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?”