#FlashMobWrites 1×17

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Seventeen

*JuNoWriMo Edition*

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: “locked up in your room”

Ruth Long: “a doubt like a shadow”

BONUS: That’s right, Mobsters! It’s time for a new giveaway to further this week’s winner’s authorial greatness: Check out this wicked note taking / thought train making software, Scapple.

scapple-showcase-centrepiece4

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

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57 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×17

  1. Calling the Shots

    Now if she could only see his ass without the shorts. You might have to keep him locked up in your room at that point. Yeah, like that would ever happen. Not only were they just business acquaintances, but he was a frickin’ US Navy SEAL. They didn’t stay locked up anywhere.

    A shiver of excitement rippled through Jaime. Something about the SEALs’ nearly inhuman ability to do anything turned her on. Including die. Yeah, that was the problem. Each time he went out on a mission he might not come back. She shoved the thought away as Chief Stanton returned to the table with a sultry smile and two cups of black coffee.

    “I didn’t know if you took it light and sweet or black, so I figured you could doctor it yourself.” He paused and tilted his head. “Everythin’ okay? You looked kinda grim there for a moment.”

    So much from hiding her thoughts from a sniper.

    Jaime shook her head. “Just letting my mind run away from me, and as usual, jumping the gun.”

    He smiled again as he sat down. “Good thing I know my weapons. I got lots of “guns” to jump.”

    She laughed. “Without a doubt.” Like a shadow fleeing the sun, the darkness of her thoughts dissipated and she grabbed some packages of creamer. “If you want to know, I take my coffee light, but not sweetened.”

    “Duly noted, ma’am.”

    “Jaime.”

    “Beg your pardon?”

    “You can call me Jaime since you’re taking me to breakfast, and we almost hooked up at the wedding.”

    “Jaime. Pretty name. Strong, capable, and resourceful.”

    “Thanks. It means ‘I love’ in French, but I think my dad really wanted a son, so he hoped I would live up to something that sounded like ‘James.’”

    “So what do you love, Jaime?” He sipped his coffee as the edges of his mouth curled.

    “I’d love to know your first name so I don’t just call you by your rank.” She raised an eyebrow.

    He grinned. “What if my first name is Chief?”

    “You mean like in Catch 22 where the character is known as Major Major Major Major?”

    He laughed. “A woman who knows classic literature. Hooyah. My given name is Kevin Wickham Stanton, but my friends call me Rimshot.”

    “Rimshot? Because you’re a sniper?”

    He snorted. “Because while in sniper school I managed to wing the target a few times before finding my center. The nickname stuck.”

    “Rimshot.” She liked the name even if he inherited it for a mistake. “Who gets to call you Kevin?”

    He picked up the menu and pretended to scan the contents. “My mother and sister.”

    “You know it’s from the Old Irish meaning ‘kind, gentle, and handsome.’” She tilted her head and smiled. “So far I think it fits.”

    “Oh yeah?” He laughed and it lit more excitement inside her. “Two out of three ain’t bad. Not sure how handsome I am.”

    “You don’t have to be sure. I am.”

    495 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Breakfast

    “You two, follow us in. SLOWLY!”

    With that curt direction, Quarry and I followed our horse-mounted hosts further onto the property.
    They pulled up to the two-story stone farmhouse. It was an impressive apparition in a dusty wasteland. They dismounted.

    “Clint, take the horses. I’ll deal with our guests.”

    “You sure, Ace?”

    “I’ll be fine.”

    “Come inside gentleman,” Longworth gestured.

    We followed the tall, weary-looking actor into the cool house. There was dark wood everywhere. It felt like an Alpine Funeral Parlour.

    We were met by an older woman who could have passed for a cook in almost any movie I had ever seen.”

    “Stella, we have two more for breakfast. Cook up the works. You fella’s look a little the worse for the wear. There’s a clean-up room and shower through the kitchen towards the back. Show ‘em Stella.”

    We spent the next half hour spitting out desert grime.

    By the time we were finished spiffying up, Stella had whipped up a feast of food. Longworth told us to dig in. We reached for the shovels.

    Afterwards, stuffed like giant peppers, we were ushered into Longworth’s living room and plied with cigars and morning brandy.

    “You’ve been gracious, Mr. Longworth,” John thanked our host.

    “Ace, please, John. So, Woody, have you and John been travelling companions together long?”

    “Not long,” I answered. “A little more than a day.”

    “Really! You two seem…comfortable with each other.”

    It was a perceptive observation. I was feeling relaxed with John. It was a new feeling and I was quite enjoying it.

    “On a slightly different note, Ace, I have been wondering about your sign.”

    “Hmmm, that trespassers will be shot, or worse?”

    “Yeah, that one.”

    “Simple enough! Stella has only been cooking for me since the internment camp closed. Before that, Clint was doing his impression of a cook.”

    “That’s rich,” I chimed in.

    “And occasionally deadly, “Ace said with a weathered twist to his lips.

    Then he asked, “So, where are you travellers headed?”

    “Just following my nose,” Quarry answered.

    “My nose only drips,” I added.

    “What did you do before the war, John?”

    “For a couple of years I was an Op. A cut rate private eye.”

    “Really! And you, Woody?”

    “A student of life. A highly paid remittance man.”

    “You know, John, I might have need of someone who looks for things.”

    Quarry seemed unfazed. “I’ll be straight, Ace. I did time when I was a kid. I never got licenced. I
    had a sort of unofficial apprenticeship with a dick on the skids.”

    “I’m a fair judge of men, John. If you have nowhere special to be…”

    “Nowhere.”

    I listened. It sounded too hinky for my liking. If John had a doubt, like a shadow, a shade of concern, it didn’t show.

    “Good, then rest up. I’ll explain the job at dinner.”

    “I’ve grown rather fond of Woody,” John said.

    “I suppose every Don Quixote needs a reliable Sancho Panza, John. You both are now on the payroll.”

    500 rashers of ham
    @billmelaterplea
    http://www.engleson.ca

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I stared down my thirteen-year-old daughter Priscilla. Her red hair flared in the summer sun coming in through her bedroom window. Her arms were crossed, teenage-pout firmly in place on her lips. A fresh nose piercing glinted as she shook her head, cheeks red with rage.

    She was shouting at me. “Randi has one!”

    “You’re thirteen-years-old!” I shouted. “We said no piercings until you were eighteen unless it’s your ears, young lady. You’re grounded and we’re keeping your allowance until you take that damn thing out.”

    Her mouth fell open. “You can’t do that! It’s not fair!”

    “It certainly is. And you can’t stay locked up in your room forever.”

    Her blue eyes slammed daggers through me. “The hell I can’t.” She slammed the door and a picture of my husband and me fell from the wall.

    I replaced the picture, then shook my head. Jacoby waited for me downstairs, his mouth twitching into a smile.

    “She’s got a career on stage that one,” he said.

    I started laughing. “Holy moley. She’s determined to stay in her room, isn’t she? All over a damn nose stud.”

    “Well, we did say no piercing until eighteen, like you said. She’s got six holes in her ears, does she need one in her nose, too?” he asked.

    We settled at the table and I rubbed my face. Children are like night and day. Her sister Eliza was always so easy going, even tempered. Priscilla is defiant, reckless, and I sometimes fear we’re going to lose her to something out of our control.

    “She’ll come around.” Jacoby kissed my hand. “If for no other reason than she has no bathroom and no food.”

    “True, that. Speaking of food, arguing makes me hungry. What should we have for supper?”

    Jacoby shrugged. “Will both kids be eating with us?”

    “Depends if Queen Crabby comes out of her room or not.”

    “I heard that.”

    I jumped, turning in my chair. Priscilla stood behind me, nose still pierced, face set in angry stone.

    “I’m not crabby. You’re being unfair. I’m going to Randi’s for the night.”

    She picked up a duffle bag at her feet and started for the back door. I reached out and snagged her arm, pulling her back. Standing, I put on my best mean face.

    “You’re staying home. You’re grounded. That means no Randi until your nose is free of holes.”

    “Yeah, well, just you try taking it away from me,” she said. She yanked her arm back, shaking it. “Fuck you, dad.”

    I barely held my temper in check. Jacoby put his hands on my shoulders.

    “Jimmy, let me deal with her. Go calm down.”

    My shoulders heaved as I snorted air through my nose. Finally, I turned and went upstairs to change. Some parents with difficult kids drank; I ran. I was averaging six miles per day; at that rate, I’d be running a marathon in no time.

    @Aightball
    486 words

    Liked by 7 people

  4. “Well, this is unexpected,” Graham began. He paced a bedroom bigger than the two bedroom apartment Jackson and I shared in Little Havana before she moved in with Scythe.

    “Your grandmother kidnapped us.” I set my hands on my hips. “How did she even know we were in New York?”

    “She has—” He stopped, closed his eyes, and breathed.

    “Vays?”

    “What?” He blinked at me.

    “You know, ‘ve have vays ov making you talk.’”

    “Is that supposed to be a German accent?” He grimaced. “That’s terrible.”

    “It’s supposed to be, duh.” I rolled my eyes. Man needed an education on American war comedies. “Please say we’re not staying locked up in your room all night like we’re seventeen or something.”

    “Seventeen?” Graham grinned. “You got a late start.”

    “Oh, ugh.” No. I did not want to think of him all teenaged and sexed up. “Don’t put that image in my head. What’s wrong with you?”

    “You have such a dirty mind, Red.” He penned me in the corner of the room. “You inspire me to earn your disdain. Show you how I misspent my youth.”

    He boosted me up, hooking my legs around his waist. I grabbed his shoulders for support.

    “What are you doing?”

    “Making your mouth easier to reach, duh.” He teased my lips. “I believe this is known as first base.” I squirmed in his hold and he inhaled sharply. Acute awareness of his arousal froze me in place. “Oh, love.” He lowered his lips to my ear. “Don’t stop on my account.”

    “I don’t want you thinking I’m a tease or some stupid shit like that. I’m not offering sex, or agreeing to it.”

    “I know you aren’t.” The heat of his breath sent shivers through me. “But I’m a bit of a masochist where you’re concerned.”

    “How’s that?”

    “While uncomfortable to the point of pain, a ‘no’ from you is better than many of the yeses I’ve had.” He nipped the tender skin beneath my ear and I arched my neck to give him better access. “Mmm, without a doubt.”

    Like a shadow, his lips skimmed up my throat, along my jaw.

    An imperious rap of knuckles on the door was all the warning we received. The door opened, and Herself, the Countess of Lindhurst entered.

    “Good God,” she spat. “You’re worse than your mother. At least she didn’t bring her indiscretions home.”

    “Ooh, I’ve never been someone’s indiscretion before,” I whispered. “It might be exciting if I didn’t worry her death stare might actually work.” I dodged her icy blue glare, hiding my face with Graham’s head. “I think she’s trying to drill a hole through my skull with sheer disapproval.”

    Graham gritted his teeth, holding back a laugh if I was any judge, and lowered me to the floor, straightening my t-shirt as my feet touched down.

    “You are going to get me in so much trouble.”

    “Apparently you need it,” I said. “Else you wouldn’t be hanging out with me, English.”

    @caramichaels
    500 WIP words

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Quasi-Gods and Quiet Monsters

    Angry voices come from the warehouse dock and then a fist slams on the door. “Get your sweet tail out here, Camille. You can’t stay locked up in your room all day.”

    The irony of hiding out in a bathroom to avoid a shit storm would be laughable if she wasn’t so busy trying to remember what kind of doors gods could and couldn’t walk through. Metal? Steel? And a quasi-god didn’t come close to a full blood’s power, so she should be safe as –

    Suddenly the quasi-god in question is toe to toe with her, his blue eyes bright with anger, his intoxicating presence infuriatingly palpable. “I need the coordinates of that last delivery in the next thirty seconds or by Odin’s beard –“

    So much for getting a little peace and quiet in the powder room. “That threat would carry more weight if I didn’t know Odin favors me over you, Vidarr.”

    He glances at his watch. “You’re golden for another three hours.”

    She laughs and unbolts the door. “I’m always golden with Odin.”

    “With Odin, yes,” he says, pushing past her and stepping into the office. “But not everybody is so happy about the way you’re running Asgard Corp.”

    A seed of fear sprouts in her chest. “Who’s not happy?”

    “Who do you think,” he says, dropping into her comfortable desk chair and propping his feet on her desk. “Cain.”

    The fear takes root and spreads. “Another three hours? What do you mean?”

    “Your company screwed up a delivery this morning. Cain knows about it and wants your job. And in three hours, he’s coming to relieve you of your company and your pride.”

    “Why didn’t you send me an email about it earlier this morning? I’d have had more time to prepare a counterstrike.”

    “Perhaps, but email is so damned impersonal.”

    “That’s the way business should be, Vidarr. Impersonal.”

    He slides a hand around her waist, pulls her close. “But our business isn’t impersonal, is it? We’re bound together, golden girl. What can it hurt to let the quiet monsters out of their cages once in a while?”

    “Last time it nearly cost Odin his life,” she says, trying to move free of his embrace.”

    “My uncle and I are not so easily killed or have you forgotten?”

    She traces the scar beneath his chin. “With you, it’s not just once in a while. It’s always or never. And we can’t afford distractions with Cain on our backs.”

    “Camille, let your hair down,” he says, removing the pins from her upswept honey-colored curls. “Let the monsters out. Come raise a little Cain with me.”

    When he says it like that, his voice and body full of sleek beauty and scarcely leashed power, she knows there will be Hel to pay and Odin to placate before the night is over, and the trouble is, time spent with Vidarr is always worth the risk.

    – – – – –
    @bullishink / 492 ineligible WIP words #valhallainc

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Labyrinths

    It’s getting dark outside and twilight fills the bedroom, the shadows pooling under the bed and the desk, in the corner between the wall and the wardrobe. Danny sits on the edge of the bed with his feet bent down so only his toes touch the rug on the floorboards. His left eye is swollen, half closed up and bruised from the fight with the other boys. His hands rest on his lap. He has finished the prayers he says every evening although they never do him any good. Father Simmons told Danny that God listened to every prayer but Danny is old enough now not to believe in God.

    It stirs in the shadows. He hears it breathing, deep wet breaths of something large and powerful and from the primal age of wolf haunted forests. There is an animal smell in the room. Slightly acrid.

    You can come out now.

    From the corner of his eye he see the Minotaur emerge from the shadows, only fragments and ghost images at first, glimpses of the knotted muscles and leathery skin coated with thick black hairs down its legs and arms and across its chest and belly. It creeps, its hands clawed and knuckling on the floorboards, the great bull’s head squat on its shoulders and the up-curving horns glinting in the half light. It turns its head and stares at Danny with one brown eye and flares its nostrils as it snorts with a trembling through the room.

    Danny stands up and strokes the minotaur’s neck, along the thick cables of its neck muscles. The minotaur lowers its head and scratches Danny’s hand with the hair on its ears and snorts once more. Danny presses his head against the minotaur’s neck and feels the heavy slow pulse in its arteries.

    Danny leaves the minotaur in the room. He shuts the door behind him and locks it with a metal key the length of his little finger. The key is threaded onto a leather thong and he slips it over his head.

    Father Simmons is waiting for him in the hallway. “Why always so secretive, Danny?” His mouth is plump as if he’s always pouting. There is a droplet of saliva on his lower lip. “You know it’s not good a boy to be on his own too long. He’ll get up to all kinds of mischief.” He rattles the door handle. “Now, what have you got locked up in your room?”

    @AvLaidlaw
    412 Words

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Knifework

    I go to where I left the body hanging on the hooks and take my time. It’s been ages since I’ve indulged myself, and I wonder if I’ve still got it. Like riding a bike, a skill’s a skill I tell myself, and after a bit of a shaky start, I’m off to the races.

    Time doesn’t seem to pass, and before I know it, the job’s done. I wash the blood off my hands – I’ve never understood what Lady Macbeth’s problem was – and head home. On a visceral level I love the sound of a sharpening steel sliding down a knife, but that’s not exactly the sort of conversation you can have with your mates down the pub. Some things you just have to keep to yourself. But there’s always a yearning to share. That’s why ever since you were little I’ve dropped hints for you, hoping to pique your interest. When you were younger you just cried and said I was disgusting. Now that you’re older and understand the world better, I’m thinking you might be willing to come round to my way of thinking.

    I try broaching the subject obliquely at the dinner table while your mother’s in the kitchen (she always was a bit squeamish), but I can’t tell if the surly teenager attitude I cop for my troubles is just a facade. Hoping for the best, I knock on your door the next morning. I’m about to give up, but blow me down if I’m not greeted by a grunt. I try and play it cool, though I realise the generation gap means that I’m likely making an arse of myself.
    “You won’t regret this Michael,” I say as we head off.

    We go via an indirect route, so I can try and explain why it calls to me so, but end up just talking trivialities.Still, it’s a better connection than we’ve had in some time. Before I can give you any advice, I’m unlocking the heavy door and ushering you in. You’re scared, I can tell. A bit repulsed, but excited too. You take a knife and make a few exploratory cuts. A smile blossoms on your face and I know you’re starting to understand. A noise outside distracts me. I head out to take care of it, leaving you to hack away. Your enthusiasm compensates for your inexperience.

    As I’m wrapping up the snags for the customer, you come bursting through the door waving the knife and screaming.
    “Fuck me swinging Mike! Do you want me to get locked up? In your room, NOW!”
    A nice rack of lamb on the house helps to smooth over any misunderstandings, and I nod understandingly as the sparky whinges and moans about kids these days and apprentices in particular. When they finally piss off I can’t help but crack up. Mikey, you’re a butcher’s son and no mistake!

    @davejamesashton
    482 words

    Liked by 4 people

  8. THE NOTCHES ON THE DOOR by E.F. Olsson

    My wife loves to buy used items and brag about what she has found to her friends – it’s become a game between them. I’ve always warned her, and now she agrees, when you buy something used you can never be sure of the history behind the item.

    To prove my point, we were walking through a resale market that was filled with knick knacks and antiques. Normally I stay in the car but the air wasn’t working. Since it was an especially hot day, I decided to walk around. I came across an old door. It was white with chipping paint. The hardware looked like it was from the thirties. Under the door latch were notches marked into the wood along with the name, ‘Abby’. We have always intended to replace the door on the side of our garage that leads out into the flower garden and I thought that this door would offer the right look. Much to my wife’s surprise, I bought it.

    I sanded down the door to apply a fresh coat of paint. I paused when I came across the notches and the name. The highest one was marked: “Abby, age 7.” I wondered why would they replace a door that has these notches on it? The memories it held? What became of Abby? However, I removed the notches and the ages that went along with each one. Abby’s height through the years simply disappeared.

    * * *

    “Get it here!” My wife yelled. I ran into the kitchen. She was standing at the sink washing dishes. “Someone is out in the garden.”

    I peered out of the window. “Are you sure?”

    “It looked like a girl,” she said.

    * * *

    I searched and found no one. However, the door to the garage was open. As I closed the door, I noticed under the latch that there was a smudge mark where Abby’s notch once was. I heard a twig snap behind me then my wife screamed from inside of the house. I looked to the kitchen window, she was pointing behind me. I turned to look, toward the direction of the noise, but nothing was there.

    * * *

    “You saw a girl? But, she wasn’t there?” I asked.

    “She was floating and her eyes weren’t there,” she said.

    “It was a ghost? Without a doubt?”

    “Like a shadow walking up behind you. Then she was just standing there like you are to me. But she had no eyes. Then she reached out for you.”

    “What happened to her?”

    “She vanished as you turned.”

    I sat beside her at the table. I fought to control my hands from trembling. I thought to myself, ‘Why did I buy that door?’ It must be the girl – Abby. I grabbed a knife and a pencil and went back to the door. I made a notch at the smudge mark and wrote: ‘Abby, age 7.’ In case the girl has decided to stay, I moved the bench near the door so she had a place to sit.

    (500 words)
    @EFOlsson

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Coming Home

    When Janie saw Tyler, a doubt like a shadow hovered over the encounter. He returned from his Army deployment haunted. Black crescent-shaped bags under his eyes gave him a hollow appearance. Even music no longer chased away the ghosts.

    In graduate school, she studied the history of the wolf population in the San Bernardino mountains. For nearly one hundred years, the animals were thought extinct in California. More recently, a lone male wolf had been seen on the Oregon border. She volunteered with the Big Bear zoo, and everyone said she was a natural with the animals. Little did they know how natural.

    More than Tyler’s personality had changed in the six years since Janie had seen him. He sat next to her on a bench in the park, picking at the edge of a rip in the knee of his jeans. The smell of pine trees filled the air, and Janie scratched in the dirt with a long stick. The seeping sap made her fingers all sticky.

    Finally, not able to take the silence any longer, she placed her hand on top of his. “You’re driving me batty.”

    “Sorry,” he said. “It’s hard to be still. I’m used to doing. Going. Being sedentary kills me.”

    “You need to find something else to do.”

    “The only thing that kept me sane during deployment was you.” He stroked the side of her face, drinking her in as if he’d been parched.

    “But we didn’t see each other, didn’t even talk,” she protested.

    “Doesn’t matter. Just knowing you were out there, living, experiencing life, fueled me.”

    The years spent apart evaporated like the morning mist on a hot day. A shuffle in the dry foliage drew Janie’s attention, and she searched the tree line. With a barely discernable nod, she gave consent.

    “There’s something I have to tell you,” she said. “So much has changed since you’ve been gone.”

    “Shhh,” he angled his face toward hers. The moment stretched out as he gazed into her eyes. He was going to kiss her. “It can’t stay the same, but how I feel about you never changed.”
    First one wolf, then two, then three, stepped out from the forest. Tyler froze and his breathing sped up. “Don’t make any sudden movements,” he turned his upper body, placing himself between her and the perceived danger.

    “It’s all right,” she said. “They’re friends.”

    Holding out a hand, she approached the threesome. The lead wolf nuzzled her palm, and Janie dropped to her knees to scratch behind its ears.

    “When you said you’ve been working with them, I had no idea.”

    The fire of the wolf inside her sparked. She wanted to give Tyler the option of joining the pack, but seeing his internal pain moved up the timetable. He wasn’t adjusting well to civilian life.
    “It’s a small pack, but growing.” She turned to take him in her arms. “What we need now is a leader.”

    “We, as in the conservation effort?” he asked.

    “Something like that.”

    500 words
    @LouisaBacio

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Priorities

    I was on a mission as I scanned the joint. The girl’s back was to me. When she realized she was being watched, she glanced around furtively. Her gaze skittered passed with no recognition. A doubt, like a shadow, chased fear across her expression as her attention focused on me. Fear won. Without turning her back, she edged toward the kitchen.

    Relief warred with anger. She’d been missing for almost a week and I’d been half out of my mind. Okay, completely out of my mind, if you listened to the rest of the Nightriders.

    Digger pushed me toward a table between the bar and the kitchen where we could watch the room. Easy and Sam followed. Sam got stuck with her back to the room. She bitched but it wasn’t like Easy would ever let a guy get within touching distance of her. Sam was the safest woman in the place, sitting with three Nightriders who also happened to be Wolves.

    “That her?” Digger nodded toward the girl as she emerged from the kitchen with baskets of food.
    My wolf wanted out but I muzzled him. Damn thing wanted me to shift so we could play with her. You’d think he was a big ol’ lap dog. “Yeah.”

    Sam grinned and nudged my boot under the table to get my attention. “She’s cute.”

    “Yeah.”

    “Wow, Hardy. I can tell you really like this girl.” Sam rolled her eyes at me. “What’s her name?”

    How did I admit I didn’t know? I’d been in wolf form when I was with her, and no one called her by name. The old bastard who was her father called her “girl” or “little bitch.”

    After she delivered the order, she glanced our way and relaxed when she saw Sam with us. She came over, skittish like a fawn, to get our order. Her eyes cut my direction and I played it cool.
    When she brought our beers back, she set mine down and whispered, “Do I know you?”

    She did know me, but as a wolf—or a big dog that she thought she’d saved after it was hit by a car. My ribs were still sore.

    “No.” I couldn’t give my identity away. Not yet.

    “Oh.”

    Was she disappointed? Probably relieved since I wore Nightrider colors and her old man was a Hell Dog. The Nightriders had a club vendetta to wipe the Dogs off the face of the earth.

    I watched while she worked, mostly ignoring the conversation around me until I overheard another waitress say, “Are you kidding me? He kept you locked up in your room?”

    “What the hell?” Chairs scraped as I growled. Digger and Easy stood, ready to confront whatever threat set me off. The only threat was to her old man. He was dead meat.

    “That explains why she was gone.” Digger sat back down.

    “Time to hunt.” To Easy, the solution was simple.

    “Soon. First we eat.”

    Priorities. Eat. Hunt. Kill. Claim my mate.
    ****
    499
    words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Yumi pulled on the silk wrap while trying to ignore Grandmother pulling on her hair as the older woman brushed it, muttering unflattering things under her breath.

    “You should be locked up in your room. It is night wise to anger such powerful people and we have nothing to show to them. It is better to offer up food as part of the village than go separately. The Dragon Emperor can still be our master and not know that we exist.”

    “The shadow foxes thought it would be a good – OW! – idea.” She winced at a hard yank on her hair.

    “I don’t want you having anything to do with them. Foxes are tricksters. You know this. I have told you many times to avoid them. You have gotten yourself into so much trouble by involving yourself with those creatures.”

    “Because we can’t always take to the background and expect to pass under everyone’s scrutiny. I heard that there is going to be changes all the way down to the villages. I want to make sure that we are all protected. This will ensure that we have favor.” Yumi frowned, gazing at her Grandmother. “I’m doing this for everyone.”

    The elder woman face pinched in displeasure. “This is a bad idea. It will bring bad luck down on our house.”

    “Don’t you have faith in me?” Yumi winced again at the rough combing of her hair.
    The brush paused and Grandmother stared at her. “What?”

    “You talk as if what I’m doing is a failure. A bad luck item and that I should not try because it’s not a good idea.”

    Grandmother was silent before resting a hand on Yumi’s shoulder. “You will never be a failure. You do work hard to ensure that Grandfather and I don’t have to worry. You help where you are needed. You are a good daughter for the entire village. You do us all proud.” She moved and sat down next to the younger woman, picking up Yumi’s hands. “I just worry that they will expect more than we can give. We are not like a bigger village or town. There aren’t as many families here as there used to be when I was a little girl. Soon they won’t remember us because everyone else has moved out.” She stood up again before smacking the back of Yumi’s hand. “That is for stealing. Do not let those foxes talk you into stealing again. “You know better. A Takimodo does not steal for a tribute.”

    Yumi rubbed the red mark on her hand. “Yes, Grandmother.”

    430 words
    @solimond

    Liked by 3 people

  12. “Come in, Sangfroid. This is the IPGA. Prepare to be boarded.”

    “Gale, what is this?” Sirocco Arioch crossed her arms as she stood over the black rectangle resting in their hold, one foot resting on the convex lid. Her face held a doubt like a shadow

    “Something I promised to take from one place to another.”

    “Smuggling?” Gust interjected, his arms crossed. His brows settled in a low scowl. “It’s the Inter-Planetary Governing Authority. They deal in smuggling not transporting.”

    “Come in, Sangfroid. This is the IPGA. Prepare to be boarded. A warning shot will follow.”

    Gale did not answer his brother. Again with that voice from the bottom of a tin can. You’d think the IPGA could afford a better communication system.

    An alarm blared throughout the ship – the noise so loud that Gale plugged his ears, his jaw slack with pain. Beneath his feet, he felt a shudder move from one end of the ship to the other.

    Gale’s gaze darted to Zephyr. She chewed on her fingernails, her auburn dreads trailing down her back. At least her arms aren’t crossed. He offered, “I never ask; I just move things.”

    “Gale.”

    “Smuggling.”

    “They. Are. Shooting. My. Ship.” All three spoke at once.

    A movement pulled Gale’s attention back to Zephyr. Dammit. Her arms are crossed. Gale wanted to tell them everything – how he had been hungry, how it started with a small package, then bigger ones, parties, food, money. Lips pressed together, he said nothing.

    Sirocco blew air through the o-shape of her mouth. “We have to open it; we don’t have a choice.”

    Gale put up his hands, palms forward. “Zephyr, I’m sorry they are shooting your ship, but if we open that, they won’t pay me.” They might kill me.

    Without warning, Sirocco crossed the deck, sinking a finger in Gale’s chest. Indignation muddled his thoughts as his baby sister prepared to launch a tirade, anger flashing in her eyes.

    “Gale Arioch, you better listen- ” Her attack faltered on her lips interrupted when the hiss of a venting pressure seal filled the room.

    Gust had wedged a crow bar between the end panel and the metal crate. He worked the piece back and forth until it broke free. Inside, a thin membrane held an amber liquid.

    Gale stepped forward, but Zephyr intervened. Close to his ear, she whispered, “I love you, brother, but we have to know.”

    Sirocco nodded to Gust, and a quick movement of the oldest brother’s hand split the sack. On the swell of fluid, a blue skinned woman slid out.

    Gust kneeled, pulled his shirt over his head, and covered the naked female. “Not just smuggling, Gale, you’ve been trafficking.”

    Gale felt the blood drain from his face, his lunch churned in his stomach. Sirocco marched to the communication station and began speaking in low tones.

    He heard Gust whisper, “How long? Locked up in your room…” He met Gale’s scrutiny. “No, not a room, it would have been her coffin.”

    500 Words
    WIP (Four Winds from a Tempest)
    @msbbrumley

    Liked by 2 people

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