In A Flash: Dime Novel Denouement

This moment does not seem to be a moment. It seems endless, interminable. An internment camp. The holding pen before the gulag. Devoid creatures wander through the night along empty streets, straying from the light. I am one of them now.

Rain begins to fall, softly at first, and then in staccato bursts. I scuttle across openings, clinging to the security of the damp mildewed walls. There are eyes everywhere, but none look for me. I am worth nothing to anyone. No price will be paid. Yet, I refuse to expose myself. I am no martyr, whatever else I may be.

You speak and I shiver and clutch my hands in my pocket. This parched feeling that holds and won’t let go. I fight for words; silence is like a wound, like a lie I always tell. You do not care whether I speak or stay quiet, all you care is what I do.

The thousand betrayals of a life leave the birth of the malformed. I’ve clawed at my own skin, it does not fit right. Nature seems dead and wicked dreams abuse.

***

I’m looking for a taste of ecstasy, I’ve had delight and it lost its potency. With you at my side on this long, damp and dark road.

I long to taste the sunrise in your mouth, as my tongue slides past your teeth and the morning dew is fresh on my lips. I want to smell your sweat on me, the heat of my flesh on the heat of yours, shivering, shimmering to a glow.

Oh, to look upon you now, through the blur of the rain. If I could take you in this doorway I would.

***

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

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In A Flash: Security

“Goddamnit,” Ali said, biting her lip as she looked at the screen above the counter at her gate.

There was no departure time listed. Nor was there any indication of a delay. She looked out at the bridge that connected the terminal to the plane, but there was none attached. And there was no one at the counter. She wandered back to look a the departures screen down the corridor to confirm that she was at the correct gate.

There it was: Vancouver to Winnipeg, Gate A31. The screen said the departure was on-time, though no actual time was listed, which Ali thought odd.

She went back to the gate, hoping to find an agent, but there was still no one at the counter. There was a man standing there, staring ahead and Ali approached him. “Sorry,” she said, “are you on the flight to Winnipeg.”

He nodded. “Yeah. They say it’s here, but there’s no plane. And there’s no one here.”

“There hasn’t been anyone at the counter, then?”

He shook his head. “No. Computers aren’t even turned on.” He gestured to the monitors on the counter, which Ali saw were black.

“This is so weird.”

“So strange,” he said. “There’s a lot of people here though. Can’t all be wrong, right?”

“I guess,” Ali said. She wasn’t so sure. These were airlines after all. They would cancel a flight without telling anyone. Or move it to another terminal and sell all the seats to people on standby, not bothering to refund all those who were stuck here unawares.

She told herself to be patient, there was plenty of time until her flight, and went to find a seat in the waiting area. It was difficult, with dozens and dozens of frustrated looking people sitting and staring at the empty counter. Ali found it comforting in some strange way. They could all be miserable together.

As time went on the waiting area filled up. Nearly every seat was filled and the open area around the gate counter was nearly impassable, with hordes of people staring at phones or the tarmac where a plane had yet to appear. Anyone who looked vaguely official was immediately confronted by ten or more people demanding answers. None were forthcoming. Ali could hear at least five different conversations with various agents, trying to placate the irate people who were waiting for a flight that had not materialized.

At a certain point, it dawned on her that there were far more people gathered here than could possibly fit on the plane. She could see others reaching the same awareness. Something was very odd about all this. How could so many people end up at this airport gate, awaiting a flight that no one at the airline seemed to know anything about, except that it was supposed to be taking off?

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

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In A Flash: Lost Coordinates

The first call came that afternoon as Mary finally settled down to get some work done on her computer.

“Give me my fucking phone back cunt,” the voice on other end of the call said. The man was more than angry, he sounded unhinged.

Mary was left disturbed and, after taking a moment to gather herself, she called the police. The officer listened sympathetically and took down a report, promising to follow up that week.

Not more than an hour later there was a knock at the door. When Mary got up from her computer she saw two police officers standing outside. That was quick, she thought, assuming they were following up on her earlier call.

“Ma’am, may we come in,” the first officer, an unsmiling woman said. “We have a report that there is stolen property located here and we’d like to look around.”

Mary blinked, a tiny ping of doubt echoing through her thoughts. “That’s crazy. Do you have warrant?”

“We were hoping you would cooperate with us,” the second officer said, offering a placating smile.

“I will. When you have a warrant. I can assure you, I haven’t stolen anything. You’re the second ones to accuse me of that today. The other one I had to report to the police.”

Both officers frowned and glanced at each other. “When did this happen?” the woman said.

“About an hour ago,” Mary said, and explained the phone call.

Neither officer had anything to say to her story. They thanked her for her time and retreated to their squad car, parked in front of the house. There they spent some time on the radio and their computers as Mary watched, glancing from time to time at the house. After half an hour they left and Mary finally allowed herself to relax, though she was still left unsettled. What was going on?

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

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In A Flash: The Invader

There were no objects distant and unrecognizable on the horizon, no people who spoke, in voices tinged with madness, of having been kidnapped by unseen creatures, no armada of stars filling the night skies above. One day they were not there and the next they were, with no sign of how they had done so. There was no panic, no riots in the streets, or calls to arms, for it was obvious to all there would be no point to it. They were among them, walking the streets and going about their business as if they had always been there.

No one even thought it particularly strange, though on some distant level, deep within their consciousness, they knew it was. They were aliens and they had seized the planet without so much as a word of defiance. How had it happened? Something must have occurred. Something terrible and awful, to make them surrender so completely. But no one seemed to know. This was the way it had always been, they said, even as they knew it was not so.

It was difficult to describe the invaders. They were not human and they were…something. Words failed them, as did their memories. The shape and substance of the aliens seemed to dissipate as soon as their minds tried to focus on them. It was as though they were figments of dreams, and yet there could be no doubt they were there. Their presence was palpable everywhere one went. It left them with nothing to fight, nothing to even focus their anxiety on.

Strangest of all was how little things changed. The invaders were among them, shadowing their thoughts, filling their every step with doubt, and yet they did little concrete. Businesses still opened and closed, people went to work and ran their errands, and returned home to their families. But all the while the aliens were there, not observing, not disrupting, simply there, as if they had always been and always would 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

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Now Available: The Slavish Adherent

Hector is a faithful man in a faithless world.

A Slavish Adherent of the Twentieth Gradation, he works a dead end job in Reconciliations. Until the day he finds an error he was not meant to and begins an odyssey that will upend his life and everything he believes in.

It is a journey that will take him from the gates of paradise to the pits of hell, all in a desperate attempt to reconcile his beliefs with the absurd world that surrounds him.

The Slavish Adherent is a fantastic tale of what remains when all you believe in has been taken away.

Available at Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords

Coming Soon: The Slavish Adherent

Available February 2016

Hector is a faithful man in a faithless world.

A Slavish Adherent of the Twentieth Gradation, he works a dead end job in Reconciliations. Until the day he finds an error he was not meant to and begins an odyssey that will upend his life and everything he believes in.

It is a journey that will take him from the gates of paradise to the pits of hell, all in a desperate attempt to reconcile his beliefs with the absurd world that surrounds him.

The Slavish Adherent is a fantastic tale of what remains when all you believe in has been taken away.

In A Flash: Mirror, Mirror

Mariel awoke in the embrace of a dead man, his body cold and rigid. It took her some effort to disentangle their limbs, and when she finally did she threw herself from the bed shuddering in horror. She lay on the floor for a time hyperventilating and weeping, even as she cursed herself for this loss of control. She had nearly regained command of her emotions when she caught a glimpse of her hands and saw they were covered in blood. As were her arms and much of her body.

She stumbled into the bathroom, retching in the toilet, refusing to look at what came up. Resting her head against the cool porcelain she closed her eyes and focused on her breathing, on being mindful of anything but the corpse on the bed. When she felt ready she got to her feet and washed her face in the sink. She tried to get some of the blood off her hands and arms but soon gave up. Only a shower would solve that problem.

Before she went back into the bedroom to face what was there, she looked up in the mirror. There was no reflection staring back. That steadied her, and with new resolve she walked into the bedroom to assess the aftermath of whatever had taken place the night before. The man lay in a contorted pose, the result of her efforts to free herself, his face darkened with bruises. There was blood everywhere, staining his flesh and the sheets. She felt her stomach tremble again and had to look away.

Her eyes fell upon the tangle of their clothes at the foot of the bed. It told another story, a prologue to whatever else had happened in the depths of the night. Mariel remembered none of it. Her head ached and her thoughts were foggy, as though from a hangover. There was a bitter taste in her mouth from bile and blood. She closed her eyes, sick at the thought. What had gone so terribly wrong?

Read the rest at Circumambient Scenery.

In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

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