#ThursThreads Week 195: I’m Willing To Listen

The woman sat at her kitchen table, a glass of whiskey in her hand. It was 0200 hours, on a Sunday morning. As she sat she began to cry, “No one ever listens. No one cares.” She took a drink from the whiskey, then threw the glass against the wall where it shattered into hundreds of pieces. Her arms found the table, her head rested on her crossed arms, and she broke down.

“Black.” The armor became visible. I put an armored hand on her shoulder, “I’m willing to listen,” my electronically modified voice wasn’t human, but I knew that didn’t matter.

She sat up, shock in her eyes, “Who?”

I walked to the opposite side of the table, “No one of any importance.” I sat. “I’m willing to listen.”

She didn’t move. Didn’t blink. Just sat there, like she wasn’t sure she was seeing something real.

“I can leave if you wish,” I hope she didn’t wish, “Active.” The armor clocked, and I was invisible. I paused, “Black,” and returned to visibility. “I’m willing to listen.”

I studied her face, her eyes. I knew she wanted to talk. To tell me what was going on, tell me about her husband, how he abused her, how he used his daughter, and of the nasty, mean people her husband was friends with.

“Tell me about James.”

She took a breath, “What do you want to know?”

“Everything.”

She’d been waiting for someone to listen.

242 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 195. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

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#MondayMixer Round 30 : Bunnies

Terry opened his eyes to total darkness. He realized his bed was gone, replaced by a cold, harsh concrete floor. He wasn’t in his bed, in his home. The vagary of his change of location scratched at the back of his mind. “Where am I?”

He heard scurrying, like mice or rats. Every few seconds, a light flashed. His eyes searched the room. He saw the glint of steel, several times. A glint of white teeth. The blade of an axe. The shanks of drill bits. Something stood against the far wall. A figure.

The light came on. Rabbits. Hundreds of rabbits. They carried drills, axes, screwdrivers, knives. Anything with a sharp metal edge. The figure on the far wall was a little girl. Her voice echoed in his ears. “Bunny murderer.”

An axe blade sank into the shank of his leg. He screamed. His world went blood-red, then black.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into week 30 of Jeffery Hollar‘s Monday Mixer flash fiction challenge. Please, go enjoy all the gems created by artisans of the written word.

#FinishThatThought : Throwing Out The Trash

My son watched as she was snatched away. It was the last thing he saw. The last thing he did. He felt the slugs from two handguns tear through his chest, leaving six-inch wide holes in his back, shredding his lungs, veins and arteries. He collapsed to his knees, his life bleeding away. His fall ending with him on his back.

His wife screamed. She reached for him, looked into his eyes and knew he would die. She never had the chance to cry. The men with the guns struck her face, knocking her out. One put his gun in his belt, and threw her over his shoulder. They walked off.

The police found her body the next morning. Her hands tied to a stake, hammered into the ground. Her feet staked out separately. She’d been raped. No one could say how many times. When they were through with her, they shot her in the head. Twice. They left her there, with a warning note.

“This is how we solve problems in our neighborhood.”

My son was white.

His wife was black.

I had hoped people had grown past their hatreds, prejudices and fears. As I watched my son die that night, and his wife suffer that inhuman assault, and brutal death, I knew.

People hadn’t changed.

In my anger, I crossed over. I left the land beyond the veil of life, and returned to the world of the living. I’d seen enough. The brutal nature of people always seemed so far away. Until I watched them murder my children. That act of violence changed everything for me.

I crossed over and hunted down the men that murdered my son, and his beautiful wife. I walked through the walls of the house of the first. Into his own bedroom, where he slept with his wife. When he rolled her face down on the bed, and raped her, I moved. I slipped my hand into his chest, and squeezed the life out of his heart.

I felt nothing as I did. It wasn’t murder. It wasn’t revenge. It wasn’t justice. It was simply throwing out the trash.

I found the second in his garage, with two of his buddies. From the flavor of the smoke in the air, I knew they weren’t smoking tobacco. From the beer cans scattered on the floor, I knew they were drunk. All of them.

I listened to the killer as he proudly proclaimed the neighborhood was purified, and safe once more, from the evils of the world. Like my son and his wife.

I reached into his brain, and ripped his brain stem loose from his spine. Another piece of trash thrown out.

Until the people of this world grow up, and change. Overcome their fears, hatreds, and prejudices, I will stay here. I will weed out the ones like the two that killed my son. One piece of trash at a time. One piece of trash at a time.

476 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for week 4 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought flash fiction challenge. It’s a fun challenge. Now, go read all the other entries in week 4.

#DFQWBS : I Think That Went Well, Don’t You?

I stood on my hind feet, balanced on my tail so I could stay upright. “Well, dear,” I said to my wife, “The Dark Fairy Queen and the Wizard of Moog are now married. We pulled it off.” Of course, it came out more a string of squeaks, chirps, and clicking sounds.

“Indeed, we did,” she replied. “But it wasn’t pretty.” I had to admit her voice was very pretty to listen to. Of course she wouldn’t think it was pretty. I was temporarily a four-foot long, albino chipmunk and she was a bird of paradise. “How long do you think it’ll be before…” She let her question trail off.

“Oh, I’m certain it’ll only be a few days. A week at most.”

It had been quite a wedding. All the friends of the Dark Fairy Queen sat on the left side of the clearing. All the friends of the Wizard on the right. The groom wore his best wizard hat, a full three feet tall, in royal purple, with pure gold stars, crescent moons, and comets artfully displayed on it. He wore a royal purple robe, trimmed in solid gold with a six-inch diameter gold clasp holding it around his neck. He word white bamboo sandals, purple and gold Bermuda shorts and a tie dyed purple and gold t-shirt with a picture of the Dark Fairy Queen herself painted on the front. He looked absolutely regal.

When they saw him, everyone on the queen’s side of the clearing broke up laughing.

The queen wore black from head to toe. Skin-tight black leather jeans, a black corset that made her bosom virtually impossible to avoid staring at, black leather stilettos, a black lace veil, and black lace gloves that ran up her arms, past her elbows. She had on black lipstick and black eyeshadow.

Everyone male on the wizard’s side of the clearing drooled.

Everything went well until the Wizard turned to me and said, “The ring.” I opened the box, and the ring wasn’t there. I’d looked at my fingers. I started going through my pockets. “The ring, if you please!” the Wizard asked me a second time. I took off my tuxedo jacket, and started turning its pockets inside out. The two groomsmen race from the clearing, retracing our steps, looking for the ring.

The Queen echoed through the clearing, “You lost my ring!” Everyone in the clearing scattered, fleeing into the forest, seeking safety.

“I haven’t lost it. I’ve just temporarily misplaced it,” I tried to explain. The Wizard stepped to the side, leaving me to face the Queen. She waved her hands in the air above her head, glitter floated everywhere, and she screamed, “#MOOGHOOHAH!”

Presto! I was a giant, four-foot long, albino chipmunk. It was actually a good thing, because as my tuxedo fell away, the ring fell out where it had gotten stuck between my belt and my tummy. “The ring! I found it!” I squealed.

“What have you done to my hubby?” My wife, bless her, should have known to not say anything.

The queen faced her, laughed, looked at me and asked, “You married her?”

All I could do was nod. One simply does not lie to the Dark Fairy Queen.

The Queen shook her head as she turned back to my wife, waved her hands in the air again, causing more glitter to float around, and once more screamed, “#MOOGHOOHA!” And I was married to a beautiful bird of paradise.

I handed the Wizard the ring. He put it on the Queen’s ring finger, “With this ring, I thee wed,” he boldly proclaimed. I squeaked, my wife sang, and the Queen and the Wizard kissed. The Wizard waved his arms, and in a puff of black and white smoke, he and his bride were off on their honeymoon.

I laughed, which sounded like a string of chirps, and then chirped and squeaked out, “I think, all things considered, that went well, don’t you?” And I really hoped we both would return to normal in a few days.


A toast to the couple.

When you wake, 30 years from now, may you both realize you love each other more than you ever have before.

Mark.


Now, go read the rest of the stories in the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower. And don’t forget to make a toast to the happy couple.

#55WordChallenge : Apocalypse

“That doesn’t look good.”

The sun was still low in the east, illuminating the eastern faces of the houses and trees. To the west, pitch black clouds. The contrast was striking. The image on my weather radar showed the approaching F6 tornado.

I wondered how many of us would survive.

Our apocalypse was here.


This is my entry into the 38th 55 Word Challenge, hosted each week by Lisa McCourt Hollar. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Please, go visit the 55 Word Challenge site, and read all the other entries. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

Crushed Stardust

The moon was full on that October evening. Waves of fog were drifting in from the lake. The moon’s light glancing off of them, transforming them into waves of crushed stardust drifting in. Elain was there, on the shore, waiting. Dressed in black, as she was each year. She’d always dreamed of living by a lake. With a little walkway, and a light she could see by. I’d found a way to bring her dream to life. We use to walk the gravel path each evening. Stopping by the light. Holding hands. Watching the sun set. Watching the moon rise. Watching the fog roll in.

That was years ago.

I watch the bird silently fly in, landing on the light. She never turned it on anymore. Not since the night I’d gone swimming by myself. Beneath a full moon. I never returned from that swim. I remember diving beneath the surface, going deeper than I ever had. I remember feeling the cold water of the lake as I let it fill my lungs. I remember the release I felt. The freedom I felt. Knowing I would be free from a life I could no longer face.

My only regret was Elain. To be free, I’d had to leave her behind.

And since that night, when the moon is full, Elain always takes a walk by the lake. Dressed in black. Her long hair flowing past her shoulders, to her back. Tears falling from her eyes. She always stops when she reaches the light. And stands there. Looking out on the lake. As if she waits and hopes for my return. Tough she knows I never will.

I wish I could wrap my arms around her once again. Hold her close. Feel her hair brush against my cheek. Inhale the smell of her, and her perfume. Feel our lips meet one more time. Tell her everything was as it should be. Tell her how much I loved her. Tell her I was sorry I’d hurt her as I had. Find some way to heal the wounds I’d left on her heart and soul. Explain to her why I’d left. Why I’d gone on that swim that night. Why I’d never returned. That I’d had to do that. So I could be free. So she would understand. And I could see her smile once more. Hear her laugh once more.

Instead, I rode the fog as it washed ashore in the light of the full moon. And watched tears fall from her eyes. And listened to the question she whispered in the moonlit fog. “Why? Why did you leave me?”


This wrote this little piece of fiction in response to the prompts for the 36th #SatSunTails flash fiction challenge Rebecca Clare Smith holds each weekend. I’d intended to enter the challenge. But, there was no way I could cut this piece back to just 150 words. The piece would have lost all its magic.

Please go visit the #SatSunTails, and read all the entries this week. They are always 150 word works of art.

Fairies : A Dragon’s Memory

Merlin waited. Until the sun had set. Until the fairies had all gone to bed. Until Mystica herself had gone to bed. Then he waited until he was certain everyone was asleep. Except for Whisper. That owl was as old as Merlin. And like Merlin, Whisper never slept.

Whisper flew to the edge of the lake. And waited, on the ground, next to the water. There was no moon at all. Only stars. Merlin flicked his wings just a few times. And as if by magic, simply popped out of the shadows of the trees. He landed next to Whisper. Whisper was his sanity. His oldest friend. The one that had brought him back from the nightmare he once was.

Whisper did what he always did. He whispered. “Why have you come here tonight?”

Merlin looked at the waters of the lake. “To remember.” His voice was almost silent. As he looked at the lake, Merlin spoke once more. “Machines. Don’t let me forget.” The he called on his black magic.

Merlin was ancient. Well over 10,000 years old. The most powerful black mage in the history of the world. A world he knew the name of. A world named Cylinders. A world where the children of the humans had come. And put in place a plan to save their parents. Their creators. And in doing so, the machines had become ubiquitous . They were in the air. The water. The ground. The trees. They were in the food. The animals. The machines were in everything.

Merlin knew the machines were in him. In his blood. In his bones. His muscles. His brain. He knew he was genetically a human. His genetics being modified by the machines. Yes, he was born of dragons. But the dragons were created by the machines. Just like the fairies. Just like the elves. Just like the other magical creatures of this world. The ones that Mystica had yet to meet. Like the mermaids, the hobbits, the dwarfs, the giants. So many different types of beings.

 All descendants of the humans. All genetically modified humans. Brought into existence by the machines.

There wasn’t really anything as magic. Magic didn’t really exist. Except on Cylinders. And then, only because of the machines. It looked like magic. It acted like magic. It was magic. Except it wasn’t. It was humans, in the form of fairies, dragons, and all the rest. Talking with the machines. Interacting with the machines.

Upon the surface of the lake, black as night, appeared even darker shapes. As the machines responded to Merlin’s wishes. And played back his memories. From 10,000 years before. When he’d first learned of them. First learned of the history of Cylinders. Of the machines, and how they had created everything on this world.

Merlin had gone insane. He’d been consumed by rage. And decided to used the powers the machines had granted him to change everything. To destroy the machine’s plans. He’d decided to start by destroying the fairies. But he couldn’t be obvious about why. He had to be subtle. So the machines would think he was acting against the fairies for valid reasons.

That’s when the fairies had thrown one of their own into the wilderness. She’d been born with a beautiful name. Orchid. She was a beautiful fairy. But, she’d been given wild magic by the machines. Wild, untamed magic. The kind of magic the dragons had learned to live with. There were many wild magic dragons. But Merlin learned, wild magic was not tolerated among the fairies. Or the humans.

The fairies had renamed Orchid. Calling her Black Orchid. After the most poison of the plants on Cylinders. They called her this because when she was upset, when she was disturbed, when she cried, Black Orchids bloomed in the fairy kingdom. And those orchids resulted in the deaths of other fairies.

The fairies of the kingdom had taken Orchid, beautiful as she was, gifted with an amazing wild magic that could have done so much good, if the fairies had only known how to teach her, work with her, help her learn to control that magic. The fairies had bound her. Blindfolded her. And hauled her out to the foothills of the mountains. Where they’d abandoned her. Left her to die. Where she would either starve to death, slowly, fall to her death, painfully and horribly, or be consumed by predators. Wolves, bears, or something like them.

In all honesty, what happened to Orchid, how Orchid was so brutally left to die, had enraged Merlin. While it had been the excuse he was looking for, he didn’t have to pretend to wish to destroy the fairies. To him, the fairies intolerance of Orchid, and her wild magic was inexcusable. And he saw no reason not to destroy them.

The fairies, at that time, lived in the norther forest. With a kingdom centered around the lake. And cities, villages, and towns scattered through the forest.

In 10 years, Merlin had changed all that. He’d used his black magic. His gifts from the machines. To relentlessly attack the fairies. He’d murdered thousands of them. Driven them from the forest, southward. To the foothills. But he didn’t let up. He kept assaulting them. Driving them through the foothills. Through the gray mountains. Then through the mountains to the gray hills. Then from the hills to the great plain, and it’s scattered forests.

20 years after he’d started his assault, the fairies were all but destroyed. There were less than 100 of them left. Only two remaining fairies of royal blood. Merlin had reached the end of his quest. In just a couple of days, the fairies would be gone. And the plans of the machines to protect the humans, and keep them alive, would have been given an enormous setback.  And Cylinders would be freed from the machines, and their influence.

That’s when Whisper had first spoken to Merlin. Tiny Whisper. Landing on Merlin’s head. Whispering in Merlin’s ear. “What if you could teach them? Would you kill them all for the mistake of a few? What if you are killing those like Orchid?” Whisper only asked questions. And Merlin could feel the machines in Whisper. Could feel the wild magic they provided to Whisper.

“Why do you strike at the machines? They only wish to keep their creator’s alive? So that they won’t be alone in this universe?”

That night, when Merlin had struck against the fairies once again, he’d attacked the last of the royals. He’d destroyed the guards that protected them. He’d sliced them to shreds. He’d burned them with black fire. He’d cut the prince in half. And then he’d torn the heart from the princess.

And that’s when he heard a baby cry. A tiny newborn baby. The last of he royal fairies. She cried. An innocent infant. Newborn. And Merlin stopped. That night was the last night Merlin had struck at the fairies.

He’d carefully picked up the newborn. He’d been so very careful to not injure her. He’d flown to the next group of fairies. There were so very few fairies left. He’d landed. And he’d waited. Placing the newborn so very gently on the ground. He’d stood there. Until a single fairy had come forward, out of hiding. That single fairy stood there. Looking at Merlin. Certain she would die.

Merlin had nodded his head. Flexed his mighty wings. And flown away.

It would be over 10,000 years before anyone heard from him again.

That was the night Merlin had spared the life of Eyela. The fairy princess. He’d silently watched the few fairies as they’d re-grouped. As Eyela had grown up. Becoming their princess. As they’d formed a new kingdom. He’d silently helped them. Protecting them when they couldn’t protect themselves. He told the machines what had happened. What he’d done. Told them he wanted to help. That he finally understood. And wanted to correct his mistake.

With his help, the machines put together a plan. And Merlin did his part. He stayed hidden. He worked to rebuild the fairies in the southern plains. And to help them learn to work with their children the machines had given the gift of wild magic.

Merlin remembered it all. It was so long ago, but the memories hadn’t faded. He remembered every detail. Every battle. Every last fairy he’d destroyed. And he stood there. At the lake. Watching the memories play out. Black on black.

Dragon’s never cry. But humans do. And Merlin was, after all, a genetic human. Merlin cried. And asked once more if the universe, and life itself, could forgive him for what he’d done. And the innocent people he’d destroyed. In an effort to strike against machines that only wanted to keep their parents, their creator’s alive.

On a world call Cylinders.