This is the second time I've had something published on Paragraph Planet but it's my favourite. For me the 75 word limit forces me into something that's more free form than the usual stuff I write. Hope you like.
I run my thumb from the back page to the front, the musty smell flowing out and embracing me. I sense the history radiating from between each page. How many lives have crossed this tome since it fell from the printing press so long ago? The leather cover that snuggles the contents creaks as I open it and I find a message inscribed indiscreetly in the corner, a message passed down through time.
This was another tough one for the monster fighting duo. I came home satisfied that my 9th draft was the one I wanted to use. Then, as i sat staring at my laptop ready to type it up, another idea hit me. So this version is the 10th. And it's much better than all that came before (sorry previous drafts, but it's true).
CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE BRIDES OF VENGEANCE
“Pride,” said Chris. “Blind, stupid pride.”
Mike looked down at the body of the deceased bride. “You knew her?”
Chris knelt and closed her eyes. “Worked with her a couple of times before I was institutionalised. Deadly with a crossbow. Made me laugh.”
“I’m sorry, buddy,” said Mike.
“I told her this church was dangerous but she just smiled.”
There came a twisted cackling from the other end of the empty church hall. Two hovering ghosts materialised, flowing white dresses, veils masking their faces.
“So how are we gonna catch these then?” said Mike.
Chris rose, fists clenched. “Oh no, my friend. I’m going to destroy these ghosts without prejudice.”
I had the ideas for both of these in a couple of seconds. As always, I try to find the unobvious and I think I've succeeded again. This week we had to include the conflict of 'man vs self'.
August 13th, 2015. A date that will live in infamy.
No one saw it coming but you can’t argue that it was inevitable. You live under someone’s roof and shit on their bed, they’re gonna get angry and kick you out.
Why should the planet be any different?
I was in a book shop browsing for the latest Brian Creek novel when it happened. The ground shook violently. A member of staff screamed earthquake and I ran to a doorway, crammed in next to a woman who smelled of Jasmine. I remember that.
There was chaos outside. I could see people running past like a flock evading a predator. I didn’t know then how close I was to the truth.
I poked my head out the door as a taxi crashed into a van across the road. The sound of the horn drowned out the screams of the people. I looked up the street and saw something that made my stomach drop.
You’ve heard of Mother Nature, that force that looks after this world? That day I saw her, her and her sisters. They towered over London, 12 mighty beings, cutting a swathe through the city and then the world.
Guess they didn’t like that we shit on their bed.
Their eyes scream murderer. Their judgement bores into my soul. The twelve women of my jury sit together to accuse me, to condemn me.
My hands are still drenched in the blood of my last victim.
I slit her throat when she wouldn’t stop screaming. I really hate it when they scream. She bled out quickly; stopped struggling, stopped moving, stopped living.
She became boring, just like the others.
Guess I’ll have to find another. The next one will be prettier. She’ll love me like the others didn’t.
The twelve women of my jury watch me standing there. They think I’m a bad person, they think I’m evil. I can see it on their faces. They want me in the chair. They want to send my soul straight to hell.
Maybe they’re right. I don’t know. I just want to love and be loved but something inside of me wants more. Something I’m struggling to find.
But find it I will. I’ll keep looking because she’s out there, I believe that. She’s out there and I’ll find her.
The thirteen women of my jury stare at the knife, the one that has my prints on it.
This piece took a little while to get right (big thanks to my editor, Mrs Creek) but it was worth it. My favourite of the weekend.
The MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE
I’d give anything for some paracetamol and the location of my clothes.
Actually, they would be number two and three on my list. Right now, I’d just like to know exactly where the hell I am.
The mud I’ve woken up in is cold and the morning breeze is colder.
Think, damn it, think. I was on a date. Pretty girl; we were getting along fine.
No, it was more than fine. She was keen, this one, very keen. She said she’d reward me if I saved her the taxi fare and drove her home. The look in her eyes had a quick word with my libido and it was settled. We’d jumped in my Volvo and headed out of the city to somewhere that looked like the credits of Emmerdale. It was a clear night and the full moon bathed the whole world.
I look around now and it’s clear I didn’t make it to her place.
A small group of sheep are lingering near a stone wall and staring at me in my birthday suit. God, they must be so warm in their nice woollen coats. Shame I don’t have any shears on me or I could make myself a nice jumper.
Wait, they’re not looking at me. They’re looking behind me. I follow their gaze to discover there may have been a few more sheep in this field until quite recently. A pile of carcasses dye the ground red. All I can do is throw up my meal from last night; I had the steak.
Where’s my car. Where’s the girl. What happened last night?
She’d had her hands on my crotch and I was loving it. I’d gone to reciprocate but lost my concentration. That’s when something stepped into the road, something big. I’d slammed on the brakes as the thing went over the car and we narrowly missed a tree before stopping. I checked us over and then told her to stay while I went back to see what I’d hit.
I remember panic then I remember pain.
And then I was hungry.
What happened to me? Why are my hands red with blood?