Archive for September, 2013

Flash!Friday, week 43

Posted in Uncategorized on September 27, 2013 by drmagoo


Silhouetted against the darkening sky, the children fell to Earth. I couldn’t catch them all, though I tried – a haul like this would keep me in clover for six, maybe seven years. The ones I missed bounced and cried and tumbled and then scurried off into the brush, but I was quick as a flash, and my handmade cages were soon full. Didn’t need strong steel, like for tigers, or fancy locks, like for wizards. Did need earplugs, though – cloud babies yell up a storm when hungry, and I ain’t no wet nurse. My wagon was old, but it’d make this one last run through the pass. Maybe I could still sell it to some townie. Same for the mules that pulled it, but no one really wants an old mule, except the Army for rations. One of the kids smiled at me as I cinched the straps. Maybe I’d keep one this time.

MWBB – week 32

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2013 by drmagoo


The teenager who tore my ticket was deeply crosseyed, and I wasn’t sure he actually could see anything except the pimple the size of Mount Olympus that graced the tip of his nose. The poor bastard probably wouldn’t touch an unpaid-for woman in his life if he didn’t get that fixed, not in this town, a fact my wife emphasized as she slid my hand from her back down to her ass. His eyes widened, and she laughed, dark and throaty.

Nothing got her going like Rumble night, even after all these years.

She never got good seats, even though we could afford a skybox. When we were kids, we sat in the holding pen with the rest of the cattle, all denim and leather and hormones, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Our kids had made their way in another entrance. They were at that age now where parents was the most horrific thing possible, but there was no way we were going to let them come here alone. I could see them up against the fence – they had no compunction about using my money to impress their friends – and I couldn’t help but wish this wasn’t yet another night I’d spend missing them.

My wife knew what I was thinking – after twenty years, she knew more about me than we’d ever discuss – and she slipped her hand in my pocket to withdraw my whiskey flask. “God, can you believe it’s been seventeen years since we made Lacey?”

“And sixteen since Keith. If I hadn’t gotten snipped, we’d have one for every year we’ve been here.”

She grinned. “Damn straight.”

The crowd roared, and the participants came out onto the stage. It couldn’t be called anything else, as any resemblance to an actual rumble disappeared long ago. Always an act of sorts, a way for kids without much of a future to get rid of the self-hate and guilt that comes with knowing you’re going to spend the rest of your life as a fuckup, it kept them from running riot through the streets. Those of us who grew up in different circumstances could sleep knowing that our homes and parents’ businesses wouldn’t be burnt to the ground by a wayward Molotov cocktail. As the recession hit and the jobs had gone from scarce to nonexistent, the problems had grown well past the point that pretend violence accomplished much, and the news grew more and more filled with blood and death. But for one night, we all dreamed that we could still gimmick our way out of hate and poverty.

Per usual, my wife was giving both sides the sharpest edge of her tongue. “You call that a pompadour? I’ve got more hair on my p-!”

And per usual, I shut her up with a kiss. The whiskey was strong on her tongue, and she pressed against me. “Liar!”

“Of course – but they don’t know that.” She turned back to the action, “Oh, c’mon, you think you’re a skinhead? My kids were tougher than that by their first birthday!”

Looking down at the kids in question, I saw Lacey determinedly not looking at her mom, while some boy that was entirely too close to her was trying to figure out where the catcalls had come from. Damn, she was growing up so fast.

The action this year was more intense than it had been in recent years, and I remarked on that to my wife. “Hell, I remember two years ago when guys were falling down from punches that missed!” The crowd was getting more into it too, and it was the overall level of the din that kept me from noticing at first that Lacey’s cheers had turned to screams.

The young man with her was now in the arms of one of the skinheads, a feral-looking man who’d jumped the fence into the crowd which’d come to watch him fight for amusement. The skinhead pulled a knife from his pocket, and with a practiced swipe of his blade, he peeled back the scalp of Lacey’s former companion. It was then that I heard the gunfire from behind us and felt my wife collapse against me.

55 Word Challenge, week 76

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25, 2013 by drmagoo


The beast got dad last year, but it didn’t have time to get through the weather-beaten planks protecting Kayla and me before sunup. We buried him in his garden, and Kayla didn’t even yell when I cried. It’s coming back tonight and Kayla’s gone to meet it. I hope I’m strong enough to bury her.

VisDare 38: Chase

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2013 by drmagoo


Right arm.

Left arm.


Right arm. Left arm. Breathe. Don’t look up. Don’t look up.

I looked up. There he is, a quarter-mile ahead of me. Or more. Maybe less. Hard to judge distances in a featureless ocean.

Right arm. Left arm. Breathe.

I shouldn’t be able to keep up this pace, not after this many days. But neither should he.

 My filter processed the water and removed the salt so I could drink. It collected minute sea creatures and turned them into food. I could artificially stimulate my muscles when I needed it, although the alarm was flashing, begging me to stop. We should have reached the far shore long ago, but it no longer matters.

 Right arm. Left arm. Breathe.

 If I could catch him, we could swim together. I could even let him gain on me should the other shore appear.

 Right arm. Left arm. Breathe.

Mid-week Blues Buster week 31

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2013 by drmagoo


A cloud passed in front of the moon just as Allie crested the hill outside her family home, and she arrived at the lake in near-total darkness. Anyone could be hiding down there, although not from her – there weren’t any sparks in sight. The lake house had been abandoned for five years, ever since she killed her father and started her search, and she hoped she hadn’t left anyone enough of a trail to find her, at least for a while.

Getting out of LA had been a bitch. She’d underestimated quite how many people were after her, and it hadn’t been until she’d taken the spark from the overnight gas station attendant just outside of town that Allie had been able to get her hands on enough cash and a car to make her way east. Any one of the bastards who’d been after her wouldn’t have been a threat, but she couldn’t risk having all of them catch up to her, not when she’d gotten so close to her target.

The memories were thick as she made her way down to the dock, the path coming automatically to her feet from a thousand trips in the dark. The lake was where she learned what having power over life and death really meant. It’s where she’d taken a life the first time and learned what the sparks were for, although it was years before she knew what her purpose was. Allie sat down on the edge of the dock, her toes dragging into the still water, swollen with recent rains, and tried to calm her racing heart. She hadn’t anticipated having this strong a reaction to being here again. A shiver came over her and she grew dizzy. “Worn out from the race across the country,” she thought, and lay back on the dock, falling asleep even before her head hit the wood.

Allie knew before her eyes opened that she wasn’t alone. The presence she felt wasn’t one of the people she’d pissed off in LA, which should have served to calm her, but she could barely concentrate for all of the alarm bells going off in her head. It was already hot, and bright, and she gently opened her eyes, tilting her head back to see who’d found her. She could have played coy, but that wasn’t her style. Her companion was young, hardly more than a boy, his bright red hair aflame in the sunlight. He was catching flies between her finger and her thumb, watching them squirm, and then crushing them into goo with a giggle at the barely-perceptible spark.

“Welcome home, Allie.” She squinted, trying to see into him, but while he was clearly sitting in front of her, she could see nothing more of him. “Yeah, don’t do that.”

His voice was deeper than she’d expected, and she realized she might very well have misjudged his age. She changed tactics, smiling at him, remembering the power she’d held over a man his age on this very dock. “Or what?”

“Don’t do that, either. Lucas was a simpleton. You’re the one who’s been chasing me for years – do you really think so little of me?

“And there’s no or anything. I tell you what you can and cannot do, and then you choose whether you will listen. There’s no more or less to life than that.” He crushed another fly and wiped its remains on his jeans.

Finish that thought 11

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2013 by drmagoo


Maria waited, trembling, for them to call her name. The other girls weren’t fidgeting in their seats, and she couldn’t figure out why. She’d talked to Luisa and Anna, girls from her neighborhood, before they’d been asked to take their seats, and they’d seemed unnaturally calm. Even Luisa, who had been in the principal’s office every semester since second grade for fighting or yelling or something.

She looked up at the stage and the lone lectern sitting slightly left of center. Maria had expected more ceremony, more artistry, more…something, but there was nothing other than the scraped-up wood and the stub of a microphone.

The man who walked out on stage was exactly as she’d expected, however. Punctual, crisp, neat, with a measured stride that belied his strength, he made his way to the podium in eleven precise steps. Everyone knew the Commander.

He paused, for just a moment – not to review his notes, for he had none, and not to consider the audience, for his gaze was focused not on them, but on the flag hanging on the back wall. Maria couldn’t hold still any longer, and she started to tremble as he opened his mouth to speak.

VisDare 37: Trajectory

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2013 by drmagoo


Randall was 35 when he figured out what the ticking sound was. It had been there his whole life, and while it never bothered him, he’d never known quiet, never experienced true silence, and more than anything, never knew what it was or what it meant.

The day he died, the ticking was louder than ever. He’d had to ask the barista three times what she’d said to him when he picked up his morning latte and his boss had called him into her office for a conversation about why he’d been so distracted.

At lunchtime, he stepped out into the canyons formed by glass and steel. For the first time, the ticking seemed to be coming from a particular direction. Looking northward, he saw the hands of the great clock of his life coming together. The pain in his chest started just as the alarm bell rang.