Daily Prompt | Short Story – Day Six

Mike dropped the revolver onto my dad’s desk and planted his hands on his head “Sara, oh my God, that was-” He was breathless, even though we’d done nothing but sit there in silence.

I bit my bottom lip, I had no idea either, but it really didn’t surprise me. “I know.” The revolver was loaded, so I gently picked it up, thankful it hadn’t gone off when Mike dropped it. I’d need to teach him about weapon safety.

“That was the police!”

“My father warned in his journal not to trust anyone.”

Dad had assembled a false wall behind his desk, no one but us knew about it. He told me and mom one day as he walked us through his self-constructed facade, that if something ever happened, for us to hide until the noises were gone. Mike and I had waited a good ten minutes before I thought it was safe enough to speak or move.

“What do we do now?” He paced back and forth, glancing each time at the wall from where he’d just emerged. “Wait, you said your dad warned you about something?”

I waited to see where he was going.

“So…he didn’t write a journal per se, more like a message?”

“Why?”

“If he was sending you messages, we need to study them. He could have already given us the key to who was really behind the attacks.”

This is where I would seriously need Mike.. Though I’d never met him before the park, I’d seen him at school, and mostly in the library. “You’re right, but we can’t go back to the bank just yet.”

His excitement fell, “Why not?”

“Look I just accessed that safe deposit box, I haven’t used that thing since I went to get my driver license a year ago, I don’t want to set off any alarms.”

“Alarms?” His squinted his eyes and tilted his head, “What alarms?”

I pointed downstairs, dreading whatever mess they’d left behind, “Those were police officers, they are looking for something from my father. If I show up to the bank more than usual, I’m afraid someone will be watching.” I could almost feel his frustration as I reached for the gun polish in dad’s gun cabinet.

“What are we going to do? How long will we wait? We need to get this done ASAP!”

I could feel myself smile while I waived the empty revolver in front of him. “I know what we can do while we wait.

via Daily Prompt: Polish

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Daily Prompt | Short Story – Day Five

I smelled my father’s uniform, but it didn’t smell like him, it smelled like ash. Though it had been safely encapsulated in my father’s study, the attack still managed to ruin yet another piece of my world.

“Why did you let this happen, daddy?” I rubbed the many colors on his jacket and smoothed the wrinkles out the best I could.

“Can I come in?”

If I hadn’t been sitting down on the floor with a pile of dad’s stuff on my lap, I’d have hit the ceiling. “You scared me!”

A smile was lingering on Mike’s mouth when I looked to him, “Sorry.”

There were times when I was caught off guard and forgot the effects of the Great American Genocide again. We had no security detail anymore, no one was in this big, old house but me. If any stranger had come inside our house before GAG, we would’ve been alerted by at least three different servicemen stationed at checkpoints on the property.

I breathed in deep, gently laid dad’s stuff back in his enormous chest and stood. “What are you doing here again, Mike?” I fully expected him to launch into a sermon about why my father was a bad man, I’d heard it over and over since that day. Been told at least twice on live, national television.

Well, now it was different. Now I had evidence things were not what they seemed.

Mike shoved his hands in his pockets and slid his thumbs through his belt loops, “Just came to check on you.”

I waited for more, but he was silent. “I’m fine, thanks.”

“What’s our next move?”

Our?”

“Yeah, I was thinking, since the media lied about the attacks, I figured they maybe weren’t completely honest about your dad, either.” For a second, I saw Mike turn into a nervous boy, just like the first day we met in the park. It was kind of adorable.

“Thank you.”

He walked farther into the room, “So, this was your dad’s office?” He looked around the room and I could tell he got the same feeling I used to get while dad was working. Even though he was gone, his presence was still powerful. “So, that journal?”

“Was dad’s.”

“What’d he write in there? And why did you hide it in the safe deposit box?”

“He chronicled what really happened that day, and months before that.”

Mike nodded, “And you hid it because?”

As if God himself answered his question, we heard a loud boom downstairs, and several people entering the house. I reached into dad’s cabinet and tossed an old revolver that was my mom’s at him and I grabbed my father’s Glock and bullets. “Because there are people that want him shut up, and I won’t let that happen.”

via Daily Prompt: Uniform

Daily Prompt | Short Story – Day Four

I wiped off the brassy surface of a bullet we found, and laughed at the situation. Mike and I were totally different, but mixed together, we made something interesting. A team, just like the brass with its zinc and copper combination.

It had been a few days since the Millennial Park Grave Site, and I’d come to see the value in having Mike around. He pulled me out of my laser-thinking, and that was a good thing.

Before him, 24/7 I would think of what needed to be done, what had happened and what would happen soon. I would get to a point he referred to as zombie-like. He easily brought me out of that mindset, but I never let him forget how important this work was.

“So, lets run through this again.” I paced in front of him as he sat on my parent’s couch.

“Where are your parents?”

I leveled my eyes on him, “Mike.”

“You’ve never shared, and to be honest, this place is like a freakin’ Hilton.”

I tried to hide my frustration with him, prodding where he shouldn’t. “Please focus.”

“Okay, Zombie, but you tell me what happened after we do this.”

I rolled my eyes and sat down beside him, “Look.” I pointed to the pictures I brought out as a last resort. They were of the first places genocide was attempted. “These people were poor.”

He stared at the pictures, and it was obvious he’d never seen them, the media would never show these, not because they were too gory, but because they were true. “Where did you find these?”

“Doesn’t matter.” I tried to take them back but he fought me for them.

“Jesus, I’ve never seen anything like this.” His shoulders slumped forward a little.

I could only imagine he was staring at the child who’s face had been half blown away. That’s all I could see in the picture anyway. Before he switched to the next one, I had to look away.

“Sara, is this what you’ve seen first-hand? Is this what you’ve pulled into your graves?”

My chin quivered before I could stop it, “Yes.”

“That journal, the brass bullet and the map, they lead to something. Or someone.”

I smirked, though nothing was truly funny, “Careful, you’ll turn into a zombie like me.”

“So you took these pictures? Where was this?”

I flipped it around and showed him the writing, “A small town in Florida.”

“Wait, I remember a story on the news of a bombing in a small town in Florida.” He shook his head, “The media said that was an act of terror, the country was so saddened, but-”

“It was an inside job.”

He put the pictures down, “Sara, when I met you, I thought you had lost everything. You were living in the park. But this house, the money you’d need to travel to Florida, especially with no flights allowed?” He shook his head, “These bodies are fresh, this was taken before any news outlet had gotten to the scene. What’s going on for real?”

This was where I could potentially lose Mike. I walked over to the large picture window in the parlor and let the sun hit my face.

“Zombie?”

“My father worked with the Global Embassy.”

“Okay.”

I turned, frustrated that he’d make me say it, could this kid possibly not know who my father was? “Mike, he was the President of the Global Embassy.”

Just as I’d expected, Mike shot up off the couch, turned and walked out.

It wasn’t two seconds later I heard the front door slam. I sighed, not even knowing I was holding my breath. I let myself fall onto the couch. The only way I could think to process the emotions I felt was to focus on the tasks at hand.

via Daily Prompt: Brassy

Daily Prompt | Short Story Day Three

Mike handed me the old leather-bound journal, and what looked like the upper right quadrant of a map. Three of its sides were carefully ripped, and singed a bit.

The book seemed to have been taken better care of, or in a safer place, considering it was not singed, only dirty. I placed them into the safe deposit box, then led the way out of the bank.

“Where to now?”

I closed my eyes against the scorching sun as we exited the bank, and fought the emotions building in my chest. “I have something I need to do.”

I had known Mike for a few days now, but he had an uncanny way of making me uncomfortable, of seeing straight through me, and completely understanding me. All those things, all at once. Part of me hated feeling so bare in front of him, part of me was relieved that I didn’t have to feel everything alone.

When we got back to Millennium Park, I stuffed the tail of my shirt full of the stones once decoratively placed around the faded, broken park sign, he did the same.

“So you’re the one marking the graves?” There he went, reading every move I made.

I couldn’t speak without crying, so I didn’t speak, I only nodded once.

We placed the stones around the portion I had marked with a flag made out of an old shirt.

“What are you calling this one?”

It was a few minutes before I could actually speak, and even when I did, I could hear the strain in my own voice. “I found several small bones, and I’m thinking they were just playing in the park when it all happened. I’m calling it something simple. Millennium Park Grave Site. Maybe one day, we’ll know who’s buried here. Right now, I just want them to not go unnoticed.”

Mike bent down beside me and helped me place the stones. “How big is this one?”

“I think they rounded all the bodies up and laid them where the pavilion once stood. Look at how it’s fresher than the ground of the playground demo.”

He nodded. “Makes sense.”

We worked in silence after getting more stones. “They’re calling it The Great American Genocide.” He chuckled a little, though nothing was funny. “I think they should call it the Attempted American Genocide.”

“I think it’s ironic the initials for their coined phrase is The GAG.”

“Well it didn’t work, now did it.”

A let myself smile, “Nope.”

 

via Daily Prompt: Portion

Daily Prompt | Short Story Day Two

I reached out to Sara with my hand. She stared at it for a while as if she didn’t know what to do. She placed hers in mine with care, or maybe worry. I pulled her up, not too fast and not patronizing. I was very confident in her abilities, but I didn’t want her to need to climb the rock by herself. I wanted her to know that I’m here for her.

She straightened her shirt underneath her heavy backpack she refused to let me carry for a bit, and glanced at me under the fallen strips of hair, she cleared her throat, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” I put my hands on my hips and waited for her to reveal our direction. She had a need to keep information to herself, to be in control. I figured it was because she hadn’t trusted anyone in a while.

“There.”

I leaned in and looked to where her finger was pointed. “The bank?” I wondered how she could trust anyone there especially.

“My mom’s company has a safe deposit box for me.”

“That they can access?” I raised my eyebrows, surely she would be safer than that.

She glared at me harder than usual, “No. Of course not.”

“How do you know they can’t get to it?”

It amazed me that she could be so fully annoyed with me so quickly. She rolled her eyes, “Because my mom set up a dummy account they pull the money from. She said there’s no way for them to trace it. It’s paid through her dividends to me, then pulled out of a secret account they have no access to.”

“Okay, back down, killa!” I put my hands in front of me and smiled, she didn’t see my humor. She rolled her eyes again and turned to lead. I simply shook my head and followed. I’d get her to lighten up one of these days.

 

via Daily Prompt: Trace

Daily Prompt – Short Story – Day One

By the time I realized what had happened, it was too late. He ran out into the street and waved at the passing police car.

“What are you doing!” I began walking away. What on earth was that idiot thinking? I shoved my hands into my pockets and picked up my pace. The policeman would never believe what we had in our possession anyway.

I looked over my shoulder and glared at Mike who just then noticed me headed away from him and the policeman. He turned back to the car, and the confused men inside it.

I’d have to get to my hiding spot before the policeman could follow, or I’d have to move, that would be the better option. I sped up to a jog, then a run. Mike had lost it. If I didn’t shoot him, someone was sure to.

He’d be back probably within a couple seconds, it wouldn’t take long to lose a busy cop after all that had happened. Just as I’d predicted, as I grabbed the artifacts, Mike’s breathless words hit my hears.

“What happened back there?”

I only could glare at him so I didn’t kill him.

“Sara?”

I rolled up my blankets and tent, then packed up my backpack. By the time I could speak without gritting my teeth, I turned to him as I slung my bag onto my shoulders, “What makes you think he’d believe us, or care for that matter? Every cop in this country is reeling with what’s happened, the artifacts we have here are meaningless to them.”

He crossed his arms, looked down at the dirt and kicked at a rock, “What do you suggest we do? I can’t just be quiet about this.”

I sat down buff my shoes, to make myself more presentable for our next step. “We need to first hide what we have, and I have the perfect place, but you can’t say a single word, do you understand?”

He nodded quietly, looked down to his shoes and buffed them off.

“We need this case to be solid, Mike. We can’t screw this up. We hold the key to all that’s been happening, and if this gets into the wrong hands, we are all going to end up like your friend this morning.”

I was pretty sure I didn’t need to elaborate on what happened. His face contorted into a pinched mess, “I understand.”

“Lets move.”

via Daily Prompt: Buff

Reprieve

Each time I settle in my heart to write, I get this Nazi like voice in my head saying I need to do it every day.  I’ve written stories with the word of the day, but today, I’m just gonna relax and take a
reprieve. Not using that word correctly, but oh well, I’m using it. 😀

A break.

I’m allowing myself to relax. Something I’m not used to in this ole game of writing.

I’m still learning what works best for myself and my family, and there’s no judgement.

I’m writing to have fun, to experience the joy again, not the Nazi torture of “go go go!”

 

What about you? What brings you joy?

via Daily Prompt: Reprieve

Survive | Daily Prompt

Alahna shivered as the cold wind swept in. She wasn’t sure what she would do the next morning. She needed to be out of here at the crack of dawn.

Her eyes squinted when a bright light shone in them.  “Seriously! I got this spot fair and square!”

“Alanna, I’m not here to take your spot, I’m here to take you in.”

She peeked over the soggy blanket, “Officer Neil?”

“What are you doing here, Alahna? It’s freezing, it’s raining, and you have school tomorrow.”

She closed her eyes, “Mind getting the light out of my eyes at least?”

He lowered the high-powered beam, walked to his car and opened the front door, and tapped the metal roof, “Let’s go.”

He kept glancing at her intermittently as he drove through the dark, slick streets. As they passed the streetlights, she could see her own Samoan reflection in the rain-spotted window of the cruiser.

“What were you doing out there, Alahna?”

He wasn’t going to let her go quietly, she sighed and turned to him, “I’m doing what I have to.”

“Your mom bad off again?”

“I couldn’t sleep there.” She crossed her arms and looked back out the window, hoping he would take the hint that she didn’t want to talk.

“Officer Megan told me you guys have a test tomorrow?”

Alahna nodded but continued to stare out the window.

“Couldn’t study, huh?”

She shook her head no, and her body involuntarily shivered.

“Officer Megan can help you when we get there.”

The remainder of the ride was quiet. When he pulled up to the station, it was still raining, and they walked gingerly through the parking lot. Inside the building was warm and dry.

Officer Megan came to her and pulled her aside, “I’ve got some clothes you can use to sleep, and I can wash yours overnight. Go get some rest and I’ll wake you up early to study, okay, baby?”

Alahna nodded and followed Officer Megan down to her locker.

“Here we go. So, this is the big test, huh? The one that says you can graduate?”

She looked down to her feet, they were soggy, “I haven’t studied much.”

“You don’t need to, sweetie, I know your grades. You forget I’m the Recourse Officer at your school part time. That makes me entitled to know your info.”

Alahna let a smile slip through, “That, and being an officer.”

“Yeah,” Officer Megan laughed, “That too. Be back in a sec to get your wet clothes.” She left, leaving Alahna alone to change.

She felt so warm in Officer Megan’s dry clothes. She laid down on the cot and closed her eyes, trying to not feel like a burden to everyone. She was a burden to her mother as she had a drug and alcohol fest at the house complete with loud music and loud people, she was a burden to her father that never loved her, she was a burden to her teachers that helped her at school, and she was a burden to law enforcement. No matter her score on that test, though she didn’t need to study, she couldn’t wait to be out on her own, with a full time job, paying the bills and trying to survive.

The next morning, as promised, Officer Megan woke her up early. “The ladies’ shower is clear if you’d like to freshen up, and I brought some dry shoes from my house.”

Alahna was dressed, clean and felt more refreshed than she had since last time she stayed at the precinct. She found Officer Megan, “Thank you.” she pulled her in for a hug, “I’ll never forget all you’ve done.” She pulled away to see the Officer’s eyes teary.

“You’re welcome, now go ace that test.”

Alahna walked away with a renewed bolster to do what she had to do. Her scholarships were already lined up, all she had to do was show up, do her thang, and graduate Friday night. A determined smile spread her cheeks as she spread the doors to the precinct, today would change her life forever.

via Daily Prompt: Survive

Masterpiece | Daily Prompt

Cammy took a deep breath and let it out easy.

This was not what she’d signed up for when she saw the words “Art Class” plastered above her fifth period classroom. At first the sign excited her. Any new art class, she readily ran toward it!

However, here, in the actual class, where she’d been asked to strip down to her bra and panties so the big-time artist could paint her whole body…

She’d not been opposed to the project, and especially not that she’d been forced against her will, the uneasiness came as she sat there in front of her peers in nothing but her underoos!

The statement she’d made, though, that’s what bolstered her drive. Each time she thought of what this meant for people like her, she held her chin a tad bit higher.

Her Suffragist attitude faded as the paint dried and itched her skin, bringing her back to reality and the eyes gazing past her walls.

“You look fabulous, don’t let them make you feel any different.”

She snapped her eyes to the artist as he painted her belly button.

“I can almost feel your battle as I paint you.”

Oh great, that meant everyone else could too. Artists have a way of seeing past the “paint” to the “pain”. And she was surrounded by artists.

She knew he meant well, but she sank a little more.

“Let yourself go and enjoy this”, he whispered, “You had the gumption to do it in the first place. No one can take that away from you, but you are letting them steal your happiness.”

As he brushed, the bristles tickled her belly, and she couldn’t help but laugh.

“See?” His smirk, his kind, clear eyes, and his honesty made her realize something: She was the beauty in the artist’s eye. It almost took her breath away. Not the artist, but the realization. He was right! She would be beautiful to whomever loved her, to whomever saw her as a masterpiece.

She finally had the courage to look up into Trevor’s eyes. He was staring at her, granted, so were the other twenty or so artistic students that attended her high school, but he was not just looking at her, he was seeing her!

Trevor stood and moved toward them, never taking his eyes off her, bent down to the painter and whispered something in his ear. The painter stood up with a strange look in his eyes and another smirk on his face. She watched as the painter handed Trevor his brush. Cammy felt her eyes bulge out of their sockets, and was almost begging the painter not to leave them as he walked to the teacher’s desk.

Her attention slowly gravitated to Trevor who stared at her, and in his sweet, deep voice, that she’d memorized, he asked if she minded him touching her skin with the paint brush.

Where was her voice! Instead, she motioned for him to continue.

The brush took on a whole new meaning! It felt as if Trevor himself were touching her skin. He locked his eyes on her though he still moved the brush across her belly. “I never knew-” He stood, dipped the brush into more paint, and leaned in to get her neck, “I never knew how beautiful you were. I mean, I like you, and I have for a long time.”

He got adorably tongue-tied. “Not that I think you’re beautiful just because you took off your clothes, and I’m not saying that your body isn’t beautiful, I-” He took a deep breath, and Cammy watched as his face burned redder and redder.

He cleared his throat, “What I’m trying to say, is that I see beyond your body. I see you, Cammy. You’ve made an Impression on me. I’d like to take you out. Would-would that be okay?”

A. Masterpiece. This is what she felt like. She felt not only beautiful in her own skin for the first time since being a little girl, but she felt as if others finally saw her for who she was, and not because she was almost naked, but because she let down the walls that she’d built to protect herself. They never protected her, they only kept her from being who she was meant to be.

“Yes.”

via Daily Prompt: Impression

“Home” | Daily Prompt

 

I shook my head, “No.”

“Come on, Mae!”

“I can’t.”

“You’re usually the one that’s up for anything!”

I couldn’t say that I had a bad feeling, I didn’t want them to laugh at me. The goose bumps on my arms were not from the wind at this elevation either. Something wasn’t right. My cheeks were numb from my salty, windblown hair whipping.

Cameron squinted his eyes and tilted his head, “What’s wrong?”

I bit my lip, it was chapped. I crossed my arms and sunk in a little. My yellow surf tee was dried already. “I don’t know.”

He dropped his hand from my elbow, turned around and made the motion to Alex for us to get out of there. “Something’s not right. Let’s go.”

“Your girlfriend use her ESP to tell you that?” I held in my disgust as Alex came too close into my space.

“She’s not my girlfriend, and it’s not ESP, it’s intuition. Man, you know her, if she feels  like something’s wrong, there’s gotta be something wrong. I think we can trust her.”

Alex bowed his back in defiance and got too close in Cameron’s face, “And you know me. I don’t trust anyone.”

Before I knew what he was doing, Alex pushed Cameron off the cliff.

“NO!” I leaned over to see where Cameron entered the water, turned to Alex and punched him in the nose, “What’s wrong with you!” I didn’t care what happened with Alex, I took a deep breath, stepped back and catapulted myself off the ledge. No matter how much you train, nothing can prepare you for jumping off a cliff. I did my best to force my body to straighten and let me sit as I hit the water. I took a deep breath as I plummeted to the surface. I wished that I’d brought my lifeguard rescue float.

I yelled his name when I resurfaced, “Cam!” North, South, East, West. I searched again. “Cam!” I dove under looking for shadows or bubbles. I dove down quickly at his entry point, blinking nonstop so I could clear my eyes.

That’s when I saw him. His hair waived like seaweed, his arms floated above him. I saw blood coming off his body somewhere as he faced the cliff wall. I swam to him as fast as my body would let me.

I was afraid to look him in the eyes, if they were closed, he’d most likely be unconscious, but if they were open-. Instead of letting myself think the worst, I dove down to look at his feet. They weren’t caught on anything. The cliff wall would give me enough of a push to get us both out of this water as quickly as possible. I swam to the wall, crouched on it, pushed as hard as my legs could push and grabbed Cam as I torpedoed out and up. As scrawny as he was, he was dead weight, even in the water.

I didn’t care that my calves were cramping, that my lungs were convulsing, or that my eyes burned. I needed Cam to be okay.

Finally, after what seemed like an endless height, we reached the surface. It’s here that I got a look at Cam’s face. His eyes were closed. Tears formed in my eyes.

There were people staring off the edge of the cliff, but I couldn’t make out their faces with my bleary eyes. I swam us to the beach to the left of them.

When I got him on the sand, I noticed his ankle, knee, and shoulder were busted wide open and bleeding. He must have hit a rock under the surface. I began CPR, and the most blessed sound was his coughing. I sat him up as best I could. “Just breathe, Cam. Calm down and breathe.”

He squinted his eyes, looked out at the water, and then to me. His expression changed several times. “I knew you’d come get me.”

“That was a cheap way to get me to jump.”

I was wrong, the most blessed sound wasn’t his coughing, it was his laughter. And the most blessed sight, his smile.

My eyes teared up again, “Cam, if I’d have lost you-”

“Don’t go there.” He pulled me closer to him, and kissed me for the first time.

My heart soared. The one word I could think of to describe the moment was ‘home’, something I’ve never felt, and it was something of which I never wanted to let go.

 

via Daily Prompt: Catapult

Catapult