No one calls Vespa names…

a chuck wending Friday flash fiction challenge (X) – a 100 word story- okay, it’s less…

The name’s Vespa.

I may not look like it, but I’m far older than you may suspect.

Today, some idiot calls me a twelve year old saucy bitch.

No one calls me that!

Luckily, I don’t need more than twelve seconds to cast a nasty spell…

Don’t be surprised if you meet a five feet tall rat in Central Park, and please don’t call him Splinter…

everyone needs good staff

a chuck wending prompt (X), 5-sentence-story / 100 words

music inspired: Burn my shadow away, by UNCLE (war stories)

Entropy was a bitch, but only because I wasn’t a morning person.

Temperature fell below zero in a blink, my breath formed little vapor clouds.

My shadow bloated and blurred the room, stretching to the corners, fanning out and coaxing my thoughts into reality.

A blood colored velvet Chesterfield dropped to the ground with a thud, and a hot cup of tea wobbled into existence right in front of my left hand.

Really tired of these morons, working for me, nothing but a waste of space and energy… Being the devil, doesn’t make my job easier…

 

Advertising

a chuck wending prompt (link); a 5-sentence-story (max 100 words)

A big, unusual looking white wolf stood on top of the hill, the forest in its back, stretched its hind paws and yawned.

Maybe its sky-colored eyes, or its gold dipped tail, or its huge glistening fangs  made it look so exceptional…

Just before sunrise, the horizon started glowing and writing flashed to rush across the sky, as it always did.

The wolf read it out: “Thank you for choosing Strix Planetary Maintenance Systems.”

“Crap, time to upgrade,” the wolf rolled its eyes.

 

Thorns and Rose

Old age was a curse. Anyone old enough could relate.

It marked the slow expiration of abilities, and the beginning of limitations. But this was a world made of limitations, wasn’t it?

Old age was an abomination, a fence, an unscalable wall, but only if you ignored your abilities all your life. And within those boundaries, anyone could roam freely.

Even if you reminded yourself daily, the golden-days crept back under your skin. Bittersweet days of misjudgment came back to you, whining in your ears, being louder than the current days. At some point you’d stop hearing the current days. Your transformation started with this siren song. You slowly conversed, at first unnoticeably slow, then faster, till your metamorphosis was complete. You became a driveling sack of soggy guts and bones, yapping about your hurts and wishes, with your incontinent foul mouth and anus, shriveled beyond recognition.

Far away from yourself, from anything that’d make it clear to you, you rushed faster towards the cliffs of your remaining time.

You tipped over the edge. How could you?!

You didn’t even notice!

I told you, old age was a curse…

Hello. My name is Rose, like the flower. My short-lived husband, Carl, loved my bloom, my thorns, my venom.  He called my sense of justice venom.

We met in a soup kitchen, where I was cook. He always brought me his best vegetables. He grew them in his little garden outside town. During war, it kept him alive, he told me once. We talked a lot about the human nature, death and suffering. He seemed to be a kind man, with a warm but sad smile. We liked each other, and after  three months of meeting, talking and working side by side, we married… It seemed a good decision. Carl tried to be reliable, strong, hard and just, to impress me. He tried to be the best husband he could be. He made me softer, more indulgent – he made me smile. I loved him for that. In those grim times, laughter was gold…

Sadly, we never had children of our own, so we took care of the lost, the abandoned and the hungry. We did a lot for the community. After the war, we fed the poor, three times a week. People knew, they could always ask us for help. We did what we could.

I cooked. Carl timbered toys. Sometimes, he made furniture… We gave. Clothes, food, time, a bed, sometimes money – anything we could do without. It was important, for both of us. We shared. We stood by.

Then… Carl died, by his own hand.

He never talked to me, like he did in his last letter, but I understood. I finally understood. All his perpetual obsession with the needy, he wanted to atone for his unnamed sins… He thought that he couldn’t give enough. Poor Carl, I never knew, how agonized his soul was…

I couldn’t let him go, but I had to…

When they came to cut him down, I already pulled out three of his molars. I wanted to keep him nearby, at least a part of him. Later that year, I gave the molars to a good friend, a gold smith. He made me an ivory pendant and a ring. He made me a set. A skull hidden under the sun. He has been the light, the warmth, on my bones… Even now. That was, how I wanted to remember our time together.

After several months, I picked up, where we left. I doubled my efforts, and tried to fill in  the hole Carl’s sudden death  ripped into our duty.

I worked a regular job as a cleaning lady, and I cooked and sewed for those who asked for it.

Some people came to me for help more than once. Some needed more, than others- being weaker, sicker and poorer in body and mind. It was hard. It was harder than I imagined. Sometimes it was unbearable. Without Carl giving me hope, I cried myself to sleep, nearly every night. I didn’t know what to do…

It didn’t matter what I tried, the needy became weaker and weaker. They gave up on me, they gave up on themselves. Overwhelmed with helplessness, I couldn’t allow Carl’s efforts go to waste! Even if he had abandoned me, I had to save his work, his legacy.

One sleepless night, I realized, that these people were eating me alive. They did not care, if what they took, left enough for others. They simply didn’t care… It dawned on me. They were selfish and rotten, right down to the core.

They were using me!

All. The. Time!

Satisfied with their achievements, they had no interest in getting better, anytime soon. They wouldn’t get on their own feet.

It made me gag.

Inside I roared, wanted to tear out my guts. I’ve been so naive all these years… But that was how it was, how I was… I swore, that this would never happen to me again.

The rage burnt me up. Literally.

I ran a fever,  and fell ill.

My body couldn’t take it anymore. It didn’t bother me, that I was on the brink of death, maybe I would see Carl. The doctors fought for my life, but I was empty, and alone.

If you wondered, no one came to visit. Not one of them! Those people, who took from me and Carl did not come. NOT ONE!

Deep inside, all the anger and the disappointment in humanity surfaced, it leaked from somewhere below, some well hidden place – without light, without warmth.

I craved revenge.

I recovered.

For the doctors, a miracle, but I knew it was sweetest payback. It was pulling the life back into me. I felt Carl shaking his head at my determination, wherever he was. He would have disagreed, but I still had a job to do. It was my duty.

I moved.

I bought a little farm, renovated it and started to build up a garden. I sold the vegetables, herbs and the flowers growing in it. I made my living with that. It wasn’t much, but it sufficed. For a while I was nearly happy. Having myself back, I often talked to Carl. I felt him smile and caress my cheek, like he used to, when he was proud of me. His light, his warmth came back into my bones…

He would have liked it there. I had some chicken and ducks. I started keeping bees. All was well… Till one day my help was needed again.

A mother with two little girls wandered in, wet and hungry. They stood one evening on my porch, knocking on my door, shivering and crying. Beaten purple, blue and green, Maria clutched at her daughters seeking shelter. She looked so desperate.

Her drunk husband was looking for them. That was what she told me.

They came to me…

Naturally, I would help them. Why not?

I’d help them with what I could, like Carl and I always did, so many years ago.

But this time it would end differently… I wouldn’t allow anyone to drain me.

There was rat poison in the shed.  And I would end the parasitic weak…

holy shit, free opening sentences

  1. “Now that’s afterlife,” the ferryman pointed out amused with his clicking teeth, “you really are a busy body.”
  2. I feel like I should say something clever, or sassy, but I am cold and need my clothes back. Please?
  3. My right formed a pretended gun and fired: BANG, BANG – was I surprised when I hit the target…
  4. “What’s the matter sweetheart, never taken a shortcut before?”
  5. “I’m on the highway to hell,” I blared on performing CPR.
  6. My daughter Emily loves pancakes with chocolate chips and bananas, but this Emily at the table is all wrong, and she won’t let me go.
  7. “Not that you could ever use it, but that’s the secret of creation,” Lucifer nudged gently the leaves of the potted daisies.
  8. “I’ve been thinking,” she cut the foxglove flowers into fine stripes and put them into the teapot, “maybe you need a long nice holiday, darling.”
  9. “That ridiculous excuse of a human being was the god of locks,” Paine shook his head in disbelief.
  10. “Now everybody, repeat,” I stood at the speaker’s desk, pausing for effect, “I AM FREE!
  11. “Yeah, I’d go for a big, hairy ‘n all teeth sidekick,” Lev wrung his fist with a fit of elation, as the goblin nodded approvingly.-producing a huge slobbery pug in the size of a pony…
  12. I heard him snicker over his “Ladies first”, so I threw a chair at his face, that’ll teach him.
  13. “Why are you shooting at me?”
  14. I shared a bunk with a quiet man, a huge afro-american cyborg, with the average of ten words and two facial expression a week.
  15. The tall shadow of Lieutenant Rizzo appeared in the doorway, bubbling drunken zombie words, „sowhyamupnwhuusresponsble?”
  16. I lowered the stethoscope and the heavy door swung open.
  17. The pink tutu bounced up and down as the little girl ran away from my yard, screaming for her mommy.
  18. “Less talking, more running,” Ivanov grunted, cranking the control lever on the emergency life support system.
  19. Adam smirked, floored the gas pedal, and the car skid around the corner.
  20. The tiger yawned, looked at me pitifully, folded his paws and studied my CV, not trying to hide his boredom.
  21. Sleipnir dipped over the event horizon, and started broadcasting “I got you Babe” over all emergency channels.
  22. “Fuck off, grasshopper,” the monks sucked his teeth and let his arrow fly.
  23. “Don’t know, whose dream is this anyway,” the monkey asked, “I’m bored already!”
  24. “Sorry,” I managed a confused face, “I don’t speak bullshit.”

  25.  “Well?” The Spanish Inquisitor leaned forward expectantly, quill ready to note my unspeakable sins. He will be flabbergasted!
  26. The Yellow Emperor glanced into the mirror and smirked, taking over the realm of humans was easier than he thought. “All that Selfie-business is playing nicely into his hands.”

tiger, burning

-a chuck wending friday flash fiction challenge (1000 words)- here

San Chou was a dangerous place. Everyone in Li Jiang knew that. The news of brutal robbery and gruesome rape and murder reached us. Governor Zhang Dee Yang was more than worried. He seemed so distant, I feared he’d fall ill. Even his wife was concerned enough to call for a doctor. After the doctor went, I visited him and we drank tea in the garden.

All together the band of San Chou seemed to be only gossip, but the governor took it seriously. “A good governor is like a  good general, Bolin. Just like a good father, his soldiers trust and obey him, because they love him, not because they fear him. They would never betray or disgrace their general’s name,” he said to me, with the saddest smile. He seemed so fragile, I never seen him so worn out. After all, he was more than my high official, he was a father to me. “The good governor can rely on his subjects, as they equally rely on him. But I can’t rely on the officials in that village. Who knows what they are up to. They must be corrupt. Maybe they supply the band with secret information.”

“Possibly…”I nodded slowly, “but how could one verify?”

“Bolin, that band is like a snake. It finds its way into every crack of the wall… Surprise it! Pull it’s fangs, so it can’t bite. No bite, no venom. Take it’s head, and the body dies slowly.” The governor was right. To restore order in San Chou, it was necessary to free the village from the criminals. The most effective way was to do it from the inside. One capable man could do it. Zhang Dee Yang looked at me with a curious expression, pulled a grimace, which made me laugh. “Bolin! You look so serious, my boy. Take care, your face could get stuck in that expression!” He laughed a warm laugh, one that I missed.

I made up my mind. Zhang Dee Yang saved me, when I was a baby boy, he took me in, nurtured my body and mind. I was more than grateful, that’s why I volunteered for this task. He wasn’t happy, but needed someone to trust in San Chou. That day, the governor sent for a man and a woman. They appeared like shadows from a side of the garden.

I didn’t needed to go alone. And all three of us had better chances to succeed. The way they moved, how they stood and sat, I suspected they were fighters. Really good ones. “This is Fang Hua Xing, beautiful and deadly, her virtue is the dancing of the blades. This is the famous Jinhai Wei Fu, master of the lance. And this is my oldest son, Bolin.” The governor introduced everyone. How did he know such people?

We exchanged courtesies, drank tea and discussed the matter extensively. Fueled by the excitement of my first mission, and the two fighters, I couldn’t sleep a wink. We decided to approach the village from three different directions. In disguise, we would behave like strangers to each other. No one should suspect any trace of links between each other. Especially the connection to the governor of Li Jiang, my father should stay secret, to prevent further disturbances. Our true identities were to remain concealed, so we chose new names too. I went with Monkey, Fang Hua Xing called herself Jade, and Jinhai Wei Fu was Tiger. We all had our specialties, as Jade was a master with swords, Tiger with the lance, my abilities were not so spectacular, I admit. After years of studying, I mastered acupuncture and was sent for training into the monastery of Mt. Songshan.

I reached San Chou on foot, five days after we parted at the governor’s house. Dressed as a wandering astronomer, nobody took noticed of me and I had no trouble reaching the village. In the first hostel I asked after martial arts schools. San Chou had three. That was a start. “If you look for trouble, search for the troublemakers.” My master used to say, and martial arts scholars had a clear stroke of trouble on them. I thought of myself, and my training. The monks were firm, not allowing anger, fear or joy. I thought of the hunger and the many hours of work in the house of Zhang Dee Yang. Master was right, troubled souls had an affinity to martial arts. They were attracted, like moths to the fire.

I paid a boy three wen to show me around. One coin for each school. I gave him another, for food. I heard nothing of Jade and Tiger, so I started my observations and made notes. Each school had one active teacher, and one older master. The number of scholars were variable. Southern Fist had eleven boys, Wing Chun had fifteen and Northern Legs had seven. I tried to remember each of the scholars. It was most likely that the criminals had some training. I had to ask the masters for drop-outs without attracting too much attention. After that, I checked the administration, from the outside it looked fine. Then I caught a glimpse of Tiger. He leaned at the garden wall of a house nearby, in a beam of sunlight and threw me a disgusted look. Where was Jade? What was she doing?

I had a brilliant idea. I went to the entrance of the administration and knocked at the door. A soldier let me in and I demanded to see the high official. Truth was a tool, as much as betrayal could be.

I was shown into a small dark room, with one chair and one table. A thin man came in, walking on a cane, with grey hair and mustache, clothes richly embroiled. As he sat down he nodded and smiled a rapid flash of teeth. Only as he indicated with his hand, I started speaking: “My Lord. I am a wandering scholar, an astronomer. I’m here to warn you. A man I noticed on the other side of the street is spying out the administration.” The man showed no reaction. “I know him from my hostel, where I made a horoscope for him. A very dangerous and brutal man.” He indicated me to stop, stood up and left the room. Surely, to check my claims.

Four soldiers barged in, with drawn swords all pointing at me. The man came back in, with a most satisfied smile. “So we caught you, Monkey. Call miss Jade in, so she can verify. You’ll see that our prisons are as comfortable, as the ones in Li Jiang.”

-to be continued -

The Goblet of Lost Chicago

a Chuck Wendig flash fiction challenge - here

The shopwindow was white. It kept snowing. Wouldn’t stop anytime soon. I had to clean it away as fast as possible. Long time since I saw anything else than winter. Actually it’s been snowing nearly daily since the …thing. And the thing was a freak weather event, that’s what the telly said.

Some months ago I met an actual meteorologist. He said, it was an unnatural event, with it’s center above the North Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between Greenland and Canada. He was on his way up there, to see with his own eyes. Babbled something about a military experiment – a great heap of steaming nonsense, but he was a customer.

He bought a great deal of ropes and alpine gear from me, some supplies too. He asked about dogsleds, so I pointed him to Charlie, in Egg Harbor. Left me a lot of money  and propane coupons, good for three months. Mary was delighted with the coupons, but she had to go shopping with the money right away. One day, we waited too long and we could  only buy half of the goods we could have, the day before. A mistake not to happen twice.

So while Mary went shopping, I went to meet Charlie and Walt. We had a private little business to keep our supplies stocked. Walt got in some great loot. We won’t have problems for the coming half year.