Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: Life is Hell

This weeks flash fiction challenge was to write about Hell. Details here.

And this was my take on it.

 

Hotel Hades

 

Sal stumbled through the pristine white lobby, gazing round in confusion, as he headed for reception.
‘Hey, buddy’ he said to the man behind the desk.
The man continued tapping the keyboard, before looking up.
‘Yes sir, how may I help?’
Sal looked him over, before speaking in his thick New York accent.
‘Listen buddy, I’m not sure how I got here, but since I’m here can I get a room, because I’m beat’
‘One moment sir’ replied the receptionist whose name tag read: Michael.
He pressed a few keys and said
‘Name please?’
‘Sal’
‘Full name’
‘Salvadore Vinchenza’
Michael tapped away at the keyboard again ‘I’m afraid you don’t have a reservation sir’
‘Okay, well can I get a room anyway’
‘Afraid not sir’
‘Why not?’ said Sal, offended.
‘We don’t let just anyone stay here sir.’
‘My money not good enough for you’ he reached into his pocket; he found nothing. Sal checked his other pocket, and then tapped his vest.
‘Shit’
‘I’m afraid bad language is prohibited here sir’ said Michael
‘Hey, fuck you’ said Sal
‘You may find the establishment across the street is more to your liking’ said Michael unfazed.

This receptionist was a sultry young blonde. Sal already liked this place; despite its gaudy décor.
‘Welcome to Hotel Hades, how may I help?’ she asked.
Sal fell in to her eyes like the deep mossy green pools they resembled. Her voice was like the dirtiest mutterings of his favourite pornstar; he could feel the blood rushing to a specific area.
‘Hey sweetie’ he said trying to play it cool ‘I need a room’
he reached into his pocket; to his surprise, Sal grasped a thick wad of cash. He pulled it out and unrolled it in front of her; each note was a hundred dollar bill. Good, he thought, women go weaker at the knees for money than anything else; love to a girl like this is cold hard cash, a hard dick doesn’t buy handbags.
‘Certainly sir’ she said ‘your name please?’
‘Salvadore Vinchenza’
‘One moment Sal’ her cheekiness riling Sal junior
‘Ah, here you are’ she said looking at the computer ‘we’ve been expecting you’
Sal smiled; he didn’t wonder why, he didn’t care, all that concerned him was the receptionist, her name tag read: Scarlet. Scarlet reached beneath the counter and pulled out a key.
‘You’re in room triple-six’ she said with a smile
‘Thank you Scarlet’ he said returning her smile ‘and what time will you be joining me?’ ‘You’re here a while Sal, we’ll get time’ she pressed the bell on the desk and a bell boy seemed to appear out of thin air.
‘Bell, show Sal to his room’
‘This way Sal’ said Bell walking toward the elevator.

 

The elevator stopped at the sixth floor. Walking down the hall, Sal noticed all the room numbers were the same: 666.
‘Here you are Sal’ said Bell stopping outside room number triple-six. Bell opened the door. Sal reached into his pocket.
‘Your money’s no good here.’
Sal looked down; staring up at him was a man in a top hat, wearing a moustache and a monocle; each note was bright orange. He put it back in his pocket and decided he needed sleep.
‘Thanks’ he said to Bell, and he walked into his room.

 

Ten minutes later there was a knock on the door. Sal opened it in frustration; standing on the threshold was a tall man.
‘Hello sir’ he said ‘may I come in for a quick chat?’
‘And who are you’ asked Sal
The man pointed to his name-tag and said ‘I’m Lou: the manager’
Sal shrugged and said ‘sure’
Sal sat on the end of the bed, and Lou stood; his hands behind his back, though clearly holding nothing but each other.
‘Are you enjoying your stay so far?’ he asked
Sal shrugged ‘I guess’
‘tut-tut-tut’ said Lou ‘that’ll not do’
Tired and irritable, and wanting to see the back of the manager Sal said
‘No its great, I’m having a great stay’
‘tut-tut-tut’ said Lou ‘that’s even worse’
‘huh?’ said Sal
‘What’s the last thing you remember Sal?’
Sal frowned ‘what do you mean?’
‘The last thing you remember before walking across a hotel lobby’
Sal thought for a minute, searching his mind for the memory.
‘I was pumping away at this broad’ he said ‘can’t remember her name’
professional lady was she?’
‘Hey, you don’t fucking judge me pal’ said Sal
‘You’re right Sal’ said Lou ‘what you do is up to you’
‘Damn straight’ said Sal
‘after all, if you weren’t a sinner, you wouldn’t be here’
‘Where do you get off?’
‘How did you get here again?’
Sal frowned.
‘Let me help you Sal’ said Lou ‘as the proprietor it is my duty to make sure you’re aware of your environment’
Sal listened to him talk.
‘You went from sleeping with a hooker, to walking across bright-white, flawless marble, correct?’
Sal nodded, annoyed to be agreeing with this asshole.
‘The plush, clean, spotless hotel, with its pure, pleasant receptionist said they didn’t have you down’
Sal nodded again, feeling he’d been spied on, or that the manager was some sort of FBI profiler
‘So you were sent here, to my, seedy and yet alluring establishment; where you see the lust inducing receptionist and, suddenly, your home’
Sal smiled, he did feel remarkably at home, though if it were his home, he’d kick this pompous prick in the crotch and tumble him outside.
‘You died Sal’
‘What?’
‘Heart failure; greasy, fatty food, high blood pressure, and some sinful cardiovascular’ ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’
‘This’ said Lou ‘is where you’ll reside for eternity’
Sal looked round the room, and said ‘Look, I’m not sure if you’re really the manager, or your some kook who’s going round pretending to be the manager so you can talk shit while people listen. Either way, right now, I couldn’t give a fuck; I just want you out of my room, so I can get some sleep – capeesh?’
Lou smiled; his k9 teeth were elongated. He nodded, and headed for the door.
Sal picked up the remote and turned on the Television.
‘Hey’ he said as Lou reached the door ‘What gives?’
Lou raised an eyebrow in retort.
‘There’s only two channels; the news, and the shopping channel’
Lou smiled ‘welcome to Hell’ and he left.
Sal flicked frantically between channels; the shopping, and the news. As he flicked back and forth, Lou’s last words sunk deeper and deeper into his mind.

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Terriblemds Flash Fition Challenge: Five Random Words

This week: Five Random Words.

Mine were (in order):

Topaz
Acid
Orphan
Casket
Lollipop

The Result:

Digby

‘Digby, come quickly, look’
Digby walked over to his fiancée; her auburn hair shining like a flame as the sunlight illuminated her across the shop
‘What is it darling?’
‘Look’ she said pointing through the glass
‘Digby followed her finger; it indicated a set of ear-rings
‘Aren’t they beautiful Digby?’
He took in her smile; it was like a sunset over the Mediterranean sea.
‘Topaz’
Digby and Felicity looked up to see a, tall yet lithe, man. His face was smug, accentuated by the pencil moustache that stuck to his upper lip like an over-zealous sip of coffee. His name tag read: François
‘I thought they were pearl’ said Felicity
‘No, they’re Topaz’ he said ‘a much rarer, and dare I say prettier, stone’
‘What do you think Digby?’ said Felicity
Digby thought how much more palatable François might be; if he had his frontal lobe smashed by a heavy blunt object.
‘I think they would compliment, but never compete for your beauty’
‘Awww’ she kissed him on the cheek.
François raised an eyebrow, and cleared his throat
‘Would madam like to try them on?’ he asked.
Felicity looked at Digby
‘Go ahead babe’ he said.

 

Digby sat on the toilet. The lid was down, and he was there for no purpose that a toilet was invented.
He looked toward the bath tub; it was full of a clear liquid, like a bath devoid of bubbles. His white shirt was spotted with large patches of pink; he had his sleeves rolled up. He took a sip of beer as he studied the stretched out on the white tiled floor.
Digby smiled, enjoying his handy-work; the lifeless body of a young blonde, hers eyes blue, once full of promise, but now they were like an amateur painting, devoid of soul and life. He knocked back the beer and placed the empty bottle on the sink. This was the part he hated most: disposing of his art, but he acknowledged that in order for him to continue, there had to be no evidence.
Digby got to his feet, and picked the limp body up off the floor. He lowered it into the bath; being careful not to splash or touch the liquid. The body began to fizz as the water bubbled. He had to admit, the smell of hydrochloric acid and fresh blood gave him a semi.

 

‘Now dear, don’t you pay my father no mind, no one is good enough for his little girl, but he’ll come around’ said Felicity
Digby smiled and said ‘It’d take Lucifer himself to scare me away from you’
She blushed, just as they arrived before her parents.
‘Felicity dear, you look flustered’
‘I’m quite alright mother’ she said
‘Ah, this must be Dingbat’ said her father
‘Daddy, it’s Digby’ she harped
‘Yes well, I prefer my version’ he said
Digby smiled; he knew deep down that he would laugh last; he always did.
‘Where are your parents Digby?’ asked Felicity’s mother
‘Mother’ harped Felicity
‘What?’ her hands went up in defence of her question
‘The man is going to marry my daughter, I simply enquired as to his parents whereabouts?’
‘Now Mother – ’
‘It’s quite alright Felicity’ interjected Digby ‘my parents died when I was just a child’ he said addressing Felicity’s Mother ‘I’m an orphan’

 

He stood in the shadow of an oak-tree, listening to the mumbles of the reverend. The casket looked exquisite as they lowered it into the ground.
Digby always enjoyed watching the families mourn. He found it amusing and ironic that if they had seen his work; they would be applauding her sacrifice, not grieving over a life which achieved more in its final moments than most could achieve in a lifetime.
Digby gazed on all faces in the crowed; from the old lady in the wheelchair to the small boy with the lollipop; nearly a lifetime stood between them, but it was all irrelevant.
None of them knew when it would come, the old lady could attend the child’s funeral; life was wonderful in that way at times.
What would they think, how would they feel, if they knew just how close they all were, to death.

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Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: Ten Little Titles

This weeks challenge Ten Little Chapters. This was hard, and I struggled (failed) to keep within the limit, but I’m posting anyway.

 

Hope for Humanity

 

Chapter I

‘We didn’t stand a chance General’
Masters looked down on the Lieutenant ‘You’re still alive Lieutenant’
Peterson nodded ‘by the good grace of God sir’
‘Then you didn’t try hard enough’
the words hit Peterson like a knife in the chest ‘Sir?’
‘They wouldn’t let anything stand in their way Lieutenant; your presence suggests, you didn’t try hard enough’
‘But…sir’ Peterson stammered
General Masters addressed the man beside him
‘Colonel, see that Lieutenant Peterson is aptly punished for his cowardice’
‘Certainly General’
‘And Colonel’
‘Yes sir?’
‘Get me Agent X’
‘Certainly General’

 

Chapter II

‘You wanted to see me sir?’
Xavier walked into the room and sat opposite the General
‘We have a problem Xavier’
‘We?’
‘The Government’
‘I’m listening’
The General slid a folder across the desk. Xavier opened it up and studied its contents. ‘Those five are one of our greatest threats’
‘How so?’
‘Their freedom could be mankind’s biggest catastrophe’
‘Go on’
‘Agent X, need I remind you of your role’
Xavier closed the folder, sat back in his chair, and said ‘No, sir’
‘Good, then your mission begins with immediate effect’

 

Chapter III

‘I’m in pursuit’ Xavier calls into his wrist watch
‘Do not let her escape’ the reply comes in a crackle
‘I’m losing signal; it’s this warehouse’
‘Do not let her……’
‘Shit!’ the communication goes dead; he’s on his own.
Xavier chasses her into a dead end. Her back is to him, as he points his gun at her
‘End of the line’
Her grey cloak slivers as she turns. Xavier frowns slightly, she looks human, but something about her seems purer; he puts it down to her large brown eyes; solemn and understanding
‘Hello Xavier’ her voice seems to ride on a wave on tranquillity.
Xavier frowns; he stiffens his grip
‘Do not feel confused’ she says ‘I exist in you like I exist everyone else’
‘Listen lady, all I know is you need to go back’
She smiles; an understanding smile. She withdraws a dagger from the sheath at her side; placing the blade on her pale forearm
‘Look into my eyes Xavier’
He doesn’t want to, but her voice speaks to his subconscious and he’s responding without thought; her brown eyes draw him in
‘I understand you’ she says ‘and now you, will understand me’
She cuts the tender white flesh; Xavier feels it, the searing heat runs across his forearm, he drops the gun and clutches his arm
‘I need to be free Xavier, we all need to be free’
She cuts deeper, and the pain becomes overwhelming; he falls into darkness.

 

Chapter IV

‘General, I need you to be straight with me’
‘Your mission is clear’
‘I need to know what’s going on, who are these people?’
‘They’re dangerous beings Agent, and they must be stopped’
‘I can’t catch what I don’t understand’
‘Then kill’ barks Masters ‘that is your forte’
‘General?’
‘We would rather they ceased to exist than be allowed to run free’
‘I don’t know what I’m dealing with, if you could just – ’
‘Explain?’
‘Yes, sir’
‘Agent X, your role is to hunt down those prisoners not to understand them; now if you find it too difficult to apprehend them; then terminate them – do I make myself clear?’ Through gritted teeth Xavier replies ‘Crystal, sir’

 

Chapter V

‘I don’t want to kill you Agent, but you’re not leaving me an option’
Xavier hides behind a large rock; blood trickles down his head, he’s hurt, but the adrenaline is sustaining him, he calls out
‘If you give yourself up now, you can keep your life’
‘I think you’ll find it is me hunting you Agent’
the voice is closer now, and Xavier hears the crunching of leaves. He rolls forward; hearing the clatter of metal upon stone. The man is crouched on top of the rock, his machete dug deep into it; where Xavier’s head was. He had wildness about him, and his eyes were hungry.
‘Which aspect of me are you agent?’ he asks ‘Fight, freeze, or flight?’
Xavier frowns, and raises his gun ‘Fight’ he says, and squeezes the trigger.

 

Chapter VI

Xavier stands at a payphone:
‘Knowledge’
‘Xavier, it’s been a while’
‘Knowledge I need you to do something for me; off the record’
‘Isn’t it always’ he says ‘what do you need?’
‘Anything you can get me on Grey Area detainees’
‘That’s a tough one’
‘Well if you can’t do it – ’
‘Whoa, whoa’ comes the voice through the phone ‘I said it was tough not impossible’ ‘Alright, give it a shot’
‘What am I looking for?’
‘Prisoners one-to-five; seven levels below’
Xavier waits, listening to a keyboard being attacked.
‘Xavier’ says Knowledge
‘Yeah?’
‘I don’t have a lot to go on, but I came across something called: Taming Humanity’
‘Okay, keep looking; I’ll call you’

 

Chapter VII

Xavier enters the room; its walls are thick with ash and soot, and it has long been abandoned. A woman is sat on a bed; springs protruding from the mattress. She is looking around the room, and has an air of sadness.
‘Zero-two?’
The woman looks up, her eyes are a dank green; pools of melancholy.
‘It’s so sad isn’t it?’
Xavier looks round the room, hoping to find her sadness.
‘People cared for this place, it was their home, and now, it’s a shell’ she sighed
Xavier knelt in front of her; he did not feel remotely threatened by her.
‘I need to talk to you’ he said
She looked at him, caring for his need
‘Who are you?’ said Xavier
‘I’m Compassion’
‘What are you?’ he tried
She touched his chest and repeated herself ‘I’m Compassion’
‘And the others?’
‘We were five, but now I sense we are four’
Xavier felt a twinge of guilt, remembering the man and his machete
‘It’s okay’ she said ‘as long as Hope survives’

 

Chapter VIII

‘Xavier, where have you been?’
‘General, what the fuck is going on, you need to level with me’
‘Agent, I suggest you change your tone’
‘I suggest you go fuck yourself’ he spits ‘tell me the truth’
Masters sighs; it comes through the phone like a harsh breeze
‘These prisoners are not human Xavier’
‘I’ve figured that out’
‘This is why you have to apprehend or’ he paused ‘terminate them’
‘They may not be people General, but they’re everything it means to be Human’
‘Did you talk to one of them Xavier?’
‘I think you know that already General’
Another sigh; this one carried disappointment with it
‘Then I’m afraid I have to call you in, Agent’
‘Oh I’m coming General, I’m coming’

 

Chapter IX

Xavier burst through the doors of the General’s office. Masters sat at his desk, eyeing the Agent without surprise. Xavier, gun in hand, gestured to the blood that covered him in large patches
‘Not mine I’m afraid’
‘Good men you’ve killed’ replied the General
‘Their blood is on your hands too General’
‘Perhaps’
Xavier sat down in the chair opposite him
‘Don’t worry I’ll ease your conscience shortly, but first I have a question’
The General remained stoic; Xavier continued
‘Why?’
The General took a deep breath ‘Humanity is a difficult thing to govern, but when you have a hold on certain characteristic, certain traits, then they are much easier to direct’
‘You mean control’
The General shrugged ‘semantics’
Xavier shook his head
‘Mankind does not know what is good for it, we were creating a balance for harmony’
‘You were creating a world without freedom’ said Xavier
‘Freedom is overrated’
‘Maybe, but that’s not your choice’
‘And what is your choice Agent?’

 

Chapter X

Xavier walked out of the office; the General sat in his chair while his brains slid down the window behind him.

‘Knowledge’
‘Yeah?’
‘I need help locating something’
‘Sure thing, who we looking for?’
‘Not who Knowledge; what’
‘Okay then; what are we looking for?’
A moment of silence lingers between them
‘Hope’

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Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: SometingPunk

This weeks Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge was:

SomethingPunk.

We were tasked with inventing our own Punk style genre, based on Chucks definition of current Punk genres; e.g Steampunk. Using said definitions I concocted:

SoMeCorpPunk aka Social-Media-Corporation-Punk

And this is the story I wrote for it

 

Disconnected

I let the cursor hover over the button for some time. I had stared at it for too long, knowing that, in clicking, my life would change, for better or for worse I could not say, but a change was certain. I have no idea where it came from, but my right finger hit confirm and with it, came a rush of relief. I had no idea what would happen next, but for the first time in years, I felt my heart pumping, I could feel the blood coursing through my veins; I felt, alive. I threw a bunch of clothes into my holdall; the apartment building was owned by Apple, and I knew eventually they would notice what I had done. No profile; meant no accommodation. In one swift click, I had become a social pariah, and I knew they wouldn’t take it lying down. I began emptying my pockets, ridding myself of anything that could get a signal; phone, glasses, watch, and I left it all behind. I headed straight for the car park, in the basement of the building. By the time I reached it, I had begun to feel better; the nausea that had come in waves while I packed had subsided, and so far, nothing had happened. My contact told me I had around thirty minutes before they noticed, and maybe a further fifteen before they investigated. By that time I could be on the edge of the city, at the meeting point, and it was unlikely they’d find me. I hoped she was right. I walked to the car, with only the echo of my footsteps for company, adding to the tension. I got in, and reversed out of the space, as casually as I could, and headed toward the exit. When I got to the barrier, and daylight could be seen, I began to feel relief. A minute passed; the barrier had not risen. After two minutes; delight became despair. A sudden – BANG! – turned me cold. My mouth was drier than a salt lake, and my heart was in my throat; trying to squeeze its way out. I knew immediately what it was clambering around on the roof, though I hoped desperately to be wrong. A pair of eyes appeared at the top of the windscreen. They were wide and vacant, but they seemed to pierce right through me, holding me still, in its gaze. The Facebooker flipped its body, and landed on my bonnet with a thud. Its face was upright now, and I could see it clearly; blue-eyes vacant and staring, its mouth in a rigid, permanent smile; idiotic, and yet, demonic. I just sat staring, frozen in my seat. And I knew, through the two slits in its face, between the vacant eyes and moronic smile, it could smell my fear. The seconds that passed, felt like hours. But eventually, it spoke; its voice was excited and idiotic
‘I’m sending you a friend request, lol’
I think it was trying to scare me into logging back in. I put the car into reverse; its eyes watching me as I did, head jostling from side to side like an intrigued bird. Seeing my intent, it stuck up the thumb of its large white hand, and said
‘Like!’
I took a deep breath and, as I exhaled, stamped on the accelerator like it was alight. The Facebooker tumbled backward, its long gangly limbs splaying like an octopus on roller-skates. I broke hard, the tyres squealing to halt. I watched as the heap of naked white flesh lay motionless on the floor. I waited for a moment, my heart beating in my ears; to my horror, it moved, untangling itself, and slowly got to its feet. The Facebooker puffed out its chest, and rotated its neck; the cracking of its bones reverberated off the walls of the car park. Its large, vacant, blue eyes, stared at me; despite its moronic smile, I could tell it was pissed. It raised its large white hand again; this time, extending its thumb downward, and in the same foolish tone it said
‘Unlike!’
I shifted into drive, and pushed the pedal to the floor. The tyres screeched in protest as the car hurtled toward the Facebooker. It took mere seconds to reach him, and I could have sworn in the milliseconds before contact, its once vacant blue eyes contained a flicker of surprise. Between the car and the barrier, which the impact had broken, there was nothing left but a white and red mess. Not sparing a second, I took my foot off the brake, and continued on, up the ramp, and out into the sunlight. I floored the pedal again; they were on to me, and there was no point in trying to be casual, I had to get to the rendezvous, I had to meet with members of Disconnected; after all, I was one of them now.

 

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Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: Must Contain…

This weeks Terriblminds Flash Fiction Challenge, had to contain two elements, chosen from two separate columns; each containing ten things.

The Random number generator gave me:

3 – A mysterious – perhaps even magical – photograph

and

6 – An escaped prisoner

And this is what I did with it

 

Polaroid from the Past

Kris opened the door, the bright sun outside silhouetted the two men standing on the threshold. She stared at them quizzically, wondering what a pair of suits were doing this far from civilisation. The taller, blue suited man spoke
‘Miss Kristina Hendrix?’
‘Yes’ she replied
The blue suited man, and his stocky brown suited colleague withdrew wallets from their inner pockets, and displayed them, showing brass badges
‘I’m Detective Truman, this’ he indicated to the brown suit ‘is Detective Marsh, can we please have a moment of your time ma’am?’
Kris studied them both; she looked from blue to brown, trying to see past the Ray-Bans and the professional smiles. A minute later she stepped back from the door, offering them entry. They returned the badges to their pockets, and with a polite nod, walked in. Kris showed them through to the lounge, and offered them a seat
‘Can I get either of you a drink?’ she asked
‘No, thank you, we’re fine’ again it was Truman who spoke, Marsh remained stoic and silent. Kris sat on the sofa opposite, the wicker coffee table between them
‘So, what is this all in aid of officers?’ she asked
‘Detectives’ said Truman, though his tone was polite, he resented the demotion ‘We’re hear about someone from your past’
Kris nodded, she had a theory it was not a courtesy call, just to inform her that the department is making a wider community reach
‘Abel Sanders’ he said
A cold chill ran up through her, and she took a sharp breath, like a sudden pain had emerged
‘I know it’s not an easy subject for you, but we need to discuss the matter’
Kris nodded, though her body language screamed tension, and she could not meet their gaze
‘Has he been in contact with you at all?’
She looked up sudden, like he had spoken another language, her eyes seemed bewildered by the question
‘No, no why would I, I mean, why would he try to contact me?’ she asked, her voice had taken on a nervous quaver. Detective Truman studied her, looking for tell tale signs of deceit
‘Have any other officers been out here?’ he asked
‘No’ she said
‘Have you been contacted at all, by anyone from the Police Department?’
‘No’ she replied, shaking her head
Truman looked to his silent partner, not a word was exchanged, before Truman said
‘Miss Hendrix, I’m afraid I have some disturbing news’
Kris’ eyes widened, she felt her stomach shrink suddenly, like falling backward off a chair, her heart rate began to quicken, and the ground seemed to move beneath her
‘You mean?’
Truman nodded ‘Abel Sanders has escaped’
Tears began to roll down her cheeks, she was unprepared for this, she could never have prepared for it, she felt like the life she had woven back together, as brittle, and fragile as it was, had begun to have some meaning, but now, that name had taken shears to it, and her reality was unravelling, she felt numb.

Truman reached in to his interior pocket
‘This was the only thing found in his cell’ he said, as he placed a picture on the wicker table. Kris picked it up and looked at it; the picture was black and white, a wash of grey for the light colours, and a deep black for the darker ones. It was of a man, the interior of his prison cell could be made out in the background. Kris studied his face; his eyes seemed to glow, even though the picture had no colour, his face held a stern look, and his cheeks and chin were rife with stubble, it was face she knew, she saw it every night when she closed her eyes. Unable to look at it any longer, Kris placed the Polaroid back on the table.
‘How did he escape?’ she asked
Truman shook his head ‘he just’ he shrugged as he said ‘vanished’
She gazed down at the photo; her heart rate began to slow down, the numbness seemed to subside, and she could feel again, the floor sturdy and immobile beneath her feet.
Detective Truman got up from the sofa and Detective Marsh followed his lead. Kris followed them to the door. Truman stopped on the threshold, and turned to Kris, as he did so he put his Ray-Bans back on, and said
‘We’ll send somebody out to keep watch over the house, make you feel safe’
Kris nodded in response. Truman smiled; it was the professional sort, all duty, no feeling. He began to leave, but two steps from the door he stopped and turned, he reached in to his inner pocket again, and took the two steps back toward her
‘If there’s any contact, or you feel unsafe at all, give us a call’ he offered her a card. Kris took it and assured him she would. She walked back in to the lounge, and looked out of the window; the blue ford saloon kicked up a cloud of dust as it motored away from the house. Kris turned away from the window. Her breath left her like a punch to the solar plexus. Standing by the wicker table was a man. His eyes seemed to glow, her body became numb, the floor seemed to slither beneath her again, twisting and turning. Though the room was spiralling, both she and he remained still, as though only they were outside of reality. Tears began to stream down her cheeks, no sound came out, and she felt choked for breath. He walked toward her slowly, his black rubber soled boots squelching against the wooden floor. His stern face came toward her, without urgency, but all the more ominous for it, like a python on the hunt. He stopped in front of her. Tears cascading down her cheeks, and still, she made no sound. She collapsed onto him, burying her face in his chest. He wrapped his arms round her, holding her tight, and she began to bawl uncontrollably.

Abel sat across from her at the kitchen table, a mug of steaming black coffee before him, and between them both was the Polaroid left behind by Detective Truman, but now it was a picture of a vacant prison cell.
‘I’m sorry’ she said to him
Abel shook his head ‘It’s okay, you did what you were supposed to’
‘But, you were in prison, and you did’ she hesitated, searching her mind, wrestling with conflicting ideals that had plagued her for some time, finally she settled on the words ‘nothing wrong’
‘In their eyes, I killed a man’ he said ‘your boyfriend’
She stared down at her coffee ‘but he’ she shook her head ‘it was no longer David’
Abel nodded ‘but they would never have believed it, and neither of us could have convinced them otherwise’
Silence hung between them for a time; he stared at her, while she stared down at her coffee. It was Abel who spoke first
‘I could’ve got out any time’ he said gesturing to the photo on the table
‘Why now?’ she asked
‘You know why’
She nodded, and her eyes began to well with water
‘I told you I’d protect you’
‘That doesn’t make it any easier’ she snapped. Kris sat brooding; again silence filled the gap between them, while Abel waited for her to calm down
‘I’m sorry’ she said
Abel shook his head ‘it’s fine’
‘What are they after?’ she asked
Abel stared at her across the table, his face remained stern as ever, and his eyes shined as usual, he gave nothing away, which told her everything she needed to know
‘No’ she exasperated
‘Where’s the child?’

 

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Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: A Drink With A Story, A Story With A Drink

This weeks Flash Fiction Challenge over at Terribleminds, was to create a cocktail, real of fictional, and then use said cocktail in a story, preferably the cocktail should be the title of your story.

Reluctantly (I have other stuff I should be focussing on) I participated.

 

The Forget Me Shot

Greg awoke to a dull throb reverberating around his head, ears filled with the rhythm of his pulse, he folded the pillow around his head, but still, the thumping continued. He sat up, feeling his body’s need for water; his tongue was a Sahara, his throat a salt lake, and his vision a permanent heat haze. As his head found equilibrium, and his ears began to breathe, the pounding became clearer. He squinted round the room, confused, looking for the source. The thumping continued; he heard his name, murmured through opaque glass, and untreated pine. Greg rolled out of bed, his stomach churning, and his head swaying, he felt like a confused metronome as his body tick-tocked its way to the front door.
‘Let me in you lazy fuck, it’s freezing out here’
He couldn’t see the voice through the crack of the door, the grey gloom of London too bright for his sore retinas, but he recognised it.

Greg stepped back, and let Adam in, the cold air followed him through, proving his friend right, tweaking Greg’s nipples as it went. He followed Adam through to the kitchen. Adam went straight for the kettle, filling it with water. Greg sat down at the table, wrapping his dressing gown tightly around him, his head in his hands, and his elbows on the table
‘You look well’ said Adam
Greg gazed up through heavy eyelids, even this motion made him queasy.
‘What’s up?’ he asked
Greg shook his head, though his brain protested such vigorous movement.
‘Come on soppy bollocks, you’ve gotten over worse’
The kettle clicked, and steam plumed from the spout
‘Tea?’ he asked
‘She’s gone’
‘Who?’ asked Adam as he spooned two sugars into a mug
‘Melissa’ said Greg, the name sent a bolt from his gut to his heart and back, like a shuttle run of pain.
‘Oh’ said Adam ‘plenty more fish, and all that’
Greg laid his arm along the cool table top, and rested his head on his bicep. Adam sat across from him
‘So, what we up to tonight?’
‘Nothing’
‘Come on Greggles, it’s Saturday’ he said ‘and you’re newly single’
Greg looked up at him, his big smile reminded him of the cat from Alice in Wonderland
‘Don’t fancy it’
Adam took a sip of tea and said
‘Hang on a minute, you’re telling me, that you look like your Mum’s just died, because that snobby cow you’ve been seeing has given you the elbow?’
Greg would have scowled, if he wasn’t using most of his energy to stop himself being sick
‘She isn’t snobby’
‘But you concede she’s a cow?’
‘What’s your point Adam?’
‘That you look like shit, its two o’clock in the afternoon, and I’m the only reason you’re out of bed’
‘I had a lot of alcohol too’
‘Yeah, and shed a few tears judging from your eyelids’ Adam drained the contents of his mug, then made his way to the sink, he returned to the table with a pint of water
‘Drink that’ he said
Greg groaned as he sat up straight, he picked up the glass and took a sip.
‘Good, so why’d the snobby – ’
Greg glared at him. Adam raised his hands defensively
‘Sorry, why’d the cow leave you?’
Greg couldn’t be bothered to argue the differences between a cow and Melissa, so ignored it
‘She said she wanted more out of life, more than’ he gestured round the kitchen ‘this’
Adam raised an eyebrow
‘More than a flat on the sixth floor in southeast London?’ he asked ‘some people are just greedy’
Greg didn’t appreciate the sarcasm, so he ignored that too
‘I just miss her so much’
‘When did she leave?’
‘Last night’
‘Fuck me’ he said in surprise ‘you need sorting out mate’ Adam got up from the table, and began routing around the cupboards.
‘What’re you doing?’ asked Greg
‘Putting you out of your misery’
Greg watched him drag out nearly every bottle of alcohol he hadn’t drained, including a dusty bottle of birthday Gin he’d received from his Nan about six years ago. It came with a message which said: “now you’re old enough, have a proper drink” But Adam, like most people, didn’t like Gin, and like most people, knew this before he was eighteen.
Adam brought all the ingredients to the table including a tall glass
‘Right’ he said ‘if this doesn’t cure you, it’ll at least kill you, either way I won’t have to listen to you’
‘Charming’
‘You’re welcome’
Greg watched on as Adam narrated his actions
‘A cube of sugar’ he plonked it in the glass ‘that’ll take away the bitter taste of rejection’
‘A dash of bitters’
‘For?’
‘To soften the sugar cube’
‘Oh’
‘Then we muddle that down to a syrup’
Greg watched him beat the sugar cube with the handle of a wooden spoon. Adam looked round the kitchen, then reached for a plant on the window sill
‘Some mint’ he said pulling a few leaves off the plant ‘cleanse your palate, ready for new flavours’
Greg eyed him sceptically.
‘Ice’ he said making his way to the freezer, placing a handful in the glass when he returned
‘And what’s that for’
Adam shrugged ‘it’s Ice, everyone likes Ice’
Greg nodded, a smirk began to lift the corners of his mouth
‘A good glug of red Wine’ he said ‘to battle the heartbreak’
‘A shot of Whiskey, for the pain’
Greg raised his eyebrows
‘Some Rum’ he said ‘that’s for relaxation, no good being tense’
Adam blew dust off the next bottle ‘a little Gin, for a bit of fortitude’
‘Fortitude?’ asked Greg
‘Yeah, you know, stiff upper lip’
‘Ah’ he said finding a smile
‘And finally some’ he studied the bottle ‘Absinthe?’
‘Costa del Sol, two thousand and nine’
Adam shrugged and poured in a splash ‘that’s to wipe out the memories’
Greg watched him stir it round, the ice clinked against the glass, but it remained a dark, reddish-brown. He slid it across the table
‘Ta-da’
‘What the fuck is that?’
‘The Forget Me Shot’ he beamed
‘It’s a pint’
‘Heartbreak calls for more than a thimble mate’
Greg studied it, he could make out the ice cubes through the murky liquid, like spotting eels in the Thames
‘I’m not drinking that’
Adam looked offended ‘why not?’
‘You just made it up’ he said ‘it probably tastes like shit, and I’ve got a hangover’
‘Hair of the dog’
‘No thanks’
Adam sat down, he breathed out heavily, frustration flaring his nostrils
‘Look, you can either remain depressed, with your thoughts of her’
‘Mellissa’
‘Whatever, the point is, with how you feel now, what’s the worst that can happen if you knock that back?’
Greg looked at the glass, the eels seemed to move in and out of focus beneath the lethal brown water
‘Alright, fuck it’
‘Atta boy’
Greg picked up the glass, he took a deep breath, the fumes of alcohol swam up his nose, his stomach protested, but the drink was already at his lips, he swallowed it in gulps, the different alcohols fusing and then separating, punching his taste buds like his tongue had entered a bar fight, Gin left hooked the Wine, while Rum strolled over the back of a rampant Whiskey, sweet syrup danced round them all, while the cool breeze of mint blew in through the ruckus. He put the glass down, nothing but ice and dregs remained. He gazed at Adam, whose smile seemed to increase the longer he looked at him
‘Well?’ he asked
‘Not bad, though I didn’t get the Absinthe’ as he finished the word, it hit him. His eyes seemed to lose focus; he felt the very passage of time cease. Absinthe had walked in on the tussle, gazing round at the other drinks, with a crazy look in its eye, it undid its bright green trench coat, and the last two seconds could be seen counting down on a shit load of dynamite.

The Sun barged in through the parting of the curtain. Greg squinted under its scrutiny, before looking round the room confused. He rolled over, checking his alarm clock. It read: 10:23 Sun. He inhaled deeply, he felt good, really good. Though he wasn’t sure why. He jumped out of bed and headed for the kitchen, a spring in his step.
He checked the bread for growth, then popped two slices in the toaster, flicked on the kettle, and felt his dressing gown vibrate
‘Hello?’
‘Eh, Greggles, glad to know you’re alive’ Adams voice came through the phone
‘Ello mate’ he replied ‘what happened last night?’
‘Why, how you feeling?’
‘Great, mate’ he said while buttering his toast ‘absolutely blinding’
‘Glad to hear it’ he said ‘you up for coming out tonight’
Greg frowned at the pint glass in his sink, it was filled with a brownish milky water. He couldn’t place it
‘Yeah, sounds good mate’

Greg looked round the club, the music was blaring, and he felt as good as he could remember feeling for a long time.
‘Good to have you out and about mate’ shouted Adam through the din
‘Yeah, s’nice, just need to get my leg over’
‘You and me both’
Greg looked out at the dance floor, perusing the crowd, searching for that lucky lady, or at the very least a lady that made him feel lucky. He preferred blondes, but the brunette in the red dress kept catching his eye. She was dancing with a friend. Greg liked her smile, her teeth extra bright in the neon lights of the club. She looked up at him, normally he might have played it cool, looked away, so he could build up to it. But he felt different, like he was free, and the confidence it gave him must have shown. She smiled at him, it was a horny smile.

Greg found her at the bar, talking to her friend. He stood beside her, but never once looked her way. Feeling the eyes of her friend on him, he called to the bartender
‘Can I get another Vodka red bull’ he said ‘and whatever these ladies are drinking’
It was then he looked over, and she was eyeing him up
‘And what if we’re drinking champagne?’ she asked
‘Then that’s what you’ll have’
She smiled and said to the bartender
‘Two cosmopolitans’
He liked her accent, middle-class, yet everything else about her was anything but
‘Greg’ he said holding out his hand
She smiled, offering her slender one in return, and said
‘Melissa’

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Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: Fairy Tales Remixed

This weeks Terribleminds challenge, was to pick a fairy tale (any) and then rewrite it. The twist being, Chuck included a list of twenty subgenres, to which we had to (preferably) pick at random.

The RNG at Random gave me a six: Satire. And I chose Snow White as my fairy tale. See results below.

Snow White

“Siri, Siri, open Google, search; the prettiest lady of them all”

The phone made a beep. Vanity White waited impatiently for it to beep again.

“Sorry, I don’t understand; hear me, hear me opengoggle search defeatist of thermal”

She made a sound like a wounded Jaguar, and hurled the phone against the wall. She got up from the dressing table, and made her way down stairs. As she descended, Vanity could see a pair of pasty legs draped over the arm of the sofa.

“I know right, it’s like toe-ta-lee unfair”

“Snow” she said when she reached the bottom

“O.M.G, I know!” the girl continued to speak into the phone.

Vanity could not stand to be ignored, nothing riled her more than a lack of attention.

“Snow!!”

The girl ceased her conversation with the phone, and looked round, with an expression of disgust.

“Hold on Cindy, there’s a rude person in the room” she cradled the phone to her chest “Yes?”

“Where is your father?”

Snows face shifted shape like a bad smell entered her nose

“I don’t know, he’s your husband”

Vanity stalked off, her designer heels clicking as she left. Snow gave her attention back to the phone

“Sorry” she said “yeah, that was her

Vanity walked into her husband’s study, its walls lined with framed gold and platinum records. But he was nowhere to be found. She rounded his desk, and opened up Google, then typed:

Who is the prettiest lady in the world?

The results came back, like a knife in the chest. Picture’s of Snow. She gritted her teeth, cheeks filled with bright frustration, eyes flared with rage, but her face remained unmoved. The silky raven hair, deep rouge lips, and flawless pale skin of Snow stared out at her from the screen. Vanity clicked a link, taking her to Snows Facebook profile. She read the latest post:

“Can’t wait for tonight, going to see The Seven Deadly Sins! – Thank you Daddy, love you! xxx”

Forty five people had liked it, and now, with a brain wave of malice, so too did Vanity.

Snow White and Cindy Charming arrived at The Forest Stadium in a Limousine her Dad had arranged. The crowd was heaving outside, but they were V.I.P, meaning; backstage passes, free drinks, and no queues. As they walked in they talked excitedly to each other.

“Who’s your favourite?”

“Wrath” said Snow “he’s just full of fire”

“Mine’s Lust, talk about passion” said Cindy

They giggled, continuing their chat all the way to their seats. They were front row, centre stage. The lights were still on, and everyone was in the process of finding their seats. A waiter brought round a tray of champagne. Snow knocked hers back, feeling the bubbles float rapidly to her head. Twenty minutes, and two more glasses of champagne later, the lights dimmed, and The Sins took to the stage. The arena erupted with whoops, and whistles, and screams. Pride, The Sins lead singer came up to the microphone

“How’s everybody doing tonight?” he said

The stadium erupted further into fervour. Pride smiled proudly, his cropped beard making him mysterious, and the light reflected off his thick framed glasses. The Sins kicked things off with one of their better known songs; ‘Hi-Ho’ progressing with number one hits ‘Happy’ and ‘Bashful’. They were about halfway through their performance, before Snows favourite song came on: ‘Off to Work’. A waitress offered her another glass of champagne, she took it without looking, her half cut eyes glued to the stage. Tray empty, the waitress walked off, the clicking of her designer heels drowned out by The Sins. Snow knocked back her champagne, and continued to dance with Cindy. A minute later Snow leaned across to Cindy, and whispered

“I’m going to the bathroom”

“Okay!” yelled Cindy, carelessly over her shoulder.

Snow stumbled off down the aisle, the floor, the people, the whole stadium seemed to move like water, changing colours as it did. Snow staggered out of the arena, into the kiosk area, in search of the toilets. She opened several doors, finding everything from a mop and bucket, to a singing giraffe. In the end she stumbled into a room she could not define, and collapsed on a giant marshmallow, her eyelids weighed too much to remain open, and she embraced the dark.

Vanity came down the stairs of her house in a Chanel suit, she detested wearing non designer clothes, but she forgave herself given the circumstances. She clicked across the floor to the T.V and switched it on

“Xbox, Xbox, open Google, search: the most gorgeous lady of them all”

The black box whirred; she watched it perform its task. The results came back, like a punch in the solar plexus.

Snow woke up to the mutterings of several voices. She sat up, wondering how she had ended up on this plump white sofa. She looked round, and then yelped.

“Hello Love” said Pride

She was in the dressing room of The Sins. They were spread out amongst the room, some seated on chairs, others on the floor.

“Seems like someone spiked your drink” said Lust, with a wink

“I wish someone would spike my drink” said Envy

“You gonna eat that?” Gluttony asked

“Don’t touch my food!” yelled Wrath

“Can you keep it down, please” said Sloth who was lying on a similar sofa to the one Snow sat on

Snow eyed them all quitely; unsure if the alcohol was playing with her mind. One of The Sins was sat watching the Television, like it might vanish if he looked away.

“Horse racing” said Pride “that’s Greed for ya”

“Hang on a minute” said Lust “you’re Leopold Whites daughter”

Snow nodded, she seemed to have lost her words.

“He’s the King!” said Wrath

“I wish he was my Dad” said Envy

“I would so come and shake your hand right now” said Sloth “if you weren’t so far”

“You sure you’re going to eat that?” asked Gluttony

“I said don’t touch my food!!” shouted Wrath

Greed continued to stare at the Television.

“He’s just a record executive” Snow had found her words.

“The best there is” replied Pride.

Snow went silent again. The Sins continued what they were doing, individually, as she sat watching them. As reality started to drift back in, she could feel her head throbbing, and her mouth was dry. She got up and said

“I’m going to get some water”

“Do a left, and continue straight on” said Pride

“Hey, I’ll keep you company” said Lust, licking his lips

“Sit down!” said Wrath

Scorned, Lust returned to the floor. As Snow closed the door she heard the voice of Gluttony “Are you absolutely sure you’re – ” followed by the sound of palm on cheek.

Snow made her way down the abandoned corridor to the kiosk, she had expected it to be vacant, but a woman was cleaning up.

“Excuse me” said Snow

“Yes dear” the woman replied without turning round

“Can I get a bottle of water” Snow felt her stomach quiver “and a hotdog?”

“No hotdogs luvvy, machines off, but there’s some fruit in that basket” the woman remained busy, wiping the Slushie machine.

Snow looked into an open wicker style bowl, the only thing inside was a bright red apple. She wanted something more substantial, but food was food. Snow picked it up, and took a bite. Her mouth filled with a bitter flavour, but before she could spit it out, she collapsed.

The woman from the kiosk came over and bent down beside Snow, and rifled through her pocket, pulling out her phone. She held down the button, until it beeped

“Siri, Siri, open Google, search: who’s the most beautiful lady of all?”

The phone beeped again, and replied

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand Oogleserch booda most boot full babyoil”

 

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