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.

#MWBB Week 2-36 : When Darkness Falls

When darkness falls, I am free from you. In the light of day I’m trapped and must do everything you do, echo every move you make, mimic you. So you don’t know, so you can’t tell, so you won’t see the truth of me.

When darkness falls, I am free to move on my own. Without you.

Tonight, there is no moon, the sky is black, the stars are hidden behind the clouds of a storm. There are no shadows anywhere. I am free to move, walk, run, crawl, jump and dance.

In the darkness, I am free.

I wait beside you, on your bed, as you read stories of space ships engaged in magnificent battles, of fighters zinging through the vacuum, guided by heroes. I wait until you’ve had enough, and can’t hold your book up any longer. I wait as you lift your hand, and flip the switch on your bedside lamp, and the room goes dark.

And I am free.

I start by moving down the side of the bed, to the floor. I walk beneath you, looking up into the box springs, checking where the covers touch the carpet, Slip beneath the cedar chest at the foot of the bed, but nothing’s there.

Beneath and behind the chest of drawers, I find nothing. I didn’t expect to. If they are here, they will wait, hidden, until I leave the room, then they will come out, and whisper in your ear as they twist your dreams.

I check behind your bookcase, beneath your desk and chair. I carefully examine the pile of clothing you collect in the corner of the room each week, and the miscellaneous items, mail, papers, empty soda cans, and other things, you leave randomly scattered through your room and still I find nothing.

I slide beneath your closet door, into the dark world inside. I check the corners of the room, the insides of your shoes and boots, and the box of wrapping paper, looking for any signs of them. I find none.

I slip back into your room and stand at the foot of your bed, “I wonder where they are hidden tonight.” I consider staying in the room, standing guard all night. It is the only way to make certain they don’t twist your dreams. But I can’t stay. Freedom calls me. It drags me away.

Through the door, down the hall, to the living room, where my family members wait for me. My father shares the story of his battle last night, against one of them. He found it hidden beneath your father’s pillow. He shows us the new notch on his sword’s hilt, “Another one that didn’t get away.”

My mother hugs him, “My hero.” She kisses him. He blushes.

My sister suddenly looks nervous, “I haven’t checked beneath her pillow!” She dashes from the room, racing to your sister’s room. She draws her sword as she runs down the hall.

If they have hidden beneath your pillow, I will have to deal with them when I return to your room. For now, I stay with my parents. We walk to the front porch, then the foot of the driveway. It’s time to visit the neighbors. More of us, from each house along the street. We gather in the street each night, and tell our tales of glorious battles with the demons of the dark. I find I like visiting the girl three houses north of yours. I like her smile. And her growing curves. I especially like holding her hand, and dancing to the music of the birds singing in the night.

I never will forget the first night she kissed me.

Too soon, it ends. Dawn will arrive shortly. We have to return to our duties. I have to return to you.

I slip into your room, my sword drawn and ready. I sigh with relief as I see no shapes beside you, nothing whispering in your ear. I slide beneath the covers, and I wait for you to wake. And when you rise in a few short minutes, I’ll be your shadow once again.

688 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 36 (Week 2.36) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Long Black Curl” by Tuatha Dea. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

#ThursThreads Week 90 : He Could Be The One

Arrogance and Pride hid in the shadows between two buildings and watched Simon walk past, on his way to church. Arrogance grinned and Pride reminded him, “Patience, evil one. Patience.”

After Simon passed, the demons followed him, creeping silently between the shadows on the sidewalk, staying out of Simon’s sight. They could feel the delicious anger raging in Simon’s heart.

“He could be the one,” Pride whispered.

“He is the one.” Arrogance replied.

They listened as Simon muttered, “Homos, trying to corrupt my church. I’ll show them.”

Pride and Arrogance fueled Simon’s fire, as they whispered in his ears.

“The nerve of them, thinking we will tolerate their sin!”

“Thinking we don’t know the words of our Lord and Savior.”

“Men sleeping with men is a vile sin. It says so in the word of God!”

Simon went to his office in the church. Pride and Arrogance, hidden in his shadow, followed him. As he reviewed the notes for the lesson he would teach that day, he muttered to himself again, “I cannot let them corrupt God’s children.”

And Arrogance and Pride fueled his anger once again.

“Call them out by name!”

“Tell everyone they will corrupt the church.”

“Unless we remove them.”

In the service, Simon waited impatiently as he sang praises to God and Jesus above, and prayed for God to grant him the strength to do what he had to.

And when he stood before God’s children on that Sunday morning, Arrogance and Pride stood beside him.

250 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 90. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#5SF – Shadows

He has night lights in the corners of every room, closet and hallway in his home. They point into the corners, so the corners never have any shadows. So they are never dark. He says it makes him feel safe. He says no demons can hide in the dark corners of his home.


Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Shadows.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

The Bedtime Story

[Author’s note : I wrote this story on Thursday, 08 April 1999. I share it tonight for someone I know living with monsters that haunt her heart and soul. I wish I could fight them for her.]

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. I do not recall her name. I only know she was young, about four years old. She was a pretty little girl, with curly strawberry-blond hair, and ice blue eyes. But she didn’t really look like Shirley Temple…

This little girl didn’t like to go to bed at night. She would scream at her Father, “But, Daddy! The monsters in the dark! They’ll get me! They’ll eat me up!”

And she wouldn’t go to bed. Her father would sit in his big rocking chair, and she would climb into her Father’s lap, and he would rock her to sleep. When she was asleep, he would carry her to her bed, and carefully tuck her in. “Good night, precious. Sleep tight,” he would say. Then, he would kiss her cheek, and go do the things that Father’s do after everyone else is asleep.

Eventually, the Father became tired of having to rock his daughter to sleep every night. After hundreds of nights in a row, wouldn’t you? So, the Father decided it was time for his daughter to learn to go to sleep in her own bed.

But the little girl refused. “Daddy, the monsters! The monsters in the dark! They scare me! I can’t sleep knowing they are there!” So, the Father had to tell his daughter about the monsters in the dark. What they were, and where they came from. And how to not be afraid of them.

So, he got his little girl into her bed, and tucked under her covers. And he sat down on the side of her bed, and held her hand, and told her this story…

 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was afraid of the monsters in the dark. And she would not sleep at night, because they scared her so. So, her Father, who was not a wise man, but who knew all about monsters, told her, “You don’t have to be afraid of the monsters, and tonight, I’ll stay up with you, and I’ll show you why.”

So, that night, when it was time for the little girl to go to bed, her Father tucked her in, and then sat down on the edge of her bed. “Let’s just wait here, and we’ll wait for the monsters to show up.”

And the little girl lay in her bed, and waited. And she watched the shadows on her bedroom walls. And on her bedroom ceiling. And she listened to all the noises in the dark.

And she sat up in her bed, and pointed, “There, Daddy! There’s a monster!” And her Daddy looked at the monster in the dark, resting on her bedroom wall. “Oh, precious,” he said. “That’s just a shadow. And it’s certainly not a shadow to be afraid of. Why, look.” And he stood up, and walked across the room. And he picked up her little, pink Teddy bear. And when he did, the monster on the wall moved, and went away.

“See, precious. It’s not a monster at all. It’s just a shadow from your Teddy bear. It’s just Teddy, standing on your dresser, keeping watch over your room. Making sure the monsters of the dark don’t come in. Making sure you’re safe while you sleep.”

And the little girl looked at the wall, where the monster had been. And she looked at her Teddy bear. “Oh, Daddy! I didn’t know it was Teddy. Please put him back, so he can watch me while I sleep!”

And from that night on, the little girl knew that the monsters in the dark were just shadows on the walls. And that they weren’t anything to be afraid of.

[Good night, young one. Sleep tight. And know the monsters are not real. Though sometimes they can be very frightening, I know.

Mark.]

Memories : The Story

[Author’s Note : This is an old one. I wrote it on 08 April 1999. But, events of this day have lead me to pull it out, and share it. If you know of any children afraid of monsters in the dark, perhaps you can share this one too.]

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. I do not recall her name. I only know she was young, about four years old. She was a pretty little girl, with curly strawberry-blond hair, and ice blue eyes. But she didn’t really look like Shirley Temple…

This little girl didn’t like to go to bed at night. She would scream at her Father, “But, Daddy! The monsters in the dark! They’ll get me! They’ll eat me up!”

And she wouldn’t go to bed. Her father would sit in his big rocking chair, and she would climb into her Father’s lap, and he would rock her to sleep. When she was asleep, he would carry her to her bed, and carefully tuck her in. “Good night, precious. Sleep tight,”
he would say. Then, he would kiss her cheek, and go do the things that Father’s do after everyone else is asleep.

Eventually, the Father became tired of having to rock his daughter to sleep every night. After hundreds of nights in a row, wouldn’t you? So, the Father decided it was time for his daughter to learn to go to sleep in her own bed.

But the little girl refused. “Daddy, the monsters! The monsters in the dark! They scare me! I can’t sleep knowing they are there!” So, the Father had to tell his daughter about the monsters in the dark. What they were, and where they came from. And how to not be
afraid of them.

So, he got his little girl into her bed, and tucked under her covers. And he sat down on the side of her bed, and held her hand, and told her this story…

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was afraid of the monsters in the dark. And she would not sleep at night, because they scared her so. So, her Father, who was not a wise man, but who knew all about monsters, told her, “You don’t have to be afraid of the
monsters, and tonight, I’ll stay up with you, and I’ll show you why.”

So, that night, when it was time for the little girl to go to bed, her Father tucked her in, and then sat down on the edge of her bed. “Let’s just wait here, and we’ll wait for the monsters to show up.”

And the little girl lay in her bed, and waited. And she watched the shadows on her bedroom walls. And on her bedroom ceiling. And she listened to all the noises in the dark.

And she sat up in her bed, and pointed, “There, Daddy! There’s a monster!” And her Daddy looked at the monster in the dark, resting on her bedroom wall. “Oh, precious,” he said. “That’s just a shadow. And it’s certainly not a shadow to be afraid of. Why, look.” And he stood up, and walked across the room. And he picked up her little, pink Teddy bear. And when he did, the monster on the wall moved, and went away.

“See, precious. It’s not a monster at all. Its just a shadow from your Teddy bear. It’s just Teddy, standing on your dresser, keeping watch over your room. Making sure the monsters of the dark don’t come in. Making sure you’re safe while you sleep.”

And the little girl looked at the wall, where the monster had been. And she looked at her Teddy bear. “Oh, Daddy! I didn’t know it was Teddy. Please put him back, so he can watch me while I sleep!”

And from that night on, the little girl knew that the monsters in the dark were just shadows on the walls. And that they weren’t anything to be afraid of.