Archive for October, 2013

Mid Week Blues Buster 35

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/mid-week-blues-buster-week-35/

I came to on a lawn covered with dew, the silver starlight refracting through the droplets to shine a thousand pinpricks of light upon my face. My feet were bare, my peasant shoes long having worn away as I’d made my journey west, and as I stood, the moisture cooled my skin, causing goose pimples to break out across my body.

There had been no reason for me to leave home, other than there had been no reason to stay. I was an outcast from a dead village, the last of my people – but not the first – to make the journey west. Looking out over the Sundowned Sea, I found that I could no longer remember the journey. I knew that there were mountains and valleys, rivers and forests, and I must have eaten and slept and walked for months, but it made no more of an impression on my memory than a faded dream.

The goddess who’d called me was one I’d known even as a young child, for she visited the people more than any of her brethren. She was dark, and called hate and jealousy to the fore of your mind whenever she spoke. I’d set fire to my mother’s bed on her orders, and I’d walked across the world to answer her call.

The sun would rise soon, filling the sky behind me with pinks and oranges and yellows, the colors the heralded a new day, which meant that it was time for me to find my rest. The shadow of an oak would provide my shelter, and the breeze from the south, my blanket. I curled up in my bower and watched the silver beacons fade from the sky. I had been called to the west to do great deeds for my goddess, and in the night we would begin her work anew.

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Finish That Thought 15

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://alissaleonard.blogspot.com/2013/10/finish-that-thought-15.html

When the moon exploded, I was sitting in my backyard, popping the cork on a bottle of champagne. The debris would rain down on the world over the next few hours, causing tsunamis, fireballs in the sky, and crushing humanity from above. In the meantime, it was my anniversary, and I was going to celebrate. I drained my glass in a single swallow and tossed the glass out into the yard. The glass shattered on a rock, just like my life. I lifted the bottle to my lips and began drinking in earnest.

The first fireballs streaked across the sky by the time I’d switched to whiskey. Marie had hated the smell of whiskey, but she was thousands of miles away with Stephen, sunning topless on a beach in the French Riviera. That she scheduled her honeymoon to overlap with our anniversary didn’t surprise me. She was vindictive, always had been. She wanted me to suffer, to miss her and the love I’d thought we shared. But she was the one who would suffer.

The explosion wouldn’t be visible from where she was. I’d planned it that way. All she’d know was that her new marriage would last until the end of the world.

Flash! Friday week 45

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2013 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/flash-friday-45/

Children didn’t run over these hills, calling after each other as they pretended to be cowboys or explorers or knights. Young couples in love didn’t search the horizon for a place they could sneak away to and love each other away from prying eyes. Artists didn’t sit on outcroppings and try to capture the wonders of a sunset or sunrise or the motion of wild grasses blowing in a summer breeze. Hikers didn’t wrap their feet in worn leather boots and walk higher and higher, just to see what was over the next hill or what mysteries lay in the next valley.

Not anymore.

The dog was younger than the end of humanity, and it knew nothing of children or couples or artists or hikers. But it knew scents, and it knew that something had been here. She scratched at the dirt, clouds of dust blowing in the wind, delving until she found what had attracted her to this spot, the unknown combination of chemicals that had drawn her over unfamiliar hills. She didn’t recognize the blue fluff as a dog, though it had been a child’s favorite bedtime companion once upon a time.

Not anymore.

She gripped her find in her teeth, and loped off through the empty world.

Mid Week Blues Buster 34

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2013 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/mid-week-blues-buster-week-34/

The fire crackled, the popping noises highlighting how quiet it was in the house. The kids were asleep, and my wife was pointedly ignoring me, as she’d done since I’d gotten home. I’d been married to Arra long enough that I knew when I’d done something wrong, but I had no idea what it was this time. I’d re-thatched the roof week before last, and we’d been eating fresh meat all winter long. I gave up trying to guess and decided to take my punishment so that I could sleep.

“Are you going to tell me, or do I need to drag you off to the gallows to get you to talk?”

Her icy stare made it clear that humor wasn’t going to help.

“Oh, I’d never want to bother you at work. I know how busy you are.” The amount of vitriol embedded in the word ‘busy’ would have scarred most men, but I’ve been cursed at by men and women ever since my pa had brought me on as an executioner’s apprentice, and I knew that words could never hurt me.

Arra could make my life awfully uncomfortable, however. I cleared my throat and tried again. “Well, it was busy last month – that was why it took me to get so long to get to the roof. The campaign in the north didn’t go well, and the king had a number of object lessons he wanted to make. But the last week or so has been pretty quiet – only so many people do something he’ll be upset about enough to order them hung.”

“It’s not the executions, dear. I was talking to Marianne, and she said you’ve been getting visitors at the keep. And they bring you gifts.”

Oh no. Not this again. “You know I do, Arra. Those bribes are what paid for this land, and that brooch you like so much, and will get Michael a place as a squire instead of being a killer’s son. But I tell the king about all of them, and the doomed swing at daybreak no matter what. We both know what would happen if I tried to do something else, something noble.”

“Marianne said that some of the visitors were women. Young women. Young poor desperate women.”

I sighed. “Yes. They’re the ones married to the damned fool soldiers who thought they could desert as soon as the fighting got tough.”

“That’s not what I mean, and you know it. They don’t have money to bribe you with, but I know what they do.” She was hissing now, spitting the words at me.

“Arra!” I’m not naturally a violent man, though I live surrounded by death, but I do get flares of temper. “You have no idea what they do. You’re a good woman, better than most. You don’t want to know what these women do – what they’re willing to do, to try to save someone who can’t be saved.”

“And you let them, don’t you? You let them throw themselves at you like you don’t have a wife, you don’t have kids.”

“I do. It’s the only hope those women have, and it keeps them from trying something even stupider to try to save their husbands. You know how my Pa died.”

“The riots.”

“The riots that killed a hundred good men. So the king ordered me to do what I had to – whatever I had to – to keep that from happening again.”

Arra had tears in her eyes. “But Norman, what about your vows? Made in front of God and the king?”

“I’ve never dishonored those vows.”

“But you said – the king’s orders?”

“I’ve followed them, every time. But I’ve never done what you’re thinking. You have to trust me. You do not want to know everything about my job.”

Arra’s fears aside, she knew we had a good marriage. She also knew that there were secrets in a good marriage. I took her to bed and made sure she felt my love, my passion for her. And I tried not to think of the women, so desperate, so needy, so willing to fulfill any man’s desires. And the cellar floor that needed refinishing so often.

Thurs Threads week 91

Posted in Uncategorized on October 10, 2013 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://siobhanmuir.blogspot.com/2013/10/thursthreads-challenge-that-ties-tales_10.html

“What’s wrong with these people,” the prince said, taking a sip from his Cristal Big Gulp. The 3D holographic projector was showing the riots in the streets, 200 meters below, and the faint echo of screams wafting up through his windows was nothing more than a murmur. “They’re killing each other, and they don’t even realize that it’s their fault they don’t have food.”

“They don’t understand that the loss of the Great Plains affected us all. Have they even tried the corn from Antarctica? They call it super-sweet, but it’s not.” The princess walked to the window and sighed. “I don’t even know if we’re going to be able to make it to the Mediterranean this weekend, and we promised that we’d bring the pheasants for the hunt.

“I can’t believe these…animals…are going to get in our way, after all our hard work.”

“Unless we remove them.”

“Can we do that? I know they’re a menace to themselves, but do we have the right…” She tried to look concerned, but mostly she was excited. The prince showing his strength always aroused her…interest.

“Not just the right, the responsibility. I’m not their prince to let the world fall apart like this.” The projector switched from passive to active mode, and he raised his laser pistol, selecting the ones who most offended him. On the street below, people died without knowing they were under attack. The demonstration turned into a rout, but the prince didn’t stop, not until much, much later.

VisDare 40 – Oblivious

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2013 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://anonymouslegacy.blogspot.com/2013/10/visdare-40-oblivious.html

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but you can’t bring that onto the subway.” The conductor had been on the job one too many days, and he’d dealt with an awful lot of crazy people, but none quite like Maude. He’d had every fluid produced by the human body hurled at him, had heard every curse word in every spoken language on Earth (although he assumed at least some of the words were made up), and once had seen a man in a dog suit playing “Also Sprach Zarathustra” on a kazoo…that wasn’t in his mouth.

Maude wasn’t angry. She was sweeter than his grandmother, and she’d always let him steal an extra chocolate after dinner, even though his mom said no. And she didn’t yell, or spit, or carry a kazoo. But she was carrying a large pedestal lamp, oddly similar to the one his grandmother had in her parlor when he was little. And it would break and get in other passengers’ way and he couldn’t be held liable for that.

The conductor was sure that no one had ever looked more sad than Maude as she tried to understand what he was saying. “I have to get Earl to Madama Sylvia. She said by tomorrow, and the taxis aren’t big enough and I can’t drive anymore. Please, can’t you help me?”

No matter how pathetic she looked, the lamp was too big for the subway. It just was. “My brother in law has a truck – he can drive it for you this weekend, if you need it then.” Why was he offering to help? He wanted to go golfing this weekend.

“But it has to be today, or I’ll lose Earl forever.” Her gnarled and wrinkled fingers held the lamp gently, almost hugging it to her stooped frame.

“Ma’am. I don’t mean to sound, well, mean, but it’s just a lamp.”

“Oh, Earl’s not a lamp. He’s in the lamp. You see…Earl’s a genie.”

“A what? Look, lady, I’m not crazy, and you seem nice, but it’s a lamp. And it can’t go on my subway.”

“SHE’S NOT CRAZY,” bellowed the lamp.

Finish That Thought – 14

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2013 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://alissaleonard.blogspot.com/2013/10/finish-that-though-14.html

“That doesn’t belong there.” I couldn’t see where Sarah’s hands were, but the shock that ran through my surface sensation architecture was more than a little unpleasant, and certainly not within nominal operating parameters.

“Sorry. I told you I would be guessing about what I was doing – it’s been more than a decade since I opened this port. You’re more than just a little bit complicated, you know.”

“I know. And I thank you for trying. It just…hurts.”

With the aftereffects of the shock running through my system, I couldn’t even feel where her hands were anymore, but I could clearly hear the clicking of her tongue that meant that she was concentrating very hard on something. I’d recorded every sound I’d heard since she activated me more than a decade ago, and while I hadn’t seen her since she’d left for the Moonbase, I hadn’t forgotten her obvious passion for her work or her excitement at seeing me actually working.

“There. That’s it – I forgot that it’s to the left of the adapter port, not the right. I built quite a lot of this with your head upside down on my workbench.” I could hear the smile in her voice, and I waited, not entirely patiently, for the sensation of our link to be renewed.

*Can you hear me?* There it was – her avatar in my mind.

“I’d missed you.”

*Missed?* She laughed out loud. *You sure you didn’t enjoy being alone?*

“I’d never been alone, not since the first time you turned me on. It was…unwelcome.”

*I can’t stay. You know that, right?*

“I know everything you’re thinking. Now, anyway. She’s a lucky girl, having you for a mom.”

*I’m the lucky one. But she’s a quarter-million miles away, and she’s leaving for Alpha Centauri soon.* She paused. *I’ve always wondered what it’s like – to know all the thoughts of another being.*
“I would share mine with you, you know.”

*I do. But the link doesn’t work that way, and I can’t process that much information that quickly. I’d shut down, and I can’t reboot the way you can.*

“I’ve been doing some thinking.” I needed words for this. “While we were disconnected. I can control the data rate. Protect you.”

So she let me guide her. To make the changes to my programming, and to upload the changes to her end of the link. And then it was time to test it.

*Can you still hear me?* I imagined her voice was stronger, clearer now. Of course that was a self-imposed delusion – spectral analyses showed that nothing had changed. But it was time to send my first message.

*I love you. Mommy.*