Under skies the color of amber, the priest walked across the ruined landscape. “And lo, behold man, sons of God,” he mumbled to himself. “Laid low in his wickedness he wrought destruction in my name.” His feet kicked up blackened sand as he walked. “Behold his life, ashes and dust.”
Create a scene/story in exactly 50 words
50 Words #7
It’s gone now, the big empty warehouse where the raves were held at. They say it was the vampires that spoiled all the fun, but personally I thought it was the drugs, altering our minds so much we thought we were meant to sparkle and drink the blood of others.
*create a scene/story in exactly 50 words*
50 words #4
I’m still in a state of denial. I refuse to believe the truth placed in front of me. Is this the way it always happens perhaps? First darkness, then light, then the throne before our eyes, so bright, yet unblinding in its reveal of all our shortcomings. Heaven, I’m afraid.
*create a scene/story in exactly 50 words *
50 words #3
The dragon sleeps now, his hunger held by the sacrifice left for him. He did not feed on the offering. There was something about her tears, a defiance in her eyes saying this would not be her fate. She would not be food for the gods. She would ride them.
*Continuing my 50 word challenge/prompt, I encourage you to do your own. The goal is to create a scene/story in exactly 50 words. No more, no less. Any subject or theme. The goal here is to just write and maybe practice some self editing in the process. I find this helpful when thinking about writing larger bodies of work. So anyway, have fun and write!*
50 words #2
The coffee cup is cold now, steam dissipated into the chill morning air. At the bus stop, the rain begins, and I wish for the woman with the blue umbrella to show early, coming down the street from her apartment to join me in the wait for the morning commute.
-Paul D Aronson
Thirteen: Peter, Aida, & Prisha
Peter Evers stood at the door inside the starlit lounge. Being on the main deck it afforded him a view of the ship’s activity. People seemed to be rushing nowhere fast. Through the glass he caught snippets of conversation. Things about “dead people in water” and “speedboats”, and “the guy just slid down the chain.” With the last, it made him think of his bodyguard Ethan. In his mind it was just the showboat kind of thing anyone hired by his dad would do. While he didn’t wish ill on the man, he thought as soon as he could he was sneaking out of here and getting out from under Ethan’s restrictions. There was nothing worse than being seventeen and stuck under an adult’s supervision.
He turned to see what the girls were doing. Prisha had stopped crying some time ago, and the lounge singer Aida had turned the TV above the bar back on. Images splayed across the screen showing carnage everywhere. Most of it were single shot live feeds as if the cameraman had strapped his video to a tree and ran for it. What was left behind was a view of the street, zombies walking, crawling, sliding, lumbering, trying their best to find live food that wasn’t escaping. The images were bad enough, but it was the sound that sent chills up his spine. Screams, moans, the crunch and munch of flesh and bone as zombies feasted, sometimes on each other.
He couldn’t understand why the girls were torturing themselves by watching it all. Peter guessed it was like driving by a fatal traffic accident. You knew it was horrible, and people were dead, but you just couldn’t tear your eyes away. He tried his best not to be drawn to it that way. Other things bothered him. Like what was going on board. It was obvious something was happening with all the flurry of activity. Were the zombies here too? He hated being locked up and out of the way, which is what Ethan had done with him while he went off running to wherever.
He looked back at the girls again. They could handle themselves, he thought. How hard could it be to keep others out the bar? With that he decided he wanted out. He wasn’t going to be stuck in here one second longer, he didn’t care how hot he thought Prisha was. He put his hand on the door handle and prepared to open it when something smashed against it.
He jumped back from the frantic face at the glass. It was a man with jet black hair and wild grey eyes. He was trying to look through the door and when his eyes saw Peter they grew wider and he began to pound on the frame.
“Aida!” he shouted. “Aida! Let me in!”
Peter looked at Aida. She had heard the shouts and beating on the door frame. Turning from the TV, she frowned. Something in her face told Peter she wasn’t ready for this. Whatever this was.
“Aida! Tell this little shit to open the door!” He began to thump his palm flat against the glass. The door itself shook.
Aida sighed. “Open the door, Peter.”
The boy looked at her as if to ask, are you sure? When she nodded grimly, he shrugged and threw the latch.
The man outside didn’t waste time. He shoved the door open, nearly knocking Peter down, and headed acoss the floor of the lounge towards the girls. ‘Trying to lock me out, Aida? Again?”
“No one is trying to lock you out, Jerome. You chose not to return last night. Guess you found some other room to sleep.”
He grinned. “It was a good room too. Wish you could have been there. Well, on second thought, maybe not.” He eyes caught sight of Prisha. ” Now, you however….”
Aida slapped him. “You pig.”
He seemed unaffected and laughed. “You know everybody is going crazy on deck over something. The three of us could get crazy on something too, you know?” He turned to glance at Peter. “Sorry kid, there isn’t room for two guys.” Then he smiled at the girls again. “Lock the door.” When Peter didn’t immediately lock it, the man glared at him with dangerous, almost empty eyes. If Ethan was here this situation would be different, Peter thought. But he wasn’t here. He’d left them here alone to face their own survival. “Lock the door,” the man said again, returning his psychotic gaze to the now frightened girls. He listened for the sound of the latch clicking and then smiled. He undid the cufflinks on his shirt and began to take it off. “It’s okay,” he said. “About time you took your punishment, Aida.” His slid his belt out of his pants. “Now which one of you likes to get restrained?” He looked at Prisha, staring hard into her dark frightened eyes, and licked his lips. He took a step towards her.
The chair hit the back of his head so hard the wood shattered against his skull. Peter held the remains of it in his hands as Jerome dropped to the floor with a resounding thud.
“So like, who did I just knock out?” the teenager asked, after they had tied Jerome’s hands behind his back with his own belt. “I can hit him again if it would help.”
Aida frowned and nodded at the unconscious man. “He’s Jerome Stipe. My sad excuse for a boyfriend.”
Peter looked up. “Shit lady, i think you need a new boyfriend. My bodyguard Ethan is available I think.”
Aida laughed a little, as he was the same man she’d tried to get to dance with her during last night’s performance. “We’ll probably need a bodyguard when Jerome wakes up.”
“I think we should call security,” Prisha suggested. “I know he’s your guy and all, but….”
Aida had already picked up the phone and dialed the number. She had to be strong while she had the support of others. Last time she’d called security on him she had been alone and earned a couple cracked ribs for it.
While the Nigerian talked to security, the Indian girl walked over to Peter, who was making sure the prisoner’s belt was as tight as he could get it. “Thank you,” Prisha said.
“No problem. I couldn’t let him hurt either of you.”
“I was very scared,” she confessed.
He nodded and tried to be cool, but he felt the truth was better. “Yeah, me too.” He looked at her and smiled. “I saw Ethan headbutt a guy unconscious before, but I thought i should use a chair.”
She smiled back. “Good decision. Why hurt your cute head, right?”
Peter raised an eyebrow at the mention of cute, but when she turned her face away in embarassment he decided she didn’t mean anything by it. She was just being grateful.
“Well, here’s hoping he don’t wake up soon,” he said getting to his feet. “I’d hate to break another chair.”
Prisha offered a smile. “Well, thanks for protecting us. Not everyone would have done that.”
Peter was trying to think of a zippy one-liner to say that would make him sound like an action hero at the movies, when Aida said, “I can’t get the phones to work. Someone will have to go get security.”
They all looked towards the door. There was still a lot of activity outside. People dashed by running in both directions, but most seemed to be heading towards the rear of the ship, peering over railings as they went.
It wasn’t the same panic as what was occuring on television, but Peter felt nervous about it just the same. He looked at Aida. “I think we should move Jerome somewhere and then all of us go. I got a feeling it’s not going to be too safe alone.”
“There’s my dressing room. It’s a glorified broom closet really.”
“Can it be locked from outside?”
“Well shit,” Peter mumbled.
Prisha walked over to the glass door and picked something up. “How about this?”
In her hands, she held a wooden doorstop, obviously used to hold the entrance open during peak hours.
“That will work. Come on Aida, help me get him back there.”
As they both bent down to hoist Jerome’s limp body up, Aida asked, “Where did you hit him?”
Peter looked at her strangely. “In the back of the head. Why?”
Aida looked at both her companions with a look of bewilderment. “Because there’s a chunk out of his arm.”
“Zombie Drift” 2019 P. D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.
Authors note: This short story was created from a writing prompt on twitter. I can’t remember who posted it, but the first paragraph here was the prompt. The rest of the story is mine, inspired by it. Hope you enjoy it.
Around The Corner
The old homeless man didn’t talk to people. He was dead silent on the church steps, while the other street people pushed raucous carts and screamed obscenities. “You,” he said, lifting a gnarled finger, his eyes milky. “I see death around the corner.”
The woman with the baby carriage looked at him in shock, then horror. Quickly she pushed it in the other direction, hushing the baby within the whole way.
The homeless man put his hands in his lap and was silent again. A young couple, holding hands and giggling, crossed the street not far from where he was. Once again he lifted his gnarled finger and pointed. “You,” he intoned. “I see death around the corner.”
Very quickly, the couple hurried down the sidewalk, casting furtive glances back at him. Their hushed voices revealed to any passerby their uneasiness at being spoken to by this ancient, dirty faced wretch. Once gone however, they didnt think of him again, and the old man placed his hands in his lap in again.
Another old man, this one better dressed and groomed, hobbled down the walk with the use of a cane. Despite his limp, he seemed accustomed to it, and moved briskly on shaky, spindly legs. The homeless man pointed at him and gave his usual proclamation. “You. I see death around the corner.”
The old man stopped briefly, wobbling on his cane. He didn’t look at the homeless man, but just shook his head. Then he resumed his unsteady, but sure walk. He didn’t even see the man lower his hands back to his lap. Just another beggar, he reasoned.
On the church steps the homeless man remained, quiet and reserved between the occasional finger pointing and warning. Everyone either ignored or avoided his judgements as they went about their day.
A cab pulled up to the curb on the opposite side of the street. The old man watched its rear door open and a very well fashioned figure emerged. Dressed to the nines in a pressed formal tuxedo and top hat, sporting a polished silver tipped cane, the passenger paid the driver. The cab moved on and the smartly dressed gentleman stood on the opposite sidewalk. He pulled a pocket watch from inside his waist coat and looked at it. He nodded and smiled, looking up at the church building.
The homeless man sat undisturbed and watched the figure cross the street. Slowly, he lifted his finger and pointed at the stranger. “You,” he said, as the man stopped at the steps, and leaned nonchalantly on his cane. “I see death around the corner.”
The stranger smiled. “Of course you do,” he replied in a deep monotone voice. He looked at the homeless man who just stared back, neither one wavering from their half smiles. For the stranger, his smile seemed to suck the very joy from the surrounding air. For the homeless man, his smile was one of a person who had ran a race aimlessly only to find himself at the finishing line among friends.
The stranger held out a black gloved hand. “Shall we?”
The homeless man lifted his hand, his finger no longer pointing outward, and took the stranger’s gentle grasp. Allowing the stranger to help him stand, he got up. He slipped his arm inside the stranger’s and looked up into his dark eyes. “Thank you,” he said.
“My pleasure,” the stranger replied, and the two began to walk together down the walk. No one paid them any attention. The world went about its business. And the two figures disappeared around the corner.