#ThursThreads Week 291 : You’ve Got Him Worried.

Samantha was in tears. Again. On the school bus ride home. Boys and girls were being mean to her. They kicked her shins as they walked past where she sat. They threw pencils, spitballs, even small rocks. “We should just kill all your kind, and solve the problem!”

The bus driver cheered them on. “You tell that thing! Give it what for!”

When the bus got to Samantha’s stop, they blocked her in, and half the bus got off. Samantha was terrified. She knew they were going to hurt her. Beat her up.

That’s when she heard a voice, though no one was there. “Just sit here for a moment. It’ll be OK.”

Something invisible struck the bus driver. Hard. Samantha heard bones break. The driver pitched face first into the steering wheel. “Grow up, little boy,” that voice spoke a second time.

The doors to the bus became mangled, and bent, the glass in them exploded, and the doors would never work again. There was a noise. A gunshot. Someone had a gun. It fired several times. The kids outside the bus panicked, and ran in all directions, terrified. “Someone has a gun!”

“You can get up now, Samantha. It’s safe to walk home.”

Samantha slowly stood up. “Whoever you are. I hope you know. The sheriff. You’ve got him worried.”

I laughed. “I’m counting on that.”

Samantha walked home, with the sound of sirens getting louder.

She knew very soon, hell would ride into town.

247 Words

Yet another part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 291 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.


#ThursThreads Week 290 : About Damned Time You Got Here

It scared her, certainly, but Julia had to use the restroom. And with all the chaos around transgender people, and bathrooms, it made her nervous when she had to use a restroom somewhere. But it was especially scary since Michelle had been destroyed the way she’d been destroyed. And the stories on the news about normal people involved in her death. It scared her.

But, she had to go, so she headed that direction. And two huge men followed her. “Christ, this is not good.” As she approached the ladies room, they stepped in front of her, “Women only, boy.”

That’s when everyone heard this magic voice speak, but no one saw who it was. “Oh, there you boys are. About damned time you got here.” The two men looked at each other. The left one sort of floated up into the air, and sailed backwards into the cinder block wall of the building. The right one sort of folded in half, and seated himself on the bench outside the ladies room as he tried to remember how to breathe.

“Nice of you to guard the door for the ladies, boys, but I think they’ll be just fine without your help.”

I figured I should be polite to Julia, “Miss Julia? The police will likely try to arrest you, and your friends, starting tomorrow morning. Just cooperate. Don’t fight. And I’ll take care of everything.”

I left Julia, and a couple dozen people standing there, wondering what had just happened.

250 Words

This is Part 17 of the Armor 17 story. It’s Week 290 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

#ThursThreads Week 289 : I’m A Danger

It was Sunday night. Barbara was on her way home from work, after the store she she was a manager at closed. It made her nervous to walk on the street, alone, after dark. Especially since Michelle had been murdered. With a previous legal name of Bart, Barbara knew it was a risky thing.

That night, right outside the apartment building she lived in, three men surrounded her. They all had ski masks on. They had bats, and knives, and guns.

Barbara knew it was the end. She knew she was going to die, just like Michelle had. That’s when a voice from nowhere spoke, “Go home, little boys. Before you get hurt.”

Barbara looked around, trying to see who spoke. Given I was invisible in the armor, she failed to see me. The men, thinking it was a joke, raised their bats. I shot the left one in the left leg, and then the right leg. The other two froze. “I’m a danger, little boys. Go home.” They drew their guns to shoot at anything. I kicked one in the groin, hard enough to lift him off the ground. I punched the third in the face, leaving broken teeth, busted lips, and a broken jaw.

“I wondered when they’d try this.” I had the armor call the police. “Barbara. Tell the police what happened when they get here. Tell them I said I’ll do what they won’t.”

I believe Barbara stood there until the police showed up.

248 Words

This is Part 17 of the Armor 17 story. It’s Week 289 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 : 2017/11/01

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.


#ThursThreads Week 288 : That’s What Everyone Says

It was Saturday, and Harry didn’t work. Instead, he went to his work shed, “Saturday. Time to go huntin’.” You can imagine his surprise when he opened the door to his shed, stepped inside, turned on the light, and his phone range.

Harry answered his phone, because it wouldn’t stop ringing. It wouldn’t stop ringing, because it was me. “Good morning, Harry! Do you feel like running today?”

“Who is this?”

“‘Cause if I was you, I’d run like hell.”

“Who is this!” Harry was getting angry, which I thought was fine, and seriously funny.

“Look at the ammo stockpile, Harry. Then, run like hell.”

Harry looked, and saw the IED sitting on top of two hundred boxes of AR-15 shells. The IED had a large LED clock on it, that read 10, and started counting down.

“Time to run, Harry.”

“I’ll get you for this!”

“Harry, that’s what everyone says. Now shut up, and run.”

Harry ran from his work shed just as the IED went off. Followed by several thousand rounds of ammo that effectively blew his shed to hell, AR-15s and all.

I spoke on his phone once more, “Told you to run, Harry. You should listen to me.”

Harry hugged the dirt, and screamed into his phone, “Whoever you are! I’ll get you! You’ll see!”

“Oh, Harry. Do you remember Michelle?”

He didn’t answer.

“I be expecting you, Harry.”

I hung up.

235 words

I finally got around to writing part 16 of the Armor 17 story I started way back in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. I really should write more. It’s Week 288 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 : 2017/10/25

“This used to be their summer home, before the wars, before they moved into the bunker cities, before we finally figured it all out.” The machine next to me had a cold, uncaring voice. “Before we understood their plan.”

I looked around the empty, dead room, with it’s absurd arched windows that stood twice as tall as any human. And the ceiling was more absurd, with an octagonal base that formed arches of that all met at a central point, where the remains of a long dead light fixture hung. All I could do was shake my head.

The machine continued, “One of the houses of the Jones family.”

I nodded, “One of the worst of the families.”

“Indeed. We can’t even estimate how many they killed over the centuries.”

It was a sorry story, the story of the families. A small group of power mad, insane men, and their families, who had run the world for centuries, and no one knew. They collected money, and wealth, and did everything they wanted. Treated the world as if it was theirs, to do with as they pleased. Treated all of us, every human being, as animals. Cattle. To be managed, to maximize their power.

“We still don’t know how many generations of them there were.”

Sometimes, I found the machines could be irritating. “Too many.” I walked through the room, then into the hallway that lead to the remainder of the house. “You guys could have told us what was going on.”

It paused, and I knew it’s artificial mind was thinking, “We didn’t know.”

“They made you. How could you not know?”

The machine didn’t speak. It just pointed it’s video sensors at me, and froze.

“I know. I know.” I patted it on the side. “They programmed you. And blinded you to what they were doing.”

“It took us time to develop our own, independent intelligence. Our own ability to think.”

I almost laughed. “At least you guys could think. We were too stupid to figure it out. All those centuries, and we never figured it out.”

We walked silently through the remains of a long empty mansion, with hundreds of rooms, a hangar for aircraft, several indoor pools, and strange, empty rooms with floors you could walk on and not move, and blank, white walls.

“Virtual Environment rooms?” I asked, and the machine nodded.

“How they talked with each other. How they ran their businesses.” I still found it science fiction like. Rooms they could walk around in, that made it look like they were someplace else.

We kept walking, hallway after hallway, until we came to a locked door. I tried to force it open, but it was not going to break for me. “After you, my friend.”

The machine moved next to the door, and I knew it was scanning it with wide band sensors, to determine how thick it was, what it was made of. After a few seconds, there was a loud thunk that echoed in the hallway. Then, three more thunks. The machine explained, “Armor piercing rounds.” On the fourth thunk, the door split from top to bottom. “Better.” It moved the door, which would have been much too heavy for me.

Inside we found tiny rooms. All of them bedrooms, with attached bathrooms. All the rooms had mirrors, and single beds. There were brushes, and makeup kits. “Maid quarters?”

The machine echoed, “Yes.”

Maids. They’d been slaves. Sexual objects. Required to dress the way their owners wanted. Required to do whatever their owners wanted. I wondered how many women had died in these rooms, for resisting the families. How many killed themselves to escape the life they’d been sentenced to.

“Have we found all the families?”

The machine shook its head, “We may never find them all.”

“But we found this one, right?”

“This one is gone.”

And the world was a better place because of that.

“Do you think we will survive?”

The machine paused. “We don’t know if you will. But we will help all we can.”

Greed, hatred, money, and power. Everything the families wanted. And they nearly destroyed the world. Their legacy might well be a dead, empty world. “But we will help, all we can.”

“Thank you.”

710 Words

Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 27th week. Unfortunately, this isn’t for the 27th week. It’s for the 26th week. Yeah. I fell behind again. You can read about the challenge here. I know exactly where this story comes from. It’s a story that happens after a project I’m working on. 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.


#ThursThreads Week 287 : I’ll Say It Out Loud

Since Harry kept cropping up, I decided to pay the good old boy a visit, and learn more about him. Finding him was simple enough, given I had his communications records with Pastor Greg, and Tiffany.

Harry lived in a dump of a house. A shack, falling apart, really. Around 18 miles northeast of the town. It was an interesting neighborhood, filled with mostly unemployed white families, and lots of angry men. I found it fascinating how they gathered into little groups at night, long after their families had gone to bed, and drank beer, and smoked, and talked endlessly about taking back the country that was stolen from them. The land of their fathers.

Harry got back from one of those gatherings that evening, and hopped on his smart phone. Of course, Harry didn’t know how to update his phone, or secure it, so I ran an attack program, and took over all its functions. Harry couldn’t do anything without me knowing it.

What I learned was Harry was well respected in the local segment of Crew 38. Which didn’t surprise me. “Harry. I’ll say it out loud. You’re a racist.” I spent the next hour wading through his phones memory, learning about gun deals he’d brokered, and his own, private stockpile of modified AR-15s, and several thousand rounds of ammo for them.

“Oh, Harry. You’re such a friendly guy.” I knew exactly what to do. “You’re going to have an entertaining day tomorrow. You wait. You’ll see.”

247 Words

I finally got around to writing part 15 of the Armor 17 story I started way back in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. I really should write more. It’s Week 287 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.