“Q” Quill by Leslie Moon #atozchallenge

Today is “Q” for A to Z challenge. This week I am stepping into the writer’s circle and writing a  microfiction serial set in the metropolis of NewCago. It’s a bit noir, paranormal, crime and even some fiction. Though this is a serial, I do understand some of you will be dropping by via A to Z so you can read each day as stand alone microfiction.

The NewCago series – Missed , Never, Oldest Trick, Poison

Edgars desk

Murder is certainly not a new concept even the techniques get rehashed.

I was just cleaning up a scene where the victim had been stabbed with a poisoned quill – his own.

“Check his manuscripts,” I heard a whisper pass my ear.

” Luz, honey where do I start? There are piles of books and notebooks.”

“We need you to move on here, Sam.” The officer in charge was hustling to get behind the evening’s bars.

I put several notebooks in a satchel while he wasn’t looking and hoped he hadn’t heard me talking to my dead girlfriend.

***

That night- I was nodding off, with a notebook in my hands, when I heard a voice. “This is what they killed me for.”

The notebook opened to a page where the words were in his blood, “High officials are taking bribes from the gang bosses.”

“That’s not news.” I shook my head at the realization I was talking to another dead person.

“Yeh, but pretty boy is selling us out. You don’t do his bidding, he turns your kids and grandkids into body parts.”

“I’ve heard whispers of a chop shop for organs. I was hoping it was a sick rumor.”

“Nope, our guy is hi-bred evil. He’s turning the best and brightest into canned goods.  He killed me for the articles I sent to the Daily that will never get printed.  Not Now.”

“Ok Pen Man, there’s a red circle around his name.”

I grumbled under my breath, “Luz, The list is getting long. Too long.”

And then there was the morning news to deal with…

new cago daily

Some A to Z bloggers worth visiting today:

784.
804.

Oldest Trick in the Book by Leslie Moon #atozchallenge

Today is the “O” for A to Z challenge. This week I am stepping into the writer’s circle and writing a week long serial set in the metropolis of NewCago. Its a bit of noir, crime and even some fiction. Though this is a serial, I do understand some of you will be dropping by via A to Z so you can read each day as stand alone microfiction.

The NewCago series – “Missed” , Never

 

newcago blood

 

I looked at my watch – 5 pm time for the cops to crawl into hiding.

I inhale Courage every night before 6. It’s my dead lover’s not mine.

A long blood curdling scream bites into the last flicker of day and night begins.

Decency’s doors are closed and it’s just me and the bad guys.

 

***

After banging around in the trashbin of Newcago,  I needed a drink.  I salivated at the thought of a tall one and a cheese steak.

As soon as I entered Tony’s, I noticed the dame – she was a looker. I couldn’t get a read on the guy beneath the brim.

“Yeah, the regular,” I nodded as I slumped on a stool. Sally and I go back to days when drinks came from the spigot behind the barn.

I couldn’t help but hear dollface gagging.  I rushed to stop her fall; too late the white stuff was bubbling from her mouth, her eyes glazed over.

Something, besides the guy under the shadowy brim, was missin- the large sparkler around her wrist.

“Baby, Newcago is not for the likes of you. These gangsters are old school, girls are cheap…”

I bent over and looked in her vacant eyes. “Didn’t no one tell ya, the playing is for keeps!!!”

I slammed the gin and tonic down. Sal failed to muster a smile.

“Watch your back, Sam.” She whispered in the grey light before dawn.

Lily

There’s so much to enjoy about the A to Z Challenge in April – many people to meet and many fine posts to enjoy.

atoz-oldbook-01-wb

“K” is for Klan by Matt Harrill

front-cover-229x348 hellbounce

They passed without incident through the rest of New Market, pulling onto the interstate and resuming their journey south.

Eva let the tension build for half an hour or so while observing the man. Madden was right; she could see what he meant. As with those they had seen before, this man looked to be a figure out of history. His brown uniform appeared antique. He could have been from two centuries before. Unfortunately, the damning evidence was the hood that he had tucked at his belt. Eva leaned over as the terrified man stared at her and retrieved it. The hood was burlap, with eye holes and a larger gap for the mouth cut in one side.

“I see what you mean,” Eva said to Madden, who stared straight ahead, not responding.

She turned to the man. “You are of the Klan. What is your name and rank? Janus, remove his gag.”

Janus leaned over, and ripped the tape he had used from the man’s mouth before he had a chance to tense, settling back on the other side of the back seat.

“My name? You may call me Jack Crow.” He then laughed uproariously at some self-perceived joke. “I am a redeemer. What is this? Some sort of carriage? Why are there no horses? Who are you, eh? What right have you to entice me here? Who do you work for? Grant?”

“See,” Madden said without turning his head.

Jack Crow peered around him. “This is exceeding soft in here. This must be your powder room. So does General Grant allow you a man slave and a retard? Perchance your horses are decked with pretty pink ribbons too?” More raucous laughter.

“You have a lot of questions for someone in your position, Mr. Crow.”

“You aren’t here to scare me, lady. I have seen true fear. I have witnessed it. Whoever you are, and wherever this is, I don’t care.”

“That’s fine, then. We will stop here, and execute you now.”

Eva said this in such an offhand way that Crow was completely caught off his guard. “No! There are rules now, even if I despise everything you ragamuffins stand for. You can’t do that.”

Eva pulled out the mysterious book and handed it to Janus. “Let’s see, given what we have been through, just how much we are prepared to stick to the rules.”

Janus took the book, and pushed it against Crow’s face. The effect was instant. Smoke began to boil from the point of contact, and Crow screamed. The stench of burned flesh quickly filled the car.

“Enough,” Eva held out her hand and Janus returned the book to her. “How did you know we were coming?”

Crow panted for a moment as he stared at her in undisguised terror. “We… we… had no idea you were coming. We were left here and instructed to bar the way of any we felt needed it.” Crow jutted his jaw at Madden’s back. “We felt him coming. He is like a beacon.”

 

 

******

***I will be giving at least one copy of Hellbounce (excerpt above) away. Come back for G-L and leave a comment for a chance to win!!!***

Matt Harrill is the author of the trilogy The Arc Chronicles.

Matthew W Harrill lives in the idyllic South-West of England, nestled snugly in a village in the foothills of the Cotswolds. Born in 1976, he attended school in Bristol and received a degree in Geology from Southampton University. By day he plies his trade implementing shareplans for Xerox. By night he spends his time with his wife and four children. (and he writes sci-fi horror).

I have a delightful interview of Matt as well. He really is an interesting chap and his writing is to die for…

Chat with him on twitter @matt_harrill

You can find Matt on Amazon and will be glad that you did!!!

Some folks I am enjoying today!

 

 

493.
498.
509.

“J” Jump by Matt Harrill

front-cover-229x348 hellbounce

The lights in the hangar faded as the front hangar doors opened. The planes came alive, engines whining, and began to taxi out of the hangar onto the runway.

From her vantage point, Eva watched the small planes, capable of seating no more than six people each, crawling along the asphalt. The first turned and began to power up for takeoff. Against the backlighting of the main terminal, it was possible to see a figure run out past the hangar and leap onto the wing of the plane.

“What’s he think he’s doing?” Exclaimed Madden.

“He doesn’t think,” Eva replied. “He is past that stage now. It’s all instinct for him. However he got free, he is seeking me, and thinks I’m in there.”

“We suspect he isn’t the only one,” added Jeanette.

The planes continued in their take off, despite Brian clinging to one of the wings. Both accelerated to take off speed, and left the ground. Only moments later from a different part of the airport, two rockets flared into life, one heading to each plane.

The sound of the twin explosions shattered glass in the hangar, and the wreckage of the planes covered the far end of the runway. In moments, sirens wailed as emergency rescue vehicles rushed into action.

“Now we wait,” observed Janus.

“For what?” Asked Madden. “For them to start asking who owns the planes, who was in them, and who fired those rockets?”

“Should not be an issue. We have you and your legendary anonymity for protection. The planes were registered to a phantom company who have hangars elsewhere on the grounds. They were controlled by remote. If not for them being shot down, they would have crashed somewhere close by in the state, making everybody think you had been killed. A little misdirection can go a long way. Look out now – you will see already they start to gather.”

Eva peeked out of the hangar. In the darkness, it was easy to observe the helicopters beginning to fill the sky. Nearby in the hangar, some of the black-ops peeled tarpaulins off a black helicopter and began to prepare it for takeoff.

“We will just be another bird in the sky, with all of the others scavenging for a story.”

“We will. You are all important, and what you carry especially so.”

“The books?”

Janus threw the still-wrapped texts at Madden, who caught them by reflex. Instantly he hissed in pain and dropped them.

“There’s a good reason for that, rubber ball,” Janus said as he retrieved them. “We must go now, or see all of this destroyed. These texts might well hold the key to what has been going on.”

“To Egypt? You have a strange concept of safety.”

“You are here. Everybody knows it. Anywhere is safer than here. Can you not sense it?”

Madden was still for a moment. “Demons. Everywhere, but not close.”

“Not close enough to stop us this time. We go to the source of these scrolls, and for God’s sake try to lay low for a while.”

Eva took her place beside Madden, opposite Tilly. “Not coming, Jeanette?”

The blonde presenter shook her head. “My place and my job are here. I am the face of this. You need to see me, just turn on a television. Listen carefully when you do. There may be more being said than most understand.”

Slamming the door shut, Jeanette stepped away from the helicopter as the blades began to turn. She turned, and in a blink was gone through a doorway.

“Egypt, eh?” Madden said with a smile. “Always wanted to see the Pharaoh’s tombs.”

“Best hope it doesn’t become yours, too,” Tilly observed. “This isn’t over yet.”

 

***I will be giving at least one of Matt’s books away. Come back for G-L and leave a comment for a chance to win!!!***

 

Matt Harrill is the author of the trilogy TheArc Chronicles.

Matthew W Harrill lives in the idyllic South-West of England, nestled snugly in a village in the foothills of the Cotswolds. Born in 1976, he attended school in Bristol and received a degree in Geology from Southampton University. By day he plies his trade implementing shareplans for Xerox. By night he spends his time with his wife and four children. (and he writes sci-fi horror).

I have a delightful interview of Matt as well. He really is an interesting chap and his writing is to die for…

Chat with him on twitter @matt_harrill

You can find Matt on Amazon and will be glad that you did!!!

Some A to Zers I am enjoying today:

 

428.
433.
454.

“H” Hijacked by Matt Harrill and Help for Orphans of Ebola

front-cover-229x348 hellbounce

She was left alone in the car. It was night and there was nobody about. The sense of unease had not lessened, and the same strange smell of iron permeated this car as it had the other.

Eva got out, looking for Sajhid. Nothing. She was completely alone. Presuming the answer to lie in the trunk of the car, she walked to the back and popped the catch. The lid sprang up and a waft of carrion assaulted her nose. A large object in the rear of the car was the cause of the stench. Flicking on her torch revealed dark stains everywhere, and the size of the object caused her to pause. It was about six feet in length, curled up. A man.

Leaning over to examine the body, Eva was careful not to touch it. He looked as though he had been torn apart from the tears and gashes in his middle. His head was at an irregular angle, his face fixed in a silent scream of horror. The blood was everywhere.

This confirmed what Eva had begun to suspect. Sajhid was not the driver. This man was. As she flicked the torch off, and closed the trunk, she thought back over the conversations they had had. He didn’t really know anything about her and the others until she had supplied the information. His views on the attacks, the strange happenings. They were far too whimsical for somebody set against the evil that threatened to overwhelm them all.

She was still alone by the car, and for that she was thankful. Now she only had one thought. Escape. This Sajhid was driving her where she wanted to go, but for a completely different reason.

Getting back in, the interior light showed her to have blood all over her hands. Taking a bottle of water, she rinsed them and wiped them off with some tissue. She cracked the door open to dispose of the evidence, Sajhid stood just outside. Eva screamed.

“Are you well?”

“I was freshening up. You startled me.”

Eva wrapped the tissues in a bundle and tossed them nonchalantly to the foot well. “There’s so much mess here I don’t really think a couple of tissues will matter.”

“Indeed. We shall sort out the mess soon enough.” Sajhid got back into the driver seat and started the engine.

***

The journey from that point onwards for Eva was one of confinement. Sajhid drove too fast to allow her to jump out without serious injury, and as night faded and the sun began to rise, the early morning seemed that much colder for her predicament. She had no idea where they were driving, except that Madden and her only hope of salvation were ahead.

The air inside the car was stifling, and as the day began to warm, Eva moved to open the window.

“I would not do that,” Sajhid warned. “Accidents can happen when windows are open too wide. You should just leave it shut.” He kept his eye on her, barely looking at the road.

At first, she stared back, but the whites of his eyes widened a little too much; it was clear now exactly what he was. Trapped, Eva began to lose hope. She would go where he wanted.

***

This is the second installation (excerpt from the novel Hellbounce)

 *** I will be giving at least one of Matt’s books away. So each comment ( for Matt’s G- L) counts toward winning!***

Matt Harrill is the author of the trilogy TheArc Chronicles.

Matthew W Harrill lives in the idyllic South-West of England, nestled snugly in a village in the foothills of the Cotswolds. Born in 1976, he attended school in Bristol and received a degree in Geology from Southampton University. By day he plies his trade implementing shareplans for Xerox. By night he spends his time with his wife and four children. (and he writes sci-fi horror).

I have a delightful interview of Matt as well. He really is an interesting chap and his writing is to die for…

Chat with him on twitter @matt_harrill

You can find Matt on Amazon and will be glad that you did!!!

 

The HELP – As we get closer to finalizing the book “A Song for Liberia” , we will need  people/ bloggers to help to share about the book.  As I was sharing with a friend the other day, few people realize that there are at least 10,000 children (the reported numbers are low) who are now orphaned because of the Ebola epidemic.

Others who are enjoying the A to Z Challenge as well:

340.
352.

“F” Un- Faithful by Steve Slack

corn cockle

Dolores Gillpin was married for 10 years. Dolores rarely got angry, but when she did, her rage could be described as the resurrected fury of a Scottish ghost. Her betrothed, William, was a reserved man. Even in the early years of their marriage, he would rarely display bouts of passion. She found this lack of physical love annoying, but she put up with it.

Dolores, out of boredom and wanting of child, would take long walks in the countryside. One bright sunny day she saw William picking a bouquet of wildflowers. Blushing and touched by the gesture, she hoped it might lead to an afternoon of lovemaking. When she arrived back at the cottage, she prepared for the anticipated romp. William returned to the cabin, several hours later, exhausted and sauntered off to bed.

Two weeks later, Dolores watched William picking another bouquet, she noticed he was cheery disposition and spring in his step. Staying concealed in the hedges, she followed him two kilometers away to a widow’s cottage.

Margaret answered the door, accepted the flowers, and passionately wrapped her arms around his neck and kissing him.

Dolores was shattered. Sitting on a rock, as her heart broke, she tried to think what she was going to do. The more she thought the angrier she became.

Returning from the Glenn, Dolores called her childhood friend Molly Giggins, who still lived in Scotland.

“Hello” a mild high-pitched voice came over the receiver.

“Molly this is Dolores in America.”

“What’s wrong?” Molly asked.

“I needed to hear the sound of a friend’s voice.”

“Is William well?”

“Indeed, he and his mistress are just fine.”

“A scoundrel!”

“Aye, I caught him today.”

“How can I help?”

“Remember when we were young girls and we used to read the poetry of David Mallet.”

“Yes, I do. I remember you were always fond of ‘William and Margaret.’”

“Aye,   I must admit missing Corncokle the most.”

“Do you have a garden?”

“Aye, I do.”

“Right now nothing will set you straight faster than a reminder of your home. I’ll pop a package in the mail; it should be their within a week.”

“Your friendship is appreciated.”

“It’s the least I can do for my sister.”

 

A week later a small parcel was delivered to her door. She opened it and found a bag of dark seeds and a pair of rubber gloves. She mixed the seeds with a large bag of bird seed and poured them in the bird feeder. Within a month, springtime had arrived. A new flower that no one had ever seen began to bloom in the grassy fields around the house. A glorious, pink flower sprang from the plant.

It wasn’t long before William noticed the beautiful blossoms growing along the path to his mistress’s door. William plucked a large bouquet and presented them to his love. That night, William did not return home. On the second day missing, she reported his absence to the Sherriff.  Four days later, the postman reported a foul smell coming from Margret’s cottage. The Sherriff found the two of them laying in each other’s arms. They believed that it was a suicide pact between two lovers. No one noticed the bouquet of Corncockle in a vase next to the bed. As sure as the grimly ghost came from the east of Scotland, the birds ate the birdseed, and deposited them in the fields to bloom in spring.

Dolores smiled. Agrostemma Githago was the most poisonous wildflower in Scotland. Contact with the stems, leaves or flowers would lead to emminent death.

Thanks to Emorsgate Seeds for the picture of the Corncockle.

Great blogs to enjoy today!

262.

The Journey’s Beginning #kikobun #haiku #Newyear

Here is what Professor Peipei Qiu, The Author of Bashô and the Dao says about kikôbun, a similar style of writing to haibun:

The Japanese literary travel journal (kikôbun) has been closely related to poetry. It characteristically weaves poems and the introductory narratives in a sequential order. The travel journals that existed before Bashô were often written in a first-person voice, with the traveler’s itinerary revolving around the classical poetic toponym (utamakura or meisho) and the narrative centering on poems composed about them.

~~~~~~~

Cali coast

It had been a long, dusty arduous trail. My guide had told me of a cave that was hidden beneath the sea in the winter. I shook my head as I watched crustaceans bask in the warm sandy sun. My foot was caught in an old threaded trap left behind a century before, and I tumbled down a steep incline. I was left behind as the tenth victim of the sea or the so the report would say. When my head was free of its cobwebs, I beheld an brilliant sight – the cave.

Only the deep can sing praises of silken beauties. I could tickle the sea flowers that waved to me in a dance of purples and greens. I laughed as the big sea turtles paddled by the old forgotten wreck. I had fallen into a paradise that none could see. Was I a mermaid or a dead sea sprite left to haunt the sea foam forever? The gold in the broken open chests were nothing in comparison to the living treasure that swam about for my favor.

I learned to breathe water and sing the old sailor’s tales. I was part of that forgotten world. Each day I collected shells like cherished memories for another time. Then it happened with a flash. I opened my eyes to splashes of light and popping noises. All those about me clapped and shouted something. As I gathered my bearings, I held one gold piece and an old strand of pearls.  No one noticed as I gathered a handful of seaweed and faced toward tomorrow and the place where my journey had begun.

Lost to the year

golden world beneath the sea

path finds me

nautilus

 

This prompt of the Kikobun is the last for the 2014 year for Chevrefeuille’s Carpe Diem. Thanks to Hamish Gunn and the work he spent preparing this prompt.

Wishing each of you a fanciful New Year filled with treasures and memories!!!

 

happy 2015