Monsters

He makes her forget when she looks into his eyes. No more dusty echos of terrors skittering around her head. Doesn’t feel crazy when she’s with him, he makes it feel right.

It’s nothing but a little dance when she’s with him, spinning and preening for his affections, sliding her hips a little more, breathing a little deeper, watching the world go soft as his smile lights up her heart. It all turned out easier than she thought it would, she wasn’t horrified after all. They don’t seem like little cherubs then, just little gifts to give him for his amusement, something to whet his appetites.

Oh, those appetites. He can give her what no other can; gentle lips and soft hands soothing the rage, making her hatred sing with adoration of his hands, his lulling poetry, his compassionate patience with her fears. No other lover is willing to test her limits, no one else knows how to set her free. No one else understands what it takes to become more than human, to rise above the chains they tie to you, to learn to enjoy sliding next to darkness, skin to skin, the scent of blood as heady as the scent of sweat and fear.

Without him, she is trapped inside her own dark chains. Without him she knows the nature of Hell. She does not worry what awaits her when they are caught. She knows he will not be near forever, she has but moments of pleasure to enjoy while she can. It is her time to live in the light, to proudly step from the shadows and stand by his side, letting the sun shine on her monster within.

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Twitter #GrimList2019 prompt: monsters.

Sacrifice

Once, as she looked upon him, her blue eyes would darken with love as they snuggled, and she would smile at nothing while she stroked his hair. She was happy that he would keep her company while she binge watched her shows, though they both knew they didn’t interest him much.

That’s how he proved his love to her, with little gifts of compassion, conceding to her desires and fulfilling his promise to take care of her. Yes, it helped keep her near him so he might take care of his needs, but it became more than that. He had become quite fond of her.

He stroked her hair, alive with trembles reflecting the light, her eyes bright and sparkling, she seemed to glow. It was a shame he had to betray her. He knew she would never accept that he always loved her laugh, he admired her perspectives on literature, he considered her to be strong and capable and beautiful. Of course he truly loved her. It is not sacrifice without love.

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GrimList2019 prompt: sacrifice.

Carnival

A bored carnival worker looks at me. Security might seem light here, but carnies are a suspicious lot, aren’t they? Doing their own shady things?

“What would you do to get him back? To fix your mistake?”

I know my hands aren’t shaking, though my stomach says they should be. Can she see my nerves on edge? Does she think I’m a pickpocket? Do they have some kind of a guild or gang where only their people can work the crowd? What if I draw enough attention that she remembers my face?

“Are you a kind girl? Are you loyal, compassionate, a good listener, a true friend? A good big sister?”

Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter where this leads for me. It’s Joey, and if something happens to him because I couldn’t pull my shit together… Start moving. Don’t look at the carnie. I smile and try to look interested in a booth full of colorful trinkets and tapestries. I try not to fidget.

“It’s cute that you worry about the child’s life. Death isn’t the worst thing I could do. You don’t have to taint your sweet little soul. I could just keep little Joey for company.”

I see two clowns and a janitor standing in a huddle by an empty tent. Are they on break? Or do carnies work together, whispering of suspicious types who walk alone, riding no rides, playing no games? Fuck it, move, grab one, get out. I only need one. A child for a child.

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P.S. – For Twitter #GrimList2019. I had video footage that fit the prompt :). Also, without pitch adjustment, I sound more like the villain than the teen.

Grim’s List Seems An Awesome Idea

I saw a beautiful tweet today. It seems my writing hiatus is ending.

 

Periwinkle Blue

The scream of a blue jay broke through the shadow of the trees, a war cry as it battled a squirrel in the yard she pushed her daughter by. She paused to dab at her forehead with a silk scarf while her toddler cooed at the squirrel. She enjoyed this street, with its trees so old they cracked the sidewalks, sheltering the stately homes that carved out a well-manicured niche from the old-growth forest.

Periwinkles tumbled down the lawn to kiss the base of the towering tree the squirrel skittered up for safety. Sweet little flowers the color of the dress she wore, that woman he introduced her to at the party. She couldn’t remember her name. She looked so much like the woman on the news, the one that went missing.

She dismissed the thought. Her child thought the billowing white flowers were popcorn. She smiled at the thought of telling him when he came home, it was cute enough that maybe he would listen. Where would she be without him? Could she be without him? Could she do that to their daughter?

A flash of light on fluttering leaves startled her. She was embarrassed at how high she jumped. The leaves were pretty though, flitting in and out of the light. They reached the park, she hadn’t noticed. The clang of the iron gate reminded her of prison bars, but it would keep her child safe while she relaxed.

She sat on the fading bench and browsed her phone, looking for a podcast to enjoy. She tried one of her favorites, always good for distraction. A few minutes into it, she closed it. She tried reading earlier, she already knew she couldn’t focus on a plot. She decided to watch the birds.

The birds are in usually in pairs this time of year. Male birds preening and dancing, showing all their flash and none of their substance, female birds in awe of their skills and flattered with their attention, to be later disappointed when they find themselves chained to the nest.

A tiny white pebble caught her eye, reminding her of the tooth she found wedged between the boards on the porch this morning. She decided to push her daughter on the swing. Maybe the laughter of children would give her the peace she needed.

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Tarot deck: Archeon. Tarot Prompt: Queen of Pentacles, reversed.
Interpretation: A sensual woman, gentle but strong. She loves beauty, pleasure, walk is in the light of prosperity with dignity and grace. A patient, compassionate listener.
Reversed: Falling into despair. Sharp, cutting, regret. Guilt, trapped in past misdeeds, bad choices, falling. Rather than a wealth of joys, narrowed in focus to a singular intrusive thought.

389 words. More tarot stories.

P.S. – Another repost, but things are smoothing out around here some and I should be able to write again soon.

Enchanted

I couldn’t sleep with the need to see you, so I have come. You’ve held me captive from the moment we met, my mind is a prison dancing with your image, your song, your laugh. My thoughts know nothing else.

You are an artist in your seduction, flirting and flickering around me. Preening, then darting off coyly. You trap me with your enchantment, like a nymph, a will-o-the-wisp.

You gaze at me gently, your skin pales as your love trickles from your fingers in delicate lacework of red, pools at your feet that shiver with every drip, every tiny giggling plink.

Your graceful fingers reach out to touch me, then shy away, beckoning and flirting, the smile glimmering in your eyes as you pout and pretend to be upset, candlelight shining from your manacles like the brightest gems.

But soon you give way to me, relaxing against me in our embrace, weak to your desire. Your hips sway to the rhythm of your chains across the concrete, your movements rich with your love of turning all the world into a song as we dance together in this prison I have come to love.

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Archeon Tarot Prompt: 9 of Swords. 196 words. More tarot stories.

P.S. – So we moved back to Tulsa (sigh), and discovered our “house sitters” left us with massive projects like dealing with where they moved a washer with water in it to slowly leak all over my daughter’s bedroom floor the entire time we were gone. Yes, there is mold. This is only one example. My point: looks like I’ll be busy with repairs over writing, the reposts will go on for a bit.

Fallen Defender: Knight of Pentacles, Reversed

For a minute, I wondered if the killers I used to catch would consider this to be hunting, but monsters get off on this part of it. It brings me no comfort, just part of the job I have to do. We are the only species that seeks justice, it makes us better than beasts. But there is no justice. It’s as much a part of our imagination as God. But these streets need to be made safe for our children

The pathetic wastes are easy to lure into seclusion, the spots in alleys under broken street lights, behind dumpsters, the usual spots they go to after scoring their poisons. This is better. This is the way. It doesn’t matter that I feel less comfort each time, the face of the child still haunts me.

He struggled, and for a moment the look in his eyes froze me, pleading with me, asking me why. For a minute he looked so innocent, so human. I realized I was killing someone’s child, then, as always, I saw the other child, the tiny broken body bleeding out in my arms, the victim of random violence by animals like him.

My hands around his shriveled throat squeeze harder than ever, his jaundiced eyes pleading for mercy, confused, refusing to accept he will crumble beneath my hand. Rage filled my limbs as his eyes glassed over and his head tipped to the side.

I waited for the satisfaction, but it was weaker even than the last time. My momentary indecision ruined it, tainted my victory, stole my release from the unrelenting anger, the memories of all the villains that treated our prisons as if they had revolving doors, in and out like our taxpayers money was to give them a vacation, three hots and a cot.

The thirst that never ends is less appeased than ever. I know I am one of them now, I know how the pattern goes. I can no longer ease the itch that tickles more and more. It’s time to escalate.

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Tarot deck: Archeon. Tarot Prompt: Knight of Pentacles, reversed.
Interpretation: A fallen defender. Knights are full of passion, and fire. He carries the steady shield of earth, the element of the pentacles, moving ever forward. Reversed can mean corrupted, or fallen.
341 words. More tarot stories.

Persephone: 2 Card Romeo/Juliet Spread

His lawn was immaculate, framed in old trees with moss crawling up the bark. Helicopter seeds fluttered down from the maples, catapulting from their mothers in a spiraling, passionate leap, hitting the pavement with a thwack.

It would be hard not to fall for the man who saved her life, rushing to her aid before she fell in the turbulent river. This man so at home with kisses of the wild, like the unexpected thrill of a snake in the grass, and a bunny darting across the road, white bouncing warning flashing from her tail.

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“You know, maybe I should mention, the first time I saw you wasn’t in person. Perhaps it doesn’t count.” She seemed confused, but he clarified quickly. “The paper. When you organized the river clean up.”

She looked relieved. “Didn’t realize you knew who I was.” The kitten’s fur was soothing after the trauma, they were both lucky he was near.

“Didn’t want to appear to be a crazed fan.”

“Oh, I don’t get those. Not many people care about the river”

He smiled. “Yes, you can count on always being alone on the bridge.”

“What were you doing there, anyway?”

“Waiting for you.” He paused briefly, and shrugged at her shock. “I know. I didn’t want to seem creepy, that’s why I didn’t mention it earlier. I saw you when I was hiking, knew you from the paper, thought maybe I’d catch a chance to say hi. It’s lucky I did.” He winked. “Fate was telling me I had to be there to save you.”

She laughed. “I swear that beam shouldn’t have been so slippery. I’ve gone up there before to take photos, maybe that’s why the kitten got stuck. Maybe it was a better foothold when he crawled out there and the morning dew made it slippery.”

“Yes, maybe. Or something else. Very exciting.”

“Not the word I would use. The river’s pretty rough right there.”

“I just mean if you had drowned or hit your head, I never would have had the chance to lead you here.”

Concern furrowed her brow, she seemed uncomfortable at passing through the threshold of a man she knew so little of, and she clutched the kitten to her chest as he turned to her. She realized the sound she just heard was the lock sliding in place, and the kitten hissed at his smile.

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Archeon Tarot Prompt: card. 397 words. More tarot stories.

Vigilante: King of Pentacles, reversed

In the shadows he paused, listening. He took a steady, silent breath, scenting her out. He tasted the air with his tongue, confirming, seeking direction. He walked into a room full of polished wood and the scent from old books. The well-oiled leather chair barely whispered when she turned to face him, a look of surprise not yet upon her face.

He smiled. “You are vile, corrupt, heartless, and doomed. You stand on your shiny money and claim credit for work that is not yours; you lie to the people. You are a stain. You have convinced the city that your generosity and community outreach are responsible for the safety of our children but it is ME. I am the reason these streets are safe, ME. You lie and use your wealth to hide your true nature, your crimes, and you will be destroyed for the good of all.”

She tilted her head before she replied. “A monologue? Are you serious?” She sighed and stood up, brushing the wrinkles from her slacks. She took a step toward him, slinking as her heels traced the winding vines along the carpet. “You are motivated by instinct, a drive you barely understand yourself. An attempt to right wrongs done to you that can not be corrected, over and over and always with fail. You are little more than an animal. You deserve no credit.”

He did not anticipate this. She didn’t seem the least bit frightened, and it was beginning to chill him. She seemed to notice, and the way she moved her head as she looked him up and down reminded him of a snake. “Did you really think that if you sought out those with few ethics, that you would not find one with a darkness to match your own? Sweetheart, I am no mere white-collar criminal or one of the thugs you’ve been whetting your bloody appetite on. I’m just as much of a monster as you are, only more intelligent.”

“I am not a monster! I am a hero!”

“Tell that to McClary’s widow. Or the Johnston kids. They don’t have anyone left.”

He had no response, growing more pale as he noticed the silencer on the gun she had apparently been holding all along. “Did you think you were the one hunting me when you saw my press release? It was easy to draw you here. You are blatant, predictable, and drawing too much attention to my neighborhood.” He stood, waiting for her next words, as her gun hissed and the wall behind him splintered.

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Archeon Tarot Prompt: card. 429 words. More tarot stories.

P.S.- Still not settled in, but it feels so good to be starting up a routine that works in writing again.