Posts Tagged ‘15 minutes’

Crime – 15 min.

On the lawn I skidded to a halt and turned to face our pursuer.  My sisters had disappeared into the brown house and into safety.  I was pissed.  I felt my blood boiling and felt my rational mind retreating behind a cloud of utter fury.  I let out a banshee scream intended to frighten this man who had been on our heels—he was now angling towards the door trying to get past me.  I admit that I’m not the quickest on my feet but damned if he was going to get into that house and hurt my sisters.  I swung at his head in a wild haymaker.  To my surprise, and I imagine his, the blow connected and he paused long enough to reassess.  “Back off,” I commanded, still seething.  “They didn’t mean to run into your damn car!”

            He spouted some profanity at me and shoved me aside.  I grabbed his arm and sank my teeth into the flesh right above his elbow.  He howled and hammered at my face.  I immediately let go because that hurt!  Throwing my full weight at him, I screamed, “They’re kids! Leave them alone!” He stumbled and I pushed my momentary advantage to get him on the ground.   He rolled away, and I followed on my hands and knees, clawing at his shirt and jeans to keep him down.  I felt I had an advantage here.  I lunged forward again, catching him as he scrambled to his feet and taking him down to the cement sidewalk.

            One of the bricks was loose.  I saw my hand reach for it, felt my fingers close around it, and I felt my arm swing down with all its might.   The man howled, blood running down his face from the gash on his forehead.  Something tore inside me and I lashed out again, harder, trying to erase that noise from the earth.  Again, and again, I struck, and I felt blood spatter onto my shirt.  “Leave my sisters alone!”  I was sobbing now.  I felt completely intoxicated.  It was only when my uncle pulled me off that I began to regain some of my senses. 

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Free Write – 15 min.

Xaon grimaced.  “I’ll call in so the bodies can be recovered.”

“Alright,” Elizabeth slung her rifle around and checked the charge.  “Eighty-five percent.  How are you?”

“Same,” Xaon flipped open his communicator.  “Talos to base.”

“Go ahead.”

“Discovered cache of human remains.  No survivors.”

“Alright, we’ll send down a recovery team.”

“Many thanks.  Talos out.”

Elizabeth stood, her leg armor creaking as she did.  “Colder in here,” she noted, mostly to herself.  “Let’s go.”

The pair continued down the white corridor.  The story-high windows allowed the sunlight to stream in, illuminating the crumbling walls and floor.  Graffiti and other vandalism were the only signs anyone had seen the interior of this building in quite some time.  Somewhere above them, the rafters of the building groaned in the mounting wind.  Xaon’s sense of unease grew steadily as they ended the corridor and rounded into a stairwell.  “Up or down?” he asked casually.

“I’d say up, then down,” his partner responded.  “I don’t like this place.  It’s got something I can’t lay finger to.”

“Agreed.”

They carefully made their way up the stairs, avoiding holes where rust had eaten through the steps.  “Tread lightly,” Elizabeth pointed at a particularly raw step.  Xaon could see the floors far below.  The iron grumbled protestingly as he passed over it.  Suddenly Elizabeth held up her hand to stop.  As she did, a harried fluttering of wings and indignant bird noises came from the top of the stairwell.  Both explorers flattened themselves against the outer wall, hefting their rifles into better battle-ready positions.  Elizabeth crept forward, remaining hunched over to keep their presence unknown as long as possible.  “What do you think it is?”  When Xaon’s only response was a shake of his head, she said, “Call it in.”

The communicator sprang to his palm.  “Talos to base,” his voice was extremely quiet.

“Go ahead.”

“Be advised we have encountered some disturbance on floor three.  We are moving to check it out now.”

“So advised.  Do you require back up?”

“Not at this time, however please prepare to respond quickly should we call.”

“Sir.”

“Talos out.”

Elizabeth stretched out further up the staircase and peered over the edge.  No movement, now that the birds had taken flight.  She carefully scanned the great open room, her sight finally falling on a white form at the center of the floor.  Raising her head, Elizabeth squinted.  “Talos, there’s someone up here.”

He tightened his grip on the rifle. “I’ll cover you.”

Nodding, she stood and stepped noiselessly up three remaining steps and onto the third floor.  The figure lay face down, sprawled and undignified.  Definitely human, likely a former patient, judging by the bland clothing.  Close-cropped hair gave no indication as to a gender.  How did we not hear this person before?

“Excuse me,” she spoke aloud.  The silence of the entire building seemed to deepen as her words resounded off the dirty walls.  “Excuse me,” she tried again.  “Can you hear me?”

No reply.  No movement.

Xaon, still at the stairs, eyes roving uneasily, with rifle aimed at the prone figure, shook his head.  “Another corpse.  Recovery team will get him.”

Elizabeth ventured closer to the body.  From this proximity she could see part of the person’s face.  There was something vaguely masculine about the jawline, though it was hard to discern when the haunting look of emaciation and poor treatment hung so heavily over him.  Something at his throat caught her attention.  “Xaon.”  She took three hasty steps forward and knelt by the figure.  “It’s blood.  Fresh. This man was alive a few minutes ago.”  She took the body by the shoulder and raised him.  “Throat’s been slashed!”

“We’re not alone,” her companion came quickly to her side, rifle at his shoulder.

“Do you hear that?” Elizabeth stood, pulling her own rifle up.  “The screeching.”

Very faintly, but growing in volume and intensity, a definite sound of screeching came to their ears from several floors away.  Xaon flipped his communicator open again.  “Talos to base.  Third floor not secured.  Be advised: this hospital is infected.”

Secret / Solution / Savior – 15 min.

Tory had the feeling that maybe, just maybe, Hugo was upset with her.   The wind whipped past her face, her long red hair streaming behind her as she pounded the pavement towards her secondary get-away car.   It would take months to get back into his good graces, assuming she was quick enough to avoid the savage hit-men pursuing her.  Another shot rang out, splintering the bricks near her head as she slid around a sharp corner and yanked open the rusty sheet-metal side door before her.

Ripping the dusty tarp away from the body, Tory slid behind the wheel of the sleek, black Lamborghini, felt the engine roar to life, clutch, pop, brake… first gear.  Away.

Expensive, pretty cars destroyed in a maelstrom of bullets: To date, five.

Late nights, complicated very alcoholic drinks, lost friends or potential relationships who assumed she was just being a bitch when she didn’t return their calls, number of times in danger of being exposed as an officer and summarily executed: All countless.

Thrill of putting one more local drug kingpin away for life: Totally worth it.

But I don’t know how long I can keep this up.

FF #16 – 15 min – Deus Ex Machina

Attempt 1:
 
The bounty-hunter’s right trigger finger twitched however slightly against the cool steel of his weapon as he maintained eye contact with the tall ranger before him.  He tried to lick his extremely dry lips with a parched tongue but tasted only the salty sweat that beaded on his stubbly upper lip.  He flicked his eyes to his left to ensure that his wife’s rifle was also trained on their intended target.  It shone steadily in what little light came from dirty windows overhead.   The silence around them was deafening.
 
“Whatever they’re paying you to take me in, I’ll double it,” the ranger spoke, his calm voice belying the agitation he had to feel.  He had both handguns aimed at Xaon and Elizabeth and his eyes told the story of his panic.   A very faint quiver traveled to the end of his taut arms and both barrels wavered.  His lips moved in silent formation of words and then sealed themselves.
 
“Double it?”  Xaon rasped, almost chuckling to himself.  “Sirrah, no-one is paying us to ‘take you in.’ This is just a personal visit.”
 
A blinding light engulfed them all and the husband-wife pair found themselves standing alone in the warehouse.  “He’s… gone?” Xaon swore.  “Are you shitting me?” 
 
“Teleported out,” Elizabeth dropped to one knee and began disassembling her rifle.  “That’s new.”

FF #14 – 15 min – Confession

I give myself permission to be a person.

Today I am supposed to write a confession.  I am supposed to raw and real and laid bare.

Today I confess that I am a loose cannon at home with an incredibly short fuse.   I confess that I have not treated my husband the way I am supposed to.  I confess that I am a selfish person and I hate that about myself.

I didn’t take D’s wishes into consideration when I bought Wimbledon—I thought he’d grow to love it, to appreciate having a home instead of just a stupid, dirty apartment in a low-income area.  I was thinking of K (who had not yet been born) as well.  As a mommy-to-be, I knew best and I forced it down D’s throat.  Then I got upset when he didn’t want to help out around the house as much.

I confess that I got angry and upset more often than was necessary.  I confess that I allowed creeping doubts and irritations to take root in my heart and fester there.  I confess that it turned my tongue ugly and drove away my smile and my joy.  I confess that I have been sharp and occasionally downright mean to my husband.

I confess that I don’t want to work anymore because I feel like I’ve done enough.  I hate starting over.  I hate orientation and learning new methods.  I confess that I cannot imagine a job where I would be happy unless it involved working from home while I watched K.  [ I confess that I am a hypocrite; because that is one thing I faulted my MIL for—working from home to watch her kids at a much-decreased rate of pay.  She couldn’t provide for them properly.  Her house was not run like my house was, and that made it a Bad Place. ]

I confess that I have a negative attitude and that has been something that has always been a sour part of me.  I can remember being a child and my parents telling me that my attitude was bad and I needed to get it in gear.  I never understood how to do that.  What, just pick something good about a situation and focus on that?  What about the 1200 other shitty parts to this deal?  How is one good thing supposed to overcome the 1200?

I confess that I have two faces and that I have a dense guard up, even around people I love sometimes.  I can’t pinpoint why that is.

I confess that I want to gather up my son and run away sometimes and never come back.  I confess that I have regrets, but that those regrets will only be actualized if D does what he might do in the next few weeks.

I confess that I am extremely emotional.  I feel very, very deeply and that is why I am bad in business because everything is personal to me.  I am easily discouraged. I am worried about the opinions and support of others.  I hate the way things go sometimes but I feel powerless to change it because I don’t want to stand up for what I believe in…it might push people away from me.

Like so many others, I don’t want to be alone.  That seems to be where my life is heading, unfortunately.  I have cried buckets in the last few days because I am a miserable, completely broken human person.

And that sucks.

FF #13 – 15 min – Middle School Memories

Serena stood glaring down at Kevin O. as he lay curled into a tight ball on the tightly-carpeted floor of the gymnasium. “Say it again!” she shouted, her eyes brimming with angry tears.  “I fucking dare you to say it again!”  The miserable bastard made a noise–she couldn’t tell if it was laughter or something else– and said,

“I told him about last PE period… when you farted!”

Serena didn’t hesitate.  She aimed a kick at his unprotected groin from behind and he let out a whoosh and a groan.  “You…you….” There weren’t words for how angry she was, how impossible this stupid school was, how she wanted to put her hands around this twat’s throat and squeeze the life out of him.  The blood pounded behind her watery eyes and it took a moment for her to realize there was a hand on her shoulder.

Shit, PE coach.

“Is there a problem here?” the Bill Clinton look-alike frowned at her.  “Something we need to talk about?”

“No problem,” Serena said coolly, “Kevin tripped.”

The wad on the floor shook his head in protest.  Words were still beyond him.   Ha….

“Go change,” the coach ordered them both, waddling back to his seat. “Five minutes.”

“You tell what happened here, I’ll do it again.  Remember that.  I chased you down after you called me fat, after you threw balls at me and got everyone else to do it too.  I chased you down because you told my boyfriend I made a rude noise in this goddamn class.  You repeat yourself one more time and I will personally make sure you never have kids.”

It wasn’t that Serena was a bully.  She was actually a good person, but the new school and the daily tormenting by Kevin O. had pushed something so hard that she’d chosen today to snap and retaliate.  Thank God it was lunchtime next.  Today might be the day I burn this place to the ground.  Wonder how long it would take me to walk home.

FF #6 – 15 min. – Exorcism

In the light of the quickly-dying sunset James picked up a piece of white chalk and traced an enormous circle on the wooden floor boards of his attic room.   Next came a large albeit clumsy pentagram, and he placed his soft downy feather at the rightmost point.  He did the same at the leftmost point with the enormous bear claw, wondering wryly if it would matter that it had come from the witchcraft store in downtown.   Solemnly, he lit five white lavender-scented candles and placed them at each point of the pentagram.  The sprigs of rosemary went at the top point just within his reach.

Drawing a deep breath, he opened the bag of white sand took a handful, tracing the circle and repeating the mystic syllables the carnie fortune teller had given him.  The air in the attic was very still, the silence oppressive.  James felt a shudder run down his back and he knew the spirits were gathering.  The headache that had been with him since this whole mess began over a year ago was growing as they began to understand his motions and moved to put a stop to them.

Now for the blue sand.  This he trickled over the pentagram itself and around each of the candles, constantly in motion, still repeating the words.  There was palpable tension in the air now.  He shook his head to clear away the mental cobwebs.  These spirits were going to have to respect this ceremony, done as it was, in desperation.  James had simply wanted a place to live and start a family.  He set his teeth together and finished the blue sand.

A feeling of dread washed over him, but he plucked up his courage and stepped into the center of the pentagram.  He spoke, “Spirits, I have pleaded with you to leave me in peace, but it has come to this.  I call upon the latent power of the earth, represented here in these objects, to aid me in cleansing this house!”

An audible hum was growing in James’ ears, and he reached for the sharp knife at his belt.  “As I spill this blood, I charge you be gone for all time!”  Relying on a sudden burst of energy and moxie, he drew the sharp knife over his open palm and squeezed his fist so that the rush of crimson dripped down to the point of his hand and one…two…three drops spattered onto the floorboards.  They dried instantly.

Almost immediately, he could see in front of him a dark shape that at first glance appeared human.  As James peered at it, through the light of the candles he could make out a pair of glittering eyes.  An evil hiss escaped the figure and James felt his heart stop.  “We…do not take orders from mortals,” it rasped.  “We…are Legion, we…are many.”