Monthly Archives: June 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: Troublemaker

Troublemaker

“Let me out.”

The voice called plaintively from the jar again. It had been calling to Kenny since he found it in the old ladies garage. At first, he’d thought it was the drugs and had grabbed the jar to keep the voice with him. He’d sold the other things he’d found for more drugs but he kept the jar with it’s strange little voice.

“Please, I know you’re there. I’m so hungry.”

Kenny sat with his back against the wall, his knees pulled up beneath his chin, watching the jar and enjoying the colors that were swirling around it. “What do you eat?” he whispered to it then giggled into his knees.

“Will you feed me? I’m so hungry,” the little voice said.

“I don’t know what you eat,” Kenny giggled.

“Anything,” the voice sighed. “Leaves? Sticks? Dry ones would be so nice. Please. I can help you when I’m stronger. I’m so weak right now.”

“Help me how?” Kenny asked, looking around. There were a few leaves against the wall a few feet away.

“However you want, with whatever you want. I’m very powerful when I’ve been fed.”

“I just want to see the colors. They’re expensive, though.” His fingers weren’t really working properly but he managed to pick up the leaves and took them to the jar.

“I can make so many colors,” the voice told him.

“These ones make me feel good,” Kenny said, momentarily stumped by the task of opening the jar.

“I can make you feel good.”

Kenny got his fingers working well enough to open the jar and looked inside as he fed it the leaves he’d found. The inside of the jar was dark and warm and he could see flickers of color as the dry leaves crackled and disappeared.

“Mmm, that was good,” the voice in the jar said. “I need more. Can you get me more?”

“You said their would be colors,” Kenny complained.

“Didn’t you see the colors as I ate the leaves? They were so small, the colors only lasted for a moment. If you get me something bigger, the colors will last longer.”

Kenny went hunting for dried sticks and leaves but, in this part of the city, there were very few to be had. Instead, he fed her paper and the dry trash he could find. Everything flashed and crackled as he fed it to the jar and Kenny sat and watched in wonder as the colors danced before his eyes. He started to see shapes, the most consistent was a woman dancing.

“Did you like that one?” Kenny asked as the colors faded.

“Oh, yes, it was wonderful. Is there anything else? I’m still so hungry,” the voice said plaintively.

“That’s all I can find around here,” he said. “I can’t find anything else that will fit inside the jar.”

“Is there anything bigger? I think I’m strong enough to come out of the jar, if there’s something big you can set me on.”

Kenny’s brow furrowed. “I thought you were the jar. I thought the colors were you eating the things I gave you.”

The voice giggled. “No, the jar is how some nasty magician caught me. He put me in here to keep me from having fun and to starve me until I wasted away to nothing. I’m so glad you found me. You saved me and now I can eat. And when I’m stronger, I can dance. Wouldn’t you like to see me dance?”

Kenny thought to the places he knew in the city. Most of them weren’t dry enough for the voice in the jar, except for one. It was abandoned and he didn’t think anybody else knew about it yet. Surely there would be something it could eat there. “Yes, I know somewhere,” he said.

The jar was hot to the touch but Kenny didn’t feel it except distantly. He was on a mission and determined to carry it out. It almost made him feel the way the drugs did when he first started taking them; floaty and not all there but amazed by the things around him. When they got to the abandoned house, Kenny set the jar down. “I don’t know how to get you out,” he said.

“Just dump the jar over. I’ll get out. Is it nice and dry? I don’t think I could handle anything too damp.”

“Yes, it didn’t hardly snow this year so almost everything is dry. It keeps promising rain but there hasn’t been any in weeks.”

“Oh, it just sounds perfect. Dump me out and let me eat.”

Kenny turned the jar on its side and watched as a pile of ash walked carefully out of the mouth. It looked like a woman and trailed ash along behind it like a dress. It walked to the wood floor, bent down to touch it and started to glow. The colors began to dance again and Kenny watched, mesmerized as the pile of ash turned into a woman made of flame. Once the floor under her started to glow, she stood up slowly and began to dance.

The glow ran along the floor and to the walls and Kenny sat, transfixed by the tiny dancing woman in front of him, watching the pretty colors as they played over the house. It wasn’t until the heat was unbearable that he realized the house was on fire. Panicking, Kenny grabbed the jar and ran out the back door. He came around the front and watched with the neighbors as the house burned. The fire trucks came and put the fire out. Ash spread and covered everything.

A piece landed on Kenny’s shoulder and reached up to stroke his cheek.

“That was lovely,” the piece of ash said. “Now, find me something bigger.”

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Flash Fiction Friday: God of the Waves

It was worshiped as a god in times past, then as the main servant of the sea god. Sacrifices were driven to the shores in the long ago past, then put on boats to be devoured in a great display of the raw, destructive power of nature. There were wars on land and the tribute stopped. Ships became bigger and started fighting back when it tried to take them. It started taking them just to take them, to remind the people that it was what ruled the seas. It moved to deeper waters and found larger prey. While it had always preyed on the creatures of the seas, as it grew, it’s prey grew, too. Whales changed their migration patterns to avoid it as it grew larger and larger.

It stayed deep in the ocean, feeding on the wildlife and remembering when the humans had worshiped it. After a while, it became nothing more than a legend to the people on the land. The sea was something to be tamed, the creatures of the sea to be hunted, and the humans would sail all over the world. In the deep of the ocean, it slept, dreaming wild dreams of the long-forgotten past.

The humans explored and found other lands. In their greed, they brought war to the ocean. Great battles were pitched along the shores for the treasure that was found across the sea. When they met out over the deep ocean, the rumble of cannon and the occasionally sinking ship woke the great beast of the deep. It began to crush the ships as they sank near its resting place and devour the humans it found inside. As the battles became larger and more frequent it swam higher and higher until, in the midst of the largest battle of the age of exploration, it used its great tentacles to grab one of the ships and pull it down to the depths.

It was able to grab three more ships before the humans turned their cannon on it, their war with each other forgotten. The ammunition bounced harmlessly off or fell ineffectually into the sea. It descended deep into the sea to enjoy the bounty it had claimed and became the god it had once been. There were other ships, convinced that there was no real danger in the middle of the ocean. Some made it past without incident, others were not so lucky. It took its tribute when it wanted it and allowed the humans to worship it in fear.

However, it had been too long for the humans to remember worshiping the sea. They were determined to have their way in the world and soon, the ships no longer rode the waves as they crossed to the new world. The great god of the deep sea had to come to the surface to take the floating tribute and it didn’t like it. Exposing itself to the air made it vulnerable but it had come to remember its past and wanted more. It hunted more, and farther, than it ever had and the ocean was occasionally red with the blood of its prey. Those ships that braved the waves were subject to brutal attacks, but it was less certain when they would occur. If they were very lucky, they could get across with almost no incident.

Then, when it went to attack another ship, the humans fought back. While the cannon had been largely ineffectual, the new weapons bit sharply and it was forced to retreat. Many of the ships that crossed were armed with such weapons and it was never sure when they were going to be used. It stayed out of certain areas of the ocean and continued trying to attack the ships in the air, that seemed to be going higher and higher away from the ocean.

It hungered for tribute and could no longer stand the ocean depths that had hid it for so long. Its limbs became weak and did not obey they way they used to. It couldn’t hunt the prey it needed to stay strong and it couldn’t go back to sleep. Then, the ships with the weapons came looking for it.

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Flash Fiction Friday Redux: Adam the Automaton

Just a quick reminder that I’m running a best of series on my Flash Fiction while I finish up a really large project. Today is the story that started me on the road to Copper Visions. 

The door to the dressing room opened slowly. The woman standing in the doorway was reflected perfectly by the mirror over the dressing table.

“Hello, Adam,” she said quietly to the robot packing up the detritus on the dressing table.

“Hello, Evie,” he replied, not turning around. “I see you got the tickets. Did you enjoy the show?”

“I did, thank you,” she shifted her folded parasol to her other hand and shifted nervously on her feet. “I recognized some of the songs we used to sing together.”

And your fiancé? What did he think?”

He’s fascinated by you.” She didn’t smile when she said this. “He’s always been interested in my father’s work but didn’t realize you were so well developed. I think he wants to learn more about you.”

I’m publishing an autobiography this summer,” Adam snapped one of the many small cases closed and began packing the next one. “I’ll even sign it for him if he wants.”

I’m not certain that will satisfy him.”

He’ll have to get in line with the rest of the scientists who want to take me apart and see how I work. Even your father didn’t really understand, in the end. No matter how many times he tried to duplicate what happened with me.”

He got the animals working, at least.”

Adam turned to her, the last jar of paint in his hand. “The animals were lovely to behold, all copper, brass and steel, but there was something that wasn’t quite right and he knew it. They moved and roared but they didn’t act like animals,” he turned back to his work. “Or maybe they did. Elephants are known to go on rampages when they’re separated from other elephants, maybe he finally got it right with the brass elephant but it was lonely.”

You think my father’s creations felt something?” Evie shook her head. “They were just robots, Adam, nothing more. My father died in a lab accident, he was not killed by a marauding elephant, brass or otherwise.”

He loved that elephant, your father did,” Adam told her. “He had a theory about why nothing worked as well as I did. When you left, he became obsessed by it.”

Yes, he wrote me about his theory. I forgave him long ago for pouring all of his love into his automatons but don’t drag me into his delusions. You are a well-made machine, Adam, made by a brilliant man but you did not work because I loved you. You were a favorite toy for me, nothing more.”

I’m glad you enjoyed the show, Evie.” Adam turned to her and his mobile metal lips turned up into a smile. “I imagine your fiancé is looking for you. You may tell him I’ll be happy to send him a copy of the autobiography when it’s printed.”

She took the dismissal for what it was and left. The yellow and brown stripes of her dress reminded him of a honeybee in flight, the parasol swinging behind her acting as a stinger. He wondered why he regretted watching her go, wondering again if the professor had programmed him with emotions or just a set of standard responses to stimuli.

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Flash Fiction Friday Redux: Little Green Clients

I’m working on a massive project right now that is taking more time than I’d like, mostly because I pulled a couple muscles. Thus, typing is slow and I’m replaying some of the more popular flash fictions on my blog while I get it done. So, if you’ve seen this one before, pass it on to others who haven’t! Happy Reading!

 

 

I was closing up early to mark a special anniversary for me when the little green men walked into my office.

I knew who and what they were and it pissed me off because I’d spent the last five years convincing myself they weren’t real and my husband had merely run off with his secretary. Though, his secretary was a big, burly chap and I still ran into him around town occasionally.

There were three little green men and they came to my desk and sat down, looking at me expectantly while I was deciding if I should kick them out of the office or grab one of them and demand my husband back. I’d finally come to the conclusion that these weren’t likely to be the specific aliens responsible for my husbands abduction when the one in the middle decided to break the silence.

“Ms. Carlisle,” the first said, his voice strangely staticy and his lips didn’t move right with the sound. “We would like to hire you for a case.”

“Who says I’m for hire?” I asked.

“The girl in the other room said you hadn’t had a case in months. We will pay in cash appropriate for this world.”

Great, I thought. Brenda’s been talking to people again. I really only hired her to keep people out of here and answer the phone. So what if I hadn’t had a case in months, I was busy enough, and proof that I wasn’t crazy had just walked into my office. Hmm, maybe I should buy her a new bottle of nail polish for that.

“She talks too much,” I said. “What do you want?”

They looked at each other and started talking rapidly in their own language to each other.

“We wish to hire you to solve a case for us,” the one in the middle said and the other two nodded.

“That would be the normal reason a human would come to a detective,” I said. “Why do you want me to work for you?”

“Ms. Carlisle, we are aware of at least some of your situation and that has led us to believe that you would not be opposed to investigating some of our people. There has been a rash of incidents that we believe point to some criminal activities among our people but which are a bit too sensitive to bring to the authorities on our world.”

Right, that was working my last nerve. “Get out,” I said, pointing towards the door.

“Please, Ms. Carlisle. We had nothing to do with what happened with your husband. In fact, we’re part of a group that is opposed to the capture and use of humans.”

“You’re a political group?” My eyebrow raised and I looked across the desk at them, amusement warring with irritation.

“Indeed, ma’am, much like some of your animal rights groups on this planet, we protest the capture and use of humans by those people who seek to profit from them.”

“What, exactly, do your people do with humans? Some of the ones who claim to have been abducted swear they were experimented on.”

“Oh, there have been laws against human experimentation on our planet for a very long time, though some of our people are not above breaking that law. We protest those who do, certainly, but the ones we object to the most fiercely are those who capture humans to sell them as exotic pets. They are very amusing, certainly, but they are at least minimally sentient and, thus, should be given the choice rather than be abducted.”

Irritation won. “Get the hell out,” I told them.

“Please, Ms. Carlisle, we mean no disrespect. Many people who buy humans hold them in very high regard,” the alien almost looked panicked.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. This was a lead, a clue to my own personal mystery and I should definitely look into it. “What, exactly, is going on?”

“Many of our people are being taken ill but there’s no known cause. In many cases, the illness comes on quickly but there’s no environmental cause for the illness and no known disease that effects our people the way this does. We suspect that people are being poisoned.”

“If you’re so much more advanced than we are that you use us as pets, surely your scientists have the capability of detecting a poison?”

“Poison has not been used on our planet for quite some time and there are very few of us who would recognize it from our work. And it’s the scientists who would, most of whom have made a transition into working with the humans, who were hit first.”

My mind began to turn and I’m sure the smile that crossed my face did not do anything to reassure the aliens sitting across from me.

“Hmm, that does sound perplexing,” I said, trying to keep the manic laughter away from my voice. “And you say you can’t go to your authorities?”

“No, Ms. Carlisle, we can’t.”

“Well, then, I suppose the only thing I can do is take the case. Cash up front, of course, and money for expenses. You can work the details out with Brenda out front. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Oh, thank you, Ms. Carlisle,” they said and stood. “We will come for you tomorrow.”

“Yes, tomorrow,” I stood and walked them out of my office. I listened to them talk to Brenda and began chuckling.

He was alive. The magnificent bastard was alive and he’d found a way to get out. Now, all I had to do was find him. I went to my desk to begin the list of things I was going to need to bring with me.

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Monday Morning Update

Yes, alas, I have been neglecting my Monday fitness and health stuff. And there’s a reason for that. Mostly it’s because my body hates me. But, it’s also partially because it’s hard to update with “Well, I’m broke and can’t afford the food that keeps me healthy, so I’m eating what I can afford until I can get more hours at the day job that’s killing me.” So, yeah, things haven’t been great health wise and the writing is making enough to support me. Yet.

Speaking of writing, I’m putting a compilation of Flash Fictions that is set to be released sometime in the next couple weeks. I’ll be taking the Best Of’s from the blog and writing new content that will only be available in the compilation. If you have a favorite flash fiction, let me know 🙂 Requests that are written on $20’s will get first consideration.

I hope everybody has been well and checking out the chapters on Wednesday and the Flash Fiction‘s on Friday.

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