A Clip From Week 2 Of #NaNoWriMo 2020

And like a fucking idiot, I remembered it all. Every last departure. Every last trip to watch someone tell stories about another part of my life that was gone. Until only one part was left.


I remembered the words from an old song.

“In a world that I don’t want to know
With a message that I never want to send
To be freed from all of this
I want you to quicken my end”

The one thing I’d prayed for in my life. To die first. To be the first one to leave this world, the world that hurt me so much, that made me so angry, that I couldn’t begin to understand. How I’d wanted to be freed from the chaos, the confusion, the destruction we humans had caused, and were still causing.

Only to end up the last one left. Everyone I’d grown up with was gone. And the universe, for some fucked reason, had to make certain I lived to see them all die. Almost like it was telling me, “We’re going to make you suffer. You don’t understand misery and pain, you don’t understand tears, you don’t understand loneliness. We’re going to keep you here until you do.”

I keep looking in that mirror, at myself, and I wondered, “If someone we love dies, and crosses over, does that someone haunt us, not to torture us, not to scare us, not to get vengeance, or rush our death. But perhaps, so they can talk with us when we sleep, when we dream.”

As I looked into the mirror I heard my voice, as I spoke words I had never spoken before, “Never let the universe know you want to die. Bitch will keep you around forever. Just because.”

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/11/11

The old couple stood among the bricks, and stones. When we first came across the place, they told me this had been a cobblestone road, whatever that means. Just looked like someone went to a lot of troubled to put bricks out in a pattern to me. “A road leading nowhere, you mean?”

The old man shook his head, “You never knew. Never saw.”

The old woman smiled, “They get to start over. If they want. Change the world, if they want.”

“I know.” He knelt down, put his hands on the old rocks, “But it is good to remember how things were, isn’t it?”

We all started walking again. That search for food thing did that. Made people walk. You couldn’t stay put. If you did, you became someone else’s food. If you kept moving, you kept safe. So, we kept moving. Followed the bricks for a time. At least it was a flat surface, we could make good time.

There were remains of structures, buildings, homes, all over the place. Long since picked over, people looking for things they could use. Clothing, mostly. Anything cloth. Anything fabric. Didn’t matter if it came off a dead body. Didn’t matter if it was full of holes. It beat the hell out of nothing.

I think that’s what drew me to the old man and woman. They weren’t dressed in left overs. In scraps. No. They wore different things. Hand made, most of them, from animal skins. Hides, stitched together with rough thread. They looked a lot warmer than what I had on.

I didn’t know what it was about them, really. Why I would want to tag along with two old people. Everyone pretty much ignored them. Old people weren’t worth much. Didn’t have anything worth stealing. Mostly, they were ignored, and left to wander around until they starved to death.

These two were different. They knew how to find things to eat. Sure, it wasn’t meat. It wasn’t animals. But, it was good. Stuff off bushes, and trees. Not anything they could find in a can. Cans were running out, you know. I hadn’t seen one in days. But, they always found something to eat. And always where no one ever looked.

I figured I’d tag along with them, so I could learn something. Maybe not starve. Maybe not have to kill someone else, and eat them.

“I wonder which building was the library? And which was a store?” The old man pointed at different buildings.

“It doesn’t really matter now, does it.” The old woman pulled down his hand, and held on to it. “Let’s just walk. And remember what was. And hope for what might one day be. And forget.”

“You know we’ll never forget, don’t you.” The old man shook his head. “Everywhere we look. Everywhere we go. There are memories of what was. And how it all ended.”

We walked in silence for a time, until she stopped, and pointed at a large puddle of water covering some of the bricks. “Look. You can stare into the puddle, and almost see the history, can’t you?”

“The state capital. And it’s big dome. I got to see it once. Field trip in high school.”

“Oh, Frank. It must have been a beautiful building.”

“Yes, Valerie. It was.” He smiled. It was the happiest smile I ever saw on him. “And then, the world went insane.”

Valerie nodded. “Yes. It did.”

Frank, the old man, started walking again, “Do you think it’s the end of humanity?”

“Only time will tell, Frank. Only time will tell.”

Frank nodded. And I wondered what they were talking about. The end of humanity. If it was, it wouldn’t be so bad, would it? No more wondering if you were going to wake up, of if you were going to be cut into flank steaks during the night while you slept. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

657 words

Saw the picture for week 80 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge, and this little bit of fiction popped into my head. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.


#ThursThreads Week 337 : There’s Just One

“The sheriff will live,” the doctor told his wife. “There’s just one thing. He won’t ever walk.” They’d found him where he’d been guarding Jimmy. Every bone in his right leg was broken. Compound fractures. His knee joint was missing, completely pulverized.

The officers at the safe house who were guarding Jimmy hadn’t been as lucky. Things like exiting buildings from the 3rd floor, backwards, through a window, never ended well. Neither did falling off roofs, putting your face through a car windshield. I really wished I hadn’t had to use such force.

They’d been protecting Jimmy. Keeping him safe. They’d fired their guns and shot holes into walls, cars, street lights, and anything else around. They didn’t find Jimmy. He was gone.

When they did find his remains, they noted how he was where they’d found Michelle’s body. His face had run into something. Hit it so hard, it kind of pushed into his head. He’d been shot, right where no man ever wants to get shot. More than once, too.

They found a note held to his chest with a railroad spike. “One less problem in the world.”

Pastor Greg sat on the first pew in his church, stared at the symbolic cross placed above the pulpit, and cried. He’d tried to keep his brother safe. Prayed his brother would learn. Asked God to take Jimmy in, and keep him safe.

I still had a couple of details to take care of.

244 Words

Only 3 parts left in this Armor 17 story. It’s Week 337 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who turn out weekly.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/11/01

Momma and Daddy brought me to the museum on Sunday. I’d never been to the museum. Momma was in her wheelchair, and Daddy pushed her around. He told me, “Today, Sally. We go where Momma wants to go. And we look at everything Momma wants to see.”

I held Momma’s hand, and kissed her cheek. “Xacly!” Momma was sick. She’d been sick a long time. And I worried about her. So, when Daddy asked if I wanted to do something, I’d said, “Let’s do something Mommy wants to do! Let’s let Mommy have some fun!”

And Momma wanted to visit the museum. To look at the pictures, and the paintings, and the statues. I didn’t care if none of them looked interesting to me, because Momma liked them.

I remember what she said to Daddy, “They have a special photography exhibit at the museum. Let’s go to that. I want to see the art. And the beautiful pictures.”

So, on Sunday, we were at the museum. Momma didn’t say much. But I knew it meant a lot to her to see the drawings, and the statues, because she cried. She sat in her chair, and stared at some of them, and smiled, and cried. “You like this one, don’t you Momma?” I squeezed Momma’s hand.

“Yes, sweetheart. I like this one.”

We took as long as Momma wanted to look through the drawings, and the statues. Daddy stood behind her, and I stood next to her. Her wig looked really pretty that day. All blonde, with just the right flip at the end. I stopped the museum guard and said, “Doesn’t my Momma look beautiful today?”

I remember he nodded, and he smiled, “Yes, indeed. She certainly does.”

It took forever. Well. Maybe not forever. But Momma did finally get to the photography stuff she wanted to see. A bunch of pictures someone took with a camera. I remember looking at them, and wondering how they did it. How they got everything to look just that way. Because. I’d never seen anything like them.

Momma squeezed my hand and smiled at me, “Do you see any pictures you really like?” When I didn’t answer, she told me to look around, “Go see all the pictures, honey. Go look at them all, and then show me the ones you like the most.”

Daddy stayed with her, and they moved from one picture to another. Momma smiled at some, and cried at some, and laughed at some. I loved it when Momma laughed. She didn’t laugh enough. Sometimes she didn’t laugh or smile for days. It made me really sad. It made me ask God to teach me how to make her laugh and smile again.

I did what Momma wanted me to. I wandered around among the pictures, and looked at them, to find at least one that I liked. A lot of them looked the same to me. Buildings, with some person in front of them. Lots of strange clothing on people. And things that looked like bed sheets blown into them by the wind. And big buckets of colored water dumped on them.

It was strange, and I didn’t get it. But I saw Momma liked the pictures, so I didn’t say anything about them.

Until I found a picture I didn’t understand. It had a pretty ballerina in it. She was so pretty, standing on her tiptoes, her back arched, her arms thrown back, and her head thrown back, and her hair all fluffed out behind her. She was in this cloud of red, like the same red when you cut your finger, or skin your knee, and bleed. I tried to figure that one out. What was it a picture of? I didn’t know.

So, I picked it as the picture I liked. And I did like the pretty ballerina in it. I wondered if I would ever be that pretty. And if Momma had been that pretty before she got sick.

Momma saw me standing in front of the picture, and she had Daddy bring her over to see what I’d found. “Did you find a picture you like?”

“Yes, Momma. I did.” I pointed at the picture. “She’s really pretty. I like her.”

Momma smiled. “Yes, she is.”

“Momma? What does the red stuff mean? I don’t understand the red stuff. It’s like it’s exploding out of her.”

Momma held my hand. “It’s symbolic, you know.”

“Sym-bol-ic?” That was a new word. I didn’t know that word. “It looks like blood is exploding from her, Momma. What does that mean?”

Momma put her arm around me. Which I thought was nice. I loved it when Momma hugged me. “Well, Sally. This is a special picture. It tries to capture what beauty is with the pretty ballerina. And she is beautiful, isn’t she.”

I nodded.

“But, the picture also tries to show that beauty like hers has a cost. A price. That our society makes her pay, just because she was born beautiful.”

“I don’t understand, Momma.” I looked at the ballerina. She had her eyes closed, and she wasn’t smiling. “It’s like she’s not having fun.”

“That’s right, Sally. That’s right. She’s not having fun. Because. She’s beautiful, and the world won’t let her have fun.” Momma hugged me tighter. “It’s a beautiful photograph. And it makes me wish you didn’t have to grow up, and learn what it’s saying.”

905 Words (Yes, I’m over the limit. So what?)

Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 28th week. Unfortunately, this for the 27th week. This time, I saved the prompt for #NaNoWriMo, and this is a clip of the #NaNoWriMo story I’m working on. You can read about the challenge here. The picture was a perfect match to the story, so I had to wait to write. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.