Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

The Angels Inside Me

Tonight, I stopped fighting with the Angels inside me. Tonight, I will answer their call.

Sitting cross-legged on the desert floor, my hands resting on top of my knees, I watch and shiver as the last of the daylight dips into the distant abyss and sucks the last of the heat with it. As it does, the final ray catches the only object for miles that could reflect its offering. There is a glint, like a wink from a wise man who is the only one who knows what’s coming next, and the steel of the weapon in front me laughs as though it can see the future.

I don’t remember the exact moment I ran out of fight. I’d spent the last twelve hours dragging my feet through the sands of the desert, convinced I was strong. I knew from the beginning it was futile, but I pushed on, feigning a faith in my own strength.

But I was a fool. Like most men are when up against the kind of foe I was fighting. You never win against Angels, no matter how strong your faith.

When they dropped me off in this God-forsaken desert, I told myself I was strong. I stood, watching the dust settle and cover the tire tracks of the Jeep as it turned into a black speck on the horizon, already fighting my losing battle.

I felt the call immediately, even as the last of the disturbed sand was falling onto my eyelashes and into the tan ocean surrounding me. I heard it, and I answered.

“I’ll fight it,” I told the desert.

You’ll lose.


 

This has been a little sneak peek at just one of the stories featured in my book “Flash in the Dark: A Collection of Flash Fiction.” You can read the whole thing, and some other awesome stories, by grabbing a copy of the book today

Not ready to buy? It’s cool, I get it. Check out some more stories here and see if you like my style. 

tenor (1)

Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

Freedom

The knife. Grab the knife. But he couldn’t hear me because my lips weren’t moving. My stomach burned like it always did when I tried to take control, the flame of her presence igniting and spreading farther the harder I tried to fight. That was the strangest part about the whole thing, that being possessed by a demon felt like nothing more than bad indigestion.

“Why are you here?” she snarled through my lips.

He stepped closer to my body and I could smell crisp air and dying leaves on his coat. Was it fall already? Time was doing strange things. I tried to scream as he studied my face, looking for any sign that I was still there. She gave none. His shoulders sagged. “I came to tell you that this is my last visit.”

As she threw my head back and laughed, I deflated. I should have expected this. He shouldn’t have to live with this creature as his wife. It was over for us the moment she took control.   

She refused to touch him. She barely talked to him. He thought I was leaving him. Until the day her true reflection shown in the mirror. He’d tried to save me, but what could he do? Once he knew the truth, she wouldn’t let him stay in the house. But he kept coming back, kept trying.

This was the closest he’d been to us in months. I could smell him. I couldn’t do this. I wanted out no matter what it took. The knife, I tried again, trying to convince my head to turn toward the bedside table where the blade glinted in the fall light coming through the curtains.

“You’re leaving her?” she taunted. She was enjoying her victory and I took advantage of her distraction. Instead of focusing on taking over completely, I turned all my energy to my hand, the hand closest to the knife. The knife she always kept by her side. The knife she coveted but was afraid of. I couldn’t read her thoughts, but I felt her fear whenever that knife was out of sight.

“I’m not leaving her, she’s already gone.”

I wasn’t gone, but I wanted to be. Twitch, I urged my fingers. Move. Point.

And then one did. It twitched, every so slightly, toward the knife and, drawn to the movement, his eyes fell to the weapon. She felt it too and her anger burned. They both lunged but maybe my control was stronger for a moment because he got there first. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t say goodbye. There wasn’t time. He simply lifted the knife, brought it down, and set me free.

 

Get more stories like this in my latest book, Flash in the Dark: A Collection of Flash Fiction. 

Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

A Dish Best Served Canned

Genre: Crime Caper

Location: Servant’s Quarters

Object: Canned Cat Food

Time Limit: 48 hours

—-

“I’m not sure we should be doing this,” Liza said.

“Of course, we should,” David was rummaging through a bag and barely looked up. “The old broad’s got more money than she knows what to do with and this guy is offering us some real change for the thing.”

“But, she’s pretty attached to it.”

“So? I was pretty attached to my job. Besides, the thing is hideous. We’re doing her a favor.”

She sighed. “I guess, but … “

“Look, she fired me for no reason. She’s old and ornery and she deserves this.

It’ll be easy, I promise.” He reached forward, offering what he had pulled out of the bag. “You’ll need this.”

The metal was cool in her hand.

 

Upstairs, Mrs. Black was already in bed.

“I’m sorry about your friend,” she said as Liza drew the curtains and straightened up around the bedroom. Liza didn’t respond. The woman had treated Liza like a daughter since she’d shown up without a family, looking for work five years ago. But David had become her family over the last few years and it was going to take more than an apology for Liza to forgive her for letting him go. David was right. She did deserve what they were about to do.

 

David closed her fingers around the metal.

“You know what to do, right?”

“I’ll wait until she’s asleep…”

David nodded.

“And then I take this back into the bedroom.”

He nodded again, eagerly.

“From there,” he said, “It’ll be simple.”

“Simple,” she repeated, her voice barely a whisper.

“Liza,” David’s voice was stern. “She doesn’t care about you. You’re just an employee. She can act as sweet as she wants, but that’s how she thinks about you.”

 

“Liza, turn around please.” Liza stopped her straightening and turned to face the woman in the bed. White and pink pillows surrounded her and with her shock of white curls framing her face she could have been floating on a cloud. Liza had laid in the bed once, when Mrs. Black was out of town, it had felt like a cloud.

“Dear, I know you and Mr. Ash were close…” Liza was surprised she knew his last name. “But you’re better off putting some distance there, trust me.”

Liza turned her head to avoid eye contact and saw it. Next to her on the bed. She looked away. It really was hideous.

 

“She’ll do to you what she did to me,” David pressed. “Trust me. It’s only a matter of time.”

Liza looked down. It was hard to imagine Mrs. Black suddenly letting her go, she didn’t really have anyone else in that big house with her. Except for Frances.

“Hey,” David took her chin between his thumb and forefinger. “We do this, and we can get a train ticket out of here. We can be a family.”

She nodded.

“Oh,” he said, reaching back into the bag. “Don’t forget this.” He pulled out a can opener.

 

“You know I think of you as family, dear. Young love can be powerful, but there are things you don’t know about your young man.”

Liza looked down to the floor as the thing beside Mrs. Black stirred and shifted. The two objects in her dress pockets weighed heavy against her.

“Mr. Ash was stealing from me.”

Liza’s head jerked up.

“I know it’s a shock, but it’s true.” She reached over and pulled the thing closer, as though protecting it. Liza’s hand hovered over her pockets. “The mechanic found him in the garage. Apparently, he was taking parts from my dear-departed-Richard’s rare cars and selling them.”

“Car parts?” Eliza whispered.

 

“She owes us, Liza. We can barely afford to support ourselves, we live like servants,” he motioned around them, “And now firing me for no reason?” He scoffed. “Do you know how much she probably paid for that thing? It’s ridiculous. And it’s so gaddam ugly. Once it’s gone, she can spring for a cat with hair.”

 

The hairless cat stretched beside Mrs. Black as she nodded. “Apparently, it’s been going on for quite some time. He probably made a fortune. The money isn’t important to me, of course, but those cars meant the world to Richard and I was going to donate them to his favorite charity so they could auction them off. But now…” she shook her head and looked down at Frances, it’s great bug eyes gazing lovingly up at her. “We just had to dismiss him…right, Frances?”

She really loved that damn cat. Liza wondered if David even had a buyer lined up or if he only wanted revenge.

“Thank you for telling me,” Liza said approaching the bed. She touched the woman’s hand, “Good night, Mrs. Black.” She reached over and patted the top of Frances’s head. The skin was leathery and Liza had to hold back a shiver. “Good night, Frances.”

“Good night, dear.”

 

Liza stood outside Mrs. Black’s door, waiting for the gentle sounds of her snoring. When she heard them, she took the can opener from one pocket and the can of cat food from the other and put them in the box meant for Frances. She quietly entered the bedroom. Tiptoeing to the dresser, she lifted the lid of Mrs. Black’s jewelry box and pulled out a glittery glob of jewels. To an amateur eye, to someone looking to make a quick buck stealing from an old woman, they would look expensive, but Liza knew they were only trinkets. The box full, she went to the door. She looked back at the bed and saw Frances glaring at her as though the cat knew the fate she had just escaped. Liza gave her a quick wink before slipping out the door. Fucking ugly cat.

After she’d slipped downstairs and deposited the box in David’s room, she went back upstairs. In the parlor, Liza phoned the police. “Yes, I’d like to report a crime at the Black Estate…theft and attempted cat-napping.”

 

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Blog, Flash Fiction

Coming in October: A Flash in the Dark

The Dream

Like any good writer, I’ve always wanted to publish a book. When I was young, I dreamed of being picked up by an agent, seeing my name on a cover adorning the shelves of a bookstore, signing books for fans, and making millions. As I grew up, and technology changed, that dream evolved. Ebooks became a thing and traditional publishing became less lucrative (unless you’re a King, a Grisham, or a Rowling). I also began to stress over the actual writing of a book. Novels were hard. Writing was hard. Obviously, I wouldn’t let that stop me but real life, and jobs, and relationships, and adulting happened and I wondered, when exactly was I going to write this?

My focus began to shift when I discovered short fiction. I found I had a knack for telling intriguing stories in very few words, and I loved the challenge of it. I began entering contests, participating in flash fiction events and even creating exercises that would encourage me to write more and more flash…all the while wondering, when was I going to write my book?

Then, one day I realized…I had.

The Book

I had piles (well, electronic piles) of flash fiction and short stories stocked up and just sitting around waiting…for what? The perfect place to publish them? A contest to enter? No. A book. My book. I realized I had already done the hard part, I had written the content. And judging from reactions, and judges and feedback…the content was good.

It was time to publish a book.

That book is called, A Flash in the Dark: A Collection of Flash Fiction and it’s coming. Soon.

October 19th, to be exact. 

Flash in the Dark is a collection of stories no more than 1,000 words. That’s right, even those who claim “I have no time to read,” can find a few minutes in their day to read a super short story. Some of them are even less than 500 words. Here’s a little preview:

Oil

If only it had been oil.

If it had been, things would be different now. If all the things we’d done that day had gone differently, I wouldn’t be here, alone, surrounded by silence and stench and wishing for that crumbling farmhouse.

 

Taking Flight

When Death stopped for me, I eagerly took his hand.

I almost missed my chance because I was not looking for him. No one was. No one expected him to show up and no one wanted him too . . . well, almost no one.

 

The Duplicate

Mistress was warned not to get too close to her Duplicate. “They weren’t created to be companions!” Master often bellowed as Trudy followed Mistress from room to room. “They were created to work!”

 

The stories are a little dark, a little creepy. Some are lighter, but they’ll all make you shiver. I hope. So, just in time for Halloween, watch my blog and my socials for more details and get ready for A Flash in the Dark. 

Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

The Empty Room

The only thing my Grandaddy left behind when he disappeared was a rose.

No one saw him leave. No one heard the creak of his fake leg slowly descending the old wooden stairs, a noise everyone living in the house had used as an alarm clock for years, waking them up at 6:15 on the dot, every day, like an army bugle.

The day he went missing, everyone slept in. It was 7:00 before my mother was roused by my great aunt. The 95-year-old woman was in a state of panic. Her brother was gone. As soon as my mother saw the clock, she understood. She shoved my dad’s shoulder as she swung her feet over the edge of the bed, and he grunted as he too saw the clock, he was late for work. She pulled her robe around her shoulders and stepped into her slippers, leading her aunt into the hallway where they found me. She looked at me quizzically and I just shrugged and pointed to his bedroom.

In that moment, she must have thought he was dead. She went to the door and pulled it open revealing, certainly not what she must have been expecting, a completely empty room. In fact, the room was emptier than it had been in years. The shelves were bare, every knick-knack, every photo, every book, gone. Every drawer, upon further inspection, was found to be empty. The closet, which had once held boxes and trunks filled with his most prized and personal possessions, brought with him from California when my grandmother had died in a car accident, held nothing but dust.

That was the strangest thing, the dust. Not the fact that somehow my 98-year-old grandfather had moved all of his possessions from the house in the middle of the night, not the fact that no one had heard a thing as he had done it. It was the dust. There was a thick layer of dust over every surface. Even the bed, which was impeccably made, when poked, released its own cloud. How many years of disuse would it take for dust to accumulate like that?

We stood, frozen in the eerie emptiness of the room, until we saw the rose. The only item in the room, it rested on the dresser, on top of a square of paper. I picked up the paper and handed it to my mother.  It was a newspaper clipping. It was dated exactly ten years previous, the day my Grandfather had moved in. The headline read,

Man killed in a car accident taking roses to wife’s grave.

Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

The Final Light

She paused and looked around the quiet stretch of land, dotted with the proof of life once lived. No one else had chosen this spot for this night and she supposed that made sense. But, for her, the lines separating the living and the dead had always been thin, and they were getting thinner with each passing moment. She’d long preferred the company of the dead anyway; why should now be any different?

Her final spot chosen, she turned and watched for his approaching figure. He’d been close behind the whole walk here, but she couldn’t make out his frame in the last of the light. The very last of it actually, she thought and chuckled. He should have caught up by now. She called into the falling darkness. Nothing.

Her skin prickled, but she refused to let herself panic. There was still time, she thought, let him enjoy himself. That was the whole point of their meeting, after all. Comfort, enjoyment.

The rest of the world had paired off immediately after the announcement, contacting loved ones, holing up with families, or running off to be with friends. But, ten years as a coroner’s assistant had given her a certain aversion to the living. So, after the announcement, she’d had no one to turn to for comfort, until she saw him. He was alone too, and his deep brown eyes caught her attention immediately. He shouldn’t have to spend this time alone, and neither should she.

They’d gone home together.

She turned again, squinting through the now complete darkness. She said his name. Then again, louder. “Caesar! C’mere boy!” Only silence answered her call, and her stomach clenched. It was getting close and she was suddenly very aware of how badly she did not want to be alone. It was why she’d been drawn to him on the street. Why she’d chosen this place for their last moments. She’d been alone most of her life, yet she couldn’t stand the thought of being alone in death.

“Caesar!”

She looked up to the sky.

The moon shone neon bright, catching the stones around her and bouncing back into the charged atmosphere. Then, the light was gone.

It was here. She fell to her knees in the pitch black night, the last night, and reached out into the nothingness around her. She called again, one last time. This time though, there was a bark. Soft fur brushed her hands and a cold nose pressed against her cheek. Her arms closed around his solid form and he sighed against her as the meteor met the Earth and the last darkness met the final light.

 

You can find this and other stories in my upcoming book of flash fiction, “A Flash in the Dark.”

Creative Writing, Flash Fiction

The Flight

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge Entry

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Location: An airport smoking lounge

Object: A bandana

  She didn’t realize she was allergic to cigarette smoke until she took a job at the smoking lounge in the airport. Now, she spent all her time fixing drinks, wiping at her watering eyes, and cursing the tobacco companies. Well, that and staring out the glass window to the rest of the airport waiting for him to walk by.

Him. The too-handsome-for-words pilot who walked by several times a week on his way to one exotic destination after another. Destinations like Bali, Tahiti, or….Phoenix. Places she could only dream of going. The ridiculously tanned, toned, and lean athlete who would probably never sacrifice his respiratory health by stepping foot in an airport smoking lounge.

  She glanced at the clock. He hadn’t passed yet today and would probably be going by any…any…”achoo!” Ugh. Damn this smoke. She glared at the one oblivious patron at the end of the bar as she reached for a cocktail napkin and swiped at her dripping nose. Who still smoked anyway? Didn’t he know it would kill him? Maybe if it did she would get to go home early. And just never come back. And try to find a job that wasn’t slowly killing her. She blew her nose into the napkin, not even bothering trying to hide it from him. Let him be as grossed out by her snot as she was by his disgusting habit. Still wiping her nose, she looked up to the window and saw…him. Just standing. Not walking, not hurrying, but standing and staring. At her? Couldn’t be. She looked behind her but the man at the bar didn’t seem to know handsome pilot. He was definitely looking at her. Cocktail napkin still pressed to her nose, she watched in horror as he stepped through the glass doors and into the lounge.

  He approached the bar. “Are you ok?”

  She threw the napkin behind her. “Uhh…” but before she could respond with actual words, he reached down into the front pocket of his suitcase and pulled out a bandana.

  “Here, it’s the closest thing I have to handkerchief.” A handkerchief. He was adorable.

  “Thanks…” she whispered and dabbed at her eyes with the cloth. There was no way she was blowing her nose on anything this man could possibly put anywhere on his body.

  “I couldn’t just walk by a crying woman without stopping to see if she was ok.” He was a goddamned gentleman.

  “That’s sweet,” she was still whispering.

  He tipped his head to the side as though he were studying her, his blue eyes meeting hers and not letting go. “You seem sweet. Too sweet to be working in an airport smoking lounge.”

  She giggled. Yes, actually giggled. Was he real?

  Still not taking his eyes from hers he let go of his suitcase and leaned across the bar, motioning with a crook of his finger for her to do the same. She looked around. Was she being punk’d? Her breath stuck her throat, she placed her forearms on the bar and leaned her face toward his. Now their noses were only inches apart.

  “Would you like to go somewhere with me?” he whispered, his hot breath reaching her lips and causing her to shiver. It smelled like spearmint.

  “Somewhere?” she squeaked.

  “Anywhere. Let’s just get on a plane and go somewhere warm. All you’ll need is a bathing suit. I’ll buy the Mai Tais.” She just stared, too stunned to respond. “Oh yea,” he leaned even closer, until his lips were practically pressed against her ear, “I don’t smoke.”

  Sold. She nodded. “Ok.”

  He reached out a hand. She took it and let him lead her around the bar, out into the lounge, as the smoker down the way looked up to see why there wasn’t a fresh drink in front of him. Pulling off the black apron they insisted she wear, she threw it onto the floor and raised her hand in farewell to her one customer. Hand in hand, they stepped through the glass door, ready to take flight together.

 

  “Hello? Excuse me, are you sure you’re ok?”

  She blinked. She was back behind the bar. Handsome pilot was still standing in front of her and the smoking man was ready for another drink. She looked down. She was still holding her hand around the bandana he was trying to give her, her fingers resting against his soft wrist.

  “Where did you go there?” he asked.

  Away with you, she thought. “I’m sorry,” she said.

  He laughed. “Don’t be sorry…” he trailed off and looked down at her chest, to her nametag. “Liz.”

  She smiled at the sound of her name on his lips.

  “Well, hey. I hope you’re ok now. I have to catch a 7:00 to Austin. It was nice to meet you.” He’s lying, she thought. All she’d done was stare at him and now he was leaving. No plane, no Mai Tais, no glorious future filled with tiny, adorable, pilot babies.

  He turned toward the doors and she sighed at his retreating back, ready to go back to admiring him from afar. She looked down at the bandana still clutched in her hand, wondering if it smelled like him. But, before she could press it to her nose, she heard her name.

  “Hey, Liz?”

  She lifted her head. He was still in the doorway, looking back at her.

  “Can I stop back by tomorrow and see you?”

  She nodded. Hell yes, she thought. “Sure,” she said.