Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.11

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 11.

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 is a recent release from a new wave legend… Gary Numan.

The tune is… “Here In the Black”. The link; http://youtu.be/kbQuq3GeFIs

This week’s Judge is author and all-around neat person… Christine Fitzner-LeBlanc!

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday May 30th.

Now… go write!!!

 

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Posted on May 27, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Erin McCabe (v2)

    @disturbiakiss

    696 words

    Life Unmade

    “When the Time Bureau invented John Jones (JJ), in 2265, it was heralded as the most significant scientific breakthrough since the hovercar.
    Prior to this, time travel into the past had simply been too dangerous; it was hypothesised that even the smallest action in the past could have massive repercussions for the future. How this was achieved exactly is far beyond my comprehension, but I understand a gap was created in space for the timeline of an individual with no birth or death. Instead JJ had a ten year lifespan, living from 2030 to 2040. His every causal chain, action and reaction was carefully plotted, mapped and documented in the Temporal Manual, something, which, if every agent followed, resulted in no detrimental time alterations.

    Five years after its inception the project was terminated; a 4th world war was looming and the cost of running the system was considered financially untenable. The war was responsible for the decimation of our planet and the destruction of over half our population. The underground bunker which hosted the JJ system remained intact however and was found by a small Group who had pledged themselves to its recovery.
    The majority of scientists had been obliterated during the first wave of the great extinction and therefore, between us, we had only enough expertise to run the system once at its current setting; a one way ticket to 2035. This assuming the machine was still fully functional and wouldn’t just cook us alive. It was little wonder that I was the only volunteer; I had very little left to lose. With only enough power to keep the system operational for 20 minutes I entered the machine, not knowing if these precious minutes were to be my last.
    When I materialised in 2035, in the middle of the established landing point I immediately realised how lost I was without the Temporal Manual; I had no idea what casual complications my actions would cause or how these would eventually manifest. But this of course was always the point, to discover something, anything which could change the future; by avoiding the 3rd World War we could stop the 4th and save everyone. The problem was that I could only act between 2035 and 2040, leaving just 5 years to save the word; it just didn’t seem enough. In order to avoid significant temporal influences I kept to myself, living on the outskirts of Marrakesh and through 5 years of obsessive dedication, research and investigation I finally determined that there was only one way to accomplish my mission; the worst way. I didn’t want it to come to this and no part of me wants to do this, but I have no choice, that is what I need you to understand.”

    The young boy looks at me, his eyes are sad and deep, the rope is cutting into his wrists, he shakes and squirms trying to break free and I feel sick at the sight of it. He doesn’t understand, he’s too young, I’ve talked for too long, too much time spent alone, with only my memories for comfort. He’s only 6, but I can’t wait, I’ve given him all the time I can; JJ’s time ends today at sunset and I can delay no longer.
    I close my eyes and raise the gun, wishing he was a man, wishing he already had the guilt that in adulthood he will accrue, wishing I was someone else. I can sense my end fast approaching; the blurred edges, the cold fingers, the dull ache in my brain; they are all signals. I open my eyes to aim, I want this to be quick, he is crying, he doesn’t understand, but I can’t care. The sound of the gun startles us both, and whilst I remain stunned, he does not, because he is dead.
    The worst part is not knowing, not knowing if this will make any difference at all, but I have to believe it will, how else can I live with myself for the few remaining minutes I have left. My vision fades and all I see is dark and vague, hopefully the feeling of a life unmade.

    Like

  2. wc 302

    Down Here.

    In the beginning the absence of light seems the most cruel of punishments.

    Some die quickly, some cry out to earless Gods and some more hardy souls survive.

    For a while.

    They are unmade and all their hopes are lost, they fade, here in the black.

    Up at the top of this city world the verdant foliage of the lungs of the world decorate the skyline and act as the alveoli of the planet, pumping oxygen into the stratosphere, glistening wet in the warmth of the sun, messing with the equilibrium but down here in the foetid bowels deep beneath the lowest layers of infrastructure there is only the black bleak darkness.

    Down here is where the human detritus is sent to die.

    Down here other things lie, in wait.

    A blind man would have more time to contemplate his crime and perhaps avoid the bleak future that awaits the fools and criminals sent below but no blindness now exists in the gleaming world above and those who end up here live out their short span of days or hours in perfect fear as what their eyes cannot perceive presses hard against the ear.

    Breathe soft lest the things below hear your breath and come for you.

    Here in the black.

    What is out there who knows but it comes for me.

    I hear the whispers, the slithers and groans.

    I feel the chill seep into my bones.

    I want to hide but where could I go?

    Here in the black there is nowhere.

    I stumble

    I kneel

    For one stupid moment I pray to the earless heedless gods

    Something brushes against my will, against my skin and stillness fills my very being seeping into every pore. The blackness oozes inside me, outside me and it comes and I am no more.

    @cc_lark

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  3. Miranda Kate

    Paul smashed his head against the wall and screamed as hard as he could. He felt the dribble down to the tip of his nose. He wiped it away absently. It hadn’t helped.

    He grabbed his jacket and rushed out of the apartment, shrugging it on as he fled down the steps to the street. He couldn’t have given a toss that it was two in the morning and the city was flooded with drunks exiting nightclubs, he didn’t see them.

    He didn’t want this, not tonight, not tomorrow, not any day, but he didn’t have a choice; it was his birth right.

    As the urge got larger he picked up the pace and started running. There was only one place for his kind to go and he needed to get there, a place of sanctuary, a place of understanding.

    But even as the building came into sight he already knew it was too late. They were in the back of mind already, pushing forward consuming every thought, every impulse, every breath.

    He stumbled, trying hard focus on his intent, something they wanted to stop. He slowed, forcing each foot in front of the other, resisting what they wanted; he wasn’t going to turn round, he wasn’t going to the bridge – he WAS worth more than that.

    The lights were on; the building was open twenty-four hours. There was a man on the door – he knew that, but that meant they did too. The whispering escalated to full-blown raised voice, and he was reduced to his knees, crawling on all fours, each move a personal triumph over them.

    A man bleeding from his head, and crawling along a street in the early hours of the morning; Paul knew what the public saw, but it didn’t mean he should do what the voices wanted; it didn’t mean that he was worth nothing and he had no right to be here; it didn’t mean he was scum or worthless and didn’t deserve to live!

    He shouted back, becoming aware that it was out-loud rather than his head, the humiliation bringing a wave of rage that pushed them out for a moment, allowing him to stand.

    The white steps up to the facility were now in sight as was the security guards window. Relief flooded through Paul as he caught the man’s eye, but it dulled the rage, bringing them back full force and he was unable to climb the steps unaided.

    He heard a bell ringing and several white-coated people came out to help the security guard bring him inside, their questions barely audible over the noise in his head. Once in the entrance hall he could only drop to his knees and cover his.

    Then a pair of warm hands rested on his, and a soft voice reached him as though across a great void.

    “Paul? Paul? Can you hear me, it’s Audrey. Paul, look at me, lift your head.”

    He brought his head up a fraction. A light flashed in his eyes. There was rustling around him, and her voice came again.

    “We’re just going to move you into the exam room Paul. Relief is coming soon, I promise.”

    He felt himself being lifted, and even though he thought it impossible, the noise inside reached a whole new level. He knew Audrey wasn’t going to torture him, or probe him, or experiment on him, he knew she wouldn’t harm him. He wasn’t going to try and hurt her and run from this place, this was where he needed to be and he repeated that over and over to try and placate them.

    But they didn’t stop, not until the needle went in his arm, and the drug flooded into his bloodstream, which fortunately only took a few seconds.

    He slumped back, exhausted, knowing that he’d made it; the attack was over – he’d won. But it was just a single battle in a war that was going to rage for the rest of his life, and each battle was fight to the death – maybe next time he wouldn’t make it.

    682 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  4. Prayer Shelter

    Squirrel hunched over a bit into his hoodie as he stood in line at the Prayer Shelter. It was one of the high end shelters run by The Church. You signed into a cubicle with an internet station and for a certain number of clicks you could stay the night in the cube where there was coffee, water, juice and soup as well as a cot. You had to do your clicks before you could unlock any of the beverages other than coffee. Only catch, once you were in there was no getting out without doing your clicks until morning.

    Squirrel was more jittery than usual. Keeping the speed dose in sync with the implants was harder than it had initially seemed. He needed a safe place to come down a little and a way to keep the implants distracted so his body could rest. He could request a direct jack which would let his brain do the work so he didn’t burn out. The direct jack cubie meant more click throughs required but he had a feeling if this worked he was about to become the Church’s favorite junkie.

    He settled into the cube, opened the antiseptic pad and wiped off the jack, then guided it to the micro USB port in the back of his skull. He had already set the connection to auto so it immediately sent him the search list. The Church referred to the list as Devotionals but they were just searches so you could get to a site and then click on the suggested ads based on where the Devotionals took you. The Devotionals controlled the Church members lives, they lived and died by where the Devotionals took them and what products were “recommended” to them according to their searches. Squirrel had always figured the Church must have some way of making revenue off the clicks but didn’t really care. This was just a safe place to crash.

    He wasn’t sure how the mystery implants were going to affect this whole thing and at first it seemed pretty standard and he started to relax a bit but once his brain adjusted to the direct interface his clicks started to speed up. He finished his first list and requested a second one and then changed the setting to automatic so they would just keep coming as he completed each set. As the Devotionals started to swirl around him and his over-clocked brain continued on with its clicking tasks he started to see a pattern. He figured the Devotional lists would be random or maybe just sites and Corps that paid for a ranking preference but it became pretty obvious that it was more than that, The Church was manipulating the flow of money and business over the net on a vast scale. But that wasn’t all of it, that wasn’t even the important part of it. Something was happening as a result of the overwhelming number of brains interacting on the net. He shifted the process of clicking to the background and focused on the swirl of data that showed him everyone connected to the net via direct link. His dual implants showed him every single organic processor spread out before him like a map. Then he saw one of the processors start to overload and burn out, then another, and another. Out of the black surrounding the connections something arrowed towards him with a rabid hunger. But Squirrel knew all about hunger. Every addict did, so he just opened up and took the hit. The electrical storm in his brain felt a lot like an OD, but he’d survived those before. Nose bleeding he rode it out. Then his ability to put the puzzle pieces together started to match the lightning speed of his drug and implant enhanced processing. He saw it all and the horror almost undid him.

    ***

    Micki listened to the voice mail Squirrel had left at 5AM.

    “Micki, we need to talk, talk, talk. I know about Scream, Scream, Scream. The nightmares have started, yeah? Dead Sam, Dead Sam, Dead Sam. Gotta make it stop before all the organics melt. Coming over.”

    Micki froze. How the fuck did he know?

    @MissBliss
    Words: 700 not including title

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  5. Fight the Fear

    They are here and they have found him. Marc finds himself closing his eyes of his own volition, to shut out that first glance. Now he kids himself he is alone in the darkness; that the hunger does not stalk him, though he feels – or thinks he feels – the shadow across his eyelids, despite the fact that they are squeezed tightly shut, scrunched together as hard as he can manage. White patterns dance in the darkness, with intermittent spots of blue.

    Marc knows what they are; knows how best to deal with them, as do they all. They have been schooled in their methods, the theory of the practice, many times since the first disappearances began. His breath is laboured, as he seeks to still it; air whistling past his teeth in ragged rattle before blow. Too fast, too quick! His heart picks up pace – pitter patter – as he realises, before he can calm it and he knows he is lost. He feels the hunger latch on to him, home in, creeping, crawling towards him. Coming. For him. For him alone. Tonight.

    There is no avoiding it, now the process has begun – he knows it. He was ill prepared for how it would feel; the reality of them. A second and he is caught, though he finds himself putting foot in front of foot, running blindly towards homesteads through scratchy shrubbery and resistant branches in the hope of chancing upon familiar faces. He knows he won’t make it. The thought hits him hard, though he seeks to still it, box it away, before he can process it properly. Too late! It is upon him and they are on it, with it, with him, getting closer, as he fights for calm, to control instinctive reaction. An impossible task and he knows it, as the adrenaline created by his flight pumps through his body, muscles tensed – and they are riding the thought and towards him, closer, still nearer. Marc thinks perhaps within reach – and again, the chill runs right through him, hairs standing on end on his arms, as he brushes them briskly. All so inevitable now. He should never have been out after dark, though they hit without notice, where and when they will. Daylight, dark, seek and find a susceptible target – a moment of weakness and gone! Perhaps he has lasted longer than most. Again, his pulse races, the jump of the heart. Slow, Marc thinks. Slow!

    He thinks he should pray, though he knows there is no mercy here. Not now, not ever. Simply for something to do – to fill his mind with words over thoughts, to stop them riding rough shod over him; through him; in him. Marc knows the prayers of those who went before him went unanswered – and there have been many, too many, of those. So few left now, in reality. He is cold now, through to the bone, though the evening was mild before, he thinks. He finds he no longer knows, for definite. Finds he cannot run; not now, not any more – body encased in an ice of fear, impossible to break through; chip away at. With that, he is done, dealt the final self-inflicted blow, sinking to the sodden ground beneath him. He is lost and they will find him. Marc finds himself closing his eyes of his own volition, to shut out that first glance.

    A brief breath of wind announces their arrival; the silent stalking assassins. They are here and they have found him. He finds he cannot help himself, again, that one last time. Marc opens his eyes.

    (602 words)

    @FallIntoFiction

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  6. “Not too tight, Keith. You know I don’t like it when you tie it too tight.” Billy tried to keep from whining, even though the blindfold was too tight, and it really hurt. But he was good at not whining – he’d learned that from Daddy – and Keith just slapped him on the back.
    “Gotta be tight, you know. Can’t peek, can’t take it off. Or it’s not proper Hide and Seek.”

    Keith had just turned twelve, and his voice had started to crack, and when it was right, he sounded an awful lot like Daddy. They didn’t usually let Billy play with them, but Randy’s parents had grounded him for sneaking out after curfew, and Hide and Seek needed at least four guys to be any fun.

    Billy felt Keith grab his shoulders and hold him tight. His hands hurt, more than the blindfold, and for the first time, Billy wondered whether he wouldn’t have been better off letting Keith call him a wuss for not playing. But Daddy wouldn’t just call him a wuss when he found out – and he always found out – so Billy just stayed quiet and listened to his big brother tell him the rules he already knew. And then they were gone.

    “One! Two! Three!” Counting loudly, just as he was supposed to do, Billy strained to listen for the sounds that would tell him where his brother and his friends had gone to hide, but he just couldn’t hear anything over the echo of his own voice. “Nineteen! Twenty!”

    Once he stopped counting, it wasn’t silent, as he’d expected. Billy could hear breathing – not close, but still somewhere in the room. He stepped forward, hands outstretched to make sure he didn’t hit the wall. Billy wasn’t worried about tripping on something – the floor, as always, was perfectly clean. Daddy had tripped on Keith’s baseball mitt once, back when Billy was still in preschool, and Keith had missed the next week of games while his arm healed.

    Footsteps. Off to his left and his right, heavy thumps on the oak floor just out of reach, and Billy spun around. And then nothing but breathing. And then nothing.

    They couldn’t have left – he would have heard the door open – but where were they? The silence dragged on, and Billy forced himself to move. One step, then another, and another. There. Was there a noise off to his left? He stepped quickly in that direction and banged into the wall. Footsteps again.

    “Little Billy hurt himself? Bang into the wall?” Keith’s voice, deep and unwavering, echoed in Billy’s ears. They were moving behind him now, all three of them – he could hear them laughing. But who was that to his right? And to his left? There were too many voices.

    “What…what’s going on, Keith? Who’s there?” The answer was a laugh – loud and harsh, with Daddy’s cruel overtones. Was Daddy home? But it was too early! Billy reached up towards his blindfold, and he felt the smack on his arm.

    “Uh-uh, little Billy. You keep that on until you catch one of us.” Keith’s voice cracked, once, but that was enough. Not Daddy. The monster in his belly let go of his stomach, and he took a breath. This wouldn’t be fun, and they’d make fun of him, but it was just a game. He lowered his arm and heard Keith nodding next to him.

    The room grew silent again, and Billy resumed his hunt. It would go on for far too long, but it would end. He sighed, and tried to concentrate.

    Something skittered by on the floor behind him, and he whirled around. Now it was behind him, and in front, going in circles. Billy paused and tried to get the timing down. Now!
    He leaped forward and grabbed at the sound. But instead of hitting his brother or one of his dopey friends, all he felt were solid legs, much too long for a twelve year old. How did Daddy come in? How did he move like that?

    Billy reached up for the blindfold, but someone grabbed his arms.

    “Nuh-uh, little Billy. Time to stay in the dark.”

    695 words
    @drmagoo

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  7. Guilty Pleasures

    The darkness is so stifling, pressing in on the edges of our subconscious, swallowing our good intentions whole. Nothing else exists outside of this. She swings to the beat. The light playing across her skin, the dress that’s too short, too tight. Men stare. If only we could hunt them all down, tear their eyes from their sockets, bathe in their bloody distress.

    The crowd parts for us as we walk toward her. Do they feel the darkness as we do? Do they fear it as much as we have embraced it?

    Her hips move in circles, the dip of her back arching as her arms wave above her head. She doesn’t notice when we step up behind her, but that little gasp, the way her eyes flutter, how she presses back against us, touching in places that shouldn’t be touched, tells us she feels it when we grab her flesh, pressing our fingers down against bone.

    The beat changes, and so does her dance. Less erratic. Less wild. More sensuous. More bold. I can’t help it when our desire blooms, when her skin turns pink with the blush rushing through her body. How close her blood is to us. Our dark passenger wants her, calls to her, pulls her from the dance floor.

    The alcohol on her breath stains our cheek as she presses us to the brick, wrapping a leg around our waist, kissing our exposed skin. “What’s your name?” she whispers.

    “Jeffrey.”

    “Ted.”

    She giggles, and we sigh in relief. “Nice to meet you Jeffrey Ted. Let’s get out of here.”

    The drive seems too long, the anticipation too much. Her hands wander as we grip the steering wheel too tightly. There’s no trust. In us. In what we would do if we let go too soon, too premature. We know what it feels like to waste a perfectly good opportunity, a perfectly good score. So we moan and we shift and we beg as she expects until finally the car is parked in our driveway, so close to our satisfaction.

    She climbs over the center console, straddling our hips, whispering naughty in our ear. “I can’t wait to fuck you.”

    “Neither can we.” She’s so warm against where we ache, undulating her body in a dance she had perfected at the club. We grow, and she seems to like that. If she only knew.

    She likes bare skin. This woman. She doesn’t waste time when the door closes, stripping us naked and then herself. The clothes mess up our clean living room. Ignore it, we think. We’re almost there. Almost to her submission. Her fear. Metal against skin. In our special place. Where we’ll meet our guilty pleasure.

    Her lips stain our flesh as she pulls us forward. “Where are we going to do this?”

    “Downstairs.”

    She nods as we urge her in the right direction. “Do you have protection?” We wait until she’s hit the bottom landing, turning around, looking back at our shadow silhouetted in the sparse light. “Jeffrey?”

    “We do, but it’s not for you.”

    Her screams don’t pierce through the wood when we slam the door shut. Time to prepare.

    528 words
    @chinchinunicorn

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  1. Pingback: Mid week Blues Buster, year 2, week 11 | Project Gemini

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