Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

I was 3,200 feet below the surface in the old long abandoned and forgotten mines that pockmark the back hills of the Searles Valley to the north-east of Ridgecrest.
It’s a different time and a different world down there. You can still see the scorch marks from the old oil lamps that used to hang from the rusted iron hooks placed along the shaft walls. The smell is a mix of old earth and timber. Long ago the timber used to have a sweet smell to it, but all the sap has long since dried up and been leached from the wood. Most of the old equipment had been stripped from the mine but the further you go, the more the past starts to reveal itself.
There was no slow build-up to the quake. Not like the movies where things shimmy back and forth. The only warning I had was the roar that came from the snapping of supports as the earth rolled like an ocean wave around me. Even the air itself, having spent years settling into its void of a home breathed anew.
Dust that was flung from the timber supports, as well as the roof and walls of the shaft itself, blew against my face as I closed my eyes.
The track that sat rusted and unused below my feet popped and pinged as it was displaced from the floor in parts. The spikes that were driven into the earth hundreds of years ago gave off puffs of rust tinted dust that covered my boots.
I wasn’t sure if the mine would hold and whispered my goodbyes to my loved ones.
While most of it did hold up to the quake, portions of it did not.
It’s been a month now since the quake, but only a couple weeks since I was able to dig myself free of Mother Earths wanting embrace. Someday she will reclaim me for the final time but until then, I have more to explore.

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After 70 years of heroic battles and unfavorable odds, he sat before the fire. Hands stiffening with arthritis and scars covering more of his body than not he held his cape as tears welled up in his eyes.
He couldn’t even remember all the fights, all the hard-won battles anymore. At some point, it all became a blur as time stretched a haze over a life spent saving others, saving the world.
He tossed the cape into the fire and watched it burn.
“Maybe this world wasn’t meant to be saved.” He whispered.

We stood at the crossroads of two highways long since abandoned to time. The moon hid behind the clouds in the night sky. Ashamed and confused.
The devil took his time reading from my list.
Finally and with a tired but curious glance over the top of the paper he asked, “How do you propose to pay for these things?”
“With time,” I answered.
He nodded slowly and licked his lips before extending his hand, “We have a deal then.”
I shook his hand firmly and smiled, “Deal.”
In the blink of an eye, my life was ended and I stood apart from my body as it collapsed to the ground. The asphalt reached up and pulled it under slowly but without a sound.
The devil looked at me then with a tear in his eye. “Thank you for this,” he said as he handed me the keys to Hell and slowly vanished into thin air.
My watch had begun.

The moon was hidden by the clouds as I struggled to find my sight in the dark.
In the distance, trees were being ripped apart as it came for me. I could hear the loud crack of the tree trunks splitting. I could hear the thunder of their roots being pulled from the earth and the rocks and debris that fell from them as they were lifted out of the way. Even the very ground rumbled under Deaths footfalls.
There was no silent reaper in a robe, that was children’s tales and make-believe. This was a God of death, and he was coming for me.
I lost my footing in the creek and fell into the dry creek bed. Dirt and dust covered my face and stung my eyes and throat as I scrambled back to my feet and clawed my way up the other side.
I didn’t dare look back because in my mind it was right there, talons reaching for me already. I expected it any second. I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts or my own clumsy thrashing about. Just that thunderous roar and snapping branches that seemed to be so very close.
I decided to give up then. To just stop running.
I could hear my breathing then. I could hear me sucking in air and almost sobbing as I exhaled. It was over, I didn’t want this anymore.
A few seconds went by when I realized I was listening to my own breathing and only my own breathing. Nothing else. No thunderous war-drum beating footfalls, no splintering of three-hundred-year-old trees, nothing.
It was just me.
Alone.
I sat down with my back against a tree and waited. Slowly the nocturnal animals began to come out and the silence was filled by the sounds of wildlife. I smiled at the peacefulness of it all.
It took me hours to realize that I was Death.

Frankie sat on the bed in the dark. Her left hand softly stroking the top of Maeve’s head as Maeve pretended not to notice until her fingers stopped, then she pushed her head back against Frankie’s fingers to get them to keep stroking again. To Maeve, this proved her genius as a canine, for she believed that not even Frankie realized what was happening and had no control over her left hand when she manipulated the auto pet function so perfectly.

As if reading her mind Frankie’s fingers froze against her scalp. Fearing she had just been caught by a psychic human Maeve tilted her head back and looked right at Frankie, tongue hanging out of one side of her mouth as cute as she could manage.

Frankie wasn’t looking at Maeve, nor was she looking at the cell phone in her right hand that she had been messing with for the last hour. Instead, her gaze was trained on something outside the window in the distance.

From the second floor bedroom, Frankie had a good view of the houses on the other side of the street. She thought she had seen something move from one house to the next. Still staring into the night she killed the light from the cell phone and placed it face down on the bed. Across the street, she saw two figures dart out from the shadows of a house and across the street in her direction.
“Shit.” Frankie softly cursed herself for spending so much time messing with the phone in the dark. The light from the screen was faint, but in this powerless world, any light was a beacon to those up to no good.

Maeve silently got off the bed as Frankie slid to the edge and grabbed her jeans. As Frankie slipped her feet into the pants and pulled them on, Maeve moved towards the doorway of the bedroom silently but stopped before she got to the doorway. She tilted her head to listen to the darkness downstairs.

Earlier when Frankie and Maeve had found the house, they had cleared it and left all doors inside the home open so no one could hide within or sneak in unheard. Frankie joined Maeve and placed her left hand on Maeve’s back. The hair on her back was down and for a second Frankie let a little hope take shape that they were going to move on to the next house. That hope died the moment she heard them rattle the doorknob.

The hair on Maeve’s back rose under Frankie’s fingers but she didn’t bark. Frankie ran a hand over her reassuringly and they both waited. The only other exit was the back door, but the stairs ran right next to the front door and it wasn’t worth taking the chance of being caught from behind if they tried to run for it.

Frankie stepped back slightly and Maeve shadowed her movement. They both jumped a little when the glass shattered downstairs. Maeve started to move forward but Frankie snapped her fingers and Maeve stopped, stepping back beside her once again.

They listened as someone unlocked the door and opened it. Whispering filtered up to them from the stairs, “It was a girl, a blonde, I swear to God.”
“I get her first. You had that old bitch last week.”

Frankie exhaled a breath she didn’t realize she was holding with a little annoyance, a little anger. In the dark Maeve looked up at her, waiting for a command.

“No,” Frankie told her. From downstairs the whispers immediately stopped but she could hear them moving towards the stairway. She stepped out to the head of the stairs and waited for them. From below, they looked like two silhouettes in the dark. The moment they saw her, Frankie let out a little yelp and jumped back into the bedroom.

She snapped once and Maeve moved to her side as Frankie slammed the bedroom door and snatched the shotgun up that was leaning against the wall beside the door. She could hear them scrambling up the stairs now, close to the top. They were coming in a hurry. Perfect, she thought.

She raised the shotgun to her shoulder, flicked off the safety and held the barrel about navel level, ready to swing it up when her target presented itself. As the two reached the door she took one step left to plant her feet in a firing stance, left leg slightly ahead of the right, shoulder length apart.

When the first guy burst through the door she leaned into the weapon and raised the barrel in one smooth motion as her finger squeezed the trigger. He never knew what hit him and the buckshot lifted him off his feet and tossed him sideways against the door he was still in the process of throwing open. Frankie didn’t wait to see him land, she racked another round into the shotgun as she pivoted on her left leg and brought the barrel around to the second guy who was trying to stop his forward momentum. He didn’t have enough time. The roar of the shotgun lit up the room a second time and his face melted along with part of his skull as it painted the hallway behind him.

Frankie looked back at Maeve who was simply watching the first guy. She chambered another round in the shotgun and then moved to the first guy who was wheezing badly and gurgling. Frankie removed the knife from her belt and punched it into the side of his neck before twisting it and removing it in three swift moves. Within seconds he was dead.

Frankie cleaned the blade off on his clothes and sheathed it before engaging the safety of the shotgun and sighing.

“I’m not blonde,” she told Maeve. “Guess we have to find a new place to sleep tonight.”

Maeve whined knowingly as Frankie gathered her backpack and jacket. She also retrieved the cell phone and tossed it in one of the pockets. After she shrugged into the bag she pulled the bedding off of the bed and sort of spread it across the doorway and hallway that was glistening with blood and pieces of skull.

There were a lot of things her 17-year-old self had to learn in the short time she has been alive, but listening to her dog lick someone else’s blood off of her paws was something she only had to hear once. It wouldn’t happen again if she could help it.

Frankie and Maeve stood in the living room, listening to the night outside the open front door. When they both felt it was safe they left the house and made their way out into the dark night, sticking to shadows as much as they could.

He couldn’t take his eyes off of her face as he slowly lifted the front of her shirt.
Her eyes were closed, a mix of anticipation and excitement clouded with a bit of shyness seemed to wash over her.
He felt for the edge of her bra and gently peeled it away, the soft fabric not giving him much of a fight.
As he leaned closer she arched her back towards him. His eyes still on her face he felt her nipple brush against his lips as a moan broke the seal of hers.
He started to open his mouth when a something long and slimy pushed out from her nipple, brushed past his lips, and darted into his mouth. He reflexively gagged and tried to pull away but it slid deeper down his throat, pulling him to her like a tether. He tried to look down but could see nothing as his face mashed into her bosom. When he tried to nash his teeth together it simply slipped between them like a string, only to grow inside his throat. His breath was stolen as he tried to claw at her with his hands. Each time he raked his fingernails down her skin she shivered and moaned as she cradled the back of his head with her hands and whispered, “Thank you.”
He bucked and tried to pull free, but the only thing that moved was the pile of bones beneath her bed.
The shadows outside pushed against the glass of the window as they watched.
One of them scrawled in the condensation, “Beautiful.”

Is this fiction? Maybe. Or maybe once upon a time, I was a shadow. Maybe now you know why you sometimes catch me glancing at your chest. It isn’t perversion that drives me to do such things. It’s preservation.

Arson In Her Eyes

Posted: November 12, 2017 in Stories, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,
“Why do you always look away when I look into your eyes? Are you embarrassed by me or maybe you just don’t want me to see the pain in them?” I asked with a sigh of weariness.
She didn’t look up as she answered truthfully, “I’m afraid you’ll see the arsonist burning behind them and run away.”
I lifted her chin until our eyes met, a small smile on my lips, “Sometimes your eyes are all that keep me warm, I’m not going anywhere.”
I kissed her then for the first time with my eyes open, letting her see the beautiful reflection of her eyes in mine.
I felt her smile when she saw the flames.