Shooting For Normal

It was a rough day.

Six people had called in sick at work, four of my classes had their finals today, my car broke down, and now?

Now I have to do dishes.

And fix the broken lamp that my cat knocked over.

Great.

Sighing, I get out the broom and dustpan, ready to give in. Throw it all away.

And, in that small moment of weakness, I say it.

I say it.

“Okay Dad, you can come take me away any time now.”

It was a joke. One-hundred percent, I was joking.

But, wouldn’t you know it—

That’s sayings got some truth to it.

Speak of the devil.

Right? Continue reading “Shooting For Normal”

Night Drives: Tips and Tricks

My grandfather was a trucker. Often, he’d be on the road for days at a time, sleeping in his truck for the sake of saving a penny. He traveled from coast to coast, in places that are well-known, and places that are completely unknown. From New York to the River Canto, sitting outside of Third City’s walls. My grandpa was a great trucker, and a well-versed traveler.

Well-versed indeed.

He took some notes about driving at night—doing long hauls. He wanted to make sure his family knew the dangers of driving at night, as well as the importance of a few—at the time—little-known tips and tricks.

Here are his notes:

Continue reading “Night Drives: Tips and Tricks”

Hunter in Progress

“Ugh, disgusting. It smells like a thousand pigs ate a bunch of muck, died, and then gave birth to zombie-rats.”

Honestly, it was a fairly accurate description.

I nodded, wading through the muck. Listening intently for what I was looking for. Not wanting to disturb the sewer more than we already had.

But, of course:

The rookie was completely unaware.

“So, what are we looking for, exactly? I mean should we—”

I spun. Heel digging into something grotesque as I did. Shotgun pointed just to the left of the newbie.

I sighed.

A sound that became menacing through my mask’s filter.

“Listen Bucky, I know this is your first time out in the field, and I get that you’re excited, but, do us both a favor: zip it. Alright?”

He looked a bit hurt at that, but said nothing.

Good.

“Just take note of everything you see, and I’ll take questions at the end, alright? I’ll tell you what’s important afterward.”

“Uh, okay?”

“It’ll be a good way to tell if you’ve got what it takes to stay alive in this job, too. So don’t flub it up,” I ordered, turning and marching off into the muck.

“Wait,” I heard him mutter. And then, louder—in a faux-whisper—he said, “What does it take?”

“Details,” I muttered, intent. Listening.

Ah.

There.

A sound ricocheted off the wall. Pricking my ears with alarm.

I cocked my gun, pointed it like a bloodhound on the trail.

“And guts,” I finished telling him.

Before I marched further into the sewer.

Continue reading “Hunter in Progress”

Spill

The river runs, and it runs, and it runs.

Right through the building. Washing over every floor. Coating all the walls, and filling every hall.

The river runs.

Black tar, river runs.

It builds on the walls. Closes off the doorways. Makes open and shut impossible for them. For us.

For you.

Time is running.

Running river, black tar.

Run from the river. The river is running for you.

It runs for you.

Run, run, run from the river.

Run. Continue reading “Spill”

A Hero’s Mercy

Being a hero was no easy job.

That’s why I never really wanted it in the first place.

Fighting crime? I was okay with that. Getting shot at? Again, not something that really concerned me. Running into dangerous situations? Fiery buildings? Crumbling structures? Yeah, I can do that. I can do all that, no sweat. Easy as pie.

But this?

This part of the job?

…no.

This was why I was so reluctant. Why I, in part, kind of hated being a hero.

Because heroes do all the dirty work. Continue reading “A Hero’s Mercy”

Message to Fate

The dogs go first.

They scamper, running toward our goal. Snapping and barking and baying as they go. Mouths frothing, foaming with excitement as they rush forward. Their teeth bared, snapping.

Their job isn’t to harm though, and they know it.

They’re quite good at their job.

My dogs lunge into the town. Snapping and yipping and nipping people into a frenzy. Into a herd.

Sheepdogs.

The gathering of the gods’ hounds.

The heralding of news.

Something is coming.

He is coming.

And he is not happy. Continue reading “Message to Fate”

Shady

I’m not sure what it was I was seeing, I just knew.

I was seeing something shady.

Something about the way he called Ringer out. The way they shuffled out the door. The reluctance on Ringer’s face and the shifting of the caller’s eyes. Something about it all just…

…added up.

I was seeing something shady happen. A deal maybe, or a conversation. Something about it wasn’t right. Wasn’t on the up.

I just didn’t know why.

Not until later.

…yeah.

Later. Continue reading “Shady”

Bone Deep

There are heavy burdens, and there are light burdens, and there are burdens that are short lived.

And then there are burdens that never go away.

There isĀ this burden. Continue reading “Bone Deep”

Lion Man–Part 1

When the door opened, I was surprised. Not because there was company, though that was quite a shock. What with living this far out of town, I never received guests.

There are other reasons—reasons that revolved around my father’s decisions more so than my own—but that’s the one I use to calm myself when I’m alone at night.

Anyhow, I heard the knock, opened the door, and was surprised.

Before me stood a man.

A giant man.

A man wrapped with so much muscle someone might claim him a god. The scars that adorned his muscle would’ve certainly backed that up.

His skin seemed to hold evidence that the muscle was not all talk. That it was backed by fist, and strength, and blood. But that wasn’t even the most surprising thing about him. About this giant, strong man, showing up at my door in the middle of the country side right at dusk.

It was the lion’s skin.

He wore what was, unmistakably, garb made from lion’s skins.

And when he saw me, this giant beast of a man, he bowed a bit. Before I could react, he spoke.

A strange accent coated his words, coaxed them out with a lilt.

He said, “Ma’am, I am a traveler. I am new to this part of the country, and I have no family or friends to speak of. I am knocking on your door because I am in desperate need of a place to stay before the weather sets in. If you wouldn’t mind.”

I stared at him a moment more.

Stared at his empty hands. His scars. His bulk and height. His clothes made from the king of beasts. From the lord of the jungle.

He was strange, for sure, but…

“If you’re going to stay here, you’ll have to work for it.”

When he came out of his bow, he looked solemn. He nodded.

“Aye. I can do that.”

Continue reading “Lion Man–Part 1”

The Dinner Party

From the moment this all started, I knew.

Something was definitely wrong here.

I wasn’t sure what tipped me off. If it was the other guests, who they were and their abnormal presence here, or if it was just our host herself. Something about the way she moved, like a very clever cat with a handful of mice, rang all the alarms that I had. Either way, I still knew.

Something was wrong here.

And then?

It started.

Continue reading “The Dinner Party”