#5SF – Shadows

He has night lights in the corners of every room, closet and hallway in his home. They point into the corners, so the corners never have any shadows. So they are never dark. He says it makes him feel safe. He says no demons can hide in the dark corners of his home.


Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Shadows.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

#VisDare 17 : A Cat’s World

The images on the wall came to an end. Alice smiled. “You really think I’m pretty?”

“Prettier than any woman I’ve ever seen.”

She hugged me. I didn’t mind at all. “Tomorrow, I’ll take you to Old Phoenix.”

I slept on the sofa in her home that night, and dreamed of her.

After breakfast, Alice and I walked over the hills behind her home, into the ruins of an ancient city. “This was Phoenix, Arizona.” We walked down streets lined with buildings. “This is where we met the animals.”

I noticed cats, dozens of them, along the streets as we walked. I heard dozens of different voices in my head, “Alice is visiting! Who’s that with her? Is he safe?”

Alice watched me looking at cats. “You can hear them, can’t you?”

I nodded yes.

“And yet, you came from one of the caves. That’s never happened before.”

148 Words
@LurchMunster


This is the 13th piece in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

#FlashFriday #21 : My Invisi-Ray

Photo courtesy of Mensatic, MorguefileI stood at the bottom of the ladder to the tree house, staring up the ladder. “Bobby? What happened? Where is it?”

Bobby explained it all again, “I keep tellin’ ya! I put my foot on the ladder to start up, and I looked up, and the house was there. This strange light flash happened, and the whole top of the tree, house and all was gone!”

I grinned. “It worked!”

“What worked?”

“My invisi-ray gun! It worked!” I raced up the ladder into our now invisible tree house, with Bobby following. “It’s the perfect place for us to hide!”

100 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Rebekah Postupak‘s #FlashFriday, Week 21. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #Flash Friday. They are good reading.

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#ThursThreads #68 : It’s Standard Procedure

Tommy checked the list carefully, reviewing each step of the procedure, making certain he’d followed the procedure precisely. He had. Remove the new USB FLASH drive from its container. Insert it into the slot labeled “B”. Wait until the light above slot “B” stopped blinking, and turned green. Insert the drive to be copied in the slot labeled “A”. Wait until the light above slot “A” stopped blinking, and turned green. Press the red button. When the light above the red button stopped blinking, and turned green, remove the drive from slot “A”. Wait until the light above slot “A” stopped blinking, and turned red. Then remove the drive from slot “B”. Wait until the light above slot “B” stopped blinking and turned red. Insert the new drive from slot “B” into slot “A”. Wait for the light above slot “A” to stop blinking and turn green. Push the green button. Wait until the light above the green button stopped blinking and turned green.

The light had stopped blinking, and turned red. The procedure didn’t say what to do if the light turned red. Tommy didn’t know what to do. “Something’s wrong,” he declared.

I smiled. “No. Nothing’s wrong. It’s just standard procedure. We need to know if job applicants are able to apply procedures correctly.” I stood up. “Read the next page.”

That page said, “If you found this on your own, you’re hired. If I had to tell you, thanks for applying.” Tommy did not get the job.

@250 Words
LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 68. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence, Part 9

The woman motioned me to approach her. I did, “Who are you?”

“You’re not safe here, Flint.” She touched my shoulder. Everything went blank.

I woke up to discover I was wrapped in black fabric and strapped to a metal grate. I couldn’t move. But the grate I was on was moving. Very quickly.


This is the 9th part of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s weekly #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s flat amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

#ThursThreads #67 : Not Even Once

My Dad looked at me, handing my 10 day old son to me, “Woah, this fella’s a little ripe!”

I took my son from Dad, “Ripe?”

My wife, Deborah, sitting on the sofa in her house robe, next to my mother, explained, “He pooped in his Pamper, dear.”

I stammered, “Oh! Ripe!”

Dad looked at Deborah, “Lemme guess, he ain’t changed the baby yet.”

She nodded, “Not even once.”

“There ain’t no time like the present!” he announced, heading toward the baby’s room.

Deborah motioned me to follow Dad. Mom was laughing. “I’m gonna like bein’ a gran’ ma!”

Dad stood me next to the changing table. “Put the little fella down.” I did. He handed me a clean Pamper, the baby wipes, and a little blue plastic bag. “Take off the old one, put it in the bag, clean him up with the wipes, put the wipes in the bag too, then put him in a clean one.”

I set the wipes down, opened up the blue bag, and pulled the tape straps on his Pamper. “Holy shit!”

Dad laughed, “Yep. That’s what it is.”

“It’s green!” Dad just nodded, “Like, like…”

“Baby shit,” Dad finished my sentence for me.

He talked me through the changing process, then he told me, “Do this every night before you put him to bed. It stinks. But it’ll show her how much you love her.”

When we returned to the family room, Dad declared, “Now he’s a real man!”

@247 Words
LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 67. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#MidWeekBluesBuster : Week 9 – I Think She Likes Me

The Three Musketeers, that’s what they called us. Steve, Greg and I went always went to lunch at the mall. I always picked up a cheeseburger, side salad and large Coke from McDonald’s. Steve always brought his lunch with him, and Greg picked a different fast food place every day.

On that Monday, we talked about the weekend. I took a chug from my Coke and Steve asked, “You go out with Lisa again?”

“Yeah. She had a movie she wanted to watch. Then she wanted something to eat.”

“You guys go out ever weekend, don’t you?” Greg just grinned as he asked that. “And during the week too, right?”

I shrugged, “Yeah.”

They laughed, but I didn’t know why. Steve asked another question, “How long have you known her?”

“We met in our freshman year.”

“Dude,” Greg was still grinning, “That’s like, eight years now!”

“We’re friends.”

Steve looked at Greg, and winked as he said, “They’re friends.”

Steve started laughing too, “She just bought a townhouse, didn’t she?”

I nodded.

It was Greg’s turn, “And she’s been shopping for house stuff, like a washer and dryer, a fridge, and furniture?”

I nodded again.

Then it was Steve’s turn, “And she takes you with her when she goes to shop for that stuff?”

I nodded again. My cheeseburger was almost finished. I took another chug of my Coke. “Yeah. The sales people are so funny. They always ask me if they can help me. I just point at her and tell them she’s the one shopping. They just nod their heads, smile, and then go help her.”

I didn’t know why the two of them were laughing. Greg continued, “She make you try on the sofa and the bed?”

“Try on?”

“Yeah, try on. Like you had to sit on the sofa, maybe even lie down on it? Stretch out on the bed? That kind of stuff?”

I nodded, stuffing a fork full of salad into my mouth, “Yeah. But I don’t know why. It’s her stuff.”

I thought the two of them were going to die of laughter. “And she won’t buy anything unless you like it too?” Steve was hinting at something, but I didn’t know what.

“Yeah. Strange thing, ain’t it? I don’t know why she does that.”

Greg poked Steve in the ribs, “She ask you to spend the night yet?”

I didn’t say anything, I just smiled.

“Oh, she did, didn’t she!” Steve’s grin looked really silly. “Like she wants you there every night?”

I had to think about that one a moment. “Yeah. I noticed that.” By that point the two of them were grinning, and looking silly. “She seems to ask me over to her house ever day.”

Steve laughed so hard he couldn’t talk, so Greg talked next, “And she wants to cuddle all the time? And maybe more than cuddle?”

I thought hard for a bit, “What are you guys asking?”

“Oh, nothing!” They both held their hands up at the same time, feigning innocence, “Nothing at all!”

Greg looked at Steve, “I think she likes him, that’s what I think.”

Steve looked at Greg, “Yep. I think she likes him, I really do.”

Greg winked at Steve, “Do you think he knows?”

“Clueless!”

“Of course she likes me. We’re friends!”

Greg shook his head, “I don’t know, man. I don’t know.”

Steve shook his head too, “Yeah, she likes you. If you know what I’m saying.”

“What are you saying?”

They both just grinned, “We think she likes you. That’s what we think.”

Greg shook his head, “He’ll be the last one to figure it out again, won’t he?”

“Yep. He will.”

Took me eight days. I thought about it, and thought about it. And I think she likes me. That’s what I think. I mean. I think she really likes me. You know.

What do I do now?

681 Words
@LurchMunster


Trying Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge again, and finding I had to cut oceans of words out of this one to get it under 700. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#5SF : Edge

Sometimes, I feel like an old, discarded sword, no longer used, kept in a corner somewhere, left to rust. I used to hone my technical skills, my programming and security knowledge and ability, to a razor-sharp edge. I believed my survival depended on my skills. Until I put them down, and walked away from the life I’d always know. And like an old, rusty, useless sword, they’ve begun to rust; the razor-sharp edge my skills once had has faded, becoming old, rusty, and just as useless.


Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Edge.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

Boston Joins The List

It’s Monday night. 15 April 2013. A day that will be recorded in history. At least until people forget about it. Which they will. Time seems to do that. It makes people forget. And more time makes them forget more.

Remember these?

Sandy Hook Elementary School – 14 December 2012
Clackamas Town Center, Oregon – 11 December 2012
Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, Minnesota – 27 September 2012
Oak Creek, Wisconsin – 05 August 2012
Aurora, Colorado – 20 July 2012
Cafe Racer Espresso in Seattle, Washington – 29 May 2012
Tulsa, Oklahoma – 06 April 2012

These all made national headlines in the past 12 months. Do you remember them all? Really? Honestly? Do you? I know I didn’t. I had to look them up. As I read about them, I remembered them.

People tell me I’m cold hearted. Heartless. I’m not. I named my blog “My Soul’s Tears” for a reason. I’ve learned, the more awake I become. The more aware I become. The more I learn. The more I grow. The more sorrow, sadness, and pain I see all around me.

What happens when you get up in the morning and get ready for work? Do you look forward to going to work? Or is work something you put up with, something you endure, to get the paycheck, so you can survive in the world? Do you like your work? Or do you wish you could be anywhere else, doing anything else?

I take walks. Several a week. Sometimes, I walk at the Botanical Gardens. I love to walk through the flowers, and the trees, when they are blooming. Have you seen an ocean of Camellia trees in full bloom? Reds, pinks, whites, and variegated? Did you know they bloom as early as December? I know these things. I’ve learned them. And sometimes, as I walk through the Camellias, I cry. I can’t help it. I cry for the people I have known in life. The people I have met in life, that never took the time to walk through the Camellia trees in January, and marvel at their beauty. That never looked at a thousand different Camellia blossoms, and found them all perfect. That never spent three hours outside, in freezing weather, taking pictures of those blooms. Hundreds of pictures.

My soul cries tears for them. For I know they do not understand the priceless gift those Camellia trees and their blooms are. They’ve forgotten. They have other priorities. They have their work. Their families. Their houses. Their social lives. Their churches. Their nights out. Their workouts. The list is endless. And when they do look, they’re on a schedule. “I’ve got half an hour to walk through here. Then I have other things to do.”

Sometimes, I walk down the East or the West dike at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It’s 4.6 miles from the Back Bay Visitors Center to the False Cape State Park Visitor’s Center. The only way to False Cape is through Back Bay, or down Back Bay’s beach. To walk the False Cape, and back, is just over 9 miles. I make that walk several times a year.

And sometimes, on that walk, I cry. And my heart aches. Because I remember people I know, people I’ve known, that will never make that walk. That learn the walk is miles and miles long, and they think I’m crazy for even trying to make that walk.

These people will never see the cottonmouth snakes crossing the trail at the end of the West Dike. They’ll never see the ospreys flying over the waters of the sound, searching for fish in the water. They’ll never see the banded Kingfishers zipping along just over the water, suddenly plunging in. They’ll never see the turtles, baking in the sun on the shores of the dike. They’ll never see the Blue Teals feeding in the waterways of the refuge. They’ll never see the deer walk right across the trail, so close you can see their whiskers, and the little spots on their sides. So close you could almost reach out and touch them. They’ll never sit on the ground, scant feet from wild rabbits, and watch those rabbits eating the wild grasses, and flowers.

They’ll never take the time. And if they ever do, they’ll make the trip inside the tourist tram, with a guy on a speaker saying, “And to your left, if we’re lucky, we might see some Blue Teals.”

I know how priceless these gifts from life are. I have taken the time to see the wildflowers bloom. To see the bare branches and limbs of Magnolia trees fill with pink, white, or gold blossoms. I’ve seen baren cherry trees fill with pink and white, then turn green as the pink and white blooms fall away. I’ve seen Rhododendron trees covered with oceans of flowers, in blue, purple, pink, red, and white.

I’ve watched squirrels eating nuts, and pine cones. I’ve watched robins probing the ground in search of food. I’ve seen cormorants diving underwater to chase fish. I’ve seen fish spawning. I’ve seen ducklings, all solid fluffy yellow, and watched them grow, becoming full grown Mallards.

And as I’ve watched these things, I’ve sometimes cried, my heart aching in my chest, and my soul screaming at God, “Why? Why can’t they see these things?”

I wonder why no one’s afraid of getting in their car, and driving to work, or the the store, or to school. I wonder why no one’s afraid of walking through the shopping mall. Why no one ever fears walking around at a big event, like the Neptune Festival, or the Azalea Festival, or Harbor Fest, where there are oceans of people, and no one knows if someone in that crowd is going to pull out a gun and start shooting, or pull out a knife and start hacking and slashing.

And I wonder why these same people can’t ever be alone. Can’t ever be somewhere quiet. Can’t sit on the sand by the ocean, and watch the sun come up, unless someone is with them. Unless they have a hand to hold.

And I wonder why so many people scream, or cry, or become outraged, or become afraid and seal themselves in their homes for a while, when something like today happens. When the news shows explosions on crowded city streets, where people get hurt, and even die.

And I don’t understand at all why something that happens every day gets ignored, while something that’s rare becomes terrifying. Do they even understand how many people die behind the wheel of a car every day? How many people collapse of exhaustion, or heart attack, or stroke, at work, every day? How many people go to bed at night, wondering if they’ll wake up tomorrow? How many people go to bed at night, wondering if they’ll find something to eat tomorrow?

I don’t understand people.

I just don’t understand people at all.

And every time something like today happens, I realize just how much I don’t understand the way the people around me are.

And my heart aches.

And my soul cries tears of pain.

For I know it won’t be long before everyone forgets. And I know it won’t be long before something like this happens again. And I’ll wonder, just as I do know, how long it will take for this world to change.

And I am afraid, sometimes, that it never will.

So on this Monday night, 15 April 2013, I try not to say anything. And let the world be the way it is. Knowing the hurt I feel, the tears my soul cries, are temporary things. And with time, they will fade away, just like the memory of today.

Isn’t that how life is anyway?

#VisDare : Unanswered

The wall turned white. “No, to your unanswered questions.” New scenes started. “Fossil fuels became scarce.” Alice paused, “Countries fought for what was left.” There were huge explosions that left ruined cities everywhere. Dead people were stacked like wood. More people that I could imagine. “Then food became scarce, and people started fighting for what food was left.” People fought for water, meat, fruit, vegetables. “Almost everyone died.”

 

“Some of the survivors moved to the caves.” I saw pictures of a cave like I lived in. “The rest stayed above ground, where they evolved.” There were different kinds of people on the wall. Some like Alice and me. Some were huge, with huge muscles, sharp claws, and nasty, sharp teeth. Some were small, like rats. And some looked like ghosts, with evil, hungry eyes. “The worst are the wraiths. They prey on everything and everyone.”


This is the 12th piece in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.