#ThursThreads Week 414 : Everything Comes Full Circle

Laying down in the bed of my truck wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but I wasn’t going to whine, after all, I was doing this because everything comes full circle. And the people that had killed my sister had it coming. My sister. Shot full of holes by some ass hole with a gun. A gun he wouldn’t have had, if not for these people.

After a deep breath, I double checked everything. “3 AR-15s, all loaded. Check.” One piece at a time, carefully, it had to all be right. I’d only have one chance. “3 clips for each, all loaded and ready. Check.” I already knew I wasn’t going home that night. I wasn’t going home ever.

It occurred to me I was going to miss watching the sun rise, but that was OK. My sister deserved to be remembered. Especially by those people.

Just past nine that night, the front door of the building across the street opened, and the first people started walking out. “Patience. Patience. Not yet.” I waited. There had to be enough of them outside before I acted.

“There. That’s enough.” I aimed an AR-15 from the bed of my truck, and I opened fire. I shot as many of those bastards and bitches as I could. It was karma, unleashed.

That’s how I wound up here, talking to Satan about the NRA, and how their meeting was the perfect time to complete the circle.

243 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 414 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And more words in whatever it is that’s writing itself have turned up. 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 : 2020/05/19 (Week 157)

“It’s a book,” she pointed at the book I was reading. “A purple one, with gold letters, and this candle thing on the front.”

I nodded, and kept reading.

“Why do you waste your time reading so many books?” She plunked down on the sofa next to me. “There’s so much to do in the world. So many places to go. So much to see.”

I nodded, and kept reading.

“And you sit here, reading books all day.”

Carefully, I placed my folded sheet of paper I used as a bookmark between the pages, and closed the book. “Yes, I do.”

“Why?” She grabbed my book, and put it on the far end of the sofa from me. “There’s so much to life, and you read books? Why not do something fun?”

There are times when words are useless, and I knew this was one of those times. There were no words to explain my fascination with books to her. She would not understand any words I said. Which is why I started saying them anyway.

“They change me.”

“What?”

“The books. They change me.”

“Oh, really.” She gave me a good look over, “You look just like you did this morning. Nothing changed about you.”

“They change me anyway.”

“How can books change you?”

“I learn from them.”

At first, she didn’t answer. Then, all at once, “You learn from books, but you don’t learn from life?”

“Of course I learn from life.”

“Then why do you read so many books?”

“To learn more than I can from life.”

“What more is there to learn?”

There it was. The reason she would never understand a word I said. Her mind was closed, she’d already determined books were a waste of time. “OK. Tactic change.” I made certain I didn’t look at her eyes, I knew, if I did that, I’d give up instantly, and do whatever she wanted. “Why do you watch movies?”

“The same reason everyone watches movies, silly. To escape reality.”

So much for that idea. I could hear her thinking, “You read to escape reality? Seriously?”

“OK. That’s not going to get anywhere either is it?” Any discussion I could have had with her was already over, and I knew it. “You already know all the answers to everything, don’t you.”

“No, silly. No one does.” I thought she was going to laugh for a moment, “I know what I need to know, and that’s more than enough.”

I wanted to ask her about all the religions of the world. Then about the languages, and why there were so many, and why different languages allowed people to say things they couldn’t say at all in other languages. I wanted to ask her about politics, and Conservatives, and Liberals, and Socialists, and Marxists, and a thousand others.

I didn’t.

I already knew. Her mind was closed. She’d picked one religion, one language, one political viewpoint. And she’d closed everything else down.

“That’s not enough for me.” I reached past her, and picked up my book. “It never will be.”

“Idiot.” She stood up, and walked off. I didn’t know where. I thought about following her, maybe apologizing. Maybe doing something like taking her to dinner, and a movie, and spending time with her.

But she was so small. So limited. So set in her ways.

The thought occurred to me, perhaps I should be sad because I’d grown apart from her, and she from me. I was still sitting there, thinking, when I heard the door to the apartment slam.

“This can’t be fixed, can it.”

I swear I heard the walls of the room answer me, with a quiet, “No.”

614 words
@mysoulstears


Written in response to the prompt for week 157 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. 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. Please go read them all.

#ThursThreads Week 413 : I Told Here I Wouldn’t Ever Come Back Here Again

Everything comes full circle, I suppose. Perhaps everyone does too.

The first town I lived in didn’t have a stop light, or a school, but it had a Southern Baptist church. It didn’t have a McDonald’s, or Taco Bell, not even a mom and pop place, or a gas station. It wasn’t even a town, being unincorporated.

My family lived there until I was 12. That’s when Dad went stupid, and Mom left him, and took me to Jackson with her. That’s when I said goodbye to Bonnie.

Bonnie lived next door. She was cute as cute gets, with amazing red hair I got caught staring at too many times. We’d been friends as long as either of us could remember, and we’d never thought our friendship would end.

Until Dad went stupid, and Mom and I moved.

The night before we left, I took a walk with Bonnie. Mom told me, “She’s your friend, you need to say good-bye.” That night was when Bonnie kissed me. We had no idea how kisses worked, but she kissed me anyway, and held my hand as we walked.

The next morning I went next door, and said good-bye to Bonnie. She asked me to write, and to come visit someday. “Mom cried herself to sleep last night.” I told her. Then, I told her I wouldn’t come back here again.

And I never did. Until now. For Bonnie’s funeral.

Everything does come full circle, you know.

Everything.

244 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 413 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And more words in whatever it is that’s writing itself have turned up. 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.

#ThursThreads Week 412 : I Should Not Have Come Here

My curiosity sometimes got the better of me. That was one of those times. I’d wondered how people behaved at a popular music concert, so when I learned one of my favorite bands was having a show at the local amphitheater, I decided to attend, and find out.

I found the idea of sitting on a hillside covered with grass, watching several bands play their songs, fascinating. Before the first band went onstage, I focused on watching people find places to sit. I was stunned to see how many of them purchased drinks, mostly beer, from the amphitheater’s vendors. I knew those drinks were absurdly overpriced. But that didn’t seem to matter to those attending the event, as they kept obtaining more drinks every time they ran out.

Unfortunately, when that first band started I realized I was alone. Surrounded by an ocean of strangers, thousands of people I did not know. My mind stopped working correctly, and began asking, endlessly, “Why am I here?” and “What am I doing?”

I began to feel like an ant crossing a table surrounded by humans intent on smashing it. I lost track of the music, and kept reminding myself to breathe, as I desperately tried to control the panic attack I knew was engulfing me.

All the while, my mind kept endlessly repeating, “I should not have come here.”

I don’t remember the music at all. All I remember is I survived.

240 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 412 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And more words in whatever it is that’s writing itself have turned up. 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 : 2020/05/06 (Week 156)

The team of Russian, French, Japanese, Chinese, and German scientists, and their heavily armed escort, worked their way through the remains of Oklahoma City. Half of it was rubble, melted glass, and scorched ground. The other half still stood, though it clearly needed repair.

They’d seen too many bodies on their walk already. Bodies in every city, and every town. Many of them as charred as the ground, others as damaged as what was left standing. In the cities, and towns, almost no one survived.

The French team checked their radiation exposure badges, “We may have 30 minutes left.” Then they resumed measuring the radiation levels of everything. Dirt, parts of bricks, chunks of concrete, melted pavement, everything.

The Russian team took pictures of everything, hoping the pictures could provide a three dimensional digital reconstruction of the area, so they could identify where the cruise missile had impacted the ground.

The Chinese placed markers every 10 feet, in a square pattern, to help measure the size of the area the blast had leveled. Several of them knelt, and silently prayed to whatever gods there were, that this never happened again.

The Japanese and the Germans worked on air flow patterns, cloud cover, humidity, temperature, and general records about the environment. Several of them spoke quietly to each other of how the Americans had sown the wind, and sadly reaped the whirlwind.

All of them knew they would find nothing alive. No people. No cats, dogs, rats, birds, snakes, squirrels. Nothing. Nothing would have survived the power of the blast, and the overwhelming dose of neutron radiation it released.

One of the Russians stopped his work before a steel door, embedded in the remains of a rebar wall. The door stood alone, the building it had been part of was gone, nothing but piles of debris here and there.

The other teams stopped when they saw him standing before that door, and they joined him.

Somehow, by some magic unknown to human science, the door still stood, and the paint on it had not burned away, nor was it black or charred.

It was a painting of a man. He was crouched down, one hand touching the ground, the other his head. None of them knew what it meant. The Russians took pictures of the door, from every angle.

Too soon, their time was up, and the transport helicopters touched down, they boarded them, and were carried away, to the safety of the heavily shielded research base the United Nations had constructed to support their research.

The Chinese and Japanese scientists spoke frequently of what had happened, and why, and how many lives had been lost, and how much of the world would be uninhabitable for centuries. The Japanese were the most experienced with post nuclear blast recoveries, and their insight was highly valued.

The lead Chinese scientist politely noted, “There was no other way.”

The lead Japanese scientist responded, “Indeed.”

They both looked out of the helicopter windows at the devastated landscape below. The Chinese man spoke first, “All this because one of the corona-viruses mutated, and became able to spread among humans.”

The Japanese man nodded, “The Americans always sought someone to blame.”

“It was not our fault,” the Chinese man shook his head, and was no longer able to hold back his emotions, and tears silently flowed from the corners of his eyes. “It was no one’s fault.”

“We all know that. Even half the Americans knew that.”

The Russian leader placed his hand on the Chinese man’s shoulder, “It was their own fault.” He looked at the devastation below. “They insisted on blaming someone, and then set about getting even.” He paused, then sighed. “It was their way. Their nationalistic pride. And it killed them.”

The Chinese man knew. The US had launched military strikes at China, and all its allies. They’d blown North Korea off the face of the planet. They’d left a hole in the ground where Wuhan had been that glowed green in the dark, and was visible from the International Space Station. That, all by itself, triggered a global response, with thousands of nuclear weapons launched against the US.

The Russian nodded at his Chinese friend. “We could not let them destroy the entire world out of their pride and arrogance.”

The Japanese man spoke, quietly, “They sowed the wind. They reaped the storm.”

729 words
@mysoulstears


Written in response to the prompt for week 156 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. 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. Please go read them all.

#SwiftFicFriday : Week 37

My camera turned itself off, and I knew the battery was drained. As I wasn’t done taking pictures of the damage yet, I pulled the drained battery out, and put in the last of my spares. Six batteries, drained, taking pictures of this site.

“There’s a pattern in the damage,” was all I could think. “A pattern that repeats.” Pictures tend not to lie, especially unedited pictures, captured straight to film. Not like digital images where you can change everything. It’s why I used film for the research.

“Same damage as the other seven sites in the state.” The tension in my jaw made my teeth ache, and I wondered if I’d crack another tooth from the stress. “Breathe, damn-it. Breathe.”

The damage wasn’t to destroy the structure, or the framework of the building. It was designed to lower the value of the building. To make it ugly, and unmarketable. It was always focused on surfaces. Taking down walls, leaving the maximum amount of debris, destroying stair rails, but leaving the stairs in place, pulling down the ceiling, showing the framework, cables, pipes, and insulation.

The framework of a building was the least expensive part, relatively speaking. What made it expensive was the appearance. Wreck the appearance, and the price of the building plummeted.

A second aspect of the damage, people stopped visiting the damaged places. Business inside went under, closed, left. No one wanted to shop amid the damage. No one wanted to watch a movie, or a theater performance in a wrecked place. Didn’t matter how big the place had been. The damage killed it.

With enough pictures, from enough sites, I hoped to show the damage was deliberate. Someone wanted the framework to use for themselves. That was obvious. What was not obvious was who.

298 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 37 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Kathryn J. Avila. I’m trying this fiction writing challenge out for the first time. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #SwiftFicFriday, and if you like a story, click on the like button.

#ThursThreads Week 411 : Do I Know You?

I recognized her the moment my eyes spotted her. How could I ever forget her? She had triggered the greatest set of changes in my life. I had been normal. Thirty years of a career, depended on, recognized for my talents. Life was calm and quiet. Then she showed up, and it all came apart.

“Sweet Jesus!” was my first thought, followed by “I should not have come here.”

I noticed a hint of recognition on her face when she spotted me. At that point, I knew it was time to deal with the last vestiges of what had been. To finally end her story in my life.

It had been ten years. I’d had to start life over in so many ways. New job, new friends, new everything. Years of psychotherapy and multiple day panic attacks, wondering if I’d ever recover, if I’d ever become functional in life again.

She had known me before all that, when I was the guy with the 30 year career, and a knack for fixing problems in everyone else’s programs.

I wasn’t that guy anymore. I’d never be that guy again.

Eventually she made her way over, “Do I know you?”

“Yes, Robin, you do.”

“Steve?”

I nodded, “You knew who I was 10 years ago. You don’t know me now.”

She smiled that smile that had wrecked so much havoc in my life. “Perhaps, finally, it’s time to meet you again.”

All I could think was, “Frack…”

243 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 411 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And more words in whatever it is that’s writing itself have turned up. 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.