Flash Fiction #8 – I Will Possess Your Heart

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So…this is a continuation of the last flash fiction, and it’s inspired by the Death Cab for Cutie song, I Will Possess Your Heart.

 

“Show time,” I whispered.

Harper stiffened slightly in my arms and shifted her grip on the wooden stake in her hand. I hated to let her go, I like having her warm and willing in my arms even though I knew she’d never be there if not for this fucking assignment.

The rustling behind her grew louder and a dark figure burst through the bushes. Harper spun from my arms to stand at my side just as I caught a glimpse of red glimmering in the creature’s eyes. “Goddamnit.”

The demon, who wore the body of little girl, giggled, the sound almost musical. “You’re far too late with that curse, hunter.”

“What do you want?” Harper demanded. Her voice was almost bored-sounding, but it was impossible not to feel the tension coursing through her body.

The demon swung one of those stupid-expensive dolls by the arm. The kind that came with storybooks and clothes that cost more than mine. The demon and the doll even wore matching plaid dresses, their long brown hair in braids. “A reign of blood and terror. Supreme power. Hell on earth.”

“The usual, then,” I muttered.

She lifted the doll and held it under its arms, looking into its dead-eyed face. “Isn’t that right, Samantha. We just want the usual.” She looked away from the doll and up at me. “We just want what we have coming to us.”

“Is that all?” Harper snapped

She slowly turned her head in that creepy way that only small children can and stared at Harper. “We only want our fair share.”

Demons. I fucking hated demons. Our intel had said vampires, and that’s what we’d prepped for. I wondered if I could get to the holy water in my pocket without drawing the beast’s attention. As if she sensed what I wanted to do, Harper took a step toward the creature partially blocking its view of my right hand.

“What do you want from us?” Harper asked.

I kept my eyes on the demon as my fingers closed around the bottle of holy water and salt in my pocket.

The demon held the doll up to her ear and nodded as if she were listening intently, then stared at Harper. “We want your heart. Samantha wants to be a real girl.”

 

I can’t wait to see what everyone else came up with! Click their names to find out!

Jess

Jessica

Gwen

Kris

Flash Fiction #7 – Couple in the Night

04-2015- CoupleNight

 

Elliot glowered at me, but I ignored him as best I could. It wasn’t easy since we were currently facing each other in the middle of a moonlit path and staring romantically into each other’s eyes. Well, it was more like glaring romantically into each other’s eyes, really.

“Look,” I whispered harshly.  “If you could just dial down the asshole setting, that would be super.”

His eyebrows shot up briefly then he frowned at me. “You know what?  I don’t like you much, either. Why’d you pick such a shitty place?”

“I picked it, because secluded spots in the woods are where the magic usually happens. But trust me, a dreamy walk with you in the moonlight is so not how I’d like to be spending my evening.”

He slid an arm around my back and pulled me against him–far closer than I cared to be–but I didn’t pull away. Glancing beyond my shoulder, he scanned the tree line behind me. “Tell me about it. It’s the playoffs.”

I rolled my eyes and slid my hands to his shoulders. They were nice shoulders, too. Firm and broad…if only they didn’t come with the douchecanoe personality attached.

“What? I like basketball.”

“Of course you do,” I muttered, peering into the shadows beyond his head.

“What’s that’s supposed to mean?” Cupping my face with his other hand, he tilted my head up so he could gaze into my face. At least, that’s the way it would look.

I tried to ignore the the pleasant sensation of his warm skin against mine, and instead, focused on an answer to his question. “It’s an overrated sport.”

I didn’t know if it was or not. But I was petty and childish enough to admit that if Elliot liked something, I’d automatically hate it. I couldn’t help it. Everything about him just pissed me off. Seriously, why couldn’t he have a personality to match his looks? Why did I have to suffer?

His eyes, which were an entirely too pretty shade of green, darted from side to side, then searched the trees behind me.

“Do you see something?” I asked.

“Not yet.” He moved closer as if to kiss me.

“No tongue this time.”

He paused and stared into my eyes with that ridiculously piercing gaze. “I thought the point was to make it look realistic.”

I adjusted the wooden stake hidden in the sleeve of my coat, and let it slide into my palm. “They’re vampires. Not theatre talent scouts.”

The bushes behind me rustled slightly, and Elliot brushed his lips across mine and whispered, “Show time.”

 

 

I can’t wait to see what everyone else has done with this picture. Click the names below to find out.

Jess

Kayleigh

Jessica

Gwen

Kris

Paige

 

Flash Fiction #6 – The Hammer’s Coming Down

So, this week, someone picked a Nickelback song. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t me. I was having a lot of trouble with this piece, because the The Hammer’s Coming Down wasn’t speaking to me. But, as it turns out, Kayleigh Jones is my muse. While I was bitching about having no ideas, she said something that sparked the story. Just like she did during the last flash fiction. So, thank you Kayleigh! 😀

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red sky

It was dangerous to venture into open sea when the sky bled through the all the way down to the horizon into the water. But what choice did I have? There were few ways to rid the world of a witch. Everyone thought burning them was enough. Or beheading. Or even hanging. But it wasn’t.

Even in death, even without their bodies, they still had unimaginable power—so long as their words survived. I glanced down at the pile of books gathered in the iron cook pot, still crusted with the remnants of last night’s stew.

The wind picked up, and the waves tossed my small wooden boat, jostling me against the oarlock. I felt my side. The skin wasn’t broken, but it would likely ache for weeks. Thunder crashed in the distance, and as I glanced up, lightning streaked the sky, brightening the sky with the eerie glow that dripped like blood through the clouds.

At the next crack of thunder, the boat rocked violently to the side. Well, my side would ache for weeks if I lived that long.

I glanced at the shore behind me. I wasn’t sure I was far enough out to perform the ritual properly, but it was almost too far to swim if the waves capsized the boat. And if that happened my chance to complete the spell would vanish.

Putting the oars back in the boat, I grabbed the top book from the pile in the kettle. It was warm to the touch as if it was made of human flesh, and my skin crawled at the thought. A large embossed “A” took up most of the front cover as it did on the covers of all the tomes. The intermittent flickering of the lightening made the letter look as thought it was winking at me.

I swallowed back a surge of bile and opening the book, quickly flipped to the spell I needed. Cold drops began to spatter my face and the pages. Scanning the words written in tiny, tight cursive letters, I pulled the ground betony and burdock from my pouch and sprinkled it over the books in the cook pot, and some more on the open volume I held.

I couldn’t tell if it was the wind or if the pages were reacting to the banishing herbs, but the paper seemed to shudder at the touch of the dried plants. Lighting the kindling I’d placed in the pot as quickly as I was able, I pushed the smoldering pine needles and twigs closer to the spell books.

The tome on my lap jerked, almost as if it was trying to get away from me. I held it tighter as the contents of the iron pot caught flame. Quickly chanting the spell, I forced the now struggling book into the flames with the rest. I hadn’t been imagining things before. It was alive. The witch’s words were alive. I sprinkled yarrow, the last of the banishing herbs over the whole writhing mess, and the flames turned from a sickly yellow to an unearthly green.

The books cried out and the “A” on the cover of the top volume stretched its long spindly legs at me like a spider reaching out of a web. I stood, my balance shaky in the growing waves and lifted the heavy pot out of the bottom of the boat. Avoiding the grasping legs, I swung the entire thing over the side and let it drop into the unforgiving depths of the sea. The fire continued to burn brightly until the darkness of the water swallowed the light. Trapped by her own spell. Destroyed by her own words. The witch was no more.

Here are links to the song and lyrics if you want to give it a go.

And here are links to the other bloggers flash fiction pieces. I can’t wait to see what everyone did!

Jess

Kayleigh

Jessica

Gwen

Paige

Kellie

Kris

Flash Fiction: The Orb

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03-2015 -  Orb

I knew better than to answer ads on Craigslist.

I did.

And, yet, here I was. Standing in front of what could only be described as a witch’s cottage set smack in the middle of the city. Odd shaped dormers poked out from the second story and tattered looking lace curtains fluttered in the open windows.

Instead of grass, the yard was filled with neatly tended garden beds. I had no idea what was planted there, but, whatever the plants were, they didn’t look like they dared grow beyond their military-straight lines. In contrast, morning glories and ivy crawled aggressively over the front porch leaving only a small space to walk up the steps. Once I did, a chill skated over my skin. It had to be at least ten degrees cooler up here than it had been on the sun and humidity baked sidewalk.

I knocked on the heavy wooden door and glanced around. The explosion of vines cast the porch in heavy shadows, and I had to squint to make out the shapes of a table and high-backed chairs at the far end. God, you could probably hide a body on this porch, and no one would ever know. Well, the smell would eventually give it away, I supposed.

Movement in one of the chairs caught my eye. Christ.  My heart leapt through my chest as a figure stood. I could just make out a vague person-type shape.

I took a few steps toward whoever it was but stopped just as quickly. I couldn’t even tell if the person was male or female. Not that it mattered if what the ad claimed was true.

“I was wondering if you’d show up.”

It was a woman’s voice. Definitely, a woman. The knowledge didn’t make me feel any more at ease.

“Did you change your mind, then?” she asked, returning to her seat.

“No.” I shook my head. “No, I haven’t.”

“Good.”

She lit a wide, stubby candle in the center of the table, and a warm glow crept across the porch. The vines that blocked out the sunlight suddenly looked far more sinister, like they might reach out and strangle me. But I drew closer to the woman–and the vines–anyway.

Sitting across from her on a seat cushion that smelled of mildew, I noticed that she wore a crushed velvet shawl draped over her head, a ridiculous amount of silver and turquoise jewelry, and some sort of ratty looking lace blouse. She looked like she’d dressed entirely in things she’d found at Stevie Nicks’ garage sale. Not that Stevie Nicks probably had garage sales, but if she did, I imagined she’d be getting rid of shit that looked like this as quickly as possible.

I stared at her trying to figure out how old she was. Maybe it was the flickering candlelight or the shifting sun beyond the wall of vines, but one moment she appeared ancient, and the next, her skin was smooth, unlined, and she didn’t look a day over twenty.  Her bangles clinked together as she lifted a cloth wrapped object from the vicinity of her feet and set it on the tabletop.

“Did you bring them?” she asked.

“How…could I not? They’re kind of attached.”

She nodded as if she’d expected no other answer and unwrapped what looked like a large crystal ball. It was such a cliché that I snorted, and, at her glare, I shut up just as quickly.

Cradling the orb in her hands, she closed her eyes and spoke in some kind of guttural language. Colored lights began coalescing in the ball’s depth, then radiated outward. Part of me wanted to believe that it was a trick. That it was a battery-operated novelty toy. But a bigger part was so desperate to get what her ad had promised, that I was more than willing to believe.

The brighter the orb glowed, the easier that was. It seemed to be giving off waves of electricity…or something. I could feel the energy seeping toward me, a creeping warmth that prickled over my skin.

“Close your eyes and give them all over. Let the light absorb them.”

It was painful–not physically–but my emotions overwhelmed me. It was like cramming twenty years of psychotherapy into a couple minutes as I brought to mind every painful memory I had of the woman who’d betrayed me. I let them flow out of me like all the tears I’d shed for her over the years. Every shitty thing she’d ever done to me and everyone else I cared about, I let them all surface then allowed that strange electrical pulse pull it away.

Waves of hurtful words and behavior swelled and ebbed only to be replaced by another. Finally, there was nothing left of her in my head. No faux-concern. No backhanded compliments. No unrealistic demands. No nagging voice telling me I’d never be good enough. It was all gone, and I was blissfully empty of all the lies that I’d bought in to over the years. I felt several thousand pounds lighter, and a giddy laugh escaped as I opened my eyes.

“How do you feel?”

“Amazing. Like I can do anything.”

The woman smiled at me, looking quite pleased. “You can.”

“I’m still not quite clear on payment.”

She glanced down at the orb that now sat quiet and dim on the table–it was empty but for a silhouette I recognized. The woman from my memories…pounding on the inside of the crystal ball.

She patted the orb, her long nails clicking against the surface. “I’ve got all the payment I need.”

Check out the other bloggers’ stories by clicking their names.

Jess

Jessica

Kayleigh

Kris

Gwen

 

Flash Fiction: Angels of the Silences

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This week’s flash fiction is inspired by one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands – Angels of the Silences by Counting Crows. Though, I must admit, I prefer the live version to the studio album version.

But, here are the lyrics and a link to the song.

Well I guess you left me with some feathers in my hand
Did it make it any easier to leave me where I stand?
I guess there might not be too many who would stand beside you now
Where’d you come from? Where am I going?
Why’d you leave me ’till I’m only good for…

Waiting for you
All my sins…
I said that I would pay for them if I could come back to you
All my innocence is wasted on the dead and dreaming

Every night these silhouettes appear above my head
Little angels of the silences that climb into my bed and whisper
Every time I fall asleep Every time I dream
“Did you come? Would you lie?
Why’d you leave us ’till we’re only good for…

Waiting for you”
All my sins…
I said that I would pay for them if I could come back to you
All my innocence is wasted on the dead and dreaming

I dream of Michelangelo when I’m lying in my bed
Little angels hang above my head and read me like an open book
Suck my blood, break my nerve offer me their arms
Well, I will not be an enemy of anything
I’ll only stand here

Waiting for you
All my sins…
I said that I would pay for them if I could come back to you
All my innocence is wasted on the dead and dreaming

 

Feathers-in-Hand-820x550

And here’s the story:

“Zoe…?” I hated interrupting her. She always seemed so far away, these days. Even now, she didn’t answer. Just kept staring out into the distance. I wasn’t sure if it was because she hadn’t heard me or she was just choosing not to respond. It was hard to tell any more.

“We should get going.” I tried again. “It’s getting late.”

She finally turned her head to look at me. A slow, smooth turn like one of those creepy dolls that you see in low budget horror movies. It was appropriate, considering our location.

We were back at the old graveyard on the edge of town. Again. It was the same as the last time we’d been there—rundown and overgrown with miles of ancient grapevines strangling partially uprooted trees. The same, weathered headstones sat at the same angles, covered in the same weirdly crumbling moss. The busted down wrought iron fence was still broken in the same places, keeping out nothing but the occasional McDonald’s wrapper.

Everything was gray and bleak and miserable—like usual and I was sick to fucking death of the whole angst thing. But I’d promised mom I wouldn’t let her come out here alone. I wasn’t sure what mom was afraid Zoe would do.

“It’s starting to get dark,” I reminded her.

“Just a few more minutes? I think tonight will be the night he comes.”

I stifled a sigh. How did you break it to someone that not only weren’t ghosts real, but our dad hadn’t been interested in spending any time with us while he was alive, he sure as hell wouldn’t be coming back for visitation now that he was dead. Besides, if she really thought he was going to show up, why wasn’t she in the newer part of the cemetery across the dirt road? That was where he was buried.

Zoe turned away from me again, and I followed her line of vision toward the edge of the fence line. A mist, in typical, cliché form, rolled in from the lake, creeping past the bobbing heads of Queen Anne’s Lace that danced in the breeze.

“I’m going to pick some flowers for mom,” she announced, standing and handing me the fistful of feathers she’d picked up earlier from the ground.

“We’ve got that kind at home in the backyard. Let’s just pick them there.”

But she was already running toward the far side of the graveyard. The fog swirled around her feet, swelling violently into people sized shapes all around her.

Ice sluiced through my veins, and I ran after her. “Zoe!”

She whirled around and lifted her hand to wave. Dodging toppled and smashed headstones that stuck out of the ground like broken teeth, I raced toward her. As I got closer, the mist that had risen dropped to the ground as though it was made of molten steel instead of drifting droplets of water. And just as quickly, it vanished, as if it had been sucked from the yard.

The night was weirdly quiet, and Zoe was nowhere in sight.

“Zoe? Zoe, where are you? Zoe!” I ran to the fence and realized I was still clutching the feathers she’d shoved into my hand.

 

I’m excited to see what the others came up with for this song. Click their names and find out.

Jess

Jessica

Kris

Flash Fiction #3 – Cottage in the Woods

02-2015 - WinterCottage

 

They watched as the woman open the backdoor and a few windows of the fieldstone cottage. It wasn’t quite spring, yet, but humans hated to be cooped up almost as much as they did.

“Did you see, sister?” Ivy hissed. “Humans are so stupid. It left the door open for us.”

Tansy stared at the tiny dwelling. The sharp pointed roof meant to keep the humans dry and warm, leaked. The mortar around the stones crumbled in places. And the bitter wind whistled through the cracked windows and the warped, wooden door.

“I see.”

Creeping closer, they could hear the human talking to its young. The noise of the small creature cooing and laughing drifted to them on the breeze. Tansy frowned. They sounded so happy together. It seemed cruel to take the young one from its mother—even if they were just dumb animals.

The child began to fuss and Ivy screwed up her face at the din. The haunting strains of a lullaby and the creak of wood against wood were carried out to where Tansy and Ivy hid among the spindly trunks of the trees. The young one eventually quieted and so, too, did its mother.

“Maybe we should leave this one be,” Tansy suggested.

Ivy whirled on her, her pale green hair flying like ribbons through the skeletal branches of a tree. Her eyes narrowed. “The queen wants a baby. There is a baby in there.”

“But the woman—she’s kind—she leaves us milk and honey.”

Ivy glared, and Tansy took a step back, cowed by the ferocity in her sister’s eyes. “They are little better than beasts. Besides, milk and honey matter not when we can give the queen the one thing she desires most.”

Tansy sighed as her sister crept closer to the cottage. “Bring the changling,” Ivy threw over her shoulder. Her attention was snared by a shadow passing in front of one of the upper windows. “There,” she pointed. “The young one is alone. Hurry.”

Gathering the bundle of sticks and rocks and stardust tighter in her arms, Tansy did as she was told. As she always did.

Creeping across the hewn, wooden floor, Tansy made her way to an ornately carved cradle near the fireplace where a pink cheeked infant lay sleeping. The child’s bed was the only thing of any worth or beauty in the room. Four delicately turned acorns sat atop a post on each of the four corners.

Ivy plucked disdainfully at the rough, homespun blanket. “At least, under the queen’s care, it’ll will have dresses of gossamer and bedding of silk.”

But the child wouldn’t have its mother’s love. Even the dumbest of the creatures had love for their offspring.

Noticing a pulled thread in the woven coverlet, Tansy shoved the changling at her sister. “You set the glamour—you’ve always been better at it.” Ivy preened, and Tansy fought not to roll her eyes as she turned to lift the small human from the cradle. “I’ll carry it back to the Boarderland.”

Ivy gestured to the blanket. “Leave that. It’s disgusting.”

“It’s too cold out there, and humans are far too fragile. The queen will be upset if it dies before we cross into Faery.”

Her sister agreed immediately, and Tansy knew she’d been right to appeal on behalf of the queen’s ire. The child snuggled closer to her in its sleep.

The floor creaked above, and the sisters froze. Ivy recovered first and quickly whispered the charm that would render the pile of sticks and rock into the likeness of the human child.

Tansy looked at the changling. Its cheeks were too pink. It looked ill. Even if she’d wanted to point it out to Ivy, she couldn’t. There were footsteps on the stairs.

Ivy darted toward the door, and Tansy followed, pausing to make sure the loose thread from the blanket had snagged on one of the carved cradle posts and was slowly pulling free.

As Tansy passed by the first of the trees crowding the house, she heard the unmistakable sounds of rocks thunking hollowly against wood followed by an anguished cry of a wounded animal.

Slowing her pace slightly, she hoped the human had the presence of mind to notice the thread while there was anything left to unravel.

Click the names below to read the other bloggers’ flash fiction pieces based on this photo.

Jess

Kayleigh

Kellie

Kris

 

Flash Fiction: I’m a Mess

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It’s another Flash Fiction Monday, and this week, we’re taking our inspiration from the song, I’m a Mess by Ed Sheeran. This is what I came up with.

blue and green paisley

The sheet billowed up between us as we stood on either side of the bed—a rippling sea of blue and green paisley making the span of the mattress seem much wider than it was. I tucked in my side, glancing at Molly while she did the same.

The stiflingly sweet scent of the fabric softener made my nose itch. I hated that fucking little bear on the commercials, and I hated the god-awful scent of the dryer sheets. It would take days for the sheets to air out enough that I wouldn’t get a headache every time I went to bed.

“Hey, Moll?”

She paused and looked up at me. Well, it was more like she looked over my left shoulder. “Yeah?”

“Were they out of the dryer sheets that don’t smell like ass?”

Her mouth moved, but it really wasn’t a smile or a frown. “Sorry, I forgot you hate that kind. I guess I must have been in a hurry when I was shopping, and didn’t think. I’m a mess, lately.”

“No big.” I shrugged. It wasn’t worth fighting over, anyway. Actually, there wasn’t much I was willing to fight about. Not right now, anyway.

We pulled the blankets up, and while I straightened the quilt, Molly turned away and changed into her pajamas. I couldn’t remember the last time she’d come to bed naked. But as I unhooked my bra and slipped it out from under my shirt, I couldn’t remember the last time I had, either.

I crawled under the blankets while she turned out the light. I hoped that maybe she’d at least meet me in the middle, but she curled on to her side and faced the wall. I turned toward her, but got a whiff of that fucking bear and its floral death scent.

I think that’s what I hated most about the dryer sheets. It felt like being trapped in a funeral home for hours on end. My head started throbbing, and my eyes burned. Rolling to my back, I stared at the ceiling and blinked back tears. I wasn’t sure if the tears were because of the scent or because of the endless paisley chasm between us. The one that seemed to get a little wider every night.

Check out the other bloggers’ takes on the song.

Jess

Jessica

Jen

Gwen

Kris

 

 

Flash Fiction #1 – Man in Ice an Cave

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With the new year, we’re doing some new things. Wednesday Random posts will still be a regular feature as will Merlin Club until we run out of episodes – at which point, we’ll take a short break and move on to the next series. But we’re also including some new features – stretching our writing muscles, so to speak. One of the things we’re doing are flash fiction pieces based on a photo.

In the past, I’ve been invited to participate in blogging challenges like this – but I never had the guts. The idea of writing a short (or in this case) a super short and tossing it out on the internet was far too terrifying. But, last year, I did a pretty good job of moving beyond some of the stuff that scares the crap out of me. And this year, I’d like to do even more. So, without further ado, I give you this dude in an ice cave. Oh, and be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories about this dude by clicking the names below.

01-2015 - ManIceCave

Kyle Drummond stood at the mouth of the cave, mangled, iron spear clutched in his hand. He glanced at the weapon and grimaced. Not that it would be much good against the creatures that roamed the wilderness outside the questionable sanctuary of his makeshift shelter, but it was all he had.

When the storm hit, he’d had no other choice but to weather it in the barren, darkness of the ice cave. This was the last place he wanted to be. The cold sank into his bones, and the shadows silently clawed at him with nearly as much force as the creatures outside would if they could get to him.

Thus far, they hadn’t been able to reach him, but that would change if he were to cross the threshold. For the most part, they seemed to be attracted to movement, though he was sure some of them could probably smell fear, too. Unless he could scrape together his courage to leave, he’d be trapped in the cave forever, and he was quickly running out of provisions.

Crossing that invisible line from darkness to light took more strength than he was sure he had. He shifted his grip on his weapon and tried to step clear of the opening. At this point, he was holding it more for the illusion of strength than actual strength. As his foot hovered above the earth, one of the creatures in the distance moved. Its head snapped up, pinning him with its dead-eyed stare. Kyle slowly backed up, and closed the door.

Peering though the square, glass window set high up in the wood, he stared at the outside world. His neighborhood looked the same as it ever did—peacefully unassuming. Sprinklers whirred over lush, green lawns spitting out drops of rainbow hued water glistening in the sun. The neighbor kid rode his Big Wheel up and down the sidewalk in front of Kyle’s house, and the guy at the end of the street was polishing his midlife crisis-mobile for the third time that week.

Kyle looked down at the empty bottle of Xanax clutched in his hand, the tiny letters neatly spelling his name, the dosage, and the words “No Refills.”

 

Gwen 

Jess

Kris

Jessica

Kayleigh