Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jilted (A to Z Challenge Day 10)

It’s been like clockwork.  The sound of the school bus stopping, followed by it chugging off, and finally…

“Hi, Ms. Carson!”

Through the front door and right into my office comes the neighbor girl.  I’ve had to change my schedule to fit her distraction if I want to get anything done with my day.  I think about shooing her away but somehow I keep the door unlocked and let her in.  Kids and their fragile, doe-like look of innocence…

“Good afternoon, Taylor.  What brings you in to my office today?”

“Nothing.”  She smiled.

Honesty.  That’s appreciated anyway.

A strong scent wafted by as she circled the room pawing things that I wish she wouldn’t touch.  An overwhelmingly fruity scent.

“Have you, uh, been in your mother’s perfumes?”

“Yeah!  Now I smell like she does when she goes to work.”


She shuffled her feet.  “Moms been at work a lot.”

“I’m sure she’ll be home soon.”

“She hasn’t been home yet.”

“It’s only four.”

“But she’s usually home in the morning…”

This gave me pause.  “Are you saying she hasn’t been home all day?”

She nodded.

“Has she talked to you?”

“Well, not recently.  She put me on the bus Monday…”

It was Wednesday night.

I tapped my desk, thinking.  Dad was never in the picture as far as I knew.   If he was then he could be any of the suitors that I’ve seen holding her mother’s hand on the way out their door…

“Are you hungry?”  She nodded enthusiastically.  “I always make too much for one person.  You’re joining my tonight.  Start on any homework at my desk while I get it started.”

I grabbed my phone and slipped out of the room.

It's not the perfume that you wear
It's not the ribbons in your hair
And I don't mind you comin' here
And wastin' all my time

--Just What I Needed by The Cars

Intimidating (A to Z Challenge Day 9)

“Welcome the Pit Stop.  What can I get you?”

What can I get you’.  I’ve been avoiding this guy and the Pit Stop for months, even though my co-workers go there every week for lunch, and this was all I get from him.  I ordered, but otherwise kept my mouth shut.  That resolve didn’t last long though.

“You don’t remember me, do you.”  I said.

He looked up like he wasn’t sure I was talking to him. “I guess not.  Should I?”

“Does the name Carl sound familiar?”  Or Crybaby Carl which is what you called me when I rode the bus the first time in kindergarten and cried.  Or Carlie Temple when my mom let my hair grow out too long in elementary.  Or Clumsy Carl when I tried out for the high school track team and tripped.  “Carl Young.”

He thought for a bit.  “Uh, no I can’t say that it does.  Where do I know you from?”


“Wheatfield High?”

“That’s the one.”

“Alright, man!”  He tossed a box of cheese bread in a bag and handed it to me.  “The bread’s on the house for a fellow Pioneer.”

Cheesy bread.  I endured basically my entire elementary and high school academic career dealing with you breathing down my neck and my reward for that is a box of cheesy bread.
This was supposed to be my moment.  Your working at a fast food chain taking my order when you spent that whole time trying to make me feel like you’re better than me.  Now you can’t even remember my name?  Not even my face.

“Thanks.”  I took the bag and left.

I tried so hard
In spite of the way you were mocking me
Acting like I was part of your property
Remembering all the times you fought with me
I'm surprised it got so
Things aren't the way they were before
You wouldn't even recognize me anymore
Not that you knew me back then
But it all comes back to me in the end

--In the End by Linkin Park

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Half-breed (A to Z Challenge Day 8)

Disoriented was only half of what I felt when I woke up.  A rough blanket stuck to my skin over patches of dark red splotches.  In front of me was a corpse.

“No…”  I shoved myself backwards until I hit a wall.  Someone moved in the corner, lit only by the coming sun through a window.  “No!  This was not what you promised.  You’ve broken our agreement.”

“I have not.”  He said.

“Do you think I’m a fool?  Look at what you’ve done!”  I couldn’t even look at the body’s face for fear that I could tell him who it was.

“It was not I who did this.  Our agreement was that you would come with me and I would not kill any more.  This is your doing.”

“Mine…” The blanket.  I examined my body.  No injuries.  And yet the red splotches were blood.  I ran my hands along my arms, my neck, and finally I found several raised scars just above my shoulder, a semi-circle above and one below.  The healing wounds of a bite.

“You will have a lower rank than me as your other form.”  He continued.  “Your instinct will be to bring me back food.  What yours is mine and what is mine, well, you can have the leftovers.”

“And what if I leave.  I could leave this place and if you are reliant on me than you will have to follow.”

“And where would you go?  Another town full of families with loved ones?  If that is your solution then you’re no better than me than you think you are.”

“But there are animals—“

“That are being hunted by the people.  There are not enough for the both of us anymore.  If I hunted the animals then the people would not eat and even more would die.”  If she cared enough she would be able to read the notes of regret in his voice.  “This is our curse.  We must feed.”

I'm-a make a deal with the bad wolf
So the bad wolf don't bite no more

          Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf) by Awolnation

Monday, April 13, 2015

Game Plan (A to Z Challenge Day 7)

“I saved you a seat.”

“You always save me a seat.”

“Well, you always take it.”

She sat across from him in the sad excuse for an office building’s cafeteria.  “Yeah…  I’m going to miss that.”

He paused, a sandwich half way to his mouth, then continued.  “Huh, they give you one full weekend off and you feel like you’re leaving forever.  Can’t decide if that’s sadder for this company as a place of employment or for you as a person.”

“I put in my two weeks notice.”


“I’m not kidding.”

He put his sandwich down for good.  “What?  Why?”

“Look around.”  She motioned vaguely at dim room.  “There’s nothing left here.”

I’m still here, he thought.

They ate the majority of their lunch time in silence until she got up to leave.

“I think that you should change your mind.”  He told her.

“Give me one reason why that would be a good career choice.”  He had time enough for her to dump her food out in the trash can and wait a while at the door.  She sighed.  “I’ll see you Monday.”

He had two weeks to turn this company around.

Give me one reason to stay here
And I'll turn right back around
Said I don't want leave you lonely
You got to make me change my mind
                Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman

Friction (A to Z Challenge Day 6)

“Stop fighting me.”

“Stop following me.”

“Stop running.”

Despite what his mind was telling him and what his body wanted he did as he was told.  “Leave me alone.”

“I know what you’re feeling right now.”  She said.

“Then you would know to leave me alone.”

“And any normal person would.  But we both know that we’re far from normal.”

That brought the heat in him, the anger, that he was trying to keep at bay.  It finally boiled over.  Fire licked his palm and he shook his hands as if he could put it out.  The only thing that it did was create a fire ball the size of a globe.  It shot out in front of him and landed in the leaves a few feet in front of the woman who, in turn, made fire of her own and burned the area around his.

“Well, adding a forest fire to this just wouldn’t do.”  She stomped out a few stray embers but let the majority of it burn itself out.  She looked back up to find him still staring, frozen.  “You see?  I told you we had a lot to talk about.”

And now it's on, we're fighting
Fire with fire
The flames are burning, burning
Higher and higher
            Fire with Fire by The Letter Black

It's the flame in all of us
That makes the change in all of us
That takes the blame in all of us
And still keeps it alive

          Flame in All of Us by Thousand Foot Krutch

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Entrapment (A to Z Challenge Day 5)

“You can stop pretending to be sleep now.”

My pulse quickened.  That voice, I knew that voice.  We all did even though we never saw his face.  I opened my eyes and slowly raised my head.  The only light in the room was a dim bulb above me.  I couldn't see anything else.

The disembodied voice laughed.  “I taught her well.”

He wasn't talking to me.  That meant that there was at least one other person in this room with us, maybe more.

“Why am I here?” My voice was hoarse.  How long has it been?  When I tried to move I could feel the tug of rope around my wrist.  I was sitting on a concrete floor with my hands behind my back.  This is not the usual situation that I would hear this voice.

“All in due time.”

“The last job, that was your fault wasn't it?”

I was only met with silence.  It was coming back.  The last job we pulled was rigged.  We didn't see it until it was too late.  No one else could have known that we were there or that we were coming.  Except the man whose voice this was.

“Why?  We work for you.  We take our orders from you.  Why would you sabotage us and yourself like this?”

“Well, who better to protect myself from than the people that I trained myself?  Anything you find comes straight to me and I learn how to better protect myself from those that I don’t have such a close hold on.  You have, however, gotten a bit too good.  Some of the things that you find could lead straight to me and 
ruin things.  Your work has been appreciated but you are now being dismissed.”

His casual tone and the intended message would have caused me to panic if I wasn't trained not to do so.  If he hadn't trained me.

I've spent my life making myself invisible to everyone for a cause that I thought was admirable and it’s all some wild goose chase.  A waste of my time.”

A laser point of light appeared in the distance, somewhere on top of a distant wall blinking out a pattern that I recognized.  I laughed.

“Tell me,” he said.  “I’m curious as to what about this you are finding humorous so that I can join in on your last moments of joy.”

You've underestimated us.”

I leapt up just a silenced bullet met the light bulb above my head.

When we move we camouflage ourselves
We stand in the shadows waiting
We live for this and nothing more
We are what You created

I can feel the storm, the winds have changed
Ooh, 'cause we're worlds apart but just the same
But we won't leave the way that we came

I know there's so much more ahead
I can barely believe that we're here
We won't surrender quietly, step up and watch it

--E for Extinction by TFK

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Devoted (A to Z Challenge Day 4)

“Do you remember our game?”

Our game.  Of course I remembered.  It felt like it was yesterday that we were lying in the grass outside watching the clouds and telling each other what we saw and making songs with the birds.  Like yesterday that they were ignoring the sounds of the Grabbers.  Like yesterday that a man we didn’t think we could trust found us and told us that we were the only ones that could end this before they ended our world.

“I see…”  He started though he wasn’t looking at the smoke clouds around us or making songs from the noises of battle behind.  He was only looking at me.  “I see…”

When his voice broke I squeezed his hands, intensifying the power light between us.

“Will you go with me?”  His brow furrowed.  “Where ever this takes us, whatever this does, will you stay with me?”

His face softened and he leaned over the source so that his lips could meet mine.  The light became almost overbearingly bright by the time that he pulled away.

“It would take more than just an army trying to end the world to take me away from you.”

Then all I saw was white.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Confess (A to Z Challenge Day 3)

We’re surrounded by countless others
My friends, your friends,
Like sisters, brothers
While over us these unspoken words hover
Could they know all I want is to hear ‘yeah, I love her’?

How could you be so close
And yet miles away
If I reached out I could touch you
But then what would you say?

Your body’s here but your heart’s not
We can’t seem to leave this zone
I feel we’re on the verge of something
But you still pretend that no one’s home

What if my hand held yours?
What would your feelings say?
Could my hand keep yours
Or would you pull away

Our group fades, the crowd recedes
The man at the front says it’s time to leave
If only you would keep your seat
What is the fate that I’ll receive?

Its closing time
We must go home
You walk out
And I go alone

Closing time
This room won't be open till your brothers or your sisters come
So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end
-Closing Time by Semisonic

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blunder (A to Z Challenge Day 2)

“Hanging on from paycheck to paycheck isn't really working, is it?”
“Mmm.” I try to pay attention to my wife, but as soon as my head hits the pillow these days I'm almost gone immediately.
“I think that until we're able to pay off some of these bills we should stay with my mother.”
“Not for long or anything. Just until we get things settled.”
I sat up.
“Listen,” she continued. “I know you don't like it but we have to do what's best for the kids. I know I can't make you go but if things get much worse....”
She rolled over and mumbled. “Unless you think you can bring home 50,000 dollars tomorrow.”
That's the thought that brought me to the county fair.
Every year the local Girl Scout groups would get together and come up with outrageous ways to make different desserts using one of their cookies as inspiration.  Then they would get the students at the culinary school to help make it a reality.  People could pay to taste test and vote on their favorite.  The winning Girl Scout gets a prize and the winning chef gets scholarship money.  Better yet, the extravagant dessert itself gets auctioned off.
            These auctions can bring in at least a thousand each.  With ten cakes, well, I might not get my $50k but I would be well on my way.
            I came early to watch.  That’s what robbers, no that sounds bad, I wasn’t robbing per say.  I’m just borrowing.  As soon as I get everything paid off I’ll start making anonymous contributions to the Scouts and buying cookies like they’re groceries.
            Ah, here we go.  People are starting to pay for their tastes and the right to vote.  It’s going in a large box.  Perfect.  How long have I been standing here?  Should I just take it now?  I think people are starting to look at me.  I slipped into line.  I could do this.  I could do this.
            Just as I was getting to the front of the line the woman that was there gave way to one of the Scouts.  A young girl who didn’t look too much older than my own kid.
            I couldn’t do this.
            “Hello, sir.  Are you buying a voting ballot?”
            Oh no.
            “No.”  I blurted, then watched her smile fall a little.  “Oh.. no..  Oh no.  I seem to have left my wallet in the car.  I better go.”
            I hustled back to my car, got inside, and let what I almost did sink in.
            I better tell my wife to call her mom.

There’s a full moon out
And my girl just keep on howlin’
Said she gonna leave me
If I don’t come home with fifty thousand
-Bills by Lunchmoney Lewis

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Apprehended (A to Z Challenge Day 1)

It would never be me, I thought.  I would never be stupid enough to get caught, I thought.  Who would be blind enough to fall for their traps, I thought.

I thought wrong.

One of those slow moving, wingless animals was after me again with their weird sticks, swinging it around in lazy loops.  It’s no joke if they really catch you with it though.  I saw a friend get caught…  It was a mess.  But they’re so slow!  It’s hard to take them seriously.  I easily evaded them and tried to take cover in my high corner.  The problem was that the Spiders caught on.

The Flies and the Spiders have always had it out for each other.  The Eight-legs were jealous of our wings.  Even with so many legs they can’t get as far as us.

Now I can’t get as far as anyone.

I could get free.  I've seen Fliers come back with horror stories.  Some flew in missing their legs while others managed to crawl to the nearest busy trash heap without a wing.  I struggled against the sticky ropes trying to feel for places that it was weak.  I felt no give.

It’ll be back soon.  No one has ever been through what the Eight-legs do to us and lived to tell the tale.  I can only use my imagination.

Too much time has gone by.  Why was it waiting?  I’m here.  I can’t go.  Just end it.

Just end the wait.

I’m a fly that’s trapped
In a web
But I’m thinking that
My spider’s dead.
Lonely, lonely little life
I could kid myself in thinking that I’m fine.
                -Always by Panic! At the Disco