Category Archives: fiction

Starfall CH06 – Tunnel Vision

[3590 words]April is mega-chapter Sixteen Sunsets Saga conclusion month. This week and next week, you’ll see an oversized chapter on Monday and Friday. April 24th through the 28th will be a chapter every day!

* * *

They slipped through the twisted gate barring the entrance of the underpass to enter a concealed world filled with the stench of stale water mixed with urine. Their hoods came off, eyes blinked to regain sense of the impenetrable darkness. Anne produced a glow stick and snapped it, a steady blue glow soothing the atmosphere. Massey followed suit providing light from behind revealing spray-painted panels, faceless caricatures of people and grotesque snails made up from swirling letters. They jumped down from the white-tiled platform and swiveled along with the curve of the primitive tunnel with its single lonely track.

On some nights while going through the routine, Anne thought the walls of the tunnel echoed her rising heartbeat back and forth along the hollow length of the dank sleeve, multiplying it to make it sound like some giant beast was there with them crawling like a shadow along their weak ones, waiting patiently in the dark ahead. The hiss of air coming from her parted lips whistling back through the ceiling holes didn’t help battle the image either. The first time they had come down here they were met with two mole people securing themselves from the pouring rain on the basic platform stretching along the rail. Massey scared them off easily enough but now every time they crossed this path of dangerous righteousness, Anne expected a worse type of guest waiting for them. Her mind liked putting Globe there, a ridiculous thought. Jacob Globe would never dirty his expensive suit in a sewer like this.

The gravel on the narrow yard crunched under her boots as she followed the imprints of long lost train tracks, no doubt dug out and cut to be sold rather than reused on another line. The remainder of them had collapsed, submerged under the pool of water gathered in a slope.

The gray water pooled ankle deep then knee deep and Anne slowed down to let the refugees get their bearings. Fragile light from outside briefly entered the tunnel through punctured holes in the semi-healthy roof. The walls leaked with cool water from ancient yellow pipes, the drip-drop the only other sound apart from their sloshing feet and labored breathing. They reached a man-made clearing in the debris where the roof had caved in creating a dam of large blocks of cement and century-old materials from the original construction. It still required them to crawl through a gap on all fours scraping foul smells and muck on their palms. The 1930’s collapse followed by the 2009 collapse had permanently locked the better part of the tunnel abandoning it to stream in the city filth, creating a convenient escape route in the process.

Years ago while still functional, the tunnel would have opened through a wide portal climbing to the surface, rising from a lower level before descending again after the train had made its brief stop. Now, this was its last stop as the tracks faded into gravel blending into sand. The rest of the tunnel was nonexistent, collapsed fully and cleared away abandoning the territory to the spread of industrial, red and yellow shipping containers stacked behind a fence. Anne quickened her pace, dropped the glow stick, crushing it under her boot.
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Starfall CH05 – The City That Always Sleeps

[2760 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, #SoCS] April will be the nitrous-fueled ending to Starfall. All the chapters will be double-length plus. The last week of April will be crammed full of bonus chapters. We’ll make a bound edition of the unedited web serial of both Moonrise and Starfall available for you all in May.

* * *

The wipers squeaked against the windshield wiping away the mosaic of raindrops turning the world outside to a kaleidoscopic – a prism of sudden purity and calmness. Frank Massey ran a finger over parched lips, one hand on the wheel, listening to the pitter-patter of the light rain. Sullen thoughts racked his brain as the van anonymously rolled worn off tires across a city at closing dusk. Unintentionally he slowed down at intersections, weary eyes inspecting the hovering figures on glistening sidewalks purchasing something to get them by to a better tomorrow. No one in a city of six hundred thousand batted an eye at the beat white van with the green swirly letters – “Brady’s Bakery.” No one cared where they went and what they did.

Each life was caught in its own dazzling momentum; some were carried to the megaphone screeches occupying main streets, others to a retreat embracing either Globe or the night at the anticipation of the Nightprowlers. Massey saw this eruption as a pulsating thing, like a wave, heated at the center then retreating to the periphery and again like a storm, fuming, returning, bringing fire to its middle and pulling back. Like breathing, air halted in flimsy lungs while the hands steady the gun and the eye aims setting the crosshair on a bull’s eye. Then comes the slow, meticulous exhale, a pure focus on the target. And it ends with a bang.

The van steered clear of neighborhoods that went lights out at night. That’s where most people hid, that is the ones who didn’t go begging Globe to cure them. White collars got a knock on the door and a polite escort. Other people weren’t so lucky. Shit, Massey thought, no one was lucky. There were no lawyers for this kind of crime, the crime of being born different. Sure, some took to trials, some took to the Movement of Tomorrow but most ended the wrong way.

“The war we spoke of before, I didn’t imagine being physically out of it. I’m not one for getting my hands dirty but girls love to play too. I don’t mind a little blood on me. Instead, we got peace parades drawing even more attention to this and vigilante groups playing neighborhood watch.” Anne’s whispered voice startled him.

He cleared his throat and allowed a glance at her long figure, lazy on the seat, legs crossed, arms tucked into the folds of her jacket. “They are decentralizing Globe’s empire. The more noise they create, the less he furthers his agenda.” Besides you know who’s leading those vigilantes, Massey added silently. She had wanted Joaquin active in this war and he was in his own way. His followed silence allowed her to push the conversation further.

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m used to a different kind of… exchange between warring parties. Lately I keep finding myself thinking, trying to figure out why Globe wants this rearrangement of things. Looking at this world I don’t think it’s ready to become something more, so I can’t see where he finds the silver lining that justifies all he’s doing. You know, for centuries I hated, Temujin and his offspring and their drive to eradicate us and implement their own faulty DNA. I hated the fact that he won. I thought of your kind as simple and pitiful, not worth walking this Earth. Now though… I think this world might be better off with people like me in the shadows and people like you, no offence, going berserk on Black Friday and enjoying crappy reality TV. And now, I find myself in that reality and I can’t stand idly by. This has become like a bad déjà vu only this time a psychopath is trying to supersoldier what little is left of my kind potentially destroying the entire world order in the process.”
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Permanence

This story isn’t part of official Days Until Home canon or anything. I just wanted to write something today, and felt like writing more in the DUH universe. There are minor spoilers if you haven’t read the entire web serial, so you’ve been warned. Chuck’s doing a one-word title flash fiction challenge, so here’s “Permanence” at 1190 words:

* * *

“I’m worried about her.”

Adelaide closed her eyes for a moment. She breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth. When she opened them, she locked her gaze with Old Vicky’s. “Viktor,” she began, but Helena appeared on screen and smiled at Adelaide.

“Adel,” Helena pleaded, “Viktor would check on her himself, but you’re so much closer.”

Adelaide rolled her eyes. Viktor and Helena were still on Luna Station. The notoriety of surviving the destruction of the Kerwood made Viktor a minor celebrity. Adelaide was counted among the Kerwood Nine as the media dubbed them all. She hadn’t talked to her any more or less than she talked to the Kerwood Chief Engineer, or the rest of the survivors. Since returning to Earth, Jeremy regularly sent recorded messages to them all, and personal messages to Adelaide. He wanted her to help him on conglomerate jobs he performed “in system.”

Adelaide was a pretty hot commodity. Everest and Matsue both tried to recruit her. The offers started with the same position she had on the Kerwood: Main Propulsion Assistant. She spent too many years aboard the Kerwood as an MPA, and she didn’t want a lateral transfer… she wanted to reach for the stars. Eventually some of the smaller corporations started offering her the position of Chief Engineer.

It wasn’t that she was unqualified; she just had a new lease on life, and wanted to weigh her options before accepting permanence. The sound of Old Vicky clearing his throat brought her out of her reverie. She sighed. “ChEng is closer, you know.”

Viktor’s eyes narrowed. “That may be the case, but you know why it should be you to see her.” His eyes softened. “Jeremy has tried…”

Adelaide waved her hand at the crotchety retired miner. “I’ll go see her,” she finally relented. “I guess I could use a holiday.”

Viktor nodded, leaned forward, and the image winked out. Adelaide leaned back in her utilitarian chair and fingered a pendant of schorl tourmaline around her neck. It was a gift from Jessica, and when Erika saw it, she broke off all contact with Adelaide. Adelaide was at first offended that Erika would act in such a manner. It wasn’t as if accepting the black gem meant that Adelaide had chosen one over the other. She walked to the Lexan portal and stared at the sidereal landscape. Her gaze was blank until a piece of debris flared past her view.

Adelaide turned from the portal and consulted her panel. It was bizarre that she had to perform so many supernumerary steps to get anything done. She was used to having her way with the Kerwood computer systems. She located a fast jumper with the annoyingly alliterative name of “Juniper Jumper.” If she hurried, she would make it to landing pad Charlie before the Juniper Jumper left. She wished she had time to visit with Matt Siebert who lived in the same section as her, but he was on Earth practicing his bushcraft searching for a lost ossuary in Austria. Adelaide smiled remembering the rotund Siebert brandishing his chemical welder so long ago in the Kerwood’s escape trunk. She saw a photo of him on the cover of an e-magazine specializing in outdoor life. Siebert had toned up since his stint on the ill-fated Kerwood.

Adelaide stepped out of her quarters and into the undulating flow of foot traffic toward landing pad Charlie. She was not looking forward to seeing her.
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Starfall CH04 – Headstrong

[2090 words – Prompts: Terribleminds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2]Cindy and I decided that we need to wrap this trilogy up. We want it finished by the end of April, so that means double chapters from here on out! Double the word count equals double the fun, right?

* * *

The decrepit church coughed dust under Joaquin’s heavy footsteps. He ran a lazy hand over still standing pews, nose itching at the pervading piss scent, one too recent to ignore among the natural smell of destruction and abandonment. The graffiti demoralizing the walls preached a different kind of psalm to him, a cruelly written reminder that it was still and would always be a dog eat dog world, only now supers and defects were barking equally loud at each other. The painted cross on the opposite wall couldn’t substitute the one that had been stolen but it was a symbol nonetheless, red and full of sharp edges. Joaquin stared at it for the longest time imagining blood dripping from its base into a chalice, a Holy Grail that would touch the lips of the worthy, of the true rulers of this world. A loud bang to his left made his brow furrow, the mirage dissipating before his eyes angrily turned to slits. He cocked his head scolding Kid’s balancing act on an overturned chair.

“Simmer down.”

The boy with the shadow of a blonde goatee on his thin, white face did as he was told, picking up the chair and placing it on its wobbly legs before sitting down. Cosma was studying the only stained glass intact by the flight of rocks by Xavier, and Nightwave was picking scattered leaflets off the ground. His boot kicked needles far under the pews, a disgust etched on his face.

“I used to come here on Sundays for my sister some years back. She sang in the choir.”

“Rough neighborhood?” Cosma quirked an eyebrow.

“The niners got the habit of drive-by shootings every other week. The pastor had some dealings with them putas and when he couldn’t pay, he ran for the border. Church never sent another pastor.”

Cosma whistled running slender fingers across her exposed throat, simulating a sliced gesture to Kid who smirked.

“Where’s the cop?” Quake asked.

Joaquin flinched at that honorific and at the motionless figure of the former guard, unamused by the locale. Betty looked half harmless to them so the snigger in their voices at the mention of her he couldn’t change, but her stance and the sharp glint in her eyes spoke much of her former life. She still didn’t want to admit she was a fugitive in a way after disappearing from her post at the SPD. Regardless of that she still acted the dutiful officer trying to nail in the no-harm-policy into their brand of vigilantism. Some bastards just had to be hurt; it wasn’t philosophy, it was street rules. Joaquin was dutiful too in that way. “She’ll be here.”

“Will you tell her?” Cosma probed, now standing close to Joaquin leaning over his shoulder matching his stance when he’d stared at the cross.

“What do you think? We need her.”
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Starfall CH03 – Neon Camouflage

[1100 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, Terrible Minds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader, #SoCS]

The American flag pin came off his lapel and he left it on the glass table. It wasn’t needed anymore. He loosened his tie with his hands in his pockets. The elevator took him down to the truer world he inhabited, the right one in the making. Two months ago, Globe had entertained the idea of killing Doctor Lee, or having one of his lackeys do it. But, he had to consider the lost data, the fatal error that cost him a setback had been accounted for, courtesy of Lee. The progress was still slower and Globe wished that he had Joaquin in a glass jar too. He was not fully satisfied with the progress but content enough. A super the “Nightprowlers” had brought after one of their raids was a close enough match to the existing assets to boost the system, add to the flow. The children comatose on their beds in their blue room were finally resonating on the level Globe needed them to, harvesting the DNA within their cells with Lee extrapolating it, adding it to the batch. A piece of Bree or so Globe hoped. He would know soon enough, the first trials had already begun. Little butterflies they were hatching pure data in beautiful colors. Globe chuckled. Who knew supers had colors running inside of them? Sindi made sure they stayed colorful on the news too.

Globe busied his lower lip staring up at Kristoff in his glass casket. The power juice would do wonders Kristoff would never see and if he fell asleep thinking he was superior, Globe was half sorry he wouldn’t wake up to a world controlled by Gods and Goddesses greater than him. Globe smiled at the notion of allowing Kristof to behold the divine.

Someone, however, was stealing his toys from him, hindering much needed experiments. Bree was full of riddles about that, riddles that chilled his nights and invaded his dreams. She told him she went to play with the kids from the blue room. The exploration of that dream world was a much wanted side task for him. Globe had to wonder what other dreams she barged into. One thing at a time, he had to remind himself.

Playtime was over. Globe returned to the elevator his mind full of promises and threats. Whoever was whisking away supers from him was soon going to find themselves in a deep, dark hole. Tonight, however, was all about appearances; he was about to go wine and dine with the rich and powerful, charming them into submission. Tomorrow he would play his part. He would go watch Miles Jensen take the needle, a seal to his conquest against supers. It felt good to be mayor.

* * *

The frame in his house, a proud young man with a shiny badge was a frame lodged into his skull, a constant blur in his tired vision. He was jealous of the face in the picture and the face was disappointed in him; the past judging the present. What he saw in the rear-view didn’t fit his vision of the past.
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Starfall CH02 – Street Sophistication

[1020 words – prompts: Inspiration Monday, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader]Her food merely decorated her plate, untouched, untasted. The coffee was too bleak for her taste. Perhaps the bitterness existed perpetually in her throat, rising like bile. Betty pulled the baseball cap down low to conceal herself. Her eyes were too revealing right now in the presence of her brother, walking away with a bus ticket in his hand. She bent over her wretched coffee and relived the words she uttered only moments before.

I came to give you this. I need you to be safe, Sam. I need you to get away from the city until everything blows over. Go to the house on the lake, it’s basically a dead zone there.

Betty looked at the booth in the corner locating Joaquin staring back on her. His eyes were telling, no time, be quick, you’ve said your goodbye. The rest of his posse clocked her too, one hovering at the counter, one stalling by the restrooms, one exploring by the exit, one waiting in line. She didn’t even know their names even after months together. Even after finding Joaquin in the dead of night on Whitbey Island among the beating of the restless waters, she didn’t remember their names. They dubbed themselves with silly pseudonyms made up from the mouths of people admiring or fearing them – Nightwave, Quake, Cosma, Kid Vision. It had been such a relief seeing Joaquin’s face but their roles had switched. She flinched at the thought of taking orders from him. The kid was damned stubborn. If he was a bit younger, she’d have called him precocious.

The shine in Joaquin’s eyes was tension mixed with excitement. He relished being out in the open like this, with “regular” customers sitting at a diner. They had to go. She knew that all faces were recognizable if one lingered too long, looked too closely. But for the life of her, Betty couldn’t stand up right now, vigilantes be damned. Her hand rested against the cold of her gun. Her pocket felt heavy.

“Look I know you’re in some kind of trouble, I mean I saw the news, I’ve seen the news, but it’ll all blow off right? You should come and stay with me until its safe.”

Poor Sam, little did he know. It was blowing out of proportion and she had crossed every line possible. Was it worth it? To keep Joaquin safe, to aid him in his crusade, if that was a good word for it, Betty didn’t know. After all she was still following Massey’s instructions even indirectly. Trailing like a ghost after people with extraordinary abilities, watching them strike down, urging herself to not point her gun, scream “Police,” and intervene as she was taught.

Betty’s eyes caught a fast-moving shadow outside. She traced the figure of a hooded man rushing outside the window. It happened in a split second. He neared a young woman leaning in as if for a kiss, for a whisper but she shoved him back, the connection broken there. He turned to run, emotions changing fast, his hood slipping back revealing just some boy, but she was quicker, she was prepared and tripped him. He fell flat on his face. The customers jumped to their feet watching the scenario unfold. Betty remained seated it was all too familiar. Joaquin however was outside. They were all outside.
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Starfall CH01 – Three Months Later

[1048 words]Three Months Later

The twitch in his left eye was the result of a slowly creeping headache. Andy rubbed at the throbbing spot, long finger progressively tapping, and absentmindedly drawing circles on his skin. His eyes scanned the screen, a multitude of tabs opened forming a sense of today that was senseless and non-linear. He listened to those who had the loudest voice and he listened to those who shared snippets, hashtag after hashtag, a niche gathering sensitive information, filtered just for him to find, to absorb, to locate a familiar figure out on the streets. But aside from the screen, he was a ghost, a myth that belonged to the streets; name unspoken, face unseen but actions present. Joaquin. The vigilante of tomorrow. The fool who started it all.

“Last month’s marches were topped as thousands of people reached the streets yesterday to signal their protest against the harsh measures approved by Mayor Globe in the superhuman crisis. The enforcement squad dubbed as “Nightprowlers” by civilians has been rounding up potential superhuman threats to national security since Jacob Globe’s election as Mayor of Seattle…”

– 7 PM news, Channel Q13

“These peace marches are ridiculous, there is no war happening out there. But if you want to talk numbers, I mean let’s talk numbers and look at how many people came out in support of Mayor Jacob Globe’s new law. Thousands! Thousands! There is a general fear out there but it’s not directed toward Mayor Globe. These people, these supers aren’t good willing citizens, they are trouble and he has had the balls, pardon me, to take them up. His measures may seem barbaric to some but I say thank God for them. I sleep safe at night! And besides, if his intentions were vile why tell me would he open a clinic to cure them?”

– Congressman Burton on the morning news, Channel 7 as quoted by The Herald

“I: Would you say that the people who came out in support of your kind were out there yesterday because they believe you are some Messiah, like many tweets say, #NewMessiah? Are we looking at the formation of a new religion?

A: I think they came because they believe we too are people like them deserving of our rights as humans. It has nothing to do with religion or politics. It has everything to do with morals and ethics and compassion. We didn’t fall from the sky, we were born on the same street as you, went to the same school unbeknownst to these abilities. We are no different and I have advocated that on many occasions in the past three months.

I: But you are different. And this is not a difference we’ve advocated toward in the past, it’s not the LGBTQ community out there, it’s not the Women’s March. You genuinely have superpowers.

A: Yes, we do. They are simply an extension of who we are. They don’t prevent us from paying our taxes, raising our children…

I: I bet the parents of the Madison Seven would disagree with that, with what Miles Jensen did.

A: And that’s the reason why the Movement of Tomorrow exists so it would prevent accidents like that one. I speak safely for all of our members, we do not condone vandalism, we do not wield our powers as weapons. I truly believe that we have grown enough to accept difference. I believe people understand what we’re trying to do and that’s why they came to support us. We don’t want war. I want to be able to go to the supermarket and buy a carton of eggs and a bottle of milk. I want to be able to go to work like I used to.
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19 – Negotiations

Cover-RM

It’s been 16 months since I’ve written anything for Victorious Maiden. The recent art by my daughter necessitated I at least try to continue the story. These 1042 words incorporate prompts from Chuck Wendig, The Writing Reader & #SoCS.

* * *

Kamaria sat across from Talib and pushed bread around her earthen flatware. The olive oil had soaked into the rough bread a while ago and it left shiny trails on her plate. Well, she thought, not her plate. She looked across the table at Talib and each child at her side. Her eyes shifted first to the child to her right, then to another child to her left. These last four children now shared a bond with her. Their parents had fallen in the battle against the bandit horde. The pair next to Talib was brother and sister, but the children on the bench next to her were orphans with no one to comfort them.

Talib pushed his plate away and cracked the bones in his neck. First to the left, and then to the right. “I must look for Jezebel,” he declared and rose to his feet.

Kamaria met his gaze. “You’d abandon us?” she asked, a lilt in her voice betraying her disbelief.

Talib sighed. “I have to rescue Jezebel,” he insisted.

The feeling of betrayal from only days before washed over her. She clenched her jaw, her mind replaying the scene of Talib and Jezebel together in front of the fire. “I’m shocked that evil lurks in your soul, Talib,” she scoffed. “Only someone with evil is his heart would abandon five orphans and go chasing after that-“ Kamaria closed her eyes and tried to focus her rage. “Girl,” she continued.

Talib’s lips quirked into a crooked smile. “Evil?” he asked. “Then I guess doing a good thing sometimes means being evil.”

Kamaria slammed her palm against the table hard enough to make the plate jump. The flush that crept up her cheeks matched the pain that flowed along her arm. The orphans to either side of her flinched at her outburst. Talib returned to a sitting position and reached across the table, placing his callused hand over hers. She felt the heat from his body traverse the same synapses as the pain from only a moment ago. She blinked and slid her hand out from under his. She ignored the splinter she picked up in her palm, and clasped her hands below the table.

Her mind again wandered to the time in the Dawn Forest. Talib’s words hung like an albatross around her neck. She knew that Talib was not evil. In her heart of hearts, she also admitted that Jezebel was not evil either. A harlot, maybe, but not evil.

She sighed. “I’ve heard that the Marquis and the Denizens of Dawn are in our tiny village. Maybe you should leave the rescuing to the professionals.”

Talib opened his mouth to protest, but was interrupted by the shifting of their rough-hewn bench. Two women Kamaria’s age sat on each side of the increasingly crowded table. One seized the bread from Kamaria’s plate and popped the whole piece in her mouth.

The other tilted her head to the side, and admonished her companion. “Asis,” she hissed, “manners.”

Asis brushed crumbs from her tunic. She let out a loud belch, stood, stepped away from the table, and offered an insincere curtsy. Her eyes darted from one empty glass to another. She shrugged, grabbed the bowl of olive oil, and slurped loudly. The orphaned children snickered and even a scowl from Kamaria did nothing to prevent the chorus of giggles. Talib even allowed a smile to transform his stern features. Asis’s companion rolled her eyes.
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Moonrise CH42 – No Guts, No Glory

moonrise-standard

[1085 words Prompts: Tina on Flickr via Terribleminds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, #SoCS]

“How can we…” The dude with knife tattoo cleared his throat and raised his voice. “Why we talking to this fool? He loco!”

Joaquin shook his head. “You fools have powers and all you’re doing is sittin’ here playing counsel? That’s some lame shit! You should be out there.”

The woman looked up at him. “And what are we supposed to do ‘out there?’ Rob banks like the other people with these abilities? Kill someone? We’re no one! And we can barely contain our powers.”

“Contain them?” Joaquin spit back at her.

“What do you think this place is, Fight Club? We’re trying to learn how to control this thing, how to suppress it. We want normal lives,” the woman continued.

Joaquin aimed an impish smile at her. “But you don’t need to do that mama, not when you have me. I’ve seen what others like us can do and it ain’t some petty ass pick and run. We’ve led armies, fought nations. We can do some crazy shit! I’ve seen a guy age people jus by touchin’ em. I’ve seen this immortal chick take a handful of shells and walk on.”

The silence they returned to him made Joaquin wave his hand. They didn’t buy his crap. “What kind of powers do you fools have anyway? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. C’mon I ain’t biting. I’m jus’ like you earning it hard.”

The teenager was first to raise his hand though reluctantly.

“Put your hand down mijo, we’re not in a classroom.”

The boy cleared his throat. “I have x-ray vision but it’s kind of like a super sight. I can see through pretty much anything.”

The languid security guard had remained silent until that moment let out a sigh. He took a knee and thumped the ground with his fist lightly. Joaquin felt a high-pitched vibration in his ears. The ground beneath his feet vibrated and that vibration threatened to turn into a quake but the man removed his hand. “Can’t do full earthquakes but can sure knock you down on your ass and keep you there.”

The woman looked uncomfortable. “I’d rather tell and not show. My ‘ability’ is to create a vacuum of space around you. As in Cosmos. Crushing you and choking you with absolute zero if I lose my temper. It lasts short though, so…”

Joaquin brandished a wide white-toothed smile. “Imma turn you pussies into superheroes. You’ll be vigilantes tomorrow payin’ back Globe for Miles and all those of us he turned to enemies of the public.”

“You and what right, mano?”
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Moonrise CH41 – To Forbidden Passengers

moonrise-standard

[1150 words | Prompts: TerribleMinds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader]

Joaquin jumped down from his pallet spy tower. He rubbed his knuckles against his eyes and willed the bleeding white stars away, an after effect from the super power he’d witnessed in secret. With the world now returned to its colors, objects took healthier shapes, outlines and details became solid, Joaquin found his way back to the red door with crimson light seeping into the night. He rapped the signal against the decaying dented surface. Rust flaked off of it where his fist landed urgently.

After a palm-sweating moment a man’s face appeared through the opening of the door swung ajar. His face was pinched, and his eyes narrowed. Joaquin made sure he was first to speak spitting his thoughts out fast.

“Do you have room for one more bruh?”

The man in the door chewed on his bottom lip sizing up Joaquin. He saw crusted blood over Joaquin’s brow, torn clothes and bullet holes without matching wounds. Joaquin was a circus attraction, a sight to behold, but a deep plea in his eyes still watery from the impossibly fast transition from light to no light spoke a powerful enough tale to the man guarding the door. He stepped aside and let Joaquin enter.

Joaquin felt the man grab him above the elbow and lead him through the pitch black. It was like walking blindfolded and no matter how much he blinked Joaquin couldn’t detect any shapes. He followed the directions blindly, allowing the man to steer him by the elbow. A lit barrel emerged instantly from nothingness. Glowing embers faded as they launched on fragrant wisps of smoke. The scene reminded Joaquin of some space sci-fi movie. That’s how he felt too, stepping into seemingly thin air approaching a circle of light supported by nothing, surrounded by nothing. It just floated there ominously. But he heard – proof of a solid plane under his feet and of reality. There were people and sounds that they made that were too audible for his ears. Did the oppressing darkness heighten other senses? Joaquin would never know.

The people in a circle around the barrel emerged from nothingness; they were all quiet waiting for Joaquin to enter the halo of light and reveal his face. A woman in her mid-thirties stood up first from her red plastic chair. “We won’t turn you back now that you’re here but-” she paused and met each of her companions’ eyes, “how did you find this place?”

Joaquin took in the sight of them. They appeared to be ordinary people. Even his former guard was behind him toying with the keys on his belt. It was such a common thing to do. The one playing with his keys was the short one; the tall man had his hands in his pockets but his eyes were dark and sharp like the knife tattooed on his left cheek. The woman had the look of a kindly kindergarten teacher as she nervously pushed her glasses back up her nose. A pimply teenager somewhat younger than Joaquin kicked his backpack further under the red plastic chair and stared at Joaquin with wide eyes.

Completely ignoring the woman’s question, Joaquin’s laugh echoed off the tall roof of the warehouse. “You guys have powers!”

The quartet looked at each other.

“Are you fuckin’ retarded esé? Isn’t that why you’re here?” The tall man with the knife tattoo chuckled rubbing the back of his head.
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