Dinner Party

Hello fellow sentient organisms! Boy, it’s been a while. This one’s still in the early stages of development, and not my typical story type, but it was fun to do. I wrote it for a class I’m taking now, and is based on a conversation that took place at the dinner table a few weeks ago (it’s probably for the best that you don’t ask). So without further ado, enjoy!

If there was anything anyone knew about Mrs. Tucker, it was that her potato salad was to die for, and that her husband made a killer steak. They were hot items at every potluck, dinner party, or picnic, each of which the couple attended and collaborated often. Their son, Hank Tucker, was just as social as his parents, easily drifting between groups to charm his way through a conversation, and leaving party-goers feeling flattered and at ease. The family was friendly with many, and well-acquainted with everyone they knew. They hardly ate dinner alone; food was better in good company, after all.

This evening was just like any other. Their plates cleaned, guests lingered at the table, comfortably stuffed with kidney bean casserole and pork chops, bursting at the seams with merriment. Mr. Tucker had popped the cork on a Merlot, and red wine filled the glasses of every eligible individual.

Charlette and Harrison Young were regular guests at the Tucker’s, though they seldom brought their eldest daughter, Allison, along with them.

“And then I said,” Charlette relayed with flourish, “I’d have to sell everything I own to even consider the prospect!”

The gathering broke out into chorus of laughter.

“Really, though,” Harrison elaborated when the laughter quieted, “it costs an arm and a leg to live in New York, let alone go to college there.”

“Cornell is such a great school. I’d love to go there,” Allison added, “but it’s just too expensive.”

“You know,” Mrs. Tucker chimed, “you could try for a scholarship or two. You’re a bright girl; surely you can find something.”

“We’ve checked into several, but none of them cover enough. I think I’m going to consider a school closer to home, anyway. Less money to spend on gas.”

Laughter bubbled forth again.

“Now that I think about it, I think I have an idea,” Hank contemplated seriously, digging around in his pockets. His parents watched, amused, as he drew out a sheet of paper that appeared to have been clipped from the newspaper’s “Help Wanted” page. He passed it to Allison.

“It’s what we did to pay for my college,” he suggested nonchalantly, “but it’s not for everyone.”

Indeed, the slip of paper, boldly proclaiming Wanted: Healthy Organs, was not a moneymaking venture for the weak at heart.

What Of Us?

All this one is is some brain puke. Not my favorite piece by any stretch of the imagination.

They are two steps ahead, gaining speed, notoriety, experience, skills.

They take the lead, pull ahead, run the race like it’s supposed to be run.

They achieve so much, loose so little, or so it seems.

They are the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the one in a million.

But why are there so many?

Everywhere I look, they’re there,

Reaching a new level,

Moving past insurmountable obstacles.

Things we struggle to overcome.

And we are left behind.

So what of us?

The average, the norm?

We who wish to take it in stride,

To enjoy our time,

Our youth?

What of us?

The jack of all trades, who loves none?

The master of the penniless trade,

Who wishes nothing more than to love their work?

What of us?

The strange, the obscure?

The diligent worker who can never quite reach the bar?

Those who work a little harder, with no results?

What of us?

Angels And Hunters; Part III

Haven’t got much to say about this one, other than it’s way….way…WAY late. Uh, yeah. Sorry about that, folks. As I am loosing some motivation for this story, I’ll probably drop it and write some other stuff before I work on this one again. This one does leave at an awkward place, but here’s to hoping it’s satisfactory. Anyways, as always, criticism, suggestions, comments, and concerns are greatly appreciated!

Ptero had his concerns, always had, always would. Profit had always placed in the center, above survival, personal gain, and family ties, and he knew that his younger sister had adapted the same mindset, something he wasn’t proud to say that he’d contributed to. But times had changed. He had changed. It had been a slow change, spanning over many years, a change that he hadn’t even noticed until he was presented with a choice; turn a teenage angel and his hatchling over to his notoriously inhumane employer for a huge profit, or let them go and face the man with a failed hunt.

 

He chose the latter.

 

He wasn’t quite sure what caused the change, or when it began, but at some point, his focus had shifted. Profit wasn’t as important anymore, not when it wrought such destruction.

 

He’d become a hunter a little over five years before, shortly after leaving the house he grew up in (house, but not a home. That place could never be a home), and mastered the profession at the top of his class. He was flooded with offers from various firms at multiple settlements, and was free to choose from any one of the branches in the business. At the time, business was all it was. A messy business, but just as honest as any other field.

 

And messy it was. Many hunters didn’t come back from a hunt, having fallen victim to an angel’s voice, while many more came back permanently disabled. He himself had come back a numerous amount of times empty-handed, with nothing but serious injury to show for. Even more messy, however, were the Farms. There were very few of them, but the firms that ran them made nearly triple the money of any non-Farming firm. He had only been into a Farm twice, both times as punishment for small failures, and he made it a point to never go again.

 

“So. What’s the plan?” Amal plopped down on the ground next to him, her voice low. She leaned her back against the trunk of the dying tree Ptero sat under and dropped her rifle and bag down beside her.

 

“Plan?” He tossed back, watching Kace, who had moved to sit at the side of the fire ring to tend to his brother’s wings, well out of hearing range.

 

“You better be pulling my leg, asshole. No one dives into this kind of operation without a plan,” she hissed. Ptero felt a spark of uneasiness jolt through his gut.

 

“And what kind of…operation is this?”

 

“My god, Ptero,” she groaned, running a hand through her hair. “You’ve got two angels here, one a hatchling, and you’re telling me you don’t have a plan to bring them in? Do you know how much a Farm would pay for those two?”

 

Amal hadn’t even gotten halfway through her accusation before the blood drained from Ptero’s face, his gut twisting painfully. He took a deep, shaky breath, clenching his fists.

 

“Amal. If you ever suggest something like that again, I will kill you,” he snarled, refusing to look at his sister. He’d been afraid of this, that she would turn out no different than he had been, and he was just as angry with himself as he was with her. He shouldn’t have left.

 

“What the f-”

 

“Have you ever been in one of those…those Farms?!” He spit out, cutting her off.

 

“Well, yeah, but-”

 

“There’s no ‘but’ about it, Amal! It’s inhumane, it’s all inhumane.”

 

“Have you forgotten how dangerous they are? They’re mo-”

 

“They’re human beings!” He rose, anger bubbling in his gut.

 

“Let me talk, damn it!” She barked, over him, jumping to her feet, “They kill humans, steal what little livestock we have left, and invade our territory. They’re monsters, animals! Just look at him,” she said, breathlessly pointing at Kace, whose wings were curled around Lukas, shooting milk curdling glares at the two humans, “baring his teeth like a common dog.”

 

“Ptero…” the teen in question growled in warning, causing the older man to sigh, frustrated.

 

“Don’t worry about it, Kace. My sister is only having a little difficulty understanding what should be common human decency,” Ptero spat without looking at the angel.

 

“I’m the one having trouble understanding?”

 

“Humans force angels out to edge of the forest where food is scarce, shoot and more than often kill them on sight when they try to come close to find food, attack their villages, and then proceed to kill them and cut out their wings, or drag them back so they can be thrown in those godforsaken Farms!” By this time, his voice has risen to a shout, and he felt his body thrumming with fresh rage. The woods fell silent around them, his last words hanging in the air. “…doesn’t that seem a little unjust?” He finished quietly.

 

There was a period of stunned silence before Kace hesitantly spoke up, not moving his hands from where they were covering Lukas’s ears.

 

“…Farms?”

 

Angels and Hunters; Part II

Sorry about this being so late, guys. Threw this one together in my free time, so it’s pretty unedited, without much movement. I hope to get some more actual movement in the next installment around Friday.

This hunter, yes, he realized she had a name, but she would remain ‘the hunter’ in his mind until she proved herself to be anything more, was of some relation to Ptero, that much Kace could tell. To what extent, though, Kace would have to ask the older male. While their resemblance was subtle and hardly noticeable, they carried themselves with the same attentive, almost wary, dignity, and rich confidence.

Kace trailed behind the two humans, carrying a sleeping Lukas in his arms, listening to their conversation, but staying out of it. He would talk with Ptero later to get the information he really wanted about the hunter. Until then, he would simply observe.

“…couple years after you headed out,” the hunter was saying, “I split, too. Figured that if you were doin’ it, being a Hunter couldn’t be such a bad gig. And well,” she gestured to the surrounding forest, “here I am.”

Ptero chuckled bitterly.

“Good job, huh? Yeah, I thought that for a time…not anymore. Not anymore,” he finished with a sigh.

The hunter is silent, simply bobbing her head, whether it be in agreement or acknowledgement, Kace couldn’t tell. He shifted Lukas, who barely stirs in his sleep, on his hip, carefully minding the younger Angel’s wings. He’d have to check them over for damage. He couldn’t be sure that the hunter hadn’t hurt Lu when she stepped on the downy appendages. If she had, relative of Ptero or not, she’d be in for hell. Lu was small for an angel as he was, and he didn’t need anything, especially not wing damage, to keep him from growing the way he needed to. His arms tightened subconsciously around his charge.

The conversation following was simple small talk, which Kace opted to ignore, choosing instead to wander idly through his thoughts. He seemed to be doing that a lot recently.

When he met Ptero a couple months ago, the two were anything but friendly, jumping at each other’s throats right off the bat. The older man was a hunter, the strongest Kace had ever faced. The first confrontation was hopeless. Kace had foolishly brought Lukas with him into the forest, away from the safety of their makeshift village at the forest’s edge, and it instantly gave Ptero the upper hand. To this day, Kace hadn’t the slightest clue why Ptero had let him go when he clearly had the upper hand.

Ptero returned a few days later with claims of a feud with his employer, and offering to team up with Kace and give him protection. It wasn’t until Ptero told him about the legion of skilled hunters that would inevitably come for the angel and his hatchling that Kace reluctantly agreed. It was obvious that the hunters he’d faced in the past were nothing but common thugs looking for some quick cash, and that he wouldn’t stand a chance against fully fledged hunters. He had to protect Lukas, and if risking the presence of a hunter was what it would take to do that, he would. He’d rather take his chances with one hunter turning on him rather than an army of them, anyways.

The first few weeks of this arrangement had been rough. Both males were hostile, and any attempts Ptero made to engage in conversation with Kace or Lukas were met with harsh aggression. Kace recalled many sleepless nights, too afraid to let his guard down. Every day that passed only increased his paranoia, and with it, his hostility. Even Lukas was careful not to spark Kace’s anger.

Then Ptero came back from his rounds one morning, a grave expression etched onto his face.

“They’re coming.”

They ran. Bringing only the small bags that they’d packed in advance, they ran. The next week, it might’ve been shorter, or longer, Kace couldn’t remember, was spent in a blur of mindless panic, weeks of anxiety raging forth. Kace knew that the only reason he’d been able to stay alive during that time was because of Ptero. He knew how hunters behaved, how they moved, how they thought. He knew how to avoid them, and he did, without fail. But most importantly, he knew how to keep a level head. He knew how to keep a level head, and because of that, they had survived long enough to temporarily rid themselves of the hunters.

While on the run, their relationship changed. Kace was given no choice but to place his trust in Ptero, and the older man risked his life more than once to keep his word, eventually earning Kace’s hesitantly given trust, and sooner than the angel could have ever expected, his friendship.

Kace trusted Ptero with his life, with Lukas’s life. He owed Ptero his life.

As they pushed back a wall of shrubbery, revealing the minimalistic campsite they’d been set up but a few days ago, Kace prayed that they could trust this hunter, too.

Angels and Hunters; Part I

So sorry about all the lateness! This is part one of a multi-part story (I’m not sure how many parts it’ll have, though) that I’ll be working on for my next couple posts. Feedback and criticism is much appreciated!   

Amal stepped over the charred remains of the campfire, annoyed. She’d been hot on the trail of the Angel for a little over a month, and she was gaining on it. Unlike herself, it obviously wasn’t accustom to covering so much ground in such a small amount of time. The few encounters she’d had with the beast probably didn’t help its escape either; they weren’t nearly as quick with bullet holes in their wings.

A quiet yelp came from inside the forest, and Amal darted towards the source of the sound.

“Hello?” She called, keeping her voice even and non-threatening. A flash of movement caught her attention, and her head swiveled on her shoulders to catch a small, white wing disappearing behind one of the many towering oaks. The size alone was enough to tell her that this was not her prey, but she wouldn’t pass up the chance to get her hands on one of the creatures. Swiftly, she slid around the side of the trunk, coming face to face with an Angel. It stumbled back, falling on its rear, wings reeling in a failed attempt to keep it upright.

This one was significantly younger than her original prey. It was obviously male, they did resemble humans, after all, though the long, dress-like shirt it wore suggested otherwise. It tried to stand and run, but Amal kept a firm foot down on the wing.

“Lukas!” The form that appeared was a familiar one, the very one the Hunter had been tracking. The words that came out of its mouth stunned her, and the younger Angel wriggled out from under her foot, skittering over to Amal’s prey and tucking itself behind the elder’s legs.

“Did you just…?” She asked, despite herself. The Angel stared like she’d grown a second head. Maybe she’d imagined the voice. She brushed her surprise, and curiosity, aside. Of course she’d imagined it, Angels couldn’t-

“You’ve been following me,” the creature spoke, its voice like frozen venom.

“You can…?”

“Talk? Yes. Surprised?”

Amal lowered her weapon. This was…an unexpected development. To say that she wasn’t surprised would be a lie. For years, Angels were nothing more than exotic animals, incapable of doing anything human, other than looking like them. But its eyes gleamed with intelligence, and now, malice, neither of which she’d seen before. Not that she’d been looking.

“I am.”

“Are you going to put that down, or am I going to have to take it from you?” It…or he, she supposed, quips, gesturing to the rifle in her hands. She notices his body is tight, more ridged than it’s been in their previous encounters. Offhandedly, she wonders why he hasn’t spoken in the past.

“Kace!”  The new voice was much older than the Angel’s, and sounded off from somewhere in the forest. How had she not noticed the crackle of rapidly approaching footsteps? This new…information was throwing her for a loop, pushing her off balance. She readjusted her rifle, expecting a fight from the newcomer. The elder Angel bristled at the action, flaring his wings to block the child from view and squaring his feet.

“We’re over here,” he, Kace, the Hunter realized, replied to the voice, his stormy eyes never leaving Amal, tracking her every move.

A man, somewhere in his early thirties and noticeably lacking wings parted the brush and stepped though into the clearing in which the two groups found themselves locked in a tense standoff. He was scruffy, a mess of black hair piled on his head, hanging over his dark, attentive eyes. He looked at Amal for a moment, a flicker of surprise sparking in his eyes, then looked back to Kace, raising his eyebrows. The expression looked so familiar, but Amal wasn’t able to place it until he burst out laughing.

At the boisterous noise, the Hunter nearly dropped her weapon. The man’s face lit up in a way she remembered from years ago, but hadn’t seen since her childhood.

“Ptero?!” She exclaimed, ditching the mask of disinterest to stare, unabashed, at her brother.

“Amal, it’s been a while,” he smirks. There’s a certain lightness to his voice, something about his lax stance that lacked the stiff, cold formality she’d grown so accustom to in his later years that reminded her so much of the brother she once knew, before their father’s abuse took its hold and chilled his heart. He’d changed yet again.

“You know her?” the Angel spoke again, speaking easily to Amal’s brother, the feathers on his wings slowly falling flat, seeming to be letting down his guard. A mistake. Ptero was a skilled Hunter if she ever knew one, and wouldn’t pass up the chance to bring in two Angels, especially the little one. Angels guarded their young fiercely, as many animals would, and as a result, buyers were willing to pay much more for a hatchling’s wings.

This lying in wait thing wasn’t Ptero’s typical style, but it would take some smart thinking to bring in the hatchling. She stops the smirk from making its way onto her face as she slowly places her rifle on the ground. For now, she would play the waiting game.

Don’t Panic

Oh my gosh, so sorry for the late update guys. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving (or day, if you don’t celebrate it)! I’m not really sure what this piece is, so interpret it as you will. 

She hated it. She loathed it. She was terrified of it. Every day, without fail, her gut would clench as she walked through that door into the room that reeked of a danger that only she could smell. She never looked any of them in the eye. Why would she? None of them could be trusted. So she ignored them, hoping that all attention would remain on those who desired it, lived it, breathed it. That it would stay with those who could stand its threatening pressure.

It never happened that way.

The menace hung over her head like a damp fog, seeping through her bones and striking her with an icy dagger that pierced her core. The cadences would pulse inside her head over and over and over and over while the drone of a distant voice sulked outside like a starved beast.

Get out. Get out. Get out…

Sometimes they made eye contact and a wave a nausea rolled through her and blood rushed to her face before she quickly looked away. If the acknowledgment lasted any longer and the entire room’s focus was on her being, everything seemed to stop. Her breathing would hitch in her throat, every muscle attempting to fold in on itself and become one with the chair beneath her.

Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.

Her pleas would go unheard.

Go away. Go away. Go away.

She never moved. She couldn’t move. The alarm bells rang like gongs but she could only try to make herself as small as possible. Then they would ask her to speak. She could never refuse them, no one ever refused them. So she would comply, her voice coming out in a barely audible sound that pounded through her head, keeping time with the pulsing funeral march.

RunrunrunrunRUN.

Then they would return their attention to something else, and she would allow myself a breath of air, praying that it would stay that way. Sometimes it did. Other times it would happen again and again and again.

Finally, finally, she could go. She could run and it would be okay.

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.

And it was.

Until the next day.

Six Word Stories

Sorry for the late post, guys! Just a few unconnected six word stories for ya’ll. As always, feel free to drop us a comment and/or request.

forgotten friend is one lost.

Time marches on, I’m left behind.

City in ruins, time stands still.

Grandiose snowy dresses splattered with crimson.

Chalk outlines, all two feet tall.

Too many promises broken by death.

I walk up the aisle, fatherless.

Cold and lifeless, eyes of broken.

Unseen childhood friend, no longer needed.

A body and one unfulfilled demand.

The Door

Happy Halloween all! This one’s pretty rushed, and really just the bare bones of a story. Reviews for pointers/comments/ideas for furthering the story are much appreciated!

The air was stale, stiff, smelling of chemicals masking sickness and death, the way hospitals do. Doors, entrances, hung suspended in darkness, a void spanning as far as the mortal eye could see, each one different from its neighbor, ranging from elaborate gates decked in rubies and bronze, to barred cell doors, hanging onto their last hinge. The sounds emanating from behind each closed Door mingled together, creating a harmony unlike any carefully coordinated symphony. The void had no sound that it itself made, save for the low, ever falling drone that simulated an endless fall, tumbling through darkness as these doors so aimlessly did.

The sole things that moved with purpose were distinguished only by their dimly glowing eyes and tattered cloaks that seemed to meld with the darkness and become a part of it. They drifted from Door to Door, stopping at some and watching them in consideration, debating whether or not to open it and allow the void to flood in. Steely fingers would clink against the doorknob, as if it held the final judgement before opening it, to which the void would surge forward with the eagerness of a vulture to a carcass to claim the being behind it, or leaving it behind to exist, untainted by the otherworldly darkness, for a while longer.

The Void was hungry, it always was, as most living things are.

A singular creature drifts to a Door, splashed with baby blue paint and adorned with a silver doorknob. Knife like fingers curve around the silver mound, creating paper thin slices through the metal and sounding with silence where the screech of metal against metal should have been. After a moment of indecision, the Door was opened.

The other side of the Door was silent before it was opened. The room was locked in a stagnant darkness, lit only by the dim glare of a television screen. Toys littered the ground, scattered haphazardly strewn across the bed and perched on a low desk. Leaning against the foot of the bed was a small boy, no older than nine or ten years of age, staring blankly at the flickering screen. For a second, a glitch sparked through the television feed, stopping the images, before starting up again.

Time passes, no more than a few seconds, before it jumps again, once, twice, three times, before breaking into a haze of cackling static, the screen dancing with black and white specks, trying to morph into an image. The boy stared at the box, upset that his program had been disturbed, but as the static shifted, fear rose in his stomach and he pressed his back to the foot of his bed, a small, childish noise of fear pulling itself from his lips. Crimson eyes, surrounded by darkness, cut through the prancing static, unaffected by it.

The Door was opened, and the eyes surged forward, exiting the television, leaving behind its cloak in the void to reveal the figure underneath. Gray skin clung to a yellowing skeleton, draped over bones and held together by thick, black wires, a rusty color seeping through the seams. It oozed out of the screen, tumbling out onto the toy scattered floor in a clattering heap, the void, flowing in a waterfall of liquid darkness, spilled out from the bottom of the Door, bringing the monotone, falling drone with it and filling the room with the sound. With the movements of an old, rusty machine in need of an oiling, jerky and uncoordinated, it stood, hollow eye sockets gleaming with an inner red light and jaw attached only by the wires. Its fingers were long, tampered steel, clanking together when it moved, hanging on limp arms and swaying with the sloppy movements of its gaunt body. Its legs buckled under its weight, just barely keeping it upright, the limbs warped unnatural directions.

A scream died on the child’s lips before he opened his mouth, too terrified to move, to breathe, to think. Blood coursed through his veins, turning his body cold, pounding in his ears like a cadence. The creature took a staggering step forward. And another. It raised its skeletal hand, dagger-like fingers stretching to reach the unblemished skin of the child before it, the void’s darkness lapping at the being’s ankles. A strangled whimper tore itself from the child’s throat, adding his own sound to that of the voids tumbling hum, falling lower, lower, and lower still, increasing in volume all the while as it flooded into the room.

The noise set the creature off. Glinting metal fingers extended in a blur of movement, plunging through the boy’s face, which still held its baby roundness, popping two baby blue eyes and digging a third finger through his forehead. There was no scream, no exclamation of surprise, only thin streams of blood cutting through the child’s pale face, tracing preexisting tear tracks.

The Door cracked, allowing the void to push through the seams, ultimately shattering the television screen to engulf the bedroom in its stale darkness, so that it may be integrated into the void itself. The creature, once again cloaked in its modest coverings, drifted away, moving to the next door, decidedly unimpressed by the smaller, newly cloaked being that drifted away from the spot the baby blue door had once hung.

 

Yin Yang

I’m thankful for pain, I’m thankful for fear

For all times I wish I’d disappear

 

I’m thankful for betrayal, for all friends never true

Just not as it happens to me or to you

 

I’m thankful for the nights, which come before day

The sunrise just seems better that way

 

I’m thankful I know the sea of despair

The sky is much sweeter as I come up for air

 

I’m thankful I know where true happiness lies

Just past the all feelings we simply despise

 

I hope you see where I’m coming from

Joy is best after sadness succumbed

The Gravestone

A dead silence settled on the graveyard like the blanket of pristine snow that now enveloped the lifeless field. Bright wreaths and store-bought flowers boldly proclaimed the death of a loved one, while other headstones were left bare, forgotten, and fewer still were topped with a black figure.

Continue reading The Gravestone