Monday, 19 February 2018

War and the World Gone to Pieces

Chuck asked us to write about a world without guns... this took me a little while to do because, well, it had me stumped! 


I had been searching high and low for a piece just like this – even though the news said all of our weaponry had been collected and destroyed.

And what a sweet piece it was!

I ran my hands over its contours – its beautiful shape and feel, and how it felt in my hands was perfect!

No, it was ... meant to be.

It was mine!

I looked up at the dealer, “How much for it?”
“Hey dude, there’s other on offer here, take your time.” He swept his hand over the table in front of him in the dim light of his basement, “I’m not gonna be here tomorrow.”
“Can I pick more than one?”
“If you have the dosh you can have as many pieces as you want.” He chuckled.
Holding the one I loved so much closer to me, I perused the make-shift table of others on offer. I didn’t want to let this one out of my sight, just in case it would vanish if I put it down, “Well, we haven’t discussed prices yet.”
“The nice piece you have in your hot little hands there, sonny-boy, is a neat round sum of $50. But there’s bigger ones which have multiple uses – unlike that one you have in your hands.” He turned and picked up a massive one which was leaning against the wall with a strap attached to it, “You have this whopper to take some bastard out with; and you can bet your bottom dollar nobody will be messing with you if you bring out this bad boy!”
I hesitated, “Well, I don’t want to be caught with something like that on me... not by the police or the government. I want to have something small enough to get away with; yet big enough to scare the shit out of the assholes out there.”
The dude shrugged, “Well, okay... the piece you have there is good for everyday use. But may I interest you in having something for around the house?”
“Okay... what have you got?”
He opened an old, wooden cigar box and showed me a pair of nicely-cared for pieces, “These are perfect for home protection... I haven’t had these very long and am prepared to sell them to you – with that one there – for $1000. This box comes with its own lock and ammo.”
I didn’t hesitate this time around. Pulling out my wallet, I took out one of the money clips I had there with my dosh in $1000 sections. The first one came out, I unclipped it and handed the money over as he handed to box over with a key which he slotted into the lock, turned it and the box unlocked. On top of the box he put gave me another two boxes of ammo and wished me a good day.
Before leaving, I slotted my single piece into my empty shoulder holster, where my service pistol used to be; and felt so much better about having it there. Then, I pocketed the ammo and locked the box up before slotting it into a large pocket inside my trench coat and closing the flap over.

I was now ready to leave the building.

Two days later, I was home looking over the pieces I had bought with my hard-earned money; and I was pleased with my purchase. Such a pity one was so heavy that I had to be careful how I wore my jackets; and the others were to be stored away in a safe in my bedroom.
“Honey!” my wife’s voice called from downstairs, “Are you home?”
Holstering the piece, I had purchased and I locked away the large cigar box and looked out of the bedroom door, “Yes, I’m here!”
She slowly climbed the steps towards me, “So, how did it go?”
“We got a real bargain.”
“The kids aren’t home for a few hours, can you show me them?”
An hour late, she sat on the bed tentatively touching them, “Okay, now I know how to use them, what happens if the kids get a hold of them?”
I smiled, “They won’t. There’s two keys for the box and that’s it... and we have a floor safe.”
“What worries me the most is if The Main Departments will find out.” Her eyes locked with mine; knowing we’d both be screwed if they did.

“Sir. Wake up.” I was shaken awake three days later in the middle of the night, “Are you Captain Sean Allan Richards?”
I was blinded by a bright torchlight, “Who in the hell wants to know? I’m the Captain of Police of District 12, Area 35 of the Logan Quarter. So, get that torch out of my face. Who in the hell are you!”  I demanded reaching over and turning on my bedside lamp, to find the bedroom filled with The Main Departments people. My three children were standing in front of our wardrobe, bleary-eyed without a clue of what was going on and the Department of Child Services were ready to take them away, “Put my children back in their beds... why are they here?”
The man in the mandatory bullet-proof vest groaned, “We have reason to believe you recently purchased a few new – and illegal – pieces for your protection. You know it’s illegal to own fire arms, Captain; even for the police to have them in their homes.”
“Sean, just give them the pieces.” My wife whispered, “So we can have our children back.”
I sighed, “Okay. You can have them.” I reached under my pillow and showed my first one, “It’s not loaded... it’s one to use as a threat; it’s why I liked it.” Getting out of bed, I knelt on the floor, pulled out the key from my pyjama pants pocket (Jeanie had made this pocket in all my pyjamas pants especially for this reason) and pulled back the rug covering the lose boards. I took up two and placed my hand over the locking mechanism where it clicked open, and I retrieved the cigar box, “There’s a pair in there – and here’s the box of ammo that goes with them.” I put both boxes on the Glory Box at the end of the bed, where they were retrieved by the man in charge.
“Is there anything else in there you shouldn’t have?” he peered over my shoulder.”
“Just our last Wills and Testaments and my wife’s mother’s engagement ring.” I said.
“Okay, then.” He nodded as he took the keys to the cigar box and opened it. His eyes widened in admiration, “Woah, these are really nice.”
“Thanks. I am the police and the guy took a big risk selling to me.” I closed the safe back up, relocked it and replaced the boards again, pushing the rug back over.
He pulled out one, opened the box of ammo and smiled, “Yeah, but you didn’t know he was an undercover dude did you?”
“No. Why wasn’t I informed about him?”
Putting the piece down, he shrugged, “We knew that you collected pieces; and just couldn’t live without them.”
“Neither can you.” I snapped, “Look at you! You’ve all got pieces with you. The main thing is that you don’t have anything that’s as nice as mine; and...”
He picked up the piece from the box and pointed it at me, “Shut up and get on your knees.”
“Daddy!” my eldest girl screamed, tears in her voice.
“What you’re gonna shoot me in front of my family? Pretty cowardly seeing I’m unarmed.” I smirked.
A whisper came from behind me, “Captain...” and a piece was shoved into my hands at my right hip.
I picked up on the impromptu assistance and stood in the way of my children immediately as I raised my piece, ready to use it, “Ally, get your brother and sister out of here.”
“I’ll pick ‘em off one by one.” He moved his aim to my kids, and I moved with it, “Move!”
“No... you have the ammo and I only have what’s here in this piece... this is an unlevel playing field.”

For a moment, there was silence.

For a very long moment of our lives – the longest moment of not knowing what to do – silence engulfed the bedroom.

This was until Jeanie suddenly moved from her side of the bed, throwing a box of ammo at me! Without moving, my hand moved out and caught it from the air, cracked the box open and I tilted the box sideways where a stick slid out ready.
Slowly, I slid that piece into my mouth, bit down and the let the fresh minty taste fill my senses as I knew what to do, “Ally, honey, get inside our wardrobes... it’s gonna get messy.”
“Yes, Dad.” She nodded taking her brother and sister with her inside our wardrobes and pulling the door closed, “Can I have some ammo?”
I chewed on it slowly: “No, it’s only for adults.”
“Aaw, now you’ve got yourself all ready, let’s go then.” He stuck his nose in the air, took off out of my room, down the stairs! I followed him immediately out into the early morning light with my piece drawn and ready to use, “Come on, Captain! Catch me if you can with your useless piece! Pew! Pew! I’ll get ya!”

I dodged and snuck behind a tree, “Missed me, you yella belly!” I took aim and: “Pew! Pew! Pew! Hey gotcha! Right in the arm!”

Sunday, 11 February 2018


Chuck has us choosing a strange photo off Google. I picked mine from 'Doctor Strange'... it looked interesting weird to my mind as a story worked out immediately as I looked at it.


The glass was cold to my touch and the cityscape appeared as dead as my mood. But I wasn’t sure when I was...

...where I was...

Alive or dead... awake or dreaming... this place seemed familiar, and yet it wasn’t. I raised my dirty face to the sky as I beat my fists against the glass and started screaming a scream nobody heard...

“Help! Help me please!” My voice cracked as the rain beat against the windows of my house and the thunder drum rolled overhead. Wiping the sweat from my forehead, I sighed, “Just a storm.”
I’d been suffering through similar nightmares for weeks and yet had no idea what they meant. Swinging my legs over the edge of my bed, I rested my hands on my knees and looked outside as the lightning flashed and thunder responded.
I wasn’t going to get anymore sleep tonight – not with a storm around – so I rose, padded across my room and picked up my dressing gown and pulled it on. It was time to see if we had electricity, see if the storm had knocked out the power yet.
Flicking the living room light, I found nothing came on, “Yep, nothing.”
I walked out to the floor to ceiling windows taking in the cityscape and had the feeling of déjà vu. It wasn’t a comforting feeling either. Slowly I walked over to the windows and peered out across the city of darkened windows and found only a few lights were on.

This wasn’t because of the storm.

This was something else.

Looking down into the street, I noticed cars were on the streets. But most were burnt out, still smouldering as the rain poured from the storm skies.

I wondered: Am I still dreaming or ... am I awake?

Placing my hands upon the smooth glass in front of me, I felt the chill of the outside greet my fingertips. But then, in my dream, I could feel that as well... so really, am I awake right now or not?
My gut cooled as I pulled them away quickly and my mouth turned dry, “Shit.” I had spotted that the garden beyond the glass was dead, not from neglect, but from... “...acid.” I whispered to myself, “This is no ordinary storm.”
“No it’s not, Peter.” A voice said behind me.
I spun to find a well-dressed man standing in the gloom of my living room leaning on an ivory walking stick. Looking him up and down, “Who in the hell are you?”
“Well, I’m a bit like you... this is no ordinary storm, but then, you and me? We’re no ordinary humans; and to stop this thing, we have to work together.”
“Aren’t you my enemy?”
Turning, he smiled in the gloom of my living room, a diamond glinted from his mouth, “I might be, but then, I’m not the enemy to everyone. I can help you... you did scream for help, didn’t you?”
“I was sleeping.”
“Were you?”
“Come back to your room and let’s see if you were.” He walked back to my bedroom, and I followed him to find somebody was in my bed, “Who in the hell...” I stopped as I stepped closer and the man turned on the bedside lamp, “How come that didn’t work before?”
“It won’t for you, but it does for me.”
I wasn’t sure about what that meant, and didn’t wish to ask as I looked closer at the person and found it was me! I was in my bed still!

But how could I be if I was...

I turned and looked at him, “I don’t understand... how can.. I’m here.. and I’m there... and...” I took a step back, stumbling and backing away from him, “You’re not real, I’m dreaming this!” I ran out to my living room, where I spotted a helicopter passing overhead. I raced over to the windows.
“Help me! I’m here! Please land and get me!” I pounded against the dirty glass of my condo. I raised my dirty face to the sky as I beat my fists against the glass and started screaming a scream nobody heard...

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Romancing The Stone

It's Shake'n'Bake time! Chuck had us pick 2 from a list he had on this week's Flash Fiction email. And I chose BDSM erotica and Revenge Thriller... yeah, I chucked in a little vampire fun for a kick too.


“Are you sure you can’t see anything?” he asked.
“Yeah. Where am I?” the lace of the blindfold tickled my cheeks as I spoke.
“The playroom.” He said.
Twisting my hands, I squirmed in my seat, “Oh goodie. We’re gonna have some fun.” His footsteps padded away from the chair as he turned on the video camera – something he had never done before; and I was never comfortable with, something he knew I hated, “Watcha doin’ there Skipper?”
“Oooh, nothin’ just having a bit of fun.” He lied.
Smelling the air, I knew from his sweat that he was lying but I didn’t want to let on about that, “Okay.”

Bradley and I met at a swingles party. These are parties where you were single and just mingled with other singles, took part in all kinds of sexual games and orgies.

As a vampire, I find what Humans do interesting to the highest degree. They fascinate me to no end in how they want to reach that sexual high and wish to stay there – but there’s nothin’ like being a creature like me.

The smell of blood to a Human isn’t as delicious as it is to a vampire. It smells coppery and awful and makes your mouth water – and you don’t know why. It instils fear and loathing in you and all you wish to do is run when you get a noseful of it.

That’s normal for a Human – don’t worry.

But for a vampire? Well, that’s the dinner bell ringing loud and clear for us. And when I met Bradley, he thought he had romanced me off my feet by being charming and lovely and brilliant – however in truth, I had picked up on a scent I hadn’t come across in a very long time.

Yes, I came across an Immortal.

These guys aren’t vampires – they are like the fabled ‘Highlanders’ you see in that movie and television show. They live for centuries and have to die off every fifty years or so. And Bradley had been around for a very long time – over three centuries in fact – and he had been a part of Van Helsing’s first army way back when I was born into this dark life.

This was a thing which my dear, sweet Bradley didn’t know about me – well I don’t think he did – and we played all kinds of games, like the one we’re playing now. And we rather enjoy playing these games; as he thinks he’s got the upper hand.

I tied the blindfold on and looked into her face, waving my hand, “Are you sure you can’t see anything?”
“Yeah. Where am I?”
“The playroom” I grinned walking to the video camera and pressing the record button. The screen lit up and showed her tied to the chair in the sexy leather dominatrix outfit I had ordered online for her. She had loved it. It suited her.
She squirmed in her seat, “Oh goodie. We’re gonna have some fun.”
Michelle is her name and she is a Medical Examiner – well in this life – and she gets away with looking like she belongs in a cemetery. Her darkened eyes and ash curls match her athletic body – all of which I fell for.
But with vamps, that’s how they look to reel you in – they look sexy, hot and are everything you ever want in a person.
And she hunted in the usual haunts a blood-hunter would go: places where Humans felt the most comfortable, and where I met her at a swingles bar. What I don’t think she knew was that I’m an Immortal; a person who genetically can exist for centuries without dying. My parents were normal, Humans who gave birth to an Immortal by pure chance – but I was told it foretold by a witch in our clan in Scotland. But that clan, our family, that area of Scotland is long gone and I’m one of the last ones left.
I don’t think Michelle knows about who I am. But I know who the hell she is; and this video will be sent straight to Van Helsing himself in Germany where he’s on his deathbed – as she is the last of her family in existence; and he would be pleased to witness her death.
My phone vibrated. A message coming in, and I checked it: ‘Signal coming in clear. Proceed, my son.’

“Bradley, are you there?” I asked, knowing full well he was planning my death and I was on show for somebody he was trying to impress.
“Yes my love.” His voice was closer to me as he moved my hair over my shoulder, “Fun is what you wish, fun is what we’ll have.”

The signal came through skype nice and clear as Van Helsing laid in his bed connected up to life support, a tank of oxygen next to him as he held the mask to his face.
His life was at an end – at long last – and he was watching the revenge he’d been staying alive for. He wasn’t an Immortal, not like his son Bradley, but he did have some of Dracula’s blood coursing through his veins for the longest time; for the past three and half centuries. And in the past year, he had to have a blood transfusion, and his long, long life started to come to an end.
Yes, he started to feel his age in so many ways. His joints ached and hurt, as his mind aged swifter than he cared to admit. Before his very eyes, he witnessed himself aging over the past five years, becoming the withering waif of a Human the doctors had turned him back into.
He almost hated those doctors – but when he thought about it, he had lived longer than his three wives, five daughters, four sons, forty-five grand-children, twenty-five great-grandchildren and fifteen grandchildren. His line was still going on with Bradley in the lead; with his wife and their little brood of a family under the protection of the Van Helsing Agency.
And Bradley was the most blood-thirsty of his children who had turned into a Vampire Hunter – he hadn’t seen such violence in a person since he was a young man; since he spotted his hatred for that vampire which destroyed his family. He coughed, wheezing at the sheer memory of how Dracula had massacred his whole village, “Damned bastard...”
“Shush now, sir. Let’s enjoy your work after so long in waiting.” His man wiped his forehead with a cool cloth, then took the mask away for moment and dabbed up a spot of blood he had coughed up, “Shall I join you, or do you wish this to be a private moment?”
His tired eyes looked over at Jeeves (he had never known the man’s real name as he’d gone through so many servants in his time), “No, no, stay please, enjoy it as much as I will.”

Bradley came to in the chair with the blindfold on. The lace of it tickled his cheek and, as he struggled, he knew he was wearing the leather outfit she had been wearing.
“Hi lover.” her voice was nearby, “Comfy?”
“Am I wearing the leather ... um.. thing you were?”
“Yes. Actually, while you were out, I changed you into the one I was wearing. We’re not the same size, but leather stretches.” he could hear a smile in her voice, “I’ve been going through your phone and there’s some interesting intell on here... from New Orleans, Germany, London, New York City – all from the same person: you call him Father.”
“Oh crap.” He mumbled, “Listen, Michelle, I’m not what you think.”
“You are exactly what I think. You’re an immortal. I could smell it on you and your family destroyed mine centuries ago.” I snapped, “So, you tracked down the last of my family and thought it would go down well to seal the deal while your Daddy-dearest is laying on his death bed in Düsseldorf? He is watching this through Skype; and your phone has been going crazy since I overpowered you and tied you up.”
His voice shook and broke: “Please, I have nothing to lose, and I love you.”
I shook her head as I stood there nude next to the camera, “You see, you don’t. You put Van Helsing before me; and that’s just wrong. And what’s worse is that you don’t love me because you’re married with a little brood of kiddlie-winks yourself. So, once I kill you – and make it look like something weird gone wrong for the police to find – I’ll track down your family and kill them too.”
Bradley’s phone rang and I put it on speaker as his old voice came across the line sounding like crackling paper: “Michelle, please don’t harm him. He is my first son, and my only link to...”
“No, he’s my last meal before I kill off your entire line.” I said, “And you came after me. All I was doing was minding my own business. I had a job, I scored blood the right way and I wasn’t killing anyone. So, what the fuck, man?”
A laugh crackled across the phone line: “You see, my dear Michelle, you are too late. The police are storming the building as we speak and my son will be saved; and you will be killed on sight.”
I threw the phone to floor. The camera shattered against the nearest wall and the computer smashed into a million pieces onto the floor. Faster than Bradley could keep up with me, I sped around the room, found the secret entrance out to our bedroom, dressed, packed, and went back to him.
He was still sitting there.
I could hear the police pounding on the front door.
Approaching from behind him, I attacked. I drank. I made sure there was nothing left in him but bone marrow.
By the time the police smashed their way in, I was long gone. How? They’d never know.

Three days later, I was standing outside the house of Bradley’s wife three hundred miles away. My hair was red, I had blue contacts in and dressed in a 1960’s housewife’s dress I found at a thrift store.
I looked totally different to how I did in New Jersey.
Pulling out my phone, I found the advertisement for a live-in nanny for the Van Helsing family. Smiling, I walked up to the humble-looking house and rang the bell.
A young blonde teenaged boy answered with Bradley’s eyes and build, “Can I help you?” jeez, he sounded like his Dad.
“Yes.” I smiled, “I’m here about the advert for a nanny.”
He turned from me for a moment: “Mom!” then turned back, “Please come in.”
“Thank you.” I walked in and looked around. I could get used to this kinda life. Once I was shown to my quarters, I pulled out my phone, called a number, "Jeeves, I'm in."

Jeeves looked down at Van Helsing as he pocketed the syringe, and picked up the phone from next to the bed, "Okay, Michelle. I'm done on my end too." 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Life and Death On Holidays

Chuck wasn't going to do something this week - but then I checked and found a Flash Fiction email in my inbox. He asked for a travel woe story... so I did one which scared the crap out of me! It happened during a stop-over in Hong Kong in 1997 to the UK. This is exactly how it happened... and it was a few years after I had studied secretarial law and scored a job at an insurance company. To this day, guns freak me out.

“Take it off! Take it off! Take it off!” the customs officer pulled and yanked at my medical bracelet on my arm, screaming at me, as though I had something to hide.
And I screamed back in pain, “Hey! It’s attached you know!” But she kept screaming that same phrase, not listening, not caring if she bruised me, broke the skin or broke my arm... she just wanted that bracelet. In the end, I shouted: “Hey! Lady! Get off me!” I shoved her and she let me go, her hand on her gun, ready to do something – anything – to me. I just stood there, took a breath and said quietly, “It’s a medical bracelet and it’s got a monkey grip; that’s why it didn’t come off.”

Her face was blank for a moment before she signalled for me to walk past four other guys who were silently scared and looking at the floor, past a table on my right with four piles of papers, and pushed me onto a box. A wand had materialised out of nowhere into her hand and she ran it over my body, up between my legs – shoving it painfully hard into my groin – and then over my boots and making me stand on one foot then the other to go over my feet. She went up my legs again and pushed it between my thighs again, pushing harder this time, glaring at me; trying to shove it through the crotch of my jeans.

“You having fun there? ‘Cos that fuckin’ hurts.” I snapped.
She yanked the wand away and looked to the other customs officer at the other end of the room, who was going through my backpack. He was throwing my belongings onto the counter without any carefulness, when he came across my medication of Tegretol. 
This drug is for Epilepsy; a medical condition I have and I don’t go anywhere without my prescriptions or my medicine.
Immediately these two were yelling and screaming in Chinese that I was something illegal, something I’d never be in my life, something they didn’t bother to translate until the very last second when she shoved me towards an unlabeled door and ordered me inside to strip down. 

They were accusing me of being a drug mule!

“What!” I turned, “I have Epilepsy. That’s my medication, and if you don’t believe me, I have letters to say so.” I pulled on the collar of my t-shirt to pull out my money belt (which held my boarding pass, passport and the letters I’d need to get me through customs from all my doctors).
“Hands where I can see!” she screamed.
I looked up to find a gun pointed me.
I froze; staring, “I want to see consulate representative, now.”
The rest of the world fell away for a few slow moments while I felt as though I filled my pants; and she ignored my request.
I thought I had stopped breathing for a moment, until I found myself taking a breath, “What are you doing?”
“Hands where I can see!” her hands shook. She’d never shot a gun before let alone pointed one.
“Is the safety on that thing?” I asked. 

I know, I know, stupid to ask, but really, I wanted to know if I was going to get my brains splattered against the wall behind me by a nervous customs officer who didn’t know what they were doing.

She twitched, the gun moved: “What!”
The four guys looked like they were going to crap themselves on my behalf and the rest of the passengers through the window (yes they could all see what was going on) started to turn their children away and turn their backs.
They didn’t want to see this – and no, I didn’t want them to see this either.
“Listen, can you please put that down, you’re making everyone nervous, not just yourself.” Tears blurred my vision as I tried to think what to do, and realised she wasn’t being realistic about this, “You think I’m a drug mule; I’m not.”
“You have Tegretol! It’s date rape drug. You are criminal!”
“I take it to control my Epilepsy.” I said, “If you let me... oh for shit’s sake.” I looked at the other customs officer, “Look in the front pocket of my backpack and you’ll find a letter. Read it out aloud.”
He searched the backpack and found the letter and read it out aloud, and began to smile, “Dr. Appleton! We know him. He fly here all the time.”
I let a sigh of relief: “Good... he’s my doctor.” Walking up to the desk with the female customs officer shadowing me, I smiled, “Can I have my stuff back?”
“Yes. We keep your contraband.”
“But the letter...”
He nodded, “It is contraband.” He shoved my bag with all my belongings over to me and looked towards the next person, “Welcome to Hong Kong Airport...”
I turned to the other four guys, “What are they here for?”
The female customs officer turned, looking at them, “They are English. They go home.”
“Guys!” I called out to them, “Where are you from?”
They all hesitate before answering one by one:
I looked at her, “They’re Australians.”
“They redheads... they English.”
“Lady, you’re a racist.” I packed my bag again to find a tin of loose leaf tea was missing, “Where’s my tea?”
The man at the desk turned, “It’s marijuana. Illegal.”
“It’s Aussie Loose Leaf tea, properly packaged and sealed. Give it back!” I ordered. The female customs officer fingered her gun again, “Oh jeez... okay, look the bottom of the tin and you’ll find an international phone number. Call it.”
The man did as the female customs officer stepped closer to me, ready to arrest me, shoot me, or ... whatever she was going to do... she was one nervous Nelly. 
When the guy was talking on the phone, it was obvious, he had never tried calling the numbers on the tins of things he had confiscated before.
I put my hand out for the phone, “Here, I’ll talk to him.” The phone was handed to me and I chatted to the shop owner of Australia House across the satellite, who thought it was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard that customs took a tin of tea off me without even testing it! But he took a piece out of them nonetheless before hanging up on them and I got my tea back – but not my Tegretol.
My friends who had gone before me in line (fortunately I hadn’t flown to Hong Kong alone) had packed a plastic bag in their onboard luggage and bagged up my stuff in it and stuffed what we could into my back pack.

The four stranded Australian guys got their papers back and were permitted into the country. And they asked me what they could do to thank me.
“First of all, we make a formal complaint about those two morons.” I said, “They’re a danger to the Hong Kong security system here. I nearly got killed all because I was going to pull out my money belt.”
We found the main desk and filled out the necessary forms, signed them and handed them in. This took half an hour to do. The head of security called in the two from that gate and fired them immediately; and asked them where my medication was. They handed him a box they kept confiscated items.
Pulling out my medication, the older man handed it back to me, signed it out, and gave me grim smile, “Such a pity not that many people do what you have done.”
“What’s that?”
“You stood up for your principles. You knew you were in the right, and even when your life was threatened, you stood your ground. It must have terrified you.”
“It did. But I knew I was right. But why didn't they get my consulate representative?”
He turned and glared at them, "She asked for a lawyer?"

Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Party Is Over...

Last week, we got to pick the song lyric. This week, Chuck got to pick it. This week it's: Sza's 'Drew Barrymore'... 'Why is it so hard to accept the party is over?'.


I sat at my desk wondering why it had to happen now; just when I was happy, just when things were looking good – just when...

Another line started blinking on my phone.

“Crap.” I muttered looking at my feed on the monitor in front of me as my secretary walked in with two new files in her hands, “When did the shit really hit the fan?”
“About an hour ago.” She shrugged, “I’m wondering who talked.”
“Nobody talked.” I stood, turning from her, regarding the burning sunset, waiting for full night, “I’ll find out who did this and everything will settle down.”
Her cool hand touched my wrist, my hand, “Just be careful, Arnold.”
Squeezing her hand, I nodded, “Keep yourself safe, and you know where the weaponry is.”
She smiled, “Of course. I am over a century old. I remember how to fight.”
I grabbed my gear and walked toward the door, put my hand on it, and turned, “If everything goes to shit...”
“I know, blow the place and run if I can.”

The morgue was a blood bath as I walked through to find all the doors were open and everyone was dead.
“Arnold, have you heard?” Rickson walked out from his office.
I looked over at his concerned face, “Yeah, rogues.”
Shouldering his pack, he sniffed the air, “No, they’re not.”
“Oh jeez... Van Helsing is back.”
“Yeah.” He whispered.
“Okay, let’s go.”
We left the place the mess it was to find that murderer and destroy him once and for all.

As we walked through the streets, we could feel the tension in the air as well as see it. The place looked like a war zone with cars and trucks all over the place, people dead and dying everywhere as Van Helsing’s people had mistaken Emo’s and Goths for vampires and killed them; not realising they were just going through a phase.
The view of this disgusted us as we tried to save these people through every Human way we could – but we found they had lost too much blood before we arrived.
Rickson knelt by his fourth patient, “Dammit, he’s gone too far.”
I looked over at him, “Well, after that Jekyll and Hyde dude, he’s just covering his bases I guess. But this place looks like a war zone. There’s something else going on.”
Wiping his hands off on his jeans, Rickson tried to keep himself from showing too much emotion, “Look, I don’t attack Humans because it’ll annoy the authorities; and besides, I like L.A. But Arnold, this – this is dreadful.”
Nodding I knew what we had to do next, “This is a witch hunt. Come on.” I walked away and he followed me, knowing where we were going.

Lewis was a vampire who never went out. He lived in the basement of an old building in the poorer area of the city; never drawing attention to himself... and so when he heard about what had happened, he opened up the rest of the undercover area of the building to accommodate for the rest of us.

Rickson and I were the last to arrive.

He opened the door and pulled us in, closing it behind us, “About time you two arrived! Where have you been!”
“Looking around what’s happened around the place. Since this started happening, I haven’t been outside.” I said, “But then the destruction started happening in the street of my building and I left. My secretary may be dead for all I know.”
“Arnold.” Her familiar voice said across the room and she emerged from between two people. The sheer sight of her brought bright red tears to my eyes, “It’s so good you got out.” Holding her close, I realised how much I really did love her; and yet I’ve never known her name.
“I used the freight elevator.”
“Okay... now we’ve felt our feelings, it’s time to find that Hunter and his army and kill them all dead.” Lewis said, “Last time, he came for a Jekyll and Hyde type dude; and that was okay. This time, he’s destroying our town and exposing us to the Humans.”
“But he’s not only destroying us, he’s destroying anyone who looks like us as well – and that’s just being bloodthirsty.” Rickson said.
Lewis’ face turned stone for a moment, “Right. We need a battle plan. Who’s been through a few wars here?” about six hands went up, “Okay you lot, let’s get started.”

Sunlight isn’t good for vampires. We don’t burst into flames, it just makes us feel like crap. But we had to wait until dawn to find the Hunters who were making our secret public... and you know? It didn’t take long to find Van Helsing.
Like any leader, he thought he was indestructible.
He had the old-fashioned ways of working through a city; and he thought he had won. But being a rogue agent, he hadn’t thought his actions through – not thoroughly.
As we emerged from the lower doors of the basement, Lewis, Rickson and I noticed something before anyone else: Van Helsing was being arrested by the army and FED’s. I put a hand up to stop everyone else from storming the streets as did Lewis and we were obeyed; and the doors were closed.
Lewis and Rickson looked to me to talk to the authorities, seeing I knew some of the police and worked with the media a little; and knew what to say, and spotted a cop I knew approaching us, “Arnold, what are you doing here?”
“I was investigating a few brutal crimes in this area and came across this dude.” I signalled towards Van Helsing with my head who started screaming.
“He’s a vampire! He drinks blood! He’s a killer, I’m telling you, he must die!” his German accent echoed off the surrounding buildings as he was shoved into the back of a wagon.
The cop turned back to me, “Well?”
“He’s nuts.” I smiled.
“Yeah... I guess.” He turned and walked off.

The area was cleared by the army and the city of L.A was cleared and cleaned up by the government within a few months; making it appear as though nothing had ever occurred. But all the vampires around our town knew Van Helsing had been here again – and not to help us, but to destroy us.
I visited him in the Psychiatric Facility he had been sent to every month, to see how he was doing. You see, he’d been around for a couple of hundred years because he had been infected with Count Dracula’s blood by accident.
This caused him to go a little mad and he did need some blood, but not much, because he wasn’t in fact sired by Dracula. So, I’d visit him for a chat.
But he wasn’t getting any better.
“I know what you are.” He said one day, “You are the walking undead.”
“Well, if I am the walking undead, that makes you the same thing I am.” I smiled through the thick glass partition.
“No... um...I am mostly Human.”
“Oh... mostly Human... but yet you have Dracula’s blood coursing through your veins?” I speculated.
“Oh shut up.”
“What pisses you off, Van Helsing is that you weren’t fully turned; and I was. Centuries have passed and you haven’t even noticed that the party is over. We live in secret; and you burst that open.” Sitting back, I shook my head, “Shame on you.”
“It was no secret!”
“In L.A it was. Nobody knew about us; not until you came charging in.” I stood, bashing on the door for the guard, “Why is it so hard to accept the party is over?”
The orderlies pulled him out of his chair, and he grinned madly, spitting at the glass: “Maybe to you... but I’ll get out. And your end is nigh!”
As the door on his side of the partition slammed shut, and mine opened, a shudder ran through me. I wondered if he was right. Was my species on the brink with his army out there waiting for his signal?

I’d never know.   

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Don't You...

Chuck has us writing about song lyrics.  I love Simple Minds 'Don't you forget about me'. They weren't going to record it until they were asked to do it for the movie 'The Breakfast Club'... so I have delved into that movie as well - just for the fun of it - but 20 years later. 


It was raining when John’s service started.

We put up our umbrellas and I just didn’t know what to do as Dad put his arm around me and I ... well, I fell apart.
I never told my parents where my diamond ear-ring disappeared to; never told them I had given it to him that Saturday afternoon as the sun went down and Dad waited in the BMW for me to finish talking him after that detention which ... yeah, that one which changed my life.
When I met John Bender, he was just an asshole I never liked from day one of Shermer High School. Our school isn’t there anymore – I don’t know what is – but it’s not there anymore. John and I never lost contact; actually all five of use kept in contact after that day, we stayed friends in one way or another.
I remember when John and I began to date, he had broken off all the other relationships he had going with the other girls around the school. Even though we had talked during that time in the massive library, about how he had so many girlfriends and I had so much make-up and neither of us liked ‘throwing anything out’... in truth, we were just teenagers not knowing what we wanted. But in truth, we kinda admired each other and were scared of each other; and what would happen if the Prom Queen and the Rebel hit it off.

And we did.

And nobody expected us to last as long as we did.

Dad changed John’s life the moment they met. My Dad could see the pain he was in and offered him a job right out of high school and took him under his wing. I’m so proud my Dad did that, instead of pushing my John away and pulling us apart. Mom didn’t see John that way. She saw some long-haired freak who was trying to take her baby girl away; but Dad tried to talk to Mom without success.

While all of this was going on, John and I became closer over a year or so and he asked me to marry him.

I loved him so much.

Dad gave his blessing.

Mom didn’t.

His family were assholes about it all.

John turned his back on them.

So, we eloped to keep the peace.

John worked alongside my Dad for a few years while I studied at college – this was the plan for us; and we understood that we had to work hard for what we wanted in our life.

We never went out.

We drove Dad’s old BMW.

I learned to cook every meal (and burned my first few).
And we found starting at the bottom of the food chain a part of how my Mom and Dad experienced life.

Then, it happened for us.

John got a promotion, just as I graduated from college with a business degree and was offered a job at Dad’s company. Three great things which brought us great joy and two of them brought us money as well. And Dad was there to advise us about putting the money away for a ‘rainy day’. And we followed what Dad said to do: superannuation, saving for a house, buying only what we needed.

Then, one of John’s friends got out of prison.
I arrived home one day to find my husband sitting at the kitchen table with two people I’d never seen before standing around him, “Who are you?”
John looked up and I knew immediately that his past had caught up with him as tears filled his eyes, “Honey...”
“Honey. You’re Honey?” one of the very well-built men walked to me, “Is that your name?”
“No. I’m his wife.” I said, “John, what’s going on here?”
“We went to high school with John-boy... and just got out last week.” The one standing near me said, “Wanted to find him and say hi... but found out he’s all suited up and works for your Daddy-dearest.”
“It’s not like his family was doing him any favours.”
He raised a hand high.
I flinched as John screamed from his seat, “No! Leave Claire alone!”
“Claire... the Prom Queen?” he lowered his hand slowly.
I didn’t know what to say, “What do you want?”
The one standing over John grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragging him towards me, “We wanna catch up with John-boy... so say your goodnights and farewells for now.”
“I’ll be back.” He touched my cheek gently, leaned down and... the kiss he gave me felt as though he wasn’t coming home. It had such longing, such love and – and he pulled away – his cheeks were wet, “Don’t you forget about me.”
The two dragged John out the door and into the night.

I called the police.

John never came back home – well, not alive.

The rain became heavier as his casket was lowered into the ground and Dad held me tight against his chest, letting me cry.
Alison, Andrew and Brian had shown up at the service, to stand by my side. We all knew John well; and how much he had changed. As the hole was filled in and the turf was placed over the top, I looked at the headstone: John Edward Bender, 16th, May 1968 – 23rd, February, 1996, Don’t You Forget About Me.

And believe me I won’t – I can’t. 

Not with John’s child on the way.