Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.50

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 50.

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 by the gritty, grubby American troubador… Steve Earle.

The tune is, “Meet Me in the Alleyway”. Here’s the link; https://youtu.be/yorccRrntAY

This week’s Judge is a true master of flash fiction. Say hello to Mark Ethridge!

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday May 15th.

Now… Go write!!!

And when I say that I mean more than four of you!!!

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Posted on May 12, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Destiny

    He grabbed my arm to stop me. I narrowed my eyes in irritation. I looked at his hand on my arm and then slowly up at him.

    “Get your hand off me Trent.” He pressed his lips together tight enough they went white. Then he shook his head very slowly.

    “If you go, I go with you.” His voice was rough with anger. Well fuck him. I had already been seen on the street with him. Now I had to go alone or it wouldn’t work.

    “No. You know you can’t go with me. This is my hell to get out of, you didn’t put me here and you can’t get me out. That’s just the way it is.”

    I saw fear take over the anger in his eyes and if I wasn’t already so burned out from my own fear I knew I’d feel my heart cracking into a mosaic of loss and despair. He let go of my arm and ran a hand through his rockabilly black and red hair. He was an intimidating bruiser of a man with lots of classic ink, scars on his knuckles and knives hidden everywhere possible on his person. At 5’10” in my bare feet I looked small and delicate next to his 6’4” solid body of muscle and scars.

    “Angie, if you go…it could all be bullshit. You know that, we sell this kind of bullshit on the street all day every day. What makes you think this will be different?”

    I closed my eyes, “Because I have to or I’m not going to make it another day Trent. I’ve tried every fucking way I can think of…I’ve ignored it, I’ve tried to drug it away, I’ve tried to drink it away, I’ve tried to fuck it away…that was, of course, the most fun, but still ineffective.” He smirked just a little.

    “The only thing I haven’t tried is figuring out how to use it. I’m tired of running from it, from myself. It’s killing me and you know it. There’s only one person in this town who can help with this and yes she’s batshit crazy, but then some people say the same about me.”

    He stepped in close so I had to tip my head back to look into his eyes, “You know who will show up in that alley tonight right?”

    “Yep. When I left her house when I was 16 she told me that this was inevitable, she had Seen it, and whether or not I like it the bitch was right. So yes, I know it’s my Granny who will meet me tonight at a minute to midnight. I know she’ll try to cut my throat and if she can then I deserve it but once we get past that, well, then maybe I can get what I need to deal with these fucking visions.”

    He pulled me into his arms and buried his face in my neck, hands caught in my hair. His voice was muffled but perfectly calm, “If you don’t come back to me I will hunt her down and bleed her slow in the swamp. When she’s dead I will scatter the pieces of her all over Louisiana and spit every time I hear her name.”

    I grabbed his hair and jerked his head back, “Good.” I kissed him hard and fierce one last time, maybe the last time. I weaponed up and headed out to either meet my destiny or die at the hands of it.

    @MissBliss
    Words: 585 not including title

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  2. The air felt as though it had left out in the rain for weeks. Windows were open and screens off, but no breeze came. I was stretched out on the floor when my parents’ voices rose above August noises. I overheard “bug”, “dangerous”, “diagnose” and June, my mother’s name, before their voices disappeared into darkness. I didn’t sleep at all that night, afraid that I would catch the same deadly bug.

    As she cooked bacon and scrambled eggs with cheese, I studied her long ebony hair as it sprung from a bun and fell across her face. My mother sat down at the table with a glass of orange juice across from me; her long satin neck and curve of her jaw pulsed. She was so proud of her skin, often spending several hours applying special creams. But today, her skin looked grey in the early morning light.

    “Miss Mary, why you are watching me so close? Do I have some juice on my face?”
    “Nothing, Mom, just daydreaming. How are you today?”
    “I’m fine. Now finish your breakfast. Your chores are waiting–they won’t clean themselves.”

    “Yes, ma’m.”

    We owned a push lawn-mower that acted like a cantankerous old man. Only my Dad and I could get it to function. Heavy questions pressed into my temples, pain spreading across my forehead like a noose. Was anything different about her? I thundered over tiny blades of grass, a force of destruction directed by my own hand.

    ***
    To solve this mystery, I needed to study Miss Marple, my favorite TV detective. Direct questions to my parents were out of the question. Our family never talked about controversial topics such as illness, family problems or money.

    My father’s old magnifying glass was conveniently on the desk in the living room. It was now part of an official investigation.Starting in the kitchen, I dusted for fingerprints and took samples of materials found in the vicinity. By the door mud had lodged itself under the stop and a strand of strange fur under the table near her chair. All were recorded in a little notebook in my back pocket.

    Gathering evidence was challenging because my mother was a very neat woman. She would scrub each orange and white marbled tile and kitchen surface by hand every evening until everything sparkled. The clock on the microwave assured that I had two hours before she would be up from her nap.The first big clue was discovered along the cupboards–a small, white pill in a small corner near the dishwasher. My heart began to pound and a pressure started to build in my throat as if a hotdog had gotten partially stuck there.

    Dad’s magnifying glass showed little pits and valleys etched into the surface of the item in question. A trumpet from hell called out, “Mary! What on man’s green earth are you doing down there? And with your Dad’s things? Get. Up. Right. Now!”

    Investigation was over, for now. I reached inside my right pocket to finger the pill as we walked towards the living room.

    Word Count: 513
    @blurosemd

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  3. “Meet me in the alleyway.”

    When he said the words to me, I have to admit that they sounded a little bit dubious. I will never be quite sure why I agreed with him. He had simply nodded his head, finished his drink, and exited the bar through the main doors. I watched him go with the idle curiosity that I had got used to when I was watching him. Yes, everybody did think that he was a little bit weird, and, admittedly, I was one of those people that have joined in the gossip and sniggered behind his back.

    However, behind everybody else’s back I actually thought that he was quite brilliant. Definitely the best at his job, and he had a very strange understanding of the criminal mind. He just seem to know when somebody was guilty, and when they were completely innocent even if the evidence was against them.

    This did actually make me feel a little bit vulnerable as I left the bar behind me. I mean, I was guilty of many different crimes, even if I did not think of them as crimes. I mean, if you ignored some things in order to get a good fuck, where was the harm? Then again, if you beat the living snot out of somebody because their crime had somehow affected your own family, then I am doubtful that anybody would find you have done wrong.

    Still, I scuffed my feet in a nervous gesture as I glanced towards the dark alleyway. Christ, you could hide the body down there and it will be days before anybody found it.

    I am not sure why that thought ran through my mind at that particular moment. It was not like I thought that Charles was going to kill me. I am not sure what he wanted, to be honest, but then we were partners at work so I am assuming that he wanted to give me information of some kind. Hopefully this was going to be nothing weird, like telling me that the bosses were the real killers.

    We had caught the killers, but for some reason, Charles considered that the case was not solved properly. He was into these stupid conspiracy theories that seem to involve absolutely everything.

    I pulled the cigarette from its box and placed it to my lips. As I patted my pockets for a lighter I noticed the red glow in the alleyway. The site made me smile because I realised that he was standing in the dark, smoking as he waited for me. It suddenly seemed to be less of a threatening situation and I shoved my hands into my pockets and entered the darkness.

    By the time that I realised it was not Charles I was walking towards, it was too late. Surprisingly there was no pain as the knife cut through my body and the blood spilled forth. As I fell, I noticed that Charles was lying nearby but staring at nothing.

    “He had evidence against most people,” my boss said to me. “Knowing him he would have posted it to you. I can’t risk that, Danny, so here we are.”

    Word count: 529
    @harmony77uk

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  4. Cara Michaels

    “Why won’t you believe me?”

    At last the boy seemed something more than a little chick separated from mama. A spark glimmered in his eyes, and it wasn’t just a reflection of the perpetual flames licking along the walls of my office.

    “Why should I?” I challenged. “You think you’re the first soul to walk in here crying the Devil done you wrong?”

    “Are you always such a ballbuster?”

    “She is.” The crypt-deep voice had me glaring at the doorway. “I have centuries of anecdotal evidence.”

    “Your opinion is not needed, Reaper.”

    “And yet I give it freely.”

    “And yet,” I said, my tone not quite a growl, “you brought this soul to me.”

    “Just because you are a—” The Reaper couldn’t smile, per se. He was a walking skeleton. Every now and then, I thought maybe I saw a shadow of the man he’d been. A trick of the ever-flickering light, perhaps, but one I noticed often enough to wonder. Still, I had the distinct impression I knew the moods of his skull. He was smiling. Grinning, even. “A ballbuster—does not mean you are not exceptional at your job.”

    “You mean the job no longer involving processing soul arrivals?” My foot tapped an agitated rhythm. “That job?”

    “No.” He drew the word into a multisyllabic question of my intellect. “I mean, your superior research skills.”

    “Research.” I felt an oncoming trap, but walked into it anyway. He’d brought me this soul for a reason, and despite my current residence, I was not so morally compromised I wouldn’t help a soul in need. “Into what, exactly?”

    “The circumstances of his passing are—curious.”

    “How so?”

    “My initial work order did not have him as the soul I was to collect.”

    “See?” The boy jumped up from his seat. “Ha! I told you. Didn’t I tell you?”

    “Gloating is unbecoming of a gentleman. If you wish the lady to help you, you may want to keep in mind that she is deserving of your courtesy, at the very least.”

    The Reaper’s scolding defense of me left me momentarily speechless.

    “And at the very most?”

    Oh, hellfire. Could I claim the Devil made me say it? Because, surely, Lucifer himself whispered the stupidly egotistical question in my ear, sending it right past any self-preserving filtration, and out of my mouth. If I could still blush, I might have spontaneously combusted from the heat my embarrassment generated.

    “A question I may one day answer, my lady.” Again, I would have sworn on a Bible he was smiling. “For now, let us address what happened to the soul I was meant to collect.”

    “Right.” I couldn’t die from humiliation. I was already dead. “Do you have the name of this paragon of damnation?”

    “My work order changed upon my arrival in the alleyway, and I can not seem to recall the exact name.”

    “An alleyway?” My eyebrows rose.

    “At precisely 11:59 in the evening.”

    “So this kid is in an alley at one minute until midnight, and that doesn’t seem shady?”

    “It does, my lady,” he said. “That is precisely why we are here. I believe someone sacrificed this soul in his stead.”

    “That doesn’t earn the kid a ticket to Casa Asada. If anything, the original intended reserves a spot on one of the lower levels, and the kid gets a free pass to the afterlife paradise of his choice.”

    “Would you please stop calling me kid?”

    “Do you know your name?”

    “Yes, of course, it’s—ah—”

    “Do not worry, young one,” the Reaper said. “And do not let our fair lady’s disgruntlement fool you. Your identity will return to you, and she will help us.”

    I rolled my eyes.

    “Yes. Fine.” I summoned the soul collection log. “If a change was made, we should be able to spot it.”

    “You just made a book appear out of thin air and you think someone can’t fake a record?”

    “This is Hell, kid. Nothing stays secret here.”

    @caramichaels
    666 devilish WIP words
    😉

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  5. The Devil You Know …

    The Blood River Tavern wasn’t a place you wanted to be caught alive – or dead but when you’re making a deal with the devil, you don’t have the luxury of having control of the where and the how. So there sat Flavio LaFitte, chief officer of the Alligator Nuisance Division, in his work truck, waiting on his destiny.

    Just before midnight, he hopped out of the pickup, locked up, and cut across the empty lot, heading for the alley behind the Tavern. Wasn’t much of an alley but then it wasn’t much of a tavern or a river either. Just another hole in the wall where people came to get lost.

    Loss. That’s what brought him to the alley tonight. Too many losses. Too many unexplained disappearances. And too many damn folks too damn apathetic to do a damn thing about it. Malady might just be the most damned place on the face of the map but that was going to come to an end starting tonight.

    He settled on a little cement stoop and waited in the dark.

    And then the darkness coalesced and waited on him in the form of a dark crone with the voice of nails on a blackboard. “LaFitte?”

    “Yes,” he answered, working to keep his voice even.

    Her smile was sharp. “Did you bring what is required?”

    He held out the oilcloth of trinkets, careful to keep his skin from touching hers as she took possession of the odds and ends.

    She opened the drawstring sack, drew out a pair of small white bones and popped them in her mouth, chewing until she swallowed them down and let out a riotous burp. “You’re destiny cannot be changed.”

    “No, no,” he said, waving as though swatting at a gnat. “I don’t want to change it. Just speed it up.”

    She leaned in and yanked the metal medallion hanging around his neck on a leather cord. “And if the saints don’t approve?”

    That caught him by surprise. “How can they be against me when my aim is to save lives?”

    She belched in his face. “I think you’ll get your wish, LaFitte. Yes, the spirits are moving on your behalf even now. Can’t you hear them? They whisper like serpents in the grass.”

    LaFitte crossed himself, even though he’d never been a man with much use for religion, because he did hear the whispers. “They’ll give me the power to overcome the brute?”

    Her fingers curled around the medallion. “Your destiny has been hastened. Your confrontation with the beast draws nigh. Now pay me my fee and let’s be done with it. There is a foul breath at my back.”

    LaFitte trembled. He smelled the stench too. And the voices, they had the scent of it too and their whispers were becoming frantic. Something was out there. Something was coming. Something was … h e r e. But the darkness had gathered and he could not see what it was.

    He turned to the crone for answers but she stared mutely up at him from where she lay in the gravel, a jawbone protruding from her throat. His mouth opened to scream but the sound died when movement in the empty lot gathered speed and scrambled toward him.

    An alligator nearly four times his size came into view under the full moon but LaFitte didn’t stick around to get specific statistics. Firstly, because he was too intent on running for his life. Secondly, because he knew every minute detail of the alligator in question. And lastly, because he realized that he’d bargained with the wrong devil.

    Destiny, that cold-hearted bitch, had bit him in the ass again, and if he didn’t haul what was left of his tender cheeks back to the safety of his truck, she was going to get the last laugh while he bled out. Again.

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 697 words

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