Blood in the Streets

The border whizzed past, a blur of colored lights and smeared uniform. No one stopped the old hatchback as it blew down the ancient highway. Sara set her forehead against the cold glass and closed her eyes, feeling the car’s movement reverberate in her skull.

“None of that.” Her cousin shook his head. His slurred accent was thicker than she was used to, he didn’t come state side much. “Don’t cry, I don’t want to see you cry.” He muttered something she couldn’t hear through the engine’s rattle.

Sara didn’t cry, and she didn’t tell her cousin to go fuck himself. She pressed her head harder into the window until her teeth chattered off each other. Outside the car, the desert stretched endlessly in all directions.

Her eyes ached when she opened them to the orange light of the power lines bordering the highway.

Next to Sara, her cousin talked in low spanish over the crackling radio. He was going to get them back, every single one of them. He do it for Sara, and for his father, who’d lost his favorite brother. Their blood was going to run in the streets.

Sara turned to him slowly, the crick in her neck shuddering with the tempo of the road and the car’s tires. She stared through swollen eyes long enough for him to notice.

“Shut up.” She said. Her throat was still raw from the night before and the word hurt. But she couldn’t listen to him get off on what had happened, what would happen. He didn’t get to feel better about any of this. Sara turned her cheek back to the cold glass before he could respond.

Legal Theft: Delta Zeta Kappa

The night was coming off its full swing. No one had left yet, but the music had been changed twice mid-song, and people had passed out in both bathrooms. Unlucky young men began to scour the main rooms a little more desperately.

Kimberly Nash ignored them, she only had eyes for the couple out on the porch. Through the dirty glass, and glare from the lights, it was hard to make out exactly who they were. Kimberly had an idea though, it was a bad one.

“What are you looking at?” Anna Myong asked, moving to Kimberly’s elbow. Noxious smelling blue liquid sloshed in the red cup she carried. Hannah Lewis joined them a moment later, phone in hand. The three sorority sisters peered through the sliding glass door.

“Is that?” Hannah asked.

“No—“ Anna breathed.

“I’m gonna kill him.” Kimberly’s eyes narrowed to slits. Out on the back porch, the girl had her fingers hooked in their philosophy TA’s waistband. It was him, dark blond hair, sharp chin, and muscled arms wrapped around some girl who was not their newest pledge and sister. He let himself be pulled closer and the couple kissed. The three of them shared a collective breath.

“Sara’s gonna kill him.” Anna corrected. “Who’s the skank?”

“Don’t know, but he’s got a type.” Hannah smirked, but stopped smiling when Kimberly gave her a hard look.

“Shut up Hannah, Sara’s new, we have to look out for her.” Kimberly said, turning her glare back to where it belonged. Outside things were getting physical. Her fingers twitched, and she glanced towards the phone in Hannah’s hands. “Take a picture, but don’t send it to anyone. No one messes with Delta Zeta Kappa.”


“Is this an intervention?” Sara asked. Her sorority sisters gathered in the living room, somber expressions all around. Behind her Anna Myong closed the door to the hallway. Anna offered Sara a phone.

Sara took the device with a bemused expression. The gallery was up on the screen, and she flicked through the pictures. An expensive car filled with purple glitter, a tiny office coated in yellow and pink. The files and computer on the desk were wrecked, complete messes of shimmering plastic dust. She looked up from the screen.”Which of you murdered a unicorn?”

Kimberly Nash stood up. “Sean is cheating on you. We saw him on Friday with another girl. He paid for it. We are so sorry.”

Sara blinked at the girls slowly rising from their seats in mournful solidarity. It was too much, she burst out laughing. “Oh shit, that’s his stuff?” She doubled, arms holding her stomach, as a fresh wave of laughter choked her. It took a moment to catch her breath, while the room waited in nervous silence. “Damn, that is so sweet of you all, but he’s not cheating. At least on me.”

“Sara, we saw him. Hannah has pictures, but we’re so sorry. We got him good though.” Kimberly went forward as if to give her a hug.

“He can’t cheat on me because we were never dating, I was just fooling around. Having fun.” Sara said. Behind Kimberly,  Hannah muttered something that sounded a lot like skank. Sara grinned wider and avoided Kimberly by passing back Anna’s phone. “Remind me never to piss you guys off. Glitter is fucking brutal. Used it once for a concert a year ago and I’m still finding it in the weirdest places. Are those solidarity shots? Aww, you guys.”

Kimberly, Anna, and Hannah looked between themselves helplessly as Sara started pouring what were supposed to consolation shots.

Not only am I thief, but I have done something horrible to one of More than 1/2 Mad‘s characters. She challenged me with glitter and revenge though, so its hardly my fault.

Music Challenge: Heavy-Hearted

Acoustic notes and a rueful melody greeted them as their car rolled into the dirt yard. She could make out the shapes of other vehicles. A sedan there, and round welled truck behind it. The house rose against the darker expanse around them, two stories with a porch that probably stretched all the way around. The heavy-hearted music continued to waft from the kitchen window.

Ms. Avila leaned over the steering wheel and peered at the front door, screened and illuminated from within. The light turned her glasses flat yellow. “Later than we expected, but we’re here.”

The diminutive twelve-year old in the passengers seat gathered scattered candy wrappers, the remains of the bribe she received with every one of these trips, and made no comment on their punctuality. Lane did frown when her caseworker didn’t lock the car door. Then, looking out into the flat blackness around them, Lane thought she might see a light on the very edge of the horizon.

She kicked her door open gently and began to untangle her ear buds.

“No.” Ms. Avila shook her head and shouldered her bag. Lane could see her files peaking out of the fake leather. “We’re having dinner, no headphones. You know how this works.”

The stare between them lasted until Lane shoved the ear buds back into her jacket pocket. Ms. Avila relaxed and motioned for Lane to lead. She followed the girl up the steps, their footfalls causing the wood around them to creak and shift. Inside, the music stopped.

Her caseworker knocked against the front door frame. “You’ll like it here.”

Lane still made no comment, focused now on the approaching footfalls.

This week Raw Rambles challenged me with Miley Cyrus’s song below, and wrote her own piece as well. The piece above was written to it in some fashion. 

Legal Theft: Bagels and…Murder!

“We found Jacob in the morning. The guys thought it would be funny. Sneak in, then see how many dicks they could sharpie onto his face before Jacob woke up swearing. It took three before Jose realized their canvas wasn’t breathing.

“I was finishing a bagel when I heard them. It was one of those gourmet ones, with fancy flavored cream cheese that comes in tubs. Really good, the bread toasted just enough to be crispy on the edges with honey-whipped topping. So Jose and Mark come barreling down the stairs, each yelling over each other. I couldn’t even tell what they were saying at first.

“Alexis came down the stairs then, hearing the guys. Eventually, Jose managed to spit it out, someone had strangled Jacob. That’s when the lights went out, later I’d find a timed switch on the breaker in the basement. Whoever did this, they’re smart.

“Anyway, I finished my bagel and almost got another, I wanted to try the chive spread and no one was eating them. Alexis, Mark, and Jose were freaking out, which I totally get. We were miles away from the next cabin in the snow, someone had stolen all our phones in the night, and the SUV wouldn’t start, I checked.

“That’s when Mark decided to take a shower, which seriously? Has the guy ever seen a horror movie? But apparently drawing genitalia on a dead friend’s face makes you feel gross. There was so much blood when Alexis found him.

“After that Jose and Alexis lost it, accusing each other, me. It was mess. Even more so when Alexis tried to run outside. She wouldn’t listen to us and then… she was in pieces. Razorwire, strung across the doorframe.

“Someone devious was hunting us. Jose picked up a knife, and I grabbed the rest of the bagels. Those gourmet ones last for a couple days if you put them in a bag, and these were super fresh. Like, I could have eaten them all weekend probably. So with supplies and a weapon, we barricaded ourselves in the basement.

“Jose was so sweet, he kept telling me that he’d protect me, and that we’d make it through this together. Except, I think he was distracted when the killer smashed his head open with a tire iron. It happened right in front of me, that’s why his blood is like, all over my clothes.

“I had to run, and I lost the killer, but I also…lost the killer. I didn’t know where they were, only that they were stalking me through this dark murder cabin my friends had rented. So, I did the only thing I could think of. I burnt it down.

“The neighbors saw the fire, and while it sucks that all the evidence is completely burnt clean, at least I got away. And I know you want me to stay in town for questioning, and I fully intend to, but the killer is probably still out there. They never die, and this one, was smart. If I mysteriously vanish, I think everyone knows what happened.”

Scandal! A murder most foul!  Creatures, Critters and Crawlers challenged the thieves this week to steal something important is on fire and bagels. 

Flash Fiction: The Crow’s Mile

Dusk always hits the crow’s mile hard. After the beagles hang up their truncheons and plod home, the stretch from station jail to hangman’s rope forgets the warnings of the day.  A hum builds first, the shuffle of workers off their shift, the yell of school boy, and clatter of late carriages. The decent folk make their escapes behind gate and wall, before, like specters, those that serve the night materialize from alley and dock.

They come and the mile unfurls. Sailor, guttersnipe, and bruiser, anyone with full pockets is welcome. Pub, den, and coffee houses light their windows, casting the cobblestones outside in squares of yellow.  Dollymops hang from the coffee houses singing bawdy choruses, unwashed sirens calling out to cross their threshold.

Brawls divide the night’s revelry into acts, small showings in the tap rooms and dance halls. They build inertia from drink and boast, until something breaks with fists and flying spittle. Such things are brief affairs, squabbles on clear seas.

There is still order in the mile. The barmen and dollymops know it because they see it, and newcomers learn or they don’t. A bad step on the crow’s mile in its golden night, means a long last walk in the pale sunlight the next morning.

It’s been awhile, but Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie gave me a chance to try out some Victorian slang with this Wordle Challenge. 

Legal Theft: Illusions of Home

The ashen clouds began to clear, letting sunlight stream into the twisted wrecks. Nothing stirred therein, even the gulls wouldn’t approach the beached ships as the black metal skeletons stank of alien fire. Like the scavengers, he stayed hidden. Few could survive what happened, and even if they had, their pitiable straits weren’t his concern.

Coastal winds scattered the remaining haze quickly enough. With the sun starting to rust into late afternoon, he chanced revealing himself to the sky. One moment the cliff side was empty, covered only in wildflowers and low scrub, then it was occupied by a lone man. Young, narrow-shouldered, and in desperate need of a haircut, he frowned at the city still shining up the coast. A moment passed, and with it his thoughts on the city and its apparently lazy inhabitants.

He waved a hand dismissively into the empty air and a tall lighthouse joined him, appearing out of the air with the slightest glint of quickly extinguished motes. Unlike the destruction below, the lighthouse bore only by the ravages of wind, rain, and an irresponsible keeper.  Repairs were needed, and he’d long ago let the light burn out. Aside from keeping the place hidden from conquest and collateral, the young man didn’t chase illusions of home. He was capable of learning from some old mistakes.

He did shake his head at the wreckage below him. It’d been a valiant, if overly optimistic, stand. But now his view was an ugly jungle-gym of black metal, and her attention was piqued in his direction. Both were messes he had no interest in dealing with ever, and certainly not tonight.

Luckily, there was no one to cheerily goad him into action or sternly smile and insinuate he should. Thus, fortuitously alone, he was able to duck into the lighthouse and ignore the heavy feeling the twisted metal left on his mind.

Not a thief this week, but perhaps a willing victim? Who knows, these things are hard to predict. 

I am in fact a victim of a heinous heist. Check out Creatures, Critters and Crawlers and their piece Technical Difficulties. And The Gate in the Wood’s piece Charity.

The Stars Fell

There is a scholar. She shadows boneyards and sun rotten battlefields, picking through the dead with gloved hands. Crows call affronted to one another, noting the strange scavenger among them. The thrum of swollen corpse flies drowns them out.

She searches, tossing away red stained bones and soaked cloth. Some choice individuals go into her cart, but most remain offal, useless to her and the world their souls so recently departed.

Long ago she took an oath, to heal, to do no harm. The dead are beyond her aid, and past injury. It makes things simple, and simple in these times is valuable. There are lessons here, amidst the swollen bodies and empty eyes, if someone is willing to find them.

Above the fields the night sky loses more stars. Briefly, she pulls her gaze from the dead at her feet. The scholar watches the light dive behind the mountains, she imagines they hit the great ocean beyond with the hiss of dying fire.

She harvests until her cart is full. Some people die, some don’t, and the stars fall. The scholar seeks to know why.


There is a prince. He hovers near the table’s head, and in the modest watchtowers overlooking the ocean’s horizon. Those who pass him in the warm, smoke filled, hallways do not trouble him out of hand. He is assumed to be busy, he usually is.

The wooden battlements are nothing more than short wood walls on which they place guards and the occasional barrell. He walks them nonetheless, exchanging small words with the smiling soldiers who man them. They like him, everyone does, in the way one appreciates a sharp knife or a full sail. It does its job, and without complaint.

In the depths of the night, something anticipatory coils inside his chest. The lantern oil burns low on the prince’s desk. He rests there, fallen in the line of duty over letters, maps, and treatises. A collapsing light hauls him from sleep.

Out past the shore and waves arcs of pale gold fall from the sky, brilliant against the black mass of sky and sea. The prince stands and stares. He does not know what it means, only that the stars are falling again and that he cannot go back to sleep.


There is a servant. She slides through gilded hallways and out into stinking pig yards and stables. The night is not young, her shift was long and late, but there is life yet if one looks hard enough. She is willing to brave sore feet and slow wits tomorrow for diversion tonight.

The hostlers smile at her, their teeth obscured behind smoke. She leaves them with only a wave of her fingers. They flick smoldering twists of paper and herb into the mud with long-learned disappointment. She follows the sounds the fire and music down to the sand.

Waves reflect the towering flames and the shadows cast by the young. They lean into each other’s warmth even as they shy from the snapping fire.  Some dance, others walk and drink deep mouthfuls of sweet ale. The servant finds many welcoming arms to linger in.

A hand at her neck, another on the angle of her hip, it is not hard to keep them at bay with wide-eyed words. She turns his focus from her face to the black water. They forget each other.

Pale stars fall from the sky even as the fire’s embers rise upwards to meet them. Both wink out, extinguished by the dark swaths of air and water. The servant gathers her skirts and leaves the other gaping at the sky. She wades into the surf as if she could pluck the lost light from the cold waves.


There is a thief. She darts through parlor, and alleyway, and den. Her eyes are blue and rheumy, her eyes are bright black, her eyes are lined and cold. No one knows her behind the stolen eyes, or protests when she walks stolen feet and stolen faces past watchman into stateroom, coffer, and chamber.

She opens her eyes. They are grey and framed by dark lashes. Her body is slight, weak-limbed and shivering. She leaves her room, wrapping wool and silk about her shoulders and neck. The common room raises their eyes to her.

No one calls out in greeting, or invites her to a table. There is no offer of food or drink, she can simply take such things if she wished. They pay their respects instead with silence and quick disregard.  She returns it and moves to the door before the odd loneliness begins to sting.

The spires and lit glass of the capital city dull the sky. Behind the luminescent haze of cloud and polluting light, the stars fall unseen. The thief wonders if the king in his white towers can feel them fall.

Another music challenge, this week I dared Raw Rambles with Emilie Autumn’s Shalott. We both wrote something spawned in some way from the song below, which in turn came from Emilie Autumn’s interpretation of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem.