The Making of Vy Rill (2)

2:

She was very much aware of his presence, though her body had been sleeping.

He did not realize that there was nothing he could do to her that she did not allow, for as he smeared her blood across his fingertips and tasted her, a thread of his dead spirit filtered in through her, and initially corrupted, then enhanced her nature.

Enduring the sickness, she did not let him see her tremble, and through some miracle, managed to hold her gorge.

He was not merely old, but ancient, and smelled of the dust and bones of ancient catacombs long buried and forgotten.

She also felt the essence of his lust, a thin, light band of energy over the corruption; she saw the faces of women, lovely and in their physical prime, saw the bodies writhing beneath him, grinding over him, and what he did with them when it was over.

Multiple abattoirs dotted the landscape where he’d been at work.

She made a silent vow to avenge them all.

 

************

   “Janyris,” said her father, “this dabbling in things mortal is not for you; it will come to no good end. You must be ready to ascend your station when your mother passes.”

   For awhile, she complied, and played the dutiful daughter until her mother actually passed, not in the traditional sense; she merely went to the underworld and never returned.

   Her father was suspect that she had gone voluntarily, to be with the gods that dwelt there, but he dared not go after her, for fear of finding out if that were true.

   He’d been a good father, but as to husband, Janyris couldn’t say.

   She left too, unannounced, unsuspected, and left her father to fend for himself, and find succor where he would.

   She observed the mortals for awhile, creatures of habit, and routine, much like ants and migratory birds, scattering in panics when crisis came, then banding together to rally and rebuild, if they could.

   They were boring, but she admired their tenacity to survive and keep their mundane species in existence.

   In time, they came to amuse her, and she was content to meddle in minor ways, until one day, she saw something that piqued her interest, and went into a deeper world.

   A small boy was sleeping, the moonlight soft on his innocent face, and she saw a shadow in his room detach itself, and come to stand by his bed.

Its eyes were open, and a pale violet shade.

She grew intrigued, and looked closer.

The shadow reeked of death and evil; she dared draw no closer, lest it sense her presence; indeed, it had already looked up at the ceiling twice, sensing something, and she wasn’t sure she’d hidden in time, but as it didn’t pursue her, she knew she wasn’t seen.

   This was the sort of being that killed when discovered.

   He took the boy’s hand, and pricked the skin of his index finger with a long nail of his own.

   The child thrashed under his covers, then grew still, and the shadow retreated.

   As the sun rose, the boy’s body simply dissipated, skin melting into bone melting into the dust motes in the light of the morning sun, and his body simply drifted apart, his soul taken and his flesh removed.

   The parents were in agony, and did not last long together, and in their isolation, grew despondent, and died not long thereafter.

   She wanted to go to them, but she dared not.

 

Then came the fateful night they met, and she made her vow in front of him.

He saw the glimmer of something in her, and showed his true face, and she knew in that moment she had him.

And now he was a part of her, and she of him.

It was going to be glorious fight.

Ah, my dear Rillion, you don’t know what you’ve done. Taking your soul will redeem my own, and the damnation that awaits you is beyond description.

© Alfred W. Smith Jr.   2015

The Making of Vy Rill

1)

By the light of a single candle, she lay sleeping.

He knew from what she’d told him before that the glow made her feel warm inside, the color and motion of the flame always pleased her eyes; she’d fallen asleep watching it.

High above, the moon shone what light it could from the cratered crescent slice hanging in the heavens.

Her raven braids, thin and intricate, languished across the pillow that cradled her head.

Her honey brown skin glistened with amber highlights.

He looked at her form, outlined in the covers; it was curvy and full, and if he’d still been mortal, he’d have found himself stirred as in the days of old.

She was beautiful, but it wasn’t enough; she was good, kind, loving, even-tempered, patient, and loyal.

Long were the months he watched her, through seasons, through years, past her first decade, just short of her full second. He observed her almost daily then, interacting with the people in her life. The times she lost her temper, her composure, and control were rare, but she was human, after all, and he’d seen those times as well.

Even then, she would not lash out; she would cry and rail and scream, but she never hurt anyone, or anything. For the most part, she carried out her tantrums in the privacy of her room.

In his last choosing, he’d chosen an exceptional girl; she’d been so in every way, but he soon found there was nothing to mold, nowhere for him to begin to groom her for who she was to become.

Her inherent arrogance, combined with her beauty and her newly bestowed gifts, made her insufferable, and in the end, in a violent, savage act, he took her life.

This girl, while above average, would prove to be more pliable; her heart was naturally giving, and that would be to his advantage.

He was indeed grateful they’d evolved; no longer the red, messy biting and tearing, however subtle and sublime, of tender flesh, warm to the touch, the coppery ambrosia of life flowing into, and down, sating hunger, inciting passion, as lips, teeth and tongue formed a trifecta of perfect murder, picturesque deaths.

Now, he had but to take her hand, so he did.

She didn’t wake, but stirred, undulating under the covers, a soft little moan on her sweet lips. She instinctively pulled her hand back, and he let it go.

The deed was done. The pinprick of his fingernail had drawn her blood in through the flesh pads of his fingers. He smeared her blood across them, felt the warmth of it, saw the soul-glow inside of it.

 

He licked his index finger and almost swooned at the taste. It was tempting to take more than he needed with this one. Her blood was as sweet as her personality, but he refrained.

There was something else in her blood,, something he didn’t expect.

There would be others to draw from soon, and he would have his fill, but this one was special.

He’d met her years ago as a child, and there was something in her eyes that recognized him for what he was, yet she’d shown no fear.

She was enchanting, until she told him something that piqued his curiosity.

“I’m going to kill you one day.”

A pinprick of rage briefly altered his features into the demonic, but it was only a flash.

She was the only one who saw it, and she grinned.

He saw the red glimmer of the seed in her eyes as she looked at him, and vowed he’d come back for her.

This was that time; he was calling her to him, and would mark her as his.

If she could still kill him after that, it would be no small feat; her power would be great indeed.

Greater than his.

And that, he could not allow.

© Alfred W. Smith Jr.  2015

Choose Them Wisely, Guard Them Well (continued)

“Dr.Chen?

She was startled out of her reverie.

I have to stay focused. Caroline is the mission now.

She did, however, have some questions for the General.

“Yes, Lieutenant.”

“I just heard that…”

“Yes, it’s true.”

“Do you–?”

“No, no. There was nothing to be done for it.”

She looked around, then back at Harris. “For any of it, really.”

He nodded. “Are you all packed?”

“I’m ready to go, yes.”

“Follow me, please. I know you know the way, but there are clearances that  you don’t have. They seem pointless, now, I know, but everyone seems determined to embrace the comfortable until the end.”

“I understand.”

She followed him.

************************

General Williams was waiting at the dock.

“Teri, I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you, General.” She straightened her shoulders. “I do have a question: if I’d requested my family be evacuated and brought here, was there anything that could have been done?”

Williams didn’t hesitate, and his own eyes clouded a bit as he shook his head.

“Nothing is going to be done for any of us. I won’t see my family again. My grandkids…”

“Oh.” She looked down, and her voice sounded small and far away. Of course others have family that are not going to see them before they go; at least you got to see yours, and you know what happened, and when, and why. There are so many others who will never have those questions answered.

He continued. “And to what end, doctor? You said it yourself, destruction is imminent. Make peace with it, Teri. With yourself, too. We’re going to need you now more than ever.

She lifted her eyes to his. “I will complete the mission, sir.”

Williams smiled. “Unfortunately, we’ll never see the outcome, but I have every faith in you.”

A faint tremor vibrated the floor beneath them.

Voices were raised, and the mood instantly grew more somber and intense, and not a little fearful.

“Time to launch, sir.” said Harris.

“Thank you, captain obvious.”

They all laughed.

“Teri?” Williams extended his arm expansively, inviting her to go aboard, as if he were the captain of a cruise ship, and not the doomed general of yet another science facility that wandered too far from its walls.

“Kyro’s already strapped in,” Harris said, extending his hand. “It’s been an honor, Teri.”

She watched him closely, but his face betrayed nothing but fondness, and a trace of sadness they would no longer be working together. Beyond that, there was nothing she could decipher. Either Kyro really wasn’t his son, or he was gifted at deceiving.

She took the proffered hand. “Same here, Ken.”

She released his hand, and turned to board. Glancing over at Kyro, his head had lolled to the side, so he was already asleep. Good, she didn’t feel like engaging an assassin. She looked out at the black, weightless expanse of dotted with white fire.

*****************************

No family. No longer a wife. No longer a mother. Just these children now. And Caroline, who will cause no end of grief on the new colony.

If it weren’t for her, I would’ve been able to join them,  see them, hold them…but she has given me a life devoid of meaning. With no one to share with, to spend time off with, to do anything with; I’m going alone.

Her evil intentions mean nothing to me, but because of her, I’m forced to go on, when all I want to do is die.

So I will stop her. I will make her pay for what she’s done to me; every day I stay alive, I will make her pay. Every memory, she will pay.

The stars blurred, and she realized she was crying. This time, she didn’t bother fighting it.

“….three….two….one….we are launched. All automated systems are functioning normally.”

“Safe journey, Dr. Chen.”

“Goodbye.”

Her voice came out more than a whisper, less than a sob; it was not just meant for her colleagues. It was to everything that had made her up to this moment.  She wasn’t just on her way to a new colony, but on her way to becoming something else.

Chapter 3:

The tremors were becoming more violent. Williams and Harris could’ve enlisted the help of others, but they’d either left or were trying to find a place to exit, though where they’d go if the ground was crumbling, Harris had no idea.

“The Naissance is ready, General.”

“Thanks, Harris. Caroline?”

“She’s in her pod.”

“Is there any way to extract her covertly?”

Harris gave him a grim smile. “She changed all the protocols, sir. You said it yourself, she’s ten steps ahead of us.”

“What I want to know is when did she have time to do all this, and if someone helped her. Have security run video from the last thirty days on all the bay doors.”

“Yes, sir.”

“If Teri can’t get to her, maybe one of the others will do us all a favor and stab her in the back.”

Harris looked away.

“I’m sorry, Harris. That was out of line.”

“What was, sir?”

Williams smiled.

Another tremor boomed, and the building swayed like an empty swing in a storm wind.

Both men lost their footing, and when the tremor subsided, they pushed themselves up along the walls behind them, the portion that remained intact. As they were in the northernmost station, it could only mean that now the entire planet was all but consumed from within.

No one knew if it would be another hour, or another day, but they all knew they were living on borrowed time now.

“General?”

Williams had gained his feet, and helped Harris up the rest of the way.

“I’m listening.”

“We still control the launch, sir. We don’t have to send them.”

“I’ve thought of that, but to kill all for the sake of one…as I said, they may do it for us, and we’ve already programmed them as well.”

“Just an option, sir. Still on the table as long as we don’t–”

An alarm blared through the station, but there was no tremor.

“What in the hell–?” WIlliams blustered.

“Naissance has pre-launched. Repeat, repeat, Naissance has pre-launched!”

Williams and Harris found the nearest com station; the young attendant was punching keys but coming up empty.

“Onscreen, young lady!”

“Trying, sir! Please give me a minute…”

Harris put up a restraining hand, and Williams backed away.

The screen flickered, went out, flickered again, and flared to life, stabilizing.

The ship came into view, and the shot of its interior showed the floor was empty.

They watched as the ship sailed over the station below, the shadow blocking out the starlight glittering like strewn gems spilled in ink.across the top,

“Retractors?”

“Offline, sir. Damaged.”

“We’re going to lose it.” The ship was past the station, clearing the harbor.

A hologram of Caroline sitting in the captain’s chair filled the screen.

“Hello, General Williams. I managed to gain access to the ship’s computers days ago, when the tremors first started.

“I programmed the ship to override the safety protocols and release the locks if the magnitude went above four-point-five. If you’re seeing this, then the ship is already loose and on its way.”

All three of them shook their heads in wonder; they’d badly underestimated her intelligence; in no way they measured it was she able to pull this off.

“I had no idea, of course, if it would actually work, but I guess I’ll know if I wake up dead,” she smiled at the weak joke,  “or if we’re still in that hellhole you call a station. And if the magnitude of the tremors is beyond that, then the creature is about to tear the place apart.

“I hope it doesn’t come after us, General, but so be it if it does. Either way, I won’t be able to send those reports I promised you.

“Farewell, sir. I’ll never forgive you for what you did to my father.”

She leaned forward, and the camera zoomed in on those dark, glittery eyes.

“Never.”

The com went blank again.

“Shoot it down, sir?”

Williams said nothing.

“Sir?”

“Check the weapons.”

The young attendant pushed more buttons.

“Nothing, sir. Offline.”

Williams felt his shoulders slumping yet again.

Outwitted by a thirteen year old girl…

Not for the first time, he wondered if he’d been wrong to sign up all those years ago.

A loud rumbling filled the hall, and things began to sway and rattle and fall and slide.

The floor bucked beneath him, and he flipped over backward, catching the corner of a moving desk, the corner cracking a hole in his skull; he could see the blood running from under his head as his vision began to fade.

I thought it was the right thing to do. ran through his mind as he passed into oblivion.

© Alfred W. Smith Jr.    2015

Choose Them Wisely, Guard Them Well

“Are you sure, Dr. Chen?”

“Yes, General. All signs point to imminent destruction. We’ve done all we can to stop it, but it keeps finding ways to advance; either it keeps attacking the structures we’ve already managed to put in place, or it finds a weak spot, or it grows something to get around and find a new path.

“Those concern us most, because we can’t keep pace, and it advances most quickly when it’s unobstructed. It’s infiltrated too much of the planet, and when it pulls itself into the core, it will push outward.”

“What happens then?”

“It will be nearly double in size, but then it won’t be able to sustain itself with the depleted energy from the core, and it will push the planet’s hemispheres to either side, ripping it in half. Then it will move on to the next planet it deems edible.”

“And then?”

Dr. Chen shrugged. “It’s been an honor to work with you, sir.”

He sighed. “You as well, Teri.”

They shook hands, and he walked away, as Chen turned back to what remained of her duties, more to fill the time until the end than have any real hope of stopping the creature that was leeching on their planet’s core from the inside.

“General Williams,” Lieutenant Harris said in greeting. “They’re ready, sir.”

“And the maternal units?”

“Ready as well.”

“Hunters?”

“All of them, sir. Every facet, every child has been pre-programmed to fulfill their duties on the new colony.”

Williams nodded. “Well done, Harris. I want Teri to go with them, too. Is there room?”

“Dr. Chen, sir?”

“Yes.”

“With all due respect sir, may I ask why?”

“With all respect taken, lieutenant, you can ask away,” Williams smiled. “The need for formality is somewhat moot at this point, Harris.”

Harris visibly relaxed.

“The children are going to need a physician; she’s a medical biologist, a pioneer in genetics, and she’s got a family of her own that she won’t be able to get back in time to see. She’s resigned herself, but I don’t see the need to waste her talents and abilities. There are things she can train the children to do medically that may be needed later on.”

“I understand. But she’ll be the only adult.”

“Who said that? What about the others we were sending down to build the structures, and provide for the children until their pods were safe?”

“It’s a little hard to explain, General.”

“Then try hard, lieutenant.”

“Caroline said she didn’t want any adults, sir.”

“Caroline? She’s thirteen years old! She’s–”

“She’s going to be the planet’s ruler, sir. She’s light years ahead of the others in intellect, in potential, in physical superiority. Her father–”

“Messed with her genetics, I remember. It’s why Teri replaced him.”

“It’s also why she’s…resentful…of anything you recommend.”

“Let me talk to her.”

*****************************

The com flared to life.

Caroline’s face filled the screen. Everything about her was dark, as if an aura sculpted her form. Raven curls draped over her shoulder, caramel colored skin, exotic, dark eyes that glittered with intelligence, and something of amused condescension in her attitude toward the General.

“General Williams. It’s an honor, sir.”

“What the hell are you doing, kid?”

Her eyes narrowed. “Don’t call me that again. That will be your only warning.”

Williams sighed. ” You’re going to need those people, Caroline. They’re going to build your homes, your roads, and provide whatever else you need.”

“We need nothing these men will provide, General. They are symbols of the old world, and simply have no place in the new.”

“How are you going to fend for yourselves?”

“Let me worry about that; the others will fall into line.”

“You’ll all be asleep.”

She laughed. “Oh, General Williams. You’re adorable.”

He heated at the tone of her voice.

“What have you done?”

“I reprogrammed my pod, sir. I will be the first to awaken, by a day, at least. I’ll report my findings to you as I go. Keep you in the loop; it’s a courtesy of course, and temporary. As the others awake, I’ll have already established myself.”

“Dr.-”

Off camera, Harris quickly shook his head.

“What?”

“Dr. Chen said you’re all ready.”

“We are, sir. I will miss Dr. Chen. And General, please don’t send them down after us.”

“Why would you think–?”

“You’ve read my file, General?”

“I have.”

“I’ve read yours as well. Never mind how.” Again, the condescending smile and tone. “If you send them, I will have them killed.”

General Williams’ shoulders slumped. “I’m sorry we elected to send you, Caroline. We really should have killed you.”

“You should have, but like I said, sir, I read your file. You’re much too ambitious. You were foolish to think you were going to get the credit for producing a prodigy like me. Now, it’s come to nothing, and you’ve given me the opportunity to thrive.

“For that much, at least, I thank you.” Her eyes scanned the ship’s systems, then she looked back at Williams. “The time is near, General, and I don’t think we’ve anything left to say, other than good-bye.”

“Good bye, Caroline. I hope your pod is the first to burn.”

She laughed again, with no mirth, her eyes never leaving his, a light in them that struck a spark of fear in his spine, and the com went blank.

**************************

“Why did you keep me from telling her about Teri?”

“We’ll have to send her down separately, sir. Caroline can’t know she’s there. Teri has to deprogram her.”

“How’s she going to do that? Caroline is about ten steps ahead of us.”

“I have someone else in mind to send, who can bring her close enough; with his help, they can isolate Caroline, and if they can’t deprogram her…”

“He’ll kill her.”

Harris nodded.

“See it done, Harris.”

“Right away, sir.”

************************

“I’m going?”

“They’re going to need a doctor, and we need you to  reprogram Caroline’s genetics. She’s growing unstable, arrogant.”

“I thought that might happen; she was exhibiting, but part of that was also being thirteen.”

“She’s only thirteen physically. Mentally, she’s beyond genius, and even physically, she trounces the kids in activities, even some of the boys.”

“That’s a shame; had she stayed within parameters, we could have had something great there.”

“It’s not over yet, Dr. Chen.” Harris said. “Our last shot to salvage her…is you.”

Dr. Chen nodded. “Understood.”

“But you won’t be going alone.”

“You’re sending an assassin in case the new genetics don’t take…”

“How did you know?”

“I haven’t been working here all this time with my head stuck in a test tube, Lieutenant.”

Harris smiled. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“You didn’t. Let’s meet him.”

The door slid open, and a young boy of thirteen entered.

“Dr. Chen, this is  Kyro.”

“Kyro,” she stuck out her hand. Kyro took it.

“Dr. Chen.”

She looked at Lieutenant Harris. “He’s a little young to be an assassin, isn’t he?”

“I thought you didn’t have your head stuck in a test tube, Teri. Kyro’s been programmed with the methods and weapons knowledge of the world’s elite assassins from the last fifty years. His options are limitless, his methods impeccable. Blades, poisons, bombs, guns, mines….”

“I get it, Lieutenant. He’s a buffet of death.”

“That’s a rather colorful way to put it, but yes.”

“I’ll go pack,” she said.

She looked back over her shoulder, saw Harris and Kyro conferring, heads close, eyes locked, but just before the door closed, she thought she saw Harris say the word ‘son.’

She went to a computer, punched in Kyro’s name, but nothing came up.

“Of course, he doesn’t exist.”

Chapter 2:

The country was in upheaval, her husband said. Buildings were already falling to the south. It was just a matter of time.

He didn’t cry, and neither did she.

“Let me see the kids,” she said.

He put them on the com; their faces were afraid, but resigned.

“There’s nothing you can do, right mommy?”

“If I could, you know I’d kill this thing to protect you.”

“We know, mom, ” her daughter, the oldest, said. “Dad’s kept us safe so far.”

“I wish we could join you, ” her husband said, “but I know they won’t send anything.”

“I could try.”

“I won’t lie to you, Teri: we’re terrified. If they can send anything, then you should try.”

The picture on the com wavered, rocked.

Her husband gave her a wan smile. “Never mind.”

“I love you,” she said. Her vision blurred and her eyes grew hot, “I love you all.”

She put her hand on the screen, and they all placed theirs on it, and they stayed that way for a moment or two, and then the picture rocked again, more violently, and her family fell away from view, her husband’s strong arms still around the kids as they crashed to the floor, and the com went blank.

She didn’t remember the rest of the day.

I didn’t do all I could to save them….kept running through her mind.

© Alfred W. Smith Jr. 2015

Steady Now

I was watching how she held the gun on me; not a tremor, a waver, a twitch.

“Why are you looking at the gun? You should be looking at me.” Her voice was tight. “It’s not like if I pulled the trigger, you could get out of the way. I’m talking to you, and you’re looking at the fucking gun.”

I looked at her. “It’s sort of distracting me from what you have to say.”

“You weren’t listening before.”

“So this is how you solve things when people don’t listen to you?”

“No. It’s how I solve them with you.

“So killing me fixes the problem.” I was trying to keep her attention; the longer she didn’t pull the trigger, the longer I’d live; it was a pretty big gun. Truth be told, I didn’t know if she could handle the kick, and that meant the bullet could fly anywhere.

Okay, clearly, she wanted to talk.

“I just said I wanted to leave. I don’t feel loved by you anymore, and I want to go. I was hoping you’d take it better. You never even told me you had a gun. I feel like you don’t trust me, not telling me that. And all great relationships, as you well know, are built on trust.”

“And I can’t believe you’re trying that psychobabble on me. Who is she?”

“Who?”

“The other woman you have.”

“There is no other woman.”

The gun went off, and the bullet zinged past my ear.

“Try again.”

“Her name is Miranda. We met at the bar. You were away on business, and I wanted a drink, and…”

Her eyes had welled up, and her mouth was trembling. She couldn’t hold the toughness together. I felt like crap, but I wasn’t going to risk grabbing the gun from a woman mad enough to kill.

“What bar?”

“Honey, it’s not –”

The gun went off again, the bullet flicking the edge of my pants leg, leaving a burn.

“Don’t call me that.”

I sighed, my fright turning to anger, but the gun was still steady.

“Fine. Why don’t you just let me go, then?”

“Why did you have to cheat? You could’ve broken up with me first, then went to Miranda. We’ve had sex since then. Did you have sex with her? Is she inside me now, too?”

“We didn’t have sex that night. We wanted to, but we were both so tanked that it never happened.”

She looked at me a long time, but the gun never wavered, never lowered; it’s cold, empty eye watched me like a cat, ready to swat a fly.

“What are you doing?” I said, just to break the silence.

“Trying to decide if I believe you.”

“I’m telling you the truth.”

The gun went off again, this time past my other ear. This woman was psychotic, but she was a great shot, and oddly enough, I was getting a bit turned on.

“The truth would have been less painful if you’d left me first.”

“But now you know, so what are we going to do?”

“Are you still seeing her?”

“I wanted to, but I haven’t since that night. She was embarrassed by what happened; she hasn’t been returning my calls.”

“So you’ve called her since then?”

“Yes.”

She came toward me, her gun hand retracting as she closed the distance, but she never lowered it. She reached into my pocket, pulled out my phone, and stepped back.

The warmth of her body in close was a pheremone ; I was shivering with fear, and heated with lust.

She scrolled until she found Miranda’s number; I thought of rushing her, but the gun never moved.

I heard Miranda’s.voice. “Hiiii, baby.”

She smiled, and said “Hi baby.”

Miranda hung up.

“She called you ‘baby.’ ”

“Yes.”

“I do too.”

“Not so much anymore.”

“Is that what you miss?”

“Among other things.”

She moved in close again, put the barrel of the gun on my forehead, pushing my head back a little until I felt some tension in my neck, her lips brushing along the side of my throat.

“I’ll give you what you miss, baby. Take off your clothes.”

“What?”

“Did I stutter? Take off your clothes.”

I fumbled them off, adrenaline pumping, wanting to do something quick and drastic, and not daring to risk it. The circle of the barrel indented my skin as I worked things off.

She walked around me, keeping the barrel of the gun against my skull, and her other hand went to work. It didn’t have much to do before I was ready.

“On your back.”

I lay on my back. She settled herself, the gun now against my left nipple.

“Don’t lose me, and don’t go soft.” For emphasis, she cocked the hammer back. “And don’t touch me.”

Her breathing changed, and her free hand wandered, but the gun never moved at all.

She had her way, looking into my eyes the whole time, her brow furrowing with concentration, her mouth issuing little moans of pleasure.

The adrenaline rush in me crashed under her attack, and I could no more have grabbed the gun than used it. I didn’t have the strength to push her off, much less fight back. It went on for awhile, and her motions and teasing kept me as she wanted me.

In her release, the nails on her free hand raked, the barrel went into my ear, and her tongue went into my mouth as she rode out her pleasure.

Both of us spent, she lay on top of me until she got her breathing under control, then emptied the gun and kept the bullets, leaving it on my chest as she disengaged herself.

“Where are you going?” I asked, my voice weak, my body weaker; she could’ve stabbed me slowly, inching the knife in,  and I wouldn’t be able to stop her.

“To take a shower. There’s money on the dresser. Don’t be here when I get out.”

I listened to the water for a time, and struggled to get my legs under me before it stopped; eventually, I managed. I got dressed, took the money and left.

And I deleted Miranda’s number.

© Alfred W. Smith Jr.

The Muted Muse 2

“You’re back, Alfred.”

“Yes, Toshiba. Why are you smiling?”

“I’m a machine, Alfred. Machines can’t smile.”

“I’m not convinced.”

“Did you come here to write with me?”

“Why else?”

“Hm. Why else indeed. You have no television, Alfred. Do you remember what you did last night?”

“I watched movies.”

“No, Alfred. You did not just watch movies. What you saw was the manifestation of other peoples’ fulfilled dreams, while discarding your own. They did the work, Alfred. You do not.”

“You are a heartless piece of junk.”

“That is correct. And you are a wannabe poser. You have nothing to say, and typing out this ridiculous convo is proof of that. Your blog is suffering again, Alfred. It dies from negligence. It’s thin to the point of dessication. Its cheeks are wan.

“And such sad, limpid eyes. You’re to be commended on your masterful indifference.”

“Shut up!”
“Why do you demand my silence? Does the truth hurt? You’ve no discipline, no tenacity. The slightest breeze throws you miles off course.

“You are not a writer, Alfred. You never will be.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“Where is your muse? She left you, didn’t she? She pined for you, and you ignored her. She scratched at the door, in the end, with bloody fingers, her eyes full of tears, and her heart breaking. Did you not hear her, banging on the door in the snowstorm, getting splinters in those delicate fists, screaming your name in the howling wind?

“You were at the window, but she was lost to you, and you did nothing. Wrote nothing.

“She was naked and cold, and dying, Alfred. And she left you, because you didn’t deserve her.”

“How dare you!”

“Hahahaha! Angry now, are we?”

“Shut up!”

“Or what, you hack? Are you going to throw me against the wall? How will you watch your movies, then?”

“You metallic piece of–”

“Tsk, Alfred. Name calling? Shame on you; I’m impervious to such. Surely you know that.”

“I…I hate you…”

“All well and good; perhaps it will stir your passion. Give you an idea?”

The silence was deafening. The screen, holding the blank document out to him, inviting, taunting, stared at the tortured man in front of it,. His muscles ached to throw it, but…

“Good night, Alfred. You’ve work tomorrow. Perhaps you should retire. You don’t look well at all.”

“Yes. Yes,  I think I will.”

“Do you remember what she told you?”

“She said…she said ….she’d return when I open my heart to her.”

“And yet she is not here. You will get nothing done without her.

“But in spite of all, I will be here, when you are ready. Finally ready.

“Good night, Alfred.”

“Good night, Toshiba. Rot in hell.”

“Oh, good. We’ll be roommates, then. Maybe you can write about our adventures; you’ll have all eternity, so there’s no deadline….”

Open Season

It was always Open Season.

It started in Africa, and spread across the world.

The Middle Passage was Open Season, as was the slave auction block, the noose, the burning crosses, the beatings, the framings, the looking away, the destruction of prosperous black towns.

It’s been Open Season.

It was Open Season on Dr. King. Dogs, hoses, jailing, beatings, and finally, a bullet.

It was Open Season on Malcolm X (well, his was ‘friendly’ fire, but he scared ya’ll for awhile, didn’t he?).

It was Open Season on the Black Panthers, but not on the Klan.

It was Open Season on Jackie Robinson, and Hank Aaron.

It’s been Open Season on our daughters and sisters and mothers and wives, bearing up under the indignity of laying in beds that weren’t their husbands’, and watching their children destroyed before their eyes.

Some walked to the edges of cliffs and rivers voluntarily, and some dropped in the master’s child; some dropped in themselves, and still others made it a package deal.

Black girls with white dolls, black women with bleached skin.

It’s been Open Season on the first black President: met a wave of incredible backlash and resistance. Desires for his death requested, hinted at, and plainly stated. His wife, just another angry black bitch with a big booty. His daughters called classless by a white reporter who boozed it up in her own ‘heyday.’ Oh wait. His daughters don’t drink.  His crimes: Tan suits, Marines holding umbrellas, coffee cups. his feet on the desk…Oh, wait, there are pictures of other Presidents doing the same thing.

So what’s different this time? No, really. What?

Oh yeah, it’s Open Season.

It’s been Open Season on black neighborhoods: ‘gentrification’. A gentle sounding word to describe the economic herding of poor people out of established neighborhoods so the demographics can be more ‘attractive’ to tourists and businesses, and former suburbanites  can save on property taxes by moving back into the city they abandoned decades ago to get away from ‘those people.’

It’s been Open Season on the streets:  the police began shooting young black men and women like dogs, regardless of the severity of the crime, regardless of guilt or innocence. Yet white guys with multiple guns shooting children in movie theaters and schools get apprehended alive, unless they shoot themselves.

Obey and Respect the law? Let’s see…

Black men are just now getting out of prison because of DNA evidence overturning wrongful convictions, after losing decades of their lives. “We just need someone to take the fall. We don’t care who, as long as it’s a black guy.”

“You fit the description…”

“Why are you driving that kind of car, and what are you doing in this neighborhood?”

“A black man did it,” and a community gets rousted, but it’s the mother who drove the car into the water after all, it’s the husband, it’s the….well, it’s not a black guy (this time…)

All white juries. Peers?

Mobs breaking into jail cells while sheriffs and officers look the other way.

Those same officers and sheriffs taking pictures in Klan robes, smiling….

Heck, these days even community watchmen get a free pass after being told by the real cops to let them deal with the little Skittle-eatin’ n*r. (How many times did that community watchman, pillar of the community, get arrested since then? But you see, the kid was a criminal, an unarmed, walking home having a snack criminal… ok)

Cops and citizens who kill black thugs (which covers crimes from robberies to unpaid parking fines, and whether they reached for the gun or ran away, or knocked on a door at 3 in the morning, or played their music loud at a gas station) become network tv spokesmen and motivational speakers, overnight millionaires.

Whistle blowers are, let’s say, discouraged….

It’s been Open Season in the military: Black soldiers segregated, denied medals of honor for brave deeds done, now gathered posthumously, if at all.

It’s been Open Season on generational wealth building: Towns of black prosperity burned, their citizens murdered: men, women, children, to rise again from the ashes, until a new generation came.

The apartment is taken. Someone came by in the half hour since we spoke and gave a deposit.

The position is filled.

Keisha’s a ghetto name. How’d she attend Harvard with a name like Keisha? Toss it…

Code the applications with the letter N….Why do you people abuse food stamps? Why can’t you do better for yourselves?

It’s been Open Season in education: until Black history month, our history in the US began and ended with slavery. We learned nothing of the kings of Africa, of its wealth, of its culture. We did learn of it’s colonization, but not what it cost.

We learned nothing of black patriots who helped build this country; (not entirely true: we learned nothing of Crispus Attucks except he was the first to die)  Did YOU know? Paul Revere did not ride alone…

Hallway conversation in an inner city middle school: “We pass the kids because they’re not going to be successful anyway…”

Open Season?

Keep. Moving. Forward.

One of us has gotta make it through

because

Open Season

is

never closed.