Showdown-Daily Prompt

     Raven black hair pooled in thick coils about a moonlight pale face. Her exposed arms revealed rigid cords of muscle and a latticework of scars. They betrayed a past she had shed and let fall from her like so many sakura blossoms in the shadow of Spring. Draped in a nightingale robe pulled closed at the waist with black cloth, she made ready for what was to come.

     “ What I do, I do for you.” She took the intricately carved pendant that adorned her neck in a gloved hand and brought it to her lips, “Righteous lives do not go unavenged.”

     Heavy oak doors branded with a field of copper tigers groaned open before her. Two men of immense stature and breadth marched into the room armoured in the painted steel of the Palace Guard. They each carried a dragon-tooth blade across their back.  

     A walking execution

     The thought cut through her mind but she shoved it back down into the pit of doubt that tore at her heart.

     They aren’t who you came here for and they won’t stand in your way.

     The gilded behemoths stopped their approach and became still as a windless night just feet from where she stood. Through the tiger doors came the echo of sandled footfalls.

     She steeled herself and steadied her breath.

     At her hip hung her metal courage. She gripped the sword’s midnight hilt and turned intense eyes toward the doorway.

     Ringed in lantern light the silhouette of her opponent emerged from the recesses of the Imperial Court. Stepping into the room, she could see his person in full. A delicate face with deep set, amber eyes that burned with the same ferocity as the dragon that curled around his robes looked on her with weary disdain. Iris purple and sunrise gold, the colors of the Tatsuasaki family, breathed life into his silken garments.

     The Crown Prince of Mimashitochi.

     And the man that butchered her family.

     The dire sentinel to the prince’s left pulled at the scabbard on his hip. He drew forth a blade as dark as a raven’s wing and presented it to his master. The prince stepped forward, sword in hand, and slashed at the air in practiced motions. The midnight edge carved the air in a flurry of movement that would have been elegant had they come from any other hand.

     “They begged, you know? For me to spare their wretched lives.” The prince lowered his sword and faced the girl that watched him in silence.“ They say cowardice is a symptom of spoiled blood. Perhaps now I will be able to rest easy knowing the blight of the Sonikari line will die with you.” He leveled the sword’s point at her chest and spoke his final words, “Shall we end this?”

Daily Prompt: Symptom

The Letter- Daily Prompt

When I finally tried to read what you wrote, I don’t know, it just didn’t register as real for me. I sat there staring at the words but there was no meaning behind them.

Just scratches on a page.

We’ve kept your room for you. We know that it doesn’t matter now, but it didn’t feel right to go and throw it all out, you know? Why couldn’t you just talk to me? Or Dad? You were always out with your friends, why didn’t one of them try? You didn’t have to fight this alone.

When they called it had already been three days. You were pinned against some rocks about twelve miles out of town. They said you must have done it at Jameson Bluff. I tuned out after that.

I think I’m going to go read your letter now. Maybe I need the closure. Acceptance sounds good right now.

Daily Prompt:Acceptance

Time To Conquer-Daily Prompt

He stood at the edge and watched the alabaster rapids surge in anger below.

Inhale.

His lungs filled with pine suffused air. The sun sat heavy on the horizon to the west. Long ribbons of plum and vermilion laced the sky, bathing the terrain in their lavish shades. The rustle of the trees and the roaring of the river were the only sounds that penetrated his ears. The inhabitants of the forest that would normally scutter underfoot or soar overhead, were deafeningly quiet. He scoured his pockets to make sure he didn’t forget to leave the note; he didn’t.

Exhale

It was time to conquer this. It was time to fall.

 

Daily Prompt:Conquer

 

Short Story-Sometimes

Here is a short story that I considered expanding, but as of now, this is the extent of the narrative.

     “Sometimes the dead don’t stay buried”, a saying that my grandfather would always use when I was growing up. It was something that he would say in even the most mundane of situations. If, for instance, there were a clogged toilet and the mucky water came flowing back up, there would be grandpa rattling off about how “the dead don’t stay buried”. He used the phrase in joking, of course, never meaning it in a dark or disturbing way. But, still, there was something unsettling about it, something chilling.

     Whenever he said it, my head was filled with images of boneyards and crypts crawling with its decaying, long since passed denizens. Their rotting and peeling skin oozing with the mangled remnants of horribly infected innards. The fog begins to thicken as these disfigured undead begin writhing up out of their holes. You suddenly find yourself in the middle of the necropolis now completely enshrouded in fog. With no other choice, you run, run as fast as you can just hoping you’re going in the right direction. As you run you heard it, they have found you. The grotesque hellspawn have found you and are all around.

     You keep running, if you keep running maybe you’ll find a way out or maybe someone will come to your rescue, all that matters is that you keep running and you don’t let them catch you. As you continue this race against evil, the sounds get louder. The groans become more audible, the click-clacking of their ancient bones and joints more clear, and worst of all their footsteps even closer. While the thoughts of their quickening pace fill your head you lose track of where you are at–not that paying attention in this fog would have made any difference–and strike a gravestone, bringing you to the ground.

     You look down to seek that your leg has been broken, with the shattered bone jutting out of your now torn jeans. As you lie there thrashing in pain and blood spilling out onto the ground, they close in. Honed in on the smell of the freshly spilled blood, they descend in droves tearing at your clothes and into your flesh. You see, as they rip you piece by piece, that within their rotten mouths they posses discolored teeth dulled from years of underground imprisonment. The creatures tear away your flesh and begin tearing out every organ from inside your still living body. Just as you feel like you can no longer hold on, just as the pain and agony have felt too much burden to bare, the final blow is struck. A single bony claw, to whom it belongs you can no longer see now that your eyes have been wrenched from their sockets, reaches into your chest and extracts from it, your still beating heart.

     With your worldly body gone your spiritual body is forced to remain and watch the final atrocities performed on it. The claw you can now see belonged to the beast that lacked half a skull with brains pouring out the other side. With nothing left for them, they retreat, back to their crypt and demon-holes to await the next victim. You now feel yourself being taken away, to where you do not know, but before it all goes black you get a final glimpse of what you’ve become. A crimson stain on the earth, littered with bits of bone and cloth, no meat left remaining of what you once were.

     And then all at once, my visual torment would be broken by the pure and hearty laughter of my grandfather. Whenever Grandpa started in with that laugh of his I knew everything was going to be alright, no matter the situation. When I was younger the thought of being trapped inside a cemetery with nothing but undead monsters truly terrified me, it wasn’t until Grandpa sat me down and helped me through it. I remember the conversation so well despite the fact that so many years have passed and despite the fact that Grandpa is no longer with us.

     I was about eleven at the time and was just getting through another one of my waking nightmares that I would have nearly every day.It had finally been enough, Grandpa had witnessed each and every one of my trances and was equally terrified by my seemingly unprovoked convulsions and screams of terror. He came to visit us one day, he said he had something very special to give me. The morning sky was slightly overcast, the sun barely peeking out from behind the slate clouds. I had woken up early, about four hours early, so I could wait by the window and watch for Grandpa.

     It was a little after seven when I heard his old 1958 Packard haul its way up the driveway. When it sputtered to a stop at the foot of our garage I saw him through the windshield in his accustomed attire. He wore his beige Panama hat with a navy buttoned shirt and, although I couldn’t see them, I was sure he had on his black slacks. He pulled himself out of the car, using his plain, oak cane for support.  I leaped from in front of the window and made a dash for the door. Before he could even ring the bell I had the door opened. There was no sign of the something special that he said he would bring, instead, he hugged me and proceeded to our living room. He lowered himself onto the couch with a grunt and brought his cane to rest across his lap. The look on his face was pained like there was something that weighed heavily on him. When he noticed me staring he made an effort to appear less stressed, but not a very convincing one.

     We talked for a long time, well he did most of the talking. He talked about life and the “many intertwining fates of the people around us” and about how “sometimes the most ordinary of people have the greatest responsibilities.” Most of it went over my head, I was eleven at the time, but his words still stayed with me. But, it was the last thing he did that changed everything.

     After going on for about two hours, my grandfather fell silent and reached into his pocket. He produced from it a necklace with a crystal akin to that of Dionysius’ Amethysta. It had a faint glow resonating from the core, an aura of cold surrounded it. He placed it in my hand and said, “ You don’t realize it yet, but you have a very important role to play. You could be the difference between life and extinction for the human race.”

     We sat there until the Sun sank low and rested just above the horizon, not having anything to say. The silence broke when I let out a roar of laughter. It was ridiculous to think that anything my grandfather, no matter how serious he said it, told me was true. He was from the coach, straining as he did so, and patted me on the shoulder. Before he left, he gave me one last piece of advice, “ When the day comes that you have to use that, remember what you’re fighting for and never give in.” We hugged one final time before he left, it was the last time I saw him. Grandpa died in his sleep the next day.

     I’m twenty-seven now, and the world is in flames. Six months ago, February 2016, they appeared. The virus ripped through everything a few weeks before that, sixty percent of the population gone just like that. We thought that would be the worst of it, it had seemed to go away. No more sick people, and no more deaths. Then, in a more terrifyingly grotesque display, the bodies started rising. All over the world, the infected dead started coming back and ravaging everything in sight. No one knows how or why, but then again there aren’t many left after this new plague. I was lost and afraid, didn’t know where to turn, but then it gave me a sign. The crystal, my grandfather’s, began to shine, began to release these waves of energy. The waves, they cleared me a path. A path straight through the ‘Fecs. It was then that everything he told me, everything I laughed at, was preparing me for this moment. The World needs a beacon, something to put their hope into, something to show them that they can fight this. I can be that guiding light. I can be their hope.

Excerpt-Club Crescent

Here is an excerpt from a story I’ve been working on (struggling with) recently.      

 

     The day had been wholly uneventful, as most days are around here. The usuals stopped by of course. Frankie with his lazy eye and a need for “god damned quality lager” even if he only had two bucks and a dead fly in his pockets. Judging by the smell, it was like he took a swim in a brewery, he probably wouldn’t have been able to tell piss from New Castle. And Mich managed to dislodge herself from whatever sleaze infested motel she stayed in the night before. I really wish she’d take better care of herself. It’s hard seeing someone treat their body like a pincushion for every needle out there. I’ve tried talking to her about it but she honestly doesn’t know how to function, a word I would use loosely at this point, if she’s not putting all of her money into her arm. It doesn’t help that I’m less than half her age and trying to lecture her on how to live her life. “ What would a kid like you know about livin’? Now I ain’t gonna hear ‘nother peep outta you ‘bout the way I choose to spend my money and my God given time,” she would always say to me in her hoarse, southern drawl.

     Slowly, the last half dozen or so drunks that littered the bar found their way to the door and became lost to the wind like so many inebriated dandelions. But, lucky me, they left plenty of reminders of today’s visit. Amber liquid glistened up and down the hard oak bar top. I also found a collection of new nicks and chips to commemorate this blistering February day.

     The cleaning worked my arms sore and I had accumulated a line of sweat on my brow by the time I had finished. I tossed the rag into the makeshift laundry bin I have behind the bar and prepared to close up shop for the night. My nightly ritual consists of emptying the already scant funds from the register into my deposit box. The box isn’t pretty to look at but it’s sturdy and gets the job done. The deposit box then goes securely into the backpack that I’ve had since the tenth grade and only after that am I free to lock doors until sunup. This night, however, my routine was intruded upon by a cavalcade of noises that were unmistakably drunk coming from outside the Crescent.

     A rugged man, early forties with unkempt hair and threadbare clothes, stumbled through the door and onto a stool. He smelled like the sea, briny and lonesome. His image brought to mind a down on his luck fisherman who spent most of his time wandering by the docks, peering out over the steely water that he used to call home.It was sort of pitiful, in an “at least I haven’t hit that level of rock bottom” kind of way. I pulled out a glass and filled it with the club specialty. We call it a “specialty” but it’s just Colt 45 with a twist of cherry. Hell, we even call this a club, and it’s just another ratty dive in the middle of smog central.

     Behind the glasses are those felt pads that pass for coasters in bars. I grabbed one and plopped it down in front of the man before setting down his drink. He didn’t move to grab it, just shifted in his seat a bit. I paused a second to see what he’d do next, but when he remained still I went back to cleaning the beer stained mugs and glasses that reeked of vodka. I had hoped to be able to pack up early and, assuming it was still there, return home and contemplate my position in the universe. Or, you know order pizza, whichever seemed more appealing once I got there. But, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to get the cleaning out of the way now and make a couple of bucks before lights out.

     The radio sputtered in the corner, making it sound like The McCoys were playing around a bonfire. Between the static cracks, I could just make out that “Hang on Sloopy” is what the DJ had queued up for our late night pleasure. There’s something about 60s rock that gives me this internal serenity, this stillness that other music just can’t deliver. I started to lazily sway side to side, like the flame of a candle might flutter in disrupted calm, behind the bar. I let my eyes close, and for the briefest of moments, allowed myself to feel at peace with the world around me. This, of course, did not last.