Flash Fiction, Just for fun, Over 500

Is She Joking?

“So, how are you feeling now?” The doctor stared down her nose at the patient.

“I don’t understand the question,” the towering blonde replied.

“You’ve been on medication for six weeks now. Do you feel better?” She eyed the man, slumped down into his chair, and began to scribble something on her clipboard.

“I don’t… know… I haven’t been able to feel since I began taking these things,” The man’s Norse-like dreadlocks kept him company. He twisted them back and forth between his palms, tightening the locks one by one. “What are you writing?”

She stopped mid-stroke and looked back to the man. “Nothing bad; don’t worry.” She put the clipboard in her top drawer and folded her lanky fingers neatly into each other. “Tell me about your lack of feeling.”

 

He took a look around. When he first came into the office weeks prior, he’d noticed the solid black frames holding pictures of Greek mythology, painted on period vases, probably from a museum exhibit. He’d notice there were lilies and sunflowers on the short table behind her.

Her thick Russian accent charmed him, as did her hard jaw and set facial features. Her curvature matched what he imagined for his ideal woman. And she had proper style to accent it. Even her soft white scarf managed to draw attention to her sculpted frame.

Rich Corinthian leather covered the soft, marshmallow-esque cushions of the couch. The chairs designated for clients had an interesting cross-hatch – more a weave. The material had escaped him but the thing that stuck out was the patterning… Five colors of thread blended seamlessly together to create a single shade of cloth. The first time, he’d stared at that pattern for a full minute before she forced him to engage.

It had been an exciting and promising moment that he’d hope would lead to a better future.

 

Now, he saw some pictures. There were flowers in room. Their fresh-cut aroma made no impact. The couch… eh, black is always a safe color. The psychiatrist, she seemed pretty hot but he didn’t notice anything particularly outstanding. When he tried to focus on the chair, his vision blurred. He no longer saw the individual threads. Everything just seemed duller than it once was. And he didn’t care. And he didn’t care that he didn’t care. And it pissed him off to no end.

“I can’t… I reach for words and they disappear. The thoughts are in my brain but, they’re scrambled. It’s easy to lose it. I’m just not as sharp as I was.”

“You’re also not as depressed. Now you can join the rest of the world and experience life as you should. Isn’t that worth anything?”

Who the fuck are you to tell me how I should experience life? What’s the point of being normal? Why would anyone want to sacrifice their ability to communicate, to articulate, to see reality… just to feel” normal”?

He tried to argue with her. All he could muster was a grunting “uh-huh.”

“Doesn’t that mean anything to you? Isn’t this an improvement from being unable to move from your bed for weeks at a time?”

Not even close, bitch. It’s like imprisoning my mind in a body that disagrees. I’m trapped in this bullshit and I can’t even feel how shitty I feel.

“I have no opinion on life now. It’s just… I feel…” he struggled to find the word. It was somewhere in his brain. He’d thought it before he spoke but, somewhere between brain and mouth, it disappeared.

“How do you feel? Is everything okay?”

Of course not. I thought that was pretty fucking obvious, myself.

                “No.”

“What is it?” Her gaze softened. He wasn’t sure if she meant to play him into opening up or had become genuinely concerned.

“I can’t say. It’s up here,” he tapped his skull. “It’s definitely here,” he patted his left breast, his heart. “I just can’t figure out how to make it come out.”

“Just say it?” She politely offered.

I fucking can’t goddamnit. You’ve killed my ability to do that with your stupid fucking rope… er… pills. Wait… What?

“The words… they don’t make it. I want to be frustrated but I can’t. I mean, I am, but my body isn’t. It’s like some kind of reverse… the… the body works. The brain just can’t make it.”

The gravity of her concern escalated. She leaned forward, causing him to emulate the motion. “That doesn’t make any sense, Val.”

“I know. That’s the point. I’m just cloudy and useless in this state,” he places his forearms on her desk and his head fell into their soft comfort.

“I can’t eat, I can’t shit, I can’t interact the way I normally do. People are abandoning me, I’m a different person and it’s all because of this fucking medication.”

“You can find new friends, people who would abandon you for…”

“For having a drastic change in… fuck!” he slammed his fists on the desk and beat his head into his arms. “It’s… Goddamnit! It’s how you act, who you are, that whole thing.” Thumb and forefinger clamped on the bridge of his nose as he struggled to find the words buried in his mind.

“Personality?”

“I’m just constantly frustrated and exhausted and I’m not the same person. Or I am. I can’t tell. I am inside. But does it matter? I can’t show my inner self anymore. I feel like a zombie.”

The doctor snickered at herself for a moment.

“What?”

“It’s nothing…” she stifled herself.  “Just that..”

“Out with it!” he demanded.

“I just think zombies are pretty good at showing their insides.”

 

 

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daily, flash fiction, Over 500

Another Magic-themed Writing

It begins with a murder investigation.  I was hired by a client to look into the murder of her sister.  It was a routine job with the usual procedures.  I talked to my police contacts, I poked my nose in a few dank holes, and I came up with the man I thought  caused the death.  The police had already cleared him so, I took it upon myself to confront him and see if I couldn’t trip the man up, get a confession out of him.

Well, to put it plainly, that didn’t work well.  I found myself diving over my red Hyundai, gun in hand.  I carry a Heckler and Koch .45 longslide.  Don’t ask me why; I don’t really know much about guns. This one was a gift from a nut job who had need of my services.  Anyway, once the bullets started ricocheting off the car, I leapt out to the south and fired off three rounds.  The punk screamed out, “Shit, you got me!” and fell to the ground.  Upon checking the body, I saw that two rounds had hit him center of mass.   What’s more, his pockets were full.  I scoured the body hesitantly.  I hate death since my Awakening. I’ve learned enough in the world of magic to know that killing isn’t the wisest decision you could make.  Even people who deserve it… I know better than to take another’s life into my own hands.

Anyway, I looted the body, gathering up a nice little burner phone, $62, a lighter, and a knife.  The phone revealed a couple of text messages confirming that he was in fact the killer I had been seeking. That was a relief.  As I was preparing to perform some minor magic on the phone, I got that goosebump feeling.  The unseen sense alerted me to some kind of magic.  It’s never a good sign when there is sudden active magic around you.  I took a deep breath and tightened my core. As I breathed out, I allowed my essence to follow my breath, filling the area with my own aura.  I believe this particular sight is called “Supernal Vision” within the pentacle.  In the southeast corner, there was the flow of magic, an aura intentionally being flared.  I pointed my gun in that direction, even knowing that bullets were of little value in these situations.

 I checked around for any source of electricity and found one of those metal pipes that connected several outlets.  The corner was too dark to see but, the piping ran in that direction so, I decided to go for it. I channeled the current towards the dark, hoping there would be an outlet nearby and, lo and behold, there was.  I didn’t manage to startle or even shock the target but, he did in fact reveal himself to be a elderly gent. His most blatant feature, his bushy moustache, struck me as silly in its cartoonish, Yosemite Sam appearance. Of course, as anyone with the clearance to read this document knows, his moustache does nothing to detract from his soigné. Before the Old Man, I had never actually been approached by someone with such distinguished and refined tastes, not the least of which was his trademark cane.  That ornate golden design, which I now know to be a mark of the Guardians of the Veil, was only trumped in beauty by the precious bloodstone that topped the cane, shaped to a perfect sphere.

“Mr. Valiant, we are rather impressed with your work.  Your former mentor suggested you would be a great asset to our Order. As such, I have been asked to offer you a retainer.” I shivered as he stated my true last name, and my mentor.

“What for?”  I asked plainly, cautiously.
“A long term project…  I think you will find it very beneficial to say yes.”

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flash fiction, Over 500, Style

Neighbours

He steps outside to get fresh air. The sliding glass door squawks shut behind him and he comes to rest on the balcony’s ledge. Even from the third floor, the woodlands extend beyond sight. Deep inhalation. Long, controlled exhalation. All tension melts away. The past is left in the past and this point is a new beginning.

Around the east wall, he hears the sliding door of a connecting unit. An old man grunts with each shriveled step towards his own ledge. A creaky wooden chair rocks rhythmically to and fro, enchanting the man, pulling him into its cadence. His head bobs along.

The old man rasps, “Hi there, neighbor.”

Great, he thinks.  So much for alone time.

“Care for a smoke?” A decrepit hand with more liver spots than fingers peeps around the barrier between the two. In it, a soft pack of cigarettes; one sticks out of the opening. He snatches it quickly.

As he snaps the flame of his lighter into existence, his head dips into it. The crisp, dry burn of the tobacco fits this clear, cool eve, as the withered leaves of autumn float delicately down to the ground around them.

The neighbor flicks his own lighter and takes a long pull of the cigarette. He sighs on the breath out, followed by a grating hack to clear his throat. He sobs a little as he smokes. Eventually, he speaks

“Hey, neighbor?”

The man shakes his head, I know I’m going to regret this.  “Hey, neighbor. What’s going on over there?”

“Neighbor… have you ever thought about dying?”

Concern steps into the man’s mind. “Sometimes, neighbor. Everyone does. Are you doing alright?”

“I don’t know, man. I-I took some pills. Like a bottle or two I think.”

“Are you serious right now? Did you do this on purpose?”

“I said I don’t know. Yes, maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I think I’m dying, neighbor.”

“Do you have a phone? Should I call 9-1-1?”

“No. No cops…”

The old man trails from speaking to sobbing, then mutes himself. His younger neighbor waits for a moment. Trying to peer around the wall proves vain, so he calls out again.

“Neighbor? Are you still with me, buddy?”

The drugged man mutters something incomprehensible.  The young man drags his cigarette and punches the air. Shit! He cries out in his mind. This is really the last thing I need right now. Once more, time lapses with no comment from the elderly man.

This is ridiculous. This guy isn’t my problem. He said no cops. But… I can’t just let him…

The old man sputter.  Damnit. If he honestly took that many pills, he may have ulcerated his stomach. He could choke on his own blood.

“Hey neighbor,” The man tosses his gifted cigarette into the woods. “Are you alive right now?”

“Uh huh.” The poor sap barely manages the sound. What could have trawled him down this path? He must know the pain of several lifetimes.

“Neighbor, I can’t do this. I’m going inside now; and I’m not coming out until morning.” He regrets his decision. Is it cowardice to not hold the life of another in your hands? Should he not be allowed to absolve himself of this responsibility?

“Uh-huh.”

He walks to the sliding glass door, opening the door causes a lesser squeak than closing it. He stops before stepping inside. “Neighbor, if you want me to call you an ambulance, this is your last chance. Give me one more of those ‘uh-huhs’ and I’ll call it in.”

No response. One… Two… Three… Four… Five… Six… Seven… Eight… Nine… Ten…

“Neighbor,” he calls to the half-dead man, “If you want to live, you’re going to call 9-1-1 yourself. Good night.”

The sliding glass door slams shut; the lock snaps into place. On the other side of the wall, an old man struggles to crawl to his door, praying he reach the phone before his body fails. The gent doesn’t want to die in agony; he simply wishes to die.

 

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