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Friday Fiction: Puddles

Image courtesy of Michael Gaida – Pixabay

Puddles. They form around us slowly with little to no regard to them. After all we are too focused on their initial form pelting us from above while at our feet they swarm together. Coalesce.

“I don’t understand why you have to leave so often.” Her umbrella is a burst of sunshine on an otherwise rainy Tuesday morning. She drapes it over her shoulder so that it fans around her slick hair like a halo. As stressed as I am, and as upset as she is, I cannot help but marvel at her.

“I explained it to you already Aly.” I say. Rather, I plead. Cold droplets sink into my skull like ice.

“The boss needs me is not a suitable excuse Jer.”

“Yeah I know but…”

“But nothing.” She tucks black strands behind her ear. For a moment the spider tattoo flashes on her dark skin then it’s gone.

“I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

She sighs. Both hands clutch the handle of the umbrella and her body twists at an angle. It’s her ‘I’m thinking’ posture. It’s her ‘I haven’t decided’ posture. It’s one she never has on the field. Not that she knows I know.

“Emiliano’s. Seven PM sharp. Or we’re done.” She says. I smile. Her lips twitch but she holds it in.

“Emiliano’s it is. I’m really sorry babe.”

Her lips pout but the dark eyes are smiling. With a whirl she’s slipped through the droplets and for a moment only a shape in the suspended raindrops is evidence of her existence. Then they crash to the floor and become part of the growing puddle.

*

The agency is a maze of business suits, college frat boys in plaid shirts and short shorts, and the sloppy rag-tag team of programmers donning comfort-style attire. One of the Slops is shuffling beside me with his rooted iPhone running an Android OS.

“Alyssa is gonna get you killed Jer.”

“If she doesn’t kill me first.”

“She could. She’s an…” the Slop leans his head towards me, “An Aranea.”

“Tell the whole world why don’t you.”

“Aw man the whole agency knows. You know they know. Don’t understand the secret.”

I turn to the Slop. He’s blonde hair is cut like one of those famous boy bands from the 90’s but his semi-beard ages him to guitar playing bard. Like that guy from Passenger.

“It’s not so much a secret as a taboo-subject. Like how we all suspect the fries of a particular fast-food franchise but never mention it.” Slop from Passenger nods his head sagely.

“I hear she’s on your recon list. That’s some taboo betrayal right there.”

For a moment there’s a surge of cold that hits my chest. And then it’s gone.

“Her ability is unique.” And so is her face I muse, “If we can pass that on to our future kids, it won’t matter that she’s Aranea. Because family always wins.”

“Just gotta watch the TV to know that.”

“Totally.”

*

It’s 6 PM when I arrive at Emiliano’s. A velvet rope separate the chumps from the high-end chumps. For tonight, I’m a high-paying chump. The rain has abated but fine sheets of it plonk down gently. Caressing the quiet lamp-lit streets and passing pedestrians.

“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?”

Alyssa is beside me as though she’s always been there. Only the dryness of her trench coat gives it away. Her head is cast down to a reflection of our murky silhouettes on the street. There is no shape to the puddle.

“Then we’re both reflections with that kind of logic.” I slide up next to her. The umbrella hangs at her side unopened. She doesn’t need it.

“That’s so like you.” She says softly, “Missing the depth. Quick to try sussing out the logic.”

“Well I…”

“Sometimes I wish I were the reflection, you know.” I realise then she hasn’t looked at me. I step to her and she’s suddenly facing the opposite direction. “Reflections never have to feel.”

When she turns to me, her eyes are puddles. They do not seep. Or flood. They merely… coalesce.

“Tell the agency I said hi.”

And then she was gone. Her silhouette shaped the air for a moment. Even her tears. Then they washed my feet in a cold splash, forming puddles.


Happy Friday all! Hope you enjoyed my  story. Good luck on your writing fellow authors and hope you have a great weekend!

Apartment 12B

 

It was a week later that Apartment 12B swayed. Guttural whispers fell against the wooden door padlocked with a series of golden chain locks and a single metal bar as thick as a baseball bat. An ewer from St. Peter’s Basilica rattled across the floor, splattering holy water over the wooden panels, only for the liquid to evaporate in dark tendrils.

Beyond the apartment, harsh pebbles of rain lashed the transom window. The horizontal venetian blinds quivered against the glass, filling the dim room with incessant tapping.  Within the stark room stood a beige second-hand couch, bought from the ancient auburn head owner of Elise’s Pawn Shoppe on the corner of Marshall and Green. A rickety mahogany table, from the same place, angled away from the couch. Dirty coffee cups left stained rings on the wood where a heavy, leather bound King James lay haphazardly open to Matthew 3. Verse two highlighted with the red squiggly circles of madness.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

*

Elise Chambers was an aberrant old hag originating from one of the obscure Scandinavian countries. A refugee turned citizen, she’d set up Elise’s Pawn Shoppe in August 1972 with the help of her now departed husband Nathaniel Chambers. While many had found her flaming auburn hair puzzling, the beauty and presence she radiated left all who met her charmed.

Many who entered the establishment were both surprised and pleased by the quality and value of the items she sold at bargain prices. In fact, rumours once circulated that her husband was merely an accountant by day and an infamous antique embezzler by night. Though these rumours fell away quickly and replaced with darker, ominous whispers. Those that Elise Chambers was secretly a witch. Now in her old age, the constant stoop to her gait and the odd mumblings she spewed every once in a while, seemed to substantiate this ancient rumour.

Josiah Coleman had moved from Lower Parkhurst to Langdon following a prospective job offer. Previously a store clerk at Jay Jay’s department store, a new branch in Langdon promised the possibility of promotion to General Manager.

His long-time girlfriend and hopeful fiancé, Alyssa Walker, followed him to Langdon with devoted attachment.

Green Street hummed with quiet foot traffic and an odd car every few minutes. Garden Court, Waverley Heights, and Sunset Pines rose up along the street in brick and glass and painted walls.

Josiah and Alyssa entered Kamilah Court’s recently paved walkway hand in hand.  Giggles flitted between them like high school lovers in the early stages of their relationship. A selection of vehicles were parked in the lot, particularly a blood red Land Rover with Hamilton Real Estate painted on its sides. They’d been together three years that warm March morning, four in another six months where Josiah hoped to propose. The bricked building rose eight storeys high. Railed balconies stuck out at every odd window like stubs of grated tongues.

They entered the wooden double doors with budding excitement, taking in the drab white painted walls and plain single seater leather seats. There was nothing unique about the place yet the prospect of starting anew sparked something in them.

Esther Washington, their real estate agent, met them at the hallway with a wide smile. She was a tall glass of water. A rich, thick afro glistened under the fluorescent lighting. Her tight fitting bright red dress suit fit her snugly like a second skin.

“Mr. Coleman?”

“Josiah, please.” His voice seemed clogged in his throat. Then, remembering the woman clinging to him, “And this is uh Alyssa.”

Esther Washington shook both their hands then gestured towards the front desk. A bald, portly man looked up at them from the top of his wireframe glasses. They reflected an ongoing game of solitaire.

“Looking good today Esther.” His eyes barely passed over the couple. They drank in the real estate agent with a hint of desire.

“Thanks Joey. We heading up to 12B, that okay?”

“No problemo. Remember the elevator is broken. Gonna have ter take the stairs.”

She sighed irritably.

“We’ll be a’right.”

He nodded at her slowly and turned back to his game.

“That’s Joey. He’s one of the security guards in the building. Anything you need he can help you get. And sorry about the long walk.”

Josiah nodded slowly. Alyssa held on to Josiah’s arm tighter. She didn’t like the way he looked at Esther.

They stepped through the door into a cool aquamarine spiralling staircase. Alyssa gazed up through the oblong coiling stairs that reminded her of the Fibonacci spiral, only in the shape of a square. It ended in looked like a sunroof as she could see the blue of the sky from beyond. She turned to Josiah to tell him and found that he was staring at Esther as she climbed the stairs. Her hips swaying with each step.

She followed quietly though her thoughts were anything but quiet.

*

Following the quick look around the apartment, and Josiah and Alyssa establishing that it might be more expensive than anticipated, Josiah surprisingly agreed to the price anyway. Esther promised to bring the papers the next day and suggested the couple look at Elise’s Pawn Shoppe for cheap but aesthetic furnishing for the place.

So it was an hour later, walking down towards the end of Green Street that Alyssa raised her concern,

“I thought we couldn’t afford the place.” It was a statement not a question.

“Yeah but its real close to work and there’s a kindergarten too where you can find work.” He did his little playful grin but the look on Alyssa’s face told him it was time for that.

“Taken a real shine to Esther huh?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Josiah brushed the comment off. Bad idea.

“Right.” And that was it. But anyone knows that when a woman raises that kind of concern and then brushes it off, it’s not over. Not even close.

 

The pawn shop was a homely little place directly on the corner of Green and Marshall, looking out towards a quiet intersection. Surprisingly there were no hawkers on the street, not that either of them noticed. The large front windows revealed an array of lamps, vases and gleaming vanity sets. While the furniture looked old, they carried an air of newness to them. Like they had been freshly cleaned not moments before.

They entered the store with a jingle from a hanging bell. Immediately they were struck with a waft of nostalgia. Josiah remembered Granny Dorothy’s living room. Of floor polish and freshly washed linen. Of Granny Dorothy knitting a sweater as she sunk into her floral armchair. Alyssa remembered the lime kitchen walls of Mewa Betty as she cleaned counter tops with rigorous flaps of her arm while Sunday lunch cooked in what seemed like an endless series of pots. Of the underlying aroma of something archaic obscured by wafts of fresh pine.

“Ah a budding couple on the cusps of mov’n in togeda yas?” Elise Chambers hobbled from seemingly out of nowhere and approached the parted couple.

“Ah yes.” Josiah replied. He scratched his head out of nervous habit. Alyssa cast an annoyed glance at him.

“Seems like ders trouble in paradise ‘dou.”

Alyssa, in her quiet fury, left the two and moved to a different section. She noticed a glass ewer that was apparently from St. Peter’s Basilica, filled with holy water blessed by the pope himself.

“Just a little squabble.” Josiah eventually replied, “We were recommended here by Esther Washington…”

“Ah yes. Tall woman shaped like a coke bottle yes yes she recommend people all da time. I know what you need.”

Josiah followed the old woman through the shop.

Elise led him past a section of brass instruments gleaming like the sun itself. Music systems both ancient and modern, with speakers and amplifiers lined together on triple layered metal shelves. Near the back end of the store was the furniture section and immediately a beige, polyester couch stood out to Josiah.

“How much for this?” He asked, turning to face her. For a moment he saw Elise as a young woman with fiery red hair and smouldering grey-blue eyes,

“How much would it be worth to you?” Her voice slithered across the back of his head. Warm as an embrace. Refreshing as a breeze.

“Alyssa Walker for Esther Washington.” He breathed.

Her lips curled up into a mischievous smile as she approached him slowly. A sultry tigress about to devour her prey. Josiah’s heart pulsated suddenly and wholly. Heat spreading across his forehead. She pushed him backwards against the couch and he was falling. Falling. Falling. He’d already forgotten the price he’d been willing to pay.

*

It was a week later that Apartment 12B swayed. Guttural whispers fell against the locked wooden door.

Josiah Coleman gripped the couch. Droplets of sweat cascaded down his large furrowed brows, staining the soft polyester seats. His eyes, almost black as coal, stared at the ceiling unseeing. The white boards fluctuating in and out of focus with the wavering apartment. His thick lips mumbled scripture into the air, quivering

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.”

But heaven was deafened to his words and only the rasping whispers beyond the wooden portal heard his words. And replied.

-God can’t hear you now-

-Repentance is futile-

-The roaring lion seeks to devour you-

-The serpent awaits-

“No!”

Josiah bolted upright and grabbed the holy tome from the table, a page tearing out between his trembling hands. And another. And another. They fluttered about him like gargantuan moths.

From across the room, the body of Alyssa Walker gawped at the door. Abyssal apertures gaped where her eyes and mouth should have been. A ragged breath crawled from her throat as a bulbous black insect ruptured its way out of the pink of her tongue in obsidian bubbles. The wings beat once.

Chain locks quietly slid across their respective golden tracks and rattled against the door frame. The metal bar screeched its way open and the door burst open with the fury of a hurricane. Josiah leapt to his feet facing the door.

“Time to pay the price Josiah Coleman.” Esther Washington entered the apartment with a grin. Her dark afro writhed as though it were made of bugs threatening to crawl down her face. The face that shimmered with Elise Chamber’s features.

“Please!” Josiah wheezed. Warmth quickly radiated into glacial surges of fear filling his head, chest and back. A warmth trickled down his pant leg.

“It is already done.”

Alyssa groaned from behind and Josiah spun around to face the woman he loved. The gaping holes in her face were quickly teeming with more of the bugs, wings oscillating to life with the growing swarm covering her body. She quivered to life and rose on her heels like a puppet pulled forward. Arms outstretched. She coughed and hacked and heaved, her body bending forward at an impossible 90 degrees.

A wet, slithering sound filled the room as one last hack coughed up Alyssa’s writhing black heart. It squelched on the floor and burst into a thousands of black shiny bugs that immediately rushed at Josiah. He shrieked. He ran straight into Elise/Esther who burst apart like scattered flies. When he turned back she was in her normal form. But her head was on backwards.

“Dear God!” Josiah screamed.

He didn’t notice the metal railing until the top half of his body was already leaning over. He was falling. The spiral stairs grew smaller with each passing second.

Like a cubical Fibonacci sequence.

Apartment

 

 

The weekend crept by too slowly. Wednesday was the hardest as the real estate agent called to inform me the tenants had moved out of the apartment on 7th Street. I was free to move in when I was ready. As a young man of twenty four, I was ready for a life of independence.

Warren from sales walked up to my desk Thursday afternoon with that lanky sluggish gait, like a two-legged giraffe.

“You ready for the weekend sesh bro?” He asked. A toothy smile stretched across his long face.

“Weekend sesh? What weekend sesh?”

“Dude it’s my party on Friday right through to Sunday. Did you forget already?”

I had.

“Uhhh gee. I don’t know. I’m supposed to move in to my new place on Saturday.”

“It’s cool bro, we’ll party up Friday and then Saturday I’ll help you move. Don’t ditch me.” He pleaded with slumped shoulders.

I shrugged.

“Can I let you know?”

“No you can’t… you always say that before a no.”

“Ugh… fine.” He grinned madly,

“Sweet! Don’t ditch me bro.”

“Yeah yeah.” I smiled. While I wasn’t close with Warren, we got along better than most of the people at the company. I’d known him for almost two years now and had partied often enough with him. I was sure it would be great.

It was.

*

Friday after work I decided to take some of the lighter stuff to the apartment. It was a one bedroom bachelor flat with a sitting room and kitchenette. White tiles throughout the place. There were two wide windows, one in the sitting room and the other in my bedroom. Both looked out into apartments across the road and a quiet street below.

I set up the coffee table and a beanbag. In the kitchen I put in the cutlery and crockery. The bedroom I left last to see how much space I had for the bed and my computer. I looked around pleased with this new step into adulthood before changing into party clothes and heading out to Warren’s place.

Warren’s party was lit. There were perhaps thirty people in total. Booze was flowing and his ping-pong table had been set up for beer pong. Music blared through the house, his parent’s house. Girls and guys were dancing everywhere. We partied hard until 2AM.

It was lit.

*

I woke up Saturday morning with a soft pounding across the left side of my head. Everything felt sluggish, like I was moving through water. My phone bleeped with a message. It was the real estate agent asking if I needed help with the move. I replied with a no then decided to check my phone gallery.

I swiped through the memories. A quiet chuckle every few moments from the craziness of it. Then I stopped.

A tremble swept through my hand.

The next couple of images were not of the party but of my apartment. Specifically of me in my apartment. Most were blurry but there were a few clear images. For a moment I wondered who had taken them. Then it hit me. I had been alone the entire time.

I rushed to Warren’s bedroom to wake him up. He lay on top of the bed as though he’d passed out in the middle of undressing.

“Warren. Warren!” I shook him hard. His eyes blinked open slowly and he mumbled something before passing out again. By now a weight was pressing against my chest. I hurried out to find my keys and let myself out of the house.

I sped my way to the apartment.

*

The apartment was as bare as I had left it. Morning sunlight lit a patch on the floor from the window. I had yet to put up curtains.

I pulled out my phone to see the images again, checking the vantage of each of them. Many of the images were from the apartment door and I figured someone had maybe found my phone and took the pictures. Someone trying to freak me out. A neighbour who doesn’t want a new tenant. Some weirdo pulling a prank. Relief was threatening to take over only the other images were of me in the bedroom.

I moved through the entire place, checking the walls for holes or cameras or something. Anything to make sense of the craziness. Nothing. I checked my phone again with panic easing in. There was a new image.

And another.

And another.

Goosebumps broke across my skin. My pounding headache seemed to blare harder as I fought the tremble sweeping through me.

“Who is here!?”

My voice was strong. Confident. The opposite of how I felt. I sped through the apartment, checking everything and everywhere.

“Who is here!” I screamed this time. No reply.

It’s nothing, I told my self, attempting to control my breathing. I looked at my phone with trembling hands. Hoping I was imaging it all. Hoping it was a prank of some sort and a camera crew would pop out of the ceiling and tell me, “You’ve been pranked!” or something.

A new image appeared in the gallery. The photo was of my back exactly where I stood. My shoulders immediately tingled with cold static that crawled down my spine. Whatever it was, was behind me. I wanted to look back. Had to look back. Had to face whatever it was but every part of me was frozen with fear.

That was when a hand grabbed my shoulder with an icy grip, and a cold breath blew against my ear,

“You’re mine now.”


Has anything freaky ever happened to you? Any “true life” ghost stories to share? I would love to know.

Friday Fiction: Frank

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Marshal’s Sidekick Setting: Dodge City Genre: Horror


Frank Reynolds, Marshal of Dodge City, died with an arrow to the eye. The same arrow pinned to my pillow where turning my head had brought it to my attention. I immediately rolled off the bed and hauled the rifle from under the bed onto my shoulder with the speed of a viper.

Nothing stirred.

Bella was not in bed and it churned my gut like butter. How had I not heard the intruder enter nor Bella leave? I rose quickly, assessing the wooden shaft lodged within the feathered padding. The arrow was adorned in intricate gold and emerald fletching from our Indian neighbours. I recognized the design like I would Ma’s face. I, Frank’s second-man, was the one who drew the bow after all.

A screech resounded from the front room. I dashed out to a feverish Isabella standing under the streaming sunlight cascading her shimmering, tilted silhouette. Her frock was in disarray, bonnet clutched to fluttering bosom as she gazed at the floor. Her bare feet stood in a viscous pool of yolk-hued liquid.

“Bella, what’s going on?”

“Frank?”

Her voice gurgled as though under water.

“Bella? It’s me, William.”

I stepped closer, avoiding the spillage. Iced pins prickled my chest. I fought the thrum rattling my bones – smoothed the aroused hairs along my nape with trembling hand.

“William?”

She began a slow swivel, golden rays refining her locks to dazzling white tresses. The first thing the glare revealed was the braided tongue-like cord, and the dangling pulped egg that was her eye.  My gut lurched with the stench wafting from the gaping abyss that was the rest of her cragged, hollowed face.

“He’s coming Will.” a greyed tongue languidly dripped yolk rivulets to the floor. The muck broiled, a single eye floating to the surface. Frank.

Friday Fiction: Birth of a Villain

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Sarcastic Butler Setting: Skyscraper Genre: Memoir


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The staples in his abdomen had ripped out again, this time purposefully. Master “Gestirn” Goldstein barely flinched as he removed blood drenched, clear plastic bags from his bulging gut. The carpeted floor of the penthouse loft was covered in vital fluids. Schneider Skyscrapers were going to need a good clean-up crew. As a butler, I cringed.

“Pass me the tray.” He wheezed.

I of course obliged, manoeuvring past dead FBI agents strewn about the sparse room to the tray angled awkwardly in one man’s skull.

“Will you be serving me then, for once?”

Master Goldstein merely smiled, and watched amused as I struggled to remove the tray. It was difficult with all the blood. It was also lodged quite deep.

“I didn’t know you took drugs, Kristoff.”

“Only when you’re around, Sir. I may need some after this.”

“You’ll get used to it eventually.” Master Goldstein stood then, skin flapping over the spandex pants he wore – the only item of clothing on him. He had no intestines.

“Well yes, when you were a caped crusader for justice. Who are you now, Robbing Hood?”

He laughed as he casually removed the tray from the man’s skull. His laugh was a breathy, whistling sound from the constrictions in his body; an internal scar and his arch nemesis’ greatest achievement.

“I’ve found other ways to make a living now. A new body with a new function. I’ve been brought back to life.”

“Well that’s good for you Master Franken-Stein.”

Master Goldstein placed the bags on the tray, crushed powder in some, pills in others.

“Franken-Stein. I like it.” He swept a gnarled hand through what was left of his golden mane. The charred scars of his face made him look like the monster he was becoming – or perhaps, had already become.


I may have missed the memoir part. *laughs nervously

Friday Fiction: Confessional

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: I’ve Always Been Crazy Setting: Village Genre: Crime


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“It’s getting worse Father.”

Francois knelt within the narrow confines of the confessional. Sweat trickled down his temples but his clasped hands shivered uncontrollably.

“The Lord knows our struggles. He sees all and knows all. He will never give you more than you can handle.” The voice replied from beyond the wooden grating separating confessor from absolution.

“I understand that Father but… I literally felt as though my hands were wrapped around her neck and…  and I was squeezing. Squeezing. Squeezing! Her neck…” Francois’s whole body began to shiver. Sweat continued to trail down into his collar, while a hollowness suffused his chest and clutched at his heart.

“It was merely a dream my child, perhaps manifestations of impure thoughts you harbour towards her or her sinful occupation?”

“I don’t even know her.”

“And yet you recall her with clarity? The Lord said, if you hate your brother in your heart then you have similarly committed murder. Do you hate her?”

“No Father! I… may have seen her once? Maybe?”

“Are you certain my child? You are safe in the house of the Lord.”

“I…” Francois searched his memories and could recall nothing concrete. A flash of someone but it was hazy. Fragmented. “Perhaps I’ve always been crazy Father.”

“Ephesians tells us our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the forces of darkness.” A sombre silence filled the air. “Pray ten Hail Mary’s. Tonight, I will visit again for special communion.”

The priest’s door clicked open and suddenly a familiar scent filled Francois’ nose. He looked out the glass portal of the confessional and watched the priest slip a tattered blouse into his vestments. A familiar blouse. He shook his head and turned back to prayer, the suspicion overshadowed by his guilt. He soon forgot about the blouse.

Friday Fiction: The AGA

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Songwriter Setting: Village Genre: Aga Saga


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Vanessa sneered at the aged AGA. A bulky, 3-door cooker sitting against the kitchen wall like a squalid interloper. It’s front creame-coloured door was peeling to reveal the shiny metallic interior. From the back, a pipe ran along the wall and attached to the black bent-tube boiler built into the wall.

“Shall you fix it then?”

The village Engineer wiped his forehead with a grimy handkerchief.

“I’ll try my best mam. We been doin’ more Aether-boiler jobs than steam… and this is very old.”

“Well I ask you do to more than just try. This is an heirloom sir, it best be fixed.”

“Of course, mam.”

She saw the scowl creasing his wrinkled face, smudged with soot like the lower-class civil servant he was.

“I’ll be in the Drawing Room. Find me when it is done.”

She whirled away in a flurry of ruffles flaring from her crinoline. Like an inverted rose, the scarlet dress flared around her hips, silk crawling up to the high-collar styled with intricate golden gears. Although the daughter of the Royal Engineer – she drew no correlation between her father and the man in her kitchen.

“Must you always be so rude, Vanessa?” mother asked without lifting her head, seated with a cello angled away from her knees.

“Is he not below us?”

“Your privileged ancestry began with a man very much like him.”

Vanessa glided across the carpeted floor and gazed out the window. The village, once further away, now loomed closer. Threatening to overtake.

“Do we not come from a family of cabaret singers, song writers and… whatever it is you do mother.”

Mother raised her eyes and sighed,

“Much like the AGA you despise so, the future catches up to us. Apart from your class, what shall you offer to it?”

Friday Fiction: Memoir of a Failed Father

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Sheriff Setting: Blockade Genre: Memoir


“Ya’ll gonna go back, aint yer?” Sheriff Mac asked. I clutched Delilah and Josiah near me. No wind blew that night. The stars had winked out of existence and the moon was but an ethereal shadow. The clouds though. The clouds swam scarlet. Humming. Right into our bones.

“Do yer know what it is Sheriff?” I asked, our eyes gazing up.

“Nah-ah. Them federal boys set up blockade up by Westpoint.” He raised a trembling hand towards the dark hill. Its apex sat directly below the rolling mass.

“Is why I’m telling yer tah go back, Jonathan. Let it clear. T‘morrow er’thing will be back to normal.”

But it wasn’t.

Not two hours after we’d left the Sheriff did it begin to rain. Not softly either. It poured. Bashing against the roof and windows like the house was being peppered with large pebbles. Josey. My poor Josey. When he turned eight we had converted the attic into his own room and he’d been there 3 years then. It hit him first. The rain.

I still remember his screams. Horrid, high pitched wails that crawled along the walls. We rushed up, Delilah and I, not even realising the dark patches along the ceiling. I was there first. I remember that. Delilah stumbled in after then her screams joined Josey’s.  The ceiling had serrated where water poured in, drenching my boy. Where there was once hair now dripped skin and melted clumps of hair. Half his pink, smoking face sagged.  He’d raised fingers but the skin had burnt off. I could see the bone.

Delilah pushed past me to wrap Josey in a blanket and then they were running. Josey never made it far. Delilah… she carried him until she too dribbled away.

I cowered in the basement. A poltroon. A failure.

December Patreon: Dominae Mortem

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Upon death’s head I rode.

Splinters thick as fingers dug into tiny palms as the obsidian oar cut water like knife through skin. Ripples poured about the fractured bone where I stood within an abyssal socket, breaking the murky glass surface reflecting the ashen gloom above. Night approached quickly, yet no sun faded into the dismal horizon ahead. The sky remained sombre. Death seemed to beckon across the solemn expanse. Only it was his scythe between my hands reaping waters to propel me forward.

Death was dead. I was the victor.

Weak arms continued to heave, pain a welcome guest keeping sanity afloat. Failing legs trembled yet remained upright below the frock that had once ruffled about my ankles, now frayed strips caked in mud and dried blood. A princess no more.

Liberated from sin’s shackles.

Emancipated from righteousness.

I had become what I feared most. I had become death.

****

This month’s Patreon is dedicated to Lady Death, or as I have to call her – due to copyright (and confusion) with a comic book character of the same name – Dominae Mortem.

Who is she? What is she? Where is she going? Where does she come from? How did she defeat death?

Journey with me this December, to find out. Click on the image to visit my Patreon page.

Patreon Fiction: Dominae Mortem

Friday Fiction: Thimble

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Seamstress Setting: Second-hand Shop Genre: Crime

I am the guest Judge for today’s Microcosms Fic, so please do drop by and honour us with your flash fiction.


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“Come in child.” She said from the doorway. Her raven hair, streaked purple under the hanging light, had been tied into a bun that pulled her face taut. Jade eyes gleamed with the cluster of gold hanging around her neck, watching the man hesitate on the porch of the second-hand shop simply named Thimble.

“Thank you.” he tucked the fedora under his arm and slipped within the gloom, hands clutching and unfurling as his gaze swept around the room. Racks lined the walls and twisted across the room, pouring with various sewing machines likely seen in an antique shop. The air swam with incense and lavender over the musk of perfume she wore.

“I’m looking for…”

“Hush. Follow me.”

She trailed a shawl that matched her hair. Arms raised like T-Rex claws led to limp hands adorned with jewels on arched fingers, leading the way into the establishment. They traipsed through the maze of shelves toward a table where a sewing machine sat to the side of it. Two high-back wooden chairs had been arranged across each other. The woman plunked down into one of them.

“Sit.” She raised her eyes at him until he carefully slid in. Clasped hands rested on the table. They sat in silence while the woman stared.

“It’s my wife!” he finally shouted, then sheepishly lowered his head, “It’s my wife.” he said softer.

“I am well aware. That is why you came to me. For protection, yes?”

He nodded. His adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. Eyes scanned the room nervously.

“What is your fee?”

Now it was her turn to rest her hands on the table, laid flat over one another,

“No charge at all.”

A smile edged his lips in uncertainty,

“The body… is in the trunk of the car.”

Nthato Morakabi

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