August Song Fic – “Angel”

songprompt4

This month’s song is “Angel” by Theory of a Deadman. Have a listen, if you like:

I liked this song – a lot – and here’s my wee bit of flash fiction inspired by it.


He stared down at her, hidden in the shadows as she slept peacefully. How she managed that after the all-out screaming match they’d had the night before, he had no idea. He, himself, had been unable to sleep, body literally shaking after the painful, and very public, fight.

He’d tried but had ended up replaying everything in his mind—every word; the way their friends had looked him, casting him as the bad guy, the one at fault; the way she had looked at him… Even now, his chest ached at the memory of her wide eyes filling with tears and the hurt evident in every line on her face.

As the night had passed, the dread had swelled until he felt he was choking on it. The fact he was doing the right thing—especially for her, because every fucking thing he did was for her—didn’t ease a damned thing inside him. He hoped eventually it would. That someday in the near future he wouldn’t feel sick about what he was about to do.

He stepped over to the side of the bed and, bending at the waist, brushed her long hair from her face.

“Love you,” he whispered before ghosting his lips over her forehead.

She shifted as he straightened and he froze, hoping she stayed asleep. Her waking up wouldn’t stop him—this was the best thing for them, for her—but it would make everything so much more difficult. And while he was under no illusions about how fucking awful things were going to be from here on out, he couldn’t blame himself for making this one thing a little easier.

He shook his head in disgust. Of course he could blame himself. And did. But no witnesses, especially her, was the only small measure of mercy he could manage for himself—deserved or not.

Reassured she was still out and unlikely to wake, he steeled his resolve. He had to do this. It had to be now. There was no turning back now the plan was in motion. He turned and strode to the door, only pausing to lift the large duffle he’d packed quietly in secret the day before. Fingers already aching from how tightly he held the handles, he didn’t allow himself to look back, to doubt or waver. And walked out the door and into an uncertain future. Without her.


Bronwyn Green | Kris Norris 

August Photo Prompt – “Uncertainty”

photopromptHappy August!

For this month’s photo prompt, I went back to my serial, Your Lies (which I will be posting more of soon!) This is kind of a continuation of the scene in my June Song Fic.

Enjoy!


08-2016 BenchGirl

God, what was I doing?

I sat heavily on the bench, cigarette dangling from my fingers. I huffed a laugh—I didn’t even smoke. Well, aside from the couple times, years ago, when Kyle and I had swiped his dad’s pack from his car and lit up in the woods… Hell, we didn’t even really inhale. Or at least I didn’t.

Bumming a cigarette from the group of students outside the café… I couldn’t even say why I’d done it. I was supposed to be with Maddock on our date. But instead of meeting him in front of his building, I’d taken off the other way—the phone conversation I’d had earlier with Kyle filling my head. Increasing every doubt I had about Maddock and dating him. As I’d passed the hazy cloud the kids stood in, something inside me had snapped and I’d asked if I could have one. A cute blond had grinned at me, handed me a cigarette and lit it up.

I licked my lips, grimacing at the taste clinging. Yeah, stupid move all around. Stupid and childish. So what was I doing? Apparently, proving my mother right.

And that sure as hell didn’t make me any less angry. At her. At myself. At the whole fucked up situation. I wanted to be with Maddock. I like him, so much, but as much as I hated to admit it, Kyle was right. It was dangerous—dangerous to be around Maddock, dangerous to date him, dangerous to fall for him.

I pressed a hand to my stomach and inhaled shakily. And I was. I was falling so hard for him. Hard and fast. Maybe that—more than what Mom did, more than Kyle’s accusations and warnings—was what had me running scared. I sighed and let the cigarette fall from my fingertips. As I crushed it beneath my boot, someone sat beside me. I didn’t have to even look to know who it was. My magic buzzing beneath my skin told me all I needed to know.

Maddock.

He didn’t say anything at first, just leaned back, his knee pressing against my ever so slightly. And my magic sure liked that. It liked everything about him. I’ve never had a reaction like this to anyone; never had the secret I kept locked away inside me reach out for someone before. I drew in breath after breath, trying to push it down, keep it inside and safe.

“I almost didn’t come over,” he said quietly after a few minutes. “Figured you not showing might be your way of letting me down easy.”

I shook my head, almost violently, turning toward him finally. His lips quirked just a bit, and his green eyes were so damned sad as he met my gaze. I felt my own eyes burn with tears and blinked rapidly.

“I walked around for a while, wondering what the hell I’d done wrong.”

“Nothing. God, Maddock…” I sniffed. “It’s not anything you did. It’s just…”

“Just what?”

I shook my head again, slowly this time. He lifted a hand, stopping the movement, and cupped my face. I closed my eyes a moment and leaned into the touch, shivering as his thumb swept back and forth over my cheekbone. When I didn’t answer, he spoke again.

“You can talk to me, you know? I don’t know if you noticed,” he leaned forward, brought his lips close to my ear, “but I like you, Delia—more than just like, really—and I don’t think there’s anything you can say to me that will change that.”

Oh, if only that were true. I frowned slightly at the negative thought. What was I doing? I was doing exactly what Mom and Kyle were—assuming things about Maddock with nothing to back it up. I believed what I’d said to both of them. Maddock wasn’t as anti-magic as he’d seemed at first. He was listening; he was willing to hear our side of things, to consider that what he’d grown up hearing was wrong. I may not be ready to tell him about my magic, but I did trust him, and I wanted tell him…at some point. And wasn’t that a terrifying thought?

“I’m…” I opened my eyes, met his gaze fully. “I’m fighting with my mom right now.”

“The phone call the other day?” He turned, angling his body toward me.

I nodded. “She got on my case about…”

“About me?”

“What?” I pulled back, and his hand dropped into his lap. “No, of course not.”

“Oh, Delia. You need to work on your lying skills.” He reached out and twined our fingers together. “So, is it having a boyfriend in general, or me specifically?”

“Boyfriend?” I gasped. “Is that… Are we…”

He cocked his head to the side, and I had the overwhelming urge to kiss the smirk off his lips.

“Aren’t we? I thought we were. But maybe I shouldn’t have assumed.” His grip tightened and his smirk blossomed into that wide smile that made my stomach jump and my magic pulse. “You wanna be my girlfriend, Delia? ‘Cause that’s what I want, in case that wasn’t clear.”

“Yeah,” I breathed. “I really, really do.”

“Thank God for that,” he murmured. “So, your mom? Is it me she has a problem with or would she have a problem with any guy?”

“You’re not going to let this go, are you?” I couldn’t help but smile at the concern on his face.

“If it’s bothering you this much, not a chance,” he confirmed.

I nodded, warmth spreading through me despite the chill in the air, and decided to give him a fraction of the truth. Even if I couldn’t give everything, he deserved it.

“My mom—” My voice cracked, and I had to clear my tight throat. Maddock just scooted closer and waited patiently. “She’s always been supportive of magic users and their rights.”

“Ah, so you come by it honestly.” His smile faded, and he slumped slightly. “And she’s heard of my family and…their stance on magic.”

I didn’t think he even noticed his wording—“their stance”—but I sure did, and it made me fall a little more. Okay, a lot more.

“Yeah.” I shrugged. “But it doesn’t matter. I—”

“Of course it matters,” he said abruptly, though his tone was flat, sad. “She’s your mother.”

“True. But she doesn’t control who I’m with or how I feel. Your parents probably want you to be with someone…someone like them, right? Who thinks like them? Does that change your wanting to be my…my boyfriend?”

“No, not a bit.” He straightened and after a moment he nodded. “I guess I’ll just have to win her over, won’t I?”

I couldn’t help but laugh at his determined expression. “If anyone could do it… But I don’t want to think about her, right now. Or even anytime soon.” I sobered and placed a hand on his biceps. “I’m sorry I ruined our date.”

“Eh,” he shrugged, “not ruined at all. I’m with you.”

“Yes, you are.” I caught my lower lip between my teeth as my stomach clenched and my magic skittered through me.

He dragged his thumb along my mouth, pulling my lip free as he leaned in. Moving my hand to his chest, I stopped him before he could kiss me.

“Let me get some gum, a breath mint, go brush my teeth,” I said a bit desperately. “I may not have smoked the whole thing but not at my best here, Maddock.”

He hummed, but didn’t pull away. In fact, he pushed forward, whispering against my mouth, “I don’t much care, sweetheart. Just want to kiss my girlfriend,” before settling his lips over mine.

I lost track of time, forgot all my objections as he pulled me closer and delved inside, licking, nipping, driving me mad.

When he pulled away, gasping, he rested my forehead against mine. “Come back to my place?”

My trust in him, my magic clearly approving as it danced along my nerves, everything I felt for him overrode the doubts—mine, Mom’s, Kyle’s—and I nodded. Grinning, he stood and helped me up. His arm wrapped tightly around me, we headed toward his building. The fear was still there, simmering beneath everything else. Only because I knew, I just knew, this man had the power to hurt me. And it had nothing to do with whether or not he found out about my magic. He had the power to completely destroy me…because I loved him.


Bronwyn Green | Kris Norris

February Photo Prompt – The Choice

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02-2016 ManonDockTHE CHOICE

He knew it wasn’t real.

Real was the pain and bright lights and beeps and loud voices that had somehow vanished. In an instant. One minute, he was surrounded by all of it, the chaos, and filled with more pain than he knew how to handle, and then, the next, he stood here.

Here, in this perfect moment. The dock floated on the still surface of the water, and he couldn’t see where it began or where it ended. It was as if he was just drifting, drifting, drifting… He stared across the glassy waters, a warm breeze swirling around him. He cocked his head. It was odd, the warmth blowing past him—he felt it, surrounding him, cocooning him, making him feel safe—but there was barely a ripple in the water before him. It was as though the air was just for him alone and couldn’t touch anything else.

It shifted, wrapped around him more fully, and pulled him forward. He took a step forward, then another, every muscle relaxing as a peace—so at odds with what he’d just been pulled from—overcame him.

And he knew it wasn’t real.

He waited for the moment to come—the moment it all disappeared, faded from sight, and he’d be back in the too bright, too loud, agonizing reality. And he wanted to stay, to keep walking, farther and farther away. To have what he left be the dream and this be real—the warmth and quiet and peace—because how could he go back? Who would choose that over this?

Micah…

He stopped, eyes closing as his name whispered past his ears.

Micah, please… I don’t want to lose you. Not now. Not after every—

The quiet, choking sob that followed, that swallowed the rest of the words, gutted him. Introduced a gripping pain that didn’t belong here, not in this place. He began to move again, and the words and crying faded. Instead finding comfort and moving faster to escape into the peace, he ground to a halt again, fighting the seductive pull and straining to hear the voice again.

I don’t want to do this without you. I know it’s selfish as hell, but I need you. I need you here with me. Micah, please, please come back to me.

He turned slowly, away from the quiet waters, the stillness and peace that called to him. That first step back was like moving through cement. He shook with the effort and bit back a cry as pain flooded back. But he put one foot in front of the other, again and again, until he was no longer on his feet. No dock beneath him, no water in front of him, no warm air blanketing him.

It was dark, and it took everything in him—every ounce of determination and strength—to open his eyes.

When she came into view—the pale, tear-damp cheeks, red-rimmed eyes, the riot of blonde curls framing her fucking gorgeous face—he had his answer. Who would choose pain and difficulty over what he’d just left? He would. If it was ever a choice, if he had anything to say about it, he would. Every time. For her.


 

Bronwyn Green |Gwendolyn Cease |Kris Norris |Paige Prince

January Photo Prompt – “First Step”

photopromptFirst flash fiction of 2016! Yay. Let’s get to it!

01-2016 LightinForestFIRST STEP

The low murmur of conversation did nothing to ease the knot of complete and utter fear that had swelled inside Liam. It wasn’t mixed with the jittery, overwhelming surge of panic any more. That had been soothed once he’d been allowed into the room, allowed to see Adam. Though the sight added another layer to the knot choking Liam. The pale skin covered in colorful bruises, the long line of stitches at the man’s temple, the similar, yet shorter, one mending his split lip… And that didn’t even take into account the other injuries Adam has sustained while taking down their suspect. Broken ribs, dislocated shoulder, gunshot to the thigh…

Liam closed his eyes and turned away, unwilling to let the rest of Adam’s team, their friends, see just how affected he was by all of this. Hell, if Adam woke—no, no, when Adam woke—he didn’t need to be worrying about how Liam was handling the situation. That couldn’t be on his radar, at all. He needed to focus on recovering. Period.

“Hey.”

A hand settled on Liam’s shoulder and it took everything in him not to jump at the contact.

Adam’s second, Scott, moved so he could look Liam in the eye, hand still heavy, fingers twitching on Liam’s shoulder. “he’s going to be okay? Hardly the first time he’s been knocked on his ass. He always gets back up. You know how scrappy our boy is.”

“Yeah, the doc said he’s gonna be fine,” Sarah piped in from where she sat beside Adam’s bed. “Soon enough, it’s going to be complaining and whining as he waits to be field rated again. And we’ll be thinking back to this day longingly…the brief, brief glorious time he was still and silent.”

“Oh, come on, guys,” the last member of the team—the newbie—Harris, protested quietly. “That’s not—”

“‘s’okay. Le’ them ge’ their snarks in now, while they ca’.”

Liam spun around, dislodging the hold Scott had on him, at the sound of Adam’s voice—soft and slightly slurred.

“Well, welcome back,” Sarah leaned forward, laid a hand over Adam’s. “Why don’t you open those pretty green eyes, so we know you’re really awake there?”

“Don’ wanna,” he said, half whining though the corner of his mouth quirked up—followed quickly by a grimace of pain. “Jus’ leave me alone. ‘M’fine. Go wrap up your reports, yeah? Le’ me rest here. Pre’sure the docs wan’ me t’rest.”

“Just had to make sure you weren’t bailing on us,” Scott said cheerfully. “You heard him; let’s get back to work.” Then, with a light touch to one of Adam’s feet as he passed, he added softly, “Be back tonight.”

Harris followed Scott from the room after a quick murmured, “Glad you’re okay.”

Sarah rolled her eyes and rose. “Have it your way. I’ll smuggle you in some real food when we come later.”

The soft huffing laugh was Adam’s only response. Sarah shook her head, flashed a bright smile at Liam and left.

Liam stayed where he was, gaze firmly on the man in the bed, wondering if he should just slip from the room—Adam probably none the wiser that he’d even been there. No explaining why he’d dropped everything and run the moment he’d heard Adam was injured and in the hospital.

“Gonna be fine, Lee.” Adam winced as he shifted slightly and finally opened his eyes, pinning Liam with a stare that was steady as hell despite the pain killers that were swimming in his system. “Was one thing for you to stew in the guilt of it all when we were on the same team, but now? No need. Not that there was any need before…”

Liam shrugged. “First big case you’ve had since I…since I transferred. Thought I could count on them to have your back.”

Fuck, he hadn’t meant to say that. Hadn’t meant to give away one of the reasons he’d avoided moving on, career-wise, giving control of the team to Adam.

“They do have my back. Jus’ like you did. Jus’ like I had yours. Not their fault.” His tongue popped out, nudging the stitches once, twice. “Par’ of the job, Lee—the risks. You know that.”

He did. Didn’t mean he had to fucking like it. He’d hated it then, hated it now. And nothing was going to change that. Certainly not the fact they worked on different teams now—hell, different buildings, different agencies.

“Glad you’re here, though,” Adam muttered, eyes closing again. “Can’t believe I’m gonna say this, bu’ missed seeing your mug every day.”

Liam closed his own eyes, inhaling deeply. The fear was gone—well, mostly—but a knot of a different kind lodged in his throat. One he was so familiar with it was almost comforting. Almost. Lifting his lids, he just stared. For once, free to do so openly. Adam’s dark hair, normally styled within an inch of its life, was a tousled mess, falling over his forehead. And the man may be beat up, but he was still so fucking beautiful it took Liam’s breath away—another all too familiar feeling.

Adam’s tongue snuck out again, slipping over the fat lip, prodding the stitched wound.

“Stop poking at it,” Liam snapped, probably a bit too harshly, but Adam just snorted

“Can’t tell me wha’ to do. No’ the boss of me.” He lifted a brow, green eyes darkening with…something. “No’ anymore.”

Liam searched for something, anything to say—a scathing reply worthy of their normal back and forth that no one else seemed to get. The opportunity passed as the silence stretched to long and Adam’s gaze moved away, just a little bit to the left.

“That…” He squinted a moment, tilted his head to the side, which led to him pressing a hand to head, hissing in pain. “That is the most unfortunate piece of art for a hospital room. Stupid fuckers.”

Liam twisted to look at the framed print on the wall. A forest scene with rich greens and browns. Beyond a tree, a light shone brightly. It wasn’t clear what the light’s source was—that was probably up for interpretation or some bullshit, he supposed—but its rays spread outward, kissing the dirt path and leaves. Staring intently, he couldn’t figure out what about it offended Adam. But, he thought, turning back toward the hospital bed, he just had to wait it out. Adam would spill eventually, always did.

“Oh for—” Hand still pressed to the head—Liam thought maybe he should hit the call button, talk to the nurse about the obvious failure with Adam’s pain management—Adam chuckled. “Don’t you think a picture of a damn bright light is the last thing someone in the hospital should be looking at?” When Liam just frowned deeper, he let his hand drop to his lap. “Sometimes, Lee… I’ve successfully avoided going into the light so far. I don’t want it staring me down the whole time I’m awake.”

Liam looked between the picture and the other man several times. “Seriously? It bothers you that much?”

“Well, yeah. How’m I s’pose to sleep knowing that it could take me, huh?”

“You’re ridiculous,” he muttered, taking a step close to the wall and pulling the picture off the hook. Making sure Adam saw his exaggerated eye roll, he strode to the door and reached around to prop the photo against the wall outside the room. “There,” he said, moving to the side of the bed. “All safe from the big bad bright light. Idiot.”

“Thanks…boss.” He grinned, faltering a bit as he again stuck his tongue out to push at the stitches.

Liam shook his head and gave in, just a little, tapping Adam’s chin with his finger, silently telling the other man to leave them alone. “Not your boss anymore,” he reminded. “We’re…we’re equals now, Adam.”

He cursed the questioning tone in his voice, heart hammering as Adam held his gaze, assessing even as it was clear he was struggling to stay awake. Liam wondered if he’d mis-stepped, but the strange, yet exciting, dance they’d been engaged in for years had changed dramatically the moment he accepted his current position and left the team. Even though he’d done it in part to open up the possibility of building on this thing between them, he hadn’t been sure footed since. The rules before—those he had understood, had stood behind even when it’d been difficult and maddening. But now? What if he’d been wrong? What if this thing wasn’t actually a thing? What if—

“I never minded you being the boss, but,” Adam drew in a shaky breath, “I like this better.”

“Yeah?” he said, sitting in the chair Sarah had vacated earlier.

“Yeah, I really do.” He swallowed audibly, and his eyes drifted closed. A few moments passed, then he jolted, a pained cry falling from his battered mouth as his eyes darted around. “Lee?”

“Hey, hey,” he soothed, hands gently easing the other man back down onto the pillow. He didn’t pull away this time—like he would have in the past—and slid his hand into Adam’s thick hair, careful of the bumps and cuts. “Just rest. I’m here. Not going anywhere.”

“Bu’ work?”

“Not going anywhere,” he repeated firmly then, knowing the way Adam worried, added, “Called in, took care of it.”

Adam turned his head, nose nudging the sensitive skin of Liam’s inner wrist. “Good. No one else I wan’ to see when I wake up?”

Throat tight, hope higher than he’d ever felt it, Liam managed, “Yeah?”

“Mm hmmm.” Adam’s eyes opened, half-mast, and his lips twitched. “S’cause you’re so pretty.”

“Oh, fuck off.” Liam snorted then leaned over to press a kiss to Adam’s cheek. “Get some rest.”

Adam huffed and once again pressed the tip of his tongue against his fat lip before muttering, “Better fucking heal quick.”

“Yeah? Why’s that?”

“After all these years, ya really think a freakin’ kiss on th’ cheek is anywhere close t’enough?”


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh JonesKris Norris | Paige Prince

 

December Photo Prompt – The Choice Lies Before You

photoprompt

Sorry this week is late. I’ve been down with the plague. But finally got it done.

This scene is connected to my serial, Your Lies. 

Some other flash fiction pieces that center around Delia:

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
Lying to Myself
The Lies We Tell

This would fall between Lying in Wait and Lying to Myself.


12-2015 - LanternBooks

THE CHOICE LIES BEFORE YOU

“It’s just for the weekend.”

I didn’t even look over at my mom, just continued to watch the trees fly by as we drove along the narrow dirt road. She didn’t get it, anyway. She thought I was upset about our little impromptu vacation and had spent the last three hours trying to fill all the awkward silences with chatter. I didn’t feel the need to do the same. Or to listen to it because she wasn’t saying anything I needed to hear. That, she flatly refused to do.

“It’ll be good to get away,” she continued, her voice breaking slightly. “Just what we need after…after everything.”

I closed my eyes against the sudden sting. I wasn’t going to cry anymore. I was so tired of tears and pain.

“I know it’s been hard, but it will get easier.”

“Will it?” I snapped, turning toward her, grasping at the anger that swelled up inside me. Anger—now, that I could deal with. “How is it going to get easier? How is that even possible when we don’t even know what happened? We don’t even know if Dad is alive or—”

“Delia!” Her hands flexed on the steering wheel, knuckles whitening. “Dwelling on that isn’t going to help anything. We need to move on.”

I shook my head. The disgust I felt for her choked me. My father, her husband, was missing, maybe dead, and she wanted us to just pretend it didn’t happen. Pretend there wasn’t a gaping hole in in our family in our lives, in everything.

I didn’t say anything else—couldn’t without saying something I wouldn’t be able to take back—twisting around to stare out the window, again. Thankfully, she didn’t try to fill this silence, leaving me along with my thoughts, my anger and contempt.

When the car stopped in front of the small cabin, Mom shut off the engine and sighed.

“Delia,” she said softly. “This is what he wanted. He always said if anything ever happened to him, we weren’t supposed to dig into it. He didn’t want us risking ourselves. If he’s…if he’s alive, he’d come here first, and only contact us once it’s safe.”

“That’s why you brought all his stuff,” I murmured, thinking of the boxes in the back of the car.

“Yes.” She reached over, settled a hand on my knee. “I hate this, too, but I have to focus on keeping you safe. If the people that took him found out about you—”

“How could they? Dad would never tell them.”

Her skin whitened as she pressed her lips together. After a moment, she gave a jerky nod. “You’re absolutely right.”

I frowned, feeling like I was missing something. Something important. Something horrible.

“So,” she continued, that false brightness back in her voice, “let’s just enjoy the weekend away. You always loved it out here.”

“Okay.”

I shrugged then, grabbing my backpack from by my feet, pushed the car door open. I got out and inhaled deeply. I did love it out here. Here, I didn’t have to hide everything. I didn’t have to be so careful. But I couldn’t tell Mom that. She didn’t understand. Dad did, though. He just got it—how hard to keep magic inside. How maddening it was to have such power thrumming through you, pulsing under your skin, but being unable to do anything about it, because it was too dangerous. Because if anyone knew, if anyone even suspected, your name would end up on a watch list, at the very least. The other possible outcomes—I swallowed down the surge of bile in my throat—were things I fought hard not to think about. Too often failing, especially since my dad had been taken.

“Help me carry this stuff in?” Mom said, already walking up the path, box in her arms. She looked over her shoulder with a knowing smile—even if it was more strained than it usually was. “Before you go off hiking?”

I nodded and returned the smile, feeling more than a little guilty when her face lit up in response. She balanced the box on one arm shakily as she unlocked the door and went inside. I followed her, figuring I’d drop my bag in my room then help unload. As I approached, I saw a piece of paper in the threshold. Must have fallen out of the box Mom held. Stooping, I picked it up—not just a piece of paper. It was an envelope. I glanced around the main room of the cabin and didn’t see Mom. She must have brought the stuff into her bedroom. I looked down and frowned at the writing. Delia—scrawled in my dad’s handwriting.

I heard my mom shuffling around and quickly shoved the envelope in the back pocket of my jeans.

“It’s just a couple boxes,” she said, walking out of the back room. “Only take a minute or two.”

“Just gonna drop this in my room. I’ll get the rest, Mom,” I said quickly.

Once I had the door shut behind me, I dropped the bag next to the bed and pulled out the envelope. I tore it open and withdrew the folded paper. I bit my lip against the cry that wanted to escape when I saw my dad’s words. I traced my finger over the ink, vision blurring slightly. I blinked rapidly and drew in a deep breath, and began to read.

Dee,

If you’re reading this, I’m not there. I don’t know why, and I’m so sorry, but it’s going to be all right. The most important thing, now, is that you and your mom are safe. Listen to her. I know you’re not going to want to do that, but I’m telling you you need to listen to her. Do this for me.

These books are important, too. I know they don’t look like much, but they were given to me by my mother. They’ve been in our family a very long time, and they’re filled with all the things I haven’t had a chance to teach you, yet. How to use your magic, use it for good and brilliant things. Remember what I told you—your magic is a gift. It is as beautiful as you are, my sweet girl. The things you are capable of, that you will do… I’m so proud of you, and that isn’t going to change.

Keep the books hidden, study them carefully, and be safe.

I’m always with you, even when you don’t see.

I love you, Dee.

Dad

Several tears fell, soaking into the paper, smearing the ink. My heart pounded, filling my ears with its thumping. I drew in ragged breaths, one after another. I stood and rushed across the room to yank the door open.

“Took you long enough,” Mom said, as she emptied a bag, setting food on the counter in front of her. “There’s only one box left; if you could get that—”

“Where are they?” I shouted, shaking and feeling hot…so fucking hot I couldn’t stand it.

She turned, eyes wide. “What?”

“The books. Dad’s books…my books,” I ground out, shaking the letter in front of me. “The ones you were supposed to give me. In the car you talked about what Dad wanted, but you don’t really care about that, do you? You don’t want me to have them, because you hate that I have magic, that I got that from him.”

“Delia,” she said quietly, firmly.

I stumbled back as she reached for my hand…or the letter.

“It’s not going away,” I whispered harshly. “It’s a part of me, and Dad…Dad thought it was beautiful.”

I let the paper fall to the ground and sprinted out of the cabin, slamming the door behind me. Ignoring her calls, I darted between the surrounding trees. When I finally stopped, I bent at the waist, hands braced on my knees, struggling to catch my breath. Slowly, I brought it under control again—it was the only thing I had control of. Everything else—my thoughts, my emotions, my magic—was a jumbled mess. I moved toward a nearby tree and sat on the ground, my back to the trunk. Leaning my head back, I closed my eyes and tried to clear my mind. Because it just hurt too much. Hiding who I was, losing my dad, knowing my mom hated— I wrapped my arms around my middle. She didn’t hate me. I believed that, most of the time. But sometimes… God, sometimes, the doubt found its way in. Wiggled through all the good memories and the feelings of love and belonging.

I pushed it all away, ignored the magic skittered along my veins, and just focused on breathing. In, out. In, out. In, out.

Nothing but that until my heartbeat slowed, and the sweat that clung to me dried in the breeze. I thought of the letter, and cringed as the words Listen to her flashed behind my closed lids. Oh, he’d be unhappy with me, right now. He’d frown at me, brow all furrowed, and insist I apologize. Not for being mad, but for yelling and running off.

I sighed and scrubbed both hands over my face. The shadows around me grew long as the sun sank low in the sky. I’d been out here longer than I’d thought. She’d be worrying about me. Shit.

I made my way back through the woods and nearly threw up when the cabin came into view. But I kept going, determined to face whatever was waiting for me, even though my mom pissed off was a force to be reckoned with. So my dad always said.

When I opened the door and stepped inside, my mom was at the stove. Other than the stiffening of her back, she didn’t react to my presence.

“Mom,” I croaked. “I’m sorry I yelled. I shouldn’t have…”

My gaze fell on the stack of three books on the table. Old books. I crossed the room and laid my hand on the wrinkled letter that sat on top of them.

“I wasn’t going to keep them from you,” she said as I sat heavily in one of the chairs. “I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t think about it. Thought that maybe keeping you away from anything to do with magic would keep you safe.”

She turned and came to my side. I tilted my head to look at her, and wanted to cry at the fear I could see so clearly in her eyes. She tucked my hair behind my ear the cupped my cheek.

“I don’t hate anything about you,” she whispered. “And I know your magic isn’t going anywhere. You need these books, what’s inside them.”

“I’m sorry,” I said again.

“I know. So am I. I know you want to talk about him, and what happened.” Her eyes filled, and tears clung to her lashes. “And we will, I promise, but not now. Not yet. It’s too…”

Her pain tore through me. Why didn’t I see it? Why didn’t I realize that she was hurting just as badly as I was? I’d been so wrapped up in my own feelings and questions and everything, I’d missed what was so obvious, right in front of me.

I nodded, swallowing past the lump in my throat, and lifted my hand to cover hers, holding her palm tightly against my cheek.

“I love you,” she murmured, leaning down and kissed the top of my head.

“Love you, too.”

“You have a little time before dinner’s done.” She stepped back, letting her hand fall to her side. “The one on top is the one he said you should start with.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

With trembling fingers, I tucked my dad’s letter between the pages at the end of the book then opened to the first page, and read the first faded line.

Magic is a gift, and the choice of how you use such a gift lies before you now.


Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris

November Photo Writing Prompt – Lying to Myself

photopromptThis month’s photo sparked another idea connected to my serial story, Your Lies

I’ve done other peices from Delia’s past – events that happen before the story in Your Lies.

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
The Lies We Tell

This wee story falls between “Lying in Wait” and “The Lies We Tell”.

11-2015 - AbandonedBarnLying to Myself

My nose twitched, and I sniffled as my eyes filled with tears. From the musty inside of the old barn. Not because I was upset. I mean, I was upset, but I could handle it. Especially now that I was here—alone, away from it all. I wasn’t going to break down, because what was the freaking point? Crying wasn’t going to bring Dad back. It wasn’t going to change my mom’s mind about anything or make anything better.

I just needed break. From the carefully worded lectures, from the looks she sent my way when she thought I couldn’t see, from her forced cheeriness every morning despite the fact I’d listened to her sobbing the night before and could see the evidence of it in her pale face and red-rimmed eyes.

When I’d gotten home from school today and faced the same questions she threw at me every day—Had anyone asked about Dad? Had anyone seemed suspicious? Had I been careful and kept my magic hidden?—I’d lost it.

My chest tightened, and my breath hitched painfully as I remembered the look on her face when I’d screamed at her to leave me alone. If I’d thought her pale before… Well, all color had drained from her face, her eyes had widened, and the hurt that filled her expression almost made me apologize then and there.

Almost.

Her hurt had been no match for my anger, my frustration, my pain. All of the things I hadn’t been able to show, what I was supposed to tuck away alongside my magic as we pretended our world hadn’t gone straight to hell when my dad disappeared.

I snorted humorlessly. It’d gone to hell long before that. That was just another thing we refused to acknowledge. Finding out I had magic, that I wasn’t normal… That had been when everything changed. When it had all started falling apart.

“Dee?”

I jolted as the sound of my friend’s voice. I sat up straighter, pressing my back against the rough wooden post behind me. Using the sleeves of my sweatshirt, that were pulled over my cold, shaky hands, I wiped away the tears that had spilled over then swiped across my nose. Disgusting? Yeah, but I hadn’t thought of grabbing tissues before yelling horrible things at my mom and running away like a little kid.

I saw Kyle through the cracks in the large barn doors before one of them swung open with a creaking groan.

“Dee,” he said, again, on a sigh, as he pulled the door shut behind him. Crossing to me, he lowered himself onto the filthy floor in front of me. Crossing his legs, he scooted closer until his knees bumped mine. “What’s wrong?”

Concern shone in his bright blue eyes, and even though I knew he had the best intentions, that he cared abut me, I couldn’t hold back the harsh bark of laughter.

And once that escaped, I couldn’t stop the hysterical laugher. It swelled grossly inside of me, shoved its way up my throat and spilled from my lips. I wrapped my arms around my middle and bent forward as I shook uncontrollably.

“What’s wrong?” I gasped. “What’s wrong?”

“Hey…” Kyle touched my shoulder gently.

I jerked upright and slapped Kyle’s hand away. He pressed his lips together and refused to look away from me as I struggled to catch my breath.

“It would be easier to ask what’s right, Kyle,” I snarled. “That’s an easy answer. Nothing.”

When he remained silent, his gaze steady on me, I slumped back and shook my head.

“What are you even doing here, anyway?”

The corner of his mouth quirked up. “Looking for you. Your mom called, said you ran off. She’s…she’s worried.”

“Sure she is.”

“Dee,” he admonished. “Don’t do that. She was practically crying on the phone. My mom was still talking to her, trying to calm her down, when I left.”

“Hmmm. Thought she’d be relieved to not have me around. Even if it’s only temporary,” I muttered, well aware I was in full-on self-pity mode. I just didn’t care.

“I know it’s been…tough, for both of you, but she loves you,” he said softly, reaching out for my hands. Shoving the sleeves out of his way, he wrapped his warm fingers around mine.

I didn’t say anything for a few long moments. I should have gone somewhere else. The old abandoned barn was on Kyle’s family’s property—where we’d always met up, especially to talk about magic, to let it out and play without fear. I should have realized this would be the first place he’d look if my mom asked. And, as mired in self-pity as I was, I didn’t want to add to what Kyle was going through. His dad had been taken the same night. We’d both lost our fathers, and he didn’t need to deal with my issues.

“Delia,” he said firmly. “Why’d you run?”

“It’s…” I gulped, swallowing the lump of tears that lodged in my throat, refusing to give in, again. “It’s fine. I’m fine.”

“Bullshit,” he bit out. “Talk to me.”

I shook my head, and his grip tightened almost painfully.

“Talk to me. Please.”

My eyes stung, and my lips trembled. God, he was stubborn. A damned dog with a bone, this one.

“I’m just tired,” I insisted. “Tired of hiding and pretending. Even though I know it’s necessary. And I’m tired of her…” A cry strangled my voice momentarily and I had to clear my throat a couple times before I could continue. “You should see the way she looks at me. Like she’s afraid. Of me. Of what I can do.”

He pulled suddenly, drawing me forward to tumble into his lap. His arms surrounded me, and he rested his chin on the top of my head. I gave in—just for a moment, I thought—and burrowed closer, resting my cheek against where his heart thumped steadily.

“She’s afraid for you,” he murmured. “Not of you. You’re not something to be feared, Dee. She knows that; she loves you.”

I squeezed my eyes closed. I didn’t doubt she loved me, but you could still fear something you loved. And I wasn’t wrong. I wasn’t misinterpreting the way she looked at me. I wished I was the normal child she wanted. Things would be so different, so much easier. Better. But I wasn’t. Pretending I was, shoving my magic down deep and effectively muzzling it, didn’t make it so. It only made it hurt. The ache consumed me from the inside out, devouring everything I was.

It was as though my magic wasn’t willing to let any part of me survive if I kept denying it.

I stayed curled up in Kyle’s arms for a while, his hands stroking over my hair and my back, his soft murmurs teasing my ears. I breathed deeply, evenly, focusing on calming myself. When I drew back and tilted my head to meet Kyle’s gaze, he smiled down at me.

“Better?” he whispered.

I nodded and forced my lips to curve. I must have been convincing because his eyes crinkled as his own smile widened.

“Ready to go home?” he asked in the same quiet tone.

Not even a little.

“Yup.” I leaned forward and kissed his cheek quickly before scrambling from his lap and to my feet.

We walked though the woods together, shoulders bumping periodically, from his family’s land into the small town we called home. When we approached my house, the front door opened, and my mom stepped out onto the porch. She wrung her hands in front of her as she watched us come up the pathway.

“Delia.” Her voice broke slightly. From worry, I told myself, not from fear.

“I’m sorry,” I said immediately. “I shouldn’t have said those things,” no matter how true, “and I shouldn’t have run off. I’m sorry, Mom.”

Her gaze flicked over to Kyle then back to me. “Are you all right?”

I nodded. “I’m fine. Just needed some time, but I’m good.”

A ghost of a smile touched her lips. “Good. Kyle, you’re welcome to stay for dinner, if you like.”

With that, she spun on her heel and went back inside.

“Do you want me to stay?” Kyle asked, his palm skimming the small of my back.

“You don’t have—”

“Do you want me to?” He nudged my side with his hip.

“Yeah, that’d be nice,” I admitted, not exactly anxious for him to leave.

“All right then. I’ll stay.” He tipped his head, eyes searching mine. “You’re sure you’re okay?”

“Yes. I’m much better. Apparently, I just needed some time alone and a good cry. And a quick cuddle with you.”

He chuckled as we climbed the steps and went into the house. Mom was setting the table, and as soon as we walked in, she started chatting. All very normal and happy. Except for the fact not a single word was directed at me. She didn’t even look at me. Oh, she glanced my way, but her gaze skimmed right past me. It was if I were invisible.

That was all right, though. I could deal with. I could pretend and play along. I could lie. I was getting rather good at that, after all. It was my life, now.


Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Paige Prince

 

October Photo Prompt – Unwanted Guests

photoprompt

10-2015 - WomaninWhite

“You invited us here, Ms. Jamison. The contract is signed. We’ve spent a fair amount of money already on this special. There’s no backing out now.”

Lindsey’s jaw clenched and ached as she stared at the man who sat across from her on the large porch. Bradley Coulter—charming, charismatic, too freaking gorgeous for his own good and used to getting his way because of it.

She was going to kill Andrew for this, for putting her in this position. They’d planned on starting a bed and breakfast, opening up the house and grounds for events. Neither had wanted to lose the estate that had been in their family for generations, but this… This was going too far.

“Let me be clear, Mr. Coulter. I didn’t invite you here. My brother did.”

“Because he’s smart,” Bradley said pointedly. “Once this airs, you won’t have any openings for months.”

“Oh, yes,” she snapped. “I’ll so busy catering to a houseful of thrill seekers, looking for ghosts and spirits and who knows what else and making my life a living hell. Quite looking forward to that.”

He shrugged, a lazy movement that stretched the fabric of his t-shirt over his shoulders and torso in a way that was in no way appealing. Lindsey dragged her gaze away from him, unwilling to be like everyone else in the world who was so taken by his perfectly tousled golden hair, his dark blue eyes, his chiseled face and equally fit body. Of course, looking away from him only fuelled her anger and frustration more as she watched people—his people—all over the grounds. Placing cameras and microphones and whatever else they deemed necessary to find the paranormal bullshit they were looking for.

Her eyes were drawn to a woman just on the edge of the treeline. Her white dress stood in stark contrast against the dark trunks of the trees. Her thick hair—it looked black but could be brown—hung past her shoulders and blocked most of her face from view.

Lindsey shook her head. How was she supposed to deal with this? How was she supposed to do her job with this man and his crew all over the place?

“This really benefits everyone involved,” Bradley insisted. “And your brother did sign the contract, and since he owns the majority of the estate—”

“I’m well aware I have no say in whether you stay or not.” She pressed her fingers to her throbbing temples and took a deep breath.

“What exactly do you have against this, Ms. Jamison? Are you a skeptic?” he said, amusement dancing through his words.

“About you and what you do? Yes. I absolutely am. What you do is entertainment, stupid, mindless entertainment. It has its place, I’ll grant you that, but trying to explain every noise, every cold draft, every movement from the corner of your eye as evidence of ghosts?” She snorted. “Please. I don’t think so.”

She turned back to him and found his narrowed gaze firmly on her. The firm lips turned down in a fierce frown told her he didn’t like what the was hearing. So used to females simpering and falling all over him.

“And don’t even try to sell me on all the instruments and data you collect,” she warned. “All of that could be doctored—makes better viewing if you can spout off about EMF readings and all that, doesn’t it?”

“It could be doctored, yes,” he said slowly, “but it isn’t. I can show you, give you a demon—”

“Save yourself the effort. Not going to happen.” She took a deep breath and pushed to her feet. “I may not be able to make you leave, but I do have some say on things. You’ll be provided with a list of rooms that are off limits to you and your crew, and Andrew may have agreed to give an interview about the supposedly ghostly history of this place, but I will not be giving one. Nothing will change my mind on that, so don’t bother trying to charm me into one.”

She strode toward the steps and as she descended, he called out after her, “You should know, Ms. Coulter, I love a challenge.”

A spiral of heat twisted around her spine, and she hated herself for that.

“Be sure to tell your people not to trample my gardens,” she threw over her shoulder once she was certain she could maintain the cool air she wanted him to see. Needed him to see. “I’ll throttle them if they fuck up my hard work.”

Walking across the green, well-maintained lawn, Lindsey headed toward the treeline. Toward the woman who stood in the same place, looking around with a lost expression on her face. She met Lindsey’s gaze, brown eyes wide, as the distance between them shortened.

Stopping in front of the woman, Lindsey hesitated only a moment then asked, “Can I help you?”

 

Bradley slumped back in his chair and watched the prickly Lindsey Jamison walk away. The gentle sway of her hips drew his gaze, and he wet his lips then sipped from the cup of coffee she’d offered him earlier—grudgingly, but good manners clearly had been bred into her very bones.

Her brother, Andrew, had warned Bradley that Lindsey wasn’t exactly happy with the arrangement—highlighting their family estate on his show—but he’d still been caught off guard at the open hostility from the woman.

He’d bring her around, though. He always did. This wasn’t the first time he’d come up against a hard case, and wouldn’t be the last.

Lindsey stopped along the edge of trees that lined the large yard. Setting his cup on the small table, Bradley leaned forward and watched. Even from the distance, he could see her lips moving. Then, she gestured, as if beckoning someone to follow her, and walked farther into the wooded area.

The back of his neck prickled. Perhaps she wasn’t a skeptic, at all, he thought, watching her disappear into the trees. Completely alone.


Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

 

July Photo Prompt: Awakening

photopromptFor this prompt, I delved back into the world of my serial. But not with my heroine this time. It’s just in that world. For those interested, here are links for the other flash fiction peices that are kinda connected/set in that world:

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
The Lies We Tell

And the link to the chapters of the serial

Your Lies


In this peice, I wanted to explore how other people’s magic began…manifested for the first time, and what happens as a result… And this was what came out of that…

07-2015 - BarefootInFieldAwakening

Leaning back, I tilted my head, eyes closed against the brightness of the late autumn sun. I had fought against coming on this stupid ass picnic. I wanted to be out with my friends—not stuck out here with my parents, my sister and little brother. Even as Owen’s laugh echoed in the open space around us, I fought against the smile the kid usually put on my face.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care about my family. I totally did. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with them. I didn’t mind it, I guess. And Molly was leaving next week for college, so hanging out with her had actually been kind of nice. The problem was the way Mom and Dad hadn’t even asked if I had plans—which I had. Freaking important ones, too—intense green eyes, messy brown hair flashed in my mind, and my gut clenched, desire mixing with the anger churning—but those plans didn’t matter to them.

“You need to stop scowling, Squidge.” Molly flopped down beside me and nudged my shoulder with hers. “You’re going to scare the wee one.”

I flicked a glance toward her and rolled my eyes. Mom and Dad were running around with Owen and, damn it, the smile won.

“He’s not even paying attention to me, right now, you nag. And quit with the stupid Squidge, will ya?”

“Yeah, but it’s only a matter of time before he comes to his big ‘brudder’ and do you want to scar him for life?”

“You’re going to scar him before I do. You’re the one leaving.”

She sighed. “I know.” She sighed and leaned against me. “And you’ll always be my Squidge, so stop fighting it.”

I didn’t respond and we sat quietly for a while—Dad was holding Owen up to pick some mulberries from the trees on the edge of the field, and Mom was laughing, probably at his pudgy stained face. It was odd, being so much older than he was. Molly was eighteen, and I was just a year behind her, and Owen hadn’t come along until four years ago. I never asked my parents why there was such a gap, and I guess it didn’t matter. If Owen had been an accident, he was a happy one—for all of us.

“You’re mad at me,” Molly murmured. “That I’m leaving.”

“Not mad.” And I wasn’t. At least, not at her. Maybe at the situation. With a healthy dose of self-pity. After all, she was only one who knew my secret. Well, not anymore. There was one other person who knew, now. But Molly was the only one I could really talk to.

“You should just tell them,” she said—as always, knowing what was on my mind. “It’s not going to change anything. They’re still going to love you, and they’ll accept you.”

“Are you going to tell them about you?” I snapped. I wasn’t the only one with a secret.

She stiffened. “It’s not the same thing, and you know it.”

“They may toe the anti-magic line, Mol, but if they knew—”

“I’m not going to argue about this, again.” She wrapped an arm around my shoulders and rested her head against mine.

“Then, don’t push me to tell them I’m…I’m gay if you’re not going to come out as a magic user. You don’t get to give me advice you’re not taking yourself. Not the way this works.”

“Man, you’re cranky today.” She pulled away and stared at me then her eyes widened. “Oh my God…it was today, wasn’t it? You were going to go out with him, today.”

I lifted a shoulder and looked away. “Doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it does. Can you meet him after? We won’t be here much longer, so you can—”

“He’s leaving tonight.” I glanced at my watch. “Leaving in about half an hour—on vacation with his family until school starts. This afternoon was the only time he had to go out.”

“Oh, Squidge, I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine.”

And I was nearly there in convincing myself it was. We’d already talked about seeing each other when he got back. It wasn’t as though anything was going to change in the next two weeks.

“Anyway,” I cleared my throat, “weren’t you supposed to be meeting friends about now? Big party, bonfire on the beach, tonight, yeah?”

“Yeah, but I don’t have to go.”

“For fuck’s sake, I don’t need you fussing over me. It’s the last chance you’re going to have to see most of them for a while. Go.”

“If you’re sure…”

“Go!” I repeated, playfully shoving her. “I’ll see you later.”

She stood, mussing my hair in retaliation before snagging her sandals off the blanket. She called out to my parents, who waved, before turning back to me.

“Least this family bit’s over, now. You have his number, right?”

“Yeah, I have his number.”

“So, text him. Flirt a bit. Just because you couldn’t go out today doesn’t mean there has to be radio silence until he comes back. Listen to your big sister. She knows what she’s talking about, and is about to do some serious flirting of her own tonight.”

With that, she started down the path along the woods, her dark hair and white dress blowing in the gentle breeze, her sandals dangling from her fingertips.

“Oh, tell me it isn’t with that jagweed Nick?” I called after her, shaking my head when her laughter was my only answer.

I shifted to get up but, suddenly, couldn’t move. My heart raced, and my breath caught in my throat as everything went black, Molly’s laughter still ringing in my ears. Then, even that faded. Replaced by crying. Molly sobbing. My throat closed, and ice filled my veins. I saw her…but not in the field. She was on the beach, stumbling along the waterline. Night had fallen, but the moon reflecting off the lake illuminated everything—every horrible thing. Her dress was torn, dirty, and her hair a wild mess around her pale face.

Rage roared as I saw the blood dripping from her temple down her cheek. What the hell had happened?

I tried to move, to call out, but I couldn’t. What was going on? It was like I was there…but not.

“Please,” Molly whimpered, stumbling and falling to her knees. Her fingers dug into the wet sand as she continued to try to get away… From what? From who?

“Lying cunt.” The snarled words were like a knife to my gut.

A large figure advanced on her, gaining ground, closing the distance between them.

“Filthy fucking magic user. You tricked me. Fooled me into wanting you.”

Nick. The guy Molly had been head over heels for the last several months.

“No, no. I didn’t, I swear I didn’t do any—” A scream cut her words off when he grabbed her ankle.

I wanted to look away but couldn’t as my sister was dragged backward, kicking and crying out. This couldn’t be happening. No way. This was some weird, fucked-up waking dream or something.

The sounds of splashing washed over me, and I, again, tried to look away, block out everything. Instead, the sight of Nick’s hands around Molly’s neck as he shoved her beneath the water’s surface filled my vision. Was now seared into my brain forever.

The whole time, as he held her down, Nick swore and cursed at her, blaming her for having to do this. And I just had to watch. I couldn’t do anything.

Just as suddenly as I was thrust into…whatever this was…I was sitting up gasping for air. I was tangled in something and began to struggle. I needed to find Molly, make sure she was all right. That’s all that mattered right now.

“Honey, stop, you’re going to hurt yourself.” My mom reached for something beside me. “I’ll just call the nurse in.”

“Mom?” I looked around frantically. What the hell? A hospital? “What happened?”

“You passed out and started convulsing. The doctors think it was some kind of seizure.” She smoothed her hand over my hair then cupped my face. “I was so scared, but you’re okay. You’re going to be okay.”

“Where’s Molly?” I demanded.

“Molly?” Mom frowned slightly. “She’s probably home by now. Dad went back with Owen once you were stable, and I tried to text her, but she didn’t answer. Her phone is probably dead; you know how she is.”

The indulgent chuckle did nothing to ease the tight coil of utter fear deep inside me. “She’s in trouble, Mom. I have to go. I have to go find her, now.”

I pushed against her, trying to get out of the bed. A man in scrubs walked in just as I was standing, despite Mom’s best efforts. Dizziness overcame me, and I grabbed the edge of the bed as I swayed.

“Hey, hey, now. You shouldn’t be up.” The nurse…or doctor?…rushed over and tried to push me back onto the bed, and I slapped his hands away.

He was fucking strong, but I fought against him. I yelled and screamed—I don’t even know if it made any sense, but I didn’t care. I needed to get to Molly before it was too late, before…

More people rushed into the room, and I cried out to my mom, who stood near the door, tears streaming down her face, hand over her mouth as they held me down and injected something into the IV attached to my arm.

“Find Molly…need to find her…” I forced past numb lips as darkness sucked me under again.

*****

Two weeks later, I stood beside my parents as Molly was lowered into the ground. My entire body trembled as I looked out over the sea of people who had come to her funeral, and fiery fury battered every cell in my body when my gaze settled on Nick. He dared to come here, had the nerve to be part of the search for Molly when she hadn’t come home. Everyone else thought her drowning was an accident. But I knew. I knew the truth.

I couldn’t do anything about it now—my parents were watching. Watching so fucking carefully since I’d had my “seizure” and freaked out at the hospital. One day, though, they wouldn’t be. One day, there would be no one watching, and I would end him. I forced myself to continue scanning the faces—not wanting to raise any suspicions by staring.

My heart skipped a beat when I met sad green eyes. He’d texted me every day, and I hadn’t answered. Lost in my grief and swimming in my rage.

I’d been so naïve, stupid. Blind to what was happening right in front of me and what needed to be done. And as a result, my sister was gone. Taken from me.

Green eyes still intent on me—now concern shining from them—I had to draw deep for the strength not to react and to drag my gaze away—break the connection. As much as it hurt, I couldn’t focus on him, or what we could have possibly had together, anymore.

How much could change in two weeks?

Everything.


Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones
Kellie St. James Kris NorrisPaige Prince

 

June Photo Writing Prompt – The Lies We Tell

photoprompt

For this prompt, I visited my serial heroine’s past again. If you’d like to read the other flash fiction bits, you can find them here:

The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait

And if those and this spark your interest, and you want to jump into Your Lies, you can find all the chapters that have been posted here.

So this month’s photo is…
06-2015 - PaperHeartThe Lies We Tell

The piece of paper floating in the air burst into flames. My stomach lurched sickly as the bright light faded and ash fell to the wooden floor.

“Damn it, Dee! Focus. You need to focus. It’s not about throwing your power at it. You need to control it.”

Kyle waved his hand and another sheet of paper lifted from the stack that rested on the rickety table—the only piece of furniture in the old barn on his property where we met. It drifted until it hovered in the center of the room between us.

“Don’t just think of it burning,” he said slowly as lines began to blacken on the white page. “Visualize what you want. See it and then use your power to make it happen. It’s a part of you, but it’s also a tool, Dee. A tool you control. Something you can wield and make do what you want. Always remember that.”

Even though frustration bubbled inside me, I smiled when I saw my name burned into the paper before it fluttered to the ground.

“Easy for you,” I said, narrowing my eyes to lift my own page up into the air. “You can practice any time you want. You don’t have to shove it all down and pretend it doesn’t exist.”

Sweat slid along my temples. I tried to focus and direct my magic to do what I wanted. Just like Kyle had been showing me for months—or at least attempting to. If it had been anyone but him, they would have given up long ago. Out of patience with my bumbling and failure to be able to do the simplest of things.

“Don’t blame your mom,” he said, leaning against the table—something I wouldn’t recommend given the state of it, but he managed to stay upright. “After what happened to your dad, she’s scared. And she should be.”

“Your dad…” I swallowed heavily, unwilling to say it. Even after three years, I just couldn’t. Not when it came to Dad. “He disappeared, too, and your mom’s not trying to make you something you’re not.”

The furl of smoke danced up toward the ceiling from the singed edge of paper. I bit my bottom lip and worked to pull the burn downward, just a bit.

“It’s not the same. My mom has magic; yours doesn’t. She doesn’t understand how impossible it is to ignore, how it claws at you and wants to be out. To be used.”

My eyes stung. My dad had understood. He’d been just like me—filled with power and needing to wield it. He’d known how suffocating, how painful it was to pretend to be “normal”.

“When do you leave?” Kyle asked abruptly.

“This would be much easier,” I ground out, “if you didn’t talk and distract me.”

“Do you really think you’re always going to have silence and all the time in the world when it comes to using your magic? You need to be able to do this with distractions, Dee.”

I curled my lip, sparing him a quick glance before looking back at what I was doing. “Next weekend.” College. The next big step. The next frightening step.

“You still need to be careful. Keep it secret.”

“I know!” I snapped. A small flame flared, but I was able to smother it quickly. Though the black mark snaking towards the center made me frown. “I’m not stupid, Kyle. I’m well aware of the risks. Have been for a long time with everyone shoving them down my throat.”

“Delia,” he murmured.

“Shut up,” I said, with little heat. The anger I felt wasn’t directed at him. Hell, it wasn’t even directed at my mom. Or anyone. It was just…everything. The fact I was born like this, had no control over what I was, and that I could be killed. Just for existing.

“I worry about you.”

“You don’t need to. I’ve held it together this long, right?”

I trembled as I tried to keep at my task, pay attention to what he was saying, and fight the overwhelming inevitability of being on my own. Kyle was a year older than me, but had decided to stay while I finished high school. Now, as I was moving closer to the city to attend college, he was going off on his own, too. It was the first time in my life he wouldn’t be there.

“I’m scared,” I admitted in a whisper. “Not of being found out. I can handle that.” I thought I managed to say that convincingly despite all my doubts. “But I’m going to be alone. Especially with you off doing who knows what, who knows where.”

And I was worried about him, too. Though I wouldn’t say that out loud. I knew more about what he was planning to do than he realized I did. Because, damn it, I wasn’t stupid.

Our fathers had been taken when they were investigating the disappearance of other magic users. I didn’t know everything they discovered, but I knew it wasn’t good. And I definitely knew that Kyle hadn’t shared everything about that night three years ago. Not even close. And, now, he was going to follow in their footsteps, continue the secret, and dangerous, work they’d been doing.

“You could always stay here,” he reminded me.

“Not a chance.” I laughed. “Besides, you’re still leaving.”

“Yeah.”

“Off on your world travels.” I threw his lie at him. “Your grand adventure.”

“College isn’t for me,” he said smoothly.

A part of me wanted to call him out on it, to tell him I knew he was lying to me and had been for a long time. I didn’t, though, because I knew he was trying to protect me, and I loved him for that, no matter how unnecessary. It was the story of my life—lies kept us safe. Kept those we cared about safe.

“I know.”

I sighed and, with a wave of the hand, sent what was left of the paper toward him. He plucked it out of the air and his laugh echoed around us. Holding it up, he met my gaze. “You giving me your heart, Dee?”

I returned his smile. The heart was rough, but definitely recognizable as such. “I gave it to you a long time ago.” My face flushed when I realized how it sounded. “Not like that! Just…I love you. You’re my family, and I’m going to miss you.”

He strode across the room and yanked me into his embrace. “I love you, too. And one day I’m going to have to see you fall for some twat, and then he’ll have your heart. So, for now,” he drew back and murmured a few words that resulted in the burnt paper glowing for a moment, “I’ll hold on to this and enjoy being the only one.”

He pulled out his wallet and tucked the heart inside—the edges not crumbling at all. A protective spell, then.

“And,” he continued, “don’t be scared about being alone. Because you’re not. I’m always here. You need anything—anything—you call me. I’ll be there in a blink.”

I laughed and went up on my toes to kiss his cheek. “You’ll want to, but even you can’t be halfway around the world ‘in a blink’,” I teased, still going along with it. Pretending I didn’t know he’d be close, likely in the city. Hell, he be nearer to me than if he stayed here.

He gave a lazy shrug and grinned. I narrowed my gaze. “You can’t…can you? Kyle! You’re telling me you can teleport?” That was a rare as fuck talent, and only the most powerful of magic users could do it—while expending enormous energy.

“I’m not telling you anything.” He tapped my nose and stepped back. “Now…again.”

I cursed as several sheets of paper rustled and travelled toward me. Showoff—he hadn’t gestured or even looked away from me.

“Fine, but one day,” I pointed at him, “one day, you’re showing me how to do that.”

“Maybe.”

I made one of the papers flame wildly, just to hear him laugh, the sound washing away some of the dread and fear that still lingered. Even though I knew it’d only last a little while, I’d take it.


Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn GreenJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones | | Kellie St. JamesKris Norris

 

May Photo Writing Prompt

No post from me this week. Sorry! I tried, but after a crazy weekend with a lot of obligations, I’m choosing sleep. My sanity thanks me, as will my family and anyone force to be around my crabby self.

But be sure to check out the rest of the flashfiction pieces!

Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh JonesKellie St. James | Kris Norris