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Friday Night Write – Slow Turning

Violet snuck through the back door of a bar at the outskirts of a small Alabama town. The place looked like it could have once been a barn; there were still remnants of hay sprinkled outside. From the dark hallway by the restrooms, she could hear the muffled sound of upbeat music and shuffling feet. Peaking around the corner, at least thirty people were crammed on the floor dancing and swinging to an old song she didn’t recognize. The crowd was dressed in jeans and casual shirts, and nearly everyone wore cowboy boots. Shouts, laughter, and the occasional, yeehaw filled the barn-like atmosphere.

She had been on the run for months, and she just needed a place to lay low for a while. She would definitely not blend in here. She would draw far too much attention with her leather jacket, black hair, and studded wrist cuffs. She slowly backed up, hoping to sneak out the way she came, but her escape was hindered by an immovable object standing right behind her. Violet gasped as she turned and saw the one face she prayed she would never see again.

“You,” Violet whispered. The man grabbed her by the arms, rooting her in place.

“Did you think you could outrun me forever?” His sly voice said quietly, trying to keep their conversation from being overheard by the occasional passerby. He was tall with a slender face, dressed in a trench coat, the brim of his hat hiding his eyes.

“The thought crossed my mind.”

“Your feeble attempts to hurt them have caused no more damage than a fly buzzing around your face—a little annoying, but nothing a little swat won’t cure.”

“Then why have you been hunting me so tirelessly if I didn’t hit a nerve? They’re scared.”

“Hardly.”

“Admit it!” Violet yelled.

The man gave her a hard shake and lowered his face so he could look right in her eyes. “Enough! You’re coming with me. If I weren’t under strict orders to bring you back alive, I would dispose of you myself. But my employers want to poke and prod before ending you.”

“What do they want with me?”

“I’ll just say that they have an obsession, of sorts, with studying and then riding the world of mutants like you.

Fury bubbled beneath her skin as the familiar burning ran through her entire body, and congregated in her arms right where his hands gripped her. She was ready to release her deadly fire, ending the pyro-hunter’s life for good, but the flame no more than sparked when it was immediately snuffed out with a puff of smoke.

“What the heck?”

“Did I forget to mention…” the hunter said with a grin, “that I have my own unique abilities? Except mine is that I can reverse the effects of other mutants’ powers. So as long as you’re with me, no more flames…”

Violet gulped as he led her out the back door and into the dark night.

[hr]

This is my entry into the Friday Night Write weekly challenge at Sweet Banana Ink.

The Challenge:

  • 1 Song (this week’s song was Slow Turning by John Hiatt)
  • 60 Hours (Friday @ noon to Sunday @ midnight EST)
  • 500 Words

This is part of a series I’m writing. You can read more about Violet Blair here.

Friday Night Write – St. Theresa

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Julia sat on the windowsill in Carlo’s bedroom, gazing at the sparkling night skyline of New York City.
Carlo was asleep in his bed, unaware that she was there, or even alive.

He had fallen for the same rouse his former boss had. But that was the whole point, wasn’t it? Make them think she was dead, Carlo gets free from his life as an assassin, and everyone goes their merry way.

She had help from a man known as G. G had a professional interest in Carlo, and Julia needed G’s help. She assured G that Carlo would do anything to get revenge once she was “gone,” and G would have no problem recruiting him. And so their little alliance was formed. G supplied the drugs to slow her heart, the bullet proof vest, even fake blood to make it look like she had been shot. G could not understand why she would risk them shooting her in the head instead if the chest. But that’s love; sometimes you have to risk everything for that one person who becomes your entire world.

G paid off the coroner to lie on her death certificate, and then gathered her unconscious body before they buried her casket. As long as no one dug up her empty grave, everything would be fine.

Julia had to wait until she knew it was safe before confronting Carlo. She couldn’t do it yet because her “killers” might still be watching him. But she could not bear to see him in pain any longer. She had to at least let him know she was alive. That was why she visited him the other night, and why she was here now.

But the moon was high in the sky and she would need to leave soon. The thought sunk daggers in her chest. Reluctantly rising from her post by the window, she walked to his bed and watched her love sleeping peacefully. She desperately longed to hold him again–if just for a moment.

“Soon,” she quietly promised him–and herself.

Julia turned to his nightstand and re-read the letter he had so eloquently penned.

“I love you too,” she whispered as she wrote those eternal words at the bottom of the page.

~

This is my entry into the Friday Night Write weekly challenge at Sweet Banana Ink.

The Challenge:

  • 1 Song (this week’s song is St. Theresa by Joan Osborne)
  • 60 Hours (Friday @ noon to Sunday @ midnight EST)
  • 500 Words

This is part of a series I’m writing. You can read the rest of Carlo’s Story here.

Friday Night Write – Captain of a Shipwreck

Dear My Sweet Jules,

I don’t know if you will ever be able to read this letter. But I need to write it, regardless.

I saw you last night, here, in my house. It could have been my imagination, and maybe I was dreaming… but I don’t think so. You were here, I know it.

How it was possible, I have no idea. I watched you die with my own eyes. Murdered mercilessly, while I was helpless to stop it. I held your limp body in my arms.

I broke that day.

You are why I am even alive. Before you found me, I was lost. I was a ruthless killer with no reason to behave otherwise. But you gave me that reason—a light to a man with a pitch black heart. You saved me.

So how am I supposed to move on, if you are not alive? I would have run away with you. Would have left behind this life of misery and death, and given you everything you could ever need. I would have stood by you, comforted you, protected you.

Protect? I guess I failed you there. And for that, my love, I am so terribly sorry.

Like I said, if indeed you are gone, how could I live with myself if I did not make sure your murderer was brought to justice. All my leads have run dry. The man I thought had the answers…I don’t know if he’s telling the truth. The man I thought was responsible for your death…he seems to be innocent. I don’t know who to trust anymore. I am running out of options, and I don’t know what to do next.

But… and this is the key…

What if you are alive? What if I only thought you were dead, or your death was faked? That would be an incredible light in my, once again, dark world.

I will never stop hoping. Never stop looking.

I love you… Even death cannot change that.

So come back to me.

Yours Forever,

Carlo

~

Carlo laid his fountain pen on his mahogany desk, folded the letter, and wrote Jules’ name on the front. Propping the letter on his night stand, he turned off the lights and laid down in his half-empty bed.

Carlo slept soundly, and woke the next morning with a peace he had not felt since Jules was still with him.

On his night stand, the letter sat open with his fountain pen laying next to it.

At the bottom of the page, the words “I love you too,” were written in Jules’ perfect handwriting.

 [hr]

This is my entry into the Friday Night Write weekly challenge at Sweet Banana Ink.

The Challenge:

  • 1 Song (this week’s song is Captain of a Shipwreck by Neil Diamond)
  • 60 Hours (Friday @ noon to Sunday @ midnight EST)
  • 500 Words

This is part of a series I’m writing. You can read the rest of Carlo’s Story here.

Friday Night Write – I Ain’t Superstitious

Carlo refused to cry. The love of his life was dead and he would not mourn until her killer was brought to justice. He clenched his fists and rose from his knelt position over Jules’ grave.

“Carlo Capelletti, may I have a moment of your time?” A stranger said.

“I’m sorry, do I know you?”

“No, but I have a proposition for you.” The man was in his late forties; aviator sunglasses hid his eyes.

“I don’t have time for this.” Carlo swore in Italian, his native language, as he did often. Who did this guy this guy think he was talking to? Obviously Carlo’s bulky, muscular appearance, slick black hair, and sharp jaw line didn’t intimidate him as it did every other sane human being.

“I think you’ll want to hear what I have to say. It’s about Julia.”

“She’s dead, or could you not tell by the grave?” Carlo pointed to the fresh mound of dirt.

The man nodded once as if Carlo’s words were not news.

“If you’re interested in what I have to say, come to this address tomorrow night.”

The man handed Carlo a scrap of paper with messy handwriting then started to walk away.

“I don’t even know your name.”

“You may call me G.”

He had no intentions of going. G—what kind of name was that anyway?

Carlo was not a man given to curiosity, but something about the whole situation wouldn’t let him walk away. He had to know if the guy was legit or just full of it. He had to know what he knew.

So Carlo went to the address, but not without certain precautions: a pistol on his hip, a knife in his boot, and a sniper rifle hidden in his black Buick.

Rottweilers barked viciously as he approached the enormous house. G seemed like the type who took crap from no one. The house was surrounded by security cameras, fences, and guards who escorted him across the premises. What did the man do that required all this?

A knotted firmly planted itself in Carlo’s stomach. He also wasn’t a man given to superstitions. But something didn’t sit well with him, and somehow he knew that things would end badly for him. But still, he had to know.

Once inside, Carlo was instructed to wait in the “living room” which was twice the size of any normal one.

A moment later, G emerged and sat down.

“I’ll get right to the point Mr. Cappelletti. I would like you to come work for me. I’m in need of a certain set of… skills.”

“You’re offering me a job?”

“Do you even know who was actually behind Julia’s murder? The man at the top?”

The question caught Carlo off guard. Something that didn’t happen often. There was no need to answer; G knew he had no idea.

“The fact is, I do know who is responsible, and I can put you in a prime position to take him out.”

~

This is my entry into the Friday Night Write weekly challenge at Sweet Banana Ink.

The Challenge:

  • 1 Song (this week’s song was I Ain’t Superstitious by Jeff Beck)
  • 48 Hours (Friday @ 5pm to Sunday @ 5pm pacific)
  • 500 Words

I wrote about this character last week, but this story line was beckoning me to write more. You can read the rest of Carlo’s story here.

Friday Night Write – Over My Head

Carlo pulled back on the bolt and heard the bullet click into place. His sniper rifle rested perfectly against his shoulder. A natural extension of his body. Peering through the scope, his target moved right into the crosshairs. It was easy. Well, should have been easy.

Six months ago, Carlo was on a routine assassination. But on the flight home, he was seated next to the most enchanting woman he had ever met. Julia–Jules– as he would soon call her. Despite the little voice in Carlo’s head, telling him his lifestyle was not conducive to romantic relationships, he couldn’t stay away. Jules had a way of bringing out the good in him; good he never knew he was capable of.

After two months he told her what he did for a living. And to his surprise, she did not run away. In the sixth month Carlo was ready to quit and leave with her.

However, even men like him had to answer to someone, and he was not as enthusiastic.

“Is there anything I can do to change your mind?” Carlo asked.

“There is one last target. If you complete this hit, you’re free to go.”

The next day, the all-too-familiar chime on his phone signaled an incoming target. Carlo had been sent the name and picture of the person he was demanded to kill. Carlo’s hands shook for the first time since he took up this occupation. The picture was of his precious Jules. The phone rang shrilly and he answered it with a hoarse voice.

“Hello, Carlo. I trust you received your next target. Don’t get any crazy ideas about running away together. There is nowhere on this earth out of my reach. Her death in that instance would be much more painful than a bullet from your rifle. Am I understood?”

“Yes,” Carlo said.

“You have twenty four hours.”

That brought him here, to this rooftop with his Jules in the crosshairs of his gun.

The bluetooth set in his ear beeped. He pressed the button and the same dreaded voice filled his head.

“Don’t get cold feet, now. I am watching, and if you back out, I’ll finish her… and you.”

Helicopter blades thundered, and a moment later a chopper rose from behind him with a gunman sitting inside the open door.

“You have ten seconds.”

Ten seconds. That was all she had left.

Nine. Could he really kill her?

Eight seconds left. He was in way over his head.

Seven. Maybe he could get to her in time.

There was a storm drain running down the side of the building that he could slide down.

Six.

Five.

Four.

Three. He was on the ground and running to her.

Two. “Jules, run!”

She saw him, but a moment too late.

The shot came from above his head, and she dropped to the ground before his eyes.

He had lost her.

Everyone involved in her death would pay.

Carlo now had a new target.

~
This was my entry into the Friday Night Write challenge at SweetBananaInk.com
The song prompt was Over My Head by The Fray

Friday Night Write – Sweet Home Alabama

“Run! We need to leave, now!” Kara said as she and Randy hurried down the street. Her legs burned, but she couldn’t give up, or they’d never make it home.

“Wait!” Randy said, stopping short. “I thought I heard someone yell my name.”

What was he thinking? They didn’t have a second to waste. The portal was closing, and if they didn’t get to it in—Kara looked at her watch—three minutes, they would be stuck ten years in the future forever.

“Where’s Brent?”

Kara did a quick scan of the area. When had they lost him? Typical. Randy’s little brother was always causing trouble.

“I can’t stay,” Kara said, looking at her watch again.

“And I can’t go.”

She paused and sighed. “Know that I always loved you.”

Kara didn’t wait for his response. She continued running until she made it to the portal. There it was, the faint, iridescent swirl. To the untrained eye, it would simply look like a heat wave. Closing her eyes, she leaped, arms first, into the blurry vortex.

Looking back, she never should have talked Randy into working with her. But they were young, over-achieving scientists, looking for unexplored avenues of their craft. A time travel experiment seemed like a good idea at the time.

They left their small town in Alabama to pursue their dreams. They progressed faster than they thought, and within a year, they had successfully predicted the location of the next portal. But Brent jumped through after them.

Their intention was to just observe and return to the present that same evening. But the problem with going only ten years into the future is the threat of running into your future selves. They had no idea if there would be any ramifications, but they didn’t want to take the risk.

Leave it to Brent to purposefully seek themselves out. Randy and Kara spent the entire day chasing after him.

Every day for the last ten years, Kara regretted her decision to leave Randy behind. For years she tried to get back to him. But she soon discovered the portal was always moving. It would never take you to the same time twice.

She should have stayed. It was a mistake she would never make again.

Kara looked at her watch. It was time. She walked out of her house, into the still, dark night, and waited to hear the words she had replayed over and over in her head.

“Run! We need to leave, now!” Kara heard her voice say. A moment later, she saw Randy, just as she always remembered him, and her much younger self run down the street.

“Randy!” Kara yelled.

He stopped. It had worked. Tears spilled over as she watched herself leave. Then she ran to catch up with him.

“I’m so sorry. I never should have left you,” she said, falling into Randy’s arms.

She knew she had a lot of explaining to do, but it didn’t matter. She was home.

~

This was my story for Friday Night Write at Sweet Banana Ink. Each Friday there is a song prompt for a 500 word story. Be sure to check out the next one this Friday!