#ThursThreads Week 260 : Are You Alright?

Ginger finished work at 1700 hours that afternoon, and she hopped in her car, and raced home. She was ready to have some fun. She didn’t know, of course, I was in the back seat. That’s the thing with being an Armor. We’re kind of invisible.

I followed her inside, and at 1800, I turned on her TV, and tuned it to the evening news. You can imagine her surprise when she saw her picture on the screen. “Ginger Magee, who lives in the local area, may have played a part in the recent murder of Michelle Harmon.” Ginger looked like her cat had just died. I managed not to laugh. The TV report displayed the actual message Ginger had sent, with the words boldly visible along the bottom, “Can someone please rid the world of this thing?”

She stood there, transfixed. “How?”

“The police have not responded to our questions about this new evidence in the murder, nor has the city attorney. But we will keep asking for further information, and we will provide that as it becomes available to us. We hope to have more on this unfolding story on the late news tonight.”

I smiled. It was fun to watch her stand there. “Are you alright?” I tried not to laugh. “No. I don’t think you are.”

On my way out, I stopped at her car, opened the gas cap, and slid a small high explosive into the tank. As I walked away, the car exploded.

249 Words

This is part 8 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 260 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

And as always. Thank you for keeping #ThursThreads alive, Siobhan.


Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/03/26

Valter liked the image in the mirror. It was time to set up the camera, take a photo, post it on the site, and then, walk about in public at the convention. It was time to be someone. Time to exist. Time to matter.

He’d spent hours getting the body paint right. The perfect shades of blue, teal, green, and white. “Dude! Painting left handed is a bitch!” It was the first time he’d had to try that. It had taken forever. His left hand was anything but steady, and he could only paint a single stroke with the brush at one time.

He smiled at himself in the mirror. The blue highlights in his hair stood out flawlessly, just like in the diagram he’d made. He was proud of the lack of flab on his belly. It had taken him almost a year, and over an hour’s work each night, to get rid of that flab.

Now, he was ready.

He pressed the release on the camera, and 10 seconds later heard the shutter. The picture was done. On his computer screen, it looked perfect. He had the mischievous expression, the trouble visible in his eyes. “Perfect!” He uploaded the image to his blog, for the world to see.

Valter took a deep breath, held it, slowly let it out. He repeated the breath. Several times. Until the vibration in his hands stopped. Until the tension across his chest relaxed. Until he could breathe. Think. Smile. Until he was ready to walk among thousands of people he’d never met. Never know.

People who would never know his name. Never know what he looked like. Never care what he did for a living. Never care how his father died. “Fifteen years ago, now, Dad. Since they sent you away, to some part of the world no one ever heard of. Since the truck you were driving blew up, and took you with it.” He closed his eyes, and tried to breath again. “And no one noticed. No one cared.”

That was the reality Valter lived with. His father died a hero, in a strange country on the other side of the world. And no one sent his mother a card. Not even a note. Just a medal, in a plastic box, with a letter of appreciation, and sympathy.

At first, his mother cried. Mourned. Grieved. Then, she forgot. She moved on with life, and left her memories behind.

So had Valter. He’d learned. His father was gone, and no one cared. No one replaced his father. No one noticed his father was gone. As if his father had never existed.

“It’s how the world is.” For normal people, it was true. No one existed. No one mattered. If you died, someone else filled in the hole where you’d been. And no one cried. No one cared. Everyone forgot. Like you never existed.

“Ah, but tonight…” Valter knew. He knew, for tonight, he would be real. He would matter. People would cheer, clap, wave, smile, take his picture. And years from now, they’d see that picture, and they’d remember him, and wonder how he was, what he was doing, if he was still as great as he’d been.

Valter placed the hotel room key in the pouch inside the pants of his costume. Then he stepped into the hall. It was time to exist. Maybe only for a few hours. Only for one night. But, for that one night, he’d matter. For that one night, he’d be the only one of his kind. He’d be unique.

For one night.

He’d be real.

Miranda Kate has started a weekly short fiction challenge. You can read about it here. I’ve decided to write when I can. This is the third week of the challenge. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/03/19

It is sad, to me.
How you can not see.
How to you,
Everything is the same.

I see the clouds you see.
The air, cold and empty.
The ground, dry and cracked.
The same as you.

I see the tracks
Along the ground.
The beginnings of a road,
That leads into the unknown.

It is sad to me.
To know the truth
That we do not see
The same things.
Even though we look
On the same world.

For your world is black and white.
There are no other colors.
Only rules.
Yes and no.
Good and evil.
Right and wrong.

You do not see
The pale blue sky,
Filled with clouds
Of many kinds.

All you only see the clouds.
Floating in nothing.
And they are white,
And happy.
Or Dark,
And angry.
Or some shade of gray.
As they move
From good to bad.
Or the other way.

You do not see
The cut made by tires
Through the dry, parched dirt.
Where a machine
Crushed everything
In its way.

Only only see
Another shade of gray.
Painted on the ground.
The only thing there is.
Anywhere around.

You do not see
The storm that lies ahead.
The colors you can’t see
Would tell you that.

All you see
Is the blackness of the clouds
Above your head.
All you know
Is the blackness is weaker
Up ahead.

Because to you
The world is black and white.
And only shades of gray.

And I can’t explain to you
The world I see.
And what I know
You’re headed for,
If you stay on course.

For you have no concept.
No understanding.
No knowledge.
Of the colors
That are so obvious to me.

All I can really do,
Is walk beside you.
And hope we find a way
To make it through
The storm that lies ahead.

For I find
I would not be me.
If I let you face that
On your own.

I find I can not let you
Fight the coming storm.


Miranda Kate has started a weekly short fiction challenge. You can read about it here. I’ve decided to write when I can. This is the second week in a row. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

#ThursThreads Week 258 : But It Is Too Late

If Ginger had a bad feeling, so did I. “Let’s see what you’re afraid of, little girl.” I paused, to think, and decided to gather information, and to do that, I needed connections. One empty office network jack later, and I could record every bit of every byte that Ginger’s office computer sent, or received. One dropped pencil on the carpet of the room, and I knew every word spoken. One quick link to the cell network and I knew everything that passed through the System On a Chip that made the phone work.

From there, of course, it was easy to drop background processes into memory, and have them forward every picture, every text message, every e-mail to me.

“So, you wanted someone to do something about the thing you worked with, did you?” She’d even gone off the network, into the world of isolated meshes. The world with no rules. No regulations.

I looked at the picture she’d posted on several of those meshes. Michelle. Pretty smile and all. And underneath the picture, “Can someone please rid the world of this thing?” There’d been no public responses, of course. Private responses were another matter, and her cell phone history showed that. She’d erased everything on the phone, of course. But it was all still there, safe in the computers of her service provider.

Phone calls from sources I knew. Sources I watched.

“Nice try, little girl. But it is too late.” And for Ginger, it clearly was.

249 words

This is part 7 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 258 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge: 2017/03/12

Vahit stood in the court, nestled between the buildings. As a child he’d tried to meet everyone. “Hello, I am Vahit. I live there. We are neighbors. I am pleased to meet you.” He had failed, of course. There were so many neighbors. And so many changes from week to week.

He’d learned, this is what life was like in the city. People stacked together in buildings, like sardines in an can. The same sardines you saw in the market, in the cans, that no one cared about. Tiny little dead fish. No one cared if they’d had families. No one cared if they’d had dreams. They were just dead fish, to be eaten by people like himself. People with no money, who lived in sardine cans, and dreamed of one day owning a car, a home, and a yard.

It was a lie, he knew that. He’d lived in the same sardine can for twenty-three years. He’d played the game, go to school, get an education, learn to read, to write. Learn math, and science, and a trade. Learn how to make a living. How to get paid. Learn skills, so you could one day find a woman, marry her, take care of her, and raise a family of your own.

It was how his mother had taught him to live. How her mother had taught her before Vahit even existed.

It was a lie.

Vahit knew he’d never leave his sardine can. He’d live there his whole life. He’d die there one day. And no one would mourn his passing. Another tiny, dead fish, in an ocean of tiny, dead fish. They would notice when the odor became strong enough. Then, dispose of his rotting body, and clean his part of the sardine can up. And find another sardine to put in his place.

It was the way of life. Meaningless. Pointless. An endless game of screaming into the void, “I am someone! I matter! Look at me!” One voice of millions, screaming the same thing, endlessly. And if one of those voices fell silent, what did it matter? Did anyone notice? Did anyone care?

Vahit had placed flowers outside the door of Sevda’s part of the sardine can every day for a week after Sevda died. No one noticed. No one spoke to him of Sevda. She with the soft, golden hair Vahit used to touch. She of the smooth skin that calmed him so much.

Sevda had gone, and except for Vahit, no one noticed. And on the seventh day after Vahit had found her dead body, cold as ice, on the mat she’d always slept on in the corner of her room, new sardines had filled in that space. They’d taken the flowers he’d left by the door, and thrown them out.

As if Sevda was no one. As if she’d never been.

No one greeted the new sardines. No one spoke to them. A man, a woman, and a little boy. They were just more sardines, living in a can. Waiting to die.

Vahit looked up at where the sky had once been. There was nothing there to see. Only light. Only the life of the city.

The sky was gone.

Vahit wondered as he stared at the white sky what it was like to be alive. He wondered too, if anyone, anywhere, any longer knew.

Miranda Kate has started a weekly short fiction challenge. You can read about it here. I’ve decided to write when I can. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.