#LoveBites 2016 : Cupid’s Got Nothing On Me!

Teddy looked at the calendar. “February 14, 2016. Fucking Valentine’s Day.” He looked at the crossbow on his sofa, and the thirty odd bolts he had for it. “I won’t be bringing a single bolt home.”

This was his year. His Valentine’s Day. The day he celebrated love his way, the way the world taught him love worked. All those guys who had all the girls had better be ready. Teddy was going out on Valentine’s Day.

He picked up the crossbow, and the bolts, carried them to his car. He heard the voices in his head again, endlessly, like he always did. “Poor Teddy. Can’t get a girl. Sits at home alone. He’s such a geek. No girl would be caught dead dating Teddy.” He turned on his car, his tiny little Toyota, with its hatchback, as he listened to the laughter in his head, “Teddy bought a car! Look, it’s so cute! Looks like one of those Hot Wheels cars. The kind you have to push to get it to go anywhere. Not a real car at all. But it works for him, right? After all. Who’s going to be riding in it with him?”

Always, it came back to Teddy being alone. Everyone he knew, everyone he worked with, spent time celebrating Valentine’s Day. Except him. They all knew it, and the never let him forget it. Not for one minute.

“So, Teddy? How was your date Friday night?”

“So, Teddy? Was your $50 spent well this weekend?”

“So, Teddy? Is Miss March worth the cost of the magazine?”

“Shh, guys. We can’t talk about that kind of stuff around Teddy. He doesn’t understand it.”

On and on it went, day after day, endlessly. “Just because I don’t have a girl!” He turned the volume up on the car stereo until it hurt his ears to listen. But he didn’t care. He didn’t care if he went deaf, all that meant was he wouldn’t have to hear what they said to him.

Teddy drove to the movie theater, the “Regal 24”, where he sat in his car, and waited by the theater exit doors. He knew what he had to do, what he needed to do. He had to show them, show the world, he was a real man.

When the first of the doors opened, Teddy got out his car, picked up the crossbow, and a hand full of bolts. He’d practiced hours on end, for weeks, for months, in the woods where he’d set up a small range. He knew how to use his crossbow. How to set it, aim it, fire it. He knew he wouldn’t miss.

He set the first bold, picked a target, fired. “One less person who thinks I’m a failure!”

He fired again. Then again. And again. Until he ran out of his hand-full of bolts. Oh, the panic. Oh, the chaos. People running. Screaming. Hiding behind anything. Tripping. Running over each other. Girls, screaming over the bodies of their boyfriends.

When he ran out of bolts, Teddy got in his car, and drove off, to the next theater, to wait for another movie to end. He had more bolts to get rid of, and the night was young.

“Fucking Valentine’s Day my ass.” He grinned, and laughed. “No one’s gonna forget me!” He laughed harder, “Cupid’s got nothing on me!”

Teddy made sure it was a Valentine’s Day no one would ever forget.

570 Words

Thus ends my entry in Ink After Dark’s Love Bites 2016 flash fiction challenge. It was entertaining to write, and I hope it was fun to read. Now, go read all the other entries in Love Bites 2016. There are some amazing little stories, well worth reading.

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 64 : Aim… Like This.

It was going to be a long night. I wondered, watching the Zs walk out of the forest, toward the walls, “What were those idiots thinking, sending an untrained greenhorn to the wall for the night shift.”

As they came out of the trees, I looked at the greenhorn, “You ever shoot Z’s before?”

He shook his head.

I sighed. “ Here’s the deal. You get a bolt, set it, aim at a Z, and then shoot. Like this.” I picked up a bolt, set in my bow, pulled that sucker back, picked a Z, aimed, and shot it. Right smack in the head. The bolt blew up. That Z would never bother anyone again. “Now, you try.”

The greenhorn grabbed a bolt, set it, pulled his bow back, picked a Z, and shot at it. The bolt missed completely.

I sighed. ”OK. Let’s go over it again. Now watch.” I picked up a bolt, set it, pulled it, picked a Z, and paused. “Once you pick a target you aim… Like this.” I aimed right for the middle of the Z, “Right dead center of the Z. So you can’t miss.” And I shot another Z. This one, dead center of it’s body. The bolt, sticking out of the Z, exploded, tossing its head 20 feet away. “That, boy, is how you stop a Z from eating you, and everybody else. Got that?”

Yep, it was going to be a long night on Zombie watch.

250 Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 64. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.