Far From The One You Love

collage

Collage – no image credit given

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.” -Azar Nafisi

“You said that to me right before I moved away.” Alex remembered looking into sixteen-year-old Victoria’s pale blue eyes as they teared up just moments before he left her.

“Is it happening? Are you changing?”

“A little, but then it’s hard to notice because nothing’s the same as back home. What about you? Are you any different?”

“Not really.”

“Have you changed your hair?”

“Nope. Still pink pigtails still bunched up in groups. I am wearing big, spiral earrings now instead of tiny pink shells.”

“But I liked those shells, particularly the blood-red arrows painted on each one. They went so well with the blue flowers woven in your hair.”

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The Truthsayer

coast road

© Anurag Bakhshi

Jeremiah Pierce negotiated the curves on Highway One just past Stinson Beach toward San Francisco, and the first leg of his journey to end the ridiculous mess he’d been hired to clear up. He’d been called many things over the years including the human lie detector and the truthsayer, but his gift, based both on psionics and his ability to see neural activity in the brain, certified him as the only person to always know if someone was lying.

A middle-aged woman said she had been sexually assaulted as a teen by a boy who now was being considered as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He denied it, and the Me Too supporters automatically believed her, regardless of the presence or absence of actual evidence.

In a few hours, he would be at the Federal Building where she was scheduled to be interviewed by FBI agents, but only because of the death threats against her. After he had spoken to her, Jeremiah would fly to Washington D.C. and hear what the Judge in question had to say. Then, he would know. Then the world would know for sure. No more nonsense based on rampant emotions and political interests.

I wrote this in response to two online writing prompts. The first is Sunday Photo Fiction where writers are challenged to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

The second is Sunday Writing Prompt hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The suggestion here is to craft a poem, short story, or some other creative piece based on the following:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools…

-from “If” by Rudyard Kipling

The poem fragment reminded me both of News and Social Media and the Kavanaugh hearings, which I’m sure everyone knows about in great detail. I decided to give in to a bit of fantasy and create a character who can always clear up these “he said, she said” debates to an absolute certainty rather than responding with rampant emotionalism or political jockeying for position.

To read more stories based on the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt, visit InLinkz.com. To read other stories based on the Kipling piece, go Here.

When I Last Saw My Face

rorschach

Rorschach test card – no image credit available

Victor sighed in relief as he put on his face and looked in the mirror. Tucking it into the collar of his black turtleneck, he donned the dark brown fedora to complete the transformation. Dark brown trench coat, gray slacks, brown kid gloves, and Victor Montoya no longer existed. There was only his real identity and his real face. Rorschach opened the hidden door that led to the stairwell. Descending, he got to the tunnel and then exited the abandoned power substation to walk the night again.

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He’s out there. I’ve been hunting him for weeks now. The fifth little girl disappeared just days ago. With any luck, I might find her still alive, not that luck and I have ever had much of a relationship.

His name is Reggie Manx. Yeah, like the cat, except I think of Manx more like a rat, one who should have stayed in the sewers instead of preying on children.

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The First Woman President of the United States

chelsea clinton

Chelsea Clinton introduces her mother, Hillary Clinton, on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA) )

“You see, Hillary? It worked this time.”

“It should have worked last time, George. Then, I’d have been re-elected by now and have had a second term in the White House.”

“Don’t complain so. Your health is none too good as it is. The strain of the Presidency would have probably earned you a stroke or heart attack years ago, and then Kaine would be President.”

“Even running against Trump, he’d hand him his ass.”

“Don’t be crude. You’ve just become the mother of the President-elect, and all thanks to my behind-the-scenes work.”

“At least Putin couldn’t pull a rabbit out of his hat a second time and get Trump re-elected.”

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Aekh’s Kikroot

planet

Image: hongkiat.com

Surprisingly, they were sexually compatible, so Aekh could teach him the forty-one forms of the Shin Ratda, as well as his native planet’s Kama Sutra and Ars Amatoria. She stood fully one meter taller than Quinn, and he marvelled that her elongated limbs and torso could hold her upright. Of course, at the moment, they were both prone, with her arms and legs encircling him like ivory pythons.

Within his thoughts, he called her “the Albino,” but all Uok’ahr were chalk-white and completely hairless. The iris of her eyes were a faint pink, except when she was angry or climaxing when they turned blood-red. Her body temperature was slightly higher than his, so when he entered her or even touched her skin, he momentarily thought he was going to be burned.

She spoke standard Castailian with just a faint accent, but he could never quite place it. No one off of her homeworld could speak the Uok’ahr language or languages, but then, no offworlder had been permitted to enter their solar system for several centuries. The last who tried, Birooli pirates, had vanished in a brilliant flare of incandescent light as their ships passed the system’s first warning marker. The type of weapon used was unknown.

“My Kikroot.” It has her term of endearment for Quinn. It meant something like “little one” but could also be translated as “student” or “child.”

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Sea Angel

sea angel

Image of Sea angel (clade Gymnosomata) – found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – no photo credit given

“You weren’t kidding, Somata. An actual sea water pool.” Gary had been dating the beautiful model for weeks, but this was the first time she’d invited him over to her place by the beach.

“It helps to live so near the ocean. You can’t see the machinery, but the pool’s water is constantly being recycled from just off shore.”

“This thing must have cost a fortune. In fact, your whole house is amazing.”

“Don’t bother asking how I can afford it all. I invited you over for a swim, not to discuss my bank balance.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend. I’m just overwhelmed. I mean, I’m only a junior accountant and this is like a dream come true.”

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What Are You Trying to Tell Me?

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.

jewish paul

Image credit: Drake Dunaway – the Jewish Paul

He closed his Bible at the end of 2 Thessalonians 3:17 and pondered. Did Paul know that his letters, those that survived to be canonized anyway, would become binding instructions for all Christianity nearly two-thousand years into the future? Could his letters really be compared to the writing of the Prophets in the Old Testament, and especially the words of Jesus in the Gospels?

“It’s in the Bible and Pastor says that’s good enough, but is it really? It’s not like Jesus was dictating the letters to Paul. There are some parts of the epistles he said were his own judgment and not of the Spirit.”

He knew both the Jews and the Church believed Paul invented a new religion called Christianity that totally broke from everything that had been written in the first two-thirds of the Bible. If God wanted to write a “love letter” to humanity, why was it a letter that’s so hard to understand, and with so many contradictions?

If God wrote a “love letter” like so many mushy, feely people at his church keep telling him, why were there so many different interpretations?

“I know. Pastor said it was because of sin, but all of the questions I ask him, he has pat, one word or one sentence answers to. Isn’t God more complicated than that?”

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Mindgasm

sexual assault

Image found at nocutnews.co.kr

Disclaimer: Given the writing prompt for today, I created a story that is PG-13, and bordering on R. The tale includes themes of sexual assault and violence, so please be advised.

“No, please no. Not now.”

Tiffany wasn’t sure he could hear her thoughts yet, but Ingmar was definitely in her head again.

It was her parents’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and she and her two brothers were taking them out to dinner at Quince’s. She hadn’t even thought about him lately. It had been weeks since he had last assaulted her, and she had been desperately hoping he’d moved on to some other woman or man. From what he had leaked into her brain, that was his pattern. He bored easily.

“Why here? Why now?”

“Because I can. Because it will be humiliating.”

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Sacrifice

spider-man

The cover art for Spider-Man issue 33 (1963)

“You’re going to be fine. Just hang in there. We’ve got heavy equipment coming. We’ll have the two of you out of there in an hour.”

“What?”

Ben Howard was on his knees. How did he get here? Wait. The earthquake. The little girl was going to be killed. Somehow he managed to push her in a hollow space as tons of concrete and steel rained down around them. What was that about heavy equipment?

“Can you hear me?”

Ben opened his eyes, not realizing they’d been closed. There was an opening in the rubble just in front of him. A firefighter. That’s who was talking to him.

The girl! He looked down. She was unconscious but breathing, thank God. Oh no.

“She’s not going to make it. Damn it! I didn’t push her all the way clear. An artery got nicked. She’ll bleed out. You’ve got to do something.”

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The Too Close Encounter

alien ship

Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie blog – No photo credit given

Captain Isaiah Morrison, for such had he once been called, late of the Confederate States Army, having found himself without a home or family, thanks to that damned Yankee Major General William Sherman and his “Scorched Earth policy,” had spent these past ten years in the Territories of the untamed West prospecting for gold (among other activities). His living was meager but sufficient, and now approaching middle-age, a time when men add distinction to the beginnings of waning vigor, he was riding his paint toward town in the hour before dawn to resupply and spend some few short hours in the bed of a hired woman.

The stars were brilliant above him and he stopped momentarily to appreciate the grandeur of God’s great masterpiece, spread before him in all its splendor, ancient, spinning fires contrast against the utter blackness of the infinite void.

Sentient indigenous experiment number 47 commencing. Approaching two mammalian life forms, sentient biped atop non-sentient, non-intelligent quadriped [query: could this be a mating practice].

Morrison was captivated by one star which did not match the pattern of the others. For one thing, it was moving against the flow of the constellations, for the second, it was growing larger, and finally, it was approaching his position.

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