You know you’ve made it when you can wake up and don’t hear the zombies breaking your door down.
(Inspired from; https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/07/one-liner-wednesday-you-know-youve-made-it/ with thanks).
You know you’ve made it when you can wake up and don’t hear the zombies breaking your door down.
(Inspired from; https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/07/one-liner-wednesday-you-know-youve-made-it/ with thanks).
Wheel had been watching over the city since the terrorist attack of 2038. Everyone believed it was for their own safety because that was the lie they had been feed. I though, knew something more sinister lay underneath and I was determined to find out what it was.
(Inspire by; https://only100words.xyz/2017/12/28/three-line-tales-week-100 with thanks).
It wasn’t until I got home after emptying my car and leaving it at the garage, that I finally looked at what I’d brought from the antique shop. Sitting on the sofa in the living room, the blinds down, I opened the paper bag and took out a pink tissue wrapped thing.
Unwrapped, a black plastic circle sat in my hand. There was a small dint to slide a nail in and open it by. The lid flipped up and I realised it was a woman’s compact. The bottom disc was empty and wiped clean of the powered it had once held. The top part was a mirror.
I slapped the compact shut. Mirrors were banned! A generation ago they were all smashed because it was claimed they had started to show peoples’ true characters. The New Age Government had passed a law declaring it so. Of course, there had been people denying that and claiming it was another front to suppress us.
I don’t really remember it. Though in one of the memories I have of my grandma there’s a big mirror. She use to sit and brush her hair before it. From time to time, I’ve seen people with small ones and on the screen when old TV shows and movies that weren’t banned were being shown. I had never owed a mirror.
Thinking was beyond me, so I re-wrapped and put it back in the paper bag then I went to my wardrobe. Moving clothes aside, I unlocked the small safe and placed the forbidden item in there. I closed the safe door and sat there for a few minutes. I would have to get rid of it tomorrow. Find some place to smash and dump it. The longer the mirror stayed in my house the more chance it would get discovered during a random police search gang.
A shiver ran through me at that thought. It had been awhile since the banging had come at my door in the early hours of the morning. I hadn’t reached it in time and the police had broken the door down. They had searched my whole apartment, moving furniture, breaking things, making holes in the walls. They had left empty handed and gone to join the other policemen who’d been through my neighbours’ places.
The search gangs were a fact of life but you never got use to them. If they found anything banned you were arrested and taken to jail. So, if they came tonight….
‘No!’ I cried and lunged for the safe.
I scrambled with the lock and put the numbers wrong in twice. Pulling away, I took a few deep breaths then tried again. The safe clicked and I grabbed the paper bag from inside. Clutching it to my chest, I felt a sensation of fire. I had to get rid of this now. Closing the safe and the wardrobe. I went into the kitchen and found a rolling pin. Placing the compact mirror on the floor, I repeatedly hit it.
I didn’t hear any breaking but I was too scared to check. Putting the rolling pin back, I stuffed the now ripped paper bag in my handbag and left. I wasn’t sure where I was going and the weather was so bad. I went to get into my car then remembered it was at the garage being fixed.
I looked back at the apartment building, the wind whipping around me and the rain soaking through my skirt. I couldn’t go back. Walking on, I thought about a location I could take the mirror too. There were some alleyways, a small children’s park, a few bushes pushing out of people’s front gardens….A sign rose above me directing cars on the one way road.
Ahead, the town centre and business distract and to the left the cemetery. That’s where I could bury the compact! I hurried on, huddling in my coat and hoping no one stopped me. The pavement weaved around and around, small house lining either side, many had lights on in their windows. I felt numb with the cold and weighed down with the rain. Turning a corner the houses started to drop away and the further I walked the less there were.
A sign, rattling in the wind, pointed onward and also declared this was a dead end. A few moments later, I could see the open gates of the cemetery. I broke into a slow run, desperate to complete my task. I went through the gates and almost stopped at the first row of headstones. It would have been too simple though. I headed in deeper. The rain dripping of the weeping willows and bending the tall grass. I passed statues of angels and saints who seemed to be crying.
Somehow, in my fogged mind, I remembered a curved wall of names that might have been from a war or from a religious group. It was at the bottom of this pathway and fenced off from the other graves. There was an arc doorway in the centre that might once had opened and led into a tomb. Reaching the fence, I saw a large gap and just squeezed in.
At the side of the stairs leading up, I dug up the grass and soil with my bare hands. I dug as deep as I could then pressed the compact into the earth. I refilled the hole and hoped the rain and wind would cover my tracks. Back through the fence, I located a tap and washed my hands.
Home felt a long way off but I made it back. I didn’t think anyone had seen but it was so hard to tell. There were secret cameras and spies everywhere. I showered, got warm and then dry. I couldn’t eat so I went to bed and just lay there in the dim light, thinking.
I knew the feeling of being found out would never go away. I’d always be looking and wondering for the rest of my life. One other thing was clear to me now though and that was that I couldn’t report the antique shop. If I did, they’d investigate me and I wouldn’t be able to lie.
The antique shop had only been open a few days and from my office window it had seemed busy. There had been a continuous flow of all kinds of people going in and out. Sometimes they carried paper bags but most of the time they came out with nothing. A few people in the office had been and they whispered about the things they had seen behind their hands.
I had no interest in anything the shop was selling. The front window display looked like a posh jumble sell just without the clothes. There were a few tables, bookcases and chairs filled with a variety of items; old books, lamps, dolls, teddy bears, ornaments, vintage toys, clocks etc. Far too much to look at.
Getting into my car after finishing work for the week, the engine wouldn’t start. It was pouring with rain and a snap of winter freeze was in the air. I called my breakdown service and the waiting time was an hour. I looked miserably back at the office building. I could go in and do some more work…or…I glanced across at the antique shop.
With a shrug, I got out of my car and hurried across to the door which was lit up like a lighthouse. Going in, a bell ring over my head and nice warm air hugged me like an old friend. Stepping through, I saw the shop was more packed then the window display! There were tables, bookcases, cabinets, shelves holding all kinds of things that everything blurred into one.
In the center was a square counter and till area. Three old women were stood there helping customers. There was a hushed chatter as if secrets were being spoken. No one looked at me, so I just began moving around. I noticed a staircase to my left with a sign above it saying more things up here. At the back of then room three doors led off but one was marked staff only.
I drifted around, looking but not looking, wondering and frowning. The air smelt of old attic and dried flowers. Sort of comforting but also chocking. Then through the mass of things, I began noticing items that shouldn’t be here and had been prohibited by the New Age Government. Banned books, items related to cigarettes and alcohol, banned music, statues and sketches of nudes, ‘too’ modern art, fantasy and mythology items. I looked at a model of a red and yellow dragon rising out of flames then I quickly moved on.
That would explain why this shop had seemed so popular! People were looking and buying prohibited items! I hurried into one of the back rooms and found a dark corner. My head was tumbling. If I got caught here that’d be the end of me! The end of everyone in this shop! Having prohibited items meant jail time leading to death unless someone bailed you out.
I shut my eyes and tried to calm down, but I was sweating badly. I took in deep breaths and told myself, I just needed to walk out of here and not come back. I should go and wait in my car for the breakdown man to come. Then when I got home I should report the shop as was my duty. But I couldn’t move.
‘Hey! What you doing!’ a gnarled voice demanded.
I opened my eyes, not sure if I was being addressed or not. There was an old man before me, the light was dim but I could still make him out. He had red cheeks, an angry face and was wearing a tweed suit. He was also carrying a lit lantern.
‘Nothing…I got lost…’ I trailed.
‘You buying something or what?’ he snapped.
‘Oh, erm…This…’ I uttered, without looking I picked up the first thing my right hand touched and showed it him.
He snorted and waved at me to move. I did so and he followed me to the counter. I had closed my hand around the smooth, light object. I kept my eyes up as I placed it down on the glass top and paid for it. Then on receiving a small paper bag, I rushed outside. The rain and freezing cold hit me in the face, whipping the warmth of the shop from me, but I didn’t care.
I got into my car and sit there huddled and shaking. The paper bag clutched my hands like a bomb. A knocking at my window made me jump and I shoved the bag onto the floor and opened the door. It was only the breakdown man, who kindly took me home.
To Be Continued…
(Inspired from; https://thewriteedgewritingworkshop.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/writing-prompts-for-monday-october-23-2017/ with thanks).
The festival party began to die down as the last bit of sunset faded from the sky. Someone cut the loud music and everyone fell silent, watching as night officially took over. From now on, we would remain in darkness for six months, picking the rare mushrooms and plants that only grew in these conditions.
(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2017/09/07/three-line-tales-week-84, with thanks)
The world was nothing like it had been in the past. Not that I remember the Before but I’d heard all the hand-me-down stories. Growing, up I had dreamed of living in that ‘magical’ time where everything seemed so easy but having heard the truth now, I was happy enough staying in my own time.
As the sun fully rose over the war torn grasslands, I felt the heat brushing against my skin. I was draped over the edge of the truck bed, dozing and thinking only of my home. The wheels of the truck bounced over the rough ground and my position was uncomfy but I was to tried to move. Also, we were squashed in pretty tight.
A loud banging on the roof of the trunk cab brought me around and the others fully awake. I turned my head up and saw our look out guy pointing at something ahead.
‘Structure up! ‘Bout few miles!’ he yelled.
Everyone began peering out of the truck, wanting to see what he had seen. It had been a day and a night since our last structure. We had gotten luckily there too because it had been an untouched farm. The dream of every surface missioner! I hoped this structure was another good one.
Getting to my feet, I balanced in the rocking truck and looked over the cab. I could see a single building, tall and thin with something attached to the front. It looked strange. As we got closer, I couldn’t really see much else other then it was wooden and the attached seemed to be moving. A radar, maybe?
Right before we pulled alongside, I climbed out of the still moving, but slowing down truck. Landing with a bump on the grass, I broke into a run. My protective mask and bag which were strapped around my chest, bounced of my hip. I knew a few of the others would be sneering and shaking their heads at me, but I didn’t care. Despite the tiredness, I had to see everything as this could be my last trip to the surface.
I stood before the building and looked. I had been right, it was made out of wood and was cylinder in shape. The attachment was wooden panels that had lattice pattern in the centre. It looked like the building was made for flying but instead of sails there was a wood propeller. I wondered how it worked.
Seeing a short doorway, I went in and found a control room. There were lots of wooden beams and bits of metal and stone but they were dismantled and just laying about. I slipped my gloves on and searched around. Dust rose, clouding around me. I wasn’t expecting to find any more then what I could already see.
‘What ya got?’ the gruff voice belong to Pal asked from behind me.
‘Not much. We could take the better pieces. There’s some interesting metal bits. Look at these massive stones!’ I added.
My work had uncovered, two grey rocks that were rounded in shape and had a hole in the middle. My touched them with my glove covered fingers but of course couldn’t feel anything.
‘What are they used for for?’ I muttered.
‘Grinding, perhaps,’ Pal suggested, ‘too heavy for us to take.’
I nodded. It was clear he was right. Casting around, I didn’t see anything else. Which was a shame. I rubbed my face and turned back to Pal. He was standing in the doorway, having just replied back to the team. He stepped out and I followed him.
‘What is it?’ I asked, once again looking upwards.
‘A windmill,’ Pal replied, with a shrugged.
It seemed a shame to destroy a relic of the past but needs must.
(Inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2017/07/27/thursday-photo-prompt-sails-writephoto/ with thanks)
Nothing ever got done in the zombie office. By the time most of the workers got in it was mid-day and when the last of them left it was almost nighttime. The air smelt like blood, over-cooked meat and rot which wasn’t something a non-zombie could stomach for long. Also, everything felt sticky and had strange dried prints on it from things no one wanted to knew about.
Watching the zombies from his large office window, the new manager called the chief executive up and said, ‘why have we hired zombies? They hardly get any work done and their office is a mess! Wouldn’t normal people be better?’
The chief executive breathed heavily down the phone and replied, ‘I understand but if we could’ve hired “normal” people we would’ve done.’
‘What do you mean?’ the new manager asked.
‘Well….We’re a bit short on humans at the moment,’ the chief executive explained.
‘I see……’ the manager trailed.
‘Don’t worry about it. The zombies will get their tasks done soon enough. If you need something rushed get a witch or warlock in office WW twenty-eight to do it,’ the chief executive added then put the phone down.
The new manager signed and turned away from that window to another. This one looked out of the city. He could see a dark grey gloomy sky and lines of black smoke raising upwards. Most of the buildings were burnt and or abandoned, those that were still occupied barely hung on to their grey and brown colours.
The Supernatural Take Over really wasn’t going to plan.
After endless days of drifting in the sea, Mongrel spotted something. The sun was just rising, casting a sick yellow glow over everything and the sky was opal blue. Gentle waves were lapping the small wooden boat as if it was a rocking cradle.
‘Look!’ Mongrel cried.
The four sleeping bodies in the bottom of the boat stirred.
‘Something coming!’ Mongrel added.
A head rose up, a hand rubbing at the face and a man’s voice said, ‘what?’
‘See,’ Mongrel replied and pointed at the strange shape arising out of the sea.
Elk, the leader of the remaining Spear tribe family, looked. Frowning, he rubbed more sleep from his eyes then focused on the shape again. It had been so long seen he last seen anything other then water and sky.
‘Is it food?’ a young girl’s voice asked.
‘No. It’s building,’ Mongrel gushed, ‘Row! Quick!’
‘Aye!’ Elk shouted.
There was a scramble in the little boat as two adults, a man and a woman sit on beaches facing each other and took up the battered wooden oars. Whilst a six year old child scrambled over them all to come to Mongrel’s side to see what the fussy was about.
‘Go ahead, Jagger and Thistle!’ Mongrel directed.
After a few moments of floundering, the boat began moving swiftly towards the structure. The oars slapped the calm water, breaking through the stillness that had settled in the night.
‘What is it?’ the girl asked.
‘A totem? A watch tower? Don’t know, Ember,’ Mongrel answered quietly.
Ember huddled against him. Feeling safer snuggling into the bear skin coat Mongrel was wearing in. Keeping her eyes fixed on the building, she watched it growing before her.
Soon, the little boat was close enough for them all to see that the structure was a white stone tower on top of a cliff face.
‘Land,’ Elk whispered.
He licked salt from his lips and moved around the boat to take the oar from Thistle.
She passed it on and moved to the back of the boat to rest.
Sea water began spraying over the boat as Elk rowed fast. The tower grew then they passed it and saw before them a golden beach edged by trees.
‘Land,’ Mongrel cried.
Spurred on, Elk and Jagger rowed harder. The boat bounced over the waves then started to ground in the sand.
Mongrel scrambled out, Elk and Jagger joined him. They pulled the boat ashore.
Falling into the sand, they cried out wildly.
‘This!’ Elk declared, ‘will be our new home!’
(Inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2017/05/04/thursday-photo-prompt-obelisk-writephoto/ with thanks)
It had been raining forever. At least it felt that way. I liked the rain, but I wanted to feel the sun on my face as I had done as a child. I remembered the yellow warmth, just about. The rain was always cold and wet, sometimes it would be a different colour too. When that happened people stayed inside for fear they might become contaminated. Though really, all water was toxic.
They claimed there was nothing they could do about it. It was a world wide disaster and the predicated death levels were higher then the War. That was the price we were paying for chemical warfare, the government said. Still, scientists and others were working around the clock for solutions whilst there was hope left. Everywhere warning signs stated not to drink unfiltered water, to stay inside as much as possible and report all health problems to a doctor.
Today, the rain was a lime green colour which was why I wasn’t allowed outside. Sitting in the window seat of the second floor landing, I watched a few brave people walking the street below me. They held their umbrellas up high and huddled in thick coats, as if that would protect them.
The book I had picked from our small library lay opened but unread in my lap. Since there was no going to school today, father had insisted we self-educate. My two brothers had taken over the library with their historical debates. Father was in the study and Mother had gone to lay down as as the lime rain had given her a headache, or so she had claimed. I could have gone to my day room, the family lounge or the parlour, instead I went to the best spot in the house to see the outside world.
I pressed the side of my head to the wet glass, knowing I’d be told off for getting my curled blonde hair damp. I didn’t care. I watched guards in red uniforms appear and began clearing people from the street. They must have been told that the toxic level had reached a high. A siren began to wail, confirming that. The street quickly cleared and just in time too as the lime rain picked up and started to change colour.
Black rain began falling and in the distance came a rumble of thunder. I tightened my grip on the book. The page corners curling under my fingers. I had always feared storms, but they were worse now. They said sometime toxic rain conducted lightening and exploded. Fires were common during storms and deaths.
I tried to relax my hands, the hard corners of the cover were digging into me. The thunder growled louder, sounding so close. The street before me went dark with only a few dots of light peering out. The lightening flashed, yellow red, capturing the street in that moment. I heard a popping sound and the lights around me all started to flicker.
The smell of gas and burning electricity filled the air. An emergency bell rang though the house, backed by the siren’s call. There was a rush of footsteps and voices. The clatter of things being dropped and doors moving echoed throughout the house.
‘To the shelter, quickly!’ my father bellowed.
‘I’ll get Madam,’ a maid spoke.
‘Where is Miss Victoria?’ another voice asked.
A flash of lighting hit the sky making me jump as it crackled away. I stood up, clutching my book and hurried two flights of downstairs. In the grand hallway, everyone was rushing into the kitchen, shouting at each other. I joined them hurrying into the cellars. My shoulders and skirts brushing maids and kitchen staff.
I tripped down the stone steps, losing a shoe, and my one of my brothers caught me at the bottom. He had to move me out of the way as the last people flew down and the metal door slammed shut. My brother rushed me down the corridors, through the wine and food cellars. My legs and feet hurt as we went further down. Finally, we arrived with everyone else in the last and deepest cellar. My brother hushed me into a corner and left me breathing in the damp air.
Huddling in the dim light with my family and servants, I caught my breath. My mother looking dazed was sitting on a small bed, half hidden by a curtain. My father was sat comforting her and my brothers were giving orders to some of the servants. I tucked myself into a alcove, hugging my book and praying we would survived.
The horizon didn’t look like anything Peaches had imagined it to be. She had thought it was going to bright and colourful, like in the old photos and film reals she had seen, instead though it was a dull blue-grey.
‘Not the promises I was led to believe,’ she muttered.
She lent her too thin body forward and rested her chin on her knees. Her arms were tightly wrapped behind her knees, keeping the long wool skirt in place and stopping the strong breeze from getting in.
Around her all the children and some of the adults from the Church Of The Redeemed Evangelists were splashing in the salty water or playing in the sand or exploring the rocks and caves. Cries of delight but also screams of pain could be heard amongst the babble of voices.
Peaches ignored them all, feeling tried and empty of the hope she had been holding in for so long.
‘What’s wrong with you?’ a sharp female voice asked.
With only moving her eyes, Peaches looked up and realised she wasn’t the one being addressed. Before her was a small woman, wearing the clothes of a Senior Sister; a long black dress which completely covered her body and a black head dress with a grey trim. Next to her was a small girl with blonde hair in a blue wool dress who was crying and rubbing her face.
‘My eyes hurt!’ the girl cried.
‘I knew this trip to the surface world would bring nothing but troubles,’ the Senior Sister spoke loudly, ‘and what have you learnt out here? Nothing. It would have been better to remain in the Temple. Come along, child. We shall wash your face.’
Peaches watched the Senior Sister taking the girl’s hand and leading her away to the little camp set up in a sheltered spot. There were two other Sisters sat there and from their clothes Peaches could tell they were Mothers, the highest of the female order.
‘I don’t want that to be my fate,’ Peaches whispered.
She looked at the horizon again, it still seemed bleak. However, there could only be freedom on the other side.
Peaches cast a long look around then slowly got up. She made as if she was just walking along the rough sand. Finally, though she was out of sight and trying to figure out how she could reach her horizon.
(Inspired by a prompt from; https://scvincent.com/2017/03/09/thursday-photo-prompt-horizon-writephoto. With thanks).
Uniting readers, writers, and authors to build better books.
Running and life: thoughts from a runner who has been around the block
Photos, art - and a little bit of LIT.
A creative writing site by Peter Raymond Corkey filled with short stories, flash fiction, and everything in between.