Archive for August, 2012

Down by the river

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20/08/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Down by the river

Schlange stehen! Bewegen!”*

The group of chained people moved forward. They were dressed in civilian clothes, although the days spent running and hiding had made them look more like torn pieces of dirty material stitched together only to resemble clothes. They were about to be executed in those dreadful outfits, stripped from their true identity.

Some of them whimpered, howled, screeched as their feet sunk into the mud, as the barrels of the guns touched their necks, pushing them forward, faster. But the majority of them remained silent, their eyes dim, staring into the blazing horizon.

They had nothing to speak of anymore. They were betrayed by those whom they trusted the most. It was all over. Their era was to be no longer.

The soldiers took them to a crumbling farmhouse, down by the river and ordered them to stand before the wall, their backs up against the solid structure. They faced five machine guns, surely fed by wanting release bullets.

A woman with once golden hair turned to the man beside her. His black hair was damped and his eyes were hollow but still she could recognize the King of the fairies, her beloved husband.  The forest spirit was gone; the sparkle of power was gone, only a shell of a desperate man trapped in human form remained. The woman, who was the Queen of the fairies traced each face as much as it was possible, trying to remember those forsaken, forgotten and sent to death – the Minotaur was there, his face trapped in the transfiguration of a beast to a man. His horns were cut in the middle, the blood dried on the edges; the Werewolf trembled and growled, the cuts on his face burning with pain, his human eyes glowing yellow; the Dragon was no longer resisting the restraints on his hands – he no longer desired to rip his own heart out; the Nymphs were pale and one by one were about to be consumed by madness, so they begged the fire to start sooner and vanish them from the realm of people forever; the Unicorn had lost its shine- a young boy he stood with eyes glaring to the ground without truly seeing. A red circle like a burned wound stained his forehead where his horn had once been. The queen averted her eyes. She could see no more of this torture.

There was a click coming from each gun; the sound was short but made the condemned push their backs further into the wall.

Before they could shout, or plead or run the soldiers fired for what seemed like hours, the thundering cries of fast flying, skin piercing bullets prolonging into the day, and extending more into the night. When it ended the silence was so fragile, the world thought it shouldn’t exist.

The only ones to blame for this massacre were the people, who had forgotten them over countless bloodshed wars. In fear they turned to selfish Gods who wanted only blood sacrifices in their name. Humanity asked them for help, for victory neglecting that they have won their victory many eons ago and the help had always been there with them, carried within those who protected their homeland, their sanity, who kept them alive.

And so, their protectors, the offspring of their imagination were left aside to rot and only watch as their world decays. All the creatures of myths and legends and folklore fell dead that day. Imagination fell that day.

 

*“In line! Move!”

Hitchhiker

Posted in Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , , on 14/08/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Second day, second story!

This one meets two people I’ve come across in another story, some months ago. You can read (if you want to) about their misfortunes in the future in a piece called Dogs bark when diggers dig , but I advice you to check this one first. The two stories are not connected, they don’t follow-up each other. I just like the characters :)

Hitchhiker

Interstate 25 in Colorado follows the north-south corridor of the state, passing through Colorado Springs and Denver.

To the driver and his passengers a beautiful landscape is offered.

It is so especially in the early hours of the morning.

Take for example Trinidad Lake State Park. The road swerves only near its east side, but that’s enough for the passing to take a glimpse at the water.

Early sunrays coming from behind the small hill glide over the water, tricking the eye to see sparkling diamonds swimming on top of a silver surface.  We can imagine a gentle wind blowing through the grass making it tremble and slowly nod.

If we’re lucky enough we might see a flock of American avocets descending to that part of the lake, dipping their thin grey legs, splashing their wings, narrowing their cinnamon colored heads with long bills to thirstily gulp the water.

It’s quite beautiful, really.

Further on the road stands tall the Cheyenne Mountain. Well, the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker, but let’s not spoil the scenery. We can pretend it’s just a magnificent mountain on the left side of the road and nothing more. That way the travel is more pleasant.

There’s the former Ski Broadmoor on the right of Cheyenne, but the traces are not entirely visible this time of the year. Moving along.

Now we must put all that aside and concentrate on a particular junction of I-25 which by the sign seems to start with the number “1” and the city it leads in and out of with the letter “W”, although that is of no interest to us. Besides it’s night. No one looks at the signs; people just keep driving without direction, without a thought.

From that junction and up on I-25 with 45 m/h drives an 82’ brown Plymouth Gran Fury. We’re following it.

It keeps a steady speed, other cars flying past it on the fast lane. Their lights turn into hungrily seeking eyes, burning yellow in the darkness. One beast after another. Crying and screaming engines.

Our Gran Fury fellow doesn’t pay much attention to the surrounding. He’s about to in a minute, but for now he’s just tapping the sides of his steering wheel with thumbs, listening to “The Doors”

“If you give this man a ride

Sweet memory will die

Killer on the road”

He’s wondering if it’s going to rain. Seems so; clouds are gathering up ahead, white lines of lightning are piercing through the tick black mass which covers the sky.

He winds – up the window. The air smells like storm.

Another mile or two and it will pour upon him.

Oh, here it goes…large, heavy raindrops slam on the front windshield and our friend is urged to turn on the wipers, trying to push the water away. He slows down, the visibility before him turned into a blur. Jim Morrison’s voice can no longer be heard over the sound of the drumming on top of his car rain.

Strong wind appears. It takes hold of the rain and for a mere moment it takes away the curtain of raindrops, making the road visible again and the other cars reappear like ghosts from the side.

That’s when our friend sees something up ahead that at first strikes him as a chopped down tree. Then the “tree” shifts and stands up. The silhouette of a man swims before him, the rain hitting him all sides. He stands on the shoulder of the lane, a sign above his head this time readable -“Pueblo”

As the Plymouth nears him, the stranger stretches his hand and waves it energetic.

The brown Plymouth stops.

“Where are you headed?” asks the man from the car.

“Colorado Springs”. The stranger seems about 25 years old. He has no backpack with him.

“Get in. I’m headed to Aurora. Will drop you on the way”

The door shuts and the car takes off again.

Now let’s see what’s happening inside, where the rain can’t reach.

“Ryan Wayne” the soaking wet man offers his hand.

“Joel Rathbone.  Pleased to meet you” our now named friend takes the hand and gives it a firm shake.

“So, Ryan what’s the emergency?”

“Heart attack. My dad. “

“Sorry to hear. Hope he turns out well”

“Thanks. I was visiting my aunty down at Ridge when I got the call. Unfortunately my car broke down earlier. Mechanics said wouldn’t be done until morning. With this bastard weather can’t find any transportation. Not at this hour too. So I thought hitchhiking is the option. Thank you for stopping”

“Hey no worries, always happy to help a fellow in trouble.”

Joel smiles. He’s older then Ryan. He’s sideburns are starting to turn grey. But he looks younger than he is. He smiles a lot.

Ryan takes his hand through his wet hair. Joel thinks he might have been wrong about the man next to him. He is older. The wrinkles on his forehead and those beneath his eyes give him a tired, lazy look. His hands are big. There are scars on the knuckles.

“Hope you don’t mind if I ask what you do for a living” Ryan’s voice takes him away from his thoughts.

“I travel a lot, sell things town-to-town.”

“What do you sell?”

“Garden tools, cleaning products, cheap vacuum cleaners”

“Does anyone buy them?”

“Nope”

They both laughed.

This Joel guy seems decent”, thinks Ryan, whose name is really Sage Munroe.

He is actually very cool. He smiles a lot. Look, he’s listening to “The Doors” and on a cassette for that matter! How great is that? How great? He’s car is so tidy, smelling of all those cleaning products in the trunk, smelling of bleach, of freshly cleaned floors, and it’s ugly as hell, but he loves it and for that I love it too.”

Sage “Ryan” Munroe puts on a smile too. He likes Joel. In fact he likes him so much he wants to drag a knife through his throat and feel that hot, red blood of cheerful Joel run through his fingers. He thinks he might not be able to wait until they reach Colorado Springs. He wants to cloth his hand inside Joel’s stomach; feel him tremble at the touch, before he rips out his intestines.

How unaware you are Mr. Town-To-Town Salesman, how oblivious of the fact you are giving a ride to a killer. I listen to you talk about yesterday’s attempts to sell one of those cheap vacuum cleaners you have in store somewhere in Aurora and can’t get rid of for months. The echo of your words resonates within me until it melts, and I no longer hear your voice. It disappears into the night, leaving only the rumble of the rain, and Jim Morrison mumbling in the background about a fire. Ah, wait till you see the fire burning in me Mr. Rathbone! There it is again, that cheerful, heartwarming grin of yours. Are you telling a joke? Perhaps. Maybe it’s wonderful to be you, a simple salesman with his ugly brown Plymouth. But it’s pointless. I admire you for starving for so long in this world that doesn’t give two shits about you and your junk. You are dead, meat, worm food, ash to ash, dust to dust and done! Gone. You are a fake Joel Rathbone. You will be mine before the dawn.

“And that’s how I got almost arrested. Insane, I know. Say, Ryan what do you do for work? Got any family of your own?”

Joel’s voice came back loud and clear and Sage had to lick his lips to wet them. They were dry from thirst for blood.

“I am in between jobs. But I’m good… working with people. And no, no wife, no kids. Can’t see myself in that role yet”

The car coughed and shook like a wild animal.

“Darn it! I’ll have to pull over. Keeps doing that these past few days.”

The Plymouth slowed down and took right to stop at the rear of the lane. It was somehow slightly darker there; the grass had stepped onto the road, high and long like tentacles of some monster hiding deeper in the field. Joel had stopped almost in it. It felt remote from the world. Sage got out of the car and as he stood he wasn’t visible to the passing cars.

Sage Munroe couldn’t help but smile even wider then. He grabbed the handle of the knife hidden underneath his jacket.

Joel was bent over, checking under the hood.

“Need a hand there Joel?”

The rain was calmer now. Only a gentle kiss on the cheek.

“Nope, all done.”

Joel closed the hood and found himself face to face with Sage, whose expression at that moment resembled pretty much the triumphal look on the Joker when he walks in the back room of that decaying bar in Crime Alley to attend Batman’s funeral*.

And at that same moment, as if some silent spectator clicked his fingers, it changed dramatically. Imagine maybe Dorian Grey seeing his face in the portrait suddenly different, wicked, cruel. He would be frightened wouldn’t he?

Joel was holding a small hatchet. He had placed it right between Sage’s legs. Sage could feel just how sharp it was, pressed against the fabric of his jeans.

On the other hand Sage had his hunting knife pointed at Joel’s belly.

“Well, well, whatever are we going to do?” Joel (who to admit at last had chosen the name Rover Jenkins for himself, and was going with it for some good fifteen years) whispered to Sage, his smile a sharp vicious grin that was almost starting to drip saliva from excitement. Raindrops ran down his face in narrow trails.

“Awkward” growled Sage.

“It is, isn’t it? But also so fun!” Rover released a cackling laugh.

“So you’re not a dull, old salesman?” hissed with a giggle Sage. The blade of the hatchet rose a bit higher, too close to his precious belongings.

Rover shook his head.

“Not quite. I take it your old man doesn’t even breathe today, never mind having a heart attack.”

“Killed him when I was twelve” Sage moved the knife an inch closer.

Rover barked with amusement.

“Look at us, two psychopaths on the road in Colorado, met by accident. What can that lead to I wonder?” The older man’s eyes sparkled with curiosity. “Fascinating” he thought.

Sage licked his lips again. “If this isn’t lucky…”

“What do you say…talk it over some coffee in Colorado Springs? I hear they make nice mocha there”

Rover smirked.

 

 

*”Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” is a comic book written by Neil Gaiman for DC Comics, 2009. The overall plot concerns the wake of Batman, taking place in the back of a small Gotham bar. During the wake, a number of prominent figures from Batman’s life each tell a tale of Batman and how he eventually died, giving multiple, unique histories of Batman, his life, and death.

The winds of change

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , on 13/08/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Decided to post one story everyday till the end of the week. So here’s the first piece.

Something wicked is on the way!

The winds of change

Kathy rode her old blue bike on the way home from aunt Gemma’s. It was a hot, hot year and a hot, hot month, maybe the hottest Kathy ever remembered and she thought the home-made jams aunt Gemma had given her might boil in their jars with red caps.

The pedals were a bit rusty from the last time Kathy had used her bike, but since Jonah, her brother, was away with the car the fastest way to get from one point to another around here was this.

And Kathy didn’t mind the exercise or the dusty roads, the whispering crops and the moos! of the cows. Her soul felt light and her mind was clear.

Soon she would be home for some cold lemonade, a good book, probably Jane Eyre since she always wanted to read it, and the rest of the day spent outside on the porch, sitting on the swing with comfy apple green cushions.

Then suddenly her plans were interrupted by a rapid change in the weather.

As Kathy neared her home and could see the window of her room, a strong blow of wind chased after her, whistling and swooshing and could that be laughter? The trees shook and quivered in a compilation of wild bows and their still green leafs were torn with violence and scattered in sky and earth. Kathy suddenly felt small and vulnerable in the presence of this wind. She rode faster, caring less about the clinking pots of jam in her bag hung on the right handlebar.

She reached the house safely, left the bike outside and before going in took a look behind her back. There was something coming fast and furious. Kathy rushed inside.

“Mama? Mama?” Kathy called out

Her mother came down the stairs.

“What’s the matter?”

“Mama, did you hear the wind?”

“Yes. What about it?” Kathy’s mother raised an eyebrow.

“It’s…different somehow. I know it may sound weird, but I thought I heard it laugh!”

“Don’t be ridiculous child! That’s only your imagination. It’s just a wind like any other.”

“But” insisted Kathy “ it doesn’t feel right! This one is somehow old” Kathy’s expression changed. Her gaze floated, starring somewhere beyond her house, somewhere beyond herself. She continued.

“It has traveled long and gathered up other winds on its way. They all are coming here for some reason. They will want something from here.”  Kathy looked back at her mother “I’m afraid mama, I’m afraid something bad is about to happen.” Kathy hugged herself and gazed at the floor.

Her mother smiled and caressed her daughter’s cheek.

“Kathy, listen to me. There is nothing to worry about. It’s just a normal wind, which though might bring some rain and I’ve just washed the sunflower rug. Why don’t you go bring it in? In the meantime I’ll put those jams where they belong and have we can some lemonade after. Okay?”

Kathy shrugged and nodded. Her mother didn’t believe her. But then again Kathy wasn’t making much sense. She couldn’t properly express this growing fear in her. It was difficult to describe since she had never felt anything like it. Something was indeed about to begin.

She went outside, cautiously looking around, prepared for the worst but found only her mama’s rug gone and the old wind not alone but accompanied by now many others, all here, all whispering and roaring, banging on the windows, slamming the doors. Kathy listened to their voices, from far and near, low or loud, but all saying one. Her eyes widened and her heart pounded in her chest.

She shivered and went back inside, locking the door, running up the wooden stairs to her room, her private sanctuary.

She sat on the bed and rocked back and forth thinking that winds shouldn’t gather up like this. She bit her lower lip and felt like crying for not knowing how to handle what was happening, how to deal with it.

“Winds are not supposed to speak such horrid stories!” she whimpered. Nor were they supposed ask her…ask her….

Kathy gulped, jumped off the bed and closed the curtains, ignoring the winds and their foul language. She hoped they will just go away after not receiving what they want. Kathy was sure not going there again!

Kathy stood there, confused, not sure what to do. The winds were circling her house, singing songs which chilled her bones.

She shook her head.

Then she took “Jane Eyre” from the book shelf and sat down on her bed.

She had always wanted to read it anyways.

hocuspocus13

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