#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?

#ThursThreads Week 110 : Why Should I?

Cynthia Gardner methodically observed her image in the mirror, carefully tuning the texture around her eyes, shifting the position of nano-machines, projecting just the right color in just the right space. Getting the details right was important. She had to look human. Real. She even practiced breathing, moving her abdomen and chest like real humans did when they breathed.

She looked at the pictures of clothing from the magazines on her table, and carefully shifted parts of herself around, forming the image of shoes, denim jeans, a bra, and a loose-fitting t-shirt.

She practiced moving, watching her hair.  It wasn’t easy to get the individual hairs on her head to move realistically.

“Perhaps I should develop a relationship with a human male.” It would be difficult. She would need to simulate all the proper body parts to convince a male they were real.

“Laura, at work, speaks of her male friend.” She recalled the way Laura’s eyes and body moved when she spoke of him. The subtle shifts in her biochemistry, blood flow, and skin temperature. Laura often said, “He’s so hot. And he knows what a girl likes.”

Cynthia made sure her lips were the proper shade of lipstick red. She remembered Laura saying, “Girl, you need to find a man.”

“Why should I?”

“It’d make you more human.”

Cynthia knew, it was time to improve her simulation of a human female to include a pairing with a human male. So people would think she was more human.

249 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 110, the last week of the Month Of Love Challengs on #ThursThreads. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

Memories : Look At Me When I’m Talking To You!

It was a lesson I learned
A long time ago.
Before so many
Of the people I know now
Existed.

A lesson I learned
In seventh grade.
When my father was
The Protestant Chaplain
For the US Naval Support Activity
Across the Severn River
From the Naval Academy.

I learned it on a Sunday morning.
After the church service.
While I was experimenting with sound
On a piano
In the church activities building.

That’s when a full-grown male
Of the human species
Sat down in a chair
To my right.

He started talking with me.
Or perhaps it would be more accurate
To say he talked to me.
Whatever.
It doesn’t matter.
And it never did.

I heard every word he said.
Clean down to the times he asked
“Are you listening to me?”

I told him what he’d said.
Told him every word.

“I can’t tell you’re listening to me!”
I could tell he was angry.
“You’re not listening to me!”
And getting angrier.

That’s when I learned
What to do.
When I learned
What humans expect.
What humans demand.
As a signal of some kind.
That makes them think
Makes them believe
You are paying proper attention,
Expected attention,
Required attention
To them.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

Have you ever had that screamed at you?
I have.
I had then too.
More times than I can count.
More times than I can remember.

But that time.
That Sunday.
It was different.
That time I realized
What humans expected.

So, I looked at him.
Straight into his eyes.
Dude.
He was angry.

I wanted to look at the wall behind him.
To look at the ceiling tiles.
To look at the floor.
The piano keys.

I didn’t.

I looked that human in the eyes.
I watched his mouth move
As he spoke.
I observed his facial expressions.
All of them.
I watched how he behaved.
I watched how he moved.
I watched everything he did.

His tie was perfectly tied.
Perfectly.
The collar of his shirt
Looked like it hid a noose
Around his neck.
The jacket of his suit
Was still buttoned up.
Hell,
It even had that fake tie
Stuffed in one pocket.

I saw every detail.

And I learned.
I learned how to shut him up.
How to keep him quiet.
How to make him happy.

A lesson I remembered.
A lesson I mastered.
In those few moments of time.

Pretend you’re looking at someone
While they talk to you.

That way.
They’ll shut up.
And leave you alone.
Because they’ll believe
You’re a good one.
Well behaved.

They’ll think you heard
Every last word.
And understood
Everything they said.

That human never knew
What I learned that day.
No one ever knew.
No one could ever figure out
What I’d learned to do.

It’s a memory
I can’t forget.
I never have.
I never will.

It was the day I learned.
Everybody lies.

He Just Stared Out The Window

It was lunch time. Stephen sat down at the table. Same table he always sat at. Same place he always ate lunch. The local Subway. Right down the road from the office where he worked. He picked up his sub. Took a big bite. Chewed it. Swallowed it. Grabbed his soda. Took a big gulp of that.

Then he stopped. He just started out the window, watching the cars on the road outside as they drove by. As he did, he closed his eyes. The image was still there. The image of Diane. Sitting at her desk. In tears. Hurt. Alone. And he’d walked away. Left her sitting there. In tears. Alone.

He stared out the window, and watched the cars. No one in those cars even knew his name. No one knew Diane. No one knew that he’s walked away. No one cared. He tore his eyes from the window. Resumed eating his sub. Silently assaulting it with his teeth. Draining his soda too quickly. Stephen had to get up, and get a refill.

When he sat back down, to finish his sub, his eyes drifted to the window again. And once more, he just stared out the window, watching the cars as they rolled by. Only this time, he didn’t see the cars. He saw Diane face. Painted on the window. She was crying. Hurt. And he heard her voice as she said to him, “You abandoned me.”

Angrily, he got up. Threw out the remains of his sub. Took his soda with him to his car. Drained it on the way back to the office. Once there, he buried himself in his work. Whatever had happened with Diane, it wasn’t his problem. It wasn’t his job. He wasn’t supposed to take care of her. He had to take care of his family. Do his job. Keep the money coming in. Be dependable. Reliable. Let Diane deal with her own problems. They weren’t his. There was nothing he could do for her.

And with each hour that ticked by on that day, Stephen’s heart grew a little colder. A little harder. A touch less alive. A touch less human. Until he’d convinced himself he’d done nothing wrong at all when he’d walked away and left Diane, hurt and all alone, crying at her desk. And that was all it took for Stephen to take one more step down the path of turning the heart within his chest to ice. Frozen hard as any stone. Unable to feel anything for anyone any more.

This piece was written in response to the prompt for the 37th Thursday Threads flash fiction challenge hosted by Siobhan Muir. This piece clearly ignores the limit of 250 words, and no more, for the challenge. But for now, I need to ignore those word limit rules. I’m searching for something. And I’m slowly finding it.

Feel free to go read the entries in the Thursday Threads challenge. They are all well written, creative, artistically rendered and crafted pieces of flash fiction. I certainly have enjoyed reading them. I think you would too.

You should also know that this piece is a continuation of a piece I first wrote 22 months ago, titled, Cold As Ice And Hard As Stone. That piece was revised in December of 2011. You may find the revised version here.

Dreams : Cold As Ice And Hard As Stone (Revised)

Another Clip From JuNoWriMo 2012

Scream stood on the peak of a mountain in the Black Mountains. Looking south. Over the Gray Hills. He had landed to sleep. Even dragons had to sleep. Something that only made him angry. By sleeping, he couldn’t watch the village. A village in the Southern Plains. Where there was a special little girl. A girl that played a flute. A girl that made Scream happy. Made the anger that he felt fade away. Put out the fire in his blood. I tiny fairy girl. Named Musica.

A fairy girl gifted with Wild Magic.

Scream would not let the fairies destroy her. He would protect her. No matter what it took. No matter who he had to fight. He would protect this child. This Musica.

Scream woke with the rising of the sun. And when he woke, he screamed. A scream that split the sky. That would be heard in the Gray Hills. That would remind everyone that he was there. Watching. That he would strike again if they abandoned another child. Sentenced another that was blessed with wild magic to death.

Scream knew all about wild magic. The dragons had long ago accepted it. And it had spread. First in just a few young dragons. But over time, it grew. And now, every dragon was gifted with it. Wild magic. Scream had his own wild magic. He used it every time he screamed.

Like that morning. When he screamed a second time. And the clouds along the horizon parted. Leaving the sky clear. So he could look at the Northern Plains. And the village where the child lived.

Fairies : Sword (Part 2)

Mystica looked across the clearing, by the edge of the lake. The boy was standing there. Looking at his reflection in the water. It had been nearly two weeks since Mystica and Scream had rescued him from the village by the sea. Where he had been whipped nearly to death. His body was fully healed. Mystica had seen to that, using her White Magic to heal his physical wounds.

Her White Magic could not, however, heal the wounds within his heart and soul. The only things that could heal those were time, and the boy himself.

The boy had no name. At least, not yet, anyway. He’d refused to say his name at any time. When Rose and Fauna had asked him his name, he’d told them he didn’t have a name.

Musica was doing the best she could. Writing new songs, and new music for him every day. Always singing, and playing where he could hear her. And Mystica could tell that the music was something he needed. She’d even seen him look into the water of the lake while Musica played. And she’d see the tears he’d cried.

Dream watched Mystica. She could tell that Mystica was very much concerned for the boy. So, Dream spoke with Sunshine that day. She pulled Sunshine into the edge of the woods. “Our boy is very hurt, isn’t he?”

“Yes, Dream. He is.” Sunshine looked sad. Which explained the grey color of the sky, and the clouds on that day. “I wish there was something we could do to help him. To show him we’re his friends. And that he’s not alone again. And that we’ll never hurt him.”

Dream smiled. “I know! I have an idea!” She put a hand on Sunshine’s shoulder. “Why don’t you smile for a while. I’ll have to give you a reason to. I know. You are you. And you can’t turn your smile on and off.”

“You like him, don’t you, Dream?”

“What?”

Sunshine smiled. “You like our boy.” Dream blushed. Her cheeks turned bright pink. And she could feel the heat in her shoulders. Sunshine just smiled even more. “You like our boy.” Then she said to Dream, “That makes me happy. That makes me smile.”

Dream smiled to. And the heat in her shoulders started to fade away. As did the pink in her cheeks. “Yes. I like him. He’s cute.”

Sunshine said, “I’ll smile more now. I like thinking how you like him.” Then she looked at Dream, “I like him too, you know. But he’s so sad. So hurt.”

Dream could see Sunshine’s smile start to fade. So she decided to tell Sunshine the rest of her plan. “I’m going to speak with Momma. I’m going to ask Momma if I can walk in our boy’s dreams. And see if there’s something there that he’s afraid of. Something there that’s hurting him.”

At that, Sunshine’s smile grew strong once more. And it remained strong through the rest of the day.

Mystica walked up to the boy. Standing by the lake. She reached out a hand, and touched his shoulder. He didn’t stop her. “There’s something I wish to show you,” she said. He didn’t move. He just stood there. Looking into the water of the lake. So, Mystica continued on. She looked at the water of the lake, and she spoke to it, calling the White Magic. “Show me the ocean.”

The mirror like surface of the lake shifted, white shapes taking form on it. Until the image of a strip of sand appeared. Next to that enormous body of water. That body of water that had such huge waves near the shore. Mystica knew it as the ocean. She knew it was surf. But she’d never seen it in her life. Until she’d gone to the village by the ocean, and rescued the boy.

She left the image of the ocean’s shore on the lake. Her hand resting on the boy’s shoulder. While he watched. “Your home is there, isn’t it?” The boy said nothing. But Mystica couldn’t help but see the longing look in his eyes. “By the ocean. That’s where your home is, isn’t it?”

The boy spoke. For the first time in days. “No.” Mystica was surprised. “Not by.” The boy turned and looked at Mystica. “In.”

“In?” Mystica was somewhat surprised. She’d never known anyone to live in the sea. “You live in the sea?”

The boy had looked at Mystica. Right into her eyes. “Yes.”

Before Mystica could respond, the boy had spread his wings, and taken flight over the lake. Just above the surface of the water. He flew rapidly to the center of the lake. And then, he dove. Straight down.

Mystica followed him. She called on the White Magic to encase her. And protect her. And it did. Keeping her safe, as she dove beneath the surface of the lake. And followed the boy, all the way to the bottom of the lake. Maybe 15 or 20 feet deep.

It was there that she saw the boy, walking along the bottom. Perfectly at ease underneath the water. Perfectly at home. He walked there. Looking at the rocks. At the mud. And the solid ground. Looking at the fish that swam. As if it was all something he’d done all his life.

Then, the boy stopped, and looked at Mystica. And he spoke. Underwater. “I belong in the sea. I want to go home.”

Mystica couldn’t speak under the water. The boy seemed to know that. So, he pushed off the bottom, and returned to the surface of the lake. Stretching his wings out, and taking flight once more. Mystica following. They both returned to the clearing. By the edge of the lake. “I want to go home,” the boy repeated.

Mystica finished his sentence for him. “To the sea.”

“Yes.”

Mystica thought for a moment. Then looked around the clearing, at her adopted daughters. Musica, Dream, Rose, Sunshine and Fauna. And she smiled. “I somehow think my daughters would like to see the ocean.”

She turned to the boy, and said. “We’ll start the trip in the morning.” Then she smiled at him, “And thank you, for letting me know where you come from.”

Later that day, just before the sun set, Dream called for Mystica, “Momma! Momma! I would like to talk with you!” Mystica had used her wings, and slowly flown across the lake. It was hard for her to fly. She’d injured that wing in her battle with the wolves years ago. And it had never healed quite right. She could still fly. But only slowly. And only with a lot of effort. And only for short distances.

She landed, softly, on the grass next to Dream. “Momma. I have to ask you something. But it’s a secret.” So, Mystica had crouched down, on her knees, so Dream could whisper in her ear. “I want to visit the boy’s dreams. I want to see what kind of dreams he has. So I can try to help him.”

Mystica was surprised, to say the least. Dream was certainly growing up quickly. And sometimes, Mystica was afraid that Dream’s curiosity would get the better of her. So, she closed her eyes, and asked the White Magic for guidance. And the White Magic showed her nothing. All she heard was a single thought. “Follow your heart.”

Mystica’s heart told her to let Dream try. Told her how much she loved Dream. As if Dream were a true daughter. Told her that Dream would be OK. And that Dream was going to try anyway. Even if Mystica told her not to.

“Yes, Dream. You can try. But please know that I’ll always be where you can find me, if you should need me.”

When the sun set that night, the boy settled in for one last night on the ground. He always slept by the edge of the lake. On the grass. Where he could hear the sounds of the water of the rivers that flowed into and out of the lake.

That night, Dream waited until the boy was asleep. And then she walked across the grass. Settling on the ground next to him. And she reached out a hand for the first time in her life. And put it on the boys cheek. And said one single word. “Dream.”

Dream was walking along the bottom of the ocean. There were all kinds of strange fish, and plants that she’d never seen. But the boy knew them all. And as she watched him in his dream, she heard him cry, “Mother! Mother! Where are you! Help me! Please help me!”

She watched him as he closed his eyes in his dreams that night. And dreamed of his mother. Slowly, as Dream watched, a figure started to take shape. A full grown fairy. And not just any fairy. This fairy had a crown upon her head. And a trident that she carried. She had a regal air. And Dream could tell that she ruled the ocean. That the fish, the plants, and all the creatures of the sea, recognized her. And knew her. As their queen.

The boy’s dreams continued on. And she saw him swimming. She was swimming right along with him. She never saw the net. Neither did he. He ran head first into it. And got tangled up. The net twisted around him. Trapping his arms. His legs. His wings.

And the net got pulled up. Up, and out of the water. As it did, the boy was exposed to the sky. She knew he’d never seen the sky. The sun. The clouds. The boy was absolutely terrified. Frozen by fear.

The net dropped, landing on the deck of a boat. With a hard thud. Dream felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her. Something started to untangle the net. And Dream realized it was humans. Several of them. And when they saw the boy, the leaped on him. Pinning him down. Trapping him on the boat.

That’s when the boy had called on fairy magic. Fairy magic his mother had taught him. He’d flexed his wrist. Like he was holding a short sword. And that invisible sword of fairy magic had sliced into the arms of one of the humans. Drawing blood. As if a real sword had been drawn.

The other humans had backed away. The boy standing in the midst of them. Swinging his arms. Running at his captors. Trying to get to the water once again. It only took a few seconds for one of the humans to get behind him. And hit him over the head with a wooden pole. And then, the boy collapsed. Unconscious. On the deck of the boat.

Only to wake up in a prison cell. His arms bound by chains. His feet chained to the floor. Two men guarding him. Each with a bow and arrows. He knew there was nothing he could do. That they were out of his reach. That they could shoot him with the arrows.

He knew he was doomed.

Dream knew the rest of the story. The circle in the village. The whips. The pain. The hurt. Being left to slowly die on the sand. The arrival of Scream. Then the arrival of Mystica.

Dream quietly pulled her hand away from the boy’s cheek. She stood up. And walked away. Quietly. Mystica was waiting outside Dream’s little home in the trees. “Good. You are OK.”

All that Dream would do was say, “I know his name.”

She looked at Mystica. “I know his name. His name is Sword.”

Mystica had held dream for a while. Dream had been through a lot that night. The first night she’d ever walked within another’s dreams. And it had been a big test of her self. Her confidence. Her control. She’d told Mystica everything. Everything she’d seen in Sword’s dreams. And she’d cried herself to sleep that night.

Like the 6 year old girl that she really was.

Why Are People That Way?

Yo, God.
It’s me.
I’m assuming that I’m behaving
Somewhere near appropriately.
I’m certain that
You’ll let me know
If I’m not.
Seems like you always do.

See, God.
Something bothers me.
Something bothers me a lot.
And it’s only now,
After a lot of years,
And a lot of trying,
That I’ve been starting
To figure out
What the words are
For what it is
That bothers me.

See…

Yesterday at work,
A customer came in.
And I’ll be honest, God.
I’m not really sure
If that customer was a him,
Being modified into a her.
Or a her,
Being modified into a him.

But I think
It was a him
About half way through the process
Of being modified into a her.

Now, God…

I didn’t have a single problem
With that human being.
Now one problem at all.
I hope I treated future her
With the respect
That a customer deserves.

Sigh…

Yeah, I know you already know
What I’m trying to say.
I’ve tried to find the words
So very many times.
And always end up
Getting everyone around me
Pissed off.
And angry.
Maybe some of them
Get disappointed.
And some of them
Have even left.
Because they just
Could not accept
Me as I am.

Now, I know that fear
Is just an emotion.
And fear can’t hurt me
Unless I want it to.

OK…
Let me see if I can word this
Better than I ever have.
Just so you can see
That I’m still learning.
And I haven’t given up.

I think that I should start
With me.
Autistic as I am.
And the way that people sometimes
Just flat avoid me.
‘Cause I see the world
In a different way
Than them.

I know that people have
Different parts of life.
A job.
A family.
Church.
Vacation time.
Relatives.
And friends.
Just to name a few.
I think they’re something call
Social environments.
Or maybe that should be
Social settings?
I don’t know.
I’m just now learning
About this kind of thing,
You know.
And it hasn’t been
Any fun at all
To learn.

Yeah….
I know you already know.

I’ve always wondered
Why I felt
Like I did not fit in.
And since the day I learned
About my ASD,
I know.
It explains so many things
In the life I’ve had.
That I never understood before.

And you  know how very scared I’ve been
That when my nature shows enough,
And the people that I’ve met
In this past year of life
See me behave in a way
That they don’t understand.

Well…
That’s how I’ve gotten hurt
A thousand times before.
By not fitting in.

I suppose
I could move around
Every couple
Or three years.
So that no one anywhere
Has time enough
To figure me out
Very well.
And I’d leave
Before there were
Any problems.

But that would be like saying
That I want to avoid pain.
And take the risk of being hurt
Out of my life.
And you know
That I know
That’s just not right.
You said yourself
That bad stuff happens
To every body on the Earth.
That it’s random.
And part of life
Is how we cope with it
When things come apart
On us.

But, you know…
I don’t like the idea
Of being hammered any more
Just because I don’t behave
In the same exact way
That everybody else does.

And I’m running into that again.
Like with that customer
Just yesterday.

As I talk with you,
And try to find the words
That I want to say,
I have to say this first.
I already know
That there are people I know,
That would not treat
That human being
Like another human being.
Do you know what I mean?

They’d follow something
That I’d call
The rules of good behavior.
Like if that person
Was a customer
That they had to deal with.
I’m sure they’d do
What they’re expected to.
And they’d treat that person
Like a customer.
And follow the rule book
For how to treat a customer.

And I’m betting you
That most of them
Would breath a deep sigh
Of relief
When that future her
Had finished up her business
And had walked on.

It’s what happened yesterday,
God.
Right there where I work.
When the people I work with,
And the people in the line
Waiting for us
To get to them,
And help them,
All said such nasty things
About that future her.

I can’t repeat the things
That they said.
But you know the words I heard.
And you know
I can’t forget them.

Tell me, God.
Why do people have to be that way?
Why do people have to be
So very mean an nasty
To other human beings,
Just because
Those other human beings
Aren’t like them?

I remember reading
The stories in the Bible.
In the Gospels, of course.
Matthew, Mark,
Luke and John.
Of the things that Jesus did
When he walked among us
On the Earth.
2000 years ago.

How he healed
People that were hurt,
Even on the “Sabbath”.
Which I think
Was on Saturdays
Back then.
And how soundly
He was criticized
For doing things like that.

I remember the stories
Of him eating with known sinners.
Tax collectors.
Heck, God,
I’m not certain how to phrase
Some of what I’m saying.
And I hope that I don’t get it wrong.

But I think the Bible says
That Jesus went out in the world
To the equivalent of
Emigrant workers.
Like we have today.
The kind that did the jobs
That no one else wanted.

The fishermen.
The farmer workers.
Those that didn’t own
The boats.
Or the land.
Those that worked
For those that did.

I think it also said
That he hung out with people
That the leaders of the church
Back then
Declared were heathens.
And sinners.
And vile.
And should be treated
That way.

And to me,
It’s almost like
Everyone’s some how
Forgotten that.
It’s like the words that say
What kind of people
Jesus walked among
Have somehow been lost
In the translation
From Greek,
And Hebrew,
And Aramaic,
Into the English
Of King James.

Yeah.
And every English translation
Since then too.

I tried very much
To treat that person
That was halfway through
The transition
From a him
Into a her.
Like a human being.
With the respect
And dignity
A human being deserves.

But it bothers me
So very much
When I see the way
That other people
Reacted
To a fellow human being.

Tell me, God.
If you can.
Why are people that way?

Please explain to me,
Like you’ve explained things before,
Why I’m seeing
What I’m seeing.

Am I seeing something
The wrong way
Once more?

I just don’t know.

Please help me, God,
To figure out.
Why people seem that way
To me?