#FlashMobWrites 1×14

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Fourteen

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 (or both!) 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: “fit the pieces back together”

Ruth Long: “watch the colors paint”

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

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62 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×14

  1. To me it’s just a rumor, something friends tell me in hushed voices, leaning across kitchen tables. Or perhaps it is more like a fable, something that seems familiar, something that snags at the corners of the mind when you feel like you are failing to learn the lesson provided.

    “He held your hand and stroked your hair for days on end,” says one voice.

    “I saw him cry silent tears, afraid you wouldn’t come back,” said another.

    It feels like it happened to someone else. A movie that everyone else but me has seen and they are eager to share the ending, eager for me to love it as much as they do.

    Most of the people recounting my past for me are familiar. A sister from three states away. A college roommate whose face has changed in the years since we last lived together. People who know much of my history, most of which I actually remember sharing, but people who for one reason or another have not been a part of my life recently.

    They return to my orbit because I have hurt. They arrived at the hospital to find me lost in a deep internal world, wide white gauze taut around my head, and a man at my bedside.

    Shy introductions and too many questions finally reveal that he is my fiancé.

    Fiancé.

    I stare at the ring on my finger unsure how it and when it nestled its way between my pinky and middle finger.

    I try to fit the pieces back together, the pieces I have already that feel like fact. Memories that I clutch tight like heirlooms in a storm.

    I have the new pieces, doled out by sister, friend, doctor…him.

    Flashes of his face.

    “See, you remember him.” Smiles. White teeth flash in the hopes of romance.

    I finger the scar along my head and think I may remember.

    But I am not certain he’s who he says he is.

    329 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Fitting the Pieces Back

    She fit the pieces back together
    To watch the colors paint
    Gray colors of grief
    And yet time moved on
    The colors changing from the ugly
    Ripping feelings, gut wrenching
    To the sensation of being
    The walking dead
    Numbed and unresponsive
    To life and it’s need to move on
    And yet the muted
    Gray colors of grief
    Lift to muted blues
    Further colors slipped in the peripheries
    Colors sneaking in at all moments
    Though she wanted to not allow it
    They made her feel human again
    As she viewed at the corners of her eyes
    Bright colors of yellow, pinks and reds
    She smiled and felt happy
    Moments watching the sunset
    Shamefaced as she slipped back
    Into grief remembering her great loss
    The child that should have been
    Held in her arms and watched grow
    Her husband wanted her to forget
    Move on, conceive or adopt
    He did not understand
    The ache with her
    The arms that need to be empty
    To remember his tiny body sleep
    So deep and tumble
    Into that last slumber
    Her eyes unbidden drawn
    She watched the women
    Fuss over babies
    Before twilight set
    The age hers would have been
    She watched a little boy
    His eyes the color of night
    His hair jet black
    Would her boy
    Have looked like him?
    Tears came unbidden to her eyes
    As she tore her eyes away
    For she feared
    She would snatch the child
    And run far away
    But could she make another suffer
    The pain she felt
    Still felt, deep within her
    No she could not inflict
    Such devastation on another

    Kicking and silently screaming
    She went with him
    To the orphanage
    The baby, a third-world baby
    Cried and screamed in pain
    The pain she understood so well
    He needed his mother, his father
    Disease had taken them
    She held the baby
    Within her sheltered arms
    Stopping crying and snuggling tightly
    The baby’s big blue eyes looked
    At her with admiration
    This tiny life clasping her fingers
    Her heart turned over
    The ripped seam healing
    As they signed the papers
    And made him hers
    Her soul made whole again
    The boy not replacing but filling
    The need to nurture and provide
    The love held within her
    A child to love
    To raise with respect
    To know his brother
    In remembrance and love
    But never let him
    Think he was not wanted
    More than the child born of her
    For he’d know
    He held a place of his own
    Her child tied to her heart
    The colors now back
    In every aspect of life.

    431 words with title
    @SweetSheil

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Pieces of Colored Glass

    “Why, Cory? Why do you care? I’m so broken you’ll never fit the pieces back together.”

    “I don’t believe that. I won’t believe it.”

    Candlelight flickered across tears scattered like colored glass on her lashes. “Fuck, princess. Don’t cry. I can’t fuckin’ stand your tears.” He scrubbed at his forehead, tried again. “You just don’t get it.”

    “Get what? That you’re the man I love? Because you are. Just you, Duke. Only you. I love you. I can’t make it any plainer.”

    “Love? I don’t even know what the hell love is, princess. Is this forever? Who the fuck knows? I damn sure don’t.”

    “What do you want, Duke?”

    “I want you warm and naked and compliant in my bed. I don’t want any other sonavabitch to touch you in any way, shape, or form.” He rubbed his jaw. “But that’s not love. That’s sex. Maybe obsession. That’s all it is.”

    He turned away from her, unable to stand the pain etched in her expression. He was incapable of tenderness, of giving her what she deserved. He could dominate her in bed. He could hold her afterward while she spiraled down from the orgasms he gave her. But he couldn’t love her. Not here. Not now.

    Arms slipped around his waist and she pressed against his back before stepping away. He heard the bed creak and then her voice. “Come to bed, Duke.”

    He glanced over his shoulder. She knelt, naked, in the center of his bed, her head lowered in submission. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever laid eyes on.

    ****

    She was warm and naked and still soft from the night. In the dark, morning just a whispered promise outside the window, she moved over him like a dream, all scent and touch and shadow. Her lips and fingers stroked over him, stirring needs that were never quite still.

    Her hands cupped his face. Her mouth sank to his.

    She sighed into him. He heard something wistful in the sound, and as she lay over him. He traced his hands up and down her back, that long, curving line, as much for comfort as seduction.

    In a long, slow movement, he rolled her to her back. He laid his lips on her collarbone as their legs tangled, as hers parted. He could see her now, the shape of her face, the shine of her eyes. He slid into her, a satin glide of flesh to flesh. A quick and quiet catch of breath. Hers. His.

    Slide out. Push in. Again, long. Again. Slow, and deep, with her body rising toward him, with his falling toward hers. She caught him each time. Long moments then she shuddered, and groped for his hands. Their fingers linked; their mouths met. Sweet. Strong. One.

    Overhead, dawn broke. Cory’s lips brushed his and she whispered, “Just watch. The colors paint the world, making it new. Just like us. Just like now.”

    Maybe…just maybe, he did know what love was after all.
    ****
    500 words (Okay, 504 if you include the title. LOL)
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 4 people

  4. A STITCH OUT OF TIME

    “Mr. Kane, you look exhausted?”

    “Call me, Bob. Barry Kane is only my character in Saboteur. And yes, my fingers are a bit sore, that’s for sure. I mean, they were actually my stand-in’s fingers. He did all the heavy…well, it wasn’t actually lifting, more the heavy hanging on?”

    “Bob, Mr Cummings, your scene where you try to save Norman Lloyd, who played the Nazi agent, Frye, from falling from the Statue of Liberty, well, it wasn’t filmed there, was it?

    Of course it wasn’t. My Heavens’, they had only just finished restoring Lady Liberty a couple of years earlier. She was in serious decline. Crumbling! The Government sure wasn’t going to allow a movie crew to crawl all over her. Heck, she almost got blown up in WW1. You still aren’t allowed to walk around the torch. Except in the movies, that is. ”

    “On another subject, we understand that Hitch wanted someone else for your role. You have anything to say about that?”

    “Not much? I wasn’t his first choice. Coop was. And that tall, skinny stick, Jimmy Stewart. I know that. Just my luck I was available. Anyway, making a film is, well, it’s like how Lady Liberty was built, a piece at a time. Heck, it almost didn’t get built. They had to raise donations from little kids. A dime here; 60 cents there. Hellavajob!”

    “I agree. An amazing artistic effort.”

    “Again, like the making of a film. Hitch is a master at that. Oh, he has these precise storyboards. Every shot planned. But even with that, he will get a brainstorm and find a way to squeeze it in.”

    “Tell us about that.”

    “Okay, you know it was only a week after Pearl Harbour when we started filming. There was a sense that Saboteur might be, in addition to a thrilling work of art, an important cog in the war machine, that we were telling a story of 5th Columnists that needed to be told. To wake up America, though Pearl pretty much did that! And then, pardon my French, the damnedest thing happened, the Normandie caught fire while it was being refitted for war service. Hitch used the image of that burnt up hulk, suggested with that smarmy glace by Frye from the cab he was fleeing in, that it had been the target of real saboteurs. War Department didn’t like the implication that they had slacked off on security, tried to get Hitch to cut out the scene. Anyway, ‘bits and pieces, pieces and bits; fit the pieces back together and what do you get?’ That’s a little song Hitch was always singing on the set. Drove us nuts, but there was no mistaken how he made films.

    “Back to that final shot of Frye’s sleeve unravelling. You couldn’t save him?”

    “Nope. Wasn’t in the script! Don’t forget, when the film started, Frye handed Barry Kane’s friend the gasoline-filled fire extinguisher. Frye falling from Lady Liberty’s grasp…just desserts!”

    500 words
    @billmelaterplea
    http://www.engleson.ca

    Liked by 3 people

  5. BROKEN

    “This, this is the only thing that dulls the pain,” slurred Cheryl, holding up her glass against the dim, smoky light. The caramel liquid swirled gently against the glass, intoxicating her eyes as it swayed and rolled like waves before she downed it one, intoxicating her soul.

    “It’s what caused the pain in the first place,” said Cane, making a grab for the bottle, now half empty.

    “You don’t understand. No one does!” she spat.

    “Then let me in. Let me help you.”

    “It’s too late. I’m broken, Cane. The day I got in that car-”

    “Stop! We know what happened. You served your time. I don’t know why you keep on hurting yourself like this, hurting me. I already hurt, Cheryl. I lost a son that day too.”

    An unwelcome silence hung heavy between them. She knew Cane hurt. She knew she caused it. Why did he think she drank? Every day, she woke up to see his sallow face etched in pain, his dull eyes devoid of seeing any beauty especially when he looked upon her. The one who took from him the most precious, innocent gift. The pain tore at her from the inside out, gnawing and gnashing as it feasted on her being.

    “I’m going to bed,” Cheryl said, tipping over the chair as she clumsily got up. She swiped the bottle from the side as Cane could only look on.

    The sound of the bottle plonking to the floor made Cane get up from the settee. He sighed, knowing Cheryl would be done. But he still loved her; somewhere deep down, he loved her. Every night he had to remove the bottle from the floor or bed.

    “Hey, Baby,” she murmured. “Look, watch the colours paint,” she said. “It’s so pretty.”

    From the door, a shaft of light swept across the floor towards the bed. Cheryl lay on her front, her head hanging over the bed, her long dark hair hiding her face. Her bare, pale arm moved ever so slightly as her finger twirled and stirred. It was then Cane noticed red. Lots of red. It ran down her arm, pooling on the wooden floor where her finger swirled, mixing with the spilt caramel liquid.

    “I . . . feel . . . no . . . pain,” she whispered, before her finger hung motionless.

    382

    @Lizzie_Koch

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Tender Mercies

    The warehouse is dark and damp, the scent of congealed machine fluids heavy in the air. Karma stalks across the concrete, making no pretense of stealth. Setups and sneak attacks are for the weak.

    Voices drift from the broken office windows. “One more day, Galloway. I swear we can have it to you by noon tomorrow.”

    “Not good enough, Roberts –“

    Karma shoves through the door, pushes past Galloway, and slices through Roberts’ jugular.

    The third man in the room pisses himself and strains against the ropes binding him to the chair.

    Galloway grabs Karma’s forearm. “I told you I’d handle it.”

    “This is not handling it, Beau,” she says, whirling on him, claws sheathed but words sharp as nails. “This is babysitting. And this is why your reputation is shit.”

    “No,” he says, letting go and stepping away from her. “You’re the reason nobody will work with me.”

    Her lips curl and her fangs drop. “Well somebody has to save your ass!”

    “No! Somebody needs to have my back. There’s a difference and I’m tired of explaining it to you. Put Weasel back in as my partner or take me off the payroll.”

    Searing pain knifes through her chest and she seizes him by the shirt collar. “Nobody leaves my payroll.”

    He butts foreheads with her. “Stop cutting me off at the balls or let me go.”

    Her hand moves from his collar to his throat and her thumb toys with the hollow. “I don’t know how to stop.”

    “Of course you don’t,” he says, catching her hands with his. “That’s why I’ve been so patient with you. But that was a mistake, one I can’t afford to pay for any longer, my little wild cat.”

    Her laugh is harsh and humorless. “And I can’t afford to have a whipped puppy on my hands. Suck it up, Galloway. We all make sacrifices.”

    “Make one now,” he says, bringing her hand to his mouth and kissing the inside of her wrist.

    She scowls but doesn’t pull away. “One what?”

    “A sacrifice. Let the rat over there in the chair go free. Let him scurry home to tell his clan that the House of Valetti and Tadesco’s Pack are harmoniously aligned.”

    Blood screams in her veins, a mix of anger and passion fanned to life by his command. “You would test me? Those who do don’t live to tell the tale.”

    “I would,” he says, holding his ground.

    Her breath stutters and she turns to wave a hand towards the occupant in the chair. The ropes fall from his wrists and he scrambles free.

    Behind her, Beau says, “Thank you.”

    She hooks a finger in his waistband and pulls him close. “Speak of this mercy to anyone, Wolf, and I’ll gut you so badly they’ll never be able to fit the pieces back together.”

    “I’d expect nothing less,” he says, slamming her against the wall and crushing his mouth to hers.

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 500 ineligible words

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The trail of shadowy green disappeared behind the double doors.

    “This is definitely the place. Ready?”

    I pushed through into the empty morgue.

    Well, empty of living things. The bodies—so small, so ravaged—lined up tidily for autopsy. Death had been anything but tidy with them.

    “Damn.” Graham made the exact sound of a man about to lose his lunch. “What kind of sick fuck can do this to children?”

    “Look at this instead.” I linked hands with him. His fingers clenched hard around mine. “Watch. The colors paint more than trails to follow. They reveal history, too. You just have to know how to read it.”

    “The brightest energy is the newest?”

    “And the faintest is the oldest, exactly.”

    “Not sure if this is better. Outside it doesn’t seem so overwhelming, but contained like this…there’s so much.” Squinting, he pinched the bridge of his nose.

    “See this darker green? Right here.” I pointed. “This is who we’re after.” I reached toward a brighter green. “This is normal. See the difference? And these teal trails are the recently deceased spirits. Hm—orange.”

    “Lesser demon.”

    “You remember.” I beamed at him.

    “This is all terribly fascinating.” Okay, obviously he was not in the mood for a verbal pat on the back. “How do you make sense of it all?”

    “I don’t really remember ever not being able to see the energy spectrum.” I ran my thumb along his, hoping to soothe him. “Sometimes I even dream in spectral colors. It’s kinda like floating inside a living kaleidoscope.”

    “That sounds horrifying. Like that awful time I ate the wrong mushrooms. Oh, God.”

    “Definitely not like mushrooms.”

    I bit my lip as my stomach lurched. Graham clapped his free hand over his mouth.

    “Christ. Let’s not mention—”

    “Got it.” I didn’t even need him to finish the sentence. I didn’t want to talk about even accidental food stuffs. “When did this event happen?”

    “University.” He scowled. “One of my flat mates decided it would be hysterical to get the uptight rich boy high.”

    “Not so much, huh?”

    “Oh, no. He found the entire episode hilarious. I spent a day half-raving mad, with no idea what was happening to me. I’d either found God or had a total break with reality.”

    “Those two are more alike than most people think.”

    My voice strained over the words. I’d met the divine. Or one tiny piece of it, at least. Once. Once was enough. I wasn’t greedy. I didn’t need daily reassurance of forces great enough to quash our mortal coil with a stray thought. I’d even stay alive until they dragged my soul kicking and screaming into the next world. Someone could go ahead of me, no problem. That either made me incredibly giving or abominably selfish.

    I leaned toward the latter.

    Graham paused to consider me, his expression wavering between curious and appalled.

    “You know, I think I’m just going to take your word on that.”

    “That may be for the best.”

    @caramichaels
    500 WIP words

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, just when I think you can’t pique my curiosity any more, because you’ve turned it up to BLAST, you throw in a casual mention of Kelly perhaps meeting God and *BLAM* I am blown away. Again! Love it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. PIECES MISSING by E.F. Olsson

    Roderick’s eyes fluttered open. Everything was a blur. His body ached. Blood was on his arm and stained on his clothes. His eyes began to focus – he was sitting on a toilet in a bathroom stall. He tried to stand but a pain shot through his back. Taped to the stall door was a note with a key attached to it. He reached for it with a grimace.

    It read:

    WHERE DOES THIS KEY FIT?

    THE PIECES.

    BACK.

    TOGETHER AT MIDNIGHT.

    Signed, ‘J’.

    He stood pulling the stall door open. As he stepped out, he kicked something into the next stall. He pushed the door open. He staggered back cupping his mouth. On the floor was a pistol. Sitting on the toilet was a woman with a gunshot wound to the forehead.

    Roderick limped out of the bathroom. He was in a large loft. It was dark except for a single light in the kitchen. A bloody knife was on the floor. An empty orange container with a note sat on the countertop.

    FOR BACK – CALL DOCTOR FOR MORE – ‘J’.

    “The key,” he gruffed. He lifted it to the light, and like a light going off he knew where it went. He shuffled to the closet. In the back, hidden behind all his suit coats and hanging slacks, was a tall safe. The key fit in the hole perfectly. He swung the door open – hunting rifles and small handguns filled the cabinet – one was missing.

    He pulled the list back out. What are the pieces? After midnight? On his nightstand was his watch. It was: 1:17 AM. There was a picture beside it. A woman and a man. He leaned in closer – he was the man. She was the dead woman.

    A buzzer sounded. Roderick jolted.

    “Who’s there?” He yelled.

    The buzzer was coming from a box beside the door. A woman’s voice came across: “Buzz me up. It’s me, Jules.”

    Roderick staggered back to bathroom. He pushed the second stall open. It was empty. The bathroom was empty. He looked down– he was holding the gun. There was no blood anywhere. The note was taped to the stall door again.

    There was noise in the loft. His breath became labored.

    In the kitchen was the woman in the photo. She sliced cucumbers with a large chef’s knife. Roderick approached her. The clock on the stove changed over to 12:03. “Late night snack together?” She said. Her smile faded as he raised the gun. “You found that key, Roderick? Did you take your medication today? It’s Jules now.”

    “What are you doing to me?” Roderick grabbed her arm. She spun. The knife caught his arm above the wrist. He yanked her. The knife fell. He dragged her by the hair into the bathroom.

    “What are the fucking pieces?” He demanded.

    He pushed Jules into the second stall. She pleaded as he raised the gun to her.

    “This keeps happening,” he said.

    BOOM.

    Roderick slid into the first stall.

    (500 words)
    @EFOlsson

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh my goodness. So many questions, where do I start? 😉 I do so love flash pieces that hint at vibrant and, in this case, gritty worlds. Memento, indeed, but mixed in with a bit of Hellraiser, flash style. This is a tight loop he finds himself in. Not only is he forced to relive this over and over again, but the ‘this’ in the case of this story is a moment. There’s so much story here! Why does she go after him with the knife, though? Other than to provide him with a motive to shoot her in the head (and why does he take her upstairs to do so, anyway? and why are there stalls, is this not an apartment? where are we!?), I can’t quite figure that part out. With a bit of tweaking, you could easily expand this to answer those questions but still keep it tight. I don’t know if it would meet the word count goal you’re after, but it’s something to think about anyway. 🙂

      Great job! 4 stars. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Jess! The early drafts explained more – it came in at almost 900 words – but I had to make cuts to get it below 500 words. After I posted it here I made it again fixing the bathroom stall side of it lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I remember when I was little, I’d sit at the kitchen table and color while mom cooked or cleaned. I’d blend colors together and she’d smile when I’d say ‘watch the colors paint, mommy!”. It was a child’s nonsense, but mom always complimented whatever I’d made, no matter how bad it looked.

    Sitting in a cubicle in the ER at Missouri Valley, I watch blood run down my arm, dark red painting with a purple bruise on my swollen hand. I should’ve talked to him. But I didn’t. I punched him in the damn face. I broke my damn hand over what? A druggie? A man I never should’ve fallen in love with?

    Dr. Stephens comes over and shakes his head, putting x-rays up on the board. “Jacoby, this is the third time this month I’ve seen you in here. Each time, you’ve been in a fight. What’s going on?”

    I don’t dare tell him. I shake my head, biting my lower lip. The doctor lowers his hand, the films forgotten. He makes sure the curtain is closed and approaches me. I try not to flinch. He’s safe, he’s a doctor.

    Quietly, he says “If you’re being abused, you can tell me. I know a safe shelter for gay men.”

    I nod. I don’t dare say anything, because the abuser is two cubicles over and he’ll kill me if I tell. Dr. Stephens nods. Without another word, he straightens and points to the x-rays.

    “Typical fracture for this kind of fight,” he says. “I’ll cast it and you’ll need to give it about a month to heal. Put some ice on your eye, okay? And I’ll clean that cut on your arm.”

    He knows. Somehow, he knows Jimmy’s the one who hits me. While he grabs supplies for my cast, I listen to the silence around me. A few minutes ago, Jimmy was yelling and screaming at the nurses. Now, it’s quiet. The doctor returns and takes my hand. The pain of having my hand set is no match for the pain in my heart.

    “I’ve arranged transportation for you. It’s a secluded shelter in Omaha,” the doctor whispers. I nod. “You’ll be safe there. Can I call anyone?”

    “Hank,” I whisper. “His number’s in my phone.”

    The doctor nods. He starts wrapping my hand, immobilizing the last three fingers. At least I punched my bastard husband with my left hand. When the cast is set and my cut clean, the doctor leaves the room. He returns with a young woman wearing a blue shirt and khakis.

    “This is Julia. She’ll settle you at the shelter.”

    We walk out after I’ve signed papers and been given instructions for the cast. For one night, I’ll be safe. But what of the next? What if Jimmy finds me again? I lean back against the front seat of her car, drowsy from pain medication and fighting all night. The early morning sun pierces my aching eyes. Maybe this time, he won’t find me.

    @Aightball
    500 words

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The White Room

    I call it the white room. The walls and ceiling are plain white and slightly curved so you cannot see the edge between them. The lights are hidden behind translucent panels. No shadows. No distractions for the still immature mind.

    The doctor sits on the opposite side of the desk, her lab coat buttoned up and her eyes blank behind her glasses. “I have a little test for you,” she says with the usual even tone. Sometimes I wonder if, in this hospital full of white walls and hidden lights, she is really human anymore.

    “I’d like to go outside.” She will refuse because she’s worried that my new body hasn’t developed its immune system yet and must be kept sterile.

    She picks up a white square from the desk and breaks it into jigsaw pieces. “Can you fit the pieces back together?”

    I pick up a jigsaw piece and turn it over in my hand. Did I once do jigsaws? That doesn’t seem right somehow. It doesn’t seem like the me from the memories, fragmented and dripped into my mind by the soul capture software. I remember bottles of drink and needles like scorpion stings. I remember girls with too red lipstick and men with shark-like smiles. I remember holding a guitar, the smoothness of its wooden neck and the harshness of its metal strings against my fingertips. But it’s all vague like a dream.

    “Do you understand what you have to do?”

    I put two of the jigsaw pieces together on the desk. “Will this help me get the memories back?”

    “It takes time.”

    “Why can’t you just tell me?”

    “Memories are physically part of your brain. They have to be carefully nurtured.”

    “Will I remember my death?”

    She sighs. It’s the most human thing I’ve seen her do during all these weeks of sessions. “I don’t think we should talk about that.”

    “I want to know.”

    “They’re deleted. Such a traumatic event could have serious implications for neurone development.”

    “I don’t even understand what that means.”

    “It’s a bad thing.”

    “Do you know how I died?”

    She shifts in her chair and pulls it away from the desk, then looks down at her tablet and won’t meet my gaze. “Please complete the task.”

    I pick up another piece and look at my hands. They are smooth and hairless like the hands of a newborn. The nails are short and neat. There are no marks or scars, no callouses on the fingertips from playing the guitar. I curl three fingers and keep my index finger straight, trying to form a chord shape but I can’t do it. It was an instinct in my hands and those hands are gone now. We are born, we die, and they drag us back to be born again but they never wonder if we are the same person.

    I finish the jigsaw. It lies on the desk, a perfect white square in a white shadowless room.

    @AvLaidlaw
    495 Words (n/c title)

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Broken

    I’m not exactly sure how this started. The two of them came in the house fighting. Seems like that’s all they do lately. Believe me, from my primo spot on the living room mantel, I have the best seat in the house from which to witness their shenanigans.

    I suppose it doesn’t really matter how it happened, as long as one of them fixes me. Wait…can I be fixed? I hope so, because this jagged shards thing just won’t work for me. I’m badly broken, but surely with some glue, they can just fit the pieces back together. Then we’ll all be good to go. Right?

    Well, at least the house is silent now. Listening to all that yelling was unpleasant, not to mention loud. The name-calling was pretty funny though. Then they started throwing things at each other. First, Sophie threw her keys at Garrett. He threw his beer bottle at her. Buzzed right by her head too.

    That’s when it got ugly. Sophie picked me up by the neck and hurled me at Garrett. He’s a quick one, that Garrett. Excellent reflexes. He ducked and I smashed against the wall. That really hurt! Sophie has one hell of an arm. Who knew?

    So, here I am, scattered all over the floor. Why did this have to happen to me? For God’s sake, I was a wedding gift! One of the good ones too, I might add. I realize I’m purely decorative, but still. I’m pretty. At least I was.

    Trust me, they got a lot of wedding gifts that were useless, boring, or just plain hideous. Why couldn’t that monstrosity they call a TV get broken? That thing is just obnoxious. Sophie could have thrown the remote right at the screen. If she wanted to really hurt Garrett, that’s exactly what she should’ve done.

    Anyway, Garrett stormed out and if it’s like the other times, he won’t be back for a while. Sophie is holed up in the bedroom. I can hear her sobs from here. It’s sad when you think about it.

    A husband who drinks too much. A wife who cries because of it. A marriage that is no longer working. A vase that is no longer whole. All once beautiful. All now broken.

    @cynthiafbuck
    380 words

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Emily Clayton
    @emilyiswriting
    387 words

    Painting the Wind

    He painted me in shades of green, with a scatter of golden frosting, since “I lit up the room.” At that moment, it was his face, not mine, that set the studio aglow. It was a gloomy afternoon, the sky threatening to heave its clouded sadness from the sky, yet inside it was luminous.

    I wanted to hug him, kiss him, tell him how much he meant to me. Instead, all I did was snort. “Such a sap.” I hurt him, in that moment. I watched his romantic composure crumble like sharp cheddar on the chopping block. One second he was smiling, and the next, his quivering hands sent him tumbling off the chair. Like jelly.

    He faced the wall, stoic and still. I almost called out to apologize. My words failed me then. He turned to me, forced a smile. “Your words hurt, but you love me. I just need to find a way to make you say it, too.”

    It was the last time I saw him. Alive.

    My phone rang the next day. Tuesday. 4 p.m. Sunny skies with a gentle southwesterly wind. Called ID showed Aiden’s studio logo. Paint palette with a painting rabbit. I jumped up, shy baby smiles morphing my face. This was my chance. My time to reveal what my hard exterior had hid for so long.

    “Aiden? I’m so glad you called. Would you like to meet at the cafe?”

    No answer.

    “Aiden?” The line was muffled, static. Then, clear and distinct, I heard sirens.

    Caller ID lied.

    They pried his car apart with the jaws of life. All I could do was watch the colours paint themselves in swirls of red and black. The car put up a good fight, but the pole and pavement fought harder.

    Fifth and Magnolia. An intersection I have never crossed since that day. Now, I stand at the corner, watching the lights change. The left pole along Magnolia reveals a scar, a dent. A memory. An afternoon, two years ago, when Aiden left this world.

    A southwesterly wind sweeps by, swishing my tumbling waves, caressing my cheek. I smell acrylic paints. Canvas. Aiden. He’s here around me, helping me fit the pieces back together. I mouth those three little words. I hear his voice on the wind, “Ava, I love you, too.”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Yami skidded onto the balcony, glancing over her shoulder once before climbing up on the railing. One glance was enough to show that it would be a death sentence to slip on the chiseled stone into the verdant grass and rocks below. One hand clutched around the delicate circlet of gold and jewels, tucking it within her tunic.

    She stepped out onto the carved steps on the wall, giving a startled scream when the stone shifted under her weight. She had thought they would have been more secure within the building. As she watched, other stones that protruded from the wall moved out and floated until they were hovering steps to the higher ground above the castle.

    “Go, little sparrow. You need to move or they will catch you.”

    Yami glanced over her shadow to see the fox like shadows sitting, watching with their glowing eyes. She really wished they would go away. They had been following her since she had grabbed the crown from the vault. A deep breath and she hopped from one large stone to the next, still going even as she heard the whistle of arrows behind her and saw one shatter as it impacted on a stepping stone in front of her.

    She jumped as the stone at the cliff’s edge started to move back towards the wall of the castle. “No, no!” She made a leap and caught the edge, rolling away so that she didn’t fall down. She lay there, panting. She turned to see if any of the guards had come after her to see the stones slide back to where they were. It was as if someone fit the pieces back together so that everything was is in its place.

    “Very good, daughter. No you have a worthy gift for the dragon emperor.” The shadows chortled as they wound and curled around her. “You must hurry though. You only have until the full of the moon tonight to gift it.”

    Yami looked at the smoke before flopping on the ground. They were going to be the death of her.

    348 #WIP words
    @solimond

    Liked by 2 people

  14. End Game
    @mishmhem
    350 words

    Broken glass and twisted metal serve as a monument to our lives together. I step carefully around the shards of china and furniture, trying to remember what happened.

    Wait. Was that my great-grandmother’s vase?

    Shaking my head I try to focus on the situation at hand, but its hard. The echos of the screaming and the shouting beat against my brain like a hangover left too close to a bass drum and it’s slowly driving me mad.

    What were we thinking, trying to fit the pieces back together again? Wasn’t it the whole that had gotten us to this, whatever this is, in the first place?

    I try to focus but its hard, especially with you still yelling. Can’t you see I’ve had enough?

    Then there’s more screaming and I suddenly remember where we are. I try to force myself to stand, only to be knocked to my knees by your flying tackle right before the wall behind us disintegrates into a pile of plasterboard and lead.

    The next moment you’re on your feet and running and instinct kicks in. I might not remember everything, but following your lead just kept me alive and I’m willing to take it on chance that you aren’t actively trying to kill me right now.

    The glass, the twisted furniture and the walls crumbling around me and the need to find cover are all I need to know right now. If I survive the next few minutes, then I’ll worry about remembering.

    I’m going to bet that the people shooting were responsible for the vase, but it could have just as easily been you. You never did like that vase, did you?

    I blink, realizing I’ve drifted off again, and then I hear the voices.

    “He’s going into shock…”

    “This can’t be good. Stay with him. Keep him awake…”

    I try to tell them its all right, but then I see the gunmen coming closer and I know what I must do.

    I push you away, only to watch you fall, your blood mingling with the broken china, and I realize it wasn’t my great-grandmother’s vase, it was yours.

    My bad.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Personally I think its proof I shouldn’t start a story after 23:00, ’cause I kept drifting off. (I do know the narrator is in shock and has a concussion, which is why he’s kind of double tracking to lines of thought)

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Painting the Wind | Emily Clayton

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