Flash: The Tower

Cold mid-December wind stung Priscilla’s cheeks, and froze her chapped lips where she had been licking them. She remained still beside Gregory, holding his hand, waiting for the bus to arrive. Inside she was bouncing and screaming. She didn’t want to put a shadow over their last time together this year, but holding her tongue when every instinct told her to speak was driving her mad. She had been waffling since the morning. At last she could hold her trepidation no longer.

Squeezing his hand tighter, staring at the road, Priscilla begged, “Don’t go.”

Gregory’s brown eyes closed. Thick lashes covered in melting snowflakes. “It’s my family. They expect me home for the holidays.”

“You know what the cards said.” She always ran a Tarot spread before either of them traveled.

Using their joined hands to draw her closer, Gregory engulfed her in a hug. “The Tower is not always a bad card. There are no bad cards, you always tell me that.”

“But this time, … you felt the energy.” She lifted her head to look intently into his face, searching for something. “Don’t pretend you didn’t feel it. Please don’t go mundane on me now.”

His forehead fell against hers. Their breaths puffed fog in the cold air between their nearly joined lips.

*Chaos is fairly normal on Christmas day.* he sent into her thoughts trying to reassure her. Images of past Christmases danced across their shared link.

*It wasn’t life-birth chaos.* The circling maelstrom of worry within her troubled mind would not stop. She sent back the energy vibration they had felt when the card fell into place on the spread, *Crisis –change – disruption – pain*

“It will be okay.” Comfort laced his voice in a way he could not layer in his private, more straightforward thoughts. Her lips were so close his touched hers when he moved his mouth to speak. His right hand, more accurately conveying the fear he felt, knotted in her hair, pressing her head forward. His mouth devoured hers as he sought comfort from and try to give calm to his soul mate.

Tears were streaming down her face when they broke apart. “Please, please, at least let me go with you. You saw, a Queen of Cups could change things. That’s my card. I should go.”

“And lose your job? Miss Solstice with your coven just as you move into primary point?” Threading both hands through her hair to massage the back of her head, he brought their foreheads together. *I will not have the Tower transfer to you.*

Beside them, the bus’ air brakes hissed.

Gregory started untangling his fingers. He had one hand fully free when Priscilla lips pressed together.

“Pl—,” his finger touched her lips.

“Don’t make me deny you a third time my love.”

Ashamed as she was about to require just such an action from him, Priscilla shook her head. “No, of course not.” She swallowed back her anxiety. “Travel well. May the wind be at your back and the sun warm your face.”

“Remain safe. May your garden grow green and your table stay filled.” Gregory gave her one last quick kiss before picking up his backpack and boarding the bus.

(words 537 – originally appearing at Breathless Press 9/22/2013 for the 7/8/12 Sunday Fun –  – The original photo was of unknown copyright so did not put on my site – published on old blog 9/22/2013; republished in new blog format on 12/10/2017)

 

Flash: Frozen

Stock Art of Frozen Pool

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Okay, that didn’t go well.” Kai said.

 

Brook looked across the pier and newly frozen lake. Fog shrouded the immediately surroundings because of the sudden switch in temperature from steamy summer to frosty winter. She pulled the wet towel tighter, grateful she had climbed out of the water using the aluminum ladder now covered in icicles before Kai cast his spell to take the edge off the burning July day. “Understatement handsome … That is definably an understatement.”

 

(Words 78 – first published 4/7/2014; republished in new blog format on 11/12/2017)

Flash: Pairs

Image courtesy of vvadyab at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Hey, the girls are back,” yelled my jackass boyfriend over the noise at the club to his equally ignorant wingman. Mateo and Eric were hitting on some clubsluts at another table, just to dance since they shared Cynthia. Our introverted housemate opted out of the clubhopping night, instead taking advantage of the quiet back home for her idea of a perfect Friday, curled up in a bunch of pillows reading.

I guess wingman isn’t the correct term for Swami anymore since Viola walked up to him at a convention last week and claimed him. Now that was a scene. Swami looking slightly out of place as always in the predominately white sci-fi gathering and up comes this Hispanic-African American woman dressed as Storm, pulling it off way better than Hallie Berry. People turned to stare at her as she passed, her sheer presence godlike. She grabbed Swami by his pointed Tuvok ears, growled “Mine”, lifted him on his tip-toes, and kissed him until his eyes crossed.

Honestly, the woman should not be left alone. Very, very direct – six foot three, not counting the leather boots she had been wearing, and intimidating as hell. The rest of the pack closed rank and pulled over to the side of the hall – my boyfriend, Ethan, scanned the crowd for her crew. No one followed.

Viola was a lone wolf. She still hasn’t told us her story, but unless Swami is holding her, the crazy gleam lives in her ice-blue eyes.

I slapped Ethan on the bicep while Viola circled the table to lean into Swami’s back, her head, thanks to the six-inch spikes, resting on top of his. “Not a girl,” I snarled.

“Okay,” he laughed, raising his hands then nodding at the table. “Got you a drink, not-a-girl.”

Honestly if Ethan wasn’t so damn cute I would dump him.

That and he knows my drink preferences. A pink hurricane sat on the sticky surface. I nicked it and took a long sip out of the straw. Shifting my shoulders, I prepared to forgive him when he opened up his mouth again.

“You and Viola have a good time?” He yelled. “Really, why do you girls need to go in pairs anyway?”

I shouldn’t. Pack leader, alpha male. Nope. Just nope. Annnnd lost the argument with myself.

I returned the glass to the table, tilted my head so my black hair slid like a waterfall over my shoulder, put out my left hand, and crocked a finger on my right hand to invite him to come with me. My flirty smile sealed the deal. The club being too crowded for him to smell me.

The idiot put his hand in mind. I dragged him through the crowd to a side door opening onto a much less noisy balcony. Dragged being a relative term – he and Viola shared a height class and he had about half again on her for muscle mass. I have my mom’s slight Asian build with just enough height from my pop to reach Ethan’s shoulders if I wore spikes, which I don’t, and Ethan didn’t wear motorcycle boots, which he does.

Finding a dark corner on the balcony was easy, finding one unoccupied took a little more work. Once successful Ethan lifted me onto the wrought iron table, placed his hands either side of me and leaned in – to find my hand in the middle of his chest pushing back. “I thought you wanted to know why ‘girls’ go to the bathroom in pairs.” My tone chilled the area enough to frost his beer goggles.

“Um, yeah, I guess.” He stood up and scratched the back of his head.

“So we don’t get assaulted.”

His cocky perpetual half-smile shifting into a frown. “What?”

I stared at him hard. My black eyes unblinking. And waited for the brain to override his party hormones. Eventually, his blond eyebrows drew together until a little crinkle indicating he was actually thinking appeared between them. His stern thinking expression made my heart skip and my lips plump out until I bit them.

His eyes dropped to my lips. We have the damnest time completing arguments because him thinking turns me on, and unlike most werewolves, let alone human males, he thinks when angry instead of blowing up. Unlike me. Now in our third year together he is able to push past it, making him that much hotter to my very screwed up emotional wiring. His nostrils flared as he smelled me getting wet.

“Assaulted?”

I nodded, trying to renew my anger from the club. I am not a girl. I am twenty-two. I am not a girl. “Yes, assaulted.”

His half-smile made a weak return. “Not so you can have a conversation while standing in line?”

“No, you mutt.” I jammed a finger into his chest.

His face twitched, falling into his thinking expression. “You always said that.”

“Yeah. That is one of the lines we women have agreed to tell men about the bathroom thing.”

“Ah, so you are breaking the woman secrecy barrier.” He raised his eyebrows.

“I thought it was time.” Part of me wanted to laugh, but the rest of me realized the conversation was one of the most serious we ever had. Because I really was breaking secret barriers. Women just don’t talk about this stuff. We say we go in pairs because of the long lines. And the long lines are because it takes longer to move all the stuff around – pantyhose takes ten times longer to get back into place than whipping it out and stuffing it back in after shaking. So we are telling the truth, but not the real truth. Not the truth we avoid telling ourselves most days. “I am walking through a club with a bunch of slightly drunk males and going to go down a darkened hallway. I am not stupid enough to do that alone.”

Ethan shuddered a moment. His eyes flashed left to right as he processed the danger. The innate danger every woman faces in a simple trip to a public bathroom. Pulling me forward on the table he kissed the top of my head and rested his forehead on mine. “Thank you.”

I snuggled into him. I guess I will keep the jackass a little longer.

*****

We fell into bed that night exhausted, Mateo finally pulling us away from the noise, scents, and dancing to get home to his woman. Alcoholism runs on the American Indian side of his family, so he never drinks and is our designated driver making clubbing only somewhat fun for him. Being the babysitter for a werewolf pack out for a good time during new moon week has severe downsides. Better than the weeks closer to full moon; at least the boys didn’t punch anyone this time.

Viola hasn’t been around long enough, but I bet she is a puncher too.

Cynthia, Mateo, and Eric woke us around dawn. We really need to soundproof their room. A thump shook some dust off the ceiling.

And pad it. Their room needed padding.

Ethan and I were wrapped around each other, and he petted my back and waist-length hair while we tried to ignore our exuberant packmates.

“I was wondering.” His bass voice rumbled through his deep chest tickling my ear.

“ummm” I responded, debating whether to move and start petting him back, a bit lower than acceptable in polite company. The moving was the biggest impediment, though Mr. Happy was working on becoming bigger.

“Why would you fear being assaulted?” Ethan kissed the top of my head.

I rolled to the side a little to rest mostly on the bed so I could look him in the eye, leg drawing across a very happy Mr. Happy. Well, good morning to you too. My leg and womanly bits decided not to join the rest of me on the bed.

Sorry, woman bits, serious conversation first. Annnd, woman bits get even more moist as my eyes focus on his stern thinking expression.

I bite my lip, swallow, and then force words out before morning sex or coffee. “Habit, I guess.”

I then shook my head, thinking harder. Yes it hurts without my caffeine fix. Let this be a lesson to women everywhere, do not hook up with guys who do not need caffeine. Morning people and night people do not mix. Or all day people. Ethan never turns off. Part of why he is the alpha of our group. He was alpha even before the attack.

I reminded myself not to lie to him or to me and started again. “And reality as well.”

“What? You are a werewolf for crying out loud!” The whisper shout could have been heard by werewolf ears outside the house, but not by anyone else. As an extra precaution, the house we bought last year was on five acres. We are a noisy lot and neighbors did not need to know about the adjustment to our human DNA we had experienced.

“How much do you press?” I stroked my hand across his muscular chest, making Mr. Happy twitch and jump against my leg.

“Now? Oh, I guess about 600 pounds, more during a full moon.” He shrugged. “I haven’t really bothered since … well, since. I was doing about 200 in school before.”

“So three times stronger than before” I looked up into his green-gray eyes.

“About,” he agreed.

“Well, I lifted too.”

He laughed, shaking the bed. “Because the high school required it as part of gym class.”

I poked his check with a finger, and his laughter stopped instantly. Oh god, don’t look at my breasts. Don’t look.

His serious eyes dropped to where my small breasts provided just enough lift from my body to make the erect nipples really stand out. I prevented my hand from moving into a caress, reminding it and other body parts, we are still having a serious discussion here.

I inhaled deeply. “I pressed about fifty pounds. And unlike you I’ve tested it at a gym since just for giggles. Also three times stronger, one hundred fifty pounds, more than I weigh.”

“Umm, congratulations?”

“I still can’t lift you.” I pointed out. “I still can’t bench press what a healthy high school male can unless it is the full moon.”

The crinkle appeared between his eyes.

“So, yeah, a human male your size can still assault me even though I am three times stronger than he expects.”

“Damn.”

“Yeah.” My turn to shrug, and my eyes may sprung a small leak. “The Old Man said we continue to get stronger slowly, so maybe someday. But I don’t think I am ever going to stop being cautious.”

Ethan lifted a hand, his thumb caressing my cheek and lips. “Anita.” He kissed me gently.

I had dated Eric, back before, and then Mateo immediately following the attack before the first full moon and shift when the mating heat reshuffled our allegiances and linked the beta crowd as a single unit. Some days I wished Ethan and I could experience the mating heat, I’ve been thinking about it more since Swami found Viola.

On the other hand, good old-fashion love, respect, and understanding is pretty awesome too.

So is wild monkey sex. When we start padding the bedrooms, ours will need to be on the list.

(words 1,892; first published 10/29/2017)

Flash: Glow

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net, adjusted by Erin Penn

“Is it suppose to be glowing like that?”

Kneeling on the stonework before rusty gate, the teenage boy asked distractedly while adjusting the flashlight imbedded in his hat “What’s glowing?

“The statue, man, it’s glowing.” His companion complained in a raising whine. “Why is it glowing green?”

Glancing over to where his friend rocked back-and-forth, the flashlight in his hand bouncing around the large room, Franklin shook his head. “Dude, calm down.”

“Is it part of the haunted house?”

“Emmet, chill. We aren’t there yet.” Franklin turned back to his task, pulling out a set of tools from his inside jacket.

“I am chill. Chilled to the bone. Why isn’t this place heated?” Emmet’s frightened voice echoed in the chamber.

Rolling his eyes, Franklin put a measure of distain into his voice only a junior in high school can manage. “It’s a catacombs. Duh.”

“Stupidest idea in the world going through a freaking cemetery to get to the haunted house.” Emmet hugged the large black bag he carried tighter and got closer to his friend and further away from the statue.

“….p.a.sssss”

A couple of leaves brought inside with the boys tumbled in the breeze as Emmet spun to face the room. He managed to bite back a little girl scream and, in the silence, Frankie commented, “Great advertising, you got to admit it. Go past the cemetery to the abandoned farm and its House of Terror.”

As a distraction, Frankie’s comment didn’t each make third place. “Come on, come on. What’s the holdup?”

“They chained the gate. Guess they finally found the entrance.”

“Well that’s just great.” Emmet’s flashlight shakily ran over the room once more as he juggled the awkward, lumpy bag against his chest. “Why would they chain an underground gate?”

“I may have pranked them last year.”

Emmet looked over his shoulder, down at his friend. “Brilliant Einstein. Could have told me before I dragged all the equipment out here.”

“It’s one bag.”

Biting his lip, torn between exasperation and fear, Emmet’s belated response sputtered out after a moment. “….Of equipment. I’m carrying it.” He moved the heavy bag in his arms again before turning to the rusty gate built into the stonework of the room and his friend who still was fooling with a heavy metal chain and lock. “And I’ll be dead if dad finds out it’s missing.” He shuttered at how much grounded he would be between the laptop and wi-fi cameras he had “borrowed” from his dad’s private investigator business. He might be able to attend the graduation ceremonies next year.

“ssssshall … passssss”

Emmet jumped, managing a full turn without his feet touching the ground, landing to face the catacombs again. “What’s that?”

“What?” Franklin pushed with his back against where his friend was bumping him as Emmet backed up to the closest living thing in the room.

“The hiss.” Emmet paused listening.

Franklin enjoyed the silence and the light not bouncing around the room like a freshman who had drunk his first Red Bull.

“I think the statue is glowing brighter.” Emmet whispered.

Really, it was getting beyond annoying. “Emmet, the statue is not glowing.”

“Yes it is. Look!”

Franklin peered over his shoulder. “Okay, light is reflecting off of it.”

“Hello, the only light is this flashlight and it is white.” Tired of being ignored, the straight A math student brought out Logic.

“Has to be something from the haunted house.” Franklin muttered.

“Fine.” Iron replaced the whine in Emmet’s voice. “Let’s find out by getting out of here and into there.”

Franklin blew out his breath. Anger would not help. “I’m working on it.”

“Come on. You open all kind of doors with those picks you made for LARPing.” The whine returned another octave higher.

“Yeah, this one is a Master lock. Takes a bit.”

The wind sighed again and a raspy voice proclaimed. “You shall not pass.”

“Dude, don’t quote Gandalph to me. I’ll get it open.”

“I didn’t say anything,” said Emmet softly.

 

          *****

 

“Watch the squishy bit there.” Lance waved his hand toward some of the gore the scene techs has marked just to watch his partner’s face pale. Paul made things too easy sometimes. The junior partner dropped his head to concentrate on what he was doing, but Lance wasn’t through teasing. “Look around a bit. They still haven’t found the second kid’s head.”

Once the other detective finished pulling the shoe coverings offered by the Crime Scene Investigators, he raised his eyes again and they skittered over the brightly lit scene refusing to fully absorb the … the …. Closing his eyes, he breathed through his mouth getting the taste of copper and mold and diesel mixing on his tongue. Better than his nose. He concentrated on the generator noise; the catacombs had no electricity of their own so they brought in a generator to power the spots lighting scene for the investigators.

“Decapitation,” Paul stated with no inflection whatsoever, “then quartering.”

“Yep. That is what the doc said. The body parts were chopped off after the kids died but only by seconds.”

His eyes still closed, Paul continued to process the scene he couldn’t look at. “The second head is behind the statue.”

“Well, wha-da-ya know.” Lance bounded from the gate situated between the cemetery catacombs and the old moonshine hole the farmer family next door had dug during prohibition into their barn’s floor. Rounding the stone statue of a knight grasping a bare sword blade with two hands in front of his chest, Lance verified Paul’s observation. “I knew I kept you around for a reason.” The older officer waved the techs over.

They had been concentrating on the blood bath at the gate. No tracks had led to the statue nearly twenty feet from the primary scene, no blood residue at all. Deep in the shadows caused by the unnaturally bright lights they had brought, a teenage boy’s head stared up in terror.

“Lance, could you have them turn off the lights for a moment?” Life had returned to Paul’s voice but in a creepy way. Uncertainty did not become the detective who had rocketed through the city’s ranks in three years to become partner to the most decorated officer presently serving on the force.

Frowning toward Paul and the generator, Lance shook his head in wonderment. The younger detective was still swaying with his eyes closed. “Umm, can it wait until they take their pictures?”

“You know Lance, maybe not.” Paul turned toward where Lance’s voice was emanating beside the statue and opened his eyes. He immediately closed them again, taking a step back. “I think I see something.”

“And you are going to see it better in the dark?” Lance chuckled.

“I think I see a Younger thing.”

Lance stopped and blinked once. “Well, fuck.” He tapped the shoulders of the tech taking the photos of the newly found body part. “Back off boys.” He waved to everyone in the large stonework room and ordered loudly. “Way back.”

Those techs who have worked scenes where Younger had been involved moved very quickly. Younger wasn’t a police detective or even on the force. No one knew what he was involved with, but he always came out clean and it was obvious to everyone involved if Younger hadn’t done whatever it is he does things would have been much, much worse.

Once everyone but the lead CSI and the two detectives had returned to the cemetery proper above the ground, Lance nodded and the tech squelched the lights.

Both detectives stared at the scene, not needing to wait for their eyes to adjust to the blackness.

“So, Lance, is it suppose to be glowing like that?” Paul asked dryly.

Lance growled, “You got him on speed-dial. Call him.”

(Words 1,298 – first published 10/22/2017)

Flash: Bound

Bound.

Bound, hand and foot and wing tip. Eyes covered.

Angels soared.

Untouchable. Holy. Above all others.

Bound.

His own fault.

Temptation wasn’t restricted to the fallen.

The only senses left to him were hearing and scent. And he could smell her. Her soft breath in the room. Her woman place moistening with heavenly debauchery.

His core clenched. He had given up so much to be right here right now. The blindfold imposed a darkness on him, frightening and arousing. The silk bindings tied him to earth like heavy chains and velvet kisses. Terrified, everything was sharpened to perfection.

A hand drifted across his chest. Playing with one nipple, dancing across his stomach. He had no belly button for the fingers to sink into, so they touched each indent of muscles and sinew.

Two hands came to his shoulders and pressed downward.

“Kneel, kneel to me my angelic love.”  The woman’s voice, forgiving sin, harshly pleading.

Willingly he went to his knees. He leaned forward to kiss a belly, delving for the human indent. Finding the center of her creation, the angel’s tongue licked around the edge before darting it in and out. Carefully, so the bones within the tongue did not press.

The woman’s hands curled into his blond tresses, one hand holding his head in place, the other encouraging his head further down. Begging and ordering.

He bowed his head further until hairs tickled his face. Moving forward, he sought out her secrets, holy and hellish, using only his mouth. He sucked her clit and laved her, separating her inner lips until he could taste her manna, her juices.

Leaning as he did, the top of his wings touched her breasts. The nipples hardened as the feathers danced back and forth. He directed the torsion axes to push the mounds together. Warm feathers caressed the womanly structures, directed individually with nerves created to control flight, each tingling as it registered contact and her reactions.

The woman’s knees buckled and she slid to join him in the exotic dirt. He crawled like a worm between her legs, small bits of dust rising like clouds about them. Rolling his tongue, he interlocked the bird-like bones together similar to a human locking an elbow. Sturdy and thick, the tongue, muscle and bone, dived into her road to hell, her channel to heaven.  Again and again, bringing her flavor into his blind darkness.

His wings, bound only in the tips, pushed her legs apart as she shook and bucked. He set the feathers dancing along the knees and inner thighs.

“Oh, God. Oh God.” She screamed prayerfully, ending in a climax chorus. Musical song shouted.

A song he had to hear again. He gathered her cream like a hummingbird sucks nectar, cleansing her nether realm. Her legs twisted against his wings as her lust rebuilt.

He locked his tongue again, but at a slight curve. Inside her being, he sought her bliss. Giving her everything she asked. Touching her soul, so he could follow her into heaven’s punishment.

God made humans in his image, how could he not worship her?

(words 518 – originally appearing at Breathless Press 10/6/2013 for the 4/22/12 Sunday Fun –  – The original photo was of unknown copyright so did not put on my site – published on old blog 10/6/2013; republished in new blog format on 10/8/2017)