#FlashMobWrites 1 x 50 : Castle

Stupid people have always pissed me off. When I heard about the armed takeover of the National Wildlife Preserve in Oregon, I headed straight for the place, and when I got there, I knew exactly what to do.

Rule by guns is something I don’t tolerate.

Ever.

It was 0300 hours, on a moonless night. The sky was pitch black, filled with stars like diamonds on black velvet. Pretty to look at, and I was certain anyone else would have looked at them, and relaxed.

“Active,” I turned the armor on, and vanished, totally invisible to the human eye, to computerized infrared vision systems, and to old fashioned radar systems. I walked into the main building of the refuge, where the men with their guns were.

Yeah, I know. I hear it all the time. “They’re just good old boys, fighting for what they believe.” And, “Rebellion is part of the country’s history. A tool we’ve always had to use when change becomes necessary.”

And inevitably, rebellion leads to chaos, war, and piles of the innocent, their blood soaking into the ground. All in the name of defending someone else’s rights, and freedoms.

Most of the idiots were asleep.

“Gun.” A slot on the left leg of the armor opened, and a .44 slid out. I aimed it at the ceiling, and fired four shots, just to wake everyone up.

And wake them it did. Guys and their AR-15s came running, holding their guns in front of themselves, like they were bulletproof. Which they weren’t. I shot them. Fathers, husbands, fiancees, sons of mothers. Normal people. Six had responded. Six bodies leaked blood on the floor. Six less idiots with guns.

Next, I went through the building, moved room to room. I hunted them down. Seems they didn’t have any nerves at all, any guts at all, when the actual gunfire started. I found them in separate rooms, hiding under tables, behind doors, hiding in the restrooms.

I left seventeen bodies. No survivors.

If you wish to rule by the gun, you’ll deal with me.

You won’t walk away.

I am Armor 17.

I am the violence.

354 Words
@LurchMunster


Expressing myself through writing for Week 1×50 of #FlashMobWrites. #FlashMobWrites is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites Week 1×50. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

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#FlashMobWrites 1 x 46 : Victorious

Bob and Charlie, that was there names. Bob was the nervous one, the one the blonde told Charlie to take out for drinks. I wasn’t worried about the blonde that night, she’d sleep well in her bed. Bob and Charlie, on the other hand, wouldn’t sleep that night. They wouldn’t sleep for a long time.

Charlie picked the place, Boneshakers, a bar and grill, heavy on the bar. Country music boomed from the speakers of the entertainment system, and some country star cried his heart out to the music on a giant theater screen on one wall. I ignored it all, the crowd, the dancing, the drinking. I wasn’t interested in that. I watched Charlie and Bob.

Charlie ordered the first round, “A couple of Buds!” He patted Bob’s shoulder, “You OK, buddy?”

“I keep seeing her stuff everywhere.”

“I know what you mean. I see it everywhere too.”

Bob chugged half his beer, “Yeah, but you sleep at night.” His thumbs pressed against the sides of the can, almost bent it before he caught himself, and pulled them back. But his fingers couldn’t stop moving, and pressed against the can, making little “clack” sounds as the can popped back into shape each time his fingers shifted. “I haven’t slept in days.”

“That’s why we’re here, buddy. We both need to relax.” Charlie waved at the bartender, “Another round over here.” Bob drained his first can, then let his fingers crush the sides in. The bartender walked over with two fresh cans, put them down. Bob nearly choked, Charlie stood up, “What the fuck?” Darla’s picture was on the side of each can, another picture was on the bar.

“What’s wrong, guys?”

They didn’t say anything.

“Oh, the cans? Yeah. We got a whole shipment of them with different pictures stuck on them. Some special can. Saw them when we opened the case.” He sighed, “The guy that delivered them was surprised. Didn’t know what it was.” He picked up a can, turned it around, “See?” The can said, “In Memory Of The Unsolved Cases”.

The bartender shrugged, “Pretty morbid thing to do, don’t you think?”

Bob and Charlie sat there, staring at the cans. “She’s haunting us, right?”

“Bob, there’s no such thing as ghosts.”

I stood behind them, invisible in my armor. It was time to sing, in Darla’s voice. I sang along with the song. Bob turned pale, almost white. Charlie spilled his drink, “Shit!”

They got up, left the bar, I tagged along. Darla’s ghost wasn’t done with them that night. Not by a long shot. Their night was going to be long, black, and poisonous. A night they’d never forget.

445 Words
@LurchMunster


This is Part 5 of a story I’m writing using the prompts for the #FlashMobWrites challenge. #FlashMobWrites is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites Week 1×46. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites 1 x 45 : The Hurt

As expected, the police reached a dead end in their investigation. They determined the cause of death (blunt force trauma, basically she’d been beaten to death). But they found no signs of sexual assault, and no trace of any DNA other than Darla’s.

They’d determined where she’d last been seen (at a grocery store, buying a bottle of wine with a blonde man). They couldn’t identify the man, and until they could, their investigation stalled. They found where she worked, interviewed people there. “Was there a significant other? Did she have a male friend? What was his name?” They got several answers, several males to investigate.

It was their job to investigate.

It was my job to make a big fire, burn down the things they could not. “I’ll be your match, officers. The one who starts the fire.”

The police had their search warrants, their interrogations, their stakeouts. All legal. All by the book. I was Armor 17. For an Armor, there were no laws, no rules, no limits.

I visited her male friends, one at a time. They never saw me, of course, never knew I was there. I watched them, how they slept, their daily routines. Reactions varied to the news of Darla’s murder, some had sleepless nights, some slept like nothing had happened. I left a picture of Darla here, a piece of her jewelry there, an exact copy of the bottle of wine she’d bought that last night, a copy of her car key, an earring. Little pieces of Darla, here and there. Where they’d be notice. I watched. I studied. I learned.

There were three of them. Three who were disturbed when they spotted memories of Darla. Three who kept seeing memories of her. Two of them slept poorly at night, one slept without guilt, without nightmares. Two were male, one was female. The female was a blond.

Always I left them mementos of Darla, pictures, her favorite drink, her favorite book. Their phones took them to her favorite WEB Sites, at random. It took three weeks until the weakest of the three cracked. He called the blonde. “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going crazy! I keep seeing her stuff, her things, everywhere. I can’t sleep at night! I haven’t slept in days! I can’t take it!”

The blonde was ice, “Be calm. What you’re feeling is normal. Have a drink. Eat a good meal somewhere. Watch a movie. Do something fun.”

The blonde called the other male. “Take him out for a fun night.”

The fire had been lit, it was time to fan it, grow it, until it ran uncontrolled. “I’ll be your match, officers. Soon, there’ll be a fire.” I was looking forward to watching the blond. Ice, I’d learned, didn’t last in a fire.

464 Words
@LurchMunster


This is Part 4 of a story I’m writing using the prompts for the #FlashMobWrites challenge. #FlashMobWrites is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites Week 1×45. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites 1 x 44 : The Remedy

I let the police deal with gathering evidence from her apartment, and find her car. I let them do their job, and try to figure out who’d last seen her alive, where she’d been, what she was doing, who she was with.

That information wouldn’t lead anywhere. It seldom did. I had to do something different. Something only an Armor could do. Something only I could do.

I started by visiting the people she worked with. The man who sat in the cube next to hers. What do you do when your computer stops what it’s doing, and asks, “When was the last day Darla came to work?” He turned the screen off, then back on. The question remained. He turned the computer off, then on. Still, the question remained, even on the login screen. He unplugged the computer, and the question showed up on a sheet of paper that landed on his keyboard. He got up, went to the restroom, and the question was written on the mirror he looked into. He gave up. He typed “Last Thursday”.

The question changed, “Did she have a date that night?”

“I don’t know.”

“Who might know?”

“Debbie.”

“Thank you.”

The questions stopped.

They started again on Debbie’s computer. “Did Darla have a date last Thursday?”

Debbie stared at her screen.

“Debbie, did Darla have a date?”

She looked around.

“This is not a prank.” I paused a moment, then continued, “You know Darla’s been murdered, don’t you?” Her expression showed she didn’t. “Oh. Sorry.”

Debbie stared at her screen, and spoke, “She hasn’t been at work for days.”

“I know.”

“She doesn’t answer her phone, or text messages, or email.”

“She’s dead, Debbie. The police are looking for who did it.”

“Are you the police?”

“No.” I paused. “Debbie. Did she have a date last Thursday night?”

Debbie nodded.

“Who?”

“Her boyfriend.” Debbie whispered, “Tyler. I don’t know his last name.”

“Thank you, Debbie.”

“Is she really dead?”

“Yes.” I added Mrs. Whitson’s phone number. “Her mother’s phone number. Call.”

I left Debbie’s cube, but I wasn’t done yet. I found Darla’s desk, opened a storage door on my armor, pulled out the pink rose I’d stored there, and set it on the desk, with a card that read, “You are missed,” and had the date, time, and location of the memorial service Mrs. Whitson was planning.

I watched as Debbie and the man found their way to Darla’s cube. I watched as word spread like it always does. Phone calls were made. People cried. Chaos ensued. And with all that racket, no one noticed the door of the building open and close by itself.

444 Words
@LurchMunster


This is Part 3 of a story I’m writing using the prompts for the #FlashMobWrites challenge. #FlashMobWrites is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites Week 1×44. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites 1×43 : Legend & Legacy

I was there, watching, when the woman’s mother verified the body was her daughter, missing for twenty-three days. I was there to see her hands shake, hear her voice whisper, “Yes,” and see the loss in her eyes.

A mother should not see her daughter’s remains on a cold, unfeeling, sterile steel table. A mother should see her daughter grow, get married, start a family.

All I could do was watch. I didn’t have to be there, and according to all the procedures of the Armor Corps, I wasn’t supposed to be there. Nothing was to be personal, everything was to be objective. But, I never followed the rules, which was how I got things done. How I knew what to do, what needed to be done. I was still human.

And I watched Mrs. Theresa Whitson stand beside that cold, hard table, as she looked at what was left of her only child.

I knew from the DNA results, who the victim was. I knew from a records check, how old she was, where she’d worked, what church she’d attended on Sundays, where she’d lived. I’d visited that church, visited her workplace, found her car, visited her apartment. I told myself I was looking for anything to help track down who’d murdered her, and that was partly true. It was also true, as I searched, I became more determined to keep my promise to her soul.

I would find those responsible.

I remembered another woman from years before. When I was… Different. When I was… Normal. I remembered how she died. How my heart broke in half when she did. It broke in half, and never healed. Then the pieces died. All that was left were scars. I’ve got scars that can’t be. Scars where my heart once was.

No one should have to feel their heart break that way. No one should have to feel their heart die, and leave them nothing but a shell. And empty, dead soul.

I knew Mrs. Theresa Whitson’s heart died in those moments she stood beside that table. I felt it happen. And I couldn’t stop it.

But I could tear the hearts from those who’d caused such pain. And I would. I would find them.

And not even God could help them when I did.

384 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote a second story for #FlashMobWrites 1×43, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×43. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites 1×42 : Graceland (Second Try)

Clara’s tears blended with the steady rainfall as she used her shovel to pack down the dirt on the shallow grave for Eskimo. Eskimo’s grave was next to Tiger’s, Tiger’s next to Stripes’, and Stripes’ next to Hazel’s. Little homemade tombstones stuck out of the ground for the others. She hadn’t had time to make one for Eskimo yet.

“The trouble with living a long time,” she thought, “you get to see everyone that matters die.”

She stood and looked at the graves for her four cats, “Hazel, Stripes, Tiger? Take care of Eskimo.” Clara was soaked, water dripped from her chin, hair, fingertips, and ran down her pants legs to the ground. Her shoes were a total loss to the mud.

“Oh, Eskimo. You died so young.” Eskimo had lived for eight joyous years. “I loved the way you used to sleep on my pillow, propped against my head.” She cried at the memory, her tears washed away by the rain.

“You never did catch the red dot.” Eskimo always chased the red dot the pointer made on the carpet and the wall, as if trying to stop it from moving. Clara giggled, “Tiger will explain the red dot to you,” she looked at Tiger’s grave. Tiger had figured out the red dot, and stopped chasing it.

Clara remembered the times Eskimo climbed into her lap, with that look he got that said, “I know you’re lonely tonight, Mommy. It’s OK. I’ll take care of you.” And he had. He’d given her a family, a friend, a confidant. Eskimo was who she talked with. She told him everything about her life, how her day at work went, how stupid and frustrating men were. Eskimo always listened, and always rubbed his cheeks against hers. He made sure Clara knew how much he loved her.

Eventually, the rain wore her down, and Clara started toward the house. Halfway there, she turned to look at the graves again, “What’s that?” Her jaw dropped, and she took several steps toward the graves. All four of her cats were there, looking at her. Hazel, Stripes, Tiger, and Eskimo. Their purrs, and their voices all told her the same thing.

“We don’t want you to be lonely, Mommy. There’s always room for another family member. When you’re ready we want you to find a new kitty who will take care of you.”

Clara smiled, happy tears blended with the rain, “Thank you, my children. Thank you.”

After a shower, and some hot cocoa, Clara curled up under her blankets, and hugged her pillows. “I miss you already, Eskimo”. She cried herself to sleep because she realized her friend was never going to prop against her head again. “Good-bye, Eskimo.” She hugged her pillow. “Good-bye.”

459 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote a second story for #FlashMobWrites 1×42, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×42. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites 1×42 : Graceland (First Try)

I stood beside her shallow grave, in the steady rainfall that February night, and made a promise to her, I’d find who put her there and when I was through with them, there wouldn’t be enough left to bury.

It was them, that much I knew. The armor had digitally enhanced the area around the grave, using edge sharpening, and color spreading. I knew there were five of them, from the footprints in the ground, the damage to the grasses, the way the rocks had been displaced. Five distinct footprints.

“They knew who you were,” I spoke the words, though the armor silenced them. “It’s how they got to you.” I knelt beside the grave, used the armor’s scanners to look through the dirt and rock, to see her remains in the ground. “They beat you pretty badly, didn’t they.” The armor recorded the fracture to her skull, the dislocated vertebrae in her neck, the torn skin and bruises on her wrists and ankles. “How long have you been missing?” I had no way of knowing how long she’d been missing, or who she was, without digging her up, and getting a DNA sample, or fingerprints.

“Marker.” A slot on the left forearm of my armor opened and a small, black box with an LED on it popped out. I pushed a button on the box. The LED came on, a blinding red, visible for hundreds of feet. “Test.” The armor tuned a radio receiver to the frequency the box was broadcasting. The signal was a very clear “PING!” I pulled the plastic sheet off the bottom of the box, and put it on the rocks she was buried under. That box adhered to the rock.

“911.”

I spoke into the phone, my voice altered electronically, “They killed this woman, and they buried her in the woods! Oh, God, they killed her!” I had to explain where, “I have an emergency beacon in my backpack. I’ll put that out.” I gave them the frequency of the beacon. They asked me to stay where I was. “I can’t do that.” Of course, they wanted to know why. “It’s not safe here. They might find me.” I hung up.

I moved into the trees, and waited five minutes. I called 911 again. “They’re after me! They found me!” I fired two shots from my hand-held into the ground. “Jesus, they’re gonna kill me!”

I waited.

Shortly, there were sirens, followed by lights, and several law officers. They found the beacon.

So it began, the next hunt. “Armor 17.” I called headquarters. “Going silent.” That was the signal headquarters knew meant I was actively pursuing a case. They’d wait to hear from me.

I waited in the steady rainfall that night in February, for the authorities to come for her body. I’d let them identify her, and I’d go from there.

“I promise you, I will find them.”

482 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for #FlashMobWrites 1×42, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please,go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×42. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites 1×38 : Up In Flames

There was a time I needed those books, depended on them, used them. Before everything ended, burned to the ground, turned to ash. “You work for something, fight for it, build it, protect it, grow it.” I remembered the lost nights, tearing the contents of the books apart. How TCP/IP worked. Securing data files generated by applications using libssh to encrypt them in memory, before storing them to files. How to configure network firewalls using iptables, and when to use a whitelist or a blacklist.

And in one day, it all ended.

I hadn’t touched those books in over five years, and I knew I’d never touch them again. They’d been collecting dust on my bookshelves all that time. Once, I’d had a use for them, needed them. They were part of how I survived in my job, the work I once did. The work I’d loved so much.

Until the day everything burned.

A simple sentence, “They don’t want you to come back.” That’s all it took. That was the end of everything. People I’d worked with for over a decade were gone when those words were spoken. The fires erupted that day, I couldn’t think, couldn’t talk, couldn’t sit still, couldn’t focus on anything. It was like creeping along the edge of a cliff, knowing one slip would send me plummeting to the ground, hundreds or thousands of feet below. One slip, and I was dead. Creeping on the edge of that cliff, all I could do was watch the fire burn. And pray. Pray it didn’t reach me, it stopped, and left me a strip of ground, bare rock, by the cliff.

A few days later, I knew the fire wouldn’t stop, with another simple sentence, “No contact with any of the people you worked with.” I was in free-fall, the fire pushed me off the edge.

I’d put every book on a shelf. And never touched them for five years.

Until now. The first time I’d put a fire in the fireplace. It had been expensive, we’d had to have a chimney sweep out to clean it. We had to put in a grate, and screen, and add tools, then buy a cord of wood.

She’d gone to work, like she always did. I had Wednesdays off, didn’t work. It was snowing outside, the weather report said the temperature was in the teens. “Stay inside if you can.” I could.

That’s when I decided to do something about the books from the life I’d had. The leftovers. I’d gone outside, got some wood, and started a fire. And I watched the books burn, one book at a time.

And finally, I was free.

447 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for #FlashMobWrites 1×38, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels.  Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×38. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites Week 1×36 : Fanfare

You think I’m broken, wounded, bitter. All I ever say is negative, hard to hear. I know this. I’ve heard your words, the things you say when you think I’m not listening, when you think I can’t hear you.

“He’s so negative. Why do I bother to ask him anything?”

But, you don’t know. There are things I don’t speak of, don’t share, hide. Things I keep locked away from the world, so the world can’t reach them, can’t hurt them, can’t tear them apart, can’t rip them from my heart.

Like how I never got married. Yeah, I know, I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard them talk among themselves, “All he needs is to get laid.” What the fuck does that even mean? Does anybody know what that means? “All he needs is a woman,” like that says anything different. Like a woman would tame me, make me into a normal person.

I never got married for a reason. See. I never found her, never found who I’m looking for. You don’t know it, no one does. But it’s there, inside me. A dream I have of her.

I never got married, because I’m holding out for a dream I’ll never have. A dream of a woman whose hand I can hold. Whose magic laughter chases away the demons haunting me. The same demons that haunt those people who say “He just needs to get laid.” I know it’s the same demons. I can see those demons in them, in their eyes. Hear them in their voices, that fear of someone knowing too much, getting too close, finding out who you really are. Learning something about you they can use against you, they can manipulate you with.

Except for her.

That dream woman knows when I’m wounded, angry, frightened, frustrated from the events of my day. The stress of deadlines, of bosses demanding the impossible. She knows to put her hand on my shoulder, to whisper in my ear, “It’s OK. It’s OK.” She knows to show me I’m not alone, to remind me she’s there. To let me know it’s OK to feel everything, to feel trapped at my job, to feel angry about my work, and the silly deadlines, and the politics that happen there. To feel endlessly frustrated, because the misery never ends. She’s the one on whose shoulder I can cry. She’ll be my friend, my companion.

Why is everything always about sex? What is it with people? “He just needs to get laid.” Ha! That’s all wrong. I just need to find her.

And it works both ways, you know. She’ll be the dream woman I can hold when she’s wounded, when her heart aches, bleeds from the wounds this life carves into her soul. One I can carry when she’s too damaged by this world, this life, to walk on her own. To let her know she’s not alone. I’ll let her know it’s OK to feel everything. And I’ll be there when she needs me. I’ll be the one on whose shoulder she cries.

That’s why I never married.

I never found her.

But I haven’t given up. I’m still holding out for that dream. My dream. I know it’s every guy’s dream. To find that one person, that one friend. To find her. She’s out there, somewhere. All I can do until I find her is keep looking. And keep holding out, and dreaming.


I tried to write this for #FlashMobWrites 1×36, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. But I couldn’t find the words, or the way to get them on the page in time. But not that I managed to find some of the words, and a way to get those few words on the page, I’m sharing it. Now, please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×36. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FlashMobWrites Week 1×33 : I’m Not An Angel In Disguise

I’m not an angel in disguise,
And the devil never made me do a thing,
Or told me what to say.
I’m just an angry, mortal man,
Made by our society’s hand,
And its ruthless,
Uncaring ways.

I’ll stalk the words others write,
The songs they sing,
The stories they tell,
The games the play.
And take each detail apart,
Analyze each word,
Each action,
Every note, motion, and way.
I’ll study each nuance of your ways,
Until I master the unique language
Only you speak.

The one you don’t even know is there.

Once I have that key to you,
Who you are,
How you think,
What you feel.
It won’t be long until I know what’s missing
In your world.

Then I’ll say the words I know
You want someone to say.
The words you’ve been waiting,
Longing,
Praying
Someone would say.
Words to sweep you off your feet,
And carry you away.
Words you dream of in your sleep.

And you’ll let me in.

I’ll be your friend at first,
But gradually, with time, and effort,
Using what I’ve learned of you,
I’ll do the things you want me to.
And slowly, things will grow.

One day, you’ll start to talk to me.
Start to let me in.
I’ll become your confidant,
That someone whom you trust.
I won’t take advantage,
Or rush things along.
I have time.
I’ll wait for things to happen
On their own.

One day you’ll sit next to me,
As if you always had.
One day you will hold my hand,
And walk with me,
And talk with me,
So you won’t be alone.
I’ll learn the holidays that matter.
When your birthday is.
When to buy you a card,
Or flowers.
And step by step,
Day by day,
I’ll work my way into your world.
By being everything you want,
And everything you need.

I’ll be the one you dream of when you sleep.
The one you always wanted,
The one hold in his arms,
Where you feel safe from harm.

All it takes is patience on my part,
And you’ll let me in,
And give me everything I want.

Someday you might kiss me,
Then take me to your home.
I won’t have to ask,
You’ll guide me there
On your own.

Someday you might even
Take off all your clothes,
And pull me into bed with you.

And I’ll enjoy anything,
And everything,
You decide to do.

But if I ever hear you say
“I love you,” to me,
I’ll be gone with the rising sun.
And you’ll be on your own.

Isn’t that the way this life is?
Aren’t we meant to shred
The hearts and souls around us
Until every heart becomes
Colder than the coldest ice,
Harder than the hardest stone?

I’m not an angel in disguise,
And the devil never made me do a thing.
I’m just an angry, wounded soul
Whose heart died long ago.

491 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×33, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×33. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?