24 February 2012

"Karma" #Fridayflash

Not that she wasn’t pretty. Her eyes and lips told a different story. Leaning there against the door frame, smoking a cigarette with her arm over her head. Wide-set doe eyes, and balanced precariously on twig-thin heels. Beaded bracelets slid down her wrist, drawing attention to how delicate her bones were.

“And then, he just turned…dark.” She pulled hard from her cigarette, and released a plume of smoke in her words. “I never saw it coming.”

I shifted my weight to relieve the pressure of the holster against my hip. The page in my notepad was almost full. For someone who had nothing to say, she had plenty. It must’ve been the drugs. I’d have to arrest her. I felt like a criminal.

She slid a foot from one of her shoes and propped it against the wall. Her hair was bleached almost white, and made her red mouth look like a bloodstain in her pale face. Track marks pocked the inside of her left elbow. Which made her right-handed.

I looked at my watch. “Anything else, Mrs…”

“Smith.” The th in the word brought out her slur. “No, that’s it. Can I go now?” Her pupils were pinpoint, tiny holes of nothingness.

I shook my head. “I’m afraid not.” I expected her to cry, but there were no tears, only indifference. Maybe she was too high to care.

Crime Scene came in, interrupting us. “We need to take the body.” Nice boys. Stevo and Kieran.

“Look, Mrs. Smith, you’re a prime suspect in this murder case.”

 I felt sorry for the clean-up crew. They’d need a mop to pick up what was left of him. Prime suspect was the understatement of the year. She must’ve showered and gotten dressed before making the call. A chill snaked down my spine.

Her smile was coy, but her stare was icy. “Karma’s a bitch.”

I blinked first.

Photo credit: jdurham from morguefile.com

16 February 2012

"Geetar" #Fridayflash

Momma don’t stop me from playing the geetar out on the front porch. I sit and fiddle with them tuning pegs, twistin’ this way an’ that ’til I get the sound just right to my ear. I don’t need nobody to tell me how, I just know when I hear the right sound.

The neighbors walk by an’ stop to hear me play. Sometime they smile, sometime they frown and shake they head. I don’t mind none, just keep on picking them strings, humming under my breath ‘til them words break out like sun from behind a gray cloud.

Miss Johnson from three houses down bring her kids by sometime; they like hearing me play. Miss Johnson say I’m gonna be a big star someday but I don’t believe it. I just like to play. My fingers get itchy without strings under ’em, so I scratch them by playin’ songs out here on the front porch.

I don’t know where the words come from, they just roll out of my head onto my tongue and drip from my lips into the air. I get loud sometimes, an’ Momma come out and tell me to hush it down now, baby’s ’sleep. But the baby like my songs, he giggle and coos like he havin’ a ball. Sometime he claps his little hands and to me, it’s better than any ol’ big audience.

I look out from my chair and there’s a few folks out there, all lookin’ up at me. I stare at the dusty planks on the porch, I don’t know how to keep eye contact an’ all ’cause it sometime make me nervous. When I finish my song, they all clapping for me and I kinda shrug, mumble a word of thank’n and go on to the next one. An’ it is just fine. Right as rain. I smile for the people gathered out there at the gate, an’ I go on to the next song.

I play for awhile, ’til my head get tired and I feel out of breath ’cause I singing loud again, only Momma don’t stop me. She see that everybody just fine with me a playin’. An’ so is she.

(Photo credit: gianni from morguefile.com)

09 February 2012

"Five Minutes Alone" #Fridayflash

Photo credit: western4uk from morguefile.com

There’s broken glass on the floor. I feel it. Shards, digging up through the soles of my feet, letting the blood seep through the little holes to make the slick. It’s there. In the shadows. I can’t see it except out of the corner of my eyes, ‘cause when I turn around it hides. It’s a sneaky bastard, slim and dank, reeking of mold and poisonous spores.

I spin around, bark out a little laugh. Ha. Got you.

No. No I don’t.

Bricks form walls on all four sides and I rush one and pound on it. There’s no goddamn door. No way out. Nothing but me and it.

How long has it been? Years. Days?

Five minutes. Fuck, it’s been five minutes.

There. Jerk my head to the right. No. There. Glance to the left. Easy. Easy. Where is it? What is it? I’m pissed now, and punch the bricks, which is heinously stupid. Idiot. My knuckles are bleeding like my feet. A twisted stigmata. Clumsy shit. I think I broke something. Not really bone, just deep down inside, where black is something even bleaker; where the splash of the trunk in the well isn’t heard for hours. Weeks.

Five fucking minutes.

I can’t take this…this not-knowing. That thing is in here with me, with icy breath drifting over my neck and shoulders. I reach back in one swift motion and clamp my fingers around its neck. It’s growling and clawing at my back, shredding my shirt to dig its talons deep into my skin. Screams everywhere and it’s just me, echoing off the walls.

Let me out…get this thing off me. Getitoffgetitoffgetitoff!

I sink to my knees. Consciousness is growing dim. A ring of brown, deepening to gray. Gray to…

“How long did you say it was before you sedated him?” Dr. Masinchino glanced up from his tablet. To his right, two aides were receiving treatment from the patient’s attack.

“About five minutes, doctor.” She was a pretty thing, not too old, not too young. Doctors couldn’t date nurses, but he’d imagined. Those legs looked like they went all the way up.

“Any idea what caused this?”

“None, doctor. He just showed up in the waiting room and began shouting after about a half-hour.”

“Any records on him?” The doctor looked over at the nurse again. “Anything at all? We don’t even have an ID on him.”

She shook her head.

Dr. Masinchino sighed through his nose, slipped his stylus into his breast pocket, and waved for them to unlock the door.

03 February 2012

"Dead Horse" #Fridayflash

Hooves drummed the loose-packed earth. Arrows whizzed overhead. Somewhere, the sound of another man dying. Arcien turned to see he was no longer being pursued by the mob; instead they’d stopped a distance back, obviously distracted by something else. He drew back the reins, jerking his horses’s chin to its neck with an objecting snort as it halted. The dust cleared around them as he turned the stallion back the way they’d come.

The sun hung low in the bleeding sky, warning of impending darkness which would bring the battle to another standstill as forces separated and returned to their respective camps. Blood was not permitted close to the city walls; this was no-man’s land. Parched ground was grateful for the warm moisture of red seeping over swollen cheeks and bruised arms.  Rigid fingers still clasped their valued weapons.

Curious, he urged his horse back towards the battlefield at an easy trot, slowing as he drew near.

They’d circled around a single man who cursed, covered in sweat, as he flailed his horse, which lay there on the ground. The poor animal was obviously dead. The mob fell in at last, carving hunks of flesh off the great beast’s side with their crude daggers and swords.

When one of the scrawny aggressors looked up and caught sight of him, Arcien kicked his horse in the ribs to ride away. The war was never about land. The opposition was made up of nothing but starving men.

He recorded his recommendation and sent the sealed message to his Caesar.

Photo credit: jade from morguefile.com