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Blue Light Special [Flash Fiction]

Blue Light Special

 

—Bobby—

“I missed you today.” He said. To himself. To nobody, really, and laughed.

Bobby wasn’t kidding any more. He knew that he had to go. He knew that the blue lights were for him.

And they weren’t. All at the same time.

Bobby was going to go there and Bobby was going to do what he had to do. Bobby was going to be Bobby.

Finally.

Today.

And it wasn’t going to be easy.

“That’s okay,” Bobby thought, “because I am me and who are you to tell me that what’s right or what’s wrong? Who are you to tell ME? I’ll show you. I’ll show ALL of you…”

Bobby went away that day. He went away to the morgue. He did what he thought he must. The voices in his head were louder and louder. Only he wasn’t really doing it for him. he was doing it for them. Bobby wasn’t crazy, the voices in his head were *real.* Real as you and me. And that’s where things went wrong for Bobby.

 

—Monty—

 

When the nice man at the funeral home, “Mr. Montgomery but everyone calls me Monty,” sawed open Bobby’s head, Monty got a surprise. Only he didn’t know it. He had let out the thing, let’s call it a demon, and it got into him.

It needs a host, see.

Monty’s business went gangbusters for a while. He saw blue lights everywhere, and they were for him. They showed him the way. Well, *a* way, and Monty decided that this way was a good way.

Monty had to be Monty, to do what Monties do best! And business was booming for the funeral home. Until it wasn’t. Because, while Monty had to be Monty and do what Monties do best, the blue lights started to go away and Monty tried to get back the mojo. Monty tried to get it back by being Monty and following the bright blue light.

The one he knew would get him in trouble, but the voices, they were so *real* and they wouldn’t stop. Soon, Monty couldn’t sleep, Monty couldn’t be Monty if this kept up, so Monty had to take action.

Monty was the last customer for the family business.

 

—Burl—

 

The demon found a home in Monty’s son, Burl. Burl was, by all accounts, decidedly NOT burly. There’s an irony to names, like naming your sons winner and loser, and, wouldn’t you know it, Lou ends up being successful and Winn ends up in and out of jail.

Burl decided that enough was enough, and the family business had done so well that he could sell it off to a big company that would keep the name so the townsfolk would keep coming.

Burl had problems. Burl wasn’t right in the head. And now that the demon force found fresh meat, he was even less right in the head.

Today, Burl would drive away from that small town in a Corvette. A 1991 C4, painted Competition Yellow. Bought it from his buddy, Easton, who had it in storage while he was off to college.

Funny thing about addiction, you give in to the demon and it lets you overindulge. Compels you to, really. Burl liked his liquor brown and expensive. With the funeral parlor money, a shiny Corvette, and nobody telling him, “Burl, put down the bottle,” or, “Burl, don’t you think you’ve had enough?” Burl was happy to indulge.

Then the blue lights came. Just a spec of blue, just for a moment. Then the moments got longer. Then Burl had to see what they were.

That’s when the voices got louder. “Burl, it’s just one drink. And she’s so pretty, you won’t have the courage otherwise.”

Burl didn’t have the courage otherwise, and he knew it. Burl was a bad boy, and the brown liquor made him *cool.*

 

—Jen—

 

The paramedic that cut Burl out of his Corvette couldn’t have known that Burl’s head wounds were leaking more than brains and blood, couldn’t have known about the demon, couldn’t have known about the horrors that lay in wait.

Jack always hit her where there wouldn’t be any marks. Jen knew that she really WAS lucky to have him. Nobody else would want her. He really loves her. He needs her.

But, lately, she’s feeling a twinge. She’s feeling unsatisfied. Lately, Jack’s left temple is sparkling with little blue dots. She can’t tell him about it, but she has an urge. A feeling.

A compulsion.

“No, I love him,” she mutters.

“What did you say? Who are you talking to?” Jack was still panting and wiped the corner of his mouth with the back of his wrist.

“He means it this time,” she said, quieter.

“You’d better tell–”

They all give in, eventually. They give in to themselves. They embrace the demon. They change. The do what they must. They become more themselves than they ever had been in their entire lives. The voices, the lights, the coaxing reach a crescendo.

Jen landed the Louisville Slugger to Jack’s left temple.

********************

Author’s Notes

Everyone struggles with something. Usually, we can keep our inner demons in check. But what if you can’t? What if there’s an invisible force that infects you and brings out the bad… with a vengeance?

Did you ever wonder why some people snap? They have their problems, their little demons, and maybe they’re really good at hiding it until one day. That one day. The snap. And it goes horribly wrong.

5 Writing Tips to Grow in 2013

5 Writing Tips to Grow in 2013

I am by no means an accomplished author. I have a lot to say and a bazillion story ideas. I plan on striking it out and getting published, and, as such, as I have some tips that will help me to grow.

I don’t like resolutions, as there’s never a better time than NOW to do what you want to do.

1. Piss people off

I am too considerate of my audience. I need to write more for ME, and I do know that this will turn off a lot of people. By the same token, it will attract a lot of people.

If you’re not pissing people off, you’re doing it wrong. Not that you should ignore negative reviews and criticism, but just be happy that you’re getting them! Then learn from them. And piss off some more people.

2. Get uncomfortable

I dabble in art. I have a saying from back in my military days: “Break the toy.” What this means is that you need to realize that things are things, they are not you.

I wrote a story from the Second Person perspective. It was strange. I didn’t like doing it. My mind was screaming to go back and change it to an omniscient first-person narrative. I resisted. Did I grow? I hope so.

I love science fiction. It’s the majority of what I read (besides business and nerdy books). However, my stories always seem to have someone getting knocked off or some horror aspect to them. I will just embrace the stories for what they are, as art has a way of being itself despite the artist’s best intentions.

You artists know what I mean.

So despite your intentions, go out and write. And let the writing take on a life of its own. Break the toy.

3. Write more

I try to write every day. I will renew this. I did well in 2012 and I will write more in 2013. The old adage is true – 90% of anything is showing up. That doesn’t mean just showing up at the keyboard, it means showing up to editing, figuring out Amazon and other venues, sharing my work.

4. Write longer

I typically shoot for my 750 words per day. I use 750words.com because I like the daily motivational emails. But you can use whatever you want. Well, of course, you can do whatever the fuck you want. And will.

I’d like to write more than just Flash Fiction. It seems that Amazon Singles are short stories 5,000-30,000 words long. I can do that. I will do that. I am DOING THAT.

I set an informal goal. Well, no so damned informal now that I’m blathering about it to all 3 readers out there… I want to write 30 stories in the range of 5,000 to 30,000 words before July 4th of this year. As we’re 3 weeks into the year, I’ve already gotten behind.

Like I said, I have ideas, and now I just need to show up.

5. Submit to Amazon

I have absolutely ZERO interest in pursuing the traditional path. Welcome to my life – I’ve NEVER been on a traditional path. I never will.

I love technology, and I love using the Kindle app. Contrary to most people, I actually do read the free stuff that I get off Amazon. I will read more. I buy stuff, too.

I got Guy Kawasaki’s APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur), as it was very timely in my writing career. I will use it as a guide to publish on Amazon this year. See bullet #4 above.

Wrap it up!

Let’s review: 2013 means that I’m taking this seriously and doing more than just flash fiction, and forging my own path forward via Amazon. Any author that’s where I am can use these tips to further their own careers, too.

Sketchbook – flash fiction

Sketchbooks

 

“See, right there, she just winces and grabs her side,” he said, touching the screen with his finger. The camera was zoomed out, it was an old security film, the black and white kind that hardly has any details at all.

“Wait, back it out,” said Amber, as she was pushing his hands away from the controls. As the zoom receded , there was a man. A man outside the window. He was looking in with a crazed determination that you see in movies, the kind where the bad guy has red rungs under his eyes, his hair is sweaty, and he is tilting his head slightly down do that he has to look up to see you straight on. That creepy kind of stare. It sent chills down Amber’s spine.

“We need to talk with him. Find out who that is.”

_____________

Fred hadn’t known what happened, only that it worked. After the accident down at the nuclear plant, he stayed home and just sat around, the thoughts burning in his head, his mind, the disaster, the radiation. He didn’t want it to ruin him, but that voice was now small and quaint, in deference to the other voice in his head.

“DRAW THEM,” it commanded, and he grabbed a flimsy kids’ sketchbook and began to doodle. The sketches were terrible.

______________

“The accident down at Indian Creek? That was three years ago,” she pursed her lips and took some notes.

“Yup. I tried to find him but his house is abandoned. Along with half the town.”

“Where?”

“Down on First and Oak, corner lot, dollhouse-lookin’ place. Can’t miss it.”

________________

The blue dollhouse with purple trim *was* hard to miss. The boarded-up windows and eviction note on the door weren’t exactly hard to miss, either.

The door was open and the house smelled like a mid-century house. The squeak of the door startled her as the wind blew it shut. She looked around the debris – someone had wrecked the place. “Hmph. Hobos,” she thought as she scattered some papers with her foot. She found a door leading downstairs, a dim light glowing. She closed her eyes, whispered a prayer and fumbled for the light switch.

The basement of her mom’s house always freaked her out as a kid. Her mom kept the garbage down in the basement; when a bag filled up, you had to take it down. She always held her breath and ran, stopping on the bottom stair, never brave enough to step onto the cold concrete.

Making her way down the creaking, groaning steps, she felt her grip tightening on the rail as she bent over to see into the basement.

The room was lit by a single bulb, dim and swaying. She saw the small, rectangular window open and took another few steps. The room overflowed with sketchbooks. Everywhere, books piled on books. She picked up the closest one and carefully thumbed through it.

Faces.

Faces of people. With names on them. Faces that she recognized as towns folk.

Some of the sketches were terrible, and dated from three years ago. The more recent they got, the better the drawings were. She jumped at the date of one picture: two weeks ago. She looked up and scanned the dark corners, holding her breath and listening. She scolded herself for being that same scaredy-cat girl and picked up the next sketchbook.

The pictures in this book were torn about 3/4 through. the pictures were’t bad, but they were torn nonetheless. No eraser marks, just tears. Tears right through the face.

In the corner was a desk with a small reading lamp and another pile of sketchbooks and an old coffee can full of pencils and pens. She carefully made her way across the room, stepping over piles of sketchbooks and catching her balance on the back of the chair. The creak of the chair shattered the silence and spooked her again.

“Get a hold of yourself, Amber,” she said to herself. “It’s just a basement. A spooky basement, but a basement.”

The cover of the sketchbook had “rebma” inscribed in jagged letters. Opening the cover, she stood up in a panic as the sketch on the first page was her. And the next page. And the next, on through the entire sketchbook. She dropped the book and tried to shake the creepy off of her hands, then wiped them on her pants.

The laughter started from under the stairs, as she whipped around she caught a glint of light in his eyes. She looked around her, desperately looking for a second exit, eyeing the narrow basement window and clambering onto the desk.

Fred crept out of the shadow of the staircase, dirty, unkempt, the missing teeth made him look even crazier. He had a piece of paper in his hands. A drawing. A portrait.

A sharp pain in her side stopped her climb, the horror in her eyes as she fell pleased Fred as he finished tearing the picture in half.

 

++++++++++++++++

Author’s notes

I’ve always been an artist in addition to being a writer. I was in honors English classes in high school, the editor of the high school’s literary magazine, and I was also the class artist.

I was in the Navy’s nuclear power program for 8 years. I was always fascinated that people thought that radiation could make you into the Incredible Hulk or magically bestow some paranormal power.

I combined these things in this flash fiction.

My middle name is Fredrick.

Crossed Paths

“Hey, Billy, you want to take this with ya?” He was grisly and ugly, fat and loud. But he was a nice guy, an informant that I could trust.

“Yeah,” I looked at him and he knew what to do with it. He put it in a box. In a bag, in a box. Then he slapped a label on it and laughed, his frame shaking as he handed it to me.

“Jesus, Frankie, you get any fatter, you’re gonna explode,” I looked at him, the greaseball.

“Hey,” Frankie said, raising his shoulders, “You get outta here now, kid.” I loved that guy, Frankie.

I left and let the door slowly close behind me.

The rumble knocked me to the ground.
+++++++++++++++++

“Damn it!” he said and crossed his arms. “It’s really cold out there.”

“Yeah, and the girls are wearing skirts!,” she was probably about twice his weight, her hips twice as large as her chest. At least. Gave saddlebags a new meaning.

“So! That’s their problem! Gaww…” Steve pulled on his jacket and stormed out the front door, back to gathering the carts in the snow.

The rumble knocked the carts over, pinning him beneath a train of 17 carts.

++++++++++++++++

“What do you like?” She smiled and let a few strands of hair fall into her face. She was already leaning over and rubbing the inside of his thigh, her head angled down so that her eyes were looking up at him.

“Shut it, bitch” Lenny said, as he grabbed the back of her neck and pushed her head into his lap, looking out behind the car, scanning the area. He took another swig of his beer, resting his bottle on back of the seat..

She bit down on him when the rumble came and knocked the car into the ditch on the side of the road.
++++++++++++++++

“Ain’t got no luck, pa,” Jimmy looked up at his dad, back at his worm.

“You got to set him on there right,” his dad said and went to work re-threading the worm.

Jimmy grabbed a beer.

“You don’t be lettin’ your ma know about that,” Pa pointed at the beer and raised an eyebrow and cocked his head towards the cooler. “Now, she thinks I’m drinkin’ all that.”

Jimmy and Pa began to share a laugh until the rumble came and knocked the boat over, spilling beer and worms and fish guts into the lake.
++++++++++

This gravity machine wasn’t quite worth it, he thought, and he ran his hands through his hair, raising the bottom of his lab coat, revealing his Eagle Scout belt buckle.

It wasn’t working, but he didn’t know exactly what it was. The numbers were right, they were analyzed by the best team.

That bitch never got back to me.

Then they got that award. Those fucking assholes! Taking that award when it was him that had done all the work!

The tenderoni from the bar gave him a bad number.

He slammed his fist on the table. What was going wrong. Wait. If he remembered correctly… that meant… he could just… he had to try.

Furiously writing, he went through six pages before he came up with a reworked number, including five pages that he crumpled and tossed into the basket.

“But this means…” He stared again, this time incredulous not that this didn’t work, but that it didn’t work because of such a small mistake. Error carried forward. Now that he adjusted the math, redid the calculations, he had to try again.

“Raymond!” Derek was always rescuing Raymond from himself. He peeked in the doorway. “Raymond! Let’s go! C’mon, man, that can wait.” Derek was always sweaty, didn’t walk much, and was always pushing for lunch.

That speed dating service was a crock of shit. “Three dates guaranteed, my ass,” he twirled his pencil in his fingers. “Go away, Derek.”

He reached over and flipped the switch. Worthless? Fuck you. I’ll show you. I’ll show all of you.

A light. A flicker. A rumble.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

The air clapped as Billy flashed in, steadied himself.

Steve fell three feet and landed on his back, bounced an inch and arched his back, putting his hand on it as he moaned.

Lenny tried to jump back but fell over because his pants were around his knees.

Jimmy splashed in with 10 gallons of water. Billy jumped back and eyed them all suspiciously.

Raymond laughed as he sat, watching them arrive. He spoke first.

“So,” he laughed again and pursed his lips, “So, you’re the miracle team. God fucking damn it.” Raymond shook his head and put his forehead on the table and said, “We’re doomed.”

++++++++++++++++

Author’s notes

I was reading a novella by Robert Wilson about waking up and being one of the last people on earth. Then I was reading the opening chapter from a popular author, Sean Platt, which started off similarly (though Robert Wilson is a MUCH better writer). Both of these reminded me of Stephen King’s The Stand, where groups of people arrive in Las Vegas after a mystery bug wipes out most of the earth.

My idea was an experiment gone wrong, rather than the overdone theme of a post-apocalyptic world. Also, I’m very interested in how gravity affects time (time dilation), how people nearer to larger objects experience time differently – for example, satellites around the earth are further from the gravity of the earth, so they don’t experience time as slowly as we do, and we have to keep adjusting the clocks to keep in sync with the terrestrial clocks.

What if someone finally figures out how to control gravity? Can they invent a time machine? Can they create wormholes? And, if so, what would this person do with that machine? Gather a team, of course. But for what? That’s for the reader to imagine in this case!

Mutagen Experiments

“Don’t go lookin’ down in there,” she said and raised a brow. Just one brow. I can’t raise just one brow, but she can. She can do lots of things that I can’t.

That look, though, that look was for me and I knew that I couldn’t look. Which is why I had to.

Down by the fence post there’s a gutter. down in the gutter, there are things that crawl inside. I saw a rat go in there, and I saw a little chipmunk go in there once, too. Never did see them come out.

Today, though, I thought I saw something in there. I though I saw it and I looked because, well, you know that I had to because she told me not to.

There were eyes in there. The light from the sewer shone in a rectangular shaft and just highlighted eyes with frizzy hair coming down into her face. The eyes were yellow and rimmed with red, like perhaps death warmed over. I couldn’t stop looking.

She moved out of the light and I had to get another look. I got my huge flashlight, the really big on that I use when I go camping, that one, and I lit it up and looked down in there again. I found that girl still lookin’ up out at me, and behind her was a man, strapped to a chair, with a fierce fury brewing behind those eyes. He looked even more tired than her and was also looking right at me. I stepped back and yelled for Sherrie.

“Hey! Sherrie! Get over here!” I said as I flashed the light back and forth between the two characters in the sewer.

“Wha- oh, goddamnit,” she said and put her hands on her hips and sighed. “I TOLD YOU NOT TO. LOOK. IN. THERE.” She tapped her toe and and stared at me.

“I- I didn’t-” I stammered, looking down at them and then up back at Sherrie. “I thought you- well, I thought you’d want to see them. It’s freakin’ me out!”

“I don’t need to see them. I put them there.” She pulled her hands off her hips and turned around, pulling a small steno book from her bag. “See the big one there, the one that’s tied up?” She pointed at him and he didn’t break his gaze at me. “Him? He’s too far gone. All zombie now. I tied him up a week ago.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “You’re shitting me.” I said, trying for a laugh.

“I ain’t shittin’ ya, boy!” She yelled at me. She never yells at me. Except when I do what she told me not to do because that’s what I do. So I guess she does yell at me. But she knows I’m going to do it, so why the pretense?

“The OTHER one, the girl, she’s about 2 days into it. She’s still thinkin’, that one, she’s still there in her head but I can’t let her out or she’ll turn other folks into zombies. Can’t have that, nope.” She shook her head and looked down in the dungeon, then held out the steno by the corner and moved it up and down a couple of times. I took it.

The book was a diary of sorts, filled with pages of zombie hunting, zombie experimentation, and she was building a zombie catalog, all the folks that were turned into zombies, starting from the back page and working backwards.

My name was on the list.

“Hey – why’s my name here? I’m not a zombie! I didn’t even know zombies were real until 10 seconds ago.” I said and started towards her. She had turned her back to me and was rifling through her bag again. I came up behind her, “Sher… hey, why am I-”

She turned and stuck me with a needle in my shoulder.

“OW!” I jumped back and she smiled.

“You are now,” she said. “That was a mutagen with an accelerator.” She went back to the bag, pushing things aside, looking for something. “Ah, here it is,” she said and held up a little black box. “And here’s the antidote.” She smiled again, walked over to the hole, and tossed the black box into the room with the 2 zombies.

I backed up away from her, over towards her bag.

“Now, one of them’s tied up, the other’s not,” said to me as I rubbed my arm. “You’ve got about 45 minutes to figure out how to get your antidote. You’ve been a great experiment, Rudy, faithful but stupi-”

I stabbed the needle into her arm.

 

++++++++++++++

Author’s notes

This was actually a dream I had last night – it was very real, but I suppose I should have known it was a dream while I was in it, but there weren’t the normal cues, so my subconscious went along with it.

My dream actually progressed across several dreams, at one point I was¬†nonchalantly¬†carrying a bloody zombie head in a burlap sack, going about my business. Figured I’d keep the reader in suspense, though, and not let on that I won out and claimed a decapitated zombie head as my prize.

I’m trying desperately to write quickly and to make few edits. I am trying to keep the writing simple, small words, things I would actually say in an average conversation, and avoid adverbs. I think I’m getting better all the time, though the stories don’t always lend themselves to the flash fiction style of writing. Even so, I adapt them, as I’ve done here, so the writing tells the story quickly and let’s the reader get on with her day.

Pushing Through the Shadows

“Are those fingers?” I said. On the floor in front of me, as I sat on the toilet for my morning pee, I saw fingers coming out from under the scale.

At first, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – what the fuck is that? Fingers coming out from under the scale? I was stuck on the pot and didn’t have anywhere to go and I was, as anyone would be, freaked. I stood and backup up a bit, knowing that I’d have to pass by the scale to get out the door to get away from the hand. Instead, I kicked the scale, pushed it six inches.

There was a squeal and the fingers disappeared. I picked up the scale and checked it out, checked out the floor – nothing to indicate a way for the hand to come through, for the phantom fingers to grab at the floor.

The adrenaline faded and I came back to my senses and felt my heart pound and my breath labored. I was sweating.

I rubbed my eyes and shrugged it off. Maybe I was still sleeping – I flicked the light switch on and off a few times, then pinched my forearm as hard as I could. Nope, wide awake.

++++++++

I leaned forward and rinsed the shampoo out, rubbed the water out of my eyes and caught a black streak run across the bathroom. I wiped the glass door and looked around – nothing but me and the rush of water, billows of steam collecting at the peak of the slanted ceiling.

“I’m going fucking crazy,” I said out loud, turned back and grabbed the washcloth.

+++++++++++

The pantry door squeaked as I opened it, and I reminded myself for the 100th time to spray some WD-40 on that damned thing, and there were eyes behind the cereal box.

I jumped back and the Peanut Butter Crunch hit the floor, rolling into untold crevices. I looked down at the mess and then back up at the pantry. The eyes were gone, but now I felt a bit of panic.

++++++++++++

Before the motion sensor could click on the lights in the garage, I saw a black streak flash across the garage, over towards the far bay. The lights came on and there was nothing but the cold and the stacks of boxes. And the fog of my breath.

I crept over to the third bay – my motorcycle is there and nobody better be fucking with my bike – and, in the shadows of the workbench, I saw a full arm clawing out on the concrete floor. But the arm didn’t have a body attached to it, as though the shadow was a boundary, a portal, and the arm was moving inches in and out of it, reaching for unknown treasures.

I have a 6lb sledgehammer that I keep for odd construction jobs around the house and yard, and it’s come in handy more times than you’d think. I grabbed it and did a full swing down onto the arm, hitting at the elbow, the crack of bone exciting me before the splash of blood and meat hit my face. I caught myself before I puked on the floor, lifted my shirt up to wipe the mess from my face, and stumbled back to the washer and dryer.

My eyes watered from the stink.

I heard a whisper in the dark. I squinted my eyes, craned my neck, and crept slowly towards the sound.

“Get on the bridge, get on the bridge, get on the bridge,” it repeated. The voice was human, or at least I thought it was. I moved over and began to see more – every shadow was bulging out, some of them had fingers poking through, some had eyes, wide and shifty, panicked even, staring out.

As I walked over, the whispering began to fade as I heard the screaming. The screams of a thousand people in torment, first a rumble, then a roar, then a cacophony.

I put my hands on my ears and felt a tremble in my body, the shadows pushing and pushing, bulging, noises louder, louder.

The automatic lights timed out and turned off. The noise stopped.

I put my hand up to trigger the lights back on, but they didn’t respond. I turned to go back, and it was pitch black. I reached out for the bench, but it wasn’t there. I took a few steps and reached out for the dryer and a hand grabbed my arm and pulled. I pulled back against it but I wasn’t strong enough. My feet slid on the floor even as I leaned back and grabbed at the darkness with my other hand. The blackness tore and spilled a hot, orange light onto me, revealing the demon’s face, which grinned and pulled me through.