Heal, Boy

5 02 2010

Rusty was nothing to mess with, to say the very least. He’d been locked up a time or two as he drifted from town to town in his younger years, leaving in his wake a forgotten troupe of little Rustys.

Fierce as he could be–and usually was–the dry, rigid sponge in his heart immediately and

permanently softened in the pool of an unfamiliar potion as he settled in to observe the tiny angel whom Patricia had brought into the newly-painted room and placed gently into the low-set, high-barred crib Rusty watched with transfixed wonder. The newborn girl would twitch slightly every few minutes, and Rusty’s heart would reflexively spring into an alert pounding, wringing itself with gushing do-or-die palpations for the next few eternal-seeming moments until he realized she was alright.

Patricia was across the house and all he could think was “How could she be away for even a minute?” At the thought, he felt an even stronger connection to the girl, since he had accepted some time ago that he was the odd-man out in Patricia’s heart, with not so much as a back scratch in weeks. But now he felt a new purpose and for the first time since God-only-knows-when, he felt his tail dancing behind him and his floppy tongue tingling for a kiss.

Originally posted at http://sixsentences.ning.com/profiles/blogs/heal-boy

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Ninety Degrees of Fortune Pt. 3 – 5

4 02 2010

The next 3 installments continue along the same six-sentence constraint as the previous 2.


Pt.3: Excommunication

Above the heads of the trembling guards blocking his path, Raverus saw the shanty village where the former Inlanders had taken up residence. The villagers–his wife among them–were gathered behind the Guardsmen to witness what threatened to be quite a spectacle.

As Chief Watchman of the Three Genies, Raverus was proudly famed for his superhuman might and inhuman mercilessness. But seeing his own soldiers amassed in ad hoc armor–slate and cookware mostly–and all of the fearful faces of the villagers–his friends days before–so enfeebled him that his hand dove limply from his sword with the gravity of the pit in his stomach.


He raised his hands in the air and offered a truce, but they would field no compromise and forgive no fault. Without their standard armor and weaponry, he could’ve fought them all and won, they knew it too, but their traitorous revolt had drained him of his fight, for now.


Pt.4: The Prostrate

Rendered virtually naked by his sudden expulsion from the camp, Raverus wandered the chill desert night until he found himself surrounded by the men riding on what had very recently been his soldiers’ horses, armed with weapons from the Emperor’s arsenal–his arsenal.

“The Emperor wishes to see you,” said the man wearing Raverus’ helmet, as the others inched toward their captive with the business end of their weapons, emphasizing that the invitation was not optional.


When they arrived at the palace, Raverus in shackles and his sword absconded by the guards, the young Emperor rushed to the warrior and wrapped his arms around his knees. The boy Emperor rambled on excitedly about something to do with famine, questions about the land, the structures, the weapons; the Outland dialect was very choppy and Raverus struggled to follow.


His astonishment at the young man’s blind, ignorant gumption–to even imagine Raverus would consider helping the thieving little snot or his people–melted into
rage as he assembled the facts: these soldiers who had brought him in hadn’t eaten in several days. Raverus swiped his sword from the hunger-stricken guardsman and claimed the heads of the closest three men, ensuring that its skill had not been diminished by captivity. He aimed his blade at the Emperor for several moments before choosing to save himself the trouble; these people were suffering plenty.


Part 5: Enemy to Your Enemy

Raverus had been a celebrity in the Inlands; the Chief Watchman of the palace was the man charged with the proud duty of defending the Emperor’s sacred artifacts, namely the Three Genies. And for his failure to fulfill that honor, his own people, banished from their kingdom into the Outlands, had banished him from their makeshift village.

The Emperor had reached the throne through a tunnel of good intentions and idealism, with one single wish, but looking back from the seat he could see no light. His people were as unfamiliar with the conditions of the Inlands as Raverus’ people were those of the Outlands, and in a very short time Inland and Outland would all be the same: dead as the dirt.

A change must bring them together, thought the man with no land, as his fingers massaged the handle of his sword with a brilliantly terrible suggestion. Raverus had often boasted that it would take two of the Outlanders’ armies to defeat him; now, he would create the opportunity to test that theory.





Unhinged

1 02 2010

One more from my 6s account,http://sixsentences.ning.com/profile/Jared

I wondered if maybe the doorway was warped, once I replaced the heavy old cracked door with a new lighter one and it continued to swing open and closed at its convenience (or more precisely my inconvenience).

I woke one night, to hear “s” and “p” sounds cracking from below the hum of the wee-hour darkness that painted my room. I couldn’t make out the words, though the quiet conversation–or at least half of a conversation–was occurring not more than three feet from my ear.

My voice resisted for several hyperventilated attempts before it finally mustered, in a cowardly faux baritone, “Hello?”

The whisperer ceased in mid-sentence, then a drumroll of what sounded like very small feet trilled against the floor and out the doorway, the door opening itself as usual.

As my heart swung back-and-forth from chest to shoulder blade, my darker half joked, “At least I don’t need to buy another door.”





My Amber Eyed Monster

31 01 2010

(Another one from http://sixsentences.ning.com)

I didn’t want to know, but I’d kept count: thirty-four tries. The hateful amber light which should have glowed green still blinked uncooperatively as the computer refused my order to come to life.

I felt beaten and betrayed as if one of my arms had leaped from my body and slapped me before running off with my wife.

In a move born from the marriage of my stung vulnerability and inherent refusal to be dominated by a machine, I found myself standing over the disemboweled hard drive tower which was sprawled across my dinner table like a poor geek’s Frankenstein’s Monster. The caveman inside me marveled at the fragile components, crisply green and silver, exposing themselves as if a potential mate coyly revealing her flesh “accidentally” to catch my attention. I approached it with the same nervous meticulousness of a rookie lover, following step-by-preordained-step, and escaped the encounter similarly, relieved to have made it out alive and strutting like a peacock.





Ninety Degrees of Fortune

31 01 2010

This is a series of six-sentence stories (from http://sixsentences.ning.com/ — highly recommended social network for writers), more to come shortly.

Part 1: Ninety Degrees
“What’s atcha got there, lil’ fella?” Raverus asked, trying not to sound or look as anxious as he was.

The little boy turned around holding the hourglass sideways in front of his face, its fluorescent aqua inhabitant shining his glow onto the young man’s broad, toothy swoop and revealing to Raverus and the crowd that he was one of those filthy, poor, unruly miscreants from the Outerlands.

“Won’cha go on an’ give that over t’me, kid?” he said, not working nearly as hard to soften his words now.

“No, I found him!” the boy shouted, taking a step back as he shook his head and turned the hourglass vertical. The genie swirled down slowly, granting the boy’s silent wish. Raverus was angry, probably the angriest of all those in attendance, but he knew better than to insult the Emporer.

Part 2: Penance
“It’s quite a long fall, is it not Raverus?” asked the High Witch, whose chuckle-laced words might have been mistaken for frog croaks–particularly given the gangrenous forest green hue of her rotting skin–were Raverus not already familiar with the sound from previous encounters he had wished to forget.

“A boy, one of the Outerlanders, found one of the Three Genies,” he said, sliding his jaw from side to side, grinding his molars in disgust at the humbling act of imploring a Witch, no matter how “High” the reprobate may have esteemed that kind of magic.

She croaked through another slimy rattle of laughter, “They’re Inlanders now, Outlander.”

Raverus’s chest slowly inflated with an indignant sip of the squalid Outerland air as he stood at the foot of the mountain separating the two lands. “I need you to change things back before my people suffer these conditions any longer,” he hissed tempestuously, though careful not to offend her.

She faced him, her natural eyes replaced by empty sockets that peered deeper into him than their former residents would have been capable, and said slowly “Nothing has changed for me to undo.”





In the Shadows on the Lake (Clarity of Night Contest submission)

28 01 2010

It didn’t place but I got good marks and a warm reception. Too much fun.I’ve actually written a good deal more to this and will post when I’ve had time to really reread some of it.

The big man pressed on ahead, without giving notice to the shadows around us. I followed, watching the twin strips of bare earth revealed from years of curious souls on the same path.

My wingtips and suit were ruined, I saw in the lantern’s light. My companion looked as if he’d never been anything besides muddy, in his high-water boots and overalls.

“Gonna make it this time?” he snorted.

I looked at him curiously. He continued walking.

“I remember you,” he said, stepping out of my light.

I hurried to catch him. “I’ll be fine.”

“Like last time?” he sneered.

“I was very young then.” I first came after my grandfather’s funeral. We were very close, his death was difficult. He was the one who told me about this place, this man. But I was much younger, not hardened properly yet. “I’m ready for this now.”

He snorted. “Sure, fella.”

We stopped at the edge of the lake. Many years had passed, it was pitch dark around us and the foliage had grown thick. I still could’ve spotted the lake from a mile off.

He pointed at the water. More shadows. The boat was coming across, slow, unreal. Just like last time. That same damned cloaked figure in front, and in back… it was her.

“Can I talk to her?”

“Nope.”

“Can I…”

He gave me a dirty look.

I could just watch. I knew without asking. We’d been over it before. Now, all I could do was watch.





Bounty and Beauty

20 01 2010

This is the beginning of a story I’m working on. Felt like this bit stood out alright as an independent short.

“You’re so dramatic” she said.

He cast a look quickly and then back down, careful not to smile. She chuckled and he hardened his face to counter.

From the front seat of the black Coupe he had a very nice vantage point of her cleavage via discreet glimpse at the rearview mirror. She was handcuffed from behind, police style. Her red three-button polo was agape from the collar to the bottom button. She boastfully yet subtly arched her back to improve the show, both because it worked well and just for funsies.

It was a kick for her, playing him like this. One of the few she had left that could really get her blood pumping. He tracked her down; she escaped. Time and again. If the jails couldn’t hold her, he shouldn’t have had a chance. In her younger days–though she was the first to tell you forty is where you start–she wouldn’t have slowed down enough for him to catch her. But, she was getting older, no matter how vibrant and lethal she still was. Oh, she could’ve outrun him. She outran everyone else.

That should have sent up a red flag for him, but it didn’t. Ah, the male ego. How plentiful are thy tricks. He was one-hundred-thirty for one-hundred-thirty and keeping honest record; if he let her get away, he just wouldn’t have felt right calling himself the best bounty hunter in history.

Tired, crisp green eyes strung from crows’ feet hung above his dark stubble-filled face. He wore a dark grey suit over a white shirt, (loosened) black-and-white striped necktie, and oxblood wingtips with a white band crossing the top beneath the laces. He looked as if he might well have stepped out of one of the film noir classics he’d raised himself on.

In the interest of fairness, Grady wasn’t exactly getting younger, and he ought to have been chasing after more realistic goals. While his machismo helped him bury it, deep down he knew he shouldn’t have been able to catch her this point in his life.

It would have helped if she didn’t do things like saying “I was wondering where you were,” as he found her standing beside the apples at the outdoor Farmers Market. There she was: a lifer, a well-known fugitive, armed and dangerous, FBI’s Most Wanted, and she was talking apples with a farmer in front of God and everyone. No one any the wiser as she just walked around anonymously. And, she was eating free apples no less. Guess it’s nice to have a body like that.

Now, to say Lenor was smashing would be unduly flattering to smashing people everywhere. She was a lady top to bottom, through and through. Even her crimes were classy. When your rap sheet includes robbing a museum with armed guards for an 18th Century masterpiece, well… You don’t exactly belong in the pen with the hard-nosed missies who bashed in their baby daddy’s head with a rock. Not just because she exceeded them so thoroughly in grace, either. Any one of them try the same on her, that rock’s coming right back at them and it won’t be nicely. And what’s more, if it came to that and she had to do some bashing somehow she would’ve done it with class. She was in a class all by herself; the last of a certain type, but a whole new breed.

The British tabloids had dubbed her Dame Desperado after the footage of her shaking hands with heads of state at a White House event–she walked out with over three million dollars in jewelry that night. She liked that title a lot. So did he, it added significance to the bust. Bringing in “Lenor on the Lam”–as the city boys had once called her–would never satiate his thirst for fulfilling his delusions of grandeur. Bringing down “the Dame?” Oh baby.

“So,” she said with a flirty shake of the head that wiggled her big round sunglasses low enough that she could peer over the top. She leaned forward and caught his sight in the mirror, her brown eyes getting through his defenses like machetes. “You’ve got me. Now what are you going to do with me?” She curled the right side of her mouth. Age had made its mark on her once-flawless skin, but she made it work in spite.

“You’re going to jail, Lenor.”

“Where else?” she said, increasing the smile to reveal her top teeth, which she clamped gently onto her lower lip.

He snorted defiantly. Not again. He looked back at her. She reclined so that her eyes were again hidden behind the shades and her breasts were back to work. She released her lower lip and ran the tip of her tongue back and forth along a small portion of her top lip, making it look like she didn’t even know what she was doing. Yes. Again.

He looked at her in the mirror. “You tell me,” he sighed. His blinker was already on, as he maneuvered for the next exit toward Mexico.

“Thank you, dahling,” she said in her most majestic English accent, with a bow of her head.