Flash Fiction: Disappear

John made a cork from a bottle of wine disappear.

It was simple sleight of hand. He was used to quarters however, so the palming was awkward, sloppy. Tommy was always better at the misdirection. It didn’t make sense, John had practiced more.  

John took another pull, feeling the wine burn. He made the cork disappear again. Still too sloppy. Tommy would be disappointed in him. The wine helped his frustration at the failure.

“You two used to practice your tricks out here,” John looked up, startled from his dark reverie by his mother’s approach. She pointed at the abandoned bus, where John sat in the open rear door. “didn’t you?”

“Yeah.” He didn’t want to talk. He wanted to sit, drink and make himself disappear.

“I remember when you first found it, you and Tommy brought blankets out here. Wanted to spend the night camping in it. I swore you’d get tetanus. Told your dad to tow the old damn thing off our land.” Her voice broke.

“Mom…”

“Look John,” she cut him off, her voice strong again. “No one blames you. You made a mistake. Sitting out here, drinking yourself stupid in the shade of a happy memory, is ok for today. But tomorrow, you’ll put on your black suit, and you’ll come to the funeral. Tommy would want that.”

John didn’t answer, taking another drink. She sighed with resignation and walked away, back to the house. He watched her go, wanting to call out. To say sorry, to say anything to fix this. He just watched.

He palmed the cork again, cleanly this time. Tommy would be proud.

It didn’t mean anything. But as he leaned back into the cool metal of the bus, it was enough for the moment.

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Summer Drive

Window down

Arm loose in the breeze

A smile dangles from my lips

As you lean into the leather

Sweet smell of love,

Mixed with summer heat

Greatest Threat

The necromancer laid dead at Welf’s feet. Thick black blood oozed from its wounds. Welf turned to his party, a wolfish grin across his face. The rest of his party looked exhausted and battered, but small smiles crept across their faces as well.

“We finally did it.” Azer’s voice sounded dumbfounded. “All the minions, all the little quests and we finally killed that necromancer!” His wizards hat was bloody and askew.

“No thanks to you, cowering in the corner like a pansy,” Griss growled. He stood up from where he had been blasted to the floor and picked up his bloody daggers.

“Hey! I ran out of spells! I was using cantrips every round! This is what happens when you decide not to do a long rest before taking on the big boss,” Azer’s voice squeaked indignantly.

“Really you two? You knew there was a time crunch before he summoned his patron to the realm. We had to act. Stop bickering,” Lillian said. Her armour still glowed with faint holy light, even in a dungeon this dark and deep. “Besides, now that this is all done, I’m sure we can go take some time off and find something to spend the reward we get from the king, as well as whatever treasure we find down here.”

“Bad things! Friends!” Welf shouted, pointing at the piles of bones laying around the party. They were reanimating, rising up into larger forms than they had been previously. Within seconds, flesh and muscle was creeping over the bones. Before the party could reacted, the mass of skeletal defenders the necromancer had assembled had reanimated into five owlbears.

“Seriously Frank?” Lillian groaned.

“C’mon Frank, I gotta head home soon. You can’t just extend the fight because you thought it was too easy,” Azer said. “Let’s just call it.”

“Yeah I’m out,” Griss agreed. “I have a chem paper due monday that I haven’t started.”

The owlbears advanced. The party did nothing.

“See you Frank! Thanks for the great night, can’t wait to see what you have planned next week!” Welf’s voice was faint.

The owlbears leapt on the party, feasting on their flesh. There was no retaliation from the four heroes. They were frozen in place by some greater magic. As the pain and terror became too much, a tear rolled down Lillian’s cheek. Why did her god have to forsake her now? Why would she let such a terrible thing happen to them?

“Fine, they can leave. These can be waiting for them next week.” An unknown voice echoed through the room. “But they’ll start at disadvantage.”

In a blink, everything had rewound. The owlbears were mere feet away from the party, mouths open in undead hunger. Lillian stood, frozen in place, still unable to move. In the corner of her eyes she could see Welf straining against the force that held them in place. How long would this stasis last?

The torchlight dimmed and then went out a few hours later. In complete darkness, Lillian could see nothing. Hear nothing. Feel nothing.

In nothingness she waited.

Flash Fiction: Wishing

The Wishing was well underway. Church members formed the main mass of the parade, proudly displaying their Wishing garments. The glass beads sewn into the cloth reflected the lanterns light across the crowd.

“Peace, Love, Equality!” The Cardinal wished loudly, his staff held high.

Vaera watched from behind Lareth’s, her mother, dress hem, eyes glowing with excitement. Pointing at the knight clanking by them, Vaera tugged softly at the dress. Lareth looked down at her, a smile playing across her face.

A glass bead fell from an outfit of someone passing, and Vaera darted forward to grab the small treasure. Lareth cried out, her hand grabbing at air where Vaera had been seconds before.

“Vaera!” Frantic, Lareth pushed into the procession. A hand grabbed her roughly, pulling her to the edge of the crowd. She quickly lost sight of Vaera as the Cardinal and his worshipers passed by.

“Blessings will be given later, leave the Cardinal to perform the ceremony.” The guard had bags under his eyes, and a deep shadow on his jaw. “Everyone wants to get a wish.”

“No, my daughter! She went into the procession!” Tears streamed down Lareth’s cheeks as she struggled against the firm restraint.

“I can’t let you in there ma’am. The Church requires everyone to wait for their wish.” The words came out monotone, the guard’s eyes glazed over. Lareth’s plight wasn’t reaching him. Heart pounding, Lareth lashed out, striking his broad nose with her elbow. Cursing, he let go of her. Lareth dashed into the crowd.

The cavalcade had thinned now, and Lareth found Vaera crouched on the street unharmed, hands cupped around a glass bead.

“Look momma! My wish came true!” Proudly Vaera showed her treasure.

“Mine too,” Lareth whispered, relieved, as she bent to embrace her daughter.

Flash Fiction: Unpacking

Boxes were scattered about the house, with music from the radio drifting between them. They weren’t the boxes Andrew had pictured unpacking on his birthday. But the job opportunity had been a chance he couldn’t pass up. He started tomorrow. The bedroom had already been unpacked, but he wanted to get the living room done before he went to bed so him and Beth had a space to unwind in. His head was pounding after the long day.

“You know, we could call it a night.” Beth wrapped her arms around him from behind, putting her chin on his shoulder. “I saw a cute ice cream place a few blocks away. It’s a beautiful night, let’s take a walk and get some. I bet they have Birthday Cake flavour.”

“I don’t know, I want to get this done before I head to bed. I gotta be up early.” Andrew turned to Beth, kissing her forehead.

Beth stuck her bottom lip out and gave him puppy dog eyes. “You’re no fun. It’s your birthday, you old stick in the mud. Let’s party!”

“Oh yeah? You, me and who out on the town?” Andrew teased.

“Nah, you only need two to party. How many we got?” She pointed at herself, then Andrew in an exaggerated fashion. “Looks like the right number.”

Andrew gave in, smiling. “Alright, let’s get ice cream.”

“Actually… I’ve got another craving now.” Beth arced her eyebrow salaciously. She reached past Andrew and turned up the radio. The song playing in the background was brought to the forefront.

We’re kiss to kiss,

And heart to heart,

And the music never stops,

Once the love starts…

We’ve got nothing but the radio on…

“C’mon, let’s play ‘Radio says’. It’s just like Simon says.” Beth led him to the bedroom.

Love You to Death

“If you wouldn’t struggle, this would go a lot easier.” I leaned back, examining the knots that held Zaura in place.

“If you let me go, this would also go a lot easier,” She retorted. “For me at least. I make no promises for you.”

I sighed in frustration at her response. If only she could understand the connection between us, how the poetry of the universe bound us. The way we balanced the world around us. But no, she was blinded by the shackles of society. Well that and the ones that I had physically placed on her.

“What do you want from me?” Zaura’s tone changed to one of forced curiosity. “Who even are you?”

“Me? I’m a simple man. A man who understands how things should be. That when things leave the world, it’s not the end. That life and death are a cycle, and that they bleed into each other. Much like love and hate.”

A look of horror dawned on her face. “You’re the necromancer! The letters sent with a human heart, the undead pony…” Her voice trailed off as she shuddered, “Did you really have to put the bouquet of baby’s breath in a vase made out of an infant’s lungs?”

“You don’t get it. This is destiny! Preordained, written in the stars! You bring life, growth, comfort to the people of the world. I am supposed to be right there with you, balancing the scales towards equality. The night to your radiant sunshine.” My voice rose, an excited heat rose in my cheeks.

“You’re mad.”

“I believe the term is love.”

Zaura didn’t respond. Her eyes didn’t fill with understanding like I pictured. She didn’t break down into tears of sorrow at not having seen it sooner. She didn’t beg me to make love to her right then and there. She sat. Silent. She was too attached to the world she clung to. It’s bright lights had blinded her to the point where she couldn’t see true love and passion when it was laid bare before her.

“Can I go?” Her voice wasn’t defeated, or scared. It was resolute, final. “I don’t love you back. I don’t want anything to do with you. I want you to leave me alone. I will let you live if you just let me go.”

“Zaura… This was never going to end in anything but us together.” My heart was heavy. I knew that it would be like I imagined. It just needed to take a different path now. The darker one, like I was made to travel.

I grabbed the chalk, and made the circle for the base of the resurrection spell around her chair. The incense came next, filling the darkened room with a cloying smoke. Finally I grabbed the ceremonial knife and the gold engagement band I had made for this joyous moment.

“Don’t worry,” I assured her as I turned to her. “I won’t cut you anywhere too visible. I want you to be presentable, my sweet.”

I raised the blade. For love.