Friday, 27 June 2014
I was reasonably comfortable sitting on the narrow ledge, despite my left arm being torn and shredded, that was sure gonna hurt when the shock wore off though.
I could hear the thing pacing about at the top of the cliff some twenty feet or so above me. The stealthy silence it used before the attack unnecessary now as it prowled about impatiently, a horrible symphony of snapping twigs and clickety claws, overlaid with deeper growls and incisor-gnashing snarls.
At least these noises were easier to deal with than the earlier ones of snapping bones, tearing flesh, and slurping mastication as what was left of my friends were disappearing down its throat.
The camping holiday of a lifetime, yeah, a beer and a laugh around the camp fire had changed rapidly into something else the moment John's hand slapped me wetly in my face, just his hand, the rest of him was hitting other places as he was torn limb from limb.
By the time I had recovered enough to run the creature had almost finished with Paul and Billy. I caught a slashing blow from one massive claw across my upper arm as I dodged around it, just before I tripped and went headlong over the cliff edge.
Something warm dripped onto the top of my head, then trickled its way down the back of my neck and under my collar, cooling as it slimed its way down my spine. I ran my hand over my scalp, then looked at my fingers, slick with globs of drooly, blood-slicked saliva. I didn't need to look up to know the thing was staring down at me. I could almost taste its hunger, and rage.
Occasionally the clouds would part slightly allowing the full moon to peep through and reflect yellow off the dark sea below. It had been a beautiful sight earlier in the day with the sun glinting off the water. We had sat drinking and joking as the sun had gone down, making plans for the morning.
Well, those plans were in the bin now.
I considered my options, such as they were.
I couldn't climb back up, although I guess the creature at the top of the cliff would be absolutely delighted to see me. I couldn't go downwards, the view from the cliff was magnificent during the day, affording a beautiful seascape, also a grand view of a sheer, two hundred foot drop onto the rocks below.
Ah well, I guess I'll just wait.
I rummaged around in my pockets. Keys, comb, a stick of gum, two hundred and sixty dollars plus change. Ha! Maybe I could buy my way out of this mess?
I unwrapped the gum and stuck it in my mouth, chewed on it slowly as I put the wrapper back into my pocket. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. I suppressed a hysterical giggle. Yeah, leave nothing but footprints, and bloodstains, and friends.
I felt my stomach lurch slightly as the sugary spearmint worked its way down. I was gonna need to take a crap soon. Jeez, could this night possibly get any worse?
I know one thing for sure, whatever happens I won't coming back here for another holiday.
Continued in:- On the ledge (Part 2)
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 20 June 2014
“She's not the only pebble on the beach. Once we're married I'll be rolling in it, then I'll have my choice of any pebble that takes my fancy.”
Rachel had slipped back out of the bathroom to grab the forgotten towel and overheard David on the phone. She froze in shock. Her mind refusing to believe what she had just heard.
She returned to the bathroom and climbed into the hot foamy water, tears of grief rolling down her cheeks. How could he? Why would he treat her this way? He loved her. Her money didn't matter, he would love her just the same if she had been penniless, that's what he had always said.
As the water cooled, so did her feelings for David, she felt hollow, empty inside. A seething anger boiled up within her, filling the void.
By the time she had finished bathing and dressed she had retained her usual composure. She walked into the lounge smiling as if nothing had changed between them. Her voice betrayed no trace of the rage she was holding inside.
“I want to go down to the beach this evening and watch the sunset, it's so romantic, don't you think?”
“What? Uh... oh yeah.” David pasted an interested expression on his face that didn't quite reach his eyes.
And so before long they were strolling side by side, their shoes crunching deeply into the shingle.
After only a few minutes Rachel stopped suddenly, and fixed David with an icy stare that would have frozen lava.
“What's wrong?” Said David.
Rachel didn't reply, she bent down and selected a pebble from the beach, she placed it in the flat of her hand, holding it out so David could see it clearly. Pushing it up right under his nose.
“Take a good look at it David. Don't you think it's beautiful? Do you see the patterns? The way the different shades of grey follow each other? They look so much like a heart within a heart within a heart. Do you see it David? Do you?”
“Yes, yes I can see it. What of it? It's just a goddam pebble.”
“Oh, this isn't just any old pebble David, this is a special pebble, a very special pebble. Look at it.”
David stifled a yawn. “ I am looki...”
“LOOK AT IT!”
David started, alarmed at Rachel's sudden temper, and the snarl of her lips. He had never seen her behave this way before.
David stared into her eyes as Rachel drew her arm back and threw the pebble as far as she could along the beach. He heard the faint chink-skitter as it landed somewhere far behind him.
Rachel turned her back on David and began to walk away, the last rays of the setting sun pinkening her ivory blouse, she called over her shoulder.
“Bring it back to me before dawn, or the wedding is off.”
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 13 June 2014
Even though he was under heavy sedation Richard was still vaguely aware of the sensors and probes working their way through his subconscious mind.
He felt his imagination being stretched ever so slightly. The occasional frisson as a stray negative thought was terminated. A slight tickling here and there as some of his emotions were enhanced and others dulled. From time to time he experienced a prolonged cerebral itchiness as major re-routing or rewiring work was in progress.
Richard awoke to the beaming smiles of the doctor, and technician. He sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes.
“How did it go Doc?”
“Oh, extremely well.” Replied the doctor. “You see, happiness has absolutely nothing to do with possessions or achievements, it is purely a state of mind. Now, if you would just sign these papers, here... here... here... and here. And then you can be on your way. The new, happier you.”
The doctor's grin grew even wider as he passed the pen to Richard.
Richard scanned the main points on the document. It would mean selling almost every possession he owned to pay the initial medical costs. House, car, electrical equipment and such. Forty percent of his wages would be deducted at source until he reached state retirement age too, but Richard did feel deliriously happy as he scribbled his signature.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Monday, 9 June 2014
Today I am very happy to say that I have the honour of being the SOUNDTRACK TO MY LIFE guest on Nickie O'Hara's very successful blog TYPECAST.
The “Soundtrack to my life” slot is a regular Monday feature on Typecast, an extremely popular post that has been running for over two years now. Guests have to choose five of their favourite songs that have particular memories or emotions attached to them, and write a short note explaining the story behind each each song. Nickie then adds all the Youtube videos for everyone to watch, listen to, and enjoy.
Anyone can be a guest on “Soundtrack to my life” so pop on over to Typecast and check it out.
Nickie is an excellent writer and blogger, and Typecast covers many different topics and issues. Some personal, some comical (Nickie also has a razor-sharp wit too), and sometimes controversial and debatable issues. So while you are over there have a good browse.
Nickie also occasionally puts her talents into fiction writing, and some of you may recall her guest post on The Twisted Quill to celebrate its first birthday, she wrote a short piece entitled “AS LONG AS HE NEEDS ME” The post was very well received, and enjoyed a massive amount of readers.
Nickie is the person almost solely responsible for my venturing out into flash fiction writing almost four years ago, and hence The Birth of The Twisted Quill. Thank you for the support and the confidence boost that started me down the fiction writing highway Nickie, I've had much enjoyment and met a great many nice people along the way, and thank you for giving me the guest slot today. It's been quite a while since I was on Typecast, and it feels really good to be gracing those pages again.
Best wishes Nickie.
Friday, 6 June 2014
“This ain't over yet.”
Those were the words spoken by Rory McHat when his eldest was brought to him, the blood still drying on his clothes, the life gone from him. It had been a fair fight Rory heard, but he never saw that, he only saw the husk of his son.
That was the start of it. Twenty three years later and the feud had claimed almost seventy lives. Coyfields and McHats had perished in equal numbers. The hatred for each other bred into them from infancy, and nurtured throughout their lives, sometimes their very short lives.
The pointless, senseless slaughter had reached out into their homes, sometimes met them on freeways or in bars, occasionally even into the classrooms.
And now it was down to this.
Jason McHat glared over the table at Raymond Coyfield, his eyes burned with hatred.
“Well, I'm here, like you asked. Is there anything you want to say before I tear your throat out?”
A tear trickled from the corner of Raymond's eye. Jason watched unbelievingly as it wove a meandering path down Raymond's cheek, hung from his chin a moment then dripped to the floor. He had never seen a Coyfield cry before.
When Raymond finally spoke his voice was gentle, compassionate. “After all the years, all the waste, there is only you and me now Jason, the last of our lines. There was a time I had a wife and four children, and like your kin the feud has claimed them all, one by one they've all been taken. This ends here, now, today.”
“It ain't over yet.” Snarled Jason. “Not while one of us still lives.”
“I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine.” Said Raymond quietly. “Someone I met not so long ago, she showed me another way to be, a way I never thought I could be. You treat this lady nice now, you hear me? Listen to what she has to say.”
“Bring her on in then.”
“I can't, you'll understand why when you see her. She's waiting for you in the parking lot.”
“What, and ten more waiting in the shadows?”
“No, just her, you have my word. We need an end to this thing. Too many lives have been lost, too many graveside gatherings. Too many brothers, sisters, children. All gone to a cause that never was, that never should have been. It ends here, today.”
Jason rose and followed Raymond outside. In the centre of the parking lot stood the fattest woman Jason had ever seen. Jason was built like a quarterback, but she must have outweighed him by at least a hundred and fifty pounds. For a fleeting moment he wondered if she were a threat to him, but quickly dismissed the idea, the aura of serenity about her made the very idea seem ridiculous. She smiled at Jason, and the whole world seemed to light up.
“Okay, say your piece lady, but this still ain't over yet.” Said Jason, and he fired a flinty glance in Raymond's direction.
The lady opened her mouth, but instead of talking she began to sing. Her voice beautiful, angelic, echoed around the parking lot. The nearby buildings began to shimmy as they thrummed to the sweet vibrations.
As the dulcet tones reached Jason's ears and drizzled into his brain, something changed inside him. He felt his whole body relaxing, softening as the hate inside him shrivelled and died. His shoulders slumped and he tried in vain to wipe the tears from his eyes, but failed to keep up with the flow as a lifetime of venom, heartache and suffering poured down his cheeks.
Jason walked over to Raymond and they grasped each other tightly. There was real love in that embrace, a forgiveness for the past, a hope for the future, for all the futures to come.
“Yeah.” Whispered Jason. “I guess it's finally over.”
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.