Category Archives: Babblings

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Flash Fiction: Trailer Park Ninja

The challenge this week Who, Where, and the Uh Oh.  Roll a d10 out of each column and we had up to 2,000 words.  However, I didn’t even use a thousand.  

Trailer Park Ninja

The work cell rang. I didn’t answer instead I used coded login on my laptop. The caved in face of my handler clicked into view. “Carvell, you have an assignment. You need to retrieve a package from this address.” The address flashed on the screen it was in Hobgood, my home base.

“What’s the package?” Package was a pretty loose term meaning anything that I needed to bring back.

“A metal case imprinted with the roman numeral nine. Another hostile agent has it. Arm well, walk soft we don’t need anyone to know you were there.” His thick brows twitched.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be as silent as a ninja.” Already my mind ran through all the weapons to take, and how to strap them in.

Immediately, those brows flattened my handler wasn’t pleased. “We don’t need any dead bodies, if you can help it.”

“Why send an assassin to do a job that you don’t need bodies?” Legit question, I wasn’t sure if he’d answer.

My handler jaw tensed. A full twenty seconds ticked by before he answered. “You are closest one to the location. It needs to be taken care of ASAP.”

I fought the urge to let out a sigh. When wasn’t it needed to ‘be taken care of ASAP.’ “Understood, anything else?”

He shook his head. “No, and good luck.” The screen went blank.

I strapped on my vest, my guns, put in my extra clips. A few clicks and I brought up the location on my cell. The place was nearly on the outskirts of town. I double checked my weapons, my armor before heading down my disposable street vehicle and headed out.

As I arrived at the location my brows went sky high. “A trailer park,” I muttered before I could contain myself. The large bulky box houses with gravel strewn between them. Little spokes of grass sticking up every which way. My nose wrinkled as I could smell wet animal fur. How the hell would I find a case in here? The indicator light blinked to my right. Apparently, someone was keeping sensitive materials in a trailer.

With a casual swagger as I made it up the door. A creak gave me enough time to jump sideways as the door exploded. Shards of wood slashed at my clothes as I rolled on the wet ground. The mud smeared across my body as I came up gun in hand. Tension tightened my shoulders and I made a conscious effort to relax. Two set steps and I rested against the wall of the trailer. I dropped down as a noise behind me. My body coated in wet thickness as I saw a cat prance past me tail high in the air.

“Stupid cat.” Feeling more than a bit embarrassed I pull myself up and proceeded inside. The trailer looked like I’d expect Formica kitchen, old flower pattern worn furniture. The only thing that stood out was a ladder sticking out in the middle of the living room. The ladder stark and industrial standing in contrast to the surroundings.

I looked around for the case and the owner. All I found was neatly made bed, and a pristine bathroom. A glance at the tracker told me the item was moving away from me underground. I wanted to avoid the suspicious ladder, which clearly would be a trap. After looking down the brightly lit tunnel I didn’t see anything obvious. Since, I couldn’t put off the inevitable any longer I started down.

Each step rang in a disturbing echo- clang, clang. My teeth ground together. Announcing my presence like this was completely unacceptable. Nothing that I could do about it. I couldn’t handle it anymore and I took a controlled slide to the ground. As I hit the ground my knees jarred a bit.

A gun in my hands and I scanned the area. Plain metal hallway went in both directions. As far as I could see there were no doors. Keeping my eyes up I pulled up the tracker. The package was toward the south. The word trap bounced around in my skull step after step.

The corridor opened up to a massive room. I stopped stunned as I stared a flying saucer. Apart of my mind yelled at me to be careful check the area, but shock rolled over me. I always thought the UFO stories were crap. And here one sat sparkling in the artificial light. The stomping of boots drew my attention.

Yeah, I messed up. About ten men surrounded me guns in hand, steely looking their eyes. They stood up in the unvarnished black. “Drop your weapon and turn yourself in.”

I thought about it. But, it wasn’t in my nature. I dropped and attempted to roll. The air filled with gunshots as they hit my chest, my legs, and arms. They weren’t screwing around. Heaviness filled my chest as I settled on my back. “Guess I’m not much of a ninja after all.”

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Elenmitis: The Second World

Elenmitis is a fantasy world.  However, a lot of the typical fantasy elements are missing.  There aren’t any elves, dwarves, and dragons.   Don’t get me wrong I love all those things.   My living room is plastered with dragons and unicorns.  Also weapons, but that’s a separate issue.   I felt like something different.

 

Back when I first started playing pen and paper roleplaying games I loved making characters.  And, one of things that always found really cool was the idea of aasimars and tieflings.   A normal human who was blended with something else, making them not quite human.

 

The idea that kicked off Elenmitis is what if you had humans who weren’t quite human, because they were blended with elementals, angels, and demons.   How would this change them?  Would be accepted by the regular humans? How rare they should be?  Would they live around other humans?  Did god or gods have anything to do with it?

 

And once the questions started to flow I knew I was on something good.   To be honest, I haven’t fully answered all these questions yet.  The world isn’t as fleshed out as Amon.  I’ll be filling in the blanks as this year rolls on.  So hey, if you have anything you’d like to say or add I’m all for hearing it.

 

The first story which will be going up next week after I’ve returned my New Year’s vacation will be how Elenmitis came to be.   Also, the website is going to look a little different.   Welcome to Elenmitis, hope you enjoy your stay.

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Dialog Excerise

For some reason there was no Chuck Wendig challenge this week.  Which is fine.  But, I decided to do something fun for writing practice. A quick dialog practice basically has two characters talking no tags, no descriptions, and no beats.

Dialog Exercise

“Have you now accepted that you are mine?”

“Lady, I don’t know what the hell your problem is.  But, you don’t own me.”

“I do.  You just don’t remember.”

“Don’t freakin’ touch me.  I pretty damn sure if somebody owned me, I’d remember.  That’s not something you write on a post it note and forget about.”

“It was long ago.  You pledged yourself to me.  Another lifetime ago.”

“What? Now you’re trying to tell me there is reincarnation.”

“I’m not attempting to tell you anything, Ricky.  I am merely stating facts.   Believe what you will.”

“I don’t believe you.  Let me out of this room.  I’ll start screaming, then some cops will bust this door down.  And, you’ll be knee high in it.”

“Scream all you wish.  It makes no difference.”

“Is that a freakin’ smirk? Are you smirking at me?”

“Your resistance is amusing.  You seek to intimidate me.”

“What aren’t you afraid of the cops, and jail?”

“There are places more terrible and damaging than Jail, Ricky.  Places most minds would break to be there.  I’ve been to all those places and emerged whole. “

“So, you’ve been to Goth clubs I get it.”

“I suspect you truly don’t.   No matter you are one of mine.”

“No, I’m not.  Whatever your name is, I’m not yours.”

“You know my name, Ricky.  When you can remember it, you’ll know I owe you.  I have patience, I can wait.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not patient.  I want to go home.  I want to drink a beer.  I’ve been here, what feels like forever.  This cramped room barely has a bed.  There’s no tv, no freakin’ internet.  Life without internet is pretty dark, unimaginable place.”

“Unfortunately, Ricky, to get those things you must remember my name.”

“How about Goth Princess?”

“Closer than you know.”

“Hey, where are you going? We aren’t done talking. You need to let me go.”

“I’m going to go drink a beer and use the internet, of course.  When you say my name, I’ll bring you one.”

“What an annoying kidnapper.”

 

 

 

 

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My Thoughts on Amon

Well, it’s been almost a year and half since I started this blog.   Now is a good time to put up another world. And, to explain that confusing and open to interruption statement, give me a second.

The original idea went I started this blog was to write about different universes IE ‘worlds’ I created in my fiction.  I tend to make a character and make a world to fit them.  Sometimes this character is later disregarded.  The worlds tend to stick around.  Amon was picked as my first, because it was the first one I dreamed up as a kid.   It fit the sort of darkness I could see in the everyday life.  Yet, it also fit the possibilities, and hopes I saw too.

I love Amon, because here are a people who have beaten on over and over.  Every time they achieve any sense of normalcy the universe conspires to take it from them.   Through nearly impossible odds they manage to survive.   The consequence being their race got darker and darker.   What originally started a small world still developing society, became a society where survival of the fittest was the only real rule.

One the concept I decided on early way back when I still couldn’t drive was to society to be slightly guided by a powerful being.  It took me a long time to come up with the idea of women who lived around a thousand years each, and passed on the wisdom of their lives to each other.   If you’ve been following along you’d know the first of which was Rilas.

Amon is also intriguing to me, because it is world on the edge.  It can either evolve into something better, or become a darker place.   Change, to me, is a great catalyst full of interesting storylines and interpersonal conflict.   What will become of this razor edge type dance?

I wish I knew.

Next week, I’ll be telling you a bit about the next world, which is Elenmitis.  It will be a fantasy world, a bit of a shift from science fiction.  It won’t be your typical fantasy universe, however.

This doesn’t mean I plan to never post another story on Amon every again, it won’t be the focus anymore is all.  In the next couple of months I’m planning for a lot of changes on the site.  I want to make a full-fledged time line and put up stories on there so you can see where they fall in the storyline.

In two weeks, I swear, we’ll be back to story time.

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200 Words at a Time, The End

Thanks to helped my story make it the final round.  I’m super happy to finish it off.  The whole challenge has been insanely fun.  My favorite challenge ever, for now anyway.   Go to here, to read more.

I picked up my own story this time.  It felt right, and dammit I wanted to know to know what was up the ring.

Galactic Mercs

First part by Me

Another shot glass slammed down as Toops flashed her big, black eyes at me. “Are you going to black out.” Her tone as dry as the desert planet we had left.

“I never black out. “ I grinned motioning for another shot. “I’m only resting my eyes.”

Toops rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. “Yeah, I believe you, Lancer. I really do.” Her scarred fingers pushed her still full glass back and forth across the metal bar top. “Didn’t you say we have a man coming in to offer us a job?

“You handle all the contracts. I’m your simple minded muscle.” I winked at her. “Me big man. Me hit things hard.” The burning fire scalded my throat as I took another shot.

Her hand snapped out faster than my eye could follow. Those strong fingers crushed mine into my palm. “Do not call for another shot. I swear I will break your fingers right now.”

A hearty chuckle rumbled up my throat. “Alright, alright boss lady.”

My fingers were released. “We are partners.”

“You say that now, but once the client gets here you’ll change your tune.” She couldn’t deny it. It was true.

Second Part by Athena

The mark joined us not too long after that. I know they’re supposed to be clients, but I can’t help thinking of them as marks. Lancer likes to think of us as noble ruffians, taking on jobs to help the weak and disenfranchised. Truth is, we take on the jobs that pay the most. Sometimes that means we take the client for a bit of a ride.

Lancer was right about one thing: when the client arrives, I play boss. Pretty much have to; no one would buy me as the hired muscle – at least no one with all their bits in tact. Marks are always weary of a girl without a purpose. They’ll buy me as the brains, but not the brawn.

Lancer brought this one in. I let him do that once in a while because it makes him feel like we’re equal partners. More importantly, it makes the marks think that I’m hot stuff. They’re so lucky to get me, I send one of my peons first to see if they’re worthwhile instead of going myself. Doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s a much bigger payday.

Part Three by Ely

The man they called Helix walked into the bar, the sunlight rushing past his entourage, harshly drowning out the dank ambiance so welcoming to the regular patrons. I had met him through an old corps buddy whom I usually only call upon in the most dire of business droughts.

As predicted Toops straightened out immediately, her strength radiating from her core, demanding an elevated level of respect. She had a knack for nonverbal communication, in more ways than one.

“Not exactly discreet is he,” She said in a disapproving whisper.

“It’s a paying job. Rodge made it sound like it would be of particular interest to us.” I finished under my breath as the group neared, my lips spreading into an awkward greeting. I am just the muscleor I’ve had one too manyor both.

“Ms. Toops I presume,” Helix smiled, suave and somewhat greasily as he took her hand. He was dressed in a slick suit, all grey, matching tie, extravagantly out of place in this corner of the ‘verse. His three companions were obviously hired security.

“All presumptions aside, where they belong, I’ve heard you have work suitable for our expertise.”

Helix’s slimy smile grew, looking to me with positive regards to my choice of partners.

Part four by Paul Baughman

As soon as I saw Helix’s smile I mentally doubled the price we’d ask. I’ve seen smiles like that before. They never bode well. I also made a mental note to have a chat with Lancer. This buddy of his needs a talking to.

“Let’s move to a table where we can talk in private,” I said. I didn’t wait for an answer, I just turned away and headed for a corner table I had reserved earlier.

When I slid into one of the back chairs, I could tell Helix didn’t appreciate me turning my back on him. Lancer eased himself into the other back chair leaving the mark to have his back to the door.

“Well,” the slimeball said heartily, “what are we drinking?”

“We’re here for business,” I said, “what’s the job?”

“Nothing wrong with a little social interaction, is there?”

The way he said it, I knew exactly what kind of interaction he thought he was getting here. I tripled the price.

I tapped my ring on the table until it drew his eyes. It was just to derail his thoughts. Not many knew what it represented, so I was surprised when his eyes widened.

Part Five by Me (again)

“You’re the Hatchet.”  Helix eyes got wider and wider as he stared at Toops.

On the inside I let out a groan.  That woman’s bad temper was always getting us in trouble.  And, she was too proud of that ring.  “It doesn’t matter.  This is business, right, Helix?”

“You work with a murderer, a killer.”  Helix face flushed red as he stood up knocking the chair back.

To that I shrugged.  “I’m a mercenary not a priest.  You going hire us, or do we need to move on.”

Helix gave a rough shake of his head.  “Screw both of you.”  Without another word he strode out the bar.

Toops phone beeped and she took the message with a smile.  “Well, that’s good news.”

“Oh yeah, does it stack up with you being stupid and losing us a job.  Cause, that was pretty brilliant.”  I tipped my head toward the doorway our client had left through.

Her lips curled in a vicious, pleased smile. “I got a job for my sideline.  And, I now know why Helix didn’t want to work with the Hatchet.”

“Yeah, what’s that?”

“I just got hired to kill him.”  She said on a grin.

 

 

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200 Words at a Time, Part 4

Okay, I had a really hard time picking the next part to continue.  But, this one caught my attention.  So, check out Chuck Wendig, thanks to Megan, the Wanderer, and Dave Kearney

Stewart

(Meagan)

“Yes, this penthouse view is quite breathtaking,” I turned to the luscious blonde before me, “but not nearly as lovely as—

A thunder clap, and then I was standing in a small, glowing circle, surrounded by a gaggle of chanting fools in robes.

“Oh great Sorasel im Palat, lord of fire and darkness, fell devourer of the innocent, conqueror of—” Arcane symbols covered the speaker’s robes, nearly obscuring the heavy crimson fabric.

“Yes, yes, get on with it.” I gestured with my gin martini.

He paused, then finished in a post-pubescent squeak, “We invoke thy true name and bid thee do our will.”

“Oh you do, do you? Well I want you to send me back. I was having a smashing time, and that girl may not have two brain cells to rub together, but she looked quite likely to do some rubbing together. If you know what I mean.”

The robe-wearers shuffled, and whispered amongst themselves. The leader piped up again. “O great Sorasel im—

“Stop that, stop that,” I interrupted. “Only my dad calls me that. I prefer my middle name. If you must speak, call me Stewart.”

More shuffling and whispering from my summoners.

*****

 (Wanderer)

“Oh great and mightyStewart….” the leader—whose pasty face was mostly spots—began again. “We bind thee to our will.”

I took a sip of my martini—extra dirty, extra olives—and raised an eyebrow at the little prat. Summoners used to know what they were doing. I looked at the floor where their demon trap was sloppily drawn with what smelled unmistakably like fresh, store-bought spray paint. I sighed. What happened to the blood of a virgin? Or even the vital fluids of an unwilling Christian priest?

I noticed their silence; I could practically smell their fear—a mixture of piss and that foul deodorant that promised them flocks of women. I took another gulp of the martini—it was perfect. Almost as flawless as my blonde client who was no doubt currently working her minimal intelligence into a sweat in an effort to find me.

“Well? Get on with it.”

“We bound you, oh great Sora—er—Stewart.”

“I heard that part. So,” I made sure to smile with all of my teeth. “You’ve bound me. Congratulations. Now, what do you plan to do?”

“Jaime, this was your idea.” One of the other robed figures poked the leader.

*****

(Yours truly)

“Just give me a second to think.” The one called Jaime jabbed an elbow into his pimple-faced accomplice who tripped on his robe and stumbled out of the ring of table salt surrounding the group.

Amateurs.

Before the wannabe summoner could scramble back inside the protective circle, I bound his feet with a tendril of flame and pulled him kicking and screaming toward me. With a wink, I yanked out his entrails and sucked them down like a bowl of spaghetti. Normally, I’m not such a messy eater but I got caught up in the theatre of the moment. And besides, he made me spill my martini.

Licking my fingers, I turned to the trembling gaggle. “Alright my little binders,” I said.  “The time for playing has ended. Either command me or release me from your service.”

Sweating profusely, the one called Jaime fumbled inside his oversized robe. “Behold,” he shrieked, thrusting a small wooden crucifix in my direction.

A shiver rippled through my body. I had not seen a sacramental of such power in millennia. How the Cross of St Michael came to be in the possession of this snot-nosed punk was a question that would have to wait. The more pressing question was whether he knew how to use it.

Me,  Myself, and I

Jamie’s hands shook as he held the crucifix in the air the wood gleaming.   He licked his lips as lines of sweat rolled down his face.

“Hurry up, Jamie, his dangerous.”  One of the cloaked figures squeaked.

Jamie nodded.  ” Meat esta animo…”  He stuttered, “That doesn’t sound right.” Then reached under his robe and jostled out a notepad.  “Okay, Mea est anima tua.”

His Latin accent was atrocious.  As upsetting as that was I started to worry.  This wool headed idiot seemed to know the words of the ritual.  “What are you doing?”

Jamie throat bulged out as he took a hard swallow.  “Voluntas quae tua sunt.  Et verba mea cor tuum.”

Not good, not good at all.  “Look, kid, tell me what you want.  Maybe we could work out a deal.”

Some of fear stink receded from the air.  Jamie fingers tightened around the notepad.  “Paenitentiam, angelus cecidit, paenitentiam.”

A pause as Jamie glanced around expectedly.   I felt a wellspring of relief.  He didn’t know the end part.  “Well, now that you’re done slaughtering Latin what are you doing to do with me?”

Jamie frowned for a moment, and then his expression brightened.   “Sorasel im Palat habeo vobis.”

Well crap.

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200 Words at a Time, Part 3

The telephone of writing continues.   This time I picked a story that stuck with me.  It was something I’d normally read being a horror with a religious bent.  But,  it compelled none the less.  Here’s my attempt.  

The beginning is from boydstun215.   The second part is from Adrienne.  And,  of course, the challenge is from good ole’ Chuck Wendig.

200 Words at time, Part 3

By Boydstun215

The soldiers carried the man across the narthex and through the nave. They lumbered along like some giant, wounded insect, three pairs of cold, stiff legs shuffling clumsily beneath a motley carapace of steel and leather. Close upon their heels, the master-of-arms was careful to avoid the hissing droplets of blood that the insect left in its wake. His sword was drawn.

At the end of the nave and standing at the foot of the chancel, the bishop held a gilded crosiers at arm’s length as if to thwart to advance of the shambling mass making its way toward the altar. In his other hand he grasped a large silver crucifix. Despite his advanced age and diminutive stature, the crimson-robed bishop made for an imposing figure. “No further,” he whispered. The soldiers stopped , unsure of themselves. One of the men looked down nervously into the pale face of the man he carried while the other two turned their heads in askance to the master-at-arms. For several moments the only sound was the steady hiss of the blood as fell from the lifeless man and met the cold marble floor.

“It must be done here,” said the master-at-arms. “Take him to the altar.”

By Adrienne

The bishop moved aside, letting the soldiers scramble up the few steps to the altar. His crimson robes did nothing to shield him from the cold radiating from their frozen armor. The slick marble stairs proved difficult for the exhausted soldiers as they stumbled and fell under their heavy load. Grim-faced, the master–at-arms followed their procession, only sheathing his sword to offer aid in heaving the unconscious man atop the bare altar.

The soldiers scurried away, stealing a glance at the stone table before fixing their gaze on their snow-crusted boots. The master-at-arms moved to the side of the altar where the man’s head rested. His shallow breaths produced a faint mist in the cold air. Steady drops of blood from his mouth had already created a small pool that hissed quietly on the stone. The master-at-arms looked down at the man’s face, searching for any hint of the soldier he once knew, but finding only the thing he had become. A sharp intake of air through the pale, bloodied lips tore the master-at-arms away from his thoughts.

The bishop joined the master-at-arms. Two terrified altar boys carrying trays covered with vials, books, crucifixes, and various cutting tools followed closely behind.

“It is time.”

By Me

The bishop took the vial from the boys with a slow deliberation he pulled the cork free.  The once dead soldier began to stir as he shook it, lightly, over him.  The liquid splashed against the body glowing for a moment as an acrid scent wafted upward.

The soldier’s lips pulled back bloodied teeth bared.  A low, animal like growl erupted from his mouth.

The bishop glanced at the master-at-arms.  “Hold him.”   And, he turned even as the man moved to obey.  He lifted up the cross with great reverence.   He muttered quiet words over the struggling thing.

The skin darkened, as more feral growls overwhelmed every other sound.  The soldier fought as the master-at-arms’ muscles strained to keep him still.

The bishop handed the cross back to the altar boys.  He took up a knife, and several empty vials.  He motioned to the book, “Read.”

One of the boys opened the book.  His eyes stretched wide and hands unsteady began to read. The archaic words weaved in between the snaps and snarls.

Bishop made a careful slash across the flesh of the soldier.  The blood was a dark violet against its skin.  He held the vial against the trickle allowing it to fill with blood.  “Soon, we can finish this.”

 

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200 Words at a Time, Part Two

Chuck Wendig has set up a flash of writing a story 200 words at a time.  Last week I wrote my first 200 words.  This week I had to continue someone’s else story.  I went with my fellow blogger Urban Spaceman.  Check out there to see the beginning of this story.

200 More Words

 

“Is this about the Manhattan project? I’ve heard all all I want to hear about that.”  Everyone had a theory and a conspiracy.

He took another sip then cackled. “Everyone thinks the atom bomb is the worst thing. There are atrocities that you never hear about. “   His filmy eyes turned flatter, more haunted. “The government wanted me.  They needed the expert in the field of Magnetics. I was the best.”

“You used to be a world leading scientist.” 

He took another sip of his drink.   “You think I was always a drunk? A mess of a man who had no purpose?”   The pitch of his voice rose with each word.   Then, he slumped.  All fire and life fled from him. “The bomb would be flashy. They wanted less flash, but more effect. “ 

“Are you trying to say, that’s some powerful super weapon waiting in the wings.”  The whole story was sounding like a bad pulp fiction.

The man shook his head, and dragged his hand over his face. “I’ve already done it.  Every day the earth spins, it gets stronger.  Soon, it will be ready.”

 

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200 Words at a Time, Part One

This Chuck Wendig challenge classic is pretty awesome.  Each week you write a 200 hundred word part of a flash fiction.  But, you will borrow parts from other blogs.  So, I’m probably more excited than I need to be.  Here we go, the beginning of a tale.

The Beginning

Another shot glass slammed down as Toops flashed her big, black eyes at me.  “Are you going to black out.”  Her tone as dry as the desert planet we had left.

“I never black out. “  I grinned motioning for another shot.  “I’m only resting my eyes.”

 

Toops rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.   “Yeah, I believe you, Lancer.  I really do.”  Her scarred fingers pushed her still full glass back and forth across the metal bar top.  “Didn’t you say we have a man coming in to offer us a job?

“You handle all the contracts.  I’m your simple minded muscle.”  I winked at her.  “Me big man.  Me hit things hard.”  The burning fire scalded my throat as I took another shot.

Her hand snapped out faster than my eye could follow.  Those strong fingers crushed mine into my palm.  “Do not call for another shot.  I swear I will break your fingers right now.”

A hearty chuckle rumbled up my throat.  “Alright, alright boss lady.”

My fingers were released.  “We are partners.”

“You say that now, but once the client gets here you’ll change your tune.”  She couldn’t deny it.  It was true.

 

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Forgotten Bargain

Yay another Chuck Wendig challenge.  This time we had to pick one of last weeks opening lines and spin a tale.  I went with “It doesn’t mean death,” I told her. by Murgatroid98.  Enjoy. 

Forgotten Bargain

“It doesn’t mean death,” I told her.  The tarot card of death grinned up at the woman.

A smile on her dark lips, she brushed a strand of many colored hair from her face.  “I am aware.”

“Do you want me to continue with the reading?” I didn’t particularly like my side job.  But, it helped with the bills.

The woman lifted her eyes, they were a strange dark violet hue.  “No need, I came here to see you.”  The more she talked the more I noticed the compelling nature of her voice.  It reminded me of dark chocolate and really old red wine.

“See me?” I had three jobs, and was no one.  Average is about the only description that would apply to me.

She pulled out a several hundred dollar bills.  Each one smoothed out and placed on the table.  All and all there were six.  “Take two, the rest is so I may borrow you for the rest of your shift.  Your bosses won’t care where the money came from, only that it is here.”  Before  I could answer she opened the curtain in the dark reading room and left.

At first all I could do was gape at the money. Then, I grabbed two of the bills, walked out the curtain, opened the door to outside, and stepped out.  As I went I put up the closed sign.  The fortune telling hut painted with esoteric symbols seemed at odds next to the flashy tourist shops.

“I knew you’d follow.”  The voice seemed to reach down and wrap around me.

I turned.  The shock hit me as I realized she was more bizarre than I realized.  Skin deep, dark black that looked glossy under the afternoon sun.  Her hair was a mass of red, purple, brown, and black – thick and flowing.  Her outfit being only jeans and a plain black shirt made the differences stand out more.  “How’d you know that?”

Her head tipped right, and then left.  “You have no passion for this.  It is an old art.  Some who walk can tell you the truth.”  The delicate finger’s waved at me.  “You are fake, a liar.  You are here for the money.”

“More or less, ” I walked toward her.  “I gotta live.”

She nodded as if I spouted off wisdom for the ages.  “I need a favor.  Come with me.  We will talk in that coffee shop over there.”

This whole thing confused me.  Why was I worth six hundred dollars?  And, if I was a fake, why did she need a favor?  “Why me?”

“I’ll buy the coffee.  Have I not brought the time to explain my needs, Max.”  She had definitely paid for my time.  Even though I was creeped out she knew my name, I’d go.

We entered the shop.  She pointed upward toward the upstairs.  “Go, I’ll bring you a lemon ginger green tea that you like.”

I started up the stairs.  Then, the full meaning her words hit me.  “How do you know?”  Who was this woman?

She shook her head.  “Go upstairs, Max.”

The room was filled with cushy chairs and a few couches.  I took one as far from the stairs as possible.   Before I could work myself into frenzy she came up the stairs. From here I could see how evenly, and gracefully she moved.  The teapot sat down carefully on the side table.   The teacup meticulous positioned before she sat down across from me.  She drank from a coffee up.  “The favor I need you to do is to come with me.  Leave your life behind.  I need to train you.”

“I don’t even know who you are.”  The insanity of this caused me to start to stand up.

Her hand went out and pushed down.  My body leaned back down.  “I apologize, but you cannot not refuse my favor.”

“Why the hell not?” I snapped back.  My heart fought to burst out of my chest.  A dull ache started in the back my head.  She was keeping me here somehow.

A delicate sip of her coffee before setting it down.  “I’m afraid to say you are one of mine.  My touch is written on every fiber of your being.  You’ll never be free of me.  We made a deal you and I.”

“I don’t even know you.”  This time I screamed it.

“You do.  The name is written on the darkest part of your heart.”  She ran her dark fingers across the top of her cup.  “Say a name, any name.  It will come to you.”

“Any name at all?” I scoffed at the very idea.  “And, you are some powerful being who owns me. What are you the devil?”

She laughed a lovely, dark sensuous sound.  “Hardly,” Her eyes twinkled.  “The devil would likely be an afraid of me, if anything.”

The idea caused my hands to clench.  “What?”

“I’ll explain more when you say my name.”  She replied serene, unconcerned.

“Right, I’ll just know your name.”  The idea I would know this unstable woman’s name was unbelievable.  “I need to leave.”

“You cannot.”  She took another sip of coffee.  “Say a name, any name.  You’ll know it.”

My mouth opened to say the first name that came to me.  But a force welled up in me.  It felt as if my heart was being squeezed it hurt, unbearably.  “Nahara Vensari.”  The foreign name flowed off my tongue.  The pain faded.

“I knew, you’d know it.”  Nahara stood up.  Her hand held out for me.  “Now, we go.  Your new life begins.”

“I don’t understand.”  My body moved without my control.  Her warm hand wrapped around mine.

She smiled. “Don’t worry, you will.”

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