#FlashMobWrites 1×13

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Thirteen

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.

GUEST JUDGE

Because we change shit up.

Our own decorated Mobster, Siobhan Muir, is guest judging this week. And… as an extra special motivation, if you win her favor, you also win an ARC (advanced reader copy) of her newest release, Order of the Dragon:

ootd-200x300

RAWR, shiny book.

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: “reading Bukowski in your underwear”

Ruth Long: “when the world is cold and dark”

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

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79 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×13

  1. HOPE DEFERRED

    The office is quiet when Sean gets back just before 10 am. Couple officers wading through paperwork at their desks. An office girl straightening the copy room.

    He slides out of his jacket, grabs a cup of coffee, and settles at his desk to complete his reports.

    Captain Sanchez pops his head into the squad room. “Jacobson, a moment of your time.”

    Sean slugs down the last of the coffee and heads into Sanchez’s office. “Yes, sir?”

    “Take a seat,” Sanchez says, closing his laptop and reaching for a manila file. “I want to talk about your application to join the missing children’s task force.”

    The caffeine does a number on Sean’s already shot nerves. He’s been waiting all week to hear back on his request.

    “You’re a good cop, Jacobson. You follow protocol. You close cases. You stay clear of the day-to-day bullshit that comes with the job.”

    His impatience gets the better of him. “I won’t let my case load slide, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

    Sanchez closes the file. “I know you won’t. And that’s why I’m turning down your application.”

    “I don’t understand. I exceed every listed qualification.”

    “You do, Jacobson. I didn’t come to this decision lightly. Bottom line, you’re too valuable an asset to the department to be on loan to the task force.”

    The sting of disappoint fuels Sean’s words. “I’m not buying it, Captain. You have some kind of grudge against the Connolly family and that’s why you’re tanking my request.”

    “You’re right,” Sanchez says, voice rough and jaw tight. “I do have a problem with Ms. Connolly. She disregards laws, protocol, and manners for the sake of results. As your supervisor, I’m responsible for keeping you and your career on the right side of the law.”

    Sean stands up. “You’re pissed because she doesn’t roll over on petty crimes while she’s in pursuit of missing kids? Isn’t saving lives more important than busting potheads?”

    “Of course it is,” Sanchez says, rising to meet Sean’s outburst head on. “But we are bound by an oath to do our job by the book.”

    “Screw the book,” Sean says, under his breath but loud enough for Sanchez to hear.

    “Let me be clear. I can’t stop you and Ms. Connolly from reading Bukowski in your underwear. But I can stop you from committing career suicide.”

    Sean reaches for the doorknob. “Screw you too, Captain.”

    “Detective,” Sanchez’s voice is a thunderclap slamming into Sean’s back. “Follow protocol. Close cases. You do that for six weeks, I’ll revisit your request and see whether I can be a little more objective.”

    Relief and hope swirls through Sean’s gut but he keeps his voice neutral. “Thanks, Captain.”

    He leaves Sanchez’s office, walks past his desk, and heads out to the parking lot. Reports can wait this once. He needs some fresh air to settle his nerves and that involves a country road and a cranked up stereo. And after that, a little alone time with Ms. Connolly, sans poetry and underwear.

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 503 ineligible words

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Lost Loves?

    Moira retreated to her office to open up her computer and check over the orders she’d need for more coffee beans and the various creamers, and her eyes rested on the large bouquet of flowers she’d neglected to take up to her apartment. Were they from him, from the man asking around for her? She picked up the card again. Making up for lost time. It sounded romantic, like thinking of old loves and wedding gowns when the world is cold and dark. But something about it gave her the heebie jeebies, especially after Mazie’s warning.

    “Are you okay, Moira?”

    Aiden’s voice made her jump and she pressed a hand to her chest as she tried to catch her breath.

    “Good glory, don’t sneak up on me like that, Aiden.” She tried to still her thundering heart by taking deep breaths. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

    “You weren’t in the apartment, so I figured you had to open. Who are these from?” He gestured to the flowers, his expression neutral, but his eyes narrowed. “A secret admirer?”

    She really looked at him, scanning his body language and facial cues. He appeared non-chalant, but tension stretched across his shoulders and his jaw clenched. Despite the current of emotion, he looked damn good in her office with a long-sleeved black t-shirt hugging the taut muscles of his chest over a pair of soft, worn gray jeans. It took her a moment to recognize her own unease had lifted with him in the same room.

    “Yeah, kinda.” She frowned as she handed him the card. “I originally thought they were from you. But I guess you answered that question. To be honest, I don’t know who they’re from and it’s unnerving.”

    “You don’t recognize the handwriting or the message?” Aiden raised his eyebrows.

    “No. And other than you, I can’t think of anyone who needed to make anything up to me.”

    He grimaced and handed the card back. She dropped it on the desk and repressed a shiver as she rubbed her arms with her hands. Aiden’s gaze caught on her motions and his brows lowered.

    “Are you all right, Moira?” When she shook her head, he came around the desk and knelt beside her chair. “What’s wrong?”

    “Your mom stopped by today.”

    “My mom?” He raised his chin. “What did she say?”

    “She wanted to see how you were doing and to make sure I was okay.” Moira bit her bottom lip as her gut clenched. “She said a guy stopped by her store yesterday asking about me. He wouldn’t leave his name and it’s got me a little freaked out.” She gestured at the flowers again. “Talia said someone dropped these off for me here yesterday, too. Since they’re not from you, I can only assume they’re from him. He shares your description, which is why I thought of you first. But Talia mentioned he wore a suit and that doesn’t seem like your style.”

    Aiden snorted. “Not anymore.”

    499 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Meeting at Night

    You promised me you’d come back, but you didn’t say when. The world is cold and dark without you…

    Teardrops race each other to the bottom of the window, and the train sways as gently as the porch swing. Sometimes I hear the swing creak in the night and imagine you’re there, book in hand, looking up with a smile in your eyes. I look again at the address scrawled at the top of your letter. Am I doing the right thing?

    The train pulls into the station and I get a coffee. After all, I’m not keeping you waiting. You don’t know I’m on my way. The plastic stirrer bends in my cup and I try not to see it as a bad omen. Perhaps we both need to adapt, to flex to each other a little more.

    I know the city only through what I’ve seen on TV; a skyscraper skyline peppered with tiny lights. In the early evening it is different, softer-edged. My phone indicates that you’re out in the suburbs, somewhere I can relate to. I hail a cab and the skyscrapers shrink, become brownstones, give way to a retail park, then picket fences…

    The taxi stops and I jerk awake; I am more tired than I knew. I pay the driver and hesitate for a second before asking him to wait. Only now do I wish I’d called first. You could be out, or away, or anything…

    Breathing space, you said.

    The gate creaks as I open it. The light is fading now, but I can tell that the house is a different colour. The garden is neat, well-kept. The smell of jasmine climbing the porch grows as I walk down the path, and a shadow peers from the porch swing.

    I love the scent of jasmine.

    You leap up and run down the path to me, smiling, smiling! and fold me in a hug. And as you hold me a movement in the house catches my eye, and I see a woman silhouetted in the kitchen window, washing up.

    She doesn’t look out. She’s too busy.

    The world is cold and dark without you but the cab is warm, and I ask the driver to put the radio on. Any station, as long as it’s loud. I need to drown you out.

    390 words
    @lizhedgecock

    Liked by 4 people

  4. “I had a date,” I whined as I met Doctor Franklin Brackenridge, my boss.

    “You’re on call twenty-four seven.”

    “I should quit,” I protested.

    I walked in and saw him sitting cross-legged on the floor reading a book.

    “Good evening, Sheryl. They called you huh?”

    “Sir, I can’t believe you’re reading Bukowski in your underwear, again!”

    “When the world is cold and dark and the light begins to fade; to be youthful again and follow your path you must breathe. Then you can find your way.”

    “Thank you Pablo Neruda, but I don’t think that means you should wear no pants.”

    “Sorry the captain is out to lunch. I have a tough job you know.”

    “No one disputes that, sir, but we don’t want the sailors to take over the ship.”

    “Ha ha, I knew you secretly read Bukowski. Will you come with me to this shindig, Sheryl?”

    “Yes, if you want me to,” I answered. I mean if the president of the United States asks you to accompany him you do it. Right?

    “The dress I want you to wear is in your room,” he continued.

    The man grieved and my job was to see him through this term and to help his mental state so he would be elected again. Bukowski was the link to his late wife, also named Sheryl. I had been hired to nurse her, many doctors tried to keep her alive but she succumbed. All the public knew as that his wife was ill; no one knew she was dead. He hadn’t wanted to tell anyone so close to the election, but the strain of his grief had taken its toll, these incidences were happening more frequently. It became harder as he started to fixate on me.

    I turned to live the room and go put on the dress and overheard my boss on his cell phone in the corridor.

    “Yes, she’s in there. We told him, how she talked about a date.”

    The president knew about my date? How did he find out? Duh, he’s the president. I put on my dress and went back in. He was dressed.

    “Let’s go Sheryl,” he said taking my arm, “Now you remember you have to pretend to be my wife.”

    “I remember the drill,” I answered.

    The night was over and he brought me back to the White House since it was late I went to my designated room.

    I heard the president talking to my boss outside my room, “Do you think Sheryl will ever remember Doctor Brackenridge? She was so lovely tonight almost herself at the dinner.”

    “I’m sorry Mr. President, we just don’t know.”

    “It’s my fault; if she hadn’t stepped in front of me…”

    “Then you’d be dead.”

    Who were they talking about? I decided I didn’t care I was tired and my head hurt, time to sleep. I woke up this morning starting my nursing career again, I found him again in his underwear reading Bukowski. Never a dull moment.

    500 words
    @SweetSheil

    Liked by 4 people

  5. RONDA

    “Can you tell us about it?”

    She laughs. “The story starts how it always starts – when the world is cold and dark…”

    ***

    Chilly down here, she shivered. Could be excitement, maybe adrenaline. And into the throbbing hush, she stepped from between the sold-out rows. “This is my world. This is my night.” she breathed. Walkout music pulsed over the expectant crowd, and then flashing strobes ignite the cheers. Fingers brushed over her, reaching toward her, their favorite. Her heart beat only for one. Dear Cage, I love you.

    ***

    The lights were harsh, over-bright, glaring, shining down on the crush of people, all humming, murmuring in a beehive buzz. Black leather wrapped his rough knuckles, as he punched at the air, showboating for the ladies. His icy blue eyes winked at the pretty blondes flaunting their tanned skin and skinny bodies. Sweat glistened in the VIP row beneath the sparkle of expensive jewels. “When I win, come see me,” he mouthed to any of them, asking all of them.

    ***

    When his lips kissed the matt, a referee dove between them, wilding swinging his arms, protecting the fallen from the bloodthirsty sheen in her eyes.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    From the right, she heard two men bellowing over the adamant booing and hysterical, screaming promises of “I love you!”

    The one said, “An historic night, Joe, this is an historic night.”

    “No doubt. That was incredible,” answered the other.

    I did it. A smile split her face. Dear Cage, I love you. Her eyes slid closed, hands raised, fingers pointing upward, as the flood of thousands of raised voices crashed over her.

    But from his corner, he stared. He had already forgotten the punch. And, instead, he’ll only remember a blank place in his thoughts, when his world went cold and dark.

    And it ends the way it begins in the middle of a woman’s Octagon.

    316 Words
    @msbbrumley

    Liked by 4 people

  6. A COLD DARK WORLD

    It’s not like I had never come to in a strange bedroom. What was novel was the type of cockroach that had crawled in with me.

    “You are a new one on me,” I complimented Peter, my new insect friend, who scurried out of the reach of my battered Fedora as it slammed down on the pillow next to my head.

    Alone at last, I paid some attention to the room. A grungy green paint, with a nightmarish, all too familiar tint of upchuck, covered its walls. It had also lumped in places, lots of places, as if the artist had once worked in a rock quarry on the prison system dime.

    Clearly a wasted talent!

    I pulled myself out of the bed, peered out the streaked window. The view; another low-rent tenement encroaching. No fire escape; no bloody escape. I estimated I was three stories up. Above, a grey ribbon of smog-sky. Below, a grey chunk of back-alley pain

    I assumed it was still November, 1963. Kennedy had only been dead for a few days; days I had rammed my moody self deep into a bottle.

    On November 4th, King Conover had hired me to track down his missing “friend,” Maude Sangria

    “Just find her, Shamus. To hell with the cost!”

    Conover had made his money in slots. Rumour had it he was connected. All I knew was, I wasn’t.

    The snapshot of Maude showed me that she was a busty redhead with pouty lips, smooth skin, just a tad bronzed.

    King said she was originally from Albuquerque, but I didn’t care.

    He thought she had taken up with some beatnik poet. “Chuck something or other, Shamus. From L.A.”

    I drove to L.A. and looked for a poet name Chuck. There weren’t that many. Turned out he was a Postal Worker and a sometime poet. He was also a juicehead. His face looked like it had been run through a meat grinder

    “I heard she flew to New Orleans,” Chuck Bukowski babbled.

    I was circling the Big Easy the next afternoon. The town was winterized. Most of the pouty lipped redheads had gone south seeking the sun. Maude was holed up in a dollar a night dive.

    “I loved Charlie.” she said. “King is a pig.”

    We shared some southern comfort, got unprofessionally familiar.

    Next morning, I tell her King wants her back. She was still pie-eyed, reading a depressing little poetry book called Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail and says, “He’s gonna kill the President.”

    I’m not sure I hear her right. “Maude, you’re reading Bukowski in your underwear and you are also saying King is planning an assassination?”

    “Yeah,” she says, “that’s why he’s a pig.”

    I didn’t believe her. But I did fall in love. Or into a two-week bender.

    Dallas happened and I was gut-busted.

    Maude tossed me out and I flew back to L.A.

    I did what I do best. I hid.

    No flowers; no fist;

    just my bestial wail

    500 words
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 4 people

  7. “Hey, Red.”

    “Graham, as nicknames go, I’ve heard more original.”

    “Yeah, but it makes you smile when I say it.” He closed the distance between us. His left hand curled around my hip and he kissed my forehead. “Don’t die out there, okay?”

    “Definitely not in my plans, English.”

    “As nicknames go, I’ve heard more original.”

    “I’m working on something better.”

    He winked and headed to the balcony posts with Scythe and Jackson.

    “Why don’t you kiss the man already?” Carlisle shook his head, loving this way too much by my estimation. “Put the poor guy out of his misery.”

    “When the world is cold and dark,” I snapped. “A bit like ‘over my dead body’ only way less likely to actually happen.”

    “Wow, you must really like him.” A sly grin edged into his expression. “I mean, you just politely turned me down. I didn’t know you had this level of game in you.”

    “Oh, for the love of the White.” I settled my holsters around my waist and snapped the belt in place. Two more clicks locked the thigh straps down. “Game? We’re about to bring down this vampire-making fucker, Matt. Can we worry less about my imagined relationship with the guy who goes home when this is done?”

    Just saying it aloud shredded my inner peace.

    “Seriously?” Carlisle stopped loading clips and blinked at me. “You catch the bad guy and he just bails?”

    “What do you expect him to do?” I slid extra clips into every pocket. Incendiary, explosive tip, anything that might give me the advantage. Focus on the mechanics of the fight and forget everything else. Especially that tear in your soul. “Do I like him? Yeah. Of course, I do. What the hell is there for me not to like? But he doesn’t belong here in my life where date night means getting chewed on by supernatural monsters at every turn.”

    “Don’t you think that should be his choice?”

    I slammed the clip home in my main hand gun.

    “No. Actually, I think we both get a say. Fifty-fifty.” I nearly shoved the gun through the bottom of the holster. “And my fifty percent of this says no.”

    “Kels, c’mon.”

    “No means no, Matty.”

    “Give the poor bastard a chance, Kelly.” Carlisle’s hand slipped under my hair, eased the building tension in my neck. “I think he’s head over heels for you. Danger, bad hair days, and all.”

    My heart wanted to leap into the abyss and trust there was something—someone—to catch us before we hit bottom.

    “Let’s win today, okay?” I said.

    “We got this.” He held his fist up and I bumped mine against it. “This is a helluva squad you assembled, girl.”

    And if they didn’t all make it through today, I would have to find a way to live with it. I didn’t know if my heart had room for more guilt.

    Please.

    I knew the guilt wouldn’t come alone.

    I can’t lose them. Not even one.

    @caramichaels
    500 WIP words

    Liked by 3 people

  8. THE HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD by E.F. Olsson

    The house sat in the middle of the neighborhood. It was a white brick with wooden trim, three bedroom ranch, built in the mid-50’s. The landscaping was over-grown and full of weeds. The house had been vacant and on the market for years before me and Chelsea happened by it while on our way to an open house further in the neighborhood. I asked Karl, our realtor, to look into it. He said we should just keep looking elsewhere.

    I called the seller myself. They were asking far less than any house we had seen in that area. He met with us that evening. He suggested that we arrive early, before dark, because we will not want to be in the house after that – he claimed that there were no lights in the house and the shadows would dance around too much with flashlights. We would miss its true charm.

    The interior looked like it had never been touched; the carpeting was beaten down; walls were yellowed; everything about it was dated. However, with it being so inexpensive, we could afford to make this house ours – and we did much to Karl’s disapproval. He just wouldn’t tell us the reasons why.

    We had a couple of weeks for our apartment lease to expire. In that time we were able to paint, replace the carpet, and start work on the kitchen. It never struck me as odd that tools were moved or missing. Chelsea thought maybe someone was breaking in but the doors were always locked and every window latch was secure.

    On the day before the movers were bring our belongings, I intended to paint the final touches on the living room. I painted the first coat the night before – Chelsea’s favorite: sage. When I arrived, I noticed a handprint, about waist high, dried into the paint. Next to it were markings like a tiny finger tried to spell a word out. I assumed it was Chelsea playing a joke on me. But when I asked her, she denied it. As I recall, that whole day I felt as if someone was watching me. A shadow moving there, a peek around the corner there, a soft footstep in another room.

    It was our very first morning that it began to happen. I was taking a shower. The bathroom was full of steam. The mirror was fogged over. I heard a noise on the opposite side of the white curtain. A shadow flashed by. I nearly slipped I was so startled. I knew Chelsea had gone on an early morning jog. When I yanked the curtain back, I was hoping she would be there but all that was there was a tiny handprint left on the mirror and the word, hello. The worse part of it: my towel was gone.

    My heart raced. I thought about what Karl had said and the clues the seller mentioned. Then, I understood why he said, “you won’t be reading Bukowski in your underwear here.”

    500 words
    @EFOlsson

    Liked by 4 people

  9. To Raise a Dragon

    The dragon erupted at a time when no new dragons found their way to the surface, at a time when the world was cold and dark. Still, he broke through the surface, the ice invigorating him rather than slowing him down. He took to the air and moved along the icy currents. He was a new breed…empowered by the cold and ice.

    The young dragon tired quickly and found a strip of frozen terrain to set down upon, although not near as gracefully as he flew. He was lonely. He cried into the air, seeking to be heard.
    And he was heard. The dragons took flight, seeking the young creature. Dragons hatched so rarely that the entire clan would take part in raising him. As they all landed on the frozen terrain, he ducked down in fear. He was a small dragon, much smaller than most hatchlings. Perhaps it was a sign of lean times.

    The queens sniffed the air to find some genetic connection to this small dragon. The grand ladies quickly stepped back. This was not their little dragon. Slowly, step by step, the queens stepped back, unable to find a link to the little one. Finally, the lowest of the dragon ranks reached the front. She did not need to sniff the air. She knew he was hers. She crept towards him, nuzzling him with her nose. He made cute cry of acceptance. She gathered him on her shoulders where he will cling for the next journey. Taking a leap, she led the flight home. This was her baby. Her unlikely clutch of eggs found a way to produce this sweet darling dragon.

    As the dames landed in the court of dragons, the small dragon clutched her neck, hiding. She laughed a purring growl to reassure him, as she stretched out on the ground. The others began to land, with food offerings. The little one responded well to the attention and was soon happily enjoying some goat meat. After the dragon kit ate his fill, he curled up and slept while the others finished the remaining food. They would take turns in the hunt leaving the mother and baby time to bond. This was the way of dragons and how a new kit began his life.

    @denise_callaway
    379 words

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Pingback: NEW STORY ON FLASH MOB WRITES 5/22/15 | E. F. Olsson

  11. For now I will sit and contemplate, while the sun shines and the birds sing.

    It’s been such a busy happy time of late and it seems that it might never end.

    I can see my sister, sitting with her head thrown back just soaking up the sun as she dangles her feet in the water. The rock she is sitting on would be warm, probably hot after such a wonderful day.

    The crops have been harvested, it’s a great year this year. We have plentiful food in the cellar and the women have been busy preserving, pickling and storing everything so that nothing goes to waste.

    The twins, those terrible but loveable brothers of mine are racing around together, one of them trips over the other and they tumble about on the ground like puppies at play. Somehow those boys never seem to run out of energy, if only we could store that up.

    So what comes next my mind is asking me, there is still so much left to do while the weather holds but as I think about getting up and starting on another chore I see him coming towards me. His tall lean body carried across the stubble with his graceful walk that I wish I could copy.

    He reaches my side and folds himself down next to me, picking up my hand and kissing the palm. It always gives me butterflies in my stomach, no matter how many times he does it. I know it is one thing I will never get tired of.

    His hair is dark with the sweat from his work and he smells like the hay he has just finished stacking away in the shed.

    We smile at each other, at exactly the same time, like magic, it’s always like magic with him and it always will be.

    But the sun is setting earlier again tonight and the chill is coming onto the air already. I know it will be colder again tonight and I know that our sunshine is nearly at an end.

    So I will take a picture with my mind and lock it away where it won’t get lost or forgotten.

    Because when the world is cold and dark, for who knows how many months, I will need these pictures and these feelings to keep me strong. Our family will need me to be strong.

    @beccaj74
    404 words

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Between the Devil and Deep, Blue Sea

    Tank Russell was a big bear of a man. He handled large caliber weapons like they were Nerf guns with hands the size of small hams when he fisted them. Tank was the guy you wanted on your side in a bar fight. He never pulled punches—physical or verbal. And Dalton Thomas loved to poke the sleeping bear.

    “Dude. Seriously?” Dalton kicked the table just hard enough Tank’s bare feet thunked the floor at the same time the front legs of his chair hit.

    “What the fuck’s your problem, Cali Boy?” Tank closed the book he’d been reading, using his index finger as a book mark.

    “This has got to stop, dude. I mean it This whole reading Bukowski in your underwear thing? It’s giving us SEALs a bad name.”

    Fionn O’Toole and Kin Kincaid laughed and clinked glasses filled with dark, foamy ale. “Aye,” Kin agreed. “I’ll be drinkin’ t’that.”

    “Plebeians.” Tank shoved to his feet. “You don’t even know who Bukowski is.”

    “You got that right.” Dalton flashed an unrepentant grin.

    Tank wandered off, scratching his chest and snarling under his breath.

    “Now, who’s up for some poker?” Waggling his brows, Dalton watched the other members of the team with a predatory gleam in his eyes.

    Duke pushed off the comfortable couch. “You boys have fun.”

    “Where you off to, boss man?”

    “Going for a run.”

    “Roger that.”

    As Duke left, he heard the scrapping of chairs as they gathered around the big table. He still felt a little odd around the guys. They’d been a team for several months and he was the new boy. It was a strange feeling. Bad enough he was just now adjusting to having sight after living in darkness for almost a year.

    He headed toward the ocean, running shoes pounding on pavement then changing to a wet slap as he hit the beach. Arms pumping in perfect synchronicity with his steps, lungs filling and emptying, he moved between sand and sea. Without thinking, he veered into the waves, kicking off shoes as he stripped out of his clothes and dolphined into the surf.

    Water closed over his head and his gills expanded. He swam in a blissful dream. Voices washed over his consciousness—some he recognized, some were only hazy dreams, like watching the sun play on the surface of the sea.

    Is there any chance? A woman’s voice, one that struck deep in his soul.

    No.

    But he’d proved the doctors wrong. Him and Doc Pemberton and Mother Goose.

    When the world is cold and dark, think of me.

    Oh he did. He thought of the princess every fucking day. But his world wasn’t any more. He needed to excise her like a surgeon removed a tumor, except she’d grown around his heart.

    He swam for hours, finally returned to land. “It’s all light now, baby. I don’t need you any more.” Now he had to prove it.

    ****
    489 words
    @SilverJames_

    We’re under storm warning. Will be back later to read everyone’s entry and comment! *ducks and covers*

    Liked by 4 people

  13. When the world is cold and dark, a blanket can shelter a homeless person from the cold wind and snow of a Nebraska winter. It’s on these cold nights that I comb the streets with my church group, handing out blankets to the homeless, looking for my husband.

    We always bring a nurse with us and tonight a doctor volunteered as well. So far, we’ve sent three people to the hospital for frostbite. Creighton University Hospital has an agreement with the groups that help the homeless: we can send them the ones that need medical attention and they’ll make sure they get the services they need to get back on their feet.

    Reaching into a box at my feet, I hand a quilt to a man with piercing blue eyes and red hair that curls around his shoulders. He’s wheezing, stick-thin, huddled in a worn jacket. I wrap the quilt around him and call for the doctor.

    “I’ll get the ambulance. What’s your name, hon?” Dr. Bethany Stephenson kneels down and smiles.

    “Jimmy,” he croaks out.

    My breath catches in my throat. Now that I’ve found my husband, I don’t know what to do. I have so many things I want to shout at him, ultimatums for getting clean, scolding him for running away and worrying me the last few months. But now that he’s in front of me, I want to hold him, warm him up, forgive him.

    “Jack.”

    I kneel next to him when the doctor is done. I focus on Jimmy’s eyes, wondering where his glasses went. His ice cold, trembling hand grasps mine and I shiver. Finally I wrap him in a hug.

    “Don’t you ever worry me like that again!” I tell him. I sit back, as a tear slides down his cheek. “I love you, Jimmy, and I can’t take another episode like this.”

    “I-I know.” He struggles to pull in a breath. I always bring his rescue inhaler in case I find him. I put it in his mouth and press the canister. Cold air always triggers his asthma. “I won’t do it again.”

    I don’t believe him. This is the fourth time he’s run away and it’s always for drugs and alcohol. People told me I was crazy to fall in love with him but I did anyway. I have never regretted it, no matter how much stress he’s put me through. I give him another hit on his inhaler, the rumble of a diesel engine drawing me back into reality.

    “I’ll come to the hospital as soon as I can, okay?” I kiss his frozen forehead. He nods, hunkering down into the quilt.

    I wait until my colleagues at Creighton have him bundled into the ambulance, then hang my head. My faith keeps me strong, but I wonder how long until that faith breaks. Pastor Nichols pulls me aside.

    “Did you find him?”

    I nod, pulling in a breath. Pastor wraps me in a hug, and I finally break down.

    @Aightball
    499 words

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I’m Not Bitter, and These aren’t Tears in My Eyes

    I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, but it’s a hard one to keep. So many things I want to say, but I know it wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve put the last of your things into storage so that when you land on you feet, like I know you will– you’ll have everything that still matters to you.

    You told me I needed to move on, and I’m trying… but there’s a you shaped hole in my life, and the payments your lawyer sends me, while quite generous, can’t fill that hole.

    We had a pretty good run, you and me it wasn’t all drama and tragedy. There were good times, and thinking of them always brings a smile to my face: you reading; Bukowski in your underwear; singing silly songs to the dog… a million little things that make me laugh. There were so many things to love about you, but so many more that leave me with a bitter ache in my heart.

    Now, I can do anything I want, but I keep wanting what I can’t have. How messed up is that? You were my everything, until your proved I wasn’t your everything. I know I’m supposed to be forgiving but how can I let go of the anger if it means letting go of you?

    When the world is cold and dark, I remember how much brighter it was when you were mine– but you weren’t, not really… I probably just leased your heart for a little while. It was such a big heart and it held so much love, and so much ache you wouldn’t share.

    I know I shouldn’t blame you for being who you are– I should be thankful for the lives you saved… and I am, but it always comes back to that you shaped hole– and nothing can replace that.

    Memories of you fill my heart with laughter and more pain that one person should bear. So forgive me for not moving on, because letting go of your memories, means letting go of you.

    343 words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    Liked by 5 people

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