Living Dead Girl – Chapter 3

“So, Patsy… You’ve been here for the mandatory 72 hours now, and we’ve run all the standard tests, what are your thoughts?”

Dr. Tellman pushes an errant strand of hair back behind her ear again, not looking at me, but instead, down at her clipboard, reading her notes.

“I don’t know, Doc, why don’t you read them to me, since they’re right there in front of you?”

Ooh, that’s got her attention. Her eyes snap to my face, a quick frown forming on her mouth, & lines creasing her forehead.

“Your thoughts are not written in my notes, Patsy, as you well know. You don’t share much of what goes on inside your head, actually, which has me stymied in your treatment. That makes it difficult for us to move forward, either with talk of your release, or further treatment here.”

“Well, Doc, it’s not easy being me.”

I shrug and grin, knowing she’s not going to like any if the answers I have to give her. Matter of fact, she’s going to hate everything I have to say, but? A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…

“When you’re dead, nobody really listens, so why bother talking, am I right?”

And that’s how my vacation got extended from 72 hours to… Undetermined.

Anyway, Boss says there’s more work here.  

Yay.

Go team.

Why are so many people crossing from here all of a sudden, though?

Hmm…maybe there’s more here than just the random crossing-over jobs. Maybe I need to do some sniffing around, see why I’ve been handed a sit-still assignment.

“Got a job for you…”

“Yeah, yeah… I hear you.”

“Multiple targets.”

“Oh?”

“Fight between roomies, messy…messy… Sorry bout this one, Pats. Couldn’t be helped. Should’ve got out while you could, I think. It’s only gonna get worse from here.”

“Insight?”

“Gut feeling.”

“You don’t have any, how’s that work?

“Ha ha, smartass. Go to work.”

It was already dark in my room, but I could still see the darker entity slide away into the night, one of the benefits of being who and what I am. Good night vision is always a plus in this line of work.

Hmm, damn, he didn’t tell me where I was headed. Guess I’d have to improvise & get my information elsewhere.

“Azreal.. I need a moment, please?”

A single, white feather drifted down onto my bed from above, and I knew I had my audience.

Time to go see an angel about some dead people.

Advertisements

Chosen #flash fiction

I’ve been here before… but when?

Lucien shook his head, trying to clear it, the slight headache at the back of his skull protesting at the maneuver.

“Don’t bother trying to figure it out, Luc, it’ll all be clear shortly,” Petra stepped up next to him, sliding her hands to his shoulders to massage the tight muscles bunched and knotted there. She always knew just what to say, somehow, even though they’d only known each other for a semester. Another thing Lucien had yet to figure out. This weird, almost… instantaneous connection he’d had with Petra, from the moment he’d met her in Ancient Mythology Studies class.

“Let’s go sit while we wait for the others, shall we?” Petra nudged him from behind, guiding him across the – well, the only thing Lucien could call it was – salon, because they were in an extremely old, Renaissance-era home, and this would have been a meeting room, where guests would have been entertained. Luckily, it was now Petra’s home, and she had more modern sensibilities, so the dainty furniture of a bygone era was replaced with deep leather couches, extremely plush chairs, and all manner of side tables, comfortable lighting for reading, and lots of lush, green plants. It was a room for sinking in and getting comfortable, or for lounging around of an evening with family and friends.

Lucien dropped onto one of the deep couches, patting the spot next to him, and Petra immediately followed, curling her legs up behind her and leaning into his shoulder.

“What’s this all about, Pet? I’ve been feeling weird all week, and this stuff tonight has got me wound up tighter than an 8 day clock.” Lucien grimaced, but snugged his arm around her back, pulling her in closer. It wasn’t really a romantic gesture, it was…just comfortable, in an odd way.

And that was the thing Lucien really found weird.

Lucien loved women. He loved the way they spoke, the way they thought, the way they made him feel. He loved everything about them, and had dated many, always trying to be a gentleman, even when it didn’t work out.

Petra was lovely, gorgeous, in fact.

And he hadn’t hit on her once in the whole time he’d known her.

And since they’d met, he hadn’t felt like dating anyone at all.

What the hell was wrong with him?!?

“It’s OK, Luc. Byrin will explain everything when we’re all here. Just, please, be patient.” Petra smoothed out a wrinkle in his shirt with her hand and laid her head on his shoulder, smiling as he let out a huff.

“Fine. I’ll hear him out.”

20 minutes later, Luc was pretty sure he’d fallen down a rabbit hole with Alice, and hit his head on a rock in Wonderland.

He knew everyone in the room…but couldn’t tell you what their names were.

Petra had gotten up when the first people had started arriving, making sure everyone had drinks, found a seat, took their coats. But she didn’t introduce anyone, which Lucien found extremely odd. Petra was always a stickler for manners. This was way out in left field. Lucien found his brows drawing down to the center of his forehead in puzzlement, trying to figure it all out. Petra’s eyes flashed to his, sparkling with amusement.

Dammit, she’s doing this on purpose! He thought to himself. And when she winked, he flushed, knowing it was true.

At that moment, one of the guys, he looked to be about 40-ish, stepped up in front of the fireplace and placed his tumbler on the mantelpiece, turning again to face the room and its occupants.

“Everyone, I’m Byrin, and I know at least some of you are confused as to why we’re all here, so I’ll explain,” he rubbed his hands together as though trying to light a fire between his palms.

“What I’m about to tell you is probably going to sound fantastical, you might think I’ve gone round the bend, or you might have a sudden realization that you really want to be someplace, anyplace else right away. 

“But – I’m asking you to suspend judgment. I’m asking for your patience and open-mindedness, just for the length of time it takes me to finish my tale, and to possibly answer a few questions. Maybe even some of your own. After that, if you wish to leave, no one will stop you.

“You might have noticed that you recognize the other people here tonight, but don’t know why. You also might have a sense of deja vu about this house, or this neighborhood, possibly even just the city.  There is a very good reason for this.

“We are Chosen.

“Chosen what, you might ask? 

“Well… Chosen Family, in a way. Not bound by blood, but by time and by our souls.” 

At this Byrin raised one hand and nodded, as though to forego any incredulous looks.

“I know, how that sounds, but we have all been bound together, lifetime after lifetime, as a family. In one life or another we each CHOSE to join this circle of souls, and we seek one another out, every time we reincarnate.

“How else do you explain that we all instinctively know each other, connect instantly, and yet…here, in this room, right now, you can’t name each other?”

Lucien blinked absently at Petra, her, nodding back at him, and she smiled wide and walked over to Byrin and took his hand and spoke now.

“I’ve known Byrin in this life for a little over a year. I knew as soon as we bumped into one another at the market that we were connected somehow, and I’ve met a couple of you others since. It is hard to grasp, at first. But once you let the weirdness wash away, and settle into the familiarity of the Family, it’ll quickly remind you that you’re home. Please, don’t let the weird push you away. Chosen Family is so much better, plus…there are other perks…”

And Petra’s eyes sparkled again with a mischievous glint as she released Byrin’s hand.

“Once you accept the Family, and your place in it, you get to remember all your previous lives and – including some truly…magickal gifts.”

Lucien watched, stunned, as Petra snapped her fingers and disappeared, only to reappear instantaneously at the other side of the room, grinning wildly.

Byrin shook his head and chuckled, pulling the attention of the room once again with a slight cough.

“Just remember – no one is forced to do anything. All of this is a Choice. Every lifetime, you get to choose. And even if you choose not to stay, you can still reincarnate & choose to come back in the next life.”

“Because blood may last a life time, but Chosen Family is eternal.”

Living Dead Girl ~Chapter 2

“I’ve got a job for you.”

“What?”

“A job. Get up.”

“Fuck off. I’m on vacation.”

“Get up. It’s time to work.”

“Mmmphf…”

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.

Fine.

“Where’s the job?” 

“Here, in B wing. Name’s Colton. Darwin Colton. You’ve got about 20 minutes, then you’re on.”

“Shit.  Messy?”

“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.

Which door?

Oh…he left it cracked for me, how, thoughtful…wait.

Yeah…sigh…

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.

Darwin?”

“Darwin Colton?”

“Help!”

“It’s OK, I’m here to take you home.”

“But…but…”

“I know, honey, it’s OK. Take my hand.”

“Patsy?”

“Mmmpfh…”

“It’s time to get up. There’s been an incident.”

“What?”

“We need all the residents in the hall. Get up, please.”

“Fine.”

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. 

“What?”

“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-

“Patsy?”

“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.”

Whisper #FamChallenge #flashfiction

I can hear the whispering again…

For the last 2 years… On every full moon…the voices call to me…

Shiya…come…come to us…Shiya…the moon rises…come…

Every month, for the 2 years since I’d turned 18, I’d heard this soft, insistent voice, pushing, pulling, tugging at me. 

Come…Shiya…come now…come to the circle…

“Shiya. Shiya! What the hell?! Are you listening?”

Shaking my head, I look up at Brenda, her staring, puzzled, back at me. My friend perched on her chair across the table from me, our coffees between us at the small town bakery we met at every other week for brunch. I knew she wanted to hear me tell her that everything was normal, that I was fine…but that was so not the truth.

“Sorry, Bren, I was…just – ah hell. I don’t know.”

I scrubbed my fingers through my hair, raking it back over my head, knowing it would be an unholy mess, and totally not caring. 

“Shit, Shiya, it’s the voices again, isn’t it?”

“Shhhh!” I hushed quickly, glancing around the room to see who was looking. Last thing I wanted was for the local gossips to hear that I was hearing voices, for gods’ sake! Oh, that’d set the biddies up for a lifetime supply of stories over their fence lines, and my family would send me packing with the men driving the padded truck.

“I don’t want to talk about that here. Not now.”

“Ok, fine. But you know this is nuts, right?”

“I know.”

That night, the moon rose, silver and full.

And the whisper rose with it, filling my head.

And then, just in that moment as the moon shone overhead, I knew I had to get out, and I knew where to go.

To the trees…the whisper was coming from the trees…

Perspective – Flash Fiction

There was a dead body in the kitchen.

Again.

A heavy sigh escaped Jonah’s lips, deflating his hope of getting through this evening without drama.

How the hell was he going to explain this?

“Shit. It’s Thanksgiving, all over again”, he muttered to no one in particular. “Can’t I get even  one holiday off?”

Obviously not. 

At least this one wasn’t bloated and blue like the last one. Those drowned ones were the worst, in his opinion.  Impossible to dispose of them without making a huge, freaking wet mess all over the kitchen floor.  And the grout between the tiles was almost impossible to scrub completely spotless.  Totally useless, hard to clean up, & leaving a fishy smell around for days…But…sigh… Time to get to work.

An hour later, Jonah knew why the body had been in the kitchen, who had put it there, and what he was going to do about it.  

Absolutely fucking nothing.

The body was gone, Jonah’s specialty & his talent…to make the uncomfortable truths and the inconvenient secrets disappear.  It was all a matter of perspective.  

And his restaurant had one of the highest ratings in the city because of his personal outlook on life…and a cousin in the mob.

Come Along With Me – finished!

I’ve finished uploading the story on the page called “Come Along With Me”, for those who’d like to read it in its entirety.

I hope you enjoy it, as it was one of those odd-ball little stories that simply – Wouldn’t. Leave. Me. Alone.  Words, phrases, whole paragraphs would bang about in my brain throughout the day, until I could get home and write them down.  It burned through my head and out my fingers like acid until I finished it.

And now, it’s complete, and home.

Thank you for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts for you!