#FlashMobWrites 1×23 : Carrion Flowers

I turn the volume up and listen,
As the music screams inside my head,
“Criminal
The Suffering
It makes me think like a
Criminal
When we’re alone.”

And I am alone.
I’m always alone.
I walk, in silence.
One mile down.
Two to go.
I embrace my isolation.
It’s all I truly have.

Gray clouds fill the sky.
There is anger in them.
Bottled up.
Trapped.
Seeking a way out.
An escape.
Release.

I can taste the water in the air.
Feel it on my skin.
Thick.
Clinging.
It would push most people indoors.
Not me.

I feel the grin on my face.
The gleam in my eyes.
“Bring it!
Bring the pain!”

The music changes,
Then changes again,
And again.
Never ending.
I hear the words once more.
I more than hear them.
I feel them.

“This is where I redeem myself
When I show that I’m not blind.
Can’t follow the cattle people.
Not one of the Kine.”
The beat,
The rhythm,
Drives each step.

Who cares how many steps.
Who cares how long it takes.
Who cares what I have to do.
What the day brings.
Work.
Life.
It all falls away.

And I feel.
Escape.

The second mile falls.
With it, the damage in my shoulder
Begins to talk to me.
Another would take the five-pound weight
Hanging on his wrist
Off.

I’m not another.
I hold on to the pain.
I know what it means.
Why it’s there.
And I know,
Like the walk.
The pain is all I have.

I focus on the music,
The rhythm,
The beat.
Walk to the beat.
To the beat.
To the beat.

I hold on to the pain.
Knowing the truth.
It won’t kill me.
Unless I let it.

And come the next day,
As I walk once more,
That pain will be gone.
All that will remain is a memory
Of what it took,
What I had to endure,
To survive.

In a life
On a world
I never made.

333 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×23, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×23. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#HorrorBites 1 : A Bag Of Heads

imageJessica moved silently through the trees, searching for any signs of other people, and finding none. She carefully searched the area around the house, making sure no traps were present. She took her time. She needed to know the man was the only person in the house.

She remembered the bodies. Six naked women. Not even buried. All naked, bruised, battered. He’d raped them, then beaten them. Then beheaded then. The eagles told her all six had been alive when he took their heads. The bodies rested in the woods around the house. Footprints all around them lead back to the house.

The wolves and eagles guarded the bodies, protecting them from scavengers until she could bury them.

She had to stop him before he killed again.

She waited hours past the sunset, until she was certain he was asleep before she approached the house. She picked up the axe he kept by the front door, then slipped inside the house. She moved through the house slowly, making no sound as she searched for him.

He was asleep, face down, on the sofa by the windows. He snored deeply. Jessica used what she’d learned from the wolves, and silently crossed the room. He never heard her. When she reached him, she raised the axe, and slammed it down on the back of his neck, severing his spine. She wasn’t proud of what she’d done. She didn’t like to kill, but knew, sometimes there was no other choice.

As she turned to leave, she spotted a large duffel bag beneath the kitchen table. A note on the bag read “A Bag Of Heads”. She knew what was inside. The heads of the six murdered women.

Jessica sank to the floor, and cried. The whole word had gone insane.

299 words
@LurchMunster


Laura James has started a new flash fiction challenge, #HorrorBites. It happens once every two weeks, and is specific to the fiction genre, horror. I wrote this for #HorrorBites. Please go read all the other #HorrorBites stories. They are well written, and just might scare you.

#MondayMixer Round 29 : Escape

I escaped, once more, into the woods across the street from my neighborhood. I carefully opened the front door, making sure I didn’t damage it, or any of the walls. Just as carefully, I pulled it shut, hearing it lock behind me.

My panic drove me to the safe haven of the woods across the road from my neighborhood.

I sat on the ground, in Sukhasana pose, my eyes closed, as I cleared my mind. I focused on hearing the sounds of the trees. I knew the trees were quiet. Calm. They never seemed to panic. Unlike me.

I inhale, slowly, deeply, and listen to the susurrus of the trees, absorbing the tranquil patience they emanate. Using it to cleanse my thoughts of the meretricious reality binding me to life in a world I never made. Where what has value is worthless, and what is worthless is real, and priceless.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into week 29 of Jeffery Hollar‘s Monday Mixer flash fiction challenge. Please, go enjoy all the gems created by artisans of the written word.

What Happened To The Little Boy

What happened to the little boy
I was once upon a time,
So very long ago?

I know the answer
I’ve been told.
“You grew up.”
“You grew old.”
“The innocence you had
As a little boy,
Got murdered by the world.”

It always comes to that.
The loss of innocence.
The birth of pain.
Where as I grew,
I learned,
Time and time again,
Never trust anyone.
That way,
No one can hurt you
Again.

But I wonder
What was wrong
With that little boy?

That little boy
Wasn’t scared at all
Of the black kids
Down the road.
In fact,
He played with them.
And he had fun.
And they did too.

That little boy
Wasn’t afraid at all
To hold the hand
Of the girl next door
When she was sad.
He held her hand
So many times
While she cried.
And then he wiped the tears
From her eyes.

Sometimes he even hugged her.
And always,
Every day,
He was there.
As her friend.

Because he knew
In his heart and soul
Helping friends
Was the thing to do.

That little boy
Sometimes got angry,
And frustrated too.
And he screamed,
And hollered.
And if he got angry enough,
He got up,
And walked away.

But always,
He calmed down.
Because he knew
Being angry with his friends
Forever
Meant he’d never see them
Again.

What happened to that little boy
That I was
Once upon a time?

That boy and his friends knew
That sometimes boys just fight.
And fight they did.
Running into each other,
Wrestling on the ground,
In the grass and dirt.
And even in the mud.

But always,
When the fight was over,
Everybody knew
Why it had begun.
And that little boy
Always took the time
To work things out
With the other person
In the fight.

What happened to that little boy?
Where has he gone to?
In this world
That needs him
And his kind
So very much?

That little boy never once
Looked at a little girl
Dressed in jeans,
And a t-shirt,
With a ball cap on her head,
And told her she was evil,
And all her kind
Should just be dead.

That little boy never once
Looked at a little boy
That took dancing lessons,
Had long hair
In a pony tail,
And wore pink socks,
As a demon from hell
To be burned at the stake
To keep the world safe
From him.

That little boy always knew
If you had more to eat
That you needed,
Or wanted,
It was OK
To give it to
Someone with no food.

That little boy knew too
That if you broke the rules,
It was you that broke the rules,
And you should just man up
And take what was coming to you.
Instead of trying to blame
Everyone and anyone
But you.
That little boy
Never said at all,
“It’s not my fault!”
When he knew it was.

That little boy
Was not afraid to dance.
Was not afraid to sing.
Was not afraid to laugh,
And smile.
Or scream,
And cry.

What happened to that little boy
From so long ago
That knew so many things
I no longer know?

Who Are You?

I wonder sometimes
If I know anyone at all.
Or if all I know
Of anyone
Is the image,
The façade,
The carefully crafted lie
They want me to see.

I wonder sometimes
Who you really are.
I know you aren’t really
The person that I see
At work every day.
That’s not really you.
That’s who you believe
The world demands you be.
That’s an image
You have crafted
Carefully, and over time.

An image made to control
What people think of you.
That shows you are responsible.
Professional,
Dependable,
Mature,
Grown up.

You don’t cut your hair
When you want to, do you.
You cut it to maintain
An image
You want people to believe.

You don’t buy the clothing
You want to, do you.
You buy the clothes
You wear each day
To keep that image
In place.

You dress the part each day.
You play the part each day.
You wear the clothes.
Trim fingernails,
Cut hair,
To maintain that image
That everybody knows.

That’s not all there is to you
Is it?
That image?
That lie?

I remember the words
Of the Lenten Rose.
“It’s hard, sometimes.”
The rest was left unspoken.
But I knew,
Even then.
I knew.

It’s hard sometimes
To keep that lie
In place.
That image you believe
The world demands you be.

I remember the words
Of my one time boss.
When he said to me,
“You can’t be like that!”

I knew he was wrong.
I understood what he was saying.
That in the working world
There was only one way
I could be.
That I couldn’t have a heart.
I couldn’t have a soul.
In that world
I had to become
What that world expected of me.

I remember the words
Of the one that left.
Because she couldn’t understand
That I can’t lie.

“I have to manage everything
That happens.
I have to watch the things
I do.
The things my friends do
With me.
So that I control
What other people
Think of me.”

She flat-out said
She has to live a lie.

That’s such a sad thing
Isn’t it.

I know too
Why I’m not in that world
I once lived in.

I can’t live that lie.
Doing so
Damn near killed me.

So, these days,
I wink.
I smile.
I try hard
Not to laugh.
When I encounter you.
Because I know.

The person you show me
Isn’t really
Who you are.

And I wonder these days
If you even know.
Or have you forgotten
Who you are.

And all I really wonder
When I talk with you
Is

Who are you?

#VisDare 4 – Stairs

I’d seen the stairs countless times. No one knew where they went. We only knew those that climbed the stairs never came back.

Our lights were our sun, they defined our days. We worked when they were on, we slept when they were off. There was no sun, no sky, no clouds. Only stone walls and rock ceilings everywhere. Our open spaces were our green houses and animal farms. Our water came from aquifers, and we only used what we needed for the farms, and ourselves. This was how things had always been.

But the stairs were always there, tugging me toward them. Until the day I started climbing. I climbed for endless hours until I saw a bright light ahead of me. It drew me in, like a candle draws a moth. I climbed out of the only world I’d ever known, into the light of day.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This piece marks my first attempt at Angela Goff’s Visual Dare, a weekly flash fiction challenge. It was fun, and I will try it again. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

Perhaps It’s Time

I stared into the mirror.
For a long time.
Trying to find something.
Anything.
Positive to say.
Positive to think.

All I could see
Was a trail of destruction.
A trail of fire.
A trail of anger.
Rage.
And pain.

It’s no one’s fault.
I know that.
What happened.
It’s no one’s fault.
Trying to blame someone
Would be like trying
To hold someone responsible
For the rain.

It rains where it rains.
It rains when it rains.
No one is to blame.

I used to think I’d grown.
Think I’d changed.
Believed I’d gotten through
The worst of things.
That I understood
The world I never made.
And could cope with it.
Live in it.
Let it be
The way it is.

Heartless.
Ruthless.
Cold.
Savage.
And so very gray
To me.

I stared into the mirror
For a while.
Oh the things I said
Inside my head.
To myself.

I’ve tried.
God, how I’ve tried.
I try every day.
To keep that last bridge
Between the life I had.
And the life that’s growing now.

With what happened today.
I’m not sure I can.
Not sure it’s worth
The pain.
The effort.
The stress.

It takes so very much
To not be angry.
When everyone you knew
Abandoned you.
Just because
You changed.

And it’s not really like I changed.
Not really that at all.
The truth is far more simple.
Far more plain.

I woke up.
I opened my eyes.
Like Neo
In the Matrix.
I unplugged.

I live in a world these days
That is filled with color.
With people that are so
Very much alive.
People that embrace
Change.
And let me be
Who I am.
Let me believe
What I believe.
That don’t expect me
To be just like them.

Except for that bridge.

I don’t want to burn that sucker down.
I don’t.
There are people on the other side
I really do like.
That honestly
Just don’t understand
Me.
And why I’ve become
So very critical
About the way things are.

I let them be their way.
I try.
Oh, how I try.
To not say anything.
To let them do
What they believe.
Live how they believe.
Be how they believe.

I’ve asked God now
For better than one year
To not give up on them.
To find a way
Somehow.
To wake them up.
Like He did me.

But I know
They won’t.
They won’t ever see.
Won’t ever know.
Won’t ever change.

They don’t see any reason to.
They don’t see any need.
To them
Everything’s the way
It’s supposed to be.
Or just so damn close
That it’s close enough.
That they’re OK
With the way things are.

I know so very many
New people now.
The kind of people
That the folks
On the other side
Of the bridge
Wouldn’t understand.
Wouldn’t accept.
Would ask me what I see
In them.

They’d call my new friends
Evil.
Call them wrong.
Call them sinners.
Heathen.
The Devil’s spawn.

I stared into the mirror
For a while today.
Oh, the things I had to say
To me.
They would hurt you
If you heard them.
I know this.

And in the end
I have to ask
If it’s time.
Time to take
Another step.
And burn that one last bridge
To the ground.

Can I leave that bridge standing
And ever truly be free
From the self-hatred,
Self-abuse,
And self-denial
That once owned me.
In that world
I never made.

I wish I knew the answer.
I wish I knew.

Now, I have to think a while
And figure out.
What I will do.
What’s best for me.
So that I can take
The next step forward
In this new life
I’ve been given.

Perhaps the best thing
I could do
Is nothing.
Is just watch.
And wait.
And see.
What the people
On the far side
Of that bridge do.

Maybe I won’t have to do a thing.
Maybe they’ll burn down that bridge.
To keep their world
Safe from my new friends.
Safe from me.

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.