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.