Free Write Friday -Nonsense From The Other Side Of The Table

‘Rules die young.’ Someone had told Mark that once, or perhaps he was remembering it wrong. For some reason the phrase had surfaced at the back of his brain and now it was bobbing around refusing to go anywhere. ‘Rules die young.’

‘Mr Bennet?’ The female police officer was looking at him from the other side of the table, ignoring the coffee her partner had brought her in favour of tapping the end of her pen against a clipboard. ‘Mr Bennet, can you start from the beginning please?

‘I- well yes, I suppose.’ He paused and stared down at his own cup of watery brown, [according to the other police officer] coffee and tried to remember where the start actually was.

‘You see, it’s like that saying,’ he started. ‘A problem shared comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.’ He licked his lips, wincing at the dried flakes of skin there. He should start using lip balm but he always managed to loose those tiny little sticks within an hour of buying them. ‘You know, it’s one of those sayings like the truth always turns away wrath, or a stitch in time shouldn’t rock the boat.’ He sipped the watery thing that was supposed to be coffee.

‘Actually, it wasn’t anything like that at all,’ he admitted. ‘It was- well I don’t know what it was. One moment I was sitting there, all keeping to myself like and next thing you know there’s a guy with a gun, or a thing that looks a bit like a gun, well nothing like a gun but I don’t know what it was, telling me that I had to run.

I wasn’t even going to go to church that day but things had started heading downhill a while back and seeing if I could get the big guy on my side seemed like a good idea. I don’t believe in him of course but you have to try these things before you shun ’em. You can put a lot of stock in karma according to my cousin Phil. He’s really into all this modern era, fing-fong-shoey stuff.

Anyway, I was running and this guy was waving his not-a-gun around like somethin’ was chasing us but it seemed a lot like we was just runnin’ from nothin’ and then we- well I think we travelled through time because Old Man Mooney’s been dead twenty years gone and he was there walking around alive as day.

Weird as weird I tell you.’

‘Mr Bennet.’ The police  woman had stopped tapping her pen now and was assessing him through narrowed eyes. ‘Do you have a clue what you’re saying or are you just sprouting whatever mash up of words pops into your head.’

‘Both I think,’ he shrugged. ‘You have to be careful with memories you know. They like to tangle up inside one another, those randy little bastards, it makes them tricky to prise apart and half the time when you do, you take something with it that you didn’t mean to. But back to this guy and his not-a-gun, well you see, we were being chased but it wasn’t by monsters or the like. It was this rabbit. A big rabbit, but nothin’ to get your knickers in a twist about. But the guy he’s there waving this not-a-gun about, threatenin’ to shoot this fluffy bastard like he done something awful or the likes.

You see he wasn’t a bunny, he was somethin’ else and when the guy with his not-a-gun tried to explain it, it sort of made sense but I’m not so sure anymore.

It had somethin’ to do with planets and galactic weaponry. Laws that weren’t really laws and rules dyin’ young. That was the one who said it, Mr Not-A-Gun, he said rules die young and there’s no point tryin’ to keep to them when the only ones that stick around are the ones that people forget because they do so little that they might as well not exist.’

‘Yes Mr Bennet, but can you tell me about the dead man currently in the morgue with a pickax in his head?

‘Oh him?’ Mark shook his head. ‘No idea about him. Mr Not-A-Gun was quite surprised to stumble across him as well. Sort of thought the worse so-and-so stayed on the other side of town. I mean it takes a certain type to want to put a pickax in a skull, and that’s not mentioning the effort of going and finding one in this sort of place. They ain’t light. You ever tried swingin’ one? Dam near took out my own foot when I tried last. Swore never to trust the things.’

‘Are you telling me that you have no information on this murder case at all Mr Bennet?’

‘No, no, no, no, no… I’m sorry what was the question- oh never-mind I remember. Yes, I know a plenty about a murder case, just not Pickax.’

‘Who else has been murdered Mr Bennet?’

‘Well that’s plain as day ain’t it. You’re lookin’ at me aren’t you.’

‘Mr Bennet, are you suggesting that someone is trying to kill you?’

‘No. I’m suggestin’ that someone did try and kill me and they did a pretty bang up job of it. Look!’ He lifted the top of his skull off and placed it on the table between them. ‘Now you tell me, who does that? I mean it’s handy for when you get those brain itches and you could do with havin’ a good scratch around in the old grey matter but really, I tried joggin’ the other day and everythin’ was threatenin’ to fall right out onto the pavement.’

‘Mr Bennet I-‘

‘Oh don’t you worry love,’ he grinned. ‘It doesn’t hurt at all. That’s the bonus of bein’ dead you see, you’ll understand it after a week or so, takes a while to forget the memory of how things should be hurtin’ but you get there.’

‘The memory of-‘

The policewoman blinked at him.

‘You don’t realise it yet, most don’t, no need to worry. You’re dead love. We all are. This is just the welcome wagon, a way to ease you into things.’ He tipped the top of his skull in her direction.

‘Remember,’ he said. ‘Experience is the soul of wit.’


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This is what happens when I spend all day studying and then try to write a piece of fiction, I apparently go insane.

This week’s Friday Free Write comes out of two writing prompts as you know I love to mash writing prompts together. I’ve used Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge ‘Behold The Idiomatic‘ and the Daily Post’s prompt: Witness.

If you’ve got time please check out my flash fiction piece from yesterday: Recycled Headspace, I’d love to get some feedback on it as I’m hoping to work it into a bigger piece of fiction that I’m writing for the site.

Happy Friday everyone.

Seeking Eyes

Kristin hated herself, which made her invincibility downright infuriating, but right at that moment all her anger was directly well and truly towards someone else.

‘Like I said, it happens more than you think.’ The man in the high viz jacket scratched the back of his neck and rocked his considerable wight back on his heels. ‘These sort of places, well they can be a bit…’ he thought about the word for a few moments. ‘Temperamental.’

‘You think?’ Kristin spat. The ground in front of them had opened up to reveal exactly nothing. Ziltch. Diddly squat. She focused on projecting her fury down into that emptiness and not on to the idiot standing next to her.  How many men had they lost down there? Six? Eight?

‘Well we are looking for something that ain’t suppose to exist,’ he shrugged. ‘We’re unlikely to strike gold the first time.’

‘I told you. We’re not looking for gold.’

‘If you insist but I’ll have you know, you ain’t likely to find much else out here. A lot of the tombs have been cleared out for well over a generation. All that’s left is the odd bit of gold broken bone.’

Sucking in the side of his cheek he started to chew.

‘You sure it’s here?’

The urge to shove the idiot down into the hole with the lost workmen rose like a tidal-wave.

‘Yes,’ Kristin gritted out. ‘I am sure that it’s here. I’m the one who left it here.’

‘Two thousand years ago?’

‘Two thousand, one hundred and sixty five years, eleven days, and sixteen hours ago.’

The idiot’s looked at her with one damp, glistening eyebrow raised.

‘Sure lady. If you say so.’ He shook his head and glanced back at the hole. ‘Poor bastards. I’d suggest sending someone down there but I-‘ his head shot up.’For fuck’s sake.’

Still resisting the urge to shove the idiot into the hole, Kristin turned to look in the direction he was now staring.

‘What is he doing here.’ The idiot yanked a sweat stained cloth from his belt and dragged it around his face. ‘We should have had another three weeks!’

Kristin’s mouth puckered into a scowl.

‘I thought you dealt with him?’ she said, watching the narrow health inspector wind his way towards them. He avoided the carefully cordoned zones where more men, in yet more brightly colour jackets, dusted away at the ruins. She said dusted… she flinched as one of the men swung a pickax down into the dust and something cracked beneath the tip. Well, she had insisted on cost before experience.

‘Ah Sir, Madam.’

The narrow health inspector wavered to a sort-of stop. While his head remained perfectly still the rest of his body appeared to twitch and vibrate, grating on Kristin’s nerves as she forced herself to focus on his eyes. Stupid eyes.

‘I believe that after we last spoke-‘

‘Yes, yes, of course!’ The idiot clapped a beefy hand around the narrow health inspectors arm and steered him forcefully back the way he had just come. ‘I was meaning to call you, I really was.’ He continued to ramble as he ushered the man, more than a little forcefully, away from Kristin. ‘About our little arrangement…’

The pair wandered off, leaving Kristin standing alone by the hole.

‘Morons,’ she muttered.

She rolled her shoulders and popped the kinks from her spine. Invincibility didn’t mean she couldn’t feel old every now and again.

‘You know,’ said the young boy who appeared at her elbow. ‘I thought he would never leave.’

‘Hello Everan.’ Kristin finished stretching. ‘You’re getting lazy. I heard you coming that time.’

The boy frowned. ‘How? I only decided to visit you a moment ago?’

‘Long enough for me to hear you coming don’t you worry. Anyway, I would have been disappointing if the Rest didn’t send someone.’

‘The Rest didn’t send me.’

‘Of course not.’ Kristin felt a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. ‘I must be close, if you’re here.’

‘Close to what I- oh.’ The boy went quiet. ‘I hate it when they do that.’

‘Don’t we all,’ Kristin shrugged. ‘Why do you think I stay so far away?’

‘Because everyone hates you? Because you murdered one of the Rest and threatened to uproot every system of beliefs in the entire universe until all that is good and hopeful had been stamped from the world?’ He waited a beat. ‘Because Jamie is a really, really horrible cook?’

‘He’s not that bad.’

‘He really is,’ said the boy.

The sun was setting and Kristin watched as it dropped lower in the sky. She’d seen others much like it but she pretended to enjoy the colours.

‘What are you planning on doing with it?’ asked the boy. He was watching the sunset with her, his hands tucked into the pockets of his shorts. The pair of them did not belong. Kristin in her wide brimmed sunhat and velvet dress, and the boy in his woollen jumper and knee high shorts. Cliches out of time and place.

‘I’m going to end it all,’ she replied.

‘You’re going to kill yourself or you’re going to end the universe?’

Smiling Kristin tilted her head towards him. ‘It’s the same really isn’t it? If the universe ends then so must I and if I end then- well who knows. None of us have ever died. Nothing might happen at all. It might even improve things.’

She turned towards the idiot and the narrow health inspector, now stopped by the ramshackle hut that doubled as the site office and the lavatory. The smell was potent enough from where Kristin was stood to make her wonder why the pair had chosen that spot to talk but talking them seemed to be. Loudly, with hand signals, and spittle.

‘I don’t want you to go away.’ The boy pouted as he spoke. ‘I like it better with you here.’

‘How would you know? It’s never been any different so there is nothing to compare me being here to.’

‘I know,’ nodded the boy. ‘In here.’ He tapped his chest, just above his liver. ‘And I’m never wrong.’

‘Very rarely,’ agreed Kristin. She took his smaller hand in her’s and squeezed it tightly. His fingers were cold.

‘Could I-‘ his voice wavered. ‘Could I come with you?’

‘To where? I’m dying, not going on a trip.’

‘It’s a trip of sorts.’ His face rippled and his body lengthened. ‘You made me a promise remember.’

His hands were no longer small in hers, now the encompassed her slender fingers, tough and strong.

‘This isn’t a new place to explore,’ Kristin explained. ‘We ran out of new places, long, long ago. This is a none place. An end.’

‘And back in the beginning it was just you and I so why not mirror that now.’ His lips hovered above her’s. ‘You promised.’

‘I lie. Ask anyone.’

‘No,’ Everan chuckled. ‘You don’t.’

He kissed her, once on the lips and then again on each cheek.’

‘Find the eyes and when you have summon me. This isn’t a task you have to face alone.’

‘It’s not one you need to face either.’ The words hung in front of her, the space where he had been stood empty. ‘Prick. Skipping out on me in the middle of something.’ She swiped at the air and kicked a flurry of stand down into the hole still beside her. It kept falling.

‘Ma’am?’

‘What!’ Kristin spun to find the idiot behind her, the health inspector at his elbow. They stared at her with grey faces and soft chins.

‘You better come see,’ said the idiot. ‘The men, they found-‘ He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. ‘It’s better if I show you.’

Grumbling, Kristin followed him across the site. He pointed down at one of the excavation pits, the surface covered over with a piece of sheeting to try and keep some of the heat off. She lifted it and bent down.

‘Well shit.’ Kristin let go of the sheeting and straightened.  ‘That’s unusual.’ She lifted the sheeting again and peered inside, squinting against the dimly lit interior.

Yes, she was certain the four bodies she was seeing were four of the men who had been working for her. Whatever they were now might have been something all together more disturbing but that didn’t change the facts.

One lifted a decaying hand and whined at her.

She tutted and batted it away.

Needy children, always reaching for more.

‘We’re close,’ she announced. The idiot was standing close but the health inspector and the workforce had retreated.

‘Deal with them and keep digging.’

The idiot rung his hands together.

‘Ma’am. I’m not sure…’

Kristin’s face split into a needle point grin.

‘Dig,’ she instructed. ‘Or end up like them.’

The idiot swallowed but remained silent.

‘Good.’ She patted him on the shoulder as she walked past. ‘That’s what I like to hear from my employees.’

Any further reluctance left him as her hand connected with his skin, and so did his soul.

‘Bugger.’ Kristin frowned and focused on trying to cram in back inside the body. ‘No, no, no.’ She could hear him panicking inside her head.

Sighing she poked the corpse with her index finger.

‘Go, work,’ she ordered. It wasn’t perfect but it would do. The corpse nodded stiffly and lumbered away.

Picking out the idiot’s soul she turned it over and noted the soft spots in it, the pieces she could pull out and consume first. It started screaming. She let it go, feeling it retreat into a dark corner where it curled, shivering and afraid.

If it had remained calm she might have been able to put it back, but panic tended to make souls latch on. She was foolish for forgetting what would happen if she touched a mortal.

She chuckled at herself. Yeah, she forgot, that was it. She soul seem to settle a little in her head and she took the moment, shredding it before it had chance to realise what was happening.

Delicious, she thought, a familiar sickness inching its way up her throat. The sooner she was done the better.

 

That evening the corpse approached her, its palms clasped tightly around two small, marble like objects. It dropped them into her hands and promptly turned to dust.

Kristin brushed away the remains from her dress and rolled along her fingers.

About time. The eyes burned in her grip but she tightened her hold. They were her’s, bright and beautiful, dark and deadly.

Her mind flashed to Everan and for a second she considered summoning him.

No, she decided for one she would not drag him closer to the edge. She would keep this from staining him as well.

She clenched her hands into fists and felt the objects break.

Sometimes the only thing left is to build a fire. That was what she was doing, building a fire big enough to burn the whole dam universe to ashes.

She heard him before she saw him.

‘Kristin.’ He wrapped her body in his. ‘What did I say?’

She opened her mouth to speak but it was lost under the roar of everything exploding.

Together, she remember. He said they would always be together.


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Well this was a pain and a half to write. It’s not exactly a free-write because I went back a couple of times to tweak things, but I tried to let the story form as naturally as I could and I did keep in mind the fact that I was supposed to be writing without editing most of the way through. [That is my excuse if you see any typos.]

Today’s prompts were Chuck Wendig’s three Friday Flash Fiction challenge, the daily prompt Eyes, and Friday Free Write.

The three sentences I chose for Chuck Wendig’s ‘Pick Three Sentences and Write‘ challenge were:

‘Kristen hated herself, which made her invincability downright infuriating.’ Sir Exal.

‘Sometimes the only thing left is to build a fire.’ Rich Hayden

‘Like I said, it happens more than you think.’Broken Sea

There were lots of fantastic sentences so if you fancy writing a piece of flash fiction then make sure to go over and pick out three awesome sentences for yourself. If you’re doing a piece of free-write Friday fiction as well, feel free to stick a link in the comments below and I’ll hop over and check you out.

I endeavour to do a piece of free-write fiction every Friday [Does not always happen  happens on rare occasions  it’s like seeing a unicorn dancing with heffalump!] It’s a great way to get ideas down on paper and focus on writing rather than self-editing the crap out of everything you’re typing.

Please do let me know what you think and if you liked it then there are some more stories under the Short Stories and Flash Fiction tab. Better yet, check out the home page and the slightly longer reads in that section.

Until next time.

 

Free Write Friday: Balanced On A Blade’s Edge

Things rarely ended how Bellris intended. He’d kept his hood pulled low and his face in the shadows, but somehow they had noticed him.

He hit the wall at the end of the alley and scrambled for purchase. The stone was wet with rain and too smooth for climbing. The crates stacked next to him were soft with rot and half collapsing into themselves, with little to offer anyone hoping to scale the sheer wall.

He glanced back the way he’d come and the crowds still surging past the entranceway.

Hallows’ Night. The same explosion of revelry every year and every year he found himself in the same position.

‘Bellris…’

Edget’s voice crawled inside his ear as the three shadows from the tavern emerged from the crowd, the rain shimmering in front of them.

They came down the alley single file, their bodies too wide to fit them any other way.

‘Oh Bellris…’ The two behind Edget cackled and Bellris threw himself against the wall again, the skin on his fingers tearing as he fumbled for a way to pull himself up. ‘Now, now. None of that.’

Edget’s hand came down on his shoulder and Bellris spun. His spine slammed into the wall and his skull bounced off the stone sending sparks of lighting crackling across his vision.

Hallows’ Night, let it be dammed by the Nine Lords of Chaos  and every single one of their insane followers.

He felt the air leave his lungs as he double up, Edget’s fist lodged in his gut.

Edget should not have been the problem that he was. Granted, he was twice Belris’ size, almost three times Belris’ size in fact, but the brute was slow and cruel. Instead of taking out his opponent quickly, he liked to play, dragging the torture out until he grew board. Belris was different. Belris knew how to take the ending shot when required and preferred to finish things before they started. While Edget was all rolls and weight, Belris was corded muscle and sharp reflex, the perfect fighter, trained to be deadly.

Edget’s fist came in for a second below and Belris thought about the way he could pop the boy’s spine at his neck, or cut off his air with one well aimed blow to the throat. He mapped out the various pressure points and joints he could break along Edget’s arms and legs as his own knees buckled beneath him and he hit the cobbles with a dull splash of muddy water.

Just before his vision turned black he wondered if he could ever work out how to win a fight without killing his opponent first.

~~~~

The light came back slowly. Belris blinked against it resentfully, his hand coming up to drag away the hair tickling his eyes as he rolled away from the brightness. He was aware that the rain had stopped, he was dry and warm, it was no longer Hallows’ Night and he was not lying bleeding in an alleyway behind the tavern.

‘Did you fight him?’

Belris felt his skin tighten at the voice that wasn’t his father’s. He loosened his grip on the blankets and realised that they weren’t his and the bed was wrong in comparison to the small sleeping cot beside the fire in his father’s hut. Carefully he uncurled himself, ignoring the way his muscles protested as he sat up.

‘I said, did you fight him?’

She was younger than him by a few months, one of the girls he’d seen hanging around on market day when the whole town congregated in the main square. She was pretty with blue eyes and tanned features. She wore her blonde hair mostly loose, with two braids twisted along the sides of her head to form a small crown, while the rest lifted slightly in the breeze from the open window.

The window. Belris noticed it for the first time, the glass and the lead piping.

‘Where am I?’ He already knew the answer but he wanted to be sure.

‘The Upper Quarter,’ she answered. Jill he remembered, she was called Jill. ‘Now answer my question please, did you fight him?’

‘Fight who?’ asked Belris.

‘The boy who beat you, or do you not remember that bit of last night?’ She glanced him over. ‘He did knock you about the head a fair bit.’

‘You were watching?’

‘No, but others did and they told me what I wanted to know when I asked, unlike you that is.’

Belris belt his cheeks flush.

‘No,’ he said ‘I didn’t fight him.’

‘Good. I think we both know what would have happened if you had.’ She leant forward, resting her arms against her knees. ‘Tell me, do you know who you are or are you just another fool who’s never considered the prospect of anything other than life in this decrepit little town?’

Belris kept his mouth closed. His father’s warnings were hammering in his skull, each one an echo to a blow that he was supposed to be defending against.

NO TRUSTING

NO TALKING

NO FRIENDS

NO TIES

‘I think you have me mistaken with someone else,’ said Belris. He made to stand but the moment he left the bed felt his head began to slid from his shoulders, the world tilting rapidly to one side. He sat down again quickly. ‘What was that?’ He clutched his head between his hands. ‘Did you drug me?’

‘Poppy milk. Even you can’t go around with broken ribs and a fractured ankle, no matter how little of it you feel.’

The dizziness had receded slightly and Belris turned his ankle experimentally to see the damage. It throbbed but that was the worst of it. It was healing.

‘I need to leave,’ he said. ‘My father’s waiting for me.’

‘No he’s not.’ The girl was frowning at him. ‘He’s been gone three years with no signs of returning. No one is waiting for you. No one cares about you.’

‘Says you.’

‘Says everyone in this town.’

She patted her trouser pocket and pulled a slip of paper free. ‘Here, take this.’

It was a map, folded over and over until it was the size of the pad on Belris’ thumb. Nervous about tearing the frail parchment he teased the map open, smoothing the wrinkles with his fingertips when he was done.

‘It’s the town,’ he said, looking down at Felmouth laid out on the paper.

‘Yes,’ said the girl. ‘For now it is. Tomorrow it might change, or the next day, but for now it is Felmouth, and that-‘ she reached over to tap a small green spot on the map, ‘that is you.’

Belris squinted at the tiny dot.

‘No,’ he said. ‘It can’t be.’

‘Yes, it can. If you have the right map.’ She plucked it from his lap and folded it up. It vanished as quickly as it had come about and she returned to resting her arms against her knees.

‘The question is,’ she said. ‘ Why did it lead me to one of your kind?’

‘One of my kind?’

‘A Kellrath, a killer. You do know what you are right?’

Belris could hear the blood pounding in his ears.

‘This is what we are son. They call us Killers, some call us Kellrath. They don’t know for certain though, all the know is that they’re scared of us.’

‘I don’t-‘

‘Ah, ah,’ she cut him off. ‘I don’t care. I don’t care about why you are hiding in this town, or why you would rather take a beating than get into a fight, or why you happen to be the thing this map wants me to find first, what I care about is how you’re going to help me find the next thing it lands on.’ She tugged a dagger from her boot. ‘If you’re not going to help me however, things can end here and now.’

Belris studied the blade pointed at him and wondered how soon after breaking her wrist could he tear out her throat or her heart. He squashed the thought.

‘I’m listening,’ he said. ‘What is it you want?’


Hour Glass

Combining #freewritefriday with Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Two birds, one stone and a whole can of worms now ready to wriggle round in my brain while I’m trying to write Dawn Shadows.

Crash Landing

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Jekker’s was a small time night club with sticky floors, 1940s’ bathrooms, and polystyrene ceiling tiles that were stained a manky yellow before Eddie had even been born. In another thirty years it would be a retro-funk cafe, frequented by those in their late teens and early twenties, not yet ready to tackle to adult world, but convinced they would do a better job of running it than the people before. Another ten years and it would become an underground venue for anti-establishment rock bands, the windows would still be blacked out and Eddie would be twenty-four years old, stood on the stage with his mates ready to show the world what they were made of. A fix foot six he wasn’t overly tall, but the lime green hair that he’d gelled to stand on end added added a few more inches.

Of course Eddie and his band hadn’t counted on a terrorist attack three streets away, and a military base two streets closer conducting time vortex manipulation research just as they started up with the first ear splitting chord.  As a result, Eddie was now lying on his back, jacket seemingly glued to the floor and feet in the air, wondering why the ceiling was the colour it was. He blinked repeatedly but it didn’t help.

She was watching him of course. Halfway down the stairs, lipstick smeared, mascara running and blood on her hands.

Eddie peeled himself off the floor and sat up straight. He looked at her and she stared back, mouth slightly open, hands definitely covered in blood. It coated her fingers, her palms and even went some of the way past her wrists before turning to a splatter near the elbow. Whoever she’d done in, she’d gone for it.

‘Hi,’ Eddie croaked, his voice was hoarse and he struggled to put together his surroundings. He carefully kept his hands from touching the ground. ‘Could you tell me where I am please?’ he asked.

She continued to stare at him, mouth open, no words coming out. She wasn’t wearing much, a tight skirt, fish net tights, chunky heels and a low cropped top that threatened to spill more than it covered.

‘Um…’ Eddie chewed on his bottom lip and scanned the dingy little room. The mirrored walls behind the bar was tarnished and the white leather settees that ran along the sides of the room behind a series of low tables were worn and cracked. The sign above the door stated Jitters’ in fizzing neon light, spluttering in and out of existence sporadically.

Somewhere upstairs a door banged open. Eddie heard it hit a wall and ricochet back before thudding open again. The girl on the stairs moved, she took the railing between her hands and flipped herself over, landing on her heels with a slight wobble.

‘Effin’ civilians,’ she spat. She righted herself and crossed the room in quick, long strides. She grabbed Eddie by the arm and hauled him to his feet before manhandling him towards the bar and the exit situated next to it. Emergency Exit Only stood out in bright red letters but her hand shot past him and slammed the lever, opening the door. She hurried Eddie through it.

‘Move, move, move!’ She punctuated each word with a shove. ‘Do you want to get shot?’

Eddie was now aware that the blood on her hands was fresh and it was leaving prints across his jacket.There was a lump in his throat now and he could feel something rising in his stomach, something dark and twisty.

‘Um,’ he stumbled on his words, ‘I didn’t see anything, I promise. You can just leave me here if you want, I want mention that I saw you.’  The girl scowled and gave him another, firmer shove. They spilled out of the club and into the street outside, sunlight bursting onto Eddie’s retinas as he stumbled down the steps.

He froze and blinked rapidly, green splodges quickly taking up position in a kaleidoscope of confusion as he tried to adjust. There was another bang and then a yell and then she was back and they were running.

She kept her fingers locked around his wrist as they dived for side streets and cut-throughs, loosing themselves in the city.

It looked, Eddie decided, a lot like his own home city. In fact he kept picking out buildings he recognised, but then there were others he didn’t recognise.

‘Where am I?’ he asked again, his breath coming in ragged pants and he struggled to keep up.

‘What?’ She didn’t glance back but he could hear the disbelief in her voice. ‘What do you mean? Now really isn’t the time for sightseeing, unless you didn’t notice we’ve got people trying to kill us.’

Eddie wasn’t sure people were actually trying to kill them, all he had heard was a couple of bangs and someone shouting.

‘I- I just wanted to know what city this we,’ he spluttered. ‘And if you know how I got here?’

He saw her shake her head but she didn’t slow up.

They hit a road and she  hailed a taxi, bundled him into the back of it and leant forward to bark a series of short, harsh instructions at the driver. He grumbled back but punched the button for the light and pulled off from the curb.

‘London,’ she said. ‘You’re in London.’

‘Oh.’ Eddie focused on the little red numbers ticking upwards on the meter. ‘Erm? What year exactly?’

She let out a long groan.

‘No, no, no.’ She dragged her hand down her face and slumped back into her seat. ‘You’re one of them.’ She shook her head and started to laugh. ‘I should have bloody well known you would be.’

She let out another sigh and kicked off her shoes. Eddie watched as she worked a nail under a small flap in the sole of the left one and eased open a tiny compartment which held a tiny sphere no bigger than the tip of his little finger. She  pressed this into her ear and began jiggling it around until she was apparently happy with the positioning.

‘Unit six reporting it,’ she said, not looking at Eddie. ‘Unit six reporting to Control, Control can you hear me?’

There was  slight hum and then the brittle crackle of someone speaking back to her through the bud in her ear.

‘We’ve had something of a hiccup but I’ll tell you when I get home. Put the kettle on would you?’

The ear bud crackled again and then went quiet. She turned to Eddie.

‘You feeling okay? Any sickness? I’m told getting thrown through time can knock you through a loop when you’re not expecting it.’

‘Urm…’

‘Articulate one aren’t we,’ she smiled. ‘Oh well, medical will check you out.’ She put the bud back into her shoe and closed the compartment. Once the straps were buckled back up she knocked on the window between them and the driver and issued a new set of instructions. The man swore but charged course as asked.

‘Better take the long way,’ she explained. ‘Don’t want any of those guys following us back to the base.’

Eddie nodded, but he wasn’t quite sure what he was nodding out.

‘Yeah, I suppose.’ He’d time travelled, he turned the information over in his head, surprised that it wasn’t having more of an impact. He turned his head and found her trying to wipe the blood from her hands. The taxi driver didn’t seem particularly disturbed.

‘You some sort of performance artists?’ he asked from the front seat. He was watching them in the rear view mirror and Eddie had to admit that they looked like an odd couple.

The girl’s face broke into a dangerous grin and she leant forward.

‘No mate, just a hooker. Don’t ask though, I’m far more than you could afford.’

The driver’s face soured and he sank into silence. He cornered sharply and the girl fell back into her seat laughing.

When they pulled up next to a short, grey building next to the docklands she pulled Eddie from the taxi and fished a roll of twenties from her top which she threw into the passenger seat.’Keep the change.’

She nudged Eddie forward and ushered him through a set of glass doors and into an open foyer with marble floors and harsh florescent lighting.

‘Are you really a-‘ Eddie broke off as she levelled a glare at him.

‘Used to be,’ she said. ‘Not any more. It can be a useful part to play though.’

‘Useful how?’

‘People tend to believe in what they first see. For example today, the gentleman I was sent to see thought I was a hooker he’d hired for a bit a fun. When I turned up he expected me to exactly that, just a hooker, pretty and pliable, without much between my ears.’

‘Did you kill him?’ Eddie asked, he glanced at the blood on her hands.

‘No, I killed the bodyguard, the old bastard got away before I’d finished dealing with Butch McButch but there’s always next time. We don’t let the bad guys stay on the run for too long around here.’

They passed a reception desk and moved into the elevator. She hit the button for level three and the doors slid closed in front of them.

‘How about you?’ she asked. ‘What do you do apart from time travel?’

‘I-‘ Eddie scratched the back of his neck. ‘I’m in a band.’

She nodded. ‘Of course you are. You any good?

Eddie thought about the groups of fans crowding into Jekkers, the posters with his fast plastered across the city and his manager listing the performers that wanted the band on their next album.

‘No bad,’ he said.

‘So, what made you want to come to this delightful point in time?’

‘I didn’t,’ said Eddie, he felt warm now and his skin seemed to tight. ‘I don’t know how I got here?’

She frowned.

‘If you don’t know how you got here, how do you intend to get home?’ she asked.

The tight feeling increased and for a moment Eddie thought he might be about to explode out of his own skin. The elevator pinged and the doors swung open onto level three and a long, grey corridor.

‘You do know how to get home don’t you?’ she pressed.

‘No,’ said Eddie. He couldn’t breath, he was drowning and he couldn’t breath.

‘Well bollocks.’ The girl punched another number on the elevator and it started moving again. ‘I suppose we best go see the Captain. It looks like you might be staying with us for a while.’

The elevator climbed again, taking them to the top of the building. This time it spat them out into a great glass office with a view of the city.

‘Eryn.’ A tall man in a crisp suit stood from behind the desk on the far side of the room. Apart from two armchairs and a small coffee table, it was the only furniture in the office. The man who Eddie assumed was the Captain moved towards them, he grasped Eryn by her shoulders and yanked her forwards, dragging her into a hug that she didn’t seem all that keen to participate in. ‘I heard there was trouble. You got out safe?’

‘Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.’ She batted him away from her and pushed past towards the armchairs where she dropped herself into one and kicked her feet up onto the table. A memory stick appeared between her fingers and she tossed it to the Capitan.

‘I was going to take it straight to tech but since we’ve had to divert here, you can take it instead.’

The Captain looked at the memory stick and the looked at Eddie who was still standing by the elevator.

‘Bollocks,’ he said quietly. ‘Another one?’

‘Third one this year,’ said Eryn, almost sounding chirpy. ‘They just keep popping up, no idea how they got here, no idea how to get back.’

‘You would think that by now someone would have worked out that messing with time is not worth the hassle,’ the Captain sighed. ‘What shall we do with this one?’

‘Wait!’ Eddie’s mouth moved before he could stop it. ‘There are other time travellers? I’m not the only one here that’s not from this time?’

‘You’re the only one at this moment,’ said Erin. ‘All the others are dead.’

Eddie’s heart sank.

‘Oh,’ he said. ‘How?’

‘Murdered,’ she shrugged. ‘We’ve been trying to work out why.’

The Captain marched back over the his desk and scooped the phone up off the desk. ‘I’ve got work that needs seeing to. I’m going to suggest that we don’t mention this to anyone and both of us get on with our days.’

‘What about him?’ Erin asked.

‘Take him with you. Tell them he’s your new partner, that way you can keep an eye on him and maybe you might find a hint as to why all the others turned up dead. Make sure you have him checked out in medical first though, ensure he is who he says he is.’

‘Do I get a say in this?’ asked Eddie.

‘No,’ said the Captain, he began punching numbers into his phone. ‘Not if you want to stay alive.’ The phone began ringing out. ‘Off you go now if you don’t mind, the people here have a country to save.’

The person on the other end of the phone picked up and the Captain began talking. Erin rolled her eyes and pulled herself to her feet.’Time to go.’

They climbed back into the elevator and she hit the number for floor three again.

‘Do you like scones?’ she asked.

‘As in the baked good?’

‘Yeah, those one.’ She examined the ceiling as the doors shut and they started moving. ‘I thought I might make some.’

‘Okay… Why?’

‘In case you were hungry.’

Eddie’s stomach growled at the comment.

‘I guess I am a bit.’ His stomach gurgled again.

‘Scones it is then.’ They lulled into silence.

‘Just one thing.’ She turned her body to face him. ‘Do you have cream first and then the jam or the other way around?’

‘Erm… Jam first?’

Erin tutted. ‘Poor baby. I have so much to teach you.’ The elevator dinged. ‘So, very much to teach you.’


 

Flash Fiction Friday and Chuck Wendig’s Challenge: They Fight Crime. The word limit for this was 1,500 but I seem to have gone a bit over and I could have kept as well. I tried to treat this like a free write so I wasn’t worrying to much about length.

For the prompt we had to go to theyfightcrime.net and find a prompt that we liked. I got:

He’s a time-travelling rock star fleeing from a satanic cult. She’s a bloodthirsty troubled escort with a backpack full of scones. Together they fight crime.’

Do not ask me what is going on in this piece. I think I might have lost my mind.

Within The Shadows Monsters Lie In Wait

When he moved the shadows moved with him, clinging to his features like a second skin beneath the hood of his jacket. She watched him crouch in front of her, lips parted slightly as he tucked two fingertips beneath her chin and tilted her face up to look at him.

She scowled. Her left eye was a swollen mess and her bottom lip was busted and twice it’s normal size. There was blood on the side of her face, dried and cracking every time she swallowed.

Still he kissed her.

She bit back, catching his lip beneath her teeth. She tasted blood, not her own this time, his.

He jerked away and she saw something moving. Her balance shifted and she was going sideways, falling. Her ears rang, an open palm against her cheek, skin. She felt her skin sing, reddening into a print of his fingers.

‘I thought you cared for me?’ he growled. He wiped his sleeve across his mouth, the fabric vanishing into the shadows.

Inside her skull she could still feel the world ringing but she recognised that voice.

‘I thought you might even love me.’ He drew his fingers over her jaw, the edge of his jacket damp. ‘Now I see you’re just like the rest of your kind.’


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A short, quick free write to play around with the daily prompt for today: Shadows.

This week I managed to hit the 60,000 word mark with my redraft of my novel but in the last couple of days my writing has stalled a little so I thought I’d play around with some prompts to see if I can kick start some inspiration.

I think I might make Friday’s my day for posting quick pieces of free writing here on the site. I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of schedule for the blog.

If you want to see last week’s free write you can find it here: Broken Cups And Awkward Poets