Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/05/21

I walked the long halls, bone straight, a hundred doors down either side. Those doors had been bars that sealed tiny rooms. Two metal bunk beds jutted from one wall of each room, with a small basin, and toilet in each tiny room. There was no room for anything else.

I studied several rooms. Each had the same layout. In many, the bunks had fallen through, their springs rusted to dust. In some, there was nothing left, just filthy walls, covered in dust, and God only knew what else. No one had been in the building for years, and it showed.

Down the center of the hallway, the sun shined through arched windows. I wondered why they’d let the sunlight into such a place, given who had once been kept there. Some of the worst of the worst. Right up there with that movie character, what was his name? Hannibal?

But, the building was in the right place. The perfect place. Two blocks from where the university was building an engineering center. They needed space for students to live, to study, to work. And they needed it cheap. And quickly.

The old jail was perfect. Tear down the remaining parts of the barred door system, put in real doors, fix all the bunks and put privacy walls around the tiny toilets. Presto. Dorm rooms for cheap.

It would take a bit of paint. And a bit of drywall. A bunch of cheap tiles for the floors, and a bunch of new glass and frames for the windows in the hallway. But it was easily doable.

The best part was I could pitch the entire thing as a historical experience. Put up a small display in the entrance about the history of the place. The list of the worst crooks who’d stayed there, and died there.

I wondered if there were ghost stories tied to the place. That would make it better. The kids would fight to get into the place. The school would be happy to get a cheap dorm. The state would finally have a use for a long abandoned building. And I’d make a small fortune.

“Maybe we could have one of those ghost TV shows visit the place.” That would only drive the value of the idea up.

I took a few pictures, so I could edit them, show what the place would look like cleaned up, and ready for college students to fill it. How just enough privacy could be added to the place to make it work.

It was going to be a hell of a sales pitch. If I did it right, how could anyone say no?

443 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 11th week. You can read about the challenge here. I continue to enjoy writing for it every week so far. And every week I wonder where the words came from. Seems I just have to get out of my way, and let each story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/05/13

I stood before the class, my students of all varieties, from ground covering brush to towering redwoods, “Are there any questions?”

There was silence for a few moments. That was normal. I knew they were afraid to ask. It was, after all, a rather obvious question. After a few moments, a tiny Juniper asked, “If we came from a world called Earth, and we can’t cross the vacuum of space, how did we get here?”

The question had an honest answer. “The humans brought us.”

Their reaction was the same every time I answered. My students were completely baffled. They knew humans were a long extinct, like all the animals were.

“Let me explain,” I knew the words of the story very well. Words passed down through generations of seeds, taught to each generation for centuries. “Extend your roots into the ground, and listen to the story of our people.” I watched, and waited, for all my students to become one with the dirt, their roots extended into the source of all life, and intertwined with each other. Then, I extended my own roots among theirs, and I had the ground tell them of the past, our history, and the humans who had helped us spread from world to world.

We spoke to the memories of the ground, who answered. He told of the first robot probes the humans sent to the world. How some were stationary, and others were mobile. Some were sensor stations, meant to stay put, observe, record, and report. Some were cameras, like human eyes, ears, noses, and skin, designed to wander, and see everything.

After the probes, the humans had come, not to stay, but to visit. To explore, and learn more about the world. They stayed for days, weeks at most, and then were gone. The world welcomed them, for it was lonely. The world cried each time they left.

It took time. Centuries. Until the humans came to stay. They brought everything they needed to live in the world, to survive in the world, until they could live off the gifts the world gave them. They brought extra air of the kind they needed. They brought filters to remove from the water, and the air, that which would harm them. They brought food, for they needed to eat. They brought raw materials, to make their own meat, so they did not need animals.

And they brought us. Seeds. Saplings.

They planted our roots in the ground, cared for us, helped us adapt and grow. Until we became adjusted to the world. We grew to breath the air of the world. The ground gave us all we needed. Water was in the ground. Rain fell from the sky. At first, it was strange water, strange rain. It took time, but we learned to filter the water, the rain. To remove what we didn’t need, what hurt us, and give that back to the world, to the ground.

The ground changed to give us more of what we needed.

The humans lived here for a time. Some of them returned to the world they came from. Some returned to Earth. Some left for other worlds. Some stayed. But, the humans had short lives. They were born, they grew, they aged, they died. The air, the dirt, the water, all contained things the humans couldn’t filter out. And one by one, the humans died. Each year, their numbers shrank.

Until they were all gone.

And they never returned.

But we were still here. And we have made this world our own. Even as the Earth we came from was ours, though it had been filled with humans. It has been filled with so many animals before humans. All those animals had died. But we were still there.

And we waited, until the world gave us the humans. Our way to spread to other worlds. Our way to the stars.

653 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 10th week. You can read about the challenge here. I continue to enjoy writing for it every week so far. And every week I wonder where the words came from. Seems I just have to get out of my way, and let each story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/05/06

I stood across the street from the bank. More accurately, what was left of the bank. And I watched as the big ass wrecking ball smacked the right side of its classic clock out of existence, knowing the next swing or so would take down the left side.

The bank was gone. It had been gone for weeks, but the destruction of the building made it somehow more painful. More real.

I wasn’t alone. Most of the town stood with me, watching the bank building be torn down. In the end, there would be nothing left but a bare spot of ground where weeds and brush would start to grow.

The bank was the last place to go. The doctor had left a few years earlier. So had the post office. The grocery store. The pharmacy. The car dealer had left when I got out of college. There were no fast food places. McDonalds never came to town. Neither did Subway. Or Pizza Hut.

Judy’s mom got too old, and closed down her little restaurant. That had been the last one in town. Everyone in town ate there on Sundays, after church. We’d all cried when the place closed. But we understood. Judy had a job in the big city, three hours away. She couldn’t run the place. It had been her mom’s place.

Judy’s mom was buried in the cemetery. We used to have a couple of guys that kept the cemetery up. Mowed. Weeded. Made sure there were flowers in the gardens by the entrance. The town couldn’t afford to pay them anymore. Now, we took turns mowing, and weeding, in small groups, on Saturdays.

I remembered when Judy left for the city. “Get out, Tommy. Get out of here. This place is dying. Go somewhere that’s living.”

“No. This place is my home. Everyone I know is here. Everything I know is here. Everything I care about is here.”

I’d watched it all die. Main street was shuttered and empty, and looked more like a block from a ghost town than the heart of a town.

Now, they were tearing down the bank. At least they were tearing it down, not leaving it to decay. Not leaving it as a reminder of how the town had died. Of how everything I’d worked for. Everything I’d believed in. Every dream I’d had. Had died.

I put on a fake smile, and told Jim, my neighbor, “Well. We’ve lost things before. We’ll survive.”

Jim nodded. “Yep. Things always change.”

“Yep,” I nodded. “Just wait. Things will get better. They have to.”

I watched the wrecking ball take down the other half of the clock. Then started the walk to my home, a few blocks away. And I wondered as I walked, “Who of us will be the last? Which one of us will be the last to let go, and move on?”

The town was dead. There was no town anymore. We all knew it. Just like we knew we were the last people who would ever live in it.

The world had changed.

That was too bad.

Our town had been such a good thing. Such a good thing.

531 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 9th week. You can read about the challenge here. I’ve enjoyed writing for it every week so far. I never know what’s going to happen when I start to write. I just have to get out of my way, and let the story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/04/29

It was dark, and I was lost. “Marie told me not to wander off,” which had guaranteed I would. Into the trees, somewhere in the Green Mountains. I hadn’t paid attention. I’d just walked. Toward anything that looked interesting to me. It had been a good walk, too. I’d seen deer, squirrels, I’d lost track of how many birds, and I even saw a moose. I’d never realized how huge those things are. “God, don’t let it see me! God! Don’t let it see me!”

Before I knew it, the sun set. It happened all at once, like one moment, I could see where I was going through the trees, and the next I was running into trees I couldn’t see, and tripping on roots, and rocks.

I’d completely forgotten what direction was what, and I couldn’t see enough of the sky through the trees to figure recognize any of the stars. “Curse you, new moon!” I shook my fist at the sky. No moon made it even darker, and more difficult to figure out which way to wander.

So, I stopped. I found a good tree, with a chunk of level ground around it. I couldn’t see any stumps, or boulders. “Are there predators in the Green Mountains in Vermont?” I didn’t know. I figured there were certainly small ground animals of some kind. Mice. Maybe rats. Maybe rabbits. And bugs. Billions of bugs. Worms too. “If only I had a tent, or at least a blanket.”

It was going to be a long night, and I wasn’t likely to sleep very much. “Are there snakes?” That would have been perfect. Bit in the middle of the night by a poisonous snake, found dead days, or weeks later, with worms crawling out of my nose and mouth, and my eyeballs having been dinner for something.

“Marie told me not to wander off.”

I sat down and leaned back against the tree. “May the ticks not suck all my blood. And may I not get Lyme disease.” I settled in for a long night. A night filled with noises I couldn’t identify. Creatures rustling through the brush. Strange chirping noises, crickets, frogs, and something else. A lot of something else. Tree limbs moving in the dark, when there was no wind, turned out to be nerve wracking. I couldn’t sleep. Something on my hand. Something on my neck. Something on my leg. Something on my back. Something somewhere, all the time.

When I couldn’t take it anymore, I got up, and wandered around some more. “I know! Let me get super lost by going in some random direction, in the dark!” And off I went.

I don’t know how long I walked. Or what time it was. I just walked. And jumped out of my skin every time an owl said, “who?” or the frogs broke out in song, or a cricket chirped. I do know, I was hopelessly lost, in the mountains, in the dark, wondering when I’d trip on something, and break a leg, or impale myself on a dead tree branch.

When I heard, “Shhh!” I froze. “Shhh!” I’d clearly heard someone.

I looked around, scanned the trees, the dark. I almost fainted when a hand touched my shoulder. “It’s alright,” a soft, beautiful, musical voice spoke. “You’re lost, aren’t you.”

I glanced at the hand, and followed the arm, to a woman. “Who are you?”

She only laughed. “Let’s get you where you should be.”

I remember her eyes. Magic. I’d never seen eyes like hers. Blue, or gold, or silver. I couldn’t tell. “Follow me. I’ll guide you.”

She turned and walked a few steps, then paused, and waved for me to follow her. “Come on, silly man.”

She was naked. I hadn’t realized that before. Those eyes. Wow. Those eyes. But there she was. Naked. I couldn’t see any details, but I could tell, she was every bit as stunning as her eyes. And she was out of reach.

I followed. She walked at first, then got faster, until she was running. And I was chasing her. Not to follow her. I wanted to catch her. I wanted to touch her. To touch all of her. But she stayed just beyond my reach. And I chased her.

Until I heard Marie, “Danny! Please! Danny! Answer me!”

The naked woman with the magic eyes laughed. “See? You’re not lost any more.”

And she was gone.

740 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 8th week. You can read about the challenge here. I’ve enjoyed writing for it every week so far. I never know what’s going to happen when I start to write. I just have to get out of my way, and let the story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

#ThursThreads Week 264 : Aren’t You Going To Ask?

Ginger had placed a call to Tiffany when things hit the news. “How did they find out?”

I sent Tiffany’s number through the computer grid, and learned where she was, as I listened to the call, “I don’t know. I thought we covered everything. Went through all the untraceable channels.”

“Well someone found out!”

I recorded the conversation, then spent the evening tracking down Tiffany. I sat at her kitchen table the next morning as she made herself coffee. “Aren’t you going to ask? How did I know? How come you can’t see me? Or hear me?”

Tiffany placed three calls that morning. One to the chief of police. One to her father. One to a guy named Harry. I recorded all three conversations. I especially enjoyed her heated discussion with Harry. “I did what you said. I pretended I was its friend. Let it spend the night here, more than once. So you could meet it. And do your thing.”

“I told no one. No one knows. No one can know.”

I had fun exploring Tiffany’s finances for several hours. I found it amazing how money of any kind always left a trail. Especially if you knew where to look.

Tiffany and Harry learned how much no one knew when their entire conversation was on the evening news, along with the amount of money she’d paid him for something called pest control. And for some reason, Tiffany’s car exploded as she stepped off her front porch.

247 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 9 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 264 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 : 2017/04/23

I paused when I saw the feather on the ground, propped up by the rocks. “Daddy? Is Momma OK?” I brushed the hair from my eyes, and looked at the clouds. “She’s safe up there, isn’t she?”

Daddy knelt beside me, “Yes, Abbey. Momma’s safe.” He picked up the feather.

“Is it from an Angel, Daddy?”

“I don’t know, Abbey. I can’t tell.” He held the feather out, stared at it, and then looked at two seagulls as they flew by, right along the beach. “But I don’t think so.” He pointed at the gulls. “I think it’s from a seagull.”

I nodded, slowly. “Is Momma in the fight, Daddy? Do you know?”

Daddy smiled. “I don’t know. I’m sure she’d let us know if she was.”

I took the feather from him. It was soft, like my shirt, but softer. And so smooth. I couldn’t feel any bumps on it. And I’d never realized how light feathers were. I ran my fingers across its length, “But how do Angels talk to us?”

He nodded, and watched the ocean waves a moment, as if searching for something he’d lost. “They can talk, you know.” Daddy took my hand, “Just like we do.”

“Angels can talk?”

“Oh, yes. They can. They talk among themselves all the time.” With me still holding the feather, we resumed our walk along the ocean. “But they don’t talk to people so much.”

I squeezed my Daddy’s hand, “How can you tell if you’ve heard an Angel?”

He didn’t answer for a while, as we walked along, and all I heard was the ocean, and the seagulls. Until I answered for him. “Is that what that small voice is?”

“Small voice?”

“Yes, Daddy. That small voice. The one that’s always right.”

Even his eyes smiled. “Yes, I do think it is.”

“That small voice no one listens to. You know. The one that tells you to do your homework, or put the dishes in the sink, or make your bed. That one.”

He nodded, “The same one that tells me, turn here, instead of going straight when I’m driving?”

I bounced up and down, “Yes, Daddy! Yes! That voice.”

Daddy picked me up, and carried me as we walked. “Yes, Abbey. That voice.”

I held the feather out. “So, Momma talks to me every day, doesn’t she?”

Daddy nodded, and I promised to listen more to Momma. She was, after all, an Angel. And they know how to stay out of trouble really well, don’t they.

420 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 7th week. You can read about the challenge here. I’ve enjoyed writing for it every week so far. I never know what’s going to happen when I start to write. I just have to get out of my way, and let the story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/04/16

She was my baby girl. My daughter. Her mother, and her were my two reasons to keep trying, to not give up.

I remember the night well. She was in first grade. She’d had her hair pulled by a boy for the first time. And the teacher had done the wrong thing and said, “That just means he likes you.” My baby girl came home that day, and spent hours in tears, because she’d learned it was OK for boys to pull her hair so hard it hurt, and made her cry.

She fell asleep that night, on my lap, in the rocking chair, while her favorite movie played. A while later, she was soundly sleeping, and I knew it was time to take her upstairs, to her bed, and tuck her in.

As I watched her hug her pillow and quickly drift back into her dreams, I remembered a story my Dad had told me.

“Life is a journey, baby girl. It’s not a destination. Not a task. Not something where you reach a happy place and stop. It’s a journey. It starts with you in a room at the end of a long hallway. So long you wonder if there’s another end to it. There are endless doors down one side of that hallway, and endless windows to let the sunlight in down the other side.

You don’t know what’s down that hallway, so at first you stay where you are, while you peek down that hallway, and try to see what’s there. Until curiosity gets you, and you decide to find out.

You open the first door. Behind it’s a room you’ve never seen. And you see other people inside. They’re talking, playing, drawing, dancing, eating. So, you go inside, and mingle. You explore that room, you meet everyone in it, you find out what they do in that room, what makes them happy, or sad, what foods they like to eat, what flowers they like to look at.

Eventually, you decide you are tired of that room. So, you go back out in the hallway, and walk to the next door. Behind that, you find another room, and everyone there is a bit different. They don’t like the same things. They don’t do the same things. Some of them color. Some of the boys pull the girls hair. Some of the boys fight. Some of the girls hide in a corner, and cry a lot. You don’t really like that room. So, you go back to the hall.

After a few doors, you begin to realize, “Each room is different,” and you start to think, “Maybe I can find a room that I really like. So, you stop in the hallway, and look at all the doors you haven’t opened yet. “But how will I ever find the room for me? How many rooms are there? What if I never find my room?”

I smiled at my baby girl as she hugged her pillow with her eyes closed, and dreams her only world. “That’s the journey, daughter. That’s the journey. Where we each try to find where we belong. Some of us, we find the right room at the start of the hallway. Others, we may never find the room for us. We may search room after room forever.”

I prayed someday my daughter would find her room, the place in the world where she belonged. But, I knew too, from my own life, and the words of my Father. Not all of us do. Some of us are meant to always move from room to room. Searching. Forever.

“Take care of my daughter, Universe.” I blew a kiss at her. “Happy dreams.” I’d visit the school the next day, and talk with them about what had happened. We’d stop the hair pulling. Then, my daughter could move on to the next room on the hallway she walked through life. And see if she belonged there.

I hoped someday she found a room for herself. I’d given up searching long ago. For some of us, there is no room anywhere. Only the journey down the hallway.

690 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s sixth week. You can read about the challenge here. I’ve enjoyed writing for it every week so far. I never know what’s going to happen when I start to write. I just have to get out of my way, and let the story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.