#MidweekMusings 1×06 : Carry You Home

She was still alive. The man next to her was dead, the hole in his head, the mush that was the back of his head. They’d shot him. He’d been in the way.

Frank knew what they’d done to her. Naked and tied to a tree. His blood turned to ice as he remembered Beth. He’d saved her body, but couldn’t save her heart.

The ice calmed him. “First, make sure no one’s still around.” He pulled his bow off his back, set an arrow, then moved, silently, like a wolf, through the trees and the brush. A predator, hunting. He listened, but heard no one. He searched the ground, and the trees, ready to fight if needed. A trained warrior. A trained killer.

The woman was still alive. Damn it. He should have walked away. Should have let her die. One more victim of the violence filled world. But, he couldn’t. He wouldn’t sleep that night if he did. He might never sleep again if he left her there.

He searched the woods until he found them. Three of them in the trees, four of them on the ground, arranged in a half circle around the woman, waiting for anyone to show up. A classic trap, she was the bait. Outnumbered, seven to one, Frank could have walked away. Waited until the men gave up. That might be a day, or two. That might be a week. They might stick around until their bait died. Either way, they’d move on, find someone else.

The woman, and her friend, lost in the woods. They’d probably been hunting a safe place. A village, a town, where people would welcome them. Take them in. Plenty of lost couples wandered in the forest, the mountains. Most of them starved to death. They didn’t know how to hunt for food.

Bands of men hunted them. Always killed the male. Always raped the female. Always set a trap. Frank knew they set traps because it always worked. Others lost in the woods tried to help. They rushed in, blindly. And the men who waited had another woman to rape. And they did. Endlessly.

Frank wasn’t lost in the woods. He lived there. Hunted there. Survived there. Alone.

Carefully, he pulled two more arrows from his quiver, propped them against the tree he stood next too. Frank knew what to do. He targeted one of the men in a tree, let the arrow fly. It struck the man in the neck. The second arrow struck the second man hiding in a tree. It caught him in the belly. The man howled in agony and fell. Idiot probably broke his neck in the fall.

The other men knew something was wrong, but hadn’t started to react. Frank fired the third arrow. It caught the third tree dweller in the chest. The man stood on a tree branch, and looked at the arrow sticking out of his chest. He looked surprised, like something was wrong, something didn’t make sense. He sat down on the branch. Frank wondered how long it would take for him to die. But he had no time to watch. He dashed through the brush to his left, toward the closest of the men on the ground. He pulled an arrow from his quiver as he ran. The man never figured out what was going on. Frank pounced on him, and drove the arrow into his neck. The man fell, silently. Unable to scream.

The other three did what Frank expected. They left their hiding spots, wandered into the open, headed toward the tree dweller who’d screamed. Frank put an arrow in the back of one of them. The other two turned, drew their guns, and started shooting at everything.

One arrow struck a man in the left thigh. Another struck the other in the right hip. Both howled in pain. Frank stayed hidden, and waited. The two he’d wounded panicked, dropped their guns, and started to rip the arrows from their bodies, which only caused them to bleed more profusely. The other five were no longer threats.

Frank walked to the two wounded men. He kicked their guns away, into the woods. They looked at him, pleaded for help. Frank never made a sound. He approached the woman. Untied her. She was too weak to walk.

“I know a place you will be safe.” He pulled the shirt off one of the dead men, helped her put it on. Then, he carried her. “A place you can call home.” He looked to the sky and screamed the cry of an eagle. An eagle answered. Frank screamed again. He knew, the eagle would fly to Jessica.

“I know someone. A woman.” Frank looked at the woman he carried. “She’ll take care of you.”

And he carried her away from that place of death.

808 words
@LurchMunster


For week 1×06 of #MidweekMusings, a flash fiction adventure hosted by #FlashMobWrites (Ruth Long and Cara Michaels). Please, go read all the stories for this week’s prompt.

#FlashMobWrites 1×16 : Bad Blood

It wasn’t the first night Frank couldn’t sleep. Valerie slept inside their small home, in their small bed. He’d worked hard with her to make that house, to make the things they had.

Frank stood in their garden. Valerie cared for it, every day he was away. He was away often, with his wolf, bear, eagle, and hawk friends. The animals, all predators, walked through the world with him. They hunted men. Men who saw women at things, possessions, things they used, then disposed of.

Frank lost count of how many he’d killed. But he remembered them when he slept. Flesh and blood, like him. He saw the faces of the dead, some of them boys being raised by their fathers.

What they did was wrong, he knew that. Women were people, not animals, not slaves, not sexual objects. They were human beings. Flesh and blood. Like him. He remembered when it started. That long walk to the ruins of a city to find books and tools. Anything they could use. Anything they needed to survive.

He’d found Kelly on that trip, rescued her. The two of them found others, including Beth.

Beth’s body healed. But her heart, her soul, were to wounded. Too many nights Frank closed his eyes, and saw her body in the forest, in an ocean of dried blood. Beth killed herself

And Frank went insane.

“How many have I killed?” He stared at slivers of the night sky, filled with stars as it peeked through the leaves of the trees. “Before I become like them? Before I lose who I am. Before…”

His heart ached, his hands shook. He wanted to scream, but had no voice. To cry, but had no tears. He wanted to feel. Anything. Alive.

All he felt was empty.

A wolf entered the garden, stood before him. Jessica followed it. “Frank?”

Frank said nothing.

“The wolf brought me here. Told me you were here.” She stood beside him.

Frank said nothing. He wasn’t sure he was breathing. Maybe he’d never breathe again. Maybe he was already dead. Like the men he’d killed.

Jessica looked into his eyes. “Frank?”

“I’m not who I thought I was.” He didn’t know where the words came from. “I’m not a hero. Not a good guy.” He couldn’t look at Jessica. She was a hero. He wasn’t. “I’m a killer.”

Jessica took his hand, “It’s time. Go. Find yourself.”

Frank looked back at his home. “Valerie?”

“We’ll take care of her. You know that.”

Frank looked at the stars through the trees, then walked from the garden, into the woods.

Jessica cried. The wolf kept her company. She didn’t know if Frank would. She stayed in the garden, waited for sunrise, waited for Valerie. She had to tell Valerie where Frank had gone. When he’d be back.

And she didn’t know how.

The wolf spoke, “He’ll return. When he believes he’s paid for the things he’s done.”

491 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×16, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×16. You might find something you like. But if you don’t try, how will you ever know?

#MWBB Week 2.15 : The Hungry Wolf

Lust loved the beach. It didn’t matter if it was midday, or midnight, the beach was always filled with entertainment. From the hotels to the sand, to the ocean, humans and their self-denial of their animal nature always brought him entertainment. As he slinked along the shaded concrete of the boardwalk, Lust pondered his best course of action for the day.

“Should I play with lots of humans, wrecking random havoc? Should I find a group of humans, and torture them continuously? Perhaps I should attach myself to a single human, and give them a Las Vegas style adventure?”

For a time, he watched the humans on the sand setting up their towels, chairs, and coolers. He particularly enjoyed watching the curvy female humans, in their barely there clothing. “Ah, the wonders of the female mind. Only a human female would scream, ‘Don’t look at me!’ and wear a tiny bikini which leaves nothing to imagine, and screams the opposite, ‘I’ve got it, and I’m gonna flaunt it!’. Perfect.”

He picked out a redhead, in a little pink number. The only things the fabric hid were her nipples, and between her legs, and it barely hid them. Lust watched her spread her towel on the white sand. He knew she was a regular on the beach when she staked her towel to the ground, so it wouldn’t blow around. Then she sat down, leaned back, and pulled out a book to read.

He knew she’d be perfect for his needs that day. He’d stay close to her for a while, and cause havoc of all kinds.

He started with a group of teenage boys as they walked by. The boys were there for one reason, though no one would ever admit it. They wanted to see curvy women, barely dressed, and fantasize about the many things they could do with them.

Lust whispered in the ear of the boy starring the hardest, “this is a good place to enjoy the water, isn’t it?”

“Hey, guys! This looks like a good place!” Sean proclaimed, “Last one in!” and he ran through the shallow waves near the shore, splashing up a storm. The other boys made like the pack they were, and followed suit. Lust had a blast as he listened in.

“Did you see her?”

“Oh, God, how could I not?”

“I wanna eat her boobies.”

“Spread those legs, momma, I’m coming in!”

“I keep hearing ZZTop.”

“Yeah, she’s got legs!”

“And she knows how to use them!”

“I’d let her wrap ‘em around me anytime.”

Of course, they would behave. None of them would do anything, except stare at her, which was OK by Lust. The more they drooled, the better. “Yes,” he thought, “she’ll do for today.”

Another female walked the sand, looking for a place to park. Lust knew exactly what to do. He whispered in her ear, “There’s a place next to her that’s perfect for you.”

“Um. Hi.” Sally shyly spoke to the person on the sand. “Is this spot free?”

“Sure is. Pull up a towel.”

Sally did, and Lust grinned, then he licked his lips, and slipped between them, like a hungry wolf, “I think I’ll try to talk them into a party of their own tonight.” He whispered in Sally’s ear, “Why don’t you comment about those teenage boys.”

Sally sighed, “Figures.”

“What?”

“We’re being stared at.”

“So we are.”

“Don’t you wish they would grow up?”

Her new friend only nodded. “It’s so obvious, What they’re thinking.”

Lust licked his lips and smiled, evil in his eyes, as he whispered to his chosen one, “Why not offer to help with her suntan oil?” Which she promptly did. As she ran her fingers across Sally’s shoulders, and down her back, Lust whispered, “Damn, that feels good doesn’t it?”

Yes, it did. And she let her fingers linger just a bit as Lust pipped in, “Perhaps she can help you with yours?”

She placed the bottle beside Sally’s head, “Would you mind?”

Lust always loved the beach in the summer time. He loved to play his games. They were so very fun.

688 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 15 (Week 2.15) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

A Clip From My #NaNoWriMo Work In Progress

[Author’s Note – If you find extreme acts of violence, and descriptions of such acts, disturbing, don’t read this.

What follows is a clip from my Work In Progress, being written for NaNoWriMo 2013. This work has been difficult for me to write. It contains extreme levels of violence, and touches on topics that greatly disturb me.

After several people expressed interest in the story, I decided to share a small clip.]

Frank grabbed Jessica’s hand, “Run!”

They did. But it was no use. The three men rapidly caught up to them. One grabbed Jessica’s arm, yanking her to a stop. Frank turned, and charged at that man. The other two men attacked Frank, striking him in the face, and chest. They quickly overwhelmed him.

Jessica didn’t know if Frank was alive or dead. At the least, she knew he was hurt. She felt fire ignite in her soul. She felt it raced through her blood. She dropped the bag she was carrying, turned, screamed, and struck at the face of the man holding her. She kept her fingernails extended. They tore into his skin, leaving long tracks as they ran down his cheek.

She screamed again, and kicked him, with everything she had, right in his male parts. He lifted off the ground, bellowed in pain, his hands letting go of Jessica’s arm as he reached for his injured crotch and doubled over, howling in pain.

The other two men circled her. “Oh. We got us a tough filly here, don’t we?”

“Yessir. We got a tough bitch here.” They separated, one on each side of her, knowing there was no way she could fight both of them. They were ready for her now. Not like the man she’d taken down. He hadn’t expected her to fight. The two men circling her were ready. There was no surprising them.

Jessica bared her teeth in a nasty snarl, so resembling of a wolf’s snarl, the men hesitated. Making a low growl, she turned from one to the other, waiting. Quickly, eagles filled the sky, circling. They waited. They did not intervene. They waited. They knew. She was finding her fire. Her strength. Her soul.

She was remembering who she truly was.

With no sound at all, she leaped toward the man to her left. He countered by leaping at her, his arms drawn back, beginning to swing. The other man started toward the two of them.

Jessica hurled herself toward the man, easily ducking past his wildly swinging arms, extending her fingers like wolf claws, and raking them across the mans neck, drawing blood. Lots of blood. Her nails torn, her own fingers bleeding, she ignored the wounded man, and turned toward the third member of the group.

He wrapped his arms around her, lifted her off the ground as he kept running. They collided with the side of a house. Jessica felt her shoulder separate. She felt her ribs crack. The man bounced off her, dropping her to the ground.

The pain fueled her fire. She kicked with her legs, her feet connecting with one of his knees. She heard the sounds of tearing tendons and ligaments. She heard him howl in pain, and watched him fall to the ground, his hands clasping his knee.

Jessica struggled to her feet. She went back to the bag, and found a hammer. She turned back toward the men.

The three men fled. Staggering. One holding his neck, trying to keep his blood inside his body. She’d torn the veins on the side of his neck with her fingernails. The one with the destroyed knee hopped along, desperately trying to flee. The third tried to walk, but was still doubled over from the torture between his legs.

Jessica hunted them down. She swung the hammer, like a sword. She struck the head of the man with the broken knee, right behind his left ear. The hammer sunk in, with a sickening cracking noise. The man fell, his body twitching.

She caught the man with the wounded crotch next. Planting the hammer in his left eye, like she was hitting a baseball with a bat. He pitched over backward, limply falling to the ground, not moving.

She swung the clawed end of the hammer at the neck of the third man. The claws sank into his neck, and she yanked, as hard as she could, using all her body weight. The hammer tore loose, and the man’s blood gushed out. He collapsed to the ground, his hands clasping his destroyed neck, his life blood spurting out, spreading rapidly around him.

She returned to the first two men, and made certain they were dead. She watched the third stop moving as his blood stopped flowing.

The eagles in the sky circled the scene. As they did, they screamed, declaring to the world, she was remembering who she was. She was finding her heart, and soul.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 7)

Dawn on the sixth day of Sword’s journey was absolutely beautiful. The sun slowly inched above the trees, turning the clouds and sky shades of pink, purple, and blue. Sword had slept well that night. The birds woke him up in time to see the sunrise. They could be very loud when they wanted to. Especially a screech-owl, standing next to your head. Sword’s ears were still ringing.He’d been angry at first, wondering why they would wake him so early. But as he watched the birds, he began to think they woke him for a reason. As if they knew there would be a beautiful sunrise. And they wanted him to see it. As if it was a gift. And the sunshine breaking through the darkness of the night, and bringing all the colors of the world to life once more was beautiful.

And he realized it was a gift. Sunshine. A beautiful day. This was a gift from the fairy child named Sunshine. Mystica’s first adopted daughter. She had the wild magic gift of weather. Sword smiled. Then he laughed. He felt great. His friends, Mystica and her daughters, were looking forward to his visit. And he was almost there.

Once the sun was up, Sword resumed his journey. Chasing the birds from tree to tree. It had become a game. Sword, chasing the birds, and the birds staying just out of reach. It was a marvelous way to pass the time on his journey. And in no time at all, Sword and his bird friends had covered miles. The birds were singing, and dancing. Sword was laughing, watching them dance. He’d never known birds could dance. He’d never paid attention before. But they were dancing. And Sword joined right in, hopping around, fluttering his wings, craning his neck, flapping his arms, and doing his best to imitate his avian friends.

The birds led him down from the trees, to a small clearing, filled with roses. Sword stopped there for a time. He looked at roses. Deep red velvet ones. Cream colored ones. White, pink, yellow. His favorite were the multicolored ones. With red fringes on yellow petals. Or white trails through red petals.

Sword sat down in the middle of the roses, on a well-worn path. And he closed his eyes. He knew. This was one of Rose’s gardens. He was getting close to the end of his journey. And he would soon see Rose.

The birds stayed there, among the roses, with him, as he heard a rustling noise. He looked to the West, and saw a shadow in the forest. A big shadow. He watched as that shadow slowly detached itself from the forest, and walked into the daylight of the roses. It was a wolf. A big one. It stayed on the trail through the roses. It stopped a safe distance from Sword. And it sat down.

The birds sang for a while. Then, they took flight, scattering in all directions. Leaving Sword alone with the wolf. The wolf just sat there. Watching Sword. “Am I supposed to follow you now?” The wolf nodded. Then stood up, turned and headed back the way it had come. After a couple of steps, the wolf stopped, looking back at Sword.

Sword got to his feet, and followed the wolf. In this place. In this forest. Near the lake. Sword began to realize things were different. Dragons weren’t dangerous. Wolves didn’t attack people. Predators and prey lived in peace. Side-by-side.

This was the land of Mystica and her daughters. He could feel it. It was a distinct feeling. A happy feeling. A safe feeling. A caring feeling. Where everyone was welcome. Every creature welcome.

The wolf led Sword down a well-worn trail. A trail walked by wolves, and others. A trail that blended into the woods. One that was hard to discern. But following the wolf, it became obvious to Sword. He knew he would never have found it on his own.

He’d been planning to head West, until he reached the river. And then, he’d explore the river to the north, hoping he was south of the lake.  After a couple of days, he’d turn south, and search for the lake to the south of where he’d found the river.

Now, he didn’t have to search. He could feel the wolf leading him to the lake.

Along the trail, Sword noticed more and more vines filled with green leaves, and flowers. White and pink flowers. And he began to feel music. He could close his eyes, and he could feel music gently caressing everything. The flowers, the trees, the ground, the wolf, and himself. He knew the music was Musica. And it was music that soothed all the aches and pains he had from his journey. He couldn’t help but smile.

The trail came to the river. Sword had never seen this part of the river before. But he knew it was the river leading to the lake. And he was happy he had the wolf guiding him. The wolf turned south. So did the trail.

The wolf stopped and took a long drink from the river. Sword did the same. The wolf waded into the river, diving under its surface, splashing around. Sword realized the wolf was taking a bath. So he waded into the river too. And splashed. He washed the dirt off himself. Washed the debris out of his hair. Got his shorts soaking wet, and mostly clean.

The wolf and Sword returned to the trail, where they stopped, and waited for the water to dry off of their bodies. “Thank you, kind wolf. You are wise to help me make myself more presentable for Mystica and her daughters.” Sword swore the wolf smiled.

When they’d dried off, they continued their journey to the south. Bushes filled with flowers filled in both sides of the river, they bushes were well cared for. Sword realized all he had to do to find the lake was find the roses of that garden. Find the trail. And follow it to the lake.

And suddenly, there it was. The lake. The trail just ended, and opened up to the lake. The wolf led Sword out into the clearing.

Rose was there. Waiting for him. She smiled at him, and gave him a big hug. Wrapping her arms around his neck. She never said a word. Neither did Sword. And when she finished hugging him, she took his hand, and led him into the clearing, where Mystica, Dream, Sunshine and Musica waited.

“Welcome to our home, Sword,” Mystica greeted him. “It’s so grand of you to visit.” She picked him up, like the little boy he really was, and gave him a hug before setting him down. “I must tell Oceana that you are here, and unscathed.”

That’s when Dream spoke. “OK. Mommy. We’ll take care of him.” And she smiled. And Sword, for the first time in his life, blushed. It was an interesting feeling, that burning sensation in his cheeks, and across his chest.

Mystica laughed, and so did her daughters. “I’m sure you will.”

And so ended Sword’s first journey to the lake. It was a journey he would make twice a year, every year, from then on. At first, Mystica’s daughters knew he was coming to spend time with all of them. But, over the years, it became obvious to all of them. Sword made his journey twice a year for Rose.

The two of them were like two halves of one whole.

He spent plenty of time with all of Mystica’s daughters. He loved them all. And they loved him. But he made that trip, twice each year.

For Rose.

Safe In The Darkness

I stood, lost in the darkness, outside the clearing. She nonchalantly waited for me there, knowing she was safe. Knowing I protected her. A wolf enter the clearing, saw her, tucked its tail, lower its head and quickly crossed the clearing, leaving her alone. After a time a fox quietly approached her. Crawling along the ground. Whimpering. She gently scratched behind it’s ears. And the fox returned to the darkness it had come from.

“I know you’re there.” Her voice had always been music to my ears. “Won’t you come talk with me?” I remained silent, within the darkness, as I would until her nonchalance had burned away, and she would protect me in her world, as I protected her in mine. If that day ever arrived.

Even if it never did, she would remain safe in the darkness of my world. I would see to that.

I created this piece for the 28th #SatSunTails, hosted by Rebecca Clare Smith. Please go read all the entries for this weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. They are all works of art crafted by artists that paint with words.