Saturday, 27 July 2013

Ned's Move

He stared at the board all set up ready for the next move by the window on the table.  

Richard missed his Grandpa. 

He had taught him so many things and now he was gone.  But he knew Grandpa Ned wasn’t well, and every moment – every day – was a precious moment well-spent with him. 

It was after school and this was the time they’d spend an hour on playing chess.  Now, Richard could only just look at the pieces where they were last played three days before.  It was Grandpa Ned’s move, he wished they could do something to move the right chess piece; but he couldn’t.

Outside, a delivery van pulled up to the curb.  The guy climbed out, checked his order and opened the back of it.  Richard didn’t take much notice as he went back to looking at the game wishing he knew which piece Grandpa would move.

The squeak of the gate sounded and he rose from the table as he looked outside again.  The delivery guy had his two-wheel trolley out with a large, rectangular box on it.  The teenager pulled opened the door and watched him as he pulled it up the three steps to the front verandah and into the house, leaning it against the kitchen counter, “Richard Anderson?”

“Yeah, that’s me.”

“Listen, we’ve had this at the depot for years.” A smile pulled up one side of his mouth, “And it’s been sitting at the back of the place with a letter attached to it and a date on the front of the envelope.” He pointed to the unopened envelope with today’s date on it, “Now, it’s delivered… there’s one more thing I have to ask you.”

Richard frowned, “What’s that?”

The guy shook his head as he muttered, “I can’t believe I’m asking you this… is there a rocking chair your Grandpa sits in?”

“What? Grandpa Ned died.” He snapped, “How dare you ask me about his chair.”

“Hey, kid, I’ve got specific orders here.” He gave him a letter, “Ya gotta take the chess set outside and sit with the chair opposite.”

Richard read the letter not knowing whether he was being given the bum’s steer or not, then he saw his Grandpa’s signature at the bottom, “Don’t worry, I’ll do as I’m told.” He whispered, “Thank you.”

By this time, the sun had set and it was too late to do what he had to do for Grandpa Ned.  Richard opened the box and found a guitar case inside it with a note attached.  He read the note without removing it from the handle:  ‘Richard:  Jimi gave me this himself.  He wanted me to have it, but I think you’d do better with it.  Love Grandpa N.’ he stood back with wide eyes, “Holy crap, I’ve got Hendrix’s guitar… well, one of them.” He knew what he had to do – hide the friggin’ thing!  And he did just that!

The next day, he rushed home from school and set up the rocking chair, chess set and opened the guitar case and carefully pulled out the guitar. The damned thing was in mint condition.  At first, Richard didn’t want to do anything but stare at it.

But it seemed to sing to him, whisper to him, to play him.  Bending down, he picked it up, attached the strap to it and tuned it, smiling as the strings sounded just right.  Then, something moving in the case caught his eye.  He looked and found it was a piece of music. 

Normally, Richard didn’t read music – he just didn’t the gift of picking it up like the rest of his family – but somehow, today, it suddenly made complete sense.  Sliding it under the edge of the chess board, he pulled the pick from between the strings at the top of the neck of the guitar and started to tentatively play the music. 

At first it didn’t sound like anything much, but as he went over it again and again, it sounded like a favourite Grandpa Ned hummed all the time.  Richard started to play it in time with how the piece – ‘All Along The Watchtower’ – actually went and he spotted out of the corner of his eye that his Grandpa’s rocking chair had begun to rock slowly.  He watched it as it began to pick up momentum, with tears filling his eyes.  Then, as he was about to stop playing, he watched the board as Grandpa Ned’s turn was taken on the board and their game continued on.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Written In The Stars

Cradling the lax body of Missie in her arms, she fought the tears that were threatening to make her weak.  Ash placed her dead dog into the back seat of her car and turned to the man who was supposed to care for her, “How could you kill her?”

“Hey, you left you left her here.” He shrugged, “She bit me.”

“So, you give rat poison?”

He couldn’t look at her.

Closing the door, she walked to him.  He tried to turn away, but she got in his face, “You will pay.  Missie cost me thousands to buy… so you’re gonna pay.”


“Just watch your back… right?” she turned and walked to the driver’s side, opened it and got in.

The car drove away.  He watched on from across the road in his SUV and wrote it down in his ledger.  This was happening exactly the same way it did last time.  Ashleigh Simmons was about to go to the vets and have her dog taken care of by them, then go home to cry herself to sleep.  Zachary just had to make sure of that.  He watched her drive past him, and then followed her at a distance.

Three days had passed and he could tell where she was going to be from one hour to the next.  It was just as it was written in the ledger from the last time she was around here.  But this time, instead of ignoring him, she noticed him.  He didn’t panic.  This time, he wanted her to see him.

It was time she knew what was going on in her life; and why.

She stood by his table at her work, “What?”

“Hello Ashleigh.” He smiled, “Why don’t you take a break?” he glanced at his ledger, “You’re up for one soon.”

From the counter, her boss shouted, “Ashleigh!  You’re on break for half an hour.”

She spun, stared at him for a moment, nodded, then sat slowly at the table, glaring at this guy in an Armani suit, “How did you know that?”

“Have something to eat with me.” He said, “I’ll explain everything; even why the death of your dog was supposed to happen.”

“How did you know about that?”

He leaned closer as she did, “Just have something to eat with me, please.”

She nodded, “Okay.”

The look of disbelief, astonishment and shock were on her face.  Zachary thought she was going to get up and leave, but seeing he wasn’t going by the book, he wasn’t sure.  What he was sure of was that if he didn’t break her vicious cycle of what was in this book, she’d end up being an unrested soul.  This was his job:  to fix this kind of thing.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah.” She frowned, “So, you’re saying that if I don’t seek revenge on my ex-boyfriend for killing Missie, I’m likely to work through my loss like everyone else?”

“Yes and no.” he said, “You have to let Karma take care of him.”

She laughed, “That exists?”

“Yes.  You haven’t let it into your story until I’ve stepped in.”

Ashleigh pointed to the ledger, “And that is my story from the word dot?”

He patted the worn, hardcovered book, “Yes it is.  And in each life, over the last three centuries, you’ve lived the exact same life.  You’ve done the exact same things, said and been exactly the same in each life… nothing has changed about you.  You’ve been a vengeful soul.  And this has to stop.”

“And if I don’t?”

“You will die.” He said opening the book at the golden-threaded bookmark, “By this time next Saturday, you’ll be dead.”

“Who the fuck are you?” she gritted, “Did that arsehole send you to scare me?”

“No.  I’m what you might call Fate.  I’m one of the Fates; I just took on the image of a man, so you’d talk to me.” He said, “And you, Ashleigh Simmons, have to stop what you’re doing and start letting things go.”

“Ashleigh, your…” her boss’ voice began to shout, but stopped, as did everything else around them as Zackary put his hand up.

“What you do next is up to you.” He said.

“How did you…?” she looked around and back to him, as the place slowly began to move again, but when she did, she found he was gone – along with the ledger, “Shit.”

“Hey, you deaf?” her boss stood next to her, “You’re break’s over.”

“No… I quit.” She pulled off her apron and went to grab her stuff.  Ashleigh had some thinking to do.

He watched her walk to the park where she asked her ex-boyfriend to meet her.  Unlike the last time she did this, and got herself killed, she chose an open, public place. 

“Tell me why you poisoned my dog – and it’s not because it bit you.” She said.

He looked down, “I didn’t poison Missie.”

“Why did you tell me you did?”

Douglas looked up with tears in his eyes, “Hey, yeah, she didn’t like me, but it was the neighbours… they put out rat poison wrapped in mince.  She scoffed it down and was gone before I knew what she had done.”

Ashleigh didn’t know what to say, “What did you do?”

“I reported them to the real estate, and they were evicted and charged by the police for animal cruelty.” He blew his nose on a handkerchief.

“Why did you get smarmy about it?”

He scratched his head, “Because you began picking… no… dunno.  I should’ve told you the truth straight up.  Ash, I’m so sorry.”

“Doug it’s okay… you did all the right things.” She reached out awkwardly and embraced him as they both cried over Missie,  “I’m gonna miss her.”

“Yep… same here.” He whispered into her neck.

“Thank you.” She stood back with a wane smile on her face.

Zachary looked down at his ledger.  It was empty.  None of the old stories existed from her other lives; which took her in circles of revenge and death, and back around again.  This made him happy.  It was time to talk to her again – to make her aware of how important she really was to the Fates; that she was the first and he was the last.  They were meant to be together and this was her final week on Earth for a reason.

* My scenario:  The story starts when your protagonist decides she/he wants revenge.  Another character is an executive who has been following your protagonist for years. 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

My Last Job

And then, being mindful not to spill my tea, I eased into the tartan embrace of Endolyn Muirden’s least offensive armchair, and settled back to watch him die.  You would think I’d be disgusted about watching another human being leave the mortal coil, right?


I have been trying to kill the man for over a century and it seems nothing kills him.  Sure I’ve died a few times, and have been brought back by the Elders of my race and have been given this job to track him down and kill him.

But he never looks the same, is never in the same business, wears the same clothes or has the same hair style… but he does have one or two distinct features about him:  Endolyn has a signet ring of a large ruby which he wears on his right hand and a tattoo of a fire-drake on his right shoulder. 

Being a female Bounty Hunter, it’s not hard to get a man’s clothes off if I need to find out about the fire-drake, but the signet is hard to come across, as at times, he doesn’t wear it just to throw me off.  And to make sure he doesn’t know it’s me following him around, I never wear the same outfit twice – only when I’m going to kill him; so he remembers who I am.

Sound cold and calculating.

But that’s how I do it, not how I was taught.

Maybe you’re wondering why he must die.  Well, he was wanted by a European Emperor for jilting his daughter on her wedding day – and it was a massive occasion; even I was invited at the time because of my Clan’s importance.  On the day, that particular Emperor himself hired me personally to take care of Endolyn; to make sure he suffered a gruesome death.  He paid me half of a handsome reward and I was promised the other half once this bastard was dead.  But somehow he won’t stay dead!

So, the Elders of my Clan have kept on bringing me back to finish the job so it can be finished and I can be paid in full; and also my soul can rest in peace properly.  And this time, it’s beginning to look like a pretty sweet deal… he’s dying, melting, finding it hard to breath right in front of me and I’m sitting here watching him to make sure he’s gone.

However, I’m staying here to make sure he’s definitely dead.  I’m not moving until this horrendous man’s soul – if he has one – is wiped from this planet and from this dimension.  But how I did this is something I couldn’t do alone unfortunately as he knew if I did anything that was remotely to do with trying to killing him, he'd do away with me; and I'd be back at square one and would have lost him.  I think we’ve been around each other long enough to know how each other thinks. 

And strangely enough, he’s been trying to kill me – but I’ve been just out of his reach each time; how ironic is that?  Things become more ironic as we go along too.  The person he hired to kill me, is the same person I hired to help kill him… so instead of picking one or the other, this person did a half-arsed job on me, and did a proper job helping me kill Endolyn.  Why?  Well, the man I hired is a direct descendent from the European Emperor whose daughter Endolyn jilted all over a century ago… funny how this guy’s past has only just now begun catching up with him. 

“Listen, we don’t have to do anything, just watch him fall apart.” The guy said as he showed me a syringe filled with dark, glittering liquid.

“What is that?” I remember asking.

“Well, it was daytime when the wedding was on, and he didn’t show, right?” he placed it on the table as I watched his face, “And each time we saw him and there were accounts of his presence being anywhere, it was at night, just before dawn or just after sunset.”

“He’s a vamp.” I said.

He held it up again, “Dead man’s blood and enough silver to drop a couple of werewolves.”

“I watch him drool for a bit, watch him melt and then, chop off his head.” I unsheathed my dirk from its calf scabbard.

He grinned, “Wish you weren’t immortal. You’re so hot when you talk that way.”

I smiled as he packed his shit and left me with the arrangements.

This brings us to now… where I’m as comfortable as I’m gonna get in this weird chair in Endolyn’s house.  He’s been gagging, drooling and sizzling in his own shit for a while now, and I’m sick of his smell – and I mean almost physically sick of it.  Putting down the cup of tea, I spill a little in the saucer to hear it sizzle and a hole the size of my little fingernail has eaten through the porcelain. 

Smiling, I stand up, unsheathing my dirk as I do and approach him, “Nice try, Endolyn.  But, I win.” I raise my arm up high and my blade strikes sure and true.  His head hits the floor, “I win.” I look down at his corpse and realise my job is done – in more ways than one.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Abby And Whistler

“Down on your knees, Abby Sinclair!”

Rain poured from the freezing night sky as Abby ran down the empty ally.  Red and blue lights of the police cars flashed off the darkened abandoned buildings around her.  They were going to catch her, she knew it!  They were going to hurt her, do bad things to her, horribly bad things to her… they were…

Three more police cars pulled into the mouth of the alley in front of her – blocking her off, trapping her in! – lights flashing, sirens going!  They were so noisy!  These guys jumped out of their cars, pointing their guns at her, hiding behind their doors! 

Skidding to halt, she spun and saw one cop from behind her running towards her, shouting and order.  He wasn’t armed.  She doesn’t know how she knew this, she just did; but he wasn’t going to hurt her.  There was something about him that made him somehow safe – he was going to help her.  Abby knew he wasn’t going to make it to her in time and panic welled in her gut as time seemed to slow down.  She heard a series of pops – gunshots – from the other lot of armed cops.  His eyes widened as he dropped to the flooded ground to watch her die.

Abby turned as the good cop dropped.  She felt her heart beat slow down and her blood pumping in her ears as her left hand rose in front of her – open palmed – breathing out through her mouth, she watched as every bullet fired smacked into an invisible wall and dropped to the ground in a tinkling of bells as the rain fell with them.  She looked at the spent bullets briefly before casting a benign look at the armed cops in front of her.  Some of them lowered their fire arms, while others wanted to shoot, but didn’t.

Whistler stayed on the ground staring, he couldn’t believe it.  He had been told of her powers, but until he saw her use it, he hadn’t believed it, “Holy mother of God.” He whispered pushing himself to his feet, “Exactly what I’m going to do with her I’m not sure.”

She turned to him, “You tried to protect me.  Why?”

“You have a power which is valuable to me.” He said, then glance at the other end of the alley where the armed cops were, “But you scare the crap out of the public.”

“So, you’re going to lock me up?”

“No.  We’re going to utilise it.” He smiled, “You’re useful, but you have to learn to control your power better without almost killing yourself.” He reached out to touch her shoulder, but stopped himself.  He had heard stories that she could break bones without touching people, “Want to learn?”

“And if you’re lying to me?” Abby asked.

“You can kill me here right now, and they’ll kill you in some way.” He gestured to the cops at the end of the alley.

She looked over at them, “They were a test?”

“No, mixed orders.”

Abby nodded, “Let’s go.  But first, what’s your name?”

He smiled, “Whistler.  I’ve got powers too, but nothing like yours.”

They drove to a large house on the outskirts of the city where the two stayed for a couple of days.  Whistler needed to get some history about Abby first before he took her to the right agency who’d work with her.  He hated being a scout and he really wanted to work closely with these kids.  She was the oldest one he’d found, but he wanted to make sure she was going to be safe.

“You killed a dog when you were eight?” he almost choked on his coffee.

“Yeah.” She bowed her head, “Its owner set it on me because he hated me hanging out with his son at school.  So, while I ran – while I was terrified – I wished it was dead, and threw my school port over my shoulder further, but…”

“That move also threw the dog too.” He sighed.

“It was a big dog as well.” She looked up at him, “I didn’t mean to kill it… I just wanted to get away.”

He nodded, “It’s okay… you were little and you were scared.”

“The guy tried to sue, but that was when Dad realised I wasn’t normal; and we moved.” She sniffed, “Every time I did something weird, we moved… must have cost my folks a fortune before they just dumped me at a church one day with all my stuff and drove off.”

He reached across the table and touched her hand, “You’re wanted now.”

“I’ve stopped wondering where they are.”

“Did you get adopted?”

“No.  Well, kinda… the parents saw me and liked me, but once I did something like I did out there in the city, what you saw, they sent me back.” She sighed, “Nobody wanted a child with special powers.  It’s not like kill anyone, I’m not violent.”

“So, you do have control?”

“Yes… it’s hard, but I can do it.” She nodded, “Okay, the sugar bowl on the table, I can put it on the counter over there.”

He glanced behind himself, “Okay.”

She opened her right hand, cupping it as though she held the bowl, and moved the bowl to the counter.  But just before it reached the edge, loud gun shots were heard and she concentration broke suddenly!  It was the authorities!

Men barged in quickly!  Whistler couldn’t react fast enough, and Abby couldn’t stop the bullets as they were fired from a Police Special.  Her guards went up too slow; and instead of stopping the bullets, she threw the cops back hard against the floor and walls, injuring them.

“Oh, no!  I’m sorry, are they okay?” she stood from the table only to be slammed down next to Whistler’s body.  Her hands wrenched behind her back and her rights read to her.  Closing her eyes, she worked the locks on the cuffs, but couldn’t work them fast enough.

“They’re not the ones you’re used to, Miss Sinclair.  These are magnetically locked.” The cop said, “And you’re off to a government facility.”

“But Whistler…” Tears fell from her eyes and stained her grubby cheeks.

The arresting officer looked at him, “Oh, don’t worry about him.  He can’t die.  By the time he comes around, you’ll be long gone.”