99 Words #25 – Take My Hand

The sound of an organ pushes through the silence. Elvis starts singing. Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand.

I hear something in the background. It fills the empty notes. I try to explain it away as a bad download, but I listen closer, just to be sure.

There’s something under the noise. It’s visceral, angry. It scratches at the back of my eyeballs. The more I focus on it the closer it comes. A voice, whispering terrible things. I’m scared but I can’t turn it off. It’s too late for that. Much too late.

 

99 Words #24 – Thankful

Where you headed?

Falls Church.

What’s taking you down there?

Family stuff. It’s home. Used to be anyway.

That so? Well, I’ve got a second cousin lives out that way, maybe you know her? Esme Whitmore?

Sorry, doesn’t ring a bell.

Really? She’s run a dance school out there for years.

Sorry.

Well, that’s alright, you been gone I guess.

Yeah.

So, you’re goin to see family then?

I… Yes. My mother, she had an accident.

Oh my. That’s terrible. She gonne be alright?

Yeah. She will.

Something to be thankful for at least.

Yeah. I guess you’re right.

 

99 Words #23 – Goodbye

“So that’s it then.”

“I guess so.”

Jess was doing her best to hold it together, but she couldn’t stop the tears from breaking through.

“Do you need a ride home?”

“No. I’ll be fine. Thank you.”

The Head of HR waited by the door, eyes watching each piece as it was placed in the cardboard banker’s box. Marilyn was shocked by how fast everything had happened. How cold it made her feel. And she wasn’t the one being walked.

“I…”

I don’t know what to do, Marilyn wanted to say.

“It’s okay, really. Take care of yourself Marilyn.”

 

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Written in response to Carrot Ranch Communication’s August 31, 2016 flash fiction challenge prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a goodbye.

August 31: Flash Fiction Challenge

 

99 Words #22 – What is Love?

Baby?

Hi sweetie.

Hey there…

Umm, what are you doing?

I just wanted to say, I loves you…

Oh God, please don’t.

But I loves you…

Stop it.

I eats the ends of the banana bread loaf so you don’t have to.

Why do you have to be such a dork?

I never leaves you an empty toilet paper roll.

Knock it off right now or I’m going to smack you.

Don’t be angry, I Ioves you!

You make me angry, because you’re a dork!

But baby…

I said stop it.

I…

Don’t do it.

LOVES YOU!

Smack

Ow.

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Written in response to Carrot Ranch Communication’s July 13, 2016 flash fiction challenge prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the emotion of anger. Hey, it’s in there…

July 13: Flash Fiction Challenge

99 Words #21 – About a Cat

The Jaguar hasn’t moved in awhile. I watch him, while he watches me. Every now and then he flicks an ear on his broad head, or blinks in a way to suggest I’m of no real interest. Still his eyes stay focused on me, and mine on him.

We seem to share some sort of connection, though it isn’t from any sense of being alike. This magnificent beast, once wild and without equal, sits humiliated in his cramped cage. I stand before him, alone in a room full of people, completely lost in what I am told is freedom.

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Written in response to Carrot Ranch Communication’s July 6, 2016 flash fiction challenge prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a cat.

July 6: Flash Fiction Challenge

The Stag

The stag is just standing there staring at me. I don’t take my eyes off of him either. He only fades as wisps of my own breath rise and disintegrate in front of me. I’m too scared to move, not that I have anywhere to run.

“Git!” I shout at him, but the only response I get is the twitch of his nose.

“Go on now!” Nothing. Eyes as deep and dark as an empty well are locked on me, waiting. “Beat it ya wretch!”

I shift my stance to ease the pain in my feet. The stag levels his head at me, and takes a single step forward. I feel warmth running down my leg as I drop to my knees and start to pray.

 

99 Words #20 – Smile

I’m sitting here thinking about cancer, and I’ve decided that life isn’t fair.

Celebrities get shout outs and hashtags, while our friends and family are taken from us and nobody knows. Everyone is talented. Everyone is important. Right?

I’m lost in thought, when the boy pops up in front of me. He’s grinning ear to ear, tongue sticking through the space where a tooth used to be.

“Hi dad.”

Just as quickly, he disappears. I realize that maybe I’ve got it all wrong. It’s not about recognition, it’s what we do with the time we are given that counts.

 

 

The Night Victoria Snuck Out

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Metallic hinges groaned open after having been stationary for many years. Shadows shifted in the unlit entryway. A sharp nose and squinted eye appeared from behind the opening door. There was a pause, a sniff at the wet night air, and then Victoria emerged from her hiding spot.

She tightened the ragged shawl that constituted her disguise around her face. Startled by a procession of four wheeled transport carts making their way around the square, she nearly tumbled backwards in to one of the rose bushes that stood sentry outside the entry way.

Victoria composed herself with a heavy sigh, and began shuffling toward the side gate. When she was half way across the courtyard she had another scare. Just around the corner of the long stone wall came laughter. Victoria turned to see a group of men gathered together, enjoying a cigarette in what remained of the night now that the rain had passed.

Victoria turned to continue on her way, but she had already been spotted. She tried to move at a comfortable pace, not wanting to raise immediate suspicion, but still the heavy clap of boots on the cobblestones continued after her.

“Hello there! What business do you have outside of the palace this evening?”

Victoria clasped the shawl over her face and turned to face her pursuer. She tensed as the man came near. “So sorry Sir, I seem to be going daft in my old age and’ve lost my way.”

“But…” the man paused, eyeing Victoria closely, “Grandmother?”

Victoria sighed and dropped her hand from her face. She kicked at a small rock in front of her, “Bugger.”

“Grandmother! What on earth are you doing?”

“George! Hush now, I wish to avoid unwanted attention!”

“But Grandmother, why are you sneaking about at this time of night?”

“I don’t believe I owe any explanation to you young George, but if it must be known I wish to see Mister Cody once more.”

“The man from the Wild West performance? Whatever for?”

“He wished to give me a private showing of something he referred to as his ‘white sheet rodeo’, I was intrigued.”

“Grandmother!”

“Hold your tongue young George, you are family but do not forget that your future is very much in my hands.”

“Yes Grandmother…”

“Now, it appears that the traffic along the carriage path has diminished, be a dear and latch the gate after I’ve gone, will you?”