Now What?

Under normal circumstances, I’d be glad that someone killed my captor. Her dead eyes will haunt me for the rest of my days, but that isn’t the issue here. No, I had fallen in love with her. I’m a stupid statistic of the Stockholm syndrome. And even knowing this, I can’t bring myself to be happy.

She gave my life meaning. My meaning was to please her, and now she is gone.

“Mam, can you identify the victim?” The police officer asks me, his walkie-talkie statics into the empty night.

They don’t know. They don’t know she took me from my boring undergrad and whisked me into her whirlwind of a life – Paris, Morocco, Tokyo.

A flash to the beatings too, her tornado like bursts of anger that left me bruised and sometimes broken as I shuffled to find us another hotel room.

There had been moments I could have escaped but then where would I be? Later, a slap would hit my face and knock a tooth loose and I’d remember standing in the middle of some million-person city and think, “if I had only disappeared when I had the chance.”

But my captor needed me, she needed me the way anyone needs their lover. She chose me, I was special – in her eyes.

The eyes that now stare blankly towards the summer night sky.

“I just met her tonight,” I lie.

“Did you hear any noises? See what took this woman down?”

We had just left the bar. The rain poured down our bodies – horrible weather for an ambush. We ran three blocks, laughing, drunk, until she pushed me to the wall and kissed me hard. It was beautiful, the feeling of having her eyes on me alone, her lips on mine, I’d never been enamored by a woman – by anyone – until my captor found me.

She kissed me, tugged at my hair, and then the bullet came. I will forever wonder if she was shielding me from it’s blast.

“What brought you out tonight?” The officer continues his questioning.

I shrug. “Bar hopping.”

“And that’s where you met this woman?”

No one in the bar knew anything about us, no one would refute it. So, I nod in agreement.

“Did you hear anything?”

“A loud bang. A bullet, I guess, and then –“ I gesture to my dress, soaked wet with water and blood.
The police officer looks around, towards vantage points before breaking the static and sending a message through his walkie-talkie.

“Check the rooftops, we may have a sniper.” The officer waits for a response then turns back to my captor. “Someone had a bone to pick with this gal.”

I shrug again, keeping the emotion from my face.

“You’re free to go.” The officer states, slowly, assessing me with his eyes. “Unless you want to come down to the station.”

I shake my head. I wonder where I’d go next. What life would be worth living after my captor and her violent love?


A #FinishThatThought tale.

Special

I promised myself I wouldn’t let her words affect my life but quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to keep that promise. They echo in my mind with every step.

“We are special.”

Every family thinks that, right? It doesn’t mean anything; just a simple sentence to make us feel not-so-simple.

But then it became inescapable.

Even as I sit in this room, in front of the computer, with my hands on the keyboard. I hear the conversations from next door, I smell the frying lunch meat from down the block. We are special, we are animalis.

My mother was right.

I can’t sit here anymore, surrounded by the suffocating scent of human sweat and the blinding modern art that flickers on and off throughout the day. Everyone else sees electric green – I see gamma rays. The door slams shut behind me and even the breath of fresh air turns my stomach.

After she told me the truth, I had cursed her. I refused to believe, sent her away from me and my family. The last time I saw her was with tears in her eyes, trying so hard to get me to understand.

Now, she’s gone and it is too late. All I have are questions.

“Hey!” A stranger’s voice bellows in me ear as I slip onto the busy sidewalk. Downtown is no quieter than my office, no less intense, but at least here I can walk. “Lady, slow down!”

I ignore him and keep moving forward. His smell trips my steps though, it’s a mix of sandalwood and familiarity. I think about stopping but the warnings against curiosity ring in my mind. Instead, I increase my pace to a light jog.

The man is faster. At the next block a hand locks around my forearm, pulling me to the side. Some passersby give us an odd glance but I shake them away. He has me now and my curiosity will win.

Plus, animalis means that my claws can descend at any moment.

“I was hoping I’d find you,” he says. His eyes hold mine, silent and waiting.
I watch as his pupils shrink, transforming from a circle to a single line. I know that line, I’ve seen it in the mirror. “You have questions.”

I nod.

“We are special.”

I nod. I’ve accepted it, now.

“I have answers.”

Concert Cure-All

A little something I wrote for #FinishThatThought after finding out a friend decided to give me her Taylor Swift tickets mere hours before the show.

The Challenge asked us to incorporate National Horse Race winners. I chose two names “Charity” and “Cure-All”. This story won the Special Challenge Championship. Without further ado, when excitement and fiction meet:



As they entered the concert, she realized that something extraordinary would have to happen if they were to see the stage at all. Short people had horrible luck.

She could stand on her chair, but the man behind them had already given her the stink-eye for balancing on the seat for only a second. Despite the fact that he was at least six feet tall, he “kindly” asked her to move.

The thing with concerts was that you paid nearly a week’s salary to stare at the back of heads.

Sarah didn’t mind, but Sarah was tall. “Can you see the pretty stage designs?”

I clenched my teeth. “I can’t see anything.”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Don’t be such a spoilsport.

The lights dimmed.

“I’m not spoiling anything, I’m stating a fact.”

The crowd cheered, we cheered, swept away by the evening’s momentum. The screams were deafening. Our floor level seats placed us in the center of the excitement as it ricocheted down from the upper levels down towards the stage.

Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome to the stage Charity Cure-all!

“She’s coming out!”

I hopped on the tips of my toes. There will be sound, loud booming sound. I will get my joy from that sound. I tried to psych myself up, at least.

All I saw was the t-shirt of Charity’s face in front of me.

“Oh my god – do you see what she’s wearing?” Sarah asked.

“No.”

“It’s, oh my god, Jen! Look!”

“I am looking, looking at –”

Then it happened: something extraordinary. The stage started to rise inch by inch, higher and higher until Charity Cure-all could look over her fans from far above ground level.

Charity Cure-all smiled from the edge of the stage, lights bouncing off the sequins from her octopus costume. It felt as if our eyes caught each other’s, she smiled, I screamed. “Let’s get this party started!”

Finally

Stumbling out of the library, he noticed blearily that he was missing a chunk of his hair. It probably had to do with the woman chasing him and the grip she now had around blonde curls. He was bleeding too, a trickle from the top of his head down to his chin.

The marble column was cold under his hand. He grabbed it and tried to clear his vision.

“Get back here!” The woman was hell-bent on getting his attention. He didn’t even know her name. He had been sitting in the library, studying for his finals. One minute he was alone and the next he had the woman’s thighs on either side of his legs, straddling him – and not in the good way.

“You’re blood!” She screamed as she ran by the circulation desk. “I need it for my spell. I already have the hair!”

He looked out over the field in front of the library, students sitting on blankets, some threw around a Frisbee. No one noticed the screaming from the library or the sophomore clutching one hand to the marble column and the other to his head.

The door behind him opened and he tensed. He knew it was the woman.

“I have the salt and your hair; now give me your blood.”

“Is this an episode of Supernatural?” He asked through his daze. The woman replied by pressing a vial to the trail of blood.

When she stepped back he could see the lines of age on her forehead, stray white strands falling from her bun. She smiled toothily. “Your blonde hair for my new form, I thank you.”

Then she disappeared, “poof!” right from the spot. He slid down the column, face falling into his hands and wondered if finals had finally turned him insane.


Written for this week’s FinishThatThought.

Heels and Taboos

“Sexual acts are usually more shocking because of taboos and have nothing to do with the experience level of the person.” I’m sick of her voice, the know-it-all tone that won’t accept criticism or contradiction.  She will only wait, for a moment, for my agreeing nod.

I’m not sure what will happen if the nod never comes, but I’m sure I won’t like it.

She made me leave my shoes on the side of the road, my red penny loafers Nan had bought me for my sixteenth birthday. She told me only children wore heels that short and she didn’t associate with children. She forced me to leave them next to the shoe store and blow three months allowance on uncomfortable tall heels instead.

My heels click along the cobblestone carefully now. I balance listening to her and not catching the heels in a crack of the sidewalk. It’s difficult.

She, on the other hand, floats along, continuing her comments like they are gospel. “So it doesn’t really matter if you’re a virgin as long as you do something daring.”

My ankle curls, soft skin scrapes the cobblestone. I wince but barely pause in my stride to adjust the heel. She wouldn’t wait for me anyway, probably.  “What do you mean daring?”

She looks back at me then and I cheer inwardly that she did not witness my near fall; I am floating now too, just as cool and calm. But her eyebrows rise at my question and I feel like I’m sinking below them, a shame rides up my spine that I cannot explain.

My face must be as red as my abandoned penny loafers.

“You know,” she manages to make the whisper ring along the street. “Mouth and butt stuff.”

I have no idea what she was talking about but an image of Jimmy Chen holding a stick and poking my backside comes to mind. “Right…”

According to her dramatic sigh, my uncertainty must be transparent. “Oh come on, Jamie. You’re so…. bawdy.”

That word does not mean what she thinks it means. Words are my thing, and if anything, she’s the vulgar one, talking about butts and mouths right outside the shops.

Her hair whips around like a shampoo commercial as she turns away from me to continue down the sidewalk. She was wrong about something and it thrills me. I almost call her out on it but then I notice the boy inside one of the shops rubberneck her as we walk by.

I want to be rubbernecked. I want to be a cool sixteen year old that knows what taboos are and how they relate to Jimmy Chen, I want to be bawdy and have hair like a shampoo commercial; so, I nod and continue to follow her along, heels clicking.


This piece was inspired by two separate challenges. The first is #FinishThatThought and the second was from over at Mindlovemisery’snagerie,Photo Challenge #61, Red – to use this image as inspiration for a poem or short-story:

Photo Credits: Zvaella