Friday, July 31, 2015

Rock Bottom

May 18

Light. It's the first thing you see: the sun rising over the ocean. Pools of liquid gold, and glittering flashes of red five over to the sharper flashes of white as it rises higher into the sky and the surf really starts to kick off.

That's odd, you think, because in the space of what should have been several hours the sun moved in mere seconds. You could trace its very movement across the sky. How blue is that? It's thirst-quenching blue, the kind that would stick to your fingers if...

Where the hell are my fingers?

"Don't worry about it," says a small voice and you look and see a beautiful stone. Gray with flecks of mica catching in the sun, and a belt of thick, white quartz spanning his middle.

His? How on earth do I even know that little stone is a he ?

"You're new here, right? And you're not wrong, I'm a dude. My name... Oh, shit. Cindy was right, you do forget after a while. I used to have a name like you. But, it kind of fades away - I think it's the tide that does it. Just a little bit at a time."

Panic swells in the pit of your something, it was highly doubtful it was your stomach, but it still felt like it.

"Easy, buster. It's been awhile, but I still remember my first day" he said, and you realize the water is rising. "Speaking of the tide - this is actually pretty awesome."

The water pools around and over you, obscuring your vision of the sky. But it didn't matter, because the water felt unlike any water you'd ever touched. It was singing gently, rocking you like a mother rocks her child who's had a nightmare. And you know all the words and sing them with her. And just as suddenly she puts you down, back on the beach. You want desperately to cling to her, but the fear  was less now.

"See? Wasn't that great? It gets better every time. Don't worry about it, she'll be back before you know it. Look at that cloud over there, and watch as it floats through the sky."

The cloud was a fat cumulonimbus, and its outline undulated in the bold light of the day. But as the sun dipped behind the horizon the cloud exploded into so many colors. You could feel them all over, and they were warm. And music flowed from the colors and you were somehow singing with it. We were all singing it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


SCBWI Write This! Prompt for July was Wart. I actually finished the story, but since I'm looking to publish it, I'll just post the response to the prompt.

June 8, 2015

“They are not warts,” said the toad, with such indignation that the princess took two steps back. “I’ll have you know that I have thirty-six distinct bobbles on my person – each unique and beautiful. I will thank you not to call them warts, Highness.”

Friday, July 24, 2015

You... Do know I'm about to kill you, right?

[WP] "You... Do know I'm about to kill you, right?" A serial killer's latest victim doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation. submitted an hour ago * by Mazuna

April 29, 2015

“Oh, that makes much more sense,” said Jerry, his shoulders slumped as far as the canvas straps allowed. The middle-aged insurance salesman was a perfect fit – looked just like my shit-head dad, same job and everything.

“What did you think was going on?” I asked. He still didn’t seem the slightest bit scared, which was such a turn-off.

“Well, I thought Bill set this up for my birthday. He knows how much I’m into those serial killer shows. But it’s not like I’m all that close with Bill these day,” he said. His eyes were bright with tears, but I’d done this enough to know that he was upset because there was no cake and not because of the assortment of edged tools laid out on a grungy table top.

“How old are you?” I asked. That sounded pretty lame.

“Big four-oh,” he said with a sniffle.

“Did Bill say he was planning a party?”

“No. I just really wanted someone to throw me a surprise party. I never had one. And this looks like an awful lot of thought went into it. I mean, you even taped all the tarps in place. You have the special double-thick gloves and the butcher apron. Oh, man, you even have those big rubber boots – those are awesome. I mean, how perfect would that be for a serial-killer themed party?”

“Well, I mean, it’s like the perfect party, right? I mean I’ve got all the stuff?” I was more confused than I’d ever been. The thought of killing him just seemed pathetic, like I’d be letting him down. This was so weird.

“Sort of. Don’t get me wrong, this is awesome. But, I mean, no one is here to appreciate it. And once I’m dead, no one will even know you went to all this effort for me,” Jerry said.  “Could I blow my nose?”

I looked around – tarps abounded, but no tissues.

“Uh, hold on,” I muttered as I headed for the door. Down a narrow corridor was a disgusting bathroom and I was fairly sure I kept some toilet paper in there. Bingo!

When I came back, Jerry gave me a watery smile and then let me blow his nose like a toddler.

“Thanks, man. I know it’s not your fault. Don’t let me stop you from having your fun.”

I stood there awkwardly, I realized I didn’t have a trashcan to toss the used tissue. Usually all I needed for cleanup was a hose and a drain. The tarps pretty much took care of the bigger chunks. I just let it drop, but it grossed me out – which was also weird.

“Well, do you want to have a party?” I asked. “I mean, I’m not getting the thrill I’m looking for here, to be honest. And if it would make you feel better, I could keep Bill after and do him.”

“You’d do that?” he asked, and a small smile curved his lips.

“Sure, you call your friends and I’ll order from Dairy Queen. You like ice cream cake?”

“Do I?!”

Damned if You Do

March 9, 2015
[WP] A mercenary is paid to assassinate a mysterious man who the government believes to be the devil in human form.

Jackson thumbed through the file, glancing at the architectural plans, looking for security systems and frowned. A target this high-level with no security protocol?

"What the hell," he muttered to himself.

The photos were of a mom and her blonde boy who looked to be no older than seven. Both were to be exterminated for security purposes. You didn't get to Jackson's level of wet work without being a monumental risk to the public. But usually they were aware that someone was out for their blood. He'd never been assigned to a target in suburbia who didn't have so much as a burglar alarm.

"There has got to be some sort of mistake," he said, rubbing his hands over his forehead.

The marks' schedules ran like a day out of "Leave it to Beaver." Mom stayed home and kept house. Kid went to school, had high marks. Got in trouble for little things, but otherwise seemed like a typical kid.

He grabbed his phone and hit the number two on his speed dial.

"Hey, Jimbo, It's Jackson," he said.

"Hey, Jacks! What can I do you for?"

Fucking, Jim, he thought, rolling his eyes.

"What's the deal with this Nickerson folio?" Jackson asked.

"Hold on, buddy. Let me look it up," Jackson could hear typing through the phone. "Nickerson, Nickers - Oh, here it is. Shit, buddy that's a big one."

"I fucking know it's a big one, Jim, but have you looked at it? It's all manner of wrong. There's no security detail - just a kid and his mom. What the hell am I walking into?"

"Jeez, buddy, that is weird. But I don't know what to tell you. When I look for details it's fucking classified up the ass," Jimbo replied.

Up the ass? thought Jackson, who just sighed. "Well, if you find out anything. Call me okay? The timeline on this one is tight. I only have until tomorrow night to finish this. "

"Will do, bud --" Jackson hung up mid-sentence.

Well, the job should be easy enough. The pay was unreal.

He watched the house all day. The kid came home from school around 3 p.m., sporting a backpack with racecars on it. Eyes on the house revealed no visible camera, but he knew better than to rely on that. But even an electronics sweep didn't pick up any micro-eyes, or anything that wasn't a motion-sensor light. Not even a goddamn dog in the yard.

Jackson jumped when his phone started humming against his leg.

"Hey, Jim," he said into his cell.

"Jacks, I called in a few favors and got some intel on your job. It's weird, man."

"You don't have to tell me that, Jim. Spill it."

"Lynnie over at Central says that your hit is for the devil - with a capital D," Jimbo said.
Jackson laughed.

"Jim, if you didn't find anything you could have just said so."

"I'm not fucking with you, Jackson. I know that doesn't happen a lot. But, shit, man if you could see the file she sent me, it would curl your fucking hair. I wish - I wish you never called me about it."
Jimbo's voice sounded odd, choked. And Jackson realized he was crying.

"Just do your fucking job, Jackson and we'll all owe you one." Jimbo hung up and Jackson listened to the hissing silence for a whole minute before putting his phone away.

Hours crawled by. 3 a.m. was prime-time. Deep sleep happened then if it was going to happen at all. Even if someone did wake up, it would mess with their reaction time. As he approached he saw a light on in the kitchen. He could see the woman scrubbing the floor, on her hands and knees. Crying.
Well, that fucks things up. But he was out of time and that limited his options. But at least the door was unlocked.

He slipped inside and locked the door behind him. The woman didn't even look up, but she did stop scrubbing.

"Are you here to end it?" she asked.

When he didn't answer, she looked at him. Her blue eyes were red-rimmed and puffy from crying.

"They didn't tell you?" And she laughed, a watery hysterical noise that made the hair on his neck stand up. He had his nylon cord in hand.

"Can you do him first?" she asked, still kneeling and suddenly supplicant. "I need to see it. I need to know that it's done."

This is too fucking weird. Every nerve in his body was yelling at him to get out. But he was a professional. You finish your job or no one pays you ever again. Or worse, you get on someone else's to-do list.

"You have to be quiet," he said. Why are you even talking to her? You aren't supposed to talk to anyone.

But a smile broke over her face, and a look of such blissful relief.

"Thank you. God, thank you so much. You don't know what it's been like - "

He watched his hand snap out, and crack her across the face as though he had no control over it.
"Shut up and show me where he is," he said.

The woman pressed her hand to her face, a ribbon of scarlet blood poured from her mouth. Droplets hitting the floor.

Messy, thought Jackson. Amateur.

She stood and walked barefoot down the hallway. Leading him to a door that was covered with checkered flags and racecars. He opened it, and could see the form of a sleeping child inside.
The bed was the shape of a racecar. He adjusted his grip on the cord and went inside. Within moments it was around the child's neck and taut, cutting off blood flow to the brain in seconds. He held it tight for five minutes. The boy didn't even struggle.

The woman watched from the doorway, and odd smile quirked on her lips.

"I never get tired of watching that," she said. "I wonder how many will die before someone shoots me in the face. Do you think you can make it?"

Jackson knew he couldn't make it.