Finish This Sentence #6 – Unusual Weapon of Choice

I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a ________, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t going to let him take the treasure from me—I needed it to save a life. (Write a story that follows these lines.)

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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155 thoughts on “Finish This Sentence #6 – Unusual Weapon of Choice

  1. BlueBoulder

    I was running faster than I knew I could. The stench of the paper mill didn’t bother me for the first time I could remember, but what bothered me was I couldn’t find Noella in the maze of tanks and structures that looked like silos. It felt like miles until I had reached the main building.My girlfriend had told me she was kidnapped and taken to a smokestack on the mill. She screamed main building before she lost connection, and it never came back on. Was it too late to save Noella? I scaled the ladder and ran to the nearest smokestack. I eyed through the puffs of smoke coming quickly and steadily.
    “NOELLA?” I yelled, looking around.

    1. BlueBoulder

      (Clicked submit, didn’t mean to) PART TWO
      I suddenly felt something hit my head. It felt a bit flimsy, yet enough to pack a punch. I turned around to see a woman in a black mask. Her skin was soft yet tense. It reminded me of Noella’s creamy white skin, like when she would be mad or upset. I hated when Noella was like that, and I almost felt pity until I remembered she was trying to hit me. With a package of paper. She hit me in the face and tried to steal my phone.
      “Gettoff! I need that phone!” I yelled, trying to sound angry but somehow laughing that this girl was trying to injure me with paper. The girl was persistent, and I realized she was trying to push me into the smokestack.
      “Where is Noella?!” I screamed angrily, but my voice was tinted with fear. I only wished that I could reach for my phone and call her. It might save her life!
      “Here, you jerk!” Yelled the attacker, and pulled off her hockey mask to reveal Noella.
      “Why are you attacking me?” I cough, the smoke almost completely surrounding me. I prayed to god for the first time in a while that he would spare me from falling to my undoubtful death.
      “I know that you are seeing Elena! I know what you do after work! How stupid you were to come after me!” She bellowed, her eyes red and tear stained.
      “Noella, I promise that all my love is to you! There is no other girl!” At that point I was saying that to spare my life. She was trying to kill me! “I came to help you, dear. Please stop!” I did feel sorry that I was cheating on her, but I didn’t love her the same as before. I wanted to be friends, just friends. I was with her because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. But I had screwed up, and Kharma had come to hit me in the face like the paper.
      She grabbed my phone and threw it into the smokestack. “Go ahead and join it, you stinking liar.”

      I felt a single weak shove but I knew that was the strongest move that I would ever feel.

  2. dragonchef

    “What the heck are you doing?” I managed to get out between fits of laughter, meanwhile dodging projectile after projectile.

    Sara was using her sports bra as a sling and pieces of soap bar as ammunition. A chuck of soap grazed my head; she was getting dangerously close to taking me out.

    “Give it back, Jeremy!” Another chunk flew by knocking a picture frame from the wall.

    “You do know that you’re destroying your own room, right?”

    Another chunk and the table lamp fell over. She had obviously been practicing this feat, a talent to be reckoned with, no doubt.

    “So, you’re David and I’m Goliath, is that it?”

    I could see in her eyes she was already calculating distance and trajectory. I held up a surrendering hand. “Sara, I need this.”

    “Oh please,” she snarled, the bra swooshing loudly as she spun it. “For what perverted purpose could you possibly need my –“

    Mom’s voice from downstairs broke her momentum and the spinning bra came to a halt, “Are you guys alright? Did I hear something break?”

    Through semi-clenched teeth Sara responded, her eyes never leaving me, “No mom, just playing around.”

    And that was enough to placate mom. The sling-bra renewed its motion.

    “I’ll bring it back. I promise.”

    The spinning increased in speed, this one was going to hurt.

    My mind raced with possible explanations that might work, but only one was assured. I decided to trust the truth.

    “Sydnee needs it.”

    Sara liked my girlfriend. In fact, she liked Sydnee more than she liked me, her own flesh and blood brother. But that was to be expected, I guess.

    The spinning bra halted a second time.

    Sara looked at me confused, and then narrowed her eyes. “Why?”

    “She said you would understand. She said it was a matter of life and death and . . . something else I can’t remember right now. Not sure what she meant by that, but that is the truth, I swear!”

    Sara’s eyes went wide. “Life and death? She said that? Are you sure?”

    “Cross my heart.”

    The look on Sara’s face when I told her what Sydnee had said was strange. Like she knew EXACTLY what it meant. Did they have a code between them . . . a girl language to which the males of our species were not privy?

    Sara started spinning her bra again.

    “Wait. What? I told you the truth.”

    “What was the third thing?”

    For the life of me I couldn’t remember. It must have been either so profound or so ridiculous as to have created a mental block. I looked at Sara. She was seconds away from releasing and I was seconds away from death-by-soapbar.

    Then the phone rang. Caller ID showed it was Sydnee.

    Sara answered, smiling. “Hi Syd . . . uh huh . . . sure, no problem. See ya!”

    To me she gritted her teeth, and put her bra on the bed. “Get out. Now. Before I hit you just for being here.”

    And that was all I needed to hear.

  3. ReathaThomasOakley

    An Annie Update, no unusual weapons

    I’m way behind on reading and commenting, but wanted to share this, even though some posting this week might not understand.

    Annie’s stories had a great reception at the Wyoming Writers Conference this past weekend. After I read the first place piece Friday night, audience feedback was rewarding. The agent pitch session Saturday started with, “When you read I was hoping you weren’t published yet,” and “I’m giddy with anticipation.” I think she liked it. An anonymous reading of a Girl story also interested her.

    As often as I could, I credited this venue, and encouragement from fellow writers here, for keeping me going. Thank you all.

    I have lots of editing, etc., to do, but real life, laundry and neglected cleaning before the Mold Inspector comes Wednesday, has reared an impatient head.

    Later.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I am thrilled. For you Reatha. We all are. Keep us posted on what’s going on. May you ship ride with full sails and you know what the Irish say, May the wind always be at your back
      Kerry

  4. rlk67

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a bagel, lox and cream cheese sandwich, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t going to let him take the treasure from me—I needed it to save a life.
    “I vas here first, meester,” I said calmly. “The chicken soup…it is mine!” I hugged the warm plastic container as I flecked some Nova off of my necklace.
    “Listen lady, I made a special trip to this deli, and I want that soup!” The rather rude and chubby man was eyeing the matza balls.
    “Please,” begged Sol, “lets be civil. My cook Sadie is brewing a new batch…just a couple of minutes!” He turned toward the kitchen. “Sadie! How much longer?”
    “Oy, get off your shpilkes, Sol! It takes time!” Sadie began to whistle “Sunrise, Sunset”.
    “Well, I’m in a rush!” yelled Mr. Chubs. “I need that soup now!”
    “Dunt you look at mine soup,” I said seriously. “Mine husband is flat on his back with the Hungarian flu! He needs this…what they call it…Jeweesh Penicillin, it is. The only medicine to help him.”
    “Oh, give me a break,” murmured Chubs. “And what about the pickles, lady? I suppose that’s for a headache?”
    “Oh, no. That’s for me. I have craving today.” Chubs stared at me. How rude.
    “Give the soup, lady, or I’ll hit you with my lunch again.”
    I sighed. Desperate times called for desperate action. I clutched my chest. “Oy, mine heart! You cause me so much stress! I think this is it! OY!”
    Sol ran around the counter. “Oh, come on. Just let her have the soup! Please!”
    “She’s faking!” screamed Chubs. “Alright, that’s it. You have one more chance to hand over the container, you hear?”
    Now it was my turn to stare. “Fine,” I said abruptly. “Take it.” I placed the container in his hands.
    “That’s better, lady. Now how much is…”
    I cleared my throat. “But you should know that mine husband is on his vay out. Kaput. How will I ever get along vithout him? Mine children, you say? Vell, they never call. Oy, I just cannot survive. But it is ok. Please. Take the soup. I vill somehow get along.”
    Chubs mouth opened. He looked at the container, and suddenly shoved it back at me. “No way, lady. If there’s one thing I can’t deal with, it’s more Jewish guilt. I get that from my own mother!” And with that, Chubs ran for his life.
    I smiled. It’s an art, after all.
    “Hello!” cried a voice from the kitchen. “Who wants some fresh soup? All done and ready to go!” Sadie continued to hum.

  5. Critique

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a garage sale sign, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t going to let him take the treasure from me – I needed it to save a life.

    The man wearing a Gatsby hat pulled low over his forehead crowded me and tried to grab the doll out of my hands. For a petite woman I’m a lot stronger then I look. A brief tug of war ensued. I won.

    The vintage doll survived the skirmish.

    The man stalked over to the sign planted in the lawn, yanked it out, and walked back towards me. “Give me the doll.” He said.

    Holding the precious find behind my back I laughed in disbelief. “What’s your problem? I had it first.”

    The sign whistled through the air and the sharp nails holding the cardboard grazed my shoulder.

    “Hey!” A white haired man crouched over a box of books looked up. “Put that thing down. You’re going to hurt someone.”

    It wasn’t funny anymore. I dashed behind a table laden with household trinkets, lamps, crystal bits, and china dishes. Gatsby followed, shoving the table over sending glass shattering over the cement driveway.

    Someone screamed.

    Two children sorting through a box of toys were quickly herded to a nearby van by their mother. “You should call the police.” She hollered at the homeowners.

    I held the doll up and looked at the woman hosting the sale. “How much?”

    “Twenty dollars?” She said watching the man with the sign advancing towards me. She made a shooing motion with her hands. “Go.”

    I tossed a bill onto the nearest table and clutching the doll to my chest I raced for my car.

    A bargain hunter walking up the sidewalk immediately surmised the situation and stuck his foot out sending Gatsby sprawling and the sign skittering under a parked car. That gave me enough time to jump in my car and hit the power lock button.

    In my rear view mirror I witnessed my attacker running for his car. My sweaty hands gripped the steering wheel, my foot lead heavy on the gas as I careened through the neighbourhood streets.

    I looked down at the porcelain face on the seat beside me. “You must be worth quite a bundle if that ruckus is any indication.”

    In the early evening, carrying the doll concealed in a party bag, I walked into Room 404 at the Children’s Hospital.

    Pauline, my eleven year old niece lay in bed her pale face turned towards the door. Her eyes brightened when she saw me.

    “Hi sweetie.” I swallowed the lump in my throat and smiled. “I brought you something.”

    The joy on her face when she saw the Jumeau doll erased troubling images from that afternoon.

    “Auntie Jane, she’s beautiful. Look at the detail.” Pauline’s thin fingers caressed the exquisite costume. “Where did you find her? She’ll be perfect for my collection.”

    A shadow passing by the open doorway caught my attention. Was that a Gatsby hat?

        1. Kerry Charlton

          My wife collects dolls and found one at an estate that probably is 110 years old
          It took 100 to buy it. It could be worth 20 dollars but we are not going to try to have it appraised. That’s part of the fun of collecting. Your story is nicely written and the ending is a heart warmer.

          1. Critique

            Thanks for the comments and for stopping by Kerry 🙂 Life has been incredibly busy in my circle and I’m hoping to be able to spend more time writing here and commenting on all the wonderful stories.

  6. snuzcook

    Been absent for a while, but got a chance to read the fabulous stories here just now. Wonderful stuff, all! Couldn’t resist adding one of my own before the new prompt comes around.

    The first breath of freedom was just as thick with mold and mud and stale smoke as the captive breath before, but it infused the lungs and the blood and the brain with hope and the energy to act.

    I got to my feet and stepped aside to make room for Jack to crawl out of the hole after me. All around, trees dripped great drops of last night’s rain onto smoking fire pits and the abandoned detritus of the outlaw encampment. The jeeps were gone. The mule enclosure was empty. The only signs of life were she-goats bleating to be milked and a pair of pigs rooting in their enclosure, saved from slaughter by the need for a quick retreat.

    “Now what?” Jack’s voice was still husky from a blow to the throat when we were captured.

    “Now we go back.”

    “Forget it. I’m not going back.”

    I ignored him. We had already fought this verbal duel many times. There was no new territory to cover.

    I went to the lean-to that had been the old man’s home before he was killed. Inside, sheaves of dried herbs still hung from the rafters, but many of the bottles of potions were smashed or lay open, exposing their precious contents to the flies and the damp air. What I was after was hidden, disguised in a cloth sack of dried animal dung. I found the bag and poured its contents out onto the cluttered table. The packet I had watched the old man wrap so carefully in leaves and then in paper was still there.

    “Give it to me.”

    Jack stood blocking the way out, in his hand the only weapon he could find—another identical bag.

    “You know I can’t. People need it.”

    “I don’t care. I’m getting out of this country, and that will pay my way.”

    He swung the bag slowly, the weight of the dried turds giving the impression of a formidable bludgeon. But even as he jostled it for a better grip, the masses inside were crumbling to dust, raining out through the burlap like flour from a bakers’ sieve.

    “You’re going to stop me with that?”

    “If I have to.”

    I tucked the packet into the top of my pants and rushed him. He swung the sack, and it connected just behind me against the post holding up the corner of the lean-to. I turned to watch as Jack disappeared in a dense, yellowish cloud of powdered excrement as the bag ripped from the ferocity of his swing, and then as the post he blindly leaned against collapsed with a loud creak, dropping the corner of the roof it had supported down into Jack’s surprised face.

    “You okay?” I called, laughing. Choking coughs were the only response. I sprinted to the trail head that lead back into the jungle. Jack was no longer my responsibility. There were others who desperately needed the medicine packet I carried to save their lives. And with the old man gone, this treasure could be the only chance they had.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Very creative Snuz. I loved the description of the weapon that Jack used
      The line with the yellow dust cloud was most amusing
      I’ve never heard of a dung battle before, maybe you should patent it

      1. snuzcook

        Couldn’t resist–the only line that came to me when I read the prompt was “Are you really going to hit me with that bag of sh*t?” and the rudimentary story just kind of weeded its way around it. Where that came from, I don’t even want to venture a guess.

    2. dragonchef

      Ha! Not for the same reason as Jack, mind you, but I actually couldn’t breathe after reading this one. Funny take, Snuzcook. Seems there is a whole “greater” story from which this excerpt was taken, or at least, there could be.

  7. JRSimmang

    HOUSE OF THE BLOOD LOTUS, PT 2
    – THE SECOND TIME ‘ROUND

    “You’ve only a limited time here, Cothran, my dear Cothran.” Magus spread before me in arcing blues and whites. His face was irrelevant, but his intentions were clear and felt. He was going to help me one more time.

    “Am I dead?” I realized how cliche I sounded. “I mean, is this where the dead go?”

    “No, my brother. This is not Heaven, or Valhalla, nor have you achieved Nirvana.”

    Boy, was he right.

    “But, you are in an in-between. You are in the Alterplane, though we call it something else.”

    “What do you call it?”

    “Home.”

    He moved me, and I, for the first time since arriving, looked down at me, at my body. I wasn’t there, not completely. Pieces of what I knew to be my body phased in and out, like shadows playing through the canopies of trees in a forest. When my body wasn’t there, I was a brilliant orange, a bright yellow, and some other color I couldn’t name, even if I went back to kindergarten where colors were my life.

    The landscape was a constantly shifting backdrop, sometimes light, sometimes devoid of illumination, pits of blackness surrounded by a pristine light and white. The greens were perfect.

    “I’m sure you have more questions,” he said. “I will try to answer them.”

    We found ground, or what I could consider ground, and started walking toward a monolithic structure. It shone as the new day sun, if the sun was pink and blue and orange and red and yellow.

    “I don’t know where to begin,” I admitted. “I mean, can I go back?”

    “No.”

    “Am I in my body?”

    “No.”

    “Did the Blood Lotus destroy the planet?”

    “No.”

    “Does Amelia have a chance to come back.”

    “… No.”

    I stopped and dropped to my knees, my hands finding the ground.

    “Come, Cothran. There is someone you must meet.”

    “I failed her, Magus.”

    He paused, turned around, and knelt in front of me. “Cothran, you must come.”

    “Come?” I shouted and stood. “Come, Magus? There’s a force down there, or over there – wherever! – that slaughtered Amelia last year, and then killed me, and you’re asking me to take a stroll into a, what, house? I need to get back there! I need to get her back!”

    Magus reached out his hand, or what I assumed to be, and touched my shoulder. A flash burst in front of me, and I was on a park bench in California.

    “I don’t know, C,” Amelia half-whispered. “It’s a boiling. It’s a bubbling.”

    “I call it my Torrent.” I said.

    She chuckled. “Torrent?” I felt self-conscious for a second. “I like it. It makes sense.”

    “Yeah.”

    “It connects us, you and me. For what reason, I don’t know, but it connects us.”

    The memory’s colors swirled and mixed into blossoming clouds, and I was transported to my living room.

    “I can’t shake this feeling.” Amelia wore her red shawl and pulled it closer.

    “Are you cold?”

    “No. But, I feel like I should be.”

    We sat across from one another, and I outstretched my hands in front of my chest, forming a circle with them. “Come on. Let’s try it.”

    She nodded and took a deep breath, then mirrored my movements.

    At once, a spark lit in the centers of our palms, hers in her hands, mine in my hands. “Concentrate,” I said. “This is the Torrent. I’m not sure what it does on top of being a fancy light. I want t find out.”

    Amelia’s eyes rolled back into her head, and her hands spread wide. With it, her Torrent expanded and enveloped her. Her body phase shifted, figments and threads of light bearing out of her. From her shoulders, wings of light shattered the silence in my living room. The walls shook. My plates crashed out of the cabinets. My furniture danced away from her light, and the walls and the roof, and everything else dissolved.

    There was a sudden swish.

    There was an opening.

    And there, in that instant, I saw the Alterplane for the first time. Through her. And she, the most beautifully elegant being I had ever laid eyes on.

    There was one more shift, and I was staring at Magus. His form had captured an essence. “Now, you can see me,” he susurrated. “Now you know why she’s important.”

    “But I lost her Torrent.”

    “But not yours.”

    To be continued…

  8. Kaboosh

    (Sorry, I’ve been a bit busy with finals in the past few weeks so I haven’t had the time to write. This is a continuation from “Mother’s Day Fiasco”)

    “I came as soon as I heard!” I say, rushing into the Emergency Room.

    My mom, sitting in the hospital bed, turns her head towards me and smiles. After a couple of seconds, she beckons at me. I kneel down by her bed and she pulls my ear close to her lips. Her chapped lips scrape together before she chokes out an incomprehensible message. She then wraps her frail hands around my throat and starts squeezing. I can feel my Adam’s apple being pressed down, cutting off my breath. I look into her eyes, giving no struggle as she chokes the life out of me. I see a single tear roll down my mother’s face before I jolt awake. As I fall back into my bed, Poppy wraps her arms around my body.

    “Bad dream?” she asks.

    “You could say that,” I mutter in reply, eyes still wide open. I’ve had a lot of weird dreams since Poppy entered my life. I guess my body is still getting used to the strange events that occurred in the past few weeks. My parents got a divorce, my father got a girlfriend, that girlfriend broke up with my dad and started dating me, and my parents got back together acting like nothing ever happened. I’m wondering if that was all a dream itself. My thoughts are interrupted by Poppy climbing out of my bed.

    “Come on,” she said. “You promised to take me to the carnival today and it opened two hours ago.”

    “I can’t say no to that face.” I say, smiling up at her. A few minutes later, we leave for the carnival. When we arrive, Poppy drags me around the entire place, in awe of everything around her.

    “Never been to a carnival before?” I ask.

    She shakes her head and opens her mouth to explain, but her attention is pulled away by a cotton candy stand. I buy her a big bag of pink cotton candy, but she’s already focused on something else. I find her at a carnival game ogling a plushie of one of those old-timey TV’s. I looked over at Poppy with an eyebrow raised, but she wouldn’t take her eyes off the toy. There was nothing special about it, and the carny told me I only had to knock over one set of cans to obtain it, so I pay him my last dollar and he gives me three baseballs. The task looks easy enough, but I haven’t thrown a baseball since Little League. My first throw is over a foot away from the cans. The second one almost hit the carny in the head. As I prep for the last throw, I see Poppy tapping her fingers on the side of the stand, watching the prize, as if waiting for it to jump down into her arms. If I mess this up, she’ll be heartbroken. I throw the ball with all my might, but it’s angled much to far to the right. Just before the ball hits the back wall, it veers to the left, hitting the cans and sending them flying. I glance at the carnival employee, but he looks just as confused as me. My eyes drift to Poppy. Her hand is raised at chest height in the shape of a claw. It’s directed at the stand where the cans were previously sitting. The carny picked up a can and directed it at me.

    “Begone you cheating pig! And take yer witch with ya!” he spat. I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a tin can, I couldn’t help but laugh. I am not going to let him take the treasure from me—I need it to save a life.

    “My girlfriend and I will leave without complaint,” I say, trying to stop myself from laughing, “but I believe you owe us a prize.”

    “I don’t reward cheaters! If you don’t leave now, I’ll call security on-” Before he could finish his sentence, Poppy looks him in the eyes. A spasm of pain contorts his face and he hands her the plush toy. She smiles and wipes a tear from her face. In one quick movement, she tears the toy in half, revealing a disc. She holds it to her heart and walks towards the carnival exit, pulling me along. I take one last look behind me to see the employee helplessly trying to slit his throat with the tin can. I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but this time I didn’t laugh.

    1. dragonchef

      Don’t mess with Poppy!
      So, we have a witch and a secret disc that was hidden inside a stuffed . . . TV?
      Going somewhere with this? More to come?
      I especially liked the two parter of the prompt. Cool close.

  9. typewriter

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a trumpet, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t going to let him take the treasure from me—I needed it to save a life.
    He came at me again, blowing that trumpet, whaaa. The buzzing made my ears ring, resonating an unpleasant sensation in my ear drums. Whaaa, it went again. I was feeling weaker, me ears had tinnitus. Another blow, a much louder one, WHAAAA. Marcus was liking every bit of this torture. We were standing in the middle of the scorching shore. A low tide whoosh by, foamy water around our feet. In between us, was an ancient chest; a pirate’s goods and chattels, that we’ve expropriated. We found the treasure at the bottom of the Deep Capri Sun Sea.
    I had just taking off my snorkeling stuff when the altercation transpire. I wasn’t going to let Marcus take the treasure and leave me empty handed. “Marcus, just stop. You can’t have it. We’ve obtain this together, you’re being a self-centered maniac!”Marcus attempted to blow the trumpet again, but decided to wait. I was defenseless, and he had a manipulating trumpet. I think he was trying to blow my eardrums out of my head.“Please. I need this to save a life!”Marcus held the trumpet to his pierced lips, and before he gave it the desperate blow, I kicked his knees. The trumpet flew out of his hand and plodded in the dampened sand.
    We tussled for a moment. I grappled him in a snake-lock position. Then he broke free of my vise lock hold. He rolled back on his feet, swooping the trumpet, and gave it a fierce blow, whaaa. A much louder one, WHAAAA. His cheeks cascade a redden blotch. Perspiration beads dripped into his eyes, which stung horribly that he wailed in pain. I had my only advantage; my chance to take that stupid trumpet and crush it. He scowled with pain. I took the trumpet and slammed it down three times. And three more times, crushing its frame. The trumpet was no longer usable. Just an annihilated piece of junk. I picked it up and tossed it into the ocean, it splashed and bobbled for a bit before sinking to its watery grave.
    Marcus was recovering, he gotten up, wet sand clung to his clothes. He was out of breath. I keeled by the treasure chest. I wanted to know what was in it. I was too curious and determined all together.Marcus stood before me, his face, sullen and red. It was too bad Marcus, I thought. Too bad.Marcus tried to come at me again, he staggered and fell, I waited. He rose up again. I wasn’t having it. I needed this treasure. “Your trumpet’s destroyed, I couldn’t let you… after all we gone through. You tried to take me down. If I go down, you’re coming with me. My grandfather’s dying. I needed whatever is in here to save him.”Marcus looked at me with a glum expression. Then began fishing something in his pant pocket, and pulled out a flute…

  10. jhowe

    I’d never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a copy of War and Peace, I couldn’t help but laugh.

    I shouldn’t have laughed. It hurt like hell. “Good God, Henry. What was that for?” I said, rubbing the top of my head?”

    “Don’t be thick, Baxter. I talked with Sheila last night.” He stroked his short white beard and narrowed his eyes. He had the Calculus text book he’d written in his right hand.

    “Sheila?” I said, holding up my hands.

    “My wife.”

    “You never told me you were married.” He swung the book and missed by a fraction when I backed away.

    “You never asked.” His breathing was labored. Desk jockeying did not as healthy heart make.

    “She told me she was divorced.” I eased the book out of his hand and sat him down on a swivel chair.

    “Well then, that’s at least two people she’s lied to.” He put his head in his hands.

    “I’m really sorry, Henry. I thought she was available.”

    He rubbed his face and looked up at me. “Will you come home with me and help me pack my things? I don’t think I could manage it.”

    “Of course I’ll help you, but don’t you think it will be awkward?”

    “It will serve her right,” he said. “But I could ask someone else.”

    I recognized the house. I’d picked Sheila up here a number of times. I always wondered why she never invited me in. Henry and I marched up the front steps and opened the door with his key. Provost Manakee kneeled on the rug in the sitting room, naked, his elbows on the floor, a ball gag in his mouth. Sheila had her arm raised, a whip in her hand.

    “I can explain,” she said, stammering and trying to cover up.

    “By all means, do,” said Henry.

    “Yes, do,” I said.

    “Mmff,” said the Provost.

    “Uh, maybe I need time to compose myself,” she said, dropping the whip and running from the room.

    Henry, Provost Manakee and I sat at the bar at The Dock. We were drinking gin martinis on the Provost’s tab. Henry had just agreed to start as head of mathematics with a considerable raise in pay – after a lengthy sabbatical, of course, to clear his head and get his affairs in order. My offer was not so generous, at first, until I showed him the picture on my cell phone. He lunged for it but I was quicker. His head drooped and he quickly agreed to my terms.

    After the Provost left, Henry and I raised our glasses.

    “To Sheila,” I said.

    “Yes, to Sheila.” His speech was slightly slurred. “The best derriere east of the Mississippi.” We clanked glasses and ordered a round for the house.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Someone should make a statue of Shiela and plant it on the grounds of city hall. Then another of you because you wrote this
        Prime rib, John

    1. dragonchef

      Yeesh! He married the town dominatrix. Just shaking my head.
      It may have worked out to the better for Henry, but he will still be the dupe of the neighborhood.
      Fun read J.

  11. pven

    At first, we thought it was a rat that had scampered across our path during our evening walk. Blue snuffled around a bit at the edges of the Dumpster it had squirmed under. His ears perked up when whatever we had seen emitted a barely audible whimper.

    Kneeling upon the chunky asphalt, I thumbed on my phone’s flashlight app and shone it into the widened eyes of something barely canine. It snarled. Blue snarled back.

    My voice turned saccharine. “Oh, hey, little fella. Whatcha doing out here all alone?”

    I waved my phone around. No tag, no collar. Tufts of fur drooped from its ears and crusted tail like catfish whiskers. Burrs clung to its body on what little fur hadn’t been eaten away by mange, and under its mottled skin I counted more ribs than I thought could exist on a dog.

    “Come on,” I cooed. “I won’t hurt you.”

    Whimpering, the dog shuffled itself further away from us. When she lay still, she gave a few sharp gasps for breath and panted heavily.

    “Huh.” I stood up.

    “How long do you think it’ll survive?” I asked Blue. My dog snorted and shook his head.

    “That’s what I think, too.”

    We walked home a bit quicker than usual.

    Once home, Blue headed straight to his bowl for his after-walk dinner while I opened the pantry to pull out something I could use to entice the stray from its hiding place.

    “Blue,” I called out. “We forgot to pick up kibble.” He didn’t pay me any attention, dedicated to wolfing down every last bit of dog food. I only briefly considered shooing Blue away to grab a handful of kibble from his bowl. The mutt’s a gentle soul; it’s only around his food dish that he becomes aggressive, guarding it like a dragon atop its hoard.

    In fact…

    Blue usually hides some food behind the sofa, a trait he picked up before I rescued him. I’ll often wake up in the middle of the night to hear him crunching away at his hidden treasure, then snuffling around to find if he’s missed any. Old instincts die hard, I guess.

    I pulled the sofa away from the wall to find two Blue-sized bites of food. For the dog under the Dumpster, it would be a feast.

    As I picked up the food and put it in a small Tupperware dish, I heard a squeaking noise behind me. Blue had pulled out his toy hammer and was quite literally charging me with it, chomping angrily on the bottom end of the handle and swinging his head as if to strike me on the leg.

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with that toy hammer, like some canine pirate defending his booty, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t going to let him take the treasure from me – I needed it to save a life.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Remarkably well done. You covered the prompt well, wrote a tear jerker dog rescue at the same time. I barely got within shooting distance to the prompt. Nice work

    1. dragonchef

      Really great read, Pven!
      I love that Blue was attacking with a toy hammer. Really brought the dog out of dog-mode and into life.

      Thanks

  12. JRSimmang

    HOUSE OF THE BLOOD LOTUS, PROLOGUE

    Late summers in California were the quintessential excuse to not go to work. I was supposed to meet up with an old friend of mine in the Haight, someone I hadn’t seen since she left our junior year of high school. We all change so much over the number of ups and downs and tumbles through the years, but when she wandered through the pavilion, covered in satin and sunlight, I knew it was her. I wondered if she would recognize me, hot dog in my hand, mustard smeared on my cheek.

    “Cothran!” she blurted and rushed over. “How are you?!”

    Amelia was always so chipper, annoyingly so sometimes, but her bubbly personality didn’t stop me from making friends with her in middle school. We were alike, she and I. Alone. Alone and gifted.

    “Perfect,” I said and gestured toward the seat across from me. “You?”

    “Oh, you know, just flitting through life on my wings of light.”

    “Ugh. Really?” I took a bite from my hot dog. “So poetic.”

    She smiled big and sat down. “So, C,” she breathed and leaned in close. “Have you seen it?”

    “Splurt, phlllck.” I gagged, coughed, and the bit of hot dog bounded on the picnic table before her. “Oh, god, sorry.” I plucked up the half-chewed processes meat stick with a napkin.

    She giggled.

    “Seen it?” I managed.

    “Yes, Cothran.”

    I knew what she was talking about. How couldn’t I?

    “I knew it!” She shouted. “I. Freakin’. Knew it!” She stood up and pounded the table, sending my drink tipping over and spilling. “Oh, crap, sorry. I’ll get you a new one.”

    “Don’t worry about it, just,” I checked around us, “keep your voice down.”

    “Ever since middle school, C, I knew it!”

    I couldn’t help but feel relief. We were both too scared to mention the draw, the compulsion we felt toward each other, but it was present and it was strong. I could feel the same compulsion, the liquid burn in my chest once anew. “Yeah, but what of it?” This sensation was starting to distract me.

    “C. Do you know how important this is? The Alterplane? Jesus, C, this would blow the top off the world!”

    “What?” The Torrent, what I called it, roiled in my chest. “We can’t say anything.”

    “But, you feel it don’t you?”

    “I do,” and I started perspiring. “That means we have to go.” I stood, looked around trying to pinpoint where the Torrent was pointing me. Problem was, I couldn’t. It felt like it was coming from all directions.

    “Go? Why?”

    I grabbed Amelia by the elbow.

    “What’s going on, Cothran?”

    “Sh.” I looked her square in the eyes. “You feel it now? You feel that churning in your chest? Do you know what that is?”

    The Torrent spread across my shoulders, down my fingers, innervating me, pulsing through my body and out into the ground.

    “It’s… it’s something I’ve always felt. It’s the Interconnectivity.”

    I was beginning to shake. “You and I are going to have to have a long discussion after this.”

    Her eyes widened, and her jaw fell slack. She slowly raised her finger and pointed behind me. “Wha- what’s that?”

    I turned and started to run toward Broderick Street, pulling Amelia along with me. “A reason to leave.” I reached in to my Torrent, embraced it, and called out telepathically to Magus, my altercelestial. “Alright, Magus, here or there?”

    “Cothran, my friend. The absence of field energy would indicate that the-“

    “Okay, great. Great news.”

    The ground beneath us trembled and lifted, sending Amelia and me through the air. I heard screams from others in the park. It was huge, this energy surge. Black, threaded with red flashes of lightning, which seared the air around it. It reached out with wispy tentacles, striking people in the park, and sucking the life from them. Their bodies collapsed in heaps on the ground.

    It had to have been summoned. But, where was the master?

    I landed upright, but Amelia stumbled and dropped to her knees. I scooped her up by the armpits and threw her to her feet. We started running again.

    The ground before us rent open; black energy spewed upward toward the sky.

    “Cothran,” whispered Magus. “There is no pulse here, but there is a sigil.”

    I stopped short.

    “Cothran!” Amelia shouted. “We have to keep running!”

    “A sigil?”

    “Of a lotus pierced by a spear.

    Amelia turned to face me. The ground behind her exploded and a wall of energy shot up, twisted, coalesced, and a form materialized.

    He was cloaked in his shadows, red pouring from where his eyes should be, energy dripping from the ends of his arms in searing droplets.

    Amelia froze in an exhale. She peered deep into my eyes, her own eyes drowning in tears. She nodded, moved her hands to her chest and interlocked her fingers in a triangle. She thrust her hands from her chest, releasing her Torrent in a single beam to my chest.

    I’ve never been touched by another’s Torrent. I didn’t even know it was possible. But, it slammed into me and sent me flying back away from her and gaining momentum. The energy behind her reached out through her chest and tore her in half.

    I was speeding faster. Faster. Faster. Out of Haight. Out of California. Out of this plane.

    I would have shouted. I would have screamed. I would have rushed in and probably died. But now, now I had Amelia’s Torrent. I had her spirit intertwined with mine, and I was now someplace I had only ever glanced before. I was in the Alterplane, and Magus was waiting for me.

    -JR Simmang

  13. MoiraiTQ

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with the original stuffed penguin, Opus, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t going to let him take this treasure from me. I needed it to save a life.

    I loved reading Bloom County back in the 80s. While I didn’t agree with everything in it, I was amused by most. I gave Opus to my son when he was three years old. He loved the penguin. Now, here it was being thrown at me with force, frustration, and anger. Not at me, but at the situation. Justin’s treasured Opus was lying on his hospital room floor in the corner. Opus should not be treated as such. It was comical, nonetheless, in a morbid sort of way.

    Justin was hit by a car when he was riding his bicycle to work. It was touch and go for a while, but he’s going pull through. Right now, he’s almost unrecognizable. The tubes, bandages, and swelling. One of his legs is broken. The soft cast makes that leg look bigger than his unbroken one. His foot is in a forced flex position. Where is my little boy!? It’s breaking my heart to see him like this. This was my main nightmare when he didn’t move out of LA when I did.

    I flew to LA when I heard the news from one of Justin’s friends. I stopped by his rented house before I went to the hospital and picked up Opus. The mom in me wanted him to know that I was there. This was one way that I knew he’d know. He would be able to feel Opus against his cheek, as his hands were bandaged. I walked over to the corner where he landed and picked him up. I dusted off any invisible germs, kissed his beak, and gave him a quick squeeze. As Justin used to say when he was a little boy, a squeeze-hug. I smiled through my tears at this happy memory.

    I laid Opus on the pillow next to Justin’s face. I gently stroked his face, leaned over and kissed his forehead. I told him that I loved him. I wanted to give him a good mom hug, but I couldn’t. Too much hospital stuff was in the way. It would probably hurt him, anyway. I’m not sure if he knew I was there, but that is what I was going to believe. Still looking at Justin, I straightened up, took a deep breath, and turned to Justin’s friend. Tears were in his eyes. I walked quietly over to his friend and offered a mom hug. He clung to me and just sobbed. Patting his back, I told him it was going to be ok. Slowly, his sobbing turned to sniffing. He let go at that point and smiled at me. He walked over to Justin and told him that he also loved him and he’d be there for him while he got better.

    We both just stood there in the room listening to the beeping machines and Justin’s breathing. Wishing we could do something to have prevented the car from hitting him. Knowing that there was nothing that we could’ve done.

      1. MoiraiTQ

        Thank you. Justin is my real son. He does have Opus (in a moving box) and he does ride his bike to work. The nightmarish thought has crossed my mind. He was not hit by a car.

        I just got done PMing with my son about this story. He was surprised with the story. We discussed how sad it was, but I told him it would make me cry if I had written that he had died. I’m not sure I could’ve written that story.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Tis a heartbreaker of a tale
            Most of us have either been there or known of some one who has
            There are no appropriate words in the English language that are capable of describing the emotion with accuracy
            You’ve done a good job here.

    1. dragonchef

      An excerpt from any hospital show – or should be. Nice drama and intense imagery. Nicely done MoiraiTQ.

      But I am still wondering who threw Opus across the room. It seems to me that Justin was drugged asleep? Coma? ” I’m not sure if he knew I was there, . . .”

      Who was it trying to take Opus from her? If it was Justin, why would he throw it across the room?

      I know I’m nitpicking, but still . . .
      Loved it anyway.

  14. Pete

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with that early morning smile, I couldn’t help but laugh, nervously, until I felt the sharp point of a knife press the skin of my arm.

    “Ouch,” I pulled away from the knife and blinked again. Young Teddy stood at my bedside, smiling a little boy’s smile.

    “Teddy,” I said, softly as I could, noticing that the bed was full of kitchen knives. “What are you doing?”

    For such a handsome boy he was cold, unmoved by emotion. His empty smile held on through a hug from me or a beating from his grandfather. It was as though he didn’t understand humans, more observing than engaging.

    His fingers danced along the bedspread. “I want the truck.”

    A woodpecker cackled outside the window. The sun hit little Teddy’s perfect face, his boyish features marred by the mechanical gaze in his eyes. I tried to swallow but my throat scraped and I rasped for breath. A wedge of sun glinted off a steak knife. “Well, did you do what I asked? Did you pick up your toys last night?”

    He nodded, still smiling, his eyes raking my skin, burning at the flesh. I held my voice steady, hoping I could save him. If his grandfather walked in and saw him, saw us…well…

    “Teddy,” I strained to keep a whisper. “Did you put these here.”

    He shook his head, his smile took a devilish turn seeing the knives, arranged around my arms and legs, their handles waiting to be gripped, the blades ready to be used. Plunged. He wasn’t yet four, and I feared it was too late.

    “I want my truck, Aunt Julia.”

    The knifes clinked as I sat up. I fixed my hair and saw his hand only an inch away from a handle. The boy would never stab me, I told myself again. “Teddy, I will give you the truck when you clean up your mess.”

    He reached for a knife and I gasped. He stopped, looked at me with a smirk. “This mess?”

    I shook my head until I found my voice. I thought if I treated him fair he’d react accordingly. “No. The mess downstairs.” I lowered my head, conspiring with him, “Before your Papa gets up, okay?”

    The smile fell. Just saying the man’s name out loud seemed to tighten the strings in my chest. I gathered the knives, carefully, as Teddy’s eyes followed hypnotized by the shapes and sizes. His gaze changed as he took notice of my bare legs. I quickly covered myself with a blanket. My neck prickled.

    “I’ll be right out, now run along.

    Teddy nodded. I held my face in check as he padded to the door but stopped short. He turned back to me.

    “Aunt Julia?”

    “Yes Teddy.”

    “Your door doesn’t lock.”

    The room seemed to shrink. I reminded myself once more that he was not yet four. And that I had to take that job in Seabrook. Louise would have to fend for herself. “I don’t know, Teddy.”

    He glanced one more time at the knives in my hands. Then he slid out of the room and I exhaled.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Pete, creepy is the perfect description. This reminds me of “The Bad Seed’ released in the 50’s. It seems inevitable someone is going to die. The best thing Aunt Julia can do is get out of town and don’t tell anyone where she is. This should have a part two to find out who carves whom.

    1. writer_sk

      Cool, Pete. Nothing scarier than a creepy kid with knives ready to go! I liked the visual of the wedge of sunshine, the knives lined up and the grandfather as a villain. Didn’t find fault with the ending; having her leave is less morose than a child killing her. My son is 6 & named Theodore so I Iiked your use of Teddy. I use variations and nicknames of that name in stories sometimes. Creepy take.

    2. Torpid

      I admire your writing skills, I inhaled and took a deep breath knowing that all is fine in the end. Long time reader, not much of a poster, and wont again. But,, this deserved comment. Keep up the good work.

  15. RafTriesToWrite

    MC was inspired by a high school classmate of mine.

    I checked the clock, it’s almost three in the afternoon. He’s almost here. I frantically look around. Don’t know where he’ll be popping.

    There were lots of people in light blue, while the people in plain white were outside our big room. My friend Adam, he’s good people, the only one I can trust. He wears light blue, that’s how I know he’s on my side.

    I can see Adam from afar, talking to a plant. He’s crazy, at least I think he is, but he’s my only friend here, so I have to trust him. The others? Not so much.

    There were quite a lot of quiet people here, most of them either stare at each other or stare at something outside the windows, perhaps the cupid statue that spits poisonous liquid or those pesky squirrels that messes up my hair whenever I go under the trees. The white people never let me outside nowadays, they say the squirrels might attack me again. I believed them. Those squirrels are mean.

    I fear they want to live in my hair. I can’t take care of them and their families, I don’t have a job.

    I get jealous sometimes whenever Adam gets to go outside, he gets to pet the plants, feel the sprinklers whenever they go and even talk to the cats that always strut their way around the place.

    I wish I could talk to cats like Adam.

    It was a different day today. I’m prepared, but it’s been quiet for a while. Perhaps too quiet.

    Right on cue, the speakers started shouting again. The high pitched sound at the beginning has always been pleasing to me.

    “All nurses please escort the patients in the recreational hall-b to their facilities” The speaker gave the order finally, and in came the people in white.

    “ADAAAAAAM” I shout as I shot him a glare. I squint my eyes a little, just to give him a hint, hoping that he would notice. The other people in light blue paid no attention to my sudden action.

    Adam hastily ran towards me, jumping at every chair and ducking at every table that came towards him. Everyone was panicking, running around, throwing books, throwing toys, throwing remote controls and whatnot. It’s that time of the day again, where they take us to our rooms and play prisoners. The people in white are here to take my precious.

    I WILL NOT LET THEM THIS TIME!

    “Hide it. Hide it where no one will find it” I gave Adam my great grandfather’s compass hoping he would do what I commanded. I need that magic compass when I travel the seven seas in order to find the hidden city of Valhalla and save the Valkyries from the army of undead that are attacking from the north.

    “Eye, eye cap’n!” Adam cheered as he gave me a left hand backward salute.

    That’s a good boy – no, that’s a good soldier.

    “Hello Mr. Williams, let’s get you checked out okay?” Said the enemy in white, approaching in my 2 o’clock.

    “No! You will never take my precious!” I ran as fast as I could away from him. I couldn’t let them take my precious, not again, not after what they did last time. They scratched it! Now the magic is seeping right through the scratches. I must not let them do it anymore or else I won’t be able to help the Valkyries.

    He ran after me, he was faster, he always was. But I came prepared this time.

    As he was about to caught up with me, I draw my sword up. The sharpest blade you could ever come across in all the seven seas. He doesn’t stand a chance now against me.

    “What do you got there Mr. Williams?” Said the enemy.

    “Oh this? Just your demise. And you?” I was boasting about my sword. He looked around and picked up his weapon.

    I can’t believe he’s fighting me with that. I’ve never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a leaf, I stepped back just to make sure it’s safe – that it couldn’t kill me. It could be poisoned for all I know.

    The leaf appeared long, and the plant looked like a miniature palm tree. Beaucarnea Recurvata I believe is what Adam calls them.

    I couldn’t help but laugh that he missed. I know now that he will never take my precious away from me. He really doesn’t stand a chance.

    “A leaf?” I fake quivered. “Ooooo, I’m so scared”

    “Mr. Williams, I’m holding a rope. You’re the one that’s holding a leaf.” I couldn’t understand what he just said. Of all the things that the people in white told me, this was one of the things that I didn’t believed.

    “Whatever” I snapped. I charged at him, but he caught me and he tied me with his leaf. I knew there was something fishy with his leaf. How could it be that strong to hold me? I don’t understand it. It shouldn’t make sense, yet it somehow does.

    I thought it would be dipped in poison or acid or something of the like, but not this, I wasn’t expecting this.

    “I-I need to save the Valkyries” I struggled to break free like a camper wiggling out of his camping sack, but he was too strong. I got out from his grip once before, but I wasn’t very good at running or hiding.

    “What you need Mr. Williams is your medicine” He said as he kept pinning me to the ground. He got better, that I noticed.

    “No! N-n no!” I was feeling weak. I felt him pierce something in my neck, it hurt, but only for a little while, then I felt very sleepy, but I was trying to fight him off.

    The more people in white came to help pin me down to the ground, the more I lost my hope of sailing the seven seas to find the hidden city of Valhalla. At least my magic compass was safe and sound with my good and trusted friend Adam.

    I can always try again tomorrow.

    1. dustymayjane

      Oh this is stirring. You gave an amazing sense of Mr. William’s mind and its off kilter workings. I enjoyed this but was also saddened.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        It’s the Mc that’s bonkers. What a story that a weak prompt is able to bring out. I found this a difficult prompt to work with this week. And I barely metioned about the prompt.

    2. dragonchef

      I think you should change your call sign to RafCanWrite!
      Nicely done, Raf.

      Not that it matters since dude Williams was wackadoo anyway – but how did he see a leaf as opposed to something that a rope could transition to, like a snake or a fire hose or an exaggerated pasta noodle, something long and potentially dangerous? As a self-styled adventurer Mr. Williams would look for and expect danger around every corner.

      Granted, a leaf would definitely be high on the “unexpected weapons” list, but even in a hallucinatory state the crossover would be closer to the original . . . or am I just thinking/remembering along the lines of my own ancient-times hallucinatory experiences? Okay – you got me.

      1. RafTriesToWrite

        Why thank you for the lovely praise. The other writers here also think that as well but I don’t think my writing skills are quite there yet. But still, thank you.

        I don’t know what was running through my mind when I thought of the leaf, but it appeared sort of funny and kind of fitting in the prompt somehow. Maybe it’s because a leaf really is high on the “unexpected weapons” list.

  16. ShamelessHack

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before. No, not as a weapon, but something quite more.
    And when Eddie attacked me with a cat in a hat, I couldn’t help but laugh it was funny, was that.
    I wouldn’t let him take my pup treasure from me—I needed it badly to save Old Magee.
    You see Sam Magee was as old as a log, and desperately needed a therapy dog.
    Without the distraction of canine affection, Magee could collapse from his sinus infection.
    “Drop the cat right now, Eddie, this doesn’t concern him,” I said as I tried to attack his broad sternum.
    But Ed didn’t flinch as we circled the tent, both of us cursing with evil intent.
    The cat in the hat struggled out of his grasp, and grabbed at the treasure my strong hands had clasped.
    Knowing a fight would be deadly and brutal, Eddie yelled, “Any resistance is futile!”
    But the treasure I grasped was from East Okinawa: a hybrid of Pit Bull and angry Chihuahua.
    Though my rough little pup, he was really a killer, that cat in the hat, he was no caterpillar.
    “You’re luck’s just run out, Hack, and more is my pleasure. My cat’s in a hurry, so give me the treasure.”
    “Stop fiddling around, Ed, and stop with the rhyme. Let the animals fight since we’ve run out of time.”
    So his cat in the hat and my doggie from hell, went at it like banshees—could this all end well?
    But when the smoke cleared and the dust settled down: my dog wore a tux, and the cat wore a gown.
    The moral is clear, it’s as plain as can be, if ever you need to be saving Magee:
    If you have to make sure that Magee has no strife, and you have to fight someone to safeguard his life,
    Use a gun or a knife or an old baseball bat, ‘cause you can’t win a fight with a cat in a hat.
    For the cat and the dog will declare their own truce.
    Call a cop,
    or a lawyer,
    or a doctor named Seuss.

    1. writer_sk

      Hack- nice take. Rhyming poetry is so charming. I like how you used Seussian terms. Okinawa and Chihuahua was a clever rhyme. I thought this was very a fitting interpretation for the prompt topic.

      also thanks for reading mine and what you said.

    2. Observer Tim

      Wickedly clever, Hack. I love the mix of intensity and silliness here, and the rhyme enhances the effect. I’m reminded as much of Looney Tunes as of the good doctor, which is pretty much my optimal mix. All in all, this is a win. 😀

    3. Tysheena Jackson

      WOW! This is an instant golden classic. It deserves to be heard everywhere! I especially loved how the rhyme managed to convey a legitimate story. Great job, Shameless! 🙂

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Classic Hack it is and very funny. I think I caught most of the references. you threw. I always liked to see the Cat With A Hat. I;m going to do what Reatha did, read aloud to Miss Kitty and keep you in sinc with my cat if she decides to start spouting advice to you.

  17. Kerry Charlton

    A CLOSE FRIEND

    His name was George Edward Jones, a B 17 pilot who flew 32 bombing mission over Germany in 1943. He was much older than I but we became close friends. He never talked to his immediate family about his experiences, but he did to me and these are just a few.

    In 1943, George was commissioned as a first lieutenant and he and his crew flew his new B17G from the United States to Belem, Brazil. He then was close enough to fly to Africa, made his way finally to England where he joined the fabled 8th Air Force.

    He wasn’t alone by any means. Jimmy Steward was a fellow B17 pilot, Clark Gable was a gunner on a B17. George was a graduate of SMU amd already had his pilot’s license before the war. His line of duty, fly 20 bombing missions over Germany and be done with it.

    Mission #2, on his bombing run, they had no long distance American fighters. The P51’s entered combat as fighter escorts to fight the German Luftwaffe in late 1943, but after George flew his missions. The planes were wide open to the Luftwaffe but it wasn’t the main problem on the run. George’s favorite expression describing the run, ’The flack was so heavy from the anti-aircraft guns of Germany you could leave your plane and walk on it.”

    When he finished his run, he turned for home and hit a nest of Luftwaffe but managed to shoot some of then down. Almost out of range of the anti-aircraft guns, he heard a whoosh, turned around and noticed a round 6 inch hole in the aircraft floor and an identical size over head. An artillery shell had a direct hit and failed to explode.

    During 1943, so many B17’s were shot down , most lost count. When he finished his 20th mission, it was expanded to 25 and then to 30. After thirty missions he flew until….. On 32, his plane caught enough flack to start to burn furiously. He gave the command to jump and all did except his navigator, who was afraid. George stayed as the plane swirled toward earth and finally jumped

    He hit a fresh plowed field along with his crew. He saw farmers run toward him armed with pitchforks. Pitch forks? He laughed, drew his 45 service revolver and carefully laid it on the ground. He saw the German police coming and they managed to control the farmers from killing his crew.

    They were escorted first by the police and then the military. George and his copilot were separated from his crew and taken to a German Stalag for officers. During his fifteen months as a prisoner, he was treated well, given little food as were the prison guards. Food became so desperate, when the Red Cross food packages arrived , George and the other prisoners shared and shared alike. He was a well built tall man over six feet two. He weight as released was 139 pounds.

    One evening at his home I noticed a medium sizes box resting on the fireplace mantle,

    “What are you keeping hidden in the box George?”

    “You can open it,” and I did. Resting on top was The Distinguished Flying Cross. Underneath, were fourteen other metals. I closed the box carefully and placed it where it was.

    “Why are you keeping this a secret? Aren’t you proud.?”

    “It’s not a secret, you know and Wanda knows and so do all my fellow pilots that never made it home.”

    .
    .c

    1. Observer Tim

      Very nice, Kerry, especially in light of Memorial Day being in recent memory (okay, it’s 6 months away for us Canadians, but you know what I mean). I vaguely recall that the US eventually expanded the mission slate to 50 (hence the fabled “50-mission crunch”), but George didn’t have to worry about that. At least he survived, which is all anybody can ask for at the end of a war. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Tim, Goerge was one of many millions of ‘silent heroes’ of the war. A mild mannered, nice guy, a second father to me only much kinder than my own. There are days I really miss his wisdom and advice. I have a phote of George and his crew taken in front of his B 19. He had the same look then, he had at eighty. I suspect he never changed one bit, the war didn’t seem to affect him. but being a celebraded war here was very hard for him to take.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Hack, it means a lot to me that you enjoyed his story. He would have liked it also. I can just hear him tell me, “You made me out as a super hero, you knew darn well, I was scared stiff.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks John, a lot of people called George a busy-body but I knew better. He liked nothing better than to help out. A total self-depeciating person.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you JR, the memories are stirring. They should be for the ‘Miracle Generation’. Where are the miracles today, “gone with the wind’, so to speak.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Tysheena. I’m glad it touched. There are so many untold stories of WWll. Of course each year the miracle generation gets smaller. Now, finally families are recognizing the importance and trying to conserve the history. It fascinates me how many silent heroes there are

    2. MoiraiTQ

      Thank you Kerry. Very good. I’m sure the vast majority of WWII pilots were more like your George, than were not. Not there for the glory.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I think your right about that. george seemed like an ordinary guy, not a super hero. During WWll, there 25 million Americans either fighting for the cause or supporting at home. That’s one in 6 Americans or i in four at the proper age. Now, it’s lees than 1% on active duty.

    3. pven

      Been hearing a lot in the news of people seeking to chronicle the stories of WWII veterans before they pass on. A nice example of what made George one of the “greatest generation.” Thanks for sharing.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you for reading and commenting
        Hopefully, there will never be a war like WWII
        It must have seemed endless to the pilots that flew missions sometimes days in a row. Throwing the dice so to speak with death as an adversary

    4. Critique

      A beautiful tribute/story Kerry. I enjoyed the read so much. War is terrible … we must never forget that. All those brave men (a lot of them just boys) that put their lives on the line. I can imagine there are many ‘silent/silenced heroes’. Special for you to have known George.

  18. Observer Tim

    TWO JACKALS

    I gave last week a miss because it was silly and I was busy. Now we’re back on the moon with Derryn and Rina. This is a bit tangential to the prompt.

    Derryn 417

    Their voices were muffled by the locker door; we huddled together and tried to be quiet. The male voice said, “Where are they?”

    The female voice responded, “Where are what?”

    “Don’t mess with me, girl! I hacked the security program and saw you and your partner bring the spacer and the Earthman here. The cameras only showed your partner leaving, so the others are still here. Where are they?”

    “You wouldn’t dare fire that in here; the shot would be detected and you’d be arrested at nine gee’s.”

    “I’ll just use this then.”

    “A flex-magnet? What are you going to do, put a sign on me?”

    “Lady, I can think of three ways to kill you with this before I even start using my imagination. Now, tell me which one of these damned storage lockers you put them in and I’ll let you off with just a thumping.”

    “Bite me Earther. There’s a lot scarier things that you in the universe.”

    “How many of them are in this room?”

    Something slammed loudly into the wall, making the metal plates ring like an off-key gong. There was another hit, then another; the storage bin we were in was reverberating a symphony in the key of deafening. Rina and I huddled together and tried to keep quiet.

    We had no idea who was winning, but either way it wouldn’t be good for us. We knew that Morti and Hana wanted us for ransom, and the other guy wanted us on a Dead-or-Alive bounty. One-sixth gravity makes it six times easier to carry a dead body.

    A loud boom caused the percussion piece to stop playing us. It took a moment for the echoes to die away so we could hear the new voice. It was another man, this one with the distinctive slurred baritone of a Martian colonist.

    “Aright yootoo, where arya? Numeruno sent me but ayaint gonna search all these bins.”

    Rina shouted “Here!” and kicked at the door of our prison.

    I hissed at her, “What are you doing? How do you know it isn’t another bounty hunter?”

    “Because I know that voice. It’s Baldoon; he’s the only person on this side of the Moon that sounds like that.” She kicked harder.

    Freedom sounded like a door being ripped off its hinges.

    The thing that took us out of the locker looked like a Martian had mated with a heavy cargo robot. He was over half polished steel armour; the exposed human bits were yellowish-pink muscle with pronounced red and purple veins. His face looked like it had been hit with a mallet several times and never properly healed.

    I crawled out and offered my still-tied hands to Rina. She shook her head, sighed, and climbed out on her own.

    As soon as metal-man saw her he scowled. “Sabrina; figgers iddbeyuu.”

    I looked at her. “Sabrina?”

    She glared at him. “Don’t call me that! Anyway, Baldoon, this is Derryn-417; I’m his agent. Derryn, this is Baldoon-795; he works for Yonatan-001, and we have history.”

    1. Observer Tim

      …and the continuation

      Derryn 417

      “Pleased to meet you, Mister Baldoon.”

      “Yawatever. Sabrina getcharse outta here.”

      Rina poked the metal behemoth in the chest with a finger, despite her hands still being bound. “Not going to happen, ’Doon. Derryn is my client.”

      “Like Katsy?”

      “You do NOT get to bring that up, ’Doon! Katsy chose me!”

      “Anware’d that getter?”

      “Don’t go there. Just untie us and take us to Yonatan.”

      “You ain’t onna payroll, Sabrina.”

      A wicked-looking knife extended from Baldoon’s metal arm and sliced through the tie holding my wrists, then turned and stomped out the door. “C’mon, Derryn. Numeruno wantsa seeyoo.”

      As we started after him I called ahead, “Could you please untie Rina’s hands?”

      “No.”

      Saefert 325

      When I woke up it took me a few seconds to get my bearings. I’d been scrapping with a Loonie who was holding my target for ransom; now I was in a cell with guards with some kind of corporate uniforms. The broad I’d been arguing with was in the cell across from me with her partner. In between these two events somebody had dropped a human cargo lifter on us; who the hell made cyborgs like that any more? He’d hit me once and all I had after that was a throbbing skull.

      I didn’t have to wait long for a couple of guards to come get me. I was marched out of the cell block. I counted eight cells, the only other prisoner being someone hiding under a blanket: couldn’t tell if it was a kid or a woman and I wasn’t going to ask.

      I was brought into a room with a simple desk and two chairs; the far chair was occupied by Equat man with two meters of natural Earth-height. His skin was coffee brown, his hair black with a pepper of white in tight curls, and his features said Africa. In a nicer century he would have played some kind of ball game.

      “Sit, Mister Saefert.”

      “I prefer to stand.”

      “It wasn’t a request.”

      Once I was in the chair he got straight to business.

      “Mister Saefert, we’re cancelling your contract and giving you a new one.”

      “And what makes you think you can do that?”

      He took a small device out of his suit pocket and put it on the table; I recognized it immediately.

      “Explosives are brutish and uncivilized. I trust you don’t mind our removing this from your skull?”

      “Yeah, thanks. Now good-bye; I didn’t want to work for them and I don’t work for you.”

      “Yes, you do. You are only free of your prior employers only because we need you.”

      “Whatever you got I don’t want; there is nothing you can do that’ll make me do anything.”

      “Anything? That’s precisely what you will do for me, Mister Saefert.”

      His dark brown eyes bored into mine and I felt a part of me struggling like a caged animal, but it was already too late. I was the pet, he was the master.

      1. writer_sk

        Tim- it reads like a movie script. I like science fiction so I enjoyed the setting even though I dhbt know what’s going on (I haven’t read any other portions)

        Nice work

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        Great continuation, I especially enjoyed the conversation outside the door at the beginning. Good job with the alternating POVs.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Tim, I am a little confused but.only since it’s been a while since I read the previous part. I agree it reads like a movie script. I especially liked all your descriptive detail.

  19. dustymayjane

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a feather, I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t going to let him take the treasure from me—I needed it to save a life, a species. With this evidence, I could possibly save the endangered owl.

    The feather belonged to a rare owl of the northwest. It was proof that there was a new nest in an area thought to have not seen the species for over a decade.

    I held the small feather in my palm for a mere moment. I wanted to document it with a photo when a small child snatched it from my hand and ran off. Deep in the woods, I never thought there would be a family, much less a lone child at this elevation. I easily apprehended the thief and held his shoulders firmly while he attempted to kick me with small feet wrapped in hide and fur.

    “What are you doing? I need that feather!” A round face surrounded by a fur trimmed hood looked up at me with large wise eyes. Not the eyes of a small Inuit boy. The golden orbs and large pupils were surely that of the owl of which I was hunting.

    A shy, knowing giggle came from the mouth of the young child. A swift kick to my shin and he was off again, freed from my grasp. I needed that feather or all my research will have been wasted.

    I wondered how the small child was able to outrun me so easily. I ran and ran, following the tiny footprints in snow that became deeper. The child turned back as he ran and a feather would fly at me as if aiming to hurt me. I chuckled and wanted to stop and pick them up, but I was curious now and intent on reaching the boy. The air became thinner, the trees thicker. Night was falling upon the mountain top and the skies grew dark except for a half moon lighting the white snow.

    I reached out my hand, thinking the child was again within my grasp, when a loud screech sounded and the brush of large feathered wings brushed across my nearly frozen face and obstructed my vision. I stopped in my tracks and watched as a great owl flew above me and into the starry darkness. I thought I heard the same knowing giggle.

    As I stood in the deep snow, I wondered about the child. I looked to the sky as another feather floated down from above and landed at my feet. I bent to pick it up and could no longer find footprints in the snow. I squinted in search of where I had been following them. What I found were the tell tale imprints of a wide span of heavy wings dipping into the snow.

    The eyes. The lack of child sized footprints. I smiled at the knowledge of what I’d witnessed something amazing. The Legend of the Owl and the Inuit child. I looked at the feather in my cold, trembling palm. I held it out for the night breeze to carry it away, into the night, satisfied the owls would be alright.

    1. Observer Tim

      And so the MC learns an important lesson: sometimes nature doesn’t need your help in the fight for survival. Others might consider her experience a hypoxia-induced hallucination, but what matters is the owls will be safe. I love the sense of folklore you put into this piece. This is beautiful.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well I guess most of everything I would have commented on has aready reached print. The aura of a story like this last a lot longer than the consciousness of reading it. It is one of the pleasing stories I have read in a long time. Thank you for writing it.

    2. dragonchef

      Dusty, I was there, in the snow, watching this story unfold.
      Well, at least in spirit I was. Very cool – no pun intended.
      Love the native folklore.

      Nitpick time:
      “. . . the brush of large feathered wings brushed across . . .” – A lot of brushing going on here.

      “. . . the skies grew dark except for a half moon lighting the white snow.” – Nice imagery, but just how many skies were there?

      “I smiled at the knowledge of what I’d witnessed something amazing.” – I get what you are trying to convey here but it is rather an awkward sentence. Perhaps it is missing a comma, or it is two sentences that should be separated.

      Sorry – it is still beautifully done. Thanks.

  20. JRSimmang

    HOUSE OF THE BLOOD LOTUS, PT 1

    It burned within me, though it wasn’t as consuming as it had been in the past.

    When she was by my side.

    “You can’t kill- h*ll, you can’t even hurt someone with your a piece of computer paper.” But the words left my mouth much sooner than they should have. He wasn’t an ordinary assassin. He was a Dragonmancer of the House Blood Lotus. All he needed was a piece of paper.

    His grin twisted into a gnarled root, and he shook the ground with a guttural laugh, black tentacles of energy snaked from his back, and he was enveloped in a sheath of shadow. His fingers worked quickly on the paper, folding and folding and folding, luminous flashes shooting from fingertip to fingertip. His eyes ignited in a blue flame and the dragon he had been folding leapt from his palms.

    The movies have battle all wrong. There’s no clever tete a tete, there’s no reparte. There’s no exchange and dances, no evading by bounding off walls. There’s shouting, and desperation. No one wants to die anymore. Not since the old gods vanished.

    I immediately crossed my arms in front of me and summoned my golem from the ground. He would have trouble dealing with a spirit totem, but they all had their weaknesses. I needed to know who I was after me. I needed to know where he kept his source.

    My golem sprouted up, and I surrounded him in a flame shield. If the spirit dragon game from a piece of paper, it might be susceptible to fire. I called forth Magus, my altercelestial.

    “Yes, Cothran.” His voice was like diamond wind through golden clouds.

    “Magus,” I communicated telepathically. “Branch in through the Shadowveil. Find the sigil of the lotus pierced by a spear. I need to find the fire that burns from inside the flower.”

    “Magus is here as your guide, Cothran. I shall return.”

    My golem slammed his fists into the head of the dragon, and caught its tail on the turnaround. The dragon spewed a prismatic spray of something at us, but my golem cast a shield of energy from his forehead that spread out in all directions. The spray was ineffective, but the dragon’s speed was too much. It gripped my golem around the waist and hoisted him into the air.

    My golem swung his ponderous fists, repeated slamming into the hand of the dragon, which seemed to be growing in size.

    I glanced at the Dragonmancer’s deep shadows. His fingers worked the air in archaic circles. His eyes continued to glow. He needed to be in control of his dragon. It wasn’t like my golem. It had to have a master.

    “Keep him busy, golem!” I shouted as I ran around him. My golem rapidly slammed the dragon’s fingers, finding purchase several times with its face and neck.

    I readied my spell in my right hand, hoping that it wouldn’t drain my golem’s strength too much, and called Magus once again.

    “Any good news, Magus?”

    “Cothran, you will not find his center here.”

    My brain scrambled. “What do you mean?”

    “He is not, by all appearances, there.”

    “He’s, what, a Mirror? Where’s his reflection?” I’ve dealt with mirrors only once before. It almost killed me the first time.

    “On the Alterplane.”

    I stopped. My spell fizzled. “The Alterplane?” I felt the burning once again. “With you?”

    “Cothran. I must be leaving now. Good luck.”

    The first push is the most painful. It cut into my sternum, ripped through the center of my chest, and exploded out my back. The second push expands the hole, and before the third push, I was on the ground, my heart broken, my lungs suffused with shadow magic, and my eyes unable to focus.

    “There it is.” He whispered, his voice a sharp blade of glass. “It looks like you won’t be able to save her after all.”

    I saw the Torrent pulsing in my chest. The assassin was standing over me, his hands ready to accept its power. “My master will thank you. It’s a shame you had put up such a fight. It would have been much easier to just hand it over.”

    Amelia.

    Amelia, I’m sorry.

    To be continued…

    -JR Simmang

    1. Observer Tim

      Okay, I’m confused, but in a good way. The trouble with magical duels is including enough depth that they’re more than pyrotechnics, and you did that here JR. I can’t wait to see where it goes, who the MC is and who he’s fighting for. There’s a lot of depth hiding beneath this story.

  21. writer_sk

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when Jo tried to attack me with a chocolate cream pie with a lightly browned crust and Cool Whip topping spread over the pudding center, I couldn’t help but laugh. She came at me full speed from the kitchenette we shared, walking into her new moveable island that was covered in flour, measuring cups and sacks of sugar and brown sugar. She stumbled, and catching the glimpse of doubt in her intense brown eyes, I reached up to her wrist and the pie slid from the dish, breaking apart, the solid but soft crust yielding to let the sweet contents fall away. I saw tears, too as she turned away to remove her pink apron. I tasted a smudge of the pie, she had outdone herself again. She hadn’t realized I was saving her life by not staying. She still had not come to realize there would be no way to make it work. She blamed me for leaving her but didn’t quite want me to stay, anyway. She was destined to take over her dad’s bakery. Her creations were far more tempting and complicated than the Portuguese rolls, black coffee and blueberry muffins her father sold at the small stand connected to the corner store. The neighborhood was coming up and Jo’s creations fit the types of customers in the area. I grew crestfallen and wistful, tears forming in my eyes spilled over onto my sweater whether I wanted them to or not. I’d left the kitchen and left her to it. My wife would rather be alone and clean up the mess than have me near fumbling the pie crust around on the old linoleum.

    Life with Jo was both intense and removed from any intensity- meaning when she was present, you felt as though you were her world, but when she was baking or off on her nature walks she wanted to be alone for hours. I retreated then to the quiet of the small laundry room where I could further obsess on my decision to leave. She would be there, in the kitchen, for hours working out recipes, writing down measurements and speaking aloud to herself. From atop my nook on the dryer I could make out the rise and fall of her voice, lilting and breathy- in a trance while she worked.

    I hadn’t the drive or discipline she had for achievement. I had been, up until recently, satisfied with existing in her world while she experienced it and I watched. That was all changing.

    The dryer buzzed, a loud, brief zap of reality – one signifier indicating in no uncertain terms: time is up. My laundry was still warm as I put it into my suitcase in efficient rolls, except for the pants. I didn’t take time to fully flatten each garment out beforehand. I no longer needed to adhere to the way Jo would do things. She’d see my suitcase after it was closed. Would she wonder if I’d kept the statuette that had been left in there from our trip to Vermont? Would she care?

    The pies smelled wonderful. I searched Jo’s face for some sense of sorrow or regret but she was already turning away from me, the freshly baked apple pie’s aroma in the brown box she gave me, a final reminder of her accomplishment, served as her goodbye.

    1. Pete

      This is so well done. Incredible details and expertly placed bits and pieces of backstory throughout. The ingredients, the dryer buzzing, the symbolism. Way to kick things off!

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Must take a moment to comment on this fantastic, and so sincere, take. Loved it from Cool Whip topping to Vermont statuette, including the efficient clothing rolls. This sounds a lot like Christmas letters I used to receive from a (thankfully ex) sister-in-law. Great job.

    3. Observer Tim

      This is tragic and heartbreaking, writer_sk, even moreso because of the sense of inevitability in it. You did a great job carrying that sense into your story. Of course, now I want chocolate cream pie… Good work on several levels.

    4. RafTriesToWrite

      I loved every bit of your story writer_sk! I think this was executed flawlessly. I hope to be as good of a writer as you are – with your very sophisticated descriptions and expertly written details here and there, I’m at awe. This definitely is a great start to the prompt! Well done indeed.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’ve read every story on this weeks prompt. You mention that you haven’t been writing lately. The world needs more stories of this quality so I anticipate seeing you in print here as nuch as you have the time for. I really had a good time reading this, Exceptional prose.

    5. dragonchef

      Nice, sad story. Emotions stir when hearing, or in this case reading, about marriages ending. And in this one there still seems to be love there, just no one is willing to work at it. Instead, they decide their own personal interests are more important than their wedding vows. Commitment is sacrifice. Pity.

      Well done SK.

      I do have a couple of points though.
      One – If I just bought a pie from a specialty desert shop and found out that it had Cool Whip on top of it I would take it back – and possibly throw it at the chef.
      Two – “From atop my nook on the dryer . . .” Is he standing In a nook on top of the dryer? What is this?

      That’s it. Still a great read – keep up the good work.

      1. writer_sk

        Dragon- thank you so much . Glad I peeked back and saw your comment, I appreciate constructive criticism.

        Good point on the cool whip- now that you mention it it did stick out with the brand name etc. As far as the dryer nook- I was picturing a shelf above the washer/dryer that would create a roof. I sought to show a sense of confinement in the small space and the marriage in which the main char cannot even escape the sound of his wife’s voice.

  22. Fennick

    I had never seen it used as a weapon before, but when he tried to attack me with a snow cone. I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t going to let him take the treasure from me—I needed it to save a life. Now let me think this out, am I missing something here? How was he going to prevent me from accomplishing my mission. Is there a handbook of A Hundred Ways to Kill Someone with a Snowcone? My book club didn’t send me that one.
    So how was I to be attacked, cram it down my throat giving me a surgery high? Stab me with the soggy pointy end of the cone? Let it melt entirely and then try to drown me in the puddle? Not very likely.
    No, I had a life to save and it was mine and my opponent was not going to prevent me from my destiny for I have a daughter who is expecting me to return with the limited edition “Frozen” doll and I wasn’t about to let this 5 year old snot nosed kid stop me.

    1. dragonchef

      Surgery high? Like that short period of time after the anesthesiologist sticks your IV with a syringe or places the mask on your face and just before you pass out? Or did you mean SUGARY? There is a difference. But the results are the same so I guess it doesn’t really matter. Never mind.

      Cute shorty, Fennick. Dang those snotty-nosed kids! Though, if I were to be attacked I hope it would be with a snow cone. Thanks for the read

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