Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/07/02

There were times I felt like slapping Stan. There we were, in the abandoned station, tracking down whatever it was that was dragging people away, and he was singing, “Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who? Who? Who let the dogs out?” Grinning like he was in high school.

“Would you shut up?”

Stan kept right on singing, and added dancing, right in front of me.

All I could do was look at the roof of the station, and stare through the windows. “This is Gods punishment for me, isn’t it?”

After Stan sang another verse, I interrupted him again, “I can’t hear the dogs, you know.”

He stopped, cupped an ear, and pretended to listen intently, “Can’t hear the dogs bark? Bark? Bark? Bark? Bar?”

We’d set the dogs loose five minutes earlier. They knew what to do, very special dogs, very trained dogs. Damn expensive ones too. They moved like a team, with one goal. Find anything that looked interesting. Anything human, or anything that might interest their handlers. Dead bodies. Body parts. Bombs. A drug cache. Whatever. When the found it, they’d corner it, and bark like crazy.

Our job was to follow them after ten minutes. Give them time to make certain the area was safe, and then move to the next area. We’d follow behind, within earshot, and listen.

Stan looked pretty stupid with an AR-15 over each shoulder, a belt of grenades across his chest, and kevlar body armor all over, as he sang that damn song. “Who let the dogs out?”

Yeah, we were armed for bear. Actually, we were armed for God only knew what, ‘cause no one knew what we were hunting. No one alive had ever seen it. All anyone knew was something strange was happening. It’d started a couple months ago, with homeless people living outside the station. They’d started to disappear. After three of four of them vanished, the other started reporting them as missing. By the time six had vanished, the homeless moved. All of them. Moved.

That’s when people in the nearby buildings started to disappear. After a few of them, the landlords put in guards at night, to make the buildings safe, and reassure the residents. Then, the guards started disappearing.

Locked doors, armed guards, no gunshots, no signs of a fight or struggle, and the list had grown to nineteen names missing. And no one knew where, or what had happened. The only thing anyone had were stories. “He walked past, going down the hallway. I know ‘cause his flashlight lit the hall as he walked past. Shined under the door, then faded. And then, he didn’t come back. All night. Never came back.”

The stories were all the same. People just vanished. “We need a clue. Call the guys. Send them in. Have the look. That way, we can tell them it’s nothing from the old station. It’s just people. Being people. And leaving for some reason.”

So, there we were, at two in the morning, walking through the old train station, and the parts of tunnels tied to it. Looking for nothing.

“Who let the dogs out?”

Steve didn’t get to finish. The dogs were barking. All the dogs were barking. And their barking was getting louder. Steve pulled an AR-15, got ready. I pulled one too. The barking was louder, and in a few seconds, the dogs came running back into the station. It didn’t take a genius to see they were terrified. And they didn’t stop. They raced past us, and toward the exits. I mentioned they were smart dogs, well trained? They let themselves out, and kept right on running.

Steve looked at me, he scowled, “Well. That can’t be a good thing.”

And we waited. Ready to shoot at anything that moved. Even the shadows. We waited. And sure enough, the shadows moved. Steve emptied his AR’s entire clip into thin air. I watched, as the shadows detached from the wall, from the corner, and spread across the room, where no shadows should have been.

They reached Steve. Covered him. He pulled a grenade, threw it into the shadows. There wasn’t even a flash of light. Then, he was gone.

That was two weeks ago. That’s the last time anyone saw Steve.

715 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 17th week (I missed Week 16! AIEEE!). You can read about the challenge here. This week, I can’t help but wonder what the heck I’ve started this time. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

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Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/05/28

I walked to the end of my backyard boat dock, and waited. “She always comes after dark,” I knew those words well. It had taken time, but I’d learned them.

Her name was Lyria, and she was every bit as magical, and beautiful as her name. “Lyria,” I mumbled her name, and sighed, as I waited for sunset. I knew she’d arrive soon enough. She’d promised.

As I waited, I closed my eyes, and tried to paint her face in my mind. I found I couldn’t. No image I could conjure, no matter how simple, no matter how detailed, could capture what I saw when I looked at her. I sighed, then took a deep breath. “I keep trying, though I know it’s futile.”

The sun touched the horizon on the far side of the lake, and I felt my pulse rising. I felt everything in those moments. The soft breeze from the land, back to the lake, as the ground cooled more rapidly than the lake. A cool breeze. Just enough for my skin to sense it. Just enough for me to shudder at the exquisite sensation. I closed my eyes, and let my arms, shoulders, sides feel the breeze.

After a few moments, I opened my eyes, and found the sun. More of it was hidden now. The light of the sky was changing. Reds, pinks, oranges, and golds, started to paint the sky. It was all reflected on the surface of the lake. Such a still surface, no waves, no ripples. Like a mirror.

The clouds changed from white, cotton candy, to orange and gold cotton. The finest cotton of all, perfect puffs, each with feathered edges, pillowed puffs, and trails of fibers tying them together. The filled the sky, as far as I could see. I sat down, hung my feet off the end of the doc, let my toes touch the water.

“Lyria.”

I waited, as I watched the sun fall behind the horizon. Like a curtain being drawn upward, instead of lowered. The day was drawing to an end.

“She always comes after dark.”

I watched as more of the sun disappeared, with a brilliant flash of gold that lit the sky. The day had ended. It was dark, except for the light reflected and refracted by the clouds. So many shades of gold, yellow, orange. I couldn’t have painted a better sunset had I tried. I knew, no one could ever capture such a sunset, even with a camera. Any camera. It would be a small glimpse, a small sliver of the real image. And image I could remember. One I could paint in my mind, even if I didn’t close my eyes.

It was almost time.

I waited. My toes rested on the water’s surface. I didn’t move. I felt the water, let it talk to my toes, my skin, me. Touch can be so wonderful. Can express so much. Can say so much words can never capture.

Lyria came to me. Across the water of the lake, she walked, like it was solid ground. She stopped just out of my reach. She always did. I knew not to follow her. Not to reach for her. There are beings in this world we are not meant to hold. To touch them is to corrupt them. To ruin them.

I would not, could not ruin her.

She stood, on the water, and smiled at me, as she placed the tips of her fingers on my cheek. I cried. I always cried.

Then, Lyria sang.

And my heart was free.

When the dawn arrived, I stirred. I would be stiff. I was always stiff after I slept on the dock. But I did not care.

Lyria had come. As she’d promised. As she’s promised again, after she sang that night. A song she’s meant only for me. I heard her words. “When the time is right, I would see you again.”

I would be there, on the end of the dock. Waiting. When the time was right. Watching as the sun set. And the sky was transformed once again. For I knew.

Lyria would come.

And I knew, as did she. So long as she came, and sang for me, and touched my face, and held me while I slept.

My heart would find the will to keep going in a world I never made.

731 words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 12th week. You can read about the challenge here. I continue to enjoy writing for it every week so far. And every week I wonder where the words came from. Seems I just have to get out of my way, and let each story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.