Not Exactly Time Travel

clockIt happened when he was sixteen. He was a few days off seventeen, not that meant anything now. They just…stopped.

Every person.

Every animal.

The sea froze mid-motion and the day never became night. He remembered crying out for several hours as he had run from his house screaming for someone, anyone to tell him why his mother wasn’t moving.

He’d cried a lot in those first few weeks. Especially when his seventeenth birthday still came around. He had moved his mother and sister into the living room, not that it mattered, there was no TV to watch, the electricity no longer worked.

He no longer needed to eat. He no longer felt hungry nor thirsty. It was like he had frozen as well. But he was not frozen, as the years waned with no days to count his hair greyed and his skin wrinkled. He had been everywhere in that time, he had walked across oceans and stayed in golden palaces. Though he soon realised what was the point of being the riches man in the world when no one was to see him in his throne.

He lost use of his voice and memories of movement became whispers. He wondered if he had just imagined it.

He returned home to die. He couldn’t remember which had been his house, nor even what his parents had looked like. All of it was gone. But it was still a sunny midday here.

Now old and frail he could no longer move. He remembered long ago, stories about people being eaten alive by wolves and bears. But there was no longer animals to eat him alive, he would not starve, only rot into dust. Perhaps then the world would start revolving again. Just this time without him.

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Burning at Dawn

The sounds he made were disgusting even to his own ears. But he couldn’t help himself, the taste was too much. The blood dripped down the man’s side and his tongue chased after it, his claws ripping in deeper into the flesh, holding down the prey as if the man was still moving. He was definitely breathing, his pounding heart bringing fresh warm blood to the vampire’s mouth.

HighwaySuddenly the trees exploded in red and pink. He tore himself away so quickly, a little bit of flesh came up with his teeth. The sun was blooming far off in the horizon. If he still he needed to breathe, it would be getting stuck in his throat.

Terror wasn’t an emotion he was used to, surprisingly there wasn’t much that could scare the undead, not many people carried stakes nowadays. But the sun and its rays of pure light was an ever-present danger.

He stood, letting the half-dead man roll over. He couldn’t care about that right now. He’d chased his game over several acres of farmland, with no shelter in sight. He started to back away. Was he really going to try and outrun the Sun? Looking over his shoulder at the rolling hills he realised yes, yes, he was.

***

No one could work out what had happened. The bodies were far away from each other, though it seemed like the biggest coincidence of the century for them not to be connected. The first man looked like he’d been torn apart by a savage animal and quite a big one at that, which was unlikely in the middle of Coventry. The other…well the other was the real mystery. Spontaneous combustion they called it. And it was apparently a thing. But usually the victim wouldn’t know it was happening until it was too late. And if that was the case, why had the nearby residents heard screams and sobs as he had ran through the fields.

You Only Had to Ask

This Flash Fiction was inspired by Rachel Poli’s Writing Prompt

***

“I thought we agreed no more secrets.”

Michal’s words echoed. The tall sunlit archways of the stone corridor should have made it impossible for such a thing. But in the aching silence left when Evan’s sword had sliced through his chest, the words rang around them.

Michal was looking down at the sword that he was impaled on with raised eyebrows only mildly shocked at the betrayal. Outwardly, he didn’t seem to be affected by it at all, still standing and talking as if going about their normal duties. Yet Evan’s arms were beginning to shake on the sword’s handle as Michal’s legs had given out. Only his old friend’s blade kept him standing.

“If you wanted to kill me, you only had to ask.”

Evan laughed, but it caught in his throat making it sound more like a sob. He’d never cried over any of the people he’d killed. He wished it could have stayed that way. Michal always brought out the worst in him but he supposed that was because Michal was the best out of all of them. Even as Evan murdered him, Michal was only upset that he hadn’t told him of his impending doom prior to that moment.

Evan couldn’t hold him up any longer and wrench the sword from Michal’s chest, the sword grating against the hard gristle that it had pierced. Michal was brought into his arms with the force of the action and Evan held him up even then, with his own legs trembling beneath the dead weight. Blood was not an unusual sight to the old soldier but the feeling of the hot thick blood, seeping through his clothes and soaking his chest filled him with shock and fear. As if he hadn’t realised what his actions would cause. Like Michal would walk away from it, like they both always did.

“Orders,” was all he could say, his guilt threatening to close his windpipe. He’d let it, to pay for what he’d done.

And so he held his breath waiting as Michal’s arms fell limp and his voice grew softer, all the while he kept repeating, “you only had to ask. You only had to ask.”

Unemployed and Bored

If she thought about it, this was like a game, potion making if you will. The constant boil and cooling, making sure everything was at the perfect temperature so it was just right. And with the smell coming from the bubbling pots and pans she could understand why many called cooking an art.

But if she didn’t think about it she realised how shit this was. Four pots covered her stove not to mention the bowl and stacks of jam jars that covered every surface of the kitchen and disgusting gloop seemed to follow them wherever they were sticking to her lovely clean worktops and somehow her ceiling.

Oh well it would give her something to do tomorrow.

She stepped back from the steaming concoction she was making and huffed as if she had been running. Her forehead was certainly sweating, perhaps this was a workout. Though, she was sure there was so much evaporated sugar in the air that it would give her diabetes.

She sighed, there was no turning back now. She wiped her forehead and felt cold jelly stick to it. Shit.

The door opened and shut.

“Honey I’m – oh…”

“Hey dear.”

Dan surveyed the kitchen while she refused to look back.

“So,” he said slowly, “did we have too many strawberries?”

“Yep, and apples and gooseberries.”

“I’m not even sure I know what a gooseberry is.”

She tittered, stirring one of her pots again as Dan backed out.

“You need to get a job!” he called out as he ran up the stairs.

“Are you hiring?” she called back.

Strawberries

The Flash Fiction

So, I need to write another Flash Fiction. Oh dearie, dearie. I do wonder if I’ll run out of ideas: about witty people living peculiar lives or my horrors will lose their edge. Did they ever have one?

Enough that. Time to write.

But what to write about? It has to be something that can keep a reader’s attention, be that by being snappy or funny. And about who? Perhaps a slice of a complicated life that will never be touched again.

Do you ever think about all the stories that you leave unfinished? Those lives put solely in your hands that you forget about so carelessly.

Of course, they mean nothing. They are but words on a page.

Jar

But perhaps that is what I am. Thoughts on a page and a narrator for a story that has an ultimate ending. But as long as I’m thinking, as long as I’m still a running idea and a story worth writing I’m alive. Because I can’t die, I don’t want to die. Does anyone?

So, I beg of you.

Don’t stop reading.

 

The End Xx

Not Going Out

“Hey, I was thinking of going out drinking with the gals. You free?”

She looked to her thick blankets and fluffed up pillow waiting with her woolly pyjamas.

“Afraid not…my sister has just died and I’m still processing it.”

Bed

Art of Small Talk

“Why are you so obsessed with the weather?”

George huffed and fiddled with the newspaper across his lap. Sam had finally agreed to come on holiday. Actually, Sam had agreed for the first time since he had moved in, to go outside.

Sam looked normal. That was all George could say with certainty. He looked like the most generic human out there, and to different people, that could mean different things. He could appear as a kindly old lady or a beret wearing hipster. Sam to George had looked like a red-haired and freckled boy when they first met, sixty years ago. He had kept his red features through their lives, though he had jumped in age and height as George had grown up.

Because Sam wasn’t human. He didn’t really know what Sam was. When Sam had first tried to explain what he was George had assumed that when he said ‘I’m not human’ he had been referring to his homosexuality. That night had involved George hugging him tightly while Sam fumbled through explanations that never went anywhere. After that Sam seemed too embarrassed to try and talk about it again and their lives continued with the knowledge sometimes, Sam ate plastic and random strangers would think they knew him. It was why he preferred to be inside with George, Sam didn’t have to hide in front of him. But the holiday was for George and they, (or maybe just George), weren’t getting any younger.

“People are not obsessed with the weather its just…a conversation starter. You know, everyone knows what the weather is…most of the time.”

Sam slapped George’s thigh.

“Did we ever talk about the weather?”

“No, but we were children, that’s different. Its…small talk.”

“I thought that was whispering.”

“No, no, its what conversation starters are called, asking about the weather or current world events.”

“Ah.” Sam stared across the pool. “LOVELY WEATHER WE’RE HAVING.”

The woman in the deck chair across from them jumped, though George found it surprisingly unsurprising.

“No,” he said quietly, “that’s…not quite right.”

“Why not?”

“Well, you usually ask people who are close by, also you don’t normally ask about the weather…inside.”

“Well what else do you talk about if not the weather. You know I have no idea about the news.”

George sighed and stood up ready to swim.

“Well you usually talk about stuff you have in common. Now,” he kissed Sam’s forehead, “don’t get into trouble.”

He dived in and did about two lengths before there was a loud scream and a splash. A woman was now flailing fully-clothed in the pool. He swam over as fast as he could.

“Are you alright?” he said, hooking his arms under hers.

The spluttering woman gladly accepted his help as he swam her to the edge of the pool. But his heart sunk as he realised Sam was crouched where the woman had fallen in.

‘Pushed,’ he corrected himself, ‘pushed.’

“You and my husband are both soaked in water, how do you feel about that?”

George definitely deserved a spa weekend alone.

Beach

My Lovely but Dangerously Flirty Wife

SniperIt’s grey overhead and up here the wind is strong and howling, making the building move beneath me. The cold has turned my face red and raw. The one thing you learn in this profession is that thick clothes are everything.

Looking through a scope for hours requires a level of comfort. Both the comfort of three million pounds if I just lie fucking still, but also the comfort of padded knees. I’ve been here for four hours going on five, but I’ve waited longer.

It doesn’t take long, all I know about my target is that they are meeting with my client’s wife today. She’s meant to be left unharmed, (hopefully having learnt her lesson). She comes out of the fancy restaurant across the street, wearing a wide brim hat and sunglasses despite the overcast day.

The target has an arm over her shoulders and a smile dripping with poison as the wife laughs at whatever the target has just said. I know its probably funny as I’ve heard enough dry wit from that mouth. It’s my wife.

“Shit,” I mutter. I still look through the scope at them, but my hand is far from the trigger.

Well. This is going to be an interesting conversation with May when I get home.

My window of opportunity closes quickly, though the five seconds for them to cross the road would have been plenty of time to take a shot. When they are almost directly beneath me, I look away from the scope, taking a shaky sigh. I have to get down there to warn her. I begin to dismantle my gun when something catches my eye.

There’s a glint from the roof of the building across. Shit. People just don’t put enough trust in hired assassins these days. It was a two-storey building, hardly worth the sniper rifle they have, but who am I to talk on my three-storey building. They have a clear shot and could be lining up sights as I randomly narrate this to myself. I settle back down, fumbling to reassemble the gun but my fingers shake, and I swear so loudly that it echoes into the leaden clouds. Not enough time. Well fuck, sometimes we have to take risks for love.

I draw my handgun from my belt and shoot down at the roof. The people on the street began to scream and the sniper on the opposite building rolls over, hiding as best he could. But of course, the bullets were coming from above not below. My handgun’s accuracy is shit and it takes the full round to get a hit to down him. It’s no double tap, but he ain’t pulling any triggers with a hand half blown off. He’s screaming and so are the people below. I lean over, May is still there, sheltering her lady-friend beside a van.

I throw the gun away, it’s useless now anyway. Six finger Harry (named before he lost three more fingers) hated working with partners. “When there’s two of you, there’s just enough people to shoot you both dead. Best to go with three.”

Perhaps the client had the same idea.

I looked down the street carefully and then I lean down again to check over the edge. Everyone on the street is either running away or hiding. Except for one man. Speak of the devil: Six Finger Harry is coming to kill my wife.

“Shit,” I say again because I know what I have to do.

I swing my legs over the edge and jump down as Six Finger Harry runs underneath. I land with a crunch. At first, I think it’s my leg as pain shoots through it from the bad landing. But then I realise it’s Six Fingers Harry from the way his spine is bent backwards.

May opens and closes her mouth in shock as I wiggle a finger in her face.

“We’re going to talk about this later.”

I take out my phone and walk away as it rings.

“Hello?”

“The targets down, I’m coming for my money.”

***

I step into the car, my client isn’t even looking at me, instead out the window, a suitcase across his lap.

“Is she dead?”

“My target? He’s about to be.”

My handgun is out and pressed against the client’s head before he realises. In fact, he even jumps a second later. Frankly I am doing the client a favour if his reflexes are that bad.

“Please! No, no, please! I’ll give you anything!”

“You sent me to murder my fiancée. Bad idea.”

“She fucked my wife.”

“So? I’m sure your wife enjoyed it, she’s a lovely woman!”

“You’re insane.”

“Maybe.”

He pulled the trigger and brain matter splattered across the windscreen. I sigh and get back out of the car. I pause and pull the door back open taking the suitcase with me.

For Love

Michelle counted her tip from the last table and scoffed at the shrapnel, but she’d take what she could.

“Shelly,” ‘What a ridiculous nickname.’ “can you see to table six?”

“Sure thing Ronny!” she called back.

‘Two can play at that game Sharon.’

She worked in a fancy little restaurant, not that that made a difference to her wages, she still got paid next to nothing. Table six was two gentlemen, laughing loudly and already red-faced from lager.

“Can I get you any starters gentlemen?”

They looked up at her and her reaction was instant: “Shit!”

Probably not the best thing to say to customers but she thought it would be okay for her fiancé to hear.

“Umm…” was the only sound Ross made.

A few facts ran through Michelle’s head: A) this was her betrothed who B) didn’t know she worked in a restaurant and so C) she needed to get away as quickly as possible.

“Michelle?”

“Nope.”

She began walking away. Where to she didn’t know (she had two hours left) and with Ross following her it wasn’t like she could hide.

“Honey?”

“Nope,” she kept repeating as if Ross would give up and think she just had an evil twin sister. Through the restaurant they raced, Michelle now lightly jogging as other patrons watched.

Finally, she reached a storage cupboard and hurried inside slamming the door behind her. However, given the door obviously didn’t lock from the inside she was soon joined by Ross.

There was an awkward minute with Michelle staying on one side of the small cleaning room and Ross on the other.

“So…what are you doing here?”

Michelle was already biting at her nails.

“I don’t work in an office,” she whispered.

“Are you a waitress?”

“No!”

“Then why are you dressed like a waitress?”

There was a pause and her mind drew a blank.

“…Because I’m a waitress.”

He laughed and she covered her face with her hands, sitting down on an upturned bucket.

“Hey, it’s okay if you’re a waitress. How…long have you been a waitress?”

“Umm…since I was fourteen.”

“Since we’ve been going out!?”

“Well you have such a fancy sounding job and I got so worried you’d not like me unless I had an office job too.”

“And so, you lied?”

She nodded.

“For the six years of our relationship?”

“Well the longer I left it, the harder it was to…you know, tell you the truth.”

Ross laughed again, and she winced.

“Please stop laughing.”

“Why not? This is such a you thing to do. To be so awkward to keep up a charade for six years.”

She scuffed her work shoes and they left a black mark on the floor.

“Do you really think I’d hate you for being a waitress?”

“Well not anymore…now I think you’ll hate me for lying.”

Ross chuckled again, shaking his head at the ridiculous situation. He strode across the small room and kissed her.

“I’m marrying you because you’re crazy enough to lie. Just…no more secrets Michelle.”

“Well if we’re not having any more secrets then you probably should call me Amy.”

Mix-Up

Wagging tail? Check.

Tongue lolling? Check.

Waiting excitedly for the first visitors…where were they?

She looked hurriedly down the brightly lit corridor. Across from her, other dogs were anxiously waiting for the families and couples to come in and select the lucky few who would be taken home.

And today, she would be taken home.

At least she thought so, just like she did every day.

Finally, people started walking down the hall and she wagged her tail hard, wanting for someone to stop and look at her. Like usual they gave her a couple of looks, but no one came to stop.

The first person to stop for her was a young girl and she jumped up to the glass, her paws slipping down the window. The little girl giggled, this could be it. But when the girl’s parents joined her, they gave her one look before smiling and dragging their child away.

Her tail drooped. She didn’t understand, this worked for everyone else around her and they all seemed pretty impressed with her as well, barking and jumping at her cage.

Someone new had come to stop: an old man peering down at her through thick lenses. She wagged her tail slowly. Could he take her home? She spun around chasing her tail and when she stopped the man was laughing and gesturing someone over.

It was the shopkeeper. They talked for a minute or two before the shopkeeper lent down and opened her cage and oh, oh! Someone was taking her home!

She bounced around, wagging her tail furiously. She let the shopkeeper pick her up and hand her to the old man who she began to slobber with kisses.

She was going to a home!

***

cat

“She acts very strange, doesn’t she?” the old man said to the shopkeeper.

“Well she was raised with dogs. She’s not very catlike I’m afraid…is that going to be a problem?”

The man laughed again as the cat licked his face, “no, I don’t think so.”