In A Flash: Blind Minotaur Led By a Girl Through the Night

The girl had yet to speak. The bird that fluttered from shoulder to shoulder gave voice for both of them. It had announced, upon their entering the hovel where the Minotaur had spent the last days of his journey, that he was to come with them. The Minotaur had stood up and allowed his hand to be taken by the girl. There seemed no point in asking questions or demanding explanations. He was at the mercy of this girl and her bird, until they reached the end of their portion of his journey.

Such had been his fate for these last months, since he had begun this ordeal, broken and fleeing into the night. He had been forced to endure much and had to learn to trust in those he did not know and could not see. Would they betray him to those who were looking for him? He would not know until it was too late.

The fact it was a girl, hardly more than ten years old to judge by the size of her hand and his sense of her height—he was becoming quite adept at judging a person’s size by the feel of their movement—was somewhat reassuring. Though he knew it should not be. Girls, whatever their age, could be bought. Everyone had a price, as he knew too well.

In spite of all he had lost, in spite of the meanness of this existence—going from one safe house to another, never having a home, indebted to strangers he could never repay—he never thought of stopping or slipping into despair. There was no use for self-pity. This was what fate had chosen for him, and he would continue to wander for as long as fate allowed. He expected it would not be long.

“How much farther?” he asked, when he could stand the silence no longer.

The girl shrugged and the bird said, “It will take us the evening to get to the river.”

What river they were heading for, and what happened once they reached it, was left unstated. Most likely, the girl and the bird did not know. How many others had they conducted along this trail in the dead of the night?

After some time the bird spoke again. “You needn’t worry. We meet our bargains.”

The Minotaur did not reply. Words mattered little, as they all knew. It was actions that counted.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: Menthols and Pisco Sours

She tasted of menthols and pisco sours. Jaime ran his tongue along her lips, savoring the flavor, before biting at her lip. He could feel her freeze a little at the sharpness of the pain, wondering if he was going to go further, and had to resist a smile. She was staring at him, looking up from the circle of his arms, where he pressed her in close.

Looking down at her and meeting her gaze, Jaime was unable to tell what exactly she was thinking. She was not lost in passion, not eager to see that he was either. No, she was watching him, a part of her reserved and standing off, to observe this. What for, he wondered, slightly unsettled. To cover his unease, he bit down on her lip again, harder this time, and was satisfied to see her wince and frown.

She had told him her name, but he did not remember it. They had met in some dive bar near Plaza San Martín in Lima, a dark and grubby place he sometimes went to when he wanted to be with the people, so to speak. It was across the street from a tourist hotel and sometimes he would meet American girls there, who were also deigning to visit the place, looking for a little danger. If only they knew, he thought.

This girl though, he had thought she was a prostitute, off the clock for the night. Or maybe not, maybe the bill would come due in an hour or two. She was light skinned, with mestizo features, and quite beautiful with long black hair, wide eyes and incredible tits. They were what had drawn his attention first. Her teeth were a little crooked and her clothes a little too tight and little too garish. Otherwise he would have expected to find her in one of the Miraflores clubs. Maybe, in a couple of years, if fate shone upon her, he would.

Tired of kissing, Jaime moved to pull down the shoulders of her dress and reveal what he was here for, but she pulled away from him. “I just need to go to the bathroom babe,” she said, patting his cock through his jeans. “Don’t unload this while I’m gone.”

He smiled and released her, or rather, she wiggled from his grasp. He walked over to the bed and sat on it, contemplating taking his clothes off, but decided not to. Let her take them off, that would be more fun. Absentmindedly, he flipped on the television, searching for a sports station while he waited.

They were in a hourly hotel, called El Encuentro, the sort of place where everyone ended up at some point or another. Boyfriends and girlfriends stealing away for that first time. Husband and wives who just wanted some peace from her parents and his children from the first marriage. Affairs, of course, and people like him. Impromptu customers.

As a result, the furnishings were very minimal. There was only a mattress and a sheet and two very flat looking pillows. Beside the bed there was a small table with a phone, and on the other side there was a large tub with jets. The place was immaculately clean. That was why he came here. It was something he looked for.

He flipped through the channels for a second time, unable to find anything to capture his interest. Even the porn channels weren’t exciting him. Where the hell was this girl?

As he looked up, determined to go to the bathroom and see for himself what as going on—maybe she was getting high; he didn’t like that, not around him—the bathroom door opened and she stepped out. The first thing Jaime noticed was that she had not taken off her dress to reveal those remarkable tits, which irritated him. The second thing was that she had a gun in her hand, which annoyed him even more.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: The Prince and the Unicorn

When the Prince of the Seventh Sea and the Lands Beyond the Far Isthmus of Shadows was born, people throughout the realm celebrated. The feasts and celebrations lasted eight days, for the King was considered one of the wisest to ever to rule in those lands, and the people knew that he would raise a son who was just and fair. The King and Queen wept upon seeing the child for the first time, for they had suffered many tribulations in their efforts to have children and they had never seen a baby so beautiful.

That beautiful baby grew into a handsome youth, whose smile seemed to set the birds in the trees to song and make calm the wildest of beasts. He was a brilliant student, and his father spared no expense in bringing tutors from beyond the far reaches of the kingdom, so that the Prince might learn all there was to know of the world. As he grew older, the Prince also became renowned for his exploits. He ran the fastest, climbed the highest, leapt the farthest, and, in general, bested all his companions in whatever game they played.

All in all, the Prince seemed extraordinary, with everyone agreeing that he possessed all the necessary abilities to be a fine King.

When he came of age, his father told him it was time to find a bride and said he could choose any woman in the land. Word was sent out across the realm, even into the depths of the Isthmus of Shadows, that the Prince would receive any lady who would consent to be his wife.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: The Black Tower

Our carriage came to an abrupt halt at a crossroads, the driver and footman muttering to each other, before one grew courageous enough to answer my inquiry as to what could possibly be the matter.

“We do not know the roads here,” the footman said.

“To put it truthfully, you are lost,” I said, with an irritated shake of my head. The footman offered no reply, knowing that what I said was correct.

I turned to my companion for advice. He was a native of the region and familiar with the roads and he suggested we disembark from the carriage so he could ascertain where we were. With great reluctance I agreed to this course of action, seeing no other. It was a cold and blustery day, the clouds in the sky promising snow.

We walked a bit beyond the crossroads, leaving the carriage to the care of the driver and footman, my companion casting about for some landmark to spark his memory. I was no help, for I found the region to be a desolate place, all rolling hills, stretching on forever, with hardly a tree to be seen. The wind grew vicious and I had to turn up my collar against it, grimacing. My companion, noting my discomfort, suggested that we return to the carriage and carry on in the direction we had come, at least until we came to something he recognized.

That we did, and not five minutes later there came a call from the driver that there was a tower ahead. My companion glanced at me and frowned. He knew of no tower in the area. We both stepped out of the carriage to look at it for ourselves. What I saw gave a me a chill deeper than any the wind had that day. The tower sat atop a hill, and was so tall and broad I was surprised we hadn’t been able to see it from the crossroads. Its stones were a deep black, as if they were made of obsidian, and worn down by the elements, giving it the appearance of being ancient and of another world. I had the impression of shadows and movements where none should be.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: Symptom of the Universe

The weapon waited. It had been waiting for centuries. Five hundred thirty seven years, six months and twelve days to be precise. The weapon could be far more exact than that, if it chose, calculating the time that had passed since it had been deployed down to fractions of fractions of seconds, measurable only to itself.

The time that had passed was unimportant, though, of no consequence. It would wait a hundred years, or a thousandth of a second. It made no difference. What mattered was what came after the signal to deploy arrived. Then it would unleash havoc upon its chosen target.

For now, time passed in a kind of stasis. It was aware—as aware as it needed to be.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: The Day Email Ended

Day One:

On the first day without email, they all pretended to grumble and complain, but secretly they were delighted to be free. Free from the constant glancing at their inboxes. Free from the annoying ping announcing new arrivals. Free from the guilt at those emails awaiting responses and actions that they did not care to do. Free from work entirely, for anything could be put off now. I need to do that, they said to colleagues, whether or not it was true.

And so they relaxed and caught up with coworkers on their weekends, made concerned faces when managers arrived to explain that it might be some time before email was restored. At the end of the day nothing had been resolved, but they were told it would be in no time. And so they went home, happy at a day free of worry, and bracing themselves for the deluge that might follow once the normal course of things had been restored.

Day Two:

On the second day without email, they were told it would be weeks, if not longer, before services could be restored.

How could such a thing happen? This question was met with shrugs and grave expressions.

No one knows, was the whisper that went from cubicle to cubicle. Team leads called meetings of their groups to discuss contingencies, but there were no contingencies for a world without email. Such a thing was beyond comprehension, beyond the imagination of anyone involved.

Could we use fax machines, some suggested, and were met with blank, terrified stares.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: You Are Not Wanted Here

The books were laughing at me. Their spines cracked and groaned as they flipped open, the pages riffling like an orchestra of wheezing accordions.

I stared at them in wonder and horror, unable to comprehend how they were moving of their own accord. Or how they managed to stay upon the shelves in spite of their convulsions. The study was filled with bookshelves, all teeming with books, and all of them now moved, animated by some malevolent spirit. Or so it seemed to me. It was not a generous, welcoming laughter that echoed from those pages. There was a menace to it, a cutting edge as sharp as their fine pages.

I backed away from the room, which I had only entered moments before, and which had seemed a quiet and somewhat austere place where I might seclude myself for some hours. Instead, I now feared for my life.

I had closed the door behind me upon entering, but now, when I tried to turn the handle, I found it locked. How that could be possible—for the mechanism appeared to allow me to lock the door from within the study, keeping intruders out—I could not say. The laughter of the books grew louder, turning into a gale force of noise. Shuddering in horror, I threw the full force of my body against the door, thinking it must be jammed and that I might be able to dislodge.

It seemed to have no effect. In fact, I was quite certain I could feel the door responding to my efforts by moving to brace itself, and perhaps even to push back against me. Panic seized me, sweat going frigid upon my forehead, as I contemplated what terrible fate might await me if the entire house turned against me.

“What do you want with me?” I cried out at the empty room.

The books did not cease their movement, but instead of laughter I heard a garbled chorus of indistinct words. “You are not wanted here.”

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: Menu Del Día

Gerald grimaced against the glare of the sun as he stared down the teeming street. The faces shifted rapidly across his frame of vision, the calls of the hawkers drowning out any chatter on the street that the clatter of the vehicles trundling by did not. He bit his lip as his stomach was lanced by a sharp pain that shuddered down his bowels and threatened to spill out at his feet.

“Everything okay?” Ariel said.

“Yeah,” he said, exhaling slowly and relaxing his tense muscles, hoping nothing dislodged itself in the process.

She laughed. “That bad, huh?”

“Fucking menu del día. Never should’ve eaten that.”

“I warned you,” Ariel said.

“Oh god,” Gerald said, clutching at his stomach. “Now is definitely not the time.”

“You still up for the museum?”

“Not like we’ve got another day. Bound to be a bathroom in there anyway.”

Ariel led the way along the uneven cobblestone street, past the Incan wall with its massive many-sided stones, to what had once been the Archbishop’s palace. Now it was a museum filled with works of cusqueño art from the colonial period, though there were still Church offices on site. The archbishop continued to attend there on occasion. They had bought a ticket for the museum the day before at the cathedral on the main square and now they had the ticket punched and were offered an audio tour, which Ariel accepted, procuring headphones for both of them.

They went from room to room of the palace, which had been home to an Incan priest prior to the Church taking it over, following the conquest, listening to their audio guide drone on about the minutia of the art work on the walls. It all looked much the same to Gerald, paeans to God, Mary and Jesus, intended to educate those new to the faith by placing these foreign symbols in familiar contexts. Thus, there was a guinea pig, corn and potatoes being served with every image of the Last Supper. One example of this would have been enough to make the point, but the paintings seemed to proliferate throughout each room.

Gerald had to allow that the paintings were incredible, though he always found the baroque effects left him cold. He was especially unmoved on this day because of the rather tenuous state of his stomach. It was a matter of when, not if, he would need a bathroom, and he had yet to see a sign directing him to one.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: How to Make Love Like a Warlock

Although many exhaustive and learned volumes have been published on the subject of amorous instruction, I feel much remains to be said on the matter, especially as it pertains to the copulatory habits of warlocks and other masters of dark magic. As one well-practiced in both infernal arts, I feel well suited to speak on the matter with the clarity required, lest another poor apprentice or sorcerer be led astray into more dismal and dreary acts, for lack of knowledge on how to properly engage with an enchantress, siren or familiar.

Firstly, one must attach the suitable appendage. On acquiring the requisite appendage, I will say little now, though it perhaps warrants its own appendix, for it is a matter worthy of careful consideration. Many is the dark master who endeavors to perform the salacious act, only to find his chosen member shriveled and smelling of putrescence. No amount of ointment or potion will see you to satisfying either party in that situation.

The subject puts me in mind of a story, which if the reader will allow me the indulgence of a small digression, I will detail here. I was in a cemetery practicing a poor bit of necromancy—never one of my finer talents, I am sorry to admit—when I came across a sorcerer collecting mandrake root. I was cold and damp from my evening’s toil, and glad for the company, so I shared some of my tobacco and we each drew on our pipes.

After explaining that I had been engaged to summon the recalcitrant spirit of a distant father by a spurned son, cast out of inheritance, I inquired as to what had brought him to this place. “I am collecting the female of the mandrake root,” he said, with a gesture to his satchel.

“To what end?” I said, for I was curious as to what spell he was conducting. As anyone familiar with the arts will be aware, there are many uses for the mandrake root, both male and female.

“I am effecting a spell of transformation,” the sorcerer said, somewhat guardedly.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit

In A Flash: Felipe

Anna smiled as the security agent handed back her passport and moved forward to the conveyer belt. As she pulled out some trays from the stack and set her belongings in them, she glanced up and saw Felipe in the line across from her and frowned. They were racing each other, having chosen separate lines, and up until this point she had been ahead of him, her line moving at a steady pace.

She hurried with the trays, moving them onto the conveyer belt, and went to stand at the line in front of the x-ray machine.

“Shoes,” the bored woman standing on the other side of the machine said.

Muttering under her breath, Anna quickly slid off her shoes and jammed them into the tray alongside her purse and jacket. Felipe, she saw, was still removing his belt. She had time. Back at the line, the woman waved her through and Anna went, savoring her triumph. It was short-lived, for the alarm sounded.

“Check your pockets, ma’am,” the security guard said. “Keys. Cell phone. Jewelry.”

Anna frantically searched her person for the stray item, but was unable to locate anything. “I’m sorry,” she said. “There’s nothing in my pockets.”

“Come through again.”

Anna did, and this time no alarm sounded. Still the woman insisted on waving her squeaking wand around Anna’s body. Each change in pitch sounded ominous, but when she was done she waved Anna away. She went over to collect her things and met Felipe, who was watching her grinning, beyond the security checkpoint.

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

If you like this story, or any of my others, please consider supporting me on Patreon

Image Credit