Beyond the Divide: Part 14

“Should I hide or something?”

“It knows you’re here. As long as you keep your distance, things will be fine. It has other things to focus on.”

Liz half-lifted a hand and pointed at Mark. “What… what is it doing?”

Evie frowned. “Nothing good.”

Liz blinked and Evie was gone. She turned back toward Mark. The shadow’s form twisted over him, like smoke and ash swirling over a burning building. When it settled, Liz stepped back and reached out for the nearest tree.

The eyes were depthless orbs, large and menacing. It rested forward on its knuckles, with its muscular arms set on either side of Mark. They were as thick as he was, and almost as tall. The lower half of its body tapered to short but powerful legs. Wide shoulders flowed to a broad head and elongated snout. Its lips curled and Liz was certain that if she had been closer she would have heard it snarling.

Liz blinked again and Evie was standing near the shadow. She had a foul look on her young face as she raised her open hands toward it. The dog took a step back but went no further. Liz felt there was a conversation happening, or an argument, but she was not privy to a word of it. Evie widened her stance and set her hands down low. Her fingertips started to glow but soon she was enveloped in blue, flickering light up to her elbows.

Mark, Christopher, and her mother talked inches away as if nothing was wrong. Liz saw Christopher hand something to Mark and walk away. The monster hesitated, then turned to follow him.  It looked back to Evie for a split second before breaking apart and dissipating.

“Who was that man?”

Liz flinched. She looked beside her to Evie. “He was my boss.”

“The darkness, it’s attached to him.”

“What do you mean?”

“He called it. It does his bidding, to an extent.”

“Does that mean…”

“The darkness knows you. I think it is the reason you are here.”

Liz’s lips pinched tight.

“You don’t remember how it happened, do you?”

Liz shook her head. “Not all of it.”

Evie looked down the hill. “There was another.”

“What do you mean, another?”

“Yours was not the only life taken.”

Liz turned her eyes away. “Gloria.”

 

***

Image by Kaleigh Kanary

 

 

Beyond the Divide: Part 13

Mark sighed and put his hands in his pockets. He thought they were done, that they could get out of the sun, but then a man in a tailored suit walked around in front of them.

The man reached out and took Mark’s mother by her hand and shook it gently. “Mrs. Odera, I’m so sorry for your loss. Everyone at the office is heartbroken.”

Mark’s mother hesitated. Her mouth opened, and then closed. “You worked with Liz?”

“Oh, yes. Very closely.”

The man turned to Mark and reached out. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

Mark took the man’s hand. He looked into the man’s neutral eyes and was overcome with a sense of weight, of sadness. “Thank you,” Mark said.

“Such a terrible situation,” the man said and raised an eyebrow. “It’s a shame that none of us saw it coming.”

Mark nodded and pulled his hand back. “Yeah.”

“If there’s anything I can do, anything at all, please reach out.” The man put his hand in his coat pocket and pulled out a business card. He held it out to Mark.

Mark looked down at the card. He took it and held it out in front of him. In large letters on the front it showed Christopher Marston, Executive Director. “Thank you. We will.”

The man gave a thin smile, nodded to both Mark and his mother, and then walked away.

Mark blinked and then looked around him. His breath was short and shallow. He held a hand out and rested it on his mother’s shoulder. “I, uh… I need to go sit down. I’ll meet you at the car, okay?”

 

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Image by Kaleigh Kanary

 

 

99 Words #32 – Strawberries and Mint

I swipe the sliver of tomato across the grains of salt and pepper on the plate and then pop it in my mouth. I lift up the glass but there’s only a drop of sweet liquid left under the crushed strawberry and browning mint leaf. It’s not worth the sip so I set it back down.

I sit back and interlace my fingers over my satiated belly. The sun is deep orange as it prepares to say goodnight. Off in the distance birds are chittering and singing. I close my eyes and smile, grateful for one last perfect day.

 

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Photo by Hassan Maayiz on Unsplash

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This was written in response to the May 30, 2019 flash fiction prompt from Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes strawberries and mint. You can learn more here – May 30, 20119 Flash Fiction Prompt

99 Words #31 – No Escape

I’m staring out the window watching the plane taxi to the terminal and my mind starts to wander. Soon my days will be filled with palm trees, bikinis, and warm sun on my skin. I’m so close.

I don’t notice she’s slipped up behind me until she loops her arm through mine. She sets her lips close to my ear. “Come with me please.”

I feel a sharp pain in my side. I turned to look but she warns against it.

“It won’t hurt much, but you’ll bleed like the dickens.” The sweetness in her tone disappears. “Let’s go.”

 

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Photo by yousef alfuhigi on Unsplash

 

The Doom Project

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I am yours now, together we are whole.

I will caress your cheek, to wipe away the tears and blood.

I will kiss your eyes, and then pick them from your skull.

I will feel your heartbeat, before I silence it for good.

You are mine now, until the end of time.

 

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***

 

What would come to be known as The Doom Project first tickled at my brain cells three years ago. The words came but so did an image, one that I knew I was not capable of making a reality on my own. With that understanding, the few lines of text on a sheet of notebook paper were put in a folder and set aside. Last year I brought the idea up to my friend Kaleigh. To make a very long story short, this is the result of our efforts. Kaleigh created the image, I created the words and the frame.

It’s dark, and perhaps a little unsettling, but I love it. I only wish my photography skills were at a level that I could do it justice here. I want to say I hope you enjoy it, but I know it’s not everyone’s idea of a good time. That’s okay though, this one was for me, and I’m grateful that it has finally become a reality.

 

 

99 Words #27 – White Christmas

“Looks like it’s going to be a white Christmas.”

I tilt my head. “Is that a good thing?”

“Sure, why not?”

“I don’t know. Why does it matter? What percentage of the population will never know what snow on Christmas day looks like because of where they live? What about the people who don’t celebrate? It’s just another snowy day to them, right? What if those people don’t like to shovel?”

She shakes her head. “You have got to be the single most frustrating person I know.”

I smile and lean in to kiss her cheek. “Love you too.”

*

Photo by Jessica Fadel

99 Words #26 – The Raven

“Anything?”

“No.”

Sean squinted and rubbed at his earlobe, “I thought you said they’d be here soon?”

“Yes. Soon.”

“But, you said that, like, twenty minutes ago. And twenty minutes before that.”

Torben focused a dark eye on Sean.

“Soon. Got it.” Sean looked back past the ridge, and over the clutch of snow tipped Spruce trees, “It’s just, I need to know they’re alright.”

Torben turned. He stretched out his neck and shifted on his feet, “It’s time.” He spread his wings and launched into the air, feathers shining like obsidian in the light of the rising sun.

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unsplash-logoDean Truderung

The Flood – Part 7

I flip through the channels to get Tess back to her cartoons. I’m tired of the news anyway, same thing all day long. Record breaking rainfall, flooding everywhere, general mayhem ensues. It would have been nice if the girls had gotten outside for a little bit, but by the looks of it that won’t happen for a few days. The yard’s about ankle deep, and the sump’s been running non-stop.

Zoe hasn’t been far from an electrical outlet all day. Tess has been keeping herself busy, there’s now a cardboard stuffy hotel in the living room, and the fridge is full of crayon butterflies and stick figure family portraits. Surprisingly she hasn’t said much about not being able to go see Grandma.

I hear the front door slam. John’s back from moving the chickens to the barn. I stand to go see how it all went, “Okay ladies, finish what you’re doing and get upstairs please.”

Tess grumbles a little but starts cleaning up her pile of paper. Zoe snatches her cords and bolts past me.

John is sitting on the bench in the porch working his rubber boots off. Three sets of eyes peer out from the corner under the bench. Momma and her kittens. They don’t come in the house often but know their boundaries so stay put.

“Pretty bad out there, huh.”

“It is.”

“Anything I can help with?”

“Not right now. Get some sleep, I’ll keep an eye on everything.”

“Alright, see you in the morning.”

 

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Wonder what’s going on? Start here -> The Flood – Prologue

The Flood – Part 6

I wake up to torrential rain hammering the house. Almost sounds like it’s going to come through the bloody wall. I reach over and check my phone. It’s seven fourty four in the morning. Damn it, I slept in. Yesterday took a lot out of me I guess.

I turn on the bedside lamp and then sort through the pile of clothes on the floor for sweatpants and a t-shirt. I check in on Tess but she’s sound asleep, Zoe’s light is off so I keep walking.

One of the chairs is pulled away from the kitchen table and an empty coffee cup is sitting in front. The door to the basement is wide open with yellow light flooding out, so I make my way down. John is crouched in the far corner, his rain jacket still shedding water, covering up a hole in the floor with a wood panel.

“Mornin’ John. Everything okay?”

“So far. Just checking the sump.”

I can smell the must and damp, but everything looks dry enough, “Think we’ll be okay?”

John gives me a sideways glance, “Just got back from out across the way. Creek’s higher than I’ve seen it before, and there’s standing water in the fields already. Have to see what happens, worst isn’t here yet.”

“Damn. Well, I should probably get breakfast started, you hungry?”

“Yeah, should eat I guess. Be up shortly.”

I start up the narrow staircase, “Sounds good. Holler if you need a hand with anything.”

“Will do.”

 

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Wonder what’s going on? Start here -> The Flood – Prologue

 

 

The Flood – Part 5

I turn in to the breeze and let it wash over me. It feels good after sweating my ass off for the last nine hours straight. Don’t get me wrong, I like to help, but John was pretty insistent that we get out early this morning and he’s been setting a hectic pace since. Said something about needing to get things cleaned up before the storm. My sunburned shoulders are a testament to the lack of cloud cover, let alone inclement weather. Can’t argue though, John usually knows what he’s talking about.

I close my eyes, tilt my head back, and take everything in. The branches of the Willow are rustling above me. A group of Sparrows are chittering off beside the barn. The air is heavy with the scent of Canola and dust. God it stinks. Summer is half over, and I have no idea where it went. I miss the Spring. Fresh Lilac blooms and cool, cleansing rain. The promise of starting over. Now everything is hot and stagnant. I’m over it.

Solid footsteps on the gravel break me from my meditation. I open my eyes to see John striding past with a coil of rope over his shoulder.

“Come on Daniel, only a little bit to go.”

“Okay, be right there.”

I turn to follow and see dark clouds building to the South. Ugly buggers. The wind picks up, it stings my eyes. I make a mental note to check the upstairs windows when I get in.

 

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Wonder what’s going on? Start here -> The Flood – Prologue