CCC#31: The Beach (flash fiction)

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The Beach

 

They came out the sea. Humanoid creatures with scaly skin and large bug eyes. Around six of them. Phil had just arrived at the beach and quickly ducked behind a boat when he saw them. Though the boat offered little cover it did seem to help shield him from their eyes. He didn’t know who the boat belonged to, or what had happened to the owners.

Eventually the creatures came back carrying a human and then they went back under the waves again. Phil didn’t know if the human was alive or dead when they were carrying them, but if they had still been alive they wouldn’t be anymore.

A short time later they reappeared and disappeared up the beach again. Phil had no idea where they were. He was paralysed with fear. He couldn’t move and it would be dark soon. And the darkness would make it all worse.

 

Joanne Fisher

 

Word count: 150 words

 

This was written with the photo prompt provided by Crimson’s Creative Challenge #31.

 

When I first saw the picture it struck me as the vantage point of someone hiding behind the boat, so the story after that came quite easily.

 

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My Life In Darkness, part 19 (fiction)

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previous episode

 

My Life In Darkness

 

19. Cass

 

Over the next couple of days I was left to my own devices and returned to what was my usual daily routine. I went home from work, made dinner, read or watched TV, went to bed, woke up, went to work, and so on. Every day I took the iron pills that Astrid gave me and I slowly felt my strength return. The bruises also began getting more fainter and the bite on the back of my neck stopped hurting so much.  Despite everything, I wondered what Astrid was up to, and found myself missing her. The world was no longer the same place now I knew vampires existed. It seemed darker, scarier, and surprisingly more intriguing. On Tuesday night I ended up texting her, but there was no reply. I hoped everything was alright.

It was Thursday afternoon when an unfamiliar woman appeared at work. She walked into the centre of the store and then just stood there as if she was taking it all in. She was wearing a long white dress and she had pale skin and long red hair which formed tight ringlets. I knew immediately what she was.

“I don’t really like books.” She said out loud directed at no one in particular. Her voice was thin and high-pitched. I thought about asking her why she was in a bookstore, but decided to try a different tack:

“The magazines are on the far wall.” I said pointing to them.

She turned to face me and laughed. Then she smiled at me. It was a cold smile devoid of any mirth or happiness.

“Not what I meant.” She said as she approached the counter. “I just came to have a look at you.”

“At me?” I asked surprised.

“You look so delicious.” She said as though she was looking at a plate of food. Before I could respond she turned around and silently left the store.

What was that about? I wondered, feeling unsettled.

After work had finished I was leaving the store when I heard a familiar car horn honking. I turned around to see Astrid’s black Porsche behind me. I walked up to it and opened the door.

“You’re back!” I said to Astrid.

“Yes I am, now please get in. I’m taking you to my place for dinner.” Astrid replied.

Knowing I had little choice I got in to her car and Astrid drove us away in the direction of her home. As we drove her hand rested on my leg.

“So where have you been?” I asked.

“I had an errand to do.” Astrid replied. I guessed that was all I was going to get from her.

I wondered about mentioning the strange visitor in the bookstore, but I also wondered if she was something to do with Astrid’s absence. I was planning to talk about it once we got to her place. So it wasn’t really surprising that the strange woman from the store was sitting in Astrid’s lounge when we arrived. After Astrid and I hugged and then kissed, we walked into the lounge together.

“Oh great! You brought back some food!” The woman said as she appraised me again with her eyes.

“Melissa, this is Cassandra, or Cass as she is generally known.” Astrid said. I shook hands with her and unsurprisingly they were cold.

“Nice to meet you. I’m sure you taste exquisite.” Cass said as she looked at me like I was her next meal.

“Cass you already know Melissa belongs to me. So stop playing games.” Astrid told her. Cass laughed.

“Excuse me? I belong to you? Like I’m some personal possession of yours?” I asked Astrid angrily. Astrid looked at me coldly.

“Come with me Melissa.” She said as she began forcing me through the dining room doors and then into the kitchen.

“What now?” I asked once we were in the kitchen. I could see dinner was simmering on the stove.

“Never talk back to me in front of other vampires. It makes me look weak.” Astrid coldly said to me. “You will obey me. Do you understand?”

“And what if I don’t?” I asked her belligerently.

“If you continue to behave like this, you will force me to punish you.” She stated. “And it won’t be pleasant.”

“Punishment never is.” I answered, surprising myself by how much I was standing up to her. Astrid stood in front of me and folded her arms as though she was waiting for me to apologise. “So I’m just your property now? I have to accept that do I?”

“Pretty much.” She answered. “Go back to the lounge. We’ll talk about this later.”

“Yes Ma’am!” I said as I walked back through the door, but not before giving her a salute.

I joined Cass back in the lounge. She looked at me and smiled.

“Aren’t you a feisty one!” She declared.

“I guess.” I replied as I sat down on a chair that was the furthest away I could get from her.

“So you’re Astrid’s latest? Did you know that her and me were once lovers?” She asked me.

“No I didn’t. I replied. Why was she here? I wondered.

“Has she told you much about her past?”

“She told me about how her lover Ingirid was murdered and how she got turned and then hunted those murderers down.” I answered. So far that was all I knew about her past.

“Has she told you the full story about that?” Cass asked looking at me playfully.

“The full story?”

“My darling it wasn’t just the murderers she hunted down and killed. What do you think happened to her family, and her lover’s family, and the other locals that didn’t help her? What do you think happened to them, my sweet one?” She asked in her thin lilting voice. I looked at her confused and felt my stomach drop to the floor. Astrid hadn’t even hinted at that.

“I didn’t know” I answered feeling shocked. “She never told me.”

“Well obviously.” She stated. “Did she tell you about how she was an Inquisitor for the Council which involved the killing of many people, both human and vampire?”

“No.” I answered. Cass shook her head in a pretence of sadness.

“Such a shame. She left out all the juiciest bits.”

I felt bewildered. I knew Astrid was a monster. I couldn’t deny that. I had felt sorry for her over the death of Ingirid, but killing everyone as the response? That was unforgivable. Why hadn’t she told me? As I was thinking this, Astrid walked back into the lounge.

“You’re a murderer! Why didn’t you tell me the truth?” I screamed at her. Astrid looked surprised, while Cass chuckled.

I ran to the front door. I tried to force it open, but it was locked. I then ran up the stairs as I heard Astrid calling out my name behind me. I ran into the bedroom slamming the door behind me and then locking it. I backed away from it. Only moments later there was a loud knocking at the door and attempts to open it.

“Let me in Melissa. We need to talk!” Astrid said in an aggravated tone.

“No!” I replied. I walked around in circles. I knew I was trapped. The windows were locked and it was only matter of time before she forced herself into the room.

“I’m not talking to you through a door. Please unlock it.” She demanded.

“Make me!” I shot back at her. There was a brief silence.

“Very well. Melissa unlock the door now!” She commanded.

To my complete surprise and horror I found myself walking towards the door and unlocking it…

 

Next episode: Dinner With Vampires

 

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Gates of the City (flash fiction)

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Gates of the City

 

“What are your names?” The sentry asked.

“My name is Ashalla of Woodhall.”

“My name is Aalen Liadon.”

As soon as she spoke the sentry looked her.

“Please remove your hood miss.” He ordered.

Aalen complied revealing her long golden hair and bright green eyes.

“You’re one of the forest folk.” The sentry stated. “And presumably the wolf is yours?” Vilja stood there with his tongue hanging out.

“He’s my companion. He’s good-natured and won’t harm anyone unless provoked.”

“Okay.” The sentry said. He waved them through.

As Vilja bounded through the narrow streets many small hands patted him.

 

Joanne Fisher

 

Aalen’s story: previous episode

 

This was written with the prompt many hands provided by the Carrot Ranch June 13 Flash Fiction Challenge.

 

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Third Conversation With A Vampire (fiction)

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Third Conversation With A Vampire

 

I saw her come through my window and approach my bed. Her eyes glowed faintly in the dark.

“You do know I’m not asleep?” I asked the approaching figure. She halted in her tracks.

“Can’t sleep huh?” She asked.

“No, not at the moment. Don’t you get tired of feeding on me?”

“But you taste so good! I have to keep coming back for more!” She exclaimed.

“At least I’m useful to someone.” I stated.

“Aww! Is poor wee Jo feeling sad?” She asked as she sat down on the bed beside me.

“A bit.” I admitted.

“Us vampires love it when you humans are sad.” She said.

“That’s rather horrible to say. Why?”

“When you’re full of despair you’re easier to control. Anyway I know why you’re feeling down.” She revealed.

“Oh this will be good. Tell me.” I urged her.

“The one you really love rejected you didn’t they?” She asked.

“Yes.” I replied.

“What did they say? I’m sorry but I have never felt that way about you and I never will.”

“You’ve been reading my messages again haven’t you?” I accused her.

“Well yeah.” She confirmed.

“It’s not like anyone ever goes for me anyway. I shouldn’t have been surprised.” I stated miserably. She laughed out loud.

“You really are feeling sorry for yourself aren’t you?” She asked. “Poor wee Jo is so sad.” She patted me a few times on the shoulder.

“I’m so glad you find it funny.”

“Well I think you’re just a bit too wrapped up in yourself. Look at you: you’re full of existential despair. You can’t sleep and you’re repeating that phrase in your head constantly. I can read your thoughts you know.” She revealed.

“I’ll get over it eventually.” I said.

“I hope so. I would hate to lose you, since you taste so good.”

“As I said before it’s nice to be of use.” I answered.

“By the way I’ve been reading your vampire story.” She admitted.

“What do you think of it?” I asked.

“Me and some of the other vampires think it’s really funny.” She replied. I raised my head and looked at her.

“Funny? It’s not meant to be funny.” I told her.

“But no respectable vampire would ever date a human. The premise is amusing, but us vampires are so far superior to humans.”

“Is that so?” I asked.

“Yes. But I have to admit I’ve enjoyed reading it so far, so maybe there is some talent there.” She said patting me on the shoulder again.

“Gee thanks.”

“You’re welcome!” She replied. “Are you basing Astrid on me?”

“No, she’s based on another vampire I know.”

“You know other vampires? Really?” She asked intrigued.

“No.” I replied rolling my eyes.

“Ah I see!” She laughed.

“Can you help me get to sleep?” I asked her.

“Certainly can. It’s one of our specialties. I’m glad you want to get some sleep as I’m quite hungry. Just look into my eyes.” She commanded. I looked into her glowing eyes, and remembered nothing more.

 

Joanne Fisher

 

Previous conversations:

Night Talk

Second Conversation With A Vampire

 

At the moment I’m a mixture of feeling sad and dealing with quite bad back pain. Currently I’m full of codeine so I’m hoping what I’ve written is making some sense to everyone else.

 

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Intersections (poem)

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Intersections 

 

 

when you’re wandering

home at 3 am & there

are no cars to be seen

anywhere & the traffic

lights incessantly change

for invisible soundless

vehicles

 

the mechanisms of the beast

continuing on without us

& what if we all disappear

overnight & there will be

no traffic anymore –

how long will the traffic

lights keep on changing?

 

Joanne Fisher

 

This is another older poem that I’ve rewritten off the top of my head. Originally published in Spin.

 

 

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Idyll (flash fiction)

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Idyll

 

Every summer Diane and Lisa went to their favourite picnic spot in the forest.

They would spread out their blanket in the shade of a large oak tree and produce cold meats, bread, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, and apples out of their picnic basket. Then sparkling wine was poured into champagne flutes and they toasted the summer looking below at the small township and the trees.

This year the picnic was laid out again but Diane toasted the empty space where Lisa would have been.

 

Joanne Fisher

 

Word count: 84

 

This was written with the prompt idyll provided by Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #109.

 

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My Life In Darkness, part 18 (fiction)

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previous episode

My Life In Darkness

 

18. Lunch With Tony

 

We were seated at a table waiting for our burgers to show up. I had a large glass of cola and Tony was drinking beer.

“These are new.” Tony said pointing to the bruises on my arm.

“Yeah I tripped on the stairs at home on Friday night.” I thought it best to stick to the same story I had given Helen. Tony raised his eyebrows at me.

“Oh really?” He asked with an unconvinced tone in his voice.

“It’s the truth.” I told him. Tony looked at me.

“All I know is that you’ve started dating someone and suddenly bruises have appeared on you. If she was hurting you, you would tell me wouldn’t you?”

“Of course I would.” I told him looking straight into his eyes so he would believe me, even though I was lying. “I’m fine. Everything is good at the moment. So can we drop it?” Tony nodded though he didn’t look happy.

“By the way I tried contacting you on Saturday night but I couldn’t get a reply.”

“Sorry my phone is out of action at the moment. It got damaged on Friday.”

“You could build a large phone-shaped memorial out of all the phones you’ve gone through. Did it get damaged when you fell?”

“Well, no. Later that night Astrid showed up and we took a drive into the country. We stopped off at a bar for some food and then ended up walking around in this nature reserve. When a storm suddenly hit we ran to the car, but my phone had fallen into a muddy creek. I thought I had left it in the car, but Astrid found it.” I replied not really enjoying how much I had to change the truth.

“Wow! So what happened then?”

“We went to her place. She has this nice villa on the edge of town and I ended up staying the entire weekend with her.” As I said this his eyebrows shot up.

‘It sounds like it’s getting pretty serious with her.” He said. He peered more closely at my neck. “And do I see your neck is covered in hickeys? You almost did a good job hiding them. God knows what Helen thinks: coming to work with your neck covered in hickeys and all!” He chuckled to himself while I sat there and blushed.

“Yeah she’s pretty good in bed.” I said. He continued chuckling and shaking his head to himself.

“Well I’m glad you’re with someone again. I hope you’re very happy with her. You were so devastated after Nicola dumped you.” He continued smiling.

I know he meant well but mention of Nicola’s name still caused an upheaval in my stomach, though I continued smiling and tried my best not to show it.

“At least you haven’t electrocuted her yet.” He added bringing up my infamous talent.

“Not yet.” I confirmed. “It’s not my fault I’m a good conduit of static electricity.”

Once our burgers and fries came we munched them down quickly.

“Everything is okay isn’t it?” Tony asked.

“Yeah.” I confirmed. “Why do you ask?”

“For someone who has just entered a new relationship you seem rather low-key about it. You should be ecstatic about it and glowing with radiance. Instead you seem rather quiet and subdued.” I shrugged my shoulders.

“It’s complicated.” I replied.

“It’s complicated.” he repeated.

“I’m still getting to know her.” I tried explaining. He just smiled to himself and shook his head.

“Got anything new at the store?” Tony asked changing the subject.

“We got a new shipment that I was shelving just before you turned up.” I informed him.

“Maybe I’ll walk back with you and take a look. I wish that old bat would get in more graphic novels.” I laughed.

“Don’t call her that! She’s been very good to me and she was a good friend of my parents. I can always order in anything you want.” I told him.

“But how do I know if I want it unless I see it first?” he asked. “Do you miss your father?”

“Yes every day.” I finished eating my burger.

After we had eaten we both walked to the store. Once I got back Helen went on her own lunch break leaving me in charge of the store. It was quiet. Only Tony was there perusing the new stock. A few more boxes had come in while I was away, so I began unpacking them.

“Michelle.” said a familiar voice. I turned around and there was Astrid standing at the counter. I hadn’t heard her come in.

“I didn’t know you were here.” I said. She smiled and put a black phone on the counter, along with a paper bag.

“I got you a new phone. It’s all ready to go.” I picked it up and examined it.

“Thanks.” I said.

“You had a burger for lunch.” She stated.

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“I can smell it on you.” She told me. She then pointed to the brown paper bag. “I also got you some iron tablets. Make sure you take them every day from now on.” I picked up the bag and stashed it away with my belongings.

“Okay I will.” I said.

“You probably won’t see me for a couple of days as I’m going to be busy.” She informed me.

“What will you be doing?” I asked.

“Just some loose ends to tie up.” She replied. I nodded wondering what she meant.

“Oh My God! Is that Astrid!” exclaimed Tony as he ran up to the counter. Astrid looked surprised and slightly bewildered. She looked at me for clarification.

“This is Tony. He’s an old friend of mine.” I told her. Tony walked right up to her and offered his hand. She paused for a moment and then shook his hand.

“Ooh! An ash blonde! Very nice!” Tony said to Astrid. “Your hands are rather cold.”

“I have poor circulation.” Astrid told him.

“Michelle and I go way back. She tells me everything!” Tony told her. Astrid raised her eyebrows and looked at me. I shook my head.

“I don’t actually tell him everything.” I blurted out hastily. Tony looked at me and considered my words.

“No she’s right, sometimes she can be rather secretive. But she’s told me a lot about you!” He exclaimed. I groaned inwardly.

“Is that right?” Astrid asked looking at me again.

“She tells me you’re loaded and have a nice house on the edge of town. I suspect you’ve both been at it like rabbits the last couple of days.” He laughed. “The three of us should go for a night on the town one night. I’m sure it would be very memorable!”

“Yes I’m sure it would be very memorable.” Astrid replied coldly. She looked at me. “I’ve got to go now. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”

“Okay. I’ll see you soon.” I said offering her a smile.

Astrid took one more look at Tony and then left the store. Tony looked at me and laughed again.

“Well she’s rather hot.” Tony informed me. “Though rather cold at the same time.”

“Just be careful what you say to her in the future. She’s rather sensitive.” I told him.

“Did I say something wrong?” He asked looking slightly confused.

 

Next episode: The Stranger

 

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