#FlashMobWrites 1×49

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Forty-Nine

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

Tor Miller’s toe-tapping, “Now and Again.”

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: “I can’t stop”

Ruth Long: “staying home instead”

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


54 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×49

  1. I’m not sure if the idea hits me all at once, or if it’s been building. Angels haven’t crossed my mind since that stunt Marcus pulled to make me violent. It’s not like I enjoy thinking about it, either. Now, though, I can’t stop wondering how Marcus somehow convinced Max to help him piss me off. The angel did offer their help back when we first met, but I hadn’t believed them. After all, why would an angel help a demon? But they were willing to help Marcus – maybe I shouldn’t have judged them so quickly.

    When I get to the house, Marcus is leaning on his desk, eyes darting from the image of my mother in the mirror going about her day to some papers scattered about. It’s the first time I’ve seen him look even remotely overwhelmed.

    “You alright?” I put thoughts of angels on the back burner for now.

    “Yeah, just trying to find something. The boss came by with another assignment for you.” I bite back an annoyed response and let him continue. “I had the address for the place written down – ah!” He pulls out a sheet of folded up paper before walking over and handing it to me. “Here it is.”

    I barely glance at it before pocketing the note- the address had a name written underneath. “Another one?”

    “Yeah – he’s really been trying to make up the numbers we lost.” His voice doesn’t betray any emotion. This is the third new demon I’ll be collecting in the last couple of hours alone. It’s odd that Lucifer would send me but I don’t question it. As much as I’d like staying home instead, being out and about helps me think. Marcus doesn’t seem to mind being forced to watch over my family, either. “You should hurry – that one’s due in a few minutes.” He glances at the clock on the wall.

    “When I get back, I want to run something by you.” I start to make my way out of the room. “I have an idea for how to deal with my grandmother.”

    Instead of saying anything, he simply nods. Outside, I grab the slip from my pocket and look down at the address.

    Moments later, I’m standing in front of an abandoned building. Almost immediately, I can sense the other demon’s presence.

    “Hello? Joseph?” I walk through the threshold, its broken door hanging off the hinges. Without asking, I know that the man lying on the floor inside is Joseph. He’s dead, lying in a pool of his own blood, an angry gash across his neck. I wonder if he did that to himself, if that’ll be his mark.

    When his eyes snap open, I barely flinch.

    “Who are you?” He gives me a look of clear distrust. “Where’s Lucifer?”

    “Videl. And you probably won’t get to see him much, to be honest.” I try to smile. “If you’ll follow me, we’ll get you ready for your first assignment.”

    500 WIP words

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  2. Making Plans

    Balder shook his head. “I haven’t made plans for a long time, ma’am. I just arrived today and Tiffany insisted on visiting…this house. But it looks like I’ll be here for a while at least. How about you? Planning on staying?”

    “I’m here until my bike is fixed.”

    Bart shot her a look with raised eyebrows, but said nothing.

    Disappointment thumped Balder in the chest, but he ignored it. He owed these folks nothing except for the ride back into town, and Svanhild didn’t appear to want any reparation.

    “Oh, right. That makes sense.” Balder nodded as the truck slid through the rain and turned onto Main Street. “Maybe I’ll see you around town then.”

    What in the name of all that was holy was he saying? See her around town? Valkyries were warriors of legend, and had little interest in men except to take them someplace to die.

    She paused, her shoulder taut before she turned her head to look at him, her own eyebrows up. She opened her mouth to say something scathing, if he read her expression right. But all that came out was, “Yeah, maybe.”

    Surprise filtered through her face and hit him in the chest. Maybe? There’s hope, then. He almost shook his head in amazement, but curtailed the motion before he did more than move his chin.

    “I think Angelina is going to have a bake sale this weekend. The proceeds benefit the shelter.” He’d seen the flyer on the bulletin board in the lobby. “Perhaps if you have time off from the shop you could come down to help us out? You, too, Bart. I’m sure Angelina would appreciate any help with set up and sale.”

    Where the hell were these words coming from? I can’t stop talking. He’d never been particularly chatty or social, but now he couldn’t seem to be quiet.

    “I might be able to drop by to set up and take down.” Bart nodded as he pulled the truck up in front of the shelter. “You let Angelina know I’m available. Won’t be able to stay all day or all weekend, but I can help move stuff around.”

    “I don’t know if I’ll have time—”

    “Aw, come on, Svanhild, you can’t be stayin’ home instead of helpin’ out the Shelter. The whole town pitches in for the kids and the homeless adults.” Bart threw the truck in park. “Besides, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and it becomes a party in town. You can’t miss that.”

    “Memorial Day? What’s that?”

    Bart blinked in surprise as Balder gaped. She didn’t know about Memorial Day?

    “Memorial Day, you know, when we honor those military service members who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice?”

    Svanhild frowned. “You mean honoring dead warriors for their actions in battle?”

    “Yeah. I figured you’d know that holiday better than anyone, bein’ a Valkyrie and all.”

    She sat back in her seat and raised her chin. “How did you know that?”

    491 #WIP500 words

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  3. ‘Where are you staying?’
    ‘Instead of making a fool of yourself, stay here.’
    ‘Mum will kill me if I don’t stay.’
    Marcie shrugged. ‘Suit yourself. You know someone will be dead by morning.’
    ‘That’s stupid.’
    ‘It’s realistic. You left here without a goodbye, every hood and crook in town wants a piece of you, and your stepdad thinks you raped his daughter.’
    ‘Mum won’t…’
    ‘What? Give you away? Have you any idea what that woman has had to put up with since you left? Have you spoken to her since you went?’
    ‘Not much.’
    ‘How much?’
    Paul poured himself a glass.
    ‘Exactly. Do you want to know?’ Marcie waited. ‘No, you don’t, do you? Because what? You’ll kill that bastard if you know what he’s done? Because you’ll run away? No?’ She leant in close, sneering. ‘Surely I’m not seeing guilt on that callous face, am I?’ She snatched the glass from him. ‘Why are you here, Paul? Why now?’
    ‘Martin’s funeral.’
    ‘It’s not till next week. You aren’t staying till then, are you?’
    ‘I want to pay my respects, see the body and go. And check on mum.’
    Marcie wrapped him in a hug. ‘He missed you so much, you know. We couldn’t make him understand.’
    ‘He was a good kid.’
    ‘Ha! Forty-one and still a kid. Yes, I suppose.’
    ‘It was always expected, though, wasn’t it?’
    Marcie jerked her head back. ‘You don’t know?’
    ‘How he died?’
    Paul stood by the coffin. Grimes, the undertaker shuffled his feet and watched out of the window. The sooner the Scott boy left the better.
    They had tried to restore Martin’s face but it still looked crumpled. One blow Marcie said but it looked like more. Tears ran. If he’d stayed Martin would be alive; Mum wouldn’t be in a wheelchair; Marcie would be his, not the bitter shrew of last night; his step father wouldn’t run the town; and that lying bitch of a daughter wouldn’t have laid the result of her shagfest at his door.
    ‘Is the grave dug?’
    Grimes showed his surprise but nodded. He led the way. The grave was typical of the fens, deep and wide. A digger’s shelter stood nearby. Paul turned his back on Grimes and made for the shed. ‘Tell them, I’m here. We’ll finish it here and you can put us in with Martin. Save you some bother, eh?’
    He pulled out a stool, brushed off the dirt and sat down. He rested his piece on his left leg which twitched in anticipation.
    Word count 424

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  4. The call of the dark.

    The sound was the kind that made the hair on the back of the bravest neck stand up. The kind that nature told us to be fearful of because of what made it. An arm darted out and started to search for its source. It was not however, attached to the kind of person who was overly concerned about what was making it as stopping it and sleeping for a little longer.

    As it found the phone and, grabbing it, darted back under the covers. Seconds later it stopped and silence once again descended.

    Five painfully short minuets later the howl started again and the owner of the arm jumped at its sound. Once it was stopped again it’s occupant finally throw off the covers. “I’m up,” Brushing some of her black hair from her face she threw the phone onto the bed and went into the bathroom.

    An hour later the girl had dressed and was busily sorting out the contents of a large camera bag. Opening a box she unfolded the instructions. Turning to a stuffed zombie bear she said,” get a load of this. Many thank you for your honourable accusation of excellent Toho company flash. Maximum luminosity blah blah.” Placing it back in the box she checked the equipment once more before packing it all away again.

    The moon hung high in the sky over the little campsite she’d set up in ruins of the castle. A camera was busily whirling away as it’s timed exposure expired. A small camera with the monstrous flash attached to it sat near Jasmines sleeping bag. Next to that was her book full of notes on the pictures she’d been taking. Pale eyes drifted over the campsite.

    He moved silently as he looked down at Jasmine as she slept. In his age girls dressed more, coyly. He was at a loss to explain the thick souled, high heeled, boots that lay near her. Or for that matter the metal studs in her face or the tattoos. Females had obviously moved on from when he went into his coffin. But at least they still wore corsets.

    He let his teeth grow long in his mouth as he started to move closer to her sleeping form. Leaning down he smiled. “You should be staying home instead of coming here,” he said. His smiled grew wider as he could hear the wolves calling out into the night.

    “Ahh the children of the night what..”

    “Shaatupppp,” her arm darted out. Flailing around it searched. Then finding something it hit down hard..

    The air was filled with blinding light. The kind that he had not seen for many centuries. Falling back he let out a gasp as a branch pierced his chest. Fire boiled up in his blood and his ageless flesh crumbled into dust as death finally found him.

    Turning over Jasmine mumbled, “just five more minuets.” A gust darted around her little camp, blowing away the ashes of the fallen vampire.

    494 slightly silly words for your enjoyment.


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  5. Payback

    I watched her. Back and forth, her gait not quite a march. The odor of burnt toast wafted around her. I folded my arms across my chest, leaned a shoulder against the door jamb and waited. “Ah, Leigh?”


    Okay. That was a snarling demand, not a question. I was feeling brave so, in a low-pitched voice, I asked, “Wanna tell me why you’re pissed?”


    “Wanna stop pacing?”

    “I can’t stop!”

    Well, okay then. “Why not?”

    “I’m too pissed.”

    “Uh-huh.” Back to square one. “Wanna tell me why?”



    “Stop that.”


    Leigh threw her hands in the air but she stopped right in front of me. “My sister.”

    Yeah, family could make even the best of us nuts. “Okay. Wanna tell me about your sister?”

    “Oh, hell no!”



    A moment later, she leaned forward and her forehead bumped against my chest. I settled my arms around her back. Now that she was relaxing, I’d get the whole story. I didn’t have to wait long.

    “She wants me to meet her for dinner tonight.”

    That explained nothing. I made a noncommittal uh-huh sound.

    “Her and her fiancé.”

    “Uh huh.”

    “He’s…he’s…” She pushed off my chest, shrugged out of my hug, and started pacing again.

    “An asshole?”

    “Yes. A handsome, rich, obnoxious asshole.”

    “Uh huh.”

    “Shut up, Smoke. You do the same thing with that word as you do with—”

    “Babe.” Laughing, I ducked as a heavy glass bowl sailed at my head. I snatched it out of the air and set it on the table. “I don’t see a problem.”

    “That’s because you’re a man. Lindsey is my younger sister. She’s beautiful. Talented. And she’s engaged to one of the most eligible men in Dallas.”

    “Still not seein’ a problem, babe. You’re beautiful. Intelligent. And you’ve got me.”

    “You are not Jason. Wait…you think I’m beautiful?”

    “Babe.” I grabbed her before she could walk away and held her against my chest. “Yes. You’re gorgeous but it isn’t just your hot bod that has me hard.” I snagged her hand and pressed it against my erection. Damn that felt fucking amazing. “Maybe you should think about staying home instead.”

    She sighed softly and melted. “I wish. She wants to talk about her wedding. I’m maid of honor.”

    “Where and when?”


    “Where and when, babe? I’ll go with you.”

    “Oh…no, no, no.”

    I quirked an eyebrow. “You embarrassed to be seen with me?” I tried levity to keep from snarling.

    She rocked back. I think I caught her off guard. “You’d go?”


    An evil grin spread across her face. “Dressed like—” She waved her hands in my direction.
    I looked down. Leather biker boots. Black jeans. Black tee shirt. My cut. “Uh…yeah.”

    “Awesome!” She danced around the room, fist pumping, then cupped my face and laid a kiss on me. “Lindsey will be totally scandalized.”

    Shit. I’d just been played. I smiled. Evilly. Payback would be hell.
    498 #TeamSmoke words

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  6. The next shell exploded very close. It rattled the deep trench. Burns reached over and held his hand over his cup of tea as dust and rocks fell from the row of logs overhead. He had meant to sit somewhere else, but it would do no good if the bombs kept falling near. Dirt always coated everything.

    “That one might’ve taken out our left line,” Teddy remarked. He stretched his neck past the little nook of humanity he had built for himself. He built it just to pass the time. The earth was carved out, one spade full at a time, and the sides reinforced with bits of other wood either taken from the nearest village or reclaimed as incoming shells tore at the trench walls around him. He liked it. It was inviting, and all he really needed was a breakfast nook. A nook within a nook. The idea made him smile.

    “So what?” Burns said. He inspected his tea before he gulped the rest down. A few drops clung to his unkempt mustache. “That just means we’re gonna head over the top. You know that. Teddy, I can’t do it again. Not this time.”

    Teddy poured him another cup. “You’ve said that before. You go over the top, and then you show up at the same time every day for another long chat with me. What does that say?”

    There was shouting and sporadic machine gun fire from both flanks. Burns eyed his tea. Some dust had already settled on the surface.

    “It means I’m not lucky enough to be blown to pieces. I’m beginning to think that’s the only way I’ll get some rest around here.”

    Teddy pulled his collar closer around his neck. “We all need some time, but I choose I look at the good things in life. Tea, my little home here, and I only got shot once. That is something I can smile about.”

    “It looks like the sun is coming out,” Burns said as he cast his gaze to the sky. It was as though even the clouds were in a hurry to get away from the carnage that was about to happen. “I’m just waiting for the signal.”

    “Why don’t we just say ‘No, I reject this phony war’”, Teddy asked as he took another sip.

    There were three sharp whistle blasts. Burns tipped his cup and let the tea pour onto the damp ground. He got up and slung his rifle over his shoulder.

    “You coming?” Burns asked gruffly.

    “No, thank you,” Teddy said as he crossed his leg over the other, “I believe I’ll be staying home instead.”

    “Suit yourself,” Burns said as he joined the sullen line of soldiers trudging to the inevitable.

    Another shell dropped. And another. And another. Teddy sipped his tea and planned, in his head, a new expansion for his home.

    477 words

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  7. Night Witness

    Quarry and I helped Bobby Granger to his feet and shuffled him to a small canopy of shade next to the guard house. I grabbed a canteen of water from inside. Bobby took a hefty drink. “Thank you, sir,” he said.

    We waited in the mid-morning sun for him to get his bearings. Neither Quarry nor I wanted to let the moment escape. Bobby might not know a thing about Hazel Twigg’s disappearance but something was eating at the boy.

    “You better?” Quarry asked. You couldn’t see much of Hap Granger in his progeny. Bobby was thin, not much more than pale skin and wobbly bones tarnished with a haunted look. His eyes had the wary, frightened bug-eyed stare I had seen in raw recruits suddenly facing a mortar barrage.

    He nodded.

    “What age are you, boy?” Quarry began.

    “Eighteen, sir. Just…”

    Interesting, I thought. We had pegged him at about fifteen.

    “You know what we’re looking for?”

    “Sort of, sir.”

    “We want to know the truth about what happened to Hazel Twigg. We understand she was good to you, is that right?”

    “Sh… she was a nice lady. I can’t stop missing her. I try…but.”

    “So, Bobby, any idea what might have happened to her?”

    I was expecting a quick denial. Bobby genuinely looked uncomfortable with the question. Of course, he was young so it might be expected that any question from a stranger would be distressing.

    Quarry must have sensed it as well and pursued his query with a quick follow-up demand.

    “Bobby, Woody and I survived the war. We’ve seen the ugliest stuff that men can see. Whatever you know, or have seen…or maybe even have done, it doesn’t hold a candle to the horrors that we have witnessed, the things that we have done.” He paused briefly. “So if you know something about Hazel Twigg, it’s time to be a man, Bobby. It’s time for the truth.”

    The boy sat in the slight shade, staring up, captured by Quarry’s power, clearly mesmerized as much as I was by his call to disclose the truth. If there was an ounce of backbone in Bobby Granger, Quarry’s words would surely have an effect.

    Quarry extended his hand to the boy. Bobby grabbed hold. Quarry lifted him to his feet.

    They stood there, eye to eye, man to man.

    “Sometimes,” Bobby began, “I’d follow my father. Curious, you know…where he was going at night, what he was up to.”

    “What were you worried about, Bobby?” Quarry delved more deeply into Bobby’s torment.

    “At first, sir, it was because I didn’t understand why he wasn’t staying home instead of always going out…alone.”

    “He walks his dog, doesn’t he?”

    “No dog needs that much walking, sir.”

    “So,” continued Quarry, “did you come to understand what he was doing?”

    “Most nights, he’d just watch her.”


    “Yes sir, Mrs. Twigg.”

    “And the night she disappeared?”

    “He just watched, sir.”

    “Watched what…?”

    “Mrs. Twigg drive off in Sheriff Squire’s jeep, sir.

    500 words of revelation

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  8. I bolt to my feet, hear people talking to me, but I keep screaming. My fists are pumping, carrying me toward the exit of the hospital. If I can get home, everything will be okay.

    “Jimmy, you have to stay calm. Listen to me, hon. Just stay calm.”

    I whirl on Racheal from dispatch, the scissors at her throat. “Don’t fucking touch me!” I shout. “Don’t you fucking touch me.”

    Sean stalks toward me, his face hard. He stops short of Racheal, who trembles in my arms. “Let her go, Jimmy or I’m callin’ the cops.”

    I think about it a second and then shove her aside. Security tackles me, pinning me to the floor. I nearly drown in a sea of human bodies as people flood the area. Someone holds my hands together behind my back, as I kick at the people holding me down.

    “Get the restraints!”

    “Let me go!” I shout. “Let me go!”

    They pick me up, and in one swift motion put me on a bed and tie me down. I try to free myself, pulling on the straps over me.

    “I’m calling Dr. Mathias for a chemical restraint.”

    “We’re headin’ out.”

    Out? Out where?

    A second later a blast of cold air registers on my face. Belts tighten around my chest and legs. The inside of the ambulance is bright, warm, familiar. With a bit of a jerk, the rig starts into motion, the siren blaring. I’m trapped. I scream, sweating, panting. I need out.

    “Let me out,” I shout, as the walls close in on me. “Let me out!”

    Darkness drowns me without warning. When I blink my eyes open, I’m on the move again. Elevator doors trap me, walls threaten to suffocate me. My bed rolls into a room and I scream as they remove the restraints to put me into a different bed. Seeing an out, I swing at a tall, muscled man. I run, but someone yanks me back. I tear at my hair, pace. I try to get to the door, the window, anything, but I’m trapped.

    “Jimmy, it’s Dr. Mathias,” a voice says. I keep screaming, tearing my hair out. “Jimmy, I want you to take a deep breath.”

    “NO!” I scream as I tear at my hair. I’m trapped, trapped, trapped, trapped. “Let me out!”

    I run again, but the door’s blocked. I start pacing in a small circle, still screaming. I keep screaming, pacing, tearing. Scream, pace, tear. I can’t stop. I have to keep going. I hear a voice, this one worried but familiar. Turning toward the voice, I narrow my eyes.

    “Jimmy, it’s Coby.”

    “NO!” I scream.

    I run for him, my hands closing on his neck. He’s hurt me so much the last week. I squeeze his neck, he gasps for air. He raises his hands, I squeeze harder, and then he grabs me, pinning us both to a wall. Something pokes my left arm.

    492 words (excerpt from novel)

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  10. Keeping It Classy

    Ari leaned against the bolt bin shelf. “May as well call it a day. The Alfa Romeo job cancelled.”

    Gus glanced up from a bin. “What happened?”

    “Guy started backing out soon as he saw me.”

    “I told you to stop wearing that ugly jacket.”

    “Wasn’t the jacket.”

    “Wow. That’s surprising.”

    “Guess I was too ethnic.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “Client made it clear he’d rather give his hard earned money to someone who looked less likely to have terrorist cell ties.”

    “You still got his address?”

    “Yes, but I don’t think you can’t talk him out of it.”

    “Who said anything about talking,” Gus said, reaching for an oversized wrench.

    “I appreciate the sentiment but I don’t want you mixed up with the law on my behalf. You get into enough scrapes on your own. Think I’ll head over to Loveline’s and see if -”

    “- don’t bother. She’s one with the welder tonight. In full-on creative mode.”

    Ari sighed and eyed the skyline, where gulls circled tourists on the pier.

    “Look, why don’t you come over to my place for dinner,” Gus said, closing the bin. “Ennis’ brothers pulled some fresh crab today and we’re going to cook them on the beach.”

    “Okay. I can have the wheels on the Triumph in less than an hour.”

    “Don’t bother. I picked up Ennis’ Cutlass this morning. Dudes out at Milligan’s redid the top. We can put that baby down and enjoy a nice ride up along the shore on the way home.”

    “You gave your Cutlass to your girl?”

    “Hell no. Bought her a 1970 cherry red convertible last year. Wait until you see the upholstery she did for it. Pearl tuck and roll.”

    “Forgot she was into that.”

    “Look. If I can’t stop some small-minded racist from popping off his ignorant mouth, I’m sure as hell gonna do what I can to ease the pain he caused. You’re damn good people, Ari. I don’t know why you get so much grief.”

    “You got a stereo in the Cutlass?”

    “Does Fisticuffs piss on fire hydrants?”

    “Cool. Picked up a new cd while I was in Detroit last week. Some of that techno punk stuff you turned me on to couple months back.”

    “Hell yeah. Let’s roll up and roll out. Hold up. What about the Alfa Romeo parts we ordered?”

    Ari grinned. “I think they’ll look much better in Loveline’s care than under the hood of a two-bit clone.”

    – – – – –
    425 ineligible WIP words

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  11. Staying home instead of working the bar tonight for Tom is something I should have given serious consideration to. I know as soon as she walks in, she is going to cause me trouble. I know when she flirts with me, there is nothing innocent about it. What I should have done is what I usually do in these situations; flirt, serve the cocktails and make conversation. That’s it. And I do that. Sex on a beach and screaming orgasm are cocktails I have made a million times with pretty much the same conversation and howls of laughter like I haven’t heard it before. But the way the words fall in a soft caress from her perfectly glossed lips, the way her smoky almond eyes follow my every move like a cat stalking its prey, I know it is more than the drink she wants. And I am definitely interested.

    She follows me outside when I have my break. Before I can speak, she flings her arms around my neck, presses her lips against mine. Of course, I respond, pushing her up against the wall, running my hand along her curves, feeling the warmth of her skin under the thin fabric. I ignore the wedding band. I ignore her reeking of alcohol, drowning instead in lust.

    Glassy eyed, she straightens her dress and joins her friends. It isn’t long before I’m delivering another tray of cocktails. She blushes which is cute. Her friends tease her but they have no idea. Coerced into joining in for a photo, I sit next to her, a compulsion to touch her. She lays her hand on my thigh, instantly my body responds. Luckily the tray is on my lap, hiding my desire. Her friends cackle hysterically. She plays up to them, pouting her lips, thrusting out her breasts. I want her and she knows it.

    I can’t wait for closing time. I don’t know nor do I care what she spins to her friends or her husband. My girlfriend hasn’t crossed my mind (but then, I’ve only been dating her for a few weeks) until she walks in just before closing. My mind races, trying to find an excuse lurking in my mind. There is one, I’m sure. There has to be. But my mind is blank as the woman and her friends are ready to leave.

    “Hey, Mum,” my girlfriend says. “Mum, this is Daryl, the guy I’ve been telling you about and Daryl, this is Jane, my mum.”
    A glass nearly slips from my hand as my girlfriend hugs her mum, the woman I just had sex with and plan to again within the next half an hour. Mum. She said ‘mum’. I see the colour drain from Jane’s face. I see the sudden realisation dawn on the faces of her friends. I feel sick. But not because of what I’ve done. But because I can’t stop thinking about Jane, the mother of my girlfriend.


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  13. Bob started staying home instead of going to work. He drank until he threw up, then he drank more. He couldn’t turn on his TV, because Darla was on all the channels. He couldn’t use his computer, because Darla always opened a video chat with him. He couldn’t use his phone because every number he called, everyone he texted, Darla answered. He couldn’t even play because when he opened a game, it turned into the video of Darla’s ghost standing beside that place they’d buried her body.

    Charlie did his best to ignore everything. He called the blonde when he couldn’t take it anymore, and she always chewed him out, “There’s no such thing as ghosts, you asshole!”

    After 17 days, Charlie was driving home from work, passed out, and drove his car across the median, into the oncoming traffic. His car side-swiped three other cars before an SUV t-boned him.

    I was glad no one he hit died, although a couple of people did have to spend the night in the hospital.

    Charlie didn’t survive. The collision with the SUV snapped his neck. I wished that hadn’t happened. I’d wanted him to spend the rest of his life in prison.

    The next day, when Bob heard about Charlie’s wreck, he’d had enough. He called 911, and told them to come get him. “Save me! She’s after me! She killed Charlie, now she’s after me!”

    The police, of course, found it entertaining how a dead woman had killed Charlie, and was haunting Bob.

    Bob told the police everything. I suppose it helped when Darla showed up while he was waiting for the police, and told him, “Tell them everything, and I’ll stop.” He told them names, places, times, dates. Hell, he even told them what the blonde did to Darla while she was tied up, before they killed her, and what she’d done to Darla’s body after they killed her.

    The blonde, it seems, was one demented soul.

    Of course, I made sure the blonde knew Bob had turned himself in. It was easy to put it on her car radio while she drove home from work. “Murder turns self in, names accomplices. More at Eleven.”

    She checked the news when she got home, and Bob’s picture was on the news report, with his full name, “And the police are collecting the accomplices. More at 11.” It was the first time she’d been nervous about anything. She’d never batted an eye about killing Darla. But it was different when her life was at risk. She’d be going to jail for murder, and she knew it. She’d watched the windows, and knew when the police cars pulled up, and the officers got out.

    They heard the gunshot while they walked toward her front door.

    Seems the blonde had no intention of going to jail.

    She got what she deserved.

    Just another day in the life of an Armor.

    I am Armor 17. I am the violence.

    491 Words

    Liked by 3 people

  14. A derelict sounded interesting in conversation. So much potential for mystery, excitement, even fortune. In reality, an abandoned ship is just another black spot in space. Only this spot dares you to ask questions.

    How did I get here?

    Why am I alone?

    I still volunteered to investigate.

    The hull markings were too weathered to read, but the intent of this ship was in every line of the design.

    “Looks like she’s seen her fair share of atmo time,” I radioed back to the Shadow. “Maybe even some combat. I can’t make out the designation. Any reports of a missing indomitable class starship?”

    “Say again, Kat?” Isaac’s surprise carried loud and clear. “Indomitable. You’re sure about that?”

    “She’s older,” I said, “but yeah. This baby was built for the front lines.”

    “We’ll check the records, but I doubt we’ll find anything definitive without more to go on.”

    “Copy that.” I propelled myself along the hull. “There are no breaches I’m seeing. She looks to be in decent shape. What do the bio scanners pick up?”

    “Not a thing,” Tegan said. “If there’s anyone on board, they’re cold.”

    Cold could mean stasis. It could also just mean dead. I couldn’t say which I preferred. But salvage paid, and we needed the funds. I boosted myself with thoughts of new plant specimens. Even dead plants were useful to me, and a ship this size should have a dedicated hydroponics garden.

    |Dr. Drummond, I believe I have identified the ship.| The Shadow’s AI chirped with excitement.

    “Tell me about her, Gaea.”

    |She is Ursula’s Revenge. As you noted, she is an indomitable class. First launched seventy-one galactic standard years ago.|

    “What happened to her?”

    |Reports say—oh.| An ear-piercing squeal filled my helmet.

    “Shit, Gaea. Ease up.”

    |Apologies, Doctor. But—they abandoned her.| Gaea paused, silence filling the void. Then, |Would you do this to me?|

    A chaotic burst of curses and denials came from all of us. I let the others handle calming Gaea. Once worked up, she could out-drama anyone, living or mechanical. We seriously needed Gemma to come home. But I kept that thought to myself and kept crawling along the Revenge’s hull. I stopped at something that just might ease Gaea’s worries.

    “I’ve got an access hatch here,” I said. “How are we looking for access?”

    “Access in thirty, Kat,” Isaac said. “Gaea, get that hatch opened.”


    “How else can we help her, Gaea?” I asked.

    |Oh. Yes, Dr. Drummond. Access in fifteen.|

    She opened the hatch in ten. Old girl still had some technical miracles up her digital sleeves. Sensors picked up my movement, and aged lights flickered to life. The outer hatch closed behind me and a new voice sounded.

    |Pressure and atmosphere nominal. Welcome back, Captain.|


    The inner hatch opened and I sucked in a breath.

    “Abandoned,” I whispered. “Aw, fuck. The records are wrong, guys. Seriously fucking wrong.”

    Note to my stupid volunteering self: Next time? Consider staying home instead.

    498 WIP words

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Preemptive Hair System

    OMG LOL What is that?

    A wig. It’s in the room.

    ROFL. I can’t stop laughing.

    Donna turned the mannequin head on the pedestal to get a better iPhone photo of the shaggy orange hairpiece. She’d neatly yelped upon seeing it in Frank’s room when she was discretely looking for more toilet paper after coming up short in the hall bathroom. The silhouette of the head in the dark room looked incredibly realistic.

    The screen on her phone didn’t really capture how similar the wig was to real hair. It was uncanny. Donna had been dating him for nearly two months and she never guessed that he wore a hairpiece, much less a full wig. Now that she knew the truth, she was ashamed to admit her first instinct was to send a photo of the thing to Lisa. Her heart sank in knowing that she’d likely need to break up with him now. She couldn’t be with someone that wore a wig. Bald maybe. But full on toupee of worse, no thanks.

    “What are you doing?”

    She froze. Frank had found her.

    “I,” she started then abandoned attempting to explain this away. Donna turned back to the door to see Frank standing with his hands on his hips, blocking most of her way out. Even now, his hair didn’t look much like a wig.

    “Is this funny?” he asked, taking a step towards her.

    “No. Listen Frank. . . ”

    “That’s my own hair,” he smiled. It was the same grin he had when he gave her a tour of his action figure shelf.

    He stepped to an armoire and swung the double doors open. “I have four more like it.” She was presented with a quartet of additional wigs on identical mannequin heads. “I harvest it every two years.”

    Donna found enough bandwidth in her psyche to allow her thumbs to start texting Lisa again. FRANK IS BANANAS.

    “But, you don’t look like you need a wig,” she said. “We’ve. . . made love and I pulled-“

    “My hair? Yes, I remember. It kind of hurt.”

    “But you have one of these on?”

    “Not yet. I make these from my existing hair. For when I need it later.“


    “Think of it as a hair bank. When you get to be sixty, wouldn’t you rather have a wig of your own hair rather than that of a stranger or animal?”

    “I suppose.”

    “You would. Trust me.”

    “Is there any other part of you that’s . . . nontraditional”

    He motioned for her come back out with him. “I pulled my permanent teeth and preemptively made them into dentures.” Frank gave her a toothy grin and Donna totally forgot about the needed toilet paper. Like his hair, Frank’s teeth were perfect. A little too perfect. He was likely joking. She’d be able to check him out later though. Once he was asleep she’d reach into his maw and tug at his teeth to see if she had anything else to text to Lisa tonight.

    500 words

    Liked by 2 people

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