Hiding

Hiding

Boredom tormented his active intelligence while he lay there remembering. So he left the bed and moved towards the window to see what his little portion of the world might be up to. He called it his, even though he wasn’t a part of it, because it was the only thing outside of this room he ever saw.

The family had been up here while he slept and had left more of their junk on the floor. As he made his way towards the window, he stumbled over a small plastic castle surrounded by miniature knight-shaped caltrops. Cursing aloud before he could stop himself, he froze in sudden panic. Fear of discovery gripped him. After listening intently for a time to be certain the family wasn’t reacting, he breathed a sigh of relief and continued to the window. He desperately longed to be out there exploring the wild chaos on the outside. If only he had the courage to leave the safety of this room. But he knew that would never happen. Therein lay the tragedy of his existence.

Later, he lay in his safe place again. He usually hid here during the hours when the brightness of the day made everything dim. This was his time of fear, when he curled up in a ball of terror to protect himself from the dangers of the world he couldn’t see. Once, those of his kind ruled and all went in fear of them. But that time had past long ago, and the few who remained hid as he did in otherwise unused corners of reality. Alone and hopeless he waited for the sun to go down, and the fear to lessen somewhat.

Through the floorboards he could hear the family talking below in their brightly lit feeding room. The little one, hardly over a decade old, spoke with such excitement he seemed barely able to contain it. Its parent spoke in a distracted, mildly condescending voice.

“How was your night?” she asked in a habitual way.

“I heard the ghost again mom.”

“Are you sure its a ghost?”

“”Well, maybe it’s a monster or bogyman.”

“Oh,” she said in her half listening voice, “what was he doing?”

“He was bumping around in my room and cursing.”

“Nothing you shouldn’t hear I hope.”

“I couldn’t actually hear what he said. Anyway, I already learned all those words at school.”

“Is that what they teach these days.”

The creature who dwelt under the bed covered his ears with his paws and tried not to listen.

Success

The following is me dabbling in the Noir genre. Feel free to tell me what you think of it.

With eyes drained of life, I watched the tub drain suck down the ink blackened water. Much like my imagination, the water had cooled to a tepid disappointment. The soggy remains of my manuscript floated upon the surface. I had cast each page to the waves after reading it, despondent that I had not found the transcendental wisdom within them that I had felt during the writing process. Half a roll of ribbon wasted on virginal sheets undeserving of what I had done to them. Let them be washed clean.

The single bare bulb hanging from a solitary wire cast a light too harsh for the cramped porcelain tiled bathroom. My failure was too plain to see.

The door opened with a soft snick and she stood languidly in the doorway. From where I sat drooped in the tub, my eyes followed those long legs up until they disappeared under her black dress just above her knees. Then came the shapely hips, well presented by the formenhancing snugness of her dress. There was more, but the mocking smile on top of it all just made it a waste.

“Who let you in?” I hastily reached for a towel.

“I come and go as I please. You should know that by now.”

Rose, Success, 2

I stood up, dripping and ink stained, doing what I could with the towel for modesty’s sake. My bathrobe hung on the door, but that was too close to her, so I picked up the pants draped across the sink and pulled them over my wet legs. The last of the water gurgled past the sodden mess of paper pulp that had gathered around the tub drain.

“I hope those aren’t my pages,” she said,knowing full well that they were. “I would hate to have to unleash Micky and Bruce just to get things done.” The playful tone failed to hide the menace behind her words.

“I’ve still got time. The deadline is not until midnight.”

“That gives you three hours. And it better be funny this time, or else your Underwood will be looking at a mouthful of broken keys.” She flashed me a malevolent smile and walked out. I didn’t relax until I heard the hotel door close behind her.

I thought of her former clients. They had all had brief meteoric careers, shooting to the top for a glorious moment, then quickly disappearing without any trace other than their typing machine found on some scrap heap.

When Lucy had first walked in to my life I was a hack with nothing buta screenplay representing two years of work. To have an agent of her caliber (.45 as it turned out) represent me was a dream come true. I signed the contract with barely a glance. It was only later I learned that Lucy was short for Lucifer. But never mind that. I only have three hours to write the next episode for “Eight Cats are Enough,” or my contract will be enforced.

 

Walking

He walked. He had no place to just be, so he stayed in motion. The whole world seemed to be owned by others. It had all been divided up into portions large and small. Someone, or some group, corporation, civil bureaucracy laid claim to every square inch of it. There was none left over for him.

Sure, there were parks, so called public lands. But they were owned by government agencies that had their own rules; no loitering, closed after dark, use fees and camping fees. These rules were designed to keep him moving on. It didn’t matter where, just not here.

If he had a little money he could rend a small patch of ground to lay out a bedroll and sleep for the night. If he had a little more money he could rent a room, an oversized box to contain him while the night passed. But he had no money, so he walked.

The roads were free, but there were rules. They were for going places. Motion must be maintained. So he walked. It was the only transportation available to him, the one he was born with.

When he grew tired, he rested. Maybe he would sit in the shade of a tree for a few minutes, or maybe he would sleep hidden in the underbrush for a few hours. Either way he would be walking again before too long.

He had no bedroll, no blanket or pillow. Possessions were a burden when you had to carry everything you owned everywhere you went. When he slept, he slept huddled around himself for warmth. When he shivered himself awake from the seeping cold he would walk some more until the motion warmed him up. And so the nights passed, and the days went by.

He walked on, and as he walked he thought of all the things he had, the warm sun, the refreshing rain, an entire world filled with infinite beauty and wonder. He walked with a smile on his face, at peace with his soul.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Gray the sky was for the clouds did hang low shrouding the world in gloom when I set forth ‘ere the breaking of dawn. My errand was urgent and I dared not tarry even for a bite of bread. The alarm had cried out in its urgency that I must away without delay. ‘Twas many a mile I traveled ere I broke my fast. I didst halt upon a moment at the son of Donald’s house, for my need to call upon the jakes was manifestly imminent. Whilst there I aquired the elixir of wakefulness and ate of the empty calories. Progressing then further upon my Journey, I didst enter the great city.

Throughout ages anti-diluvian, the wild men who lived amongst these hills gathered upon the banks of the river in due season. In idylic style, they fished its waters and hunted the antelope, dwelling in rude shelters made from the hides of slain beasts.

But no more.

In centuries past, invading hosts weilding seeds and plow swept them away, building constructs of wood, stone, and steel. They opened the way for the following hords to swarm across the land. Iron bridges were flung across the river. Roadways they built, and verily, they were wide, for horses a score abreast could pass unhindered. Yet, still the swarms overflowed their capacity.

Into this maelstrom didst I enter. Hordes didst throng about me in the diem’s chariot race of death. Thrice was my flank assailed. Thrice didst I dodge the threat, though it was a near thing each time. Vied we, one with the other, and each alone against all, placing our very lives in deadly peril to steal a moment’s lead from our rivals. My progress was cut off of a sudden by Darrell Du Plumber, whos need for haste manifestly outweighed my own, though his life seemed of much lesser value.

I persevered, employing all my will and dexterity towards forward progress. At last, my goal came in sight; my journey neared its end. Yet, even now my quest was stalled at the very brink of fulfillment. My very brethren stood arrayed against my entrance. Sticks and placards were in their hands. Girt with righteousness, they stood before my vehicle in their ranks.

Deploying the appropriate electronic command, I didst cause my sinister visibility shield to descend. One of these compatriots leaned towards the opening. I addressed him thusly:

“What’s up?”

To which he didst reply, “The union called it. We’re on strike.”

The Thief

Detective Gilraen tried not to show the disgust she felt by being in such close proximity to such a foul creature. She really did try to treat everyone without bias but this stringy haired piece of slimy misery nearly turned her stomach. She just wished he would go back to whatever cave he’d crawled out of. She tried to avoid looking at him by staring at the glass wall in front of them but his pale reflection stared into her eyes. How could she avoid those gruesomely large orbs that seemed to shine with their own inner light like swamp gas. He looked like someone capable of murder, but only in the sneakiest sort of way. At the sound of his sniffling she turned her head to look at him directly. He sat with his hands splayed on the table, reminding her of a giant spider, and she hated spiders. Their silent trap laying and their far too many appendages were just wrong, and should be illegal. She repressed a shiver.

He should be on the other side of the glass, she thought, where the motliest rouges gallery she had ever seen was filing in. Even as they reached their places and turned to face the mirrored surface before them the gangly creature leapt to his feet and pointed a long thin finger at the lat figure in line, a well dressed portly gentleman in an immaculate waistcoat.

“That’s him,” hissed her witness. “The short one with the hairy feet. Just you see what it’s got in it’s pocketses.”


When Desperate Housewives Call Me

It can be difficult to make a living as a writer. That is why I moonlight when I can. Desperate women from all over the Austin area call me to come over and do for them what their husbands can’t or won’t. They pay me well to satisfy the one real need they have for a strong man who knows what he is doing, and they get it without all the bother or commitment of a relationship. It is also a task I usually enjoy preforming, even if it gets hot and sweaty.

That’s right, I fix things. I also remodel kitchens and bathrooms. I worked construction to pay for college and enjoyed it so much I ended up becoming a general contractor. Okay, there was a little more to it than that. For the equivalent in paperwork and cash as a semester at college, I became a licensed contractor, a member of the California Contractors Association and started a business that earned over 60k in the first year of operation.

But that did not leave much time for writing. So twelve years later I’ve reversed priorities. Being a writer is now my primary occupation. If that is what I want to do with my life, then it must come first. I still do some remodeling, but it gets done around my writing schedule. You have to be who you want to be now. Someday starts today if it is to come at all. What are you doing to follow your dreams?

Flashed Fiction

This is my entry for Chuck Wendig’s writing contest using the following five words in a story under 1000 words: figure, dusk, flirt, mobile phone, and wig. In contests like this I try not to use more than four of the five words in the first sentence.

At dusk, the familiar figure in a bad wig appeared once again to flirt with my imagination. She is my muse, and just in time to interrupt my work on chapter two. She speaks in a voice, soft and sultry.

 “The five words for today’s flash fiction contest have just been texted to your mobile phone. Don’t you want to see what you can do with them?”

I sighed. The challenge was difficult to resist. And it certainly stimulated my imagination. But it seems like they were interrupting my novel too much. Six months and I’m still struggling through the second chapter. Yet I’ve managed to produce a flash fiction piece everyday. But no one buys those. I’m lucky to get them posted for free on obscure websites. It was time to demand answers.

Lying is not exactly a muse’s nature. It is more a matter of wrapping the truth up in layers of myth. But if you demand the truth, they have to give it to you.

“Why are these contests so important to you? Wouldn’t it be better for me to finish a significant work like my novel? As my muse, I would think your efforts would be better spent helping me finish that.”

She smiled at me sadly. “Oh, my poor writer. I am a muse, not your muse. Frankly, your writing is crap and I’m doing my best to keep it from happening.”

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