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Silent Sunday 3/8/2020
When We All Fall Asleep… Chapter 2
The sun was glorious this morning, Denny decided, even if it didn’t feel very warm today. She strolled casually across the grass behind her friends, Vera and Jasmin, indulging in a little selfish “me-time” before catching up with them.
Not everything always had to be about them, now, did it?
Even though, they did seem to be pulling away from her, ignoring her, as a matter of fact.
“Well, that’s just rude.” Denny huffed, but received no response.
What the hell were they talking about so intently, anyway?!?
“And did you see what she had on?” Vera glanced quickly at Jasmin, “that brown was never a good color on her, what was up with that?”
“Oh, I know, right?” Jasmin’s hands flew up in front of her,like restless birds. She always talked with her hands when she got worked up over something.
“This whole thing, honestly…” Jasmin choked up as a tear rolled down her face. “I just can’t…”
“Jas, it’s almost over, honey..just hold on.”
Denny stomped right up behind them, sliding into the backseat of Vera’s car, seemingly unnoticed! What the hell! STILL?!?
“Hey! Look at me! I’m right here!”
Nothing. Not even a glance.
This had to be a damn nightmare, Denny decided.
“Well, I’m just going to wake right the hell UP, then! Because this is bullshit!”
And she pinched her arm.
Nothing. Not even a twinge.
Not a twinge?
Denny was seriously thinking about having a panic attack, when Vera’s car came to a stop, and both girls got out, Denny sliding out right before the door slammed in her face.
And then, they walked off.
Into – a freaking CEMETERY?
No. Nope. Noway. Denny wasn’t having it.
This was so not on her to-do list for this week.
“Dearly beloved, it is time now to commit this precious child back into the Lord’s keeping…
Ashes to ashes….
It’s a dream…I’m going to wake up in my bed,and it’ll be time for school…its JUST A DREAM!”
“Dust to dust…”
When We All Fall Asleep… Chapter One
Insistent, the voice in her head growled harshly, while London’s feet struggled to keep the pace barefoot through the darkened forest.
She knew if she stopped, it would find her, catch her. So she ran, stumbling over rocks and roots, catching her pajamas here and there on brambles, branches tearing at her wild hair. Scratches littered the skin that was visible, dots of blood beading on the surface.
She knew she was leaving a trail a mile wide for it to follow, but couldn’t seem to help herself, the panic so thick on her tongue she could barely swallow.
Water, if only she could reach the water. Maybe she could throw it off her scent… Buy some precious time.
Downhill…yes! Go downhill! That’s where the water would be, right?
She swerved to the right, almost wiping herself out as she twisted in the leaves and angled down, grabbing a sapling to propel herself down faster.
There! A glint of silver in the moonlight!
London bit back a cry as she crashed through the tree line to the edge of the river, not wanting to give it any more hints as to where she might be.
First, though, to throw it off…
Luckily, the river here was low enough she could cross without too much danger to herself. Plenty of rocks and handholds on the other side to get herself out, and she was on the far bank, and scrambling up the next hill on her hands & knees, pausing to wipe her bloody hands on saplings.
Once at the top of the hill, however…she slowly worked her way back down the hill, using those same hand and knee marks, backwards, until she reached the river’s edge, and gently eased her way back into the water, only to start floating downstream.
….There….let that thing…try to find her now.
The water was frigid, but London didn’t even care. It would wash away the mud and blood, and the stink of fear,that had been clinging to her. She slowly ducked down into the water, wetting her whole self, lifting back up only far enough to get her head out of the water so she could see while she treaded her way downstream.
Suddenly, behind her, she heard the forest explode with angry snarls and breaking noises.
It was coming. Fast. It was going to SEE HER.
A deafening roar split the night as it caught sight of her and started pounding into the water, heading RIGHT FOR HER!!
London made a small strangling sound at the back of her throat and turned quickly downstream, pushing herself through the icy waters. She had to get around that next bend! Ducking under the water, she swam as hard as she could, but she had to surface quickly, it was just too cold! She couldn’t do this much longer…she had to surface…
She had to…surface…
“Hunh…? Whu…I’m up…”
“”Yeah, sleepyhead, it’s about time you surfaced. Get up. Time for school.”
The Guest ~ Flash Fiction 9/30/18
There was a nuclear explosion going off inside her body, and no one knew it but her.
Mostly, it didn’t bother her, except once in a while the atoms would split in uncomfortable ways and would make her sick, but she could hide that.
She’d always been rather a sickly child, anyway. Growing up hadn’t changed that, much.
“Oh, you know, I just had something that disagreed with me for lunch,” she’d smile softly and wave off concerned looks in her direction.
And she’d quietly patter down the street to the store, or to her home, or wherever she was headed.
It was a good thing she didn’t have to work in an office, she thought. Too many questions, too many strangers in her business, when she really didn’t have the time for any of that.
And the nuclear explosion carried on, creating new worlds and collapsing old ones, deep within.
She’d known, almost the moment it happened, what was going on. That she was forever altered, there would be no going back.
She could almost hear the tick tick tick of a miniscule clock… counting down.
To what result, she wasn’t precisely sure, but she knew the sound was growing in strength.
Which meant, time was growing shorter.
And she needed to prepare for all eventualities.
There were preparations at home that needed to be made, she knew. Things she needed to have purchased and sent to the house, papers that would need to be signed at the lawyer’s office.
It was a good thing she still had mother’s money to help with these things. Granted, she had a decent job, working remotely from home, editing for a publishing company out east, but that job would have to be terminated soon, and then mother’s inheritance would make all the difference.
It was what had allowed her to keep the family home, after all.
But, enough, she shook her head ruefully, a slight grimace on her face.
It was time.
The nuclear explosions within wouldn’t stop, and she – had to be ready for the fallout.
“I’m home,” she called softly, as she dropped her house keys on the foyer table.
The front door slid closed with an almost silent click, shutting out the neighborhood noises.
And a rumble rolled through the house, rolling around her in a welcoming embrace.
“I wasn’t gone that long, it’s alright. And I won’t be going anywhere else today, so it’s just us, luv.”
Flames flared to life in the fireplace as she maneuvered through the parlor, shedding her cardigan, and laying it across the top of the couch.
“Ah, thank you. It is starting to get a bit chilly outside, I do appreciate the thoughtfulness.”
She plucked the book she’d been reading from the table near the couch, and sank down into its generous cushions, reveling in the relaxation of her own home.
“It’s never as nice out there as it is here with you, you know. If I didn’t have to go out occasionally for things, I’d never leave these rooms.”
Stretching her feet out, she laid her head back on the pillowed armrest behind her, and closed her eyes for just a moment.
“Mmmm, that feels nice. You know my feet always love your attention,”
Gentle but firm massage stroked her toes and instep, working its way up to her ankles, sliding her slacks up to push on her calves. Delicious. That’s what it was.
“I do love the way you take care of me, you know that, right?”
A deep rumble of assent was all she got in response, but she knew he heard, she could almost see the smile on his face, even with her eyes closed.
“You’ve always taken care of me, I know that, and that’s why I want to take care of you. I’m almost ready. I’ll have everything here next week, and then we can finish this. After everything you’ve done for me, I want this for you too. For us.”
She felt a hand move from her leg, up to her stomach, where the explosions were going on. On and on and on.
A thumb rubbed gentle circles around her navel, fingers splayed in an arc across her abdomen, warm, holding her, but not pressing down.
“Not much longer, luv, really, and we’ll have forever. But, I suppose, I should really continue my studies, to make sure I get this perfect.”
And opening her eyes, she turned to the bookmarked page in her text to read.
Demonology – Invocations and Summoning Into Being
Living Dead Girl ~ Chapter 4
Trying to get useful information out of an angel was about as easy as hanging wallpaper with one arm tied behind your knees.
Go ahead. Try it once, you’ll see what I mean.
The wallpaper thing, I mean. It’s still easier than talking to angels. Closed-mouthed fuckers, the lot of them.
Seriously, I think Azreal only handed out his messenger feathers so he could play “Let’s frustrate the bejeezus out of Patsy”, & have fun stories to tell his angel buddies at the holy water cooler later about how many colors my face turned while he refused to answer my questions with straight-forward replies.
So, here I was, back in the the mortal world, in the good ole “loony bin”, with little more than some vague hints & pointed glances to go forward.
“I know, I know, another job, right? What is it this time? Smack down in the rec room? Someone choke on their midnight meds?”
“Uhhh…I’m not really sure. I haven’t looked, I was just told to send you to the East Wing of Third Floor. Lockdown.”
“You haven’t looked? Really?”
“No. I was told to send you, and that you’d need to go quiet.”
Oh….Hell…that was never good…
Going quiet meant incorporeal and invisible.
It didn’t actually take much for me to flip the switch, but it felt all kinds of messed up, considering I was supposed to be using a physical body on this tour of duty, but…whatever. It was just a matter of mind over, ya know? Then, up two floors, and down the hall, to the big locked doors.
Which, in my incorporeal state, really shouldn’t have proposed much of an issue…
Except, I couldn’t get through them.
Locked steel doors <incorporeal person… Normally, no problemo.
Ugh, fine. Windows R Us.
Floating through the wall to the outside was nothing, around the corner to the mesh-screened windows, was easier than nothing.
Getting through the windows?
Stopped. Flat-out, fucking banned from entry?
You’ve GOT to be kidding me!
I reached out & felt towards the building, my “fingers” stopping mere inches from the glass -there – a barrier.
Someone, someone magical, had put up a barrier on the Lockdown wing!
I was going to get in there come Hell or high water, but this was going to require a magical lockpick.
And I had just the fiend for the job.
No, don’t autocorrect that. There’s no “r” in fiend.
Living Dead Girl ~Chapter 2
“I’ve got a job for you.”
“A job. Get up.”
“Fuck off. I’m on vacation.”
“Get up. It’s time to work.”
I knew it was too good to be true, dammit. Couldn’t even get a decent night’s sleep in the nut house, for fuck’s sake.
“Where’s the job?”
“Here, in B wing. Name’s Colton. Darwin Colton. You’ve got about 20 minutes, then you’re on.”
“Quiet. In and out like a mouse, doll. Hard part’s over already, just a walk and a talk.”
“Well, less cleanup that way, at least. Thanks for the favor.”
“No problem, see ya next time.”
“Yeah, see ya.”
The shadow detached from the window’s ledge and slid out through the cracks between the bulletproof glass and the frame, inking its way back out into the night, and leaving me alone in my room.
Great, now to make my way down to B wing, alley of the lost.
I slide out of the sheets & slip into my fuzzy socks, you know the socks you always get at the hospital – the ones with the little rubber grippies on the bottom, so you don’t slide all over & fall down, causing hospital accidents & lawsuits? Yeah, those fugly slippers. I love these socks. Don’t ask me why. I’m in a mental hospital, I don’t need a damn reason, OK?
At least they don’t make any noise as I move to my door & peer through the peekhole window, checking to see where the nurses & orderlies are. I know their routine pretty well, but every once in a while, they like to mix things up, & run random room checks just to screw with us.
Luck’s with me tonight, everything’s clockwork.
Nurse Hannah is on desk duty, which means she’s got her phone open, & is playing games, Facebooking, scrolling through some dating app or other, and is generally not paying attention to fuckall. Good for me.
That puts Randy, the night orderly, on the roof, smoking, which he does every night about this time, because he comes in at about 15 minutes to shift change reeking of cigarettes & hits the bathrooms to clean himself up & spray room freshener in his pits, like no one notices that trick.
Gotta love predictability.
I glide easy back to my bed & lift the mattress, taking out the skeleton key I hid in the springs – one of the tools of the trade I take wherever I go, & use it to open my door. Doesn’t matter the lock, it always works. In my line of work, it has to. Nature of the biz.
Hannah sees nothing as I work my way down the hall, and hears less, ear buds jammed tightly into her ears.
God, if she were any less clueless, she’d be a toaster.
B wing, here I am.
Key to the automatic lock, a soft click, a passive buzz, and I’m through the door & down the hall, slicker than snot.
Oh…he left it cracked for me, how, thoughtful…wait.
That’s a slippered foot sticking out of the door, dammit.
Five little gray fuzzy socked toes stuck in the door jamb peeking out at me.
“It’s OK, I’m here to take you home.”
“I know, honey, it’s OK. Take my hand.”
“It’s time to get up. There’s been an incident.”
“We need all the residents in the hall. Get up, please.”
I stumble out of bed and blink my way out into the hallway, pushing my rat’s nest hair to the back of my head. Not nearly enough sleep in this damn place.
After “head count” is over, they shoo us back to our rooms to get dressed for the day & for breakfast. Whoopee.
“Didja hear?” Tommy hisses in my ear while we wait in line for the food.
“Some guy on B wing cacked it last night! That’s what the head count was about, they think someone helped him!” Tommy’s face is almost gleeful…sick little shit.
“Oh yeah? Who the hell would do that?”
Living Dead Girl -Chapter 1
“Hello, my name’s Patsy,” I spoke, mostly to the floor.
“Hello, Patsy”, disembodied voices echoed back at me from the circle I sat in. I refused to look up…there was no point.
“Did you have anything else to tell us today, Patsy? Why you’re here, maybe?” The cool, soft voice of Dr. Tellman (yeah, irony there, am I right?) cut through the gloom of the purposely-dimmed room from my right. She kept us in a semi-darkened state to “free our inhibitions and allow us to speak easier”, or something like that.
“I’m here because the State thinks I’m nuts, that’s why I’m here, Dr. Tellman”.
“And what did you say to them to give them that impression, Patsy?” Still, with that same easy, coaxing voice. God! She could sell milk to cows, which would be difficult, because of the whole lack of communic-
“Oh, sorry, Doc, woolgathering. I told the State’s doc the truth, is all. And he marked up my sheet like a game of tic-tac-toe. Next thing I know, here I am with the rest of the Cranks, Tanks & Yanks.”
Creaks, whines and rustling met with that statement, & I knew I touched nerves, and got some of them curious.
Off to me left, I heard
“Whatzat? Whatchoo said? Cranks, Tanks & Yanks? Zat some kind of insult or sumpthin?”
“No, not an insult, Tommy, it’s just my own way of describing this place. You see…Cranks are real crazies, through no fault of their own. Something’s wrong upstairs, & they can’t help it. I feel bad for them.
Tanks are the ones gone crazy because of drugs, alcohol, or both. They did it to themselves, so they get no sympathy from me.
And Yanks, well…those are the poor ones that been through hell so bad, abuse, war, rape, you name it, they’ve suffered & seen it, and they can’t contain it inside their brains by themselves. They get yanked all over by others, put through torture so horrible, ain’t no one should have to go through that shit, specially not alone.”
“And where would you put yourself in that labeling system, Patsy?” Dr. Tellman attempted to get us back on track, but I could hear in her voice that I had her interest.
“Nowhere, Dr. Tellman. I’m not in any of those categories, because I’m not crazy. But the truth sounds an awful lot like crazy, these days, so I might as well have a vacation, hmm?”
I could hear her pen scritching against her clipboard as she wrote notes, quick & efficient, just like her. If I concentrated, I could probably envision her wrinkling her nose as her ash-blonde hair fell over her eyes while she wrote, and her tucking it neatly back behind her ear, sliding her pen atop her ear to wait for the next thought.
“And what is this ‘crazy truth’, Patsy?”
“Well, that I’m a Reaper, and that I’m a living dead girl.”
And the light streamed in the window
As I lay, curled on the floor
Broken, just like the day before
Left behind, always left…wanting more…
And the light streamed in the window
Dust dancing in the air
Landing softly in my hair
Building up, slowly, everywhere
And the light streamed in the window
Softer now than before
Angled more towards the door
Knocking louder, the policemen swore
Flashing lights streamed in the window
“You’ll write what I want you to write, and that’s that, goddammit!”
Moira flinched as a meaty hand slammed the table in front of her, punctuating the sentence with a slap.
“No,” she breathed firmly, “I won’t. I’m not a smut writer, and I won’t start just because you’re threatening me. I write what I want, and kidnapping me won’t matter, you fucktard. You’ll never get what you want from me. Sick bastard.”
Moira could hear him grinding his teeth as he growled under his breath at her refusal, but she refused to cave in to his sicko demands.
She’d been here for just over 3 nights now, or 4 days…she couldn’t really tell. She knew she was underground in some kind of bomb shelter, since she could smell the musty, mildewy smell of old water on concrete, but he’d fixed the place up…almost nice.
The walls were covered with faux wood panels, that had pictures and paintings hanging from them, to add some semblance of “windows”, even to having curtains hung around a few. It was – homey – and macabre, all at the same time.
The table at which she was now seated was real wood, a deep butcher’s block kitchen- style surface, ready to seat at least 6 people, but currently only holding her and an old manual typewriter, a fresh ream of paper, & a cup full of freshly sharpened Number 2 pencils.
Exactly like she’d told Author’s Gazette last month when she’d done that article about her writing habits, & her quirks about liking to have pencils on hand for the odd note-taking, twirling, putting up her hair in a bun when really getting serious, & chewing on the erasers when she got stuck on plot points.
“Alright. Well, you’ll stay here until you write what I want, then.”
“Are you going to write it yet?”
“No, go to hell, asshole.”
“Supper’s on the table.”
“Carrots and cheese sticks again?”
“Bologna tomorrow. You know you get meat once a week.”
“Maybe…maybe if I just… No, I can’t. But…then he’d let me leave, right? Yeah, sure, after all this time…he’d just let me go. What, it’s been how long? How many weeks, months…ohh…god…so long…he’s never going to let me go…”
“WRITE IT!! I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!”
“THEN JUST DO IT ALREADY!”
“carrots all gone…hehe hehe…”
“OH GOD! What did you do!!”
The blood dripped from the table, smeared along the walls, spelling out “Never” before slumping into an indecipherable scrawl near the bed where the dead woman lay. All her fingers bitten off, strewn about on the floor and tabletop.
“No, dammit! I never got my story!”
He flipped her over onto her back, furious, noticing as he did so, that she was smiling, with her own thumb, firmly wedged in her own mouth and throat.
Well…it was an opposable thumb, after all.