#FinishThatThought Week 2-25 : White Whiskey

In the beginning, there was the table, me, and a bottle of whiskey. I opened the bottle and let a long chug burn its way down my throat. “Forget,” I mumbled. “Forget all about it, and move on. That’s what they said.” I took a second chug. “Forget my ass.” I growled. “Some things can’t be forgotten.” The third chug burned so much it brought tears to my eyes. I smacked the bottle down on the table, and growled.

I knew the whiskey wouldn’t survive the night. I knew it was the lucky one. It wouldn’t see the sunrise. I would. I considered turning the bottle up, and draining it as quickly as I could, no matter how much it burned. Perhaps if I drained the bottle quickly enough, I’d end up killing myself.

I wouldn’t. I knew that wouldn’t solve a damn thing. I was in another stage of my recovery. Another step through my grief. My Dad told me once, “There’s seven stages of grief.” Seven fucking stages. And no one knows how long each stage lasts, just that it’s different for each person.

I didn’t really want to find out how my grief process worked.

“It takes as long as it takes.” I stared at the bottle, read the label. “Smooth Ambler White Whiskey.” Looked like water. Sure packed a kick water never had. I can’t drink water. God, that stuff’s nasty. But I can drink damn near anything else.

I took another chug, so I could pretend I was crying from the pain of the whiskey burning my throat and didn’t have to admit I was crying because she was gone.

I heard that damn voice in my head again, “God made the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, the good and the evil.” I screamed, and punched another hole in the drywall. Left some skin from my knuckles on the plaster. The pain felt good. Distracting. “If I ever find the ass hole that wrote that, I’m gonna kick him. Right in the nuts.”

Hemorrhagic stroke. They said the blood vessels in her brain exploded and her brain died of oxygen deprivation. By the time they got her to the hospital, it was over.

I used to tell people she was part of me. “If I ever lose her, I’ll never recover. I’ll never be whole again.” I took another chug of the whiskey. She was gone. But she was still the only reason I wasn’t. She wouldn’t want me to stop living. I had to work everything out. Had to find a way to live. Because of her.

But first I had to let the wounds heal. Let my heart stop bleeding. The whiskey wouldn’t survive the night. And I’d hurt like hell when the sun rose. Sometimes, you do what you have to, to find yourself. And I would find myself. Eventually.

The sunrise was gonna hurt like hell.

489 Words

I wrote this for Week 2-25 (Year 2, week 25) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#FinishThatThought Week 2-11 : A Tale Of Wrath

Little did we realize that the peace and quiet of our country afternoon picnic was soon to be rudely shattered. We’d spread a tablecloth on the ground, set our basket down, and made ourselves comfortable. Elizabeth took out our drinks, a Sprite for me, a Diet Lime Coke for her.

“It’s beautiful here,” she smiled.

The lakeside field was a popular picnic ground. Thomas and his wife were next to the old oak. Sally and her two daughters were beside the lake, feeding the ducks. Young Bobby and his girl friend, Mary, were off to the side, excitedly learning how to kiss.

Everything was good. Until that moment, when a strange man walked into the field. I’d never seen him. He wore a trench coat, which struck me as strange. He didn’t speak to anyone. Looked like he had earphones in his ears, and was listening to music. He was talking to himself, but too far away for me to hear him.

The strange man stopped in the middle of the field. He looked around like he was making sure he knew where we all were. He pulled out a silver cross, kissed it, and opened his trench coat.

I saw guns. I saw him pulling them out. I saw him point the guns at people. I saw him shoot. Sally fell face first into the lake. The ducks scattered, flapping their wings. I knew they were noisey, but somehow, my ears weren’t working. Instead, I studied the details of their flapping wings as they moved in slow motion.

Sally’s two daughters fell, in slow motion, joining their mother in the water at the edge of the lake.

Bobby stood up, Mary’s mouth opened in a scream I couldn’t hear, and Bobby’s chest started changing color, as he collapsed to his knees, and fell backwards. Mary’s face changed, and she fell, the back of her head an ugly mess.

Thomas threw himself at his wife, knocking her to the ground. The strange man stepped toward them as the gun he held made several sharp, sudden motions. Thomas and his wife stopped moving.

Elizabeth had found her feet, and started running toward the trees, as something struck her back, causing her to move with a jerk, and she pitched face forward into the grass.

I never heard a thing, as I wondered why I was standing next to myself, looking at my blood leak from my body, discolor the ground.

The man stopped shooting. He put his guns back, knelt, bowed his head, and prayed, of all things, to God, then kissed his silver cross once more, and walked away, as if he’d done nothing.

That’s when I saw the demon in the man’s shadow. I watched the demon whisper in the man’s ear. “You’ve done well, child of God. Now, you must carry on the work I’ve given you. Cleanse the evil from the world.”

The man whispered, “In God’s name.”

Then everything was gone.

495 Words

I wrote this for Week 2-11 (Year 2, week 11) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#VisDare 48 : Beneath

The films showed me what I’d learned from the books and journals I’d read. They told the history of the end of the world that was.

The cities went insane, with men hunting women, using them as sex toys, then discarding them. The military tried to restore order, but they had too few guns, and too few members.

The women fought back, shooting men on sight. Blood ran through the streets of the cities. The chaos spread from the cities, to the towns, through the world.

Surviving city men formed gangs and became “The Hordes”, collecting women for recreation, and population management.

Surviving countryside families found caves to live in. And started digging deeper underground, becoming the cave dwellers.

Small groups of survivors became cannibalistic, formed hunting packs, and became “The Wraiths”.

Isolated survivors gathered in small camps, and started over. Jessica lead the first small camp.

146 Words

This is part 31 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

The entire story, from part 31 to part 1, is located here.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 21

Before we could act, eagles fell from the sky, their talons and beaks seeking flesh and blood. A pack of wolves raced from behind the building, joining the eagles. And the strange man I’d seen days before was suddenly there. He gently picked up Alice and they were gone, over the hills, into the sun.

 55 words

This is part 21 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s flat amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

If you wish to read all the parts of the story, they are in order, from most recent to first, here.

A Cherokee Rose : What Would Daryl Do?

DarylI was tired of moving from place to place, day after day. Not that it mattered. If I stayed put, I’d end up joining the ranks of the undead. Like Barbara. Like Steve. Running along, hunting any living animal to chow down on.

I hated zombies.

I pulled a faded picture out of my back pocket. Daryl. My hero. The man who stood against the dead. With his crossbow, and bolts. The man who taught me how to fight. How to survive. The man who sent me on my mission.

Find the living. Bring them home.

I carefully put Daryl’s picture back in my pocket. “What would Daryl do?” The question kept me alive. “Daryl would load his crossbow.” I loaded mine, holding it ready. In a day or two, I’d replace the string. I knew I had to keep the string strong, and taught. To keep the bow’s power as high as I could. Daryl taught me to keep things tuned up. It made it easier to shoot the dead in their head.

And they only stayed dead if you shot them in the head.

I checked my bolts, making sure their tips were all sharp, their shafts were not cracked. I’d need them soon. When I got to the living. Two of them. Both girls. Everyone always thought it was dumb luck to find people still alive out here among the trees, and canyons. It wasn’t. Daryl taught me that. They were decoys. The undead kept them safe, let them draw more of the living. Almost always stupid men and boys. Then the girls, and all the guys around them would be added to the ranks of the deceased.

I knew better than to go get the girls. “What would Daryl do?” Daryl would scout the area, looking for the dead, shooting them in the head. So, that’s what I did. I remained as hidden as I could, in the trees, and rocks, as I circled the area. Every now and then I stopped, put a bold in my weapon, and let it fly. And another zombie returned to the dead, never to rise again. One at a time, I hunted down the dead. One at a time, I picked them off, and sent them where they refused to go.

Zombies don’t bleed so much. I’d killed enough of them to know that. Blood leaked out, but it didn’t gush. If you show a living in the head, there’d be blood everywhere. Shoot a zombie, and blood just leaks out slowly. “What would Daryl do?” Daryl wouldn’t think about such things. They get in the way of doing the job.

I wasn’t fond of finding small groups of them. I had to reload the crossbow several times, aim several times, and fire several times. And every time I fired, I had to retrieve the bolt. Bolts are not infinite. I couldn’t afford to lose even one.

Shoot, move. Shoot, move. Shoot, move. Gather bolts.

Every now and then I missed. Got one in the neck, or just left a track on the side of its head. That never worked. The injured one always called for support. And others always showed up. Sometimes, I had to get away, hide, and wait until the group broke back down into smaller numbers. Numbers I could take care of.

“Daryl wouldn’t let himself miss. He’d fight the fatigue.” And so I kept it up. Hour after hour. Until I couldn’t find anymore zombies. That’s when I knew it was safe to get the girls. And start the journey to the camp.

“What would Daryl do to the girls when I got them to the camp?” He’d teach them to fight. And they might end up like me. Hunting other living to rescue, and keep alive.

633 words

Ruth Long, Lisa McCort Hollar and Sarah Aisling are hosting a blog hop in honor of the TV series, The Walking Dead. Now, I’ve never watched an episode of the show, so I have now idea who Daryl Dixon is. But I’ve heard the show is about zombies, and Daryl’s a hero of sorts. So, I figured I’d join in, and write something for the hop.

Now, go read the other entries in “A Cherokee Rose”, and get ready for The Walking Dead.

#ThursThreads Week #73 – I Will Feast On Your Blood

It was the perfect night. The moon was full. The bats and owls had not come out yet, they would rest for another hour or more. The humans, on the other hand, came out in droves. They always did when there was a full moon.

Some of them stared at the moon, stupid happy smiles on their faces. Some of them raised their binoculars to their faces, and looked in more detail. Some brought out there telescopes. Most just did human things. Like grilling burgers, or lounging on the front porch with the neighbors.

I cruised through the air, searching for the perfect target. One that wouldn’t notice I was there. I’d seen too many of my comrades attack the skinny humans. The ones with sensitive skin. And get smushed. A single human could smush hundreds of us. They were deadly. But their blood was the best there was.

I always looked for the cans of Off, the ThermaCells, the citronella lanterns. I was careful. I was cautious. I’d survived far longer than my comrades had.

That’s when I saw him. Face down on a lawn chair, on a deck, by a swimming pool. There was a nice, cushy layer of fat all over him. He wouldn’t feel a thing. As I dove, I screamed my war cry. “I will feast on your blood, human!” I landed on all six legs, and sunk my proboscis deep into the skin on the back of his hand. I feasted well that night.

250 Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 73. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

Can I Ever Change?

I stopped looking for a job
To replace the one that’’s gone
In January of 2012.

I haven’’t looked since then.

My doctor has tried
To convince me to start
A small business
Of my own.
Since January of 2011.

I haven’’t.

I ask people
All the time.
“What are you afraid of?”
Because I know.
I can see the fear in them.
The way they try
To avoid pain.
Of any kind.
Of every kind.

And yet,
I wonder.
Why am I still here?
Doing nothing.
No longer looking.
No longer planning.
Just here.

Sometimes, I remember.
I remember the hurt.
The pain.
How I felt betrayed.
By everyone I worked with.

I remember the anger.
How I spent weeks.
Miles and miles.
Day after day.
Blistered heels.
Blistered toes.

I lost three toenails.

I remember the countless times
I pulled off my shoes
And saw blood
On my socks.

My blood.

I remember
How it never hurt.
Not even once.
How I never felt the pain
In my toes.
In my heels.

All I felt
Was the pain
In my heart and soul.

And I know.
I know.
Why I have stopped looking
For a job.

Sometimes I ask,
“If the last job you had
Drove railroad spikes
Through your hands and feet,
Ripped your fingernails
Off your fingers
With pliers,
Used a barbed whip
On you back
Until you felt nothing at all,
No pain.
If your last job
Did that to you,
Would you ever
Try again?”

I know why I stopped looking.
Why I may never look again.

I know too
Why I haven’’t struck out
On my own.
Why I keep saying,
Someday I’’ll start a business.
Of my own.

I look at all the things
I’’d have to do.
Have to learn.
And I’’m not sure at all
I want to.

And yes.
I am afraid.
Afraid to even try.
But there’’s so much more than that.
I could fail.
Could fall on my sword.
But that’s not what’’s stopping me.
There’’s something more.

I’’ve always been a failure.
In my eyes.
Never once believed in me
In my life.
I don’’t even believe
I can write.

And if I’’m worthless.
If I’’m the failure
I believe I am.

How can I even try?

I know what I’’m afraid of.

And I wonder.
Every single day.
Can I ever change?

Can I ever change?

#ThursThreads Week 63 : Any Questions?

His stark naked body rested on the warehouse floor, his blood no longer in it. His blood was slowly seeping into the concrete. It would leave a bitch of a stain to remove. She’d probably stabbed him thirty times. The knife stuck out of his body where it had been sunk between his legs. That would have hurt, except he was probably already dead.

She sat on the warehouse floor, maybe ten feet away, not a stitch on. Her knees tucked up to her chin. Dried tears all over her face. She sat there, rocking back and forth, mumbling, “He wouldn’t stop. I asked him to stop. I said no. I did. He wouldn’t stop.” What was obviously his blood was all over her.

There was no doubt she’d killed him.

Next to her was a manilla envelope with beg red letters on the outside that said, “Any Questions?”

The envelope was full of pictures of him, pushing her around, touching her, stripping her. Of him pushing her up against crates, shelves, the wall, even the floor. And doing anything he wanted.

I took off my coat, put it around her shoulders, and made sure she heard me. “He got what he deserved.” Then I called for a lady doc to come help her, knowing the legal system in the country would soon make her life hell, and some lawyer rich.

Life sure can be a bitch sometimes, can’t it?

245 Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 63. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Week 3 Clip.

[This is the 3rd clip from my NaNoWriMo work in progress, in all its unedited, rough draft glory.]

Merlin closed his eyes for a moment. 60,000 invading troops. 60,000. Easily more than the fairies of the Southern Plains. More than all the villages of the Northern Forest put together. 60,000 invading troops.

It was his first true understanding of the danger the invaders posed to Cylinders. To his home.

Merlin became angry.

Black fire coursed through his blood. Smoke curled from his nostrils. His eyes ignited with red fire. He became visible. And he didn’t care. He would show the invaders what they were up against. Show them Cylinders was not a world that would roll over and play dead.

Merlin roared.

He watched the ship land. A tower of silver, black and gray in the center of the plateau. It was scorching hot. Merlin saw the waves of heat coming off it. He didn’t wait. He didn’t call for help. He didn’t inform anyone it had landed. Instead, he flew from where he was hidden, down to the plateau. He approached that troop ship. As he did, some of the protrusions on it turned, pointing at him.

Merlin stopped his flight. Looked at the ship. Knew its weapons were pointed at him. “Good. That’s what I want.” He spread his wings, looked to the ship, and roared. His roar was the sound of metal being crushed beneath tons of rock.

He spoke to the machines. Calling his black magic as he hadn’t in centuries.

He held his place in the sky. His wings whipping back and forth, always forward, toward that ship, and back away from it. Each time his wings whipped forward, streaks of black appeared. Like black spears. They raced through the sky, toward the ship. Hundreds of them. Carried by a linear wind that blew harder than Merlin had ever caused before. The wind reaching 200 miles per hour. The black spears raced toward the ship.

The ship’s energy shield shimmered. The first spears reached it. They were deflected. But the next spears weren’t. They passed through the energy field, as if it wasn’t there. Hundreds of black spears aimed right at that ship.

Driven by the will of Merlin. The black magic dragon. The deadliest, most powerful dragon of them all. The machines doing what he asked them to.

The spears collided with the ship. Slicing into it. Gashes appeared on its side. Other spears penetrating those gashes. Things inside the ship exploded. Merlin saw humans falling before the spears. He saw them thrown out of the ship by the explosions.

He held his place in the sky before the ship.

He roared.

Then he spoke.

“This is Cylinders. This is our home. You will not take it from us. Leave. Now. While you still can.”

With that, Merlin turned, and flew over the mountains surrounding the plateau. As he did, he screamed. His scream ripped the silence of the dawn. It echoed for miles. And he heard the screams of other dragons. The message was sent. The word was given.

The invaders had arrived.

The war had begun.

It Wasn’t A Dream

Karen sat down on the foot of the bed. She hated being there. In a locked room. Nothing but a white hospital style bed. She’d been trapped in that room for several weeks. Every since she’d been hurt. She’d tried to explain to them what had happened. She patiently wrote it all down on paper. She drew pictures using stick figures. She became frustrated, and screamed at them. Told them how stupid they were. They weren’t listening to her.

They always brought her back to the room. Strapped her to the bed. Gave her a shot of something that put her to sleep.

If she behaved like they wanted her to, they’d let her out now and then. With someone always there with her. To bring her back to the room if she didn’t behave just right.

No one understood. If she slept, that’s when it all happened. That’s when she moved to the other world. The so-called doctors explained it was some kind of a sleep disorder. Where she dreamed in her sleep, and acted out the dreams in real life. That she’d had a bad dream. In the dream, she’d been injured by a knife. Stabbed in her left side. They said she’d done it herself. They said it explained how her husband found her on the floor of the kitchen, blood everywhere, when he got home from work one night.

As she sat on the foot of her bed, leaned back. Then fell asleep, her feet still resting on the floor. Her arms spread, her hands hanging off the edges of the bed. That’s when she realized she was in a swamp. Trees everywhere. The ground was boggy, with lots of water standing on it. Here toes were in the muddy water. So were the two feet of the bed.

That’s when she sat up. That’s when she smiled. That’s when she laughed. Her bed! It was with her! Now, everyone would see. Now everyone would know. She leaned back on the bed. Closed her eyes. Everyone would finally see, she wasn’t lying. She wasn’t crazy. She wasn’t dreaming. She was moving into an adjacent reality. A dangerous reality that was anything but a dream.

She kept her eyes closed. And listened. Until she fell asleep.

She woke with two big orderlies shaking her. Two of the doctors were at the foot of the bed. Everyone in the room looked confused. They wanted to know how she’d hidden the bed. How she’d hidden herself. She’d been missing for hours. And suddenly, she’d just magically reappeared in her room. Asleep on her bed. With her feet soaked. Mud caked on the bed’s legs.

She told them.

They strapped her to the bed. “Don’t lie to us. Tell us the truth.”

She cried herself to sleep that night. Praying for he nightmare to finally end.


This was written in response to the prompts for the 30th SatSunTails flash fiction challenge, hosted by Rebecca Clare Smith. The challenge limits the story to 150 words. I found I couldn’t strip this one down that way. Too much would be left out. But, if you would, please visit the SatSunTails page, and read the stories for the challenge this week. they are all very well crafted.