82. And So It Begins

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They didn’t arrive fast enough. Their failure was evident in the darkened red smears along the wall that led to the aftermath of the slaughter. There was a traitor in the midst, but by the time they received word of the traitor’s plan, it was too late. The traitor had wiped out the coven’s guardians, one by one. Or, from the way the bodies were gathered just at the back of the room, all together in one show of force. Power wasn’t the goal. That would have called for them to be there rather than away from the manor. No, the traitor wanted to leave a calling card.

The coven filed out into the night to watch their manor burn. They’d honor their fallen by answering the call in kind. Blood for blood. Truce be damned.

© Maura D., marsreine.wordpress.com, 2019
Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts

Next up — I finally have an idea that just might work.

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81. What Fear Sows

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Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Fear laced fingers clung to themselves as she waited for their judgment. For years she lived among them. And as swift as a tide turns, so did the same ones she called friends. They tore down her door and bound her where she lay. They covered her eyes and without a care, half marched, half dragged her to the village well. There they chained her to a post for all to see.

“Here is the demon among you. This false woman has deceived you into thinking she is one of you. Cut her and see for yourself how she heals herself. See the unnatural blue rim to her eyes. That is the power of something unworldly. This thing, this abomination, will doom us all if it isn’t cast out.”

The words of a stranger bore more weight than fond memories. One by one they cut her. Her wounds didn’t heal. They forced her head back to gaze into the eyes that once smiled at them. Her cries didn’t matter.

Cut off her head, one shouted.

Sacrifice her, said another.

The stranger stood at her side, a glow in his own eyes, while the villagers argued over what fate already claimed. Her blood called for her from the soaked patch of earth beneath her, and like an obedient child, her body caved. Down she fell, her vision fading as partial payment to death. The villagers she once held so highly were the last thing she saw.

They were the abominations. They were the demons.  And they she cursed.

© Maura D., marsreine.wordpress.com, 2019
Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts

Next up — They didn’t arrive fast enough.

80. Marcus the Burglar

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Cover: Maura D. via Photos by Jeremy Bishop and Tom Quandt on Unsplash

“Push it and see what happens.”

Marcus looked up from his crouched position so Sybil could see how against the idea he was. “That would a be a B&E.” One of the last things he wouldn’t to be defining for a former cursed cat, and yet, there he was. “Breaking and entering. Ever heard of it before you upset the wrong person?”

Sybil bounced in place before shaking her head like she was trying to shake a bug out of her hair. It figured that she wouldn’t. The girl, if she really was one, knew enough to guide him to the kid he was looking for, but nothing about the single law he was existed whenever she got cursed. “It’s this.”

“Pushing on a window?” The oddly cat like smile she looked at him with made him shake his head. “I know what it is, silly, but you still have to do it.”

Great, he thought, his palm already pressed against the window pane. It felt warm under his touch. He attributed that to the unobstructed view the sun got of it. The sun, much like him however, didn’t get to see much of the inside. The window was fogged up. Maybe it was by design. Maybe it was thanks to two different temperatures meeting. Or, he thought as he checked to make sure they weren’t being watched, it was by magic. Someone was in there, and whoever it was didn’t want people to see.

With a sigh, Marcus rocked back on his heels and plopped down. “Are you sure?”

“As sure as I am that you owe me.” Sybil practically sang her own praises.

He partly hated her for it, but she was right. There were a few times when he thought she was a red herring his own curse placed in his life. She guided him from one place to another. All of which turned out to be one dead end after another, and somehow, here they were. The Tyler kid Kenna told him about was right there. Somewhere.

Sybil’s face suddenly filled his vision. Marcus leaned back enough so he could breathe without smelling her tune sandwich. A remnant of her years as a cat, or so he happily told himself. She remained bent over him, her face upside down to him, a knowing grin waiting expectantly.

“Yeah, yeah…” he grumbled. They had a law to break. What was one more law in the grand scheme of things? He was a random teenager creeping around the basement window of a nice enough house. Nothing too weird about it at all.

He kept telling himself that as he broke down and pushed.

There was a large part of him that thought it was stupid to think a window would push inward. Something just felt wrong about it, and stupid. But the small part that doubted felt triumphant when he was done leaning into the now open window.

“I knew it.” Sybil bounced down into a crouch next to him. “Now enter.”

As much as I wanted to argue, and I really did, I was kind of excited. This was a real lead. Tyler and whatever fairy that was attached to him was his in. “Uh, Sybil?”

“Hm?”

“I’m too big. You have to go.”

“That doesn’t sound like a question.”

I sighed. Why must everyone I have to deal with be so annoying. “Sybil?” She was already smiling at me. I ignored it because, honestly, I was too close to something real to fight her. “Could you please wiggle through the window, find the door, turn off any alarm, and let me in?”

A rasp like mew was her response. I passed her the collar turned bracelet and watched as the magic took hold. The air shimmered and bent in a way only magic could before it blurred and I was left staring at the golden eyes of cat Sybil. She took her time stretching. My bet was to get used to being in her cat skin again.

Normally, I’d try to sympathize with her, but I needed her to hurry up. We couldn’t stay outside forever. Correction, I couldn’t stay outside forever. Sybil eventually slipped in, and after a few near nail biting minutes, she was running up to me in human form. Naked.

“Sybil.” I hissed, spinning around. “What happened to your clothes?”

“I hated them so I got rid of them. Now, come on.” She put her hand in mind and dragged me behind her. I was thankful for it since I couldn’t risk looking up from her bare feet. A naked girl was now leading a teenage boy into a house. That definitely wasn’t more suspicious than said boy creeping around a basement window.

My mind ran on my sister and I groaned. I could practically hear her snickering at my luck. I finally got a girl naked, and I wanted nothing to do with her. “When we get inside, can you please put your clothes back on?”

“What’s in it for me?” She fired back.

“Whatever,” I mumbled.

“Oooh,” she cooed, “I like whatever.”

We thankfully crossed the threshold of the backdoor by the time she was done enjoying my torment. I just hoped whoever Tyler was would be worth it.

© Maura D., marsreine.wordpress.com, 2019
Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts

Next up — I never meant to offend anybody, honest.

Uptown Tricks

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Original Prompt:
You’ve seen something weird and have to convince someone to believe you.
Source:
April Prompt Challenge via TheWriterSphere

Keep walking. I urged myself on through the busy train station. The crowd that flooded out of the Q with me had parted ways, taking what ironic security that being in a pack of strangers could bring. Feeling exposed, I glanced over my shoulder. If I was honest with myself, exposed wasn’t the only thing I felt. It was however the only thing I could mentally handle admitting to because exposed was better than being watched.

Right?

My phone was still useless. The lifeline that were the four signal bars were gone. In their place was the near panic inducing, No Service. I could feel my heart then. Maybe it was as upset as I was that despite all the technological and scientific progress, we still couldn’t figure out how to ensure we never lost service in the subway. As unnerving as it was, I didn’t stop checking for my lifeline to return. I kept my phone inches from my chest, my thumb hitting a button to turn on the screen every so often as I hurried to the nearest exit.

The light at the top of the stairs never looked so welcoming in my life. I bounded up the stairs, two at a time. It was funny in a way. My selective laziness took a backseat to what I guess was my unconscious fight or flight response. I was in full flight, alright.

With the first breath of fresh air came the bars of hope. “Finally,” I whispered to my phone. My fingers were on autopilot. First was a text to the group chat I was now thankful my friends added me to, and second a call to the first one to respond to it.

“Hello?” I dodged the group of kids who refused to split up and nearly missed Maxie’s rare show of concern. “Maxie. Maxie. Slow down.” The barrage of questions only made me anxious, which made me wonder if the prickling at the back of my neck was something I needed to pay attention to. Thankfully, she took a breath and told me to start from the top.

Walking the streets of New York left me feeling like I was about to accidentally walk into some psychological thriller, so I ducked into the first semi-crowded cafe I saw. It didn’t get rid of my shaky fingers but it got me off the street and away from all the eyes. “I saw something, M.”

“It’s Manhattan.” She reminded me. “You need to be more specific than that.”

She had a point. We saw a guy dance around naked for a solid five minutes before the police caught him. So I took a breath, opened the mental door I locked it behind, and tried again. “There was a guy between the cars.”

“I hate to burst your paranoia bubble there but that guy is a conductor. He is allowed to be there. Every train has them. Haven’t you ever been on the LIRR?”

“M,” I had to pause. My voice got louder with the one letter that I worried it got some attention. I looked up in fear I’d find someone paying too much to me. Turned out that it was just me worried about it. Everyone else was busy with their own normal lives. I envied them.

The sound of my name pulled me back to the phone call at hand and my problem of convincing Maxie that I wasn’t being dramatic. “The guys who work on the trains don’t disappear before the train reaches the stop.” They didn’t stare you down through the glass either but admitting that out loud felt taboo, like saying it would set off some cosmic event I wanted no part of. “Can you just meet me please?”

“Fine, but if it starts to sound like an episode of Gotham, I’m leaving.”

“Deal.”

True to her word, Maxie met me an hour later at the cafe. I refused to leave since it was my safe haven in the brewing storm of my life. She kept to her side of things, that it was all in my head, but I know what I saw. There was a man between the cars. I couldn’t get a good look of his face or his eyes. It didn’t mean I didn’t feel him staring at me before the area he was standing went dark and he was gone. I went home that night and looked up everything I could from the mundane to the paranormal.

Now, I’m standing in front of some sketchy door waiting for someone, anyone, to answer. The forum I lost hours to said this was the place to go if you believed you saw the 12:40 Specter. Whatever that was. It still gave me chills, but I was going to see this through.

I guess the fight part finally kicked in.

© Maura D., marsreine.wordpress.com, 2017-2019

Unlucky Indeed

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Original Prompt: A brown blur sails through the air. It lands on your shoes/face/clothes. Turns out it is mud. Now what?
Source:
April Prompt Challenge via TheWriterSphere


Have you ever had one of those amazing days where it all seems right? Well it must be great being you cause I sure as hell haven’t, and today seems to be another one of those no good very bad ones. Let’s go back a few minutes in time to when I agreed to play soccer.

I don’t know what broke in my memory for me to say yes to anything my friends suggested after the date room debacle. You’d think I would be more sane than this by now, but nope. I’m the walking definition of insanity. You know, doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome every time? That.

Well, I agreed to play. I put on the shorts – that were too small thanks to Gabi – and the mandatory blue jersey that had this weird chimera looking thing on it. I didn’t ask any questions that would give me a headache, which, in retrospect, is usually where I go wrong.

Note to self: Ask questions!

So fastforward through my amateur but still good footwork, a goal thanks to my assist, and a decent pep talk from Savanna, and you get me waiting for the ball to come my way. This is where it gets fuzzy. Literally. The ball was coming. My teammates were dribbling it and passing it from one to the next like pros. I watched as it went. One pass. Two passes. Three. Four. Then nothing. A shoe that did not belong to one of ours connected with the ball and sent it flying… at my face.

I don’t know if it was intentional or not. And, honestly, I don’t care. I swerved in time to miss the ball itself. What I didn’t dodge was the mud splatter that trailed after it.

With the comedic luck that I had, the mud hit the side of my face in a diagonal pattern. I was hit from the right side of my chin up to what felt like the outer edges of my left eyebrow. I think some got in my mouth. And what did my friends do? They stopped the game to laugh.

Needless to say, it’s time for new friends. Any takers?

© Maura D., marsreine.wordpress.com, 2017-2019