This Chick Walks into a Bar…

Book 2

The Arcanum Infernata says:

“Those who encounter daemon, Those scored by tooth or claw, Those fortunate enough to walk from the beast, Those burdened of stolen magics, forevermore.”

For those of you not fluent in cryptic Grimoire-speak – it means:  You survive a fight with a demon, and you get their powers.  Do not sell your soul to Satan, Do not die & work your way up the Hell Ranks…just go directly to power.  Do not pass Go…and do not collect $200.

Cool, huh?   How could a girl resist?

What the damned Arcanum failed to mention was the damned thing you stole powers from would chase you to the damned ends of the damn Earth to regain it’s damned abilities. That’s a hell of a catch there.  A rather important bit of a codicil to the ole’ contract conveniently penciled in extremely fine print in an unreadable font.

Trust me on this one…you do NOT want an extremely pissed-off demon dogging your every move.

I see you squirming on your barstool.  Rethinking that pick-up line?

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction-Pyromaniac

inhospitable2bwonderland

I’m back to digging through some of the older Flash Fiction pieces again.  This week, I’ve been reminiscing over fire.

As it’s been cold up here in Frosty Wisconsin, is there any wonder why my thoughts were turning to extreme heat sources?

The flash piece below was my offering for Flash! Friday’s 2014 anniversary celebration…and was the 2nd piece I officially submitted to their weekly frenzy.  I have to admit – I was shocked senseless when my entry was chosen as one of the 12 semi-finalists.  Now, I don’t have access to the original photograph, but it was stunning.  A small building (think: cabin in the deep woods) fully engulfed in flame in the dead of night.   I do remember they had a strict word count on this one (150 words on the nose…no more, no less) and the usual 24 hour time period to submit.

I can’t believe I never slipped this up on the T&T – it’s one of my favorite pieces of flash.

And, accompanying the piece is not my usual flash banner – the image is one I got a mind-shot of when someone on Google+ shared a picture of a close up of the front grille of a pot-bellied stove.  I just had to create something in ‘Shop to bring that vision to life.  One of my first attempts at actual drawing in ‘shop.  I think it turned out well 🙂

 

Pyromaniac

150 words

Flame.

Orange against black. Subtle licks of cerulean, scarlet, saffron and emerald flare into being to vanish in an instant without a trace. Elongated fingers of incandescence stretch into the void to momentarily paint their essence onto the obsidian night sky.

Inferno.
It is alive with movement – sliding, shifting, waving, weaving – its hypnotic, primal dance both beautiful and terrible as it crafts a timeless, mesmerizing, elemental ballet of destruction.

Blaze.
The voice of combustion, a low, throaty growling howl of clean air transformed to sweltering luminescence, whispering secret desires into the ears of those who worship it.

Immolation.
They listen, comprehending the flare’s song in that most primitive portion of the brain. They stare, glassy-eyed and slack-jawed, into the complex twisting leap and swirl of the living flame. They are powerless to resist the compelling demands of spark, ember, pyre.

Intentional.
Some men just need to watch the world burn.

Flash Fiction – Calling all Cars!

 

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

I sometimes miss the old Flash Fiction website – it was a vibrant online community of semi- (and not so semi-) hobby writers, who gathered at least once a week to be challenged to produce a small piece of original fiction.  Inspired by the photo prompt or directed requirements – we operated on a tight timeline to pop out a tiny slice of creative wordplay.

I’m sharing this piece again – as it was one of my favorite flash pieces, and, well, ’tis the season 😀

 

 

 

Calling All Cars!

157 words

“Calling all cars!  Calling all cars!”

Every year, we get the call.  Every year, we respond.  Every year, our department fails to close this decades-old case.

“Person of interest male, white, late 70’s, portly.  Full facial hair, white.  Last seen wearing bright red suit and hat with white fringe, black belt, black knee-boots.”

My hands curl around the steering wheel, mentally preparing for the yearly bloodbath.

“Suspect get-away vehicle tiny sleigh pulled by 8 animals of reindeer origin.  No plates evident.”

My partner and I lock eyes, knowing …HATING… what’s coming.

“Ocular trauma to multiple victims.  Eyes replaced with charcoal briquettes.”

I yank a cigarette from the pack on the dash.  “Shoulda been nice…” I whisper, even as my partner mutters  “It’s always the naughty ones…”

“Suspect 3.75 inches tall.  Last known locations… “

A string of addresses follow, blanketing the car in a wall of sound.

“Public Enemy number one…” I growl, flipping on the siren.

Flash Fiction – What does a Statue Think?

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

I’m digging through my old flash fiction files again – I just happened to come across this gem.  I know exactly why I didn’t post this one out here when I first created it – the first 2 paragraphs had far too many abstract concepts in them, and the flow just wasn’t there.

I’ve touched it up, and I think it hints quite well about how I feel about this year’s Presidential Dog & Pony.  The near future will tell if the rest of the world agrees with the thoughts I’ve imagined in Liberty’s head.  Until then – enjoy this little bit of Flash.

In Lady Liberty’s Head

217 Words

I say: the ink used to record human history is no more than fluid prejudice. Like all ‘lofty’ Human notions – Truth is an abstract now honored with empty lip service – a Utopian ideal moldering in a dumpster of forgotten debris.

Thus do the records of wholesale tragedy and individual accomplishment become a collection of fiction slowly crumbling into dust.

I stand, as I have stood for centuries, atop this granite pedestal built on Liberty Island, torch aloft and tablet proudly clasped to my breast – my face turned away from the land I symbolize. There are many who say I attend the eastern waves to welcome new visitors, proudly lighting the way to a new country which will “take in the tired, and take in the poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

I now watch across the waves as the rest of the world scorns this land of plenty – overflowing with the degenerates and predators wielding that prejudicial liquid in a final, mad attempt to paint themselves in a more favorable light.  An effort to cover the filth-buried truth with a final coating of pretty lies.

The world has seen through this poisoned ink, and comes en-masse to sterilize the festering wound.

I turn my back, so as not to watch the final defeat.

statue20of20liberty20in20new20york20usa

Flash Fiction – Not all Reapers are Grim

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

This is a Flash Fiction post I created waaaaay back in July for Flash! Friday.  In the spirit of cleaning up my drafts folder – and actually putting content on the T&T (instead of amusing myself at night by twisting wire into pendants…) I’m posting some of this old stuff.

The book FF suggested for this week of flash was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

 

Not all Reapers are Grim
Elements: Character & Conflict (man v man)
with just a hint of Theme…
102 words

 

Snatches of sing-songy intoxication wiggled their way around the filthy towels valiantly clinging to the charred beams masquerading as walls.

“Food for all!”

“Comfort and Fun!”

“Dreams come true!”

The man in the bright-purple great-coat wandered the alley – an ocean of deserted street-urchins caught in the wake of his swell as he sang us songs of dreams.

Willingly we followed him into the dark building – visions of meat and heat and candy and comfort dancing in our heads.

Only to find combat, blood and death, all broadcast LIVE to the well-paying audience.

 

He planted our dreams.  Harvested our nightmares.

Flash Fiction – Old Mack Donald

Rose lineup Flash FictionI got a shock when the winners of the latest Flash! Friday contest were posted…I got a double-mention!

Not only did my story of the week make 2nd runner up (Which is the highest I’ve been in the ranks!) but the judges also went through some of their older judging weeks, and picked out stories that, for one reason or another – continued to stick in their minds.

So I’m all excited and bouncy and stuff 🙂  I’ll be damned – I CAN write!

The weekly contest was a tough one – we had to incorporate a farmer as our main character, and the photo to tie in was three men in bakers whites looking intently into a long window.  I fought over this one – cussed and swore at it – no matter how I tried to tie the farmer in with a baker, the story wanted to veer wildly off-course.  At the zero hour, I finally threw up my hands and said – ‘Ya know…I’m just gonna do the damn song…”

And then, that magical line appeared – the last line in the story.  There it was – beginning line, and end line.  The story almost filled itself in.

You Know You’re Singing this Song…
197 words

Old Mack Donald – he had a farm. He’d inherited it from his father, who had it from his – and so on and so forth back to the first Donald to set foot in the country. The chains of tradition had bound Mack to the land for longer than he’d drawn breath.

“The Donald Men always tilled the soil,” he’d say with his soft drawl to anyone listening. “And we always tended to the beasties. I didn’t know no different.”

But Mack was old – and Mack was tired. And, above all, Mack was sick of life surrounded by the cacophony of brays, snorts, peeps, moos and oinks from the assembled livestock. At any time, day or night, there were animals sounding off. Sometimes they were panicked over an errant shadow. Sometimes, especially in the spring, they were busy finding a mate to continue the cycle of life for the farm.

And sometimes, Mack swore – they made noises simply to piss him off.

So Mack sold the farm to a huge conglomerate, and slipped into clean, crisp baker’s whites. His bread is the best in 5 counties.

Old Mack Donald sold his farm – to knead a bit of dough…

And our esteemed judges had this to say:

TS – I don’t know if I remember the passage of even one week in the last seven years of being a mom where this song wasn’t stuck in my head at least once. So… thanks. For that. 😉 Ee-I-ee-I-Oh, I did enjoy the fun feel of this piece. I may or may not have laughed out loud over the “cacophony of brays, snorts, peeps, moos and oinks.”

And I love how Mack takes his final revenge on the animals that have drowned him in never ending brain vibrating irritation: he becomes a chef, and I bet (even though the story doesn’t say), that one or two of those animals might have found their way onto a plate. –Apologies to any vegetarians. 😉 Nicely done. Now I’m going to go drown out “Old MacDonald” with something infinitely more enjoyable, like “The Wheels on the Bus.”

MK – I saw this and smiled. A few times recently I have tried to incorporate songs as a theme of my stories and really enjoyed how they made the reader respond. The writer has picked a song here that was always going to spin around in our heads all day. It’s totally on-theme, and the writer has crafted something that is memorable, humorous, yet also deals with the progression of character. I’m not sure what the bakeries in Virginia do differently than the bakeries in England, but I’m scared that my fellow judge thinks it’ll involve the use of animals on plates. 🙂 Remind me not to eat bread at Tamara’s if I ever find myself in that part of the world 😉

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The story that stuck in the judges heads was one I created in December – and showed up on the T&T shortly after I’d posted it.  It was sooooo new a posting to me, I hadn’t gotten the ‘Flash Fiction’ banner done yet (although I was close – I was using the origami flower lineup…)

They called it the ‘Jailbird Santa as Best Character’ and this is how they introduced all the special mentions on their final, tear-inspiring duty as judges:

Alas, our time has drawn to a close, and as we’ve looked back over our time as judges for Flash! Friday, we’ve been amazed all over again by the magnitude of talent that has been displayed on this page over and over again. You’ve written your hearts for us, and we’ve so enjoyed the experience of delving into each story and reveling in every world that unfolded before our awed gazes. Truly, we are sad to end our time here, but a hearty thanks to each one of you for making it all so worth it. Thanks to our Dragon mother, who unselfishly gives of her time to make this board what it is, and I (Tamara) thank you, Mark, for being the best possible judging partner a person could ever ask for.

Over our time, each week we were up to judge, we wished we could choose more winners than we were allowed. So on our last time, we went back and picked out three from various weeks – the “Unsung Story Awards.” These, for one reason or another, didn’t make the final list the week they were entered, but they stuck in our heads, and we hoped to give them a little recognition this time.

And now, before I use up too many more tissues, one last time, here are our results.

Guys – you will be missed as judges, but I’ll still look for your stories each and every week!

Calling All Cars!
157 words

“Calling all cars! Calling all cars!”

Every year, we get the call. Every year, we respond. Every year, our department fails to close this decades-old case.

“Person of interest male, white, late 70’s, portly. Full facial hair, white. Last seen wearing bright red suit and hat with white fringe, black belt, black knee-boots.”

My hands curl around the steering wheel, mentally preparing for the yearly bloodbath.

“Suspect get-away vehicle tiny sleigh pulled by 8 animals of reindeer origin. No plates evident.”

My partner and I lock eyes, knowing…HATING…what’s coming.

“Ocular trauma to multiple victims. Eyes replaced with charcoal briquettes.”

I yank a cigarette from the pack on the dash. “Shoulda been nice…” I whisper, even as my partner mutters “Here comes the weird part…”

“Suspect 3.75 inches tall. Last known locations… ”

A string of addresses follow, blanketing the car in a wall of sound.

“Public Enemy number one…” I growl, flipping on the siren.

Dragon Memoirs – A Rather Curious Bug

Every once in a while – a strong character emerges from my little bits of flash fiction, and decides to stick around after the story is written.  They generally add to the chorus of little voices in my head.  Every once in a great while, they meet in the landscape of my dreaming mind, and cause all sorts of trouble.

The Dragon has been around since this winter – nattering in my ear and occasionally breathing new tales of his ancient race to my concious mind.  Dutifully, I jot these leavenings down.

A bit a go, he met up with Bug – another very strong character who emerged from the rough streets, and has been enjoying herself intently in the darker corners of my mind.  As you can see – they have now had the opportunity to meet.  What trouble will they get into next?

 

Dragon Memoirs – A Rather Curious Bug

210 words

 

Book 1 alternate

My daily sojourn – to connect with the essence of the world and keep apprised of the human collective – was met today with a rather remarkable occurrence. I had the opportunity to cross paths with a rather curious bug.

A slight, soft, little half-grown human with abilities decades beyond her physical years caught my inner eye.  She blends into her environment as easily as I do, manufacturing personae at will to appear helpless and weak – tactics successfully employed to extract enough wealth from the comfortable to survive.

It wasn’t this pitiable personae which stirred my inner sight, though.  Rather, it was the warp she had stitched into place around her.

Imagine my surprise – here before me stands a human child who, with no formal training or even a clear understanding of the energies surrounding all life, masterfully weaves the Earth’s Song to do her bidding.

A human child – weaving the magics of the Dragons.

I was so stunned by the feel of magics not my own, I almost missed the gun she withdrew from her clothing.

She sleeps now, and will continue to do so, until certain questions are answered.

Why was this child – this Master of the Street known only as Bug, turned into a weapon and aimed at me?