#FlashMobWrites 1×43 – Legend & Legacy

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Forty-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).

  • 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

This past Monday, we woke to the news of the passing of a legend. Rest in peace, David Bowie. This week, we salute your lasting embrace of the musical world, your style as fluid and changing as the world around you.

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: “ain’t that just like”

Ruth Long: “I’ve got scars that can’t be”

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

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75 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×43 – Legend & Legacy

  1. Of Goblins and Kings
    By Wakefield Mahon

    “And he began to sing, ‘You remind me of the babe…’”

    “Mama, are you sure that humans are real?” the little boy goblin interrupted. He sat up from his bed of branches and weeds

    “Yes, dear Zigs, now hush while I finish this story or I’ll dump YOU in the bog of eternal stench.”

    “Have you ever met one, mama?”

    Mama’s eyes turned soft and she folded her hands.

    “Are you okay mama?”

    Mama smiled and nodded, “Before you were born, I spent a year in the AboveGround. My mother was cross, but I was always headstrong, just like someone else I know.” She pinched one of her son’s ears playfully.

    “Hey!” Zigs folded his arms and his mother chuckled.

    “Few goblins have been in the AboveGround and returned in the past hundred years, but we heard rumors of great metal beasts called machines, and let me tell you they were everywhere, in many shapes, big and small. I dodged a bright orange carriage full of humans. It smelled of strange herbs and the humans dressed in every color at the same time. I heard this beautiful music like I’d never heard before. I followed the humans to a place where the herb smell was even stronger. Then I saw him, a human with piercing blue eyes who could weave magic al stories with his music. I was so spellbound I couldn’t look away for even a moment.”

    “Oh Mama, ain’t that just like the Goblin King in my bedtime story? You just made him up didn’t you?”

    “Oh my precious Zigs, he was just as real as you or me, though they’ll never be another like him. The music, the magic, they are only memories now.”

    “What was his name then?”

    “He had many names, but my favorite was Ziggy Stardust.”

    “Now I know you’re making him up. That’s what you call me some times.”

    Mama winked. “It is, isn’t it? Good night, little one.”

    “Good night Mama. Tomorrow, let’s dance?”

    “You betcha!”

    @WakefieldMahon

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Traveling and Tabloids

    Lissandra stepped into the edge of a new clearing and inhaled. Along with the scent of young male dragon came the fragrance of honeysuckle perfuming the warm evening air. The honeysuckle clearing, I presume. A great burned stump split in half by lightning stood beside a glacial boulder, and a man leaned against the boulder, his gaze fixed on her under the light of the crescent moon.

    She paused, standing her ground, but refusing to come closer until she could assess who he was or what he wanted. He rose to his feet and stood with his hands loose at his sides, but she smelled his excitement and curiosity.

    “May the Mother’s Heart always be open to your footsteps.” Lissandra spoke in the Old Language of their people, hoping he wasn’t too young to know it.

    “And may it cradle you in its warm and comforting Halls.” Deep, warm compassion filled his voice, encouraging her to feel protected and comfortable immediately.

    “Thank you.” Despite the urge to believe in him, she approached with caution. Appearances could be deceiving. “Are you Charlorrion Ravenwing?”

    “I am. And you must be Lissandra Charforest.”

    Solenarra had promised Lissandra that Charlorrion and the Goldencoats were on the up-and-up, but Lissandra had endured too many years of training and three demon attacks to trust hearsay. She let her eyes unfocus until her inner Sight showed the world in brilliant Technicolor. Demons often hid within plain view, but her Sight allowed her to discern the hideousness beneath benign exteriors.

    And it sucks to be wrong.

    She stretched her rusty skills now, filling the glade with her awareness. The male standing in front of the boulder glowed like a brilliant copper penny in the sunlight. His aura swelled upward until the long skull and twisted horns of his true form hung in the air above his human body. Healthy fire magic swirled within him and she breathed a sigh of relief. She pulled her senses back, satisfied, and his ghostly self disappeared.

    “I am. It’s very nice to meet you, Mr. Ravenwing.” She extended her hand to shake with him.

    Charlorrion flowed to meet her with fluid grace. “And you. Welcome to Redfield. I’m so glad you agreed to come.” His scent filled with relief as he took her hand. “Was the trip rough? It can be kind of tricky traveling at this time of year with the U.S. air traffic increased with summer travelers.”

    She shuddered theatrically. “Yeah, tell me about it. I’ve had a few run-ins with American Airlines.” She shook her head. “Some of those pilots think they’re Maverick out of Top Gun, I swear.”

    Charlorrion raised an eyebrow. “Are you serious?”

    “Oh, yeah, I’ve got scars.”

    “That can’t be true.” He grinned. “It would’ve been all over the news.”

    “You need to pay closer attention to the tabloids. The stories were there, all right, but no one takes them seriously.”

    486 new words from an OLD WIP
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Sunrise Smoke

    Quarry and I shared the one spare bedroom. “My parent’s room,” Tyrell had noted. “Dad built the cabin after the Great War. Never felt right sleeping in the room, myself. As you can imagine, we have few guests. There may be some stray dust.”

    “We’ve both had some experience roughing it,” John offered. “This is quite a few steps up.”

    The night passed quickly. It was all rather unnerving, being sequestered in Tyrell’s bunker, his remote desert retreat. Even though I intended to sleep lightly, I had fallen into a quite heavy stupor. The tequila had helped. While I hadn’t really been concerned that Tyrell might steal into our room and cut our throats, the thought managed to linger near at hand.

    Much too early, the first sliver of eastern sun slashed through the bare windows.

    Quarry was still sawing logs, or cactus. I rolled a cigarette and went out on the porch to light up.

    As I passed through the living room, I smelled coffee in the kitchen and helped myself.

    Tyrell was on the porch. “Sleep well?” he asked.

    “I did. You?”

    “Rarely do.”

    “Always?”

    “Since the War.”

    “What branch were you in?”

    “US Army Air Force. 31st Fighter Group.”

    “You were a fighter pilot? I had you pegged as a cornplaster commando.”

    “Nope! Never did like walking all that much. Loved flying. For as long as Gerry let me.”

    “What happened?”

    “My Spitfire got shot down. Dieppe.”

    “That was a dicey-do of a battle, I hear.”

    “Yeah.”

    “Wounded?”

    “Not so you would notice. Member of the Caterpillar Club, though.”

    “What’s that,” I asked.

    “I had to bail out. If you survive, you get to join the club.”

    “No injuries?”

    He took a deep puff on his smoke. “Not something I ever discuss. Like all of us, Woody, I’ve got scars that can’t be…well, they’re just there, with me forever. Maybe someday I’ll get a good night’s shuteye. I’m not banking on it.”

    “Wars are fought by millions of scarred and scared soldiers,” I said. “Sleep was a luxury in my war, that’s for sure. Maybe that’s why wars end? Soldiers just nod off.”

    “You keep telling yourself that,” he said. “As for me, I’ll stick with my creed that the rich and powerful always decide.”

    “Aren’t you part of that circle of power…now?” I asked.

    “Always was, I suppose. War hammered home that that’s the way it’s meant to be.”

    I butted out my smoke. Tyrell offered me a tailor-made.

    “Thanks. When did you learn to fly?”

    “My father bought a Piper Cub before the war. We learned together. Have it here. I’ll be flying out in about an hour.”

    “Your father still fly?”

    “Died.”

    “When?”

    “October of ’43. Same time as Hazel Twigg… vamoosed.”

    “Disappeared!” I countered.

    “Six of one…Anyway, you and Quarry will get to the bottom of it, right?” He smiled, stood up and added, “Gotta fly. Enjoy your drive back.”

    It was shaping up to be a scorcher of a day.

    500 smoky mirrors
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites 1×43 : Legend & Legacy | My Soul's Tears

  5. I was there, watching, when the woman’s mother verified the body was her daughter, missing for twenty-three days. I was there to see her hands shake, hear her voice whisper, “Yes,” and see the loss in her eyes.

    A mother should not see her daughter’s remains on a cold, unfeeling, sterile steel table. A mother should see her daughter grow, get married, start a family.

    All I could do was watch. I didn’t have to be there, and according to all the procedures of the Armor Corps, I wasn’t supposed to be there. Nothing was to be personal, everything was to be objective. But, I never followed the rules, which was how I got things done. How I knew what to do, what needed to be done. I was still human.

    And I watched Mrs. Theresa Whitson stand beside that cold, hard table, as she looked at what was left of her only child.

    I knew from the DNA results, who the victim was. I knew from a records check, how old she was, where she’d worked, what church she’d attended on Sundays, where she’d lived. I’d visited that church, visited her workplace, found her car, visited her apartment. I told myself I was looking for anything to help track down who’d murdered her, and that was partly true. It was also true, as I searched, I became more determined to keep my promise to her soul.

    I would find those responsible.

    I remembered another woman from years before. When I was… Different. When I was… Normal. I remembered how she died. How my heart broke in half when she did. It broke in half, and never healed. Then the pieces died. All that was left were scars. I’ve got scars that can’t be. Scars where my heart once was.

    No one should have to feel their heart break that way. No one should have to feel their heart die, and leave them nothing but a shell. And empty, dead soul.

    I knew Mrs. Theresa Whitson’s heart died in those moments she stood beside that table. I felt it happen. And I couldn’t stop it.

    But I could tear the hearts from those who’d caused such pain. And I would. I would find them.

    And not even God could help them when I did.

    384 Words
    @LurchMunster

    Liked by 4 people

  6. My cell opened and they threw her in a young girl with hair the colour of fire. She was tiny no bigger than five feet and probably weighed ninety pounds wet. The guard stood there watching waiting for me to pounce but I didn’t.
    “Ain’t that just like them , they say you’re the beast,” the young girl said nervously.
    “I’ve got scars that can’t be seen,” I quipped.
    “You’re a funny man, I see,” the girl answered.
    “Not a man, not a beast. If we passed by each other you say I wasn’t there. That I died a long time ago.”
    “Died a long time ago that makes no sense.”
    “No I’m not dead, but I met a Goblin king a long time ago who used to say those things.”
    “You met David Bowie?”
    “Yes, he was gentleman of extreme kindness, intelligence and warmth. He accepted me and others exactly as they were. I grieve his passing but I know the Starman has gone onto a new adventure.”
    “You’re not what I expected.”
    “You don’t like my long blue black hair?”
    “Actually it’s very handsome and unusual.”
    “You’re unusual too.”
    “How did you guess?” she asked,
    “I have a reputation have you heard it?”
    “So do I!”
    “I thought so. Kill me now!” I commanded.
    “You never doubted that I could kill you?” the young woman answered.
    “No, you won’t believe me; but the reason I’m here is that I’ve turned over a new leaf. I only kill bad people now.”
    “Am I a bad person?” she asked.
    I laughed, “The baddest!”
    “Shall I do it now?”
    “Do your worst.” I answered.
    She waved her arms and the cell doors opened tucking me under her cloak ; we entered the corridor unseen by human eyes. We ran to her waiting red truck and she drove us away. Arriving at the apartment I sat down on the bed.
    “What was it this time?” she asked sighing.
    “It wasn’t my fault really.” I protested, “I haven’t killed anyone in years, but when that man threatened the little girl and then started to follow through…”
    “You lost your temper and killed him!” she finished.
    “That’s about it.”
    “Then it was justified. They didn’t see your true form did they?”
    “No, only the child and they didn’t believe her.”
    “I was sent to kill you.”
    “I know but instead you tamed the dragon years ago and captured him.”
    “They didn’t understand that you were a shapechanger and that you could change.”
    “You’re belief held me high and helped me be the being I could be.”
    “You honour me. Now husband, mine, what are you going to do to me?”
    “I’m going to ravish you witch, mine,” I answered.
    “Do you’re worst or is it best?” she laughed.
    “Best of course,” I answered as I made mad passionate love to her.
    “I knew there was a reason I keep rescuing you,” she said.
    “I’m enthralled my lady, witch.”
    “You’re my dragon forever more.”
    500 words
    @SweetSheil

    Liked by 3 people

  7. THE MAN AND THE DOGS by E.F. Olsson

    The rough waters crashed against the cement docks. A mist of water sprayed through the fence gate causing me to shudder and move away from the bench that I waited on. Opal wanted to meet here but I don’t know why. Not a soul would want to come to the boardwalk with the weather we’ve been having. She insisted and said that it was important and for me not to ask any questions.

    She appeared in the distance; like a silhouette against the gray sky she hobbled towards me. I started towards her and yelled out for her.

    “What’s the matter?”

    She said nothing. There was something wrong with her. I knew that look she had plastered on her wrinkled face. In the forty some years that we have been friends, I’ve seen that face on a few occasions. She was somber. Her gray hair was disheveled, her eyes were wide and unblinking, she was frail.

    “Now why on earth did you want to meet here on a day like today?” I said. “We’re going to catch pneumonia if we stay out here to long.”

    Opal sat on the bench and stared off into the river as the mist sprayed us. I huddled deeper into my coat as I watched her and waited for her to speak.

    “I need a favor,” she finally said. She voice was tired and weak. “Take care of the girls for me.”

    “Now why on earth do you ask that?”

    “Take them out of there. I can’t go back.”

    “The house? Why can’t you go back? I love that house.”

    She paused. “He doesn’t want me there.”

    “Now come on Opal. Frank looked.”

    “I’ve got scars.”

    “That can’t be,” I said. “There is no one else there. That’s a nice new home.”

    “He appears at night. And he talks all night long. I can never sleep. Look.” She opened her coat and pulled her arm out of the coat sleeve and gestured to her upper arm. “There are bruises from him pinning me down.”

    I looked closer shaking my head. “Where? I don’t see a thing.”

    She looked at me. Her eyes were vacant and glossed over. My heart was beating out of my chest. Something is wrong.

    “Opal?” I said. “What is it now?”

    “He want’s me out. He says that I have to leave. I just want to know that you’ll take care of the girls for me.”

    “I can’t take on all those dogs. Frank would never allow it. What’s all this about anyway? You think you have a ghost in that house that doesn’t like dogs?”

    She stood and looked out over the rough waters of the river. “No. He doesn’t like me.”

    I started to laugh at the thought, but then she staggered to the fence, placed her foot on the lower bar, and before I could stand and say a word, she flipped herself up and over into the river below. She was gone.

    495 words.
    @EFOlsson

    Liked by 4 people

  8. “Stop!” she hears him call out from behind her. “Ashley, please!”

    Shaking her head in defiance, she quickens her pace.

    No, she tells herself. He’s just like the others. All of them are the same.

    “Damn it! Will you stop?” she hears him swear into the dark night, and then she feels a hand wrap around her wrist.

    He breathes hard as he asks her, “Will you at least tell me what I did?”

    “You didn’t do anything.” Her response comes out sounding harsher than she intends it to. “It’s just me.”

    She feels him tug on her hand hard enough to whirl her around to make her face him. “Are you fucking kidding me?” he asks loudly. “You’re giving me the break-up line when I haven’t even had the chance to take you out on a date yet?”

    “Daniel …” she says his name in a frustrated huff. “Don’t do this please.”

    He tilts his head to the side, letting his eyes find hers. “Do what?”

    She motions between the two of them and responds, “This. Don’t … be here. You shouldn’t be friends with me.”

    “Why?”

    His blunt question makes her look away. “Because I’ve got scars that can’t be healed, and I don’t want you to see them.”

    She feels his hand tap on her chin then, prompting her to look back up at him. When their eyes meet, she looks for the criticism and pity in his eyes, but all she can see is understanding and something she can’t name … yet.

    He reaches for her face. She can’t help the flinch that comes from his close proximity. However, that doesn’t seem to deter Daniel from his pursuit. “Hey,” he calls softly, placing one hand on her cheek. “Look at me.”

    He waits until her eyes find his before saying, “You say that you’re scarred, but Ashley, when I look at you, I don’t see any scars; I just see an incredibly beautiful girl whose inside is just as beautiful. You are so perfect.”

    Ashley watches how he looks at her. And in that moment, she feels beautiful.

    “Besides,” Daniel continues, leaning his face down so close that his lips are almost touching hers. “I don’t want to be your friend, beautiful,” he whispers in her ear. “I want to be your first crush, your first blush, and your first love. Will you let me?”

    Finally, Ashley recognizes that unnamed expression in his eyes. Moving her head, she closed the gap between then and placed her lips on his. Just before kissing the boy who is well on his way to stealing her heart, she whispers, “I will.”

    @TwiAddictAnne
    Word count# 484

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Where There’s Smoke

    Leigh
    I stared, shocked at the sheer stupidity of the words coming out of his mouth. “Did you just say that, asshole?” Blood pounded in my temples and if my blood pressure got any higher I’d have steam shooting out my ears like a cartoon character.

    His expression didn’t change as he leaned up against the doorjamb, crossed his arms over that massively muscled—and bare—chest of his, and then, in complete insolence, crossed his booted feet at the ankles.

    “Ain’t that just like a woman?” he drawled. “Give her the best sex she’s ever had and she chews off a man’s ass.”

    “I mean it, Smoke. I put my career on the line for you. And you…you…” I had no word to define what he’d done so I threw up my hands in frustration.

    Too busy looking around for something to throw at his thick head, I didn’t notice until it was too late. I glanced up just in time to see him stalking toward me like some wild animal. I knew he was a predator, but of the human variety. This…monster in front of me? He was wild. Feral. Scary as hell. And I hadn’t called for backup.

    Smoke
    I’ve got scars that can’t be excised. Not in this life, or the next, I suspect. Fuck all if this woman hadn’t gone a hellava long way toward making me forget I wore ’em. I was fuckin’ tired of running and figured I’d finally found the one woman who believed in me. But she didn’t. Not an hour ago I’d fucked us both blind. And deaf. Then her gawddamned phone rang.

    “I’m on call,” she’d explained as she pushed me away to answer. She got dressed, cell glued to her ear, so I’d pulled on my jeans and boots, figurin’ I’d need to take her to a fire scene.
    Just nail a stupid sign on my forehead and shoot me. I fell for a fuckin’ arson investigator. There’s a reason my name is Smoke. You get three guesses, Sherlock, and the first two don’t count.

    I stalked her across the room and pinned her against the bar between the living room and kitchen. “Wanna tell me the fuck’s goin’ on?”

    “You lied.”

    “Never lied to you, babe.”

    “Really?” The sarcasm in that one word was thick enough to cut.

    “What the fuck, Leigh?”

    “There’s been another fire. There’s a body. Burned.” She looked down. “Trigger device is a signature piece.” She crossed her arms, like she was protecting herself. “I…did some checking.”

    Yeah. Guilty. “On me.”

    She nodded. “It…it’s one of yours.”

    “Only I haven’t made one.”

    “Then who did?” More sarcasm.

    “Good question. One I intend to find the answer to.”

    “You’re under arrest, Smoke.”

    “Yeah? You and what army, babe?”

    She’d be pissed when I untied her. I’d face that after I cleared my name. Did a lot of bad things in my life. This wasn’t one of ’em.
    ****
    497 words on the sooper sekrit project *shhhh*
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Pingback: THE MAN AND THE DOGS by E.F. Olsson {Short Flash} | The Ghost Stories of E. F. Olsson

  11. “Hungry, Broke, and Ugly”

    You learn to ignore them, the human debris that line the stoops and alleys. Look at them too closely, and you’ll see yourself, some say. “There but for the grace of God,” but you know that’s not true – you’re not a druggie, or a drunk, or too lazy to hold down a job, or not right in the head – so you step over them, muttering something that isn’t an excuse to make them fade into the distance.

    Some days are harder than others, to be honest. Who doesn’t toss a few bucks at a faceless lump at Christmastime, just to be in the holiday spirit? When you’re wrapping your coat tighter around yourself, watching the mercury drop below zero, you think about whether they have a place to stay, but you pay your taxes, so they should have somewhere, right? Or the kids. Who doesn’t feel their heart break just a bit when they see a kid on the street? But the kids have schools to go to, and parents whose job it is to feed them, and they’re probably learning to be scam artists just like their parents.

    Just like you.

    The snow was falling fast that day, and the good spots in the doorways under awnings were gone. You settled for visibility, making camp on a busy street. It was routine at this point, without a goal. Once upon a time you hoped for food, or an offer of shelter – eventually, at any price. You hoped that one day you’d look up and see your parents there, shame on their faces, knowing they’d driven you into this life. Or the kids at school, hands held out in apology. You told stories to yourself, just like you told stories on your signs, the torn bits of cardboard with which you pleaded for mercy. It didn’t matter what the signs said, as long as they led to a buck. You’d been a Vietnam vet, a student, a dad, and once, on a lark, a pregnant mom. Everything except the truth.
    You looked out over the city, filling with white and emptying of life, and you knew it was time. Even the prospect of the next meal, inside and out of the snow, was as empty as the street. You took the sharpie out of your pocket and flipped over your sign. No longer would you just need a buck god bless. You neatly lettered your four words and turned your sign around to your last message to the world. Settling onto the wet ground, you told your truth for the first time in years.

    But it didn’t matter.

    443 words
    @drmagoo

    Liked by 4 people

  12. “Are you doing a little light reading?”
    “Mmm…”
    San paused and glanced at form on the chair, engrossed in the large, leather bound book opened , the print dull against the yellowed pages. “You brought out the old tome? What has you so fascinated?”
    “Trying to find the answer to our problem.”
    “I wasn’t aware we had a problem.”
    “The hunters. They keep trying to find us. They are a bad plague.”
    “You say everything is a plague, darling. You should get out and see what the world is like. There is a lot of fun things to do. And humans have come up with good ideas.”
    Snort. “I don’t want to go outside. People seemed to think I was so horrible. I have my books.”
    “That was a different time. You could be seen as eccentric.”
    Mutter. “I don’t wanna.”
    San grinned. “You sound like a little child, never mind a man of your age.”
    Amber eyes peered at her over the top of the book. “Are you saying that I’m childish?”
    “Just a little bit. Just come out with me. It will be fun. You can see the changes that have happened.”
    “No.” The book was lifted higher.
    “My darling, You need to forget some of the grudges. You can’t hide in this cold place forever.”
    “Yes I am. I’ve got scars that can’t be removed.”
    “No one will notice. No one believes we exist anymore. They’ll see it as body modification or something.” San moved back to the chair and leaned over the back of it. “The world isn’t isolated as it was before.” She reached out and tugged on some tawny hair. “Plus, your beard covers up the brand. No one knows what a werewolf is anymore beyond their movies. You’ll be fine.”
    “Have they forgotten us that easily?”
    “Darling, in this world, they are distracted more easily than a babe with a shiny bauble.”

    319 words
    @solimond

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Waiting for him

    “Ain’t that just like him though sugar? To promise you the world then be a no show? Why you gotta go for the exotic sort? They’re all the same. Have a slice of pie on the house. It’s key lime, honey.”

    Rachel smiled through her tears. “He’s coming, I know it. Leastways, that’s what I have to tell myself. You understand, right?” she pleaded, playing with her fork.

    Lori nodded. Wordlessly she squeezed Rachel’s shoulder and headed in back. She dumped the dishes into the sink with more force than necessary and cussed to herself as she attacked them with a ratty sponge.

    “Bert! Hey Bert! Take a hunk of the key lime out for Rachel, would ya, hon? I can’t stomach another round of her moping again.”

    Bert sighed, and wiped his hands on his apron. He grabbed a plate and added a couple of scoops of ice-cream to it.

    He stood behind Rachel for a moment, hesitating.

    “Miss, them tears of yours don’t seem to be letting up any time soon.” Bert scooted closer, setting the plate on the table. “This here is some mighty fine pie. It’s sure to help somewhat.”

    He stood there, confused, watching her crying silently. “You… you could always try and do something to get your mind off him Miss. There’s plenty of good guys from round these here parts who would be happy to show you a swell time -” He reddened, uncomfortable. “Uh, I didn’t… don’t mean me Miss. Just guys. You know. Uh, I don’t mean nothing, honest. Sorry!” Bert fled to the sanctuary of the kitchen, avoiding Lori’s stare.

    Rachel picked up the fork and smushed the ice-cream into the plate, scowling. “Lori’s got it, I guess. You’re nothing but a-”

    There was a roaring sound outside the diner, and a beatific smile broke out on Rachel’s face. Rubbing the back of her hands over her eyes, she tuned expectantly to the door. It slammed open, and there, wreathed in the exhaust jets from his lander was her beloved. She ran into his waiting tentacles, happy her spaceman had finally returned.

    351 words
    @davejamesashton

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Some people have visible scars. I’ve got scars that can’t be seen, not always. My scars are decades old, crusted over.

    I was told they’d make me stronger. They toughened me up. They made me question my sanity.

    The scars are from my husband. There’s the one I got when I fell off my bike at the age of five and skinned my elbow and knee. The scar from having my appendix out. But no one sees the scars on my heart. No one knows that, sometimes, my husband’s anger still scares me. That he still makes me jump.

    He used to hit me. He’d be drunk or high or both. We’d fight because I wanted him in rehab or off the streets. He’d get mad and throw a bottle at me or beat me.

    How I survived, I don’t know. I went to a shelter a few times. The counselors said survivors were strong stock. I didn’t believe them at the time. But now, my job as an EMT is to save lives and ease pain. And I hope I’m doing that for this guy.

    “Tell me what hurts, sir,” I say. My partner winds the ambulance through the congested streets of Omaha, siren blaring.

    “Everything,” he whispers. “My leg. She broke it.”

    “I’m going to give you a little pain medication, okay? Are you allergic to anything? “

    “Hamsters.” I raise my eyebrows as I push the medication into the IV in his hand. “No really. My son has a couple and they make me sneeze. What will happen to my son?”

    “DHS will take good care of him.” I think back to the nights it was me spilling my heart to an EMT. “Do you have any other pain?”

    “My face hurts.” His right eye is black and blue, swollen shut. “But mostly it’s my heart.”

    “I understand,” I say. He raises his eyebrows. I nod. “Yeah. My husband used to hit me, when he had a substance abuse problem.”

    “And you stayed?”

    I check the splint on his leg and double check his vitals. “Yeah. I know it seems foolish—”

    “You love him. Like I love her. I keep hoping she’ll change. I told her she needed to dry out, you know? She’s a drinker but she overdoes it. And then we fight. But this is the first time she’s hurt me this badly. I want to get her help but I don’t know what to do.”

    I reach into my pocket and withdraw my wallet. I pull out a plain white business card with neatly typed black lettering. I put it in the man’s pocket, as my partner communicates with the hospital.

    “Call Dr. Mathias. Tell him Jacoby Mortensen referred you. He’ll help.”

    The ambulance stops and my partner opens the back. We take the man inside, report off, and then sit down to do report. I was him once. And someone gave me that same business card. I hope it helps him.

    @Aightball
    499 words

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Open Eyes

    Somewhere underneath all the dirt and grime lies the heartbeat of this place. Jutting cracked sidewalks, broken from tree roots escaping cramped three by three squares of ciggs, used needles and glass strewn soil reeking of piss and shit, jarring horns, littered streets, sputtering tailpipes of buses and delivery trucks choke the oblivious masses, ignorant that this aging decrepit city even has a pulse. Everyone’s too busy getting from here to there without too much injury to bother noticing. But, I know. I know every inch of this place and at night – ah shit, at night, when the roar of traffic dies and the blind pedestrians settle behind closed curtains, eating Chinese out of paper cartons or enjoying sinful liaisons; it’s then that I feel the city’s heartbeat the most.

    But, this city that I call home can chew you up and spit you out. It scars you if you ain’t careful. I’ve got scars that ain’t gonna heal. I thought I was ‘the shit’ when I first got here. Hah, I was gonna be a supermodel! Heard fame and fucking fortune calling! That was, until the gatekeepers handed me my walking papers – “Too fat. Too short. Crooked teeth. Crooked nose.” They insisted, get this fixed, and that worked on. Learn how to walk, lose weight, smile, and pose, so, I rented an infested walk-up on the fifth floor that reeked of vinegar and cost half the money I came with for one month’s rent. I spent the rest getting myself fixed up, believing, as they said, I had a shot at stardom. Somebody fucking lied. Ain’t that just like the money-makers. Liars! I was ridiculed, and kicked to the curb on my ass. Turns out, I was NEVER gonna be tall enough to make it, and I ain’t got confidence to fight them. That vinegar smell turned out to be my salvation and my deepest scar; it’s the big H I’m smokin’. It helps me deal with their rejections and my self-loathing.

    Now, I watch the oblivious pedestrians pass by as I sit cross-legged on the filthy sidewalks, my plastic bags filled with my stuff under my ass. I’m mostly ignored as people pass with their unseeing eyes, but sometimes a coin clinks nearby. I snatch it greedily. I’ve been kicked, screamed at and spit on, but there are some nice people. I get it; people are scared of me.

    Nights are the best and worst of my life. It’s survival 101 as I crawl down into the slimy bowels of the city to find a warm place to sleep. I inhale my smack while listening to the heartbeat, MY heartbeat, until I pass out. Me and thousands like me; toothless, filthy, homeless, hopeless – WE are the true heartbeat of this city – like it or not. Cuz we force you to SEE, you’re one paycheck away from ME.

    @PattyannMc (It’s great to be back! :D)
    WC: 481

    Liked by 1 person

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