#FlashMobWrites 1×33

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Thirty-Three

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

Something a little different this week. This is from a movie I recently watched and I just fell in love with the music. 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: “angel in disguise”

Ruth Long: “the devil never”

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


63 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×33

  1. The Game’s the Thing

    I twiddled my thumbs furiously. They were beginning to feel the strain. I had lots of questions to ask morose Mayor Shelby but not in front of cranky cop, Jack Squires. Whatever burr was up his butt, I didn’t want to handle it. Having met his loyal wife, Luci, I could imagine that anytime his pre-eminence wasn’t acknowledged, he threw a hissy.

    With Shelby staring off in space and Squires looking like he would like to blow something, anything, up, the parlour, or the games room, or whatever the hell Hap called his gambling den, was very still but awkwardly tense.

    There were occasional footfalls upstairs somewhere. Mrs. Granger maybe or the youthful guard, Hap’s nervous son, Bobby, who we had met earlier in the day? Or, perhaps, the ghost of better times?

    The clatter of distant steps got me to thinking how the war must have played out here at the ends of the earth. The Internment Camp would have become an everyday factor, a critical piece of their lives, of their future. Now that it was a sagebrush hotel for gila monsters and such, it would fall to these men, these poker-playing buddies to script the future for Crowbar City…

    “Boys, what a somber herd of sorry-assed looking heifers you are?” Hap spun the room back into his sphere.

    “Hold your horses, Hap,” snapped Squires. “Some of us came to play poker, not piss off into the night to check on Orion. Where’s Tyrell? I was on the verge of cleaning his clock. Well, if this was a real game.”

    Squire’s outburst brought a rather wicked looking grin to Hap Granger’s plumpish mug. “Jackson, Jackson, even without money on the table, poker in my house is always a real game. The devil never plays without profit on his mind. You have got to think long game, Sherriff. Life’s too short not to.”

    This silenced Jackson Squires. He dove back into his squirrely hutch.

    “So,” queried Shelby, “is Roscoe returning or has the Senator gone a’ hunting?”

    “He’s yammering with Quarry. But yeah, after that, he’s on the prowl. For your edification, Woody, not that it’s any of your business, but you are a guest, and we are losing one of our few players, Roscoe Tyrell is a man in need of space. Time and space. Senators rarely get any of that. There’s a cut and thrust up at the State Capital that appeals to warriors like me and Roscoe. Sadly, there is also constricted quality. Roscoe needs to escape to our little, restful chamber of simplicity every once in a while. But even a friendly poker game can get to him. He’ll drive out to the desert tonight, think, watch the stars, kill a predator or two, swallow some brandy…by morning, he’ll be as right as rain…”

    I couldn’t think of a thing to say. And while I was muted, John stepped back in the room.

    He looked like a rattlesnake had swallowed him.

    500 games still waiting to be played

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “So, wait. You think Lucifer is an angel in disguise?”

    Arnie nodded, his big, brown eyes comically larger behind thick horn-rimmed glasses. An unfortunate thyroid disorder made them bug out to the point Clause thought they’d actually press against the glass. Sometimes he imagined Arnie’s eyes smushing against his lenses, liquefying and oozing onto his cheeks. The image was seared into his brain. Poor Arnie. Hell, poor Clause. He was the one who had to look at the guy every day. Well, Monday through Friday anyway.

    Clause only noticed Arnie’s murmuring when it stopped abruptly. “Are ya listenin’?”

    “Sorry, Arnie. I got it. But you do know the story of how Lucifer fell from Heaven, right?”

    “No, I’m tellin’ you, it ain’t how they told us it was. He had to fall to help us, to walk among us sinners so’s he could guide us in the right direction.”

    “Well, the devil never did me any good.”

    “You don’t know that, Clause. Don’t know it a’tall.”

    Ugh, he never got the name right. Clawc. Arnie looked down and shook his head. Clause imagined his eyeballs sliding right out of the sockets and dangling by some raggedy looking gore still attached to his brains. Years ago, when they first started working the night shift at the museum together, he’d suppress a shudder every time Arnie’s eyes gave him the creeps. He was used to it now, though.

    “Think about it, Clause. God sent his only begotten son to save mankind. How’s he go about doing that? Impregnating a virgin? Bah, I don’t believe that for a second.”

    “But you believe… Wait, what is it, exactly, you do believe?”

    “God made Lucifer fall. The devil himself took the worst of his sins to Hell with him when they crucified him.”

    “Arnie, buddy, a few hundred years ago and they’ve hung you from the highest tree and burned your body after the crows were done with it, all just for saying such a thing.”

    “I’m tellin’ you, Clause, ‘Jesus’ was Lucifer.” He actually made the air quotes with his nail-bitten fingertips and bloody cuticles. “They’re the same person.”

    “Okay, Arnie, but if that’s true and Lucifer, as Jesus, took the worst of our sins to bear them in Hell for all eternity, then why are there still rapists and murderers, hmmm?”

    “Maybe he’s tired of our bullshit, tired of suffering in Hell for eternity for a bunch of ungrateful primates. You ever think of that, Clause?”

    You can’t argue with a man who’s got his hackles up. It don’t pay. And after twelve years of working with Arnie five nights a week every week, excepting two weeks vacation each, Clause knew Arnie wasn’t having it. He waited for the confirmation. Any second…

    “You just think on that, Clause.”

    There it was. Arnie had his say and the rest of the shift would pass quietly, as it always did. And Clause had a new crazy idea to write about for his blog.

    Angel in Disguise
    by Jessica West
    Word Count: 499 (by the skin of my teeth)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. @bullishink
    461 ineligible words
    – – – – – – – – –

    Hard Luck

    It was another twenty-seven days before she saw the sky again. By then, the dead grass crunched beneath her feet and the wind stank of sewage. Still, it was an enjoyable five minutes.

    Course, the bastards wouldn’t let her sit in the sun long enough to warm her bones before hauling her off to the mess hall. Her tongue protested against the damp white bread and rubbery bologna but it lost the battle with her indignant stomach.

    Didn’t have time to hang around and get indigestion. Next stop Medical, where she had to drop and cough, and then on to Housing, since her personal belongings had mysteriously disappeared while she was in lock down. Orifices declared empty and cell assignment resolved, it was time to rejoin the population.

    The guard escorting her paused at the end of the corridor. “Almost feel sorry for you, Stevens.”

    There’s considerable cause to worry when a no-neck tank of a hardass takes pity on you. But asking for clarification or mercy wouldn’t get her anywhere. “Don’t let it keep you up at night, Gray.”

    “I could use a smoke break. You want to take five in the men’s room?”

    “Avoiding interpersonal relationships like that is what got me thrown in a Six By for three weeks. I wouldn’t mind doing another three or better to keep from sweating up a stall with you. No offence, of course.”

    “None taken,” Gray said, pushing the bathroom door open and ushering her through. “I’ll be under the window sucking down a Camel while you’re in there doing whatever the hell you and Trustee Skillit do.”

    Soon as the swinging door whooshed closed, Skillit called to her. “Hurry it up. Warden’s been in the can three times this morning. Wife musta made stew again.”

    She hustled into the stall and pressed against the wall while he closed the door.

    “What’s new,” he said, climbing up on the toilet seat and holding out his hand.

    “Nada.” She waved him off and climbed up on her own. Weird. Her palms were sweaty. Probably a reaction to being in confined quarters again. Or being so damn close to another human being.

    “Get up on your tiptoes,” he said, nudging her to the left a bit. “Check out that red Camaro. Over there by the Admin Building.”

    “Shit!” Forget the sweats. The bologna was going to reappear in about two seconds.

    The devil never looks the way you’d expect. Hers drove a red Camaro, wore a badge, and looked like some long-legged lip-glossed frat boy wet dream poster girl.

    Marshal Verity O’Leary’s presence here at good old Dwayne Lloyd Detention Center for Women could only mean one thing. Summer Stevens was about to get fast-tracked straight to hell on a trumped up one-way ticket.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I heard the commotion almost right away. I tried to tell myself not to get mixed up in anything anymore, but I found myself being drawn to the sound. The street lights above me cast a disorienting yellow hue on all the parked cars. It made me feel sick.

    There was a shout and a wet slap. I strolled closer, not in any particular rush. There was a cry and a crash. Someone must had made someone bigger very angry. It was like that in this neighborhood. There were criminals, gangsters, murderers, and ugly mugs. I never could figure out which one best described me.

    I heard a gravelly voice barking orders around the corner. There was a dark alley. It was the typical place for things to go down. I like the familiarity of it, the comfort. It made me smile. I flicked my cigarette onto the cracked sidewalk and stopped between two large apartment buildings.

    “Get up!” the bigger man said to the balding man on his knees in the muck. “You messed up by not paying. Get up!”

    I loudly cleared my throat as I walked between the buildings.

    The burly man with a crooked face stared at me, confused.

    “Get lost!” he said, “before I kick your ass too.”

    The little bald man, in the gray suit wisely kept his head down. I felt sorry for them both. The big man had nothing to show for his life other than muscles and a thick skull. The little man probably crossed someone he wasn’t supposed to. All about the money. It was about getting ahead in this life. Or trying to stay alive.

    The little man looked up at me, one eye was swollen shut. He had a nice tie, all bunched around his neck. At least he could boast he was in a fight and came in second.

    “Did you hear me, asshole?”

    “Call the police,” the little man croaked. He held onto his side as his arms trembled.

    The big man planted his foot in man’s stomach. The little man made a pathetic noise as he rolled over and smacked into the brick wall. It sounded like he was crying and praying.

    I was big too, but not as big as the man coming at me. His bloodied fist looked like it was aching for more action. But, he did not expect me. It only took two hard strikes, but I managed to drive his lumpy nose into his skull. He stumbled back and hit the ground moaning and writhing. I was sure he was going to have a bad morning.

    The little man sat up against the wall. “Bless you. You’re an angel in disguise.” Blood ran down his busted lip.

    I patted his coat and found his wallet. He froze, his one good eye getting wider.

    “I’m no angel,” I said as I removed a small stack of hundreds, “I’m just trying to survive. Y’know, I really like your tie.”

    Jason Lefthand
    497 words

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Redemption

    “Welcome to the Little Hands Homeless shelter. Can I help you?”

    He nodded and focused on making the words he wanted to say come out in a reasonable order. “Yes. My name is Balder and I need a place to stay.”

    “Welcome, Balder. You’re fortunate. We have several beds available in the men’s dorm. My name’s Angelina Burke and I run the place.” She pulled out a ledger. “How long do you think you’ll be staying?”

    “I was called to be here and would like to find a way to earn my keep. If you have any jobs that I could trade for room and board, I’d really appreciate it.”

    He didn’t know who was more surprised, Angelina or himself, but after a few moments of scrutiny, she nodded slowly.

    “I think you might be in luck. I happen to have an opening for a handyman. Usually it’s small maintenance around the shelter.” She tilted her head. “Tell you what. I’ll give you two weeks to see if it works out. If it does, you can stay on as a worker and trade for your room and board. Fair?”

    “Yes, ma’am. That sounds very fair.”

    “Good. Shake on it, please.”

    Balder didn’t like to touch people, but he needed to stay here in this little town and he couldn’t ask for a better arrangement. He held out his hand and Angelina grasped it, shaking firmly.

    She nodded sharply and released him. “All right then. Let’s get you a room and a key.”

    “A room?”

    “Yep. I figure if you’re gonna be working with me, you should have your own space. If it doesn’t work out, well, then we’ll make new arrangements.”

    “Yes, ma’am.”

    “Good. Follow me.”

    She led him down the hall past the cafeteria to another hallway with doors on either side. “This used to be an old hotel before I bought it and renovated it. My apartment is the last door on the right. You can have this room right here.” She opened the first door on the left. “Come on in.”

    The room looked like an ornate version of an extended stay suite with a separate bedroom from the living space. A small kitchenette opened to the left just inside the door and the bath stood opposite the kitchen. A few small paintings hung on the wall over a couch and TV stand. One caught his eye.

    “That looks like Lucifer.” Six wings rose from the figure’s back.

    “I do believe it is.” Angelina nodded. “But I’ve always liked this picture.”

    Balder shook his head. “I’m pretty sure the devil never tried to be an angel in disguise.”

    “I don’t know. I think Lucifer was asked to take that job and does his duty to help people in his own way. Everyone deserves redemption.” She shrugged. “That’s why I built this shelter so I could give a helping hand to those who need one.” She shot another look at the image. “Even him.”

    496 #WIP500 words

    Liked by 4 people

  6. @AvLaidlaw
    497 Words

    Last Night

    The trouble with people today is they think the cosmos is benevolent. But think about the dinosaurs for a moment, big old lumbering beasts chomping on their prehistoric leaves, never did nothing anything wrong. But one day – boom – asteroid strike, Deccan Traps, air so thick with dust I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. Do you really think that’s not going to happen to you someday? Maybe today?

    Now look at this woman, hair or frizzed up and lipstick redder than hell. She sits down on the bar stool next to mine. Her denim miniskirt slips up over her thigh. Does she really think anything good can happen, dressed like that in a place like this?

    “You look like an angel,” she says.

    An angel in disguise. If she saw the real me, the four wings and the four faces of a man, lion, ox and eagle, she would die. Cherubim are not rosy cheeked babies fluttering around. Angels are not sweetly sad faced young women. And God is not a kindly old man with a long beard just like your Granddad who gave you sweeties.

    It’s all beyond your comprehension.

    “I like your t-shirt. Is that a band? Sounds like some metal band.”

    Sodom and Gomorrah. I guess so. And these are the tour dates: Berlin 1945. Lisbon 1531. Constantinople 1453. Jerusalem countless times.

    “I like musicians.” She leans forward, her breasts squeezed by her push-up bra. “Want to go somewhere else?”

    “You’re married.”

    She jerks back. “How did you know?”

    Because I’m an angel plugged into the omniscience of God. Because she’s trying too hard. Because there’s an mark on her finger where her wedding ring should be.

    “He’s been gone a year,” she says.

    “He left you?”

    “Maybe. Maybe something happened. He used to get drunk, get into fights. They would tell me if something happened to him, wouldn’t they?”

    “You still worry about him?”

    She shrugs. “I loved him once, in spite of everything. I wouldn’t want something to happen to him. I made a promise to always love him. That’s not something easy to let go.”

    So these are the rules. Find a city so corrupt you can smell the stink, where people pretend to be talking on their mobile phones so they don’t have to look at a kid starving in the street, where landlords stuff two dozen immigrants into a single room because it’s good business, where someone gets killed for standing at the wrong street corner or having the wrong colour skin. Find this city and raze it to the ground… Unless you find one good person.

    This woman, dolled up in clothes that would make a hooker blush, still loves the man who abandoned her. Love. That’s probably all beyond the comprehension of your rotten hearts. But if you see her, don’t look down your nose at her cheap make-up. Smile. Tell her she’s doing a good job. She’s keeping you alive.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. And you call us mad?

    Justine let out a loud sneeze. Her two friends took a few steps back afraid to catch what ever she’d contracted. She was after all part of professed Pratt’s theoretical genetics class, and one never quite knew what they were cooking up in there. The current rumour going around was that they were working on a few form of super predator.

    “Don’t look so panicked. We’re not doing pathogens till next year and he’s not letting us anywhere near the interesting stuff,” she told them as she slung her book bag over her shoulder.

    Her two friends looked at other and followed along behind. “So what are you doing in his class?” Asked the taller of the two, Ben was his name.

    “We’re working on gene splicing. He’s got us trying to make a kind of hybrid animal or food. I’m going for both.”

    “Two experiments? I thought he liked you too only work on on thing at a time,” this time it was Josh. A short plump guy.

    “Do one thing with exelence, not many with foolishness,” Justine said mocking the professors voice. “No I’m doing one experiment. I’m just using both, animal and food.”

    “Your fusing two different animals? Two different meats? That’s an animal and a food. Isn’t it?” Asked Josh as he looked at Ben.

    “Nope, one Animal, or to be more exact, a fish. And one type of food, this time a fruit.” She said with a smile. ” we can head down to the lab and I’ll introduced you to Basil, a regular angel in disguise.”

    The two of them looked at each other and just kept following their friend.

    Justine opened the door to the lab and the three of them entered. The centre of the lab was filled with a cacophony of desks and stools. Raised about the desks of the students was a giant Van Der Graff generator. A soft hum could be heard and every now and then a tiny lighting bolt would zap across and strike a grounding rod.

    “It’s only active when we need to juice the experiments,” she said with a grin on her face as she saw the expression on her friends faces.

    Heading over to her desk she stood in front of a black silken sheet hung over the apparatus. “And here for your amazement is Basil, the worlds first,” as she spoke she pulled at the sheet.

    “Empty basket?” Asked both the guys together. Tuning she saw the small cradle was empty. Basil was gone.

    A few doors away Professor Pratt reached into his pocket. He liked it when his students gave him presents. He preferred it when they did well but gifts were nice. And he did enjoy bananas.

    “He’s gone! Basil’s gone. What idiot stole Basil.”

    He took down his copy of the modern Prometheus and opened it.

    “Look, someone has stolen the Piranhanana..”


    475 words.


    Bonus points if you get references 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The Runner

    The sounds of fall were everywhere – children laughing among the rustling of leaves, the wind picking up just enough to make the trees sway. With the breeze came a chill down my spine, prompting me to burrow deeper into my scarf and pull my hat farther down. It really wasn’t that cold, but I wasn’t built for this weather – I craved the warmth and, during the winter and fall, basked in what sunlight I could find. So that’s exactly what I did as I awaited my mark – sat on a particularly sunny bench in a seemingly random spot along one of the park’s many walkways.

    Just as the thought of my mark crossed my mind, the rhythmic steps of a jogger caught my ear. Strong steps – determined, skilled, would very clearly try to outrun me if it came to it. Thankfully, he wasn’t that kind of mark, and this wasn’t that kind of assignment. I hated those assignments. With a deep breath I stood from the bench and hid in plain sight, knowing that he wouldn’t see me even if he looked right where I was standing. He wouldn’t see me until I wanted him to.

    I took two steps forward – to the man, it would seem like I’d quickly gotten up from the bench – and made him knock into me. Feigning surprise, I fell back.


    “Oh, I’m so sorry! Didn’t see you…” The jogger looked at me with concerned, grey eyes, reaching with one hand to help me up as he pulled out his headphones with the other.

    “No, no, it’s my fault.” But I took the offered hand anyway, smiling gratefully. He was much colder than a human was supposed to be, the shock of recognition running through me affirming him as my mark. He was attractive, too, though I should’ve expected it. The devil never gave me targets I wouldn’t feel some attraction to, though I still hadn’t figured out why. “I’m a complete klutz – should’ve been more careful.”

    “You’re not hurt, though, right?” He didn’t notice the shock – no one ever did. Instead, he was completely focused on my appearance. I knew what I looked like to him – to humans in general, when I let them see me – an angel in disguise. The assessment wasn’t too far off, though angel wasn’t the word I’d use.

    “I’m fine. Sorry I’ve interrupted your run.”

    “I was practically done, anyway.” He looked off to the side, nervous now as he ran a hand through his hair. I knew he was looking at the coffee shop across the street behind me. “Listen, I feel really bad about knocking you over – can I make it up to you with a cup of coffee?” Being one of the devil’s runners was almost easy sometimes.

    “You don’t have to…”

    “Please, unless you have somewhere to be?”

    I pretended to think about it. Sighing, I “gave in” and responded, “Sure, why not?”

    500 words

    Almost didn’t submit this week, but found some time to punch this out!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Random Post – The Runner | Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction

  10. Damien the playboy liked his life, but his brother Aaron sat at home night after night wishing he could meet the one. Damien wanted his brother to find her, so he tricked Aaron into meeting him at a bar after work.
    “Wow, look at that chick in the devilish red dress,” Damien declared.
    “She’s pretty, but the devil never created that,” Aaron answered.
    “Are we talking about that same woman?”
    “The blonde in the blue dress?” asked Aaron
    “No the angel in disguise with the red hair and the red dress cut to strategically to show off her best assets, that rear and those boobs. I like to rub myself all over that.”
    “You’re a pig Damien,” Aaron exclaimed.
    “And you’ve been out of action too long,” Damien declared.
    “I’m not like you Damien. I want a home and family.”
    “I might want that someday, if the right girl comes along. Be right back got hit the head.”
    Damien then left. Aaron stared around the room nursing his beer maybe Damien was correct, he needed to start dating at least. It was then he spotted her again the woman with red hair only she’d changed her dress to blue and it was more demure. He walked over to her table.
    Aaron was smitten as the woman spoke to him in a Marilyn like voice. Damien too was smitten as it turned out the woman in the red dress was her twin sister Melody. Soon they spent all their time with the women instead of each other. The two men became estranged from each other as it turned out the twin women hated each other. Aaron married Marilyn and Damien married Melody. The two men were miserable except when they were in bed with their wives. They missed one another but didn’t dare speak to each other lest their wives withhold sex. The feud continued to the men’s dying day. As the two went to the heavenly gates Saint Peter met them asked “Why do you not speak to each other?”
    “Because Marilyn’s not speaking to Melody,” answered Aaron.
    Damien answered, “Because my wife doesn’t want me to.”
    “Do you not have your own will? Do you condone hate? Especially hate between family that God himself has picked to be together?”
    The two men felt ashamed and admitted so to Saint Peter.
    “Don’t tell me tell each other,” he said.
    The two men hugged one another asking each other for forgiveness. Saint Peter then opened the gates to heaven. Melody and Marilyn died soon after and they too came to the gate. Saint Peter asked them the same question. Melody insisted it was all Marilyn’s fault. A boy had smiled at Marilyn and not Melody. Marilyn insisted it was Melody’s hate. The hate had burnt a hole in both their hearts severing their relationship forever more. Neither would forgive. Saint Peter refused them admittance and they took the elevator down wishing that they had forgiven the transgression that started it all.
    500 words

    Liked by 3 people

    • This is a story made for longer form. Have you considered expanding it to show each scene instead of summarizing? Could make for interesting drama as their lives unfold and you get to know these two men who refuse to speak to one another to avoid raising the ire of their wives. And the women! The sex must be some next level stuff to get the two men to avoid each other for their entire lives! Definitely some things to explore, more than one can do in 500 words. Something to think about, anyway. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites Week 1×33 : I’m Not An Angel In Disguise | My Soul's Tears

  12. I’m not an angel in disguise,
    And the devil never made me do a thing,
    Or told me what to say.
    I’m just an angry, mortal man,
    Made by our society’s hand,
    And its ruthless,
    Uncaring ways.

    I’ll stalk the words others write,
    The songs they sing,
    The stories they tell,
    The games the play.
    And take each detail apart,
    Analyze each word,
    Each action,
    Every note, motion, and way.
    I’ll study each nuance of your ways,
    Until I master the unique language
    Only you speak.

    The one you don’t even know is there.

    Once I have that key to you,
    Who you are,
    How you think,
    What you feel.
    It won’t be long until I know what’s missing
    In your world.

    Then I’ll say the words I know
    You want someone to say.
    The words you’ve been waiting,
    Someone would say.
    Words to sweep you off your feet,
    And carry you away.
    Words you dream of in your sleep.

    And you’ll let me in.

    I’ll be your friend at first,
    But gradually, with time, and effort,
    Using what I’ve learned of you,
    I’ll do the things you want me to.
    And slowly, things will grow.

    One day, you’ll start to talk to me.
    Start to let me in.
    I’ll become your confidant,
    That someone whom you trust.
    I won’t take advantage,
    Or rush things along.
    I have time.
    I’ll wait for things to happen
    On their own.

    One day you’ll sit next to me,
    As if you always had.
    One day you will hold my hand,
    And walk with me,
    And talk with me,
    So you won’t be alone.
    I’ll learn the holidays that matter.
    When your birthday is.
    When to buy you a card,
    Or flowers.
    And step by step,
    Day by day,
    I’ll work my way into your world.
    By being everything you want,
    And everything you need.

    I’ll be the one you dream of when you sleep.
    The one you always wanted,
    The one hold in his arms,
    Where you feel safe from harm.

    All it takes is patience on my part,
    And you’ll let me in,
    And give me everything I want.

    Someday you might kiss me,
    Then take me to your home.
    I won’t have to ask,
    You’ll guide me there
    On your own.

    Someday you might even
    Take off all your clothes,
    And pull me into bed with you.

    And I’ll enjoy anything,
    And everything,
    You decide to do.

    But if I ever hear you say
    “I love you,” to me,
    I’ll be gone with the rising sun.
    And you’ll be on your own.

    Isn’t that the way this life is?
    Aren’t we meant to shred
    The hearts and souls around us
    Until every heart becomes
    Colder than the coldest ice,
    Harder than the hardest stone?

    I’m not an angel in disguise,
    And the devil never made me do a thing.
    I’m just an angry, wounded soul
    Whose heart died long ago.

    491 Words

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Passion Play

    “We can’t have two young men with beards on stage,” Reverend James had sighed upon seeing Marcus’ unshaven face at rehearsals. “Some of our congregation are aged and can’t see. We need to be able to tell the difference between the Devil and our Lord and Savior from the back pews. Do we have to have this conversation every year?”

    Evelyn was tired of hearing about Henry’s beard at church every year. “He looks just like Jesus,” she’d overhear. And, “Oh my, it’s like he walked right out of the bible,” they’d say. Completely ignoring that the man had the acting ability of a mannequin and paraphrased most of his lines despite them being clearly laid out for him, in red no less.

    Her son Marcus could grow facial hair twice as full and twice as fast, yet he never got the admiration of the congregation like Glenda’s child in the Easter Passion play. Nobody walked up to the two of them in the social hall after the play. The devil never got thanked. The children and adults all gathered around Henry, while Glenda winked at them from her son’s side. Evelyn always pretended to look just beyond her rival, to avoid giving her the satisfaction of accepting her acknowledgement. She knew the beard wasn’t the reason Henry got to play Jesus each year over the past decade, it was his mother’s deep contributions to the offering plate.

    Marcus ignored his mother’s continued complaints at the dinner table and honed his role year over year. His sinister presence on the makeshift pulpit stage commanded the audience more than Henry ever did. “All these things I will give You, if You will fall down and worship me,” he sneered. It was all Evelyn could do not to clap in the moment he delivered the line. In that moment she forgot about the clippers she’s been secreting in her lap with the intention of finally evening the playing field with Glenda. In her whole life she had never imagined rooting for the devil, until she learned her son played the part so well.

    351 Words

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  14. Being raised the son of a Methodist minister didn’t guarantee a kid would believe in God. Alan Rickliefs supposed he got lucky. His boys had stayed faithful. Prayer had brought the family through everything from Sunday dinner to a burst appendix when their son Jimmy was seven.

    But the night son’s stalker almost killed Jimmy and Allison, Alan’s faith waivered. The God he’d believe in all his life, had taught his kids to believe in and fear, had let him down. Alan understood that his son becoming a rock star meant some fans could take their adoration too far. But he hadn’t counted on his son having a stalker that would have him at all cost.

    Sitting in ICU room five at UC Irvine Medical Center, holding his son’s slightly swollen, cold hand, he bit his lip. He’d prayed since the night of the accident for Jimmy to wake up from his coma. He’d prayed for his daughter-in-law and their unborn child. They’d found out about the baby two days before the accident.


    A short, nervous man wearing a beige business suit and blue bow tie caught Alan’s attention.

    “Yes?” he asked. Jimmy’s visitors were limited to immediate family and friends only to keep fans out.

    “I-I’m sorry to bother you,” he said. His voice squeaked as he wrung his hands. “I, uhm, wanted to see how Jimmy was doing.”

    “There are no fans allowed.” Alan walked toward the man.

    “N-no sir. I’m Ryan Adel. I witnessed the accident.”

    Alan stopped mid-stride. “You helped them, didn’t you? You’re their angel in disguise. Allison told me she remembered a man talking to her, holding her hand. But she thought she’d dreamt you. She was grateful to you.”

    Ryan nodded, his short-cropped blond hair reflecting the dim, yellow light of the room. “Yes, sir. I wasn’t sure I’d be allowed to visit them, but the charge nurse said it was okay. I have identification—”

    Alan wrapped the man in a tight hug. After a moment, they stood back and Ryan smoothed his suit. “Are they going to be okay?”

    Alan looked back at his son. His right leg and arm rested in a maze of screws, wires, and pulleys, keeping bones aligned until he was strong enough for more surgery. A ventilator made his chest rise and fall.

    “There are no promises. Allison is conscious now and so far, the baby is okay. But we won’t know anything for a few more days on Jimmy. They’re lucky to be alive.”

    “I’m glad they’re alive.” Ryan turned to leave, but Alan caught his arm. “Sir?”

    “I want Allison to meet you.”

    Alan returned to Jimmy’s bedside. Jimmy’s face was swollen, his right eye black and blue. His turquoise hair had been shaved and his head bore the scars of brain surgery. Tears pricked Alan’s eyes.

    “I’m going to see Allison for a few minutes, Jim. She needs to meet her angel.”

    He thought he saw Jimmy smile.

    496 words

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  15. “Shake a leg, sugarbritches.”

    The deep voice startles me. I snap my head up to see the hall empty except for the unsettling man studying me from the doorway.

    “Sergeant K?” That’s not his name, just the part most of us can pronounce. “What the fuck did you just call me?”

    He rolls eyes the color of a summer bleached sky.

    “Jackass said you’d finally seen him. Told me that godawful nickname would get your attention. Make you believe I’d seen him, too.”

    “Oh. Yeah. It did.” I nod, considering. “The way you call him jackass, though. That really sells it.”
    He chokes back a laugh, his eyes widening. He clears his throat, covering the smile I can see clearly in the laugh lines around those not-quite baby blues.

    “C’mon, Lazlow,” he says. “Get to mess. We’ll talk later.”

    “I got nothing but time, Sergeant.”

    My shoulder protests moving, but I make my feet go anyway. Passing through the doorway, I catch the scent of his soap. No cologne. I find I like that. Simple. Clean.

    Sergeant K is built like a lean and mean quarterback, and as guards go he’s not one to take advantage of our respective positions. So the gentle touch on my good shoulder scares the hell out of me.

    “What’s wrong?” he asks.

    “It’s nothing.”

    “Your shoulder is bothering you.”

    “You have fabulous powers of perception, Sergeant.”

    “Did he touch you?”

    “What?” I lift my face, and he is way too close for comfort. And there is something dark in his eyes now. “Why would you ask—?”

    “Did the sonuvabitch touch you?”

    “Just a finger,” I admit.

    “Show me.”



    The quiet request gets me to unbutton my shirt enough to push the fabric aside. Wincing, I reveal the mark. He moves my hand away, holding the shirt. His lips turn white as he clenches his jaw. He’s not angry at me, he’s angry for me.

    “Goddamnit, I asked him not to do this.” He squeezes his eyes shut a moment, dropping his hands to his sides. “It fades. Takes a while, but it won’t be like this forever, I promise.”

    “We should go,” I say, even as a tiny piece of me wants to lean into the anger. To take comfort from having someone on my side.

    Yeah, I can’t do that.

    So I pivot on my heel and stride down the hall toward breakfast. I’m too late for food by now, and Sharice is gonna chew me a new one when we catch yard detail. But hell if I stay one more second in the sergeant’s company. Besides, what am I supposed to do with a prison guard for help? I need an attorney or a detective or Clint Eastwood in Escape From Alcatraz mode.

    If he’s my angel in disguise? I am well and truly fucked. And not in the sort of way I enjoy.

    486 WIP words

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