Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Show Me the Money

#MotivationMonday 31

Prompt: "The trouble started when they threw the book in the fire"

Word limit: 100-500, not including prompt.

Photo chosen by me

My Entry: Show Me the Money

The trouble started when they threw the book in the fire. Jason stood with his brothers, watching the pages blacken and smoke drifting up the chimney. Being back here in the house where he grew up made him uneasy, itchy, like ants crawling beneath his skin.

"Nobody will ever know," the eldest, Joseph, said, brushing the dust off his hands.

Those words seemed so familiar. Jason was the baby, the butt of their jokes for years. Now that he was as tall and muscled as the others, they left him alone. But it wasn't his brother's voice he heard in his head.

Jason shook off his unease. "Do you think anyone read it?"

"It was in the trunk with the money," said John, the middle brother. "I doubt anyone's been up there in the thirty years since Mom died."

"Who'd have thought Dad..." Jason trailed off, thinking about the man that married their mother and took on her three young boys. He'd been father to them, and mother as well when she died the next year. They were lucky to have him, as he reminded them their whole lives.

Jason shivered. Being here made it hard to breathe. He kept expecting... something.

"Do you think the money is marked?" asked John. "Or there's a record of serial numbers or something?"

"It was a long time ago," answered Joseph. "I don't know what the cops did back then, or the FBI, or whoever."

"Neither of you have said anything to anybody, right?" Jason probed. Unlikely. Like him, his brothers were unmarried, no women in their lives.

"Hell," Joseph said, "even if they come back at us, what's the worst that could happen? They'd just take the money. We're not doing anything wrong, just using the money we found in our father's attic after he died. He was the criminal, not us."

"Yeah." John nodded his agreement. "Without the diary, there's no way we could know the money was stolen. For all we know, Dad could have been saving his whole life and accumulated it up there."

"Let's get out of here," Jason said. "We can take it back to town to divide it."

Joseph narrowed his eyes at him. "Why such a hurry all of a sudden?"

"This place gives me the creeps." Jason started back up the stairs to the attic. "Come on, let's get the money and get the hell out of here."

He stood at the top of the stairs, waiting as his brothers passed by before drawing his gun.

"You knew, didn't you?"

They both turned, eyes widening. "Knew what?" Joseph said. "We didn't know about the money."

"Not the money." The ants under his skin were joined by bees buzzing in Jason's belly. "What he did to me."

"Jason, he did it to all of us." Joseph, always the reasonable one, the leader, started toward him, reaching out.

Jason shot them both, hefted the trunk of money onto his back and locked the door behind him. "He owes me," he muttered as he drove away.

Prompt plus 498 words

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Hook-Up

Friday Picture Show Week 29

Photo, left

Word requirement: Exactly 100

My entry: The Hook-Up

He reached behind his neck and yanked off his t-shirt, holding her eyes with his. Her hands gravitated toward his pecs, thumbs skimming over his nipples. He sucked in a breath.

When she unbuttoned her own shirt, exposing braless breasts, he took control.

The sex was amazing.

After a long time, she rose.

"I want to see you again. Can I call you?" he asked.

"Mmmm," she murmured.

She turned toward the window, long blonde hair tangled down her back. When she began brushing it he saw the tattooed hashmarks. Counting, he asked, "Thirty-seven what?"

"Make that thirty-eight," she replied.

100 words

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Journey Part 4b

#ThursThreads 25
Word requirement: 100-250
The Prompt: "Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze."
No picture, but I picked the one above to go with the story.

My entry: The Journey Part 4b
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4a | Part 5 Journey's End

Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze. With an almost-silent cry Jessa dropped back to her knees, searching for something, any tiny piece, to take back to the Colony.

Amid the colorless jumble of rocks and broken pavement the brown scrap of leaf shone. Her cry of relief was no more than a murmur as she scrambled over. When she reached for it, a footfall behind her gave warning.

She sucked in a breath and flung herself to the side just as the Ravager's twisted metal bar smashed down on the spot where she'd been.

Rolling toward a chunk of concrete, she flipped and landed on her feet, already running. Adrenaline bucketed within her, giving her speed and strength and driving out the memory of Jazzy's end. The Ravagers liked to maim first, and then call to their Clan for a long game of pain, rape and torture.

Jessa's fear kept her going. The heavy pack on her back weighed her down, but if she discarded it her entire journey would have been for nought.

The Ravager's grunts edged closer, and she shrugged one arm out of the pack, prepared to sacrifice it to save her own life. Abandon it the way she'd abandoned Jazzy when the first smash of Ravager club knocked her to the cold, hard ground.

A glimpse of stone walls and rusted iron towers ahead gave her strength anew. The Colony. A triumphant cry escaped her, a signal to the Gatekeeper.

The gate creaked open.

250 words

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Tuesday Tales 42
100-word flash fiction challenge
The Photo: left
The Secret Word: farmhouse

My entry: Gone

A cacophony of voices filled the farmhouse.

"What was she wearing?"

"Have you checked the barn?"

"When did you last see her?"

Moira sat, white and teary. Patrick was out scouring the fields, faint calls of "Rebeccah!" audible during rare moments of silence.

The young, earnest constable licked the point of his pencil and scribbled in his notebook. The crunch of a car in the lane interrupted the questioning, and the constable ushered in his sergeant.

"Mrs. O'Hara, we've found a bear on the street of the city. Here's a photo. Is it Rebeccah's?"

Moira's wails echoed down the valley.

100 words

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Journey's End

Motivation Monday

The Prompt: You'll find monsters where you least expect them.

The photo is one I chose to go with the story.

Rules: 1. The story must start from the prompt. This means the prompt must be the first words in the story.

2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.

The Journey Part 5: Journey's End
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

You'll find monsters where you least expect them.

Jessa scrambled through the gate of the Colony with rubbery knees and trembling hands. The Keeper smashed the gate in the face of the Ravager, slamming the bar home. Jessa staggered, and the guard supported her with an arm around her waist, half-carrying her to a nearby stone bench.

"Sit for a mo," he said, "and I'll send for your Captain. Horse, right?"

Jessa nodded, still panting from her frantic final race. "Water," she gasped.

"Of course," said the Keeper, and handed her his canteen.

After gulping her fill, Jessa sat, zoned out. Far better not to think at all than to remember. She'd need to recount her journey soon enough.

"Well, and ye made it, then."

Jessa leaped up at the harsh voice, her hand flying up to her forehead in a salute. "Sir, yes sir." But her knees liquefied and she dropped back to the bench. Appalled, she struggled back to her feet. "Sorry, sir."

Horse exposed huge teeth in his long, lugubrious face, his version of a smile. "Here, lass, let me take the pack." He hefted it off her shoulders and began walking toward the barracks, certain that she'd follow. "Ye found the alloy, then?"

"Yes, sir."

"And Jazzy?" His furry brow lifted.

Jessa blinked back the sting in her eyes and swallowed the desert in her throat. "She didn't make it, sir. Ravagers."

Horse shook his head, his coarse mane of dark hair flowing around his shoulders. "Ah, such a shame. But ye've done well, lass."

Seated in his office, Jessa finished her report. "Cap'n, I found a leaf, at least I think it was."

When she described it, Horse said, "Well, lass, I think ye'd better report this to the Leader."

Jessa's heart leaped and sang for joy as she followed Horse to the Sanctum, where only a favored few entered. She said a quick prayer to the None that the Leader would find favor with her.

The Leader's eyes were deep and mesmerizing, and she dared not look into them as he ushered her into his Holy Place. Seated on a cushion before his throne she kept her head bowed, eyes down as she told him of the leaf.

"And were there no fragments you could collect and bring to me?" His sonorous voice echoed like angel choirs.

"The Ravager almost got me while I was looking for them."

The Leader rose and held out his hand, drawing her up. "Look at me, child."

When her eyes met his, Jessa froze, and when his lips covered hers she would have screamed, but she couldn't. Her thoughts, memories, dreams all flowed from her mouth into his and were absorbed into his being.

His jaw unhinged, swallowing first her face, then her head. The rest of her followed, and she knew no more.

Prompt plus 468 words

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Journey Part 4a

#ThursThreads Week 24
Word requirement: 100-250
The Prompt: "The whir of wings broke the silence."
No picture, but I picked the one above to go with the story.

My entry: The Journey Part 4a
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Huddled, Jessa reached for the leaf, easing it from the rusty old fence. Brown and sere, it could crumble to dust in her hand if she weren't careful.

How could she get it back to the Colony intact? Her pack was filled to bursting with the precious cargo she'd traveled so far to find. But the leaf, if indeed that's what it was, could be even more precious. She had to get it back to the Leader. He'd know if it was a remnant of the Before or if it meant life was returning to the planet.

It might make him notice her.

Her heart bounced, then steadied. Not likely. Her sigh was invisible in the moaning wind as she resumed her trudge, gentle fingers curved to shield the leaf.

Always watching, ever listening, she sniffed the acrid air, seeking a first sense of the Colony. The ruined road would lead her there, she knew, and she prayed to the None to bring her home tonight, before full dark made traveling too dangerous.

The whir of wings broke the silence, and Jessa dropped to the ground, just one more rock in the rubble. Only her eyes moved as she squinted to discern. Was it a Ravager's raptor or a dove from the Colony? Had it seen her?

The bird landed nearby, and she sighed in relief. Gathering herself, she rose to finish the journey. She looked for the leaf. Crushed brown fragments blew away on the breeze.

247 words

Week 24 Winner
Dee | @Dee_768
Claire says: I loved this one because the focus was on this old leaf she found, something so irrelevant to a reader now but incredibly important to this girl and the world in which she lived. That world was vividly portrayed for me in just a few sentences. I even loved the sentence about her wanting to be noticed, that passionate sense of hope. The prompt was ancillary to the story but the trigger for the tragic ending. I read this one and it really scored with me and stuck with me as the day wore on.

The Journey Part 3

#TuesdayTales Flash Fiction
100 words
Secret Word: Lunacy--any form of insanity, foolish act, or a psychiatric condition
Picture, above

My Entry: The Journey Part 3
Part 1 | Part 2

The Bright sank into the rubbled distance. Hazardous broken pavement forced caution. Energy and water almost gone, an injury would end her. Jessa picked her way, soft-soled boots silent. Ravagers might be anywhere.

Rustling along the fence froze her, flattened, listening. Minutes later it came again, close by. In the halflight she could just see it, caught in the rusting grid. Could it be? She'd only seen pictures, but she was almost certain.

She slithered over, fearing a trap. It was lunacy, but she wanted it. Dry and brown, but evidence of growth, life.

Huddled, she reached for the leaf...

100 words

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