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First impressions

Unknown

Jessup rounded the corner in time to see a chair erupt from the plate glass window in the front of the address he had been given. The restaurants’ refugees invaded the quiet street. The former customer of the establishment clambered over each other and the shards of broken glass still decorating the window frame to get away from whatever it was that started the commotion.

Outside the group of three militiamen who were ambling along the other side of the street, chatting good-naturedly stopped and gawked. Jessup skidded to a halt. Too late, as one of the three pointed in his direction and gave a holler. So much for doing this quick and easy.

Luckily the confusion from the eatery was infectious. The few erupting patrons had become a mob of confusion as those trying to flee, clashed with those trying to run closer to see what had caused the ruckus. It was easy for Jessup to get lost in the fray, and find himself in front of the broken window.

The empty frame held a perfect picture of what misinformation and fear could do if delivered the right way and in the right amounts. The young militiaman in the establishment looked just about to piss himself as he faced down the source of the fray. A boy, no more than 15, sitting at the remains of a table, palms outstretched in surrender, looking just about as afraid and stupefied as the man who was screaming and pointing his weapon at him.

Jessup saw the potential for an ugly situation to turn hideous when he saw what had the militiaman crapping himself. The boy’s hands were on fire. More accurately, angry red flames danced across his palms. The boy, his eyes a bright cerulean, glanced back and forth in fearful awe between the end of the pistol and his flame covered palms.

The man kept screaming, even as the boy tried closing his fists and opening them. As the child tried shaking the hands, as if he were trying to extinguish the flames. Jessup saw the moment the man with the gun let lose his bladder and a bullet, and he was launching himself through the window when he saw bright blue eyes widen in shock and fear and then narrow in morbid determination. The bullet had gone wide, hitting nothing but a bottle of something oily and fragrant on the shelves behind the counter, but the flames now covered the whole hands, they had turned white and emanated a heat that Jessup could feel twenty feet away.

‘If they are going to shoot at me, then I must fight,’ the eyes said. Jessup, if he were having a civil conversation with the boy would have given him about 50 reasons why fighting with the man-boy, who now smelled of rotten onions and ammonia, was a bad idea. As it was they were in the middle of a potential war zone, with a mob forming and a veritable army on the way and there was no room for civil conversation.

Jessup leapt through the frame of shards and copied the boy’s submissive stance. He faced the boy but addressed the excrement soaked man-child quivering too hard to shoot either of them.

“Hey,” the boy just trembled in response. “You think pointing that thing at him is helping?” This time the boy offered a whimper and a squishy plopping sound emanated from his trousers. Jessup wasn’t sure if he was trying to suppress a laugh or a gag. “I would like to think putting it down would be a good idea.”

The gun clattered to the floor. Jessup now faced the boy.

“Hey kid.” Frightened eyes turned to the newcomer, one flaming palm also followed the motion. “You got a name?” Frightened eyes turned to the newcomer and the determination shifted focus. The man-boy took the chance to make a mad squishy dash though the agape restaurant door, but Jessup had no time to pay much attention.

“No name is fine. Do you know how to turn those off?” Jessup gestured at the hands, but his peripheral vision showed him that the crowd was looking less civilian gawker and more paramilitary by the second. Scared eyes shifted to the crowd, widened and then looked at Jessup. The boy shook his head no.

“First time this happen to you?” Nod Yes “Alright, so I’m here to take you somewhere safe. Would you be willing to do that?” Wide, scared, uncertain eyes just kept shifting from his face to behind him.

“Do you know what they will do to you?” Another nod, and tears misting up the corners of confused, wide eyes. “Kid you have the advantage, you have those, I have me and my wits and an order to get you to safety.” More staring, a mist became a dam, threatening to burst. “If I was looking to hurt you, I would have tried already.” The flames receded to the palms and returned to their original red. Not angry, these were flames of fear.

“Just don’t point those things at me, Ok? And I’ll get you out of here.” Jessup looked at the door to the back of the room. Actually he looked through the closed door, he knew his own eyes probably now blazed blood red, while he was using his abilities. The boys, eyes were wondrously wide when Jessup again focused on him. Jessup saw the core of flame in the boy, he saw the way it blazed and gutted, the flame mirroring the boy in uncertainty and fear.

Jessup motioned towards the door, and the boy took his que. He extended his arms out in front of him and allowed the red flames to spurt towards the door; the door simply parted and removed itself from their path.  Out in the alley through the smoldering doorframe, there were no souls to be found.  As if the mob in the front of the establishment had sucked all the living things out of the city immediately around them.

Jessup didn’t bother to ponder at it, he just ducked them around the alley and towards jetty at the end of the roadway. He splashed the boy with the cool water of the harbor and flung him, smoldering and confused into the dingy.

 

 

Echo

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She stood in the middle of the baren room, and she sighed. The sound tiredness and uncertainty echoed off the walls where once stood towers of books. A lifetimes worth of lifetimes gathered and lives through the word. It bounced off the empty cupboards. We used to argue about how she could never remember to close them.

She took a step into the hallway, and the pitter-patter of her tiny heel clad feet echoed off the cavernous maws that used to be our bedroom and those of our children. She took slow steps as she passed each one. Murmuring about checking to see if we had left anything behind. But I knew that behind her eyes, she was seeing 7 years worth of tears and laughter and arguments and making up.

She lingered at the door when she finished. Took one last look and released one more breath and closed the door on the echo.

We didn’t talk on the ride away. She didn’t glance back, just squared her shoulders as I drove her into our future.

When we arrived at our new home. Our own home. She bound up the steps and entered the house with the names of our kids on her lips. The chorus of “Yes mom” greeted her and she swept all 4 into her arms. When they broke the embrace it was my turn and she whispered in my ear. “This is our home, it will ever echo.”

It never would.

What I did not know

Flying-Saucer-UFOS-hover-over-Arizona One day the mothership would return. I knew it. I felt it in my bones. I felt it in every follicle of my me-ness. I knew. So when the stars started twinkling all funny and growing and then showing themselves to be flying-freaking-saucers!! I knew, I just knew, that they had come back for me!!!!

I knew, that my days toiling in the chalk spattered trenches, my run in with bronchitis, the endless headaches caused by talking to the producers of leaderless offspring were worth it. It all made sense, listening to folks more learned than me oratoriate – is that even a word? It feels like a word. It feels like it describes people who know a lot of nothing and release a lot of mouth farts they think make sense. So I’ll let it stand- about what they think I do, reverting the education discussion to a hot, steamy, hopeless, tangle of mamagism -that one is a real word that I did not make up, thank you very much- was all worth it!

I knew so, while cities burst into riots and chaos, while people boarded windows and ran on PricePro, I went up to my roof in my nighty, no less, and let the star children know most ineloquently, that I do not want to live on this planet anymore. See, I knew I did not belong among these people.

I was wrong. They did not belong around me! I know because I saw the neighbor who had borrowed my sprinkle kit and tried to make me feel bad for wanting it back, ascend in a column of soft blue light. Indeed the neighbor who walked around naked with the curtains open and complained when passersby complained. Crying about her lack of privacy gave me one final blue illuminated full moon!

Disappointed I went to the book of faces to air my hurt and three-quarters of my friend list had been deleted! In hindsight I don’t even know why I had so many, I only needed the 6 people who responded to my posts and foody channels I followed.

The next morning to my surprise most of the news stations were abuzz. Most of the government people had been taken! But that wasn’t the best part. A bewildered intern or technician, apologizing for the missing anchors, explained that the aliens had left an apology and had cleaned the oceans, refrozen the ice caps and filled in the ozone hole.

Photo-Fiction #108

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Photo-Credit: Blue mountain mysteries

Can you tell a story in 300 words? Here’s the challenge.
Write a fictional piece of no more than 300 words based on this picture. You pick your poison, poetry or story. Please don’t forget to, mention this post in yours, and link back here i.e. include a link to this post in your post on your blog so we can check out your work. Happy writing guys, have fun, I look forward to reading what you all come up with.

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Foreign thoughts

In response to Photo-Fiction #83

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“Chineyyy!!! Gimme a small fried chicken fried rice!!” The man shouted over the counter despite the shop being empty except him.

I had grown accustomed to the racist slurs and the aggression of “hangry” people shouting at the child behind the counter. I had grown accustomed to the smell of garlic and grease as I toiled over the school books from which I was constantly interrupted.

“One small fried chicken fried rice,” I shouted in mandarin over my shoulder. My mother shouted back from the kitchen. “I’m fine, just trying to finish my homework before the dinner rush.” All in mandarin.

The man eyed me suspiciously, and I ignored him. It was him or someone like him, every day, gawking through the white painted iron bars. I thought nothing of it. Nothing at all until a red glow seeped into my peripheral vision. Nothing until a low growl registered in my hearing. Until the world went crazy as a flurry of fur, claws, and teeth raged against the iron bars. The bars moaning as they bent towards me. The heat of his breath and spittle, on my cheeks as the give in the bars let him get within swiping distance.

It felt like nausea, as I stood there frozen, in fear or terror. It felt like bile rising in my throat. It burned and then it exploded from my lips, blue-white flames that engulfed the thing that used to be the man that ordered a small fried chicken fried rice.

It cried and ran, a streak of burning fur, disappearing into the darkness. Before my mind could panic, the melody of my mother’s stories came back, stories of a proud people, a land of dwindling magic, of an exodus, fleeing progress. I heard fairytales. I heard my truth.