#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.

#MenageMonday 2×15 : The

In two hours, it would be time to go to work. Hank stared at his watch. “I like my watch.” It was larger than a wristwatch, and it attached to his belt with a well crafted chain. “A pocket watch. Not at all what anyone would expect.”

Carefully, he placed the watch in his pocket, and looked at his computer once more. “Two hours of freedom. Two hours to be me. And then. Everything becomes the same, the same colors, the same rules, the same words.” He hated work, where everyone behaved identically, no matter what. “We all dress the same, always shave, always keep our hair cut just right, wear the same suits, the same ties, the same shoes and socks.”

It was one of those mornings where he was desperate for anything different, anything that wasn’t the same, that wasn’t old, and hadn’t been done a billion times. He brought up the video streaming service, and searched for random names, and random items. “Jose Benedict”. “Concept cars 2019”. “Hunting a new music video”. Nothing felt right in the results. Everything felt the same. “Less than two hours now.”

Out of desperation, he got more detailed in his search efforts, “i am hunting for pearls music videos.” He wondered if that was too specific, as the results showed up. It wasn’t. “There. Something new!” A new music video, he’d never heard. “Finally! A fresh start with something different!” he clicked play, and watched something he’d never seen before.

249 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×15 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.

 

#MenageMonday 2×11 : The E Line.

He sat in his seat and stared out the window at the snow, and trees, as they drifted by while I tried to answer his question. “The E on the front of the train means ends at sundown. I am sorry if you thought it meant Express.”

He shook his head, and glared at me. “When do we get to Roanoke?”

“When we get there.”

“There’s a schedule for when this train is to be where. When does that schedule table say we get there!”

“It’s not that kind of schedule. This train’s schedule ends at sundown, and starts at sunrise. It’s more like a city park that’s only open from dawn until dusk.”

“Will we get there today?”

“If we get there before sundown.”

“What happens at sundown?”

“The track ends.”

“What?”

“The track ends. And at sunrise, the track starts again.” He looked totally confused. “Think of it as a Final Fantasy computer game, but they turn it off at bedtime.”

We waited, staring at each other, until the train stopped. He stared out the window again. “Where’d the track go? It was there a few minutes ago.”

“Sundown, sir. The track ends at sundown.” I reached into the overhead bin, and pulled out a pillow, and a blanket for him. “Enjoy your night, sir. At least it’s warm in here.”

223 words
@mysoulstears


This was fun. It’s week 2×11 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.

#MenageMonday 2×04 : Support Local Business!

They told me supporting local businesses, small businesses in the town, was a civic duty. That’s what each of the candidates had in their political advertisements. “I support local businesses, they help communities grow.”

That’s where I got the marvelous idea of seeing how much they supported local businesses, and if they were particular about which local businesses they’d support. I marched into Magic Letters Tattoo, and plunked down $100 for gift cards, $50 on each of the candidates. “Yeah. Let’s see how you support local businesses now, you political reprobates! Ha!” I love being the mischievous little devil sometimes. Although at over six feet tall, I suppose I’m not really little.

And then I went to the local offices of the two candidates, and donated a $50 gift card to each of the candidates, with a card attached that asked, “Magic Letters needs your help to stay in business! Please help them out! Support local business!”

I even wrote a letter to the editor of the local news station that explained what I’d done, and how I was waiting to see if the candidates could put their money where their big fat mouths were.

Of course, they didn’t. No Magic Letters on either candidate.

I’m not sorry at all. I knew it was throwing away the $100. But, it was a civic duty, after all, to support local business, and reveal the true nature of the political slimes running for office. Or should I say, running for money?

245 words
@mysoulstears


I wrote this for week 2×04 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.