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Different


Before

Trinyx stayed just under the surface of the waves, watching the beautiful creature with the bouncing hair react to the lecherous older one. She worried when she saw the angry expression cross the young human’s face, wondering what had angered him so, as she watched him shove the other man out of the way. Trinyx felt as though her very self was being pulled toward the handsome boy as he stomped angrily away from the ship’s rail, until she noticed a splash in the waves next to her. She moved away in disgust when she realized what it was- one of the other less-attractive humans was leaning over the side of the ship, retching into the sea. She was filled with fury that he was polluting her ocean in such a way, and wanted to jump up and  grab the man, pull him into the water, and swim down to the deepest depths with him where she knew he would perish. Instead, she swam close to the body of the ship, and indignantly banged her tail against the wood several times.

As she swam away toward her home, she looked back, and saw several of the men looking confused and leaning over the ship’s rail, peering into the water, wondering what sort of fish had rammed their boat. Trinyx glimpsed the dark-haired man too, who seemed to be looking directly at her, though she knew it was too dark for him to see that far. She lifted her pale hand in a useless gesture, and thought she imagined the man raise his own hand in return. The waves moved    her, and she pushed her tail against them , diving into the night-black water.

Far below the moonlit surface of the ocean, Trinyx slowed her movements, realizing how close she had been to a human. She thought of how soft his hair had been between her fingers, and how it had sprung so lightly from them. She weaved her fingers between the ropey lengths of her own hair that was billowing out around her, and let it go, watching it lazily drift in the leftover currents of her swimming. A few small fishes glides through it, and she swatted them away, perturbed.

She felt melancholy now, now that she had felt the air on her thick skin. She had never felt the pressure of the water surrounding her, but she felt it now, and she wanted to be back against the ship, looking into the expressive eyes of the alluring young man again. She thought of him and wondered if his skin would feel like hers, and she ran her hands down her torso, over her breasts and down her belly, until she felt scales that led into a lengthy tail. She looked at her tail, the tail that was the envy of her sisters, with it’s rainbow of purple and green and silvery scales, and decided it was not at all beautiful. Her fingertips felt over the coarse scales, and she wanted to feel what it was like to stand on two legs like the humans on the ship had.

The man’s eyes had been one color, and though she had never seen her own, she knew from looking into her sisters’ faces that mermaid eyes were an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors, and she thought to herself how uninteresting that was- as she had watched the man, she could see within his eyes a flurry of emotions, whereas when she watched her sisters, the constant color shift in their eyes made it completely impossible to know what they were thinking.

She had let the man’s sounds wash over her; how different they had been from her own! From the things her grandmother had told her, human voices were terrible to listen to, and humans themselves were seemingly possessed when offered a mermaid song, but Trinyx had liked the sound of his words- they were not melodious as a mermaid’s, no, but still pleasing to the ear in their own way.

She fingered the silver chain that was tied in her hair, and pushed the little button that had released the tiny door. She cried out when she saw that the picture inside was beginning to disintegrate already, and she shut it again quickly, hoping to preserve the likeness of the woman who looked like her human. She gripped the locket tightly to her chest, and was amazed that she cared so for this man, this creature who was so unlike her. She swam in circles, wondering what she was to do now.  Bubbles and fish floated out of her way as she did so. She was forbidden to have contact with the upper world, but there was one thing she knew for certain- she had to see him again.

 

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Roses and Threats


Alyssa pulled her purple Ranger into the driveway with enough speed and gusto to make her fiancée Ryan cringe. He gripped the “oh shit” bar and was about to comment on women drivers as she came to a notably abrupt stop, but thought better of it. He didn’t want to put Lyss in a pissy mood. He jumped quickly out of the truck, thanking heaven he was still intact after the ride.

“I’ll get the mail!” He offered cheerily, already making his way to the mailbox.

Alyssa grabbed her purse and climbed out of the driver’s side, grinning to herself. She loved getting to Ryan like that. She admitted that she wasn’t a cautious driver, but she knew he didn’t consider her a good driver anyway, so she did shit like that just to bug him. She hummed as she stuck her key in the door, but stopped when she noticed the overwhelming smell of roses as the door swung open.

There were white rose petals EVERYWHERE. Alyssa’s eyes widened as she looked around. The ancient door normally swung back into whoever was walking through it, but the carpet of flowers made it stick half way open. The floors and countertops were crowded with crystal vases of every size, stuffed with long-stemmed white roses. Every step she took sent up a floral aroma, because there was no way to step around the carpet of petals. She was still standing completely awed in the middle of the kitchen when Ryan walked in the door.

“What the-” Lyss grew more bewildered when she saw the look of confusion on Ryan’s face. He smiled when she looked at him. “You tryin’ to butter me up, Baby? I prefer beer to roses.” His joke fell flat when Alyssa responded.

“I didn’t do this. How’d you afford all this?” Alyssa was still too overwhelmed to say anything else. She looked around and noticed the envelope with Ryan’s name sitting on the table the same time he did. Ryan shuffled through the matting of roses, and Alyssa giggled at how ridiculous he looked. He picked up the envelope and tore it open as Alyssa leaned forward to sniff a vaseful of flowers. She breathed in deeply and her eyes slid shut as she luxuriated in the smell, so she didn’t see Ryan’s facial expression darken from confusion to rage.

“WHO THE FUCK IS JACK?” The question reverberated throughout the room, making the many roses shiver. Alyssa jumped at the unexpected outburst, and knocked over the vase of flowers she’s just been enjoying.

“What?” she whispered. Her heart pounded in her ears as she waded through the mess. Ryan flung the card at her ferociously, and backed away from her. The look of utter malice in his eyes as he did so made Alyssa’s stomach drop. She looked down at the card in her hands and mouthed the words as she read them.

Ryan,

You’ll never be able to give her this. You can’t even afford to pay the electric bill, can you? She’s too good for a loser like you, and you know it. Alyssa is mine, and I can give her everything you’ll never be able to. Take a hike, buddy.

Jack

Alyssa looked up from the note, and Ryan mistook her wide-eyed expression as guilt. He backed even further away, shaking his head in fury.

“I know I’m broke, but what the fuck?! You find some rich asshole to have an affair with and talk about what a loser I am? What kind of sick cunt do you have to be to do that?”

It felt like Ryan had just punched her in the face when he said the words. He had never once called her any offensive names, and as far as she knew, he’d never found her untrustworthy. She felt tears prick the backs of her eyes, and she stuttered to correct him.

“No, no, no,” She put her hand out to grab his, and he swatted her away. “Jack is that creepy guy I told you about that stops by the store; the one who kept asking me out, even after I told him about you. I’ve never seen him outside of work.” She felt herself becoming hysterical the more she thought about it. “He had to have gotten in here somehow- he had to have followed me- oh my god, Ryan, he was in our house.” The moment she said it, she began shaking.

“Well that’s probably because you fucking let him in, Alyssa.” Ryan’s tone was cold and unforgiving. “How else would he fucking know I’m broke unless you told him during one of your sex romps?”

Alyssa squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head furiously. She didn’t know if the tears were from shock or betrayal, but they would not be stopped. She could hardly breathe, but she refused to let Ryan think she’d cheated on him.

“No, I never told him that. I swear I never did sex with him! I was nice to him at the store, that’s all. I kept telling him I had a fiancée, but he kept asking me to have a drink with him. He said he just wanted to talk, because I was nice to talk to. I didn’t- I would never, EVER do that to you, Love. You have to believe me.” She opened her eyes, and squealed in surprise. Ryan was still looking at her like he wanted to strangle her, but her focus was behind him. Jack was standing directly behind Ryan, with a deadly-looking bowie knife gleaming in his hand.

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Buy Our Book!


alitd-coverSo yeah.

I wrote a short story.

Well, I’ve written a lot of short stories, but this one was actually for a good cause.

Over a year ago I was asked to contribute to an anthology for Writing Out Child Abuse. So I did. Sadly, I am always in my own little world, so I didn’t do the advertising that I should have. So anyhoo, you all should buy this book, and tell everyone you know to buy it too. If you wonder which story I wrote, you can pretend my pen name is Phoebe Valois. I expect all of you to give me your opinions. So there.

http://www.amazon.com/A-Light-Darkness-ebook/dp/B008BMUPAO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339767715&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Light+In+The+Darkness+J.S.+Wayne

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After Effects


BEFORE.

Greg shrugged sheepishly, and lowered her down to the floor, though he refused to remove his grip from her lovely ass until she forced him to.

“Well, you are young enough to be my daughter. How was I supposed to know you were into such mature men?” His thumbs stroked her behind, and he relished the unbelievable softness.

Casey laughed and wriggled out of his grasp; Greg tried to hide his disappointment. “That tickles!” She scooped up her discarded yoga pants and danced a few feet away before turning to face him. Greg admired her confidence as she stood in front of him, pants-less, and raised one perfectly-arched eyebrow.

“I’m into anyone who looks at me the way you do, so there. And I don’t really think there is such a thing as a ‘mature man’.” She did air quotes with a wad of pants in her hands, and Greg felt himself smiling. “I am convinced men are  completely led by their dicks, and only pretend differently to keep up with the women.” Her tone hardened a little bit during her statement, and Greg was going to argue, but she skated off to the bathroom before he had a chance to reply.

Greg pulled on his pants, and began surveying the many titles that lined the bookshelves he’d just defiled. He was surprised to find they were alphabetized according to author, and that there was quite a variety. Classics, biographies of Presidents, history of warfare, science fiction, art, philosophy- they were all there. He stopped when he found three copies of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. He’d read it in high school, and found it to be incredibly dull. He wondered why someone so full of life would have three copies.

“See? They are beautiful! You cannot help but be enamored of them.” Casey stood looking at him approvingly, and Greg wondered how long she’d been watching him.

“Well, you weren’t in here for me to look at, so I had to look at something.” Greg flirted, badly.

“Ugh.” Casey narrowed her eyes and did a jacking-off motion with her hand.” Please. As if I’m better to look at than Jules Verne and R. Scott Bakker.” Greg couldn’t believe she didn’t realize the effect her looks, and her body, had on him, but felt too foolish to point it out. He also felt slightly uncomfortable that Casey seemed to be ignoring what had just happened between them.

She wandered over to the refrigerator. “Did you want anything to drink? I have-” she looked inside for a second, then shut the door. “Well, I have nothing. Did you want to go get a beer or a bottle of whiskey or something?” She looked at him from across the small space, and Greg felt they were on two islands miles apart. Clearly, the sex was casual for her, and even though Greg didn’t exactly know what he wanted from this sexy young thing, he knew things were not the same as they had been before he’d entered this apartment. He felt stupid, like a teenage girl, but he wanted more.

“Um, would you like to go out to dinner with me? There’s a really good Mexican place down the street.” He weakly replied.

“Food! Oh yes, food is good.” Greg felt himself relax with relief. “Shit. I have to go to work soon.” Casey looked at him apologetically. Maybe tomorrow?” The relief was momentary. Greg got the distinct feeling she was blowing him off. He decided to admit defeat.

“Sure, if you’re not too busy. Just let me know. I have a thing I gotta do tonight  anyway.” He lied, and hated himself. He walked to the door and stopped, debating on whether he would say what he was feeling, and thinking better of it. Instead, he looked at Casey. “Your books are beautiful.”

Casey grinned, stepped over to where Greg was standing, and kissed his cheek sweetly.

“Thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?”

Greg nodded, but didn’t say anything as he walked out the door. He trudged down to his own apartment, wishing he hadn’t fucked things up.

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Client Privilege


In the beginning…

You might wonder what makes me any more special than Candy or Blake or any other Dial-A-Whore you might find on the back side of the local entertainment pages next to the ads for sperm banks and penis enlargement pills. To be honest, Candy is gorgeous, and the dickheads down at Winston’s refer to Blake as the “Hoover” when they know she’s not around to kick them in the balls. But have they ever been the Angel of Lust? Think about it- take every carnal desire you’ve ever had, every animalistic sensual hunger, and multiply it times a thousand , or ten million, or a billion, and you wouldn’t even have begun to scratch the surface of the chaste shell of God that’s encasing an eternity of wanton emotions. He gave you those yearnings on purpose; He created me on purpose. Everyone knows God doesn’t make mistakes. Maybe He just realized all that passionate voracity blinds people to almost everything else, so He told a few disciples and prophets it would be best to tell people to restrain themselves a little. Who knows.

Clearly, Charlie didn’t get the memo.

Charlie’s my most loyal customer. You’d think he was in his twenties, if you based his age on the amount of money he’s paid me in the last few years. Luckily, his twenty-two year old libido is matched up to his fifty-two year old perfectly- practiced gift for fucking. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t do him for free.

He was here earlier. Normally, I don’t accept clients at my own place, but Charlie, well, he’s Charlie. Of course, he couldn’t teach me anything I wasn’t already designed to know, but after I knew Charlie for awhile, I kinda started wondering if Charlie wasn’t God’s male duplicate of me. Or maybe he’s just sexed his way through enough women that he’s got nothing else to learn. Thus his captivation with me.

When he gave his habitual rhythmic knock on my door, I was applying my Urban Decay lipstick in F-Bomb (my favorite). He opened the door without waiting for me to reply, and leaned against it after he closed it, just watching me. It’s my job to unnerve people, and I’m still not sure how Charlie can do it, but I watched him watching me in my mirror, and his intense ice-blue stare made me on edge enough that my lipstick slid right off my bottom lip.

“Fuck!” I whispered under my breath, hoping Charlie hadn’t seen, but knowing he had.

Before I had a chance to wipe it off, Charlie pushed his tall body off of the door and he strolled over to where I was standing. He said not a word, but continued to watch me in the mirror. His eyes never left mine as I felt the soft pad of his thumb trace my jawline before running along the outline of my lip, wiping the red stain away. Even with my peacock blue, five-inch heels on, he was a good nine inches taller than me, and I watched in the mirror as his hand slid from my face, down my neck, and under the neckline of my silk dress. Before his hand even touched my left breast, I felt it all the way south of my belly button, and I couldn’t stop the sound that escaped my rouged lips.

Ok, so let me explain a little bit about Charlie. He’s been married, numerous times, in fact, has enough money that he never has to work, and gets off on getting women off. A lot of guys don’t give one shit about whether their woman is turned on before they stick their dick in them, and couldn’t care less whether she orgasms or not, and probably wouldn’t be able to tell either way. Charlie is not one of those guys. I’m convinced he wouldn’t even be able to get a hard-on unless the woman he intended to fuck was dripping wet. Don’t ask me why he pays for sex, because even after all these years, he won’t tell me.

When he heard that sound, his fingertips squeezed my nipple, and my eyes slid shut, relishing the tingle that was running down my body. I leaned back against him, his toned body taking my weight easily, and ran my hand up his tailored pants, rubbing his cock through the fabric. As I did so, his hand enveloped my breast, squeezing just hard enough that it hurt. Another little squeal escaped me, and his grip tightened even more. My eyelids flew open, and my gaze met his in the mirror; his eyes had never left my face. His breath was on my neck, on my ear, and sent little shivers of pleasure across my skin. I looked into his eyes as he ran his free hand up my leg and under my skirt, and I noticed his dimpled smirk when he realized I wasn’t wearing any panties. His face in the mirror looked like a young man’s- a young man with a dirty secret- as his experienced fingers explored my most intimate places, as he discovered what his fingers and his eyes and his breath on me had done. I was encircled in his grip, and couldn’t move as he moved his fingertips achingly slow  in and out of me, in and out, in, and then out before bringing them up and sliding them between my F-Bomb-ed lips. He watched as I tasted the salty musk of myself, and broke his trance-like stare when I ran my tongue over and around his fingertips, and then sucked ever so gently.

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The Life of a Cyborg


Let me tell you, I know how Pinnochio felt.

Yeah, so I know cyborgs aren’t supposed to feel anything below the belt, or really anywhere, and our manufactured eyeballs aren’t supposed to react to bright colors or beautiful people; maybe I’m just special. I’m not going to dance around singing about how I want to become a real boy, er, girl or anything, but damn, do I wish there was some sparkly blue fairy who could tap my titanium knees together three times and turn me into a person with bones and muscles.  Seriously, alloy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Ok, so there’s this guy. Isn’t there always? Anyway, the problem with being a cyborg is that I look human, and sound (somewhat) human- minus the emotion. The general public doesn’t really know there are cyborgs roaming around in their midst, so every once in awhile, a human finds one of us attractive and decides to  make a move. And there is where the humiliation begins. (Shut up, I know what humiliation is, even if I can’t feel it.)

I was bartending the other night, (I’d tell you why a cyborg is bartending, but then I’d have to kill you) and this beautiful, statuesque blonde woman wearing a skirt that barely covered her perfect ass came over and ordered a dirty martini with three olives. (It was probably the only thing she was going to eat all day) She wasn’t overly friendly, ok, really, she was a bitch; one of those type of women who goes to a bar looking for a hedge-fund husband. I could see her eying her prospects as she chewed on an olive. The second she saw him, I knew, because she gaudily ogled him and then looked away, then let her free hand drop down to fondle the necklace that was suffocating in her imitation cleavage. I rolled my eyes, before I looked to see who her victim was.

I gave the Barbie girl props, because damn, he was gorgeous. Typical Wall Street business type, well over six feet, although his Golden Boy hair was a little shaggy; I was surprised Gold Digger was into him. I was even more surprised when I noticed he wasn’t looking at her at all. He was staring at me, and I swear to God that my non-existent heart sped up and I got weak in my blasted assembly-line knees.

Ok, so a guy looked at me. Let me explain: I’m pretty sure most of my parts were picked out of the defective bin. I’m not terrifying to look at by human standards, but a little bit… mismatched. Generally, the faux tits I was given are reserved for the Hollywood pornstar girls, yet here they are, on my 5’3″ aluminum and steel frame. Ethnicity is usually considered when they’re building us, but nope, I’m pretty sure they took the eyeballs from the Spaniard bin and stuck them in my pale Transylvanian head. Anyway, I’ve been assembled for a good six years and never had a guy look at me the way Mr. Beautiful was. So there.

So there I was, completely cyborgish, because I couldn’t think of one emotion to fake. Mr. Beautiful walked over to the bar, and remained completely oblivious to the bimbo staring at him, and asked for a Vodka sour. I mixed up his drink silently, the whole time getting the Evil Eye from Miss Moneybags. She kept scooting closer to him, until, without taking his eyes off of me, he addressed her.

“Hey, could you back up a little bit? It’s feeling a little crowded in here.”

Yeah, that pissed her off. She slammed the rest of her drink before stomping off in a huff, clicking the entire time, thanks to her $550 Manolo Blahniks. I couldn’t keep the grin off of my face, that is, until Mr. Beautiful spoke to me.

“I just said what we were both thinking. Too bad she didn’t take the hint before I had to embarrass us.” His azure blue eyes sparkled, and I still couldn’t think of one humanish thing to say.

Where the fuck is my blue fairy?

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Untitled


She spent the day with her mother.

They did the things mothers and daughters do- window shopping, dining out and the like. As they were lunching on skinny fries and cobb salads, the girl almost dropped her fork when a small child of another patron nearby let out a ferocious shriek. That got her mother talking even more.

“So your cousin is planning to marry that dimwit girl even though she quit her job. I wonder how happy he’s going to be working three jobs when she’s sitting at home popping out babies?” The older woman tsk-ed once or twice before taking another bite of her salad.

“Well, he must know how pampered she is, Mom. They’ve been together since high school.” The girl tried to steer her mother away from baby talk.

” I just hate to think they’re going to have a bunch of babies when they haven’t thought about how they’re going to afford them. And that’s another thing that irks me, most of those kids at school where I teach have such horrible parents that care more about they’re dumb dogs than they do about they’re kids!” The girl hid her amusement at the fact that her mother still refused to use the word “damn” in front of her daughter, even though she was going to be thirty-two in two months.

“Yeah, well, isn’t that the way of it? All the people who shouldn’t have kids have whole herds of them when the ones that want them can’t have any.” The girl refrained from adding “including me” to the end of that sentence. She didn’t have the energy to get into that conversation today.

Her mom had a few more choice words on the subject before bouncing to another topic three or four more times before dessert came.

After her mom dropped her off, the girl walked slowly up the stairs to her apartment, the depression of the days outing weighing heavily on her heart. She couldn’t ignore the tiny tutus in the baby section of the department store earlier, or what seemed like the constant flow of new mothers with strollers who had sped by all day. She took out her keys, and let out a wavering sigh as she opened the door.

Her boyfriend was in a surprisingly good mood after having worked with morons all day, and was excited to show her the new guitar he’d found listed on Craigslist. She couldn’t help but think that the baby blue of the Gibson’s body would be the perfect color for a newborn’s nursery. After awhile, the two sat down to finish watching the last few episodes of a show they’d been watching on Netflix.

The girl was momentarily distracted from her misery as they watched the young love blossom of the two main characters on the TV screen, until the heroine’s sister decided that was the perfect time to go into labor. The girl clutched her pillow and unsuccessfully pushed back tears while the woman onscreen gave birth to a flawless baby girl, as the fictional family looked on proudly. The girl had had enough.

She had a lovely life- a job that paid her bills, a friend or two who were always there for her, a boyfriend whom she loved and loved her back, and yet she felt she hadn’t a thing in the world. She tried to push away the thought of the children she didn’t have as she slid down to her knees and slipped her lover’s boxers off before taking him in her mouth. She thought to herself before she lost herself in foreplay- She may as well play the part of a useless slut, since her body was never going to be used for a good purpose.

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Come Back, Vince Flynn!


Listen here, Vince Flynn,

I’ve got a bone to pick with you, and you’re gonna listen to me, whether you’re actually dead or not.

It’s really not ok that you just died like that.

OK, so maybe it wasn’t really all that sudden, since you announced your ass cancer in February and all, but geez! You don’t think you coulda picked up the phone and called, huh? After all, we’re kind of neighbors. I mean, you live in Minnesota and I live in Minnesota.

I think fondly of the times when I worked at my bookstore and people were constantly coming in to look for your books. I began to wonder what all the fuss was about, and so I picked one up one day. And then it was all over.

I began to search high and low for your books in hardcover, for I knew instantly that they must be a permanent part of my ever-growing library. And the fact that I turned my well-read Auntie onto you is a fact I am quite proud of, even though she admitted that your writing style was not quite her cup of tea.

I shamedly confess that while I adore your writing (and your beautiful face that is now without life) while I own  many but not all of your books, I have yet to read more than one. After all, I have many books to read, and I can’t just be reading spy novels all the time. Anyhoo, now I will have to put aside my Memoirs of Cleopatra and take up with Mitch Rapp in your honor.

I had hoped that we, as co-Minnesota writers, might have collaborated on a story that then became wildly successful, or at least collaborated at friends over a steamy….. cup of joe in downtown St. Paul after one of your book signings. Ah C’est la vie. Or c’est la morte, rather.

I am rather upset that I’ve picked up additional shifts at work this weekend, and so I shall miss your funeral, which I’m certain shall be a sight to behold. I would send flowers, but I am poor, and well, you are dead, so you wouldn’t probably appreciate them anyway.

I mourn your passing, because you are an author, and a good one, and one I’ve had numerous conversations about with my co-worker. If at any time you feel unrest and wish to converse with someone in the real world, you have my permission to sneak your wispy ghost self into my bedroom and have a chat. Although, I must point out my world is, at times, more of an illusion than real.

Love in the Afterlife,

Sparklebumps

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Rubbed


Devon took his hat off and slapped it against his dirtied knee to get all the dust off of it, and then ran his forearm across his sweaty head. He didn’t even think about the dust and dirt that covered his arm, so he had no way of knowing he now sported a damp cruddy smear over his forehead. He put his Minnesota Wild cap back on, this time backwards, so he had a little more light. He swung the hammer one more time, and watched the remainder of the wall he was demolishing crumble.

As he waited for the dust to clear, he looked around at his handiwork. His parents had thought he was crazy, buying a century-old abandoned house, and he realized after the first day of remodeling that they were probably right. He figured the huge undertaking would get his mind off of her, but then he realized everything about this place only reminded him of her even more. He snorted at himself in disgust, and looked down at his feet, blinking rapidly to dispel the tears that threatened to appear. He saw something glint in the light of his yellow construction lamp, and he rubbed his eyes to clear his vision.

He’d already ripped down several walls in the house, and found it amusing all the things the former owners had stuffed in the walls. He’d kept a few fifty-plus-year-old newspapers, but thrown away the decrepit accordion. He bent down to pick up the thing that had caught his eye, and realized as he pulled it out of the rubble that it was an aged beer bottle. Given his affinity for beer, he thought maybe this would be a cool little trinket to clean up and display since it was still intact. He peered intently at the label, trying to read it, but it was too grimy, so he rubbed his thumb over the printing to read it better.

Suddenly, the bottle got extremely hot, and he dropped it, holding his burning hand as the offending bottle rolled across the dusty floor.

“What the fuck?!” He cursed in confusion, inspecting his palm for burn welts. He jumped out of his skin when the beer bottle on the floor burst into flames. The blaze was blindingly bright, then went out almost immediately. Devon blinked, giving his eyes a second to adjust to the alterations in light.

“Seriously, what the hell?” He wondered to himself.

“Not quite. Just a little less than an angel.” Devon was startled when he heard the silky voice- even more so when he realized there was a woman standing in front of him. He took in the waist-length jet hair and dark almond eyes and knew she wasn’t from around here. He was shocked dumb at the suddenness of her presence in general, and at her incredible beauty.

“Well, I know you’re not a mute, so you might as well tell me your name if you can’t think of anything else to say.” She had a noticeable accent, Devon thought from somewhere in the Middle East.

“Ahh, how’d you get in here? I fixed the locks right away when I bought the place.” He was surprised he had found his voice so quickly, especially when he realized the stranger was wearing some sort of gown that was completely transparent.

The woman waved her hand in a dismissive manner. “I’ll not get into the specifics. Let’s just get on with it. Might I get the name of my new master?” She stood looking at him with dark eyes, expectantly.

“Master? What are you talking about?” Devon was completely lost.

The siren in front of him sighed.

Another bright one. Phenomenal. She rolled her eyes as the thought ran through her mind.

She spoke slowly, as one would to an misunderstanding child. ” People generally recognize me as djinn- genie, if you wish. Because your wish is my command.” Devon noticed the last half of her little speech was issued resignedly.

Devon snorted incredulously. “A genie. So you came out of a beer bottle? Are you high?” He actually wondered at this point if perhaps he was the one that was high.

“It’s a long story. That wasn’t my original flagon. I digress.” She shook her head. “The point is, I am yours to command. Everything you know of us is true, if you know anything at all.” She believed he was Neanderthal enough to miss the jab to his intelligence.

“Genies grant three wishes. That’s all I know.” Devon did indeed believe now that he was hallucinating, because he would never converse with someone posing as a mythical being otherwise.

“So what you know is incorrect. Astonishing.” Her sarcasm was not lost on Devon.

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Midnight Run


This was Utopia.

She lifted her face to the moonshine and the leaves blocked the light just enough to create a dappled effect across her cheeks. She breathed in the scent of forest at midnight, convinced if there were a way to bottle and sell the smell, she’d be an instant millionaire. The craggy bark tugged on the delicate skin of her palms as she ran her hands over the trunk of the aged tree as one would run his hands over a lover’s breasts. She sighed, heavily.

Here, in this peaceful place, the harassment of the “Vogue Squad” faded to silence. Here, it didn’t matter that her mother had visciously named her Polly, and there were no catty voices repeatedly asking her “if she wanted a cracker.” Polly closed her eyes and tried to hush the shame that filled her when she thought of the untrue rumors that the Squad had started about her parents- her mother was a junkie whore, her father a drunk. The stories about her father didn’t bother her so much, since she had never known him anyway, and the chance that he was a drunk was highly probable. But when they mentioned her mama- the anger inside her at the thought became a living thing, and she gritted her teeth when she realized she’d been worrying at the tree with her nails, hard enough they’d begun to bleed. She stuck her index finger in her mouth and sucked on it, trying to relieve the pain.

The only good thing about moving to this town was this place. She could wander through the underbrush blissfully, lost in her own thoughts. Mostly, these times were enjoyable; other times, she realized she thought too much, and nothing good could come of that.

Just then, she noticed there were no sounds. No owls hooting, not a nighthawk screeching, nothing. There weren’t even any fireflies around, which she thought was odd, since this town was always swarming with them. Polly thought she saw a bush moving to her right, but clouds had obstructed the moonlight, so she leaned forward and squinted, trying to get a better look. When she realized what it was she was looking at, her heart dropped to the bottom of her feet.

The two eyes staring at her were a gleaming yellow. They were set in a face of obsidian fur, complete with a doggish “grin?” Polly thought to herself, filled with razor-like teeth.

“Great. I had to deal with those bitches all day, and now I get to be eaten by a wolf. I wonder what those rumors will sound like.” She couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the ridiculousness of her situation.

The wolf snarled as she did so, and stepped forward menacingly. Polly had nowhere to go with the tree at her back, and knew she wasn’t going to outrun any wild animal anyway, so she stayed perfectly still. She looked into those feral eyes and wished just once that she could be the one behind them.

The creature was huge; bigger than any wolf Polly had seen on Discovery Channel. She wondered if she was discovering a new and unique hybrid, and then for a second mourned the fact that no one would hear about it after she was mauled and digested. Her thoughts carried on in this vein while the wolf paced around her and sniffed warily. She absurdly applauded herself for remembering deodorant this morning, and then couldn’t stifle the giggle that escaped when she did so.

The wolf stopped midstep and peered at her intently. Polly held her breath and closed her eyes, awaiting her imminent demise, but felt no fangs ripping at her throat. She opened one eye, and then the other, and looked wildly around for her exterminator, but the wolf was gone.

 

 

Justin heaved himself out of the river, gripping a fallen log for dear life. He swished and spit the water in his mouth, but he knew no amount of squalid creek water was going to get the taste of wet dog out of his mouth. His head was ready to split in two, and he was shivering violently as he lay naked partially in the water. He brushed the shaggy hair that was stuck to his face aside, and rubbed his eyes, wishing as he did so that he’d remember to put some soap somewhere out here in the woods. He finished crawling out of the river, and curled into a ball, exhausted. Just before he passed out, he thought of the pretty girl with curly hair who hadn’t been scared, but had just stood there, waiting for him to kill her.

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