#MidweekMusings 1×05 : Fire

Flora paid for the drinks, then left the bar. She spoke with the grass, dirt, flowers, trees. “Where has Pahana gone?” A trail of white only Flora could see formed along the ground. She followed it.

Pahana stood before the remains of his house. Fauna felt the heartbreak in his veins, the aching of his heart, the tears of his soul. “Pahana?”

He turned as he wiped away his tears. “Flora?”

Flora’s fingers touched his cheek, his tears. “Show me where they rest, please.”

Pahana led Flora to a mass gravesite at the edge of town. A dozen fresh graves were there, unmarked. He stopped before three of the graves. “My daughter. My son. My wife.” He slowly sank to his knees. He didn’t cry. Flora knew he’d run out of tears in that place. All he could do was kneel before the graves, and pray someday he could feel anything other than empty.

She placed a hand on his shoulder, “Thank you.” She spoke with the ground, the grass, the trees, the flowers. Pahana watched as green grass sprouted around the graves. At the head of each, a rose-bush grew. Deep red for his wife, peach for his daughter, yellow for his son.

Pahana stood. “Thank you.”

Flora smiled, touched his cheek once more. “Tell me, my friend, are there still angels here?”

He nodded.

“Tell me where they are.”

He took her hand, and guided her through the town, to the home of the mayor. “They took over everything.”

She smiled, touched his cheek once more, “Go someplace safe. Tell everyone you can to hide someplace safe.”

“What are you going to do?”

Flora said nothing. Pahana looked at her, into her eyes. He saw fire. Burning, white-hot fire.

“Be safe, Flora. Please.” Pahana left, running from house to house, telling people the fairy Flora was here to save them from the angels. “Get somewhere safe!”

Flora called on the wild magic. She knew it was the machines of her world, of Cylinders. The ubiquitous machines flowing in the blood of everyone, in the air, the water, the trees. She still called it the wild magic. She couldn’t begin to understand the machines, their sciences, their technology. But she could understand wild magic. Especially her wild magic.

Vines grew, came alive, gathered around her. A vine crossed the ground to the door of the house. It grew between the door, and frame, unlocked the door. The door swung open, silently. Flora entered the house, the vines surrounded her, protected her.

She moved room to room, searching for the angels. They’d gathered the beds of the house, the chairs, the tables, in one room. They slept there, draped across everything. They had no guards. They were angels. No one would attack them.

Flora spoke to the wild magic. The vines spread rapidly through the room, twisting around each angel, binding hands, feet and wings. No angle was free. The vines trapped them all. She spoke to the wild magic again.

The vines erupted in flames.

The angels burned.

Flora watched them die. “For Pahana. For his family.” She walked among the dead angels. “For my sister.”

She walked from the home, still surrounded by vines. Outside, the vines spread until the house was no longer visible. She heard the sound of wooden beams splintering. The vines crushed the house, consumed it, turned it, and everything in it, back to dirt.

The fire in her eyes never wavered, never faded. “The angels want a war.” She spread her wings, “Then they shall have a war.” Her wings tore into the air as she took flight. She used the wild magic to guide her as she headed toward her mother’s side.

It was time to stop the angels.

Time to stop the madness.

“There must be no more families like Pahana’s.”

639 words
@LurchMunster


For week 1×05 of #MidweekMusings, another flash fiction adventure hosted by #FlashMobWrites (Ruth Long and Cara Michaels). Please, go read all the stories for this week’s prompt.

#ThursThreads Week 113 : You Would Not Listen

Billy stood on the sidewalk across the street, laughing, and pointing at the dead dog in the middle of the road. My dog, Sam. Billy had just run over him with the truck his parents got him.

I stood on the sidewalk, looking at Sam’s mangled remains. He had broken bones everywhere, and his guts were coming out his mouth.

Billy glared at me, as he sang, “He’s looking over his dead dog rover, laying on the black asphalt! One leg’s broken, another’s just gone. I ran over Rover with my big damn truck!”

Dad sent me inside, before I could do anything, or say anything. “We’ll let the lawyers handle this.”

Like hell we would.

The next morning, I watched Billy get in his truck to go to work.

I knew he would put the key in the ignition, then put his foot on the brake, and turn the key to start the engine. And I watched his truck catch fire when he did. I watched him try to get out of the truck, as the fire spread quickly. I knew he couldn’t.

Billy had wanted war. “I’m gonna take care of that damn dog of yours!” he’d screamed at me.

I looked across the street, as his truck burned, with him in it. Have I mentioned how useful the Internet is? Amazing, what you can find on it. “I warned you not to hurt Sam. You would not listen. You should have listened.”

245 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 113. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#FTT 22 : There Was Only One Thing Left To Do

There was only one thing left to do. That was laugh. So laugh I did. I’m sure the neighbors thought I’d gone insane. And I probably had. At least for a little while.

It was frickin’ cold. Snowing, too. The day before Christmas. December 24th. And I was standing outside my house, in my pajamas, my fuzzy house shoes, and my bathrobe. Watching the house burn to the ground.

Stupid cats. It was all their fault. I’d been watching the NORAD Santa Claus report. You know. The radar tracking of Santa NORAD does every year. I know. I’m all grown up. I know there’s not really a Santa. But I started watching the NORAD feed on the ‘Net when I was a kid. Dad was so proud of it. “See, Son! We can track Santa! You can get an idea of when he’ll reach our neighborhood!” He patiently explained how Santa never came when children were awake, so we could use the NORAD radar tracking system to figure out when we all needed to go to bed, so Santa could visit us.

Yeah. I fell for it. Hell, I was only 5. Santa was God back then. “Dear Santa, I want a new table computer. And a smart phone. And a Playstation 4.” And it was like God heard, and granted wishes.

Took me several years to figure out it was Mom and Dad, and not Santa. But I still watched the NORAD feed every year. And I still felt that same tingle of excitement I felt when I was five.

Of course, the cats watched the lights on the tree. I don’t know which one of them found the cord and managed to short it out, causing the spark that set the tree on fire. I just heard a crashing noise, and smelled smoke. “Jesus, what have you idiots done now!” I got up to find out what they’d done, expecting to see the tree pulled over, and lots of the glass ornaments on it broken, booby trapping the carpet.

I sure didn’t expect to see the tree glowing orange, red, yellow. But it was. I remember my words when I saw it. “Holy shit!” Yeah. I know. Original.

I grabbed my phone, dialed 911, and screamed, “Fire! The damn tree’s on fire!”

Have you ever tried to speak rationally about where you are, and what’s going on, when you’re watching your Living Room go up in smoke? “Get everyone out of the house. The fire department is on its way.”

Everyone was me, and my three cats. They were waiting patiently by the front door. We all made it outside, and stood there, in the snow, waiting for the fire department.

Like I said. There was only one thing left to do. Decide if I wanted to laugh, or cry. So, I laughed. Like an insane maniac. As I watched my home go up in smoke.

Damn cats.

490 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 22 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

A Clip From My #NaNoWriMo Work In Progress

[Author’s Note – If you find extreme acts of violence, and descriptions of such acts, disturbing, don’t read this.

What follows is a clip from my Work In Progress, being written for NaNoWriMo 2013. This work has been difficult for me to write. It contains extreme levels of violence, and touches on topics that greatly disturb me.

After several people expressed interest in the story, I decided to share a small clip.]

Frank grabbed Jessica’s hand, “Run!”

They did. But it was no use. The three men rapidly caught up to them. One grabbed Jessica’s arm, yanking her to a stop. Frank turned, and charged at that man. The other two men attacked Frank, striking him in the face, and chest. They quickly overwhelmed him.

Jessica didn’t know if Frank was alive or dead. At the least, she knew he was hurt. She felt fire ignite in her soul. She felt it raced through her blood. She dropped the bag she was carrying, turned, screamed, and struck at the face of the man holding her. She kept her fingernails extended. They tore into his skin, leaving long tracks as they ran down his cheek.

She screamed again, and kicked him, with everything she had, right in his male parts. He lifted off the ground, bellowed in pain, his hands letting go of Jessica’s arm as he reached for his injured crotch and doubled over, howling in pain.

The other two men circled her. “Oh. We got us a tough filly here, don’t we?”

“Yessir. We got a tough bitch here.” They separated, one on each side of her, knowing there was no way she could fight both of them. They were ready for her now. Not like the man she’d taken down. He hadn’t expected her to fight. The two men circling her were ready. There was no surprising them.

Jessica bared her teeth in a nasty snarl, so resembling of a wolf’s snarl, the men hesitated. Making a low growl, she turned from one to the other, waiting. Quickly, eagles filled the sky, circling. They waited. They did not intervene. They waited. They knew. She was finding her fire. Her strength. Her soul.

She was remembering who she truly was.

With no sound at all, she leaped toward the man to her left. He countered by leaping at her, his arms drawn back, beginning to swing. The other man started toward the two of them.

Jessica hurled herself toward the man, easily ducking past his wildly swinging arms, extending her fingers like wolf claws, and raking them across the mans neck, drawing blood. Lots of blood. Her nails torn, her own fingers bleeding, she ignored the wounded man, and turned toward the third member of the group.

He wrapped his arms around her, lifted her off the ground as he kept running. They collided with the side of a house. Jessica felt her shoulder separate. She felt her ribs crack. The man bounced off her, dropping her to the ground.

The pain fueled her fire. She kicked with her legs, her feet connecting with one of his knees. She heard the sounds of tearing tendons and ligaments. She heard him howl in pain, and watched him fall to the ground, his hands clasping his knee.

Jessica struggled to her feet. She went back to the bag, and found a hammer. She turned back toward the men.

The three men fled. Staggering. One holding his neck, trying to keep his blood inside his body. She’d torn the veins on the side of his neck with her fingernails. The one with the destroyed knee hopped along, desperately trying to flee. The third tried to walk, but was still doubled over from the torture between his legs.

Jessica hunted them down. She swung the hammer, like a sword. She struck the head of the man with the broken knee, right behind his left ear. The hammer sunk in, with a sickening cracking noise. The man fell, his body twitching.

She caught the man with the wounded crotch next. Planting the hammer in his left eye, like she was hitting a baseball with a bat. He pitched over backward, limply falling to the ground, not moving.

She swung the clawed end of the hammer at the neck of the third man. The claws sank into his neck, and she yanked, as hard as she could, using all her body weight. The hammer tore loose, and the man’s blood gushed out. He collapsed to the ground, his hands clasping his destroyed neck, his life blood spurting out, spreading rapidly around him.

She returned to the first two men, and made certain they were dead. She watched the third stop moving as his blood stopped flowing.

The eagles in the sky circled the scene. As they did, they screamed, declaring to the world, she was remembering who she was. She was finding her heart, and soul.

#FTT 12 : The Sky Burned

“The sky burned!” One of the knights sat up in his bed. Burns, open wounds, and charred flesh covered nearly half his body. He should not have been able to move. That he was sitting and screaming showed the terror he’d experienced when the invaders attacked.

Eyela placed her hand on his shoulder, “Calm, young one. Calm.” Her fairy magic flowed through her fingertips. Nano-machines in the soldier’s blood and organs responded to Eyela’s request, and released an ocean of endorphins into his blood, deadening the intense pain he was in. They also released GABA into his blood. It quickly spread through his body. The soldier fell asleep.

Eyela closed her eyes. “Mystica, wherever you are, I hope you find your way here soon.” She looked around the great hall of the castle. Wooden cots were everywhere, with wounded soldiers, women and children filling them all. When they ran out of cots, they used mats on the floor.

The sky had indeed burned. She had no other way to describe it. She closed her eyes, and tried to calm herself, placing her hands on the cold stone of the wall, and remembering. Her winged soldiers, taking to the sky to defend the kingdom from the attacking aliens. Except no aliens appeared. Just a streak of black cutting across the sky, leaving a trail of white smoke behind it.

It moved so rapidly, no one could shoot it down. When the black streak got over the kingdom, maybe 100 feet above the ground, it exploded. But it was an explosion unlike any the fairies had ever known. The explosion sprayed some strange substance through the air. A secondary explosion rapidly followed, igniting that substance.

The sky burned, it’s flames consuming everything it touched. Soldiers fell from the sky, trailing fire behind them. Many of them died before they reached the ground. Others died when the ground stopped their falls. So few survived.

Houses, shops, carts, carriages, trees, and everything else on the ground erupted into flames. Nearly a third of the kingdom burned. Whole families burned to ash by the flame. An entire wing of the castle was nothing but charred stone walls, a burned out husk of what it had been.

She heard a voice in her head, “It was a fuel-air bomb.” It was the machines. They explained how it released a fine mist of highly flammable fuel into the air, using an explosive shock wave to spread it over an area, and then a primary explosive to ignite the fuel, and spread it even further with a second shock wave. They explained how the oxygen in the air helped the fuel burn. How the fire sucked the oxygen out of the air, so the fairies couldn’t breathe, How the flames and fuel burned everything they touched.

Eyela knew the invading humans were dangerous, but she’d never expected such violence and cruelty. That they would burn everything to the ground for no reason made no sense to her.

The machines interrupted her thoughts, “We have informed the White Witch.”

Indeed they had, for Mystica simply appeared in the midst of the injured. Eyela said nothing. She knew the machines had told Mystica everything. She watched as Mystica called on the white magic. White clouds appeared throughout the room. They fell on the injured, and slowly soaked into the bodies. As they did, Eyela watched their burned, broken bodies heal.

White Magic indeed. She understood it was the machines following Mystica’s commands, using available subatomic particles, and atoms to repair the damaged bodies filling the room. Within seconds, all the injured healed. Much to Eyela’s relief, they all slept.

Eyela watched as Mystica scanned the room, tears falling from her eyes. She wished she could answer the one question she saw in Mystica’s haunted eyes. “Why?”

But she knew there was no why. There was only war. And the news of more places where the sky burned.

657 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 12 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

Eyela closed her eyes. “Mystica, wherever you are, I hope you find your way here soon.” She looked around the great hall of the castle. Wooden cots were everywhere, with wounded soldiers, women and children filling them all. When they’d run out of cots and beds, they’d used mats on the floor.

The sky had indeed burned. She had no other way to describe it. She closed her eyes, and tried to calm herself, placing her hands on the cold stone of the wall, and remembering. Her winged soldiers, taking to the sky to defend the kingdom from the attacking aliens. Except no aliens appeared. Just a streak of black cutting across the sky, leaving a trail of white smoke behind it.

It moved so rapidly, no one could shoot it down. When the black streak got over the kingdom, maybe 100 feet above the ground, it exploded. But it was an explosion unlike any the fairies had ever known. The explosion sprayed some strange substance through the air. A secondary explosion rapidly followed, igniting that substance.

The sky burned, it’s flames consuming everything it touched. Soldiers fell from the sky, trailing fire behind them. Many of them died before they reached the ground. Others died when the ground stopped their falls. So few survived.

Houses, shops, carts, carriages, trees, and everything else on the ground erupted into flames. Nearly a third of the kingdom burned. Whole families burned to ash by the flame. An entire wing of the castle turned into charred stone walls, a burned out husk of what it had been.

She heard a voice in her head, “It was a fuel-air bomb.” It was the machines. They explained how it released a fine mist of highly flammable fuel into the air, using an explosive shock wave to spread it over an area, and then a primary explosive to ignite the fuel, and spread it even further with a second shock wave. They explained how the oxygen in the air helped the fuel burn. How the fire sucked the oxygen out of the air, so the fairies couldn’t breathe. How the flames and fuel burned everything they touched.

Eyela knew the invading humans were dangerous, but she’d never expected such violence and cruelty. That they would burn everything to the ground for no reason made no sense to her.

The machines interrupted her thoughts, “We have informed the White Witch.”

Indeed they had, for Mystica simply appeared in the midst of the injured. Eyela said nothing. She knew the machines had told Mystica everything. She watched as Mystica called on the white magic. White clouds appeared throughout the room. They fell on the injured, and slowly soaked into the bodies. As they did, Eyela watched their burned, broken bodies heal.

White Magic indeed. She understood it was the machines following Mystica’s commands, using available subatomic particles, and atoms to repair the damaged bodies filling the room. Within seconds, all the injured were whole. Much to Eyela’s relief, they all slept.

Eyela watched as Mystica scanned the room, tears falling from her eyes. She wished she could answer the one question she saw in Mystica’s haunted eyes. “Why?”

But she knew there was no why. There was only war. And the news of more places where the sky burned.

#5SF : Flame

The old man explained why so many people stop growing, never becoming who they truly are, who they are to become. “They see the flame ahead of them, consuming everything. They turn, and walk away, afraid of any hurt, any pain. They don’t understand what every artist, writer, painter, and creator knows. To see the truth of life, you must first walk through the fire, where the lies you’ve learned turn to ash, and your heart and soul become purified, and tempered, by the flame.”


Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Flame.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

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.

#TimonyChallenge #DiabolicalDeeds, Day 2, Calu

Looking at the wolf I learned the meaning of cacaesthesia. Soon, I would know nothing but pain.  Shapeless beings held me. We stood before an ocean or melted rock. Whisps of that rock floated, like steam, above that ocean. I was drowning in the caliginous environment.

The wolf had many names. Hades. Pluto. Calu. Satan. Fire filled his eyes. His coat was pure fire. He growled, snapped his teeth and the beings holding me hurled me into it. For every heartbeat, every breath, for all time, I would only know the endless pain of being burned alive.

100 Words
@LurchMunster

Fairies : Scream Waits

Scream was silent. He glided down from the sky, to the trees. Landing silently. Gracefully. He was much smaller than he’d once been. And far more deadly. With more speed than he’d ever had in his younger days. With a dragon fire that was hotter, and more accurate than it had ever been. He was a full-grown dragon. Second only to Merlin in all of dragon-kind.

Fiver other dragons were with him. Each dragon landed in the trees surrounding the village. A village of humans. Innocent humans. Humans that lead simple, honest lives. Caring for their neighbors. Helping each other when help was needed. Caring for their sick. Raising their young. Teaching them all they knew about the world.

They didn’t know. The people of the village didn’t know about the machines of the world called Cylinders. Didn’t know the machines protected them. Kept them safe. Didn’t know the machines had been on Cylinders for more than 25,000 years. Didn’t know the machines had created the fairies, the elves, the dragons. Didn’t know about the quantum mechanics the machines used to perform magic tasks. No. The humans only knew that there was magic in their world.

Scream’s heart ached. For he knew the humans would learn. Soon enough. They would learn everything. When the invaders arrived. And the war touched their lives. That’s why Scream was there. Outside that village. To fight the invaders.

Merlin had let everyone know when the invaders had arrived. Landing in their space ships. Bringing their weapons with them. Intent on extending their empire to another world. In the belief they were bringing order to the chaos of the galaxy.

The machines of Cylinders could have simply wiped the invaders out. Erased them from existence. But they didn’t work that way. Instead, they left fighting the invaders to the people of Cylinders. The dragons. The fairies. The elves.

Scream and his dragon friends took up their positions. And waited. The invaders would arrive. In the dark of the night. In the hours before the dawn. When the people of the village were asleep. That’s when Scream and his brothers would engage them. And destroy every one of them. They would protect the village. They would protect their world. The invaders would soon learn that Cylinders was not what it seemed.

And the people of the village would be safe. But forever changed. And that caused Scream’s heart to ache. Scream found fire burning in his soul. Ignited by the knowledge that the village would be forever changed. The world would be forever changed. It’s innocence lost.

For that, Scream would fight the invaders to his dying breath.

Captain Of A Shipwreck

I’m trying my hand at another Flash Fiction challenge. This one is the #FridayNightWrite, hosted at Sweet Banana Ink. This is my entry…

She stopped at my desk one day, an hour before lunch. “Walk with me.” She didn’t ask. She knew I would. I remember so clearly the tone of her voice. The tension in it. The fear. The confusion. I took a good look into her eyes. The pretty blue that I normally saw was gone. Replaced by an intense, panic-stricken blue.

I got up, and took a walk with her. Would have gone anywhere she asked. My heart told me too. Told me something was horribly wrong. We walked through the halls of the building. A path we’d walked before. No one watching us would have thought anything was wrong. Somehow, I knew that’s what she wanted.

I opened the door to the stairs, and let her through. Then followed. As we walked down the stairs, she told me what was wrong. “That doctor’s appointment, Friday? That was a mammogram. I got the results last night.” She stopped walking and held on to the stair rail. She closed her eyes, briefly, and took a breath. “It’s breast cancer.”

I stood there, next to her. On the stairs. “I knew something was wrong. When you told me you were going to the doctor’s on Friday, everything went black.”

“I’m scared,” She resumed our descent down the stairs. “Really scared.”

I didn’t say anything. She knew how I felt. Knew I considered her to be my friend. I understood she was trusting me with information she didn’t want others to know. As we reached the foot of the stairs, she paused again. “I need you here. I need you to be here. For me. Can you be here? For me?”

If I were a knight on a horse, I would have drawn my sword, and fought any dragon she asked me to. If she was surrounded by a fire, I would have burned in the flames, trying to rescue her. If she were the captain of a sinking ship, I would have put her on the last lifeboat, in my place.

I was none of those things. I was just me. Another person she worked with five days a week. A friend who took pictures of flowers and shared them with her. Someone that tried to write poetry every now and then. She always asked to read everything I wrote.

“Yes.”

There was nothing else I could have said.

I wish I could tell you how things ended. I wish I could tell you how she’s doing. That it all worked out OK. That I walked through hell with her. But I can’t. The simple truth is 12 weeks after her first surgery, I was sent out on medical leave. All contact between myself, and the people I worked with was banned. That was two years ago. And in that two years, I have never heard from any of the people that I used to know.