Friday, 25 April 2014

Devil's Collection Agency

Chuck gave us 50 characters... told us to pick 5 of them and gave us 1500 words to write a story... I shoved all 50 characters into a room, picked five of them to play with and did my thing!

Hello friend.  Would you like to pull up a chair and have a drink?  It’s on the house.  Yeah, there’s not many people here yet, but just wait, I’m expecting company.

Even though there’s fifty people or so in this room listening to the quiet wanderer up on stage mumble about his exploits across the realms, nobody is really all that interested in him. 

But I am.

I’m interested enough to know it’s time to pull him off and let the friendly musician have a go before he beats the crap out of the shy guy… with his guitar.

Aaah, and here’s the last of them.

Quick close the doors before they all leave my establishment.  I want you to watch them all squirm as they realise they’re stuck here… mainly the last four who have shown up, and have found the last table is the only table they can sit at.


Oh… hehe… you see none of these people will get along very well.  And I want them to at the very least try. 

In fact, why don’t you join them?  Yes… I’m talking to you.  Here take their orders over there – yes I know what they want – and sit down with them.  It’ll be a tight squeeze, I know, but be the fly on the wall for an hour or so, and see how you go, while the friendly musician goes on stage.

What?  You’re back already?

The biased prostitute did what?  Yeah, should have warned you about her being a mind-reader when she touched you.  No wonder she punched you.  Here’s some ice for that black eye you’re gonna have tomorrow. 

Now, how did you go with the actor? 

Um… he stole your wallet?  Nah, you must have been sitting next to the aggravated thief … he really needs a good friend to turn him straight.  Oh, here he is, returning your wallet with all your stuff inside it.  How cool is that?  Not your wallet, but your stuff is inside it?  Okay… that’s a new experience, isn’t it? 

Oooh… look at that!  The actor is up on the stage quoting Shakespeare.  Very cool.  You don’t see that very often; and he’s great.  Hey looka that!  He’s going to do a play…and… with each character, he physically changes into that character!  Amazing!  Would you like another drink?  And here, let’s look at that eye of yours, it looks okay for now.  Go and sit down and enjoy the play… it’s a great classic.

Whose business card’s that?  Interesting!  An assistant… but who do they work for?  This is what I want to know… but then, I’m only a bar tender… anyway, I have other customers to serve… back soon.

Okay, let’s see that card… doesn’t say much.  Have you talked to them?  No?  Try to, see if they’re okay, because, mate, that one looks really tired.  Here give them a cup of coffee on me. 

Didn’t want the coffee?  Okay, that’s cool.  No probs.  I’ll let them come to me.  Isn’t the show amazing?  That actor hasn’t missed a beat… or a character!  Really great!  I love this play too – Romeo and Juliet – one of my all-time favourites.  I remember when it first came out at The Globe Theatre… it was fantastic!  I played … oh never mind.  Here have another drink.  And go and find out what the hell that burnt out assistant is hiding, could you?  I want to know all about my … customers… okay?  Good, thanks. 

What? Still won’t tell you?  Buy her a drink… get her drunk… screw her brains out… do what it takes to get her to tell you.  Are you shy about having sex in a public place?  I’ve seen so many of the customers here just go for it because I’ve wanted to know something about somebody else… it’s the ultimate blackmailing material to use against another person – especially if it means they don’t want anyone else to know something about them.

So, go… screw her and find out what her deep, dark, oh so dirty secret is… and come back here.

Hey, it’s been hours, where have you been?  Oh… you got her into bed… and she … hehe… mind-melded with you?  Great one!

Yeah I knew she’d do that.  Okay… cya, come back and talk to me when you can, if she lets you.

Hey, getting drinks for your table… good.  The assistant has you working well, doesn’t she?  What’s that?  You want to go home?

I’m sorry but you can’t leave now.  And your girlfriend won’t like it either… in fact she’ll kill you first before I will.

Why?  Aah, well, here’s the deal, buddy.  You’re to stay here until you get to know those five people at that table intimately.  And until such time you do, I can’t let you outa here. 

Why?  Because I said so asshole.

Hey… listen I make the rules here… and I tell you what to do, where to go and how to act.  These people and things are here because they screwed up on my watch… and they come to my bar because they belong to me. 

After all you made the deal, right.

You sealed it with a big, sloppy ol’ kiss… yep thought so.  You got a grope out while you were doin’ it, didn’t ya?  No?  Oh… you scored a dude to kiss… sorry about that.  Nah… not really, that’s piss funny!  But your ass and your soul belong to me now… and what I say goes around here.

So, go and do your shit at that table until I tell you otherwise.


Listen, friend… haven’t you figured out who I am yet?

I’m not a demon…

I’m not an angel – as you may have figured out.

I’m … yeah, that’s right… oh shit…

You’ve died because my debt collector has come to your door knocking … and it’s time to pay your dues. 

And you’re paying them up front,

In cash not credit,

With your soul and mind,

And until such time, I think you’re ready to be let out into the world again I’m not letting you go.

When will that be?

Until I get bored with you  and until your new sex fiend of a girlfriend does too… and that won’t be for a very long time! Hey look a new customer.  Go and sit down with those five over there.  Play nice and don’t be a bitch about anything… just do as you’re told!

Hello friend.  Would you like to pull up a chair and have a drink?  It’s on the house.  Yeah, there’s not many people here yet, but just wait, I’m expecting company.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Fallen Angel

Today I looked in my inbox and found our challenge:  pick one of the opening lines from the contest from last week, and use it in a story.  We can’t use our own.  So, I’ve picked out Rebecca Shuttleworth’s and I hope you like what I’ve done with it.

Plummeting, Daria closed her eyes and resigned herself to the fall, concentrating only on the effort of becoming lighter, weightless, free.  The force of the freefall from the aircraft was terrifying however she felt as though she had done this all before…



Her hair pulled off her face and her clothes flapped out behind her as she pulled her body tight, arms out to her sides – as though she was on a crucifix – felt the wind stop as she hung in the air for a moment.

And in that tiny moment in time, she felt as though something happened to her… something amazing she had never experienced before.

She was no longer falling.

She was flying!

Daria felt and heard feathers around her shoulders moving… flitting around her shoulders… and yet couldn’t see them.  Only a moment ago, was falling in fear and now?  Now, she was floating through the air effortlessly.  A smile crossed her face as she relaxed and let this happen, let it take over… how many times in life does this kind of thing occur where you control your surroundings?   Not much!

A gunshot shocked her!

It came from above!

The hi-jackers who had taken over her twin-engine, grabbed her from the cockpit and shoved her out without a parachute were trying to kill her!

She didn’t have time to think as they shot again and a sharp pain in her shoulder made her roll, causing her body to fall like a stone to the ground!

Daria woke on the ground in the middle of the highway.

She should have been dead.  But she wasn’t.

“What the hell?” she sat up, looked around just in time to see an eighteen-wheeler screaming towards her!  She raised her hand up and a shining light emanated from her whole body as she closed her eyes for a moment and then found herself on the side of the road. 

The truck had stopped nearby and driver was standing next to his cab looking at her, “Exactly how did you do that?”

“I was…”

“In the middle of the road a few seconds ago.” He said, “And now you’re here.” Then he frowned, “And where did you come from?”

She looked at him, then looked up to the sky, “I don’t think you’d believe me.”

“I’ve seen some really strange things behind the wheel of that thing.” He said, “Try me.”

She pointed up into the fading sky, “I was pushed out of the plane I was flying… I was hi-jacked.”

“We have to get you to a hospital.”

Two days and a myriad of tests later, Daria was given the all-clear from the doctors.  She sat in her room and looked at herself in the mirror as she got dressed, wondering how she came to fall from a plane thirty-five thousand feet up and didn’t have a single scratch on her.

“Hi.” The familiar voice of the nurse said at her door.

“I’m wondering how I survived the fall.” She said.

“We all are.” She walked in and closed the door, “But I have your X-Rays back and there’s something strange on them.” She pulled out the films and put them onto the light box on the wall and switched it on, “You have something engraved into your bones.”

Daria took the films down slowly, “Shit.”

“Do you remember anything happening on the way down?”

She laughed, “Yeah, I was shot at and wounded.”


“Left shoulder.”

The nurse turned her around and looked carefully, “You have no such injury.  Are you sure you took a bullet?”

She nodded, “Yes, I remember pain and how fast I fell after it hit.”

She nodded, “Okay, so you should have more injuries or…”

“Should be dead.” Daria looked back into the mirror as she pulled her dressing gown from the hospital closer around her body, “But I’m not.”

“Do you feel any different?” the nurse asked.

“No.” she lied.

The next morning, Daria was released to go home.  Her parents picked her up and took her to her Grandmother’s house; which she had inherited and now lived in.  She spent the day out in the garden looking at the flowers; just staring at them before going into her studio and writing in her journal about what happened to her that day:

‘17th, April, 2014… I came home today.  I’m at my place.  It’s strange, as though I’ve never been here before.  I don’t know where anything is… and yet I’ve lived here for over a decade.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  But today, I was out in the garden and I found the flowers talking to me.  They whispered to me the secrets of the galaxy.’

Daria looked down at the page, “I’m going crazy.”

“No, you’re not.” A voice said behind her.

She turned to find a man in a suit in her studio.  He walked up to her desk, moved the book she had written in closer so he could read it, “Wait, that’s private.”

“No it’s not.” He said, “I found you, Haniel.”

“Who?  I’m Daria.” She put her hand out to him and he awkwardly shook it, “Who’s Haniel?”

“The Archangel who has been protecting you since you were young.  Now, things have become a little more…” he gazed out the window toward the house, “… complicated.” He looked back at her, “Haniel has given you her Grace, thus making you an Angel and she’s out there somewhere.”

“So, what am I?”

“That’s what I’m here to find out.” He said, “I’m Raphael, a friend of Haniel’s, and you are to come with me now.”

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Return of the Opening Line Contest

Chuck has made the Opening Line Contest return to our blogs and his.  This time, there's a book in the prize bucket and so, I thought to jump in and enjoy this one... in a creepy way.

So, what do you think?  

The blood was on my hands from the moment I saw her at the bus stop to the moment I kissed her that night and began to remove her clothing; yes, she was my next victim they’d never find.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Alexander's Blade

Life can be hell... let's face it, for some of us, life is Hell.  So, Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Friday this week is for us to write about just that:  Life is Hell... well, our version of it anyway.  My version of it is what you're about to see below.  Enjoy!

“Here, take it.” He offered his blade to me – again – as he always did at the end of each and every damned day I’ve been here.

“No.” I was exhausted from his torture.

Alexander had sliced and diced me and my soul a million different ways today as I laid on his rack, while I screamed in agony.  And he enjoyed every single moment of it… as my blood poured onto the floor…

…as my bones snapped and cracked under his hands…

… as I was taken apart while my heart and mind was still intact…

Then, as the day drew to an end, I was put back together by him with a snap of his fingers, his mouth pulling up the side of his face – that snide, shitty smile I wanted to burn off his face in a second, but knew I couldn't.

“Okay.” He nodded, “Back to your chamber, arsehole.”

Tomorrow was another day of the very same thing.

But you see, time moved differently here than on topside – you know on Earth where you guys are living, where it’s peaceful.  You get to see the sun come up in the mornings.  You get to hear the birds singing and plants grow.  You get to eat fresh fruit and vegetables and have weekends and Christmas and eat chocolate and … well, live in a world where you can believe in being safe.

Here, I’m never safe.

I can’t run away from Alexander.

I know, I’ve tried to a number of times, and he’s found me each and every time.  He knows every corner of Hell and knows all the hiding places, all the passwords and who to bribe, with what and where I’d go to try to vanish… yep, he’s been here that long.

When he knew my butt was coming here, he actually volunteered to torture me.  Yeah, we go a long way back… he bullied me big time on Earth, and now he rides my soul’s butt in Hell.

How shitty can ya get, eh?

And after he pulls me apart forty ways from Sunday on his bloody, hideous blood and guts-covered rack, and he’s had his fun with me, he snaps his fingers and I’m whacked back together again and I’m forced to remember what he’s done to me for his own amusement.  And he offers me an internship… to take over torturing souls in his place.  To take up his shining, sharp blade and be his apprentice – to do his job as he watches over me – so I am always in his debt.

I always say no.

I’ve been here for fifty years (that’s five months for you guys) and I always say no, and he sends me back to my chamber where I never get to sleep, as there’s nothing comfortable about the place.  There’s no bed, nothing to sit on, no window to look out of and no peace… there’s always somebody having a screaming fit about something.

And if that’s not keeping me awake, I get visitors who are demons who look like people I’ve loved… like my Mum or my niece… just to confuse me and make me feel horrible and have nightmares when I do get the odd two hours sleep before that dim light of dawn filters through the halls and I’m dragged back to Alexander’s rack and my day starts over again.

In Hell, I’ve noticed I don’t eat anything… all there is to do is endure the torture Alexander hands out.  And this shit goes on for another thirty years before I find myself sitting there on edge of his rack, naked, covered in blood and hearing him laugh at me yet again as he asked me, “Here, take it.” And his blood-stained hand holds out that razor sharp blade to me yet again. 

The temptation is there.  I bowed my head as tears came easily, “No.”

His finger pulled my chin up to make me look at him, “Take it.”


“Aaah, but you’re tempted.” He grinned.

Climbing off the rack, I stand ankle-deep in human remains, “Of course I am, I never will.”

“Why not?”

“Because, Alexander, no matter how much you torture me, I believe I will get out of here.” I turned and walked away from him, no longer ashamed of myself.

“Get your arse back here!” His voice thundered in his workstation and suddenly I’m strapped back onto his rack again, “Well, if I haven’t broken you by now, we’ll do double time.” He raised his hand and the shining blade began to slice my flesh again.  The pain felt as new as it did on the first day as my howls of pain echoed around the room; joining the choir of other souls of Hell.

I woke in my chamber.  My wounds were still healing.  Alexander must have lost control, I’m not sure.

“Well, you’re still alive.” A voice said at the door, “I’m thankful.”

I tried to move, but my injuries were too extensive, “Oh dear Lord, help me.”

“I heard your prayers, and I’m here to raise you from redemption.” His voice whispered in my ear as his hand touched my shoulder…

…as my wounds healed…

…as I opened my eyes and …

… woke in a hospital bed with a man next to me; the same man who was in Hell.

“Who are you?” I whispered.

“A friend.” He smiled.

“I saw you in Hell.”

“Hell is relative… everyone has their own private type.” He replied, “Yours was very real…and I had to help you out of it otherwise Alexander would have killed you.”

“How do I thank you?”

He handed me a blade, “Don’t give this to Alexander… he’ll be looking for it.”

“So, you…?” I looked down at my hand and found a tiny sword pendant in my hand, put it around my neck, and pushed it under my shirt.  This thing looked totally different in Hell.  I looked up and found the man gone, “Exactly who was that?”

A doctor walked into the room, picked up my chart and looked at me as he sat down, “Hi, Angela, my name is Alexander.  I’m here to help you.”