Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.45

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 45.

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 to us courtesy of the incomparable Annie Lennox.

The tune is… “Through the Glass Darkly”.

Here’s the link; https://youtu.be/O2ziG2u-d3M

This week’s Judge is pretty legendary in her own right. Say hello to long time flash fictioneer, acclaimed author, and the current co-host of the FlashMob Flash Fiction Challenge… Cara Michaels-Carey.

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday April 10th.

Now… Go write!!!!

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Posted on April 7, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Frayne’s Sacrifice
    @laurenegreene
    490 words

    It was the night of a blood red moon. His fourth trip to Earth to look for Basha. Frayne hated this place. Last time he’d come, he landed right in a drone path. Took all his power to steer his ship to safety. He couldn’t understand a whole world intent on killing each other.

    He stumbled around in the dark, staring up at the moon. The last of four blood red moons from 2014 to 2015. He knew the Christians of the earth thought this was religiously significant. Frayne laughed at that, shaking his head at their lack of astronomical knowledge. They’d been using Christianity to explain natural phenomena for centuries. He didn’t know what Basha saw in these earth people, and he was sick of looking for her. She needed to take her rightful place next to him on the throne of Planet Bingo, where they would rule and reproduce as necessary, and then their little spawn would take over after their time was up. Until he found her, their duty could not be fulfilled and he would feel incomplete.

    The red barn stood at the edge of the field. The farmhouse was in the distance, lights dancing in the windows. He snuck up to the house, and folded down upon himself until his knees were touching the grass. He placed his hands on the edge of the window frame and peeked into the house.

    Basha was in the kitchen, making a meal. She was moving as he’d never seen anyone move before, swaying her hips. The human man walked up behind her, and what was he holding? Was that a baby human? Frayne saw the paleness of the baby’s skin and the truth hit him like a penny falling from a hundred foot building. Basha had reproduced with this earthling. He glanced back through the window, and as he was about to turn and walk away the screen door opened.

    “Frayne—come out from behind there. I can sense your presence, you know.”

    Frayne unfolded his seven foot body and stomped over to Basha.
    “We were to be married. You could have had this on Bingo.”

    She shook her head, and he noticed she was holding the half-earthling, its little fists waving in the air.

    “I could never have this, Frayne. The earthlings believe in family. There’s is a love so eternal; I can feel it in my core.”

    “You’ve seen the wars, same as I have.”

    “They fight because they’re so passionate. It is something you could never understand, unless you let yourself live as one. They love as no others love.”

    “I don’t understand this thing you call love.”

    “It’s a feeling—something you can’t touch.”

    “I’ll tell the council you died,” Frayne said.

    “You’ll do that for me?”

    “It’s what you want.”

    She walked back toward the dim light of the farmhouse, but turned around to look at Frayne one more time.

    “That’s love, Frayne.”

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  2. Dark Freedom

    I slammed my bedroom door shut with a BANG! I’d pay for that later but fuck it. They always did this to me, parading me through a party like some fucking whore on display for the highest bidder. I stared hard out my window across the windswept lake. I heard my door open and then close quietly. No yelling, so not Mom or Dad. That meant Mitka. I didn’t bother to turn around.

    “Sorry Mitka. I know they expect you to keep me in line. It’s not fair to either of us.” I heard him sigh behind me.

    “Lena I know you hate this stuff but it’s just business. The parties, the people…it’s how we live.”

    I pressed my lips together in rage and spun to face him.

    “No Mitka, it’s how THEY live. Off of us. I’m tired of being whored out to grubby handed fat old men who want to know if they will make another million in the market and bitter middle aged women who want to know if their grubby handed fat husbands are cheating on them. FUCK THAT SHIT!”

    My brother’s eyes were wide in shock and his face went pale.

    “Lena,” he whispered, “don’t…you don’t know what they say when you’re not around and when they think I’m not listening. I’ve heard her say she’d kill you with her own hands before letting your talent leave the family.”

    I smiled sadly at this man-boy who was three years older than me but always seemed like my younger sibling.

    “Oh Mitka, you think I don’t know that? You think she hasn’t said it to my face. I think the first time was when I was 14 and wanted to go to boarding school with Sheila Watkins in Massachusetts. That was the first time I threatened to run away…” I couldn’t look at him anymore, I turned back to the dark expanse of cold angry lake. “She said there was nowhere I could run that she couldn’t find me and if necessary she’d end me if that was what it took.” I leaned my forehead against the icy dark glass. Mitka stepped up beside me and leaned his head onto the window.

    “I’m sorry Lena. I don’t know what to do. I believe she loves us. Don’t you? She’s our Mom. She’s worried about money and security all the time. She and Dad had it really hard when they were growing up.”

    I closed my eyes trying to stop feeling betrayed by his constant defense of them. I knew he was trapped in the middle but I was so tired of always being the one to suck it up so he would be OK, so they wouldn’t do something insane to us, dying a little every time I let them control my choices, my magic and my life. I knew they were lining up my marriage and thus my ‘breeding’ situation. I finally accepted the truth of what I was going to do and what it would cost both me and my brother. It broke my heart a little more knowing how hard it would be on him once I left but he wouldn’t go with me and I didn’t have any other choice. I could feel Mitka looking at me as I continued to stare out the window searching for my way out to that endless darkness and freedom. I forced a smile and turned my head to him.

    “I know Mitka, I know. It’ll be alright.” His face relaxed with relief as he beamed back at me. “Would you mind apologizing to them for me? Just tell them that I had a little too much wine and someone brushed me and I got a bit of Seeing disorientation. I’m gonna go bed ok?”

    It was what he wanted to hear so, as per usual, he believed it. He put his hands on my shoulders and kissed me lightly on the forehead.

    “Of course Lena, I’ll take care of it. Get some rest.”

    I turned back to the window, once I heard the door click closed I let the tears slide out of my eyes praying my freedom wouldn’t cost Mitka his life.

    @MissBliss
    Words: 698 not including title

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  3. The Other

    Joyce mutters to herself as she winds up the creaking wooden steps of the corkscrew staircase. Her long gray hair flies wildly around her face and she can only see the stairs by memory. She grazes her hand on the passing sandy stone of the mountain, clasping onto rocks that jut out and then releasing them as she passes up higher to the golden glass-domed laboratory that has been her home for thirty years.
     
    Joyce is muttering to the stars in the clear dark sky. “The clouds are gone. It is the perfect time. It is the day. It is the time. It is the night. Her birthday. ”
     
    Joyce clamors up the top step and turns on the generator. A great whirring sound breaks through the noise of the whipping wind. Joyce opens the heavy golden door and steps inside. She turns on the light and squints as she walks past her tattered cot and over to a large counter by her telescope. Joyce takes off her glasses and squares her eye on the eyepiece of the telescope. She positions it where she always does. Joyce’s house. The other Joyce.
     
    Last year on the Other Joyce’s birthday there had been a surprise party, champagne, dancing, a house full of friends and well-wishers. The Other Joyce had smiled all night and danced with several handsome men.
     
    The other Joyce was most likely not named Joyce, but Joyce called her that out of simplicity. If the other Joyce could be anyone, then why not another Joyce? A friendlier, prettier, younger Joyce. The Joyce, Joyce would be if only she were all those things.
     
    Joyce watched the other Joyce every day. She would watch her sunbathe on the balcony, and pet her dog, and go on a walk with her dog, or go on a jog, or cook dinner, or drive away for hours and then come back, or even close the blinds only to open them again ten or twelve hours later. The past week has been hit or miss on the cloud coverage. Joyce has only been able to see the other Joyce two times. The first time she was on the phone, pacing between the large patio doors of the bedroom to the small window of the office. The second time the other Joyce was moving a chair from one side of the living room to the other and then sitting in it to read a book.

    Joyce had been hoping for a clear night for the big day. She had spent the hours before dawn picking vegetables from her garden on a lower ridge of her mountain. Now she can enjoy a bowl of cherry tomatoes as she looks down on the other Joyce’s birthday celebrations.

    This year it is only the other Joyce and “Henry” at the house. Joyce watches Henry, in his khaki pants and blue polo shirt, come into view at the large living room window where the other Joyce is standing in hot pink pumps and a floral sundress, her blond hair in a big high bun. Henry grasps her hands and falls to one knee. He produces a small box and opens it to reveal a diamond ring. He is looking up at the other Joyce, his mouth moving.

    Joyce reaches for a cherry tomato and the bowl spills to the floor. She gets down to pick them up and put one in her mouth before looking back into the telescope. The other Joyce is angrily tearing petals from flowers in the kitchen. Henry is getting into his car. Both their faces are red. Joyce notices a bowl of cherry tomatoes on the other Joyce’s counter. Joyce puts another tomato in her mouth, her brown teeth squish it into pulp. The other Joyce looks up from the kitchen window above her sink to the sky, to the clear, starry sky. She shakes her head and cries. “It’s okay. I’m here. I’m here. You’ll never be alone.”

    Word Count: 679
    E-mail: mora2485@gmail.com

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  4. Word Count 321
    @susanOReilly3
    #mwbb

    Private Dancer

    He is her private dancer
    he enchants her
    his fluid limbs romance her
    he’ll fall for her, she’s sure
    he must see how she adores
    he will be smitten with her allure

    She is completely obsessed
    her soul he possesses
    his movements undress
    wants all of him no more, no less
    her emotions askew, she’s a mess
    she needs to digress

    Power is obscured
    he never says a word
    but she is always lured
    her illness can never be cured
    for her outlook is blurred
    to her their future is assured

    He’s paid to fulfil her whim
    but she’d do anything for him
    he’s away, her lights go dim
    his picture, his muscles she skims
    she moulds her body in the gym
    perfecting each and every limb

    One day he doesn’t show
    her jealousy aglow
    “Where is he”? she wants to know
    how can he hurt her so?
    her esteem never been so low
    he’s her life, doesn’t he know?

    She raises his fee
    doesn’t see the irony
    went on a shopping spree
    gave him his presents with glee
    he earns every penny
    she thinks “he’s dancing only for me”

    Today he doesn’t dance for her
    she can see to him it’s a chore
    he doesn’t do an encore
    her heart is broken and sore
    she can’t do this any more
    he finds her the ultimate bore

    She knows its his swan song
    to another he belong
    to cage him, wrong
    she tries to stay strong
    but knows it won’t be long
    her spring has already sprung

    She swallows every pill
    in her mind he’s dancing for her still
    she pays his last bill
    shivering a bitter chill
    she makes herself ill
    and lays on their window sill

    He was her private dancer
    he’ll repent her for sure
    he will always be her amour
    his last dance lanced her
    she no longer tries to lure
    deep sleep enchants her

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  5. Stuck

    Helena stepped out of her house, and felt their eyes on her. They followed her down the path and out onto the street. Even when she climbed into her car she could still feel them watch her as she pulled out and drove away. She wished she didn’t have to come back.

    He would be home later, and it would be better. She hoped. She refused to acknowledge the voice that said she hoped every day but she was always let down.

    She thought about just driving on and on, and not turning back. She ran through the scenario in her head. The reaction, the gossip, the chatter behind every door – the place would thrum with it. How she was a foreigner in their midst, she didn’t fit, she wasn’t good enough, they were better off rid of her – that he was better off rid of her. But she always faltered when she thought of him, how he would feel, what it would do to him, how difficult it would be for him to continue without her, juggling it all, work, house, kids.

    Kids. Helena took a deep breath and felt her foot come up off the accelerator as the frustration ebbed, churning in her stomach, turning into guilt.

    Her mind spun, trying to find a focus point, trying to find a path that didn’t lead to a dead-end. She needed to find a way forward, a way to continue. It started with him and it ended with him.

    She arrived at the supermarket and went through the motions, getting what was needed for them, to nourish them, to cherish them and keep it all together. Then she drove back, pushing down her feelings, refusing to allow any more mutinous thoughts to surface.

    His car was there. He was home. On the one hand she was elated, but on the other she was afraid. She tolerated the curtain twitching, the eyes of the neighbourhood on her as she took in the shopping, and she smiled at him at the door, and he smiled back. But there was something missing, something tangible. He was there, but he wasn’t. He hadn’t been since they’d moved here – his home town. It was as though she had lost him in the move and he didn’t want to be found, even though he was standing right in front of her.

    But had she lost him or had she lost herself? Helena let that thought echo round her mind as she prepared the evening meal and stared out the window at the tainted life around her which had once been filled with so much hope.

    446 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  6. Through the Glass Darkly

    Erin let her long locks fall down her back as she released the clasp that held up her hair. She knew the ebony cascade always made him catch his breath, and she listened for his slight inhalation amid the silence of the room. The corner of her mouth lifted as his sigh escaped and she gently shook her heavy mane.

    Her thoughts raced, tripping over each other as romance gave way to sensual, and her senses heightened.

    She stood, bathed in silk, and swept her black hair to one side. Still with her back to him, she closed her eyes and let his gaze roam over her form. She imagined his touch, his kiss, his lips caressing her bare shoulder and she let the robe drop from her shoulder with anticipation as night’s chill tingled across her skin.

    A rogue moonbeam cast its light across her vanity table and a small, dusty bottle glittered. Leaning forward she picked up the bottle and lifted the stopper. She cupped it within her hand and inhaled the dusky oriental scent. Memories flooded and images lit up her mind, and for a moment she was lost amongst the fragrance and sweet romance. Heady sensuality, deep kisses, lingering fingers and long lost memories slid through the moonbeam, and Erin could barely contain them all.

    “Erin, sweetheart,” the young care worker’s voice interrupted her reverie. “Erin, why are you dancing in the dark?”

    Then sunlight drowned Erin and her gasp filled the room.

    “There, now we’ve got light, you don’t want to be wandering about in the gloom, now do you, sweetheart?”

    Erin blinked, and the young woman in the crisp white uniform, took the dusty perfume bottle from her old, gnarled fingers. She replaced it on the dresser and gently guided the tiny, elderly woman towards her bed.

    Erin shuffled softly, her feet encased in sheepskin slippers. She glanced back to the mirror on the dresser, and frowned at the old lady returning her gaze. She had no idea what the old lady was doing in her room, but she was tired, and the bed looked welcoming. Her care worker pulled back the covers and Erin slid between the sheets, her flannelette nightgown rising up about her legs as she settled into bed.

    As the young women left with a clichéd au revoire and clicked off the light, Erin let her eyes get used to the sudden dark. For a moment fear shivered through her frail body and loss brought tears to her eyes, but as the moon smiled and gazed across the room, Erin relaxed.

    Her hand brushed soft white hair from her face and the moonbeam danced across the bed. She brought her fingers to her lips and a wisp of scent, a dusky fragrance, ignited her mind. Shadows slid back through the walls, ghosts filled her mind and the cold night became warm as she moved a strand of ebony hair from her forehead and felt her silk nightdress cling to her skin. She smiled as his breath tickled her neck and bittersweet love returned…

    (513 Words)
    @LastKrystallos
    https://thelastkrystallos.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/blues-buster-through-the-glass-darkly/

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  7. A Fire in the Blood

    So here I am again. Three years of little fetch and carry jobs, of dirty, arm’s length, if you slip we never asked this jobs, of being an ear in the crowd, an eye on the wire. Three years nearly walking away, three years coming back one last time.

    Why do I do it? For the fire in the blood.

    And why do they ask? They’ve thieves as good, I know. Better thieves? No. But thieves they can trust.

    They can trust me.

    They’ll not, but.

    And here I am again, for this is one job they’ll always keep for me. Because I know him? So they tell me, but I know it’s because he knows me, and they won’t risk another. I’m already marked, a card he knows they hold.

    So here I am again, no wire, no net, just the fire in my blood and no friend to catch my fall.

    ***
    So here she is again. Who else? A contact I’d know. I contact I might even trust … as she trusts me. And she trusts me, I know, as she trusts the weather – to be true to my own nature and my own law. For the rest she must trust to her judgement, whatever she is told. They tell her plenty, I’m sure.

    And here she is again. A stool at the bar and a tight dress riding up a shapely thigh. That dress, by God, as if I needed any sign that she is here for me tonight. She’s brushing someone off. Of course. She’ll have been doing that all night, but the timing of this one is perfect. We’re barely through the door, and the latest chancer has to pass us. It’s easy to laugh at his discomfort, to pitch it in a tone he can’t ignore. Do I think I can do better? Sure I do. A reckless grin, and licence to drift away from my own group, and try my luck alone.

    ***
    So here he is again. That predatory grin that’s meant to leave me weak at the knees, and an unfeigned tiredness in those hard grey eyes that cuts deeper than I’d like to admit. But he’s later than I’d hoped and my hands are tied. I’ve brushed off younger men tonight, bolder men, richer men, men with smoother lines and men with sharper suits. I can’t look as though I’ve been waiting for him, it’s too dangerous for us both. I’m his last chance, but it’s up to him to play it right.

    And here he is again, feeding me a line so weak I’ve knocked him back before I can think, derision on my face and ice in my heart. He’s on his own if we can’t make this work.
    On his own and dead where he stands.

    Not that you’d know it. There’s a twitch in his cheek, the start of a grin, as much of a salute as he can offer me. A moment later I’m choking on my drink, startled into laughter by his perfect riposte. Now I know that he can make it work, and we’re out on the dancefloor without another word.

    ***
    So here we are again, the girl in my arms. No stately measures, no perfect form. Music to grind to, and I’m holding her close, and she’s holding close to me, though where my hands wander there’s a tension she can’t hide. But we’re caught in the middle and we have to play the game. I breath a question in her ear, and there’s no tremor in her voice when she answers

    “As far as public taste allows.”

    There’s an alley out back; we stumble into it, laughing. She’s the one leading now, I’m in a dream. Her back’s to the wall and she’s offering her mouth, and it’s an offer I can’t refuse.

    Her lips are cold as marble, hard and still, but her clever hands are busy in the shelter of my open coat.

    I don’t even check what she’s put in my pockets. I know it will be everything I need.
    The fire she’s kindled in my blood, that I don’t need. But that’s my problem.

    @alexbrightsmith
    696 words

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  8. @RL_Ames
    (699 words)

    The rain falls heavy on the window. Outside, people rush to escape the deluge. From the inside, they appear as tiny multicolored smudges against a dark gray backdrop.

    “Well?” he asks again, and once again: I ignore him. His sigh is loud enough to be heard over the rain against the window.

    The silence stretches on. Finally, I look at him. He narrows his eyes as he watches me. My expression gives nothing away. Finally, I shake my head the tiniest bit. This time his fist against the table makes me jump.

    “Come on.” It’s said through gritted teeth, and I’m afraid I’ve pushed him too far.

    I decide to play through. This is it. No turning back now. I shrug and try my best to look nonchalant. Inside I’m shaking, but outside I’m calm, cool, and collected.

    “Sorry,” I say flatly.

    In a flash he stands, and then he’s gone: just one more multicolored smudge on the other side of the glass.

    I can’t contain it any longer. My hands are clammy as I rest my forehead on the table. The surface is cool and somehow reassuring. I’ve done the right thing.

    This is the first time I’ve ever told him no. The first time he hasn’t gotten his way, even when his way costs me so dearly.

    I knew it would happen. It always happens. When whatever sorority sister he’s currently obsessed with loses her luster, he comes to me, looking for—and always finding—comfort in my arms. And because I’m a glutton for punishment, my arms are always welcoming. Because each time I fool myself into thinking that this will be the time he’ll realize that it’s me he really wants. It’s me who holds the key to his happiness, not another bottle blonde in a tube top.

    But it never happens. In the morning, after I’ve magically healed his heartache and patched him up all shiny and new, he kisses my forehead and slides out my door. And I’m left broken, and disillusioned, and with one more crack across the surface of my battered heart.

    So today is the day that everything changes. Because maybe by telling him no, he’ll realize that he needs to tell me yes.

    It’s much later and dark when I arrive home. I hear his voice before I see him silhouetted against the window.

    “Where have you been?”

    My heart is hammering in my chest. His voice is almost as hard to resist as his eyes. I’m glad for the cover of darkness. Maybe he won’t see me trembling.

    “Out.” It’s a struggle to keep my voice even.

    He crosses the room, and I can feel his breath on my neck. My eyes flutter closed, and for a moment, I forget. His lips are soft and warm, and they’re everything I’ve ever wanted.

    Except they’re not. They’re not enough.

    “No!” I say it as forcefully as I can muster, and I pray he doesn’t feel me shaking.

    There’s no noise in the room, and his silence is like a cold wind across my cheek.

    I reach deep inside, down to my toes and find my voice. “I can’t do this anymore. Not like this.”

    I hear his soft chuckle. I can’t see him, can only sense where he is. He’s not as close as he was only moments ago, and I both celebrate and mourn that fact.

    “What do you want?” he asks.

    It’s an innocent question, but it triggers something inside me.

    “What do I want? Are you serious? How can you not know? You have to know.” I’m shouting now.

    “You can’t be serious.” His words are a slap in the face, and I actually recoil away from them. Suddenly it’s all so clear. It will never be me. He will never seek me in any other way than this: a dark room on a cold night. In the morning, he’ll always be gone.

    Even though it’s as black as midnight, I close my eyes. A moment later I hear the slam of the door, and I’m alone. I sink to the floor and let the darkness take me. Somehow I know. I’ll never see him again.

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  1. Pingback: A Fire in the Blood | Alex Brightsmith

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