#MenageMonday Week 03×05 : A Halloween Story

James sat at the bus stop, wishing its glaring lights were off, as they hurt his eyes. “Besides. They perfectly illuminate everyone here, making us perfect targets for some idiot with a gun. Target practice. And we’d be the targets. Never see them, ‘cause they’re in the dark.”

Worse, he was alone, the only person at the stop. Sophie’s Halloween Party had ended, right at 11:00 that night. James wound up having to catch the bus. Everyone else had cars to drive, or ride in. Not James. No one even offered.

Sophie shooed him out, and locked the door behind him. All he could do was catch the midnight bus home. The last bus. If he missed that, he got to walk, or sleep on the bench at the bus stop. That didn’t work for him. The walk was 12 miles. He wouldn’t get home until damn near dawn. Staying at the bus stop all night wouldn’t work either. He’d be awake the entire time, and watch the sun come up.

James wasn’t scared of the dark, really. He was scared of what was in the dark. The things, the people, he couldn’t see. They could be there, just outside the reach of the bus stop lights, watching him already. Waiting for him to drop his guard so he’d be easy pickings. Maybe someone would sneak up behind him, and bash him over the head. Or perhaps a couple of giant rats would come out of the dark, teeth gnashing, and chew him up.

“Sometimes, I swear,” he stood up, and walked around the bench a few times. “It’s like my brain cells laugh at me.”

He imagined his brain cells, pointing out an endless of possible disasters that could happen, doing their best to make him anxious, cause him to panic. He could almost hear their evil laughter as they brought up endless ideas and thoughts on how he could end up dead, waiting for the bus.

In desperation, he pulled out his phone, and checked the time. 12:31 AM, and the bus still hadn’t arrived. Perhaps it had broken down somewhere. Or been hijacked by some dude with a gun. Maybe the driver had a heart attack, and was dead, inside the bus, somewhere down the road, and would never arrive.

“Fricking brain cells.” James shook his head. “Shut up!”

He sat down on the bench, and waited, as his brain cells declared he should find a sheet of paper, draw a target on it, and stick it on his chest.

When the sun came up, James was still there. Waiting. He woke up when someone poked him, “Dude! Let the lady sit down!”

The lady had winked at him, and giggled, “Somebody had a long night.”

“The bus. It never came.”

The lady laughed. It was almost like that evil laughter his brain keep repeating that night. “The bus doesn’t run after dark on Halloween, silly.”

486 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 03×05 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#MenageMonday Week 2×50 : Berlin Was Gone

My phone beeped again when it received Pamela’s message, “What are you doing at the fountain?”

I’d known she was going to ask that, when she’d asked where I was. Even knowing, I didn’t have a good answer. Lacking anything else to say, I sent back the words, “Waiting for the missiles to arrive.”

“With all that’s happened?” I watched the fountain as I wondered if the water noticed what we humans did. I wondered until the next beep of my phone. “Berlin is gone, and half of Germany with it, and you’re watching a fountain?”

I looked to the East. Berlin had been seven hours ahead of us. “Did anyone see the cloud?” A tactical nuclear weapon had struck Berlin. The news had exploded, and interrupted everything, just after 5 in the afternoon.

My phone beeped again. “I need you here. The world is ending.”

Since Berlin, London, Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon had also been struck. I texted my wife. “I’ll wait here, for the missiles to arrive.”

Pamela managed to turn the tables on me one last time. “The world is ending. I don’t want to die alone.”

“I’m on my way.” I started walking home, thinking I was a heel, a selfish ass, an uncaring soul. As I walked, I wondered, “Will I get there before the missiles get here? Will it make any difference one way or another?”

I sent one more message, “Meet you half way?”

Then, I prayed to see her one last time.

249 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×50 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#MenageMonday Week 2×49 : Can’t Cheat Death

The big empty. It’s where I was born, where I’d always lived, where I was trapped. A world where you got through high school, and went to work on a farm. Maybe you got a job at the nearby chicken or pig warehouses. Maybe you got nothing but a summer job at the nature adventure tourist trap 50 miles from home, and spent summers in a tent city, working for virtually nothing, and spending half of it on food from the only place you could get it. The place where you worked.

At 18, you got engaged, at 19 you became a parent, and at 21, you got your first divorce. Because. That’s how it went in the big empty.

That’s why I packed my few belongings in a backpack, and walked out of the house one day. “You can’t cheat death, but you can change everything else.” I wasn’t going to die in the big empty. I wasn’t going to have no education, no job, no future. I was going to escape to anywhere.

Anywhere was better than the big empty.

I’d never tried hitchhiking before. I’d never been on a road trip either. Yet there I was. Trying to catch any ride I could, away from everything I’d ever known. Yeah. I was terrified. But I knew it was better to be terrified than to become as empty as the big empty itself. So, I kept walking. And working. For that first ride. That first step.

To anywhere.

246 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×49 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#MenageMonday Week 2×41 : Far From Home

“Frank?” Valerie put a hand on a strand of barbed wire in the fence, “Why did people make fences so dangerous?”

I pulled her hand away from the barbs, “It kept the good animals in, and the bad animals out, and made it a lot harder for thieves to steal things. Dad had a barbed wire fence around the cows. He kept them inside that fence. Told me it kept the foxes and wolves, and other predators out. Protected the cows.”

“But?”

I nodded. It was another sign that humans had never actually trusted each other, except in small groups. How they protected themselves from all the other groups.

“In the city, they had razor wire, to keep people out.” She took my hand in hers, “There were good people. And bad people.”

O studied the fence a bit. “Damn. This is something I saw on that long trip. When I went so far from home.”

She tugged on one of the wires, “This fence was recently built.”

I nodded, and put my hand on the place I’d been shot by people at another fence. “If it’s what I think it is, you’re going to need to learn to use a bow and arrow.” I prayed to the Universe I was wrong. “We need to tell Jessica.” It was six days to Jessica’s town. I hoped we got there before the fence people did.

234 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×41 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#MenageMonday 2×37 : Part Entertainment and Part Business

David was counting the money, one penny, nickel, dime, and quarter at a time. There were lots of them to count, especially the pennies. He paused for a few moments, to stare at the jar full of coins. “A rather successful outing, I do believe.”

He leaned back in his desk chair, and remembered the afternoon experience, after school. Tanya and Shauna in a cat fight, in the alley, with at least a hundred kids watching. The hard part was always the same. Getting the two competitors to agree to delay the fight until he could arrange the time and the place. It always made things easier when it offered to split everything three ways. Each of them got a third, and he got a third for arranging things. 25 cents admission. Pay him at the entrance to the alley.

The only rule was no talking about the fight. No telling anyone when it was, or where it was. And no talking about who won or lost. 25 cents got you in to see the fight.

Four kids was $1. 100 was $25. The easiest $8 he ever made. And he’d made $8 12 times in the past three months. Lots of kids seemed to hate each other, and wanted to fight. Lots more always wanted to watch.

David always got to open the fight. To him, it was part entertainment and part business. And he always opened the show by saying, “Let ‘em fight!”

237 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×37 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#MenageMonday 2×28 : It’s Hell, Boy”

“Everybody thinks Heaven is all good, with nothing bad in it.” The old man shook his head. “Look around, boy. Look around.”

It was stunning, beautiful beyond words. Grasses painted the valley green. A rock path lead into it. “Took years for me to get those right.” Every rock on that path was placed to make it look like years of water, and wind, and rain had placed the rocks.

“Pure heaven, ain’t it?” He looked up at the crystal blue sky, with cotton candy white clouds all through it. “Pure heaven.”

In the center of the valley was a spiral of large rocks. “The pattern the whirlpool makes as it drowns everything when the rain comes.”

“I don’t understand.”

The old man held up his hand, and touched the breeze. “You will.” He started walking up the hillside, out of the valley. I followed. “Heaven and hell are locked, boy. They’re the same. Like night and day, or hot and cold. You can’t have one without the other.”

At the top of the hillside, we stopped. The rain started. “You’ll understand soon enough.”

It started like a spring shower, but it grew, until it became a monster. Water raced downhill, collected in the trails leading to the valley, and became an flood that filled the valley, and washed everything, birds, mice, foxes, flowers, everything, into a whirlpool, right where the rock spiral was.

“Like I said, boy. It’s heaven. And it’s hell. Always remember that.”

246 Words
@mysoulstears (currently deactivated).


It’s week 2×28 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#MenageMonday 2×17 : She’s Not The Devil

“I can’t focus on this.” I clapped my pencil onto the table. “I just can’t focus.”

Jerry looked up from his work. He stared at me with that stare that said he was trying to understand a problem. After a few seconds he chuckled, “You can’t focus ‘cause you’re thinking about her.”

“Yes, I’m thinking about her.” I stood up, stretched, “Gods, if she was the devil she’d have horns, you know.”

“Instead, she has blonde hair, green eyes, and what are, for you, just the right curves.”

I sighed, “Yeah. I start working with the numbers for the rebar, and I end up sidetracked.” I held up my notebook. “See?” The sheet of paper was covered in scribbles, and a few curved lines, and her name.

“Yeah,” he stood up, “Those curves almost match where her neck and shoulder come together.” He headed toward the chalkboard in the lab, “She’s not the devil, and she doesn’t have horns. And she’s not just a dream to you. I can prove it.”

Jerry started scribbling away, “It’s a set of chaotic equations. Change the starting point, and get a totally different answer. But, if we make you the starting point,” he kept scribbling away, all kinds of gibberish to me, “She’s the answer.”

“What?”

“She happens to exist at your weak spot. Your Achilles heel.”

“What?”

“There’s only two or three women that will be at that weak spot.” Jerry grinned. “And they’ll always turn you stupid.”

246 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×17 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.