creative writing, fiction, flash fiction, short fiction, short stories, strength, touch, Uncategorized, war, wildness, women, writing

A Bridge For The Furies:Inventory

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Cara rolled her eyes in dismay at Gloria.

Gloria picked up her drink and took a sip and shuddered with the strength of it.

‘So you don’t question intelligent gas clouds, but you question a simple hack?’

It’s false nails and a set of contact lenses. You’re talking about some fucking Galactus level event and I go up against it with haute couture?’

Cara sighed as Olivia shifted in her seat, added to her ever growing mental list of questions about what or who was a Galactus. Drea wanted to punch the air that something was said that she actually understood. She ached for John and consciousness with a pang of deep, palpable longing that normally ended up in John’s hands getting the good kind of mean with her. Here, she took another drink and listened to the reserved bitching that characterised the failure of womankind to dominate society. Especially smart, white women but she kept that to herself in favour of enjoying the free show.

Cara gestured to the box.

‘Pop them in and on.’

Gloria sneered again but picked out the index fingernail, pearlescent and when she pinched it between her fingertips, it hummed pleasantly like the vibrator that laid gathering dust, hollow without batteries, much like her heart. It changed consistency, a warm plasticity as it looped over and adhered to her fingertip. A low charge ran up her forearm. The other nails leapt from their casings, with a graceful glee and the symphony of purpose used her body as the orchestra. The lenses elongated as they left the casing and attached themselves to her eyes, plasticized tears in reverse.

Gloria, in the healthy spirit of youthful experimentation, had experimented with hallucinogenic drugs for recreational purposes and the earnest, slightly grim spiritual ramifications. Peyote, psilocybin and lysergic acid had formed the river of her consciousness raising. The combination of the lenses and nails made it look like baby aspirin or the candied gummy vitamins that had characterised her sickly childhood.

Gloria had been given access to the operating system of the universe, a drop down menu floated in her vision like sunspots and she sat back in her seat, dumbstruck with a quiet awe. Olivia was fascinated by the shifting spectrum of colours that overlaid Gloria’s eyes even as the trembling posture of reverence unnerved her.

Gloria clicked on a free floating icon marked ‘tutorial’. Cara chuckled and sat back, gestured towards her with her glass.

‘She’s going to be a while.’

Olivia grew pale and gestured to Gloria.

‘What did you do?’

Cara furrowed her forehead and rolled her glass between her palms.

‘She can change things.’

Olivia swallowed and glanced between Gloria and Cara, concerned at what she might be gifted. She liked her own mind, even the distasteful streaks of self loathing and guilt were hers, goddamn it. Cara touched her hand, Olivia experienced a moment of raw satori and smiled at her.

‘I get it. You’ve put us together with the right tools for the job.’

Drea recoiled in her seat. She had seen the gesture, reminded of when John would use the quasi-hypnosis, social engineering tricks that took nervous young men and divorcees back into the dating arena with the confidence of bull studs.

‘Don’t do that to me.’ she said.

Cara smiled at her, eyes glittering as she picked up her drink.

‘Again, you mean. After all, you’re still convinced you’re dreaming.’

Drea gritted her teeth and forced a stoic expression onto her face to hide her disquiet.

‘So, what do we get?’ Drea said.

Cara clapped her hands together.

‘You two get to do something really spectacular.’

Olivia and Drea had grins appear on their faces in perfect symmetry.

‘Damage.’

Gloria, meanwhile, studied the physics of a falling leaf, the beauty of a broken hip and the pressures of being a good girl with a god’s eye for the sheer gift of it all.

Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3 and Part 4

 

 

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The Bridge At Otter Creek

Justin was barking into his phone as he took the corner at speed, and when he caught a glimpse of his face in the rear view mirror, he was shocked at how angry he looked. He had spent the entire drive back from the city seething at how badly the deal had gone. Right now, he was on the phone to Tia, who had sworn blind that the deal was good.

‘You wasted my motherfucking time, Tia. How am I supposed to make my nut when you’re sending me out to mom and pop operations?’

Justin looked up, the bridge at Otter Creek ahead meant that he could get back into town before dusk. Already thinking about hitting up Kev, a gram and a couple of shots of Maker’s would salve his wounded pride. He swallowed, feeling a seam of hard steel at the back of his throat, burning with thwarted pride.

‘Justin, you’re going into this thinking that every lead is a Fortune 500, it doesn’t work that way and Mr Helsdon – ‘

‘Mr Helsdon needs to shit or get off the pot, Tia. He’s been with the same insurer for fifty years, golfs with the guy every Tuesday afternoon. You wasted my time, Tia.’

He hit the bridge and before he was halfway across, a sudden wave of emotion overwhelmed him.

‘I’m scared, Tia. I turn 30 this year and I’m fucking terrified of turning out like my dad did. Fat, useless, trading on old glories. I don’t want to look back and see that my life peaked in high school -‘

Tia took in a sharp breath, overwhelmed by the pleading and the pain in his voice.

‘It’s okay, just it’s been rough I know – ‘

Justin shook his head, squeezing out tears that ran down his cheekbones.

‘No, I know that you’re fixing to leave and I don’t blame you because I treat you like shit but that’s because I can’t stand how much I fucking need you Tia.’

Tia looked around, waited for him to laugh or someone to pop up with a camera to record her reaction.

‘Justin, just come back. We can talk about Houston.’

He crossed the bridge, his fear gone, the way a vampire dies in the sunlight, ash and bone fragments. The next few miles were strange ones for him, and better ones too.

2.

June had kept up a running monologue for so long that when she fell silent, Andy wondered if something in his brain had finally broken. She asked him something, and he murmured his agreement without hearing what it actually was.

‘Do you ever listen to me?’

He lowered his chin to his chest and sighed. It had been a long weekend, her family would all toss disapproving looks when they thought he wasn’t looking.

‘Of course honey, just it’s been a long drive. But look, we’re nearly home.’

She sighed and turned the radio up. It was her way of ensuring that Andy did not get to speak and whereas once he would have resented it, now he was grateful. They had separate lives, running in parallel, a truce rather than a marriage. Since the kids had left, the house was too quiet and neither of them quite knew how to handle it.

As the bridge rattled beneath the wheels of their Prius, Andy reached and turned the station off with a sharp twist.

‘The reason I don’t listen to you is that you don’t give me a chance to speak, June-Bug.’

June’s face sharpened, the perpetual mask of good manners slipped to show the woman beneath.

‘That would require you to say anything that wasn’t about work or football, Andy-Bug.’

He grinned and shook his head, sighing with a gesture that made her damp.

‘When was the last time we had sex, June? Not just the time where you use my dick as a sleeping pill. That was April last year.’

June snivelled and wiped her eyes.

‘I didn’t think you wanted to. I thought you’d made other arrangements. The Hawkins girl.’

He laughed and shook his head.

‘That would be like fucking a box kite. I still jerk off about you, June-Bug but you don’t seem interested.’

He clamped a rough hand on her thigh and she thought she might explode right there.

They stopped once they were on the other side of the bridge. It was quick, but it was good and despite the years, they managed to surprise themselves.

3.

It slipped beneath the water from where it had hung beneath the bridge. It knew that the world seldom offered such ample opportunities for it’s kind and that it could feed from here for a long time to come. It was full. That was enough for now.

 

 

 

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