Sunday, 20 May 2018

Best Served Cold

Revenge is the name of the game here - and Chuck has told us to play it any way we want to. Thought my story was going to be plain and simple... well, that's how it started out.


It was going to plan... everything was.
I was where I was supposed to be – on the roof waiting for back-up – and the rest of the group were going to ‘put to sleep’ the guards at the main gates and surrounding building.

This was until it all went wrong.

The plan?

Nah, you’ll think I’m being (jealous, childish, horrible...) ....


Yep, that’s it... it’s revenge.

My life was going well.

I had the house, the wife, the two children, the car... I was what my Mum and Dad wanted – and expected – of me.
I worked my arse off and got where I wanted to be – needed to be – in life to make a good life for us. I put my children into the right schools, lived in the right suburb, knew the right people, socialised in the right circles, attended a wine club, went to squash once a fortnight at my local gym, joined the country club and got into the right back pockets of all the right people to get a foothold into the job I wanted where I was... besides, my boss had made sure I got into the country club.

How was I to know that country club was owned by criminals? It looked like it was on the up-and-up – it really did, but then, most places which look like they’re legal, aren’t.

This is how revenge came into play.

I arrived home one evening to find my front door kicked in, my wife sitting at the kitchen table and my kids were gone. She looked as though the men who were standing around her had smacked her around.
“Honey?” I put down my bag in a nearby chair, which normally she’d yell at me about, but this time, she just cried, “What’s going on.”
“You’re the new one, right?” one of the beefier men asked from the fridge, poking around in it for something to eat or drink, “Dontcha have any beer?”
“We don’t drink alcohol.” I said, “What’s going on here?”
He turned from the fridge, slammed the door and opened a small bottle of Mountain Dew, and guzzled it down in one or two gulps, belched and left it on the counter, “Well, aren’t you demanding?”
“You’re in my house, beat up my wife, and ... where are the kids?” I looked around, straining to hear for the laughter from upstairs of my two children.
Her hand touched my arm, “They took them... sweetheart... oh god, they...”
I almost stopped breathing as I watched my beautiful wife crumble, tears streaking her face as she shook in the dining room chair. Touching her hand gently, she jumped and I knew they had done something horrible to her, and cast all three men a baleful look: “Tell me what you have done to my children. I have a fair idea what you’ve done to my wife.”
“One thing at a time, sport-o.” The beef-cake smirked, “Now, you’re kids are fine, so long you follow the rules.”
“Which are?”
“We make them and you’ll follow them as they happen.”

Well, the rules changed from day to day. My wife disappeared and the cops didn’t want to know about what was happening. So, I had to do the rescuing myself.

I quit my job, disappeared from the area I lived in, cashed everything I owned and joined a vigilante group and trained up to the point where I could get in and out of a building without attracting attention to myself. The guys were ready to help me after a few jobs were successful with me in the team – and they knew I was there for a reason.
We were all there for our own personal reasons – and each of us were mainly there to either rescue somebody, avenge a death, or needed a cause to make our dark lives meaningful. When they heard mine, they knew they had to help me get my wife and my children back – and if my family was gone? Well, at least I’d know and not be left in the dark.

Gunshots popped and people shouted.

A siren slowly started going off as lights swung around the compound.
I stayed put on the ruin of the building on the outskirts of the place, waiting for the signal – so far, this was not it.

Then I saw it!
The hot pink streak of a flare shot high and bright into the night and exploded into a single fireworks display!

I don’t remember exactly my movements – I normally don’t – as I fought my way towards the compound to find a vehicle, the guys I was in with and – finally – my family.

But this isn’t how it worked out.

“Your lawyer’s here.”
I turned around from the small window overlooking the grey day outside, “Okay.”
“Are you going to behave yourself or do we have to cuff you?” the screw asked.
“I’ll be okay.” I nodded.
The door unlocked, slid opened loudly and he let me out of my holding cell.

I wasn’t in prison, I was the compound’s holding cell.

He led me to a room where I saw my wife standing behind the lawyer without a scratch on her. The bruises she had on her a few months back would have left scars, but she didn’t have any.
I tried not to show that I noticed this, but it was hard.
“Sit.” The screw pushed me into a metal chair.
The lawyer who sat across from me was my boss, “What happened to you?”
“Everything went sideways. I had the perfect life, worked for you and joined that damned country club, and then suddenly everything screwed up and now you’re asking me what happened to me?” I glared at him.
He sat back smiling, “You don’t understand.”
“Where are my children?” I looked up at my wife, “And she was so beaten up, it would have left scars.”
“This is all a game. And the rules are complex, jack... so the sooner you catch on, the better.” He snapped.
“And the name of this game is?”
“Revenge... now, this is your wife... trust me, she’s been in hiding. But now, there’s a completely different lot of rules to finding your kids.”
I leaned across the table, “And the next lot of revenge?”
A grin spread across his face slowly, “... is best served ice bloody cold, my friend.”
“They took my family too.”

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Soul Real Estate

Chuck has us talking about Real Estate - but there's different types of that isn't there? So, I did some soul searching; and after I recently found out that one of my friends committed suicide last week... this really does make you wonder what happens to our souls.


“So, which one do you have in mind?” her voice interrupted my thoughts as I looked through the book open on the table.
“Um... will it make a difference once I’ve chosen?” I looked up at her.
“What do you mean? Once you’ve picked one, we’ll sort through them all, find it and install it – and you’ll be home and hosed.” She shrugged, “Nobody’s ever asked me this kinda question before.”
I sat in the cramped quarters of the visitors room where my lawyer was permitted to talk to me while my parole hearing was being looked into next door.

They were taking their time.

This made me nervous.

But there was real estate to look at – and if my lawyer was offering this up, I guess it meant it was going well.
There was a knock at the door and she turned, stood and walked to answer. The guard whispered something to her and I looked back down at the book of choices I had in front of me again.
The door closed and she sat across from me again, putting another book next to me. She’s never done this before – and I wondered how that came to be, cocking my eyebrows in question.
“They’re taking longer, which means you have more time to look; and I can offer you more options. This is good.” She smiled warmly.
I could almost see the knife in her hand. She was going to smile and grin and get me on her side then stab me in the back, telling me had no options and they were going to throw me back in – no real estate options, no job, no nothing! “Right... more options.”

You see, I was sent to prison for something I didn’t do. And I’ve been sitting here rotting away for the past decade – being up for parole every two years – and they’ve yet to let me out. However, it’s the future, and in this day and age, they can take your soul away from you and make it so you don’t care about what happens to you.
But, I’m not exactly Human. I never had a soul to begin with, and what they took from me wasn’t my soul – it was my Grace. Yep, I’m an Angel, and it recharged over the years I’ve been here. They took away from me what they thought was a ‘dangerous weapon’ – it was my Angel Blade – and I couldn’t show what I was in case I was spotted by the demons in the prison (yes, I can see them and they can spot me as well).
However, now, they want to put a soul into my vessel and it won’t work on a being such as myself; and how am I to explain this to my lawyer? I looked up at her as she rubbed at her wrist painfully, wincing at it.
“Are you all right?” I asked.
She looked up at me, “My last client broke my wrist – I think. He was being an asshole.”
“I used to be a medic, let me have a look.” I put my hand out and she allowed me to touch her arm gently, and I could feel it wasn’t broken, “It’s badly sprained.” I really wanted to fix it for her, but I couldn’t, not with a camera in the room; and I sighed.
She looked at me, “What?”
“You want to give me a soul; when I really don’t need one.” I said.
“They took a soul out of you when you were brought in.”
Slowly I shook my head, “No, they didn’t. I never had a soul. My vessel’s soul has already gone home.”
The look of disbelief crossed her face before she pulled her arm back, she leaned back in her seat, “What are you?”
“I can fix your arm... but,” I glanced up at the all-seeing camera in the corner of the room and back at her, “...I don’t want it shown to everyone on the news.”
Her eyes widened, a whisper fell from her lips: “You’re not Human, are you?”
I didn’t know what to say which would scare her, so I looked to my hands, then back to her, “I can fix your arm.”
“How did you get incarcerated?”
“Wrong place, wrong time.” I half-smiled, “And I didn’t want to freak out the cops, then before I knew it, I was inside for all this time.”
Standing, she walked over to the camera and unplugged it from the wall, the red light blinking off. Then, she sat across from me again, sliding her sore arm over to me, “Show me.”
“What are you going to do for me?”
“I’ll get you out of here, get back what they took from you.” She whispered.
“Don’t worry about the Grace, I’ve recharged... it’s not like a soul, I just have to stop using my powers and it’ll come back.” A smile touched my lips, “I’ll be okay.”
“But the Grace they have of yours, is it dangerous?”
I nodded, “I will need it. But a phone call to the Soul Keeper will suffice.”
“Soul Keeper?”
I looked up at her, “Yes. If a Grace or soul needs protecting, a Soul Keeper of God’s Garrison is called upon to care for it.” When she didn’t reply, I continued, “You didn’t seriously think all those souls your government have in cold storage back there were hidden, did you?”
“You know where they are?”
“Of course. But first things first, you must get me out of here, then I’ll fix your arm.”
“But a soul...”
I closed the book, pushing it away from me, “I have no interest in a soul I no long need. I need my Grace and you are going to help me get it.”
There was knock at the door and the lawyer jumped at the noise, “Yes, I will.” She stood and answered the door. The guard handed her a piece of paper and closed the door. She read it, looked at me and smiled, “You’re parole has been granted.”
“I know. Who do you think was on the board? Now, give me your arm as you’ll need to be in better shape than you’re in.” I stood and walked to her.
Looking at the door, I didn’t want to tell her, but I did: “Because the guard out there is possessed by a demon and his main job is to kill you. Mine is to protect you.” I touched her arm, and felt it fix and mend as I spoke, then looking up at her, and her shocked expression, I smiled a little, “Are you ready?”
“For what?”
I put my hand on the door knob: “To save some souls – but really to save yours in particular.”

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Life On Mars

Space Opera... hmmm... Well, I hope this isn't too serious for us on this theme for May the Fourth Be With You - and you see, Chuck set the theme, and I've never really understood space operas. I hope this one is okay. And, yeah, I channeled a bit of David Bowie here too.


“Well, what do you think?” my little brother asked.
“Do you think there’s life on Mars?” he laughed.
“Dunno, little bro.” I linked my hands behind my head as we laid out on the back lawn looking up at the stars in our pyjamas, “I guess we’ll have to just imagine it for now.”
He looked over at me, “But it’d be fun to get up there in space ships, to zoom around like in ‘Star Wars’, right? Like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo?”
Laughing, I sat up looking at him, my back wet from the dew on the grass, “Yeah, I guess. But it’s late now, and we better get in. Mum and Dad would hate it if they come and check on us and find us gone from out beds.”
“Aaw, do we have to?” he groaned thumping his feet on the ground, “I wanna stay for longer.”
“The last time we did that, we both caught a cold.” I held out my hand to him, “And Mum cracked it at us.”
Brian sat up and grabbed my hand, “I guess so.”
I walked him back to his bedroom, sneaking past our parents’ room, and tucked him back into bed, “Now, don’t worry, we’ll do that again when there’s a lunar eclipse – won’t that be fun?”
He rolled onto his side away from me, “I s’pose.”
The moment I stepped out into the hall, closing his door quietly, I found Dad standing there, “And what were you two doing out of bed?”
I was going to lie, but knew Dad had a built-in bullshit detector nobody could get past, “Well, Brian wanted to see the meteor shower.”
He smiled, “Of course he did. You’re a good big sister, but I have to talk to you. Come downstairs and we’ll chat.”

I sat there at the dining room table where Mum had set down a cup of tea in front of me, but I didn’t touch it as Dad told me that they had been offered a transfer to another company.
“I don’t expect you to leave the home, but I’m going and you can see me – your mother is going to stay here to look after you and Brian.” He reached across the table and touched my arm, “I’ll be a Captain – it’s a great thing.”
“But Dad, how long will you be gone?” I asked, moving my now cold cup of tea out of the way, “I don’t understand how you can just leave.”
He exchanged puzzled looks with Mum, “I’m don’t understand why you wouldn’t be thrilled with this news, Lana. You’re at the academy, you know how hard it is there; the expectations.”
“But Brian is only seven years old, will he remember you?”
“You see, honey, she understands completely how this works.” Mum soothed, “Lana knows you might be away for a long time.”
Dad ran a hand over his stubbled face, his fatigue showing from not sleeping all that well, “I was hoping to do this for the family. We need the money.”
“How long are you going to be gone for?”
“My contract is for a year, but I can see if the family can come along.” He said.
Mum crumbled into tears, “And then we lose the house?”
He smiled, “Not necessarily. We could get the house moved to the final destination.”
I stared at him: “Which is?”
“Mars.” He smiled, “Look over the past thirty years, they’ve improved the atmosphere, made sure it grows everything we need and people are moving their houses there all the time. So, why not us?”
Mum stood, walking to the window, “Will it look the same as here? I mean out there.” She pointed out into the darkness of the night.
He walked over to his wife, rubbing her shoulders: “There’s suburbs where they’re taking houses – with proper blocks of land with them, plants and all – to Mars. I’ve been assured it’s safe.”
She looked from him to me, then back, “Okay, then let’s do it.”
Dad looked around at me, “You okay with this?”
“What about the academy?”
“They’ve got one there too. You won’t miss a single class.” He picked up the phone and called a number, “Hank, we have better news than expected. Yep... the whole house and land to Mars. When can we have a transporter?” he grinned: “Before dawn? Great! So, we’ll be there by sunrise. This is wonderful.” Dad walked around to the front door and opened it as a group of people walked through to the kitchen and waited until Dad finished the phone call.
One of them, an older man, said looking around, “Thought you had a son.”
“Yeah, Brian’s upstairs in bed.” I said, “Best you leave him there.”
He nodded, “We’ll cover his bed over with a hyper-sleep cover-all – as we will all do with your beds. And then, it’ll begin.”
“Well, I’ll get to bed and you guys can begin on me first. My folks have papers to sign.” I smiled.

I woke to my alarm and pushed back the covers. Looking outside, I saw there was something different about where I was compared to where I went to sleep last night.
“Lana! Lana!” Brian’s voice screamed from the room next door, “Look outside, there’s a dust storm!” he came racing into my room, forgetting to knock (but I could forgive him this once), “Look! Look!” he pointed out my window.
“Brian, hey stop.” I walked over to him, “That’s not a dust storm. That’s the sunrise.”
 He sat in my big over-stuffed reading chair next to my window, staring out there at the dawning day, “What do you mean?”
Sitting in the bay window, I glanced outside, then back at him, “Do you remember when you asked about whether there’d be life on Mars?”

Saturday, 28 April 2018


Chuck asked us to write about the complexities about being a super hero. I thought this would be a good back door way of looking at it... or would it? 


Super Heroes Anonymous – Group One

Second Session

Wonder Woman
The Thing

Today’s Session:

For the first half hour, none of them wanted to talk about how their status in life had affect their personal lives. 

I stayed quiet, but then, Spiderman started talking about how it all it took was being bitten by a radioactive spider and the effects from that which took him down a path he felt he couldn’t return – he gave me a concerned look saying: ‘I could have gone in a completely different direction! I could have killed people instead of being a good guy. But I think being on the side of good is harder than the public think.’ His mask hid his tears, but I could hear his sadness.

Batman groaned, ‘Grow up. My parents were killed when I was a child. I swore to be on the side of good and to bring justice to the suffering of all in the city! The Mayor is on my side.’ He stood up and folded his arms (he does this in every session; we all tend to ignore him now until he sits down and says something useful – unfortunately, he never does). He sat down and started brooding.
Wonder Woman looks around, ‘Why am I the only woman here?’
I look at the list on my clipboard, ‘Because you don’t get along with the other female superheroes in the second group.’
‘Oh. I see.’ She nodded, ‘I don’t pick the fights.’
I smiled, ‘I know. Is there anything you’d like to add?’
‘I do wish I wasn’t always stronger than the men I’m attracted to.’ She sighed, ‘It’s a real turn-off. And why is it I’m always fighting greasy warlords or ... my alter-ego is being kidnapped?’ she looked up at me, ‘It’s a sexist thing, isn’t it? Kidnap the woman and think that she won’t do anything... stupid.’

I stop typing and sit back in the dim light of my office. These people have been part of their own two split-identity lives for so long, that they know it’s going to screw them up at some point... and Wonder Woman said something that... well, I didn’t like right now.

The Thing sat on the floor – he preferred it because he broke the last chair and I had to pay for it. He looked around at Wonder Woman, ‘I know what you mean when it comes to your other life.’
‘How so?’
His blue eyes stared at her from the hardened, brick-like surrounds of his ‘skin’, ‘I have a second life – just like the rest of you – but I’m in love with a lovely woman, but she has no idea about who I am because she can’t see me.’
Superman had been observing him, ‘But she sees the real you, right? The man underneath all that brick?’
The Thing nodded, ‘Yep, that’s right... well, she does when he’s around physically.’
Ironman hadn’t sat down with the group today. Last week, he sat with us for a few minutes, heard us talking and wandered over towards the window and stayed there for the whole two hours, not saying anything to us. Today, he walked in and took his place at the window again; but this time, he leaned on the window sill and watched us.
I turned, ‘Ironman, would you like to join us today?’
‘Why would I join you?’
‘We’re just talking.’ I said.
‘I’m a super hero and you want me to tell these ones about my weaknesses?’ he looked around the group, ‘No.’
Wonder Woman stood and walked to him, ‘It’s got to be grinding on you – you know, being as open to the public as you are.’
‘I can tell them to leave me alone.’
Superman scoffed, ‘No super hero can do what Greta Gabo did. It’s just not possible. We’re needed too much. They call for us, and we run to their rescue – believe me, I’ve tried to ignore the cries for help; and it’s torture.’ He frowned, ‘Oh no... I’m sorry to cut this short, doc, I have to go.’
I looked up at him, ‘A call for help?’
He stood smiling, ‘You know how it is...’
He made it through most of the session – that was good.
Batman grizzled in his seat, his arms folded, ‘Him and his super hearing.’ He looked out the window to the sky, ‘I have to wait for...’
The phone on my desk rang and I picked it up, ‘Hello? Oh, yes sir, he’s here.’ I turned to Batman, ‘It’s the Mayor, he needs you.’ And right there, I lost my second one from the group as he raced from the group.
Spiderman stood, ‘My spidey senses are tingling...’ he sprung onto the wall, ‘I have to...’ and before I could say anything he aimed one arm out the window and webbed his way out across the city.
Wonder Woman, Ironman and The Thing all looked at me and I shrugged, ‘Well, you all may as well go. It’s a trio now, not a group.’
Wonder Woman smiled, ‘Thanks for understanding, doc. We’ll be back next week for our next session – right guys?’
Ironman shrugged, ‘I guess. And next week, I might say something useful – or at all.’

I sat back from my typewriter. These guys were going to be tough to work out; given it was my second session – but they were beginning to open up. I think it’s the secrets that are going to be the tough things. I won’t push though, that’s the thing with super heroes: the secrets they hold close; the ones they can’t tell anyone, not even a shrink.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Amaranthine Diary

Last week, Chuck didn't put up a challenge - so I dug around my old emails and found an old challenge from a few years back from 2014 - would you believe it??? Yep. Two tables of words.. we pick one from each and used the title to write a story. Mine went from bad to worse... as usual.


There’s a point in your life when your whole perspective on everything changes – it turns on a pin – and you’re never the same.  Mine changed from the moment I was handed the box by the delivery guy. He didn’t bother waiting for a signature, he just ran back to his van and took off, wheels screeching from the curb.
Turning, I walked inside my house and placed the box on the table, grabbed the crowbar nearby and levered open the top.
It was a hug box for such a small item.
This was – after all a diary – not anything huge.
Pulling back the packing paper and beans, I looked down at the large book within and stepped back, my gut turning cold as I caught a quick view of what had been delivered to me, “No way.” Checking the calendar, then my books, I realised I had overlooked this date entirely – and had no idea how I could overlook it. Picking up the phone, I pressed four on my speed-dial, not taking my eyes off the box as I stood by my front door, “Tommy, I think your delivery arrived.”

He found me still standing at my front door waiting; and I didn’t know how long I had been there for, “It’s on the table.”
“When did it arrive?” he walked over to the box and looked inside it at the book, then turned back at me, “Helen!”
“I, um, don’t remember, um... it was just on sunset. The dude was a courier and didn’t bother to wait for a signature.” I muttered looking at my hands, “Want a drink?”
“Yeah... um, no. I’ll be okay, I’ve eaten.” He took the box onto another table near the window where I potted up my plants for the garden, and carefully pulled the book out, turned the box onto its side and rested the book on it, “You eat something.”
I turned to my fridge, opened it and looked at all the food I had prepared the night before, and didn’t feel a twinge of hunger, but I was thirsty. Grabbing a beer, I popped the top off, tossed the lid into the sink and guzzled down half of it as the door slammed shut. Then I realised that I haven’t touched beer in over a decade; knowing it turned me into a not-so-nice person, “Oh crap.”
Tommy sniffed the air, “Why are you drinking booze?” he turned frowning, “And it’s not even 8pm and you’ve down... oh man, you’re scared.”
Putting the beer on the counter, I walked over to him, “Look you’ve been searching for that diary for a long time; and now it’s in my home, it’s making me feel weird.”
“I’ll take it home.” He turned, picked it up and left me alone to my weird feelings and soon-to-be hangover. I don’t remember buying beer; or having beer in the house that day... or how that beer got there.

Days passed by and I didn’t hear from Tommy. He’d vanished with the diary and I tossed out the beer from my fridge. I copped a hangover like nobody’s business and was in a crappy mood all day because I drank; so I stayed away from the public for a few days until it was out of my system.
But I did hear about some murders around the place – like always – seeing we lived in the city, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to hear of bad things happening around the place.
I was curious though: why did Tommy take such an interest in what he was? He’d been a vampire for over a decade; actually I was there when he was turned and staked the bastard who turned him.
In truth, Tommy and I were to be married – he had just proposed and that damned vampire had screwed up everything in our lives. So, I still loved him and everything; but we couldn’t be together because of what Tommy had been turned into.
Tommy wanted to see if he could control himself around me enough to be in love with me – as a Human – and still have what might pass as a normal life. This was why he had been hunting around for that diary... the oldest vampire diary of all; the one Vlad kept way back when. It was something he had to try.
And yes, Tommy had tried everything – my dear sweet Thomas – but nothing had worked out, he was still a blood-sucker who I was dearly in love with and who loved me. We didn’t want to lose our friends and we didn’t to change our lives completely because of what he was turned into.
But ... well... if this diary didn’t work out? I had two choices, I had to stake him or join him.
Man, that sounds like a line right out of a blood-sucking Mills & Boone Romance novel doesn’t it? But I don’t want to do either... I want him to be in my life, but I don’t want to kill him either.

The sun was almost down when I knocked on his door. The curtains being drawn wasn’t anything new; and something I understood would be something he did all day if he was going to study the book – that is if he did as he promised he would.
The locks sounded and the door moved opened, “Come in, Helen.” He voice was across the room and at his desk again before I closed the door.
“Everything okay?” I asked putting the esky down in a kitchen chair, “I’ve brought some 0 Neg and 0 Pos for you... you know to mix it up.”
Gazing up from the pages of the large book, he smiled, almost looking like his old self again: “Thank you. I appreciate that.” Sitting back from the book, he pushed it away from him, “Did you know that Vlad added some of his own blood into the ink in this diary?”
“You can smell it?”
Tommy nodded, “Yep. No matter how old blood is, I can smell the stuff.” He closed the large volume, “But there’s nothing he’s told us here that we don’t already know.”
He stood and walked to the esky, “Has anyone called you lately – you know our friends?”
I fiddled with my fingernails nervously, “No. They began to pull away from us when you were turned; and I wouldn’t leave you.”
He nodded as he placed the blood bags into the fridge carefully in date order, then stood back and closed the door, “You take care of me really well... as though we’re already married.”
Tears came easily, “I can’t help it. I love you, Thomas. And if I was to go off with somebody else, you’d become jealous.”
He looked to his feet for a moment, “Yeah, I would. I love you still as well.” His hand was in mine as I sat down at the counter, “Oh honey. I wish things were different.”
I wiped my tears away with my free hand, “Me too. But the only way we can stay together is ...”
“No!” he stood and walked to the other side of the room, “I’m not doing that.”
“Do you have any idea how long it’s been since Jean and Stuart have been by the house? Or your parents? They think you’re dead.” I snapped, “Tommy, it’s this way or no way... you and I can be together.”
He turned from the thick drapes, “I don’t want you to live a life of this!” he waved his arm at the closed off world he was missing out on, “You don’t need to hide from it all... I do!”
“If you loved me, you’d turn me.”
“Don’t say that! Don’t you say that to me!” he shouted.
“Then let me go.” I removed the engagement ring from my finger, “Let me live... please.”
His eyes watched me remove the ring and he shook his head, “I can’t. I love you.”
“I know... and if you love me so much, you’d let me go.” I grabbed my esky and walked out towards the door, opened it and started out into the cool night.
A cold hand grabbed my arm, yanked me back inside, “Where are you going?”
“Home!” I threw the esky at him and he deflected it against the wall and it bounced near the stairs, “Let me out!”
A freezing cold hand grabbed my neck, shoved me against the wall.
I tried to fight – really I did.
I punched. I kicked.
His hold was like a vice.
He bit into my carotid artery and I felt fear take a hold of my soul.
That bastard!
“No...’re hurting me...Tommy...”
He pulled away, “Oh my god! What?...” he watched as I dropped to the floor, knowing it was far too late to say sorry, to save me through normal Human means, “Oh shit, Helen. I’m sorry... no.”

I woke up on his bed upstairs.
Tommy was across the room sitting in his large chair reading a book in the dark.
Sitting up, I felt my neck, but it was healed. Did I dream that nightmare which just happened? Was I dreaming now?
I looked over at him, “Did you bite me?”
He hadn’t been really reading... he had been just staring at the same page for the last hour, “Yes. I got pissed off you were going to leave me.”
“Over that diary – or over what I told you that was the truth.”
He dropped the book on the floor, “Both.” He rose from the seat, “I tried to burn the book, but it won’t burn. It can’t be destroyed.”
“Well, exactly what did you do to me?”
Rising from his chair, he walked over and sat on the bed, “I drank too much of you and didn’t have a choice... you asked me to and I should have handled it better – but I didn’t.”
“Tommy, we have other, bigger problems if that Amaranthine Diary can’t be destroyed.”

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Lottery

Chuck has us writing about Luck... you know how Friday 13th is unlucky? Well, he's thought a good twist to this would be fun. It is - kinda.


You’d think winning a lifetime’s worth of money would be a great thing – right? I could pay off all my credit cards, buy the car and house I’ve always wanted, go on that huge overseas trip which would last years. I could give money here, there and everywhere and do whatever the fuck I wanted.


Well, yeah I guess.

Um, no, not really.

The house and car were a no-brainer. I mean, why in the hell would I live in a complete dump of a neighbourhood and drive a shitty little crap-shooter car when I could have my dream motor at my fingertips – yeah the one I’ve been walking past at the Chrysler dealership in the city for the past six months on the way to work.
And then again, why would I ever go back to work again? I mean, let’s weigh it up: $400,000 per year to live on and do what I want with – tax free on one hand. And then there’s that pokey little fucking cubicle on the fourteenth floor at the insurance company I worked for the past fifteen years where I don’t get to see the daylight unless I stand up and look to my right or to my left. And even then, my supervisor walks around and asks me: ‘Exactly what in the hell are you thinking of doing? Sit down and take that call.’ I’d look down and that phone would have all the lights all lit up with the unending maggots on the other end of the phone asking for their insurance to be changed, cancelled or they would be asking me stupid questions about this or that on their policy and failed to read the book that came in the mail with all their bits.

Oh yeah, I’d really want to go back to a place where I arrive in the dark and go home in the dark. Sounds like a solid plan!

And my win took just me going out shopping one afternoon. I didn’t even need to pick up anything really – it was just dumb, stupid luck that I happen to walk into the newsagents and pick out my Golden Circle card from my wallet and ask for the ‘Set For Life Lottery Game’ for that week. It had been advertised for about a month before and I thought to just get in it like everyone else; and there was only going to be one winner.
The guy printed out the ticket for me (I had preset numbers picked) and swiped my card and then I paid the $60 for the game, pocketed it all and pushed my shopping trolley out to the car went home – not even thinking about it.

I mean, I don’t buy lottery tickets. They’re just not in my budget!

The big night came up and I was working overtime – so I didn’t even seen the numbers get called. So, it took me around a week to find the lottery ticket they were calling out for. The news kept saying: ‘Golden Casket has yet to find the lucky winner of the ‘Set For Life’ winner of their ‘Lucky Little Bastard’ Game; which, if it’s you? Well, you will be a lucky little bastard, won’t you?’
So, I looked through my pockets of all my jackets and slacks and found it in the bottom of my recycling – forgetting that ticket almost cost me! I mean, it cost me $60 to buy and I almost threw it out!
It was almost midnight when I went out to the all-night grocer down the road and he ran it through his machine not once but three times... then he looked up at me, with disbelief written all over his face, picked up the phone and called the after-hours number on the back of the wrinkled ticket.
“Yes, we found him. The lucky bastard. He’s here.” He whispered into the phone looking around the store quickly making sure nobody else was around to hear it, “What? You’re sending a car? Okay.” He hung up the phone and turned to me, handing me that ticket, “Have you got picture I.D on ya?”
“Sure.” I nodded, “Always do.”
“They’re sending a car for ya.”
I took my ticket, turned around and found a limo was outside the door with the door open, “Well, fuck, that was quick.”

And quick indeed did my life change from me working my guts out at a place which didn’t appreciate me one iota to me being a rich bastard with every single asshole after me asking for money for this and money for that... they claimed their invention needed ‘a quick little boost of cash to get off the ground.’
Another guy showed up on my doorstep claiming his ‘daughter is on the brink of death... please I need your help.’ There wasn’t a lie you couldn’t say that I hadn’t heard – and if you told me a new one, well, it wasn’t going to be believed anyway.

I now live a life of seclusion.
A lot of my ‘friends’ aren’t friends anymore. They were always out for money in one way or another and I got to hate them in some way. I can’t have a Facebook account, my phone calls are screened (so if you call me, and I don’t have your phone number already, I’m not talking to ya), and I’ve been married three times – divorced three times just as quickly after finding out they were all gold-diggers.

Now, all I wish for is to be left alone.
If I had the chance again to do this over, I’d have not looked for that fucking ticket! Was I lucky? Are you kidding? No fucking way! I’m not lucky... why would I be lucky to have won that much money for the rest of my days only to have every shithead out there hound me for their own pound of flesh – and I don’t know any of them!

Luck! Ha!

As I sit here and write this, the phone rings again and my machine picks up – again. It’s another person who wants to ask me to back their great dealings – again.

Gotta ask: when in the hell will they leave me alone?

Saturday, 7 April 2018

The Shining

Chuck has had great ideas and this week, he used Sai King titles. Well, I picked out 'The Shining' - which I'm currently reading - and have put a great spin on spin on it. 


Uncle Charlie was an amazing man. He had amazing things around his brilliant home out in the country; and I loved visiting him as a child and throughout my teens and right through my university years. But when he died at the rich old age of eighty-seven, out in his garden with his carer by his side helping him tend to his rose garden, I thought he would have left me more than his cockatoo.
The bird eyed me suspiciously as I approached the massive cage in the living room, knowing his owner was no longer around, cawing a little at me.
“Hi, Richie. You know me.” I said.
A low whisper came from the bird: “Hi Richie. I’m Richie.”
“Well, Uncle Charlie thought you and I got along well and you’re to come home with me.”
“Well, not quite.” The lawyer’s voice said behind me and I turned to see him walking in from the study, “You have to live here seeing the bird has lived his whole life at the house.”
“So, is it Richie’s house or mine?”
He shrugged, “It’s both of your house.”
“I have my own house in the city with my own furniture and my own... oh jeez.... what do I have to do?”
He smiled handing over an envelope, “Read the instructions and you’ll have the house, the bird and the money.” On ripping open the envelope, I heard a moving truck pull up the long driveway and looked out the window. Before I could say anything, the lawyer said, “Oh, while you were here, your house in the city was packed up and everything you own was moved out here.” He patted me on the shoulder as he walked out to the front foyer to pick up his coat, “Your Uncle Charlie believed greatly in you.”

I sat and read the contents of the envelope next to the window as the truck was unloaded. At the bottom of the letter, it said: To get to the valuables, there’s a password: ‘whatcha got there?’ I had no idea what it meant.

For the first night, I walked around the massive country home looking at everything in the place. I felt as though I was in a Scooby-Doo episode; waiting for something to jump out at me, and that Great Dane to come galloping down the hall looking terrified.
But instead, I left on only a few small lights, covered over the cockatoo and pulled all the curtains to keep out the cold and made sure the kitchen was tidy before heading off to bed.

‘Help me!’

I sat up in bed and turned on the light, forgetting where I was for a moment.

‘Help meeeeeeee!’

Rubbing my temple I groaned,“Oh, jeez that hurt.” I looked over at the book I had been reading before I turned out the light and found it was ‘The Shining’ by Sai King, “I’m imagining it. It’s the book I’m reading.” And I settled back down in my bed and turned out the light.

‘Help! I’m being choked! Help me!!!’

This time, I pulled on my dressing gown, shoes and grabbed a torch and my mobile phone to see what was going on for me to hear this weirdly haunting screeching noise in my head at the ungodly hour of – I looked at my phone – three in the am. Heading down the main hall, I raced down the stairs with my dressing gown billowing out behind me.

There was a draft of cold breeze coming from the front door.

I didn’t leave that open.

“Squark!” Richie screeched from his large cage, “Help me!! I’m choking! Help!”

I felt for the light switch, flicked it on.

Light flooded the room.

I stood there shocked to find Richie’s cage was open and Uncle Charlie’s carer was there with his hands around the bird, murder most foul in his eyes!
“What are you doing?”
He spun, still with the bird in his hands, staring at me, “Um... I’m sorry.”
Richie took the opportunity and dug his large accommodating beak into the man’s wrist, drawing blood – and refused to let go.
The carer howled in pain, flapping his arm – in which Richie began flapping his enormous wings. I did all I could to not laugh at this as my new companion defended himself against his would-be murderer and called the police.

“What we don’t understand, sir is that you came here to kill an innocent bird?” the attending constable said as he took notes and the on-call vet checked on Richie.
The carer glared at the cockatoo and then at me; and it dawned on me and I walked over to my new pet, “Richie, where’s Uncle Charlie?” Richie looked around me and glared at the carer, unable to say anything. I turned and looked at the carer, “Were you with my Uncle Charlie when he died?”
The carer nodded, “Yes, he was tending to his roses and I told him it was time to come in. Richie was in his travelling cage and...”
“I’ve looked around this house thoroughly, Richie never had any other cage than this one.”
The carer looked to his hands, “Um... well....”
The cop looked at the guy, “Tell us the truth.”
“The bird guards something in his cage. It’s valuable.” The carer said, “And the bird only trusted one person.”
We all turned and looked at the cage and Richie looked at me. I approached him, whispering: “Hey Richie, whatcha got there?” as the bird heard the words, he moved across to a tiny nesting box in the corner and retrieved a key from within it and handed it over to me.
I looked around the room: now to find the thing to fit this key!