Thursday, August 29, 2019
The prompt this week was to do zombies, but with a twist. Mine’s just trying to find his way…
A Real Home
“Young man, excuse me for bothering you. I normally avoid speaking to strangers, but I have something I must say to you. I take this Greyhound to Harpers Gate every summer to spend time with my grandchildren. The journey is usually unpleasant because the other passengers complain about this or that, and children run the aisle. You, however, have been upbeat during the entire trip, and since our departure from Winden Falls, you have had the most endearing smile. May I pry, and ask why?”
“Thank you, ma’am, for your kind words. I was born in Harpers Gate, but have been away for a long time. I felt like I needed to come home again. I have no family left there, but there is a lady…”
“Satisfy an old lady’s curiosity. Is she a past love?”
“She is, but we haven’t seen each other in years. Her family moved away long ago, and we both married others. I heard she was divorced, and I…well, I’m single now too. Things are a bit different though, seeing as how I’m…uh…”
“An accident? I know I’m pressing, but never be ashamed of stitches and scars. You’re a fine-looking young man, even though you are a bit on the pale side.”
“I am that. It was a kind of accident, yes. Goodness, here we are at the terminal. It was wonderful talking with you.”
“You too, dear. Wishing you all the luck with your love.”
“Welcome to Daly’s Five and Dime. What can I get for you?”
“Is Suzanne working today?”
“At the ice cream counter at the back.”
“Yes, sir. What can I… Oh my God! Richie? It can’t be! I heard you had been murd… I mean, that your wife and her boyfriend kill…”
“It’s true. They did murder me, but that’s not all. This is hard to explain, but try to understand. They found an old voodoo priest to bring me back as a zombie so I’d suffer even more. But he was forgetful and messed up. He did bring me back, but I can think, talk, and I don’t walk like I’m right out of a horror movie. I got them both though. They were there when I was brought back and I pretended to be oblivious to everything. They told the cops I’d been killed by a robber, and talked about where they’d hidden the hammer they beat me with and where they hid their bloody clothes. I got the evidence and delivered it on the police department’s doorstep – literally. I’m not a vengeful person, but they had to be held accountable.”
“Of course, Richie.”
“There’s one other way I’m different from others of my kind. I can still love, and I still love you. We went our separate ways, but you were my first love.”
“And you were mine, Richie. I married Jim, but it didn’t work out. My heart has always belonged to you. Now, we can be together at last.”
“You make me so happy. But, you’re not shocked that I’m a zombie? What about the townspeople? What if they find out?”
“I’m not, and they would accept you without question.”
“How is that possible?”
“Remember old Mr. Hornsby that used to run the drug store? He’d give all the kids free candy and pop?”
“He was wonderful. Don’t tell me he’s still working.”
“No, he’s retired. But, one night on his way home from the store, he was bitten by what we learned later was a werewolf, and how he’s one. The widow Mrs. Milner is a vampire. That happened when she went to New York City on vacation alone. Sally Greene is a broom-riding witch, and… See? They all come here, Richie, to settle down, and they are accepted for who they are, not shunned and hunted for what they’ve become. Now that you’ve come back, I’ll just ask Judy Milner to bite me so you and I can be together forever.”
“Suzanne, This is more than I could have ever hoped for. I’m so glad I came back. I really am home.”
Friday, August 16, 2019
The prompt this week was to use a specific location in our story: a cottage. Also, we were to pick a random song (one of the top two from the link provided) as our inspiration. One of the top two songs that came up for me was The Search by Nathan Feuerstein (known as NF). The following verse was my inspiration:
“Yeah started thinkin’ maybe I should move out
You know pack my cart take a new route
Clean up my yard get the noose out
Hang up my heart let it air out”
The cottage was perfect. It was in the middle of nowhere, and no one knew where Sarah and her husband, James, went for the weekend. She’d rented it under an assumed name and paid cash. James had been hesitant to go off the grid, but she’d put on her ‘beg’ face and he’d relented. How he loved her ‘beg’ face, especially after he’d hit or punched her. This weekend would be different though. She’d done the driving so James could relax with a thermos full of his favorite gourmet coffee. The sedatives she’d added had dissolved nicely. When James awoke, he found himself tied to a chair in the living room of a strange house.
“What the… Where…”
“We’re at the cottage I rented for us. Isn’t it lovely? It’s clean, and has lace curtains on the windows, comfortable furniture, no neighbors, and…”
“What is going on? You think this is funny? You can be sure I’ll show you just how funny I think this is. You’d better listen to me. Untie me this second, and maybe your punishment won’t be too…”
“No, James. You’d better listen to me. I’m going to give you a choice. You can either sit there and listen to everything I have to say, or I can make a deep cut somewhere on your body with this carving knife I brought with me, leave the door wide open, and let the bears finish you off.”
“You have lost your mind.”
“You’ve got that right. Now, shut up, and listen. We’ve been married for eight years, and during those eight years, you have broken my arm, my nose, my wrist, my ankle, and knocked out several of my teeth. I put up with it be…”
“You know as well as I do that was because you were completely disrespect…”
Sarah walked over to James and slid the dull side of the carving knife down his cheek. James closed his eyes, and leaned as far back in the chair as he could.
“Please,” he whispered. Sarah noticed tears forming in the corners of his eyes.
“Did I hear ‘please’? I didn’t think you were familiar with the word.”
“Don’t hurt me, Sarah. I’ll listen. Go ahead and say what you have to say. Put the knife down. If you damage my face, my female clients won’t…”
“That’s what you’re worried about? Your looks? What are you saying? That your rich old lady clients won’t let you invest their money if you’re no longer a pretty boy? You sonofabitch!”
Sarah stuck the pointed end of the knife into James’ left cheek until a drop of blood formed.
“There. Now you’re not perfect anymore. Now will you shut up or do I have to…”
“Okay, okay, I’ll listen. But when this is over…”
“When this is over, what?”
“That’s what I thought, Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. The reason I put up with all your bullshit was because I watched my father do the same things to my mother, and she took it all, right up until the day she died. Why? Because that’s a woman’s lot in life. That’s what she told me over and over. Well, that may have been her lot in life, but it’s not mine. I’m finished with your moods, with your cruelty, with your abuse… I’m finished with you. I’m walking away from you, from our marriage, from our life together. You know what else? You’re not going to do anything to stop me.”
“There is no fucking way you’re going to… You know my money’s tied up in…”
“I knew money would be your first worry. I don’t want a penny from you. In fact, I want nothing from you, except the assurance that I will never see or hear from you again. I have a letter for you to sign that confirm your understanding of that condition.”
“You’re going to force me to do something? Now, that’s funny. If I refuse to sign?”
“You believe I just sat at home all day praying for my Lord and Master to come home? I printed files from your computer, and I wrote down your clients’ contact information. You’ve been screwing your partners and your clients for years, and from what I’ve seen, I know of at least three government agencies that would be interested in your overseas transactions.”
“What? You wouldn’t dare…”
“Wanna bet? Here’s what’s going to happen. You’ll sign what I put in front of you and I’ll walk away. I’ll let somebody know you’re here though. If you ever try to find me or bother me again, I go public.”
“I never thought you were the kind to…”
“What? The kind to think for myself? I know you didn’t, you bastard. Now sign.”
Sarah handed James a pen and put the paper in his lap. She saw him hesitate, so she brought the knife closer to his face. He quickly signed the letter.
“By the way, do what you want with my things in the apartment. I don’t want any of it. I’m going to start fresh.”
“And my car?”
“Your precious car will be at the airport. Goodbye, James.”
Sarah put the carving knife back in her handbag and walked outside into the sunlight, closing the door behind her. She planned to dispose of the knife in a dumpster later. She could hear James cussing and struggling to free himself from the chair. I’ll call someone about him from the airport, she thought. There’s time. Hopefully, he’ll wet himself all over his Armani suit. Driving away from the cabin, Sarah knew she had found more than just the cash in James’ overnight case. She’d found something else too: a part of her that she believed had been lost long ago, and for this new go-round with life, it would be more than enough.
Thursday, August 8, 2019
The prompt this week was one used by Furious Fiction for August. They provided six pairs of adjectives, all to be included in your story. Also, you had to make sure that one of the pairs was included in your first sentence. Their limit is 500 words, and I couldn’t quite make that work this time, so I went with the 1,000 words. Maybe the September prompt from Furious Fiction will be one I can do right by.
The list of pairs is as follows:
Cold and greasy
Scratched and weather-worn
Sweet and pungent
“Sheriff, how can you swallow that cold and greasy crap from Doug’s? Just because we’re on a stakeout, that doesn’t mean we can't eat decent. I could have gone and grabbed us a couple of burgers from Cassie’s.”
“Ray, I know you won’t eat from Doug’s, so I picked up a chicken plate for you from the Deli.”
Donnie opened his bag, and immediately, a sweet and pungent smell filled the car.
“You should eat that outside. Whoa! I wanna go home. Why do I have to be here to watch this thing? Why can’t you watch it?”
Ray Donelson had worn that badge for the past three years, and Donnie asked himself daily why he kept him on. The man was completely unprofessional, and everything he was, and did, reflected badly on his position and on his boss. His hat had a torn brim and was worn backwards, there were huge circular stains under the armpits of his wrinkled uniform shirt, and the pocket on his shirt and both pants’ pockets were ink-stained. It was obvious to Donnie that the man didn’t give two cents about the way he presented himself, either as a law enforcement officer or as a man. He’d let Ray go, but no one else in town had any interest in the job. I guess beggars can’t be choosers, Donnie thought.
“We’re watching it in case it moves or something comes out of it. Think of it, Ray, we would be the first people on Earth to make contact with a space creature. Don’t you understand how important that would be?”
This shiny, silver flying saucer landing on Ebb’s south forty, was the biggest thing that ever happened in Hixon Falls or in Donnie’s life. Ray wanted to pass the buck to the Army, and maybe Donnie would tell them after he made contact. Some general would take all the credit, and Donnie’s shining moment would become a blurb on the back page of some supermarket tabloid. No. This was his find and his chance for fame. Too, maybe his wife might even look at him with a bit less contempt in her eyes.
“I do, but what if some six-eyed squid crawls out of it? I don’t like the two of us all alone out here. What if nothing ever comes out? How long do we have to wait?”
Rather be at Dodge’s Bar and Grill feeling up that new waitress? Donnie knew if anything did happen, Ray would fold, and he would have to face it on his own. Just as well, he thought. I’m the only professional here, and if there’s any credit to be earned, it should be mine. He stared at the craft and wondered how far it had traveled. The bottom half looked scratched and weather-worn, but how was that possible? Was there any kind of weather in outer space? Maybe those dents were from their world. Did it rain there? Did they have hailstorms? Did they… A shrill, piercing sound snapped Donnie back to the moment. He got out of the car and moved toward the ship. Ray was frozen with fear. As they both watched, an opening appeared in the center, and a ramp began to descend outward from it.
“Sheriff, get back in the car. We need to get out of here. What if they vaporize us with…”
“Stop it, Ray. Nobody’s getting vaporized. Come out here with me. Let’s show them we aren’t afraid.”
“Okay, but I don’t think we should get too close because… Oh, God! Look! Something’s coming out!”
A figure in a spacesuit emerged from the ship and started down the ramp. It was about three feet tall, and shaped like a man, with a head, two arms, and two legs. The gloved hands however, showed only two long fingers, and the visor on its head was tinted, so no face was visible. One hand held an object that resembled a small green I-pad. It offered the object to Ray. The other hand reached out to Donnie.
“What should I do? Should I take it? What if it blows up?” Ray was terrified.
“Take it,” Donnie said calmly. “It’s probably some kind of gift. See if there’s a message on it.”
He offered his hand to the creature, who immediately looped both of its fingers around his hand and began to pull him up the ramp.
“It wants me to come inside, Ray. It trusts me. Wait here. I won’t be long.”
“Don’t go in there. Let me get some help. You don’t know what it’s… Come back! This thing’s flashing and beeping. I think there is some kind of message on it. Wait until we figure it out. Please! Wait! Donnie, give me your hand!”
Ray tried to grab his boss’ arm, but it was too late. The creature had moved quickly and pulled Donnie inside. The ramp had been drawn back and the opening had clanged shut. That shrill, piercing sound assaulted Ray’s ears again. All at once, the ship began to spin, and flames and smoke shot out from the bottom. The craft rose a few yards slowly, then quickly darted out of sight into the night sky. The object in Ray’s hands began to glow gold, and letters began to form on the small screen.
“It is a message,” Ray said, his eyes filling with tears, and his voice breaking. “Oh God, Donnie That’s why they came. I need to… Wait... Who can… Donnie? Oh, please, God... Please… No…”