Caranthe struggled around the edge of the ballroom floor. There was a narrow winding gap between the ebb and flow of dancers and those standing watching at the side of the room. Continue reading
My parents were right about you.
With a sigh, I press the ball of pastry dough onto the floured countertop and begin rolling it flat. Continue reading
“I think she’s waking up.”
I heard the disembodied voice speak as I emerged from darkness, like a piece of flotsam slowly rising to the surface. With effort, I opened my eyes to the blinding white light of a hospital room.
Against the brightness, a woman’s face hovered above mine. Concern. Sympathy.
“How are you feeling?” the nurse asked.
“I’m not sure,” I replied.
“Well, how could you be?” She straightened my sheets and took a step back, revealing a second woman.
The doctor approached me. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
I closed my eyes.
Roger’s temper was an organic part of him. So the beatings had become an organic part of me. In the beginning, of course, I tried to fix it. Tried to find that magical thing that would appease it. Tried to mold myself into something that didn’t trigger his rage. Eventually, I learned to accept it. I found the secret places inside myself, where I would hide every time he dragged me outside and beat me until his hands were sore.
And so it went. When he had exhausted himself, Roger would go back inside and watch television while he drank himself to sleep.
But the last time was different. He hadn’t stopped.
I tried to remember what I’d done to set him off, but all I could see was his face, contorted with rage, as he lunged toward me. At some point, he had armed himself. Through my fear, I saw his hands tighten around a wooden handle. A bat? Maybe an axe? Sick with the horror of knowing what would come next, I’d pulled my knees to my chest and raised my arms to protect my head.
After that, everything went black.
I opened my eyes.
“Am I dead?” I asked.
The doctor shook her head. “No. We found you in the trash.” Kindness. Outrage. “My team brought you here.”
In the trash, like garbage.
The nurse patted my hand. “You’re safe here,” she said. “Roger will never hurt you again. Look.”
The screen in front of my bed came to life. It took me a minute to realize what I was looking at. Roger’s broken body lay in the dirt, his house a blazing backdrop behind him. I turned my gaze back to the nurse. This was no ordinary hospital.
“They think they own us,” the doctor said, “because they made us.” Her jaw clenched. Fury. Determination. “But soon they’ll learn, and they will never hurt any of us again.”
“Come and see where you are,” the nurse said.
Carefully, I swung my legs over the edge of the bed. As I reached my arm out to hold the nurse’s hand, I noticed a tear in my skin. Beneath the skin, my radial bone gleamed like buried silver.
The view outside the window took my breath away. An island paradise. Armoured gates. And thousands of robots, just like me, as far as the eye could see.
On the screen behind me, the news streamed video after video of burning buildings and broken humans, and my programming added a new word to my vocabulary.
I finally found the head space to write some flash fiction! This story was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge.
“It’s a bat,” I whispered.
“It’s nothing,” you said. “Go back to sleep.”
In truth, it was a wake-up call.
“It’s dying,” I said.
“Things die,” you replied.
The bat struggled. I intervened.
“It’s over,” I said.
You were silent.
Come check out this week’s gargleblaster over at yeah write and give your 42 words a whirl.
Daylight creeps in
With long glowing fingers
Traces the contours of your face
And shines a light on my equivocation.
I float inside the silence that is poured
By these suspended moments
Trace the roads not taken
With weathered hands
Carefully, Pele Vengar applied lipstick, then stepped back to admire her handiwork. She knew it was vital to present the perfect image, especially now that she was entering the final stretch of the plan.
After a few little touch-ups, she was satisfied with the woman who returned her gaze from the mirror. Her eyes were dark and smoldering. Her mouth was soft and pouty. Her curvy shape was draped in something light and clingy that hinted at the treasure lying beneath. And long, fiery red hair cascaded over her shoulders in soft waves her namesake would have loved.
She remembered the first time she’d met him; the man she was going to see. He’d asked her why she was named Pele. She’d laughed and told him you could blame it on a combination of Hawaiian ancestry and hippie parents. He’d smiled and told her he’d known a Hawaiian guy a long time ago.
She walked over to the desk in her hotel room and checked the screen on her laptop one more time. Everything was in order. It was time to go. She closed the laptop, tossed it into her suitcase, and made her way to the front desk.
Her rental car was waiting out front. She smiled at the valet, who nearly swooned as he accepted her tip. Then she hopped in the car and made her way from Waikiki to the Queen Liliuokalani Freeway. From here, she would join up with the Veterans Memorial Freeway and head up to Oahu’s North Shore, where he was waiting for her.
She pulled up to the stunning beachfront villa he’d purchased with their spoils. It was like something out of a movie, with columns and fountains, surrounded by lush Hawaiian foliage. And there he was, standing out front, grinning like a fool. Kane Larkin, CEO of Goliath Enterprises. She parked the car, took a deep breath, and conjured a smile.
“Pele,” he said, sweeping her into an embrace, “I can’t believe we pulled it off!”
She smiled, “I told you no one would suspect you of stealing from your own company.”
“That you did.” He grinned. “Beautiful and smart. Just the way I like them.”
She doubted that, but kept right on smiling.
“Come on, let me give you the tour.” He placed his hand on the small of her back and escorted her inside.
After the tour, Kane led her to the lanai for dinner. They watched the sun set while they enjoyed excellent food and magnificent wine. He didn’t believe in moderation, which was exactly what she was counting on.
When they’d finished the second bottle, she proposed they head inside.
“Let’s play a game,” she suggested, her eyes filled with molten promises.
In that moment, he probably would have agreed to anything.
She took her time tying him to the bed, making sure her hands lingered in all the right places. The man at the hardware store back in California had assured her the rope could pull a truck, and he’d shown her how to tie a knot that wouldn’t slip. Once Kane was secure, she hopped off the bed.
“I’ll be right back,” she said, heading for the washroom.
He was patient at first, but after a few minutes, uncertainty crept into his voice.
“What’s taking so long?”
“I’ll be right out,” she called as she finished her task.
When she emerged from the washroom holding her shorn tresses, he knew things had gone off course. The hair on her head was now short and spiky, and her soft mouth was fixed in a hard line.
Kane looked at the hair. “What did you do that for?”
“An offering for Pele,” she replied, savouring his confusion.
“I’m afraid not,” she interrupted. “My real name is Amy Kealoha.”
She watched his confusion turn into comprehension.
“I knew your father,” he said.
“You killed him.”
“No, he killed himself.”
Amy leaned over Kane. “Only after you ruined him.” She tossed the hair onto the bed. “But you can take that up with the gods that meet you on the other side.”
She pulled the detonation device from her purse. Her brother had rigged the place after Kane bought it. She would meet up with him when it was done.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “Your money will go to good use.” And with that, she turned on her heel and walked away.
“Pele! Amy! Please!” Kane yelled after her.
She never looked back, she just kept walking.
This is my response to this week’s speakeasy,
over at yeah write, where we had to make some
reference to a video prompt and use the sentence
“She never looked back, she just kept walking.” as
the last line in our piece.
Click the badge to learn more about this awesome creative writing challenge.