This was written for me, but I’ll share it with you via #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya because I am a gentleman. This week’s prompt is “You find an electronic bug in your home,” which I, of course, took way too literally.

Bugged

“I first noticed the bugs in June. I assumed they were ordinary bugs, cockroaches. I called an exterminator. They came and fumigated my apartment.”

“That sounds like the logical step. Did that take care of your bug problem?”

“I thought it did. A few days later, I started hearing a buzz. I searched for it. I assumed I left a device charging somewhere. I checked all my charging stations, and there was nothing ready. I tried to ignore the buzz, but it got louder. I searched and searched for days. It was making me crazy. Then, I saw it.”

“Saw what?”

“The cockroach. They were still in my apartment.”

“Couldn’t it have been that one survived? Cockroaches are notoriously resilient.”

“They were everywhere. They were hiding from me, spying on me.”

“Spying? You think the cockroaches were spying on you?”

“I know they were. I caught one. They were robotic. I was bugged with bugs.”

“Why would anyone bug you?”

“I was a member of the underground working to overthrow our government. The masses were apathetic, pacified, brainwashed. It was up to us to start the revolution.”

“There was no revolution.”

“Of course not. They bugged us. They knew all our plans and rounded us up before we could put them into action.”

“Thank you, Winston. I’ll have the nurse bring you your medication.”

“Good evening, Dr. O’Brien.”

“Good evening, Julia. We’re going to have to increase Winston’s medication.”

“Oh no! Is it not working?”

“It’s not. He’s remembering.”

#TellTaleThursday: She Prayed

This was written for #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya. This one’s nowhere near as good as last week’s. Go read that one. The prompt this week is a visual. Yes, I’m catching up on all this week’s challenges today. I wrote four short stories today. You can go read them all in Vignettes. I’m sorry if they suck. I’m just throwing them out there like cabbage. No, that does not mean anything. It’s a random series of words. I’m spent. I’m about to go crash out in front of the mind-numbing television.

She Prayed

Throughout the drought, she prayed for rain.

Throughout the flooding, she prayed for the rain to stop.

When the water rushed through her house and swept away the baby in her basket, she prayed for her baby’s safe return.

When the basket floated out of her sight, she screamed for help, but the other villagers were busy saving themselves.

She went to the temple on the hill for help. She was turned away by the priests who were too busy with the flood and too afraid of the rising water to be bothered.

She splashed into the river. She fought her way through the deepening water and against the increasingly powerful pressure. As she trudged through, she prayed for the flood to dissipate.

The force of the water pushed her down. She fought to regain her footing. She splashed until she was upright and forging forward again. She prayed for the gods to keep her safe.

After three more slips, she was exhausted and lost in the darkness of the encroaching dusk when she heard the cries. With renewed purpose and vigor, she carried on. She pushed herself around the final turn where she saw the baby basked caught on a branch.

In the end, she learned the strength she needed didn’t come from external sources. It was inside of her. She was the only one who could answer her prayers. She let her prayers drown as she splashed her way to higher ground with the baby basket in hand.

#TellTaleThursday: Still, I Remained

This was written for #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya. I’m actually early this week. Yay! The prompt has to do with death, so it an easy one, way easier than last week’s cavalcade of colors. The prompt this week is “You spend a night in the cemetery.”

Still, I Remained

 
After the funeral, all in attendance slowly exited the cemetery. They piled into their cars and left in a much looser procession than they had arrived. Everyone else went home, back to their warm, cozy homes. Some spent time with their families and continued to mourn. Others went back to their everyday lives, grieving complete, gaining closure once dirt covered the casket.

Still, I remained.

It didn’t matter that it was getting dark or that it was raining. I couldn’t leave.

Other mourners came and went visiting various graves. Flowers were placed. Tears were shed. Words were spoken to tombstones that couldn’t reply. Questions were asked that could never be answered. None stayed long as the raindrops grew larger and fell harder.

Still, I remained.

It didn’t matter that the temperature was dropping. I couldn’t leave.

The sun set, never peeking out from behind the clouds. The rain slowed and eventually stopped. The clouds parted. The sun crept up painting the clouds purple, pink, then orange before revealing itself in the eastern sky.

Still, I remained.

It didn’t matter that a new day had begun. I couldn’t leave.

It was mid-morning, with the sunlight streaming through the trees. The caretakers were arriving for another day of work. New mourners were coming and going. Fresh flowers were left. More words were spoken, and questions asked that couldn’t be answered.

Still, I remained.

It didn’t matter that my family was home mourning for me. I couldn’t leave.

Still, I remain.

#TellTaleThursday: An Exercise In Finality

This was written for #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya. Yes, Thursday was yesterday. Thanks for noticing my tardiness. It’s up to 250 words on the prompt. This week is a visual prompt.

photo-1496024840928-4c417adf211d

The picture is of the Hindu celebration of Holi, which is also known as the festival of spring, the festival of colours (the other side of the world is still stubbornly clinging to that extra U), or the festival of love (or louve?). I am not going to attempt to write a story about a holiday I’ve only learned existed in the last 15 minutes. It looks to be a beautiful holiday in spirit and practice. It’s very colorful or colourful. Here’s a Wikipedia link. I was very close to giving up on this week all together before I found my story.

An Exercise In Finality

Too many heartbreaks, failed relationships, and unrequited loves finally got to Craig. He decided Denise was it. She was the last woman who would break his heart.

Craig turned to friends, but no one wanted to hear his tale of heartbreak and woe. He turned to alcohol and bhang but only felt worse in the morning.

Feeling helpless and hopeless, Craig did something he never imagined he would do. He got on his computer and started researching guns. He bought a 9mm Glock. He took a handgun beginners class and went to a shooting range.

At night, he lay in bed with tears streaming down his face holding his Glock to his temple. This became a nightly routine as he tried to work up the nerve to end it and made damn sure he knew how to use his gun so he wouldn’t get it wrong.

It turned out to be a good thing that Craig didn’t rush. He learned that shooting oneself through the temple isn’t always fatal. It was just as likely to end in serious brain damage. From then on he repositioned the gun to under his chin.

Day after day, Craig walked through his lonely existence. Night after night, he cried and prayed and tried to find the nerve.

One day, Craig walked into a coffee shop. That’s where he saw Sae. Her eyes shone like the sun through the dark clouds in his soul. He saw all the colors of the rainbow in her smile…

#TellTaleThursday: From The Window

This was written for #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya. It’s up to 250 words on the prompt. This week is a visual prompt.

14th-march

From The Window

Our hero watched out over the city from atop his perch. He was ready to leap into action at any moment. Only our hero is more of a zero.

He watched life pass him by from the window of his apartment. He saw young lovers pass through the alley by day. By night, he saw the prostitutes and drug deals. He saw muggings. He saw the police break up various criminal activities.

He yearned to be out there, to be a part of the life that unfolded outside his window. He longed to interact with people who passed by. He wanted to meet some of the beautiful women he could see from his window. He desired to be the hero that only existed in his imagination.

Every day he told himself today would be the day he would go out. He would smile at passersby. He would talk to people. He might even go into a shop and maybe get a coffee. Some days he made it as far the hallway before assuring himself that he would do it tomorrow. He made progress today. Tomorrow he would do it.

Finally, one day he woke up and decided he had enough. Today would be the day he ventured out into the world. For real this time. He would procrastinate no longer. He got up, shaved, showered, and put on his nicest clothes. He went over to the window and took one more look out before he jumped.

#TellTaleThursday: Party’s Over

This was written for #TellTaleThursday with Anshu & Priya. It’s up to 250 words on the prompt. This week’s prompt is “An uninvited guest to a party.” My first thought was “The Masque of the Red Death,” but Edgar Allan Poe already wrote that.

I struggled yesterday to write this. It seemed like a good idea, a good start, but it was feeling forced. Today, it hit me while I was in the shower. I was writing the wrong story. Now, it’s time to right that wrong story.

Party’s Over

“Hey, what are you doing here?”

“I’m here for you.”

“Who invited you?”

“I don’t need to be invited. I go where I’m needed.”

“Needed? Who needs you here?”

“You. You have something on your nose.”

“I’m just trying to enjoy the party.”

“Party’s over. Oops, out of time.”

“Did you just quote Prince?”

“I did. I’ve met him, you know?”

“I know.”

“I’ve met all the greats, Marvin, Aretha, James Brown, Whitney, 2Pac…”

“Don’t you meet everybody?”

“My line of work gives me opportunities to meet all kinds of people.”

“I’m sure. Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met?”

“Kurt Vonnegut.”

“What was he like?”

“Wild, crazy guy, but still logical and rational.”

“I bet.”

“Are you trying to stall me?”

“What? No. I’m just making conversation.”

“Conversation?”

“Yeah. It’s a party. Loosen up. Is everything always all business with you?”

“Yes. I can complete my tasks more efficiently that way.”

“Come on. You sound like a Vulcan or a robot. Here, you want some candy?”

“That candy is why I’m here.”

“Nice. See? Now, we’re talking.”

“It’s why the party’s over.”

“This? It’s not even that much. I’ve done way more in a single night.”

“Exactly.”

“No, no, no. Come on. Let’s talk about this.”

“Time’s up.”

“Wait… I’m not ready. I have so much more to do. So many things I haven’t done. I…”

“It’s time.”

“Can’t we make a deal?”

“No. There are no deals, no postponements. It’s time.”

With that, he touched my hand and…

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