Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 48: All in Good Time...

The prompt this week was as follows:

‘You’ve met someone you’re crazy about, but he/she sees you as nothing more than an acquaintance. You mention your crush to a friend, who tells you there’s a simple solution to your problem. All it would take is one visit to the old woman who lives at the north end of town. Tell her what you want, she’ll cast a spell, and your wish for love will come true. Your friend used her ‘services’ and the spell worked perfectly.

You’re not a believer in all that hocus pocus nonsense, but decide to give it a try anyway. After all, what can it hurt?’

The prompt was to write a story about casting a love spell, and the genre was horror.

Patience really is a virtue; although, some folks learn that the hard way.

All in Good Time…

“Cass, I’m so glad you were able to get away for lunch today so we could talk. I really need some advice. I’ll try not to keep you too long so you won’t get in trouble. I know you only have a half hour.”

“Deb, I’m a District Manager now. I don’t have to punch a timeclock anymore.”

“That’s right, I forgot. I don’t think I ever congratulated you on your promotion. You deserved it though. It took them way too long to replace that clown that used to be your boss. What did they do with him? Is he a Vice President now?”

“Didn’t I tell you? One morning, he got up from his desk, walked out, and no one has seen or heard from him since.”

“That’s weird, Cass. Was the job just too much for him?”

“Oh no, Deb. If I told you what I did, you’d never believe me.”

“Cass, my God, you didn’t sleep…”

“With one of the VP’s? No way, Deb. I love my husband way too much to do anything like that. Remind me to tell you how easy it was to make all that happen. Enough about me though. Tell me about your problem.”

“Well, this new guy started in the Sales Department a couple of months ago, and I’ve been throwing myself at him since day one. He’s nice and smart and charming, but no matter what I do, he just looks right past me.”

“Why don’t you ask him out for a drink?”

“I have, Cass, and he always says that would be great, and then invites the rest of the department to meet up at McGill’s. It’s like we’re buddies and I’m just one of the guys.”

“Are you sure he doesn’t already have a girlfriend?”

“I know he doesn’t because after he’d been there a week, he asked Sarah, who works the switchboard, to go out that Friday night. I know they’ve gone out every week since then because on Monday mornings, we all hear about it from her. She and I are the same age, and I’m a hundred times prettier than she ever could be. I know I sound like a petty jealous bitch, Cass, but just once, why can’t I get the nice guy?”

“Deb, I can help you. Do you know where Monmouth Road is?”

“Monmouth Road? Sure. It’s that road off Highway 12 that leads into Cooper’s Woods. But, how does that…”

“At the end of Monmouth, there’s a house. An old woman lives there with her son. Deb, I promise you, she’s got powers. I paid her to put a spell on my boss to make him walk out and disappear, and then on the same day, I would get his job. I wasn’t even up for that position, but you see how it turned out.”

“Cass, you did say ‘a spell’?”

“That’s exactly what I said. You give this woman fifty dollars and tell her what you want. It’s spooky, but she’ll already know most of it before you even say a word. When the stars align, or some crap like that, she’ll cast a spell, and you’ll have what you want. One visit is all it takes. Go between 10pm and midnight. Deb, her spells really work. She was recommended to me by some people I work with. You have no idea what she has done for them. It’s all real. I promise you.”

Cass and I have been friends since first grade and she’s always been the level-headed one. She’s never said or done anything to make me not trust her. But, a woman with the power to put spells on people? Well, what I’ve been doing isn’t working at all. What can it hurt?


I got there around 10:15, and only the front porch light was on. I knocked on the door. A man answered – the old lady’s son, I assumed, and he told me to go into the first room on the right. The room was dimly lit, and an old woman sat at one end of a couch. She motioned for me to sit down at the other end.

“What is it you need?” she asked.

“There’s a man that I want to like me.”

Wait. Like? No way. If there’s going to be some magic done here, I might as well go all the way.

“I take that back. I want him to love me. He’s…”

“I know of whom you speak. He works where you do and his name is Todd. You have tried unsuccessfully for some time to attract this man, but he sees you only as an acquaintance.”

How…? Of course. Cass. She got to her and told her all about him. But, I never told Cass his name.

“Yes,” I said. “I need a spell to make him love only me forever.”

“Of course,” she responded. “You will place your donation in the box on the table by the front door and leave. Before long, you will have the love you desire.”

Donation? So, that’s what it’s called. Well, I can’t be any worse off than I was before, so what the Hell?


This was too much. Thanks a lot, my dearest friend. You had me believing there was something to all this hocus pocus. Just be patient, you said. The old woman will make it all right, you said. It’s been almost a month and nothing has changed even a little bit. Well, I hope you all had a good laugh at my expense. One more visit to that old hag was definitely in the cards.

This time, I didn’t bother to knock. I found her in that same room on that same couch, only this time, she was waving what looked like dead flowers in the air and mumbling something I couldn’t understand. I wondered for whose benefit this show was being put on.

“You phony old crow. You and my good friend had me convinced this spell crap was for real. You know what happened at work this morning? Todd announced his engagement to Sarah, the little tramp who answers our office phones. He’s known her for less than three months. You can take your spells and…”

“He will forsake the other. I am now saying the words, and tomorrow, he will love only you. The time had to be right to say…”

“I’m done being played for a fool. I’m taking my money back.”

“Careful child,” she said, pointing a shriveled finger in my direction. “Do not disrespect my powers or you will…”

I don’t know what came over me, but I slapped her as hard as I could. She fell onto the floor and began making the most horrible sounds. I hoped I didn’t seriously injure her. This whole situation has turned me into a monster.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do that.” I felt sick. “It’s just that I’m so upset and…”

I reached down to help her back up onto the couch, but something was very wrong. What was happening? I was filled with a deep pain. My face felt as if it was going to explode. I put my hands on my face and its shape was changing. Hands? What am I saying? They were turning into claws, as were my feet, and were covered with fur. I ran to the mirror I had seen by the front door. My God. My ears were large, my eyes were turning into small slits, and I had the elongated snout of an animal. My arms and legs were also now covered with fur, and were becoming longer and very muscular.

“What are you doing to me?” I could barely get the words out.

“You will find love now,” she said. “The only love you deserve. The love of such as yourself. The love of the beast. Be gone.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…please don’t do this…please…I…”

Her son came at me swinging a baseball bat, yelling at me to get out and never come back. I tried to run, but I could feel myself being pulled down to all fours. The pain was very strong now. I could feel my teeth, and the talons on my hands and feet, growing longer and sharper. A tail now swung behind me. The transformation was complete. I had become a hideous creature, cursed to live out my life in the woods, killing what I could find to survive.

I could still think and I could still reason, and I will always remember who, and what, I had been, and what I have now become and will forever remain. I ran and ran deeper into the woods, howling from the pain. No matter how far I got from the old woman’s house, I could still hear her and her son laughing. I know I always will.

I’m so sorry. Truly. Sorry. God, please help me…

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 47: Safe

This week, the prompt was to write a story about a blind date, with a genre of romance. It was as follows:

“You haven’t been active socially following a breakup months ago. A friend decided you’ve been on the shelf for far too long, and arranges for you to go on a blind date. Your friend tells you nothing about the person except where to meet, and you are given a code word to use for purposes of recognition. It’s all a bit cloak and dagger for your liking, but you know you’ll never hear the end of it if you don’t go, so you agree.

It’s hard to anticipate how a blind date will turn out. We want you to tell us all about yours.”

Please enjoy.


My name is Bea. Yeah, I know. It’s a name that’s a blast from the past, but my mother never fully acclimated to the 20th century, and that name was quite popular in her day. My point is, what was popular in her generation, she visited upon me each and every day; that is, until a few years ago, when she forgot who I was. But, that’s another story best left for another day. To close the issue on mom for you, she’s in good hands, well cared for, and always has a smile on her face. Now, back to me.

I’m a jerk magnet. If a good-looking guy sits next to me, I shamelessly throw myself at him. He gets my number and does call me and asks me out on a date. You didn’t see that coming, did you. I’m no one-night stand though; I want to make that clear up front. Anyway, he does call and I’m wined, dined, and smothered with charm. Before the end of the evening, I could easily see myself falling head over heels in love, but I don’t push it. We say goodnight, and he promises to call again, which he does.

This goes on for a few weeks and I’m told we’re going to be exclusive. What they all forget to mention is that the exclusive clause is totally one-sided. I’m expected to sit home and wait for my lord and master to call while he hooks up with anything in a skirt. How I find out is that he accidentally, or deliberately – I’m not sure, sends me suggestive texts asking me for suggestive photos, addressing these fairly lewd transmissions to someone other than me. Sometimes it’s Lucy, other times, it’s Suzanna – you get my drift. When I bring up the subject, first I’m told I’m too clingy, then I’m summarily dumped. Is it my fault? Maybe, but that’s my life; or at least it was until a few months ago when I decided to throw in the towel and give up on finding somebody to share my life with. My friend, Sally, however, refused to let me die miserable and alone.

Sally and I have been best friends since First Grade and she’s always gone her own way and I mine, until now. She’s been married to a nice guy for 11 years and they have two beautiful kids. Her life is secure and safe – her words, and that’s how it should be for all, including me. I’m too reckless – again, her words, and I need to find someone safe and settle down. Can you guess where this is going? She knows the perfect somebody for me and has arranged a blind date.

She won’t tell me anything about him, except that he is normal and safe. To give this meeting a touch of excitement though, she told me to meet him in front of the fountain at the mall and when I approach him, I’m to say ‘Rosebud’. She’s never seen Citizen Kane, but thought the idea behind the mysterious word might pique my interest. I asked how I was to know who to approach, and she told me after I say ‘Rosebud’, if he responds with ‘Ah, yes. Rosebud’, then, we should let nature take its course. He’s quiet and shy, but stable and you guessed it, safe. Since I’ve yet to figure out how to say ‘no’ to Sally and have it stick, I reluctantly agreed.

How bad could a safe life be? Every day, Sally’s family gets up, she makes breakfast, puts the kids on the school bus, and hubby goes to work. She cleans, does laundry, watches soaps, and helps the kiddies with their homework. In the evening, they sit down to supper, play a board game, put the kids to bed at nine, watch the ten o’clock news, have a cup of hot cocoa, and turn in. She’s described her life to me many times, glowing all the while. The thought of it makes me feel a bit nauseated, but it’s a step up from the migraines I get from the jerks, so what the Hell?


I went to the Mall for lunch the next afternoon and arrived at the fountain at exactly one o’clock. There were two men standing there, both looking around. One was a few inches shorter than me and the other much taller. The shorter one looked middle-aged, was a bit overweight, and looked terrified. He had to be married, waiting for his wife to finish her shopping. He had that look. The other one was well dressed and fit, had dark hair, dark eyes, and a killer smile. I approached the dreamboat and said, “Rosebud”. He leaned down to me, and with his peppermint scented breath replied, “Ah, yes. Rosebud”. I owe you, Sally. I owe you big time.

We spent the rest of the day together. We went on a carriage ride through the park, and he invited me to have cocktails and dinner with him in his penthouse. It was absolute Heaven. He was the perfect gentleman, and took me home after dinner. He asked me if I would be up for more of the same tomorrow. Was he kidding? I couldn’t wait to tell Sally all about it in the morning. Turns out, I should have waited.

“What’s going on, Bea? Stanley said you never showed up. My God. Who did you go with?” Sally was frantic.

Stanley? Oh dear. My new guy’s name was Winston.

“What does Stanley look like, Sal?” I knew the answer before I asked the question.

“Well,” she said, “he’s a bit shorter than you, a tad overweight, and always has a frightened look on his face.”

“But,” I was getting a bit frantic myself, “when I said the code word, this other guy responded just like you said he would.”

“An awful coincidence,” she said. “Don’t go near this man again. He’s probably a serial killer.”

I doubted that, although they are reported to be lookers and charming. I decided to keep tonight’s date and clear the air about how we met. If he was a psycho, at least I’d be found dead in a penthouse.


Winston picked me up right on time that evening. Sally watched through her balcony window with binoculars planning to jot down the license number in case I mysteriously vanished. Sitting in the back of his limo, I decided to ask him about the ‘Rosebud’ thing. I figured if he tried to strangle me in the car, I could always throw myself out the door onto the curb. Hey. It works in the movies.

“Winston,” I said, “I was wondering. When I walked up to you by the fountain and said ‘Rosebud’, why did you respond the way you did?”

“For one thing,” he said, “Citizen Kane’s one of my favorite films. Too, I thought what a great pickup line that was. I’ve never had a woman come on to me quite like you did.”

Oh my God. It was just a coincidence. But since his hands were occupied with pouring champagne into chilled glasses for both of us and not fixed firmly around my neck, I thought c’est la vie. Onward and upward. Winston told me he had a very special evening planned. He said he felt a connection to me and knew we had a promising future together.

When we arrived at his penthouse, he took me over to the hot tub. I counted six women already in there - naked. Excuse me?

“This will be great, Bea. Remove your clothes and join the ladies. I’ve got cameras set up all around the room. I don’t want to miss anything. Our last film brought in close to $10,000.00. You’ll all be nice and friendly with our new star, Bea, won’t you?”


I’m meeting Stanley by the counter at Woolworth’s. I’m so looking forward to fixing supper, tucking the kids in, watching the ten o’clock news, and brewing a couple of cups of hot cocoa.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 46: At The Drop of a Dime

The prompt this week was to write a detective story. I hope you enjoy.


Two packs of smokes and a bottle of hooch. My pay for a job well done. Fine by me, sure, but I do believe Betts will blow sky high. Three weeks’ tailing a dame, watching her smooching up her husband Richie’s best friend, giving the husband proof she’s playing him for a sucker, he decides to forget the mess and takes her back. Most days I wonder why I bother getting out of bed, and today was sure no exception. Betts will be back soon and I have to come up with a plan on how to break it to her. Wait. Let me explain Betts to you so you get my drift.

My name’s Mo. Mo Pollniak. I was christened Maurice, but nobody’s allowed to use that on me. Okay, so it was alright for Ma and the nuns down at The Virgin Mary of the Sacred Woods School, but that’s it. My Pop got runned down by a beer truck one Saturday morning when I was 2, so I don’t really remember what he used on me. But Ma worked on the line over at the bicycle factory right up till the day she died so I’d be able to eat and go to parochial, so it all worked out.

I’m a PI, in case you were wondering, and I’ve been doing this near to 30 years now. I never eat breakfast, I shave at least once a week, I hang my one suit out on the fire escape to air out, and the Chinese lady down the hall washes and irons my shirts out of pity since she thinks that I’m broke and a real loser. Smart lady. Now let’s get back to Betts.

I first opened my business in an abandoned storefront, and just hung a handmade sign in the window that said ‘Mo Pollniak-Investigations‘; you know, all classy like, and she walked in. Said her name was Betsy Malone, but if I ever didn’t call her just Betts, she’d break my arm. Her man had went out for a shot and a beer three weeks ago, and hasn’t been home since. She needed a job, this was close enough to walk to so she wouldn’t need carfare, she’d work cheap and she made the best sandwiches in the State. She started that afternoon. The best thing about Betts is when a job gets done, she makes sure we get paid. Not sure what I’m going to tell her about our latest though. Gotta think…

When she got back from lunch, slammed the door, and threw a bag with two roast beef on rye and a cream soda on my desk, I wondered how she found out about Richie. Was I ever barking up the wrong alley…

“I knew it. She told me he was going to kill her and now she’s dead. The cops are wandering around in circles as usual and he’s going to get away with it just like she said he would. Mo? You’ve got to do something!”

I asked her if I could eat my sandwiches while she told me the story, and once the drop-dead look in her eyes passed, I took that as a yes.

On her way back to the office, she passed this town’s only hotel, cops all over it. Betts’ friend, one of the maids, was outside, and told her a man named Howard Marshand had found his wife, Suzanne, strangled in their room.

“What the hell was Suzanne doing here in a hotel anyway?” Betts was boiling mad. “She and I went to St. Mary’s together and her Daddy had some money and when he died, he left her the house and enough cash to get by. I hated it when she married that Marshand character. He’s low-life scum that just lived off her all these years. He’s a lying bum, and the last time I talked to her about 2 months ago, she said she knew he was planning to get rid of her. He had some floozy on the side and wanted the house and the cash. Mo, I’ve never asked you to get involved in my business, but I am this time. I can’t prove it, but I know he killed her. Please?”

First ‘please’ in 30 years. How could I say no?

I got the scoop from one of the uniforms at the scene. The happy couple had booked the weekend to spark their fire, but got into it over something, and he left to spend the night with his part-time gal. Real classy gent. When he got back to the room this afternoon, the poor kid was on the floor with a scarf knotted around her neck. She had an ugly gash in the back of her head too and the desk had blood on a corner. Somebody wanted her real dead.

I went up to the room to have a look-see and my old pal, Lt. Dave Hastings, was finishing up.

“What do you want here, Pollniak? A real crime happened in here.”

I knew he’d be thrilled to see me.

“Just looking around, Dave,” I said. “Can’t hurt to have an extra set of eyes on it, right? Who’s the broad he spent the night with anyway? She alibi him?”

I could tell he wasn’t in a very cooperative mood.

“Not that it’s any of your beeswax, Mo, but her name’s Molly something, and she lives in those rooms in Riverdale. She gave a statement that Marshand ate dinner over there, played some canasta, and he stayed the night, like they were some regular Dick and Jane. End of story. Let her be, okay? This time, the husband didn’t do it so we gotta start looking somewhere else. Now, beat it, huh? Doc will be here soon to get her out of here.”

For some reason, I didn’t feel quite as good about Molly something’s word as Dave did. I figured it was about time I stuck my nose in where it didn’t belong.

* * * * * * * * * *

A week later, Betts comes in, smiling ear to ear.

“It’s over, Mo. It’s all in this morning’s paper. That son-of-a-bitch confessed and the cops were right there listening. They had it all set up. She got him over to her place and told him she wanted him to take his clothes and scram. She said she knew that he had murdered his wife while he was wearing his brown jacket because she found out what happened to the missing button. He said he didn’t know anything about a damn button, and besides, he had been wearing his blue jacket when he killed her--not the brown one--and she’d better clam up about it or she’d get hers. Well, the cops came out and arrested him right then. Can you believe it?”

Uh-huh. I sure could. All it took to shake his little gal up was a quick phone call one night, letting her know she shouldn’t alibi a murderer since the cops were planning to arrest her too unless she came clean. See, they found the button. When he was choking his wife’s lights out, she pulled a button off his jacket and they found it clenched in her cold dead hand. Molly put the phone down to check the closet, and mumbled something that sounded like ‘lying bastard’ before she hung up.

There wasn’t actually a button found, you know. A wife, she isn’t going to let her man leave the house with a button missing, but a girlfriend? A man doesn’t spend time with a girl like Molly because of her abilities as a seamstress. I knew there had to be at least one button missing from something he stashed at her place.

Betts handed me three roast beefs on rye and two cream sodas. There was a pickle in wax paper and a napkin too. Out loud ‘Thanks’ and ‘You’re Welcome’ would have been sappy and were already understood. I was ready to chow down and grabbed at that pickle when Betts said “By the way, Mo. Did Richie ever stop by to pay us for trailing after that cheating tramp of his?”


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 45: Independence Day

The prompt this week was to write a story about Independence Day in a fantasy world. Independence is something that can never be taken for granted, even in a world of magic.

Independence Day

I was so involved with the preparations for our Independence Day anniversary celebration that I didn’t hear Lunalee’s frantic cries. While we are both fairies, we differ greatly in stature. I am the size of one of those creatures called humans who live on the other side of the Wall of Dreams while Lunalee is only a couple of inches tall. Still, if she insists on being heard, her voice can carry even further than mine. At first, I thought she was excited about the upcoming party, but the closer she flew to me, I could see panic on her face and tears in her eyes.

“They’ve taken her! They’ve captured my sister! I know they will kill her! Help me, Mondra!”

“Lunalee, come to me. Land here on the table and tell me what’s wrong. You must calm yourself. You look so pale. Who has taken Melnalee?”

Lunalee floated gently down to the banquet table. I sat down in the chair in front of her. She could barely catch her breath.

“The trolls,” she said. “The ones who dwell in the caves across from the Lake of Fire. Melnalee and I were having a leisurely fly and decided to say hello to the dragons as they sunned themselves. I landed and was passing the time with some of the babies - they are so adorable, when Melnalee said she noticed something unusual and flew on toward the caves, but she did not cross the border into the trolls’ territory. I heard her scream and when I looked up, I saw one of the large trolls, who had trespassed on our land, cover her with a net, pull her down and head back to the caves. He was laughing.”

I was horrified. Ever since the treaty was signed, no trolls have never violated any of the terms. They have faithfully remained in the land to the East as had been agreed upon by their elders. The Land of Caves belonged solely to them and the open fields to the West of the Lake of Fire belonged to all others. We’ve all lived in peace within our own communities and were getting ready to celebrate our freedom from the oppression of the trolls and the ruin their tyranny brought upon us. Why would they violate the treaty now – today?

“Lunalee, you must come with me to see Ordranal. You must tell him what happened. Crossing the border into our territory and kidnapping Melnalee was an act of war. I don’t know why they would commit such a reckless act, especially on this, the 100th anniversary of the end of the 1,000 year war. Today is Independence Day, and we have our friends coming to celebrate from all over our land. All the fairies, large and small, the unicorns, elves, and even the gnomes plan to attend the festival. Come. Let’s hurry. Melnalee is in danger.”


“This is such sad and dark news,” Ordranal said. His fear covered him like a shroud. “We must find out what they are planning. We cannot hope to fight them without the support of the dragons, you know. After the war, the dragons opted to remain neutral. They have kept to themselves all these years and I doubt we could convince them to join our cause. They are safe and content in their land by the Lake of Fire. It would matter not to them who triumphed in a battle between us and the trolls.”

“How can we find out if this is a random act or if they plan to try to enslave us yet again?” Unfortunately, I already knew the answer to my question.

“We have to send someone to look and listen,” Ordranal confirmed what I feared. It would involve sending one of our own on a very dangerous and life-threatening mission.

“I will go,” Lunalee said. “They took my sister. I’ll make sure they don’t see me. I’ll find out what they’re planning and try to find out if my sister is still alive. Please let me do this.”

“All right, Lunalee. Go, and find out what the trolls are up to. For now, our Independence Day celebration will go on as planned since our friends have begun to arrive. Say nothing to any of them, Mondra. We don’t want to cause a panic. They will all know soon enough what horrors may come.”

I agreed to put on a brave face, greet our friends, and wait for Lunalee to report back. I prayed for her safe return.


“Their ruler who signed the treaty is weak and dying," Lunalee stated. "His son has recruited many of their young and has convinced them to rise up against us. He is not content with the Land of the Caves. He wants for all to do the trolls' bidding as it had been long ago. He has declared the treaty worthless, and is prepared to wage war. He claims to have the dragons on his side. What can we do? All is lost and my sister is dead. He murdered her himself.”

“He murdered Melnalee?” I could feel my heart breaking. “No. All is not lost. Ordranal, I know how to convince the dragons to fight with us. I know it is taboo, but we must invite their leader into the Sacred Hall and permit him to view the Orb of Time. Let him look back into our world when the trolls ruled all. Let him see the death and destruction. Let him see how the dragons were imprisoned and abused, and then let him go back to his own kind and tell them what he has seen. The dragons will then know it is right to join with us as we again fight for our freedom.”

“You are right. There is no other way, Mondra.” Ordranal’s eyes filled with tears as he continued. “We will celebrate our independence today as planned. Tomorrow, we will bring the Dragon Elder to the Sacred Hall, and pray its desecration will be forgiven.”

“I will gather our soldiers following the festival,” I said. “Our troops will then retrieve the weapons long taken out of service and even longer forgotten. We will await your orders Ordranal, once you have an answer from the Dragon’s Elders, and with, or without their support, we will again defend our independence from those who would oppress us.”

“I want to go, Mondra,” Lunalee said, as she wrapped her wings lovingly around my face.

“No, sweet one,” I responded. “Let those of us who are trained go to the fight. We will avenge the cruel death of your sister and once again, battle for the freedom of all who reside here. Today, let us join our neighbors and celebrate 100 years of friendship, love, and all the wondrous magic that fills our daily lives. Tomorrow, we will march proud and strong. Lunalee, come sit next to me at the banquet table. Ordranal, please lead the toast. Let us wish all a Happy Independence Day.”