Archive for January, 2014

Mid-week Blues Buster, week 46

Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/mid-week-blues-buster-week-46/

The mortar was chipping away, but the bricks themselves were stout, and the windows and the door were clean and shone with welcoming light. I shifted the valise from my right to my so that I could grab the doorknob, and grunted as the pain in my elbow came back. The last few days had been oddly pain-free, as if my body wanted to give me a present before we came on this journey, but there were no such things as miracles, and all journeys come to an end.

I’d been in a lot of train stations during my time – sure, planes were faster, and for a trip across one of the world’s great oceans, there was no substitute – but I still felt the same thrill I had as a kid as I stepped across the threshold. This one brought back memories of trips with my grandparents across the country, off to see the Empire State Building and the Washington Monument and the Liberty Bell. There was even a pay phone, in an actual phone booth – not one of those aluminum contraptions that dotted the landscape before they all died out, but the kind Cary Grant would have ducked into while involved in some madcap adventure.

A TICKETS sign beckoned me from across the room, and I shuffled across the oak floor to pick up the pass that would take me on this last journey. The floor in the center of the room was spongy, as if the supports weren’t as strong as they needed to be, and I moved as fast as my hips would allow me until I reached the counter. I didn’t think it really would rot out from under me, but I hadn’t come this far to fall into a basement, broken and twisted and crying in pain. There wasn’t anyone at the counter, and for the first time, I was afraid. Was I too late? Did – had I missed it? Sweat broke out on my brow, and I felt that pain in my chest – that pain that had first let me know it was time – come back, harder and sharper than ever before. I whimpered, not like a man of eighty seven, but like a puppy not yet weaned.

As if he’d been waiting for my distress, the ticket clerk appeared. His blue uniform was neatly pressed, clean, and trimmed in gold, but how he carried the weight, I could not tell. He was the gauntest, least substantial man I’d ever seen, and the grin on his face was like my pain given sentience. “Ah, Mr. Alexander. My deepest apologies – I was out back visiting the necessary. I hope I did not cause you distress.”

“No. Not at all,” I said, more to stop him from talking than to really answer him – questions like his were always rhetorical. I didn’t want to know him at all, didn’t want to see him any longer than I had to, and I didn’t want to hear him utter another word. Alas, the miracles still hadn’t appeared.

“Very good. Just the one bag, sir? It is quite a long journey, you will find.” He laughed, and it was somehow worse than hearing him talk. “Well, it is of no matter – it’s not like you can go home and get it.”

The agent pulled a tiny white slip from a yellowing envelope and stamped it, the red ink faintly reading “One Way ONLY”, and handed it out to me. I grabbed the ticket carefully, knowing I didn’t want to know what his touch felt like, and worrying that I would find out – that, and more – all too soon. He grinned again. “Track Seven, sir. Your train will be departing shortly, so if you need to visit the necessary, you’ll have to hurry.”

I shook my head. I had to go, but I wasn’t sure how – they hadn’t let me eat since I’d died in the hospital, ten … no, eleven days ago now. But I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. The sign behind me pointed the way to the tracks, and I turned to shuffle down the hall into the eternal decay of time.

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Flash Friday, volume 2, week 8

Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/flash-friday-vol-2-8/

The first car seen on Park Street passed without incident, early in the morning on June 12. The second car, driven by Maude Emberson, the preacher’s wife, on the other hand, was the talk of Dunham’s Corner for a month of Sundays. She did hit ol’ Tom Coston’s gravestone, but that was the least-gossiped about part of the day, even though it had been made up the city special by men from the old country. It wasn’t until later, when Bill Warren, the constable, blacksmith, and butcher, arrived, that they realized what was special about Maude’s accident. Bill had seen a whole bunch of cars when he and his missus honeymooned in New York City, but those cars all had four wheels. The three-wheeled car wasn’t why Bill picked up the phone to call the FBI, though, nor why reporters descended on Dunham’s Corner like ants on a roast chicken at a picnic. Apparently, most cars those days didn’t fly.

Flash Frenzy, week 4

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://theangryhourglass.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/flash-frenzy-round-4/

Even in the courtyard, the smell of saline drips and hand sterilizer was omnipresent, but at least the rush of processed air was replaced by a gentle breeze. I’d been coming here entirely too often, but somehow had never found my way out into the garden. Every time I’d walked by, someone was sitting on one of the wooden benches, looking through the flowers or bushes or sculptures, seeing whatever in their troubles brought them outside, and hoping there was a doctor with a miracle in the hallways somewhere. But today the garden was empty, and it was my turn to see what messages awaited me.

I settled down onto one of the benches, feeling the slight give of the wooden slats, and closed my eyes. It had been too long since I’d been able to sleep well enough to get any rest, and even that short trip into the darkness made my head spin. My blood was more caffeine than hemoglobin at this point, or at least it felt that way, but I didn’t know how to stop moving.

I wiped the tears that always seemed to form at the corners of my eyes when I closed them for any length of time and tried to regain my focus. It was almost time for rounds, and I needed to hear what the doctors were going to say today, as if it was going to be any different than yesterday. As my eyes were clearing, I looked again at the little cherub across from me. Her copper had gone green, the patina helping her blend into the bushes around her, but it hadn’t hidden her smile. It wasn’t a broad grin – that would have been inappropriate in a place like this – but it was something. I smiled back, hoping to share in whatever reservoir of happiness she tapped into.

The door creaked, and another hopeless wanderer was heading into the courtyard looking for salvation. I didn’t meet his gaze, nor would have seen me if I had. I left my spot, heading back up to the ninth floor and hoped he’d see the cherub’s smile in his own time. 

Five Sentence Fiction – Sparks

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://lilliemcferrin.com/five-sentence-fiction-sparks/

I struck the rocks together, again, and again, and again, until my hands were numb and shaking from the effort and the cold. The meager pile of dry twigs and leaves I’d been able to assemble shivered in the wind that was howling out of the north, desperate to end their existence in flame just for a chance to be warm. There was a beauty in the void, the barren lands of my family’s farm covered with a light coating of snow, brown remnants of what once had been food poking through in the places swept clean by the never-ending gale. The tornadoes this fall had taken care of our house, and my wife had packed up what was left to bring the kids to her folks’ place until…well, until. But this land was mine, and all I needed was a little fire.

Thurs Threads, week 105

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://siobhanmuir.blogspot.com/2014/01/thursthreads-challenge-that-ties-tales_23.html

There’s an art to responding to the call to kill a spider. You can’t ignore it for too long, even though you just got comfy on the couch, because what if this time it really is Shelob and your kid is seconds away from becoming lunch. You can’t jump up and run into the room, because then you’ll be at the beck and call of anyone who freaks out because there’s a fly on the screen – the outside of the screen. You can’t run away screaming like a little girl, even when it is Shelob cavorting with Aragog as they prepare the Feast That Lasts A Thousand Nights in the room, because everyone knows little girls are tough as nails and your daughter would totally have taken care of it, but six year olds just don’t have much reach with a mace. You have to stroll into the room as a savior of the weak, but without making a judgment as to who is weak, or why. You have to bring the right tool for the kill – your moccasin just won’t do, but it’s awkward to carry a sledgehammer wherever you go. And you have to be prepared to protect the poor creature and save it from anyone who would be callous enough to kill something that, after all, just was hungry, just in case there’s an entomologist around. 

And you have to pretend that you’re not terrified.

Flash Friday, volume 2, week 7

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/flash-friday-vol-2-7/

The floodwaters came slowly, filling the seaside villages and towns before running into the hills that surrounded the city. For hundreds of years, the rolling peaks had protected kings and presidents from invaders, and never once had the walls of the city been broached. But water wasn’t men on horseback, or in the belly of a tank, and agonizingly, imperceptibly, it reached crests and began running down the other side. Water that had been trapped in glaciers for millions of years was now free to roam streets and boulevards, and it was only a matter of time before it reached the central square.

Because of the contours of the land, once the water found its way through the city, it passed to the east, and into memory. Passing gulls would alight on the top of the capitol dome and the Scepter of Eternity wielded by the Destiny, and fly off again, cawing their songs into a world without men.

55 Word Challenge 2014, Week 3

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2014 by drmagoo

Prompt: http://www.lisamccourthollar.com/2014/01/55wordchallenge-2014-week-3.html

The stepping stones glowed in the moonlight, phosphorescent circles lighting my path to freedom. I had to get away from the farm, away from my mom who thought I was her clone. You waited for me at the hedges in the truck from your dad’s auto body shop. A stolen Ford, the moon, and love.