Four By Flash Piece 16: Deviance

I wasn’t going to post this piece as I think its, well,, not very good, but since I kept mentioning sixteen pieces in the introduction, I would have felt incomplete leaving y’all hanging at fifteen, even half a month later; so dear readers, (I have those, right?) here’s some flash fiction that it’s  technically your fault if you read and don’t like it…

As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now past the end of the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should have finished already. I didn’t and am a bloody-minded fool, so I’m cheating a little to get all sixteen pieces done by today.  Here’s the final piece. This one clocks in at a slender 305 words, which fits my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.”

Deviance

Growing up, I always knew I was different from other boys. I think the dreams gave it away. I’d wake up drenched in sweat, heat and embarrassment radiating from my body. I knew that teenage boys weren’t supposed to dream about those sorts of things, so I never told people about them, I think my mom might have guessed though, just from the weird glances she would send my way some mornings, especially after laundry days.  At school, I never mentioned the dreams, not even to my closest friends. I didn’t want to freak them out and have them shun me.

After all, not many of my classmates dreamt of burning flames emanating from their bodies and charring everybody around them to blackened skeletons with their flesh, muscle and fat sloughing off of them and sizzling on the ground.

As I grew older, the lines between the dreams and reality became increasingly blurred. I remember waking up on my twenty-first birthday and seeing my arm covered in iron hard red scales. By the time I had crawled out of bed and showered, it had returned to normal flesh, though I remember hearing the water sizzle and seeing it evaporate off of the arm in clouds of sulfuric-smelling steam.

I asked my roommate if he had heard anything strange coming from my bedroom while I slept. He just laughed at me and said that what I got up to in my bed was my own business. I went to tell him that I was serious and to cut out the jokes but before the words could come out of my mouth a gout of blue-white flame did. The flames incinerated him on the spot. Nothing remained of him but a smoking pile of fluffy white ash.

I guess that’s why they locked me up in this place.

Four By Flash Piece 15: Without You, I’m Nothing

I wasn’t going to post this one or the sixteenth piece as I think they are kind of well, not very good, but since I kept mentioning sixteen pieces in the introduction, I would have felt incomplete leaving y’all hanging at fourteen, so dear readers, (I have those, right?) here’s some flash fiction that it’s  technically your fault if you read and don’t like it…

As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now past the end of the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should have finished already. I didn’t and am a bloody-minded fool, so I’m cheating a little to get all sixteen pieces done by today.  Here’s the fifteenth piece. This one clocks in at 391 words, which is at the high end of my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.”

Without You, I’m Nothing

Brian wiped the sweat off his face. It had been a fantastic show and now the fans in the arena chanted for an encore. Nothing could beat the rush of performing. Not even drugs, and he should know, he’d tried pretty much all of them over the last decade.

He was clean now, his vices limited to alcohol and the occasional cigarette. Not too many of the latter though, he couldn’t risk his voice

Before the show, Brian, Steve and Stefan had agreed on the two songs for the encore. The finale would be “Every You, Every Me,” as always, but first they added a new cover to their repertoire, Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust.”

The band returned to the stage to deafening cheers and when Brian and Stefan played the opening chords on guitar and bass it just got louder. Brian shut it all out and lost himself to the performance, singing.

Except he couldn’t shut everything out. For the first time in a long time, he found that he couldn’t stop himself staring at Stefan, and how his fingers manipulated the white Fender Jaguar. Brian thought that Raul was a lucky, lucky guy with Stefan going home to him.

The bass player’s body stood lithe, tight in all the right places, and as long and skinny as a cigarette. Perhaps one more vice than I like to admit Brian thought.

“The kids was just crass, He was the naz, With God given ass” Brian sang.

His eyes admired Stefan’s own ‘god given ass’ through the Swede’s skinny jeans. The two of them had been friends for years, and had been bandmates since 1994 and yet neither had ever made a move on the other.  Then Raul had come along and Brian had the option robbed from him.

That was going to change backstage tonight, one way or another, Brian decided. The band ripped through “Every You, Every Me,” and left the stage.

As the trio walked through the tunnels to their dressing room, Brian lunged at Stefan and kissed him deeply. The bass player’s mouth tasted of sweat and adrenaline. It was heavenly, especially when Stefan’s tongue came questing back to explore Brian’s mouth. Brian felt his loins stir.

“What are you two doing?” Steve asked

“Making up for lost time, finally.” Brian answered after he finally pulled away from Stefan.

Four By Flash Piece 14: Sinfully Saved

As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now past the end of the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should have finished already. I didn’t and am a bloody-minded fool, so I’m cheating a little to get all sixteen pieces done by today.  Here’s the fourteenth piece. This one clocks in at 352 words, which is right around my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.”

Sinfully Saved

“My name is Dean Collins, and I am – I was a sinner,” he announced to the circle of people.

Kasey rolled her eyes. Why had she signed up for this crap? She wondered, not for the first time. And anyway, Dean my boy, us sinners have way more fun.

She had been packed off to this “summer camp” by her parents because they thought her a “troubled” teen – and you could hear the quotes around “troubled” whenever the subject came up. As far as Kasey could tell, that t-word was a euphemism for “uses her brain to think independently.” Unlike these drones here, she thought.

In the meantime, Dean had finished his little speech. The circle clapped him politely, a few offering mumbled promises of prayers. Dean took the seat next to Kasey, glanced sidelong at her and rolled his eyes.

Well, well, maybe he isn’t quite as dumb as I thought. Kasey smiled at him. “Tough room, huh?” she whispered under her breath.

“Tell me about it,” Dean answered in a whisper of his own, “I didn’t catch your name.”

“You’ll hear it soon,” Kasey said, “It’s my turn.” Kasey stood up and surveyed the circle of eager faces. “My name is Kasey Winchester and I was a sinner.” She paused just long enough for the group to start murmuring their support before finishing off her sentence “and damned good at it too!”

The group fell silent. All except Dean, who guffawed.

“I’m guessing this is your first day with the group?”

“And my last, with a bit of luck. I don’t need to sit and pray away my personality just because I got a tattoo.” Kasey said.

Dean rolled up the sleeve of his ribbed black t-shirt to show Kasey his own tattoo, a bear silhouetted against the moon. Kasey pulled down the collar of her top to expose an identical tattoo of her own (and if she was honest, a bit of cleavage for Dean)

Kasey looked from the one tattoo to the other. They matched in every detail.

“It must be destiny,” she said. “We had to meet.”

Four By Flash Piece 13: Raindrops On Glass

As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now past the end of the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should have finished already. I didn’t and am a bloody-minded fool, so I’m cheating a little to get all sixteen pieces done by today.  Here’s the thirteenth piece. This one clocks in at 267 words, which actually BEATS my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.”

Raindrops On Glass

I watch the rain drip down the window in blurred smears as the train speeds through the industrial wastelands of Western Pennsylvania. There is a beauty in the sheer ugliness of the visual. The unfocused scenery holds my rapt attention completely. I am isolated from the other passengers by the music in my headphones, Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain.The tune lends the imagery a rather sinister air.

As I contemplate the next two hours of my journey the rain turns to sleet and white flecks embed themselves in the watery trails on the windows. The shadows lengthen as the sky grows dark grey storm clouds. The music abruptly halts, ending my splendid isolation. The sounds of reality come flooding back into my awareness. I hear the susurrus of the train’s engine rumbling beneath everything.

I also hear the older gentleman sat across the aisle from me spewing a stream of foul invective in my direction. Decency forbids me from repeating the disgusting words he used. All I knew was that he angered me, and that he would pay.

I stepped out of my seat and sat next to the man. His salt and pepper beard physically shook as he bristled at my presence.

“What did you say?” I ask, keeping my voice as even and calm as I can.

He obliges, repeating his insults, punctuating them by slamming his fist into my stomach.

I cough as the pain hits and react immediately. I shove him hard against the window. Repeatedly. Until he stops moving.

I watch the blood drip down the window in blurred smears.

Four By Flash Piece 12: So, Are You Guys Dating?

As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now past the end of the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should have finished already. I didn’t and am a bloody-minded fool, so I’m cheating a little to get all sixteen pieces done by today.  Here’s the twelfth piece. This one clocks in at 328 words, which fits in my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.”

So, Are You Guys Dating?

The computer played the *ding* sound of an incoming message. Jack had almost fallen asleep when the sound pierced the apartment. He went over to the computer and checked the message on the monitor. If someone contacted him this late at night it must be important, he reasoned.

Wrong. The message was from Diane, his ex-wife and read “So, are you guys dating or what?”

Jack blinked in confusion and typed “What guys?” as an answer before muting the system and switching off for the night. This wasn’t anything important enough that it couldn’t wait until morning.

Once Jack got out of the shower and blinked away the sleep dust in his eyes, he turned the computer system back on. After he finished getting dressed for the office, Jack saw that Diane had followed up last night’s exchange with another message.

“Oh, come on. You know who I mean. She’s all over your online stuff.”

Well, yeah, Jack thought, but so are you and we definitely aren’t dating.

Diane was partially right, though. Alice was all over his “online stuff.” Of course they were reasons for that. They were friends, and their free time overlapped. They just lived far enough apart that meeting up didn’t happen much.

Jack humored Diane with a reply.

“She’s married. I wouldn’t do that,” he typed. That was more your thing, Di, he thought.

“Like marriage means anything these days.” Diane messaged back.

“Does to me. Anyway, online is different from reality. I’m pretty sure the guy who posts as a cat is really human. Catch you later”

Jack shut the computer down. He tried to imagine himself and Alice as a couple. The plausibility of it shocked him. He could almost see why Diane had asked.

“I think the two of us should remain each other’s ‘path not taken’” he mused aloud, as he opened the door to leave.

To his surprise, Alice stood on the threshold, smirking. “Perhaps not…” Alice said.

Four By Flash Piece 11: Desert Blood

As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now at the end of the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should be posting the 15th or 16th piece by now,but reality intruded. That means I’m either going to fail the challenge by not getting enough done,or fail by having a bunch of kind of terrible stories cranked out before midnight. The second type of fail seems more noble,so i may well go for that. Here’s the eleventh piece. This one clocks in at 368 words, which fits in my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.”

Desert Blood

Jani was getting close now, close enough to see the beast’s giant muscles flexing with its every breath.  Offering a prayer to the Sky Warriors, Jani charged forward. The sudden movement roused the creature. It craned its neck towards Jani and shot a stream of poisonous saliva towards the warrior. Pure instinct took control of Jani’s body. Immediately he dove and rolled beneath the creature, slashing wildly with his blade. An inhuman scream told him the creature was wounded.

Searing pain coursed through Jani’s arm as the creature’s claws impaled him. Jani fought through the agony to expand the livid wound on the monstrous animal’s underbelly. The creature’s blood gushed over the teenaged warrior and onto the desert sand, staining them the deep crimson of an autumn sunrise.

The creature lashed out with its back leg, delivering a savage kick to Jani’s head. Momentarily disorientated, he followed the path of the blade with his eyes as it dropped from his hand.  Without thinking, Jani reached for the weapon, exposing his injured arm to the creature’s jaw. Jani screamed as he felt the rows of serrated teeth pierce him to the bone. The beasts’ venom coursed through Jani’s blood, slowing his reactions.

Instinct took over.  Jani brought his good arm across and pummeled wildly at the creature’s jaw.
He hoped the dry snap he heard blow landed was one of the monster’s teeth, and not the bones in his
fingers. The monster bellowed its agony.

Jani pulled his wounded arm out of the creature’s mouth as it opened. Jani willed the arm to grab the knife and draw it close to his body. Switching the blade to his good arm, Jani stabbed the creature’s abdomen. Hot blood flowed from the monster’s wounds, coating Jani’s arms and face, slowly filling his mouth. Jani had no choice but to swallow the blood.  He felt a new strength rush through him, re-invigorating his limbs with, a primal, animalistic, strength.
Now there was nothing but predator and prey. With a bestial roar, Jani charged directly at the vile creature, his knife hacking through the creature’s single eye and leaving a livid welt upon its cheek.The creature’s keening death-howl reverberated through the valley.

Four By Flash Piece 10: 15 Pills

As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now at the end of the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should be posting the 15th or 16th piece by now,but reality intruded. That means I’m either going to fail the challenge by not getting enough done,or fail by having a bunch of kind of terrible stories cranked out before midnight. The second type of fail seems more noble,so i may well go for that. Here’s the tenth piece. This one clocks in at 318 words, which fits in my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.”

15 Pills

Fifteen doesn’t seem so many now that I spill them on the table. Fifteen white discs with the letters RT imprinted on them like so many hieroglyphics. The prescription bottle called them Metoclopramide or something like that. To me, they were simply “good night pills.”

I’d lined my stomach with a couple of pieces of dry toast about an hour ago, and had followed that with a little bourbon. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a buzz going on and I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of a whiskey burn.

The pills were bigger than I thought. Swallowing them all in one go seemed unlikely to work out for me. I divided them into five batches of three. I figured that would leave them as small enough to fit in my fist and easily swallowed in one gulp.

I tested that theory with the first batch of three, and it worked. I had not expected the pills’ taste to be so bitter. I had to physically work at swallowing my retching down. I imagine I can feel my mind floating around my body as I stare at the twelve pills that remain.

Mechanically, I lift and swallow the next three. My head slumps towards the table, my nose almost nestled amongst the nine pills that remain. I swallow another group of three whole and am now over half way to the sweet release of oblivion that I desire.

I can feel consciousness slipping away, but far too soon. I’m not done, not fully and that needs to change. I scoop the last six pills into my mouth, chew and try to swallow. I feel drool forming at the corners of my mouth and see chalk-flecked trails of spittle leak out on to the table in front of me.

I feel myself slipping away for the last time.

Fuck you cancer, I think, I’m leaving on my own terms.