#FlashMobWrites 1×30

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Thirty

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

NSFW: For one very rousing F-bomb and a potentially unsettling visual theme. 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: “scars that they hide”

Ruth Long: “uncomfortable ride”

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

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50 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×30

  1. Barbecue Blues

    We arrived at Gabi’s a few minutes before 4. Even with the windows rolled down, the afternoon heat had not improved the sweat factor.

    Her home, Hazel’s, I suppose, if she were still alive, was a lovely pinkish adobe house, quietly set back from the street, ground level, with a stairway along the side that probably led to the roof.

    The day’s activities, a rush of religious edification, delicious brunching and a depressingly uncomfortable ride, a painful expedition to an ugly chapter in America’s paranoia, all of the encounters conducted in an oppressive heat unfamiliar to me weighed heavy. Of course, I was a complainer. John Quarry, I was learning, just soldiered on in a stoic silence.

    It was bloody maddening but I suppose it was character-building to be in the presence of such a man.

    “You two look like melted cheese sandwiches,” Gabi said, as she ushered us in to the cool of her hallway. “Oh, before I forget, Ace threw some extra clothes in the back of the wagon. We assumed that travelling…well, that you might need some extra duds.”

    “You are a civilized woman, Gabi,” I said. “On behalf of my mother who has always worried about how I dress, we thank you.”

    I went out to the car and grabbed the duffle bag from the back. When I returned to the house, Gabi pointed me to both the shower and my bedroom for the night. John was already rinsing off the grime of the day.

    An hour later, we were spic and span and drinking cold beers on the shaded patio in the rear.

    Gabi heard a knock from the kitchen and went to the front door. In a moment she stepped outside accompanied by a beautiful blonde with a Betty Grable hairdo, a great smile and a cake.

    “John Quarry, Woody Staples, my dear friend, Luci Squires. Here Luci, I’ll put the cake on ice. And thank you.”

    Once the cake was squared away, we settled into a comfortable quadrant.
    “It was sweet of you to make the cake, Luce.”

    “I loved her too, Gabi.” Luci Squires had a soft voice, and fine features.
    Gabi explained the cake. “It’s…it would have been…maybe still is, Hazel’s 50th birthday, today. June 2nd.”

    “I should have remembered that from the file,” John said.

    “The file?” Luci asked.

    “I was going to tell you, Luce. John and Woody sort of magically appeared with…the right investigative tools…”

    “Oh, Gabi. Jack’s not going to like that.”

    “I’m afraid,” I interjected, “that he has already indicated his displeasure, Mrs Squires. John and I paid him a courtesy visit this afternoon.”

    “Luci, you know Jack thinks she just took off. You know that?”

    “I know,” she said. “I’ve stopped trying to tell him that Hazel would never just leave. He thinks she was just like his mom, strong on the outside but slashed with scars that they hide from the world.”

    “Maybe,” said Gabi, “it’s time to sizzle the steaks.”

    499 sizzling mistakes
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 4 people

  2. They call them victims
    A demeaning word
    Even if they have
    Scars that they hide
    So deep inside
    That they feel they
    Can never be revealed
    It’s a horrific revelation
    An uncomfortable ride
    To reveal their pain
    Often they hide
    Their anguish behind bravery
    So they
    Bury the information deep
    Twisting them up
    The pain so wrenching
    To keep it all inside
    The self-doubt
    How it whispers
    An echo in their head
    That somehow they caused
    The person to treat them so
    The physical pain relieved
    The mental images
    Always on their mind
    As they soldier on
    Pretending with others
    It didn’t happen
    That they’ve moved on
    Concealing it deep
    Holding on to sanity
    With both hands
    But like an insect
    It burrows
    Tainting all their relationships
    So they can’t open up
    They question emotions
    They question actions
    They’re suspicious and seem cold
    But they’re really
    Just nerve endings
    Emotions in every thing
    They do

    Even the strongest
    Needs help to strive
    Through life’s curves
    And stumbles
    And through sorrow
    A supporting partner
    Who accepts them
    As they are
    Pain memories and all
    Who hears them out
    Hears their fears
    And their sorrow
    Without judgement
    Without anger
    Taking over
    Not allowing
    Them to vent
    Gives them proof
    That people can be
    Gentle and caring
    So they can
    Find their identity
    Be true to their nature
    Be proud of their self
    Not judging one’s self
    Harshly and punitively
    As to not suffer
    The heartache
    Of self-loathing

    Instead finding footing
    Take back their lives
    Facing their attackers
    Words and lies
    Head on
    In their psyche
    Obliterating the agony
    Of unfinished business’

    Victims?
    No, they are warriors
    Brave and strong
    Taking back their lives
    One step at a time
    Life gets better
    If we only hold on
    Two hands, two hearts
    To guide and move on
    302 words
    @SweetSheil

    Liked by 5 people

  3. An Observant SEAL

    What he really needed was some water and to get his ass home. Unfortunately, he hadn’t arranged for ‘home’ and would have to crash on a friend’s couch. Or futon. As much as he’d like to stay with Zamora, he figured he’d worn out his welcome already.

    Greg sat up slowly to mitigate the throbbing in his head and shuffled his way to the bathroom. He used the toilet then looked at himself in the polished mirror. Fuck, I look like I lost a battle. As a SEAL, he couldn’t imagine losing any battle that didn’t result in death, but he certainly looked like death warmed over.

    He threw water over his face and tried to smooth down the tufts of longer hair on the top of his head, but it only made him look like a drowned rat sporting death warmed over. He sighed and straightened his shoulders before he returned to the main room.

    Zamora had climbed onto the futon and sat knuckling her eyes like a six-year-old. Greg stopped, his heart suddenly full of tenderness and compassion for the pretty woman. Even with all her ink, she wore an elegance that couldn’t be taken from her. I wonder what scars that they hide. He suspected such marks weren’t the more visible kind he wore.

    “Morning.”

    She dropped her hands and shot him a look of wariness. “Morning. How are you feeling?”

    He gave her a half-smile. “Somewhere between an ass-kicking and a boat ride over chop.”

    “That sounds like an uncomfortable ride.”

    “Yeah, it’s not fun.” He dropped his gaze to his feet and actually shuffled like a chastised teenager. “Thanks for giving me a place to sleep it off. I was a shit-faced jackass and I’m really sorry if I said anything worse than usual guy dumbassery. Yesterday was a bad day.”

    “I thought the SEAL motto was ‘the only easy day was yesterday’?” She leaned her elbows on her knees.

    “Yeah, well, if that was the easy day, God help me through today.”

    “Wanna talk about it?”

    He raised his eyebrows and met her gaze. Her expression said she was just as surprised as he was.

    “Sorry. None of my business. I’m gonna go make some more coffee. Then I’ll drive you to wherever you want to go.” She stood and her full breasts bounced a little, reminding him why he might have staggered here last night.

    “Nah, it’s okay. My divorce hearing was yesterday. I’m free of my marriage. Yay.” He twirled a finger in the air and grimaced.

    “Oh, I’m very sorry.” She sent him a compassionate look. “Endings like that are tough.”

    “Yeah. Tough.” One of the worst things next to finding out MaryAnn had been fucking a guy while he’d been deployed. He should’ve known something was wrong, but she’d always seemed happy to see him when he got home. So much for being the observant SEAL.

    486 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 4 people

  4. “Damn it, Rogers, this is one uncomfortable ride,” she groans as she shifts behind him.

    Smiling to himself, Daniel moves his head to the side. The sight of her pouting lips makes his smile widen. “It’s all your fault, Ashley,” he says.

    “It’s Ash,” she corrects him absentmindedly. “Why on earth would your uncomfortable as shit bike be my fault? It’s my ass that’s hurting from sitting on it.”

    “You’re barely sitting on the seat. You can scoot closer to me,” he tries to reason with her.

    She hesitates, and he lets out a soft sigh of frustration. It’s been months since he has been trying to break down this girl’s walls, begging to be let in, but she seems to keep building more and more walls around her heart.

    “Come on, Ashley,” he says in a soft voice. “I won’t hurt you.” He sees her start to speak and shakes his head at her. “It’s Ash, I know. But I prefer Ashley.”

    She’s silent for a moment before he feels her move. The moment her hands wrap around him from behind feels like a small victory to him.

    “Don’t get too cocky, Rogers,” he hears her say in his ear as he hits the accelerator. He doesn’t respond to her. Letting out a chuckle loud enough for her to hear, he drives on.

    She lets go of him just as he hits the brakes in the local library parking lot. “You didn’t get burned, did you?” he asks jokingly.

    The look she gives him makes his smile slip. “You’re a pretty boy, Rogers,” she says quietly. “And when you touch pretty things, you get burned.” Her dark eyes look away from him as she starts to make her way toward the library.

    Daniel’s heart aches for the beautiful girl walking ahead of him. He wants to look into her pain stricken eyes and take away the scars that they hide. He wishes he could mend her heart and fill her life with light to chase away the darkness that she hides behind. He wants nothing more than to kiss her and tell her that it’s okay to be herself … that he will love her just like she is.

    “You coming?” she calls out to him when she’s halfway up the stairs.

    He smiles. “Yeah.” Maybe one day she’ll believe him when he tells her that she can be just as she is and he’ll love her. Maybe one day she’ll smile for him. A guy can hope.

    Word Count: 419
    Twitter Handle: @TwiAddictAnne

    Liked by 3 people

  5. @AvLaidlaw
    500 Words

    After The Money’s Gone

    Under the cold light of dawn the grey water seethes around the metal pillars of the pier, pulling back to reveal the rust and black strands of kelp then surging forward again to obliterate it all. It’s a long way down. Richards wonders if the impact against the water will kill him before he drowns.

    What have I done?

    He take a last cigarette from the packet. He quit ten years before, to stop Janie nagging more than anything, and didn’t how expensive they’d become. The last of his money. It doesn’t matter any more. His hands tremble as he tries to light the cigarette and it slips from his fingers. It rolls across the wooden planks and falls through the gap. He can’t even do that. He trembles, helpless with a suppressed sob.

    “Do you need help?”

    The man has an English accent although he dresses like an American preacher, dark suit with a little bow-tie and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.

    “Please leave me.”

    “You look like you need help.”

    “I don’t care about your Jesus.”

    “Jesus didn’t send me. McKeen did.”

    Richards backs into the metal railings along the edge of the pier. The man looms in front of him. There’s nowhere to run.

    “Now don’t tell you’re scared. Not if you were about to do what I think you were.”

    “I don’t have the money.”

    “I’m not here for the money. It’s not about the money now.” The man leans on the railings and spits into the sea. “Drowning’s a bastard way to go. Take it from me., an uncomfortable ride all the way down. Happens a lot, you know. Man knows the game’s up, takes matters into his own hands. One last moment of control. That’s what they lack, control. What was your weakness? Drugs?”

    “What do you care?”

    “If you listen, you might learn something. Now, what was your weakness?”

    “Gambling.”

    “There was this gambler I had to find. Took me weeks to find him, Glasgow, Newcastle. Found him in Manchester airport car-park. The old tube from the exhaust pipe trick. Better than drowning I guess.”

    The man’s playing with him, like a cat toying with a muse. Richards clenches his fists with the last fizzle of anger in his broken life. “And I bet you were disappointed.”

    “Why would I be?” The man takes off his glasses and polishes them on his handkerchief.

    “That you didn’t kill him.”

    “Have you ever seen a corpse? The coldness. The eyes staring ahead, seeing things no-one should see? No? Then you won’t understand this.” The man takes a roll of money from his jacket and holds it out. “Pay off your debts. Start over.” He throws the money to the floor.

    Richards snatches the money and runs. They always do and they never say thank-you. It doesn’t matter. The man watches the sea churn below. Everybody has scars on their soul, scars that they hide well. But they will be healed and they will be saved.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. We Ride

    This would be a long, uncomfortable ride—one I didn’t want to embark on—but I had no choice. My lungs seized, much like they had in middle school when I contracted pneumonia and had to spend a week in hospital. Just thinking about breathing hurt. Again, I had no choice. I inhaled and his scent filled the ache in my chest. I had no words to describe it—untamed, ferocious, willful. Pale words in the face of the reality that was the Russian. My brain couldn’t separate his scent into components I could identify. Normal men smelled like pine woods or salty sea or whatever pretend scents were in their cologne.

    This man smelled like…life. Full. Rich. Spicy. He smelled of leather and sex and the wind in autumn and it took every ounce of my self-control not to sink to my knees in front of him, bow my head, and pray he would accept my sacrifice.

    I was a smart woman. Allegedly. And a strong one. I had my JD and practiced law. I stood up to chauvinists within the system, to brutal soon-to-be-ex husbands, to the criminals I defended when they crossed the line. Such was life as a Legal Aid lawyer. I didn’t get choose my clients.

    I didn’t get to choose him, either. This man overwhelmed. Tall, broad, muscular—the ripples of his abs visible through his tee shirt—and he simply took over everything. He walked into a room and men dropped their eyes, afraid to challenge him. Women swarmed to him, that primeval urge to mate with the strongest male rampant in their hormones.

    Locking my knees, I raised my chin. Resistance would be futile in the end, but I had to attempt to stand up for myself, to not be bowled over by the sheer force of this man.

    “Sergei—”

    His hand cupping my cheek silenced what I was about to say. The tenderness of his touch, in his expression, undid me and I lost the words again. I gazed into his eyes, caught for a heartbeat. Two. A hundred, before they shuttered, but I saw.

    I looked at the others. Tough men. Violent. I saw the scars that they hide from the world. Each and every one. For one brief moment, their souls were laid bare, those scars ten times worse than any normal human being could survive. What monsters lived in the shadows of their world that would put such stains on their psyches? Could I face those horrors and survive?

    Volk vsegda zashchishchayet svoyu kotenka.” Sergei murmured the words in his native Russian. I looked at him helplessly, unable to translate.

    “The Wolf always protects his kitten.”

    I knew then. I did have a choice. I could accept this man, with all his scars, or I could walk away. But no matter what I did, where I went, he would be there in my shadows. Guarding. Protecting. I took his hand, nodded.

    “We ride.”
    ****
    500 words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 5 people

  7. (495 words)

    The uncomfortable ride lasted longer than Chavez had anticipated. Miles upon miles in the bed of a rickety pickup truck did not lighten his mood, and he was already pissed from a lack of sleep. Another bump and Chavez’s head smacked against the truck window. He opened his eyes and glanced at the grinning young man sharing the ride with him.

    Chavez looked away. He didn’t want small talk, but the young man looked eager to say something. It was his lips. He chewed on them for the past half hour, glancing at Chavez like he had a story to tell.

    “Where you headed?” the young man asked. His dark hair was swept over his forehead.

    Chavez rolled up his sleeve and stared at his watch, as though he didn’t hear him.

    “My name is Aiden,” the young man said, “Who are you?”

    “Chavez.”

    “Oh, Mexican?”

    Chavez looked at Aiden. “No. Are you Irish?”

    Aiden’s smiled disappeared. His body shifted as the truck hit another bump. “No, I’m Navajo.”

    “Then I guess we’re only fooling ourselves,” Chavez said. As Aiden crossed his legs the other way, Chavez looked through the rear window. The two people in front, an older couple, never said a word to him when they pulled over to pick him up. They looked normal enough, but Chavez smelled strong burned sage. It was their signature stink.

    “I’m going to Shiprock,” Aiden said proudly, “My girl is there, waiting for me.”

    Chavez looked at him. “You’re going to have to tell your girl you’re going to be late. That was the way to Shiprock.” Chavez pointed at the desolate intersection far behind them, partially hidden by stubby pinion trees.

    “What?” Aiden said as he suddenly sat up, a confused look crossed his face, “Where are we going?”

    The truck gradually sped up. They weren’t going to stop. They were going to the feeding grounds and Chavez knew they were on the menu. Jumping from the truck was stupid when they could just outrun them. The bouncing heads did not look back, their faces partially lit by the setting sun behind them.

    “I need to get out,” Aiden said as he gripped the side of the bed, his hair finally blown away from his face. Chavez thought he looked too young to be hitchhiking, and he should’ve got what was coming for him.

    “Hey, stop!” Aiden shouted.

    Chavez calmly reached into his jacket. The sacred pollen bomb never failed. He turned and smashed the rear window, and shoved the leather satchel into the cab. The driver’s hissing face split open, Chavez saw the rows of needle teeth before the bomb went off.

    Red chunks splattered on the glass. Aiden screamed as the truck veered off and gently rolled into a ditch. Chavez jumped out and inspected his handiwork before he patted the hood and started down the road. He heard Aiden screaming for help, but they always screamed, and he was tired of explaining.

    (495 words)
    @jasonlefthand

    Liked by 2 people

  8. @PattyannMc
    WC: 498

    Picking at Shadows

    Life is hard. It’s an uncomfortable ride, all the ups and downs. In my case, more downs than ups. I try hard to act normal, but what is normal? I ask myself this on a daily basis. What, is, normal? Haven’t a clue, and I don’t think I’m gonna find it here surrounded by hideous lavender walls. They remind me of something, but I can’t remember what. All I know is I hate them; they make my skin crawl looking at them day in, day out.

    A shadowy memory tries to assert itself in my brain; ‘they all have scars that they hide,’ I push it away, shut it down and think about sitting by the ocean. That’s where I wanna be instead of here, picking this fucking ugly paint off the wall chip by chip, but what else do I have to do? Nothing. Doing pretty well with it too, already have a 10-foot section picked off!

    I remember being at the beach once. The waves gently rocked back and forth licking the sand, my feet, and the smell of fish and salt tickling my nostrils. Standing there ankle deep, my face lifted to the sun warming my skin, gentle breezes blew in from the sea, drying my sweat . . .

    I hear someone jiggling the lock on my door, and then it opens. Damn it, here comes that fat, sweaty bastard again. What the fuck’s he want now? I leave the wall I’m picking at before the door fully opens and run to my bed, taking a flying leap, landing on my skimpy mattress. The springs dig into my back. I see his eyebrows raise, like a silent question, his eyes all squinty-like, as if he has a fucking clue. A deadpan smile glued to his fat sweaty face, his eyes glassy, like he’s taking the drugs he feeds to me. I think to myself, what a piece of shit!

    What’s he got in his livery hand? He uncurls his fingers, holding his beefy palm out, and I see a red pill. “Take it,” he commands. I spit at him. His hulk steps nearer, fat jiggly hands reaching for my face, red pill curled under one thick, sweating finger. He squeezes my jaws open, and shoves the pill down my throat . . .

    The ocean is lulling me to sleep. I drift on its cerulean waves, riding white crests that lift me towards the azure sky, breathing deeply and at peace. I’m different here, normal, the ugly lavender walls no longer angering me, no longer taunting me, no longer reminding me of . . .

    My eyes flash open with a blaze of pain. Strapped to my bed, sweaty guy is stabbing my neck with a needle; filled with what! Black oil swims across my eyes, my face burns like hell’s fire, it creeps down my body, tying my limbs to anchors, my mind fills with shadow words, ‘scars that they hide, scars that I hide, I drown in senses swallowed in lavender . . .’

    Liked by 3 people

  9. THE GAME

    “You won’t get away with this,” the crumpled diner owner spat through his own blood.

    Mirro hummed absently as she ran a pale dainty hand over a vicious iron jawed trap hanging on the wall. When she responded to the bloodied old man in the corner it was barely an afterthought.

    “This isn’t an interrogation,” she murmured, “You don’t have to talk.”

    The back room of the greasy sun baked diner didn’t quite fit with the public portion of the establishment. It was fortified against even light, the air was stifling and heavy with aged hunting implements so suffused with blood it corrupted them to their core no matter how they were scrubbed or polished. Hunters were such fascinating creatures. It was impossible to come face to face with the horrors they made their trade without sooner or later being the worse off for it. Mirro’s favorite things about hunters were the scars that they hide rather than admit to being scarred. Those were the most fun to poke.

    Both occupants of the secret room turned at the sound of gravel compacting under jeep tires that must belong to the porcine conveyance of the old man’s apprentice. Clarisse. The old man coughed more blood out of his lungs. Mirro smiled vacantly and waited for the keys turning in the lock to admit her real target.

    “You!” Clarisse had an etched silver handgun drawn and leveled a split second after seeing Mirro in front of her.

    “Me.” Mirro affirmed.

    Clarisse’s eyes darted to her wounded master before fixing back on Mirro. “It was pretty stupid, you coming here. You ain’t got your friends to back you up, and I ain’t got any reason to let you live.”

    Mirro scuffed a patent leather shoe on the floor as Clarisse pulled the trigger. Mirro watched one bullet, then two and three, approach with some interest before allowing herself to drop through the ephemeral hole she’d made beneath her own feet at the last moment. Clarisse was the next to drop through the floor. All before the younger hunter could blink she and Mirro were back in Clarisse’s apartment five miles away. Disembodied hands hung Clarisse by her ankles from the ceiling.

    “I have enjoyed our games,” Mirro brushed her lips lightly against Clarisse’s cheek. “But you crossed a line when you started dating Oliver.”

    Clarisse’s eyes widened as she realized her changed circumstance, including full body paralysis. For the first time Mirro saw fear in the hunter’s eyes and she savored it.

    “Did you know Kerri is in love with Oliver?” Mirro sat delicately in the air next at Clarisse’s side. The airy little girl ran a hand gently over the slight beer belly of the fiery woman. “And Kerri is my best friend. So you’re in for an uncomfortable ride.”

    Mirro hopped back down to meet Clarisse’s eyes again with a toothy smile, “I’m going to bleed you like the pigs you like so much.”

    493 words
    @DavidALudwig

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Walking into the visitor’s room at Creighton Rehab, I take a seat. It’s family day, a rare opportunity for patients in phase one to have visitors.

    My husband, Jimmy, has been here two weeks. I glance at my watch as I wait: two minutes to go.

    If I’m lucky, it will be my last family day. This is his fourth trip through rehab and I don’t want him to come back.

    “Good afternoon, everyone.” Mae, an imposing black woman with short cropped hair, stands at the front of the room. “Everyone’s been on their best behavior in preparation for your visit. A couple of families will be permitted a quick visit in the patient’s room, as detox has hit a couple of folks pretty hard. The rest of you will be given one hour to visit. This is a special treat for the folks in phase one, so make the most of it.”

    The door opens and Jimmy bounds through the second he sees me. His natural red hair is growing back curly this time and I smile. I hate when he has to have his head shaved, but the panic attacks he has during detox demand it.

    He pulls me into a hug so tight it hurts. I hold him as he cries. When we sit down, he grabs my hand.

    “I miss you.”

    “I miss you, too,” I say. “How’s it going?”

    “Better. I’m able to keep my meds down now. Mae says I can move into phase two soon.”

    I grin. “That’s awesome!”

    I want to do so much more than hold his hand, but there are rules. I glance around the room, with white tables and multi colored chairs. Addicts sit at tables with their families, everyone in different stages of detox. I know some of the scars that they hide.

    “I want to come home,” Jimmy says. “I don’t want to do this again. I want to stay clean.”

    I rub my thumb over his hand. “I know. Let’s make the last trip through rehab.”

    He nods. Mae stands at the head of the room, supervising.

    “Flowers are blooming like crazy at the farm,” I tell him. “First chance you get, I’ll bring you home so you can see.”

    “I can’t wait. How’s my rose bush?”

    “Beautiful.” I take out my camera and show him some pictures. “I’ve never seen it that red before.”

    “Okay, everyone, the hour is up.” Jimmy grabs me into a hug and holds me as tight as he can.
    “This went so well, we’ll try to have another one later this year,” she says.

    Jimmy clings to me until we’re the last people in the room. Mae walks over and gently takes his arm.

    “I love you,” I tell him. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

    He walks through the door and my heart shatters. His shoulders shake with sobs and there’s nothing I can do about it. Sometimes, addiction is harder on the family than the addict.

    @Aightball
    500 words

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Stephan and Eyela checked on Ivy and her daughter, Mystica, in Ivy’s quarters in the castle.

    “How are you, Ivy?”

    “Oh, your majesty. I’m thrilled.” She swept an arm, indicating the size of the room, “I’ve never been in a room so large!”

    “Please, Ivy,” Eyela almost laughed, “Call me Eyela.” She chuckled, “Like Stephan calls me Eyela.”

    “Majesty?”

    “You’re part of the family now, whether you know it or not. So, call me by my name, as I call you by your name.”

    Ivy sat down on the bed. She didn’t know what to say.

    “How wounded is she?” Eyela wondered. “How many like her are in the kingdom?” She studied Ivy. “Still a child, really.”

    “How old are you, Ivy?”

    “Eighteen. I’ll be nineteen in three months.”

    Eyela continued thinking, “So young, and already, so many wounds. So many scars.”

    “Stephan,” she asked, “Are there many like Ivy? So young, and so hurt?”

    Stephan took a deep breath, slowly let it out, “Yes, Eyela. She is one of many.” He paused, “So many, so wounded. With so many scars that they hide.”

    Ivy interrupted them, “At times, I have wished I’d died that night.” She held Mystica, “But if I had, I would never have found my daughter.”

    “And I,” Eyela continued, “never would have found the three of you.” She sat on the bed, next to Ivy, “And since we’re all here, I shall tell you the surprise I have for you tomorrow evening.”

    “Surprise?” Stephan leaned back against the wall of the room.

    “Tomorrow evening, in the grand hall, I will make three proclamations.” She was excited, she had never made such proclamations before. Not in her 10,000 year reign. “I will declare Stephan Captain of the Guard, and Prince of the Kingdom.”

    Stephan sat on the floor. “Prince?”

    “Yes. It’s time we had a prince among the fairies, don’t you think?” She almost laughed, “It has been 10,000 years since the last one.”

    “Prince?” Stephan stared at his hands, flexed his fingers, “Umm.” He watched his hands shake at the thought, “It might take a while to get used to that.”

    Ivy happily laughed, “I think you’ll make a wonderful prince.”

    “So do I.” Eyela then looked at Ivy, “And, then I’ll declare you as a princess of the kingdom, and my adopted daughter.”

    It was Ivy’s turn to sit silently, in shock.

    “And Mystica will also be declared a princess, by birth, to a princess.”

    They spoke for some time about the pending declarations, both Stephan and Ivy were unsure how to react to the news. Neither had ever considered being declared royalty. Both were certain the declarations would be rather disturbing to the wealthy members of the kingdom. A stable worker, with a child, with no father, being named a princess, her fatherless child being named a princess, and the former captain of the guard being named a prince. “Oh, the havoc this will cause.”

    494 Words
    @LurchMunster

    Liked by 4 people

  12. The Proverbial Hard Place

    Hand on her gun, Deputy Ava Sokol pushes through the door into the kitchen of the Lemongrass Cafe and Bakery. She’s supposed to wait for her partner to come through the back door and help contain the situation, but considering the ruckus, she decides to move in.

    As she steps into the room, a wedgewood teacup shatters on the wall beside her and a woman shouts, “You’re on the ROP list, Marianne. Been on it six years running. The school says you have an opening and if you don’t fill it, I will sue for discrimination.”

    “Ladies,” Ava says, palm still resting on the rosewood butt of her Beretta. No response. But when Bulle comes through the back door, she tries again, this time with more authority. “Ladies, let’s take a seat at the counter and get this sorted out.”

    Marianne waves a hand to the door that separates the kitchen from the cafe. “What about my customers?”

    Bulle locks the door behind him and herds the women towards Ava. “Who do you think called us?”

    The three women sit at the counter, Ava, between them, and Bulle serves ice teas.

    “Mrs. Gentry,” he says, leaning back against the coffee bar, “I understand you’re having trouble finding a suitable position for your daughter’s after school work program.”

    Marianne cuts in. “Girl is dumber than -”

    “You shut your mouth,” Mrs. Gentry shouts, leaning behind Ava to grab hold of Marianne.

    Glasses go skidding off the counter and stools crash into each other as Marianne and Mrs. Gentry scuffle on the black and white checkerboard tile floor.

    “Enough,” Ava shouts, putting a knee in Marianne’s back and reaching back for her cuffs.

    A bell tinkles as the cafe front door opens.

    Still on the floor, Ava glances at the boots and sighs.

    “Don’t let me interrupt, Deputies,” says the owner of the boots. “Just came by to get a cup of coffee on my way out of town.”

    “Thought you were searching for that wounded bear, Ephraim,” Bulle says, pouring a to-go cup of black coffee and handing it to the interloper.

    “Just dropped him off at the game warden’s office.”

    Ava helps Marianne into a chair but leaves the cuffs on her.

    Mrs. Gentry gets to her feet and smoothes her hair and clothes. “I want to press charges.”

    “I have a better idea,” Ava says, shoulder to Ephraim to block his perceptive gaze.

    “Bring your daughter to my office tomorrow afternoon. I’ll have Mrs. Roberts call the school, get the particulars worked out, and we’ll .”

    From her chair, Marianne chokes. “You know her girl is one of those extra chromosome – .”

    Ephraim rounds the counter, fills a little box with an assortment of pastries, and tosses several bills beside the cash register. “Everybody has scars that they hide, Marianne. But not everybody is fortunate enough to have those scars sealed by the court. You might want to take a moment to reflect on what’s in your sealed file.”

    Marianne begins to weep, quietly.

    Bulle takes Mrs. Gentry’s arm and says, “Let me walk you out to your car.”

    Ephraim nods at Ava on his way out of the shop. “Good day, Deputy.”

    Ava watches Ephraim get into his jeep, the doors emblazoned with the Navajo Nation Police logo, and drive out of town.

    Damn but the man was effective and she envied that. She and Bulle needed help while Sheriff Halsey was tied up in court but an alliance with Ephraim Ayze would be unacceptable on both sides of the reservation.

    – – –
    @bullishink / too many ineligible words

    Liked by 3 people

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