Thursday, August 22, 2019

WEP Red Wheelbarrow

Red Wheelbarrow WEP + IWSG Writing Challenge
It was dark when I finished. The sun had set hours ago, and if you wanted to survive you didn't dare even light a candle once that happened.  But I had to finish what I was doing and I couldn't wait until morning.  Still, I wasn’t quite done yet. I still needed to dispose of … it.


I was surprised at how odd it was that I no longer was able to even think of it as something that was once human. But then again, this wasn't really a very humane time for any of us, was it?

Perhaps there was something here, in the garage.  I reached out blindly and took a few steps to what I thought was the rear of the garage.  I hadn't planned for it to happen here, but sometimes an opportunity arises and you just have to grab it.

My knee hit something hard in the pitch black and I reached my hand down cautiously.  Metal.  Cold as ice in this weather.  Rounded.  Was that a handle?  I shuffle walked around the edge and stubbed my bare toe on something.  Damn that hurt.  Bending even further down now, I felt a tire.  What was this?  A wheelbarrow?  Perfect.

I had come in here looking for something.  What, I couldn't even remember now.  Shock must be setting in.  Adrenaline.  The killing could do that to someone.  Killing?  Is that even what it was?  Weren't they already dead?  Well, maybe not.  I didn't know the science behind it all.  There wasn't enough time in the day to waste it trying to understand what had happened.  Once the sun went down and the electricity was shut off everywhere, all you could do was hunker down and wait for sunrise.  Try to sleep if you could through the noise they made.

It was the noise that would really make you crazy.  The last bit of humanity that they had, and you almost wished they didn't.  It was like listening to a wounded animal.  That deep guttural moaning of something not quite dead yet, but very aware and terrified that it was soon going to be.  It was the sound of fear.  You could even smell it on them when they came close to you.

No one knew how or where it started.  Almost overnight it just "happened."  Newspaper reports said that it was something from space that came down with a dead satellite.  Television newscasters said that it was a biological weapon experiment gone wrong.  The vegans said it was from chemicals in the meat.  The meat industry said it was pesticides on the plants.  Bible thumpers said it was "The Enemy" or "Satan."  Satanists said it was God.  The Left said it was The Right, and The Right said it was the Conservatives.   I really didn't care anymore.  I just wanted to survive.

I rolled the wheelbarrow back to where I thought it was on the floor.  That's odd.  Maybe it is over there just a bit?  I stretched my foot out, not wanting to really touch it again, but knowing I had to find it to get it into the wheelbarrow.

With all the fingerpointing, we still didn't know how it was transmitted from person to person, or if it was airborne, in the water, or just a sudden mutation of everyone's DNA.  You could go to bed with your significant other and wake up with ... something else entirely.  Only you wouldn't even know it until after the sun went down.  For some reason, the artificial light showed you what it really was.  Like it reflected the light differently, even candlelight.

Where is it?  I could have sworn it was ... ah, found it.  Thank God.  I was starting to freak out a little.  Ugh, what a smell.  Deep breath, hold, get it in the wheelbarrow, turn, breathe, again.  Watch out for the shovel that I used to kill it, don't stub ... ouch!  Damn it!  Why didn't I put shoes on before I came in here?  Oh, yeah, now I remember why I came in here.  Shoes.  I'd left my shoes in here because they were muddy after the rain, so I took them off before I shut the garage door.

The thing about it all was that it wasn't even really considered dangerous.  I mean, no one had been killed by one that I knew of.  But we didn't waste any time killing them.  Because ... I don't know why.  If they weren't dangerous, what were they?  Different?  They didn't look different in the daylight.  It was just after dark when you knew they were.  Because of the sound.  And that smell.  Wait, is that sunlight under the garage door?  Finally!

I opened the garage door and turned to see what it looked like.  The wheelbarrow was red with all the blood and gore.  I'd grabbed the shovel when I heard it and smelled it after I flipped the light on in the closed garage.  Swinging wildly, I'd hit the bulb and plunged the garage back into darkness, but I could hear it screaming in fear and pain as I struck it again and again.  I must have hit it a thousand times trying to make sure it was really dead, not knowing where I was hitting, just hearing the blade of the shovel hit flesh and bone again and again.  Splatter had hit my face and hands, and I'd almost slipped once in the blood on the floor.

In the daylight, I could see that it was not as large as I had thought it was, and wait ... is that blond hair?  Those pajamas, they look just like ... oh no no no no no no no NO NO NO NO NO NO NO ... DJ! My son my baby boy my DJ!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Word Count: 972:FCA
This is my first time writing with "Write...Edit...Publish" and I welcome your comments!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

7 ~ An Unmasked Truth

River at Drifting Through Life will be hosting Words on Wednesday for the month of August. This rotating party of words was started by Delores a long time ago. Computer issues led her to bow out for a while. The party was too much fun to let go, and now Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast.
Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, what have you. We can use some or all of the prompts.

1 ~ Completely Opposite but Exactly the Same
2 ~ Blazing
3 ~ Kendall
4 ~ Two Birds
5 ~ Fox in the Trees

“So it is more useful to watch a man in times of peril, and in adversity to discern what kind of man he is; for then at last words of truth are drawn from the depths of his heart, and the mask is torn off, reality remains.”
― Lucretius
     Kendall's father, Horatio Alexander Creek, was called Horatio by all who worked with him, but Alex by his close friends and family.  His father had held an avid interest in war history and especially Lord Nelson whom he named his firstborn son after.  He actually hated the name Horatio but felt that it gave him an air of regality and commanded respect in the business world.  It also helped him to distinguish the people within his trusted circle and his enemies rather quickly.   If the truth were to be told, which Alex seldom did anyway, there were fewer than a handful of people who even knew what his middle name was.  Alex trusted no one.  He hadn't made it as far as he had in business by trusting people.

     He stood before the full-length mirror in a walk-in closet that was larger than some New York apartments, adjusting a coral-colored tie.  Taking matching colored endangered coral cufflinks out of a box, he slipped them onto his handmade white linen French cuff shirt.  He glanced over at the wall-mounted television to his left and called out "Weather."  Instantly the channel changed from the stock exchange to The Weather Channel.  Noting that the evening temperature was once again going to be cooler than expected for August, he walked across the room and pulled down a black vicuña wool suit.

     Normally he would conduct all of his business meetings at Masa, where he expected his clients to pay for the entire meal, a bill that could sometimes be several thousand dollars depending on how many were dining with him.  Dining at Masa served to let him know how serious the client was in investing with him, and it also gave him free publicity as the paparazzi delighted in selling photos of the elite clientele to New York's Page Six.

     But some business meetings demanded the utmost discretion, and for those, he held them in Central Park where two men casually walking and talking along one of the many random paths would draw little attention, and even more important, be less likely to be overheard or photographed.

     As he adjusted another piece of endangered coral, this time a black coral tie-tack, there was a knock at the door of the closet.

     "I wasn't aware you were going out tonight, Father.  I was hoping we could have dinner tonight and go over some of the details for Blaze's foundation."
     "Um, yes, well I've got a business meeting tonight with a potential investor and it will have to wait for another night."
     "Perhaps I could join you?  I haven't eaten at Masa's in quite a while, and I would like to learn more about this side of things.  Excuse me for saying so, Father, but there has been talk that you will be stepping down sooner than you anticipated?"

     The color left his face and Alex turned quickly looking at Kendall in surprise, "Talk?  What do you mean?  Who has been talking?  What have they said?"

     Kendall was caught off-guard by his father's apparent shock at what he had said, "I'm sure it is nothing more than watercooler gossip, sir.  You know how you strike fear in everyone.  Perhaps it was just an associate's wishful thinking?"
     "Umph.  Perhaps you should be spending less time around the watercooler and more time learning how to be a little more professional looking?  Who makes your clothes?  Make an appointment to meet with my secretary tomorrow and have her give you my tailor's information.  You look like you shop at Goodwill.  Now leave me.  I need to finish getting prepared for my meeting."

     Two hours later, just as Alex passed a rocky outcrop for the second time, a man stepped out of the shadows and walked alongside him.  Alex said nothing until the man had chosen an alternate path for them to walk that would take them deeper into the park and the dark.

     "Are you certain you weren't followed?"
     "No less than you are.  How certain are you that the money we are cleaning through the foundation won't be traced back to us?"
     "I'm positive.  My son is too stupid to know the difference between his ass and a hole in the ground, and his friend is even more of an idiot.  How certain are you that the drugs you are smuggling can't be traced to me or my company?"
     "I'm not sure my boss would appreciate what you are insinuating."
     "Which is?"
     "That your son is smarter than he is."

     Blaze sat in the living room reading through the stack of paperwork that Horatio had given him to sign.  He'd read through it three times already, but there was still something that seemed off about it.  As the daylight in the room began to fade, he reached up to the table lamp beside him and switched the light on.  If he had turned to look, he would have seen the small black microphone that had been placed just inside of the lampshade.  It might have made him curious enough to check all the lampshades in the room, but just as he started to turn his head the sound of a key in the front door lock caused him to look in that direction instead.

     "Kendall, come look at this."
     "What is it?"
     "The paragraph here about how the foundation will be funded.  I've read it four times now, and it just isn't making any sense to me.  It's like circular logic."
     "Didn't the corporate attorney go over it with you?"
     "No, your dad's assistant came by and dropped it off earlier.  He said to just sign where indicated and he would be back to pick it up in two hours.  He's going to be here in about 20 minutes, but I'm not signing anything I don't understand.  I'm not a rocket scientist, but it looks to me like the foundation is funding itself.  I just can't figure out where the money is coming from.  It also looks like both you and I would accept full responsibility and liability for any failure of the foundation to perform as promised."
     "Let me see that."

     Kendall sat down at the dining room table and read through the document slowly.  The more he read, the more he felt furious immobility begin to overcome him.  Why would his father have drawn up a contract like this?