Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2021/10/29 (Week 223)

It was one of those nights I was up stupidly late, because I couldn’t shut my brain cells down. They kept looking for answers. “Who owned the building before the incident?” “Who owns the building now?” “How do I figure out what a shell company is?” “How do I find her, before they make her destroy something else?”

It wasn’t the first time I passed out at my desk, with my head on my arms. “I’ll just close my eyes for a minute.” Boom! Out cold. Dreaming. And remembering.

Deborah had been in the same boat. Some rich, nasty guy owned her. Made her tell him what his business partners, and associates were feeling and thinking, so he could take advantage of them, and make himself richer. Thanks to her, he’d destroyed dozens of people’s lives. Left them in financial ruins. No one could ever find anything he’d done that was illegal.

That’s when I’d turned up, like the bad penny I am. Armed to the teeth, throwing hand grenades like a flower girl throwing flower petals at a wedding. “Here! Catch!” Shot my way in. Found her. “You asked for help?” Got her out of there.

And took months before I could walk again. I have no clue how many times I got shot. Anyone else would have died. Me? I’m a hidden one. You can shoot me a thousand times, and I’ll heal up, eventually. Not like those comic book characters. You cut my hand off, it’s going to stay off, not going to grow back. And I have scars. More than you can imagine.

Deborah had stayed with me as I healed. She’d hauled me to a hospital. They’d dug out pounds of shrapnel, and wondered why I wasn’t dead. “He’s just lucky, I guess.”

She knew I was a hidden one. Like her.

Like her, yeah. But not like her at all. See. Deborah was empty inside. After what that rich bastard had done, how he’d used her, and abused her, and all the other things men do to women, that women never talk about, everything inside her had died. She was nothing but an empty shell that looked like a woman, but had no dreams, no goals, no hopes.

I’d always tried to reach her, wherever she was. Draw her back into that body, so I could meet her. She’d never returned. Over 10 years since I’d gotten her out of that nightmare. And she’d never returned. All I knew was her name, that she was an empath, how old she was. She never even mentioned what she liked, what she hated, what she wished I would or wouldn’t do.

Not once. In over 10 years.

Now, I was looking for another one of us, another hidden one. This one could turn the air solid, and hit things with it, crush things with it.

As I slept, head on desk, I wondered if this new person was going to be as empty inside as Deborah. I wondered if maybe, this time, I should straight up kill the bad guy, instead of just rescuing the girl.

Have you ever slept at your desk, sitting in your chair, head resting on your arms, for hours? Waking up wasn’t fun that morning. But wake up I did. And Deborah was standing next to me, “You’re not a killer.”

“I know. The damage is already done. All I can do is get her out, so they can’t use her anymore.”

“I’ll fix you something to eat. You should get a shower.”

She didn’t say, “and take your pain killers.” She didn’t have to.

604 words

The picture for Week 223 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge got to me. I had to figure out how to put what it said to me into words others can read if they wish. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.


#ThursThreads Week 485 : That’s Not Why I’m Here.

I started with the first thing on the list, “Figure out what I do know.” That took me back to where the building had been. They’d been fast, it was already nothing but a concrete slab on the ground, blocked off by a cheap chain link fence, the kind with posts stuck into cinder blocks filled with concrete, and a razor wire attachment that ran along its top.

“No entry permitted, go away.” I shook my head. “Go away? That’s not why I’m here.”

I took out my cell phone, and added the zoom lens attachment. It worked really well for looking where I wasn’t allowed to go. Brought such places right up close. I looked over the walls of the adjacent buildings. I looked at the concrete slab that was left.

“What do I know?” I set the phone to record.

“I knew this building was important. I knew something was going to happen at this building. Why this building?”

That’s when I started to break that first list item into smaller items.

1a. Who owned the building?
1b. Did anyone want the building gone?
1c. Did that anyone make an offer for the building?
1d. Did the owner say no?

From those questions, I knew why this building. I didn’t know who. But I knew, finding out who owned it, and who made the offer, would fill in more details. And might well answer item 2 on my list, “Figure out what I don’t know.”

247 Words

It’s Week 485 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Looks like Harvey and Deborah have returned. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2021/10/17 (Week 221)

Sitting on a blanket, on the floor of that long abandoned home, in the middle of nowhere, had to mean I was Fruit Loops. After all, no one packs a blanket, a sleeping bag, and a backpack full of munchies, to go spend the night in a house full of spiders, and god only knew what else. Yet, there I was.

It was a bit of a hike to get to. I’d been wandering around in the woods I’d inherited from my parents. They’d inherited them from my mother’s parents. 200 acres of nothing. Just one small house, made of cinder blocks, with all the electric wiring and plumbing running through the overhead. No carpets. No air conditioning. It did have a stove, a refrigerator, a washing machine, a kitchen sink, one toilet, and one bathtub. I didn’t know how anyone could live there.

But, I loved the woods. Mom and Dad knew that, so they left that useless chunk of land to me. Hell, they didn’t even know what all was on it. I figured, “I’ll go camping there a few times, explore the woods, then sell the place.”

Except, I never did sell it. I kept it. Because of the house no one knew was there. An old fashioned, one room shack, really, with a wood fired stove, and a pump for water behind the house. And one ancient piano. I suspected no one had lived there. Rather, they’d visited there, perhaps to enjoy the solitude.

I’d found it on my fifth trip to the woods. Takes a while to explore 200 acres of woods, you know. The first couple of trips I’d spent at the cinder block house. Set up a cot, and threw a sleeping bag on that. Used it as a base to explore a bit, and decide how I wanted to do things.

Decided to pack my one man tent, and sleep among the trees. Hadn’t found any dangerous animals, figured anything out there was as scared of me as I was of it. So why not? By sleeping in the woods, I could explore more of them, faster.

I’d spent the fourth night among the trees, listening to the crickets, and the frogs. Might have been a few small rodents out there, I heard some scratching, and some twigs breaking, and leaves rustling. But, nothing scary. I’d slept well. I always did when I was camping out.

The fifth day, after wandering around for hours, taking pictures, writing notes, I stumbled upon the shack. I figured, “Why not camp around here?”. I’d called it a day, and set up my tent. A banana, a couple handfuls of grapes, a can of soda, some peanut butter and honey, and some potato chips, and I was ready to call it a day.

I’d racked out in my little tent, shortly after the sun set, and closed my eyes, and fell asleep listening to the breeze rustle tree leaves, to the crickets chirp, and the frogs croak. It was a perfect night. I couldn’t remember when I was so happy, so relaxed.

The sound of a piano playing woke me up at just past 2 AM. It wasn’t animals. It wasn’t the breeze through the trees. It was, clear as could be, a piano. And for some silly reason, I had to find where it was.

I didn’t have to look far. It was the piano in the shack. That ancient piano, with the keys falling apart. On top of it, there was a candelabra, with candles glowing brightly, to fill the shack with light. And an old woman sat at the piano, playing.

She didn’t notice me when I first entered the room. She kept playing. A lovely piece of music I’d never heard. She played it until it ended, then smiled, as she rested her hands on the keys. Every note had been flawless. Something I knew that piano couldn’t do. She’d closed her eyes, “Ah, Liszt.  You wrote some marvelous tunes. Hard to play, but well worth learning.”

She’d turned to look out the window, and wound up looking square at me. “Oh, my.”

“Please. Play something more. That was beautiful.”

Now, I spend a weekend every month in this hidden shack, in the woods, that no one knows exists. And the soul of my great-great grandmother plays on the piano. And heals the wounds this world puts in my soul.

I don’t think I’ll ever sell the place. Who knows. Maybe, someday, I’ll live in these woods, and visit her every night, to listen to her play. Perhaps, even after I’m long gone, and someone else inherits this place.