Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 3.06

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 3, Week 6.

This is a flash fiction challenge. The prompt is a song. You are not required to write about or even mention the song. It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan. If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

The rules;
500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.
Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST. IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!.

The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday. You read that right. Pacific Time.

This week’s song prompt comes courtesy of singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten.

The tune is… “Serpents”.

Here’s the link; https://youtu.be/hYgyQ20TJAs

This week’s Judge is Pratibha Kelapure, editor of the online journal, “The Literary Nest”!

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

Now… Go write!!!

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Posted on July 7, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. angietrafford

    It is certainly not something that I had ever thought would possibly happen to me. I mean, I was something that was supposed to be feared among those mortal men. Looking me directly in the eye was supposed to turn people to stone, so I was something that nobody ever looked at. Let alone this. I peered into the mirror, almost fearful that the fate of mortals was going to happen to me. I did not turn into stone, so, for the briefest of moments, I was filled with a feeling of relief. Not for long though, because I saw the damage. A black eye. I actually had a black eye. I tentatively fingered the bruising, and withdrew those curious digits with a hiss of pain. How dare he? The serpents that coiled around my head joined in with their reflection of my hiss. I could not understand why they had not struck at that list before it hit my skin. Why would those serpents betraying me?

    They softly moved against my skin and I realised their reasoning was simple. He had simply been too fast for them to have a reaction. For them to have reacted to that strike, they would almost have to have perceptive powers. That was not the case, because they were simply a warning to anybody who approached me. The serpents were never meant to be a weapon. Right now their movements were more of a soothing movement against my scalp.

    I was considering leaving him for this act of betrayal, but that would have involved changing my whole situation. I really could not be bothered with change right now. I actually considered turning him to stone so that nothing ever changed. Then I realised that everybody changes in time, so maybe you would actually change. I would always regret turning him to stone if he changed into the person that I wanted him to be. The person that never lay a hand on me in that violent manner.

    So was that I decided to tell nobody what had occurred between the two of us. They might actually manage to convince me to move on, and I definitely did not want to do that. Nobody would want to look into my face anyway, so I was going to get away with a black eye. People were not going to demand an explanation for something that they did not see.

    A smile graced my lips for the first time since he had struck. He had run away seconds after his skin had latched onto mine. My scream probably sent him running, but that reaction has been nothing less than what he deserved. My sisters would skin him alive if they even suspected the assault. Not me, though, because I was going to forgive his crimes.

    Again.

    Word count: 471
    @harmony77uk

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Snakes

    Snakes in my head. Always with the motherfucking snakes, to quote Samuel L.

    I kept my arms wrapped around the bowl. A kitchen towel over it, hiding the evidence.

    The bruise surrounding my left eye kept drawing attention but no one said anything, then again, no one wanted to get involved in anything that stinks of domestic abuse. HA! If they only knew.

    I found what I went looking for…sadly. His crimes were actually almost worse than I expected. I mean it was one thing to fuck with my mind, I mean it’s pretty fuckable all things considered. But all those other people…they can’t handle it. He truly broke them.

    But the damn snakes…hissing and whispering…wiggling this way and that, so distracting.

    “Sssssoooo many liessssss…”

    “Sssssoooo many facesssssss…”

    “Sssssoooo much blood…”

    That last one was the problem. Couldn’t quite get that one to fade out.

    I let myself believe, even though I knew better. Sometimes you just want it to be true. You want there to be someone who sees you and lets you see them. Someone who doesn’t flinch. But in the end he hid behind the mirror. All you ever saw was yourself, or at least the self he wanted you to see. I was no different than anyone else, he managed to wind his fingers into my psyche, twisting me this way and that, jerking off in the dark corners of my nightmares. Most of his acolytes ended up so broken they couldn’t go a night without him.

    He didn’t count on how easily my mind would bend and wrap around reality, adjusting to the change with the ease of endless practice, or the fact that life in the middle of a psychotic break was/is my safe place. Nothing says home to me quite like watching my face morph into someone else in the mirror or walking down a sidewalk with wolves crucified on the street lights dripping blood while softly growling. He really should have taken me a bit more seriously.

    Change is a constant for me, always has been. That’s why I move slowly and carefully. Never quite know when the quicksand of reality will get a bit more porous than even a minute ago. I can’t always trust my own take on the What Is and What Isn’t of reality. So I’m careful and I know without a doubt that everything changes.

    Except for him.

    Somehow he stays frozen in amber. See that’s what I couldn’t forgive. Even after I left I couldn’t get it to settle down. Usually after I rock a little time in the Crazy Town of Snakes, Bloody Wolves and Melty Faces things settle down. But whatever he did seemed to flip a switch in me and well, while I felt strongly that it was his fault, I did perform some due diligence in the investigation. Not that finding out I was right fixed anything but sometimes justice isn’t about fixing the past or the present, it’s about fixing the future.

    So I guess I was going to have to get used to the snakes swimming through blood everywhere because that didn’t seem to be fading. Once I figured out it was his words that were dangerous, I knew what to do. It was his voice that tore through a person’s psychic walls. His intent as powered by the chanting inside your dreams. So yeah, to get that stopped there was quite a bit of blood.

    But you just can’t cut out someone’s tongue without creating a bit of a mess.

    @MissBliss
    Words: 591 not including title

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the invite.

    Red

    The world slowed to a stop whenever he saw her. Sure it sounded like a cliché but it didn’t make it any less true. His heart skipped a beat. His mouth went dryer than the Sahara desert. All the things he wanted to tell her vanished from his mind like they’d never been there to begin with.
    “It’s her again, isn’t it?”
    He glanced over his shoulder at Lemley. His fellow barister smiled at him, well it wasn’t a complete smile. Ulrich suspected that his obsession with the woman in the red dress was slowly starting to grate on his friend’s nerves. Lemley rested her hand on her hip and shrugged. The fringe of her pink hair fell over her eyes and she blew it away in a huff.
    “Seriously Rick, you need to man up. It’s starting to weird me out how gooey eyes you get over a girl whose name you don’t even know.”
    He bit back a sigh as Red, his nickname for her, swayed her hips to a song only she could hear as she walked over the courtyard. It was hypnotic and impossible to his gaze away from. How many times had he fantasied about chasing after her, finding out her name.
    “Girls that hot have boyfriends with a ridiculous amount of muscles and who wouldn’t hesitate in pounding me into the sidewalk.”
    “Lemley snorted. You’re just a chicken shit.”
    “I love these motivational speeches of yours.”
    “Go talk to her.” Lemley gestured over his shoulder. “Look, she’s even stopped near the fountain. You’ve got time. It’s not like we’re busy.” She shoved him and he banged his elbow on the coffee.
    He rubbed it absentmindedly. He really didn’t have a good enough reason not to go out there. What was the worst thing she could do? Laugh at him? Rip out his heart and grind it into the pavement? Tell him thanks but no thanks? The last one was a distinct possibility. With a final glance at his reflection in the polished coffee machine, he ran his hand through his slightly too long brown hair and risked a smile.
    Okay maybe he wouldn’t smile.
    “Rick, go now before she vanishes to wherever she spends her days.”
    He ducked under the bar and headed for the door. The Frothy Mug Coffee and Cupcake shop was mostly empty if Rick didn’t count the regulars. An old man who read a newspaper, which he hid his pink frosting cupcake behind. The mother and son who shared a double chocolate decadent delight cupcake.
    “For the love of all that’s holy Rick, just go.”
    He saluted at the smiling Lemley who promptly rolled her eyes and muttered something under her breath.
    The afternoon sun vanished behind clouds and he suddenly wished that he put a jacket on. No, he was just trying to find excuses not to talk to the girl in the red dress. A few more steps and the mystery would be over. He’d hopefully have a name. Hell if he was really lucky maybe even a number.
    “Hey.”
    The girl turned around and smiled. “Hey,”
    For a second Rick couldn’t say anything, her pale skin was unblemished. Her eyes the most startling shade of lilac. The colour was so unusual that she had to be wearing contacts. The sight of her hit him like a physical punch.
    She frowned. “Are you okay?”
    His face burnt. “I’m fine. I’ve seen you around and I wanted to know if maybe you wanted to get a drink…with me.”
    She seemed to study him for a moment. “That’s sweet. I could actually use a hand right now.” She glanced over his shoulder. “My car broke down. Can you look at the engine for me?”
    Rick didn’t have a clue about cars but he found himself nodding. “Yeah of course. Where’s it parked?”
    A smile crossed her lips. “Just follow me.”
    They walked down an alleyway. Not that Rick paid much attention to it. He should have been worrying about trying to fix a car without looking like an idiot. Instead the hypnotic sway to her hips held him entranced. When she stopped he noticed that there wasn’t a car and they’d stopped in an alleyway far from the street.
    “I didn’t catch your name.”
    “I have many names.” The girl replied cryptically before she turned around. Something was wrong with her face. Had it always been scaly? “You can call me Death.” He didn’t have any time to respond. She launched herself at him, her mouth impossibly large and her fangs long enough to rest against her chin. When she was finally finished and Rick crumpled to the ground, she spoke again.
    “I knew you would be sweet.”

    789 (sorry)
    @ellagrey26

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Payback Is A Bitch

    Like

  5. Mai leaned closer to the mirror to get a better look at the ugly purple and black bruise around her eye. “Yeah, the gang at work is going to ask a lot of questions.” She smiled as she imagined the questions she’d get asked.

    “What happened?”

    “He hit me.”

    “Oh, my God! Are you alright?”

    “Compared to him, yes, I’m fine.”

    She remembered the previous night, her 3rd date with Luke. He’d been OK through the first two, she’d even decided he was a pretty good kisser. But last night he decided he wanted more than she did. After a good, deep dish pizza, they’d gone to The Nightshade, for a drink or two, and to dance to live music.

    The band had played well enough, mostly cover songs with good rhythm. They’d been danceable enough. She’d pulled Luke to the dance floor several times. He’d been fun to dance with, and she’d decided she liked to hug him.

    He’d asked to come in when he brought her home, and since he’d been nice, she let him in. They put on a movie, and sat on the sofa. She pulled his arm around her shoulders, rested her head on his shoulder. She felt relaxed, happy.

    Until he put his other hand on her thigh. He leaned in and kissed her, and his hand drifted up her leg. She’d stopped him, but he tried again. When that didn’t work, he’d moved his hand to her chest. She’s stopped him again. And again, he kept trying.

    She got up, “Well, I need to get some sleep, I go to work tomorrow.”

    “It won’t take long, you know.” Luke wouldn’t take the hint.

    “No. It’s time for you to leave.”

    He’d grinned, grabbed her wrist, pulled her back to the sofa, put his hand on her chest, pushed her down. Mai pushed back. “Three dates. I deserve more.” He started trying to pin her to the sofa. “I want more.”

    She scratched his face, her nails left a couple of trails. He’d growled in pain, and slapped her, open-handed, which hurt like hell. He worked a hand between her legs, and she kicked as wildly and hard as she could, letting her knees contact whatever they found. She swung at him, and left more trails on his face. He punched her, and got sloppy. She took advantage of the opening, and planted a knee in his crotch.

    He bellowed and doubled over. She kicked him in the ribs, hard as she could. “I said no!” She kicked him in the ribs again.

    Luke wound up gasping for breath on the floor. She opened her apartment door and screamed, “Get out!”

    He’d limped away.

    Mai cried a lot that night. She’d hoped Luke would be her friend, keep her company, go places with her. And with time maybe things would grow. But they hadn’t. “Why?” she stomped to her bedroom, “Why do all the guys want to fuck me? Is that all I am to them? Someone to fuck?”

    She put on her pajamas, grabbed the ice cream, and put on her favorite fairy tale movie. She ate ice cream, sat on the sofa with her legs crossed, and a blanket pulled over her shoulders. “Why can’t I find a good man?”

    She woke up to find the remains of the ice cream melted in the container, leaking on her coffee table. She staggered to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, “God, I look like hell!” She called out sick from work.

    And there she was, looking at the bruise in the mirror. “I hope I crushed his nuts!” She pulled off her pajamas, turned on the shower and stepped in. The hot water on her neck and shoulders felt damn near perfect. She stayed in the shower until the water turned cold, then got out and dried

    “Why are so many men such snakes?” It would take a few weeks, but she’d try dating someone again. “Maybe someday I’ll find a good one.”

    Mai stretched out on her bed, hugged her pillow, and fell asleep, only to dream about men, and snakes.

    689 Words
    @LurchMunster

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Setup
    524 words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    Elle drifted above her body. Part of her knew she was dead, the other part watched as the people gathered around her tried to bring her back.

    She saw the shadows closing in and knew the time had come to pay for everything she’d done. She drew a deep breath, she wasn’t the bargaining kind and she hated people who couldn’t take responsibility for the things they’d done.

    She may have been the victim of circumstance, but they were circumstances of her own choosing. She ran a hand through her hair and suddenly noticed the tears in Cody’s eyes.

    Cody was the one good thing in this entire mess and her one regret. He’d come to this place to be with her, to protect her and now he was in more danger than she was.

    She cried out as she heard a shot and watched Cody fall next to her body on the floor. She sobbed as she watched the ghost of his smile slip away from his body, drift past her. She thought she caught a hint of regret on his face and then he was gone.

    He deserved better.

    She watched as Derrick and Kensington rifled through their pockets. Any effort to save her had ended with Cody.

    She watched, feeling colder all the time as Kensington pulled out his radio and called it in.

    “Looks like a drug deal gone bad,” she heard him say. “No survivors.”

    She felt rage replace the guilt and wash away the sorrow with cold fire. She knew she wasn’t a saint and that she’d made her decision to be here, but they were the ones who had lured her in. They were the ones who’d made sure things ‘went bad.’

    She felt something inside her break as she realized there was nothing she could do.

    Then she saw the shadow behind her move.

    She turned as a man ghosted up to her, real, but not real.

    “If you could do something… would you?”

    She shivered when her eyes met the dark place where his should have been. She knew she should have been scared, but rage had taken away and sense.

    “What would it cost me?”

    “Nothing you haven’t already paid,” the man told her. “Your friend is safe, where no one will harm him unless he decides to venture on. You have a choice…”

    “Can I…” she stopped, a wistful smile on her face when she saw the answer in the stranger’s eyes. There would be no more Cody and her. There was only her and her choice.

    Move on or go back, it should have been an easy choice: move on, but when she saw the smile on those bastards’ faces she knew she couldn’t rest until they got theirs.

    “I’ll take it,” she answered.

    The man gave a single node and pressed something into her hand: Cody’s micro recorder.

    ‘Give them hell,’ she heard the stranger say, and she had every intention of doing just that.

    ‘Got you, assholes,’ she thought as she felt herself fall back into her body. This time, she’d be the one to make sure things went bad.

    Like

  7. She walked, dust kicking up at her heels, and she didn’t look back. She didn’t want to look back. There was nothing to see. She let it all run in her head, like a film that she wasn’t really watching, like the roll of credits at the end; you know there are names but you don’t register them.

    She should have seen it coming, she knew that, but she didn’t. He was good. He was very good. She still felt her stomach jump at the thought of him. His sexy hair. His sexy voice. His sexy body – and how he worked it. She shook her head as she walked, trying to dislodge the thought of him. She replayed the expression on his face when she’d confronted him: the smugness, the contempt, the smile. The memory caused her to stumble. Her stomach soured. Her eyes welled up and she let the tears fall as she regained her footing and kept on walking.

    Holly hadn’t been anything special to anyone for most of her life, so it hadn’t been hard for Jerrod to work his way into her affections. She didn’t think she had anything anyone would want – but it seemed he did. He had wanted her trust, then her good name, and finally her savings, her house, and everything with it. Step by step he had done it. And she had let him. She thought they had been building something together, something strong and lasting, but it had turned out to just be a deck of cards, which had collapsed the second he put the last card in place.

    A question surfaced in her mind, what to do now? Where to go? How to start again? She didn’t know. She didn’t much care. She felt strangely light, unburdened – even free. Or she could just be numb? She didn’t know; she only knew a name. A lead she wanted to chase. She focused on the name.

    Since finding out he’d conned her Holly was confident she hadn’t been the first. He’d done it too efficiently, too quickly. So she’d gone on a search, although initially unsure what for until she’d found it: a little black book hidden in a tiny hidden compartment in Jerrod’s desk. The one he’d commissioned from her money. There were other names in there, but one had caught her eye.

    This person had called Jerrod. She knew because she’d answered the phone and handed it to him. She remembered because it was the first time she’d seen that expression on his face, one of shock and annoyance, as though caught off guard. It had been the only time she’d seen a crack in the usually smooth façade of Jerrod’s act. And then he’d closed himself off in another room, and she’d heard shouting. He’d been cranky for days after that.

    She pondered now what that could have been about, but she really had no clue. But she did have a name and a number, and that number had an area code, thus a location to head for.

    A small smile appeared on Holly’s face. She had direction. She had purpose – a plan even. She walked faster now, the town coming into view. And if this did turn out the way she hoped, she planned on making him more than cranky for a few days. Oh yes.

    Words 558
    @PurpleQueenNL

    Like

  8. Detour
    684 words
    by Alicia VanNoy Call

    . . . our first kiss was on the London Eye. Snowflakes were still melting on her lashes when she turned to me and our lips met. . ..

    I pull myself up onto the bank, mud squelching as I crawl between the cattails. The current drags. My fingers are ice blue in the falling light. I hack into my waterlogged arm, still dizzy. . .

    the endless tumble.
    The scream of tearing metal.
    The crunch of rock and shattered glass.
    The poppet flail of my arms and legs as the world turned end over end.

    I try to wipe my face, but only smear around the heavy scent of rust and loam. I roll onto my back. Sunset clouds are turning from pink to indigo. Crooked over the water at my left, a willow tree holds the dim moon fast in its branches.

    A pulsing headache throbs – one hand to my forehead comes away red and glistening. I stand up. The sleeve of my jumper is torn. Stained with blood. I finger the gaping wool, trying to find a laceration, and see a small movement at my foot.

    A grass snake coils around my ankle. I yelp, stumbling through the reeds, unsteady and almost falling again. I’ve lost a shoe. I can see the toes on my right foot, like toothy nubs, poking through the black fabric of my tights, one toenail mangled and oozing blood. The snake slithers into the twilight.

    Behind me, one wheel is still turning, a wobble
    squeak
    squeak
    squeak
    that reminds me I’m not alone.

    I whirl back to the wreckage. The motor is submerged, front end down, undercarriage just a snarl of flattened and twisted metal. The bonnet and cab are underwater, lights still on, the boot sticking up and that one tyre just turning.

    I scream, “Olivia!”

    I splash back into the river. The motor lights throw a strange glow into the stinging water as I duck under to slip through the open passenger window. She floats over the roof of the motor like a fish caught in a net. Upside-down and grey and still.

    Her hair fans around her face in an auburn cloud, her eyes closed, arms limp. A constellation of pink orchids drift through the water. I don’t know how long she’s been under and I’m thinking

    don’t be dead
    don’t be dead
    please please
    don’t be dead.

    Lungs burning, I jab at the button to release her safety belt and it comes loose. I wrestle her, heavy and slack-limbed out of the window, the current trying to pull her from my fingers.

    Don’t be dead.

    My face breaches the water and I take one long ragged breath. The icicle stab of it in my chest makes me gasp. I drag Olivia up onto the bank. Her legs are still in the water.

    “Olivia,” I say. She’s flat. Motionless. I put one ear to her nose.

    Nothing.

    I turn her over and press down on her back with both hands. A stream of dark water runs from her mouth across the pebbles. I press again. And again.

    I whisper, “Olivia.”

    I turn her onto her back and jam two fingers under her jaw. Nothing.

    Her ribs creak under the chest compressions. I’m counting aloud to myself but saying in my head
    breathe
    breathe
    breathe.

    She just stares into the scattered remnants of cloud. My arms and back burn with exertion as I lean to put my mouth over her soft and parted lips. Her face is cold.

    Our first kiss was on the London Eye. Stars spun overhead and Olivia laughed. Her pupils reflected blue. She smelled of vanilla and when she said my name, the lilt of her Irish brogue made my stomach flutter.

    There are two white dresses in the boot. Laid out careful. Wrapped in plastic.

    Orchids for me. Calla lilies for her.

    But now.

    I lean back.

    It’s just her body. And me. And the river running black.

    I reach out to pull her eyelids closed.

    I kiss her and then whisper into her right ear.

    “I do.”

    Like

  1. Pingback: Medusa | AngieTrafford

  2. Pingback: #MWBB 3.06 : Serpents | My Soul's Tears

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