Flash Fiction Challenge: Must Contain A Map

This week’s flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig’s Blog was Flash Fiction Challenge: Must Contain A Map. So I chose a little bit of a different mapping technique. Hope you like it.

quantum entanglement

A Map

“This is your last chance Mr. Carter. You can, if you wish to avoid undo discomfort, tell us what we want to know or we can . . .“ the interrogator let the words drift off in veiled threat. “It really is completely up to you.” He walked around behind Carter and stood out of sight using a standard interrogation technique to disorient the subject and make them feel vulnerable.

“Or what? You’ll torture me?” Carter asked defiantly.

The interrogator laughed. “Oh my, you do have a flair for the dramatic.” His voice wafted in from behind Carter. “We don’t do that anymore.”

Carter set his jaw, mind games. Interrogators always fell back to mind games but he was not going to play. He stayed quiet.

“You see a person, any person, no matter how well trained will eventually break under torture. This is true and proven any number of times in any number of ways. Unfortunately, they do not always tell the truth or the whole truth. They will tell you whatever you want to hear so you will stop the pain. That is what we call confounding confessionals. They may confess but the confession may be a lie and it will throw a bit of a wrench in the information machinery.” The interrogator explained very calmly.

“So what then? Are you going to bore me into submission? Are you going to babble about technique and results until, finally, I tell you anything just to shut you up?” Carter scoffed.

“Oh no, sir. That would not do at all.” The interrogator told him, walking back into view holding a very large syringe filled with a bright blue liquid. “That would not do at all.” When the interrogator smiled, Carter felt a chill run down his spine. It was not so much the smile as the complete lack of any emotions in the man’s eyes.

“Then. . .” Carter started to ask but was unable to finish the query.

“Then . . .” the interrogator held the syringe out to him, “this.” The smile again, the same dead eyed smile.

“And that is?” Carter asked, voice not a whisper but with far less bravado than before.

“A map . . .or rather I guess this would be a cartographer.” He paused to consider the verbiage. “Either way, it is the key to you, Mr. Carter.” For emphasis he flicked the syringe with a finger. “This is a special kind of thing you see. This blue gunk, stop me if I am getting too technical, is a completely harmless sludge of amino acids and saline solution. The thing is though and you’ll want to pay attention to this part because it gets good here, those amino acids are encased in tiny little bubbles which are negatively charged. That is important because that means we can get positively charged protons to stick to them until the bubble breaks.”

Carter was at a loss. He had no idea what the man was talking about.

“I know, I know, you are wondering what the fuck I am on about, I can see that in your eyes. So here’s the thing, those protons are not just protons. We didn’t just go down to the store and buy some generic protons, oh no Mr. Carter. These are special protons.” The interrogator sneered. “They are very clingy kind. As a matter of fact they are so clingy they have become entangled with other protons on a quantum level. Do you know what that means?” the interrogator asked.

Carter shook his head; the tech babble was all Greek to him.

“The long and short of it is this, Mr. Carter. I stick you with this and shoot this gunk into your veins. This gunk then makes its way to your head because we put a nice positively charged tinfoil hat on you and then it whizzes around doing nothing until we start to talk.” The interrogator began to smile again and Carter was afraid. Those dead eyes lit up with a dark glee.

“Fuck you.” Carter spat at him.

“Then as you start to talk or not talk or try and stay unthinking, the protons these little guys are entangled with read every neuron firing in your head. Even the ones firing to keep you from saying what you don’t want to say. That is then imprinted on a blank . . . a cloned brain that has no impressions at all. It is a perfectly new brain in a clone body still in an embryotic sack that will record everything in your brain. Every thought, every memory will be slowly, methodically transferred, recorded and imprinted until we make a duplicate you. We will just play music and images for you and we will talk to you and your brain will eventually give us a map of everything Mr. Carter. We will remap you, into it.”

As the interrogator finished Carter’s chair was rotated by some unseen mechanism under it until he was facing the back wall of the room. It was set with a window across most of it and through the window in a dimly lit room was a very large biological mass. It was hard to describe it as anything but a throbbing sack of something organic with tubes and wires feeding into it. It pulsed and occasionally jiggled and the tubes could be seen to be pushing liquid in and sucking it out. In all it was a monstrous sight.

“So you see Mr. Carter, we have no need to torture you at all. We will simply make a map of you and then spill the clone out. While it will not last more than a day or two, we can’t seem to keep them alive longer. It will be enough time for you to tell us everything we want to know.” The dead eyed smile again as the interrogator leaned in close. “So Mr. Carter, we have no need for torture at all.”

Flash Fiction Challenge: It Starts With A Bang

So this weeks Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig’s Blog was to start a 1000 word story with the phrase Its started with a bang. In whatever way your mind took that phrase to mean.

This is my take on it

detective

It Started With a Bang

“It started with a bang,” Detective Flanders surmised, speaking less to the room of police and CSI techs around him than to himself.

“Duh,” his partner said, mocking him. “No shit? You mean the brains spattered on the wall and the shotgun in his mouth gave it away, huh?” Henderson said in feigned surprised tone. Then he shook his head; he hated being partners with this guy. Admittedly his clearance rate was sky high but this guy just rubbed him wrong, always so superior hoity-toity with his attitude.

Flanders looked up from his ponderings when he realized the ox was talking. Seeing he was apparently done he returned to his own thoughts, sure the ox had said nothing of value. It had started before this scene, before the shotgun. Flanders looked at the computer screen on the desk in front of him and saw that a word processing program was open and yet the document was blank. Odd, he thought. He reached out and took the mouse with a gloved hand, clicked ‘undo’ and a rambling paragraph re-appeared.

“That his note?” the ox asked. Flanders ignored him and read through the ramblings. It was not insanity but free writing of some sort. There was a theme to it that was just out of reach for Flanders to grasp. It seemed to be focused on humanity, how people treated each other, interactions, emotions, and resulting counter actions and reactions. It was almost making sense…

“Shit, this guy was looney toons. You read that shit? No wonder he blew his own head off with a shotgun. Fuckin crazy shit.” the ox said. He plodded away from the desk to stand by the door and act self-important to impress the uniformed officers. Flanders fought down the urge to call him on his blunt stupidity and looked again at the man in the chair; the look on the face was not what you’d expect from a suicide. It was a look of victory. A look that said he had accomplished something. . .

. . .Something. . .

Flanders started to see it. Just the frayed edges but it was coming more and more into focus. He had found something in those random thoughts. Something. . .

“It started with a bang,” Flanders announced to the room. “But no, my dear partner Les Bœuf, it was not a bang of a shotgun although I do see why your limited mind goes there first. Shouldn’t you be out in a field grazing or something?” Flanders said shooting him an annoyed look.

“This started with a bang within him; a very different kind of bang,” Flanders continued, ignoring whatever the ox was saying as he plodded back towards him.

“This man came upon an idea that was . . . singular,” Flanders said in amazement and envy. “A thought so unique and so powerful it was a singularity, a single point of infinite possibilities. A thought so pure and perfect that it had so much energy, this man could not contain it. His mind was only human after all and it could not hold all that this thought was,” Flanders continued, ignoring the blank bovine stares of the CSI team.

“This man did not kill himself. Evidence of this is the look on his face; he is victorious, ecstatic even. Add to that the fact that still, even after death his hands clutch the shotgun fiercely. This was not a man giving up but a man . . . transcending. This man was not depressed or forlorn; this man had something he had to do.” Flanders strode purposefully back to the opposite side of the room and turned, looking at the crime scene from a new perspective and he finally saw it. He finally knew he was 100% right.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” the ox said plodding towards him.

Flanders gave him a disdainful look of pity but pointed to the desk from their vantage point. “Look,” he said.

The ox turned and saw only what he had seen before. A man at a desk with a shotgun in his mouth, his brains splattered all over the wall behind him. He saw nothing else but what he expected to see. Flanders saw the lack of illumination in his partners eyes and in a rare moment of emotion, grabbed the partner’s chin, pointed his face at the wall again saying, “Look at what is there.”

Still the ox saw nothing and Flanders fought down the urge to pull out his gun and shoot him. Instead he explained, “Look at the spatter pattern.”

The look of discovery came over the ox’s face. He saw it. Right there before them the whole time but only now was it visible. “It looks like a fuckin…”

“…Raven.” Flanders finished for him. “A messenger to carry that thought from him to the world,” Flanders explained. “The singularity within the man’s head had caused a ‘big bang’ of thought so huge; he had to let it out. He had to share it. That is the bang that started it all. The shotgun was just the tool.”

The ox gritted his teeth, he hated when the prick was right.

“I dunno, it kind of looks like two elephants trunk wrestling,” one of the CSI techs said.

Both Flanders and the ox shot him a disgusted look at the same time.

“How exactly did you pass the psyche test to get into the academy?” the ox asked him in disgust.

“It’s not a damn Rorschach test!” Flanders snapped. No, it was a sign . . . A sign of something bigger that could not be contained within one person. He looked around and could almost feel it lingering still, the thought that had to be free. It would not be seen though. It would fly out across the world, finding places to nest and grow. One day, it would be ready and the world would be big enough to hear it.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge: Kids Say The Darnderniest Things

This week’s flash fiction challenge for Chuck Wendig’s blog was to write a story that used one or more quotes from his 5 year old son. The list of possible quotes was:

“Can I put goggles on the dog?”

“There is a three-headed flying werewolf in that tree.”

“I can cut down a thousand trees with my teeth.”

“I will defeat it with Kitten Magic.”

“I will slice you into beef!”

“I can still see without a face.”

“You guys don’t make good choices.”

“They said it was a legend, but I know it’s real.”

“I’m gonna ride you like a turkey.”

“I am queen of the goats.”

I was unable to choose one to work with so I went for broke and put them all in the story. . . exactly 1000 words total. I now need to go take some Xanax and meditate and have some quiet me time. . . .hope you enjoy it.

 

Thelma

“Docket number MCH001287539C, the state versus Thelma Addison.” The court clerk chimed in a monotone voice. “Preliminary mental competency hearing related to docket number MCV0023872623 and ordered by the criminal courts, Judge Lewis presiding.” He finished and seated himself and made busy shuffling papers.

Judge Mathis scowled. He hated when the criminal court judges pawned their looney toons off on him. Like they were too busy to handle their own dirty work and he had nothing but time on his docket listing. He furrowed his brow and looked over the documentation. Having given the reports a cursory glance he was ready to start.

“Ok Miss Addison,“ he began.

“Am not!” Shrieked the woman.

The judge looked up, confused. “You are not Mrs. Addison?”

“Yes, your honor, she is. . .” her defense counsel began but she cut him off.

“Am Not!” She shrieked again.

“Yes sir, she. . .” The lawyer tried to over talk her to shut her up.

“Am not! Liar! I am queen of the goats!” She shrieked.

The judge lowered his head in resignation. It was going to be ‘one of those’ days. “The court urges counsel to get control of their client and. . .” The judge was cut short.

“You can’t silence me by wearing a dress! I speak the truth. I speak the truth even when you are wiggling!” The woman shrieked and broke into a cackling laugh.

The judge, the clerk and the defense all bowed their head. Collectively they all, simultaneously and without prior communication, resigned themselves to their fate in dealing with this case.

“Miss Addison!” The judge said in a loud and stern tone. “You will be quiet long enough for these proceedings to be conducted or you will force me to make a summary judgement based on your inability to conduct yourself accordingly. Am I clear?” His eyes were burning with anger. He hated the looney toon cast off days. He wished he could send some back to the all-important Judge Lewis. Maybe he could criminalize cases of dogs crapping on the neighbors grass and send him those. Those would be good pay back.

“Yes your honor.” Thelma said in a small voice that was so calm, everyone was immediately set on edge and suspicious.

Taking advantage of the lucidity the judge continued. “Mrs. Addison, you had a recent run in with a . . .” He scanned the document for the name, “Officer Bowersox and according to the report, assaulted both the officer and his K9 unit Rex.”

The defense counsel tried to speak but Thelma was faster. “No, it is not correct. I acted only in self-defense and defense of the dog.”

The judge gritted his teeth.

“The dog was wincing and I was trying to protect its eyes from the sun and I asked the officer first.” She excitedly explained.

“Asked the officer what?” The judge asked grudgingly, scanning the document.

Thelma looked at her lawyer and he nodded and shrugged, not much else to do but let her go now.

“I asked the officer, ‘Sir, your dog is under cosmic solar attack. Can I put goggles on the dog?” Thelma explained. “And then the officer started yelling and there were colors in the air.” She further explained calmly as though what she was saying would clear up any misconceptions about the incident.

“Colors? Cosmic so. . . .ok.” The judge took a deep breath. “Let me get this straight, you were trying to protect the dog from the sun?” The judge asked, hating his job more and more with each question.

“Yes!” Thelma said with great enthusiasm, he got it! “Yes, someone had to do it!”

I hate my job, I hate my job. The judge chanted in his head. Then, the mantra having calmed him, continued out loud, “Don’t you think that perhaps the police officer could decide on what is best for. . .”

“You guys don’t make good choices.” Thelma snapped.

The judge paused and reflected on the choices in life that had brought him to this point and sighed. “I see.”

“They said it was legend, but I know it’s real!” She said excitedly.

“What is legend?” The judge asked, feeling his control of the court room slowly eroding and finding it hard to actually give a shit about it.

“The cosmic solar war beams!” Thelma shrieked.

“Ok, that’s it!” The judge finally lost all patience with the proceedings.

“There is a three-headed flying werewolf in that tree but I can cut down a thousand trees with my teeth! I told them that! I told them I would keep them safe if they just would stop melting!” Thelma shrieked and began to flail her hands around in wild gestures.

“Bailiff, remove the defendant, I hereby remand you to. . .”

“I will ride you like a turkey!” She shrieked over the judge’s voice.

“The county mental health facility for a 72 hour hold pending a full. . .”

“I will slice you like beef and make you into bacon!” She yelped as the bailiff took hold of her arms from behind.

“Psychiatric . . . bacon is pork. You can’t make bacon from slicing someone into bee. . . never mind. . .Evaluation and review.” The judge was cussing in his mind at being caught up with her ravings.

“Hide me away to keep me from seeing but ha! I can still see without a face! I see you. I will beat you with kitten magic! Meow!” She tried to make clawing motions towards the judge but the bailiff held her fast as a second bailiff struggled to put hand cuffs on her.

“Hold on!” The judge called out and the bailiffs stopped. Even Thelma ceased her struggling. “Upon further reflection, take her to Judge Lewis’ courtroom, I am finding her competent to stand trial. She’s all his from here. Let’s take fifteen..” The judge got up and walked from the courtroom without waiting for the clerk to announce anything.

Flash Fiction Challenge – They Fight Crime!

So the flash fiction challenge this week for Chuck Wendig’s blog was to take two random weird character descriptions generated by THEY FIGHT CRIME and write a 1500 word story featuring the two characters you got fighting crime. I got:

He’s a hunchbacked Elvis impersonator from the spirit world and She’s a bloodthirsty paleontologist with a backpack full of scones.

Together, They Fight Crime!

So this is what I came up with. . .

 

The Doctor and The King

Cassandra looked at the carnage before her and drew in a deep breath. It was, to say the least, intoxicating to see the sheer brutality of the riot in full color, unabridged, and still fresh. The entire jail prison yard was decorated with splashes and splatters of blood and bits of flesh. Unlike most of the scenes of carnage she investigated, it was not fossilized remains and conjecture. This was, real. . .she could smell the tin like scent of blood. She could see the glistening of the sticky smears as they slowly dried, she could. . .

“It’s overwhelming I know.” The Warden said in an apologetic tone.

Cassandra realized her level of excitement was showing and took a deep breath, savored the scent and put on a shocked mask. “Yes, it is . . . terrible.” She lied.

“Why is he. . .” The attending guard asked from behind them. Turning they both saw Dead Elvis fixing his hair perfectly and then assuming his standard ‘I’m about to break into song’ pose. He was just starting to croon ‘Amazing Grace’ in tribute to the mangled bodies which, it should be said, was one of his better numbers but hardly appropriate for the job at hand.

“No!” Cassandra scolded him and he stopped at “the sound” and went quiet and stared at her with a sulky frown. “No.” She said again and then reached into her back pack and fished out a lemon-poppy seed scone. Like a puppy being given a treat, Dead Elvis pranced over and bobbled in place waiting to be given the pastry.

Both the Warden and guard looked on with a mixture of distaste and curiosity mixed into the normal ‘WTF’ gaze people had watching them. Cassandra shrugged as an apology and tossed the scone to Dead Elvis.

“What exactly is . . . ?” The Warden started to ask and then let the words drift off.

Cassandra took a deep breath and launched into the canned, standard issue reply and explanation she had said so many times she had to fight herself to not go through it too fast. If she did, she just had to say it again later.

“He’s a spirit; a dead person. He was a homeless Elvis impersonator but then he was run over by a Buddhist monk. The monk felt bad and came back day after day offering incense, foods and prayers to atone and Bennie’s spirit stayed around because it smelled good. That would have been the end of it if I had not come along and, not expecting to see a Buddhist monk kneeling in the middle of the road in the middle of the night, run him over, killing him. It was an accident but, by chance I had just gotten fresh baked scones, they smelled good and Bennie, or Dead Elvis as he prefers to be called, began following me.” She took a deep breath and let it all sink in.

“He’s all hunchbacked and . . . what kind of Elvis impersonator. . .” The guard started and Dead Elvis chimed in.

“No. . .No. . . You got it wrong buddy boy. That’s just the, you know, break.” He explained.

“Huh?” Both the Warden and Guard chimed in together.

“His back, it’s snapped in two.” Cassandra explained. “The monk backed up when he realized he ran him over and. . . .” she snapped her fingers coldly. Then realizing how that might look, smiled sympathetically.

“And since my body left me, I’ve found a new place to dwell. . .” Dead Elvis started, his hip gyration making his top half heave and bobble precariously.

“Stop!” Cassandra told him. Dead Elvis went back to sulkily sniffing at the scone. “He really is helpful at times. He can sometimes speak to the recently dead and get their side of the story.”

Dead Elvis nodded and smiled.

“So you two. . .” The Warden began in a dubious tone and then rethought his words and let the statement drift off. He was beginning to wonder why the State’s Attorney had sent these two to help investigate a prison riot. “I’m sorry but I don’t see where the two of you are going to. . .” He started to say but Cassandra cut him off.

“These men were from a special unit correct?” She asked.

The Warden nodded and looked around at the bodies. “Yes, they were our pilot early release program.”

“They were model inmates who had committed non-violent crimes?” Cassandra asked.

The Warden nodded.

Turning to the guard she asked, “And you had direct interaction with all of them?”

“Yes,” The guard nodded. “I am with them. . . .was with them every day for 8 hours when I was at work. I even ate lunch with them.”

“So no underlying gang related tensions? Racial tensions? Political or religious tensions?” Cassandra asked in rapid fire.

The guard shook his head no three times in response. “They were good men. They were getting out in less than a week.”

“They were almost done with the program. They had no reason to do this at all.” The Warden stated and threw up his hands in confusion. “I have no idea why. . .”

“The three guards on duty were involved and also killed?” Cassandra asked bluntly.

The Warden took a deep breath to calm himself and not retort to her brusque method of questioning. “Yes, we assume they were fighting for their lives.”

“As were they all, Warden. As were they all.” Cassandra said and began stomping on the ground.

“What are you doing now?” The guard asked in disgust, tired of this woman’s stupid questioning. It was obvious, it was a riot and three of his friends died. He was getting fed up with her superiority complex and the bullshit.

Cassandra looked up, eyes narrowing as she looked past him at the mountains behind him through the prison fence. Turning she looked at the hills to the other direction and nodded. Then she noticed Dead Elvis was, once again drifting away. Reaching into her backpack she produced a cinnamon scone and Dead Elvis was immediately beside her again sniffing deeply.

“Gentlemen, to understand what happened last night you must understand what happened on this spot long ago. That is why I am here.” She said, answering both of their unspoken questions. “Long ago . . . and by long I mean millions of years. . .This area was home to a species of raptors that I believe had evolved beyond what we currently can prove.” As the Warden began to speak she held up a finger and shushed him. “They were a matriarchal species and when their species went into decline, the males outnumbered the females and eventually there were only males left. The species would gather together, clan like, for a mating ritual on the spring equinox. They would gather here, on this spot, actually. In the final years when there were no more females to control the mob, the gathering became a blood bath. With no females to govern or chose mates, the males attacked and shredded each other much like last night.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” The Warden burst out with obvious contempt.

“Hear me out Warden. All will be clear.” Cassandra asked and then snapped her fingers to get Dead Elvis’ attention.

“What are they telling you?” She asked him.

Dead Elvis listened and nodded and turned back to Cassandra. “There was a party. . .a celebration of the men having completed the program.”

Cassandra nodded, she had expected as much.

The Warden explained, “They had almost completed the program. I thought they deserved some kind of reward so. . .” Cassandra held up a finger to silence him.

“There was music?” She asked.

“Yes, the prisoners had been allowed to form a band and play at the party.” The Warden nodded.

“The wiring for the sound system, it runs under this cement slab?” Cassandra asked.

The Warden nodded.

“Then I know what happened here. It was not a riot, it was in fact a case of trans-species spiritual possession. The carnage from the past left an emotional charge in the ground that, when triggered by the right electrical charge possessed the inmates and guards alike into reliving the deadly event over again.” Cassandra explained.

“What the hell are you talking about?” The Warden bellowed.

Dead Elvis stepped forward to explain.

Dead Elvis took a non-breath and then began to gyrate in a most disturbing way as he sang, “The warden threw a party in the county jail. The prison band was there and they began to wail. The band was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing. Then the electrical shorted out and it released that thing. The shock, It was all about The shock. Everybody in the whole cell block, was possessed by the dead raptor rock.”

“There you have it, case solved,” Cassandra said.

Flash Fiction – Random Picture Story

So this week’s flash fiction challenge on Chuck Wendig’s blog was to write a story for a random picture. Now, I know this is actually a Peruvian Chullo hat or something like that but that is not the first thought that came to mind. . . I went a little more fanciful with my story. . .

The photo url:

http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=10451892

The Glitter Man
The Glitter Man

For the record it should be stated he did not ask for it. He had, on many occasions begged them to stop. It was to no avail though. They kept doing it every time he fell asleep. He’d wake up and find himself covered with random bits of color. Sometimes it was just glitter sprinkled on him and other times, like today they went all out.

His hair was actually woven into the yarn bits and portions of the hat were glued to his head. He guessed it was to keep it all in place while he slept but, was not quite sure. It happened like this sometimes. The bush fairies would get in a color-fueled frenzy and go crazy.

It was his fault. Had he listened those many years ago and not given milk to the cries in the bush he would have had a much less complex life. He was young and foolish and didn’t listen though. He knew best and he put the saucer of milk by the bush. He had fed them and they had stayed with him ever since.

At first it was just flowers in his bed. Bright little bundles of wild flowers left for him and he had thought it very quaint and special. Then it was flowers woven into his hair. While a little less quaint it was still, interesting and harmless. Then they discovered textiles. That is when it started to go a bit odd.

Hats were the first things. Random colorful hats would be on his head when he woke up in the morning. No matter where he woke up. At home, they were there. At a friend’s house, they were there. Serving in the military, they were there and his drill sergeant was not at all amused. They were always there and he had no way of stopping them. People thought he was insane, they sent him home from the Army. No one wanted an insane man around, even if he was stylishly accessorized with colorful headwear.

Then, just as he thought things wouldn’t or couldn’t get worse, they discovered glitter. He remembered it was a cold day in early fall and there were no colorful wildflower blooms in the fields. He had always thought that was why they found glitter. They could find no color they wanted in nature so, they found it in some craft supply store. Then glue was next because the glitter fell off too much he assumed. Beads, pom-poms, tassels, and streamers followed in quick succession as they branched out their artistic efforts.

Soon after that they began to combine things. Beads in his hair and glittery cheeks. Pom-poms tied to his ears with nasal streamers of rainbow colors. The list was almost unlimited of the things they did. He couldn’t stop them. He tried staying awake but eventually, he had to sleep. He tried having someone watch over him but everyone thought he was crazy and wanted nothing to do with him. He set up cameras to capture them doing it but they stole the film and made streamers out of it and decorated him with shredded plastic tassels.

He was too old now to worry so much about it. He left it where they put it and just went about his life. The people around town all thought him completely mad but harmless and nothing he would do would ever change that view. Once you were mad, you were always mad. No one in a small town ever came back from being bug nut whacko. You just were always assumed to be hiding it better. So he didn’t try. He went about his life as best he could.

He would fish alone and sell his catch to a man in town. He would hurry into the store and buy what he needed and milk to put out in a saucer for them. Even though he didn’t appreciate all of the things they did, he also still couldn’t let them go hungry. It didn’t matter if he did, they didn’t leave so he might as well be right about it in his heart. He was a good man.

He had built a fence around the bush where he had heard them crying those many years ago with wood he found washed up on the beach. Over the years he had added much of the color from his morning gifts to it so that it was a patchwork of aged wood, dried flowers, bits of fabric and yarn and threads and, of course, lots of glitter. He kept adding to it until the fence completely hid the bush and the layers of adornments muffled any crying inside.

He was a good man. He would feed them because he had no choice but he would also hide them away. He would make sure that when his days were done they would not find another to do this too. He was neither angry nor bitter about it. He thought of them as his children and had genuine affection for them in his own way. He also wanted to make sure that no one else would ever suffer the same harshness in their life.

They meant well. Of that he was sure. They meant all of their efforts in love and affection as a way of thanking him. They didn’t know what it cost him and like a good father, he would never tell them even if he could. You accept. That is what parents do. They meant for him to be bright and cheery like a smile or a summer’s day. He saw it. After all these years he saw it and understood it and accepted it. He cherished not being alone. He cherished what they meant to do because, they meant well for him.

The children of the town called him the glitter man. They thought he was quite mad.

That was ok.

He would make sure they never knew the truth behind the glitter.

 

Flash Fiction Challenge Ten Titles You Made Up…

This is my story for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge Ten Titles You Made Up… Which was to take the title and do a 1000 word or less story for it. . . .so. . .this is what I got…

It’s a bit of a different take on the “sitting outside” part of the title. . .

 

They Sat Outside Eating Cake

“The monkeys are agitated again.” Nix hissed from several of her thousand mouths.

“They are always agitated about something.” He replied.

“Ya, but this seems like one of those big agitation things not just a little ripple.” Nix replied as she looked across years of time, watching the pattern bubble to the surface. “It’s building and building without any place to go.”

Cthulhu made a vile gurgling noise of annoyance.

“Don’t get mad at me.” Nix hissed.

“I’m not.” Cthulhu shuffled over to peer at the bubble Nix was describing. “It’s just damn annoying. They are finally getting it right and they are going to implode, yet again.”

“Maybe we should go talk to them and explain.” Nix offered without much hope the idea would find any acceptance.

“Ya, that’ll work.” Cthulhu chuckled and inadvertently caused a mud slide in Peru.

“Stand back you. Geesh!” Nix scolded him. “Look what you’ve done.” She said surveying the destruction. “You’ve got to keep a handle on that. Just because the monkeys are being stupid doesn’t give you the right to do that.”

Cthulhu twitched his tentacles apologetically. “Sorry.”

“It doesn’t do to vibrate the veil too much. Nothing good comes of that.” Nix smoothed the veil out again, purring soothingly until it was still.

“So what are the monkeys upset about this time?” Cthulhu asked.

“Oh, everything. Apparently they have separated themselves by every possible way of classifying each other to point out every difference so they can properly despise each other in every way. Right now apparently they are upset that people who look too much alike want cakes when it should be people who look different that get cakes.” Nix explained.

“Can’t they just share?” Cthulhu threw up half of his tentacles in frustration.

“I told you we should have used something a bit more group friendly. Monkeys are just nasty little cusses when you get down to it.” Nix told him.

Cthulhu shook his head. “Wouldn’t work, trust me. I’ve done the math. It has to be an omnivore that has a sweet tooth and is smart enough to figure out butter cream frosting or it’s just not worth it. Herbivores would make nasty cakes with no eggs and fluffiness and a carnivore would make it out of meat.“ He sighed a musical chorus of sighs that would, had it been heard by a lesser being, driven the listener mad. Nix, mother of night, she of a thousand whispers, however, found it somewhat soothing.

“We should go talk to them.” Nix said again.

“No.” Cthulhu objected again.

“Why?” Nix asked.

“Because every time I do that they go insane and start eating each other and every time you do they all start thinking the world is ending and then they stop making. . .”

“Cake.” Nix finished the sentence for him.

“Exactly. Hopefully they will stop caring about stupid things and stop worrying who has an inny and who has an outie and get back to the job.” Cthulhu said and Nix rippled the darkness in agreement.

“They are good at making cake.” Nix said after a few moments of non-time.

Cthulhu nodded in agreement.

“Can we. . .?” Nix let her voices drift off, the unasked question hanging in the air.

Cthulhu gurgled in amusement. “I suppose it can’t hurt too much.”

“I mean, they are already all worked up.” Nix said and Cthulhu nodded. “So what’s the harm?”

Great Cthulhu nodded in agreement.

“Let me make the hole though, you keep jiggling things too much.” Nix told him and Cthulhu stepped back to let her slide her many hands into the time space fabric so he could reach in.

“Get chocolate this time. No more of that tutti-frutti weird stuff. That’s not proper cake.” Nix said and Cthulhu sighed. He kind of liked the weird flavors but, he nodded. Chocolate was good too. As Nix slipped the veil ever so carefully outside a downtown bakery and made an opening, Cthulhu slide several of his huge tentacles in, deftly grabbing at the cakes within the shop. They both tried to ignore the screams and other assorted odd noises that followed as he pulled out a cache of cakes into the dark with them.

“Ewww.” Nix winced.

The monkeys were all upset now. Those in the shop apparently had gone quite mad and gone on a zombie like rampage through the city eating people. Cthulhu looked embarrassed.

“I told you. They freak out when they see me.” He said by way of explanation.

Nix shrugged and began to lay out the cakes in proper fashion so they could see what they had gotten. There was a wide array of flavors and styles and, thankfully, some good old fashioned chocolate cake as well. Nix purred in excitement.

Cthulhu though was watching over time and troubled by the monkeys growing instability. He wished he could just tell them to stop but, he knew they wouldn’t listen. They were all howling and hooting about their own vision of their purpose, their destiny. Nothing was going to calm them down but time and maybe less caffeine.

“We should just tell them.” Nix said.

“Can’t.” Cthulhu shook his head. “They’d never believe it.”

“But if they keep going off they will end up doing something drastic again.” Nix warned.

Cthulhu nodded.

“And then…” Nix started.

“…No cake.” Cthulhu finished.

“Right.” Nix nodded. “ So we should tell them before they get all twisted up about their purpose or destiny again and start lobbing bombs.”

“They wouldn’t listen.” Cthulhu sighed.

“Then we slap the shit out of them and tell them Oiy! You! Shut up and make cake. That is what you little monkeys are supposed to do. That is all you are supposed to do. Now stop being fussy and make more cake!”

Cthulhu took a slice of cake. “They wouldn’t believe it.”

Nix sighed, he was right.

They just ate their cake sitting outside of space and time and watched the monkeys.

 

Flash Fiction – Creating a Character

This is my flash fiction bit for the Creating a Character topic. . . .something rather normal. . . I noticed everyone was creating dynamic characters and I thought I’d try and create a very normal one. . .to the extreme. From the Flash Fiction Challenge:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/08/21/flash-fiction-challenge-time-to-create-a-character/

 

Bob is a normal guy . . . amazingly and mind numbingly normal actually. He is so ordinary that there is nothing to really point out about him that would distinguish him in any way from anyone else. He is of average height, normal weight that fluctuates within normal seasonal parameters. He has very non-descript looking hair that is always cut in a very normal fashion and even when he tries to do something different, it seems he only does what lots of others are doing and it remains totally average. At work people barely notice him at all. When asked they would be more likely to recall his desk and chair as obstacles rather than remember the man sitting in them. Bob was just terminally normal.

Then one day Bob woke up at his regular time and proceeded to begin his typical routine. As he began to lather his face to shave Bob suddenly realized that he was so amazingly normal and bland, he could no longer even see himself in the mirror. He was simply not there anymore. Which, he thought to himself, was pretty much normal, all things considered.

Flash Fiction Challenge – Pop Culture Mash Up

This week’s flash fiction contest at http://terribleminds.com/ramble/blog/ was a mash up of two random pop culture things. I got Scooby Do meets Donnie Darko. . . this is the result. . .

 

Getting It Right

“This week on Ghost Catchers we are heading into the halls of education that became the halls of death!” Fred gave a dramatic pause.

“Cut!” The director screamed in his earpiece.

“What’s wrong with that?” Fred asked incredulously, sure his introduction was perfect.

“Fred, your selfie camera is angled up your left nostril.” The director explained in a pinched voice, then exhaled loudly over the radio, and said, “Just tilt it up some, ok?”

“Oh.” Fred readjusted his camera and then started over; pausing only briefly to wonder just how stoned the shaggy headed director was getting back in the control van. “Ok . . . take two. This week on Ghost Catchers we are heading into the halls of education that became the halls of death!” He gave a dramatic pause before swinging around his camera to show their guest hunter of the week. “And with us is the student that escaped these halls once and now he is coming back again to face the spirits of his fellow students who died here.”

The guest host looked at him blankly. Fred waited for a response and when he was sure the guy was just going to stare at him and say nothing, he swung the camera back to himself and continued the introduction. “Two years ago a student entered these halls on a normal Monday morning and went to his home room, just like he always did. Once there though he detonated a bomb he was carrying in his backpack killing himself and the 20 students in the classroom. The horror of those moments has been permanently etched in these halls and people from the local area swear they have seen and heard the students screaming over and over again at night.”

“You know you sound like a complete tool, right?” The guest hunter said.

Fred paused, bewildered.

“Just thought someone should tell you because no one else seems to.” The guest hunter finished, shrugged, and started walking to the homeroom.

“Wait. Hey! You are with us, we are the investigators!” Fred called out looking to his teammates for support. Daphne was busy trying to figure out why her bra was glowing through her shirt in the night vision cameras and arguing with the producer about it. He wanted her to leave it because it would increase ratings. Velma was trying to control their dog Scooby that supposedly could sense ghosts, usually by yelping and running in the opposite direction as fast as possible. Fred realized he was on his own.

“Fred, dude, we’ll fix it in editing.” The director told him in the earpiece. “Just roll with it and go on.” Fred gave a scowl and then hurried after the guest hunter.

“Hey,” Fred called out and then realized that he didn’t even know the guy’s name. ”Hey, what’s your name again?”

The guest hunter didn’t pause, he just waved Fred’s question off like some bothersome gnat flitting about his head and walked purposefully to the blasted classroom doorway. “Go away Fred.” He called back as Fred caught up with him.

“Hey dude, I’m the star of this show so you listen to. . .” Fred began to say but the guest cut him off.

“No Fred, you are the douche of the show that thinks he’s the star and this isn’t about EVPs or any of that other ghost hunter horseshit. This is about them and me and something that went wrong.” The guest turned to him, his face calm but stern. “I was there. I was supposed to be there. They can’t stop being there till I go back so this isn’t about your little show, this is about them; the students that died that can’t stop dying till I get it right.”

Fred looked totally confused. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“That morning, I was there, in the room with them. The bomber, he had a moment where he thought that maybe he shouldn’t do it. I mean really, really thought about it and when that happened I saw him leave the room, I saw him go outside and I followed him. When I left, he blew up the room. I wasn’t supposed to see that moment but I did and I left when I was supposed to stay.” The guest explained but seeing the blank look on Fred’s face he knew he was totally lost.

“All you need to know is I agreed to be on this piece of crap show because it was the only way I could get back into this building again.” The guest said.

“We have won several local cable awa. . .” Fred protested.

The guest went on talking over Fred. “Sometimes when we have two choices we create a divergence of reality. He had a choice to go home or to stay and kill. I saw that thought about going and followed it but he stayed and killed everyone. I wasn’t supposed to see it and I was supposed to stay and die. Now there are two realities fighting it out and these kids can’t finish the dying without me.” A hellish light began to emanate from the room and they could hear faint screams starting and then begin to grow louder. “Every night, they’re still dying until I get it right. Both realities can’t exist, one has to end.”

Fred was totally lost but Velma had come up and understood what the guest was saying. “So you have to redo the day with them, the right way?” The guest nodded. “Can you tell us your name at least?”

“Unknown Remains #12. The new kid whose foster family never reported missing, whose paperwork never got filed in time.” He smiled a bittersweet smile, “I’m Unknown Remains #12, nice to meet you.”

Velma’s eyes welled up with tears. He saw that and smiled at her. “I’ve got to go.” She nodded.

He turned and went into the classroom.

 

This time he got it right.

 

Flash Fiction – July 24th – Essay

This week’s flash fiction from Chuck Wendig’s Blog is an essay on why I write. . .what makes me a writer? What compels and drives me to do this? In contemplation of this I have come to understand something about myself hitherto unknown or at least unspoken. I am not a writer.

I am a storyteller.

Writing is one version of this but I also enjoy telling stories orally. My artwork tells a story . . .at least it does when it turns out right. That is what compels me, the need to tell stories. Though, I will admit, the “I can tell stories through interpretive dance” thought line was a bad idea from the get-go and I do apologize for that, it won’t happen again.

The reason why I write is that it is one way of telling stories and a way I can tell the stories to as many people as possible. So then, the question is not “why I write” for me but rather what drives me to tell stories? The answer to that is rather simplistic and straightforward. I tell stories because it makes me happy to tell stories.

The why’s and how-comes of that would keep a therapist in business for years trying to untangle. Was it a lack of attention when I was a child or a sense of narcissistic egotism that makes me feel that my stories are so important they must be told? I don’t know. One thing I have learned is that sometimes, it doesn’t matter why, it simply is what it is.

I write because I want to share my stories.

Where I get the stories is something I don’t know. My mind just works that way, it creates even when I don’t try and create. It fabricates from things I see ideas of what could be or what might be hidden right behind plain view. It just happens. It is just who I am. There is no poetics to it, just a simple fact of me. It is just how my mind works

So the final answer would be, I write because that is what I do. The why of it doesn’t matter except to my therapist. I do it because that is who I am.

Though I do feel in a strange way that I should now stand up and say, “Hi, my name is David. I’m a writer.” And wait for the twelve step crowd to welcome me. . .

Flash Fiction: The Gift of the Nothing

Here is my entry to the flash fiction contest at Chuck Wendig’s Blog It comes in at 1000 words exactly including the title. . .hope you enjoy. Had some fun with it.

The Gift of the Nobody

Nadia stood her ground and tried to not be intimidated by the hulking, eight foot tall demon before her. His deep red skin covered with a viscous snot-like fluid that constantly oozed down him and dripped off in glops. It fell to the ground with a sizzle like it would dissolve the floor but it didn’t. In fact it was mostly cosmetic and for show. He felt it gave him that “hellish” appearance that people expected and it was all about first impressions and the big ‘wow’ factor.

“So, one more time. What exactly do you want?” The demon asked, sure he had misunderstood the girl.

“I want to be nobody. I want to be completely unnoticed by anyone unless I make contact with them and then when the contact is done, I want them to go back to not noticing me again.” Nadia said once more.

“Well, I have to say, this is a new one deary.” The demon said thinking about it.

“It’s what I want,” The girl assured him.

“But why? Such a beautiful creature such as yourself, why not revel in the attention? Bask in the adoration? Most people make deals to get that. . .  not . . .the other way around.” The demon scratched his chin in contemplation.

“If you can’t do it. . .” Nadia shrugged and turned to leave.

“Wait, I can do it, but why? Just tell me that. Why do you want this?” He asked.

Nadia sighed and resigned herself to telling him. “My parents were famous, really famous. The moment I was conceived I was famous because of them. When I was born I was famous. When I was a child I had hordes of people watching me all the time. When I was in school, everyone stared. When I go to get a burger, I have throngs of paparazzi taking pictures. Everywhere I go, everything I do, someone is watching. Always watching me. People I barely know give interviews like they are my best friends. I am always noticed. I am always, constantly, never endingly watched and always have been. I want it to stop.”

The demon thought about it and nodded. He didn’t really understand it but he almost never did. During his last performance review his supervisor had chastised him for trying to understand, making his dissatisfaction clear with a few well timed and poignant licks of hellfire and brimstone. So faced with a lack of understanding and the potential of losing the contract, the demon simply said, “I can do it.” It’s all about closing the deal. He plucked a contract from the air with one hand and a pen from the air with the other.

Nadia shook her head. “No way I sign anything till I know you can do it. Not till I know for sure that you can make absolutely everyone not notice me. Not till I know I am nobody.” She had spent a lifetime dealing with managers, talent scouts, lawyers and other nefarious types that made big promises. “You need to prove to me that you can do it.” She crossed her arms and gave him a distrusting look.

“I can do it.” He protested.

“Prove it.” She challenged.

The demon thought about it and then about his quota, and how far behind he was this month and finally sighed. “Ok, fine.” He had a bad feeling about this but he needed to close the deal to avoid the fires again. With a grand gesture he summoned up arcane powers, the circle around him flaring up like neon so that the room was bathed in a hellish green light. “Then you are nobody!” His voice booming the words into reality.

That being done he stopped and looked around. He was confused. What had he been doing? He looked at his hands, he had a contract and a pen, he must have been doing something important. He looked around the room and saw nobody. What was he doing here? He chewed on the end of the pen trying to remember why he was here. He began to tap his foot nervously and thought ‘oh no, not again’. The door to the room opened and closed but he saw nobody there. What was he doing here?

Outside the throng of photographers were likewise trying to figure out why they were standing around in the hot sun. They knew there must have been a reason they were here but nobody walked out the door and they had no idea who they were waiting for. A few began taking pictures of the other paparazzi in case that was who they had come to shoot but they were dubious that was the case. As far as they could remember there was nobody here worth shooting.

Inside the demon looked at the contract. It clearly stated it was with nobody. Why had he written a contract with Nobody? That didn’t make sense. He was slipping, losing his touch. He was going to be in such trouble, he was very far behind on his quota and to be standing here wasting his time with nobody. It was a safe bet that things were not going to go well when he got back. He briefly thought about trying to work the paparazzi outside but discarded the idea, most of them had sold their souls long ago. With a gesture the contract and pen turned to ash and fell away, vanishing before they hit the floor. He was so screwed. With a sigh he gave up figuring out what he was doing and vanished in a puff of smoke back to hell.

The reporters likewise gave up and began to disburse and go home, confused, mopey, and feeling very foolish. There was nobody here to see. Nobody walked right past them. Nobody walked down the street unnoticed. Nobody walked off into the sunset alone for the first time.

And Nobody lived happily ever after.