Wild West BS

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Image credit goes to Santa Fe Ghost and History Tours

Green note: this here’s for SS2 and FF. It’s one of the silliest things you’ll ever read. Its trifling existence is predicated on the avoidance of pressing on with a writing project involving an idea so good that I’ve become scared of it. Makes perfect sense…

 

It all went down at Persy’s Place. The regulars had been enjoying their usual late Saturday breakfasts and lunches that blended and didn’t end until happy hour. And at Persy’s, happy hour was set at 5pm and folks didn’t tamper with it, unless there was some dire need to start it up a tad early, but it was never late.

This particular Saturday, at 2:43pm, in the middle of some’s breakfasts and others’ lunches, a short man in a black fedora and trench coat busted in through the side door on the blaring rays of a hot Eldorado day. Everyone stopped chewing and watched the man.

The first thing he did was to set down a giant black briefcase that’d been tiring his right arm. Then he leaned back against the door, his chest heaving for lack of air and his eyes looking this way and that until they adjusted to the atmospheric light of Persy’s.

When his eyes found the bar, he yanked his briefcase up off the floor and made a beeline for the bartender, slapped some money down and ordered a shot of whiskey. Folks gasped and a buzz commenced.

The bartender stopped his glass-polishing and regarded the stranger. “Mighty early, ain’t it, mister?”

“Not today, it’s not,” the man said, “And please be quick about it.”

“See here now, happy hour technically don’t start ‘til 5.”

“Listen, sir, I’ll be on my way soon as I get that shot.”

“You ain’t no alcoholic is ya?”

“Look, I need the fortitude, I think I’m being followed, I picked up the wrong briefcase and—”

“Save it, brother, I gotcha covered,” the bartender said. He poured the man his shot and pushed it toward him, winked and said real low, “Sometimes I sneak me a little pick-me-up, too.”

No sooner than the man had downed his shot, the front door blasted open and the patrons sprang back in their seats as six, black-masked marauders rushed in. Their capes fluttering back behind them made them look like crows landing in a corn field.

The man dropped his shot glass and reached for the briefcase. One of the marauders shot the man’s hand and he snatched it to his chest and held it there, blood oozing onto his white shirt.

The patrons held their breath as the gears turned in the man’s head, torn as he was on risking his other hand trying to pick up the case and run with it or just plain running for his life. He chose the latter and ran for the side door with half the marauders after him.

The other half lunged for the briefcase and ended up shooting the lock off it, and there it was, the gleaming consignment of gold they’d been hired to collect for Narsis, master of the dark country.

Amidst the marauders’ cries of triumph came a round of gunshots from outside. The patrons jumped, some screamed, certain that the shots signaled the demise of the poor fedora man, and the swift return of the absent marauders confirmed it in their minds.

Two of the marauders quickly secured the case for travel and in the doing, a handful of the patrons were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the shining bars of gold. They oohed and ahhed as all six marauders made for the door in the same manner as they’d arrived, their capes flapping like skyward-sweeping crows mocking the landlocked with their caws.

Just as they’d reached the door it exploded inward knocking the first two marauders back and mowing down the others like Dominoes, and four gigantic Texas Rangers swept into Persy’s dressed in white hats, boots, dusters, and gloves.

The patrons watched the Rangers tear the marauders to pieces like great white gryphons and regain the treasure of gold that rightfully belonged to Eiron, king of the domain of light.

Three of the Rangers heaved two marauder bodies each around their thick necks and their commander took up the black briefcase. Then they marched in step toward the front door apologizing to the patrons who nodded impatiently.

Just as the patrons started to take stock of all that had happened, the front door was flung open again, and the white Rangers, now mostly red with marauder blood, backed into Persy’s as if they were on slow re-wind.

Some of the still-curious folks waited to see what was driving the Rangers back, but most of them were looking for a chance to leave uneventfully. Their food was an hour cold, it was too early for happy hour, and the predominant thought was to get out and redeem the Saturday.

The third Ranger was all in and the back of the commander could now be seen, then his arms, one of which still had the briefcase full of gold dangling from it. When he’d backed all the way in, the snarling chops of an enormous orange tiger came into view, its fangs dripping with drool. The patrons that had stood to leave, sat back down.

The tiger advanced low to the floor on monstrous paws, the great bones of its shoulders shifting stealthily, slowly, slowly until it sprang for the commander’s neck. The other three Rangers instantly ditched the dead marauders from their shoulders and went for their guns but couldn’t get a clear shot into the spinning ball of white flailing and orange mauling.

Once there was no life left in the commander, the tiger, desiring to take his kill to a secluded spot, dragged the commander’s body this way and that in frustration.

The bartender hollered from behind the bar, “Someone open a door for crissakes!”

“I got it,” Joe Beasley said since he was nearest the side door. He jumped up, propped the door open and hurried back to his table.

The tiger went toward the light with his kill and the three remaining Rangers, all in shock, picked up the dead marauders and the briefcase and followed after the tiger like zombies, mumbling apologies.

Joe got up, shut the door and just stood there wondering what to do.

“Well,” the bartender said, “It ain’t but 4:08pm, but I reckon an early happy hour is warranted.” He looked about the room, at the state of the patrons and hollered, “All drinks half-price!”

Anyone who was planning to leave shrugged, figured the day was shot anyway, and bellied up to the bar.

The bartender yelled, “Someone bolt the doors!” and flew into action.

“I got it,” Joe said.

Fin

 

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It could have gone like this

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Image credit: Found this conquistador here during a search for more  of Steve Epting’s work, but the artist wasn’t identified.  So Steve, if this one’s yours and you happen to see it, please don’t sue me.

Green note:  Got a killer concept in the works, but no time to see it through for this round of #fridayflash.  Most bothersome. So for now, to keep the blogging muscle supple, here are some additional thoughts on “Bunny,” the Spanish busboy, in the form of an alternate ending.

 

It went like this in Mucha Bravado:

I swear I’ve never been unfaithful to you, Charles, and I will not admit to an offense I didn’t commit.”

“That’s it!” Bunny said. He rushed to the couple’s table, said to Doe-eyes, “I know you!”

Doe-eyes looked appalled. Charles sat erect, prepared to defend.

“Just who do you think you are?” she said.

Bunny winked at her. “You don’t remember our Spanish Fantasy?”

“How dare you invade our privacy with your ridiculous—”

“I dare no more than you,” Bunny said. “I believe it was a ‘well hung conquistador type’ you asked for when you called the escort service, and naturally they sent me.”

“Do something, Charles!” Doe-eyes snapped.

Charles stood up, got eye-to-eye with Bunny. “You’re way out of line, sir. Leave us now or I’ll get you fired.”

“No, seriously, I know her! She’s Amora, got a blue butterfly tattoo on her left hip!”

Charles turned to Doe-eyes, raised an eyebrow. “Amora?”

She flushed bright red.

“Finally, that vulgar tattoo has paid for itself as a handy identifier,” Charles said.

“No!” Doe-eyes cried. “It was a lucky guess!”

Charles snatched the papers from the table. “My attorney will be in touch,” he said and walked out.

But it could have gone on like this:

As soon as the restaurant door closed on Charles’ heel, Bunny turned to Doe-eyes, “So, you wanna go out tonight?”

Doe-eyes sat stiff at the table feigning poise. “Get away from me, you swine,” she said low through gritted teeth.

Bunny laughed softly. He looked at her, bemused. “This, from a whore?”

Diners glanced over during pauses in their own conversations, intrigued and intent on the outcome.

“Swine, whores, and whore-chasers,” Bunny mused. “Timeworn.”

Doe-eyes shot him a killing glance.

Bunny grinned. “But I like it,” he said. “Who we gonna get to play the Whore-chaser?”

Doe-eyes huffed, reached to the floor for her purse. When she straightened, Bunny was leaning over the table writing his cell phone number on her napkin. His skin smelled like the air after an electrical storm. She recoiled.

“Chill, mi cosita,” Bunny said.

“What are you doing!” she hissed.

Bunny shoved the napkin toward her. “Call me. I will give you another unforgettable evening. After that you gotta call the escort service…unless you treat me real nice.” He winked and turned on his chic heel to finish bussing table three.

“Beast!” Doe-eyes said under her breath. She made eye contact with her waiter, signaled for the check. He came immediately with it and was met with her credit card.

“Thank you, Madam,” he said. “I’ll be right back with the receipt.”

While she waited, Doe-eyes fixed a demure smile on her face to belie her unease about future uncertainties. Her eyes kept wandering toward Bunny.

His muscles fired under smooth, olive skin as he worked the dining room with skill and confidence as if leading a lady in dance.

One silken lock of hair had slipped from his ponytail and Doe-eyes remembered how elegant his hair had been all loosed, how she’d worn it like a chiffon gown for a night.

The waiter set the receipt folder on the table. A shock of irritation jolted Doe-eyes.

“Thank you, Mrs. Winston,” he said. She forced a smile. He bowed and left.

Mrs. Winston signed the receipt, transcribed Bunny’s cell number from the napkin onto her copy of the receipt and put it in her purse. Then she rose, picked up the napkin and dropped it into her water glass.

Bunny watched her walk out the door as the black ink bled and swirled like the smoke from a kindling fire.

Fin

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Mucha Bravado

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Image credit goes to awesome artist, Steve Epting. He’s also an illustrator and he currently works for Marvel Comics.

Green note: La vida loca’s not for me: flying here, being there, mostly incommunicado, barely making deadlines. Worked on this story in bits, still working on it…maybe…

 

“Bunny! Get your ass out here!”

Bunny jumped, nearly dumped the cocaine piled high in his pinky nail. He lifted it to his right nostril and sucked the powder into his head.

Bunny!

“Jesus, Hanford, can’t you give a guy a moment’s peace in the john?”

“Not when there’s tables need bussing! Tables seven and nine need bussing now! Eight’s coming up, then three and eleven, and we got a line out the door!”

“Alright, alright, just a minute!” Bunny hollered back. He snorted one last nail full of coke, capped the vial and jammed it back in his sock.

“Boy, you better quit jerkin’ off and get on out here or your ass will be in the unemployment line!”

Bunny checked his nose in the mirror and pulled his sleek black hair into a ponytail. He unlocked the door, gave it a violent outward shove and came skittering out.

Hanford jumped back, could move fast for a paunchy little man.

“But I just started workin’ here, boss man!”

“Hell’s fire, boy, you’re one hopped-up son of a gun! Hence the name ‘Bunny’ eh?”

“That’s not it, boss,” Bunny said. “It’s on account of my gift to women, if you catch my drift.”

“It sure ain’t on account of your brains, working a busboy job.”

“Are you kidding? I got an IQ of 145.”

“Sure you do,” Hanford said. “Now get on out there!”

“Seriously, boss!”

Hanford lunged at Bunny. “Git!

Bunny ran away laughing, grabbed a bus tub on his way past the kitchen and strode into the dining area.

He headed for table seven and began clearing it. A plate slipped out of his hand and he grabbed it just in time to buffer the noise of it hitting the other plates in the tub.

Bunny shot a glance at the couple at table five to see if he’d disturbed them, but there was such intensity there, a tension that seemed unlikely to be broken even by a stack of dishes crashing.

The man’s face looked haggard but his hands were on fire. The index finger of one hand repeatedly jabbed at the paperwork in the middle of the table while the other gesticulated angrily. And his voice, though low, was fierce, spitting, barely under control.

The woman sat quietly, her shoulders sloped and her hands lay limp in her lap, as if she had no energy to do anything more with them, ever. Only her lovely, watery eyes gave expression to her soundlessness.

Bunny rushed his full tub back to the kitchen, grabbed an empty on his way back to the dining room and began working table nine. He couldn’t keep his eyes off the doe-eyed woman, kept stealing pieces of her in glances. She looked so perfect and sepia-soft, so delicate of frame and mind. Bunny’s heart cried for her. He wanted that heartless dirtbag of a man to hurt as much as she did.

Bunny felt anger heat his head. He ran another full tub to the kitchen and came back to table eight where he could get a closer look at the goings-on. He loaded the tub as quietly as he could, collected bits of the dirtbag’s cutting words.

The papers turned out to be a first draft of a divorce petition, and Bunny watched Dirtbag keep pushing them toward his doe-eyed wife, insisting that she read them, add input. She wouldn’t touch them, and Dirtbag looked like he was fixing to blow a gasket.

Bunny ran his tub back and returned to table three, ready to nail the guy to the wall if he started any trouble. But Dirtbag had crumpled. He was now a hunched mass, elbows on the table, head in hands, fingers threaded through salt-and-pepper hair.

Doe-eyes sat forward and took up her water glass in a delicate hand. Bunny watched the sensuous way she brought the glass to her sweet, full lips, watched them receive the glass’ edge and melt against it. He’d seen that before, just like that.

Bunny went through a catalog of actresses in his mind, trying to place her moves. He watched her set her glass down softly. Then she reached her hand toward Dirtbag and touched his arm. Bunny braced himself.

Dirtbag lifted his tired head, looked at her, quizzical.

“I’ll have nothing to do with this paperwork because I’ve done nothing wrong,” Doe-eyes said.

Bunny’s heightened, vibrating senses all funneled into her soft, sad voice. He’d heard it before. He went back to his mental catalog of actresses. Dirtbag said nothing. Doe-eyes spoke to him again.

“I swear I’ve never been unfaithful to you, Charles, and I will not admit to an offense I didn’t commit.”

“That’s it!” Bunny said aloud. He rushed to the couple’s table, said to Doe-eyes, “I know you!”

Doe-eyes looked appalled. Charles sat erect, prepared to defend.

“Just who do you think you are?” she said.

Bunny winked at her. “You don’t remember our Spanish Fantasy?”

“How dare you invade our privacy with your ridiculous—”

“I dare no more than you,” Bunny said. “I believe it was a ‘well hung conquistador type’ you asked for when you called the escort service, and naturally they sent me.”

“Do something, Charles!” Doe-eyes snapped.

Charles stood up, got eye-to-eye with Bunny. “You’re way out of line, sir. Leave us now or I’ll get you fired.”

“No, seriously, I know her! She’s Amora, got a blue butterfly tattoo on her left hip!”

Charles turned to Doe-eyes, raised an eyebrow. “Amora?”

She flushed bright red.

“Finally, that vulgar tattoo has paid for itself as a handy identifier,” Charles said.

“No!” Doe-eyes cried. “It was a lucky guess!”

Charles snatched the papers from the table. “My attorney will be in touch,” he said and walked out.

Fin

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Winter Mind

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Moonlit trees image taken by Tim Massaro – http://www.flickr.com/photos/76606165@N00/8494342760

Green note: I have the mean tag team, Travel and Time, to curse, for leaving me with only this puddle of prose.

 

I woke to slow-coming remembrances of the last 27 days-worth of hard luck.

On a third quest to restore the peace of a bygone day, my cavalry had been captured and I’d been traded for the life of another. I was dropped into a dungeon, starved and kept awake with the jabs of a spear, had to lick the damp stone walls for moisture to live on. When the Marshal’s men rescued me and delivered me unto the Lesser Brothers, there was little left of me. My body was skin and bones, my mind full of holes.

Just last night the moon had lit up the whole nighttime world, as far as I could see anyway. The moon shone down on the trees, casting their shadows out in front of them. The deciduous trees’ shadows were particularly stunning. Perfect representations of their bare branches extended from the bases of their trunks so that they looked like roots inked onto a glistening, stark-white canvas. And I had it all to myself.

As the others slept, I went outside into the freezing air and took pictures. They came out black, but that was no matter, for it was merely an exercise in entreating Hope to return. It would not, but the beauteous scene pierced my soul, and from the fresh wound came a blood of sorts that needed to be let: the question of Help’s origin.

Only a certain amount of help can come from one’s brothers. They did the right thing, could not have known what shape I’d be in, but they cannot restore my health.

Help from a higher power is uncertain, shows itself on occasion in hindsight, but comes with no guarantee of present or future services.

If Help must come from within, but there are no remaining or known resources on which to draw, what is one to do?

Both existence and the quality of it are too uncertain for my taste. Randomness seems to rule, to keep Destiny and Fate back like buffoons attempting to crash a posh dinner party.

I suppose I shall remain outside then, and wait for Mercy, as Time runs down slow like black oil over snow.
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Be my guest: Richard Godwin’s “Pick-up”

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Truck stop image credit goes to The Huffington Post

Green note: What do you do when you’re busier than a racoon in tall corn? You call on a pal for a guest post, is what: Richard Godwin is a kickass crime, horror, and kitchen sink author and this here is a shortened-up version of one of my early favorites of his. Thank you for obliging, Richard : )

 

PICK-UP by Richard Godwin

Beyond the stained window the hissing scar of the highway looked deserted. Patty felt she was in the wrong town with no visa. The diner was empty apart from the guy in the corner. He’d been eyeing her all night. Patty was used to eyes on her, sometimes they felt like insects crawling across her deadened skin.

‘I don’t suppose you have a light?’ he said, walking over to her.

‘Sure,’ Patty said, flicking her Zippo, hiding the stain, snuffing it out. ‘Spare a cigarette?’

‘Oh yeah.’

The waitress bristled past, all swish of starched uniform and the click of over chewed gum. She looked at them out of the corner of her eye, a slight curl of her lip.

Patty stepped outside into the mix of ice cold and diesel fumes. After the initial silence, they started the smokers’ chat. Weather, journeys, directions, bitching about this and that, and then he said it. Just like that. No interlude, no build up. As if he was ordering a pizza. ‘Last night I killed a man.’

He took a deep drag and blew it skywards then turned and looking her right in the eyes, said, ‘A guy got smart. He was nobody, really. I shot him. Twice.’

‘That right?’

Silence. And just two burning cigarette ends in the cold and the smog. A truck whizzed by.

‘Why you telling me this?’ she said.

‘Cause there’s one thing I always feel like doing after I kill someone.’

‘No shit?’

‘Yeah. An’ that’s fuck a sweet young thing like you. You looked good to me in there sitting over that coffee. Thought you was gonna hit that waitress. First I thought maybe you was a dike, seeing how you kept looking at her, but I figured what would you want with a used up old whore like that? Then I saw those little gloves you’re wearing and I knew for sure you ain’t no dike. Those hands are made for one thing, sweetheart, and that’s whipping up its head in my pants. That coffee must have been colder than a frigid ass. ’Nother smoke?’

He held up the cigarette packet.

‘Thanks. Though, I ain’t gonna sleep with you.’

‘No. I ain’t askin’ you to sleep with me, honey.’

‘Just so’s we understand that.’

‘How old are you anyway, out here alone on the highway?’

‘Twenty-six.’

‘That right? There’s a bad dude out there, in case you ain’t heard, he’s been chopping women up. Much badder’n old Jim. I don’t kill ladies, just fuck them.’

‘I can look after myself.’

‘Maybe you need me to look after you.’

‘What are you gonna be, my sugar daddy?’

‘Heard one woman got her throat opened up real bad. Out here, alone, just her thumb in the air and only her poontang to pay. They call him the maniac trucker, although I hear this guy drives a pick up.’

‘Thank you for the smoke,’ she said, walking back in.

Inside, the waitress stared at her from behind the counter, hands on her hips. Just another anonymous judge. Patty watched her stare fade. The waitress went out back. Patty felt weak and as she tried to remember the last time she’d eaten, and Jim walked in, laughing, almost dancing across the diner to where she sat.

‘Come on, darling, we can do it in the john,’ he said.

The smell of pizza drifted across the air.

‘How much you got?’

‘I knew you were a pick up. I reckon you’re worth a hundred.’

‘Hundred and fifty.’

‘Done.’

He peeled a stack of tens out of his wallet and laid them in her palm.

‘I’ll see you in the john,’ she said.

After a few minutes Jim made his way there.

She was standing at the back, past the urinals, outside the only clean cubicle.

Jim walked in and put a broom handle against the door.

‘Well, hallelujah baby.’

‘Come on,’ she said, walking into the cubicle, pulling down her jeans.

‘You’re safe with me.’

‘I know.’

‘How do you know?’

‘I can always tell, now come on get it while it’s hot.’

‘You’re as sweet as cherry pie, ain’t you?’

His zip made a harsh sound in the empty john. She saw endless miles of road as his skin made contact. She thought she heard someone trying the door as he entered her. She looked over Jim’s shoulder at a fly crawling across the graffiti. She felt the cold wall against her buttocks as he stopped.

He winked and ran his finger across her cheek.

‘Told you I ain’t the maniac trucker.’

Then he looked down at her right forearm and shook his head. There was a jagged scar running through the tattooed word “Mom”.

After he left she heard a pick up drive off as she checked herself in the mirror.

She was thinking about food when the door swung open and the waitress walked in.

‘I knew it,’ she said. ‘I saw him leave, I’m calling the po-lice.’

‘Why you such a bitch?’

‘You just made a big mistake, you ho.’

‘You don’t get to call me no hooker, you’re just a fucking waitress.’

She was trying to leave when Patty grabbed her hair. She spun round and struck Patty hard across the face.

‘I wish that killer would pick you,’ the waitress said.

Patty smiled.

‘Oh yeah?’

She had one fist clenched in the waitress’s uniform as she pulled her switchblade from her pocket and opened up her throat. The blade was still moving in the air as the waitress spurted blood on the wall, staggering round with her eyes popping. And Patty watched her fall, one hand on the floor, reaching for something she never found.

She stepped over the body and out of the diner and hailed a passing truck.

Jim went back the next day and heard the waitress had been killed by the maniac trucker.

Every time he took a piss there, he thought of the hot little tattooed thing he’d screwed, as the steam rose from the urinal like a mist.

Fin

 

RGformal_240x_MissA-guest-post photo RGformal_240x_MissA-Guest-Post.jpgRichard Godwin is the author of critically acclaimed novels Apostle Rising, Mr. Glamour, and One Lost Summer.

Richard was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King’s College London, where he also lectured.

You can find out more about him at his website www.richardgodwin.net, where you can also read his Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, his popular and unusual interviews with other authors.


Zero,Zero

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Image credit Braden Piper Photography

Green note: since a tooth is imploding in my head and I’m on massive doses of a voodoo codeine concoction, I thought this the perfect time to bring home my hallucinogenic “Zero,Zero” flash that the “Full of Crow/MiCrow” folks were gracious enough to publish in 2010 yet left in a semi-functional state…

 

ZERO,ZERO

I barged into the nasty bar bathroom, drink in hand, coming down off acid. It was one size fits all, just a dinky sink and a dirty toilet with a fucked up woman straddling it, staring at the wall. Her dull, brown hair was matted at the back of her head and straggling wild in front, like from a nightmare of a sleep. A moth-eaten tan sweater barely stretched across her kickball belly, was buttoned wrong, all bunched up under her tits. Tatty sky blue knit pants were stretched down around her ankles. My feet froze to the floor, my hand to the doorknob, my eyes to the sight of her.

The woman began slowly to swivel her head toward me on its x-axis. I was sure if her head didn’t fly off and kill me on impact, the worms that leached out of it would slap around my legs and suck me down into the piss and dirt on the floor. My traitorous eyes wouldn’t shut to hide me. I was forced to watch as her head kept turning toward me until it found my y-axis and locked there at zero,zero. I braced for a bad death.

Her face was unloaded, wiped blank of everything but dried pathways that had once held tears. She didn’t move her head from zero,zero. Only her downcast lashes lifted, dragging up with them leaden eyes so dark there were no pupils. My skin turned to gooseflesh in their wake as they rolled up the front of me in their sockets—hounded, forgiving, pitiful, all-knowing—like Jesus at the ninth hour, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?! And when they fastened on my eyes, I relaxed into them, and I heard her say in a low, cigarette voice, “I just gave birth.”

I felt my body sacrifice its weight with an infinite sigh. My drink glass slipped from my hand and bounced in the filth. Jack Daniels and ice washed over my feet and I let loose the doorknob like breaking from rehab. I moved toward the woman to embrace her as innocence, but stopped, now cold again with fear. “Where is your baby?” I whispered, suspicious.

The woman said nothing, only held me steady in the darkness of her eyes, regarding me impersonally. Then, without warning, she let me drop. And that’s when I saw it, as I fell, between her thighs…

As blameless as a baby I floated, half dead and drowning in human tissue and bloody toilet water, questioning the price, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!

Fin

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Lunatic Under Glass

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“In the Valley of Vision” by Samuel Palmer found at Thomas Sheridan’s Official Blog

Green note: This here’s for Jules, one of the coolest chicks on the planet. She wanted to know more about the Lunatic Beauty. I think Jules has a more mystical idea of what the she’s  like, but here’s what I found…

 

In the process of taking chip samples of a rare species of rock, geologist Gerard Bonner’s headlamp fell on a crouching shape at the back of the mountaintop cave he was in. The shape scream-growled and sprang at him, clawing and trying to sink its teeth into his jugular vein.

Bonner’s expedition guide called “Cowboy,” jumped on the filthy creature’s back, got it in a headlock and rolled off Bonner with it biting and scratching like a wildcat. Bonner tossed Cowboy a rope and he bound and gagged the beast, rolled it onto its back.

Through the growling and the black of dirt and hair everywhere—legs, armpits, and a long, tangled mass of it about the head—was a raving beauty. Her breasts were full, her body svelte. Her eyes were ice blue, so light as to nearly be white in contrast with her black lashes and brows, and her lips were round below a duchess nose.

The two men stared with a mix of reverence and horror. Bonner was the first to speak. “I want her,” he said. “I’m taking her back with me.”

 

The woman’s legs and torso bumped violently against the sides of the mule. She counted the hoof-steps. Every four hundred or so of them Bonner looked back at her, so happy with her, his new toy.

Her body ached. The ropes chafed her skin. The cowboy that had pulled her from Bonner’s neck had roped and tied down many a calf. He was agile and strong and had secured her well. And he was wise, couldn’t be faulted for leaving her tied and in the hands of a pretentious twit. If he’d freed her, she would have killed them both. She might just yet.

She began to smell her blood. The ropes and her gag had cut in, exacerbated by her movements as she worked through them with her sharp claws and teeth. She reckoned they were nearly halfway down the mountain, and she knew she’d be loosed before the trees thinned down to brush.

Bonner was lost in his imaginings. As a geologist, this beauty would be his quintessential find, no mere rock species, but a coveted possession of the highest order: living and breathing.

Keeping her tied up until she took a liking to him would be critical, would necessitate renting a car and driving back to New York with her. They would take their time, three days, maybe more.

He looked forward to their first night in a hotel. He’d draw a bath and carry her to it, scrub the dirt from her body between the ropes, tenderly cleanse her face around the gag, and wash her hair so her classic beauty shone.

He looked back to see how she was doing, and there she was, riding astride the mule, her ass-length black hair sticking in the bloodied, winding strips where the ropes had cut her more deeply than he thought possible.

She made no sound, just stared at him with her freezing blue eyes. He tried to read the silence, to formulate a plan.

Bonner halted and the tethered mule stopped just shy of his horse’s withers. They were so close, he and his beauty, and yet his pumped up ego withered with her freedom and he dared nothing. He opened his mouth to speak and the beauty was on him like a bolt of lightning, straight up through him.

The thundering sound of retreating hooves pounded in his ears as he lay on the ground. And out of the corner of his eye, he watched his beauty gulping the blood spurting out of his throat, his sad life feeding her vital one, until his light grew dim and was gone.

The woman ate more of the meat of Bonner until her hunger was sated, then bounded back up the mountain. She took from her cave only that which she could wear on her body and burned the rest. And she left, as the light of a nearly full moon replaced the day.

She headed across the ridge to avoid the confused spirit of Bonner hovering over his body wondering how his brilliance could have come to darkness. And she descended upon a log cabin, crept soundlessly up the steps to its porch.

With a deft and silent flick of a fine knife-tip, she opened the door and moved soundlessly to the bedroom where the cowboy slept. She grasped the handle of the knife in her belt and withdrew it silently.

Look at him lying there, she thought. Only his breathing had changed, only part of him sensed her presence. He was just a cowboy, awake on his feet, not in his sleep. He was not like her, a killer from an early age, a lunatic long before that, maybe even from birth, a dirty animal who would have smelled him coming.

She put the knife back in her belt. There was no bad thing within the cowboy. She would not kill him like she did her mother, who drove her wickedly, relentlessly on the pageant circuit, drove her to smother the source of her pain.

Cowboy eased his hand over and between the mattress, grabbed his revolver and sprang out of bed. He cleared the room, his cabin, his property. No one. He went back in, sat on the edge of his bed. He’d seen the lunatic beauty, she was at his throat, not to kill him but to bless him with a kiss. He touched the place on his neck. Must’ve been a dream.

He woke to rays of sun coming in with dust like diamonds through his window and he remembered the dream, shook his head.

He took his coffee out to the porch, sat back and shook out the paper and there it was: “Geologist Found Dead At Base of Burr Peak.”

Apparently, around 5pm yesterday, the horse and mule showed up at Manuel’s place all covered in blood.  He’d called the police and they’d found Bonner’s mauled body.

“Oh shit!” Cowboy sat bolt upright. They were calling it an animal attack right now, but once Bonner’s family was in on it and an autopsy done, they’d be after the beauty.

He saddled up his horse and headed up Burr Peak. There was no oppressive heaviness in the air like he’d felt when leading Bonner there yesterday, only the smell of smoke.

When he was just shy of the cave, the visual was all he needed: the mouth of the cave was black with soot and smoke was still drifting out it.

“Good girl,” he said, and headed back down the mountain.

 

Fin

FridayFlash
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