Aftermath

train

The Sunset Limited eastbound in 2004 – Found at Wikipedia

The Eleventh Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

Jonathan Harker had boarded the Amtrak train hours ago at the station on Folsom Street. He’d never been on a train in his life besides BART and the Napa Valley Wine Train but these were part of the instructions he’d been given. He’d have rather gotten on a plane. Jonny wanted to leave of the Bay Area behind. Watching the scenery roll by all too slowly reminded him of her and she was the one person in all the world he desperately wanted to forget, though of course he never would.

He had met Dolengen months ago at an after hours place called “Delirium.” His best friend Bobby had conned him into it. Bobby knew he’d just asked Lucy to marry him but his “wingman” thought he deserved one last night on the town. Bobby wanted to introduce him to two young women he’d just met, Verona and Dol.

It wasn’t long before Verona and Bobby disappeared and almost against his will, he found himself following the raven-haired Dol into a back room containing few other items of furniture besides a bed.

Dol wasn’t a prostitute but she did want something from Jonny, his sex and his blood. Dolengen looked like she couldn’t be older than twenty-five but she had died a century ago in Central Europe and been reborn a vampire.

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Boots

sinatra

Promotional image for Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 chart “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”

“You keep saying you’ve got something for me.”

Aiming down from the observation deck of the tower, Charles slowly pulled the trigger of the Remington and the first student dropped on the quad. He was surprised that all of the other people down there didn’t panic and run. Maybe if he killed enough people the monster in his head would stop making him do this.

“You’ve been messin’ where you shouldn’t have been a messin’”

The second person went down. Most people don’t think actual rifle shots sound real. They think it’s firecrackers going off, or maybe a car backfiring, or construction equipment operating.

His Timex said about four minutes had passed since he started shooting when he saw the first cop.

“one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”

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The Accidental Traveler

snow

© Mara Eastern

He’d been surprised by the snow when he woke up this morning. It wasn’t in last night’s weather prediction, but as Marty McFly says every time someone watches “Back to the Future,” “Since when can weathermen predict the weather, let alone the future?” Then he chuckled to himself as he remembered why. Last night he’d fallen asleep on Friday, July 24, 1970. This morning when he woke up, it was Thursday, January 9, 1986.

Phil Morton was just a few days shy of his sixty-fourth birthday when he became unstuck in time and place. Fortunately, he was in good health both physically and mentally, so he was able to endure the shock and stress involved.

The first time it happened, he woke up at home less than a year in the past and for a whole day, he thought there was something wrong with his memory. How could he remember the first seven months of 2018 when it was only July 22, 2017? He had awakened in his own bed. His wife was with him. The grand kids were visiting. Everything was normal except he recalled living almost another full year that for everyone else, hadn’t happened yet.

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Immersion

sky and water

© Sue Vincent

Darya stood on the edge of Stanley Peninsula facing west toward Long Island. It was all part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and late on a Thursday afternoon in February, there was no one else in sight. Silently, she watched the Sun through a heavily cloud-dappled sky as it sank toward the horizon. The waters of Willapa Bay were calm belying the fact that the wild Pacific Ocean was less than a mile away.

For the past five years, she had been gathering tiny shards of lost memories like flowers, struggling to create the bouquet of her childhood. Ever since she was six years old, she had lived with her brother Cody and her parents Hamid and Esther Shah in their comfortable upper-middle class home in Orange County, California. But Hamid and Esther weren’t her parents and Cody wasn’t her brother.

She had been rescued by presumably from drowning in the surf near Huntington State Beach by Cody when she was six and he was ten. Darya couldn’t speak and had trouble breathing at first. No one knew the problem was that she had rarely used her lungs before and her language didn’t at all resemble English.

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Metzger’s World

planet

Image: hongkiat.com

“…6:00 in the morning yawning and laying down next to you…”

“Come here, Kiara. About time you got home…wait. What’s wrong?” Travis Bridges pulled his wife close to him in their bed. It was six in the morning ship’s time but she’d just come off of her duty shift planetside at the Metzger colony.

Kiara buried her face in Travis’ chest and sobbed. He could barely hear her muffled words, “It was horrible, Trav. Chief Spencer tried to warn us, but none of us thought it would be that bad.”

“What are you talking about? What’s so bad about servicing the colony’s power distribution system? I mean, we do contract with the colony worlds in this sector to maintain their tech.”

“You don’t know about Metzger, do you?” She looked up. Her dark eyes dilated in the dim light were ebony pools he could swim in.

“I read the general briefing on the colony. They’re isolationists and a little xenophobic and…”

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Cursed

voodoo queen

Wearing a tignon, Angela Bassett channels voodoo queen Marie Laveau. Michele K. Short/FX – From “American Horror Story.”

The Tenth Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

New Orleans, Louisiana – 1972

“You cannot leave us, Catherine. Family ties are too strong. You must come back to us.”

“No, Mama Sallie, I can’t.

“You love this boy?”

“He’s a man, Mama Sallie. I do love him. He’s asked me to marry him.”

“He’s from the outside, Cathy. I approved you going to their schools so we could have educated men and women in our Family. You have not been fully initiated because we need daywalkers to guard us, but we could initiate him, make him one of us.”

“I know he wouldn’t want that, Mama.”

Sallie rose up on her throne, her ire illuminated by candlelight. “You told him?”

“No, Mama Sallie. I swear. It’s just that no one wants the initiation.”

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The Rose Stem

rose stem

© Marie Gail Stratford

The rose stem was another sign that the world was shutting down, except that a small spider had chosen to use it as a platform for dining. The grass was still green but all of the leaves were making their stately transition to reds and golds. He was entering another autumn as he continued through the autumn of his life. He could hear his grandchildren screeching and giggling as they playfully chased each other across the lawn. They were his spring now, no matter how bitter the coming winter.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image at the top to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is (amazingly) 89.

I looked up “rose stem” on Google and only came up with a skin cream. The blossoming of roses is variable but generally they bloom from mid-spring through fall. The scene reminded me of the beginning of autumn here, still pleasantly warm days with a bite in the night air.

So I chose to write another “Grandpa” tale about the “life cycle.” Not much drama to be sure. Just a few moments of reflection as winter continues its relentless march toward an eventual spring outside of my home.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Ocean’s Daughter

swimming pool trust

Photo credit: BleachFilm

“Are you sure you want to do this, Sis? We can wait until a better time.”

“There’s never going to be a better time, Cody. You heard what my counselor said. Sooner or later I’ve got to face this. I can’t be afraid of the water all my life.”

“Okay, Darya. You’re in charge. Remember, I’m going to be with you all of the time so if you get in trouble…”

“I know, I know. Look. I’m nervous enough. Let’s just do this.”

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My Memories Are In The Water

in the water

© Enisa

“You say your Dad used to bring you here all the time, Keith?”

“Yeah. There’s some great fishing in the lake about a mile north, Jerry. The old man loved fishing. I went because I loved him.”

“Lucky you. I was grateful when my Dad would take me to the neighborhood playground. We never hit it off like you and your Dad.”

Jerry glanced over at his newly wedded husband and saw “that look.” “You dreamed about him again last night, didn’t you?”

Keith looked down at the flat stones in the shallow water all around him remembering. Dad taught him how to skip rocks across the pond when he was seven. “Yeah. He was standing in our bedroom door asking how we were doing.”

“I’m sorry. I know you were really close.”

“I just wish I’d have come out to him before he died. I thought we had more time.”

“He wouldn’t have been like my Dad, Keith. You know that.”

“I know. I mean I know now. I really do miss him.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of February 20, 2018. The idea is to use the image at the top to inspire creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

I had a completely different story in mind until I saw the second figure on the left. Then I was stuck.

I had a dream within a dream last night (very rare for me). I dreamed I was dreaming about my Dad. He died last April and my wife just helped my Mom move into a senior care center. The missus brought back some of Dad’s jackets, hats, and stuff including a pair of Air Force flight gloves. He had a bunch of them going all the way back to when I was a kid.

Anyway, two guys in a pond in summer. I put it all together and came up with the story you just read. No, I’m not gay, but my Dad did die suddenly and you always wonder what you would have said or done differently if you have more time before the end.

To see other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Dragon’s Legerdemain

stuffed toys

Produced by DollyAndPaws and found at Etsy

The dragon was about the size of a small St Bernard and covered with golden scales. He had two hind legs but his forearms ended with what could have been hands complete with opposable thumbs. His eyes where the most human thing about him, a crystal clear blue, like water in a mountain stream. When he opened his mouth, the first thing you saw were hundreds of needle-thin, razor-sharp teeth, and then a long, tapered tongue the color of raspberries.

His long, thin wings fluttered but not as fast as a hummingbird’s and his tail wagged back and forth with annoyance like a common house cat, and yet he was far more fierce than even the greatest feline predator in any jungle.

The source of his annoyance, actually it was more like trepidation, was the vision that had manifested before him. It was late on a Sunday morning. Landon had been helping Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon test the boy’s young friend Ana for potentially possessing a latent magical ability. To that end, they were using a story book that allowed the user to bring into reality any tale the book contained. The story they’d chosen was that of a cloud city.

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