Tag Archives: the writing reader

Scandalous Contradiction

This is a continuation of Permanence, but if you missed it, you can still read this. Both parts are still not an official part of Days Until Home. But, and you have to imagine me leaning in close and whispering conspiratorially, there could be an announcement this summer about that… Anyway, these 1,487 words are from the following prompts: Terrible Minds, Inspiration Monday, The Writing Reader, Sunday Scribblings 2, #3WW, & #SoCS.

* * *

Adelaide was eager to disembark the Juniper Jumper. Even with no advance notice, information brokers found their way into tickets for the short hop from Earth to Luna Station. Some were able to purchase their passage on the atmospheric jumper by purchasing their tickets on the exchange. Those that were tardy ended up paying a premium on the secondary market. At least one information broker stood with her equipment at the boarding gate and simply offered each patron before they boarded triple and quadruple the going rate for tickets. To the young couple who intended to vacation on Luna, a delay of only twelve hours was worth is for the exorbitant profit they would make reselling. Even after paying the taxes on their windfall, they still would have enough to upgrade their accommodations and tuck a little away for the next tax season. She wondered how many ticket holders were re-accommodated to later flights. Adelaide frowned at the euphemism often employed by the corporations. It was an offense to language that they would hide their true actions behind innocent words like that. The flagrant disregard for, and the lengths to which they go to violate an individual’s rights was almost an anticlimax when she saw it in person.

Adelaide did her best to keep out of the digital eye of the brokers. Paparazzi, she remembered the archaic term for the ambush journalists. They were like bitches in heat, their tongues wagging and doing everything to catch her eye. They knew that with Adelaide and Erika traveling together, something was going on. Even a year after their return to Earth and six months after the Kerwood Nine stood trial for the destruction of the mining ship they were still newsworthy. Those that cared about such things knew that there were at lease two other Kerwood survivors living on Luna Station, plus both Jeremy and Old Vicky found their way on board regularly.

Erika complained constantly about the intrusion into their privacy. Adelaide shrugged and shared a knowing and sympathetic smile with the flight crew. At least they kept themselves professional, she thought. The same couldn’t be said for the information brokers.

Adelaide’s years of spacefaring allowed her to know the exact moment that they switched from the fractional gravity aboard the Juniper Jumper to the full-G of Luna Station. Most people knew that something was up when their stomachs lurched from aft to “down” as the jumper aligned itself with the station’s rotation.

As an engineer, Adelaide appreciated the complex mechanism that allowed the station to rotate around the space elevator that tethered the monstrosity of steel and Lexan to Luna. Adelaide would never admit it to anyone, but she felt the pull of Luna. It was as if she was coming home after a particularly long contract.

Adelaide saw one of the flight crew poke her head into the first class cabin and lock gazes with her. Her reaction was slight, and the crewmember nodded and retreated to the cockpit.

“Hey,” Erika pouted when Adelaide grabbed her by the elbow and moved down the narrow aisle.

“We don’t have time for a show,” Adelaide hissed to her companion.
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Moonrise CH45 – 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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Moonrise CH44 – 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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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 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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Moonrise CH40 – All Flags Fall

moonrise-standard

[1234 words – prompts: Inspiration Monday, Terribleminds, #3WW, The Writing Reader, Sunday Scribblings 2]

Betty left the dimly lit corridor and went back through the bland looking door leading to Andy’s secret hospital room. The nurse busied herself with his painkillers and soaked bandages, replacing them with clean ones. He was half drifting to sleep; half-awake asking questions about the fire, about someone named Anne, about Joaquin, but mostly about himself. All questions Betty couldn’t answer. She was given scarce information in the heat of the moment, rushed to the hospital in the dead of night to keep new secrets away from people who desperately wanted to know them. But she was given enough to know something was amiss with the Jensen case, with Major Globe. Massey’s warning had been brief and hurried – she couldn’t trust anyone right now. The world was turning upside down, friends became foes and vice versa.

Betty shivered in her thin jacket; the weight of her service weapon pulled her down. She looked to Andy near motionless in his drug-induced haze. He’d got hurt on account of supers but he was still eager to help. Was it some shared insanity driving everyone to do crazy shit and risk their lives? Or was it a duty of care that they couldn’t turn away from? Did they just crave adrenalin?

“You know it’s funny how the world suddenly depends on a street thug, a sociopathic woman, a crazy old detective and a small time hacker,” Andy croaked from his bed. Betty sat on the edge of his bed. “You’d think that among all these people with powers there would be someone, anyone who would, I don’t know, put a cape on and fight crime and corruption. You know, the cliché. Instead, people are proving that prick right.” He tried to look at her but Betty knew his mind was muddied, thoughts ricocheting madly, pain and helplessness and adrenaline jolting his mind awake when it should be asleep, resting. Andy was committed to his emotion exchange, so she listened.

“Once you let fear in it’s pretty much over. I mean I’ve seen the bad and the ugly on the supers side and I’ve seen them on this side, our side. Am I making sense? The pills are kicking in mighty fast. Officer, can you imagine genocide based on something unsubstantial? So many lies were told but people buy them. It’s so easy once you let fear in. These days I guess it’s only common. But we’ll get an uprising. Do you think we’ll pull it off? Save the city? The world?”

Andy’s voice was hoarse now fading away as he was lulled to an unconscious sleep by the morphine that the nurse was injecting. But he did make sense. He summarized the ludicrousness of the situation. A situation that Betty now invested in the outcome.

She rested her hand on his bare arm. “I don’t know buddy. I guess we’re about to find out.” Right now she could believe just about anything.

Without a uniform she felt like a person overstepping the law wielding guns in desolate hospital wings, protecting people she barely knew prophesizing about a world ending and caped crusaders. True, she had her badge uncomfortably biting into her leg inside her pocket, but she was still incognito. So when her personal cell vibrated on the small table in Andy’s room, Betty jumped nearly pointing her gun at it. She mustered all the control she had to pick it up and leave the room to the sleeping and the injured.

“Felix, what do you want? Do you know what time it is?”

“Massey just got arrested! I’m at the station filling out a shit ton of paperwork and that agent what’s his name-”
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Moonrise CH37 – Puppet Army

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[1195 words – Prompts: Terribleminds, Inspiration Monday, Sunday Photo Fiction, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader]

Joaquin’s eyes scanned the street. He knew if Globe’s men found him, it would be his end. The way that Anne and Frank talked about the man, he was a genocidal maniac. A well-connected genocidal maniac. The FBI was in Globe’s pocket. They were his puppet army. The local police wouldn’t trust a young black man with a rap sheet as impressive as his. His only ally, Detective Frank Massey, seemed to only trust him with unimportant tasks. He only clutched the package to his chest because everything turned to shit today. Even if he were to get the proof to someone outside of Globe’s influence, he doubted that they would listen to him.

His enemies were everywhere. It was a hopeless situation. But, he reminded himself, Andy’s good people. Betty’s eyes softened when she looked at him. She didn’t see a thug; a carjacker; a purse-snatcher. She seemed to see beyond his past. She saw the same future that Peter saw. Joaquin sighed, remembering the firefight at the cabin in the Canadian wilderness. He cursed himself for running away from the team of mercenaries took down Peter and Kristof. He flinched as the crack of a handgun echoed in his memory.

Globe’s men took Peter alive. Anne told them as much. Frank and Andy worked to expose Globe for the villain that he was. Joaquin could only hope that everything would turn out the way Frank and Anne planned. But still, he would never forget her cackle and the blood smeared across her face as Anne murdered the Seventh Street Kings. He wondered if she was any better than Globe.

Joaquin took a deep breath and stepped off the curb. He would see his task completed. He had hope that some higher power would set things right. Joaquin allowed a smarmy grin. And if that power decided not to, well then, Joaquin would do his damnedest to do it instead. He squared his shoulders and walked confidently onto the seedy Seattle street. He had hope in the face of hopelessness. He had righteousness in the face of wickedness. He had to stop Globe at any cost.

He wondered if that was enough to make him a hero.

* * *

“It was somewhere near Whidbey Island, but I don’t know where. I don’t know if Joaquin even went there. Shit, detective… it was my idea. After we had found out Miles Jensen might be innocent, I suggested to Joaquin that we go and search for more proof. I told him it would be best we don’t call you right away.”

Massey pulled the blinds aside and squinted to see the traffic. He searched for black dots with flashing blue and red lights, but there were none. The bad guys would arrive incognito. Sighing, he pulled away from the window and sat on the chair beside Andy’s bed. “It’s alright Andy. You couldn’t have known things would go sideways so quickly.”

Andy nodded his good eye filling with tears. “Detective, are you sure this Anne can be trusted? I know what you said about the plan and all, but…” He blinked his eye several times to clear the moisture.
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