#FlashMobWrites 1×25

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Twenty-Five

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: “a light-year from reality”

Ruth Long: “trouble on the way”

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

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92 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×25

  1. When in Doubt, Think Ink

    The breeze off the ocean cleared some of the alcoholic haze clouding Greg’s mind, but mostly he floated down the vacant sidewalk. The alcohol dulled the pain of MaryAnn’s betrayal, but it waited for him to come down off the high. As it was he strode down the street intent on finding something more to distract him.

    Brilliant light flashed on his left, signaling trouble on the way, and he lurched backward to avoid the muzzle fire. He slammed against a brick wall beside a window and took stock of his location. The breeze ruffled the fronds of the palm trees and a random car or two passed on the street, but nothing else seemed amiss. Greg blinked. What had he seen?

    Taking a deep breath, he peeked around the corner toward the flashing lights. A neon OPEN sign flashed red and blue in the window of the tattoo parlor, Think Ink Tattoos. The name sparked some recognition, but being a light-year from reality made it difficult to connect. He frowned hard at his boots, the sidewalk sliding in and out of focus. Where did he know the name from?

    The image of a beautiful woman with short crimson hair, green-golden eyes, and a rainbow of ink on her arms filled his thoughts. Zamora. Despite his drunken state, the image and name of the woman who’d conquered his fantasies since he’d been in the hospital hardened his cock. Zamora, who’d brought treats and company to the wounded, owned Think Ink Tattoos. He hadn’t seen her since he’d left the hospital, but he’d wanted to.

    Shoving off the wall, he rolled his head on his shoulders and straightened his t-shirt. He hadn’t been laid in a week and she was fucking hot. He pasted his best smile on his face and pushed through the doors of the tattoo parlor.

    He expected the interior to be dingy, dark, and greasy, but the room he entered glowed with stylish recessed lighting, buffed and resined concrete floor covered in bright oriental rugs, and comfortable dark leather furniture. The walls held framed pictures of tattoos and elegant graffiti art and soft classical music played over the PA system.

    A young man with enough piercings to look like an advertisement for a scrap yard looked up from the book he read with a friendly smile. Ink decorated his arms from wrist to biceps where they disappeared under the sleeves of his t-shirt, but the title on the book read The Handmaid’s Tale. Greg smothered his smirk, he’d never been much of a reader. Trying to pick up women, I guess.

    “Can I help you, sir?”

    “Yeah, I’m looking for Zamora.”

    The young man scanned Greg as his smile faded. “Can I tell her what this is about?”

    How did Greg explain he just wanted to get laid and Zamora seemed like a good candidate?

    “About getting…inked.”

    He’d almost said ‘fucked’, but a sane voice saved him at the last moment

    494 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 4 people

  2. My grandmother raised me, she was tough but kind. She harped on to me about how young ladies didn’t chase after men they made men think it was all their own idea. She also always had what she called her look sees, remembering all of her dreams, other times just bits and pieces. The problem with gran was she manipulate me with her premonitions. Trouble on the way,” she say and then she become mysterious and tell me to stay away from someone. I felt most of her premonitions were a light-year from reality but often I did listen, but only because I cared more about my grandmother than I did the people she warned me about. The day he arrived, I fell head over heels in love with him. Kale Rannoch, handsome charming, every girl in town wanted to be his girl. Imagine my surprised when he picked me. I didn’t share my relationship with my grandmother because I liked keeping it secret and the other reason? I was afraid my grandmother would try to ruin my relationship to keep me with her.
    Three months passed and Kale asked me to marry him. He knew I was an old-fashioned girl and he told me he’d wait until marriage to sleep with me. He told me he loved me and I believed him. I was thrilled but now I had to tell grandmother and she wouldn’t be happy I’d kept Kale from her. I told her about Kale and showed her pictures on my cell phone.
    “Oh, Victoria, when will you pay attention to me? He’s the boy I had a dream about. I told you about this a couple of days ago remember?”
    “No, I don’t remember, grandmother,” I answered.
    “Victoria, you have to break it with this man before you get hurt,” my grandmother began.
    “Don’t start with your premonitions now. I love him and I’m going to marry him. Who knows in a year or two you could have a great- grandchild.”
    “Victoria, my dreams have showed he’s a bad egg! He’s not who he says he is. He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Do you have any idea what he does for a living?”
    I told her I did he was a businessman, and then I stormed out and eloped with Kale. It turns out grandmother was right. Kale wasn’t just a businessman. He dealt in drugs and worked for a Mexican drug cartel. His name was Rannoch either, his last name was Caro. We weren’t legally married. He was already married to his sweetheart Maria Luisa I quickly found out after the feds arrested him for smuggling and drug trafficking.
    I thought grandmother wouldn’t forgive me, but she was the first one at my door after the cops took Kale away. She’s a great grandmother now. I had my daughter last week and named her Moira, after her. I’ll always listen to grandmother’s look-sees from now on.
    @SweetSheil
    492 Words

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The Trilogy

    Hap Granger didn’t waste any time getting us to the Grill. He had booted his 1941 Lincoln Continental and we arrived, safe and sound, almost before we left.

    “It’s a beautiful car,” I said as we exited.

    “One of the last of its kind off the line before the Jap’s screwed up car production. It was a gift from my daddy. Or, to be precise, his estate.”

    We entered the Grill. The joint was jumping. Gabi met us at the door, gave us a look as if to say, strange brunch fellows, and escorted us to a booth. Granger took one side and John followed me in on the other.

    “The food is always good here, fella’s. Whatever you order, you can’t go wrong.”

    Gabi brought three coffees, took our orders and left us to continue Hap’s lengthy revelation.

    “So, where was I? Oh yeah, Hollywood! Ace began by making three of his classic westerns back to back. Death in the Desert; Desert Knights and…What was the third?”

    John shook his head. “Don’t know. Wasn’t a big western fan!”

    “Them’s fightin’ words, pardner,” Granger joked.

    I completed the naming of the trilogy. “Nightriders of Deadwood.”

    “Well done, Woody,” Granger complimented me.

    “A misspent youth at the Nickelodeon. You were bound to pick something up.”

    “Anyway, the Hollywood people took over the town. The whole damn county, if you want the truth. It was high times. Hazel turned out to be Ace’s manager, secretary, gopher girl. Maybe something else! Who’s to say?”

    “You’re off base Hap,” Gabi fired in from serving the booth behind us. “Talking through your hat. As usual.”

    “Well, Gabi, just giving these detective boys the big picture, gossip and all.”

    Gabi glared at Granger but let it go.

    “Truth and fiction. Must be the Hollywood influence,” Granger recovered. “Sorry, didn’t want to upset Gabi in her own place. Anyway, Hazel single-handedly sold Ace on coming to Crowbar City. Both of them real town boosters, even if they bounced back and forth over the years between here and L.A.”

    An older fellow plunked down our orders.

    “Thanks, Skully. Pass along my apologies to Gabi, willya?”

    “I ain’t your messenger boy, Granger,” he said, and walked back to the kitchen.

    “Dig in,” Granger directed.

    I was already shovelling.

    Between gigantic mouthfuls, Granger picked up his tale.

    “We boomed through the twenties. But it couldn’t last. As you probably remember, there was trouble on the way. Talkies; The Crash of 29; the god-awful Depression.”

    Granger hoisted his slab of buttery toast, waved it and said, “We became THIS. For longer than I care to remember.”

    With that bite of philosophical drama, he refocused on serious eating.

    Gabi probably simmered down because she slipped back to silently refill our coffee cups.

    “One bright spot,” Granger resumed, “Ace still made a few films here. More producing than acting. Mid 30’s, Hazel bought the Grill. Moved back permanent.”

    “And Ace?” John asked.

    “Oh yeah! And a sullen teenaged Gabi.”

    500 tasty rumours
    @billmelaterplea.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. 378 words
    @jujitsuelf
    #FDHowl

    (Of course CCR own all rights etc to Bad Moon Rising – I’m just playing with it)

    Life in the Doldrums

    ‘I see a bad moon rising, I see trouble on the way. I see earthquakes and lightning, I see those bad times today…’

    God, how many times had Danny heard that song? How many nights had he listened to it as loud as he dared, wishing he had the money for earphones, doing his best to focus on the lyrics and ignore the sounds coming from his dad’s bedroom. Geez, it was one thing for the man to want to get laid but did he have to pick up a different girl every night?

    It’d been a blonde that Saturday, slim and pretty. She had dark eyes that flashed with something like wickedness. Danny threw up in the bathroom after his father introduced him to her. Whatever naughtiness she hid beneath her demure smile would pale into insignificance when his dad got into his stride.

    Keening wails echoed through the paper-thin walls, along with dirty male laughter. Danny bit his clenched fist. The blonde was a noisy one. Crap. It’d make the silence afterwards all the more hard to bear.

    “Oh, God, yeah. God, oh—” in a heartbeat the girl’s cries of ecstasy changed to ones of fear.

    Danny turned the music up, CCR would save him tonight as they had so many other nights.

    A low, muffled scream faded away into the night and nauseating silence reigned once more. Heavy footsteps made their way out of the bedroom and into the bathroom. Danny swallowed, hoping he wouldn’t be sick again. At least it was over, for now.

    “Danny-boy, get your scrawny ass out here and clean this place up, it’s a dump.” No swearing, his dad must be in a good mood tonight. The blonde must’ve been fun in bed.

    The footsteps thumped downstairs, leaving Danny alone with CCR and the knowledge that he’d be digging another shallow grave in the woods behind their house before dawn. He closed his eyes and rocked back and forth, letting the music wash over him, sweep him away, atone for sins he could never hope to be absolved for.

    “Redhead Sunday tomorrow, kiddo!” his father shouted from the living room. “Gonna be good!”

    Danny turned the music up again. Grave-digging could wait until he’d finished the album.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. @PattyannMc
    WC: 498

    Outta This World

    Partying on the beach, my friends and I celebrating on the sand, the last of summer’s revelry before school begins, for most of us; our first year of college lies ahead. The ocean’s rolling hard in the background, bonfires crackling, and blankets of silvery stars hover overhead. Midnight’s moon is bright and round as can be! Beer tabs popping, flickering light from the flames reflecting off tin cans littering the beach. Driftwood set around for seats, giggles heard over the band playing their guitars and percussion, singing tunes of the day, in their own world as they jam.

    My girlfriend, Alice brought weed; she usually gets the good stuff! I take a seat next to her on the driftwood, as she rolls a doobie. Her fingers work deftly as she works the paper around the aromatic herb. Her tongue flicks out, moistening the thin glue strip, twisting the ends. Her lighter sparks as she lights up, the tiny tip glowing red hot and inhales deeply, holding the smoke in her lungs, and passes it to me. I kiss her first as I take the joint. She blows her lungs into mine, I inhale the used mist, and my head swims already. I exhale and take a drag for myself, and then I give her a shotgun, long and slow as she pulls it into herself. It’s erotic, the way she holds her lips towards mine holding the joint, and all I can think is that I want my penis inside her exotic mouth.

    Joey runs by. “Hey man, have a couple hits on me.” He pauses and hands me a few tiny pieces of paper with purple dots on the center of each.

    “Alice baby, stick out your tongue.”

    She complies in the sexiest way as I place a paper on the tip. She pulls it in and sucks on it. I take one myself. Swilling back a beer, my head reels and I zone on the ocean rocking back and forth. I walk to the edge of the sea.

    Mesmerized by the pitch waves, lights come over the horizon, and in my acid haze, I think to myself, ‘trouble on the way.’ The lights come fast, and a ship lands on the sand down the beach. I run to it, as I watch a slinky woman like a feline, exit from the craft. Her voice purrs as she speaks. Her language is odd, but I understand it. I’ve never seen green hair before, her eyes look like snakes’ eyes, and she slithers her Ess. Staring at her, my mouth ajar, I realize she’s making me high, and hot, my rod stiffens. I want her.

    She holds out her hand and we go behind her spaceship. Lying in the sand, my muscle buried deep inside her, I realize I’m a light-year from reality, as I cum. I open my eyes, Alice is groaning with pleasure under me, I close my eyes, and she’s an alien again. Trippy dreams.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. A black Crown Vic crept up the street, under the twenty-five mile an hour speed limit. The cops thought they were clever with their unmarked black Ford Crown Vics with the big spotlights on the front. The tinted windows, hiding the spies, screamed ‘trouble on the way’.

    I knelt behind a concrete window sill, in a hundred-year-old brick building, waiting. Once upon a time, there had been lead-glass windows to block the sultry August air. Time was a cruel enemy, so the third floor of the dusty warehouse sweltered in the late summer heat and humidity. I struggled to breathe, every breath a hard-won prize. I’d run out of my asthma medicine a week ago.

    Next to me crouched my boyfriend, Aaron. His face dripped with sweat, his red-black hair plastered to his forehead and neck. His shoulders heaved in the wet air, his shirt plastered to his broad back and bone-thin stomach. Thick hands trembled as he held the barrel of a gun on the dusty, mold-laden concrete window sill in front of him. The setting sun glinted painfully off the windshield of the car and I blinked, flashes fading orange and yellow.

    I kept my position, bony knees aching to come off the floor. A shot gun pressed tight against my chest, the barrel resting identical to Aarons. Insider information said tonight was the night the cops raided our warehouse. We weren’t giving up our home or our business to the cops.

    I licked dry, dusty lips. I bit at a loose flap of skin, yanking it into my mouth. I licked the blood, my lip stinging. All around the warehouse, our gang held position, guns at the ready.

    The car sidled up to the curb, silent as the Grim Reaper. A familiar, round, ruddy-faced detective spilled out of the driver’s side. His moustache fluttered with every heaving breath, sweat running down his face. His stomach hung over his black slacks, his black button up straining the buttons. His badge caught the light. Lt. Michealson, my enemy and my friend, looked around, nodding enough to be seen.

    Aaron glanced at me and smiled. If this was the end, we were going down together. If not, we’d get married tomorrow. I checked my weapon was ready, adjusting my position for the sake of sore muscles and angry knees.

    Michealson crouched behind the driver’s side door. One thick finger swept the air. Out of the park across the street, hundreds of black-clad men and women marched, heavy black boots silent on the broken concrete street. I tensed, ready. Guns pointed, they surrounded the building. I’d never dealt with the Feds before. My dry throat welcomed the drop of spit I managed to swallow.

    A chorus of clicks focused my attention on the federal S.W.A.T. team that had their guns cocked and pointed at us. Michealson grabbed a bullhorn. Aaron shifted his position. I aimed. We were out manned and outgunned. But we weren’t giving up.

    @Aightball
    495 words

    Liked by 4 people

  7. @AvLaidlaw
    495 Words

    Understanding

    Burnt animal fat on my clothes.

    Decaying vegetable matter from the bins.

    Bleach from the toilets.

    Smoke from the burning Nicotiana tabcum leaves in my cigarette. The chemicals don’t affect my dream-body assumed for the mission, but many of the humans working in the kitchen smoke and I want to camouflage myself among them.

    While I’m sitting by the kitchen’s back door and noting this down on my pad, a female comes out into the alley. She wears the waitress uniform, short skirt although it’s night and the temperature is sub-optimal for humans, and the blouse unbuttoned at the top to show part of her large breasts. This is how I know she is a woman. Her name badge reads “Sabrina”.

    “Jesus,” she says. A prayer. She kicks the dustbins which rattle loudly.

    I wonder if she is beautiful. That seems important to humans. The men in the kitchen make comments that they would like sexual intercourse with her, I think more for recreation than reproduction, but I’ve little understanding of what they call banter. Once I tried to join in and said I’d like “to give her one” about another waitress. But Charlie, who operates the grill, said “you’re kidding. She’s a right minger.” I didn’t understand.

    “Listen,” Sabrina says. She is talking to me. “Do me a favour. I’ve quit but I really need a fag right now.”

    It’s not a problem. Gift giving is common across many cultures.

    She sits next to me on the step as she lights the cigarette. She takes quick drags on it. “There’s this customer. Fat guy, sweaty, barbecue sauce round his mouth. He drops his fork. No, he throws his fork to the floor so I have turn round and bend over to pick it up. You know what he did?”

    I don’t.

    “He slaps my arse.”

    I’ve no idea what to think about the story, it might be a common occurrence among humans, but she drops the cigarette and grinds it out with her heel. I recognise anger. “That’s terrible.”

    “It stings but that’s not the point. It’s the humiliation. All his mates are laughing. I’m going to complain to Hardiman but he’s laughing to like it’s the funniest thing he’s seen. You really think I should put up with that for six-fifty an hour?”

    “No.”

    “Then you’re one of the good guys.” She takes another cigarette and lights it. The sparks fly up into the darkness and it reminds me of star clusters. “What’s your name?”

    Perhaps it’s the warmth her her in the cold air that touches even my dream-body, or that she called me a good guy which after several years on the mission pleases me more than it should, but I break protocol and tell her my real name.

    “Not from around here,” she says.

    No I’m not. I’m a stranger sent on a failing mission to understand this dream world, and far more than a light-year from reality.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. One Final Adjustment

    Reality sucks.
    No, really.
    They’ll fire me out, and then, a moment later, reality’ll suck me back.
    Sure, the physicists prefer to talk about it attracting, or having a heavy quantum pull.
    They tried sending the smart ones, the squared off ones, the ones that would have been astronauts or nanonauts back in the day, but they couldn’t hack it, came back broken up. No. Literally. In bits.
    They say that I don’t know physics from shit, and they’re probably right, but I’m the one they send when stuff needs Adjusting.
    They also tried the prisoners, the expendables, the dregs, but they failed as well. A good job, I always thought.
    I mean, imagine if someone whose whole family has been sent to the camps got the chance to make an Adjustment. What might they change?
    No glass smothered cities from the Sneak Attack, no mutations that took a hundred generations to breed out, that’d be great, right?
    But, did they really think it through in the early days? One malicious Adjustment and, what?
    No victorious war of Pacific Independence. No all-powerful Party. No Hegemony.
    So anyway, it’s me that gets strapped into the Gizmo. Strapped so tight I’m singing with the girls for a week after I come back.
    But I’m the only one that ever has come back.
    I guess the acid helps. My brain is already so fucked up that even the enormous pull exerted by reality can’t touch it. Anything I see on a Journey can’t be as weird as what I am trapped inside my skull with every damn day.
    The further back you go, the higher the energy cost at the launch end. Well, I‘m going so far back this time that the lights will dim all over Chongqing Province tonight.
    Some Party theorists think that this might even be the final Adjustment. The big one. Over a light year from reality.
    If I can prevent the Despicable Enemy from launching the Sneak Attack, we can fight the war later, on our own timescale, when we are ready.
    The lights start to flicker. The temporal implant fires up and screaming agony engulfs my cortex, repeating the only things I must remember.
    Destination – United States of America.
    Temporal target – Early 21st century.
    Duration – One whole minute.
    Mission Parameters – Minimal. Just me, him, and an old style Riot Gun.
    Watch out, President Trump, there’s trouble on the way.
    Wheee!

    427 words
    @nickjohns999

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nothing but Trouble

    Adele, on her back, her head resting on Caleb’s hard thigh, stared at the wheel of stars above her head. “This is crazy.”

    He carefully wound a tendril of her hair around his index finger before loosening it and repeating the action. “How so?”

    “Middle of the desert? Hunted by drug runners? And—” She choked off the next word. She didn’t know what else was after them. Something big and bad. Something so evil her lizard brain couldn’t come close to comprehending it. Something a light-year away from reality. In the same way as the man currently toying with her hair.

    His finger tightened and tugged—gently—but it was enough to get her to shift her gaze to meet his.

    “I’ll handle it, Del. I’ll keep you safe.”

    She curled up to sit and swiveled to face him. “How Caleb? How are you going to do that?” She fluttered her hands in haphazard circles. “Do you even know what’s out there?”

    Long moments later, Adele broke their staring contest first, her gaze sliding down and away. His rough palm cupped her cheek and urged her with gentle pressure to look at him.

    “Yeah, baby. I know what’s out there. I expected trouble on the way to solving this case, I just didn’t realize that little prick, El Diablo, was so stupid he’d release an ancient demon. And I damn sure didn’t anticipate running into you and dragging your sweet ass into this mess.”

    Wait? He thought her ass was sweet? Before she could process that, his hand curled around the back of her neck and tugged her forward. His mouth met her halfway. She wasn’t sure what she expected but this kiss wasn’t it. His lips teased her, his teeth nipped, and his tongue? It slid into her mouth when she unclenched her teeth in a breathless little, “Oh.”

    When she came up for air, she was straddling his lap and that was no gun in his pocket though his weapon was definitely locked and loaded. For her. She didn’t know much about werewolves beyond some tabloid reports that they were insatiable when it came to sexy times. Despite that, she knew instinctively that his erection was just for her, that he didn’t kiss other women the way he kissed her.

    Caleb rested his forehead on hers. “Damn, baby. When we get back to civilization, we’re checking into a five-star hotel and not coming out of our room for at least a week.”

    A nervous giggle erupted. “A week? I won’t be able to walk.”

    “I can live with that.”

    Her bubble burst. Yeah, that was the crux of the whole situation. They had to survive before they could live the rest of their lives. The air changed, electrified. “What—”

    Caleb rolled her behind a boulder. “Trouble, baby. Stay put.”

    He stood up, stepped toward a coalescing whirl of light, and disappeared. Del opened her mouth to scream but heat seared her lungs. Then there was nothing.
    ****
    500 words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 3 people

      • Uhm…I don’t know yet? LOLOL I’m thinking a super-sexy dragon arrives to rescue them, which will only piss of Caleb. But Sade won’t be far behind so it’ll all work out in the end. Maybe… *bwahaha*

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha. Okay, I can accept “I don’t know yet.” So glad to see you back, btw. ❤

        Like

    • I’ll admit that there is a very strong appeal to sexually insatiable werewolves for me–but as awesome as that detail is, the rest of the story lives up to it. Which is to say I’d still want to pay attention to these characters even in a scene without the delicious sexual tension. Really just a lot of fun. Also, demons and dragons in the same story is definitely a plus in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, David! This is from the current WIP (or will be the current one shortly), THE DEVIL’S CUT, the 3rd book in my Penumbra Papers urban fantasy series. Glad you enjoyed it. 😀

        Like

  10. Trouble on the Way

    According to the calendar, it was the beginning of fall, but summer was still holding on strong. Sarah looked forward to the changing of the seasons. The newness excited her. On the seventh of October the winds finally shifted, and a peculiarity in the air bristled her neck. An ominous voice in her head croaked, “Something wicked this way comes.”

    Unnerved, she halted. But the moment passed as quickly as it had come. The dense heat returned, and Sarah went about her day, forgetting the incident.

    She had begun taking an informal painting class, and tonight they had a new student. After a cordial exchange with the instructor, the new student took her seat at the vacant easel next to Sarah.

    Sarah asked, “Have you painted before?”
    “No, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to learn.”
    Extending her hand, “I’m Sarah.”
    “Jam.”

    They formed a fast friendship and began spending most of their time together. By Thanksgiving, they were roommates. By Christmas, Sarah was sinking back into her routine. But she noticed an irritation in Jam’s voice any time she made plans without her. By spring, the tension was palpable.

    They lived in a second floor apartment. Somehow, the building had met fire codes without a fire escape. But Sarah was making plans to move, even if she had to live with her parents. She came in from work, and Jam was sitting on the couch. No wanting to incite an argument, she went to her room and ate a granola bar for dinner.

    When she awoke, it struck her as odd that it had been so quiet. It was Saturday and she thought she could sneak out before Jam got up. She quickly dressed and threw some things into a bag. She reached the apartment door, discovering the deadbolt had been changed. It now required a key. With a deer-in-headlights look, she wheeled around to find Jam leaning against the wall.

    “Why is the lock changed?”
    “I thought we needed more security.”
    “Where’s the key?”
    “Oh, some place safe.”
    “Unlock the door!”
    “And why would I do that?”
    “Because I’m leaving.”
    “Well in that case, I definitely can’t.”
    “You’re crazy!”

    Sarah pulled out her phone and found the battery had been removed. She began yelling and pounding the door. There were only three apartments in this part of the building. One was currently vacant and the other occupied by a young professional.

    Jam interjected, “Jeff won’t hear you.”
    “Eventually he will!”
    “No, I’m afraid not, not unless he can hear from the grave, but that’s okay. Now, we can spend some quality time together. I’m missed you so much these past few months.”
    “I see you every day.”
    “But only for a few hours. Now we can make up for lost time.”
    “You are a light-year from reality!” Sarah exclaimed.
    “Maybe so, but by Monday, you’ll be just as far. See, you’ll be dead.”

    By Diane Johnson
    Twitter @SheExclaimed
    489 words

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The stomp of large feet climbing the tower stairs signaled Baron’s approach. I smiled to myself. The man did lack a certain subtlety.

    “Arcadia.”

    His use of my name caught my attention. He filled the doorway, hands braced on either side. The Ursan’s chest heaved with each labored breath.

    “Are you all right, Baron?”

    “We’ve trouble on the way, Cantrix.”

    I craned my head to see what little was visible around him. Luna’s light, did he have to be so damned broad?

    “Is it chasing you?”

    He frowned.

    “If you like, I can just leave and you can pretend this warning never happened.” He waved toward the tomes I studied. “Carry on with your research.”

    “No, no,” I assured him. “I was concerned what might be about to barrel through the door behind you.”

    “Canids.”

    “Oh.” The blood left my head in a dizzying downward rush.

    “I discern from your sudden lack of color, you understand the danger.”

    The Canidae reviled Luna and the bears alike. Unlike the bears, they were not born, they were made. The bite of a Canid was lethal more often than not. It seemed the beast spirit within was choosy. It thrived in humans lacking a certain moral compass. The wolves had no choice or control over shifting. Luna’s light revealed the beast within them, when they preferred lurking in the shadows.

    “The moon is rising,” I said. A Canid in human form was dangerous enough. Once Luna reached her zenith, we didn’t stand a chance. “How far out are they?”

    “I caught the pack’s scent on the wind.”

    “So we’re downwind of them?” A spark of hope flared inside.

    “Don’t count on that sort of luck holding, melitta.”

    Melitta. A genus of bees? Or, if I delved deeper into the Latin… honey? Did such an address signal a shift in his anger?

    “We must go now, Cantrix.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Luna’s light may protect you, but you can be certain if they catch my scent, they will scorch the earth we stand on. Gather your books, please.”

    I stuffed my books into my pack, trying to expeditiously respect their age and wisdom.

    “Baron.” My hands trembled as I cinched the pack closed.

    “What is it?” He came to me at once, his massive hands curling over my shoulders.

    “I can’t outrun them,” I whispered.

    His lips curved, the suggestion of a smile reaching all the way to haunt his blue eyes.

    “I am sorry, Arcadia,” he said. “Sorry that our acquaintance has been such that you worry I would ever leave you behind.” He leaned down, laid his lips against mine. His hands slipped up to my neck, holding me steady. “Everyone believes I should hate you.”

    “Sometimes even I believe it.”

    “Then we must both do our best to prove you wrong.”

    “After we elude the Canids.”

    He laughed against my cheek, the most wonderful sensation I’d ever known.

    “Timing is everything, melitta.”

    Honey. Yes, I rather liked that.

    @caramichaels
    500 WIP words

    Liked by 2 people

  12. FIRST DATE

    Clarisse slung her salmon purse over her shoulder and tugged the back of her blue floral dress low enough to make it in the door, up the stairs, down the hall and to her apartment without embarrassment.

    “Trouble on the way!” She called up the stairs.

    It was her signal to Ramon and Sig that she was in. The two lived at the top of the stairs on opposite sides and left their doors open to shout at each other. When they found out she was a hunter she immediately became their favorite person. For her they were a useful couple pair of eyes and ears to know if anyone or anything had been snooping around her place.

    “Damn, girl! You looking fine!” Ramon stuck his head out as Clarisse crested the stairs.

    “Big date tonight,” Clarisse lilted playfully. “It went, very well.”

    “Then why didn’tcha bring anyone in with you?” Sig shot back over his shoulder.

    Clarisse spat, “To this dump?”

    “You coulda gone to his place,” Ramon suggested.

    “Good night, boys.” Clarisse waved them off.

    They were right though. Clarisse shut her door behind her and kicked her heels toward a pile of laundry which could have been coming or going. She was walking on eggshells with this one so as not to spook him, when all she wanted was to get him somewhere alone. She threw her purse on her ratty couch, grabbed an amber from the fridge and flopped down herself.

    After a long pull from her bottle, Clarisse finally allowed this day was done. Not her best, not her worst. Scratching down in her cleavage, her fingers found the plastic pig figurine Oliver had given her at dinner. Pulling it out she smiled at the memory of his face when she’d slipped it in there, still blushing like a hot iron by the time he shook her hand good night. The craftsmanship of the figure was better than most of Clarisse’s collection, and damn if it wasn’t the prettiest pig she’d ever seen. Setting it on the end table, front and center of five other pig figures, Clarisse admitted it was the most thoughtful gift anybody had given her since the Old Man passed on his sawed-off.

    Clarisse knew Oliver fancied her the moment they met, but who could have known he’d find such a nice present? Of course, when they first met tonight’s date would have seemed a light year from reality. He took a heap of convincing. She had to tell him that the bounty had expired and there was no way she could collect now. Then that there were no hard feelings and that’s just how the job went sometimes. Finally she got him to swallow the bit about her having a rough life and maybe he’d be a good influence on her.

    Past attempts to collect the bounty had established painfully clear that she couldn’t take him and his sorcerous friends together. She needed to get him somewhere alone.

    498 words
    @DavidALudwig

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Antares One
    498 Words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    Jaris awoke to find himself in the control chair. He blinked, reminding himself to remain seated and allow the drugs to wear off. Knowing they were still in his system, he closed his eyes and breathed the filtered air, allowing the filtered air to replace the cryo-laden air from his pod.

    “Sit-Rep,” he asked when he found he could focus on a thought for more than a minuted. His voice sounded harsh and raspy, even to him.

    “I am sorry to have awaken you,” the ships computer said, its tone indicating that it was not sorry— simply programmed to be polite. “But we have run into some difficulties that require human intervention.”

    Jaris groaned slightly. He knew that the computer was being literal. “What exactly did we run into?”

    “Another craft,” the computer told him.

    “How did we manage that?”

    “It did not register with our sensors until it was too late.”

    “Come again,” he asked, feeling adrenalin starting to help break the cryogenic induced fog. “And how long have I been under?”

    As his mind and body began to integrate with the chair’s systems, he remembered the mission briefing.

    Antares One… He paused, trying to remember if that was the name of the mission or the ship. It was a 370 year trip. And he was only to be awoken when they reached their destination or if they encountered trouble on the way there.

    “You have been asleep for two-hundred and twenty-seven days, three hours and nineteen minutes.”

    He nodded, finally orienting himself to where he was. No alarms were sounding, he couldn’t smell anything burning, but for all he knew that could be the after effects of his ‘nap.’

    “Tell me what happened, and where we are.”

    “We are thirty-seven light years off course, having come out of hyperspace when we ran into another ship.

    “And you said the other craft did not register with our sensors?”

    “That is correct. The craft is made of nothing we have ever encountered before.”

    It’s still here? We’re still in contact with the ship.”

    “The two ships have merged,” the computer confirmed.

    Jaris sat up a little straighter. “What the hell?”

    “The craft is gelatinous in nature. It is designed to be self healing, allowing for FTL travel through any conditions. When our ship ruptured their hull, their ship sealed the breach, grafting our craft to theirs.

    “Have we made contact… well… have we established communications with entities on board?” He automatically corrected knowing that the ship was indeed literal and crashing did indicate contact with the craft.

    “They are asking for our license and proof of insurance and have suggested some rather improbable things that are physically impossible.

    “This is earth ship Antares One,” he began but was immediately assailed with swearing that would make a sailor blush.

    “Crazy human driver!” the translation continued. “Do you know how much this is going to cost?”

    Light years from reality, and some things never changed.

    Liked by 2 people

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