#FlashMobWrites 1×03

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Three

Come one, come all! This is an open flash fiction challenge with a musical inspiration, hosted by authors Cara Michaels (formerly of #MenageMonday, #WIPflash, and#RaceTheDate) and Ruth Long (of the wicked fun #LoveBites and #DirtyGoggles challenges).

Mob Rules

  • The challenge begins: Fridays @ Noon EST (Eastern)
  • And ends: Saturday @ Midnight PST (Pacific)
  • Word count: 300-500 (no less, no more)
  • We love you and wish to heap praises (and random prizes) on you, so be sure to include your name (no, it doesn’t have to be your real name) and a way for us to get in touch (Twitter handles are encouraged)
  • A prompt choice is offered by each judge.
    • The prompt may be split, but no order change or dropping words.*
    • Words may be added before or after, not in the middle.*

The Inspiration

For your musical enjoyment only. You do not need to reference the video in any way for your story.

CAUTION: This video features a seriously talented frontman with seriously hot tattoos. 😉

The Prompts

Cara Michaels: “leave the evidence far behind”

Ruth Long: “fall out of the atmosphere”

Now pick your prompt and post your story in the comments below!

*What does this mean? Well… here are examples using our prompts:

  • YES: “Don’t leave the evidence.” Far behind us, the sedan crept closer.
  • NO: I watched the ship fall straight out of the atmosphere.
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31 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×03

  1. The sound of a gunfire shatters the silence of the night.

    I watch with a sick fascination as the blood trickles out of the small hole in the middle of his head. Slowly, I see the light go out from his eyes, and a sigh of relief escapes my frozen lips.

    The feeling of a hand grasping mine makes me look away from the spot where our would-be-assailant lies dead in a heap.

    “Baby, come on. We need to get out of here,” I hear him whisper urgently in my ears.

    Looking into his eyes, I see fear … for me. “Are you afraid of me?” The question slips out of my mouth effortlessly.

    He stops in his attempt of getting me to move and looks at me slack-jawed. “Why would I be afraid of you?”

    “I just killed a man,” I respond with a shrug.

    He squeezes my hand. “For us. You had no choice, baby. He was here to hurt us. I’d have loved to be the one who pulled the trigger, to tell you the truth.”

    I gasp at the thought of my perfect man having blood on his hands. No, I didn’t want him to become a murderer … not even for me.

    And in that moment, I realize his fears. He’s afraid I’ll be taken away from him.

    Opening my mouth, I start to speak, “Hey, we’re okay. We’ll get away from this …”

    He lets out a groan before pulling on my hand and crushing his lips on mine, effectively shutting me up.

    We kiss hungrily, thankful for the presence of each other in our lives. When we break apart, he rests his forehead on mine and whispers, “I can’t lose you. I just found you …”

    I kiss him once more and whisper back, “You won’t. We’ll leave this. We’ll leave the evidence far behind. We’ll run away and just be two people in love.”

    “What I feel for you is so much more, beautiful girl.”

    His words make my heart melt. No one has ever loved me like this flawed, yet perfect man has.

    Wordlessly, I lead him away from the dead dirty cop and get into the backseat of our car. He takes the hint and kisses me. This time, our kisses are soft … lingering. He takes his time kissing every inch of my skin he finds before taking off my clothes to uncover more.

    The moment I feel him move inside me, I feel like I’m finally complete. He kisses my naked shoulder as he thrusts into me again and again, creating the rhythm perfect for us.

    Together, we peak, and together, we fall, holding onto each other with all we’ve got to ground ourselves.

    “You are my home,” he says when he catches his breath.

    I smile as I feel him place soft kisses on my nipple. “You are my life,” I say simply.

    And he is, because to me, life is nothing without him in it.

    Word Count: 499
    Twitter Handle: @TwiAddictAnne

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Harming the Dragon’s Mate

    “Dr. Aliandra!”

    The high scream preceded a small body hurtling through the clinic’s doors and straight into her arms.

    “Tommy? What’s wrong?” She caught the dragonette and held him while he shuddered against her belly.

    “He took him!” Tears stained Tommy’s face as he looked up at her, his silver-gray eyes panicked.

    “Who took whom?”

    “Viggo! Viggo hurt Mr. MacGregor and took out of the library. You have to help him.”

    “Calm down and start at the beginning, Tommy. Here, sit down for a moment.” She pulled him over to one of the rolling stools. “Now tell me everything that happened?”

    “I was in the library when Mr. MacGregor came in.” Tommy gulped air as more tears streamed down his face. “He didn’t look very happy, but he waved to me as he went by the kids’ section. I got up to see what was wrong when I heard him shout and a loud noise.” Tommy shook his head. “I crept closer because it sounded like Viggo was chanting something bad at Mr. MacGregor. The words made my ears hurt.” He rubbed his ears like they still ached.

    “Go on. What happened next?” Aliandra could guess, but she wanted to hear it as the fury inside shifted from Drake to Dr. Lance.

    “Viggo dragged Mr. MacGregor out of his office by his arms. Mr. MacGregor was bleeding really bad from his head. I hid behind the library counter because I didn’t want Viggo to see me. He looked bad, Aliandra.”

    “Bad? Like he was sick?”

    Tommy shook his head. “No, like mean-bad, like he was gonna do something horrible to Mr. MacGregor.” He tugged on her coat sleeve. “You have to help him, Dr. Aliandra. Please. He’s in trouble.”

    “I will. I promise, Tommy, but I need you to do something for me.”

    Tommy sniffled. “What?”

    “I need you to run as fast as you can to Iris Maple at the Ironwood Café and tell her what you told me.” Aliandra stood up and pulled off her doctor’s coat. “I need you to tell her Viggo took Drake somewhere and I’m on my way to help him. Can you do that?”

    “I-I-Iris?”

    “Yes. She’s the Queen of the Dryad’s Garden and she’ll be able to find Drake quicker than I can. Can you do that for me, Tommy?”

    He nodded vigorously. “What are you gonna do, Aliandra?”

    “I’m going to go out there and bring him back safe. Don’t worry.” She threw off her three-inch heels and strode for the front of the clinic. Tommy trotted after her, his bottom lip between his teeth. Let’s hope no one needs the doctor while I’m out. Who was she kidding? Drake needed the doctor more than anyone at the moment.

    She’d fall out of the atmosphere like a blazing star, her fiery breath clearing the way. No one hurts my Mate but me. That demon-excrement will die. She’d make sure of it.

    @SiobhanMuir
    490 #WIP500 words

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Star Fall

    I knew she wanted to run. Given the situation, if I were her, I’d run too. Thing is, Sam wouldn’t get far. I’d hunt her down. Ducking her head, she hunched her shoulders and watched me from the corners of her eyes. When I brought her out here, I’d wanted her to see the stars fall out of the atmosphere. The Perseid meteor shower up here in the mountains is an amazing sight. I’d wanted to make love to her, beneath the shooting stars. I wanted to take her to heaven, leaving everyone behind but us. Just us. Sam and me. And I would have explained what I am, and what she means to me, what she is to me. And then I would claim her. My mate.

    Like an idiot, I’d agreed to let her drive up herself. She had something to take care of down in town and I was thinking all romantic and shit. I came up early, set up things—the blanket, the food, wine for her. Hell, I’d even brought her flowers. Then that Hell Dog showed up. He’d followed me, thought he could take me out. Nothing hunts in the mountains better than a Wolf. I took him out, in wolf form.

    Then Sam arrived early and caught me shifting from wolf to man. I hadn’t meant for her to find out what I was, at least not this way. I hoped to distract her. Bad enough she’d seen me in wolf form, but there was the fucking body too. I needed to draw her away, leave the evidence far behind.

    “Sam…” I reached for her but she backed away a step. Her eyes flicked from me to the dead guy.

    “Could you at least put clothes on?”

    “You’ve seen me naked before.”

    “Dammit, Easy. Don’t make this so hard.”

    The look on her face hurt. “I didn’t want you to find out like this.”

    “Find out like this? Oh my god, Easy. You killed him. And…the wolf. I stood there and watched that wolf turn into you. A very naked you.”

    “Yeah, well, clothes don’t work like that. This isn’t magic.”

    “What are you?” Disgust coated her voice.

    “There’s a technical term for it. Lupi versi pellis. It’s…aw hell, babe.” I scrubbed my thighs with fisted hands to keep from grabbing her. “It’s in my DNA.”

    “That’s…” She inhaled a ragged breath. “This is just crazy, Easy.”

    “Yeah, guess it would be to some people.”

    “So do you like…turn into a wolf and howl at the full moon? Or eat people?”

    I waved toward the blanket I’d spread out. “Sit down, Sam. I’ll answer any questions you have.”
    She asked. I answered. We talked until the stars no longer fell, until night turned to day. She left without saying goodbye. I couldn’t leave what I was behind. Alone, I shifted, raised my muzzle and howled. I’d lost her, and no matter how many stars I wished on, she was gone.
    ****
    500 words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 3 people

  4. When she came this close Craig could smell the perfume, tickling and teasing at his senses with promise. He slotted his key in the lock and opened the door, cracking it to check for his family. Zoey pressed against him as he did, nearly tumbling the both of them into the darkened living room. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to wake Mom?

    Quietly, stifling laughter, Craig and Zoey crept down the hall to his room. In the moonlight spilling from the living room window he could see her, perfect shape, swishing her skirt playfully. She came close again, so close he could feel her bubble-gum breath. They kissed in the dark outside his mother’s room. Family pictures caught the faint light, throwing bare reflections against him. It was not his first kiss. That was at the start of the date. No, now he was a master.

    “You’re so perfect, Craig.” She molded against him, breathing on his neck as her mouth hovered there above the patchy beard hair. “I don’t know how I never noticed it before.”

    His face flushed, and he fought his body’s reaction for modesty’s sake if nothing else. She tugged at his shirt.

    “This is in the way,” she said, nuzzling him, smelling him. Her hand reached behind his head, grabbing a fistful of hair. “Which one’s your room?”

    He gasped, disengaging from her. “The one at the end of the hall. Wait here, I’ll go get it ready.”

    “Don’t take long.”

    Craig slid into his room closing the door behind him. The flick of the light almost blinded him. He studied himself in the mirror. Mop of curly, dirty hair. Acne scars. It wasn’t so bad. He had a nice body. He glanced around at the messy bed, the wall scrolls and figures on the shelves. Should have taken those down before the date, he reflected.

    That wasn’t his concern. It was the closet that worried him. He moved to the closet door. Just inside, half shadowed, was the altar. A small table carved with a magic circle and runes. Within the circle sat two melted candles, a lock of hair tied with a girl’s headband and a picture of Zoey Wolverton; Cheer leader, class president, head of the class newspaper.

    “Sorry, Zoey. I do this because I love you,” he whispered.

    He picked up a steak knife by the altar and nicked at his finger, pressing blood against the magic circle. It wouldn’t due to let the love spell fade in the middle of the act. Sucking on the bleeding finger he hid the knife deeper in the closet and closed the door. No, he reflected, she needs to see this even less than the posters.

    “Baby?” She asked, nearly making him jump out of his skin. “What was that?”

    Craig spun. There she was, in the full light of his room, shimmying out of her jeans. The sight of her stamped out the small weed of guilt blossoming in him.

    Wordcount: 498

    J Patrick Allen
    @genreaspired

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “Zeb, what happened here?”

    This wasn’t just a graveyard for a few old ships. This was a massacre. Wreckage stretched to the horizon, twisted, shattered remnants with at least a dozen discernible hull markings. They meant nothing to me directly, but more than one bore a passing resemblance to the EASA emblems on the Ark.

    “The ships, they fall out of the atmosphere, a hundred or more metal stars crashing all around.” Zeb lifted his hands to the sky, arrowing them back toward the ground. “In one night, all the star people are gone. Entire cities here are gone. It is weeks before the fires fade and the night sky is dark again.”

    “The atmosphere keeps going all the way to the ground,” I murmured.

    Sinjun checked my hip.

    “Fall through, yes. Fly out, yes. Fall out?”

    “Stop it.”

    “It’s true.”

    “Your literal inflexibility is unnecessary.” He gripped my arm and steered me a few meters away. “We both understand what he means.”

    “Regardless of colorful interpretation, something seriously doesn’t add up here.” I pulled free. “Sinjun, breaking atmosphere is freedom for a ship. Getting caught in it, falling through it—”

    “Means getting caught in gravity. If you cannot break free—”

    “You become one with the ground.”

    His chin rose on a sharp inhalation.

    “Look at all of this. Zeb said a hundred or more metal stars. This is a fleet, Sinjun. A ship crashes. Maybe even a few ships. But an entire fleet?”

    “Fuck me,” he whispered. His gray eyes popped wide. “This isn’t possible.”

    “You know what this is, don’t you?”

    “The first fleet.” Reverence fueled his words. “They left Old Earth and no one heard from them again. Their disappearance set exploration back centuries.”

    “That doesn’t jive.”

    “Pardon? Jive? I do not know this term.”

    “This right here?” I jerked my chin toward the wrecks. “This isn’t a disappearance. How do a hundred ships crash all at once?”

    “By design. Or sabotage.”

    “Zeb.” I trotted back to our guide. “Your people have histories, right? Of the star people?”

    “Yes, of course.” He bounced on his toes as he spoke. “The ground settlers and the star people are of the same home. They came here together.”

    Sinjun’s jaw went slack.

    “Your ancestors came from Earth?” My voice cracked, the question ending in a rasping squeak.

    “Mother Earth.” Zeb’s smile turned his face into a mass of sun-worn creases. “We wait for her children. Her chosen.”

    I choked on my next breath. Sinjun caught my shoulders and eased me back against him.

    “Gaea’s Chosen?” I shivered, felt the warmth of Sinjun’s lips against my hair. “You came here for them?”

    I fumbled for a hold on Sinjun’s hand.

    “Why here?”

    “The signal,” Zeb said. “Come. I will show you.”

    @caramichaels
    462 ineligible WIP words

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Dewey’s place was an asymmetric hexagon cobbled together out of parts of four adjacent habitation clusters halfway down the gravity incline, and filled with enough extra dark corners that, even without the throbbing music and surveillance jammers, something like privacy actually existed. The bar occupied one corner, with Dewey himself behind it, a hangdog blonde with a lot of mileage on his face, and almost as much on his mechanical arms. He’d declined our offers for repair work, even at an “I owe you one” discount rate, saying he liked to be reminded not to fuck up the same way twice.

    He had a lot of reminders, but it obviously worked, since they had stopped accumulating almost entirely in the last couple of years.

    Mo worked the room, gliding around like a drop of heavy cream in a freshly-poured cup of coffee, grazing each of his connections. I, on the other hand, walked through the mid-evening crowd like a chunk of dry ice dropped into the same cup – many of the patrons parting, if not actually hissing and spitting vapor at the notion of contact. If they fled from me and bumped into him, that suited both of us just fine.

    I parked myself at a narrow apex along the right wall with a view of both the door and the bar and reprocessed what we’d gleaned from the first pass through Vlad’s data. Erzebet’s trip dirtside hadn’t been her first, but it gave her an impenetrable alibi when the most recent delivery of lunar materials had come in. There had been a lot of very pointed speculation about how her materials contracts had been constructed to secure an unusual degree of profitability in a place where profits were the only thing more precious than rumors. Dropping down the gravity well was one way to leave the evidence far behind, if there was evidence to be left.

    That evidence was within reach, my subroutines told me, and with it, the ability to buy out my ownership stake and purchase emancipation. Nothing against Moixa, or even Claudia, who had owned the Light before selling it to him, but there was nothing more important than having that chit and my own stake in the orbital’s corporate structure. Even the poorest humans, those who had spent everything they had to ride the sky and arrive on the station with nothing but their paperwork, had their ownership shares, scant as they might be, which meant a trickle of the profits from the station’s operations kept them fed and juiced. They might not have much more than that, which is why a lot of them became clients of ours at one time or another, but they all had more than I did.

    That was going to change.

    #463
    @etcet

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That Day
    By Wakefield Mahon

    Scattered, like dust in a strong wind. Fear had driven many of us into hiding and subdued even the bravest of us. It was only a few days later that we even dared to gather in one place.

    It seems strange that only a week ago we were treated like heroes, victors returning from war. But now we knew the government was against us and how quickly public sentiment. But then again, that is the nature of humanity, of society isn’t it?

    We had little time to ponder the notion, when it felt like the world was ending, earthquakes and all. Ever since they publicly executed our leader, we trembled in the shadows, unsure of the extent of the fallout.

    Of the atmosphere, on this day however, what could be said except amazement met awe and wonder.

    It was just past sun rise when we saw her come running. At first, we thought maybe she had lost her mind from loss (after all, more than a few of us thought that she would be married to him one day) but then she took us to the place and showed them and they had to believe it too.

    The massive stone had been rolled away. The entrance to the place where they had laid his body was wide open. The linen cloths that had covered his body lay in a heap and the cloth that covered his face lay neatly folded. We were sure that someone had stolen the body, but something about the sight of that empty tomb struck me as if life and death had somehow changed forever.

    A while later she saw him, yes him! She looked as if she could grow wings and fly, so full of joy and life her face had become. It wasn’t until evening that the rest of us saw him. Our leader, our teacher, our saviour was alive, risen from the dead.

    I thought back on that empty tomb and how he had faced death and managed to leave the evidence far behind.

    @WakefieldMahon
    340 words

    Liked by 3 people

  8. On the streets of Omaha, Nebraska, it’s every man for himself. Cliché? Perhaps. But it’s the absolute truth. I know the right people, I run with the right groups, I sell the right drugs. I make the best LSD in town. And, when shit goes down, I leave the evidence far behind. Have I been caught? Sure. And let me tell you something about cops: if you offer to ‘help’ them, you can plead down a lot of charges.

    My help has limits: there are things I won’t tell. People I won’t talk about. But one person I will talk about is Aaron Cambridge. We used to be lovers. He treated me like a king. He showed me the way of the streets, taught me what I know. Then he dumped me for someone ‘better’.

    I lean back in an old metal chair with a poor excuse for a cushion. Sweat drips down my back, my hands shake. I need something, anything, to keep the withdrawals from killing me. But Lt. Michealson won’t let me have drugs in jail. If I help him, I can plea down, go to rehab again instead of prison he says. I’ve been to prison. I don’t want to go back.

    “All right, Jimmy. Where is he? Where does he hide?”

    “He has three hideouts. And he moves between them every few days. Last I knew he still had his safe house at 1501 X Street in South O.”

    Michealson’s round body drops into the chair across from me which creaks in protest. His ruddy face lightens, his lips curling into a sinister smile. One beefy hand clasps my right hand, shaking it vigorously.

    “We’ve caught him there before. What are his other addresses?”

    He slides a piece of paper my way. I pick up a pen in a trembling hand and force myself to focus. I lick my lips, my head light on my shoulders.

    “There’s one at 608 South 13th Street. And there’s one at 1709 Howell St. Those are the only three I know of.” For once, I’m telling him the truth.

    Michealson nods, taking the paper. “I’ll talk to your lawyer. But with luck, you’ll be at Creighton Rehab by Monday.”

    He leaves, the metal door slamming behind him. A guard walks me to my cell and I collapse on the bed. A rebellion builds in my stomach and before the guard leaves, it wins, all over the floor. I lay down on the bed, breath heaving. Had I really outed my once best friend? If Michealson raids the houses before my deal goes through, I’ll arrive at rehab safely. If he waits, well, Aaron will know. He knows everything. And he will know when I leave jail, where I’m going, and exactly when to strike.

    And he, too, will leave the evidence far behind.

    @Aightball
    474 words

    Liked by 3 people

  9. “What do you think you’re doing?”

    The voice startled Joey enough that she dropped the small bone that she had managed to hide from the last dinner they had been fed. She slipped the bone underneath her bed under the guise of checking out the

    Oona, one of the other girls who had come from her world stood in the doorway, staring at her. At this point, she seemed to be more at home in the fae world. She was dressed in elegant clothing that seemed to shimmer, dark hair was done up in intricate braids and delicate silvery jewelry. The woman was more of favored pet now and had no urge to go back to where she was born.

    “Nothing. Just fixing my shoe.”

    “Well hurry up, the shower is going to begin soon.” Oona gave a dreamy smile. “Everything looks beautiful when the shards fall out of the atmosphere. It’s like watching fireworks.”

    “I guess.” Joey shrugged, tugging at the bodice of the dress she had to wear. It was like they thought humans were dolls. Dressing them up in pretty clothing to show off. She was unfortunately stuck here. She was ready to go to her own home and not be a living Barbie doll for these people.

    The other woman huffed. “If you keep an attitude like that, it will only end up badly for you. You’ll get traded around until one of them finds a use for you. Not so pleasant as you have it now. So I would watch your tone.” Oona gave a huff before spinning on her heal.

    Joey gave a quiet snort, sliding one of the gems off from her necklace and put it next to the bone under her bed with a small cache of other colored gems. When she got out of there, she didn’t want to leave the evidence far behind that there were worse things than humans out there. There were a lot of things that went bump in the night and they weren’t all normal.

    339 words
    @solimond

    Liked by 3 people

  10. The blood was strewn across the floor of the ware house. The downpour of rain concealed the unrelenting screams of agony. He held a bloodied knife in one hand and brass knuckles for the other. The lady sat tied up, covered in blood.

    He viciously punched the but of his knife into the woman’s throat. As the woman grabbed her throat trying to scream in pain, he dug the knife into its abdomen. He gave a fiendish smile and put his finger on its lips.

    “Shh,” he taunted it. “this will only last as long as you want.”

    He yanked the knife diagonally out and cut the rope that held the victim back. As he moved back in front of her he gave a frown and said “Not my best work.” He dropped a gun near the woman. He stepped close to her and said “Like I mentioned, only as long as you want. Now listen there is only one bullet loaded, so i suggest you either shoot me and die bleeding out, or end it now.” He backed up and stood still, waiting for the decision.

    The woman started to shed tears. She reached for the gun and shakily pointed it at her-self. She was weeping when the sound of gunfire echoed off the walls. Her body moved viciously as she hit the ground. Her body went still and the blood formed a pool.

    He grabbed her legs and dragged her outside into a previously dug pit. He filled in the gap with a gallon of half sodium hydroxide and the other half with hydrofluoric acid. The hydrofluoric acid was just in case the sodium hydroxide didn’t get the job done.

    He filled the rest of the pit with dirt and walked back into the warehouse. He grabbed a mop and said “Leave the evidence far behind.” He then whistled a tune as he mopped up the blood.

    @grady_rexford
    319 words

    Liked by 3 people

  11. ITSY BITSY
    by J. Whitworth Hazzard

    I’ve had my eye on her for quite some time now.

    This detective is young; fresh out of uniform and eager to catch villains. We first crossed paths when she worked vice and I was interviewed on the 4th Street Killings.

    She only stood in the corner of the room. Said nothing. Did nothing. It was enough.

    Short, fiery red hair and petite frame with porcelain skin; a tasty morsel. I was smitten…obsessed if I tell the dirty truth.

    Since that day, I’ve watched her. She’s a good cop, but I’m a better villain. She was promoted twice with my help. A few anonymous tips go a long way in the crime business. I even had to turn on a pimp who saved the choicest catches for me, but it was worth it. Now she catches my ‘colleagues’; the clumsy, the stupid, the careless. Not all killers take their craft as seriously as I do.

    Do you want to know the secret to creating a human trap?

    Leave the evidence far behind.

    In the adrenalin high of the first investigation, with the fresh blood of the crime scene still stinging in your nose, the strands look like mistakes. Tiny slip ups. Coincidences that aren’t. Vibrations on a string leading into the dark heart of the beast.

    From my view at the center, they’re a guide. Enticements meant for her. It’s sweet agony choosing how to string the web among my victims. A fiber, an email, a partial print on broken glass, it’s an intense game with high stakes, but I make sure it’s personal. Each clue plays to her strengths and reinforces her intuition.

    She doesn’t even know she’s playing. She only knows that she’s catching up. One step at a time.

    I’ve grown tired of watching her stare at the board filled with clues in her apartment. I could break in and be waiting for her. Tired of watching her get into her car in the morning. I could be in that back seat. Tired of watching her eat alone at the Deli down the street from the precinct. I could be in the alley she cuts through to get there. I hate cheating. One more dead whore, maybe two…and then our game will finish. She’ll fly to me.

    Tick tock, pretty little fly.

    Tick tock.

    ~The Spider

    @zombiemechanics
    404 words

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I was left for dead.

    Clawing my way through mud, I dragged my broken body through the decay of the forest floor. This was not my day to die. A hole in the ground was no place for a sorceress to rot. But I bled like any human. My strength and spirit seeped out in the blood oozing from the gash in my head but I pushed myself forwards, snagging a fingernail on a root and ripping it clean off. Pain scorched my body, paralysing me to the floor.

    Maybe this was my time to die. Submitting easily to my fate, I closed my blood sodden eyes.

    When I awoke, darkness surrounded me. I lay for a while, adjusting to the night as a cool breeze dulled the burning pain. I’d stopped bleeding. My strength was returning, I felt the energy tingling in my fingers, healing my fragile shell. Magic coursed through my body. And my mind turned to revenge.

    Making him suffer would be easy. How was the tricky part. Being a sorceress opened up so many ways. I had to choose carefully as I wasn’t his only victim but I would be his last. Begging with his last breath, on bended knees, he would eventually fall. Out of the atmosphere, a shooting star blazed across the indigo sky, interrupting my thoughts. It died just as suddenly as it appeared, leaving the night empty. That’s what I would do to him. Leave him empty. Leave him in a state of permanent darkness to match his heart. Leave him with the nightmares of his victims’ last moments, playing over and over in his tortured mind. Leave him broken, screaming out in pain, screaming for me to end his misery, begging me to let him die.

    He would never die.

    He would never live.

    Eternal darkness waited for him. His soul would be nothing more than a black hole, consuming his body from within.

    323
    @Lizzie_Koch

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Starstruck

    Tonight’s sky is beautiful, the stars like diamonds littered across midnight velvet. It’s been a while since a shooting star crossed this little patch of the universe but surprisingly, one hurtles past, a trail of multi-spectrum spray in its wake.

    Jaslyn leans against a supporting post on the metal frame of the incomplete landing deck. The build is three months behind schedule. Creditors are threatening to retrieve her from the little planet in the middle of nowhere and prosecute her for breach of contract.

    Never mind that her lout of a husband had had the indecency to die two months ago or that the company hadn’t sent a suitable foreman to replace him. No use hoping a solution was going to fall out of the atmosphere and tip the scales in her favor.

    Only thing saving her sorry hide from imminent extraction is the remote location.

    Only hope of staying put is that the wild card she just played will keep her in the game.

    As though bidden by her thoughts, or maybe lured the improbable shooting star, the wild card walks around the corner and leans on the barren frame opposite her. “We have three full crews. Round the clock shifts. Room and board the first month. Half wages the second. Full wages the third. That will get you back on track.”

    “Thank you,” she says, though the words feel like sawdust on her tongue, dry. Nothing like the torrent of emotion that floods through her when she looks at him. Or hears his voice. Or thinks of him in the cold dark cavern of her lonely bedroom.

    “Anything else I can do for you before I turn in, ma’am?”

    Yeah, that is an answer she needs to skirt at all cost. Should be simple enough. She just has to conceal her feelings, leave the evidence …

    Far behind them, out across the red clay crevasse, a whistle blows. The wild card has the situation so well in hand that the men are even now suiting up and clocking in. The first shift is coming online. She pushes off the beam and crosses the distance between them, and this time, her ‘thank you’ is anything but void of emotion.

    And if she is correctly judges his reaction, rather hard to do with any accuracy when her mental capacity is so severely incapacitated by his hungry mouth and roving hands, her wild card, her improbable shooting star, is intent on blazing a path to her thawing heart.

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 418 ineligible words

    Liked by 2 people

  14. “Can it fall out of the atmosphere?” Bobby asked, gazing through the telescope.

    “It’s highly unlikely.” I marked the current location of the satellite. It had moved a considerable amount and we were concerned. I straightened from the table, stretching to kill the ache. I groaned when it cracked and Bobby turned.

    “Bothering you again?” His brow crinkled with concern.

    “No more than yesterday. Look at the coloring of the sky.” I pointed at the sky and traced the bands of red. “I haven’t seen that pattern before. The bands were falling straight down before and in shades of blue and green. This one is being pulled to the west. Any word from the service on storms in the atmosphere?”

    Bobby pulled his laptop closer and logged in. I never asked him how he did it. He was one of the best hackers in the world and some things were better left unknown. “Someone posted a theory about a star shower but that’s it.”

    “How has your leg been? Any changes since this new band appeared?”

    “No. I haven’t had a problem since we moved here.”

    We were in a small valley on the Rockies mountain range. A cold wind was blowing and I shivered, pulling my jacket tighter around me as I studied the sky. The red bands danced west, breaking up the black sky. The stars were bright outside of the band. In it, they were faded, almost invisible. This band was much denser than last weeks green band. The drastic change meant something and it was driving me crazy that I could figure it out. My mind raced with facts and pain laced across my skull. I took a deep breath and listened. I could hear the waterfall a couple miles away pounding down. The soothing sound helped hide the pounding of our hearts and calmed our chaotic minds. It’s why we chose to settle here.

    “Jane?”

    I jumped. “Sorry, what?”

    “What’s wrong?”

    “I’ve got a headache and my back aches.” I tried to smile but it wouldn’t stick. I was mortified when tears left warm tracks down my cheeks. “I’m sorry…I just…I’m…”

    Bobby pulled me into his arms. “It’s okay. I know it’s bad right now but we will figure it out. Did you try the tea I made?”

    “You know I don’t like that stuff.”

    “Try it, it will settle your mind enough to let you finish this.”

    “Maybe tomorrow,” I said and gave him a squeeze before pulling away. I bent to peer through telescope. “Look! It’s moved again. I don’t understand why…” My speech stuttered as several things happened at once. I saw a star fade from view and pain lanced down my back. I fell to my knees crying out.

    “Jane!”

    I could hear Bobby running to me as I fell sideways, my head cracking against a hidden rock. I caught a glance of the red band dispersing before the world went dark.

    493 words
    @RoryBrazen

    Liked by 3 people

  15. The Last
    by Alicia VanNoy Call

    We’re on day seven of our two week ride — halfway between Earth and the ship — when they start calling it a pandemic.

    We all gather around the news screens, husbands and wives with clasped hands, parents gathering their children close. We watch as swaths of red spread like ink across the maps to show infection rates. Shaky footage showing grotesque attacks, unthinkable acts of violence — people falling beneath chaotic stampedes.

    They say it’s a virus.

    Our prayers for those we left behind merge into prayers of thanks that we’ve escaped. Seven more days and we’ll be done with Earth forever. Until then, we slide up the carbon-fiber, microfilament cable to the ship waiting in geosynchronous orbit. We watch the screens. And we pray.

    +

    “Is anyone on the elevator sick yet?”

    “No.”

    “How are preparations coming?”

    “We’ll be ready to launch as soon as the elevator docks and they’re on board.”

    “If they’re coming on board.”

    “Sir?”

    “How much longer?”

    “They just breached atmo. About 60 hours.”

    “Very well. Carry on.”

    “Captain?”

    “Yes?”

    “What you said, about them not coming aboard. . .”

    “Yes?”

    “We wouldn’t really –”

    “Carry on, ensign.”

    +

    We switch off the screens, the streaming images of Earth’s last gasp falling into darkness. Some wipe away tears. We gather our belongings. Children scamper down the corridors, excited to leave the elevator.

    There’s a massive shudder, the resounding noise as we dock into place.

    We gather at the air lock, pressed into one hot mass, breathing each other’s air. Air charged with anticipation. And grief.

    We were meant to be the first colony ship from Earth. The first of many. But we know, after watching the sickness rage across the surface, that we will be the last.

    Our leader stands at the intercom, conducting a whispered conversation with someone on the ship. A ripple of fear moves through the crowd. Why aren’t they opening the doors?

    +

    “Captain, the passengers are ready to come aboard.”

    “Negative, ensign. They will not be joining us.”

    “Sir, you can’t be serious.”

    “Ensign, I will not risk the success of our mission on the possibility that none of these people are sick.”

    “But sir, none of them are symptomatic.”

    “We know virtually nothing about this disease. They could be carriers. We must leave them behind if the human race is to endure.”

    “Sir, you can’t mean that. We need them. There are children.”

    “We will have more children.”

    “Captain –”

    “Release the elevator, ensign. Prepare to launch.”

    “Captain –”

    “Prepare to launch, or I will have you escorted to the brig.”

    +

    The shudder of docking release can be felt in our bones. We watch through the ports as the ship moves away, its ignition a blue flame that fades to a spark.

    The elevator begins the automatic descent. We cling to each other.

    From here we fall. In two days, we will fall out of space. In two weeks, we will fall out of the atmosphere. Away from hope.

    Back to Earth.

    499 words
    @callthewriter

    Liked by 3 people

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