said goodnight before he hit the pillow, but he couldn’t be sure.

    @HunterFrostMM
    603 Words

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