#TBT Flash: Farther From Home

It’s Throwback Thursday again and I thought I’d resurrect another flash fiction from the archives.  I believe this challenge came from a musical prompt. The goal is only to let the music influence the story not dictate specifics.  Hope you like the tunes and the tale.  

Farther from home

Xander woke with urgent fear following the dream-link from his beautiful wife. She gave him the coordinates of the rescue portal. And that it was the Agency last attempt at his recovery.

Sleep evaded him after that. When morning finally deigned to arrive and his cell was unlocked, he meekly followed the others to the day-room.  He’d been cheeking his meds for a week. Everything was brighter, sharper and he’d finally managed to remember the portal’s location. He forced a numb shuffle, trying not to draw attention to himself, as he approached the far windows.

Xander didn’t know how long he’d been institutionalized before the dreams managed to break through. But they’d convinced him to stop the pills.  A few days ago, he finally remembered the field stabilizer malfunction that left him combative and disoriented after his last jump. He’d attacked his first contacts.  A rookie mistake.

When the authorities took him in, they’d stripped his equipment, sedated him and labeled him psychotic. What else would you do with a man who claimed to be a time traveler?

His original mission long forgotten, his only thought now was to get back home.  Standing in the golden light of morning, the scene before him wavered; flashes of purple sparks rimmed the edges of the portal.  He could have wept with joy.

“Mr. Doe!” The strident voice echoed off the linoleum.

Damn, he thought, turning slowly as the resident psychiatrist marched up to him.  Two orderlies grabbed his arms before he could speak.

“You haven’t been taking your medicine,” she chided, opening her hand to reveal a pile of red-and-white pills.

He forced a smile, “I don’t need them. I’m cured.”

“I’ll be the judge of that.” With a tilt of her head, she motioned the men to remove him.

“No!” Panic swelled. 

Her eyes narrowed.

“The day is so beautiful. I’d hate to waste it in your dark office.”

“Take your pills. Then you can stay.”

Desperate and short on time, he whispered, “I can prove I’m not crazy.”

“We’ve been over this.”

“I will be gone before you can blink,” he said, his eyes darting to the portal that flickered in the sun-drenched plate glass.

Suicide is considered a sin here, Mr. Doe.”

“I’m not talking in bloody euphemisms!” he roared, and immediately regretted it as she reached into her pocket and drew out a hypodermic.

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@shutterstock

“No, please.”  He said, eyes wide and his palms up beseeching mercy.  He shouldn’t have struggled. One dose and he’d be done. 

“This will calm you.”

The portal was already shrinking.  The words ‘Agency’s last attempt’ echoed in his mind.  “Calm me, my ass; it’s a fucking lobotomy in a syringe!”

“You’re exaggerating again, Mr. Doe.” 

The sparks were slowing. Time was almost up.

“You’re right.” He said, slumping heavily against the orderlies who grunted under his full weight.

“That’s better.”  She cocked her head with a placating smile.

Suddenly, he thrust forward, finding strength in desperation. Pulling away from the orderlies, he grabbed her and shoved her at them, leaving them in a tangle of limbs as he whirled and leapt for the dwindling portal.

Success! 

As he tumbled through the rift, his body screamed.  His mind stretched to the breaking point. Reality unfolded and then folded itself up again, and he landed with a hard thump on black asphalt with the smell of grease in his nose.

Goddamit, this wasn’t the Portal Lab!  Where the hell had they sent him to this time?

 

#TBT Flash: Jasmine’s Symphony

It’s Thursday again.  And although I won’t do a throwback flash every Thursday, JB Lacaden reminded me that three years ago today, this was the pic for Angela Goff’s delightful Visual Dare Challenge.  (Thanks, JB!)  It is a particular favorite of mine, for no clear reason except maybe that I love the photo prompt.

BTW, Visual Dare is still running. If you like to write, you should definitely check it out!

 

catfeet

Jasmine’s Symphony

by Stacy Bennett

The old piano sat on the porch, weather worn and out of tune.

Jasmine liked it there, liked the feel of the ivories beneath her paws – those four silent-padded, rabbit-furred, varmint-deadly night-feet.  Under the fading moonlight, she would leap up to the keyboard and play her muted symphony, pacing like a jungle tiger up to the highest octave and back. Once, and then again, and again in syncopated rhythm of her own making, until a sliver of sunlight glinted across her calico fur.

The shimmering morning rays shot through the trees and low-lying fog, its flare hiding the mystical moment from mortal eyes. She stopped her tune, stretched and changed and finally stood tiptoe on two feet once more, her magical symphony of transformation complete until the next moon.

 

129 words

 

#TBT Flash: The Queen and the Pirate

So for Throwback Thursday, here’s an old flash of mine from 2012…. The prompt was PIRATES.


The Queen and the Pirate

Her castle perched above the bay and, on mornings like this one, the salty sea air would waft through the windows of her pristine domain and wake her with trembling eagerness, sure in the knowledge that her pirate king would come today.gate

Though generally a prisoner of her station, the thought of him would steel her resolve, and she would slip away from under the servants’ noses.

Once free, she hastened to the lower edge of her gardens,to the locked gate where she knew he was waiting for her – rough, untrimmed, and oh-so-daringly roguish.

Today, he had brought her delicious delicacies from afar, pungent meats that appealed to the primal hunger that rumbled beneath her refined and well-coiffed façade. And though the bars prevented her from touching him, she couldn’t deny the heat that warmed her at his virile male scent and gruff voice.

All too soon, though, footsteps warned that the servants had noticed her absence.  As he leaned closer, she thrust her nose against his cheek to remember the smell of salt and fish that clung to his beard.

A sudden hand on her collar pulled her back.  “Bad dog Queenie! Get away from that mutt or I’ll have to flea dip you for the third time this month!”

 


 

Songbird In Chains

This was written for today’s Thursday Threads.  Do you have around 100 words you want to share today? Go check it out. 


 

“Extermination would be far simpler,” the Arkhani prince murmured, his opinion lost under the swish of the door that closed behinGolden Caged the ship’s commander.

“What do you mean?” I blurted, forgetting my place even though the dangling chains on my wrists should have reminded me. In Arkhana, even the storytellers were slaves.

The prince’s black eyes bored into mine for a moment before I dropped my gaze. He took a step closer and I trembled.  Had my insolence finally pushed him too far?

“Training Srinja wildlings is costly.” Luckily, his voice held tolerant amusement. “They are hopelessly backward.”

“There is always hope, my lord,” I murmured unable to quell my compassion for victims of Arkhani aggression.

Though he’d never been cruel, I cringed as long dark fingers brushed my chin. Timidly, I met his curious stare. “True bards never look reality in the eye, do they?” Something primal swam in his angular smile making my heart skip. “But you have won, my songbird. I shall let them.”

“Work?”

“Or starve. As they choose.”  He glanced down at my fettered wrists, then said. “You know this has nothing to do with you.”

“Doesn’t it?”

Surprise softened his voice. “How could it?  You do not work and…” His thumb caressed my cheek. “I would never let you starve.”   The yearning that smoldered in his eyes was unmistakable and far more terrifying than any whip.

For a slave to love their master was expected, but a master’s love could be deadly.

 

 Word count: 248    Illustration via iStockphoto.

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Throwback Thursday Flash: Posterity, Incorporated

This, my friends, has to be one of my favorites.  It was originally written for Siobhan Muir‘s ThursdayThreads.  Hope you like it, too.

Posterity, Incorporated

She remembered the way he introduced himself, self-deprecating and almost proper: “I’m Charles Anderson, the scientist; and you are lovely.”

Posterity Inc. had told her he was an unusual case. They didn’t tell her he was tall, clean-cut and subtly magnetic. His nearness unbalanced her and she had almost bungled the interview by tripping over her chair trying to maintain a professional distance.

“I’m terminal, not contagious.” He had laughed, white teeth flashing between boyish dimples.

The interview lasted over an hour, discussing genotype and probability. He was so blessedly – normal. When it was time to make her decision, he had strolled behind her chair, suave as James Bond.

“I may be dying, but I assure you I can still do this.” His hand traced the line of her biceps in one teasing stroke, brushing her breast in passing. A palpable thrill flushed her cheeks. She noted the smoky intensity of his intelligent grey eyes.  “I would like something more than a Chuck-was-here sign. Do we have a deal, Ms. Bruckner?”

She hadn’t spoken, only nodded.

Sweeping her hair from her neck, he had placed delicate kisses from shoulder to ear, sending erotic heat to her very core. One night of primal lust and erotic rhythms, just one, and her job was done.

Pregnant-at-40-240x300That was eight months ago.

Gliding her hand lovingly over her rounded abdomen and the tiny elbow within, she had to agree it was a much better monument than a cold stone in a manicured cemetery.

Throwback Flash: Gypsy Gold

Just a bit late today. Been one of those weeks.  This was written in 2012 for A Tale From Behind The Curtains blog hop.  Enjoy!

Gypsy Gold

“Gypsy gold does not clink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark.”

The ceremony was bohemian and exotic and a far different future than I’d pictured for myself before Madame Romani and Midnight’s performance under the big top. The whole troupe gathered around the bonfire and Jafri and I exchanged vows. Under the furtive scrutiny of clowns, we sipped bittersweet wine and danced.iStock_000006785128_Medium

I had been enthralled by Madame’s sequined costume and magnificent Friesian, all black-feathered hooves and solid flanks, and I told her I’d give anything to be her.

“Said the same thing myself once,” she reminisced, older under the greasepaint than I’d have guessed. “But what of your swarthy young man?”  She nodded to where Jafri waited for me.

“I love him, but my family doesn’t. They left New York after 911 to get away from ….”

“…Arabs.” Her gypsy eyes took Jafri’s measure.  “My father did not approve my choice either.”

“What happened?”

Mischievous, she’d whispered. “We eloped.”

Eloped.  Already drunk with dancing, my laughter bubbled over like champagne. I lost myself in Jafri’s kisses and the pleasures of our first night.

I awoke at dawn to terrified neighs, banging metal, and Jafri gone.  Shoving legs into jeans, I found Madame standing in the yard by an old horse trailer, a new halter in her hand. 

“Quickly Jess, you must calm him before he’s injured.” Frantic whinnies accompanied the scuffle of panicked hooves. She pushed the halter into my hands. Continue reading “Throwback Flash: Gypsy Gold”

#TBT Flash: Rusted Love

 

rusted love

RUSTED LOVE

by Stacy Bennett

I loved him. So Pa hated him. My James Dean, my rebel prince of Levi’s and Marlboros. My sixteenth summer was hot as hell – full of skinny-dipping, stolen kisses and beer.

Boy, did I love him.

We left his old Chevy, stalled out in the back forty while we shimmied through the fence, snagging our ratty tees on the wire, laughing like drunks. We were drunk, on love and impending freedom.

It’s probably still there, rusted-out like my heart.  Lost in the tall grass, full of empty beer cans, cigarette stubs and disappointed dreams.  I loved him; but things change.

 


Picture courtesy of Madison Woods borrowed from Friday Fictioneers circa 2012

 

Throwback Thursday: Flash

 

dolllyJillian’s Dolly

by Stacy Bennett

Jillian’s chin rested in her hand as she sat on the stair listening to Uncle’s gruff voice, something about “that girl” and “rightful inheritance.”

A whine tickled her ear, followed by a cold snuggle across her back.  A whiff of sun-warmed fur brought to mind tail-wagging butterfly chases.  She swallowed unshed tears as a ghostly paw rested on her arm.

 “I’m fine, Dolly.” But really nothing was fine since the fire.

A slobbering tongue had awakened her in the night.  Gentle teeth taking the hem of her nightgown dragged her through smoke and heat, out into the yard as the firemen arrived. Dolly raced back inside where Mum and Pa still slept and Jillian waited forever for her to return.  When all was soot and cinders, the captain ran smoke-smudged hands through thinning hair, stumbling over the words. Mum and Pa were “lost.”  Jillian knew they weren’t really lost. It was just something grownups said. 

Uncle was there to take her home, which was strange since it was after midnight and Pa never spoke to him.  Jillian figured his ‘gold-digging’, as Mum called it, kept him busy. He kindly moved the gasoline can so Jillian could ride in front seat, feeling desperately sad and alone.

Luckily, Dolly wasn’t “lost.” She padded into Jillian’s new room, like a gust of winter wind filling the sheets with smoky dog smell and love.

Jillian thought it funny how Dolly didn’t like Uncle, not one bit. The only time he had visited Jillian’s room, Dolly growled like a bogey monster from under the bed and then bit him. It was only the ghost of a bite, but he had turned white and screamed like a girl.  Now, Uncle kept his distance, and that was just the way Dolly liked it. 


I posted this piece today in honor of a friend’s bassett hound who passed away this week. Originally, it was written as an entry for the Faerytaleish Pinterest Contest in June 2012, which was run by the ineffable Anna Meade, who you can visit here. I recommend going when you’re hungry as she’ll likely have you pull up a chair for some scones and tea and glitter.