#FlashMobWrites 1×44

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Forty-Four

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

While Maynard toys with our emotions, keeping the whispering hopes of Tool fans alive… he’s having much more fun making wine and working with one of his side bands, Puscifer.

For your musical enjoyment only. You do not need to reference the video or song themes in any way for your story.

NSFW – This song contains explicit language.

The Prompts

Cara Michaels: “with all that racket”

Ruth Long: “we have the remedy”

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


59 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×44

  1. Bum’s Rush

    My brain was swelling with a sandbox full of ideas. The desert in the morning was having a stimulating effect on me.

    After Tyrell departed to trek to wherever he had stowed his plane, I smoked a second tailor-made, a departing gift from our generous host, and drained the remnants of my now cooled coffee.

    Tyrell had impressed me during our sunrise serenade. In my book he was cooking with gas on all cylinders. His calm recounting of how he had survived the Allies first major snafu of the war said much about the man. He had survived a cataclysmic firestorm while thousands, mostly Canadians, had died, some shot out of the sky, but most slaughtered on the bloodied soil of France below.

    From the south, reverberating down what might be a dry wash, the sound of an engine kicked in. It had to be the Piper Cub. Maintaining a small desert airstrip struck me as being a challenging enterprise.

    Quarry wandered out, clutching his own cup of coffee, looking like he had spent the night in a foxhole.
    “Is that his plane?”

    “I think so.”

    We waited for a minute or so. Then, the sound of the engine revved higher. The whine of its compact power shifted down the dunes snuggling against the dark barren hills.

    “With all that racket, my beauty sleep would have been compromised,” Quarry said.

    “Best to have beaten him to the punch,” I commiserated.

    “There he goes,” he said coolly, as the small plane came into sight a few hundred feet above us before banking right and disappearing into the sultry blue sky.

    “Gives a whole new meaning to early riser,” I said.

    “Yeah,” Quarry mumbled, disinterested in my measly attempt at wit, “We any the wiser?”

    I filled him in on my sunrise conversation with Tyrell. I especially drew his attention to the matter of when Tyrell’s father died.

    “That is… baffling,” Quarry said. “Not only that old man Tyrell died around the same time as Hazel disappeared but that he intentionally connected the two. Why would he do that?”

    “He appears to be a guy who always has a reason for everything he does.”

    As I ruminated on Tyrell’s peccadillos, Miquel, Tyrell’s jack rabbit-of-all-trades, slipped quietly into view from the south.

    “Amigos,” he offered a stilted grin. “Senor Tyrell wanted me to make sure you got away safely. But…with a full belly.”

    With that he guided us into the kitchen where Rosalie has prepared beans and tortillas and fresh coffee. The four of us sat down to a tasty, exceptionally quiet breakfast.

    I tried to engage both Rosalie and Miquel into some revealing breakfast banter. My efforts fell flatter than a thin tortilla.

    “How long have you worked for the Senator?” I asked them.

    Rosalie smiled.

    “Many years,” said Miquel.

    “You knew his father?”

    “We knew him. You’ll excuse me. I have chores. Rosalie will pack you a lunch.”

    In half an hour, more curious than ever, we drove away.

    500 additional questions

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The noise come comes from all sides; a ticking clock indicating my doom? Other noises I hear that I can’t quite pinpoint what they are; but most of all a persistent voice that demands my attention by calling my name. What is with all that racket?
    It would be wonderful to linger here as time passes floating endlessly feeling euphoria if it was for those damn cacophonies of sound and fury signify what? Nothing? Something?

    I don’t want to listen and I try to tune them out but they persist. Streaming to me on air currents…mocking me? I’m not sure about anything anymore; as I float on a cloud of ecstasy. I just know I am one with the universe. I can touch the clouds, the very centre of the universe is mine to behold.

    “Come back,” I hear in the distance.

    But why would I? This is magic. This feeling of oneness with everything and everyone…this is what scientific discovery is all about.

    The noise continues and I hear some kind of humming from a machine and a swishing sound of air moving from place to place. I hear shouts of something that I can’t understand.

    Then I hear “We have the remedy.”

    I feel aching, then searing unfathomable anguish. I feel a tug of my tether and a whoosh of air as I’m pulled at the speed of light backward…back towards it… the pain.
    The agony and the ecstasy fill me. I had achieved the impossible travelling through time and space; but I had been pulled hither. My eyes focus on a hospital room and the lung machine breathing for me. I realize within seconds where I am, what has happened and what that entails.
    The surgical experiment was considered a success, my brain had been transplanted. In reality though it was a failure; I was trapped in this new body, but all the nerve endings were blocked. This wouldn’t change. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t talk. Confined to a hell of my own making; for I agreed to this. I look down and realize that this wasn’t even the body I agreed to; this was a female and I was a male (at least before the transplant). The doctor who agreed to this, cares not a wit for me; for I am but his experiment with no relatives to object.

    I want to go back…back to the limbo where I drift in time and space. I beg my head to reject this body and my strong will provides. I hear the alarm sound and feel the tie to my body sever. I float high above this foreign body seeing my new chest breathe, its last breath and I am happy. I hurtle towards that great light that beckons at the end of the universe and I join the light as one. Peace and tranquility are mine, forevermore.
    480 words

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Charles unfurled this newspaper from Monday as he sat back in his recliner, set in the middle of the bright living room. He hated dim lighting, especially when it came to reading his newspaper. Every corner lamp was on, even the light in the hallway shined bright. He looked at the lights, a little proud of his accomplishment. A man his age found it hard to get around on his own.

    Alan was upstairs, his only caretaker, the victim of a terrible marriage and selfish parents. Charles never minded the company, but he only wished he kept down the noise. There was a loud thump, followed by a thud. Charles winced and cast his irate gaze up to the ceiling.

    He went back to his paper, which to him was nothing more than a collection of drama and people shouting the end of the world. Yet, he could not tear himself away.

    Another thud, and that time he heard laughter.

    “That does it,” Charles grumbled as he threw his newspaper onto the floor and pushed himself off the chair. He didn’t want to, but he had to make the hard trek up the stairs.

    The music was loud, louder than he had realized by the time he got to the final step. His knees threatened to give up. He held onto the railing, his eyes focused on the white door to Alan’s room. Charles heard feet shuffling, laughter, little sounds of glass tapping against glass. He knew what kind of part this was and he didn’t want any of it.

    He banged his fist against Alan’s door once, but once was all it took.

    “Yeah?” Alan shouted before he cracked open the door.

    “My tea is cold,” Charles said sternly.

    “Fine, Grandpa,” Alan said as hastily closed the door behind him. Charles caught a glimpse of someone he knew with a cigarette between her lips. A cigarette? Charles hardened his look.

    “With all that racket, a man can’t reflect downstairs. You ever think? Even once in your life?”

    Alan was about to open his mouth, but then had a flash of brilliance. He looked at his grandfather.

    “Won’t you come in?” Alan said as he threw open his door.

    “No, I will not come into that trash dump you call a room. What did I say about closing it.”
    Charles looked over Alan’s shoulder, and got a better look at the woman. Her eyes, her mouth and those teeth as she smiled. It was his aunt, long dead a million years ago. Next to her, his parents, grandparent, family members returned from dust.

    “Come in,” Alan said as he took Charles’ wrist. He slowly led him in as all the face smiled. Glasses were held up high.

    “What is this?” Charles said, surrounded by expired kin.

    “We were celebrating you,” Alan said, “That’s how it’s always been.”

    Kind voices begged him to stay. Charles took a glass of champagne and held it up high as Alan closed the door.

    499 words

    Liked by 2 people

  4. …There’s Fire

    Smoke stood in the back of the haze-filled club. The manager obviously didn’t give a damn about clean air laws. The cell phone in his hip pocket buzzed and he put it to his ear.

    “Damn, Smoke. What’s up with all that racket?” Lucky Malone, president of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Nightriders, yelled in his ear.

    “Had a tip. Hang on.”

    He pushed his way through the crowd toward the exit. The place was way over the fire marshal’s limit too. Outside in the damp night air, the bass from the band was a throbbing reminder.

    “What’s up, boss?”

    “You said you had a tip?”

    Smoke knuckled his temple, hoping the raging headache would disappear now that he was removed from the noise. “Yeah. There’s a rumor that this place is next on the list. I wanted to check it out.”



    “What’s Dallas say?”

    “Nothin’. The chapter is as clueless as we are. That’s not good.” His gaze roamed the parking lot, catching each movement and shadow. He was a predator, pure and simple. “I don’t get it, Lucky. The Nightriders don’t own the property. There’s no whiff of Hell Dogs anywhere.”

    A muffled boom followed by screams scrambled his thoughts. “Oh, fuck no.” He was running toward the door before his brain caught up to his feet. “Gotta go.”

    Smoke shoved the phone back into his pocket. The fire door was locked. “Fuck!”

    He grabbed it and jerked. The metal groaned. His shoulders bunched as he used his foot to brace and yanked again. The door gave and almost ended up on his butt. Regaining his balance, he reached in and started pulling people out. They’d piled up at the locked fire door. Another code violation.

    His sensitive hearing picked up electrical pops and whooshing flames beneath the cacophony of screams. Clearing the bottleneck at the door, he forced his way inside. He needed to get as many out as possible.

    Smoke made the rounds. All the fucking doors were locked. He kicked them open and terrified clubbers spilled out into the night, a wall of flame chasing them. Black spots swam in front of his eyes and his lungs burned like a sonavabitch. He tripped over one last victim on his way out—one of the waitresses. Tossing her over his shoulder, he bulled his way to the back door, passing firefighters on the way in. One took the unconscious girl from him.

    He needed to get the hell away from there. He was already a suspect. From the number of fire apparatus, he figured the fire had gone 3-alarm at least. He made it about ten feet away from his bike when a conversation caught his attention.

    “What happened?”

    “Somebody unlocked the doors.”

    “We need to…” Sirens obscured the conversation. “…we have the remedy. I’ll take…”

    He didn’t hear the rest. Someone took him to the ground, handcuffing him. Leigh stood in front of him.

    “Smoke Jenner, you’re under arrest.”

    Well, fuck.
    500 words

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The Price

    “We have the remedy.” The Prime Minister turned the small blue phial over in his hands. “But, we also have something equally precious… an opportunity.”

    It should have been the single greatest moment of my professional life. Sitting around a table with world leaders, the great and the good, as the announcement was made. The news that I, a humble bio-chemist, had single-handedly saved humanity.

    Should have been. But it turned out that even though I knew everything there was to know about the molecular structure of human beings, I knew nothing about how they truly worked.

    The Halva virus broke out six months ago. It was what scientists call ‘an extinction level event’, Which is the official way of saying “you’re all fucked folks.” They reported death tolls daily, reminding the public of symptoms to watch out for.

    But phrases like ‘a persistent cough combined with swelling and itching ’ – well, they don’t really cut it. Nothing prepares you for seeing the infected. Lips the size of dinner plates, oozing acrid pus as their hacking sprays the room with blood and bile. Then their throats begin to close. They flail and splutter, eyes wide with the primal panic that suffocation elicits. The lucky ones choke on vomit once their oesophagus narrows. The unlucky ones… well, I’ve seen a man claw his throat open to escape the horror of slow, burning asphyxiation.

    It was coming for everyone. Experts predicted total annihilation within three months. Until yours truly found a way to manipulate our immune responses and send that bitch packing.

    The rest of the table started throwing around phrases like ‘selective distribution’ and ‘measured cleansing’, but it wasn’t until they started listing criteria that I realised what they were planning.

    “I think finances will have to play a part, given the enormous cost of distribution.”
    “Absolutely. And what of criminality? I think that ought be a black ball, agreed?”

    Jesus. They were going to take the cure, MY cure, and use some crappy tick boxes to decide who deserved it? The PM must have sensed my shock, he put his arm around my shoulder.

    “Now Daniel, you’re a scientist. You know extinction plays a part in natural selection, ensuring that future species are the strongest they can be.”

    “But there needn’t be extinction!”

    “Quite. Some of us have evolved to circumvent our own destruction. That provides us with a unique opportunity, no, responsibility, to purge the less desirable traits from our gene pool…”

    “I will not let you do this!” I pulled away, grabbed the phial and ran for the door. The two armed guards simply moved to block my exit. I wasn’t going anywhere. Comply, or die. Well fine, better dead than a party to this inhumanity.

    But then I thought of Belinda. Sweet Belinda. She wouldn’t meet any of their criteria. Poor, uneducated, trapped in a body that barely functioned. If I died, so would she.

    “Name your price, Daniel.”
    “My sister,” I whispered.

    498 words

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  6. The Miami PD, the mayor, county commissioners, and assorted staffers packed the conference room. Graham, Carlisle, and Scythe stood with me. The Countess of Wolfshire, Caroline Lindhurst, flung eye daggers our way as she waited to speak.

    “As you know,” the chief of police began, “everyone here is to immediately reprioritize all workloads. The hematophage situation is now priority one. We need to determine any commonalities the victims shared. We also have damage control to do on the public front. Dedicated crisis hotlines are going live this morning.”

    “Why are you treating the symptoms, when we have the remedy?” the countess asked. “The one thing these attacks have in common. Put her on a silver platter and serve her up. Bait, bribe, I don’t care what you call it. He wants that woman.”

    One imperious finger, the nail buffed to a shine, singled me out.

    “Give her to him and be done with it. We’ll all sleep better tonight.”

    Graham tensed at my side, edging forward to shield me. I touched his arm and he studied my face. I nodded once. With a sigh, he settled back. The countess continued her tirade.

    “These chromatics want us all to believe what they do and see is perfectly normal. Natural.”

    “Countess, there is no evidence to suggest the abilities of the chromatics is anything else.”

    I searched for the source of the voice, surprised someone was taking a stand on my side of the argument.

    “They may be small in number, but no one can deny what they see exists and is a threat to all of us who are blind.”

    “Small in number?” The countess chuckled. “Left handedness is small in numbers. Heterochromia is small in numbers. The chromatics? We’re talking a thousand people out of seven billion. There is nothing natural about that percentage.”

    “You’re asking us to go to war with a group of people who actively protect the communities they work in.” Carlisle stood, a faint sheen of sweat on his dark face. “I’ve worked with several chromatics, including the one topping your witch hunt. No good comes out of what you’re trying to accomplish here. We need the chromatics.”

    “Or they’ve made you believe you do.”

    “What?” Carlisle’s jaw sagged. “You were there. You saw what Mariele Bode became. Are you going to try and say that was perfectly natural?”

    “Well, the virus does occur in nature.” The countess shrugged. “Perhaps it’s meant to thin out the herd, so to speak.”

    “And if Mariele had chosen to thin you from the herd, Grandmother?” Graham’s cold voice silenced the room. “Would your ghost now be here wailing in your stead about how very unfair life turned out?”

    I squeezed Graham’s hand hard enough to hurt mine.

    “If the chromatics are truly the bastions of good you fools trumpet,” she said, “why aren’t there more of them? What kind of grand plan leaves so few to protect so many?”

    “The kind subjected to unexpected adversaries,” I said. “Your worship.”

    500 WIP words

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  7. Playdate

    True to his word, Aiden ran the bath then left to make her some tea so fast, Moira questioned whether she’d started to stink. She discreetly sniffed her armpits, but she didn’t smell any worse than usual. Maybe he doesn’t like my scent. The thought left her feeling worse than when Lenny stopped by. Great, the creepy one wants me and won’t leave me alone, and the sexy one leaves me alone and doesn’t want me.

    Except, he’d said something different earlier.

    Oh, shut up, and get in the bath.

    She settled herself into the hot water and let it take away some of her tension. She leaned back against the tub and closed her eyes. She forced herself to breath slow and deep, ignoring the thoughts yammering about Lenny and Aiden and Lt. Fitzroy. It was hard with all that racket, but she focused on the heat of the water and the sounds of Aiden moving around downstairs.

    What the hell is he really doing here?

    She sighed and opened her eyes. At the moment, it didn’t matter. He said he wanted another chance and she’d allowed him one. But was she doing it because he’d help her stand up to Lenny or for some other reason?

    “I have your tea. May I come in?” Aiden’s voice came from behind the door.

    “Yes, thanks.” She cleared her throat when her voice came out as a croak.

    He stepped into the bathroom and set the tea on the edge of the recessed tub. “How are you doing?”

    “I’m fine.”

    “Don’t bullshit me, Moira. How are you really doing?”

    Her gaze locked with his as her anger kindled. “Where do you get off telling me what I do or don’t feel, Aiden? You’re not my keeper.”

    “No, not yet, but I’d like to be.”

    She gaped at him for a moment. “Not yet? Why? Why should I allow you or anyone near me? I’ve already been hurt bad enough by Lenny and by you. It’s like a sickness with me or something. I don’t need any more of that.”

    “Maybe we have the remedy for each other’s sickness.” He tilted his head without a smile. “Maybe the cure for our ailments is actually each other.”

    When she narrowed her eyes, he sighed. “You still don’t trust me, do you?”

    “Look, Aiden. Trust isn’t something that shows up just because you’ve been nice to me. You have to earn it, and in your case, it could take years.” When his face blanked, she grimaced. “Or at least weeks. You’ve been here two days. That’s not enough time.”

    “Can we try to make the time, then?” He looked so hopeful. “Give me a chance, Moira. Give me the opportunity to prove I can be what you need.”

    She dropped her chin. “And how do you propose to do that?”

    “Let’s have a playdate.”

    “What?” She blinked.

    “A playdate. Time to get to know each other in a more intimate way.”

    497 words on Cloudburst #4

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  8. Strong Arm

    “With all that racket, I’m surprised you got any sleep.”

    “It wasn’t the racket, in particular, that kept me up.” Jamie pulled her pillow over her head. Sun streaked into the room and birds chirped outside, but she wasn’t at all ready to start the day.

    Her mother sunk onto the side of the bed, causing it to dip. “It’ll be over soon.”

    “Go. Away.” Jamie rolled away, putting her back to her mother. She knew it wouldn’t be over anytime soon.

    She sighed and the bed spring squeaked as she stood. “They’re already here. We need to leave.”

    Her bedroom door closed and Jamie slung her pillow across the room. Sitting up, she punched her fists into the mattress and glared across the room at the glowing clock. Just daybreak.

    She huffed and slunk out of bed over to her dresser. She’d picked her clothes out the night before, preparing for a hard wake-up. As she was brushing her hair, her mother came back into her room. She had a bag slung over one shoulder and Jamie flinched at her hastily covered black eye.

    “You got everything you need?”

    Jamie gestured at her already packed backpack, tossed beside her door.

    Her mother nodded, wringing her hands.

    “Alright.” Jaime put her brush down, harder than she intended. It left an indent on her desk. “I’m ready now. Let’s just go.”

    Jaime grabbed her backpack and yanked it on. She followed her mother out into the hallway, passing holes patched on the walls, where glass once shimmered in the carpet, now picked up, and the shut door of her parent’s bedroom.

    She didn’t even want to think of what staged beyond it. She grimaced, clenched her fists.

    The living room was refurnished, the furniture that was torn to pieces the night before gone. She paused, suddenly struck by a memory of a night many years ago when her mother stepped in between her and her father. Took that first blow. And the following blow the next day when her father found his prized baseball bat snapped clean in half.

    Jamie stared down at her hands. Her palms were bruised, her knuckles scabbed over. She had to dig a piece of her father’s tooth out of her right hand, last night. Despite the jarring pain that still ached in her arms, she didn’t regret it. He’d lashed out his last time.

    Her mother grasped her arm, tugged her. “They won’t wait much long.” Her whisper was urgent.

    Jamie nodded and they left the house that was never really a home.

    428 words

    Liked by 3 people


    The bedroom was dark. Rain pattered against the long window. It was colder for this time of year. Even in the middle of the day, it was gloomy with the sun tucked away behind the continuous cloud cover.

    In the corner of the upstairs bedroom, Colleen and Maggie sat huddled holding onto each other. Their eyes were wide and unblinking.

    “Did you hear that?” Asked Colleen. Her voice was shaky and uncertain.

    Maggie craned her head to listen than frantically shook her head.

    “I hear yelling,” Colleen whispered.

    “Are they coming?” Maggie said and gripped her old sister tighter. Tears began to well up and stream down her cheeks.

    Footsteps pounded up a staircase. The floor creaked outside of the bedroom door. Maggie closed her eyes as if to wish the noises to go away. The footsteps continued on to another room.

    “They’re gone now,” Colleen said.

    “But they’ll come back. They always come back.”

    Colleen stood sliding her back up against the wall while keeping an eye to the door. Maggie gripped her leg.

    “Where are you going?”

    Colleen was about to speak but was stopped by a pound rattling the wall. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. She screamed. Maggie jolted up.

    They held onto each other as voices could be heard just on the opposite side of the wall. Maggie let out a scream but Colleen quickly put her hand over Maggie’s mouth to muffle her. The noises stopped on the opposite side.

    “Hush,” whispered Colleen as she placed her index finger to her lips.

    Footsteps slowly creaked towards the bedroom door. Maggie froze in panic as the door handle started to spin. Colleen quickly stepped over to the door and gripped the handle stopping it from moving. The knob began to shake. Maggie covered her mouth to contain a scream. There was a knock at the door. A voice. It was a woman speaking. Colleen looked to Maggie.

    “That’s what I’ve been hearing at night,” the woman said to whomever she was with. “It’s a wonder you sleep at all with all that racket.”

    “I’ve never heard a thing. We have the remedy to stop it, you know? Those stones Jill gave us.”

    “Don’t you want to see it?”

    “Not really,” he said. “I just want it gone.”

    Colleen let her grip of the handle go. Maggie stood. The two looked at each other as the door opened. The bright lights of the hall lit the room. The woman and man were slivers of blackness – silhouettes against the light. As they entered the room, Colleen and Maggie vanished.

    “As soon as the renovation started I could hear the screams,” the woman said. “Hello? Are you still here?”

    450 words.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. @AvLaidlaw
    394 Words


    “We have the remedy.” The man places a Smith and Wesson revolver on the desk. Its polished barrel gleams sombrely under the tungsten light, the weight of it seeming to bend the wooden surface. I’ve always been nervous of guns, even now, after all the death. I touch my dry lips and shift in the chair.

    “I’m looking for a cure.”

    The man smiles. He has a broken face, broken nose, missing teeth and eyes creasing into black slits. Used to be in Special Forces, I’d heard, the Special Forces not even the President knows about. On his cheeks are tattoos that I’d seen in the old books during my studies – runes of protection against the wolf.

    He produces a shell and holds it in front of me like a magician displaying a rigged card before the trick. “This is the cure. Bullet’s made from an alloy. Lead for the punch. Silver for, well I guess you know.”

    “I thought there’d be medicine, something to stop the change.”

    “Who’d waste time on that? They’re monsters, deserve to be put down.”

    “Even children?”

    “They’re not human.”

    “You’ve killed children?”

    “It’s no big thing.”

    He hands me the bullet and I pick up the gun. It feels cold and awkward in my hand. “I can’t.”
    “Then tell me who it is, and I’ll do it.”


    “Must be someone close to you. A wife? Lover? A child perhaps. I’ll find out easily enough. Even by coming here, you’ve betrayed them.” He takes the gun from me, loads the shell and snaps the chamber shut with a flick of his wrist. “So either you do it, or I will.”

    “Do you like it? Killing them?”

    “Sure. Who doesn’t want to slay the monster?”

    The street lights glow through the small windows. There’s a few days before the full moon, and the wolf inside me sleeps. But in sleep, he stirs. It’s the gun, the proximity of death. The wolf wants to live. I’ve always hated the wolf inside but when I look at this man I look at something I hate more. The wolf is not a monster to be locked away inside me. The nights of the full moon are no longer to be feared.

    I flare my nostrils and breathe deeply until I have his scent.

    Those runes tattooed on his cheeks won’t save him.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: THE NOISES ON THE OTHER SIDE by E.F. Olsson {Short Flash} | The Ghost Stories of E. F. Olsson

  12. Marcella Rickliefs rubbed her pounding temples. A cacophony of sounds belched out of her basement as though the underside of the house had a bad case of indigestion. She’d begged her son’s band to practice anywhere but the basement, but to no avail.

    With all that racket downstairs, they’d better become world famous before the age of thirty.

    She sighed and reached for a small, clear plastic, rectangular case. Inside, six bright orange blobs lay in neat rows on a piece of clear plastic backing. She peeled one off, rolled it between her thumb and fore finger and then smooshed it into her left ear. She followed suit with a second blob and her right ear.

    “Ahhh…that’s better.”

    She grabbed the Tylenol and begged it to cure her pounding headache. She had a sermon to practice. As associate pastor at her husband’s church, she sometimes filled in for her husband. He was out of town at a conference, so she was leading the service the next day. She envied him the silence he got to enjoy.

    With the medication in her system, she went into the living room to read over the sermon she’d written. The floor vibrated and even her ear plugs couldn’t keep out a screech from a guitar. A shudder tingled down her spine as she opened her laptop.

    “Sounds like they’re skinning cats or something,” she muttered. “That poor guitar.”

    She’d entertained the idea of having her son and his band learn some worship music, but every time they practiced their heavy metal noise, she changed her mind. Jimmy already played piano at church, that would have to do. She made a mental note to have him practice his music that night.

    She started reading, trying to focus more on the words and less on the dying animal sounds coming out of her basement. Then, something brushed her shoulder. She nearly dropped the laptop when she jumped and scrambled to catch it as it slid from her lap.

    She yanked the ear plugs out, breath heaving in her chest. Jimmy grinned down at her, blue eyes mischievous. His arms snaked around her in a hug and she smiled.

    “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. The guys are heading home.”

    She nodded, rubbing her still-throbbing temples. “All right. Practice for church tomorrow.”

    He groaned. “Do I have to?”

    “Do you want Margaret to hit you again?” She was referring to the nun that ran the music portion of services. She wasn’t afraid to whack any of the musicians if they didn’t perform to her standards.

    “Fine. But after can I work on stuff for the band?”

    She hoped he didn’t see her cringe. “Sure. But church first.”

    He sat down at the piano in the living room and she smiled. The ear plugs sat forgotten on the wooden coffee table as the sweet sounds of a hymn filled the room. She glanced skyward and begged God to soundproof the basement before the next band rehearsal.

    498 words

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites 1 x 44 : The Remedy | My Soul's Tears

  14. I let the police deal with gathering evidence from her apartment, and find her car. I let them do their job, and try to figure out who’d last seen her alive, where she’d been, what she was doing, who she was with.

    That information wouldn’t lead anywhere. It seldom did. I had to do something different. Something only an Armor could do. Something only I could do.

    I started by visiting the people she worked with. The man who sat in the cube next to hers. What do you do when your computer stops what it’s doing, and asks, “When was the last day Darla came to work?” He turned the screen off, then back on. The question remained. He turned the computer off, then on. Still, the question remained, even on the login screen. He unplugged the computer, and the question showed up on a sheet of paper that landed on his keyboard. He got up, went to the restroom, and the question was written on the mirror he looked into. He gave up. He typed “Last Thursday”.

    The question changed, “Did she have a date that night?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Who might know?”


    “Thank you.”

    The questions stopped.

    They started again on Debbie’s computer. “Did Darla have a date last Thursday?”

    Debbie stared at her screen.

    “Debbie, did Darla have a date?”

    She looked around.

    “This is not a prank.” I paused a moment, then continued, “You know Darla’s been murdered, don’t you?” Her expression showed she didn’t. “Oh. Sorry.”

    Debbie stared at her screen, and spoke, “She hasn’t been at work for days.”

    “I know.”

    “She doesn’t answer her phone, or text messages, or email.”

    “She’s dead, Debbie. The police are looking for who did it.”

    “Are you the police?”

    “No.” I paused. “Debbie. Did she have a date last Thursday night?”

    Debbie nodded.


    “Her boyfriend.” Debbie whispered, “Tyler. I don’t know his last name.”

    “Thank you, Debbie.”

    “Is she really dead?”

    “Yes.” I added Mrs. Whitson’s phone number. “Her mother’s phone number. Call.”

    I left Debbie’s cube, but I wasn’t done yet. I found Darla’s desk, opened a storage door on my armor, pulled out the pink rose I’d stored there, and set it on the desk, with a card that read, “You are missed,” and had the date, time, and location of the memorial service Mrs. Whitson was planning.

    I watched as Debbie and the man found their way to Darla’s cube. I watched as word spread like it always does. Phone calls were made. People cried. Chaos ensued. And with all that racket, no one noticed the door of the building open and close by itself.

    444 Words

    Liked by 2 people

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