Prompt for October 11, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

“I’m sorry, I just can’t do this anymore.”

The walls of the dorm were normally quite well insulated, but here in the closet-storage cupboard they forgot to put in the insulation and she could hear everything being said the in the room next to her. Normally Jessie had the door closed and the extra door, as well as her clothes hanging on the rods, muffled any sound. But right now, putting away her laundry, she could hear every word. She should back up, close the door and put on some headphones or at least turn the sound on her laptop up. But she stood there, listening. She was trying to here a response but quickly realized that Jazz was on her phone.

“I can’t do that, no, I won’t do that. I’m tired, really tired and I know it’s not your fault, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m not Rachel. I’m sorry to be blunt, but Rachel died and comparing everything that I do to Rachel isn’t helping you … or me. I need …” There was a long pause as Jazz was silent, probably listening on her phone.

“Stop it, stop it, stop it,” Jazz yelled. “You don’t know how much this hurts me. Every time we touch, every time we kiss, I’m scared that you’re thinking that it’s Rachel and not me. I can’t compete with a dead woman, it’s not fair.” Another pause and Jessie used the opportunity to grab a kleenex and go back to the closet. She knew she shouldn’t be there but she couldn’t help herself. She didn’t know Rachel well, but she knew what she was going through only too well.

“Well, then you shouldn’t have whispered her name in my ear as you were kissing me. That hurt, it tore me up inside. I understand that there is a hole in your heart, a hole that Rachel left when she died, but I’m not a Rachel-sized plug that you can use to fill it. I’m someone completely different with different ideas, different desires, different needs and different wants. If that hole in your heart ever starts to heal let me know, but I can’t be around you as you try to grab pieces of my heart and use them to stop your bleeding. I just can’t. Goodbye.”

The sound of a phone dropping onto the floor and Jazz crumpling to the ground sobbing caused Jessie’s heart to break as she left the closet and rushed next door.

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Prompt for October 10, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

Jackson Merriweather pushed open the door to the coroner’s office at precisely 11:45 PM, fifteen minutes to the start of his shift. He always showed up at the same time regardless of the weather, his health or any other personal factors. It was a source of pride for him, his regularity, and a source of amusement for his staff.

Dr. Ex-Lax they first called him, making fun of his desire to be early, before they discovered that he went to anime conventions with his two daughters. His ex-wife couldn’t handle the gender bending that went on with the cross play and the normal cosplay didn’t impress her, so he went in her stead. With that anime background, they started calling him Naruto, much to his children’s delight.It was all in good fun, however, as they both respected and admired the skill he brought to the job. As the chief night shift

It was all in good fun, however, as they both respected and admired the skill he brought to the job. As the chief night shift coroner, he attended to the more bizarre and out of the ordinary cases and his staff admired his ability to narrow down the cause of death so quickly.

He took off his coat to exchange it for a white lab coat and went to find Ruth, his assistant, who also showed up early, to see what the night held. He found her in the first autopsy room shaking her head as she read the chart.

“Ruth?”

“Jackson we’ve got a long night ahead of us. A long, sad night. A family consisting of a father, mother and their adult daughter were found near the quarry just west of town. No visible wounds, no visible signs of any trauma, but they were all found dead in their car. The father,” she pointed with her head at the body still covered on the table, ” Robert Michaels was …”

“What did you say his name was?” Jackson moved over to the table and pulled back the sheet. “Shit.”

“Jackson, what’s wrong?”

“You said a family, parents and their adult daughter,” he continued, ignoring her question, “what was the daughter’s name?”

“Let me check.” Ruth flipped a few pages, her fingers running down the page until she found what she was looking for. “Annabelle Michaels. Do you know her?”

“She’s my wife.”

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Prompt for October 9, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

Daro looked at her as she stood near the balustrade, her wind whipping around her like a snake.  The storm was close, closer than he would have liked, but she didn’t fear the storm nor what it was heralding in.  He liked that about her, the fearlessness she showed when those around her were frightened, but he knew it cost her in ways that he could not imagine.  She was alone on that balcony and no one in her entourage dared approach her, except for Lythia and himself.  But she had no one with which to share her heart, her desires, her own fears.  She was the Queen and she needed to be strong, for them.

He remembered when they started their campaign, those six short months ago, when they Varkosh invaded their kingdom.  No one expected them to survive the winter.  But they did.  Thanks to their Queen.  No, their Princess.  The King and Queen were still alive at that point and only died when the Varkosh attacked the capital in the middle of the night.  He rubbed the scar on his face remembering the chaos of that night and the efforts that he and others had gone to in an effort to save the Princess, to save the hope for the future.

“Queen Marlee, it’s almost time.”

She didn’t move, didn’t respond.  He was about to say it again when he saw her slowly turn around to look at him.  The war had taken it’s toll on her in ways that he could understand.  Losing her parents, having the fate of the kingdom depend upon her every decision, he couldn’t imagine the pressure on her shoulders and his heart went out to her.  The pain in her eyes was replaced with a grim determination that he had been seeing too often recently.  And within moments it was replaced with the blue fire of her magic.

“Yes, Daro, it’s time.”  Her voice had an eerie echoing quality as her magic covered her in a shield of mage-fire.  But even with the strangeness of her voice he recognized the steel within her voice.  “Let’s get our kingdom back.”

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Prompt for October 8, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

“Russ, you little attention whore.”Connie, his mother, instantly responded. “Jake, stop that right now. You are not to call your brother a ‘little attention whore’.”

Connie, his mother, instantly responded. “Jake, stop that right now. You are not to call your brother a ‘little attention whore’.”  

She looked at Russ and then back at Jake. “Even if he is.” She winked at Jake.

“Ah, mom,” came the voice of Russ as he realized that his mom was taking his brother’s side. “Again?”

The bond between Connie and Jake was more than mother and son, they were like two peas in a pod, sharing the same sense of humor, the same cheerful outlook on life regardless of the circumstances.

It had been just two years ago when Jake’s girlfriend had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of sixteen. He had been devastated but he stood by her all through chemotherapy and even though they were no longer dating they had become best friends. When Connie had been diagnosed with breast cancer six months ago Jake had been her rock. He had been there and supported Ellis and he was going to do the same for her.

The sound of a car horn in the driveway cause Jake to drop his spoon. “Dad’s here,” he said as he leaped from the table to run to the door. Jake had been so busy helping the women in his life that he had foregone a right of passage: learning how to drive. Stephen had come to get him ready. The divorce had been amicable and Stephen and Connie remained friends, just not married, and Stephen had insisted on helping Jake prepare for his driver’s test.

Russ and Connie followed Jake out to the driveway coming to a stop and leaning against the trunk of the family Toyota. Stephen had arrived in his beat up Ford Ranger. Sturdy enough to get him places, but not so pristine that he would worry if Jake hit something with it. “Or multiple things”, she thought as she looked at the numerous dents on the hood. When Jake got behind the steering wheel Stephen came over to her for a moment.

“Don’t worry, I got this. We’ll be gone for about an hour and when we’re done he’ll be all set for the test. He’s already got the basics, he just needs a little more confidence.”

“Thanks for doing this Stephen. I know you normally work Saturdays, but this means a lot to Jake.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said as he waved off her concern. “He needed some help and I’m glad that I could be there. Now, if you’ll excuse me, but I have a pupil waiting for his instructor.” He gave a small wave to Connie and Russ and walked between them and the truck to get in on the passenger side.

He buckled up and turned to his son. “OK, let’s get this show on the road. Back out of the driveway and head over to the mall. Let’s see how good you are with all those morons on the road.”

Jake put his foot on the brake and tried to move the gearshift, but it wouldn’t move. He tugged at it a few times but it was stuck. He looked to his dad and just shrugged his shoulders.

“Yeah, it happens to me all the time. Life your foot a little bit when you take it out of park, but be careful it may jerk.”

Jake lifted his foot slightly from the brake and tried again. It was still stuck. He lifted his foot again and the gear shift moved. The truck jerked forward as the gear shift got stuck in first gear.

Neither Connie nor Russ made a sound as the truck hit them.

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Prompt for October 7, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

The kitchen table was perfectly set with one chair pulled out as if someone had been about to sit down. The table itself, a sturdy wooden table that exuded many years of use, had one place setting on top of a hand woven place mat. In the centre a lazy susan covered in a white doily, sat a pot of beef stew, a bowl full of biscuits and a butter plate. The glass filled with milk which would normally have been decorating the table, lay shattered on the floor by the fridge.

“Jen, damn it, let me in.”

Jennifer Kern sat on the floor next to the broken glass, her knees drawn up to her chin, her body shaking with the adrenaline coursing through her veins. When she had filed the restraining order against her abusive boyfriend Denny they had assured her that it would keep him away, that she would be safe. But the truth was in front of her. It had not kept him away, it had only made him angrier. It was not going to keep her safe.

The door creaked as Denny leaned into it. He spoke in a loud whisper, just loud enough for Jennifer to hear, loud enough for her to feel the menace in every word.  “Open up Jen, or I’m going to get mad.”

“You’re not supposed to be here,” she whispered. Then again, louder, so that he could hear. “You’re not supposed to be here, Denny. The court said …”

“I don’t give a good god damn what the course said. You’re mine, you’ll always be mine and nothing is going to stop me from having what is mine.” The sound of the door cracking as Denny rammed it with his shoulder caused Jennifer to jump. Her hands went to the floor to help her stand but she stopped as pain lanced through her right hand. She looked at her bleeding palm and then the floor where the shards of the glass lay in a pool of milk.

The door jamb broke under the stress of Denny’s attack and the door was flung open and Jennifer instinctively reached down and grabbed the base of the glass in her hand. She waited while the sounds of his footsteps echoed in the quiet of the house. She hoped that her neighbours had seen what he was doing and had called the police. She hoped that they had been brave enough to do what she couldn’t. Fear paralyzed her as she sat there, quaking, wishing that the footsteps would stop.

“Ah, you made me dinner,” said the voice of the nightmares. “Now, where are you mouse? I need to punish you for locking me out. Where are … ah, there you are.”

The voice turned deeper and her blood froze. “You’ve been a bad girl and you need to be punished.” She closed her eyes, waiting for the blow, waiting for the pain that she knew would come. Even through closed eyes she could see him kneel down and put his face inches from hers, his fetid breath washing over her like a blanket of despair.

“Yes,” he spat, “you’re going to be punished.”

With a determination that she didn’t know she had, she swung her hand with the broken glass at what she hoped was his face and felt it connect. With something soft.

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Prompt for October 6, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

I wasn’t sure what it was that woke me, the soft dripping sound near my head or the distant sound of sirens approaching, but when I opened my eyes the blinding pain forced me to close them again.  I tried to take a deep breath to force away the agony but I couldn’t.  Every time I tried to take a deep breath a sharp pain lanced through my chest, so shallow breathing is what I practiced.  

Just like I was taught as a child from my father, I gathered my thoughts and did a quick assessment of my situation.  I had been driving down the road, dawn had just broken and as I went through the intersection …  Was I hit?  I was still in the car, that much I could confirm as the seat belt was going to leave a huge welt from where it had stopped me from flying through the windsheild.  OK, next?

I was in pain and it was coming from almost every part of my body.  Both legs were probably broken and my right foot seemed to be pinned.  Arms?  Left arm was shattered as any attempt to move it just drove another dagger into my brain.  My right arm seemed to be relatively unscathed as other than some cuts there didn’t appear to be any broken bones.  I had a concussion, at the very least, and that was leading to the pain when I opened my eyes.  I cheated and peaked out from one lid.  The world was red.  Damn, head wound and it’s probably bleeding badly.  I was going to need help and soon.  I could still hear the sirens approaching, but they didn’t seem to be getting any closer.

I heard movement from outside the car as the door of another car seemed to be forced open and someone fell to the pavement.  Truck then?  With a groaning sound I heard them get up and stagger over to my car.  I turned to them as they approached and managed to whisper “Help”.

“Shit.  You’re still alive.  God damnit he told me this would be enough.  He told me that you’d be dead.  Shit, shit, shit.”  The voice, weak and whiny, started to move away as the sirens finally started getting closer.  “This has to end and it has to end now.”  I heard them searching their car for something before they came back.  I heard the distinct sound of a gun being cocked before the voice said “You’re a fucking monster, now die.”

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Prompt for October 5, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

“We are in deep shit now, Terry, really deep shit.”

I laughed at Brandon’s comment.  We hadn’t been working together long, the Society had only put us together for the past three missions, but he was apparently not used to my style of operating.  ‘Balls to the walls’ was the expression my mentor and my father, Sebastian Thermon, would say to me on a continual basis while I was in training.  I started when I was young, so young that my first real memory is me training.  I remember nothing before that.  And that training had gone on for the past sixteen years, day in and day out, ten hours a day.  It was more than just physical training, however, as I also needed to be smart enough to outwit my target, so learned the classics, ancient weaponry, roman history, greek history, medieval history and even freaking calculus.  I was the renaissance man in twenty-first century America.  An America overrun by demons, vampires and lycanthropes.

Brandon looked at me, his eyes opening wider at my apparent disregard for our circumstances.  Sure we had been arrested.  Sure we were in the back seat of a police cruiser with our hands in cuffs.  Sure we had the murder weapons in our hands when we were arrrested.  But did they have a body?  Did they have a victim?  I told his as much, but he just shook his head.

“You don’t understand, Terry, they don’t need a body to charge us with murder.  Under the Pence act of 2017 the mere fact that we have weapons and the cops don’t like us is enough to make us guilty of something.  With old man Vibrance missing we’re going to be charged with his murder.”

“It ain’t gonna happen Brandon.  Don’t worry about it.”

The back door of the cruiser was thrown open and a man the size of a small elephant reached in, grabbed me by the shirt and hauled me out of the car.  He was tall as my dangling feet could attest to.  Now, I must admit being held up in the air by an elephant of a man could be a little disconcerting for some people.  For me, I knew it was just another act in the overall story and that I needed to play my part:  asshole.  So I did.

“If you reach in my shirt pocket, friend, you can find some mints.  Take one.  No, take the entire pack, you need it.”  As predicted the man grew incensed and threw me to the ground just as the police reached us.  WIth a casual shrug he tossed the police to the side, but the distraction was enough for me to break the chain holding the cuffs together.  As my assailant whirled and twirled and make a nuisance of himself I took the opportunity to withdraw the wire from my boots.  Yeah, I know, the cops should have done a better job searching me, but they didn’t expect wire, just a bunch of guns, ammo and knives.  They found what they were looking for.

With a spring in my legs that I wasn’t sure I still had, I leaped up on to the back of the elephant man and wrapped the wire around his throat and pulled tight.  Really, really tight.  It dug into his skin millimetre by millimetre but that wasn’t good enough.  Demons didn’t die unless you beheaded them and since they don’t breath you can’t choke them to death.  I needed some additional leverage.  Just hanging from him wasn’t working.  And that’s when Brandon joined me.  He grabbed one end of the wire and I held on to the other and we both jerked at the same time.

Needless to say, we were successful and the spray of black blood, the stink from the corpse as it consumed itself in hellfire and the demonic screams as it left our existence, demonstrated that we knew what we were talking about.  Now if only we could convince the cops of this before he headed downtown.  As Brandon and I high-fived our latest point in the win column our smiles were wiped off our faces as we smelled the sulfur in the air.  And not just a tad of sulfur, an entire freaking truck full.

Invasion time. 

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