Something In Her Eyes

Something In Her Eyes

Something in her eyes. A glistening – a twirling, radiating shadow.
It captures my attention. I lean in. Her breathing quickens, rapid little heaves as my face closes on hers. The closeness is an intimacy; it forges a bond that words can’t describe as I study her twinkling brown irises. They mystify me, consume me. The way the light hits them, the reflections from them. I see myself.
Also, I see that strange iridescence, that shimmering glow in their depths that made me get so close in the first place. This is what I’ve been looking for. This is what I’ve been chasing my whole life.

“You’ve definitely got the condition, Mrs. Newman. Talk to my nurse, and she’ll enroll you in the study.”
As I leave, I stop and turn. “I’m glad you came. What we learn from your eyes will be invaluable in our research.”
She smiles back. “Thanks so much, Doctor.”

I love misdirection. Some of the best writers (especially thrillers and mystery writers) will lead you someplace in their writing, making you think something is absolutely that thing, when it turns out at the end, it was something else entirely. Sitcoms work on the same premise.
Here’s a short piece that occurred to me for no reason at all.
Did the misdirection work? And was the payoff worth the effort of your reading?
Let me know, along with any criticsm, in the comments.

Everyday Objects: Trash

I once read an author’s explanation of how she came up with some of her stories: Look at an ordinary object. Is it really ordinary? Maybe that piece of paper floating on the wind is an alien. Why is it here? What is it looking for? Why does it look like a piece of paper.
I wondered what a piece of trash in the gutter might see. Here’s what I came up with.
I wondered if there should be several vignettes here, but I just went with the one. Is it enough? Any thoughts/criticisms? Let me know in the comments.

Gutter Garbage
Everyday Objects: Trash
I’m a piece of trash. I just lie here in the gutter. The rain falls on me, the cars roll over me, and every day, I degrade a little more. I’ve been here a while. Even though I can’t remember how I got here, I can still remember some of the things I’ve seen.
There’s the old woman who stands on the corner at midday, every day. She leans frailly against the lamp post, cane in one hand, looking for someone to help her cross the street. She grips an offered arm tenaciously when it comes, smiling and chattering all the way across the wide boulevard. I’ve seen her wait a long time for an arm to support her.
I think she’s just waiting for company…

Addicted to Purple (3 October 2014): Origin Story

Check out this weeks challenge at from Rochelle Wissoff-Fields at Addicted to Purple. Read the contributors, maybe add your own!
(The photo for the challenge follows the story.)
I didn’t check out the challenge this week, but read an entry from the very creative SightsNBytes. This exploded almost fully formed in my head.
Fun? For the time it took to spill out of my head and onto the page, definitely. Good? No idea – but I’d like to know what you think.
(Sorry, but you may need to be of a certain age to get this one.)

The plainclothes cop leapt in, even though his mind wasn’t on it. He ducked the first assailant, his mind elsewhere.
Mike Hammer had his guns. Gandalf, a staff. Even Spillane had those eyebrows. He needed something to distinguish himself. He pondered as his body worked on its own, motions his muscles knew by heart. Crouch. Stand as the guy runs past. Snag his collar. Clothesline him down.
One fast punch dropped his partner followed by a foot on the guy’s chest.

He rubbed the sweat off his bald head, lips curling in a grin as the shopkeeper ran up, praising him profusely. He picked a lollipop off the counter, saluting the shop owner before mouthing it.
“Who loves ya, baby?”

Couurtesy of Kent Bonham
Couurtesy of Kent Bonham

Addicted To Purple (19 Sept 2014) – Elevations

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields does the Friday Fictioneers challenge. This week, the prompt is the picture below, from Dawn Q. Landau. The link will take you to her great story.

Here’s my entry, coming in at 102 words. As always, any suggestions/criticisms/comments are welcome.

Dawn Q. Landau
Dawn Q. LandauT

She walked the site, head down, in silence.
All her work – her site survey, planning, arguments with the client, the design – had come to this. She’d hired builders based on their reputation “Oh, they’re always on time.” “Oh, they’re meticulous.” “Oh, they’ll follow directions to the letter.”
It sounded too good to be true.
It was.
Each space was marked out perfectly. The character of the dividers were exactly as she envisioned them. But due to a monumental cock-up, the plans delivered to them hadn’t included the elevations.

And they’d built exactly to the letter of her drawings.
In only two dimensions.

Death: An Interlude

No idea where this came from, but welcome to the inside of my head.
As always, any suggestions/criticisms/comments are welcome.

Death raised his hand imperiously.
The crowd of faces instantly hushed. His long bony fingers dipped languorously within his ebony robe and emerged, clutching a flaccid pink object. He raised it to his lips, hidden deep within his cowl and blew.
The faces were all focused on him in rapt attention.
He tucked into his robe again, withdrawing another object, back into his cowl for another blow, again and again, faster and faster. He took the elongated objects and tied, twisted, knotted them to each other.
Again and again, over and over. His movements were a blur.
Mortal eyes strained to keep up with his movements, but were no match for his supernatural speed.
More and more, and yet more after that, Death performed his ritual. The humans leaned in closer, mouths widening in awe at what they were witnessing, even at what they failed to see as Death moved beyond the limits of what human vision could capture.
One last piece, one last blow, a final twist, an agonizing moment of silence and then –

Bellowing “BEHOLD!”, Death held out the life-size balloon Sponge Bob to the rapturously cheering children, and handed it to the birthday boy.
The boy looked at the creation, then up at Death. “That was awesome, Mister!” he said.

Unseen in the depths of his cowl, Death smiled.
He patted the boy’s head, wished him a happy birthday, and headed down the road, humming to himself as he returned to his rounds.

Matticus Kingdom Prompt: A Big Fish Story

Every so often, DJ Matticus, proprietor and Chief Scribbler of The Matticus Kingdom, writes the opening of a story and Prompts us to finish it.
I was trying to develop a sense of inexorability with this story. Did it work? And any criticisms are welcome.

This won't have a happy ending. Obviously.
This won’t have a happy ending.

DJ’s prompt:
Light filters through the cascading waves of shadows running down the high canyon walls. Shining fingers reaching down from the heavens to highlight the beauty of the world, you notice the warm spots of rock and water where the light touches and you smile. The constant hum and crash of the river at your feet adds the symphony accompaniment to the play being acted out for your enjoyment. Time slows and races with the rise and fall of the orchestra, and your heart follows along.

Stepping to the edge, you set your balance and brace your feet, then let the fly taste the air as you whip it once, twice, three times over your head. The line pulls against your finger as you release it and for a moment your world is reduced to the flight of the fly and the whine of the reel. As it splashes down, and you are pleased with its placement, the roar of the river rises back up to a near deafening volume, and you begin to coax the fish out of hiding with a delicate dance of pressure and movement.

A flash of silver deep within the rolling blue and white, as a trout breaks cover beneath the rocky bottom, and there is a small tug on the taut line…

My response:
It’s a slight tug, and you savor the tension in the line as you rest your beer on a rock near the riverbank. You wait a moment. The tug gets stronger, then stronger still, becoming more insistent. The voice of the river and dappling of the sun combine with the pull of the rod to create a feeling of magic in the lush wilderness. “Guys?” you call out, wanting your friends to witness this one perfect moment. “Guys!”, but they are too far away to hear. Another yank draws you deeper into the water. You fight against the pull on the line, but the rubber of your hip waders slides against the slick stones of the river.
It never occurs to you to let go of your rod and lose the beautiful fly, or the prize it’s snagged. As you are pulled along, you start to worry about being dragged to the center of the river, where you know it’s both deep and fast running. You reposition your hands on the rod for a better grip. You can’t imagine how big the trout must be – you’ve never had to struggle like this before!
Finally, your heel braces against a rock and you gather your strength. You know the fight is almost done.
With a tremendous heave, you snap the rod back, the supple wood arcing dangerously before it straightens, bringing your catch into view.
And you learn the last things you’ll ever know –
Magic can be dangerous.

The Loch Ness monster isn’t a myth.

And it doesn’t just stay in the loch.

Light and Shade – The Past Doesn’t Stay In The Past

This story was written for the Light and Shade Challenge – 500 words, inspired by the phrase
“Some ghosts are so quiet you would hardly know they were there.”
― Bernie Mcgill, The Butterfly Cabinet

This one rolls in at 462 words. Good? Bad? Suggestions or criticisms? Let me know in the comments, and thanks.
There would be paperwork…reports…interviews. It was always the same drill – every time a weapon was discharged in the line of duty, the dog and pony show commenced.
Ralph Emerson knew he had nothing to worry about. It was a clean shoot. And no one would shed any tears for the body he’d left in the small apartment, its blood and guts oozing into the filth that surrounded it.
Ralph sat down on the stoop, exhausted as he recreated the scene in his head for his report…

“Jack Wilson, open up” he bellowed, banging on the door. “This is the police. We know you’re in there.”
Ralph and his partner stood on either side of the door – along the wall – waiting for an answer. There was a loud click, and Jack replied with three shotgun blasts through the center of the door. Ralph and his partner dropped flat on the floor.
“Son of a…” Ralph rolled to one knee in front of the door, and returned two shots. Still moving, he sprang to his feet, erupting through the shattered remains of the door.
Jack was inside, shotgun in one hand, a plastic garbage bag in the other.
“FREEZE” shouted Ralph.
Everything seemed to slow down…Jack turned to Ralph…Ralph crouched, gun aimed at Jack’s center of mass…Jack bringing up the shotgun, steadying it with the garbage bag holding hand…Ralph saying “Don’t do it!”…Jack still moving…Ralph gently squeezing the trigger…and…BANG!
Time resumed as Jack stared at the spreading bloom of red on his chest, followed by a look at Ralph as Jack crumpled to the floor, the bag spilling from his hand.

The voices in Ralph’s head got louder and louder, clamoring to be heard as he neared the bag. He upended it as the voices reached a crescendo, then, silence.
The pile of teddy bears spilled out. Some stared blankly into space. Others fell out hugging each other. And a few landed staring right at Ralph, their button eyes and perpetual smiles penetrating right to his brain.
“What the hell?” asked his partner in a horrified tone.

Ralph didn’t answer. He was watching something, staring at a sight no one else could see. Wisps, ethereal clouds, all vaguely shaped like children of assorted ages, walked through the room clutching at the pile of bears, drawing the…spirit? of one, then moving on and dissolving again into transparency as if they’d never been.
The last clutched his teddy bear in his four year old arms, and turned to smile a wide innocent grin at Ralph before he too disappeared.

Ralph didn’t even realize a tear was rolling down his cheek as he rolled his shoulders and felt the exhaustion he’d been fighting for weeks settle on him. At least tonight, his ghosts would let him sleep.