Saturday, 23 December 2017

Saving Christmas - Part Seven

Barry felt Krampus’ hand on his shoulder and knew the gig was up; knew his running was over... knew he was screwed in the biggest way, “Oh no way.”
Odin glared at the young-looking elf, “So, you’ve been the one who was behind this... this... horrible abduction of us?”
He nodded looking at his feet, “Yessir.”
The Norse God looked over at Santa, then back to Krampus, “Well, it has to do with you two, so you can clear it up.”
“Not really, Odin.” Mother Nature said, “Barry here, put a whole lot of things out of order. My planet has been crying out to me since I vanished, and the Fairy Folk have been suffering without the Blue Fairy... and the Tooth Fairy? Well, he’s just been sitting over there in the corner counting how many children he’s missed out on visiting and keeping quiet; not knowing what to do or say.” He glanced over at the strange-looking man dressed up in a ballerina costume with fairy wings carrying a tote bag which contained a scroll with a list on it.
Santa looked at him, “That’s why he’s been so quiet and none of us noticed him until now.”
Mrs. Claus pushed past Krampus and Barry, “Let me see my... oh my...” she stopped and stared at Santa, “Santa?”
“Yes it’s me. Please do something about this.” He looked over at Krampus.
The tall, dark demon looked down at Barry, “Well, I can’t do anything about the spell, only Barry can. He cast it, so he can only end it.”
Barry pulled out his blue phone, opened the screen and the app he was fiddling with before, and as Krampus watched over his shoulder, he tapped on an ‘undo’ tab and the app uninstalled, then he looked around, “That should do it.” The three at the door looked at the five inside the basement, but they all stayed the same. Santa was still looking like his cousin, the Blue Fairy and Mother Nature were still standing there and not in their own realms, and Odin was becoming frustrated that he hadn’t left the room either. The Tooth Fairy had yet vanished to his next assignment. Barry’s mouth dropped as his stomach did, “They should all be back to normal!”
Krampus glowered at him, “Is that so? What did you uninstall on your phone?”
“The spell...”
“That doesn’t mean it’s finished.” Mother Nature walked over to the elf, snatching the phone from him, dumping it on the floor and stomping on it. As she did, Odin and the Tooth Fair both disappeared, the Blue Fairy went back to her own realm and Santa turned back into his own jolly self, “Now, I have a planet to care for, but I’m sure Santa and Krampus can think of a punishment which will be good enough to keep you out of the way for a good long while.” Smiling, she too vanished from sight.
Santa walked over to Barry, not smiling, not happy and looking very sad indeed, “Why did you do this to me?”
“You pass me over on promotion every time.” The Head Elf sulked.
“It’s because you do a brilliant job at what you’re doing now... I’d be lost without you; and if you had too much on your plate, you’d burn out.” The large, bearded man said, “Barry, you’ve been on my team for a very long time; I don’t want to lose you.” He shook his head, “But after this stunt, I’m afraid you’ve lost my trust.”
The elf looked to his feet, then back up at the man in the red suit, “So, what are you going to do with me?”
“You cannot work at the North Pole anymore; you just can’t be trust with such a big place and so many people – or my wife.” He shook his head, “No, no, no... I think working with Krampus would keep you in line more.”
“And not on the list either. There’s other jobs besides that I work on.” Krampus said, “There’s the festival Santa and I attend every year, on 5th, December, where I grab awful children and take them to Hell... but I don’t want you there. You’re going to be in Hell greeting them.”
The colour drained from the elf’s face, “No please, not there.”
Santa ignored the plea from the elf, and turned to Krampus, “And what about your helper?”
He half-turned to her, “Oh, she can return to you, if you want. She’s been working harder than expected and I think she really does need to go back to you... besides, she misses the North Pole; and I think she’d make a better Head Elf than this little turd.” He squeezed Barry’s shoulder with his hand, “So, what do you say, Santa?”
The jolly, big man grinned, “That sounds like a great thing!”
Mrs. Claus walked over to the young female Halfling, “Would you like to come back with us to the North Pole to work?”
“Oh, would I!” she grinned, “So long Krampus doesn’t mind.”
The tall, dark demon shrugged, “Nah... you’re too good to be working here anyway.” He regarded her, knowing he was losing a good worker, but also knowing she was beginning to get on his nerves, “Besides, you’re a little too cheery for me.”
“Thank you so much, Krampus!” she hugged the demon, who pulled away, “I’ll never tell anyone how wonderful you really are!”
“Oh get lost you little ball of sunshine!” he grumbled.

And so, life went back to normal for Santa, Mrs. Claus and their new Head Elf. The North Pole ran better than ever with her around – better than when Barry ran it. Everything was prepared for the next Christmas months in advance, there was no rushing or hurrying around and nobody spoke about where Barry might be.
But then, on 5th, December, Barry was rushed off his feet with his new job of greeting naughty children and adults at the doors of Hell... you know the ones who say they’ve been good all year, when really they haven’t. This is because Krampus knows if you’ve been bad, even if you’ve said you’ve been good; simply because he’s got the list and he can tell when he looks at you if you’re good or bad – then he tells Santa.

Yep, that’s how the Family Business runs in those parts.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Saving Christmas - Part Six

Krampus grabbed Barry’s arm and shoved him hard, “So, tell us where you stashed my cousin and his friends.”
The Head Elf hesitated, “In your basement.”
For a moment the tall dark figure couldn’t speak, “What? Why!”
“So when they were found you’d get the blame and I would be able to do the list instead of you because you’d be found incompetent.” He said, “Why else? I’ve made sure I’ve got the upper hand in this whole thing – to make sure Santa looks bad, and so do you, Krampus.” He wriggled out of the demon’s grip and snatched his phone from Mrs. Claus, “That is mine. And as of now, your services are no longer needed.”
“Oh but they are.” She said, “It’s in the contract that for there to be a Santa of any type in this world and in this realm, there must be a Mrs. Claus as well. And so long there’s good in this world, as wholesome and wonderful as Santa, there must also be his polar opposite, such as Krampus... this is why he exists.” Smiling, she took a step towards the elf, “So, you can’t get rid of me.”
“What about me?” the young Halfling asked, “How did you get rid of me?”
Barry snorted, “Oh you were easy... I just stopped the delivery of the special candy and food to your place and your more Human traits began to show. Then, you started acting out after your attempts to take my job and, well, you were sent this dork!” he threw a thumb at Krampus.
Krampus grabbed his thumb and pulled it hard backwards towards the floor until the elf screamed, “This dork is losing his patience and that says something about him. My basement isn’t a pleasant place... so show us the way.”
It was then the Halfling looked out the window, “Why are the trees outside glowing a bright blue?”
All three of them turned toward the living room window where the unkempt front yard stood filled with the light of thousands of fairy lights, coming to help their Queen – the Blue Fairy – who had made the ultimate wish.
“That, my girl, is the garrison of Fairies who are coming to help the one person they know is missing from their lives... but when they find out who made her go missing, well, he’ll wish he never screwed with her.” Krampus turned a glaring, red stare at Barry, only to find he had disappeared from his side.

Santa looked outside, his horns scraping on the ceiling of the basement, “Your fairy folks are really mad, but not at us.” He turned from the view, “I’m still wondering who did this to us... and to me.”
Odin gave him a sceptical look, “I’d look around at your staff, there are thousands of people, but yet, the ones closest to you are normally the ones who are the most corrupt, Santa.”
He nodded rubbing his beard thoughtfully, “How true, Odin, I will have to scrutinise my staff better.”

As they all turned, Krampus spotted Barry running around the back of the kitchen, where the basement was and he raced after him. The two women weren’t going to be left out of this, and followed the tall, dark figure in the same direction.

The door of the basement swung open and Barry stood there looking around, “Oh, Santa, thank goodness I found you! You’re at Krampus’ house. I’m here to save you!”
“Barry!” he stood, hit his horns on the ceiling and sat back on the floor again, “Am I happy to see you!”
Odin stood by Santa, narrowing his eyes at the Head Elf, “One thing, you elf. How did you know this was Santa and not Krampus – seeing he looks nothing like Santa and you didn’t hear him speak?”
Barry shrugged, “Um, I could see it in his eyes.”
The other four captives looked at Santa and saw he had the same red eyes as Krampus, then Odin turned back to Barry, “Nope, he’s got the exact same features as his cousin.”
As he turned back, he spotted Krampus step up behind Barry and lay his hand on the elf’s shoulder, “You think you can outrun me in my own house, elf? Think again.”

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Saving Christmas - Part Five

Barry pulled out of his pocket a device and turned it on. It was a phone with a GPS installed and – after he tapped in a code – the phone opened up to three or four apps.
“What’s that for?” Krampus asked.
“Well, we have to find Santa, I’ve been keeping tabs on all of them.” He said.
“Gimme that!” the tall, dark demon reached out for it, but the elf pulled it out of his reach, “What’s so special about you having this thing and not me?” Barry looked to the device, avoiding eye contact again, and Krampus grabbed him, shoving him against the nearby wall of the living room, where the Head Elf dropped the phone.

The lights came on in the dungeon and all five of them sat there looking at each other for a moment before they realised where they were.
“We’re at Krampus’ house?” Santa asked as he stood slowly and moved toward the door, “This can’t be right.”
The Blue Fairy looked outside where lights from the trees began to illuminate and shimmer, “My wish, it’s happening.”
Mother Nature joined her at the window, “You used the only thing you knew to get something happening; and who’d know that Disney thing would be true?”
“Well, I am the Blue Fairy; and I told him to include it in the movie.” She smiled, “So many children began to believe in fairies after that.”
Odin snorted, “So, that’s why Norse mythology has gone out the window?”
Santa looked at himself, “But I’m still looking like Krampus.”

Mrs. Claus looked around, “Something happened.”
The young half-elf nodded, “Yes. The house shook, and where’s Barry?”
Exchanging doubtful looks, the two moved to the door, opened it and walked out to the balustrade of the first floor to find Krampus had cornered Barry.
The Head Elf looked up at the two his arms flailing, “Mrs. Claus, please help!”
Walking down the stairs, she kept silent, as she rounded Krampus’ large, dark form and picked up the phone off the floor, “What is this? You have a red and green one on you already. This one is blue.”
“I... um... well...” he mumbled.
“Tell her about what you’ve been up to!” Krampus growled, his eyes burning red as he shoved him against the wall again.
“Krampus, let him go, let him explain without you tearing him apart.” Mrs. Claus touched the dark creature’s arm and he suddenly quietened, and stepped back but didn’t let go of the elf’s arm, “Okay.”
“I organised to have Santa kidnapped – and his friends you’d normally turn to to find him.” Barry said, “I did this because I’m always passed over by Santa for promotion; and I wanted to get him back.”
The older woman frowned, “So you turned my husband into something he’s not and made him vanish? Then, kidnapped his other friends as well?”
He nodded, “And that’s not all.”
Krampus raised a blackened eyebrow, “What do you mean?”
Barry flinched just before he opened his mouth, “Your little helper there? I organised to have her moved here. She wasn’t too Human, she was after my job, so I got rid of her.”
Mrs. Claus took a step back as the shock of this news hit her, “You got rid of the only person in the North Pole who I saw as a daughter amongst that rabble all because she was better at a job than you were?”
He pouted, “I’ve been Head Elf for over three hundred years; and when a woman wants to take over the job from you – and you’re a guy – you have to wonder where you’ve gone wrong!”
Krampus looked over at Mrs. Claus, “Well, you made a lot of wrong moves there boy... and I think I know how to fix it.” He turned around to find the young Halfling standing next to him, “You really miss working at the North Pole, don’t you?”
“More than anything!” she sighed, “And to find out how this all happened, well, I’d love to have his job.”
The tall, dark demon smirked, “First thing’s first: tell us where Santa and his group of buddies are and we’ll let them dish out the punishment.”

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Saving Christmas - Part Four

Krampus knew something was up with the Head Elf, Barry, but didn’t want him to freak out when he asked him about his work with Santa; so he turned his attention to Mrs. Claus instead.
“Say, why don’t you go and check on that Halfling upstairs... I’m sure she’d like to see you – keeps going on about your gingerbread men.” He gestured to the sweeping staircase to the left with his eyes, “I have the list to attend to.” Barry turned to follow her, when Krampus grabbed his elbow, “What’s your hurry, sport?”
He turned, looking down at the black talon holding onto him, then the floor, “I’m in no hurry.”
“Bull! You made eye contact with me, and I could see your guilt vibing off you so fast and thick, I nearly didn’t catch what she was talking about.” He grunted, “Now, are you going to tell me what your problem is with Christmas, why you hate this time of year and where you stashed Santa and his friends? Or am I going to send you to Hell?”

Odin watched his dear friend fall apart as the last of their magicks fade in a flickering puff of blue spark into the darkness of their prison. He hated that this was how it was going to end for them all.
“No!” he broke the silence, making them all start, “There has to be another way out of here!”
“But how? We’ve tried the magicks... but to no avail.” Mother Nature’s voice whispered in the corner, “I can feel the Earth calling to me, wondering where I am.”
The Blue Fairy wondered quietly to herself: ‘Will we ever get out of here; wherever here is?’ then she looked up and around and found a window, where a scattering of stars were glimpsed. Without taking her eyes off them, she crawled over to the window, found the brightest one and made the one wish she knew of...

Mrs. Claus tapped on the bedroom door of the Halfling and waited for a moment until she answered.
The young girl opened it and smiled when she saw her, throwing her arms around the woman, “Oh! Mrs. Claus! It’s so good to see you!”
Smiling she embraced her, “It is wonderful to see you as well! Krampus has told us that you’re doing well?”
“The first year was difficult, but I’m finding life is okay... well, he’s a grump, but I can live with that.” She let in the plump woman and showed her to a seat, “And what’s with his coffee? He got really weird when I tried to make him a cup... yelled at me and told me to never do that again.”
“Well, Krampus will be fussy about the strangest things.” She giggled, “But really, I’m not sure. I am here on another matter, though.”
Her face fell, “Oh yes, it’s all over the universe: Santa, The Blue Fairy, Mother Nature and Odin are all missing.” She looked around, “Where’s Barry?”

“So, boy, are you going to be out with it?” he yanked the elf around hard to face him his eyes flashing bright red, “Tell me where they are!”
“Okay!” he looked up at the hideous creature, “I organised to have them kidnapped... and to have their magicks revoked.”
“Why would you do that to my cousin?”
“Well, you hate him, right?”
Krampus shoved him, “That’s just for show.” He swept an arm across the boxes of the list filling up his living room, “What in the Hell do you think I’m doing here?”
Barry looked at the overcrowded living room, “Oh... I see. I better put this right then.”

“You think?”

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Saving Christmas - Part Three

The house appeared abandoned; but Mrs. Claus knew it wasn’t. Barry, the Head Elf, took a step back from the front door as she knocked on the large, darkened door.

He really didn’t wish to be here, but she forced him to be.

This woman had courage – bigger than his – and he wanted to...

The door swung open and there stood Krampus, glaring at them both, “What in all Hell and... oh it’s you!”
She smiled sweetly, “Good evening, Krampus, how nice to see you again too.”
He half-turned, appearing a little embarrassed about the state of the living room with all the boxes of The List sitting around, “I’m busy with the list, and the half-elf kid is helping me. After a few hiccups, she’s going well.”
She stood there, “We’re not here to check up on her. We’re here to check up on you.” She pushed past him into his house and Barry quickly followed her, avoiding eye contact as Krampus glared at him, knowing he had something to do with this.
“What do you mean, woman?” he snapped, “I have done nothing wrong.”
“Well, it’s the 19th, December, and Santa isn’t at home.” She looked around the large house, “This place is bigger on the inside than...”
“What? He’s not home?”
“After that trick you played on him, and he turned into you...” she started.
“That was for only twenty-four hours. He turned back into himself the next day; I’d never keep him like that. There’s the Family Business to consider.” He growled, “And if he goes missing, even for one year, I have to take over.” He looked down at himself, “Do you really think any child would like to see me showing up in their living room?”
She sighed, “No... good point.”

The five of them sat in a circle in the dungeon and concentrated.
Santa tried to keep his long, black horns from scraping the ceiling while the rest of them tried to keep in mind that under all that hideous demonic ugliness was their lovely, kind friend.
“Okay, let’s try this again...” the Blue Fairy was close to tears, “It’s been another day; let’s see if we can do more this time.”
“We have to be getting close to getting out of here... the time for my trip this year is coming close. I can feel it.” Santa said.
Odin smirked, “We can see it... your beard is growing longer and is white.”
“Oh, that was white when I woke up.”

Barry turned from the two having their conversation and started looking around the place. He didn’t know that the half-elf was living it up so well. He couldn’t smell any of Santa’s candy in the air and knew that Krampus was treating her like a Human as much as possible.
This meant, that Santa’s cousin wasn’t as bad as he was making out to be – that the rumours he had created about this ugly, horned beast had stuck well and truly over the centuries.

He had to make sure the truth about his kindness never came out. Turning back, he made eye contact with Krampus for just a moment and that gave the beast the right amount of time to know something about him... something he had kept from Mrs. Claus very well.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Saving Christmas - Part Two

Morning dawned the week before Christmas in the dungeon where Santa, the Blue Fairy, Mother Nature, The Tooth Fairy and Odin were kept.
“Exactly why I was nabbed, I’m still not sure.” Odin snapped, “I was readying for my feast with my family answered the door, and there was a bright light, and the next thing I knew...” he looked around the large dungeon in wonder, “I was here!”
Santa shook his head, “I was stupid enough to drink some milk after running into my cousin... my magic was turned off and bang, I turned back into my former self.” He looked at himself, “I’m part of the Family Business, Odin, you know, deliver the gifts and bring peace to the world. But looking like this? I’m likely to scare every child there is!”
Mother Nature sat in the corner tapping the fingers of her right hand together, trying to make her magicks spark, but only a tiny blue spark would fizzle from between her digits. She frowned, “Well, I think that individually, our magicks have been sapped by somebody, and I’d like to know who!”
The Blue Fairy turned her sapphire eyes over to the woman, “Individual magicks...”
Odin nodded, “But if we work together, it might cause a big enough spark to get us the...”
“Watch your language, Odin.” Santa grumbled, “I may look like Krampus, but I still deliver toys to your children.”

“Now, where was he last seen?” Mrs. Claus looked over the maps and GPS of the last call-in.
“At the Swan house.” Barry said pointing out a part of New York Santa had been delivering to for over forty years, “We’ve never had a problem with the place, not until last year.” He frowned, “Not until that wayward elf was allowed to work with Krampus... and he started getting all...”
Her head turned, her silver-white hair still in their curlers under her kerchief, “All what, Barry?”
A blush heated up his face, “We had an elf last year who started acting a little too Human, but she was too elf-like to be part of the Human Race.”
“So, she was permitted to work with Krampus.” He said, “Since then, things have been going – well – wonky. You know, strange.”
Mrs. Claus walked over to the hall stand by the door, “Well, let’s visit with Mr. Krampus, shall we?”
“Mrs. Claus, I think it best if you fix your hair first... you still have...” he pointed to her kerchief.

Feeling her head, a smiled crept onto her face, “Of course! I will have to dress better than this!”

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Saving Christmas - Part One

Flash Fictions have finished for the year; and so I thought to do a Christmas Special - a Dickens-style story about Santa and his friends a week from the Big Day. There's a guest appearance by a few characters from my past Christmas stories, as well as Krampus. Start reading at this first one; and follow along until the last one, finishing this Saturday. 


 “What do you mean, Santa’s been kidnapped!” Mrs. Claus snapped almost dropping a whole tray of freshly baked gingerbread men onto the floor.
Cook was fast as he came to her rescue, “Here, you care for that situation, and I’ll take over from here, ma’am.” His soft, yet commanding voice suggested.
She pulled off the oven mitts and untied her apron, handing them onto the next elf who put out their hands to assist, as she followed the Head Elf out of the massive kitchen, “I repeat...”
“I don’t need to hear your question twice, Mrs. Claus, and I don’t know.” He answered, “One minute he was at the Swan’s house and the next, he wasn’t, and two little kids were terrified. I had to give them special candy to make them go to sleep again.” He shook his head, “I don’t like doing that.”
Propping her hands on her hips, Mrs. Claus’s eyes narrowed, “This smacks of Krampus... that jealous little creep.”
The young-looking man groaned, “Oh not him again. He works with the Naughty’n’Nice list, but do we have to talk to him?”
She sighed, pushing her glasses back up her nose habitually, “I’m afraid so. Find out where he keeps himself these days, and we will call on the Blue Fairy and see what she can do for us.”

Santa turned around and one horn struck the wall of the cave, causing sparks in the dark, “Damned things! I hate these horns and I wish I had never encountered Krampus this past year... as nobody really knows where I go.”
“Santa, is that you?” a tinkling voice called out in the darkness of the cavernous place, “Is that you all looking like Krampus?”
“Blue Fairy, what are you doing here?”
She sighed, “We are all here.”
“All? What do you mean?”

“There’s no answer at The Blue Fairy’s grove. I can’t find Mother Nature and the Tooth Fairy hasn’t been seen in three months.” The young man turned from the computers and phones, “Mrs. Clause, I’m afraid Krampus is up to his old tricks again.”
She stuck her nose in the air indignantly, “Not if I have something to say about it!”

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Change In Command

Flash Fiction Fridays is back! We missed Chuck and I tried to get into the prompts - and didn't do a good job with them (check out the ones I do below this one). But he gave us a line of Yeats: 'Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...' I've used it in this piece and I hope you guys like it.


“Exactly what shit-hole have we signed ourselves into, Jake?” Vera looked around the townhouse complex in amazement as she walked around with her husband of twenty-five years during their first inspection.
“Yeppers, what a fucking dump the last asshole let it turn into – oh crap! Just look at the state of the pool area! No bloody gazebo, no barbeque area and – tsk! – where are the kids supposed to play?” he tapped the things required out on his clipboard, “This is going to take years to fix, Vera, honey, unless we get a huge cash injection from somewhere.”
“I’m on it... this is why we’re here.” She pulled out her smartphone and called their boss, but she didn’t get three numbers in when she noticed an old, spindly woman limping towards them, leaning heavily on a walking stick, “And who in the hell is that?”
Jake looked up, “Oh, that’s Helene. I was warned about her. She’ll try to take over and tell us what to do.”
“Good morning, good morning. I’m Helene and I’ve been living here for a long, long time and there’s got to be change – change I tell you! – to this place! You must fix up everything, goddammit, everything! Or there’ll be hell – hell, I tell you – to pay!” she pulled out a piece of paper with a list of things (the same things Jake had written down on his clipboard) and shoved it under his nose, “Now, you must get these things done – done I tell you... or you’ll be out of here. I’ll complain and I’ll get everyone on my side to get you out! I can do that you see!” then she turn on her walking stick, leaving him with her list and the stink of Vicks Vapour Rub (or was it Deep Heat?) behind.
Both Vera and Jake exchanged exhausted expressions, sighing, “She’s mad.”

Lunch couldn’t come soon enough for Jake. He had gotten quotes for a new gazebo and barbeque and entertainment area – which wouldn’t cost the earth. Then, he pulled a favour from another unit complex gardener who came in and pulled out all the dead plants from the Body Corporate gardens and planted out new plants. He then knocked on the first unit and the one by the end car park asking if they minded getting the trees trimmed; only to find out from the lady in the one nearest the back car park that she had massive wasps nest he had to deal with first.
He sighed as he finished his sandwich and Vera put his cup of tea in front of him, “I have no idea what happened to this place when the last person was caretaker – but it seemed to have stood still; like that island called Sark, where time forgot it.”
“Well, the backyard really needs looking into. Our back fence is leaning over and it’s no thanks to that weird woman from this morning; she’s got bamboo in her garden. We have to do something about that.” Vera sipped her cup of tea, “And there are stains in the curtains here I just can’t get rid of... honey, I have to replace them. I need the credit card and the car; if you’re not using either one this arvo?”
“Oh, sure... here.” He pulled out his wallet, dumping it on the table between them, along with the keys to the car, “You’ve got your house keys?”
“Sure.” She nodded, “Then, we’ll need to talk to the Body Corporate about this place... it needs a repaint badly.”
“Um... a little problem there.”
“The guy who was forced to get rid of the last guy had refused to fix this place up. So it’s up to us to make it look like a home. This is why I pushed for a bigger pay each year than the last guy got... we have to fix the place ourselves.”
“Jake I don’t understand...”
“Vera, honey, this townhouse is very much like this complex... things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.”
“Don’t quote fucking Yeats to me! Tell me what’s going on!” her tea cup clattered to its saucer, causing Jake to wonder if she was going to break it. She didn’t seem to notice – or care – if she did or not.
“We needed a job, right?”
“Right... but...”
“Vera... we needed a place to live... right?”
She nodded.
“Okay... this was the best I could do; but,” his mouth pulled into a tight white line, “If we want to have this place running like a well-oiled machine – like our last complex – we have to do it out of our own pocket because the Body Corporate will go broke if we ask them to pay for everything we’ve told them that needs fixing in the next six months.”
Vera sniffed, struggling to make eye contact with her husband as she blinked away tears, “So, in other words, we’re painting ourselves into a corner with this money pit of a place to save the people living in it?”
“And ourselves.”
“Without the support of anyone?”
“That’s right.”
“Oh, Jake, honey, it’s not a matter of the centre falling apart if things cannot hold – it’s already fallen, and we’re falling with it.”
He slid his hand across the table towards her, and she reached out and took it. Jake squeezed her hand gently, as he looked into her eyes, knowing she was worried sick about what was going to happen next in their lives here; about the debt they were going to get into, “If we hold onto each other tightly, we’ll fall into this together.”

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Not The Real Me

Chuck didn't upload a prompt for us this week. Sooo, I thought to do one from his emails. However, I've done a few of those lately... soooooo, I pulled out Jack Hefron's book: 'The Writer's Idea Book'. This is a great book I found years ago, and use it for when I'm kinda stuck. This week I was stuck, grabbed a prompt from it and here it is:  write about a character whose appearance and actions are far different from their interior self.


“I don’t want to do this.” It came out more of a whisper to myself than to anyone else.
“What?” he asked from the chair I had tied him to.
Turning from the table, I saw the bleeding wounds and bruises which were only going to get worse the more I worked on him to get answers – answer he clearly didn’t know, “Nothing.”
My doubts were beginning to show as I glanced up at Renny, who had been watching me closely the whole time. His face was blank, eyes the deadened appearance of a killer, “Tick, do it.” He said to me outside the door, “Just as we had planned it.”
“Right.” My voice echoed in my head as I licked my dry lips and sighed, “Right.” I mumbled to myself, running my fingers over the knuckle-dusters, the gun with the silver rounds in it, the all-famous Colt, and Holy Oil and Holy Water. This shit didn’t work on just anyone, it mainly worked on demons, shapeshifters and other silver-hating creatures which killed humans.
But for some reason, I was put off killing this one – let alone pushing it to its limit for information about where its .... Alfa ... was; if there was such a thing!
“Tick, are you okay?” Renny asked.
I glanced over at the replica of my partner in crime covered in blood and bruises, “Yeah... it’s looking like you now. It’s offputting.”
He sauntered to the table, picked up the long silver blade and gave it to me, “Make that bastard talk. He took out most of a high school cheer squad before we spotted him... her... it.”
I took the knife and walked to the creature as he gave me Renny’s friendly ‘fuck-yourself’ grin, “You’re never gonna get out of me what you want to; not while you doubt yourself, bitch.”
Fiddling with the tip of the blade, I turned the knife a little so it glinted in the little light of the room we had, “I will get the information out of your sorry ass and you will tell me where your Alfa is... and then I’m going to skin you while you’re still breathing, so you know what those girls felt like as you devoured them.” Smiling I grabbed him by the shoulder with my leather-gloved hand and sunk in the knife – the silver sizzling through the flesh of his shoulder, as he screamed in agony, his blood draining from his face – and I felt nothing.
“Please takeitouttakeitoutakeitoutakeitout....” his pink drool spilled into his lap as his head tipped down, sweat dripping from his hair, his brow...

Blood dripped from the slippery hilt of the silver dagger to the floor and Renny watched with fascination as the newspaper we has laid out beforehand sucked it up in little red dot – looking like flowering poppy, growing from a tiny dot, bleeding into the paper and newsprint.

I stood there feeling sick at how we had treated this creature – torturing him instead of just killing him outright – when it was clear he didn’t know who the Alfa was.




Exactly what were these creatures? I didn’t know and the more I thought about them, the more my head hurt from thinking about them.

The coppery smell of his blood was making me feel as though I was going to throw up. I cleared my throat, “I don’t think he’ll talk.”
“Nah... he won’t.” Renny snorted.
“He’s too bruised and bloody to be let go.”
“What? Make an example of him...” he said, “To show what will happen if the others don’t pull the line.”
I spun, my long hair snapped over my shoulder, “Renny that will get then all on our case. And once they start hunting us down, those fuckers won’t stop!”
He grabbed the Colt and shot the captive shape shifter before I could block my ears. The sound of it going off echoed around the basement, a loud ringing in my ears causing what Renny said next mean nothing to me until I grabbed his arm and turned him to face me, “I said, are you sure you tied up the right one.”

I didn’t need to turn to find the other gun.

The clip was full of silver rounds.

I couldn’t take any chances.

Besides, there was only one bullet in the Colt – it was empty – and he had used it on the guy tied up.
I yanked out the knife from the dead shifter (I think it was a shifter), threw everything into my weapons bag without cleaning it and left the two bodies where they were.
On the way out the door, I picked up the Colt and found Renny’s car keys and wallet – filled with money and his ID. As I turned the corner of the next street, the sirens had started up in the distance.

This is not the real me.

I promised my sister I’d do just one more job and ... it’s been fifteen years. Now, she’s dead. My folks are dead; and my partner in crime (whichever one it was) is dead.

I don’t know if I can start again... if I can find the real me, of all those years ago – before those shifters made me into a hunter.

Friday, 29 September 2017


Chuck has asked us to write about a tree... to be a tree's viewpoint or whatever... so I thought this was going to be easy.

Nope it wasn't.


Today is my last sunrise.

Yes, by the time the sun sets on this very day, I will no longer be the lovely tall, strong, shady sentinel people have come to enjoy in my part of the neighbourhood.

But I have been here for years... well over three centuries, actually... but doesn’t anyone give a squirrel’s arse?

No. They don’t.

Those fucking developers with their grand ideas and their wonderful sky scrapers and money-grabbing investors have been standing next to me blabbling about how wonderful this apartment building will look once it’s built!


Why, I remember when I was planted here and there was not a single building to be seen around for miles! My first planting was next to a lovely little hut of a house when the city that is here now was just a tiny, insignificant little village by the wide and strong river.
I had people tie their lines to me to catch fish, to dry their clothes and – when I was tall and strong enough – children loved to climb to my highest branches in the Summer trying to touch the sky as they sang.

Oh! Those were the days!

I’ve seen dreadful Winters and scorching Summers.
I’ve watched the village vanish as buildings emerged from almost nothing and cobblestone roadways pass by in front of me... and yet, I still stood!
People stood under my shady greenness on hot days and decorated me in the Winter as, oh so many Christmas’ drifted by, just like the snowfall. I’ve seen floods, storms and disease take my fair city of people... and invasion take all forms trying to destroy all of those who lived in this growing metropolis around me – and yet, it seemed that all that happened to me was that I grew older and the people of the city occasionally took branches from me that died or looked like they were going to pose a danger.

I’ve had famous people visit me, like that Attenborough person (now who was he again? Everyone talks about him and his connection with nature). 

Young people have kissed under me on New Years Eve... I’ve witnessed every type of human emotion happening around me.

There’s been so many proposals for marriage right next to me, and just as many break-ups.
I’ve had people fall asleep under me, leaning comfortably – companionably – against my sturdy, strong trunk; only to have them puke all over me the very next day... yes, charming lot those.
There’s been shootings on the street in front of me, where people have died against me; their blood forever staining my bark as they take their last breaths – with them begging for forgiveness, for pity... to be let go and to live... such sadness.
Cars have rammed into me, shaking my branches, leaves falling from above – and occasionally an odd branch dislodging from far above, and smashing up the car. Sometimes the vehicle will have been stolen and the occupants got out (if they could) and ran away in all directions – like rats leaving a sinking ship. Or a drunk driver, who’d open the door, with sick all over themselves and collapse on the ground crying, “What happened! What have I done!”

I’ve seen the best of parades pass by here... these were the best things in the world. From the times of courage with the knights heading off to war, then coming home on horses in their bravest best, then after the most recent wars where the families would march for the fallen in remembrance. Yes... I’ve seen them all.
Ticker-tape parades for when our wonderful teams won at any type of games, and celebrating our greatest of people of our times with the population of the city lining the street, waving flags and enjoying the sun as the gleaming cars slowly coast by.

Oh yes!

This is best type of thing to see as a tree.

However, things have been changing of late.

Those parades don’t come around this street much anymore.

There’s more people being killed here than anywhere else and the apartment buildings are being pulled down and being replaced with big and tall, glass buildings for the upscale type of people who work in the city.

And I heard them talking about me...
“What are we going to do about this Oak?” one suit asked, rolling up the plans.
“We’re not allowed to do anything. It’s Heritage Listed.” The other bald one grumbled, the sun shining off his sunburnt head. They both looked up at my grand branches and huge trunk with their black lenses over their eyes. Baldy sniffed, “I want to chip it, but the council has dated it back to the Dark Ages... we can’t touch it.”
“So, you think we should do something about it? Like move it?”
Baldy shrugged.

A year passed.

New buildings were built around me as I sat in a set of my own scaffolding and protection.

They cut some of my roots – and it hurt like hell. I screamed, but nobody heard me as I dropped my main branches and killed three people.

Then as the last three months went by, I saw something different happen: there was some landscaping things coming in.

Rolls of turf arrived on the truck.

A couple of park benches and a pond to be installed.

Over three weeks, the landscapers built a miniature park right around me. The turf allowed my roots to heal... and new branches to grow.

And by the next Spring, just after Christmas, I was witnessing another lot of young people professing their love to each other.

Children were yet again climbing my branches and singing to the sky!

I was again needed in this community!

Then, I saw it ... my first parade in so many years passed by me! It was for Remembrance Day... it was wonderful watching it all happen again.

And to think I wasn’t going to survive that day.

Now, I love to watch the sun reflect off the gleaming mirrors of the buildings surrounding me, from sunrise to sunset.

And you know what? I’m always lit up for everyone to see now... they put lights under my butt!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Future Graveyard

This week, I didn't receive a Flash Fiction prompt from Chuck. So, I dug into my archives of emails from the past he's sent us... and found a few titles we have played with just last year or so. This one is just over the 1,000 word mark; and based in a real cemetery here in Brisbane - which really is part of a Ghost Tour and really is rumoured to be haunted.


We stepped off the bus as the sun was setting outside the Toowong Cemetery, as our guide talked to the guard outside the gates. I had brought along my camera – an old film camera, with a few extra rolls – and my phone to take some photos, but I found that everyone else was quietly muttering amongst themselves.
“Now, when you’re all ready, we’ll begin the tour.” Richard’s strong voice called across to us and we walked to him as he gestured to us to stay close, “I don’t want to lose any of you here – this place is rumoured to be haunted and isn’t an open cemetery.”
“Ooooh, haunted.” The guy next to me nudged my arm, rolling his eyes, “I’m so scared.”
“You’re visiting Brisbane?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He smiled, “This Ghost Tour is cool. Funny as hell, but cool.” He walked off towards the gates to get a photo of first pathway into the place, then came back. When he saw I wasn’t amused by what he had said before, he really looked at me, “You’re not taking what he said seriously, are you?”
“Listen, I’ve lived in this city all my life. And I’ve seen and heard some pretty weird things – personally – and I can’t explain them. And this cemetery has my great-nanna in it. I just hope we walk past her plot.” I walked away as the group followed Richard, leaving the guy behind.

The tour was wonderful.

Our tour guide knew every single piece of history there was to know about this place – very impressive; and seeing I live in Brisbane, I thought I had heard it all. But I gotta say, I learned some new things about this cemetery while we walked around the place.

Richard took us to some of the oldest parts of Toowong Cemetery and I started looking for some of my family. I pulled on my headlamp, looked around and read the headstones carefully.

Then, there it was.

My Great-Nanna’s plot!

I stopped, smiled, pulled out my film camera and took a few photos, then took a photo with my camera and texted it to Dad. Then looked around at the surrounding plots to see if there were anyone else I knew... there wasn’t.
“Miss Anders!” Richard’s voice called from my right in the distance, “Please don’t be left behind!” I heard him coming closer, until he was standing right next to me, “Did you find something?”
“Yeah, my Great-Nanna... I thought to take a few photos.” I smiled.
“Aaah, yes, of course you can’t get in here without an appointment; and even then, it’s months to wait on a list.” He sighed, “Let’s see if you’ve got other family members here, usually they’re buried nearby.”
“No. I think Nanna was the last one buried here. The other plots were sold off.” I said feeling kind of sad that I couldn’t get in here to be with my family at the end of my life anymore.
“Actually, there is another plot right here.” Richard said. He shone his large ‘Dolphin’ torch right on a relatively new headstone right next to my Nanna’s grave, as he began to read it out: “ ‘Elizabeth May Anders. Born 5th, October, 1973 – 30th, September, 2017. Beloved daughter, Aunty and friend to everyone who met, knew and loved her. ‘The Time Lords Are Waiting’” he stood, frowning, “Well, that’s really strange, a pre-dated headstone.”
“Well, it must have been a mistake done on it... like the year or something.” One of the ladies suggested from the back.
But as I looked at it, I knew it wasn’t. It looked like it had been here a few weeks; and that it wasn’t going anywhere soon, “I gotta get a photograph of this.”
Richard moved for me as I prepared to photograph it with both the film camera and the phone... in case one of them didn’t work out, “Okay, people just follow the guard back to the front gates and we’ll catch up with you.” He waited until we were both alone, before asking, “That’s you isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” I fidgeted with the charms on my phone, “I want to know how this has happened?”
“You’re not the first to see this kind of thing; nor will you be the last.” He said, “Come on, we’ll do some research and see what’s going on.”

Flashing lights of emergency crews woke me.
The ambulance guy working on me glanced over at me, “Hey! She’s awake! Do you know what happened?”
I felt so calm, and yet knew something was wrong with my body. But I couldn’t feel any pain: “Where am I?”
“The bus you were on was in an accident. Everyone except you and three others are injured.” He looked at other things on me as he worked hard, “You were wearing you seat belt, but it broke... damned bus wasn’t maintained properly.” He whispered.
I touched his hand, stopping him from what he was doing: “What is the date?”
He glanced up at a calendar on the wall of the cabin of the ambulance, “It’s the 30th, September, 2017.”
“My injuries?”
He looked to his hands, “I’m not sure. I’m no doctor. I can only stabilise you; but you’re on Life Flight; and the doc will be here soon....”




We stepped off the bus as the sun was setting outside the Toowong Cemetery, as our guide talked to the guard outside the gates. I had brought along my camera – an old film camera, with a few extra rolls – and my phone to take some photos, but I found that everyone else was quietly muttering amongst themselves.
“Now, when you’re all ready, we’ll begin the tour.” Richard’s strong voice called across to us and we walked to him as he gestured to us to stay close, “I don’t want to lose any of you here – this place is rumoured to be haunted and isn’t an open cemetery.”