Anna woke up to screaming. She tried to stand but her body refused to respond, not even to turn her head. Only her eyes responded to her insistent need to do something, run, hide, fight, anything but lay on the hard, frozen pavement. Opening her eyes revealed only a heavy, oppressive fog obscuring everything around her, including her legs.

The screaming echoed through the fog, seeming to come from all directions at once, though it was weakening, coming in coarse gasps and underlying tears. The fog almost seemed to have a presence to it, pressing down on her, choking her, and making it difficult to breath. The screaming matched its rhythm to her breathing, cutting off suddenly when she began to cough. It’s me, I’m the one screaming. Her newfound insight seemed to be the cue her body needed to make it work again. She wished it hadn’t.

Searing pain raced up her limbs, burning her nerves, boiling her blood, tearing her muscles, and shattering her bones. Another more primal scream escaped her raw throat and the coppery smell of blood overloaded her sense of smell. The pain forced her back to arch, her hands clenched tightly, scraping her knuckles against the sharp pebbles littering the road, hardly registering over the other sensations overwhelming her system.

It stopped as abruptly as it had started. Her body dropped down hard on the pavement, and her breath came in short, deep gasps as though she had just run a marathon. But she could move now. She slowly pushed herself up, using the yellow guardrail next to her to lean on while her shaking legs adjusted to her body weight as well as the fog. The fog that seemed to cling to her like spiderwebs in a long-abandoned tomb. She left smears of blood along the guardrail, dark red coating the bright yellow.

Glass and gravel crunched beneath her feet, loud and distant at the same time. A car, there should be a car, she thought. She continued to stumble forward, searching with her hands and feet as much as with her eyes.

The crumpled wreak of her car fuzzed into being in front of her, ghostly and ghastly. The crumpled front looked like it had attempted to plow through a mountain and failed. The windshield no longer existed and the steering wheel was crushed into the driver seat along with the driver side door. Where she had been sitting, buckled in. She looked down at her chest and found herself staring at the torn, bloody shirt imbedded in her skin with chips of glass and a narrow metal rod. Her hand rose of its own volition, shaking violently as it tried to grasp and pull the rod from her left breast. Her blood slick hand only slid along it, but she knew already what it meant.

She lunged from the rail to the car, its blue paint barely present between the gouges in the carbon fiber. Her hands found the cold, wet vehicle, and she inched her way around to the driver window. Cold. Enough time had passed for the car to cool off. Her hair prickled, covering her in goose bumps as the cold had not and sending a shiver down her spine. She knew what she would find, but she needed to see for herself.

She reached the door where it had been forced at least six inches into the cab. Her eyes closed involuntarily, putting off the inevitable for a few extra seconds. Then they opened and she saw her own body, slumped into the passenger seat and covered in blood. From this perspective she could see her chest was crumpled into itself, her head hanging limp against her shoulder.

The screaming began again, something so primal and full of fear that the fog shifted away from her, afraid of her. Then, gathering itself into a swirling mist it engulfed her slowing only when she had been consumed entirely.


Writing Prompt: There Were Three, But Now There’s Only One

Again, unedited, first draft. This one is kinda meh, but could be worse I guess. Methinks I should stick with something a little more silly.

There were three, but now there’s only one.

The lump in his throat had been there for weeks. No amount of swallowing or drinking made it go away. Sometimes he could forget it was there, but that only lasted as long as it took him to find another bottle. Anna lectures… lectured me all the time about drinking this stuff. He didn’t know what else to do.
It had taken weeks to get courage to do more than stand in the doorway to their small bedroom. He stood at the foot of the bed, staring at bed covers that were still tossed back and rumpled. The mobile above the crib still spun, sending stars and moons running across the walls and ceiling.

They were gone. Anna and Tony, both gone.

This was the last place that had any bit of their presence, their things, their scents. He had scoured the rest of the tiny house the same night he lost both of them. He had gotten rid of everything, scrubbed and painting the walls and ceiling. He had bought only the most minimal amenities, an air mattress, a single set of dishes and a mini-fridge. He kept telling himself that he would toss everything from the bedroom and sell the house, go back to the days when he wandered. There was something he had to do first.

Vengeance was not typically his style. He had been a loner and had learned the hard way when he was young that the only way he would survive was if he kept his nose down and avoided all contact with the locals. He and Anna both knew that lesson. They had made sure to find a place that was considered free territory and kept out of the local and regional politics. They made a living doing normal things, he as a substitute teacher, she as an assistant librarian. Tony, barely 18 months old, was either watched by their neighbor down the street who had her own baby or happily played with the other babies at the library. Nothing they did ever drew attention. They even made sure Tony never overheard discussions or saw their less human tendencies so that he wouldn’t say anything out of his naivety.

He only had two leads: the rental car he had found outside town with their scents all over it and the small cross he had found around the neck of the third thing he had called. Few of their kind followed a human faith, least of all the Christian faith.

He expected that he would find them tonight. After all, it was a full moon. They had to be upset about losing five of their coven to only two wolves even if one had not made it. And they had forgotten that he could track them, even six weeks later. Witches always left imprints of their presence everywhere they went. Five together, well their trail would be there for months longer.

“Watch me tonight, love. Be ready to guide me home, please,” he whispered to the empty room. He turned around and left without touching anything, leaving this last tangible memory to keep them here. He needed them still. If he failed, he hoped they would understand.

Writing Prompt: It Was Just A Normal September Day, Except

Unedited, first draft, first writing prompt in forever and a day.

It was just a normal September day, except…

It wasn’t September. Or rather, it was September, as far as she could tell by leaves on the trees, but it wasn’t supposed to be. Last she knew it was April and she had just gone to sleep. She had no idea where she was or how she got there or what was going on. Actually, she did know what was going on; she was in her pajamas in the middle of the day getting robbed. She just didn’t know why.

“I don’t have any money, really! No pockets, no jewelry, nada, nothing, zilch,” she said in a rush. The man holding the knife did not look very impressed.

“Who the hell goes outside with nothing of value? What am I supposed to do, just let you go?” he said, frowning at her. She could only figure this was a foreign idea to him and she would have to work hard to convince him that it was a good idea.

“I didn’t mean to be outside. It just sort of happened,” again, she added to herself though she dared not say it out loud. “Last I knew I was going to bed and then I was, well, here. You wouldn’t mind telling me where here is, would you?” Maybe if she distracted and confused him enough he would just give up and go find a less difficult victim.

“So… You’re crazy then,” he stated more than asked.

“No, well, maybe? I guess. I don’t know,” she thought for a moment before deciding that was the best way to make him go away. No one wants to rob a crazy lady. “Yes. I must be crazy. After all, you pointed out that no one in their right mind goes out and carries nothing of value. Therefore, I must be crazy. Thank you for pointing that out to me,” she said and smiled brightly. It was better than the other explanation she could tell him. At least this one he could believe.

He thought for what was the longest minute of her life before coming to some sort of decision. He turned his whole body away from her and looked up the street before saying, “Listen, lady, I don’t want to get mixed up with nothing weird, okay? Just… forget about it. Don’t tell no one, bad for business, get it?” She nodded vehemently. He never saw it though. He had already turned around and was walking away. Fast. She didn’t really care. She was just happy the crazy lady argument worked so well.

Am I crazy? How many people wake up missing months of their lives? Maybe it’s the best explanation for what’s going on. Except she knew what really happened to her. She knew because she had lied to him about not having anything of value with her. There was the earring she had bought at some dusty, hole in the wall thrift store a few years ago. Ever since, she seemed to have started experiencing odd things. Like waking up on a different day besides “tomorrow”. Or finding notes addressed to her in someone else’s handwriting. Or setting things on fire on accident. Luckily the fire one had only happened twice. She figured out how to avoid that one at least.

“Come on, Toto, let’s follow the yellow brick road,” she said to no one in particular as she started walking.