Throwback: Captive

Crap, I forgot to make a story for the start of this month…So, here’s the first part of a story that I had tried to get off of the ground (like all of my stories) from back in grad school. Enjoy!

 

-0-

I woke up coughing again. There was a bit of blood on my hand, and I was finally convinced that I was reaching my limits. Only a matter of time before I succumbed to the environment, I kept telling myself, better do what I can now. Breakfast was the same as dinner – canned soup that I ate jellified. The only power that I had left was a small, battery operated lantern, barely enough to see, let alone heat anything. As I ate, the 38% DV sodium in the can was irritating my sores. My mouth screamed bloody murder, but I endured it for as long as possible. Eventually, I gave up, covering the can with a handkerchief. My situation was beyond hopeless, and I couldn’t take it for much longer.

At least the Beretta was still working, and I was glad for that. I checked the magazine, loading a single round. Cocking the action, I placed the barrel right under my chin. My hand, weak as it was from muscle deterioration, started to jitter as sweat poured down my face. Taking a deep breath, I steadied my hand, and pulled the trigger. Click. What did I expect? The only rounds I had left were duds, and I was praying that they were only duds because they were wet. No luck – they were duds because they were poorly made. Tossing the round into a bag, I placed the handgun back on a shelf. Surprisingly calm, I reached for my last bottle of water. Although I was completely parched, I limited myself to two swigs, and then placed it in my backpack. It had to last me through the day.

-1-

Wake up, eat breakfast, try to kill myself, get a drink. I’d been following this routine for nearly a month now, and it didn’t even seem morbid anymore. Surreal, maybe. Morbid, not at all. I finished packing my bag with a few empty water bottles, a granola bar, and a few rocks. Strapping my KA-BAR to my thigh, I picked up a crowbar and left the room. The stairways were completely demolished, which made them difficult for anyone to negotiate. In my condition, it was impossible. The fire escape, on the other hand, was still functional, and I used that to get to street level. Hitting the concrete, I stumbled for a few steps before catching myself on the wall. Continue reading

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Micro Story: Parlor Tricks

The crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was muted applause for the sleight of hand tricks, a few laughs for the slapstick comedy, and one or two gasps for the flaming juggling pins. However, one person in the front continued to stare at me. His arms were folded across his chest. I had made it my goal by the end of the evening to impress him somehow. So far, it hadn’t worked.

Sighing to myself, I pulled a dagger out of one of my pockets. The blade was sheathed in a simple leather sleeve. Walking to the front of the stage, I took a bow and removed the sleeve with a flourish. “For my final trick…” I bellowed, “I will drive this dagger straight through my hand without leaving a single mark!” A hoot came from the back of the room. That person had been drinking fairly heavily from the start of the show, and it was finally catching up to him.

“Now,” I said, my voice almost a whisper, “this is not a prop knife.” I pulled an apple out of my pocket, and carved a slice out. I then took a moment to eat the apple slice. Building up apprehension before the grand finale…I ran my finger along its edge. “The blade is razor sharp, able to easily cut through food, rope – “

I winced in pain. I had been ‘careless’, and drew a shallow cut across my middle finger. Some of the crowd looked away. The unimpressed man? He unfolded his arms and began to pay attention. Perhaps he was hoping that I would mess up or hurt myself. Some people took pleasure in that sort of thing. Continuing the act, I finished “ – or a finger.” I put the dagger on the table, and reached into my pocket for a glove. The white glove was completely nondescript, save a small pentagram with runic lettering on the back of the glove. As I used my good hand to show off the glove, my injured middle finger rubbed itself against its palm. That was the easiest part of the trick.

I took a deep breath, and put on the glove. My vision immediately blurred. Both the front and back of the glove were faintly shimmering. I reached for the dagger, missing grabbing it on the first try.

Wasting your life on parlor tricks again? The voice boomed in my ears. Surely, there could be a more productive way to die?

Quiet, you, I replied., I need to pay the bills somehow.

Why not steal something? I’m sure that you could easily pocket plenty of fancy jewels in this town. Anything is better than watching you pull carrots out of a hat.

“And now…”I ignored the voice. Rather than count down as was normal, I ran the knife into my gloved hand as hard as I could. There was a scream from the back of the crowd. Others sat there with their mouth agape. The man at the front? He clapped twice, and then went back to his stoic judgement of my act. Following his applause, the rest of the crowd quickly joined in. I ripped the glove off as quickly as I could, and tossed it into a jacket pocket. I could feel warmth returning to my body, and the voice slowly fading. One of these days, I wouldn’t be able to finish that trick, but until then…I smiled, bowed to the crowd, and walked off stage.

Love Letter

((Trying to slowly get back the free time to work on this blog, even if only once or twice a week. I hope you all like this short story set in the Love Letter universe. Yes, the story fits all legal moves in a game of Love Letter – Check in later this week for a review of the game itself!))

A young priestess was walking down a hallway, clutching a letter tightly in her hands. Her eyes darted around the castle, looking to see if anyone was in sight. Seeing nobody, she sighed and looked at the letter for what must’ve been the fourth or fifth time in nearly as many moments. It was sealed with a fancy wax seal, and the front simply said “To my beloved”. The princess’s suitors had become more numerous once she had come of age, to the point where the daimyo had ordered all letters destroyed. Due to this, suitors had begun giving their letters to those closest to the princess, promising land or food to those that could help win the princess’s heart. This was one of those love letters, and the priestess was determined to try and deliver it.

“Ohoho, what have we here?” A painted face put itself between the priestess’s face and the letter. His smile was wide, but his eyes narrow as slits. Continue reading

Holiday Throwback: Throwing in the Towel

((As 2014 draws to a close, I have one last Holiday Throwback story for you all. This one was another college story for a creative writing class. The prompt? Dialog-only, with a hard limit on the number of non-dialogue sentences used. Happy New Year!))

 

The fifth round had just ended, and the coach was approaching his exhausted boxer.

“Kid, I’m gonna level with you. You look like something a coyote ate and shat off a cliff,” his coach said.

“Thanks for the pearls of wisdom, Coach,” the boxer replied.

“I’m serious here. There’s only so much a body can take.”

“I’m fine, Coach.”

“No, you’re not. You’ve got bruises on your freaking bruises, not to mention the gash across your eye. Your hand is shaking like crazy.”

“So what? I can still take him.”

“You can barely stand, let alone fight. The only thing you can take is another uppercut.”

“I don’t care. I’m not giving up until I’m on the mats.”

“I’m not letting you hit the mats.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You don’t have to give up. I’m a man of my word, and I’ll end this if I feel that it’s gotten too far out of hand…”

Continue reading

Holiday Throwback: Empty

((Did everyone get what they wanted for Christmas? Below is a short story that I wrote for a creative writing class in college. Don’t remember what the prompt was, to be honest. I think it was something about concealment or keeping secrets? Anywho, enjoy!))

 

The room was in shambles. Clothing was strewn about the room haphazardly. Boxes of half-eaten Chinese food lay on the ground. The food was on the floor because six bottles of vodka had stolen their spots on the table. Each bottle was nearly empty except for one. There were a few couches on the sides of the room. Wooden chairs surrounded the table, six in all. As the cop entered the room, a sharp smell reached his nose. Ammonia, he thought while looking for evidence. All he noticed was the lack of furnishings besides the couches and chairs. He walked over to the table. Something in the circle of bottles caught his eye. “Bingo,” he said, putting on a pair of latex gloves.

The officer picked up an unused cartridge. It looked like a .357 round – the most common round used in revolvers – but he wasn’t sure. Placing it back on the table for the investigation crew, he did another quick examination of the room. Whoever they were, they were thorough. He took off his gloves and headed back for his police car.


“So, here’s what we have so far,” Lieutenant Smith said at the meeting the next day. “At 10:30 PM, we get a noise complaint from the lady in the next apartment over. She says that it sounded like a bunch of drunken idiots. We put it on the queue, and continue the evening. 10:45, the situation escalates as the lady calls back saying that she heard a gunshot. Officer Lourie was the first to arrive on the scene, and he found little hard evidence. A team is going back to the apartment to find all the evidence that they can. When I call your name, head to the door…”

Officer Samuel Lourie took a seat in the van next to the other three officers heading up the crime scene. Until further notice, he was in charge of the investigation. Fortunately his partner, Gregory Thomas, was on the crew. Greg was one of the most observant officers on the force, and he would find details that other people might miss. The other two officers were young but good at following procedure. He wouldn’t need to keep an eye on them. Lourie thumped on the wall, and the van lurched to life.


It had only been one day, but the room was starting to smell. The fresh aroma of ammonia mixed with the soothing smell of spoiled Chinese food, topped with a hint of vodka, was a little overbearing. The first thing that Lourie did as a commanding officer was open the window. That done, he delegated the rookies to scanning the walls and floor for any blood spots or other evidence. Officer Thomas was sent next door to ask the lady a few questions. This isn’t too bad, he told himself as he walked towards the table. Nothing had changed in 12 hours.

“Sir!” Officer Thomas said, “Mrs. Andrews has no recollection of anyone ever living in that apartment before. She said it was probably a bunch of high school students fooling around. As for the gunshot, she said that she only heard one.”

“Thanks, Greg. Help the others scour this place.” Officer Thomas walked over to the pile of clothing, putting on a pair of gloves. He began to pick through the articles. Lourie walked over to the window and called the department. He relayed all of his information, and then waited as the lieutenant picked up the line.

“Lourie, additional information came in today. Apparently, other precincts have had similar incidents occurring in their areas. Detective Jones is going to be heading up the rest of this investigation. Sorry, it’s procedure.”

“I know, sir. Out.” Lourie hung up the phone and cursed. Jones was one of the best detectives that the precinct had, but he was just a bit too eccentric for Sam’s taste. Sam wasn’t too angry that Jones was coming; it was just that this was his case, and now it was being turned over to someone else.

About five minutes later, Detective Jones came in the door, a cigarette in his mouth. His nose wrinkled. “Lourie!” Sam went over, and stood beside Jones. “I want you to relieve Thomas of searching the clothing. Thomas, help the rooks find some hard evidence.” The detective plugged his nose. “And will someone please take care of this Chinese food?” One of the rookies leapt to his feet to discard the rotting food.

Thomas examined a spot on the floor, and shook his head. “None of this is any good. They sprayed ammonia on the bloodspots.” He looked at the wall. “This one too.”

Meanwhile, Sam picked through the clothing. Reaching into a hooded sweatshirt pocket, he pulled out a scrap of paper. It read, ‘Jeff Vencus, James Marquee, Vincent Powers’. A list of victims? Culprits? Lourie stood up and handed the paper to Jones. Jones examined the scrap, then handed it back. “Have dispatch find these people for me.” Lourie slowly pulled out his phone. Continue reading

Holiday Throwback: Jack and Jill

((Another old story that I dug up recently, this one also from high school. Merry Christmas to everyone!))

 

Two women stood in the kitchen, peeling and chopping vegetables for their dinner. The older women had a weathered face, from the wrinkles on her forehead to the tired blue eyes. Silver veins coursed through her brownish-blond hair. She was currently dicing potatoes that were being peeled by her daughter. The smaller girl was tall, or at least tall for an eight-year old. Her blonde hair reached down to just past her shoulder blades, and it flowed freely. Her vibrant, green eyes were full of anticipation, vividness, and a slight hint of immaturity. Handing her mother the final starch, the girl rose to her feet, gracefully walking towards the open window. She looked out onto the path, hoping to see anything or hear any sound; a carriage bell, horses trotting, crunching gravel.

“Jill!” her mother called, and the girl turned away from the opening. “While I finish preparing the ingredients, can you please go get me the water for stew?”
“Yes, mother.” Jill said airily, reaching for a large metal pail that was stashed in a cupboard.
“Oh, and Jill?” the older woman continued while slicing a carrot into extremely thin slices. The little girl looked back, the pail bouncing off of her knee. “Can you take your brother with you?”
A sigh, then, “Yes, mother.” Jill left the room, stopping only to find a white ribbon to tie her hair back. That accomplished, she went outside.

A boy that was an inch or so shorter than Jill was amusing himself by throwing stones at small woodland creatures that came nearby. His blonde hair was messy and unkempt, and his blue eyes twinkled with mischief. A smile came to his face when the pebble knocked a squirrel off-balance. His hand reached reflexively for another stone, and then he saw Jill. Dropping the rocks, he stood up and asked, “When’s Pa coming home?” while brushing dirt off his pants.

“Soon, Jack,” his sister replied, eyes darting towards the road for a second. “But first, Mom wants us to get water for cooking!” Jack groaned. “C’mon,” his sister needled, “It’s not that bad a climb.” She started walking, and Jack slowly followed.

Continue reading

Looker.exe (part 4)

(A day late due to internet problems, he said, shaking his fist at his router)

(Start from the beginning here)

“What assets do we have planetside?” James asked over the communicator. I opened up a list of names and skimmed through them quickly.

“It seems like we only have Andrew at the moment. Syrus and Archer are on base, Patrick is still recovering from an illness, and Serena and Marcus are on Mars leave.”

I could hear a distinct sigh on the line. “Send the information on Sam to Andrew, and have him head to the Greene residence. I want Syrus and Archer heading planetside to rendezvous with him as soon as possible.”

“Will do.” I closed the connection, and started back to my office. I walked past Archer again on the way out. The pilot was chest deep in that monstrosity of a skimmer. “Archer?”

He looked up, beaming. “What can I do for ya, boss?” He rubbed his hand on his coveralls and extended it to me. I took a brief glance at it, and then looked back at him.

“I need for you to find Syrus and meet me in my office in fifteen. James needs you planetside.”

His smile vanished for the briefest of seconds. “Will do!” Archer closed the hatch on the skimmer and jogged off towards one of the other docks. I turned sharply and was about to walk towards the elevator when a person blocked my path.

“Hey.” It was Ari. Continue reading