Tag Archives: Finish it

A matter of perspective

In response to Finish It!! #39 I know, I know it’s been ages, but such is life on 3rd world internet connections. I wanted to write this the moment I saw the prompt. It reminded me of a night me and the chief were watching ‘Naked and Afraid’ held on his native Dominica. We giggled all the way through, because the poor survivalists were so lost on what to us was familiar ground, and we just couldn’t relate to their struggle given what we know about the island. But then when we sobered, we had to give credence to the fact that it was all just a matter of perspective.

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All he could do now is hope that someone out there, some crew member of a ship or a plane, would see the fire or the message they left in the sand. He looked at the fire and then overlooked the island. From where he stood he could see the entire island. The luscious bush and the beach, where they found themselves stranded. He was wondering if she knew. She probably did by now. He so wanted to let her know that he was okay. That the horse was fine too. He had to go back. The others were trying to build a shelter for the night. One of them was injured. Hopefully someone would be here to rescue them soon…

…That was two weeks ago, and he had long since lost hope of rescue. The group tried to hold on to hope, someone kept the fire lit, and someone was always watching the horizon but nothing was ever there. They had stuck to the beach, hoping to spot a plane or a boat, but the pickings were slim here. Despite the reek, the fishing was poor, the fresh water was a half mile hike in land, and the few coconut trees that littered the beach has been picked clean already.

He knew that they had to move soon. Further inland, maybe over those mountains to their back. Maybe there was better hunting to be had there, more fruit trees, maybe even more air or sea traffic. He thought, or maybe it was his imagination, that he heard a small twin engine coming or going sometime in the wee hours. No one else had heard it, everyone had dismissed him. Getting them to move, especially with Frank’s leg being as it was, would be touch. He knew he had a lot of convincing to do.

He had to try, he knew he had to make this better, to give them any chance to get back home, to her. Every time the horse whined he saw her, the look on her face, the way she beamed whenever she rode. He wasn’t ready to give that up, he wasn’t about to sit tight, holding dear to a narrow hope, when moving might be just the thing to get them home.

They were moving, tonight. He had made up his mind. They didn’t need to follow, he would send back for help if they refuse, if they survived out here alone.

He was prepared to tell them all this, the sum of his brooding. As they sat around the fire, huddling for warmth, on the cool tropical night. Just when he had gathered his courage, he heard it.

A rustling, a shifting in the underbrush. A predator? A boar maybe? A wild cat? The faceless thing in the darkness was surely some evil thing, some wicked thing geared to end them, to thwart him getting back to her. He grabbed the rough spear he had fashioned, though he wasn’t sure how much courage he had left to wield it.

The others herded behind him, and in his chest he felt the bile of his fear rising. This would be a defining moment, as this thing grew closer, and the rustling became more vigorous.  This would be the thing he had to survive to get back to her, to them.

He tightened his grip, hefted the weapon, ensuring his aim, just a dark figure broke the tree line, not 15 feet from their came. He breathed in a someone shrieked, someone let out a desperate battle cry.

Two startled eyes met his.

“Ah wha de?…”

The intruder looked more shocked and amused that threatened by him. The leader of this rag tag bunch, all torn clothes, tousled hair, and the scent of bodies cleaned only by broad leaved and sea water. Clutching his chest the stranger let out his startled breath then burst into laughter.

When he had wiped the tear from his eye, he told them between fits of laughter that there were villages just over the ridge. That the people here lived in fishing communities along the eastern coast where life was abundant enough to drive business and commerce. he hold them he would lead them back come light, when the rest of his friends had caught up and rested.

They would take them back, then they would go home.

 

January Nights.

In response to Finish it! #34 Author S B Mazing. It’s late and the day has been trying so please forgive if it’s somewhat rough. But I couldn’t pass up the intro when I saw it so here is my offering.

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She saw the bundle in the corner, covered by dirty blankets. It moved. It was freezing cold. No wonder it was trying to find cover or at least a little bit of it under the shredded and filthy fabric. It must be desperate, she thought. She was just about to walk on when she heard the sound coming from under the blankets. And it was not what she had expected to hear. She froze and slowly turned around…

It hadn’t been the squeak of rats or the screech of cats or even the whining of a dog. Those she could walk away from. It wasn’t the hacking cough that usually came from boxes and bundles like this in the cold January nights. What she had heard was the sound of something small but still human, not a whimper or a cough, more somewhere between a sniffle and a sob. A child. A small one. Out here, at night, covered in rags and cowering in the corner.

She pulled her coat up around her, and felt a little shamed that some part of her still wanted to retreat into her cave and curl up for the night. She had been at this for days with no clues, with no hope. She had seen a thousand children each with a story that should melt even these cold January nights. But none had been Celia, none had been the little girl in the picture burning a hole in her jeans pocket.

The girl that had been abducted from her home a few days ago, whose mother called in tears on a daily basis and who’s father was too distraught to do anything but stare at the news and call the hospitals hoping his little girl wouldn’t be there. The parents who had called Melissa, a family friend and a PI who was always out of work but who always spared time for their little girl.

The sound again, not a whimper, not a sniffle, it was definitely a sob. It was cold as hell out here, and even if it wasn’t her this kid was cold, most likely hungry and now even the cowardly part of her who wanted no part of being a good Samaritan was staring at the pile, willing to help the little human thing beneath it.

She stepped closer, cautiously. Her boots making a dull thud and a slight squish in the half inch of half frozen much coating the pavement. There was the slightest movement, and another sob. The pile shifted even closer to the wall. It was frightened, so was she, though this might not be the time to admit it. In a dark, cold alley, approaching a pile of things her faulty senses had told her was human larvae. Or was it pupa? She didn’t remember all that high school biology. She chuckled to herself and licked her lips taking another step. Thud, Squish. And another, Thud squish.

There was a flurry of movement, and the flash of something metallic. She was so shocked she fell, landing on her arse. Whoosh, smack, squelch.  Spread eagle on the floor and the barrel of pistol inches from her nose.

“Stay vewy vewy still.” the voice in her head said. “She’s hunting wabbit and that’s you.”

She rolled her eyes at her own ridiculous inner monologue. Who wants to die to the sound of Elmer Fudd? The barrel was shaking, but the little hands around it seemed steady enough. Shaking from cold not fear. Wait? Little hand? Little feet? Little body in baggy sweat pants and a bloody white vest. A little face looking more determined that traumatized. A little face belonging to Celia.

They recognized each other just then, both at the same time, and the little mouth let out a yelp as she threw her whole small self at the PI who had been hired to find her.

“Take me home please.” was the little whisper in her ear. And the child curled up in her lap and waited. Quietly clutching the gun to her chest. She wouldn’t let it go. Where the hell had she been?

Celia received her parents with the same veracious joy 15 minutes later. She relinquished her weapon only to her father, and let her mother bathe and examine her for injuries, there were few. Bruises about her arms and face, a few scratches, that was all. She hadn’t been toughed in any of the really bad places. Well the physical ones. Celia never spoke, didn’t utter a sound.

The next day 6 men were found, in a warehouse not long from where the girl had been found. All shot, all dead, all from an angle less that 4 feet. Massacred it would seem by and 8 year old girl. A girl who never spoke. A girl who never told what had happened in those cold January nights when she became infamous.

Run…Death comes.

In response to Finish it #32 By Author S B Mazing.

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They gathered what they could quickly grab, not much, not even all of the essentials something like this would need. She gently lifted the baby out of the cot while he gently woke their older son. They had to leave. Now. And the didn’t know when, if at all, they would be able to return. One last look back before they locked the door for good was all they could do for now.

She…dared not look back again once the little car sputtered to life and they began bouncing down the cobble stone streets. The driver kept looking fretfully back in the rear view mirror. She had gotten the call, less than an hour ago, this had just been an “in case”. They had been safe, they had never drawn attention, never flaunted their different-ness, or at least that’s what they had thought.

But the call had come, a hushed voice at the end of the receiver telling her that her world was over. That the fanatics had somehow gotten her name, and that of her husband, that if they stayed in their home they would be slaughtered within the day. The voice had be just barely calm, trying to veil it’s own fear, but it trembled ever so slightly, buzzing with a nervous energy that had seeped into her over the phone lines.

Beneath the words the voice spoke were the deeper meanings. The “Run, run, it’s time to run”, and “Death comes in the form of ignorant men, with the power of guns and the illusions of Godhood.” So they had run, they had scattered and scrambled, a mad dash for the border, before the trucks came, to burn and pillage. She looked down at the babe in her arms. He had been born into a world where ideologies and heritage had marked him for death, even before he had the ability to understand. She had birthed him into this, and she would see him through, perhaps to change this sad, vindictive world.

He…watched her draw a shaky breath staring down at their infant. He saw the determination in her face, and wondered if she was thinking what he was. If she was making up her mind that his life, was worth more than hers. That she too would lay down her life to see her boys safely away. God he hoped not. He hoped that she would know that they would need their mother, that they would need her light and her strength. They would need her calm and her resolve. They would need to learn from her.

The car slowed, and he saw why thorough the windshield. Armed men on foot, coming their way down the narrow street. Behind them an armored truck, no doubt filled with the people they had already dragged from their homes. Dragged out of sleep and into this nightmare. Or worse the bodies of those people.

“The alley.” the driver breathed. Motioning to a dark hole between two red brick buildings. “Go, she will meet you on the other side.”

He took a steadying breath, locked eyes with his wife and heft his half sleeping toddler in his arms. The bundle with their few worldly possessions already strapped to his back. The driver slowed and they made a hasty exist from a vehicle that slowed only enough to allow it without someone breaking a neck. He didn’t know the man’s name, he would never be able to thank him. But that is the way it was, they way it must be, those who help the Christians can never be known, or they would share the same fate.

She..followed him down the alley. Somewhere in the street behind them was the crash and creek of wood splintering under strain. A woman screamed, a man pleaded and then there was the peel of machine gun fire.

Silence.

Nothing, not even the sound of boots on the cobble. Just quiet. This was the sound of death, this absence of audio. This would be the sound they left behind if they were caught. And so they hid. Behind a dumpster and pressed against the dark red brick. Trying as they might to will inconspicuousness upon themselves. But boots started beating the cobble, getting louder, closer. Bring doom with them.

A door to their right opened. They hadn’t noticed the door, almost to the end of the alley. The one they had been headed towards.  The slight figure of a women peeked out, she glanced them and ambled into the alley, leaving the door open. She passed their hiding place and lifted the lid of the dumpster, depositing a bad of smelly things, and then she turned to the men approaching, giving a barely noticeable wave behind her now turned back.

She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding, and sagged with relief. Every muscle relaxing almost to the point she wet herself. The blood still rushed in her ears, a throb throb throbbing, but at least now she know her allies were about her.

He…led them into the gloom of the building. Flattening them against the wall, as the old woman, greeted the gunmen politely. Assuring them with her thick exotic accent and her low gravely voice that she had seen no one, heard nothing, and loathed the infidels that had invaded them. She spoke, the men spoke, she laughed, and the sound of boots grew further away. It was his turn to let air in, to try to still the beating in his chest. The thump thump that would crack ribs if it continues. He tried to breath and felt something hot and wet running down his cheek. Was that hope?

It would be two weeks before they made it to the border. Two weeks of dank basements and dark tunnels, of rough cold bedding and meals spared by nameless strangers. It would be four months till the sound of footsteps in the darkness stopped sending hearts a flutter. Four years till the war was ended and they could reclaim their names, and their home.

But in that time the losses had been great. A father had been badly beaten almost to the brink of death, a brother beheaded. A sister lost to the shame of rape, and a mother dead by heartbreak. They couldn’t go back, they mourned from afar, but it was never the same. They wondered why they had been unable to convince their loved ones to make the crossing. They wondered how they would ever fill the holes those losses left for the boys, or if they could ever really explain the whys and the hows of what had happened to them. If small children should ever even be exposed to that vileness in the human condition.

It was 5 years before they returned to the house they had fled, to a city rebuilt after what seemed like conflict that would never end. You could barely tell the horror of that night, the fear didn’t cling to the white washed pavement, or the damp cobble. The red brick walls didn’t hide the freshly spattered blood. But where they looked, he and she, the memories were as fresh and the night they got that call. When their world had crashed and they had run.

Gypsy Hostage

In response to the Blog Event Finish It, a short story writing blog event – presented by Author S B Mazing.

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She looked stunning. Her long, mahogany hair was softly running along the sides of her face, framing it, making her features stand out. Her skin seemed flawless, her lips soft. He wanted her. Here and now. But he knew he had to wait. It was not the time nor the place. He could tell that she longed for him too. He could see it in her eyes. If only… Why was it so complicated?

Why couldn’t she have stayed? Now there she stood, a gypsy princess, or maybe a siren, waiting for him to crash again for her.

Mark remembered the morning she had left. She had thrown that half carat diamond ring her had given her right at his head. her voice still rang in his ear, all bitterness and rhetoric broken by sobs. Ranting on about how she was being used, about how she had been warned and how she deserved better. He remembered the way his heart had sunk. He remembered showing her the letter in his pocket, the reason he had rushed in all excited. His first competition invite. But she only cried harder, packed faster. Hastening the moment she disappeared on the busy city street and just left him there.

Later that night a man had come, his dusky skin and exotic features marking him as a relative of hers. He had beat him senseless, in his little beach from apartment. He had heard his bones breaking to the song of the gulls and the surf. All the while demanding the location of his sister. His sister who was betrothed. His sister who had run away. His sister who had run out on her lover to protect him from this calamity. Or at least that’s what he had hoped.

That was five years ago. And in those three years she had become somewhat of a celebrity. Her and her husband. The man she had been dragged back to when she was eventually caught. The man who delighted in having Mark’s Gypsy princess on his arm, draped in diamonds with misery shining in her eyes. His Gypsy prisoner in a gilded cage. Mark had known she wasn’t happy, and the articles over the years had told him as much, as she was plagued by alcoholism and tales of relapse after one rehab program or another. But she was out of his reach, and eventually she slipped from his thoughts. Except on those nights. Those cool summer evenings when he could almost see her. Gliding through in her flowing skirts, dancing barefoot around his beach front apartment, singing those savage hymns she liked so much. Infusing him with her wild magick.

Now here she was, with this plan of hers. She wanted to escape, she wanted to run, she wanted her freedom. And she wanted it with him. Here in a crowded cafe in Bali, she bared her soul. She told her tail behind a veil of tears. Ripping him apart with her story. But could he do what she wanted? Could he abandon all of him, to lie in the arms of this renegade Princess?

Mark already knew he wanted her, now more than he could ever remember wanting her before. This beautiful creature that haunted him so long. But she was another man’s wife. A man who would not let her go, and Mark didn’t know where to start in freeing her form his clutches. He ran his fingers thought his sandy hair and blew out a heavy sigh. A plan already forming in his mind. He would have her. All of her. When all this was done…