Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.32

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 32.

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.


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 singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz.

The tune is… “Dark Road”. Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/IAdRcQGTmgs

This week’s Judge is the proprietor of the Office Mango blog, flash fictioneer pro… Laura James.The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday January 9th.Now… Go write!!!

Posted on January 6, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Susan O'Reilly


    She carried the plastic bag like it was precious treasure but the goldfish had been dead for a while, and we both knew it. My little Sophie through sobs of pure devastation had decided that if we bought Blackie, named because the tip of his tail was black, to the crib, he like the baby Jesus would come back to the crib every year for a visit. I tried to dissuade her but she was resolute.

    After a couple of eggnogs to get over the embarrassment factor, I rang the parish priest with an extra special request. He thought it was the sweetest thing he’d ever heard and had no problem letting little Sophie bring Blackie to the crib. He would do a blessing, his only proviso is that he could use our story in his sermon he thought it would melt the coolness from the hardest heart. I agreed and here I am trying not to cry or laugh at the earnest sincerity of my little Sophie as she placed Blackie in the crib. Father O’Connor relished his role, but I thought the incense was a step too far.

    Afterwards he brought us into the vestry for tea and scones laid out beautifully I’m sure by Mrs. Doyle, who was probably secreted somewhere in the background having a right aul giggle. He asked Sophie would she like to take part in the nativity play, I tried to interrupt as at three, in my opinion Sophie was too young for such a big responsibility. He reassured me that she would not have a speaking part but be part of a crowd section with other cherubic looking toddlers.

    On Christmas Eve we all gathered in the church to watch our little darlings big moment. To my surprise the sermon was all about Sophie and Blackie, and the innocent belief of a young child. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when an older angel escorted Sophie to the crib and presented her with a resurrected Blackie in a bowl that Baby Jesus had left. Sophie’s face was a picture that is cemented in my heart forever.

    Needless to say Sophie and Blackie had a very Merry Christmas and thankfully I had a peaceful one. Father O’Connor has requested that the cake I made in thanks come with a good dousing of Irish Whisky, who am I to argue, miracles can and do happen, reflected in the eyes of a child.

    412 words


  2. Synchronicity

    Alicia stopped walking for a moment and closed her eyes turning her face up to the sky, imagining the light falling on every inch of her skin. When she opened them again, she smiled, looking out across the open land. It was warm and welcoming, and she wanted to run into it. After years of darkness, she felt light returning to her soul.

    Her smile faltered a little as she thought about what she had left; the familiar sick feeling returning to her stomach. But she refused to allow it to pull her under and paralyse her. She was not responsible for his life; she was only responsible for her own. She could choose to put someone else’s desires before her own, or she could choose to follow her heart. He didn’t want to go with her, he wanted to stay, he’d told her that. But she wanted to move on and find more life to embrace.

    She took a deep breath. The sick feeling subsided. He would work it out, and if he not, he could hate her, it didn’t matter. She couldn’t change it how he felt, she could only change herself, and she was more than ready to do that.

    Alicia started walking. Her heels kicked up dust on the dirt track road, but it wasn’t far to the highway. Then she’d hitch a lift into a town and find a motel for the night. She’d be okay. For the first time in a long time she was sure of it.

    When she reached the road there was plenty of cars, although they were slow in stopping for her. By the time she reached the motel on the outskirts of town the light was starting to fade. She was just in time to sit out back on the veranda and watch the sun go down. But she wasn’t alone.

    He sat down a couple of seats away from her. She didn’t know if he was being polite and giving her space, or maybe he wanted to be alone, but it made her curious. The third time she glanced at him their eyes met.

    “Hey.” He said, and smiled.

    Alicia gave a small “Hey” back, grateful the darkness hid her blush.

    “Hope I didn’t disturb you. I just wanted to take a moment.”

    Alicia smiled. “We all need to take a moment sometimes.”

    His smile broadened. He leaned over and put out his hand. “Craig.” She took it and said, “Alicia.”

    “Where you headed, Alicia?” He took a sip from the bottle of beer in his hand.

    “I don’t know yet.”

    He raised his eyebrows. “Just letting the road take you?”

    “Something like that.”

    “Me too. I thought it was high time I saw some of this big country of ours, sick of sitting in the same place, doing the same thing every day.”

    Alicia let out a little laugh. “That’s exactly what I thought. Sadly my other half didn’t feel the same way.”

    “Mine either.” Craig’s smile faltered as he looked out at the darkening fields they faced. He sighed. “It’s the hardest part.”

    “It sure is.” Alicia took a swig from her own bottle, looking out too. “But there’s light after darkness. We can look forward to that.”

    Craig glanced at her with a smile. “We sure can.”

    They drank in silence, Alicia not feeling uncomfortable for the first time in a long time. It didn’t matter that they didn’t speak; they weren’t in a relationship.

    Then Craig stood up and said, “I’m going to turn in, but if I can give you a ride anywhere tomorrow, you just let me know, okay?”

    “Okay. I’ll think on it.”

    “See you at breakfast.”

    “See you.” Alicia smiled and gave a wave of her hand as he disappeared into his room.

    She looked up at the stars. Had she just been offered a new adventure, or would it be foolish to take such a risk? But she knew the answer. Life without risks was pretty boring, she knew that. She smiled, draining the last of the beer, a flutter of excitement in her belly starting up again.

    Words: 689


  3. 12/15/14
    You never asked me how long this was going to last. The last time I saw you was before the accident. I saw you at the hospital. I know you cared . You left right after I really wanted to talk to you. . You just left without saying goodbye. The doctors were not wholehearted that I could walk again. They filled my brain with “one day at a time” bullshit. They didn’t think I could ever try to walk again. I pulled myself up for you or I did it for just the thought of you to see me how I was when we were together. I’m doing better if you care. I writing this without knowing where to send it since you didn’t leave a forwarding address. I thought we were something. I thought we were it. The fact that you left me when I needed you the most hurts more than the burns. I still pull myself up each day to show I can make it back. I’ll make it back for we will be together again. I’ll show you how I’m more capable than you gave me credit for. We can do this. I hope in my heart that there is somewhere we can start together again. When I recover I’ll be invincible. We will be able to do the things we wanted to do when we were younger. Unfortunately it seems it will take some time. I wish you were here to help me throughout the process but soon I’ll be walking, then running. I’ll be just as I was. Wait for me, my love. There are many more things that need to be done in our lives we are yet to know of. You are the shining light I’m focusing on to get to the point where I can join you. Please just wait for me and I’ll be there for you thick of thin. We are the team. We’ve done amazing jobs before. There is nothing that can slow us down. 12/15/14.
    My darling, I write to you every day. I’m still unable to walk like I thought I’d be able to do. I strive everyday to make a difference. I think of you when I do. I still think we could still be together. I wish you would write back. Maybe I have the wrong address. Maybe you have moved. I just wish to see your face once more.


  4. Dark Road

    Cold fingers clutch at my heart, squeezing and making me breathless. My legs tremble and I struggle to remain motionless. My breath pools in my throat, as I clench my jaw scarcely letting a stray whisper escape. I daren’t even let the leaves surrounding me quiver as the moon shimmers them with silver dust. I drop to the frigid ground as softly as I can and ignore the brambles biting my belly.

    The moon disappears, shrouded behind indigo and I twitch, listening, feeling…

    His feet crunch, on crispy frosted leaves, and twigs break beneath his step, and I hold my breath. Accustomed to the dark, I stare through the undergrowth. He stands, alert and brazen, and I stifle myself as a flood of moonlight touches him from behind the parting clouds.

    “You’re not welcome!” he calls, his voice strained and tight, and his stance shifts as he lifts his gun.

    Blood pounds and I can barely contain myself. My head swims, and the metaphorical knife he thrust through my soul years ago pierces deep.

    I want to leap from the undergrowth, rush from the hedge, but instead I shiver from the passion that rises, from the hot blood that pumps through my veins. I fight the desperation that mounts.

    “GO! Go now!” His voice breaks, and my heart splinters. “Please go…” he whispers, and my nerve begins to fail.

    I sit back, hidden beneath the dense fretwork of branches and foliage. Then the screech of an opening window shatters the night’s silence and a voice demolishes my resolve.

    “Dad, Dad, come back inside.”

    He crumbles, and I watch as his defences drop. Fire ignites in my belly and I crouch, leaning forward. A snarl builds from the cauldron of coals within. He glances up at the window and the shaft of light cast down from his daughter’s bedroom behind her gaze. “Dad, it’s not safe out there, come back inside!”

    Her voice ruins me.

    I stare up at the girl, and douse the fire. Her raven black hair twists in the breeze and vapour, like dragon’s smoke, clouds her breath. I lower my ebony hackles. Her father is lost amid the desire to protect and the urge to listen to his child. I stare intently at the girl, and my eyes are wet. Her hair is caught by the wind as she leans out of the window. White stripes, old scars glow iridescent in the silvered rays against her neck and I bite back the ugly emotion that surges through me.

    I got what I came for and withdraw, recoil, and let the frosty fingers of winter grab my heart again. The scars adorning her neck, though old and pale, serve well as a reminder. Sometimes a glimpse is all you need, sometimes love is more than being there, and sometimes you choose to walk a lonely path.

    I shake the chill from my shaggy fur and pad softly away, leaving my two loves behind like my paw print trail.

    I howl as the cursed moon climbs high in the open sky, then as it vanishes behind a curtain of gloom the darkness covers me and I melt into the night and the hope of the coming dawn.

    (538 Words)


  5. Into The Woods

    They must come soon.
    Crouching in the shadows I peer into the gloom.
    The moon dark night smothers my sight. Nothing is visible, but patterns still emerge as my brain stubbornly struggles to makes shapes from the sheltering woodland. The wind rustles the trees and a man sized shape looms in the distance before vanishing with the next random movement of the branches. Even the shadows writhe, shifting shapes, greater darkness vying with lesser to make phantom apparitions manifest before me.
    I squeeze my eyes tight shut, seeking the refuge of total darkness, but even that eludes me as I watch the shadows continue their sinuous dance on the backs of my eyelids before slowly, imperceptibly, developing impossible colours that swirl before me like oil on water.
    They must come soon. I know they are hunting me.
    I force myself to focus on my other senses. The rustling leaves whisper secrets to each other. Sharp, sibilant secrets of the cruel, cold, silent hours, half-heard tales of horrors undreamed of under the sun’s happy domain. They call to me, sirens of desolation, urging me to shout, to drive away their murmured roar. Instead I release another slow, measured breath, so faint that I barely hear it.
    The musky loam scent of years-old leaf litter, mixed with faint pine scents of the needles beneath me, tickle my nostrils. Those same needles prick me through my heavy woollen sweater with every slight movement I make.
    Damp, rising from my shallow scrape hole wicks through to my shirt, clasping my skin in a lukewarm embrace. The loss of heat from my core, slowly stolen by the unyielding ground, brings a shiver, causing twigs to crackle beneath me in protest.
    But colder still is my sole companion. It has adapted better than I, swiftly settling to ambient temperature. A whiff of light oil drifts from it and steals into the night, scouting for other unnatural aromas. The night terrors and sounds of the dark wood hold no sway over its angular perfection. No hooting owl distracts it from its singular purpose. It waits, patiently as I cannot, for them to come.
    A pale glow flickers between the distant boughs, jumping and dancing. And another. And another.
    A line of battery powered fireflies in the darkness.
    Slowly, cautiously they quarter the ground, seeking sign of my spoor.
    My breath comes sharper now. My heart pounds and blood whooshes in my ears.
    They are here.
    I reach out to clasp my unsleeping companion one last time, enfolding it in the comforting, familiar embrace of long practice. I nuzzle my cheek against its cold flank and steady my breathing.
    I work the bolt with infinite soundless care, and wait for them to come into my cross-hairs.

    455 words


  6. We must have turned northward sometime in the night, because the sun burst through the bus window as soon as it refracted above the horizon, and with that, my rest was over. The girl next to me stirred, but stayed asleep, burying her head against my arm. The night before, she’d looked nauseated at the thought of having to sit next to me, but all the other seats were full and the doors had closed and we’d already pulled away from the station. Nobody else on the bus was making eye contact with her, either, as she pleaded silently for someone to throw themselves on the proverbial sword of my companionship, so she had to choice but to sit down and hope that whatever it was about me didn’t rub off on her. And now she was curled up against me like I was her protector. Any port in a storm, I guess.

    The slow awakening of the rest of the passengers finally reached my seatmate, and she jerked herself awake, glaring at me accusingly. At the sight of my hands jammed deep into the pockets of my jacket, she reddened, albeit slightly. “Sorry.”

    “Don’t be. You’re not the first to give me that look.”

    She looked down at her hands, then back up to me. “I, uh, need to go use the, y’know. Could you watch my bag?”

    I nodded, and she got up to use the y’know. It’s funny, isn’t it, how we feel compelled to make up for perceived social slights by doing things that would be in another context pretty stupid, like asking a complete stranger to protect our possessions. She didn’t have anything worth stealing in there, not unless I needed some Lexapro, but the street value of that was crap.

    Of course I looked.

    Whatever bond we’d developed during our little interaction had waned by the time she came back from the bathroom, and it had completely dissipated by the time she’d muttered a quick thanks and I’d nodded.

    The rest of the bus ride was quiet, the muted tones of uncomfortable people broken every so often by some big fat guy who didn’t understand that his laugh was a little jarring this early in the morning. Not for the first time, I wondered what it would feel like to kill someone. I was curious as to what that much fat looked like when sliced open – would it be like an untrimmed roast – but if I found out, they’d never leave me alone, and I wanted that more than I wanted to shut that fucker up.

    I couldn’t remember where the bus was scheduled to stop next. Cheyenne? Minneapolis? Traverse City? I hoped it wasn’t Minneapolis. Too crowded. Probably should have looked at the ticket when I’d bought it. I watched for road signs, but there weren’t any, other than some rusted mile markers. 229. 230. 231.

    At some point just after we passed 235, there was a thump, and the bus lurched to the side. The rapid fwap-fwap-fwap sound coming from the right rear of the bus was a jarring as the fat man’s laugh to most of the passengers, but I found it soothing. I’d be able to get off this dingy coffin on wheels before we got to anywhere too crowded. I needed air.

    Once the bus stopped, we all got off – the driver, the fat man, the depressed girl next to me, and the rest of the human debris that rode buses to Cheyappolis City in the middle of the night. Most folks pulled out their phones and tried to call someone or another, but we were too far from anywhere for any of the calls to go through. The fat man made another joke, and most everyone laughed, nervous and edgy.

    I shifted my grip on the knife I’d been clutching in my pocket. We were alone now, all of us together, and maybe soon, just me alone. I strode over to the depressed girl and slit her throat. It wasn’t her fault she’d had to sit next to me, and she’d been nice enough. She didn’t need to watch the rest.

    But I’d do that laughing bastard last.

    700 words


  7. Dark Road, Darker Heart

    Breaking up isn’t easy, especially when it’s with a dream. Cash in hand softens the blow but there’s an unspoken understanding that it’s going to take a while – a few weeks, maybe months – before the sting wears off.

    Anne had built the shop from scratch. Pure love of the art. Passion for yarn and skill with needles. Enthusiasm enough to infect people with her obsession. Took Two years to make a profit. Four years to double her class schedule. And five seconds to sign off on the whole thing.

    Mina came out of the supply room, ball cap pulled low over her face, hands full of samples. “You want an ice tea or something?”

    “Thanks,” Anne said from her perch on the front counter, “but I just want to sit here a few.”
    “If you’re having second thoughts, there’s a three day –“

    “No, I’m not backing out. Just mulling it over. Five years ago, this was my everything. Now, I can’t muster up enough tears for a proper goodbye. I’m too busy feeling relieved I found a buyer.”

    Mina dumped the samples beside the counter. “We both know there are mitigating circumstances,” she said, gently patting the cast on Anne’s right arm. “Even if your bones hadn’t been shattered, you’d never pick up another set of needles after what happened this week.”

    “But we’re not going to talk about that. Not here. Not ever. Besides, the sale was already in the works. Without Shaw’s pension, we’re flat broke. Only way to get out of this town is by selling off the shop.”

    “I know. Just never thought we’d have to get our hands so dirty to make things right.”

    She looked down the row of shelves filled with brightly colored yarn. “It’s just a shop, right Mina? I mean, I loved it here, loved the products and the people, but much as it all means to me, it doesn’t come close to what I feel for Shaw or how far I’d go to protect him.”

    “He’s made so much progress in the last week …” Mina said, letting the silence speak the words she couldn’t.

    Anne held out her hand. “Help me down, ducky. Let’s talk a last walk through, make sure everything is accounted for, and then I’ll let you take me to lunch. You were on to something with that ice tea suggestion. Make it a long island ice tea and we have a deal.”

    Mina shouldered the samples and helped her down. They straightened skeins and price tags as they moved through to the store to the back door. The sun was a salmon button on the flat expanse of twilit sky by the time they’d locked up and buckled themselves into the truck.

    As they pulled out of the parking lot, Anne said, “It’s strange, isn’t it? This beautiful new beginning stretching out before us when we got here by …”

    Mina got into the turn lane. “We’re not talking about it, remember?”

    “You’re right. Just having last minute jitters. But the lye did it’s job. It’s not like anyone will be nosing around the wash basins. And even if they did, there’s no way they could connect anything to us.”

    “Why don’t you take a tylenol and get some sleep. It’ll be an hour before we get to the hospital to pick up Shaw and another hour or so to the airport.”

    “But it’s a dark road ahead,” Anne said, settling into the seat cushion. “Don’t you want some company?”

    Mina switched on the radio. “Nah. Blues skies are coming. Can’t you feel it?”

    Anne closed her eyes. Yeah, there it was. Warmth, spreading throughout her body.

    She’d done it. Gotten revenge for the accident that had crushed her arm and nearly cost Shaw his life. As she fell asleep, she smiled, knowing there wouldn’t be any more nightmares – because she’d ripped the heart out of the demon and shoved it down his throat.

    – – – – –
    662 words / @bullishink


  1. Pingback: MWBB, week 2.32 | Project Gemini

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