#FlashMobWrites 1 x 45 : The Hurt

As expected, the police reached a dead end in their investigation. They determined the cause of death (blunt force trauma, basically she’d been beaten to death). But they found no signs of sexual assault, and no trace of any DNA other than Darla’s.

They’d determined where she’d last been seen (at a grocery store, buying a bottle of wine with a blonde man). They couldn’t identify the man, and until they could, their investigation stalled. They found where she worked, interviewed people there. “Was there a significant other? Did she have a male friend? What was his name?” They got several answers, several males to investigate.

It was their job to investigate.

It was my job to make a big fire, burn down the things they could not. “I’ll be your match, officers. The one who starts the fire.”

The police had their search warrants, their interrogations, their stakeouts. All legal. All by the book. I was Armor 17. For an Armor, there were no laws, no rules, no limits.

I visited her male friends, one at a time. They never saw me, of course, never knew I was there. I watched them, how they slept, their daily routines. Reactions varied to the news of Darla’s murder, some had sleepless nights, some slept like nothing had happened. I left a picture of Darla here, a piece of her jewelry there, an exact copy of the bottle of wine she’d bought that last night, a copy of her car key, an earring. Little pieces of Darla, here and there. Where they’d be notice. I watched. I studied. I learned.

There were three of them. Three who were disturbed when they spotted memories of Darla. Three who kept seeing memories of her. Two of them slept poorly at night, one slept without guilt, without nightmares. Two were male, one was female. The female was a blond.

Always I left them mementos of Darla, pictures, her favorite drink, her favorite book. Their phones took them to her favorite WEB Sites, at random. It took three weeks until the weakest of the three cracked. He called the blonde. “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going crazy! I keep seeing her stuff, her things, everywhere. I can’t sleep at night! I haven’t slept in days! I can’t take it!”

The blonde was ice, “Be calm. What you’re feeling is normal. Have a drink. Eat a good meal somewhere. Watch a movie. Do something fun.”

The blonde called the other male. “Take him out for a fun night.”

The fire had been lit, it was time to fan it, grow it, until it ran uncontrolled. “I’ll be your match, officers. Soon, there’ll be a fire.” I was looking forward to watching the blond. Ice, I’d learned, didn’t last in a fire.

464 Words

This is Part 4 of a story I’m writing using the prompts for the #FlashMobWrites challenge. #FlashMobWrites is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites Week 1×45. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?


A Tale Of Greed : Matthew

Matthew liked the name his parents had given him. The name of the first book in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. His parents had named him well. He paused a moment, closed his eyes, “Thy will be done, God in Heaven. Thy will be done.”

He checked the three clips for his AR-15, attached to his belt. Fully loaded, 30 rounds in each. “Give me strength, Father, to do what you’ve asked me to do.” He checked the fourth clip, put it in the 15, and turned to the picture of Jesus hanging on a cross on his ball, over his fireplace.

“Tell my Cindy how much I love her. Tell her I did this for her.”

He left his house, got in his truck, and headed toward the city treasurer’s office in town. “They’re taking everything.” He’d watched as they put a big damn road across the end of his property, the land his family had owned for generations. Four lanes of asphalt, separated by a concrete barrier, with ten feet of leeway on both sides. “They took my family’s land.”

He’d watched as they made him stop hunting in the woods a couple of miles from his home. His family had always hunted there, deer, squirrel, duck, rabbit. They were part of his diet, part of his family’s way of life. Then, the city had fenced it off, put property signs on it that said, “Natural Wildlife Preserve”, and stopped him from hunting there. They told him it was because a rare bird lived in that forest. Some damn bird that was nearly extinct. Hell, he’d never heard of that bird. He’d never seen one either. “They made up a damn story to kick me off that land, make it where I couldn’t hunt, like my Daddy, and my Grandpa.”

They’d made him agree to hookup to city water and sewage, they dug big trenches through his yard, ran pipes, and then made him pay to connect to the systems. And every month, they made him pay for using those systems. Hell, his yard had been a mess for over a year after they’d torn it too hell. And the water his family had used for generations hadn’t cost him anything. Water from a well. Damn city officials gave him a report about all the things in that water, how that water was poisoning him and his family. Especially his little girl, and his pride-and-joy son.

He knew better. He’d drank and bathed in that water all his life. They’d made up a lie, and forced him to pay for something he didn’t need. And then they made him pay more for it every month. They measured what he used, how much water, and made him pay for it by the gallon.

That was wrong. What they’d done was wrong.

Then, they sent out an inspector, and had him come up with some phony number for how much the house, and the land it was on were worth. Twenty five acres was worth a lot, it seemed. They told him his property was worth some insane amount. He couldn’t have afforded to buy it if it was worth that much. But he owned it. His family owned it, and had for three generations. And by God, he was going to give it to his son when the time came.

But them lying city people made up some ridiculous number and said that’s how much his property was worth. And then they told him he had to pay taxes on his property every year, and the taxes were based on how much the property was worth. They gave him the bill, and he choked.

He couldn’t afford it. Not every year. Hell, he’d have to have all the gold of Midas to afford that. They’d left him with no option but to sell off most of his land.

Well, by God, that wasn’t going to happen. That land was his family’s, had been for three generations. He wasn’t giving it up to some liars that worked in town, and wanted to get his land, and build houses and stores and parking lots on it, and chase him and his family off it.

Matthew had prayed to God every day. He asked God to show him what to do, show him how to fix this, how to do the right thing, how to take care of his family. And God had shown him, right there in the Bible. “There is a time for peace, and a time for war.”

Matthew knew what that meant. He knew what God wanted him to do.

He patted the AR-15 resting on the bench seat of his truck, next to him, as he drove into town, to the city treasurer’s office. They’d started everything. Now, God was going to have him finish everything.

No matter what.

As he drove, Greed sat in the bed of the truck, and enjoyed the scenery of the drive. It was going to be a glorious day. Another Christian was going to perform the word of God, and shoot people. Innocent people. People who were only doing their job, rendering unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s. Christians were such fun people to play with. They always thought it was God that told them what to do.

Not once did it occur to Matthew that everything that happened was normal. That the town was growing, and as it grew, it reached his property, and his property had become part of the town. That meant he had to pay taxes. And use city water and sewage. That meant he’d have to do what others had done before him, when the town reached them. Sell off what he couldn’t afford, and accept being part of the town.

It meant changes.

Christians, Greed had found, didn’t like changes much. Matthew was no exception. Greed grinned. “Ah, it’s going to be a glorious day, isn’t it.” He peeked into the cab to watch Matthew driving, and got excited when he saw Matthew pat the AR-15 a second time.

“It’s going to be a glorious day indeed. In the name of the Father. Amen.”

#VisDare 122 : Transcend

510c6e4f978fa89d387eebb4ca5b9cd3Each day, the crack grew, each day I saw more light through the crack, more colors, more motion. There were things there, outside reality, outside the world I live in. The more the crack grew, the further everyone moved from me. Some started building a wall between me and themselves, as if trying to protect themselves from me.

After a few weeks, a beautiful woman befriended me. She had long hair, magic eyes, a smile I could still see when I slept at night. Her laughter was music to my ears. She walked with me, talked with me, asked me about myself. And she always asked me to seal the crack. “Stay here, with me. Be my friend.”

But my view of reality had already grown to transcend the boundary marked by the wall. I knew there was more to everything. So I let the crack grow.

147 Words

Part 3 of a story I’m writing for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge. Be amazed at the magic people can put into 150 words or less.

#FlashMobWrites 1 x 44 : The Remedy

I let the police deal with gathering evidence from her apartment, and find her car. I let them do their job, and try to figure out who’d last seen her alive, where she’d been, what she was doing, who she was with.

That information wouldn’t lead anywhere. It seldom did. I had to do something different. Something only an Armor could do. Something only I could do.

I started by visiting the people she worked with. The man who sat in the cube next to hers. What do you do when your computer stops what it’s doing, and asks, “When was the last day Darla came to work?” He turned the screen off, then back on. The question remained. He turned the computer off, then on. Still, the question remained, even on the login screen. He unplugged the computer, and the question showed up on a sheet of paper that landed on his keyboard. He got up, went to the restroom, and the question was written on the mirror he looked into. He gave up. He typed “Last Thursday”.

The question changed, “Did she have a date that night?”

“I don’t know.”

“Who might know?”


“Thank you.”

The questions stopped.

They started again on Debbie’s computer. “Did Darla have a date last Thursday?”

Debbie stared at her screen.

“Debbie, did Darla have a date?”

She looked around.

“This is not a prank.” I paused a moment, then continued, “You know Darla’s been murdered, don’t you?” Her expression showed she didn’t. “Oh. Sorry.”

Debbie stared at her screen, and spoke, “She hasn’t been at work for days.”

“I know.”

“She doesn’t answer her phone, or text messages, or email.”

“She’s dead, Debbie. The police are looking for who did it.”

“Are you the police?”

“No.” I paused. “Debbie. Did she have a date last Thursday night?”

Debbie nodded.


“Her boyfriend.” Debbie whispered, “Tyler. I don’t know his last name.”

“Thank you, Debbie.”

“Is she really dead?”

“Yes.” I added Mrs. Whitson’s phone number. “Her mother’s phone number. Call.”

I left Debbie’s cube, but I wasn’t done yet. I found Darla’s desk, opened a storage door on my armor, pulled out the pink rose I’d stored there, and set it on the desk, with a card that read, “You are missed,” and had the date, time, and location of the memorial service Mrs. Whitson was planning.

I watched as Debbie and the man found their way to Darla’s cube. I watched as word spread like it always does. Phone calls were made. People cried. Chaos ensued. And with all that racket, no one noticed the door of the building open and close by itself.

444 Words

This is Part 3 of a story I’m writing using the prompts for the #FlashMobWrites challenge. #FlashMobWrites is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites Week 1×44. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#ThursThreads Week 201 : That’s Enough For Now

At 0500 hours, the alarm went off and James got up. He took a shower, got dressed, and quietly left for work. On the way out, he saw her sleeping, and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “Love you baby.”

Outside, he took the bus toward downtown, where he worked, but he got off at the wrong place, so I followed him. He stopped outside a bar, and waited. In a couple of minutes, a man walked past, and my armor amplified what he said, “Follow.” James followed him inside the bar.

I activated the the armor’s ultra-wide-band radar, capturing a live view of the first 25 feet inside the bar. James and the man had stopped at a table. The electronics of the armor recorded the conversation he and James had, and I watched as the man handed James a bag of goods. I didn’t need to know what kind, only that the transaction had happened.

When the conversation ended, James nodded, said, “I’m on it,” got up, and left. The man watched him leave, waited five minutes, then he left. I followed him.

James had led me to the next link in the chain. “That’s enough for now. Now, you’ll lead me to the next link.”

That was the rule. Follow the chain. Record everything. Find the parts of the chain that needed to go. Then, remove those bad parts of the chain. One link at a time.

241 Words

Part 3 of a serial story I’m writing to the prompts for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads. This is for #ThursThreads Week 201. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#VisDare 121 : Tethered

7d0cea8ce224841c5cfd76f76b38f058I peered into the crack in the wall, I could see something beyond, I knew something was there. Others in reality watched me peering into the crack. “One does not look into the crack!” Always they told me, “One does not look!” and “You can’t do that!” Soon, everyone I knew told me the same thing, how I needed to fix that crack. “If that crack grows, it can become dangerous!”

I let the crack grow. Each day, it grew a little more. A little deeper, a little wider.

Soon, people stayed away from the crack, and from me. And when I looked at them tethered, tied, bound to their places, anchored to the ground, unable to walk around, unable to explore the small world of reality. I saw them all turn away from the crack, ignoring it, hiding it from their sight.

I saw them afraid. Uncomfortable. Disturbed.

149 Words

Part 2 of a story I’m writing for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge. Be amazed at the magic people can put into 150 words or less.

#FlashMobWrites 1×43 : Legend & Legacy

I was there, watching, when the woman’s mother verified the body was her daughter, missing for twenty-three days. I was there to see her hands shake, hear her voice whisper, “Yes,” and see the loss in her eyes.

A mother should not see her daughter’s remains on a cold, unfeeling, sterile steel table. A mother should see her daughter grow, get married, start a family.

All I could do was watch. I didn’t have to be there, and according to all the procedures of the Armor Corps, I wasn’t supposed to be there. Nothing was to be personal, everything was to be objective. But, I never followed the rules, which was how I got things done. How I knew what to do, what needed to be done. I was still human.

And I watched Mrs. Theresa Whitson stand beside that cold, hard table, as she looked at what was left of her only child.

I knew from the DNA results, who the victim was. I knew from a records check, how old she was, where she’d worked, what church she’d attended on Sundays, where she’d lived. I’d visited that church, visited her workplace, found her car, visited her apartment. I told myself I was looking for anything to help track down who’d murdered her, and that was partly true. It was also true, as I searched, I became more determined to keep my promise to her soul.

I would find those responsible.

I remembered another woman from years before. When I was… Different. When I was… Normal. I remembered how she died. How my heart broke in half when she did. It broke in half, and never healed. Then the pieces died. All that was left were scars. I’ve got scars that can’t be. Scars where my heart once was.

No one should have to feel their heart break that way. No one should have to feel their heart die, and leave them nothing but a shell. And empty, dead soul.

I knew Mrs. Theresa Whitson’s heart died in those moments she stood beside that table. I felt it happen. And I couldn’t stop it.

But I could tear the hearts from those who’d caused such pain. And I would. I would find them.

And not even God could help them when I did.

384 Words

I wrote a second story for #FlashMobWrites 1×43, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×43. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#VisDare 120 : Appearing

4ab61b0827925ab7ecaef465b898db2bIt started with a crack in the wall of my reality. The fabric of reality wasn’t supposed to crack. There wasn’t supposed to be anything beyond reality, reality ended at the wall. The world filled everything inside the wall, there was nothing else.

But one day the wall cracked. And I wondered, “If there is nothing beyond the wall, and the wall is cracked, why doesn’t the world get sucked through the crack, into the nothing?”

Each day the crack grew. Soon it was so long I could not see either end of it. “Is it becoming wider? Is it becoming deeper?” Each day, I shined a flashlight into the crack, and peered inside. For days, there was only darkness, only the blackness of the crack.

Until one day, something outside the wall began appearing.

And I, being curious decided to find out what it was.

146 Words

Another story idea, triggered by Angela Goff’s Visual Dare, Week 120. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge. Be amazed at the magic people can put into 150 words or less.

#FlashMobWrites 1×42 : Graceland (Second Try)

Clara’s tears blended with the steady rainfall as she used her shovel to pack down the dirt on the shallow grave for Eskimo. Eskimo’s grave was next to Tiger’s, Tiger’s next to Stripes’, and Stripes’ next to Hazel’s. Little homemade tombstones stuck out of the ground for the others. She hadn’t had time to make one for Eskimo yet.

“The trouble with living a long time,” she thought, “you get to see everyone that matters die.”

She stood and looked at the graves for her four cats, “Hazel, Stripes, Tiger? Take care of Eskimo.” Clara was soaked, water dripped from her chin, hair, fingertips, and ran down her pants legs to the ground. Her shoes were a total loss to the mud.

“Oh, Eskimo. You died so young.” Eskimo had lived for eight joyous years. “I loved the way you used to sleep on my pillow, propped against my head.” She cried at the memory, her tears washed away by the rain.

“You never did catch the red dot.” Eskimo always chased the red dot the pointer made on the carpet and the wall, as if trying to stop it from moving. Clara giggled, “Tiger will explain the red dot to you,” she looked at Tiger’s grave. Tiger had figured out the red dot, and stopped chasing it.

Clara remembered the times Eskimo climbed into her lap, with that look he got that said, “I know you’re lonely tonight, Mommy. It’s OK. I’ll take care of you.” And he had. He’d given her a family, a friend, a confidant. Eskimo was who she talked with. She told him everything about her life, how her day at work went, how stupid and frustrating men were. Eskimo always listened, and always rubbed his cheeks against hers. He made sure Clara knew how much he loved her.

Eventually, the rain wore her down, and Clara started toward the house. Halfway there, she turned to look at the graves again, “What’s that?” Her jaw dropped, and she took several steps toward the graves. All four of her cats were there, looking at her. Hazel, Stripes, Tiger, and Eskimo. Their purrs, and their voices all told her the same thing.

“We don’t want you to be lonely, Mommy. There’s always room for another family member. When you’re ready we want you to find a new kitty who will take care of you.”

Clara smiled, happy tears blended with the rain, “Thank you, my children. Thank you.”

After a shower, and some hot cocoa, Clara curled up under her blankets, and hugged her pillows. “I miss you already, Eskimo”. She cried herself to sleep because she realized her friend was never going to prop against her head again. “Good-bye, Eskimo.” She hugged her pillow. “Good-bye.”

459 Words

I wrote a second story for #FlashMobWrites 1×42, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×42. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites 1×42 : Graceland (First Try)

I stood beside her shallow grave, in the steady rainfall that February night, and made a promise to her, I’d find who put her there and when I was through with them, there wouldn’t be enough left to bury.

It was them, that much I knew. The armor had digitally enhanced the area around the grave, using edge sharpening, and color spreading. I knew there were five of them, from the footprints in the ground, the damage to the grasses, the way the rocks had been displaced. Five distinct footprints.

“They knew who you were,” I spoke the words, though the armor silenced them. “It’s how they got to you.” I knelt beside the grave, used the armor’s scanners to look through the dirt and rock, to see her remains in the ground. “They beat you pretty badly, didn’t they.” The armor recorded the fracture to her skull, the dislocated vertebrae in her neck, the torn skin and bruises on her wrists and ankles. “How long have you been missing?” I had no way of knowing how long she’d been missing, or who she was, without digging her up, and getting a DNA sample, or fingerprints.

“Marker.” A slot on the left forearm of my armor opened and a small, black box with an LED on it popped out. I pushed a button on the box. The LED came on, a blinding red, visible for hundreds of feet. “Test.” The armor tuned a radio receiver to the frequency the box was broadcasting. The signal was a very clear “PING!” I pulled the plastic sheet off the bottom of the box, and put it on the rocks she was buried under. That box adhered to the rock.


I spoke into the phone, my voice altered electronically, “They killed this woman, and they buried her in the woods! Oh, God, they killed her!” I had to explain where, “I have an emergency beacon in my backpack. I’ll put that out.” I gave them the frequency of the beacon. They asked me to stay where I was. “I can’t do that.” Of course, they wanted to know why. “It’s not safe here. They might find me.” I hung up.

I moved into the trees, and waited five minutes. I called 911 again. “They’re after me! They found me!” I fired two shots from my hand-held into the ground. “Jesus, they’re gonna kill me!”

I waited.

Shortly, there were sirens, followed by lights, and several law officers. They found the beacon.

So it began, the next hunt. “Armor 17.” I called headquarters. “Going silent.” That was the signal headquarters knew meant I was actively pursuing a case. They’d wait to hear from me.

I waited in the steady rainfall that night in February, for the authorities to come for her body. I’d let them identify her, and I’d go from there.

“I promise you, I will find them.”

482 Words

I wrote this for #FlashMobWrites 1×42, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please,go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×42. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?