This was the last place Jani wanted to be, in the middle of a mob outside some ancient…no, not just an ancient building, but a historical one. It used to be the Capitol of the old United States of America, but that was long ago. The nation fell like all of the other empires before it. The ideals of freedom, unity, and courage were consumed by greed, collectivism, and so-called inclusiveness.
She knew better, but only because it was in her history books.
“Come on, Lucifer. We’ve got to get out of here.”
Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie for Photo Challenge #355
“Screw this shit! I’ve had enough!” Dane roughly yanked the glorified brain cube off of his head and threw it to the ground.
“Mr. Asher, please retrieve your covering and replace it on your head. The amplified voice from somewhere over the dark stone wall behind him reverberated. Dane had always hated the Counselor’s snotty, superior London accent hidden though it was behind a vocal distorter.
“Fuck you!” He looked down for it anyway, but after having marched several feet away from his assigned position, he couldn’t see it. White fog swirled around his knees, and had mired everything.
The figures surrounding him, already dehumanized by the same isolation gear, seemed like ghosts. In fact, even though he could see again, he remained partitioned from the actual world.
“Mr. Asher, I remind you that you agreed…”
Lovers by Harry Hollard, 1982
Eugene hadn’t felt the warmth of a woman’s touch in too long. The pandemic, lockdowns, and all the rest made most people reluctant to become intimate with a stranger. His life had always been dependent on a near endless string of brief, anonymous affairs. He had been starved for what he needed for what felt like an eternity.
“Come here, lover.” Brenda cooed and sighed as he took the nipple of her right breast between his lips and expertly fondled it with his tongue.
They were both nude and his penis began to stir, but the longing he felt went far beyond that. However, as he was about to strike, he was startled out of the moment.
“And now you’re mine, you poor sap.” Brenda clutched his head in both of her palms and began a ritual Eugene knew all too well.
Image is of concept art from King Arthur II, a NeocoreGames video game. This work is free and may be used by anyone for any purpose. -Wikimedia Foundation
Her lips and fingernails were chiseled rose quartz and her eyes were irresistible. Standing on the railway platform clouded with steam from the monolith locomotive, she waited in the darkness of an indeterminate night.
The full-length gown beneath her loosely draped overcoat was ashes of roses. To gaze into her jade eyes was to dive into the aortistic. To even briefly brush against her fingertips was to chance ecstasy.
People went to and fro on the concrete, passing like specters in the fog. Only she and the locomotive to her left remained motionless. She was not only waiting, but fixated on the other, as a spider might be captivated by a victim in her web.
Image found at mars.nasa.gov
“When are you coming home, Reggie?”
“Countdown commences in just a little over ten minutes, Desirae.”
He had plenty of time to wrestle with his inner agonist during the 32 minute round trip it would take for his voice to reach her and then for her reply to whistle through his headset. He could still see her, the last time before his final trip to Earth. She was standing near a high dune, the last rays of the sun glinting off of her space helmet. The shadows of a dying planet rendering her as an eldritch specter. She didn’t find out she was pregnant until three weeks after he left her.
Leaning back in the co-pilot’s seat, Reggie Dwight ran down the pre-flight checklist of numerous details, as if recounting the recipe of a casserole. Then he jumped against his restraints as Colonel Iraida Simms accidentally sent her archaic clipboard clattering to the deck.
“Sorry,” she murmured in uncharacteristic chagrin.
He felt his fingers harden against the edges of his state-of-the-art tablet. “No problem.” He knew his voice betrayed his anxiety.
Photo by Jayant Kulkarni on Pexels.com
“This is most unusual.” The ferryman, standing at the head of his riverboat, guided it steadily, pull by pull, across waters darker than pitch.
“It is allowed. I have Persephone’s blessing.” The voice from beneath the ashen robes and hood was deep, husky, even coarse, but still unmistakably female. It was the only sign of her identity besides a vague shape, for no part of her flesh was visible to him.
While the waters of the Styx were liquid obsidian, the mist surrounding them swirled white as smoke, perhaps belched out between the Underworld and the living by the furnaces of Hades.
“Sisyphus had Persephone’s ear, and you chose your timing well, what with the winter solstice coming upon the land above.” The old man took another stroke, and then listened as if someone might call. Even to the cloaked figure, he looked unkempt and foul, his stench could have been rotting fish, the breath of rats, or gangrenous flesh. His long, stringy hair and beard dripped an unsavory substance.
The amber sands of the Elysian beach and the expanse of the ocean beyond called to the triumphant Erik Reeves, but not as much as she did. Leona, as young, as brilliantly beautiful as she had been before the war, stood waiting, the sea at her back. She had shed the ruffled skirt and cotton smock, naked toes clutching at sparse greenery beneath her feet.
He said nothing, consumed with concupiscence, his mind still filled with the lust of battle, and now he would conquer her as well, his prize, the spoils of victory. He doffed his own shorts and t-shirt and then advanced.
She smiled, pale blue eyes contrast against skin the color of coconut shell. He raised a paw toward her bare, heavy breasts, but she took a hasty step backward.
Oasis in the Libyan part of the Sahara – Credit to Sfivat and licensed under Public Domain.
The open sky stretched from sand to horizon and the riders advanced on the oasis. Kathleen Morales led her band of rebel outlaws, two dozen strong, toward the wide, limpid pool surrounded by long grass waving in the torrid breeze under the shade of the broad palm branches. But when they finally arrived at this rare shelter amid a vast wasteland of the east, they discovered they weren’t alone.
The desert bandit swung a leg over her saddle and dismounted, heavy boots making their mark on the damp soil. Her hair, a tangle of magenta, azure, and her natural brown, flew up as she landed, and the gold and silver of her nose and ear piercings sparkled in the filtered sunlight. She marched up to the tiny collection of refugees and declared, “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my oasis?”
Boise train depot circa 1920. Found at napcommissions.org
The wind was a howling wolf. Emma Elizabeth Durbin knifed her hatpin like a sabre through both her short-brimmed, kid skin hat, and mounds of luxuriant auburn hair as she exited the train’s passenger car. Scuffed shoe leather met fresh boardwalk. Her long dress and matching short jacket were oppressively warm. It was only 10:15 in the morning, and hot for June in Boise.
Checking the weight of her satchel by jiggling it in her right hand, she longed for a comfortable bath and a filling meal. Neither of them were in her near future as she clip clopped forward, desperately avoiding semi-intimate collisions with fellow passengers and locals on the platform, as she navigated through the terminal hordes.
The rest of her belongings would be delivered to her hotel, but she had someplace else to be. Assuming the information on the telegram nestled in her dark jacket pocket was accurate, and he was on time like he said he’d be, she’d be sitting across a table from the Sheriff of Idaho City in half an hour.
Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Image credit not given
Gerald jumped at everything, even when nothing was there. In spite of the warm, spring afternoon, he wore thermal underwear beneath his faded, torn denim pants, and two sweaters under the ancient, tattered, and stained Navy pea coat.
Long, tangled hair, white as the snow still on the mountains around Tahoe, shot out from his stocking cap, random stalks of alabaster wheat waving in the breeze.
Sad, brown eyes stared down at his worn trainers, the left one completely bereft of shoelaces, as they shuffled one after the other across the sidewalk’s concrete and cracks.
The voices muttered in his ears, and in the dankness of his squirming gray matter, a restless beast always striving to escape the prison of his skull.