When you make eye contact with someone who’s death is near, their life flashes before your eyes.
I walked into the metal room, and the steel door swung shut behind me. The voice was raw, exhausted, accented, muffled beneath a black bag over his head.
“Who is there?”
In silence, I walked to the single chair as the door locked, and locked, and locked again. My shoes clicked on the floor as I circled him. His shirt was bloodied, torn. The bloodstains were pale pink, evidence that they had tried waterboarding, too. His teeth and nails were unmarred, but if they’d had time to exhaust every avenue, they wouldn’t have called me. Continue reading “Intimate Moments”
Write a story where the reader is actively involved in the story.
I waited. So long, it seems, that I waited. Then, light fell upon my pages once more. It must have been years. The child who once looked at my illustrations in wonder had grown.
It seems like you were ready to learn the truth behind the pretty pictures. You were more than you were. You had focus and commitment, and instead of touching the surface of the worlds within me you delved deeply. You immersed yourself in paper and ink and I regaled you with wonders. I told you about heroes and villains, of good men corrupted, bad men redeemed. I taught you about triumph and victory, failure and defeat, how to heal men and how to break them. I taught you the difference between fighting and battle, about friendship and about comrades and romance and betrayal and good and evil. I raised you within multitudes of worlds.
Then the darkness came again.
I waited. So long, it seems, that I waited. Then, light fell upon my pages once more. It must have been years. The teenager that I had raised among so many worlds was old, now. But the child in the bed was not. This child looked on in wonder, as you once did.
“Once upon a time . . . ”
You work at Magic Support. It’s like Tech support, but for magic.
Another crystal lit up red, as their counterparts would be doing on a dozen other desks. I watched it for a moment, hoping someone else would reach for it first, but after a moment it was stubbornly red. I reached out and picked up the crystal. It turned yellow for me – if someone else grabbed it now, it would still show red. This was my call, now. After a moment it turned green, and a voice rang out in my mind.
“Hello? Is this thing working? I’m trying to get a ‘cure disease’ spell to work, but it just gave me a headache.”
I sighed and covered my face. Another careless teenage mage, trying to resolve their teenage stupidity without their parents finding out. Continue reading “Mag Support”
Valhalla does not discriminate against the kind of fight you lost. Did you lose the battle with cancer? Maybe you died in a fist fight. Even facing addiction. After taking a deep drink from his flagon, Odin slams his cup down and asks for the glorious tale of your demise!
Author’s note: It’s not the tale of his demise, but I think it adhered to the spirit of the prompt. Close enough.
In life, I never drank. In death, it was merriment and partying, and there was no work or reputation to worry about. I drank experimentally at first, then more freely. Soon I was drunker than I’d ever been, though that didn’t say much. Then the man at the head of the table – after all I’d seen, was it possible he was truly Odin? – slammed his cup down, making me jump.
“I look at our newest member, and I don’t see a warrior!” His voice carried down the hall of Valhalla, resonant and booming. “I see a paper-pusher! A functionary!” He spat the word as if it were a curse.
Continue reading “Defense Rests.”
You live in a world where you have three names printed on your wrist – your one true friend, one true love, and one true enemy. But only one name is printed on your wrist.
“Tess? Tess, if you’re in here, let me know you’re okay.”
I looked around, cautious, each step setting me drifting a good foot in the light gravity. Someone had fired a set of boosters to slow the station’s rotation; the final firing sequence had begun, and I couldn’t afford any loose ends at this point. I moved through the station compartment by compartment, always leading with my taser. The little weapon was dialed up to quite a lethal voltage but would be safe to fire on the station.
“Malcolm. I’m in here.”
I lowered the taser and moved into the compartment. “Thank god. Tess, are you okay? Did you see anybody?”
The kick hit me square in the chest, and in the low gravity, I tumbled straight through the inner door of the airlock. Tess flew backward against a wall, then leaped off the wall back toward the airlock controls. I scrambled forward, but I wasn’t fast enough. The door was built to cut off explosive decompression, and it slammed shut before I’d gotten an inch.
Artwork: City Lights, by Kleg. (DeviantArt)
I picked up speed down the gentle incline, leaning into the wind as the skateboard carried me faster and faster. At his hour there were few pedestrians out, and I slalomed back and forth, weaving past them. A shout, a curse, a whimpery gasp of fear as I whipped by pedestrians. I ignored them.
My hair streamed in the wind. The air tasted like freedom. And my mastery over the board under my feet, the hard-won affinity for this extension of my body, that tasted even better.
Then I was there. I pivoted my board and slid until I reached a full stop. I kicked the nose up and lifted it, slipped it through the cargo netting on my pack. My other hand raised the camera from my hip, holding it before me.
I took a moment and absorbed my surroundings. Behind me, cars whizzed up and down the overpass. The sun was setting, and I stood in the single place from which I could see the entire city. From this angle, I could see fragments of the city beyond and around every high-rise and office building.
Headlights crawled up and down the roads, and the building lights shone, turning on and off. There was not a single cloud, and the wind off the mountain had swept away the smog, leaving only a faint halo around each bright city light. I was not going to get a better shot.
Continue reading “Expression”
You are an assassin. A little girl has just come up to you, handed you all her pocket money and asked you to kill her abusive relative.
“Kid . . . how did you find me?”
She looked up at me, eyes wide and intent, never once lowering the fistful of bills. She wore a blue dress and sandals with Miss Piggy printed on them. A seashell hung on a thong around her neck. She had a black eye, and bruises on her neck and arms. On one shoulder I could read the shape of a belt buckle in the bruising. She couldn’t have been more than twelve.
“My dad has a book of names. Your name was circled AND underlined under ‘cleaner.’ ”
“You didn’t locate me with just a name.”
“Welllll . . . there was another name that said ‘finder.’ She was good at finding you.”
I put a hand over my face. Marigold would take an assignment from anybody. This kid would be dog meat when her dad got the bill. Continue reading “Ripped Off”