Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner 6-18-2017

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The challenge for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner will open early Wednesday morning, June 14th. Allow the prompt to take you anywhere you want to go! (Limit your stories to 200 words.)

This challenge is open until 11:00 pm Friday night, June 23rd, 2017.

FFftPP


 

“Never let it be said,” he said, “that I never set foot in a library.”

“Yeah, but in order to be in the library you have to put in more than just your toes.”

“I don’t like libraries.”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake. Why not?”

“They scare me.”

“Really?”

He peered inside at the endless line of packed shelves. “All those smart people in there just…. just waiting.”

“Not everybody in there is uber smart.”

“Not them! The books.”

“The books are smart so you are scared of them?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m missing something here.”

“No, no, listen. It’s like all those smart little folk are just crouching there on the shelves. Waiting.” Voice dropping to a whisper.

“Waiting? For what?” She whispered back.

“For me to go by.”

“Right.”

“So they can whisper behind my back about how stupid I am.”

“You have a complex.” Her voice rose back to normal.

“They’ll suck me into library hell!”

“You have a serious complex.”

“Little teeth. Whispering little voices.” Shivering, he backed up, hurried away.

“Idiot.” But then she hesitated. Were hundreds of little eyes glaring at her from each and every shelves?

“Aahhh…maybe I’ll study tomorrow.”

Daily Post One Word Daily Prompts – Liminal 11-26-2016

Liminal

Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

-Wikipedia

The Neighbors, Part 6

There are those among us who live false lives. Nasty men. Vicious women. Forgotten children. You will never see them. They pretend normalcy; friends and neighbors and co-workers. Inside they are monsters.

Am I one? Some things are best discovered on your own.


Sometimes the screams wake me, desperate cries ringing in the dark. I never help. I can’t. I won’t. There is only so much pain a child can endure. That, of course, is where I’ve lived my life since, inside the bloody hollow place where last I was a boy, long before I became the man I am now. I never saw the change coming, never even knew a living death was possible but it is…. gods help me, it is.

I was awake. Really awake. Cold. Dark. Deep. Trapped.

Somewhere a dog  barked frantically.

Damned dog. Rising, I pulled on slacks and a pullover from the day, treading bare-foot down cool stairs. The barking got louder. I unlocked the door to the basement and a thing of fur burst past, knocking me against the far wall.

Damned dog.

It rushed to the front door, barking, claws scraping wood. Lying in blood-stains, the only sound water on tiles and a dog in the distance. It couldn’t come in. There was nothing inside me to come into.

As soon as I opened the door, it sprang down the steps and around the fence, towards the neighbors. Good riddance.

I listened for a moment, waiting for silence, but it didn’t come.  The dog barked more and more frantic, sound turning into howls of despair.

Pressing hands hard against my face as if to stop the things inside from rushing out, I closed the door behind me. The grass was chilled, cold from overnight rain. The dog dug frantic at their front door. When he saw me, he started running to me and then back to the door, back and forth, forth and back. Barking.

I would have killed for quiet. I should have killed him the moment I saw him.

The door opened at my touch. He pushed in and I followed. I didn’t want involvement. Solitude was the only salvation I ever found.

The house was a wreak, eerily silent now the dog had stopped his uproar. I smelled it. Not a cut on the finger blood but much, much more. It was a smell I knew deep down in my bones.

Leave now. This isn’t your problem. Pack a bag and go away, find another corner in which to hide. Only I couldn’t. A shard of glass cut my foot. The room – floor, ceiling, furniture – were soaked in blood.

And the smell! The taste in my mouth. The squish of carpet beneath my feet. I heard somebody, somewhere, breathing heavily. The iron taste of madness hung suspended in the air.

I found Jane in the kitchen, no longer a pretty woman. She had been stabbed  until her chest was a bloody mass, head almost severed from her body. Nobody was pretty after that kind of death.

The breathing continued and so did I, making my way into the hall. The bathroom was empty of blood as was the first bedroom. I continued to the final room, cold fear spiking in my chest.

James slumped on the bed, hands between his knees, covered in blood.

I was in the shower. Hearing cries, screams, pain tangible in the air. If I helped, he would hurt me. Again. Again. I feared the hatred in his eyes. He wasn’t my father. He couldn’t be. I tried to be good. I tried.

Pumpkin stood guard in front of the closet, fur bristling, growling low and dangerous.

It hurt,” he whispered. “Hurt.”

There was little blood in the room not on James. You knew and you left me there.”

Crying. Begging. Screaming. Blood swirling round me, down the drain. Dripping down the walls.

“You died,” I croaked.

He shook his head.  “The minute you abandoned me, you died. I knew, knew, you were somewhere, hiding, pretending to be normal. Pretending.”

I drew in a careful breath. “Where is Janice?”

“She’s dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Like you should have been. Like you will be.”

I backed up as he rose, my hand knocking something hard. He raised the knife and I cracked the lamp on his head. He fell, knife laying where it had fallen.

I buried the blade into his back over and over. I’d been wrong to run, to leave him, but what did children know of monsters?

Gone. Finished. Done.

Pumpkin sidled over to me, head down, tail tucked between his legs. His cold nose nudged my face.

“Janice?”

He whimpered, slinking beside me as I crawled to the closet.

“Janice?”

Pumpkin barked.

I clawed the door open. She hurled herself into me, wrapped her tiny body around mine. Her heart beat a thousand thunders.

I carried her out of the room,  past the body of her mother, into the cool night beyond. “It will be all right,” I whispered, “I won’t let anybody hurt you”. Pumpkin trotted beside me.

“It will be all right.”

And it was.

THE END

Read Parts 1-5 here.

How Did The World Become So Cruel?

“Our world is no longer a safe and predictable place. We cannot allow ourselves to be pulled into a false sense of security. Today’s tragedy is a stark reminder that we are not immune from these types of domestic terror attacks nor the hateful motives which drive these assailants,”

President of the Florida Sheriffs Association, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell.


I know when. I know forever. But what I don’t know is why. Why does it have to be this way?

I’ve been holding this post since that day in Orlando because I just didn’t, and don’t, know what to say. Down deep, I know there are words. I want them to be perfect words, but they’re not. Not perfect. Maybe not even there. Maybe there are no words to express the sadness I feel, the horror at the cruelty of man against man and, even more, the total incomprehension when confronted with events like Orlando or… the list seems to go on forever.

When Cain raised his hand to Abel, was that the moment this darkness entered our souls? Or was it earlier? Later? Or is this always the way we have been, and always will be?

My truest hope is, no, this will not always be.

 

Friday Fictioneers 3 June 2016

ff

photo-by-piya-singh-bittercharm-6

Thanks to Piya Singh for this week’s photo prompt.

It wasn’t the house he’d wanted, the house he’d expected, but it would do. It would have to do. Stepping inside, he studied the bare rock walls, the dirt floor, one room with a coal-fired stove directly in front of him, a rickety table and one chair. He dropped his bag and walked further into the room. His life was like this, bare walls, dirt floor.  Emptiness. Emptiness surrounded by emptiness.

Pulling the gun from his pocket, he put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

To read more Click Here

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers Week of 05-24 through 05-30-2016

photo-20160523071601748This week’s photo prompt is provided by TJ Paris.

 Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

1. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.

2. Linking for this challenge begins on Monday and runs to the following Monday evening.

3. Please credit photo to photographer

4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try to stay within this limit.

5. Pingback to the challenge post in your story’s post.

 

The tourists stared upwards, while his eyes never left the floor, never lifted to the dome of the cathedral. His eyes did not deserve even the barest glimpse of heaven. His were fit only for hell.

“Mommy, who are those people?” Pointing up.

“I guess they’re Saints or some religious people,” she responded, trying to sound educated about something based entirely on faith.

“But why did the man paint them all up there? It’s too far to see them good!”

“I know, darling. I guess…. they liked to have something to look up at.” As if the dome were some hum-drum ceiling in a double-wide.

Tourists in bright shorts and tee-shirts, flip-flops and sandals, flowed round him like tides around ocean rocks.

And he was nothing. And he was nobody. And he was forgotten.

He lifted his hands as blood poured over them, over him, from his veins, pooling on the floor and spreading like spilled wine.

“All right, folks, we’re closing in five minutes.”

The rush to the gift shop swirled around his body, robes rippling in the breeze.

Until he was alone. Until he was dead. Until he was forgotten

Daily Post One Word Prompt – Breath

His breath came in gasps, raw against his throat, body weakening, sheened in sweat. Night hung thick with heat, pushing him relentless towards sleep.

He couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t. Sleep equaled death. And death equaled something worse, something much, much, worse.

It hurt to breathe. Hurt. Where had the gods gone?

No matter how hard he’d tried, how much he’d wanted to do right, wrong had always been easier, better, sooner.

Breath was pain. Squeezing out from his body like blood.

The distant howl of night hounds sent shivers up his spine. He staggered one more step then another and another. There were no gods but angry gods.

Somewhere -how -when, he went down, spread-eagle, ground sweat-soaked beneath him, branching horns of the Huntsman velvet dark against the moon-lit sky. Stars blinked malicious.

In. Out. Pain. God. Pain.

There were no gods left, not for him.

Breath

JSW Prompt Response– April 2, 2016

Another of my Just Start Writing prompts.  Feel free to write your own story/poem or whatever and post the link to the comment or leave a pingback.  I’ll post your story on my blog.

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He just stared for a moment, total confusion on his face. Finally, he managed, “I didn’t mean that…. like seriously.”

“Oh,” I said in surprise. “I apologize then, but I still can’t go to hell so you’ll have to defeat me and kill me or…..” I paused, wondering out loud, “If you do kill me does that mean I automatically go to heaven?”

“You?” he coughed, pretending he hadn’t spoken at all.

“You are right, I suppose,” I continued, folding my arms across my  chest, pistol tucked between my right arm and side. “I might be stuck in some otherworldly, middleworldy, type of place.”

He sighed, pistol on hip, resigned impatience in his voice. “Do we really need to do this now?”

“Well… yes.  If you plan to kill me,  which I assume you do….?”

“You insulted my honor.”

“Humph, what honor you have,” I replied, not giving him time to jump in before I continued my previous chain of thought. “That fact makes the circumstances of my death rather…. important. Shall I go to heaven or some middle world?”

“You ought to go to hell,” he growled.

“Well, regardless of that opinion, with which, theoretically,  I might agree, Satan refuses to allow me in.” I rolled my eyes. “You’d think he would have forgotten about the incident by now…. Tsk.”

Now he was rolling his eyes. “Can we just get on with this?”

I started to speak, then shook my head. “I’m afraid not. You see, the question of where I go is of great import to my soul so I think I should really speak first with a priest.”

“For God’s sake….”

“Well, yes, or at least for the sake of my soul. Perhaps we could suspend this until tomorrow?”

He looked at his second, then back at me, grumbled something under his breath. “I suppose it can wait until then. If it must.”

“Thank you, kind sir. Shall we say tomorrow, same time, same place?”

Handing his pistol to his second, he turned away, still grumbling. Some folks have no sense of the important in life.

I pulling a cloth from my belt to wipe the barrel of my pistol, startled as it went off with a bang. For a moment, we stood in silence, looking at the dying body on the ground. I spoke first.

“Goodness, I apologize. My pistol…. I was wiping it off… sweat you know… and it… just… went off.”

The second stared at me, but what could he do but collect his dead master and leave?

Singer stepped to my side. “You did that on purpose didn’t you?”

“Me? Why do you think Satan won’t let me back in?”