Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/06/11

“Tell me once more, Olivia. What do you see when you look in the mirror?” I’d asked the question a thousand times, and Olivia always gave me the same answer.

“Not what you want me to see, doc.” She shook her head, and looked into the mirror in the remains of her family home. “Not what you want me to see.”

“I know.” I took a deep breath. This wasn’t about fixing things. Fixing things was easy. No. This was about bringing the dead to life. “So, tell me, please. What do you see?”

Olivia stood from where she sat, legs crossed, on the barren, wooden floor. A floor desperately in need of repair. Cleaning wasn’t enough. The floor needed work. Lots of it. So did the walls, and the brick they were made of. Brick that once hid behind smooth, well kept plaster. She walked to the mirror, cracked and no longer held in its casing. Like the entire home, it was wasting away.

“He’s there, you know.” She pointed at the remains of the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting for me.”

As the house wasted away, so did Olivia. Every since that day, so long ago, when the car came around the corner too fast. Jonathan had been playing, dancing to a sound only he heard. “He told me it was the piano from Beauty and The Beast.” She always cried when she spoke the words. “He moved right in time with it. I could hear the music as he danced.”

She collapsed to her knees, and once more was consumed by tears and grief. “He’s there. I see him dancing in the mirror.”

The car came around the corner too fast. The driver crossed into the other side of the road, aimed straight at an oncoming car.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “It’s there. In the mirror. Over and over again. My boy. Dancing.”

The oncoming car had nowhere to go. The fast car struck it head on. Parts flew in all directions. Glass from windshields, parts of headlights, side view mirrors, plastic and urethane from car bodies. Radiator fluid. All of it. Everywhere.

“He never got to say good-bye.”

All of it. Right next to Jonathan.

“He never got to look at me.”

Some of the parts from the collision had struck the boy. Olivia had seen it all. Seen her son stop dancing, the music of the song stop playing, as Jonathan was yanked in strange directions by the shrapnel from the wreck.

Then, before she could even scream, the momentum of the collision pushed both cars straight into Jonathan. The boy never had a chance.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting.”

I’d been trying to reach her every since. Trying to help her through her grief. Through her sorrow. Not to heal her, for I knew, there are some wounds that never heal. Like the loss of a limb, or the ability to walk, or talk, or hear. Olivia had lost part of herself.

On that day, when those cars collided, and Jonathan died, so did Olivia’s heart. So did her soul. All that was left was an empty shell, slowly decaying, like the house she never left.

And I wondered, as I had every day for three years, if her heart and soul had died, was there any way to bring her back to life?

563 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 14th week. You can read about the challenge here. As I do every week, I wonder where the words I have written came from. How this started as a picture, and a song, and wound up where it did, I may never understand. But, I’m OK with that. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

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Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge: 2017/03/12

Vahit stood in the court, nestled between the buildings. As a child he’d tried to meet everyone. “Hello, I am Vahit. I live there. We are neighbors. I am pleased to meet you.” He had failed, of course. There were so many neighbors. And so many changes from week to week.

He’d learned, this is what life was like in the city. People stacked together in buildings, like sardines in an can. The same sardines you saw in the market, in the cans, that no one cared about. Tiny little dead fish. No one cared if they’d had families. No one cared if they’d had dreams. They were just dead fish, to be eaten by people like himself. People with no money, who lived in sardine cans, and dreamed of one day owning a car, a home, and a yard.

It was a lie, he knew that. He’d lived in the same sardine can for twenty-three years. He’d played the game, go to school, get an education, learn to read, to write. Learn math, and science, and a trade. Learn how to make a living. How to get paid. Learn skills, so you could one day find a woman, marry her, take care of her, and raise a family of your own.

It was how his mother had taught him to live. How her mother had taught her before Vahit even existed.

It was a lie.

Vahit knew he’d never leave his sardine can. He’d live there his whole life. He’d die there one day. And no one would mourn his passing. Another tiny, dead fish, in an ocean of tiny, dead fish. They would notice when the odor became strong enough. Then, dispose of his rotting body, and clean his part of the sardine can up. And find another sardine to put in his place.

It was the way of life. Meaningless. Pointless. An endless game of screaming into the void, “I am someone! I matter! Look at me!” One voice of millions, screaming the same thing, endlessly. And if one of those voices fell silent, what did it matter? Did anyone notice? Did anyone care?

Vahit had placed flowers outside the door of Sevda’s part of the sardine can every day for a week after Sevda died. No one noticed. No one spoke to him of Sevda. She with the soft, golden hair Vahit used to touch. She of the smooth skin that calmed him so much.

Sevda had gone, and except for Vahit, no one noticed. And on the seventh day after Vahit had found her dead body, cold as ice, on the mat she’d always slept on in the corner of her room, new sardines had filled in that space. They’d taken the flowers he’d left by the door, and thrown them out.

As if Sevda was no one. As if she’d never been.

No one greeted the new sardines. No one spoke to them. A man, a woman, and a little boy. They were just more sardines, living in a can. Waiting to die.

Vahit looked up at where the sky had once been. There was nothing there to see. Only light. Only the life of the city.

The sky was gone.

Vahit wondered as he stared at the white sky what it was like to be alive. He wondered too, if anyone, anywhere, any longer knew.


Miranda Kate has started a weekly short fiction challenge. You can read about it here. I’ve decided to write when I can. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Mark.

#VisDare 91 : Reverie

a6d409405b97ba60875b4f1f94e3f68aI waved my hand at the buildings around the small courtyard. “Ain’t much hope here. Just concrete, and rust.” I looked at the reporter. “And death. Ain’t much hope here.”

He didn’t move. Just sat on the bench, and looked around.

He’d never visited my part of town. There were no stores, no restaurants, but you could buy crack on every corner, and get shot for no damn reason. And if you died on the street, your body could be there for days.

I leaned back on my bench, held my trumpet up. “People need hope, and I do what I can to give them some.”

I played. A lonely voice. A ray of light. A thread of hope. In a concrete hell. The only sounds beside my trumpet were a mother’s cries at the loss of her son, and every now and then, shots fired from a gun.

149 Words
@LurchMunster


Another story I pieced together for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. I’m writing more, and that feels good. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

#FlashMobWrites 1×04 : Here Comes The Rapture

“We always looked to the stars for redemption.” Blue shook her head. “For someone to save us from the daily fires.” I could tell she cried. “And one day, new stars appeared.” That was us. My humans, from my Earth. “They grew brighter each day.”

“It was us. I’m sorry.”

Blue rested her hand on my shoulder. “It was not you. It is not your fault. It is the fault of others.” She continued her story.

…….

The stars grew brighter, and closer. We rejoiced. God the Father had sent his angels, his people, to rescue us. To take us to heaven. Where we would live in peace. Where we would love each other. Help each other. Where we would build a new world.

We gathered, thousands of us, as we watched the stars grow, watched them become ships, sailing through the vacuüm of space. Angels from Heaven. We watched the ships grow closer each day.

On the day they arrived, thousands of us gathered to watch the first ship land. We watched purifying fire from it scorch the earth where it would land. We waited. Until doors opened. Until a strange bipedal being, so very tall, walked out, with a flag, and a book. A dozen more like him surrounded him. They guarded him. Protected him.

We heard his words, in a language we did not know. “In the name of God, the Father, and his son, Jesus the Christ, we establish this foothold on another lost world. We commence the process of bringing another world from darkness into the light.”

He shoved the post holding the flag into the ground. He waved at the other angels around him. They faced us. They drew strange sticks from their clothing. They waved them at us. Beams of light slaughtered hundreds that day. And the man who planted the flag proclaimed, “Here comes the rapture, to yet another lost world. We shall cleanse this world, and bring it into your holy fold, our Father. Amen.”

……

I knew the truth. They were Christians, from my world, my Earth. Spreading through the galaxy. Hell bent on rescuing the planets everywhere from the hands of the devil. Cleansing one planet at a time, bringing it into the fold of Christianity.

“It’s why we’ve come, Blue.” I place my hand on her shoulder. “It’s why I’ve come.”

She looked at me. Her eyes filled with so many deaths. So much loss.

“We’re going to stop them.”

412 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this in response to the prompts and song for this weeks #FlashMobWrites Flash Fiction challenge. The weekly challenge is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in this week’s challenge.

#FinishThatThought Week 37 : The Basement

I knew I shouldn’t have opened the basement door. But, I’d never been one for doing what I should. I’d always done what I shouldn’t. So, I opened the door.

And stared at a black hole. It was like someone made a three-dimensional painting of black, outlined in pale blue that flickered, fading in and out. “Cool!” I thought. “I wonder where the light switch is.” I reached into the black, feeling for the inevitable light switch on the wall. I couldn’t find it.

I couldn’t find the wall.

I pulled my pocket flashlight out, turned it on, and shined it into the black. It didn’t do a thing. The beam hit the surface of the black, and vanished.

I remembered what Diana said when I told her I was spending the night in the Thompson house. “You know. The haunted one.”

“You’re an idiot.” Yep. Her exact words.

“You know what happens to people who stay there. You’ve read about it in the newspapers. The ones that come out alive babble about the basement door being a gateway to another universe.”

“You don’t believe that crap, do you?” I’d laughed. “It’s probably just an urban legend.”

“Of course not. But, something happens to the people who stay there. Something strange. You know that.”

We argued about my plan for hours. Until she finally made me promise I wouldn’t open the basement door. “I promise. I won’t open the door. OK?” It was a lie. But it was what she wanted.

“Good!”

She didn’t need to know I was going to explore that basement. I didn’t tell her.

I stood there, staring into the blackest black I’d ever seen. I stuck my hand into it, and my hand vanished. I could still feel lit. I could move my fingers, wave, make a fist. My hand was fine, even though I couldn’t see it.

I stuck my arm in, up to the elbow, and watched it vanish. I moved closer, until the black was between my elbow and shoulder. I bent my arm, and poked my fingers back into the room. I laughed as I wiggled my fingers. “What the heck, why not?” And I stepped into the black.

And fell on my face, hard. Everything was black. My ribs hurt, and I’d probably broke my nose. “Jesus!” I shifted, on the ground, got to my knees and stood up. I couldn’t see a thing. It was that dark. I waved my hand in front of my nose, and couldn’t see it.

I couldn’t see my watch to check the time, and my phone didn’t work at all. It wouldn’t even light up. I tried to find my way out, but couldn’t. I had no water, no food. I wondered long it takes to starve to death?

I heard one thing, a while back. The only thing I’ve heard. Diana. “I told you not to open the basement door.”

490 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 37 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#ThursThreads 107 : No Other Way Out

Chrissy and Lilly sat on the grass by the lake and waited for the humans to arrive. They held each other hand, like the sisters they were. “We could fly away. There’s nothing stopping us.”

Lilly smiled, “I know.”

Chrissy wiped away the tears on her cheeks. “I wish it did not come to this.”

Lilly ran her fingers gently down her sister’s cheek, “Oh, sister. I know.”

Chrissy could no longer hold back her tears. “I don’t want to fight! I don’t want to hurt anyone! Hasn’t there been enough death?”

Lilly held her sister close, feeling Chrissy’s tears on her shoulder. “Then don’t fight. Stay safe. And let me do this.”

Chrissy shook her head. “No.” She took her sister’s hands again. “We are one, sister. We are family.”

Lilly stood, “Then let’s get ready. They’re coming.”

“I know.” Chrissy looked at the carefully crafted chrysanthemums and lilies along the path to the south of the lake. “They warn us. The humans come.” She stood, “I wish there were another way.”

“There’s no other way out of this. We fight now. Or we run forever.”

Both fairies fluttered their wings, silently lifting off the ground, floating just above the surface of the lake, and waited for the humans. They hoped the humans learned. They hoped the humans fled. Both fairies knew the machines were part of them, and would act upon their wishes. None of the humans would survive.

Chrissy and Lillie waited for the humans to arrive.

250 words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 107, the first week of the Month Of Love Challengs on #ThursThreads. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#MWBB 27 : Stack O Lee

Now, they done told me, “White people don’t congregate with them. They’s the wrong damn color.” But I knew they was wrong. They was people. Just like us. Just had different colored skin, that’s all. And I’ll stand by ‘em. What they done was right. And they had the guts to do what was right when all you white people pretended everythin’ was alright.

I tried to stop Billy. I did. Stupid son-of-a-bitch never listened to no one anyway. I told him, “You don’t treat people that way, Billy! You don’t!” Billy never listened. He got with his boys, and they went out on Friday nights, and found some kid to beat up. Always a black kid too. He used to say he was preserving the future of the country, keeping them in their place, subservient to white people, like they was meant to be.

Hell, he’d pick fights with ‘em just to get ‘em arrested, so he could take ‘em to court, and get everything they ever made, or owned. Courts work like that, you know. Hang the one that ain’t white, ‘cause hell, we know the white one’s innocent, and a victim.

Billy got a lot of people’s lives fucked up, that’s what he did. And I told him not to. I warned him.

But then, he married my sister. My little sister. Katie. Momma and Daddy loved her. And I wouldn’t let no one hurt her. Ever. Billy knew that. “Damn, boy, you sure protect your sister, don’t ya.” He used to say that all the time.

I watched my sis walk down the aisle of the church in her weddin’ dress. Momma and the church ladies worked for a month on that thing. Katie looked beautiful. Better than any bunch of roses ever can. I listened as Billy and Katie said their vows. All that “to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, ‘till death do us part.”

We buried Katie last week. She was only twenty-three. Everybody turned a blind eye. Talked about how sad is was that Katie died when she was so young. Billy didn’t even cry. Just stood there. “Real men don’t cry, you know.” That’s all he said. Everybody pretended like this was just some horrible accident. That God took Katie away. “It was her time.”

But me and the people Billy destroyed. We knew. We knew what happened. We knew Katie didn’t die by accident. God never came and took my sister away.

That mother fucker Billy beat her to death. He beat her every night. I used to see the bruises on her face. She’d lie to me. “I tripped and fell,” and “I bumped my head on the cabinet.” She’d tell me it was OK. But I’d sit with my sister on her and Billy’s front porch on Sunday afternoons, and we wouldn’t say a word. We’d just sit. And she knew I knew. Billy was beating on her.

So, hell yeah. I went and I got my Daddy’s rifle. And I got plenty of help from them people y’all keep saying are the wrong color. They knew what Billy was. What he did. They knew he’d beat Katie to death. And they knew it was the last straw.

Yeah, I got Daddy’s rifle. And we went and got Billy. And drug him out in the woods. And beat the hell of him. And when we all beat on him for a while, then I did to Billy what he done to my sis.

I shot him with that rifle. And if I hadn’t run out of bullets, I’d still be shooting him.

It’s what that bastard deserved. May he rot in hell.

617 Words
@LurchMunster


My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 27 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.