#FlashMobWrites 1×50

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Fifty

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

Offspring and I first met Halsey as the opening act to the Imagine Dragons tour. This song caught my attention as I watched the trailer for The Huntsman: Winter’s War trailer.

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: “headed straight for”

Ruth Long: “there’s an old man”

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

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45 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×50

  1. Layers and Liars

    John and I resisted commenting too quickly on Bobby Grangers revelation. Bobby seemed unaware of the importance of his disclosure. As potent as it was, there was something tainted about it. I had little doubt the boy was telling the truth. Still…

    Quarry honed in on the discrepancy. “”Bobby, in 1943, Squires wasn’t the Sheriff, was he?”

    “No, sir. But it was him…and his jeep. He was an MP then, sir. I just think of him as the Sheriff.”

    “I understand,” Quarry commiserated. Bobby had moved into the bright sun. Quarry suggested he should step back into the sliver of shade.

    Bobby then sat down to avoid the debilitating heat.

    “We have a few more questions, Bobby. Ready for them?”

    “Yes sir. I am.”

    “Good. So you saw Hazel get into the jeep being driven by Jackson Squires? Was he in uniform?”

    “Oh, yes sir.”

    “And your father saw this?”

    “Yes sir. And…”

    “And what…?”

    “As they drove away, my father stepped out of the shadows, started walking towards where the jeep had been.”

    “Anything happen?”

    “The jeep stopped, Sheriff Squires…sorry, Sergeant Squires got out and said…”

    “Said what? Do you remember?”

    “Yes, sir. He said, ‘Go home, Hap. You’ve had your say’.”

    “And then?”

    “The jeep drove away. My dad went home, I guess.”

    “What did you do, Bobby? It sounds like you don’t know if your father went home.”

    Telling the truth can ignite a fearful light in some people. As I watched the boy’s eyes scamper around in his sockets, caused, I assumed, by panic, by the realization that he had exposed his father and himself to the scrutiny of strangers, dangerous men perhaps who would upset their carefully protected world, I tried to reassure him.

    “Just tell us what you did next, Bobby. It’ll be fine.”

    He shook his head wildly, with the last of his sun-sapped energy. “It ain’t been fine since Mrs. Hazel left…”

    “What did you do next?” Quarry tag-teamed in.

    “It just didn’t seem…right…her going off like that. I tried to see where he was takin’ her. Once my father was out of sight, I ran after the jeep. I ran so hard…enough to see it was headed straight for the desert…and here…the camp, I guess…but I couldn’t run fast enough to see…”

    The boy was done. John and I told him to stay in the shade and we stepped away to discuss what to do next.

    “We need to know more about Jackson Squires, Woody. There is another layer to this Dagwood sandwich.”

    “You’re hungry, right?” I asked.

    “Yeah, for a lot of things. Look, we can’t come straight at Squires. Maybe Ace can help. Or Gabi?”
    “She and Luci Squires are pretty close,” I added.

    “Ace first. A guy like Squires, he’s likely hidden a lot from his wife. If Gabi revved Luci up, no telling what might happen.”

    We reluctantly left the boy at his post.

    We needed a complete back history on Sheriff Jackson Squires.

    500 degrees in the shade
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 4 people

  2. There’s an old man
    I pass every day
    Headed straight for school
    I hardly look his way
    Thinking of school work
    And pretty girls
    My future bright and shiny
    I focus on me
    But a small part of me
    Notices him watching
    Conducting his own surveillance
    As he sits at his window staring
    Watching the world go by
    Coming home in the afternoon
    I see him still there
    He doesn’t acknowledge me
    I wonder what he sees
    Whom he greets,
    What he thinks
    As he wiles away his life
    Watching, waiting, examining
    Scrutinizing the neighborhood
    The adults in the community
    Talk about the man
    They claim he’s older than dirt
    He’s lost his mind
    He has dementia or Alzheimer’s
    They assert in sober voice
    But when I speak to him
    Curiosity in my voice
    He seems to make sense
    He welcomes my company
    He serves me cookies and pop
    He speaks of the past
    Like he is knowledgeable
    Not gaga at all
    He speaks of today
    From time to time
    And likens the politics
    To events of the past
    Warning of dire straits
    Of history repeating itself
    Why he tells me
    I do not know
    For I’m not even old
    Enough to vote
    I bide my time
    I go to school
    Every day I still see the man
    University beckons and off I go
    Coming home I still see him
    He never seems to get older
    He’s just ancient and wizened
    I graduate and get married
    Living down the block
    How old is that man
    I wonder?
    For he watches still
    My kids seem him too
    As they go to school
    Graduate and get married
    Become parents too
    And my hair become gray
    My wrinkles many
    The man beckons me in
    Touches my hand
    And I become him
    An old wizened man
    Whom they assert
    With sober sad voice
    Has dementia or Alzheimer’s
    Like I’ve been all along
    But in the next moment
    I’m free again, happy again
    Free of life’s burdens
    I remember the joy of life
    The joy of youth
    I’m young
    @SweetSheil
    318 words

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Into the Fire

    I stared at the flames lapping hungrily at the wood siding. Fire is a living entity—breathing, all-consuming. It gives life to those in the know and offers death to the unwary. Fascinating. Mesmerizing. Rooted where I stood, I could only watch.

    “There’s an old man!” Someone yelled and figures danced through the flickering shadows.
    I heard the shouts, smelled the scorched hair rising from the crowd as onlookers panicked. An old man has lived his life. If he didn’t have the sense to get out before the inferno burst into being—

    A figure detached herself from the darkness ringing the building. She sprinted toward the one entrance no wall of flame blocked. Leigh, headed straight for a hell beyond her imagining.

    Three strides. Four. On the fifth, I took her to the ground, pressed her flat beneath me as she fought.

    “Let me go! There’s someone—”

    “Be still, Leigh.”

    She froze. “You!”

    Not a question. An accusation. I could live with that but I couldn’t live if she died in that building. “Stay here,” I ordered. “Promise me!”

    I gave her enough space to roll to her side so she could see my face, could see my resolve. “I can’t. He’s alive—”

    “I’ll get him but you have to promise to stay here. Promise. Me!” I gritted my teeth against the need to keep her safe, knowing I couldn’t be gentle.

    Her eyes searched my face. She relaxed as much as she could, nodded. “Promise.”

    “No matter what,” I pushed. “You stay out here. Wait for the trucks, for the firefighters. Promise me!”

    “Yes. I promise. Just…get him.”

    I didn’t stop to think. Didn’t consider the futility. Saving this unknown man was important to my woman, my…mate. I could do nothing else.

    I left her with a hurried kiss, charging across the open ground and through that door. Acrid scents burned my nose, my lungs, but I didn’t stop my plunge into hell. Seconds turned to days, minutes to weeks, but I found the old man still breathing. I dragged him to the door and outside where the air was only slightly sweeter. I was about to take him farther away when I heard it. A whine, full of pain and desperation.

    The old man coughed, spoke. “Momma dog. Pups.”

    Shit. I left him. Returned to the nightmare. I followed the pitiful sound. Found her. A shepherd mix, maybe part wolf. Three pups. I stuffed them in my shirt, grabbed the female by the scruff of her neck with a growl. She stilled in my arms.

    The fire breathed around us, hissing and snapping, angry at the intrusion. It reached fiery fingers toward me, brushed against my jacket. Pissed that it missed, the hellish bitch stretched to the beams above my head. The ceiling collapsed in a shower of sparks, cutting me off from the door. I curled around the dogs. I’d failed them, failed Leigh. She’d never know how much I loved her.

    “I’m sorry, babe.”
    ****
    500 #TeamSmoke words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 3 people

  4. After almost an hour, Niklaus’ arm darts out to stop me. He turns, finger to his lips, before moving to climb up a tree. He’s like a cat – quick, nimble, and entirely silent. He signals me to look around the trunk. On the other side is the edge of a river we’ve been following. The rush of the water does a good job of hiding any noise I might make, but also hides the noises of animals I’d otherwise hear.

    At the edge of the water, there’s a large bear. I look up at Niklaus, the question clear in my eyes. He nods, motions for me to stay put, and turns his attention to the animal. It’s completely unaware that we’re only yards away. I could shoot it from here easily, though I don’t think that’s what Niklaus wants. I’m right – a moment later, he launches himself from his perch in the tree. Faster than I’ve ever seen anything move, he’s a blur when he collides with the bear. The animal cries out in a pained roar, and I can’t help but wince as Niklaus buries his face into the back of its neck. It thrashes for a while, but loses its energy and strength soon after, collapsing under Niklaus.

    The bear is just a lump of meat under the crouching vampire. It’s still breathing steadily, but the longer Niklaus drinks, the slower the animal’s breaths. I find myself walking around the tree and towards him – fully aware that this was exactly what he wanted me not to do. After all, a feeding vampire is at its most primal, its most dangerous.

    Niklaus’ head snaps up. For a moment I think his eyes will lock onto mine, but his gaze moves past me and somewhere to my left. His entire body tenses at whatever he sees, so I turn, too. There’s a group of men standing near the edge of the trees. Two of them look my age or a bit older, wielding crossbows, carrying swords on their belts. Behind them, there’s an old man – they seem to be protecting him.

    One of the younger men prepares his bow, training it on Niklaus. He bares his bloody teeth at them, looking every bit the feral animal.

    “No!” Between them and Niklaus, I train my crossbow on the men. “You don’t know what you’re doing. Leave before you’re hurt.”

    “Ariella?” Closer to the men now, I recognize the one that says my name.

    “Soren.” He wasn’t there for the ceremony – doesn’t know about my being selected as the vampire prince’s bride. I make my way closer to Niklaus, only a few feet away now. “You have to go. Niklaus won’t hurt you.”

    “What are you doing here?” His guard lowers, but his friend doesn’t wait any longer, letting his shot loose, the arrow headed straight for Niklaus. Without thinking, I put myself in the arrow’s path. It grazes my arm. Behind me, Niklaus growls.

    “Go dammit!”

    500 WIP words
    @katheryn_avila

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites – Hunting | Trials and Tribulations of Writing Fiction

  6. Death’s Repose

    There was an old man sitting alone on a bench at Willow Grove. He clutched something in his hand. I couldn’t quite make out what he was holding. Normally I wouldn’t have noticed the old fellow, but there was something about his face that got my attention while I placed flowers on my mother’s grave. I wanted to approach him, find out why he stared in my direction. I wondered if he had known my ma. The man didn’t blink. His skin stretched around sad gray eyes. Wrinkles lined his forehead. White hair neatly covered his scalp.

    I tried to focus on cleaning the tombstone. I brushed dead leaves away, glancing now and then at the stranger. Perhaps the man was waiting for me to leave to approach her grave. A dark void appeared to flow out of him, almost as if he was stuck in a wave of apprehension.

    Looking away from the stranger, I kept busy, rerouting my thoughts to my dear mother. She gave me life and showed me compassion for strangers. Recalling that precious gift, I kissed my fingers and placed them on the tombstone.

    “I miss you, ma. Say hi to dad for me.”

    As I turned to leave, the old man lifted his hand and showed me a red rose. He gestured for me to take it. I waved him over, expecting him to greet me, but instead he remained on the bench, his withered skeletal hands shaking. His hollow stare penetrated deep within me. The rose, which I could have sworn had been bright red, was actually black.

    I approached the stranger. “Did you know my mother?”

    “This was for her.” His voice was barely audible as a gust of wind swirled debris around me. The man continued, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

    A sudden pain jolted my gut as it did thirty years ago upon hearing of my mother’s demise. She had been a victim of a hit and run. A knot formed in my chest and it became almost difficult to breathe.

    “Who are you? How did you know my mother?”

    The old man rose from the bench, grimacing. He stepped toward me and I could see it took him great effort to move.

    “The year she died, I bought her this rose. I come back every year, but I could never muster the courage to leave it on her grave.”

    His words felt like a sword that cut me in half. I had to know so I blurted, “Did you kill my ma?”
    The old man’s gaze seemed to shoot pass me to mom’s grave. He shivered and said, “I thought I had hit a deer. I panicked. My soul died that night. Please, forgive me.”

    Before I could respond, the stranger collapsed in my arms and died.

    ~500 words

    @KnightChills

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Words: 490
    @CarinMarais
    http://www.maraiscarin.wordpress.com

    The Guardian of Ages

    There’s an old man who carries the storms in an old bag. With his shoulders bowed beneath the weight of the rain, hail, and snow, he walks with lightning clutched in his dark hand as a walking stick. Lightning has carved deep patterns into his flesh during the ages he has walked the earth, the feather-like patterns following the rivers of blood that pump through veins, arteries, and capillaries.
    There’s an old man with an old bag wearing old boots and even older clothes. He walks the lands, resting at the top of hills and skirting rivers and streams. And the weather follows him; his whistle the light breeze on a summer’s day, his song the winds that call the clouds behind him. In his dreams he sails the vast waters of his world and the fog of his dreams spread across the water and storms churn the dark waves so that the people on the shore pray for the safety of their loved-ones on the ocean or hide in the shelter of their homes listening to the wordless song and wail of the winds and waves as they lash the coast.
    There’s an old man who carries the weather in his old bag and searches the world for someone else like him. With shoulders bowed beneath the weight of the clouds, he walks over the earth whistling and singing until he reaches the great desert.
    There’s an old man who walks the ocean of sand and brings with him the first rain in an age. He throws his walking stick into the air, sending blinding flashes all around him as he searches for the house built of mud brick where he was born an age before.
    Yellow, orange and purple flowers deck the ground overnight as he walks to the old house. Rivers run over the land, following in his footsteps until he reaches the plain where ancient trees – guardians through the ages – stand black and barren around a small mud house.
    There’s an old man who knocks on the wooden door of the house and leaves his bag and walking stick by the front door for the new child to find.
    There’s an old man who goes to stand with the other guardians around the house, his skin taking on the wrinkled appearance of bark.
    There’s an old man who reaches his hands towards the clouds and spreads his fingers and catches the last of the rain with joy and contentment etched on his face.

    There’s a young boy who leaves his house the day after the rains when the flowers cover the ground where he is to walk to find his way out of the sea of sand. There is a young boy who stops at the new, yet gnarled, tree that stands as a sentinel and guardian next to the house.
    There is a young man who carries the storms in an old bag.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Waiting

    331 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    Beneath the bridge there’s an old man. He sits there every day on the broken bench staring into the murky depths of the polluted canal, not saying anything, never looking at anyone.

    Those who pass him do not give him money, even though his clothes are grubby and tattered. He does not beg and he avoids their eyes. They shuffle by, pleased at not having to deal with their guilt.

    Youths stride past, seeking those who walk this path alone, searching for the foolish victim. They do not bother the man. With his straight back and Versace suit, he is sure of himself. They increase their pace as they pass, each secretly pleased at avoiding the risk of being beaten to a pulp by his sledgehammer hands, of exposing their own weakness. Their voices carry back to him, bragging of what they would have done to him – if they had felt like it. His business is not with them.

    Only sometimes does he turn his head.

    And now is one of those times.

    Today it is a woman. He has never seen her before but he knows her, has been waiting for her as he waits for all the others.

    Their eyes meet.

    She sits beside him on the bench and places her handbag between them. He reminds her of her late husband, with his Fair Isle sweater and weather-beaten face, the same ready smile.

    She lets a crumpled photograph flutter out of her grasp, weeps as it falls into the water. When the sobs subside she turns to the man and gives him her hand, she knows he will help her.

    The man lifts her fingers to his lips, kisses them softly. Then they stand and he leads his bride to the water’s edge where she gives herself in marriage, sinking down into his congregation of the lost and discarded, the despairing and the weak.

    He returns to his seat, watches as the ripples slow and vanish.

    And he waits.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites 1 x 50 : Castle | My Soul's Tears

  10. Stupid people have always pissed me off. When I heard about the armed takeover of the National Wildlife Preserve in Oregon, I headed straight for the place, and when I got there, I knew exactly what to do.

    Rule by guns is something I don’t tolerate.

    Ever.

    It was 0300 hours, on a moonless night. The sky was pitch black, filled with stars like diamonds on black velvet. Pretty to look at, and I was certain anyone else would have looked at them, and relaxed.

    “Active,” I turned the armor on, and vanished, totally invisible to the human eye, to computerized infrared vision systems, and to old fashioned radar systems. I walked into the main building of the refuge, where the men with their guns were.

    Yeah, I know. I hear it all the time. “They’re just good old boys, fighting for what they believe.” And, “Rebellion is part of the country’s history. A tool we’ve always had to use when change becomes necessary.”

    And inevitably, rebellion leads to chaos, war, and piles of the innocent, their blood soaking into the ground. All in the name of defending someone else’s rights, and freedoms.

    Most of the idiots were asleep.

    “Gun.” A slot on the left leg of the armor opened, and a .44 slid out. I aimed it at the ceiling, and fired four shots, just to wake everyone up.

    And wake them it did. Guys and their AR-15s came running, holding their guns in front of themselves, like they were bulletproof. Which they weren’t. I shot them. Fathers, husbands, fiancees, sons of mothers. Normal people. Six had responded. Six bodies leaked blood on the floor. Six less idiots with guns.

    Next, I went through the building, moved room to room. I hunted them down. Seems they didn’t have any nerves at all, any guts at all, when the actual gunfire started. I found them in separate rooms, hiding under tables, behind doors, hiding in the restrooms.

    I left seventeen bodies. No survivors.

    If you wish to rule by the gun, you’ll deal with me.

    You won’t walk away.

    I am Armor 17.

    I am the violence.

    354 Words
    @LurchMunster

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Fireworks
    487 Words
    @jeffnuggets

    It was not far off midnight by the time I arrived. As dark as ink in the little square where the taxi dropped me off. So this is where the action was supposed to be? I got out of the car, the taxi rattled and screeched away, left me isolated and alone. It was immediately apparent that I had been dropped off in the wrong part of town. I felt uneasy, was this a trick? Had I been lured here under a false pretext for some unworthy intentions? Would I even find who I was hoping to find?

    I picked out the distant beat of percussion and I heard the hint of horns carrying through the air towards me, maybe even the odd tinkling of some keys and the melodic strumming of strings and my concerns started to subside just a little. I let my ears lead the way through the streets of the town and as the sound of the music swelled through the streets, I rushed, I was not quite sure what time this celebration was going on until? Why had you asked to meet so late? Still I want to impress, to influence.

    As I started perspiring as I carried on trotting, I started to hear voices and chatter and I realised that I must have been very close. As I got even nearer, I started to make out laughter, the clinking of glasses, the occasional clap of hands and even the odd word. Laughter usually makes me uneasy if I do not know the source or the cause but at that point I was relieved, happy to be approaching the centre of things.

    I must have been within metres of the epicentre of things, I was suddenly nervous, not wanting to arrive right in the midst of things straight away, preferring to stay on the fringes. I spotted the main thoroughfare with people milling back and for, arm in arm, drunk on the occasion as much as anything else.

    I suppose that I should have headed straight for the party but I slipped down a nearby alleyway, wanting to observe and analyse before I got to the heart of things. I expected maybe a canoodling couple that I may have to step over or around as I entered but I was confronted by a mask of stubble, red eyes and wild hair. Gestured at me, “got any drink my friend?” I shook my head. “Some cash then?” I shook my head again. Metal suddenly glinted in the dark. I reacted instinctively, attack ever the best form of defence. I heard a grunt and something hitting concrete hard. I was not waiting around to see what had happened. Just kept my head down and made my way to the heart of the action.

    I joined the happy hullabaloo and waited for the evening to reach a high point and for the fireworks to begin.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. After half an hour, Emily’s phone rang. It was the usual drill on a first date; get your bestie to phone in case your date was a complete arse and nothing like his profile picture. Kyle was everything like his profile picture and more as the intensity of his smoky eyed gaze caught Emily off guard, and she wasn’t ashamed to admit it, had her lusting after him. There were no words needed as Emily texted her friend with a series of emojis leaving no doubt of Emily’s intentions.

    “Your friend checking I’m not an axe murderer?” He curled his lips in a half smile.
    Her body temperature rose, showing in her blushed cheeks.
    “I take it, seeing as no one has come to rescue you and you’re still sitting here, you’re happy to continue and see more of me?”
    Her body was now on fire as she spluttered on her wine, surprised it hadn’t turned to steam.
    “I meant seeing more of what and who I am.” He refilled Emily’s glass. “Although, I’m not adverse to you seeing me naked.”
    “Are you always this forward on a first date?”
    “Only when I see someone I really like.”

    The flirting continued throughout dinner and by the time they left the restaurant, Kyle pulled Emily into him, crushing her cherry lips, smearing her perfectly applied gloss. He buried his face in her neck, inhaling her scent as his lips grazed her skin, feeling the throb of her pulse quicken.
    Her hands came up to his chest as she peered over his shoulder. “Not here, Kyle. It’s too public. There an old man on that bench, getting a free show.”
    He spun her around, facing the bench. “He’s just a crusty old man. Your attentions should be on me.” He kissed her again, this time slow and sensual.

    Both wrapped up in each other, neither saw the old man leap from the bench. Moments later, he’d shoved Emily to the ground, ripping her handbag that had hung carefree from her shoulder. A knife waved in front of Kyle as the old man demanded jewellery. Not hesitating, Emily stripped herself bare of anything that glittered, her eyes on the flashing blade. The old man ran, vanishing into darkness.

    Shaken, sore and tearful, Emily sunk into Kyle. His arms tightened around her. It was a long night of strong, sweet coffee and police statements. All the while Kyle sat with her until they were alone. He waited until she sank into an empty sleep and left.

    Kyle reached his dingy little flat in the small hours.
    “You took your time.”
    “She’s in shock. You surpassed yourself tonight, ‘Old Man’. She’s minted.” Kyle cracked open a beer.
    “Good as that suit you’re wearing cleaned us out.”
    “I have to look the part, just as you look the part, brother.”
    “That wig itches. Next time, I’m the hot date. Cheers.” Bottles clinked as Kyle waited for his phone to ring.

    494
    @Lizzie_Koch

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Facing the Fire

    Tom held the door open and Amber headed straight for the big dining room table. Voices came from the kitchen and he immediately recognized his father Trip speaking with Mrs. Guthrie, their own housekeeper from the Triple Star.

    “Dad? What are you doing here?”

    Trip Colton stood beside Mrs. Guthrie putting together ham and cheese sandwiches. He gave Tom his own surprised look.

    “I might ask you the same thing, son. What’re you doin’ home so early? Didn’t it go well in the rodeo?” Trip left the kitchen to swing Tom into a warm hug. Trip was as cowboy as they came, but he’d never shied away from public displays of affection with his family.

    Tom shrugged. “I’ll tell you later. What’s goin’ on? The fire crews flew past me on the highway and I followed them here. Amber came, too. She brought water and extra food for the firefighters.”

    “Amber’s here?” Trip looked over Tom’s shoulder and smiled. “Howdy, darlin’. I’m surprised to see you here.”

    She stood awkwardly at the entrance to the kitchen. “Yes, I know, but I’m here to help, Mr. Colton.”

    Trip snorted. “How many times have I told you? You’re staff at the Triple Star, that practically makes you family and family calls me Trip.”

    Amber ducked her head with an uncomfortable smile. “I brought extra food from our kitchens in my Jeep.”

    “I’m surprised you came at all. Good for you, honey.” Mrs. Guthrie bustled past them with a no-nonsense stride. “Let’s go get that food. Them boys out there are going to be starving.”

    “I had to help, even if I can’t help fight the fire.” She shot a guilty look at Tom before hurrying after the housekeeper.

    “I’m real impressed she’s here.” Trip watched them leave, his expression thoughtful before he sobered. “Let’s get these sandwiches out on that table.”

    Tom jumped to help his dad as they gathered up the platters Mrs. Guthrie had piled with food.
    “What happened to her, Dad?”

    Trip shook his head. “I don’t know the full story, but I can tell you she got trapped in a burning building somewhere. That’s why I’m surprised she’s here tonight. I never expected her to come near a fire, even with that dog of hers.”

    “Aw hell, she must be scared out of her skull.” Tom took a few steps toward the front doors before Trip grabbed his shoulder.

    “Maybe, but you heard her. She’s gotta help. It’s part of her healin’. Trust me.” Trip tipped his head as he tore open the case of water bottles. “There’s an old man I used to talk to all the time while on the rodeo circuit. He started out as a bullrider, but after he got gored by a particularly rank bull, he had to give it up. Scared the hell outta him. But he kept comin’ back and helped out at the chutes year after year.”

    “Why?”

    “Because he said he had to face it to move on.”

    499 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Canvases

    The room looked like one if the fancy libraries that Sebastian had seen in movies. The ones where they had ladders on rollers built into the tall bookshelves.

    “Sorry to keep you waiting, Mr. Gordon.”

    Sebastian spun around to see a slight man in a suit as refined as his surroundings. “That’s fine.”

    “Did you bring anyone with you?” the library’s curator asked.

    “Just me,” he responded. The only person he wanted to be with him would never have agreed to come to this place. His daughter was a respectable young woman though. He hated her mother for many things, but she raised Bethany to be a good Christian woman and wary of men like him.

    “Let me show you around,” the small man said, motioning to the innumerable hinged frames lining the walls.

    The tour only lasted for fifteen minutes. Not because they had seen everything, but because Sebastian became too weak to stand. The disease was slowly robbing the man of his remaining stamina. In that time he’d seen dozens of the pieces on the wall. The curator headed straight for what he thought were the most valuable items in the entire collection. The oldest images in the library were blurry blue ink drawings of ships, mermaids, anchors and the like all on similar stretched canvases. The newer acquisitions were much more modern, elaborate and larger. Sebastian was fond of the corner of the room dedicated to cartoon characters. Daffy Duck was his childhood favorite.

    “And you are certain you want to make this donation?” the curator asked.

    “Aside from a good honest daughter, I don’t think I’ve done much in this life that the world would remember,” Sebastian shared. “This donation gives me a chance to be remembered beyond my time.”

    “Of course.” The curator nodded. “Would you want to know how we harvest?”

    “No.”

    Sebastian caressed his neck where he had Bethany’s name tattooed shortly after she was born. She used to trace the calligraphy with her fingers when she was a child sitting his lap on the weekends when he had custody. Now, if she wanted to do that after he passed she would have to come here. To the room that smelled of mahogany and dried apricots. It would be peeled off, and preserved alongside the rest of the donations in the tattoo library.

    391 words
    @BradyTheWriter

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The bar in our favorite hang out was chipped and worn, the varnish dull. Permanent stains from spilled beer and liquor dotted the surface as I pulled my wallet from my pocket and ordered a round of beers and pop for our table.

    “Here ya go,” the bartender, Daniel, said. “Heard you guys finally got your album out, eh?”

    I nodded. “Drops tomorrow. But,” I said, placing a copy of the CD on the bar. Dan’s brow furrowed as he reached for it. “That’s for you.”

    Daniel grinned. His green eyes roamed the cover, which featured an angel with a jagged scar running down her right cheek. Her face was set in a deep frown and her wings were tattered, feathers floating toward others scattered on the ground. She wore a torn purple and white dress which hung off her thin frame. Daniel moonlighted as a tattoo artist and had designed her.

    “Thanks, man,” he said.

    “Thanks for making the cover look awesome.”

    I took the tray back to our table and slid onto the old chair with the fake, black pleather seat. Everyone reached for a bottle and Aldon Smith, our lead singer, caught my eye.

    “What took you so long?”

    “Daniel was admiring our CD cover.”

    My wife took my hand and kissed it. I put a hand on my wife’s stomach and smiled as a good buzz set in.

    “You guys ready to go?” Aldon asked when our drinks were empty.

    “Yeah,” I said. “Anyone want to check out that new place that opened last week?”

    “Where’s it at?”

    “Milford Street,” I said. I helped my wife to her feet and kissed her, my hand on her growing stomach.

    We walked outside to our cars. Allison pulled out of our spot and stopped at the red light. When it was green, she started forward. I glanced to my right and my eyes widened. There was a car coming too fast and it was headed straight for us. The last thing I remembered was my wife screaming.

    ***

    Antiseptic burned my nose. Pain registered beneath a fog that held my brain captive. My eyes felt like they were glued shut. I choked on something down my throat.

    “Get his nurse!”

    Nurse?

    I forced my eyes open, a pure white ceiling the only thing I could see. Pain registered stronger as I tried to breathe. Someone leaned over and locked their worried blue eyes with mine.

    “Jimmy, stay calm.” That was my mom. “You’re in the hospital.”

    The last thing I remembered was Allison…Allison. I tried to speak but no words came out. Mom brushed my cheek.

    “Allison’s here, too, in a different room. She and the baby are fine.”

    Good. Something cool slid into my arm and my eyes drifted left. I couldn’t move my head. I looked back at mom as my eyes started to slide shut. She took my hand and I squeezed it as I fell asleep.

    @Aightball
    492 words

    Liked by 2 people

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