#FlashMobWrites 1×07

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Seven

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 EDT (Eastern USA)
  • And ends: Saturday @ Midnight PST (Pacific USA)
  • 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. Choose one and include it in your story as given.
    • The prompt may be split between sentences, 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 or song themes in any way for your story.

The Prompts

Cara Michaels: “take away everything I am”

Ruth Long: “chewing through the ropes”

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

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38 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×07

  1. Visiting the Soul Garden

    “Tell me, Chayse, what do you need?”

    Chayse squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head hard. Fear stole his voice, tucking it deeply into his chest and constricting his throat. His body hummed with exquisite pleasure, but panic pushed tears from his eyes and only a sob escaped his lips.

    “You must tell me what you need or I can’t help you, my little wolf. I’m here to help, but I can’t if you don’t tell me.”

    “I need…” The words stuck in his throat as fear pinched them off and he jerked against the chains binding him.

    “Deep breaths, Chayse.” Aislynn stroked his chest with light fingers and his nipples hardened to sharp points. “Calm. Find your center and tell your Luna what you need.”

    Pleasure ramped up as she grasped his straining erection and slid her hand along its length. Breathing deeply helped him focus on that instead of the screaming panic. When her hot mouth settled over the head of his cock, he moaned and the panic receded.

    “I need…you to take away everything.”

    “I am, Chayse. For you, I will do that.” Before he could say more, a new, tighter heat engulfed his cock and he gasped again. “Give me your fear. Give me your dread. I will take everything away and replace it with love and pleasure.”

    Chayse groaned and thrust into Aislynn, his body taking it what it needed before he could stop it. His hands clenched into fists above his head, but he couldn’t reach her with the binding chains.

    “You are going to come, my little wolf, and when you do you will release all the fear keeping us apart. You will give it to me for me to keep. It’s no longer yours. Do you understand?”

    Aislynn’s voice held a note of command even as she rode him hard, her pussy clamping down on his cock and driving his arousal higher. He writhed and moaned, giving himself up to the pleasure she gave. He lost track of everything until Aislynn whispered, “Come for me, Chayse.”

    The orgasm crashing over him set him free as he sailed through the stars behind his eyelids. In the distance he heard himself cry out and Aislynn’s more musical voice joining his, but he couldn’t leave the glory and peace where he floated.

    After a few moments, the world around him seemed to settle into familiar lines. Great tree trunks and soft moss in amongst lush understory grew like something out of a children’s book. Chayse found himself in the guise of his mental child. He stood in his favorite clearing with the stream chuckling in its rocky bed. The forest used to look desiccated and sickly, but now the trees rose tall and straight, and every bush held full, leafy foliage.

    “Wow. It looks a lot better here.”

    Chayse spun and found Eva standing in his glade, wearing a delighted smile and Aislynn’s eyes. “I like what you’ve done with your soul garden.”

    499 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The Farm

    Gordie Dumont gets in the pickup and they drive off. Just from hearing Willy’s promise of fresh homemade sausages, the mere mention of them, he can almost taste the sizzling pork links as they head towards the farm.

    At home, there is never enough food. Five kids clawing for every scrap; his father, being a good father, holding back, not getting the sustenance he needs to put in a full shift of work, when there is work, or to even make it down to the Welfare office to get their piddly leavings.

    “The radio don’t work too good but there’s a couple of tapes under the seat if you want to play sumtin’…this works a bit,” Willy offers, pointing to the portable cassette player on the seat beside him.

    It is only a minute into the trip and the smell in the cab of the truck begins to turn Gordie’s stomach. Is it Willy, he wonders? Gordie then notices Willy’s mucked up gumboots. They are splotchy with black and brown globs. A pallet, a rainbow of shit ,in all its dried glory.

    Willy seems to notice his discomfort. “Open your window…I’m a bit of a pig…that’s what Dave always says. He always says, Jesus, Willy, someone ought to gut you…put you out of your misery. Dave don’t mean it. It’s just sumtin’ he likes to say.” After a second, he adds, “Course, my big brother’s pretty rank too.” Willy smiles.

    Gordie rolls down the window. The air rushes in, almost, but not quite whisking the foul stink away.

    Once, hunting with his grandfather, he had tripped in the early snow and landed inches away from a moose carcass. It had been killed by wolves, his grandfather had said, days earlier. Decomposing in its late autumn graveyard, maggots were feasting on the remains; even in the chill of October, the rancid remains stunk horribly.

    He wondered what has died in Willy’s truck. Something sure did.

    Go on, put some music on.”

    Gordie reaches under the seat and pulls out some panties. Willy looks at his silk discovery and says, “had me some real fun last weekend. Whoopee, she was sweet.”

    Willy takes the panties and wipes his brow with them and then puts them in his pocket.

    “Keep lookin’, kiddo.”

    Gordie finds a tape, an old Roy Orbison, one of his mom’s favourite singers.

    “When we get there, we’ll have some of the sausage from Skittles. She was a mean old hog….just wouldn’t let me put her down, had to hogtie her. Hogtie, get it?”

    Gordie nods that he gets it.

    “Crazy ass old sow even tried chewing through the ropes to get free before I whacked her good. I loved that old girl. She sure didn’t want to go…”

    Fumbling with the cassette player, Gordie presses the play button.

    “We’re almost there,” Willy yells gleefully, just as Roy fills the putrid-smelling truck with…”a candy-colored clown they call the sandman, tiptoes to my room every night.”

    497 words
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 3 people

      • It is an uncomfortable melange of fact and fiction, death and life. There are many benefits to just 500 words…in a flash, the story could easily have moved on to the property…and may in its extended rendition. I was hoping the emotion felt would be “dread.”

        Like

  3. She unscrewed the cap and took a whiff.

    “This outta do the trick.”

    Tawny liquid dribbled across blue skies and white clouds, stained them rusty brown. The next bottle didn’t even have a cap—she’d smelled it every time she walked past the liquor cabinet for weeks. It’s contents sprinkled clear, soaking in and darkening baby blue to indigo, white to gray. A pop of a cork and burgundy spilled like blood across coiled, knotted sheets.

    She looked up and frowned at the fallen soldiers on every windowsill inside the house. Bottles drained like a toilet flushing at her place, so she didn’t have as much ammo as she wanted.

    “Oh well.” She scraped a match and threw it into the barrel anyway.

    Nothing happened.

    Peering inside, she wondered whether the proof was strong enough. Was her dirty laundry too wet, or not wet enough?

    “The booze was just a ceremony anyway.”

    She pulled a can of lighter fluid out of her overalls bib pocket and squirted to her hearts content. Flame caught and billowed; scorching heat forced her back a step and her lungs burned, an itch inhaled to secret depths.

    “Sheesh,” she crept back up to the rim as the fire resided.

    Two googly eyes stared back, the happy feather halo singed and the pointed beak twisted into a grimace. Next to Big Bird, flames licked up Elmo’s face, black fingers crawling around wrinkles of fabric. Rats gnawing through dissonant chords of memory. Poison chewing through the ropes.

    “Noah’s old Sesame Street sheets were such a nice touch.”

    The blaze shifted and popped—she jumped and clutched her chest. The metal cauldron was a magic basket, with a coiled snake ready to strike. She scanned the house, pleading for emptiness. Sparks lit the wind like fireflies, silent and oddly peaceful between her and the sleeping mockery of home. No. If there was a viper inside that barrel, it was dead.

    She gritted her teeth. “Or, it should’ve been.”

    It was a shame Noah hadn’t found him dead. Just passed out, the sheets not strong enough to hold his fat neck. Puke in his hair and piss in his shorts, he was puddled on the floor in blissful sleep while that sweet boy bawled.

    “Too bad. Noah needs to get used to the idea.”

    Because next time, she’d make sure Dad had a gun.

    395 words
    @SWathen_Author

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The world shook like a lost kitten. It was coming to an end, after all: everything was dying. Civilization lay in red scraps, devoured by the hounds of Hell.

    At least it’s brought us together, Briar thought as they manacled her into place over the pit: a Catholic priest on her left, a lesbian atheist on the right. Theological debate over the existence of demons had given way to battle plans, then evacuation plans, and now the final raw details of survival.

    One final raw deal.

    I’m about to become the enemy, Briar thought, so things must be pretty bad. An insane laugh threatened to bubble up in her throat. She swallowed it down.

    The underground chamber boomed with impact. That was no routine death-quake of the only world she’d ever known. Someone was going after the iron doors that sealed them off from the rest of humanity. Someone or something.

    “There’s still time,” Carmen said on her right. She blinked back tears. Maybe for Briar. Maybe not. They were all terrified, all the time.

    “Whole world’s out of time, Carmen,” Briar said. “I’m just next up. This will give us a chance.”

    “A slim chance,” the priest said. She barely remembered his name. Johann something? What the hell difference did it make now?

    A distant crash, the sound of splintering. The doors had given way. Briar could hear them: not human, but demons, vengeful apparitions, every mythic fear of humanity surging toward them in a crush. They were afraid. Afraid and hungry.

    Her heart hammered in pure animal fear. Her throat felt like a hollow cardboard tube; all her fear-sweat had drained away, leaving her a husk. An empty vessel for an unholy thing.

    She twisted her wrists in the manacles. “Just do it. Take away everything I am.”

    Johann-or-whatever stepped back. Someone handed him the unholy book. Bound in flesh. The sight of it disgusted and amused her. It looked like a movie prop.

    “It will be quick,” he said.

    “Fine by me.”

    He began to chant, oily words like a record playing backward. She could hear the rush of the infernal mob now. Hooved feet.

    Carmen touched her cheeks, pulled her into a kiss. “I love you,” she said. “You idiot.”

    “Me too,” Briar said, and gave Carmen a knowing wink. She longed to be that person, one last time — brave and carefree and devil-may-care.

    He will care. In about a minute.

    “Get back,” Briar said. “Don’t look at me when it happens.”

    Carmen’s hands flew to her mouth. “Briar–”

    “I love you.”

    Johann-or-whatever had been right. It was quick. One moment, she was just Briar; the next, she felt an invisible maw, chewing through the ropes of its infernal prison, sliding in under her skin, annihilating her memories with hellfire.

    Then her old self fell away like snakeskin, and she became. Her skin flared hot, her eyes smoking like cinders. She grinned.

    “Let’s go to work,” the demon said.

    494 words / @surlymuse

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Losing Coral (499 words)

    I’m wearing a cream blouse.

    The air smells of lavender and bleach. The woman beside me kisses my cheek.

    “Bye Mum,” she says, and I realise it’s Meghan. Silly of me, must be the new ‘do. She looks so different.

    I forget things sometimes. That’s why I’m here; I think… a word flies across my mind so quickly I can’t hold onto it. I chase it, but it’s gone. So has Meghan.

    I walk down the corridor to the lounge. The fraying, floral chairs are occupied by people much older than I. The woman beside me must be ninety if she’s a day. I’m only… well, I’m not sure exactly, but I’m much younger.

    She smiles at me, I smile back. “I’m new,” I say.

    “That’s nice,” she replies. “Have you ever been to Storrington? I’m from Storrington. Course I didn’t work there. I always caught the number thirty-seven into town-”

    She talks, a lot. I listen politely as she tells me every nuance of her life. It’s not until she says, “I must telephone my father, he’ll be dreadfully worried.” that I realise she’s crazy.

    I look at the others more closely. One of them polishes a teaspoon, frantically, with her jumper. Another gets up, sits down, and gets up again. They’re all crazy. That word I was chasing rushes forward, belts me round the head. Dementia. I’ve heard it a lot. I’ve heard it said about me.

    I’ve got dementia. The memory kicks me in the guts, I struggle for breath. I’ve got dementia, and it’s going to consume me, take away everything I am. I look at them all, locked inside their bubbles. Like scratched records, stuck in one groove. How long before I am the same?

    Someone starts to wail. I realise it’s me.

    I’m wearing a blue nightdress.

    The air smells of smoke. My house is on fire! I flee my bedroom, race to the front door. But it’s locked. I can’t get out! I scream, hammering my fists in vain.

    “Help me! I’m burning alive!”

    Footsteps thunder toward me. Uniformed arms grasp mine, stopping me from hitting the glass pane.

    “Coral,” the young lady says, “look at me.”

    I’m shaking, but I obey.

    “It’s Okay.” She speaks slowly, deliberately.

    “My house is on fire!” Why isn’t she panicking?

    “No honey. Not now. You’re safe.”

    She leads me back down the corridor, sits me down. She tells me things I half remember, things that seem like whispered dreams.

    I left the stove on, burned down the house.

    “That’s how you came to live with us.” She says.

    I’m wearing a green jumper.

    I must change before my date tonight. I pick up my mirror to check my lipstick. A shrivelled face, covered in burns and framed by grey hair stares back at me. I scream.

    I’m wearing a purple dress.

    I sit next to a woman much older than I. “I’m new,” I say.
    “That’s nice,” she smiles. “Have you ever been to Storrington?”

    @NJCrosskey

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I woke up covered in grime, a mixture of sweat and whatever had kicked me out of the sewer last night. My stomach quailed at the smell, but I knew I didn’t have anything left to come up. To avoid adding more bile to the already revolting taste in my mouth, I pulled myself up and staggered to the bathroom.

    I waited until the shower got to lukewarm and then stepped under the spray, not wanting to even touch my clothes until they at least got rinsed off. The only soap was pink and fruity – Angie’s? Kelly’s? God. I didn’t even know whose house I was at. But it got me clean, and the towel I grabbed from the closet got me dry.

    I didn’t have any clothes to put on that didn’t revolt me, but if I didn’t want to venture out in just a towel, I was going to have to find something to put on. I hoped I was at Kelly’s – she was about my height, and I could probably steal some sweats or something to keep me from getting arrested on the way home. Angie was too damned petite. A plus for bedroom gymnastics, a minus for swapping clothes after…

    After. I shuddered, and pushed open the door to the bedroom. After. Fuck. If I could avoid remembering that this was now a world that was After What Happened, I’d be a much happier man.

    From the pictures on the mirror, I realized I was at Angie’s, but I needed clothes, so I went pawing through her dresser anyway, hoping for some dumbass luck.

    And I found some. I didn’t really want to think about which ex- or current boyfriend had left this stuff, but there it was, crammed into the back of the bottom drawer. Clean and dressed, I realized I could possibly pass for a human now.

    After.

    My stomach rumbled again, but this time, it wanted me to put something in it. Angie was a hell of a cook, so she’d probably have something laying around that was better than the ketchup bottle I had at home. Her fridge was indeed full, and I stared blankly at the array of foods for a while. I couldn’t imagine what it was like to have access to that much food, and never wonder if you’d have to do something you didn’t want to to get your next meal. But when I caught sight of the roast on the bottom shelf, my stasis broke.

    Angie had trussed the roast up, filling the center with some sort of herbs and butter, but she hadn’t cooked it yet, something I didn’t realize until after I’d already torn some chunks out of the bloody flesh, chewing through the ropes she’d used to tie the thing together and spitting the twine out so I could get to more meat. As the meat worked its way down my esophagus, I thought again of the night before and After.

    And smiled.

    499 words
    @drmagoo

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Pingback: Flash Mob Writes 1 – 07 | Project Gemini

  8. The Beast Within

    I watched the stripper work the pole and didn’t give a fuck. I was on my tenth straight whiskey and even without the booze being watered down I’d still have been stone-cold sober. Wolf metabolism sucked. So did my life. I hadn’t slept in five nights now but I wasn’t so far gone I didn’t recognize the energy flowing through the room.

    Gravedigger appeared on one side, Hardass on the other.

    “Damn, Easy. That’s one ugly bitch.”

    “Yeah, Digger. She’s just your type.”

    The sonavabitch laughed and tossed the dancer a twenty when she scowled at his comment. Hardy grabbed my glass and sniffed.

    “Fuck, man. This shit will burn out your stomach lining.”

    “How many titty bars did it take you to find me?

    “Too many.” Hardy winked at Digger when he added, “That last nudie bar offered breakfast. Gave eggs sunnyside up and hash browns a whole new meaning.”

    “I guess the Russian is pissed.”

    Digger snorted. “Or something. It’s time to come home, Easy.”

    “I can’t.”

    “Fuck, Easy. It’s not like we’d take you back and hog tie you. Hell, your wolf ’d just have fun chewing through the ropes anyway.”

    “Not funny, Hardy.”

    “She’s gone, man. Come back with us.”

    Gone. Sam had really left me. How could she take away everything I am? She took my heart. My soul. And left only the beast within me. The one that howled in the dark because she’d walked away from us—left us alone—on Sweetheart Hill. And wasn’t that a crock of shit. Sweet-fucking-heart. I bared all my secrets to her up there under the stars. All the bitch did was squeeze me into dust, wipe any traces of me off her hands, and walk away like I was dog shit on the bottom of her boot.

    One of the floor dancers waltzed up offering us lap dances. She was a redhead with big boobs, just Hardy’s type. He ignored her.

    “Dammit, Easy. You need to come home. Noni’s having nightmares. She calls out for you.”

    “Sam can deal with it. As she fucking reminded me in no uncertain terms, Jonah and Noni are her kids now.” Wait. Something didn’t add up. Hardy said Sam left. But Noni was calling for me? “Fuckin’ hell. You mean to tell me Sam ran off and left the kids behind?”

    I squeezed the glass so hard it shattered in my hand. I was so fucking pissed off that if I ever saw that gawddamned bitch again I was going slit her throat. Bad enough she cut me off at the balls but to leave the kids?

    Digger and Hardy got me outside before I killed somebody. We mounted our Harleys but just sat there a minute. I was staring at the rest of my life and it was a fucking black hole without Sam in it.

    “Time to start over, Easy,” Hardy said.

    Yeah. Wouldn’t be the first time. Welcome to my life.
    ****
    498 words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Pingback: Individual | My Soul's Tears

  10. They keep me in this room, with no windows, black walls, floor, ceiling, and door., under fluorescent lights that never turn off. I don’t know how long I’ve been here. Here, there is no time.

    There is an endless voice that always speaks of the good of the society, the body of humanity. Of how we are parts of that body, each part filling a need of the body. I know there was a time I didn’t believe. Now, I know someday I’ll believe every word.

    I write with invisible ink, from an invisible pen, on invisible paper. I’m writing a book on the death of the individual, the rise of society, and the macro-organism humanity has become. I start over each time I write, for I can’t remember where I left off.

    “There is no I. There is only we. There is no me. There is only us.” The voice goes on, endlessly. I stand in the middle of the room, hold my invisible conductor’s baton, tap it against my invisible podium, and conduct an invisible orchestra as they play Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Or at least the small bits I can remember of it. I make up the parts I can’t remember as I go.

    “Work for the good of all. Play for the good of all. Help all. Care for all.” Once I screamed for the voice to shut up. I put my hands over my ears, and sang songs to drown it out. I tried to tear my ears from my head so I couldn’t hear it anymore.

    They tied my hands down. And the voice droned on. “The only joy is service. The only love is service. The only life is service.” I screamed. I kicked. I stopped eating, drinking, sleeping. I prayed for death. For release. For an end to the voice, the lights, the black everything. I prayed for freedom.

    Until exhaustion captured me. Until it handed me to sleep.

    Eventually, I stopped praying. I began to eat, and drink. I learned there was no escape. They freed my hands. And the voice droned on, “Like a body has cells, society has cells. We are those cells. Each with a different purpose. All working together for the good of the body. The good of the whole. For what benefits the whole benefits each part.”

    I try sometimes, to remember the sounds of birds. The colors of flowers. The smell of a good meal. What it was like to walk beside the ocean. I always fail.

    Someday, I will understand that voice. Someday that voice will take away everything I am. Everything I could have been. And I will become another cell in the body of humanity. Part of me sometimes wants to cry at that thought, as if something has been lost, though I can’t imagine what.

    And all the while, that voice goes on.

    480 Words
    @LurchMunster

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Prisoner
    By Wakefield Mahon

    At first, it all seemed like a game. It was fun, giving myself completely to you. I could forget about all of the cares, the worries that weighed me down. I lost myself in your warm embrace. I didn’t even notice what was happening, what you had done to me.

    After a while, I became so accustomed to the darkness that I lost track of time. I’m not really sure when, but I forgot what sunlight felt like or that it was even worth missing. Your cruel presence was everything to me. Even when I considered trying to leave I could feel you holding me, gripping me. You gave me just enough to keep me going another day, but I wasn’t living, not really.

    I can’t really say what was different about that day. Something stirred me to action, I want to say it was God, for certain it was my savior. Then again, maybe it was just some distant memory of something… other

    Before I knew what was happening, I found myself chewing through the ropes that had kept me bound for so long. You might say, I realized the only power you had over me was the power that I gave you.

    Suddenly free, the world I had left behind lay before me once more. The sunlight felt so warm on my skin. I found myself enraptured by the intricate subtleties of scents I had long ago taken for granted. The shift in the air before the first drop of rain falls. Colors, flavors, I was born anew.
    That was the day I decided to stop letting you take away everything. I am stronger now and every day, in every way, I getting better. And I will keep getting better, one day at a time.

    My name is Steve and I’m an addict. Thanks for listening to my testimony.
    ***
    311 Words
    @WakefieldMahon

    Liked by 3 people

  12. She looked at him. He stood there without remorse.

    “I had to do what you wouldn’t want me to do.” He said.

    “What do you expect me to say?” she said.

    “I didn’t know how to tell you.” He said.

    “I don’t love you.” she said

    “I know.”

    “But how are we going to deal with this.”

    “Sorry… I don’t know.”

    “I love you.”

    “I don’t.”

    “Still.. “

    “Still I don’t.”

    “You did this to me I hate you forever. I did not ask for this.” She said.
    I saw her in the prison I had appointed her to. What could I do?
    The feelings kept coming. Sadness, gratefulness, love, compassion and fondness. I love her. What can I do?

    “You have to let me break free”. She pleaded.

    “There’s no way I can. You are in transition. You have to kill. There is no way around it. You die if you cannot kill.” Grievously he said.

    “I can’t keep doing the waiting game with my life. I have to do something, anything that will change this.’’

    “You know what, screw this and screw everything! I think I have a way.”
    “I love you no matter what. I’ll do whatever needs to be doing.”

    The Carnivore will change this I know he has the power. He keeps to himself in the caves but the few that have met say he has the power to choose. I hope he chooses my beloved.
    He climbed the cavernous area without remorse. Anything to fix his love. He had no admission of choice he carried on like a madman.

    He came to after passing out many times. Witches spells he assumed kept the evil at bay. He reached a cavern strewn with relics he could not decipher. There he saw what he was after.

    “Alus, you are here!” he said.

    “I’ve waited for you. You are fashionably late like always, Hiro.” Alus said.

    “I want you to free her. She did not ask for this life. Please free her from it. Take away everything that I am.” He pleaded.

    “The only way to free your love is to admit that you’ll keep the fire burning for the rest of us. You know this Alus!” The Carnivore demanded.

    “I know, I just didn’t think it would rely on just me. Jonus, Lius and Strove should not have died before me! I was the last. I should have had a life; a love and all that falls between. This should have not happened. He explained to Alus.

    “You are subject to the Carnivore. You either give up now or everyone you ever loved dies in your place. You know how the legend goes. I’m just here to collect a debt.” Carnivore said in an ire tone. .

    “Fine. I know what I have to do. But please keep the fire burning in the lamplight for any that seek refuge forever more in this place and I will go with you.” He pleaded.

    “Forever more.” Alus promised.

    @brazenbaretoe

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I stare down my husband. Four empty bottles of Jack Daniels sit on our kitchen table. He’s so drunk his pupils have swallowed his vibrant blue eyes.

    “You’re trying to take away everything I am!”

    These are the nights I wish our kitchen was bigger. He charges me, his steps unsteady. I dodge him, wrapping my arms around him, hands clamped and crossed at his wrists.

    He breaks from my hold and his bony hand collides with my cheek. I grab the phone, dialing 911. In the second it takes him to realize what I’m doing, I run out the front door.

    “I have a domestic in progress!” I shout to the operator. “I don’t know how long I can stay on the phone.” I rattle off our rural emergency address.

    I round the corner of the porch and Jimmy spots me. The smell of alcohol nearly knocks me on my ass. He backhands me again and the phone clatters to the floor. He stumbles past me and I use it to my advantage. My cheek throbs as I wrap my arms around him, grasping his arms at the wrists. He’s strong when he’s angry, even if he is drunk. He struggles in my hold, but I keep my grip.

    Without warning, his head comes back and slams into my nose. Pain rockets into my head, blood floods my mouth. I drop, holding my nose.

    “Don’t-don’t-don’t hit me,” he slurs. “Don sssend me to r-r-rehab again.”

    His face swims as sirens rattle my head. I pull myself up, balancing against the wall.

    “You’re—” I swallow the bile rising up my throat. “You’re going back.”

    He stumbles toward me. The sirens are close, their blue and red flashing lights adding to my throbbing headache. My breath catches when Jimmy grasps my shirt, cutting off my air supply.

    “You don’t decide that. Don’t tell anyone what happened.”

    He walks down the front porch steps. I collapse and try to crawl around to the back but my body won’t cooperate. Jimmy stands in the yard and takes something from his pocket. Where the hell did he get a gun? We’ve been down this road before. This is his fourth standoff with law enforcement.

    “Can you walk?” A familiar voice asks, close to my ear.

    I jump as a face swims before mine. I recognize the face. It’s my neighbor Hank, Jimmy’s adopted dad. He helps me to my feet. I stumble forward, but Hank holds onto me.

    “He’s going to jail, isn’t he?” I ask. Tears prick my eyes and my voice wobbles.

    “Probably.”

    I close my eyes to the flashing lights in my yard. Gravel crunches under shoes and I peek my eyes open as someone takes my other arm. Sean P., our neighbor to the south. He’s a volunteer EMT sometimes.

    “This way, Cobs. The cops will take care of Jimmy. We’re taking you in to get checked over.”

    The last thing I hear is a gunshot.

    @Aightball
    497 words

    Liked by 2 people

  14. All That I Am

    Ivez perches on the top rail of the fence, dark and scrawny as an underfed crow. “Take away everything I am, Barjean. The crown. The curse. All of it. You know what’s left?”

    “A girl who still doesn’t know how to embroider worth cow shit,” says Barjean, lobbing pebbles at her.

    “Okay, well there’s that but-“

    “Is this going to take long? Not that I want to cut you short, which we both know is a lie I say out of love, but I –“

    “Just once, can’t you let me try on a good speech?”

    Barjean shades her eyes and looks up at Ivez. “You’re right. I’m always interrupting. Forgive me, Highness. I’d be happy to hear what you have to say. I’m sure my brother’s news about the remnants of Vaylor’s army will keep.”

    “Your brother is back,” Ivez says, dropping from the fence, lanky frame nearly the height of the supporting posts when her feet hit the grass.

    “Yes, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind waiting for you.”

    “Where is he now?”

    “Carry on with your speech, my friend.”

    “At your mother’s? We could be could be there within the hour.”

    “He’s waiting for us at the Errant Traveler. But I’m sure he’ll stay sober as possible until we arrive. So let’s get that speech off your chest and then we –“

    Ivez tackles her, knocks her on her back in the field and pins her there. “I’ll tell you what’s left when take away everything else. I’m a girl who has no use for embroidery, bread-making, or politics. Now, you can shove that speech up your backside for all I care. But be quick about it because I am in a right hurry to see what news Lavell brings us.”

    Barjean pushes Ivez to one side and sits up. “What if the prince retaliates against us for Egam’s attack on the palace?”

    “If he’s fool enough to think he can move against the House of Roark, we’ll show him the error of his ways,” Ivez says, pulling her wild dark hair to one side and letting the skin slide off her face to reveal the black skeletal bones beneath.

    “Oh yeah. Dazzle him with your beauty,” Barjean chuckles. “In case that fails, I’ve got a great backup plan. Deliver one of your windy speeches. He’ll surrender in a heartbeat.”

    Ivez shoves Barjean’s shoulder and the two topple into the wild grasses, a flurry of linen skirts and wild hair.

    “Wait,” Barjean says, trying to catch her breath. “I thought you were in a hurry.”

    “Always enough time to take you down a peg or three,” replies Ivez, twisting Barjean’s arm behind her back. “Loser buys ale. Lots of ale. Bottomless pitchers of ale.”

    Barjean bolts for her horse. “Loser being the last person at the tavern, right?”

    “I don’t need a horse to beat you, idiot. Take away everything I am, and you know what’s left? The one thing I can never get free of. The monster,” she says, letting the rush of grey skin envelop her as she begins to run.

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 500 ineligible words

    Liked by 2 people

    • “A girl who still doesn’t know how to embroider worth cow shit” – Hahahaha. I like this new peek into the darken world.

      Like

  15. “You surveying the crowd, Kelly?” The voice sounded through the tiny speaker in my ear. I recognized the chief of event security’s crisp tenor. “Looks like a hefty turnout.”

    “Mhm.” As assignments went, I needed to request more like this one. An hour in, and I hadn’t needed holy water, a crossbow, a gun, or SWAT backup. Standing on a South Beach balcony in October, the warm Atlantic breeze played fast and loose with my hair. The main benefit of my red curls was “tangled mess” as a default style. “I’m watching them now. They’re damn near chewing through the ropes to get inside.”

    “At ten grand a plate, you come hungry.”

    “Ten-K to be seen, photographed, mentioned on the style and humanitarian blogs. Good press isn’t cheap.”

    “Such a cynic.” His chuckle said he agreed with me. “This is a charity event, remember? I’m sure some of these are genuinely good people.”

    “Well I’m not here to assess motivation,” I said.

    “Speaking of,” he said. “You spot anyone who—doesn’t belong?”

    I’d dressed to blend in with the crowd. This crowd bought shoes worth more than my ride though, so designer black lace clung to my body, playing peek-a-boo with a nude silk sheath beneath. The flared hem flirted with the wind, dancing about my knees. On my feet, a pair of treasured Louboutin’s added a signature flash of red to the ensemble. Together, the dress and shoes created an aura of belonging among Miami’s elite social strata.

    “Just me, so far.”

    Impeccably dressed wait staff circulated through the mingling guests, serving champagne and canapés. Three bartenders handled lines ten deep, pouring drinks and smiling as the tip jar filled. The black tie kits and gowns swayed in a sea of emerald green energy, fancy reeds in a glowing tidal flow. Green was good. Green meant human.

    “Okay, we’re opening the doors.” The chief’s voice sharpened. “Stay sharp, people. We have dignitaries and diplomats galore here. Just because we’re inhuman-free doesn’t mean we can’t be ground zero for an international incident.”

    The rest of the security team checked in as I listened. My visual focus stayed on the crowd, now moving like a herd of well-dressed cattle toward the entrance. A woman’s cry rang out over the courtyard. I just made out “something stung me.” Laughter followed, and I zeroed in on a woman rubbing her left arm.

    “Stupid noseeums,” she said as she headed inside.

    “Let a bug bite be the worst of my worries tonight,” I muttered.

    Moving inside, the balcony stretched to either side of me into wide staircases heading down to an opulent ballroom. Security fanned out around the room, so I didn’t stand out up here. Dozens of tables set with ivory linens and polished silver gleamed beneath crystal chandeliers. I leaned on the stone balustrade.

    From this vantage, I could almost believe in the beauty, the generosity.

    A streak of deep violet energy bled into the green.

    Immortal.

    “Houston, we have a problem.”

    @caramichaels
    500 words

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Doorkicker

    Between us, Bobby was the Mouth. He could talk anyone into anything. Once, he talked his first wife into divorcing him. No fight, no shouting, just a pen, paper, and three glasses of wine- two of which were his. Not only did he manage to pull that off, they’re still on great terms. I do not understand how some people can do things like that. Not that he couldn’t fight. He learned to kick ass, and discovered he was gifted afterward. The gift failed him that night, though. He knocked, and they were waiting for him. Pulled him inside and locked the door behind. I think that’s the night he lost his first tooth. Anyway, that’s why they called me. They needed a doorkicker. A real Moose. Me.

    The house they had Bobby in was stuck down the end of a cul-de-sac. Only one way in or out. Orange halogen lit up the little estate, but not well. Music poured out of the place from a kilometer away. Knock, knock.

    “What?”

    “I’m here to read the meter.”

    “Yeah, right.” Like I said, Bobby was the Mouth. Knock, knock.

    “Get the hell out of he-” To kick in a door, you plant one heel in the ground, and drive the other into the door, just beside the lock. It takes practise, and some muscle, but I had both. It swung open about seven inches- at some speed- before it found the guy’s face. Even over the music in the next room, I could hear his nose squash and crack like a chicken bone. He screamed and hit the floor. I was in. Then, it all happened very quickly.

    Big, bald friend investigates noise. Sees us. Surprise. Step over noseless goon. Hit friend in teeth. Confused, grab lapel, headbutt. Down. Music music music. Smell of smoke. Look around. Hallway. Deep breath. Kitchen on left, stairs on right, sitting room on far right. Lights, TV. Four guys, drugs. Slow blink. Move. Stairs. Quiet. Shhhhh, creep. Music music music. Top. Four doors, all closed. Two left, two right. Light under three. No light from far right. Keep hostages in the dark. Creep, creep, creep, creak. Flinch. Nothing. Bottle on head. Down on one knee, kicked in the ribs. From the left. Block second kick. Reach up, grab incoming bottle wrist. Grab balls, twist. Drop back, pull down. His forehead. Doorknob. Door opens. We fall. Goon on top. Cracked skull. Look around.

    “Mooth! Youh thook yer thme!” There he was, in the corner, wrists and ankles bound, chewing through the ropes. His mouth was dripping blood. As he spoke, I could see that he was missing two of his front teeth. Like I said, Bobby the Mouth.

    458 words.
    @ItsNickFitz

    Liked by 2 people

  17. 350 words
    by Alicia VanNoy Call
    @callthewriter

    It’s one of those days.

    I throw down the empty shotgun and reach for my nine.

    It isn’t as if these things ever go easy, but you’d think, at least once, I could have a night where I don’t go home to ice my knuckles, stitch up my own wounds, and drink myself to sleep.

    You’d think.

    The church is echoing black. Empty vaulted ceilings with scattered patchy murals. A saint here, the Madonna and Child there. Some missing hands, half of a face scraped off. Bats were roosting here before I came looking, but they flurried out the broken wall when the fight started.

    I slow my breathing. Listen to the darkness.

    It’s here. I know it’s here. But it’s toying with me.

    I hold the handgun loose. Not loose enough to be smacked out of my fist, but loose enough to get off a quick shot.

    He’ll come at me. Out of an inky corner. Baring his fangs.

    My shoulder blade burns where he raked me with his claws. I roll my shoulder in the socket. It will be sore tomorrow.

    Goddamn vampires.

    I’m tired of waiting.

    “Come out,” I call into the resounding shadows. “Let’s finish this.”

    Only the shuffle of dead leaves under a curlicue of wind.

    And then: “You’re the one who’s finished, Angel.”

    Don’t call me that. I bite back the words. Only my father called me that.

    “Come and find me,” he whispers. The voice bounces, reflects, lingers over my shoulder.

    Where is he?

    I spin around and he’s behind me. Lunging. I sidestep, a practiced move we did over and over in the gym, Dad and I.

    I spin and fire and he falls to the ground. Before he can rise, I’m on him with the stake.

    He cries out, a shriek that becomes a wail as hot blood wells around my hands.

    “Angel,” he screams. “Angel!” My father’s face flashes before my eyes and the words threaten to take away everything I am.

    I twist the stake in his chest plate.

    “That’s Miss Angel to you, bitch.”

    Liked by 2 people

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