#VisDare 39 : Adore

The next morning, after we’d eaten, Alice and I took a walk. We left Old Phoenix, and walked beyond the boardwalk, and the houses in the hills. We walked along the edge of the lake.

“Where are we going?” She squeezed my hand.

“Where the Eagles said I should take you.” I loved the way her hand felt in mine. I loved the way the sunlight brought out the color of her eyes, and the highlights in her hair.

As we walked beside the lake, an old woman came out of the brush, and watched us. “Who are you?” I asked.

She just smiled at me. “You are the one.” She bowed her head, then spoke to Alice, “He is the one.” She looked to the sky, “He is the one.”

All we heard was the piercing cries of eagles, though none were visible in the sky.

148 Words
@LurchMunster


This is part 25 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

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Fall Flash Festival : My Fall

I stood on the beach, watching the waves, wondering how long it would be until I struck the ground again. Like I do every year. Every fall. Sometimes, I think they named this time of year perfectly. Fall. And every year, I do.

It was good to stand on the beach and watch the sunrise. The sun always brought color back to the world. The blue-green, grey, and white of the ocean and it’s waves. The pale blue of the sky, with it’s wispy white clouds. The green and gold of the sea oats. The shades of brown and tan in the sand.

Watching the colors come back reminded me, like all things, Fall and Winter eventually ended, yielding to Spring. In roughly 26 weeks. Spring. I always look forward to that. Fall. I never look forward to that.

As I stood in the dark, before the dawn, everything was a shade of black, or gray. I knew, as the leaves changed from their many shades of green, to their painted shades of gold, yellow, red, and brown, those leaves would fall to the ground. And leave bare trees. All of them, shades of gray. All of them the same.

I knew, the roses would bloom one last time. Defiantly painting themselves in oceans of pink, yellow, white, peach, bronze, and red. I knew those brilliant splashes of color would fade, the petals of each bloom would curl, and fall, beneath the ocean of gray fall always brought.

Already I could feel a nip in the wind, a hint of the biting cold that would grow in the days ahead. That little hint of the coming Winter. The playful nip of cold, like a puppy’s playful nip. A nip that grew throughout the fall into the searing bite of a full-grown, predatory wolf. Hunting every last shred of life it could find. Hell-bent on sinking its teeth in, and crushing that life in it’s jaws.

Fall. That time of year where all hope faded. Where the bottom fell out of my world, my life. Where the ground I’d stood on, the hill I’d climbed in Spring and Summer ended. And I walked off a cliff I never saw coming. A cliff that just appeared. Where the solid ground I stood on simply fell away. And I fell too.

Fall. At least it was named accurately.

There had been a time, not so many years ago, when Fall brought despair. When Fall heralded the return of the demon my depression was.

Until I learned to walk along the beach. In the hour before the dawn. And watch the sun climb out of the ocean, into the sky once more. And watch as the shades of black and grey faded away. And the colors of the world came to life again.

Until I learned to Fall heralds the return of the Camellia trees to full bloom. Their shades of white, pink and red, reminding me the Fall and Winter don’t last. They end. As if the Camellia trees catch me as I fall, and gently place me on the ground.

I knew Fall would grow the demon of depression within me. The darkness of my life would grow, just like the length of each night. But I’d learned. The darkness would never win. So long as the Camellias bloomed in the dead of Winter once again. So long as the sun rose every morning, and painted over the darkness of the night, and brought back the colors of life.

588 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for the Fall Flash Festival, hosted by Eric Martell and Daniel Swensen. Please, go read all the other stories written for the festival. They all show the magic of words.

A Cherokee Rose : What Would Daryl Do?

DarylI was tired of moving from place to place, day after day. Not that it mattered. If I stayed put, I’d end up joining the ranks of the undead. Like Barbara. Like Steve. Running along, hunting any living animal to chow down on.

I hated zombies.

I pulled a faded picture out of my back pocket. Daryl. My hero. The man who stood against the dead. With his crossbow, and bolts. The man who taught me how to fight. How to survive. The man who sent me on my mission.

Find the living. Bring them home.

I carefully put Daryl’s picture back in my pocket. “What would Daryl do?” The question kept me alive. “Daryl would load his crossbow.” I loaded mine, holding it ready. In a day or two, I’d replace the string. I knew I had to keep the string strong, and taught. To keep the bow’s power as high as I could. Daryl taught me to keep things tuned up. It made it easier to shoot the dead in their head.

And they only stayed dead if you shot them in the head.

I checked my bolts, making sure their tips were all sharp, their shafts were not cracked. I’d need them soon. When I got to the living. Two of them. Both girls. Everyone always thought it was dumb luck to find people still alive out here among the trees, and canyons. It wasn’t. Daryl taught me that. They were decoys. The undead kept them safe, let them draw more of the living. Almost always stupid men and boys. Then the girls, and all the guys around them would be added to the ranks of the deceased.

I knew better than to go get the girls. “What would Daryl do?” Daryl would scout the area, looking for the dead, shooting them in the head. So, that’s what I did. I remained as hidden as I could, in the trees, and rocks, as I circled the area. Every now and then I stopped, put a bold in my weapon, and let it fly. And another zombie returned to the dead, never to rise again. One at a time, I hunted down the dead. One at a time, I picked them off, and sent them where they refused to go.

Zombies don’t bleed so much. I’d killed enough of them to know that. Blood leaked out, but it didn’t gush. If you show a living in the head, there’d be blood everywhere. Shoot a zombie, and blood just leaks out slowly. “What would Daryl do?” Daryl wouldn’t think about such things. They get in the way of doing the job.

I wasn’t fond of finding small groups of them. I had to reload the crossbow several times, aim several times, and fire several times. And every time I fired, I had to retrieve the bolt. Bolts are not infinite. I couldn’t afford to lose even one.

Shoot, move. Shoot, move. Shoot, move. Gather bolts.

Every now and then I missed. Got one in the neck, or just left a track on the side of its head. That never worked. The injured one always called for support. And others always showed up. Sometimes, I had to get away, hide, and wait until the group broke back down into smaller numbers. Numbers I could take care of.

“Daryl wouldn’t let himself miss. He’d fight the fatigue.” And so I kept it up. Hour after hour. Until I couldn’t find anymore zombies. That’s when I knew it was safe to get the girls. And start the journey to the camp.

“What would Daryl do to the girls when I got them to the camp?” He’d teach them to fight. And they might end up like me. Hunting other living to rescue, and keep alive.

633 words
@LurchMunster


Ruth Long, Lisa McCort Hollar and Sarah Aisling are hosting a blog hop in honor of the TV series, The Walking Dead. Now, I’ve never watched an episode of the show, so I have now idea who Daryl Dixon is. But I’ve heard the show is about zombies, and Daryl’s a hero of sorts. So, I figured I’d join in, and write something for the hop.

Now, go read the other entries in “A Cherokee Rose”, and get ready for The Walking Dead.

#ThursThreads Week 89 : Then I Can Help You

Jonathan had not touched the clay he  loved so much in years. Every time he thought of his clays, he saw his beloved Daphne, and their daughter Chelsea, and his hands went cold, and his world turned black.

Everyone lied. “Give it time. You will get over it.” But the magic was gone.

He sat at his table. His tools to his left, a block of clay before him, and wondered if he could ever touch clay again, or if all his dreams had died with them.

He watched his hands shake, then closed his eyes. “Just remember to breathe. Remember to breathe.”

I floated close to him, and whispered in his ear, “Listen to your heart.” Jonathan sat, motionless, as the hands of the clock on the wall moved. “Listen to the words it speaks to you.”

His hands touched the clay, and slowly began tearing chunks away. Then they reached for his tools and began carefully carving fine lines, curves, surfaces. Placing fine detail in. Bringing the clay to life.

For three days, he left the table only for another can of soda, or to answer the call of nature. When he finished, he studied his work.

A Valentine’s heart, torn in half, jagged edges unable to heal. Two tombstones, one on each side of his heart. A river of tears flowing from the heart to the ground.

I whispered in his hear. “When you listen to your heartsong, then I can help you.”

246 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 89. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 19

https://mysoulstears.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/47747-girl-1363028995jh2.jpg“Where?” I asked.

Cynthia pointed toward the hills outside the city. I ran to those hills. As I crested one, I came across another woman. She was looking deeper into the hills. She turned to me, “Flint.”

“Everybody knows my name.”

She handed me a strange-looking gun, and two knives. “I need your help.”

55 words
@LurchMunster


This is part 19 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #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.

#FTT 12 : The Sky Burned

“The sky burned!” One of the knights sat up in his bed. Burns, open wounds, and charred flesh covered nearly half his body. He should not have been able to move. That he was sitting and screaming showed the terror he’d experienced when the invaders attacked.

Eyela placed her hand on his shoulder, “Calm, young one. Calm.” Her fairy magic flowed through her fingertips. Nano-machines in the soldier’s blood and organs responded to Eyela’s request, and released an ocean of endorphins into his blood, deadening the intense pain he was in. They also released GABA into his blood. It quickly spread through his body. The soldier fell asleep.

Eyela closed her eyes. “Mystica, wherever you are, I hope you find your way here soon.” She looked around the great hall of the castle. Wooden cots were everywhere, with wounded soldiers, women and children filling them all. When they ran out of cots, they used mats on the floor.

The sky had indeed burned. She had no other way to describe it. She closed her eyes, and tried to calm herself, placing her hands on the cold stone of the wall, and remembering. Her winged soldiers, taking to the sky to defend the kingdom from the attacking aliens. Except no aliens appeared. Just a streak of black cutting across the sky, leaving a trail of white smoke behind it.

It moved so rapidly, no one could shoot it down. When the black streak got over the kingdom, maybe 100 feet above the ground, it exploded. But it was an explosion unlike any the fairies had ever known. The explosion sprayed some strange substance through the air. A secondary explosion rapidly followed, igniting that substance.

The sky burned, it’s flames consuming everything it touched. Soldiers fell from the sky, trailing fire behind them. Many of them died before they reached the ground. Others died when the ground stopped their falls. So few survived.

Houses, shops, carts, carriages, trees, and everything else on the ground erupted into flames. Nearly a third of the kingdom burned. Whole families burned to ash by the flame. An entire wing of the castle was nothing but charred stone walls, a burned out husk of what it had been.

She heard a voice in her head, “It was a fuel-air bomb.” It was the machines. They explained how it released a fine mist of highly flammable fuel into the air, using an explosive shock wave to spread it over an area, and then a primary explosive to ignite the fuel, and spread it even further with a second shock wave. They explained how the oxygen in the air helped the fuel burn. How the fire sucked the oxygen out of the air, so the fairies couldn’t breathe, How the flames and fuel burned everything they touched.

Eyela knew the invading humans were dangerous, but she’d never expected such violence and cruelty. That they would burn everything to the ground for no reason made no sense to her.

The machines interrupted her thoughts, “We have informed the White Witch.”

Indeed they had, for Mystica simply appeared in the midst of the injured. Eyela said nothing. She knew the machines had told Mystica everything. She watched as Mystica called on the white magic. White clouds appeared throughout the room. They fell on the injured, and slowly soaked into the bodies. As they did, Eyela watched their burned, broken bodies heal.

White Magic indeed. She understood it was the machines following Mystica’s commands, using available subatomic particles, and atoms to repair the damaged bodies filling the room. Within seconds, all the injured healed. Much to Eyela’s relief, they all slept.

Eyela watched as Mystica scanned the room, tears falling from her eyes. She wished she could answer the one question she saw in Mystica’s haunted eyes. “Why?”

But she knew there was no why. There was only war. And the news of more places where the sky burned.

657 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 12 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

Eyela closed her eyes. “Mystica, wherever you are, I hope you find your way here soon.” She looked around the great hall of the castle. Wooden cots were everywhere, with wounded soldiers, women and children filling them all. When they’d run out of cots and beds, they’d used mats on the floor.

The sky had indeed burned. She had no other way to describe it. She closed her eyes, and tried to calm herself, placing her hands on the cold stone of the wall, and remembering. Her winged soldiers, taking to the sky to defend the kingdom from the attacking aliens. Except no aliens appeared. Just a streak of black cutting across the sky, leaving a trail of white smoke behind it.

It moved so rapidly, no one could shoot it down. When the black streak got over the kingdom, maybe 100 feet above the ground, it exploded. But it was an explosion unlike any the fairies had ever known. The explosion sprayed some strange substance through the air. A secondary explosion rapidly followed, igniting that substance.

The sky burned, it’s flames consuming everything it touched. Soldiers fell from the sky, trailing fire behind them. Many of them died before they reached the ground. Others died when the ground stopped their falls. So few survived.

Houses, shops, carts, carriages, trees, and everything else on the ground erupted into flames. Nearly a third of the kingdom burned. Whole families burned to ash by the flame. An entire wing of the castle turned into charred stone walls, a burned out husk of what it had been.

She heard a voice in her head, “It was a fuel-air bomb.” It was the machines. They explained how it released a fine mist of highly flammable fuel into the air, using an explosive shock wave to spread it over an area, and then a primary explosive to ignite the fuel, and spread it even further with a second shock wave. They explained how the oxygen in the air helped the fuel burn. How the fire sucked the oxygen out of the air, so the fairies couldn’t breathe. How the flames and fuel burned everything they touched.

Eyela knew the invading humans were dangerous, but she’d never expected such violence and cruelty. That they would burn everything to the ground for no reason made no sense to her.

The machines interrupted her thoughts, “We have informed the White Witch.”

Indeed they had, for Mystica simply appeared in the midst of the injured. Eyela said nothing. She knew the machines had told Mystica everything. She watched as Mystica called on the white magic. White clouds appeared throughout the room. They fell on the injured, and slowly soaked into the bodies. As they did, Eyela watched their burned, broken bodies heal.

White Magic indeed. She understood it was the machines following Mystica’s commands, using available subatomic particles, and atoms to repair the damaged bodies filling the room. Within seconds, all the injured were whole. Much to Eyela’s relief, they all slept.

Eyela watched as Mystica scanned the room, tears falling from her eyes. She wished she could answer the one question she saw in Mystica’s haunted eyes. “Why?”

But she knew there was no why. There was only war. And the news of more places where the sky burned.

#SatSunTails 57 : Celebration Arised

Celebration arised in the church on the day she arrived. They welcomed her with open arms, and commenced teaching her how to be a woman of the church.

The day she left home for the church I’d escaped, she took part of my heart and soul with her.

I’ve tried to tell her why I left the church. The way they treat women as subservient to men. Limiting how much education women can have. Teaching them to do whatever their husbands want. Teaching them spousal rape was normal, as was spousal abuse.

It took years to free my family from the church. To give her a chance to become a real person. Now, she won’t even speak to me. All I have left of her is the painting I made of her face. One day, that will be gone too. Even now, the paint is cracking, and slowly peeling away.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into Rebecca Clare Smith‘s 57th #SatSunTales. Please, go read the other entries. It’s a tough challenge, and brings out some wonderful tales.