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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2222317
Rated: 18+ · Book · Tribute · #2222317
Fresh refutations, capitulations and conundrums temporary storage vault.
{def: Manners - 'Man'ly pursuit of what 'ners' the impossible without being obsequious.}
May 29, 2020 at 11:02pm
May 29, 2020 at 11:02pm
“This time tomorrow, I'm going to be murdered.” Seamore Sturn’s hands hurt from the constant wrestling with each other.

The prison pastor had been by encouraging those fingers to be used in prayer. “You won’t be the first nor the last innocent victim accused of a heinous crime they didn’t commit. Heaven awaits those without a guilty conscience.”

It didn’t help, for now Seamore Sturn had murder in his heart. He was blind with rage with it. “And my wife will sit as a witness to my execution.”

The doctor in charge of making sure the prisoner was hale and hearty enough before the event had shaken his head, “This man has more severe chronic medical conditions than anyone I’ve ever encountered. He could die at any minute and rob justice of its demands.”

The dead bodies in Seamore Sturn’s back yard and rotting underneath shallow concrete in his basement called out from the ten years he had been married to Stella. She was the one who should be sweating in torment during her last hours on earth behind bars, not him. “The only reason she married me was to be used as as shield and setup to take the fall.”

The criminal justice system was used to marriage partners unaware of their loved one doing any wrong. In this case Stella had turned the evidence against him. His lawyer didn’t even believe him. “Sorry, Seamore. You were always there at the scene of the crime with your trademark left behind. The lockbox with your trophies taken off each body and your photographs of them had your fingerprints on them. There was nothing I could do. It was a locked case.”

It was Stella who was the light sleeper. It was his word against hers about who was the dog in the night. “Bitch.” Sure he had often stolen out and followed her lately before being incarcerated. Sex was no longer a thrill to her. He was sure his wife was finding that excitement with others, strangers, and had finally braced her with the one photo he had taken of her in the act through a hotel window.

That had been what it took for her to use her backup plan. When the stranger was found strangled to death and Stella came forth with the police, the dominoes tumbled in motion taking Seamore down with them. It had been his tie that had been found around her lover’s neck.

“The perfect crime, in who knows how many? Only Stella, who is free to continue the pattern.” The fight that night before the police arrived had torn his heart out of his chest. She’d acted her part to the end, incensing him to slap her silly when she taunted him with the other’s. “Some in their cars out in the woods where I left them.”

“Buried there?” Seamore figured. His mind wrestled as eagerly as his hands, wishing there was some way he could wrap them around her lying throat.

The chance came by chance, as it were. Seamore’s heart couldn’t take the strain, after all. The monitoring devices he was attached to threatened to die with him then and there. The warden, politically motivated by the attention of the press, wanted Seamore strung up conscious or not.

The governor denied the request, helped by being in the opposing political party, wanting to highlight any foolishness. He ordered Seamore be taken by ambulance to the specialists who could revive him in their set of offices if need be. Everything done in secret while political futures were discussed. Seamore woke up, alone, in darkness, after the harried specialist attending him pronounced him dead.

It was dawn of the new day when he borrowed the ambulance with the keys still in it along with the surgeon’s tools of the trade. Seamore had a little operation he wanted to perform on Stella to encourage her to spill her guts, literally, but not before proving her husband innocent, if only between the two of themselves.

“This time tomorrow, I'm going to be murdered.” Seamore Sturn’s hands hurt from the constant wrestling with each other. “In for a penny in for a pound.” The state had set the date when they’d picked him up after his call.

May 27, 2020 at 7:52am
May 27, 2020 at 7:52am

“Why so nervous?” The speaker rubbed at the butterflies and moths fluttering in his stomach. He was his only audience. There was no-one inside the museum room but himself. “I should be dead.”

Andrew Stevens gloated over his pinned insect collection. His prize box, sealed within an airtight, clear case were moths and butterflies from around the world. Lonomia’s bite with its venom resulted in a hemotoxin which caused disseminated intravascular coagulation and internal bleeding in victims. In short, the giant silk moth from South America caused toxic painful death when ingested.

Only the museum had a way of legally importing the live creatures. Even then it had been touch and go. “On the wing, as it were,” Andrew twisted a wicked smile in place as the first stab of pain struck his gut. The exposition room was filled with less lethal, some actually nourishing and quite tasty winged relatives. If you were into eating bugs, and many early cultures were, this offering reenacted that distant past.

“Ah. The grand opening.” Chocolate covered ants and grasshoppers lay in offering on silver plated trays. The price for the tasteful confections rivaled any social event in recent history.

Being the first large social gathering place since the pandemic, to legally open and sponsor an affair, would keep the museum afloat for years to come. Politicians and their sponsors, celebrated actors and actresses with their retinues, it was lucky the museum had its tiered levels of wide open rooms.

“Masked, gloved, I’d be a fool not to take a chance. Who would recognize me?” It was all a matter of timing. Every legal dot and dash had been put in place.

“Shame. My name will not go down in fame as the multi-murderer of such elite. Oh. My.” The second lash of pain turned his stomach into shards of glass. Sweat beaded Andrew’s brow.

“Time. If I can stomach this, I can stomach anything,” he muttered, clutching his gut. Andrew teetered to his feet willing them to move normally. Straightening, taking a deep breath, he took the next pause between death rattling its dice inside him and made way towards the rotunda.

The tinkling of glasses mingled with muted laughter. “What a magnificent display of the one percent, the richest in the land.” Andrew Stevens, disguised as a waiter, with tray in hand, wove his way towards the table of special guests.

His stomach exploded, sending rivers of pain through his arteries and veins, carrying the poison throughout his system. To the guards hovering like bees or hornets over the throng of revelers, it looked like Andrew was clumsy as he set his tray down. “Close. Almost too close.”

He waved them off, like the gnats they were, lifted up a winged living morsel and swallowed it whole. None of the celebrants wore masks. The titters of jeweled encrusted women reached out to him as he passed the gourmet Lepidoptera around.

One famed face prodded another. Not one refused the bait. Head CEO’s richer than nations chewed hastily, gulped, forced the living poison down. The results would be filmed and shown around the world. Corrupt politicians making themselves despotic kings hurried to copy the act. Stars made a show of plucking and saving the wings before devouring the helpless bugs.

Cooled and coated with menthol enriched wet misty air before being brought in for their last moments on earth, the moths made victims, unable to fly, were about to seek their own revenge. It was time for Andrew to make his escape.

He donned his mask and gloves, turned and mingled with members of the press before marching on. A cloud of colorful butterflies hovered, landed on hands and shoulders, let loose from gaily decorated boxes strung and dangling from the ceiling.

The distraction covered Andrew’s gut twisting lurch past the last guards and out into the museum’s foyer where a labyrinth of passages offered freedom. “No need for plan ‘B’ after all.” He had inoculated himself with measured doses of living Lepidoptera in the months when social isolation closed the museum down.

If he had been caught and unmasked, his alibi of being poisoned like the rest would help prove his innocence of all wrongdoing. “It will be a different nation indeed in tomorrow’s light.”

What Andrew hadn’t counted on was the fluttering winged creature riding the back of shoulder, a rider attached to his neck. He slapped at the tickling feeling of its feelers against his skin. The bite he received in his neck wouldn’t have killed if it were one alone. Added to the those before it tipped him over the edge.

Reeling in panic, Andrew tried making it back to where the ever present medical support teams were ready to handle an untimely crisis or emergency of the elite.

He was unmasked a half hour later, dead of course, counted as an unnamed victim of the most horrendous plot to destroy the governing order of a nation sewed up and out of reach of the common man.

May 26, 2020 at 12:01pm
May 26, 2020 at 12:01pm
The thing in the pocket felt like a big wad of rolled up cash. Melvin Stark looked furtively around the shelter. Other men browsed the pile of donated coats elbowing each other for newer ones.

“You don’t want that old rag. It looks eaten by rabid rats.” Henry Small reached for it, noticing the sudden gleam in Melvin’s eyes. The snarl flicked foam bubbling between his lips.

The tug and pull stretched the coat between them. “Hey, Mac. Little help here.” Melvin Stark snarled, wrapping the left coat arm around his wrist. “Half what’s in the pocket is yours.”

“Sure thing, boss.” Mac weighed in around the 300 lb. range. He grabbed Melvin’s waist and set his feet. Melvin let out a yelp of satisfied glee, began pulling hand over hand.

“Harvey? Sam? We split the proceeds even.”

The two joined the tug of war on Henry Small’s side more than making up for Mac’s blubber. They were pure muscle. The seams of the coat sounded tortured but held. The ‘Made In U.S.A.’ decal proved the tight woven thread and material were up to the task.

Desperate to not lose out on the pocket’s treasure, Melvin let go, making a dive for the bulging pocket shaking just out of reach. He got a knee under the chin for his effort, saw stars and slid between Henry Small’s quivering open thighs, rolled and shook daylight back into his eyes.

“Got it, boys.” Henry Small’s outstretched hand and greedy fingers climbed into the dark pit of the pocket searching, grabbing, clutching in a frenzy of greed.

“Wait. I feel it. Nope. There is nothing there.”

For a moment the two men on Henry’s side of the battle thought they were being conned. “You aren’t getting away with the goods, sport,” Harvey refused to let Henry Small go.

Sam attempted to climb up and over Harvey’s back ready to grab what he could for his own. “Finders Keepers.”

“Help. It’s got me.” Henry Small struggled frantically to withdraw his hand, now up to the fist in the pocket. Sucking noises were masked by his scream.

“Joker.” Harvey grabbed Henry’s elbow as Sam grabbed the coat.

Henry’s arm disappeared in the hole taking Harvey’s hands with it. The black empty space burped. Melvn Stark began back pedaling across the floor.

“Tricky dick magician sleight of hand. Treasure’s not getting away from me,” Mac swore, lumbering into the fray. The pocket bulged wider, blackness devouring Henry up to an armpit.

Harvey let out a screech of dismay as both hands, wrists and arms disappeared. “Do something, Mac.”

What Mac did was begin a new tug-of-war that ended in a slurp. The black hole spun into the shape of a miniature tornado, paused at the quivering massive weight of the huge six foot five behemoth of Mac and made a popping noise like a jet engine passing the speed of sound.

“Jesus Christ, Lord almighty,” Melvin Stark was on his feet, back pressed against a wall. All three men had gone down the hole into the pocket. The coat settled on the floor with a final stir of motion and lay still.

“There you are,” Pike Jones, volunteer worker for the day palmed a hand on Melvin Stark’s shoulder, which flinched like it had been bitten by a shark. “Pick your coat up and get outside. Walmart just delivered a picnic worth eating.

“No thanks. Not hungry and you can keep that thing.” Melvin gave a final shudder before leaving not only the shelter but the state of Nevada never to return.

“Flea bitten thing. What’s this in the pocket?” Pike Jones flapped the jacket. Holding it between pinched fingers he sniffed the air. “Smells like death warmed over.”

The jacked was flung into the dumpster soon covered in a pile of Walmart day old left overs.

When the garbage crew came to pick up the always overflowing filth they wondered at why the dumpster was empty except for a ratty old coat.
May 25, 2020 at 8:21am
May 25, 2020 at 8:21am
Daily SCREAMS!!! win. prompt: A bit of artistry in something mundane.

Joe Brand was a camera freak. His mission, hell quest in life, was to find artistry in the mundane. The fact that the only way he could make money with a lens was as a police photographer limited those opportunities, stymied him to no end.

“Joe? Another fatal accident. Wrong way onto the I-15 corridor exit ramp leading into American Fork. Got it?” They didn’t use dispatcher’s with staff like him. Cell Phones were 'de rigueur'. Joe lusted after the day when he could afford a police scanner to catch the big ones outside of his small burg.

He wasn’t winning the Pulitzer selling twisted metal black and white’s to the local paper. A few more weeks like this and his hunk of gas guzzling wreckage would give up the ghost leaving him on foot without a career at all.

“Got it, Sally. On my way. Don’t wait up for our hot date tonight.”

“Bust your buns, sweetheart. Call me when you are done and we’ll see.” Sally loved a good tease, gave as good as she got and was free to do so off the police bands.

Full of daydreams of the coming night together, Joe didn’t see the bike until too late. The kid rolling up the hood splattering blood and brains on the windshield exploded in front of his eyes. “Jesus. That was Sally’s kid.”

Stomping on the brakes, feeling the crunch of the bike under the wheels as he rolled to a stop, Joe was out the door before he took his next breath. Cars were already pulling over, drivers screaming at him. “Creamed him.”

More than one had their phone up to their ears blabbering at 911. Horrified, fascinated faces gawked behind the flash of built-in cameras memorializing Joe’s utter shock.

His own cell phone began to ring. “Joe? Sally. You’re closest to this new one. Right on your way. Could be a prize winner what they say. Get me the right photo and my bed will be yours tonight.”

“I’ll see what I can do. Probably just another mundane accident, sweetheart. What the hell.” Joe hung up.

The next shot wasn’t from a camera. It was from Joe’s own .38 special from his glove compartment. His head splattering into mist next to his windshield won him more awards posthumously than he ever thought of winning when alive.

The art sprayed on his windshield, when viewed just right, showed two red blooming flowers with the words ‘ReSt iN PeAce’ if you looked at it right, dribbling awkwardly for one very not-mundane brief camera moment.

What she wore was a sin. It whispered of secret half hidden pleasures and the scent of pure desire. Sally had promised and was ready to deliver. She'd left word with Joe's cell phone but he seemed too busy to answer but he knew her shift was ending.

"Can't wait to hear the details and see what you have got." Luckily, her son was headed to an over-nighter with a friend. Sally primped her hair, sprayed a little musk between her breasts as her doorbell rang.

May 24, 2020 at 12:00pm
May 24, 2020 at 12:00pm
“They are so strange. They act like they could be from another planet.” Sherrie Watkins wasn’t kidding. Being a foster kid was like living in a revolving door. Seven families in six years. She’d gone through bible thumpers, pot heads, social climbers to intellectuals.

Sherrie tried to adjust and fit in. Her one ‘bad habit’ always finally turned her out. Eating bugs was something she’d picked up at the orphanage. Small as she was, scrounging for food wasn’t a passtime. It was a full time job.

When she got kidded about it, Sherrie started hiding what she did. The revolving door kicked in with changes of kids, staff, and foster parents her secret became lost in the shuffle. “Vegetarians? Plant eaters? Now I’ve seen everything. They actually browse like cows chewing their cud.

“Eat your lentils, dear. They have anti-cancer antibodies.” Missus Murdock didn’t use a fork. She and her ‘husband’ Linda Adder were two peas in a pod. How social services had matched Sherrie up had to be a computer mixup.

“Sure thing.” Sherrie moved the strings of seedlings around her plate, spread them out, and slid some off into the hollowed out metal table leg. She showed the couple her half empty side, covering the rest with her hands. “I’m full. Can I go to my room now?”

They’d made a room in their basement where they grew mushrooms. It was her job to check the growth and harvest. Sherrie snacked on a few stray spiders while uncovering her bed of worms. “Hmm, hello, darlings. Come to mama.”

The books on mushrooms were mandatory reads. “You have to know the deadly ones from those that nourish us, sweetie.” Missus Murdock was a nature lover and with each lesson learned, took Sherrie on foraging walks near and far.

Sherrie found out the woman had sharp eyes. “I saw you put those Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) in your pocket. If you think you can make us sick and send you back, forget it.”

They made her fast in her locked basement room.. “No veggies, fruit, nuts or beans until you are hungry enough to change your ways.”

The spiders hung out with her becoming hunters for bugs she devoured. In turn, she gave them ants who fed on her worm farm. “Such beautiful strong webs.”

The seventh day of her daily water ration, Linda Adder thought Sherrie had started eating the mushrooms. “Good girl. We knew you’d see it our way.”

The woman leaned over to inspect the bare patch. Her hand whipped up across her face to get rid of the spider web clinging to her face. “Help me.” The gauze clung to her mouth and nose driving Sherrie’s spiders into a hunting frenzy. Their venom paralized rather than killed.

Missus Murdock’s web caught her on the way as she rushed to help her mate. “The ties that bind.” Sherrie watched her spiders feast.

Sherrie finally had a home she could live with.

May 23, 2020 at 9:20am
May 23, 2020 at 9:20am
Daily SCREAMS!!! win. prompt: quicksand and or circle of rocks

Johnny was in a quagmire. Figuratively it was his wife, Ethel, whose body was encased in the wet sticky stuff. His quagmire was only mental. He had lured her to the spit of land along South California’s famed Santa Ana River where the proud locals called it ‘Jelly Sand’.

“All right, Smarty. This sucks, all right. Now get me the hell out of here.” Ethel, once a promising soprano in the East Clave Opera Company, could really let her voice rip.

Why wasn’t it pulling her under? She floated chest deep, her lungs unimpaired. He waved his wife’s demands off, not before checking to see if any stranger’s heads popped up nearby to lend a helping hand. “Wait a sec, honey. Something is wrong here.”

It was time to Google it. Oops. He was stuck in the mud. It seemed, and who could refute a Google search, humans were too light to sink over their heads in quicksand. They floated screaming their lungs out, too heavy to struggle out.

“We got a problem here, judge,” Johnny mused to himself. The perfect crime had bogged down. The lightning strike of an idea to do away with Ethel and get rid of the body at the same time had gone wrong.

Now that the lightning had sizzled, all that was left was the thunder of Ethel’s braying at him shriveling his ears. She was giving him a headache. She just wouldn’t die.

“Need some help, mister?”

The stranger was neither young nor old. A bit weather beaten. Skull cropped with white down. Leather furrows in the lines of a face that seemed wise beyond its years. “Happens often enough, I keep an ear out. You’d be surprised.” A gravelly voice espoused between Ethel’s shrill demands rising to the heavens.

Johnny wished the rest of her would follow as easily. “Thanks. She will do anything on a dare. One good thing about her. The added excitement gets her sexually aroused so the effort to find something new is worth the effort.”

Strangulation during the act with a silk tie she’d bought him was his first attempt to provide an ‘accidental’ death. The slip knot wouldn’t tighten up and the sex? Well, he’d been too sore to pee without his penis almost dropping off him for weeks. She’d demanded he try something else, so a trick tie was out.

“She always like that?” The stranger prodded Johnny in the ribs while gawking at the scene.

“What? Ethel? She’s no stick in the mud, if that’s what you mean. She’s getting high off this. Woman is only acting upset.” Johnny hoped the man would leave. Let him figure out what to do next.

Doing it in public along a nature path where the news said a serial rapist was murdering women had worked out no better. In point of fact, it turned out worse. They were jogging along, Ethel all dressed in the skimpiest short-shorts and halter she could buy, with Johnny trying to catch up, all breathless and out of shape from behind. When the rapist grabbed Ethel.

Johnny could hear her scream a lot like she did today. It was music to his ears. He turned away “I’ll just go get some help.” He’d told himself in way of alibi, when two cops bowled him over and brought him along back to Ethel.

At first they’d thought he was the rapist, but his limp dick and the engorged member of the dude forcing himself on Ethel around the bend proved otherwise. “What a turn on, honey. I’m so glad you knew the police were around."

Ethel devoured him after pouring Viagra down his throat in the same spot she’d been accosted, that night. She howled at the moon, while he lay under her, her juices smothering his mouth while she rode his head.

That’s where the idea about quicksand had struck him. While he was coming up for air between her changed wrestling positions to ride his nether parts, he’d remembered. Some news article about a woman almost dying in quicksand and how Southern California was the worst place in the world for that.

“You there, Johnny? If we’re going to help her, we’d best get busy before she gets any more heated up. She’ll be more than you can deal with, be my guess. Tear your head off along with your sex organ and eat them both.” There was a funny tight smile on the stranger’s face.

“Can’t just leave her there. If no-one found her, she might die. Can’t get out by her own self. I’ve seen others try.”

“Johnny? What are you and that man planning. I’m so wet I could screw your head off but I’m not into group sex. Come on. Let’s do it. I’m so horny, I'll kill myself if I have to wait much longer.” Ethel wet her lips with her tongue, ready to plead and moan now that her throat was getting raw.

The two men eyed each other. “You’ve watched others? What did you do?” Johnny realized the stranger might be offering him a way out if he worked it right.

“Me? Nothing much. When the price was right I helped do what I could. It was always the man who pushed the woman’s head under. I just pulled the rope that got the man out. I can always use free cash.”

Johnny felt for his wallet. The man wasn’t kidding. He could tell by the speculative look in his eyes and tone of his voice. “How much?” Would the guy take a check or maybe a credit card and his I.D. until Johnny could go to the bank.

“Well. This time seems different. Never met a situation like this before. She does seem more than you can handle. Maybe I can put you out of your misery.”

The fist pile driving into his stomach bent Johnny knocking his head into his knees. He felt himself turned upside down, lifted, and pushed head first, dangling over the quicksand.

“Be right with you ma’am. Got a little matter to take care of first.” Johnny’s wallet fell to the ground at the man’s feet as he dropped into the quagmire, his feet floating, wiggling desperately for air.

Ethel’s coming out party was just as good as Johnny had expressed. She was lavish and wild eyed in her shivering enthusiasm at being saved. It wasn’t until the man under her lay totally spent that she looked around and noticed Johnny hadn’t come up for air.

“Geez. Accidents happen.” She sighed, eased in place and rubbed the strangers face in it. “Poor Johnny. At least you provided a good replacement.”

“Sorry." and she was. "Probably won’t feel that sinking feeling when we push you under using that circle of rocks over there.” Ethel surmised. She had never cum so much.

Ethel had to do the dirty work. The stranger was too worn out and just looked on.

“Can’t have strangers knowing what I just did, now can we?” Ethel used the right sized rock from the abandoned campfire ring to drop it ‘accidentally’ on the man’s head. It was amazing what strength having good sex gave her.

"Too bad Johnny left me high and dry. I'll have to submit a lost person's report."

The quicksand sucked the second dead body into place. Ethel got her rocks off as best she could until the rock ring was gone, humming a little aria from the sexiest of operas by Puccini. There was a world of sex hungry men out there and the thrill seeking had just begun.

May 21, 2020 at 11:23am
May 21, 2020 at 11:23am
1000 word entry into "The Prompt Me Contest. Prompt: sentence in bold.

Everyone wore masks. They did it with patriotic pride, bonding with strangers, friends and neighbors. “All I got is this old thing,” Rosa pointed to the hall closet where winter coats, hats, mittens, scarves and boots forced the door open for a look at late spring.

Rufus, the family mutt, nosed through the mess, found an old cracker nestled in a holey pocket and growled at it. “Smart dog. It might bite back, boy.” Rosa slipped on a mismatched pair of gloves, pinched the rock hard culprit and dropped it in her jacket pocket for later launching into the refuse bin. “Don’t make them like they used to, thank heavens.” It created a slight ominous bulge with one point prodding the material she wore like the muzzle of a gun.

Rosa pulled a ski mask over her head, before opening the front door. "Glen, tell Mom that I went to the bank to withdraw some money." She was distracted by her mission and a bit in a rush.

“Geez, sis,” her younger brother by two years raised his hands above his head in surrender. “You look like a robber planning to ransack the place.”

“Silly. No problem. I called ahead. Tom, my new boyfriend, is waiting for me at his counter. Dad called from work and asked me to get out enough for emergencies.” Rosa pulled on a pair of ski goggles for added protection against getting the Corona virus.

“Want me to come with? Gotta be stuff in that pit mine closet I can use.” Glen dove into the mess easily finding and donning compatible attire. “Mom won’t be back from the salon for hours. First day it’s open since the lock down.” Their father, a local police officer, often got ‘held up’ by his job. Sending one of the kids on errands was a normal part of family existence.

Rosa dangled the extra set of car keys in front of Glen’s face. At sixteen, she’d just got her license. Any opportunity to drive filled her with a sense of new found freedom of movement. “You can ride shotgun.”

“Yippee. I haven’t been outside this house for weeks.” The two raced each other out to the curb with Rufus bounding behind. “You sure we look O.K.?”

“Hey. Everyone in town knows my voice. Soon as I call out, they’ll know it is me.” Rosa assured Glen. She ground the gears and peeled out into the street, loving the feeling of power she had behind the steering wheel.

“Mom said it is impossible finding masks and gloves at any store or online without paying through the nose. She did say she would make some of our own. I guess this is all right.” Glen adjusted his ski mask around his eyes, wondering if his sister could see good enough to drive.

“Your ski goggles aren’t fogging up are they?”

Rosa shook her head no. She drove mostly with one hand while the other held the piece of paper her father had given her for the bank. It gave the amount to withdraw, his name and cell phone number. They’d been smudged a little in the hurry to get gone but she had them all memorized. “Here we are.”

Parallel parking was still a chore. She took the opportunity to park in front of the bank, narrowly wedging herself back against the front fender of the car behind.

“Hey. You can’t park there. Move it.” A face appeared behind a hastily rolled down window. Rosa noticed the fire hydrant sitting beside where she’d ended up and waved. “Be just a moment, sir. Hang tight.”

She nudged her brother in the ribs. “See? We aren’t the only one’s wearing ski masks. He has one on, too,”

“Maybe we should have let him out of his parking stall. He had his engine racing and everything.,” Glen hurried to catch up with his sister.

They were going full tilt when the two masked men coming out barreled into them. Bags of money opened, showering green fluttering bills in the air. “Oops. Sorry. Let me help you.” Glen danced around fallen legs clutching at the falling storm of cash.

“Watch out, Kurt. She’s got a gun,” yelped one of the fallen men, pointing at Rosa’s pocket.

“Smart. It’s a setup. We been two timed by our planner.” The bigger of the two stayed put on the sidewalk. “Take it. Stealing the money we stole. Leaving us to take the fall.” he sounded bitter.

The other robber’s hand lay stretched out, frozen in place a foot away from his spinning gun. The sound of a siren bleated loudly from around the corner preventing further partee’.

Eyes inside the bank furtively rose up and down at the edge of the store front windows. “There’s four of them. They’re fighting over the cash.”

Rosa and Glen’s father slammed open his police car door, aimed a shotgun at the entrance and bellowed, “On the ground.”

The siren wailed into silence. Other’s could be heard coming from far away. Rosa pulled her ski mask off her head, pushing at Glen to do the same. “It’s us, dad. We came to the bank just like you asked.”

In the excitement Glen stopped on the robber’s hand trying to retrieve his gun. The bank guard appeared out the door waving his own like he was leading an orchestra. “Got all them covered, Officer. No-one is getting away from me.”

“We stopped the bank robbers, mom.” Rosa pointed to the news on TV. “That’s us.”

“The bank gave a reward. Dad wants to use it for emergency money. Isn’t some of it ours?” Glen asked.

“I think the emergency your dad is thinking of is the vacation we wanted to surprise you with. We’ve all got cabin fever.” Their mom was busy cleaning up and organizing the hall closet once more.

Rosa handed over her and her brother’s gear. “Too bad we can’t go skiing. We had on what we needed to wear.”
May 20, 2020 at 7:09pm
May 20, 2020 at 7:09pm
Daily SCREAMS!!! contest win. prompt: Something that seems supernatural but actually is not. Word count 1206

Andy and Tom did it on a dare. The Witch’s House, they called it, past shushed up in legend. The stories were shared around many a scouting campfire goading imaginations into nightmare terrors to the delight of the adult story tellers.

“Mister Adams is creepy. Don’t ever let him alone with you,” Andy’s older brother had made him promise. “Those stories he tells are meant to scare you into bed with him, if you know what I mean.”

Andy didn’t know for sure. The chilled and bitter note in his brother’s voice made him wonder if there was more experience than words in the caution. A week later when Mister Adams was found hacked up near to death and bleeding on the steps of the Witch’s House, he wondered more.

“The place is haunted,” Tom’s mother moaned and rocked him to her. Rumor had it that Mister Jenson, the other scoutmaster had a thing for her. No-one explained what the thing was. Adults hushed that up too. Mister Jenson left town. Some said with help from Tom’s dad. No-one was saying for sure. Tom knew better than to ask. He got beat too much as it was.

The boys were left with no scouting except what they did on their own. The Witch’s House was the safest shade to hide in when the big boys went hunting small fry like Andy and Tom. Not actually go inside, mind you. Kids didn’t survive to be stupid.

They used the legend. Ghosts, devils, and who knew what evil things from hell had put a spell on the place. So many stories were knocking around between Andy and Tom’s ears there was hardly room for them all. “Don’t you dare go in there,” Tom’s mother said.

So, of course they did.

Night time. Full moon. Wind howling. The works. Andy led the way. Tom, a better follower than leader. The strange light in the cracked window turned out to be a reflection from a passing cloud.

Scratching noises from the other side of the front door became a possum darting between Andy’s legs. “Holy shit.” Tom said. He could taste his mother’s lye soap on his tongue for saying the forbidden words.

“Quiet. Listen. Hear that? Something is moving inside. Dragging like.” Andy pulled Tom in with him through the wedged open doorway. No way was he going to let it shut and trap them inside.

“I’m going to pee my pants. Let go a’ me or you’ll get drenched.” Tom unloaded on the floor. The sound of his zipper flying back up made Andy turn around and laugh.

They were backing away from the puddle when a foot stepped in it, slid and the hobo living in the Witch’s house scared the beegee’s out of the boys. He clawed at them to catch his balance. Lost it, and bounced, fought gravity and lost. A single ghostly moan shivered out of his mouth. He lay still.

It was soft hearted Tom who nudged the man, stunk worse than skunk and all. “I think he’s dead.”

Andy’s quivering leg found the broken beer bottle that stuck in the hobo’s throat. “Your pee killed him.”

They didn’t find out for sure until later. They’d left the man bleeding to death. They could have saved him. Instead, the boys left the front door wedged open when they ran, hearts all a flutter with the fear in their cold sweat.

The gang of older boys out hunting Tom and Andy the following day smelled something wrong, saw the flies in the air, the hulk of the body that had crawled halfway through the door. Another legend was born.

Tom got taken out by a sniper bullet in Afghanistan the first day the boys, now considered men, took their first patrol. Andy got taken out by getting hooked on drugs, selling them to the wrong recruit, about six months after. His nerves were shot.

He lost the family home, couldn’t and wouldn’t work, seemed to just disappear according to neighbor reports when he returned from battling with himself more than the enemy. His sweetheart, brokenhearted after many- a - devoted letter, found Andy’s presence more than she could stand.

The tragic tale had a stranger end. Some turned her disappearance into cause to string up Andy, living and skulking into oblivion himself, around the Witch’s house. Caught with his head in a McDonald’s dumpster, it was lucky the letter in her own hand proving she'd left willingly was found tucked in his breast pocket.

Andy was dumped half conscious outside of town, told never to return, the worthless near ghost of himself lay huddled up, curled like a baby, holding his guts and crying. The big boys were now stalwart citizens in good standing. They left him there, taking their haunted looks with them about how close some of them were to losing it all with their own secrets. Drinking, stealing from the firm, wife beating going wrong and uncontrolled now taken out on poor Andy. The usual devils in human form.

Depressing? Perhaps you haven’t lived enough. What happened next was pure poetry. A hitchhiker found Andy, heard his mumblings about the Witch’s house. Driven by bad weather it seemed a handy stopover.

Andy found he could walk, with a limp, if forced too. He kept calling the stranger Tom. The Witch’s House was on the outskirts of town, held in place by a wild wood of thorns, dead trees and trash.

They scared a skunk out and had a roof over their heads. Andy went into robot mode. Told of the hidden pathways to dumpster dive in when night grew strong. The hitch hiker left him with a promise to return which he didn’t keep several days later.

Andy found himself owner of the Witch’s house, new resident appearing like a ghost from the past, broken beer bottles and all.

He and the place seemed forgotten, it as lost as Andy. An occasional curious wild animal hunting shelter learned the place wasn't for rent.

Andy laid traps, learned from Afghanistan, inside and out to warn him of their approach.

That worked with the occasional visit by lovers hunting a quiet thrill turned into lust. Word spread. The place was unlucky. The legends grew like weeds, roots from the past blossoming with new evidence. Andy became the unlikely and unknown cause.

The new stir of something supernatural going on became more attraction than the kids of the grown-up older boys could stand. Tired of being beat up at home, two banded together. Ace and Storm. A boy. A girl. Intent on the thrill of a lifetime and losing their virginity were rolling around on the blankets brought for that purpose.

Right inside the Witch House pried open front door. Andy, full of drug smoke and booze, McDonald's leftovers curling his stomach into knots, stumbled in from the back room. Battle ready to scare off the latest wild animal intruder, he lost his balance in tangled up lovers legs.

Ace lashed out with a broken beer bottle at the attack. Storm felt Andy’s blood spill on her breast. They left him there, crawling after them, a helpless plea on his lips. Not to become full reincarnation of the past. The Witch House spell made incarnate.

His legacy. Two almost children fled the scene etched into their skulls. It screamed in their brains.

Andy, remained. Spread half in, half out of the Witch's House. Evidence. The haunted legend reborn in his death.
May 20, 2020 at 8:22am
May 20, 2020 at 8:22am
SCREAMS!!! contest prompt: Body Shop

“They are prosthetics. Amazingly life-like, yes?” Alvin Toone slapped at the stump of his leg, winched, and rubbed. “Weird.”

“Weird, what? I think it is all amazing.” Sherry Dane’s eyes fastened on a demo of technological wizardry. The fingers of a hand crawled and pulled at the arm it was attached to, felt and climbed her damaged body and attached itself without pause. She was in for her final fitting. Already, her new prosthetic felt better than the real thing.

“Weird. As in ‘Ghost Image’ weird. Don’t you get them? It is interfering with my new leg.” Alvin spoke between nervous gulps. “Watch.”

He snapped his fingers. His fake leg woke up from where it lay on the floor, began rolling towards her friend. “Normal, right? They are built to find their way home and reattach automatically.

Alvin stopped rubbing the knob where his limb had been amputated, grimaced, and stared at the tableau before them. Every time the artificial leg attempted to join his stump waving at it, Alvin’s body jerked away. “I can’t help it. My ghost leg is doing it. I don’t have any control.”

Alvin Toone was the one who introduced Sherry to ACE Industries. He had been all aglow at the ‘temporary’ leg given while his was designed. The agility, response time, strength and endurance of the device was impressive.

It’s toes were so flexible it could pick up a dime fallen on the ground or write with a pen. The thing had enough instinctual intelligence when Sherry dropped the knife she was cutting bread with, the blade flipped up and landed in her hand instead of impaling Alvin where it would have hurt most.

Her depression at being deprived of a normal life had evaporated like smoke. “I have to have one. What do they cost? It looks seamless where it attaches. You can wear shorts and it disappears into your flesh.” She wanted to reach down and kiss the darn thing.

Alvin grinned those beautiful white teeth of his and boasted. “They only take you when you have a reference from a previous customer. That’s me.”

It was the first time Sherry had sex with anyone since the accident eighteen months ago. She felt that happy, grateful, and, well, loved. Her own process was now in its final day. What was Alvin trying to tell her with this strange demonstration.

He had come to listen to her crow over her new look and superhuman abilities. Instead, the awful glint in his eyes appeared to be unreasoning fear at her decision to follow his. The body shop that had felt small, intimate, and friendly, now sent a small shiver of anticipated foreign dread through her. “Alvin? What are those lesions on your leg. Have you been harming yourself?”

Self mutilation was a thing her therapist had helped her work through during rehab. It took a complete force of will for her to stop attacking her stump for the frustration and pain of no longer being normal.

Getting a date had been impossible among her old cadre of friends or in the gathering places she went. The looks she got made her feel creepy and depressed. Where desire had flushed male faces, now revulsion enthused glazed eyes that faltered and turned away.

Her therapist’s request to meet with other amputee’s made her want to puke. It reminded her too much of what had happened to her own body. The auto accident hadn’t been her fault. Out on a heavy date, hand busy inside her handsome companion’s pants, they’d both been drinking too much.

Nothing compared with the daredevil gunning the engine of the hopped up Chevy by their side. “Winner pays for the party afterward,” the slurred insulting voice floated from out its window and the race was on. They’d been winning, edging in front when the Chevy lurched into into their lane at one hundred and twenty-five miles an hour. They flipped, skidded on their roof. Her hand and arm were trapped in the pulverized mess her date’s body became, intimately made one with it in a final moment of gruesome farewell.

Alvin snapped her back into the present. “My new leg is jealous, won’t stop trying to join up. My team took the leg away when they couldn’t fix the problem. Kept the damn thing to study and it escaped. I keep bringing it back and it finds me again. Crazy. They promised to kill the damn thing but it escaped before they could.”

Sherry couldn’t believe her eyes. The thing was hopping around like a jackrabbit kicking judo chops in the air, striking and splintering at the artificial arms and legs nearby. The scene became surreal with the body shop’s limbs defending themselves and attacking each other. “Alvin. We’ve got to get out of here before we get torn apart.”

When she turned to her friend in desperation, her good hand met the shock of fresh bloody meat. A vivid image of her accident which had haunted and reborn in her dreams shocked into flight. “What’s going on? Let me go.”

Alvin’s other limbs were fighting off and attacking every other limb coming close. “I’m a paraplegic. I didn’t want you to know. Not even other amputee’s feel comfortable around us.” Alvin struggled to blurt out the words.

Sherry hissed as pain shot through her good arm and hand she tried to grab Alvin with. The body shop was going mad. “Let me go.”

The stink of the dead bodies of Alvin, Sherry, their therapist and and the few staff in the body shop huddled by the exit door had made a growing number of wild dogs howl and attempt to get in to feast. Broken windows where they found entrance made the smell come to the attention of workers at neighboring businesses.

News outlets refused to show photos of the aftermath. It was too horrible for sane eyes. In their sealed coffins, if you listened close enough, you could hear the thump of artificial limbs trying to get out. The business creating them went belly up and the urban legend of arms and legs tearing apart strangers limbs trying to find their home was born.
May 20, 2020 at 2:29am
May 20, 2020 at 2:29am
In my father's day, man was the bread winner, ultimate public authority figure of the family. Children waited to be spoken to before talking, called him 'sir' and looked to mom for everything else. Respect for parents was the catch phrase.

Assuming the mantle of responsibility was of paramount importance and the duty of every 'good' man. In sort, one 'manned up' by sacrificing all else to rectify when one fell below that invisible standard.

If I tried to re-enact that ideal today, 'Oh man' would I be vilified. In my wife's eyes, being a real man is what is important. To the best of my knowledge that means being a helpmate.

Ideals are lofty and impossible goals that we are encouraged to achieve. In a world of imperfections, we still choose to embody such artifacts along with the stress their compliance demands.

By the wayside, and often left in the shadows, is the realization all we can do is do our best. Quite a relative endeavor of non-standardized capitulation. Oh, the travails of 'man'kind.

What ya' think?

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