#FlashMobWrites 1×48

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Forty-Eight

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 song and video tickled my funny bone. If you aren’t acquainted with Skylar Gudasz and her wry humor, enjoy this first time on us…

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: “marry someone who”

Ruth Long: “drink your whiskey neat”

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

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58 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×48

  1. Bobby

    I’ve rarely paid much attention to the workings of the human mind, especially my own. We breathe, walk, sleep, eat, make love, and think. We do these simple things because they are what humans do.

    Listening to Gabi, it occurred to me that the assumption that Hap Granger was the only witness to the last reported sighting of Hazel Twigg had missed one possible variable. What if someone had been watching Hap Granger…or…watching Hazel Twigg? Or both?

    A bit of café commotion disrupted my reverie. Gabi went to check it out and returned.

    “A big city, bad news story, I’m afraid.” She hugged herself, seeking some self-solace, as she relayed that a radio report has announced that the day had begun with a devastating fire at the luxurious La Salle Hotel in Chicago.

    The death toll was mounting.

    Though a far-flung incident, Gabi remembered Hazel once telling her that she and Ace had stayed at the La Salle in the early twenties on a promotional tour. “It was one of her happier moments. She loved that hotel…and Chicago.”

    Quick to match Gabi, I confessed my somewhat embarrassing visit to the La Salle. My father, a member of the Prohibition Party, had taken me to that temperance-greedy group’s National Convention in the humid summer of 1928.

    “It’s a good thing they never met, Woody,” Gabi eked out a smile. “Hazel would have gone nose to nose with your father and his cronies, told them, drink your whiskey neat or not at all but leave the rest of us alone.”

    Quarry, a Chicagoan, threw in, “Never ever stepped inside. Too rich for my blood.” He likely was enjoying the revelation of my prohibitionist roots and maybe thinking he now knew why I had taken to the rails.

    Whatever had ignited the fire at the La Salle, we had more immediate fish to fry.

    Quarry quizzed Gabi. “This…premonition about Bobby. Based in any fact?”

    She shook her head. “No, it’s just…he’s the kind of kid you barely notice, right.” I nodded, having once considered just such a kid. “But you wonder about him, about a kid like that…and Luci, my friend, Luci Squires, she’s mentioned that every so often she has sensed someone following her…and she thought it might be Bobby.”

    “So a lonely young gaffer follows the ladies? Has he ever…done something?”

    She shook her head.

    “We’ll go talk to him, Gabi,” Quarry finally said. “We need to find him alone. I don’t suppose you know his schedule?”

    She shook her head again.

    “We’ll run out to the camp. He was there a couple of days ago.”

    We were silent on the way out to the camp. As it came into view, I saw movement by the gate.

    Bobby Granger was on duty.

    “Howdy, Bobby, “Quarry buttonholed the boy. “Remember us?”

    “Yes sir, I do.”

    “Good. We wanted to talk. About Hazel.”

    “Can’t, sir.”

    “Have to, soldier.”

    “My father…”

    “Can’t do your thinking for you…”

    Bobby Granger crumbled to the earth.

    500 tears in the dust
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The job.

    “You’re the kind that drinks your whiskey neat?” It was barely a question, more like a statement. The barman himself had the look of a silver fox. Grey dusted his hair and mustache. “You boys watch your selves now,” he said as he moved two Whiskeys to Hank and Phil.

    They both swigged them down in one and were instantly glad of the flush of courage.Turning his back to them to put their money in the till they both reached into their coats and each pulled out a gun.

    “Put all the money in the bag and no one gets hurt,” Phil said. The barman in turn just sighed.

    “Who’s turn is it?” He looked around the bar, the two guys in the corner tried to avoid eye contact and the blonde on the bar stool swore under her breath. “Come on you all know the rules.”

    Both Hank and Phil cocked their guns and Phil this time shouted, “money bag,” but he was cut off by a raised finger.

    “Just be a moment boys,” he said as he looked at his patrons. ” Adam, Burt?”

    “Drug pusher last week, and that guy that tried to wreck the one armed bandit.” The barman turned and looked at the the girl.

    “Fine, I’ll do it,” she said as she got off her chair. “Ok, here’s how it’s going to happen. You two will put the toys away and go back under what ever stone you crawled out from and we’ll forget all this? Please for me? I’m really not in the mood for this.”

    Hank swung his shotgun around and pointed at her. “Put the money in the bag NOW,” He screamed. The girl seamed to move in slow motion and, moving just as slow Hank’s finger squeezed the trigger.

    The gun cracked and her body folded and fell back.

    Panic welled up in him and his throat seamed to burn with the bile in it. He’d killed her.

    Reaching down he grabbed the bag from the bar and hurled it at the barman. “You’re next if you don’t fill the fu,” his voice froze as he saw something in the corner of his eye. The girl stood there, her top was shredded but on her there wasn’t so much as a mark.

    “Have you any idea how much that top cost?” Her voice dripped with anger. “I’m all burning up from that, what should I do with it?” the girls hand moved like quicksilver this time and grabbed Hank. Phil watched as his friend slumped onto the floor. Then the girl, moving just as fast, leaped and grabbed him and a feeling of intense pleasure flooded every fibre of his body.

    The police van sat with its doors open as the cops loaded two thugs with stupid grins on there faces into the back of it.

    The girl stood looking at a picture. Turning to the Sargent she said, “tell the commissioner Orgasma will be there..”

    486 words.

    Have a read of week 46’s story from me to catch up 🙂

    @laughingandy

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I stood in front of all my loved ones waiting for my beautiful bride to come up the centre aisle. I never noticed Hilda until a few months ago. No, that isn’t quite right; I noticed her but as one notices a chair or a table. Doesn’t sound too romantic does it? I admit it I chased after skirts and women who looked like centerfolds. I should have listened to my granny she told me there are two rules in life…drink your whiskey neat and date someone, oh excuse me…marry someone who would listen to me be a partner in life.
    Hilda was a loyal friend staying by me through thick and thin; until a year ago when she decided to quit me. Hilda left a message on my answer machine saying she didn’t want to see me anymore it was too hard. Dense, I wondered what I had done? Puzzled on went on with my life. I took supermodel Brandi to the most expensive restaurant there was only to see Hilda. Hilda had cut her red gold hair in a style that framed her face and wore a red dress that fitted her well-endowed body to a tee. Where had she hid that figure? I watched as this man she was with pulled out her chair and brushed his arm across her breast ‘by accident.’ I wanted to punch him out; how dare he touch Hilda. My date noticed my fixation and walked out on me and I continued to nurse my whiskey. Soon I was drunk and found myself going over to Hilda’s table and punching her date out.
    After a night in a cell I hoped Hilda would forgive me but she still wouldn’t answer the phone. I dropped in on my granny who told me in all kinds of language that I was a fool. I’d end up alone and that I loved Hilda. She said I had to prove myself worthy of Hilda showing her that I would treat her like a queen. I followed granny’s advice and as I said I’m standing here in front of everyone waiting for Hilda. I wait and wait and soon granny’s cell phone rings and she walks over to me. Jokes on me; Hilda had a better offer. The guy I punched out? He is the man she loves now; they ran off to Vegas and they were married this morning. I had my chance all those years and I pushed love away. I’ve learned my lesson I’m going to try to be last shallow from now on…less self-oriented. Aw, who am I kidding? I was consoled by the maid of honor in a closet, two minutes after the bad news. a year later I saw Hilda pushing a baby carriage with her new husband and for a moment I was jealous. But then I saw she gotten fat and I remembered my new motto… Love the one you’re with and I picked up the barista at Starbucks.
    500 words
    @SweetSheil

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Unsolicited Advice

    Bunny arrived in a flurry of brilliant smiles and designer clothes.

    Barlow saluted his wife with the raised tumbler and tossed back the whiskey sour. “Best advice I can give, Yee, is to marry someone who pleasantly aggravates you.”

    Loveline shook her head. “Managed to avoid that particular institution this long, why flirt with it now?”

    He grinned. “If you say so.”

    Bunny linked arms with Loveline. “I bet him a week in the Bahamas you’d turn up tonight.”

    “A bet I wasn’t sorry to lose,” Barlow said, standing to kiss Bunny’s cheek. “Perhaps you can talk Yee into joining us for a week of sand and sun while I give Corrine congratulations and goodbyes.”

    Bunny settled into Barlow’s stool. “Say you’ll come with us. You and a guest. I’m dying to drag you out of that shop and I won’t take no for an answer.”

    “Tempting but I’m afraid I can’t. Only four weeks left to prepare for Corrine’s next showing – mine. Plus, I have an unexpected house guest.”

    “Do tell,” Bunny said, leaning forward in anticipation.

    “Not that kind! Reason I was so late tonight is that on the way here I found an abandoned puppy in the dumpster behind Palmetto’s. Little guy was tore up and half-starved but the vet over on 5th says he’ll be good as new in a couple days.”

    A flash of anger marred the perfection of Bunny’s tranquil blue eyes. “I hope they find the bum who did this and punish him.”

    Jim returned and slid an arm around his wife’s waist. “That’s the beauty of it, sweetheart. Yee already ferreted him out and busted his chops. Well, more correctly his skull and his manhood.”

    Bunny clasped Loveline’s wrist. “I hope that monster doesn’t get the puppy back.”

    “He won’t. Soon as Fisticuffs is cleared to go home, most likely Thursday, I’m taking charge of him.”

    “That’s wonderful,” Bunny said, drawing her into a hug. “I’ll bring over a welcome home package. Say, Friday morning.”

    “Friday would be perfect.”

    “Come on, Sunshine,” Barlow said, reaching for Bunny’s hand. “We have reservations at Saison in thirty minutes.”

    Bunny kissed Loveline’s cheek. “I’ll see you Friday at 10.”

    Barlow nodded to Loveline. “Have the vet send his bill to my accountant tomorrow and he’ll have a check by the end of the day.”

    She frowned. “That’s not necessary.”

    “Until you unveil the new collection and get back on your feet, I’m determined to act as your unsolicited benefactor.”

    Sighing, she watched the Barlows leave before glancing at the plate of cold salmon. Not so appetizing now.

    She could stop by the salvage yard and horn in on some chicken biryani and sweet rice. If Ari was home. But he was still out of town on business. Which was damn aggravating. And try as she might, she couldn’t come up with one pleasant thing about it.

    – – – – –
    492 ineligible WIP words
    @bullishink

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Arrangements

    “Hmm, right. Let’s start with tea in a to-go cup so I can make sure to get Svanhild and Bart on their way.” Kate smiled as she rose.

    “A to-go cup, ma’am?” Balder stood as well, much steadier than he’d been on the porch.

    “Yep. Tiffany, you can stay here with me and tell me what’s going on with you while Balder goes with the others.” Kate’s voice grew distant.

    Or Svanhild’s hearing was going because she swore the Morukai shaman just said she’d take a former Sword of God assassin with her.

    She shot a look of surprise at Bart, who scowled but shrugged, before she made her leaden feet move toward the kitchen.

    “I’m sorry, my lady, did you say the Sword of God would be coming with us?”

    Kate paused in pouring a big paper to-go cup of tea. “Yes. Well, more specifically you rather than Bart, but Bart’s driving, so yeah.”

    Svanhild gaped at Kate. “Why?”

    Kate laughed as she fit the lid to the cup. “Because it’s raining out there and he needs a ride back to where he’s staying.” She handed the cup to Svanhild who took it without thinking. “And he needs your help.”

    “My help? What for?”

    “For adjusting back into a community.” Kate lost her smile. “He’s been alone for a long time.”

    “So have I, my lady.”

    “Then this will be the perfect opportunity for you both to make a new friend in a town of strangers.” Kate gestured for her to go back to the living room. “Think of this like when you marry someone who you’ve only known for a few hours. People do it in Vegas all the time. It can turn out to be the best relationship ever.”

    Svanhild gulped. “Marry? As in vows before the Goddess?”

    “No vows needed. Just the willingness to help each other.” Kate patted her shoulder as they rejoined the others. “Now then, Balder. Svanhild has your tea and will drop you anywhere you need to go.”

    Balder looked like he’d seen a ghost. Well, another, more surprising ghost, maybe. His gaze switched between Svanhild and Kate, tension holding his shoulders.

    “I’m to go with her, ma’am?”

    Despite sharing his reservations, Svanhild couldn’t help feeling a little hurt at his hesitancy.

    “Yes, it’s a long, wet walk back to town and she and Bart are headed that direction.” Kate nodded and gestured for him to follow Svanhild and Bart as she pushed them out the door. “Don’t worry about Tiffany. I’ll make sure she gets back to your place.”

    “But—”

    “You can get better acquainted since you’ll both be here awhile. You can trade non-vital statistics like if you drink your whiskey neat, or make your bed every morning, or prefer Coke to Pepsi. That sort of stuff.” Kate grinned despite the blank look on Balder’s face. “Off you go now. Have fun, you crazy kids.” And she shut the door behind them.

    493 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 3 people

  6. On The Job:

    Barkley set his large flashlight atop the shadowy tombstone next to him. He rubbed his calloused hands together. His fingers felt stiff. September nights made for hard digging, but it was worth it. He preferred the nice summer evenings, especially after a rain when the ground was soft like pudding.

    “Well?” Barkley said as he lit his last cigarette. He reminded himself to stop by the shop later.

    Evans heaved out another shovel load of dirt. His round face was coated with mud and bits of root. “Well, this is hard work. For only one person.”

    “It’s always hard work,” Barkley said. He fastened the top button on his coat. That felt a little better. Four feet of digging was hard in cold weather, but they were making progress. He hoped it wouldn’t take too long. He had a long night of smoking and drinking ahead of him, with Evans.

    “Get in here,” Evans said as he stepped aside with his shovel gripped in his meaty fist. “If you want to earn your cut, you’ll help with the last bit.”

    Barkley thought that was fair enough. He slid into the grave and proceeded to dig. They shoveled in silence. They preferred it that way. Music made the job too sunny.

    “What do you think we’ll be doing in five years,” Barkley asked as he worked.

    “Married, perhaps,” Evans said. His shovel finally hit something solid.

    “I think you’ll marry someone who will love doing this with you,” Barkley said as he bent over and shoved the dirt and rocks away from the corner padlock.

    “Yeah, maybe,” Evans said, “Well, you didn’t want to mix love and work.”

    “I’m a purist,” Barkley said with a smile. He smacked the lock with the shovel head a few times until the cheap steel sheared in half. “I don’t go for hairy guys.”

    The nearly buried coffin stirred. Evans crawled out of the shallow grave as Barkley tended to business. He stood on the exposed coffin end as a rotted hand shot out from the side. Long crooked fingers waved around and clawed at the earth.

    “Hold on there,” Barkley shouted as the lid bounced up and down under his weight. “You know the price. Fifty, or you’re staying in there!”

    The hand withdrew. After a moment it slowly reemerged with a wadded bank note in its hand. Barkley snatched the money away and scrambled out of the grave as a tall ghoul burst out from its coffin and stood mostly erect. It reached into its body cavity and pulled out a little pistol. Evans dusted his pants as the ghoul looked at them both, undeadly grateful, and began to shamble away to join the fight again.

    “Same price next week,” Barkley said aloud.

    Evans gathered his tools as Barkley snuffed out his cigarette.

    “How about one more before dawn,” Evans said with a wink, “What do you say?”

    485 words
    @jasonlefthand

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites 1 x 48 : I’m So Happy I Could Die | My Soul's Tears

  8. They got in Charlie’s car and Charlie turned it on. The satellite radio started playing the song from the bar, and Darla’s voice kept singing along with it. Charlie changed the station, then changed it again, and again. Every station had the same song. Darla was everywhere.

    Charlie turned the radio off. Bob stared at him, “She’s come back to get us, hasn’t she?”

    “There’s no such thing as ghosts!” Charlie put the car in gear, looked over his shoulder, and backed out of the parking space. When he put the car in drive and looked out the front windshield, Darla was standing there, pointing at him and Bob.

    The look on their faces was priceless. “Remember, Charlie. There’s no such thing as ghosts,” I chuckled. “God, I love holograms.”

    Charlie ran over Darla. Bob turned whiter than snow. Neither of them realized I was in the back seat, trying not to laugh, waiting until the first stoplight for my next move. It came soon enough.

    I did have to wonder what they thought, sitting at that stop light, watching Darla drive by in car after car. Watching her sit in the driver’s seat of the car behind them as she pointed an accusing finger at them, and mouthed the silent words, “You murdered me.”

    Bob wet himself.

    Charlie bit his tongue hard enough to draw blood.

    Darla was everywhere they looked on the drive. Bob gave up, closed his eyes, and put his hands over them. Charlie drove, and was stuck seeing her everywhere. I wasn’t the least bit sorry for torturing them the way I did. I planned to torture them endlessly until the ghost of Darla forced them to confess to their actions.

    The drive ended when they reached Charlie’s place. “Finally,” Charlie mumbled. Bob excused himself, and headed to the bathroom to clean up. Charlie went to his kitchen, pulled out a bottle of whiskey. He called out to Bob, “You drink your whiskey neat, right?” Bob answered yes, so Charlie poured two shots, neat and carried them to the main room. He grabbed the remote, and switched on the power for his entertainment system.

    Charlie picked a channel from the online guide that was showing a favorite movie of his. He sat on his sofa, and pushed the play button.

    And was greeted by Darla’s hidden burial site in the woods, displayed in full color, in high resolution, on his 70 inch screen, accompanied by the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind, the birds singing now and then.

    Charlie sat there. He couldn’t move. He stared at the screen. The remote fell to the carpet.

    Bob finished what he was doing, and returned to the room to see the same scene.

    That’s when Darla showed up on the TV. She stood next to her shallow grave. “You did this to me,” she whispered. “I’ll never leave you alone.” She looked out from the screen, “You stole my life. Now I’m stealing yours.”

    497 Words
    @LurchMunster

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Time Called

    500 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    “What sort of pub is this?” Barry asked, looking around at the yellow-stained walls.

    “Spit and sawdust,” said Carl, hawking up an addition to the décor. There was nobody around to notice.

    Wooden stools sat empty, dirty glasses dotted filthy tables; the last remaining thin rays of daylight struggled to gain entry through grime-smeared windows.

    “Perhaps we should go elsewhere,” said Barry, studying the skeletal array of optics.

    “A bet’s a bet. Every pub we said,” replied Carl. He noticed his friend’s preoccupied expression. “What’s wrong?”

    “This place. I mean I’ve never noticed it before.”

    Carl shrugged. “It’s just out of our way,” he said, untroubled about his own lack of awareness.

    “Evenin’ Gents. What’s your poison?”

    The sudden appearance of the landlord caused them both to jump. He had placed two grubby tumblers and a bottle of scotch in front of them before they had a chance to answer.

    “On the house,” said the landlord. “A small tradition I keep when welcoming new regulars.”

    A gurgling sound came up from somewhere below them.

    “Excuse me lads, I need to change a few barrels. Give me a shout if you need anything else. I’ll be in the cellar.”

    They watched in silence as he disappeared; puzzled as to how he could give booze away when trade seemed to be so dire.

    “Free drinks, eh?” said Barry. “And if you drink your whiskey neat, you won’t catch anything.”

    Carl smiled and poured out a slug each. He knocked it back, trying hard not to think about the filmy residue on the glass, the hundreds of other mouths that had drunk from the same vessel.

    Regulars? thought Carl, considering the landlord’s words. Whatever made him think they’d become that? Then again, this whiskey …

    He looked down at his glass, it had been refilled.

    “Cheers, Baz,” he said, chinking his friend’s tumbler.

    They smiled, emptied their glasses and again, once more, the tumblers were refilled; this time by an unseen hand. Neither noticed.

    “How many pubs left?” asked Barry.

    “Dunno,” said Carl. “What say you we give it a miss and just stay here for the evening?”

    “Mmm, don’t get this stuff everyday. Must be the town’s best kept secret.”

    “True, lads,” said the landlord, reappearing. “And now it’s our little secret. Perhaps you’d be interested in seeing my humble distillery?”

    “Why not?” said Carl, smiling at their amiable host, feeling a sudden thirst for more of the golden nectar. Down there, he could have as much as he wanted, down there he would be sated.

    By now daylight had crept away leaving the bar behind them in complete darkness but their eyes were focussed on the cellar and saw nothing else.

    ***

    The landlord busied himself with his work, pausing only when he heard footsteps overhead. He returned to the bar.

    “Evenin’ ladies,” he said. “What’s your poison?”

    They giggled as he placed two filthy glasses and a bottle of scotch in front of them. He was doing good trade tonight.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Finger on the Pulse of The Rich and Famous

    “Let’s see, today was pretty normal. I had an actress, a singer and a couple of normal people too. Nothing notable”

    Sheila wrinkled her nose. It did seem like a normal day. “Who was the actress?”

    “I think she was on a couple of Love Boat episodes back in the seventies. Darla something-or-other.”

    “What’d she come in for?”

    “Her heart.” Hank yawned. Her husband was always tired when he got home and eager to get in the shower to wash off the smell of his work. Sheila knew if she didn’t get any leads from him now he’d be too tired or disinterested in revisiting his work day to share more than he was allowed to.

    “What about the singer?”

    “Yea. I knew him off the bat.”

    Sheila’s pulse quickened. Hank was unplugged from the entertainment world, so if he recognized the person, it had to be a big name “Who?”

    “The fella who sang that one song. You know the one.”

    She started rifling through the Rolling Stone covers she’d catalogued in her memory.

    He cleared his throat, “Da, da, da, dum Family Auto Mart, it’s where the wheelin’ and dealin’ starts.” Hank smiled, pleased with himself. “You know that guy. The one from the commercials.”

    Her stomach sank. Of course this would be the notable person that Hank would remember. Living in the middle of Hollywood, surrounded by celebrities and her husband got excited by the used car salesman.

    He shook off his jacket and kissed her on the cheek, heading for the bathroom. “If it makes you happier, he at least came in with a pain pill overdose,” Hank offered.

    Normally this would have been just the morsel of information she’d want to know, but a local TV commercial spokesperson didn’t have the cache anyone would be interested in gossiping about. Oscar winners, and nationally known celebrities were ideal. Even a celebutante would do if they were notorious enough. Today she’d have to settle with Darla something-or-other.

    Sheila waited until Hank was out of the room before picking up the phone and speed dialing the number she’s conspicuously labeled Dry Cleaner.

    “Sheila?” came the voice on the other end of the phone. She never met him in person, only seen his organization’s name on the checks that came in the mail.

    “Slow day,” she started. “You remember the actress Darla from the Love Boat?”

    “I can look her up.” Sheila could hear his keyboard already clicking on the other end of the phone.

    “Yea, heart failure.”

    “Hmmm. That’s it?”

    “Yes.”

    “Well, there’s always tomorrow,” the voice said, before hanging up.

    Sheila sighed. She thought her journalism degree would lead to more than being a tabloid informant. She also thought marrying someone who had daily access to celebrities as a technician at the L.A. County Coroner’s office would have generated more leads than this.

    476 words
    @BradyTheWriter

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Soul Mates

    Leigh tilted her head back as far as it would go against the chair, closed her eyes, and tried to breathe. Her chest hurt. Her stomach hurt. Even the ends of her hair hurt.

    “This is what happens when you drink your whiskey neat,” she groused. The massive hangover was no one’s fault but her own. Coffee hadn’t touched it. She’d done the right thing, having him arrested. Every shred of evidence pointed to Smoke. Brian Jenner, USMC. Honorable discharge. Marine Force Recon. Explosive Ordinance Device technician. He could disarm a bomb faster than he could build one.

    What made a man turn bad? He’d been a hero. Had medals to prove it. But after leaving the Corps, he’d drifted. Gotten in with the Nightriders. They were… She felt like she was falling, spinning out of control so she returned her head to a normal position and opened her eyes. The room continued to spin as she stared at the man sitting much too close.

    “And here I thought we were friends.”

    Even as that drawling, arrogant voice made her jerk her head hard enough to elicit a whimper, tendrils of need curled through her body.

    “Not even close.” Anger. She could use it as a defense.

    A slow blink, a quirked mouth. He didn’t even touch her and she was hot for him. “Guess that means we’re more.”

    Wait? “More?”

    “Yes, Leigh. More. You think I don’t want a relationship? Something permanent?”

    “Something permanent? What? Like boyfriend-girlfriend? Marriage? Give me a break, Smoke.”

    “I plan to give you a lot of things, Leigh, but a break isn’t one of them.”

    She forced her brain to think around the headache and the awareness gathering low in her center. In self-defense, or curiosity, she pushed. “You don’t seem the type, you know.”

    “Type?”

    “Yeah, to marry. Someone who would settle down with one woman. You are the type who would screw his way through every woman in the room.”

    He laughed, the sound like dark chocolate teasing her tongue, and she craved him like he was a hot brownie covered in ice cream. She was in so much trouble.

    “What would you say to the fact that when I meet the right woman, I will take her—only her. Now. Always.”

    Right woman? What, you mean like your soul mate?”

    Red lights glinted in the depths of his brown eyes and she wondered how—why—he seemed so wild, so untamed?

    His eyes shuttered and he looked like he wanted to eat her with a spoon. He traced her cheekbone and then her jaw with the tip of one finger. “Something like that.”

    She closed her eyes as he dipped his head, knowing what was coming but unprepared for the sensation that arrowed through her, from her lips straight to her sex. He devoured her mouth, sucking, nibbling, invading. He wasn’t kissing her, he was conquering her. He whispered one word against her skin.

    “Mine.”

    And God help her, she was.
    ***
    500 #TeamSmoke words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I slid onto a wooden barstool, my nose burning with the heady, sour scent of whiskey. I turned to my friend Mike and wrinkled my nose.

    “How can you drink your whiskey neat?”

    His glass thunked onto the bar. Around us, the din of conversation rumbled through The Tavern, Buxton, Iowa’s most popular bar. Footsteps followed the creaking of the old wooden door that separated the entryway from the bar. The muffled click of high heels hurried by, a cloud of apple-scented perfume in its wake.

    “What’cha drinking tonight?” Mitchell, the bar’s owner, asked.

    “Cider Boys,” I said. I never could get a taste for regular beer.

    Liquid sloshed in Mike’s glass before it thunked onto the bar. “Cider Boys? You buy that all the time.”

    “Sue me,” I retorted.

    He laughed. He’d been here a while and gotten a head start on me.

    “Give him a break, Mike. He’ll get to the hard stuff later. By the way, the band starts in ten minutes.”

    “Who’s playing tonight?” I asked. I sucked down a quarter of the citrusy beer, then set it on the bar.

    “Cadillac Ranch,” he said. “Little jazz band from over in Monroe. Think you’ll like ’em.”

    The outside door opened on a gust of frigid Iowa winter wind. Japanese Cherry Blossom body spray invaded my senses and I smiled. The sleeves of a puffy black coat wrapped around me and soft lips kissed my neck.

    “Hey,” Adriana said. She bumped my hip with hers and I laughed. “We gonna nurse the bar all night or get a table?”

    Mike stood, the floor creaking under his feet. “I’m going to grab a table. Brandon and Lenny are here, too.”

    “Mitchell!” I hollered. “Can I get a whiskey sour, please?”

    “I knew you’d come around. I’ll run it out. Adriana, what you want?”

    She ordered the same and then we wound our way through crowded tables, scooting this way and that. Since I had no peripheral vision, Adriana made sure I didn’t collide with anyone. Sinking into a cold pleather seat, I shivered. Adriana shrugged out of her coat, the feathers inside rustling as she draped it over a chair.

    “Two whiskey sours,” Mitchell said. “Right in front of you, Jim. And what for you guys?”

    “I’ll take another neat whiskey,” Mike said.

    The others ordered beer. The thump of a drum drew the attention of the crowd, which quieted. Footsteps pounded the small wooden stage.

    “Good evening, Buxton! We are Cadillac Ranch from Monroe, Iowa.” The singers raspy voice echoed in the mic. “This is a new tune off our latest album, which you can buy tonight. This one’s called Envy.”

    The snare drum snapped in quick time, a cymbal ringing on the off beats. The singer’s voice was deep and clear as he belted out the opening lyric. I grabbed Adriana’s hand and squeezed it.

    “Want to dance?”

    “Lead the way!”

    I finished my drink, then walked her to the small dance floor near the stage.

    @Aightball
    500 words

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “So do you actually hunt for your food?” I walk out of our washroom, already changed into my sleeping gown, combing my still-wet hair. Niklaus sits at the edge of the bed, removing his shoes. He’s already shirtless, and for a moment I falter. It’s only been a few weeks since the ceremony – feeding from me isn’t the only thing he hasn’t attempted.

    “Yes.” He smiles when he answers, apparently amused with me again. “Why so curious all of a sudden?” When he looks up at me, he notices the expression on my face and the color very obviously rising in my cheeks. “Sorry,” he reaches for a sleeping shirt, “Didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

    “Um, no – it’s okay. We’re married, right? I should be getting accustomed to this kind of thing.” Even though I never imagined I’d marry someone who needs to drink blood to survive. I walk over to him, still a bit nervous, but place my hand on his, stopping him from grabbing the shirt. “If you feel more comfortable…like this…then that’s fine.”

    “Are you sure?” His eyes are a strange mixture of wariness and concern. It’s obvious he’s doing what he can to appease me, practically walking on eggshells around me.
    I offer a nervous smile in response, and he lets go of the shirt.

    “Anyway,” I turn around, trying to muster the courage to ask my next question, “Will you take me hunting with you?”

    “What?” My question seems to shock him out of the awkwardness of the moment.

    “My mom – my real mom – used to take me hunting. I miss it.” When was the last time I held a crossbow? My stepmother frowned upon it so my dad never let me.

    “Ariella, I don’t…it’s not the same as when humans hunt. I doubt you want to see that.” He sits on the edge of his side of the bed. “Besides, it’s dangerous. I could hurt you if something goes wrong.”

    “So no more dangerous than every other day?” I pull the covers back on my side of the bed, busying myself with the motions of getting ready for bed. It’s not until I look back up at him that I notice the expression on his face. He looks guilty.

    “I’m sorry.” Niklaus looks away, turning his back to me. “I don’t think I’ve apologized yet, for what I’ve done to you…”

    Before I realize what I’m doing, I’m sitting on his side of the bed. In an unprecedented act of intimacy, I turn towards him and cup his cheek in my hand. Eyes wide, he simply stares at me. “You didn’t do this to me – the council did. They did this to us.”

    Niklaus’ smile is faint, but it’s there. He removes my hand from his cheek, holding it in both of his. “I don’t deserve your kindness.”

    “Just take me hunting and we’ll call it even.”

    He laughs at that, and the tension in the room finally dissipates.

    500 WIP words
    @katheryn_avila

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites – Growing Intimacy | Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction

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