Free Falling – Thursday Threads

Photo by Web Donut on Unsplash

Joe knew how to fly. His daddy had zoomed his infant son through the air, a sure-fire tactic to transform cries into peals of laughter.

On his fifth birthday, his uncle gave him a bicycle, and Joe discovered the joy of the wind in his hair. He spent every available hour outside burning around the cul-de-sac. It wasn’t long before the training wheels came off and Joe was in search of bigger thrills.

Bike tricks, wheelies, and stoppies were followed by plywood ramps. An upgrade to a motorbike provided powered flights into big air. There were crashes that demanded trips to the hospital where he collected plaster casts, splints, and stitches. He wore bruises with pride, badges of courage and testimony of a new skill attempted and mastered.

“Why can’t you keep your wheels on the ground?” his mother asked.

“Well, that’d be no fun,” Joe answered with a smile and a wink.

“I love the acceleration, the sensation of a rocket launch into space. Each jump lets me leave this world for a while. Time slows as the bike and I float in thin air. For a split-second, everything stops. The world’s demands fall away, and I am free.” Joe paused, eyes closed, joy painted his face and touched his mother’s heart.

“Pain doesn’t exist, misery is suspended, and life has meaning. Then I’m free falling. I return to earth knowing I bring a piece of that feeling with me.”

His mother ruffled his hair and hugged him tightly.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Beyond Intervention – Thursday Threads

Beckett slinked through the shadows. His glanced over his shoulder, slowing as he reached the corner. He hugged the darkest parts of the wall and surveyed the street. The lamppost cast a pool of illumination which he tried to look beyond, peering into the darkness. He couldn’t get caught.

He stood for long moments. The wind rustled in the trees, otherwise, nothing moved. It was now or never. He advanced, careful to blend into the gloom. Cradling his keys to keep them silent, he snuck into his apartment.

“Where have you been?” Lizzy’s voice made him jump.

“I took the trash out,” he said as he hung his coat on a peg.

“Don’t lie to me.”

Beckett brushed past her, not meeting her eyes. She grabbed his arm, hard.

“I know where you were.” Lizzy paused, leaning so close Beckett felt her breath on his neck. “I saw you writing,” she whispered.

Beckett pulled away and flopped on the couch.

“You promised me. You swore you were done with this reckless behavior.”

He didn’t want to acknowledge the pain he had caused. His shoulders slumped, and he covered his face with his hands.

“You know what they will do if they catch you.”

“I can’t help it. I know it’s forbidden, but the legends say once everyone wrote. It wasn’t restricted to the councilman and their dry edicts. There is so much more to writing. It is beauty and freedom.  I have no choice, Lizzy. I will write my stories.”

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Breaking Free – Thursday Threads

Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

Dodd stared at the slashed canvas. He still couldn’t believe Professor Addison had destroyed his work in front of the entire class.

“Cliched,” he said with the first cut.

“Uninspired,” he branded the second slice.

“Laughable,” his final slash of the utility knife toppled work onto the floor.

No one breathed, waiting for Dodd’s reaction. He stepped forward, retrieved his painting and left. When he arrived home, he threw it in the corner where it remained.

“You should know, Professor Addison is embarrassed,” Katie said smoothing the canvas pieces together.

“As he should be.”

“Aren’t you’re being a little harsh?” Katie glanced at Dodd before returning her attention to the canvas.

“Me? Harsh? What if this was your work? How would you feel?” Dodd turned and strode to the loft’s windows.

“He regrets his actions.”

“No. He regrets my canceled payments.”

“He says he understands. He doesn’t expect you to pay his fee, he just wants you back.”

Dodd laughed as he faced Katie.

“So, tell me, Katie, how many others have left his class? I wonder why? Perhaps they worry the tyrant will mutilate their work?” Dodd gestured to his painting.

Katie hung her head, and a ping of sorrow coursed through Dodd’s heart.

“Is there any way I can convince you to return? Consider your future,” she begged.

“Your husband is a brilliant artist and jealous of anyone who might surpass him. His actions tell me, my time has come. I promise you — The future will be different.”

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Cursed – Thursday Threads

Clay gazed into the mirror regarding the deep lines etched in his unfamiliar face. His thin pale skin sagged, accentuating tired, bloodshot eyes. Dark orbs scrutinized him, sliced through his bravado and accused him. He reached his hand toward the glass and hesitated. Gnarled, fingers wore protruding blood vessels that threatened to burst through parchment.

“Isn’t this a pretty mess?” his reflection mocked.

The image flinched, as the words cut Clay’s soul.

“The magic is gone,” Clay protested, “I can’t fix it.”

“Oh, but you can.”

“How?” Clay watched the tendons in his neck bulge as he spat the question. He reviewed and discarded his options, which he could count on one hand.

“I told you. You must lose to win.”

“You keep saying that, but it makes no sense. What more is there? I’ve given everything,” Clay’s voice broke, he bowed his head in defeat as he grasped the edge of the filthy sink to support his sagging frame.

“I had that dream again,” he admitted. “Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. But he’s coming for me.”

“Find the answer,” the words vibrated through him.

The command rolled like thunder, shaking every cell in his frail body. Clay relaxed and gave up. With the resistance gone, he felt the curse lift and his power surged in, filling the voids. Intoxicated from the rush, he looked at the mirror again, and saw a familiar face. It smiled at him

“Took you long enough,” his reflection said.

“Time to end this wizard war.”

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

On the Menu – Thursday Threads

snowballs coconut cakes

Photo credit: hddod on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

“They are so sweet,” Mira cooed as she bent over the makeshift hydroponic tray and reached to pet the furballs.

“Don’t touch them,” Dexter yelled, slapping her hand away.

“Ow. What the—? Why not? They want to snuggle,” she snapped at Dexter as she rubbed the red mark on her wrist.

“They bite.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she leaned toward them again.

“I have the scars to prove it,” Dexter said as he watched Mira lean closer.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And don’t expect me to stitch you back together.”

Mira glanced at him and smiled.

“They wouldn’t harm me, would you, my precious babies?” As Mira spoke her voice took on the sing-song quality mothers use when they speak to infants.

“Did the big, bad human hurt my little darlings?”

Dexter stood mouth agape as the furballs nuzzled Mira and made a noise he had never heard before.

“Yes, tell Mama how he stole you from me,” she said stroking them.

“Wait, a minute here. I stole nothing. They were being ejected into space with the garbage. I saved them. I’ve done nothing since I found them but try to take care of them and find their mother. They have bitten and scratched me for my trouble.  Not to mention the shots and stitches. And now you accuse me of stealing?”

“Humans are a strange species. Why would you save them when most creatures consider our babies tasty treats?”

“I guess we’re gluttons for punishment,” Dexter sighed.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Logic Bomb – Thursday Threads

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

Tonk and I skidded to a stop, taking cover behind an overturned truck. Blaster fire flew above our heads as the drones advanced.

“Christ,” Tonk’s chest heaved as he sucked air into his lungs, and he reloaded. His eyes narrowed as he looked at me, and a worried frown spread across his face.

“Jeb?” he said my name slowly. It was a warning.

“They have a weakness, you know,” I said.

“That right? Well, I sure don’t see it. All I see is unstoppable blaster fire. Take out one drone and another appears.”

“You haven’t noticed? They do everything together.”

Tonk’s expression told me a lot.

“Control says turn left, they turn left. Control says neutralize target—“

“Yeah, I get it. They’re doing a damn good job of neutralizing us.”

“That’s just it. One target. They can’t process multiple targets.”

Tonk stared at me.

“Look at them.” I pointed through the busted window. Tonk watched the advancing drones.

“They’re only shooting. They’re not aiming at anything.”

“So?” Tonk shook his head, “How’s that help us?”

“Remember the drone I took apart?”

Tonk nodded.

“There’s a piece of code.” I stopped, realizing Tonk wouldn’t understand what I needed to do.

“If I can get to their programming, I can write a routine and force them to fire on their own command.”

“So, you need me to nab another drone for you?”

“Yep.”

“Next time just ask. Back in a second.”

Tonk smiled and disappeared around the side of the truck.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Can’t Say Goodbye – Thursday Threads

Photo by Blake Barlow on Unsplash

I placed a listing on the web for her. I landed a new job. I was moving across the country, and she no longer fit my plans. It was nothing personal. We had a great run, and great memories of our time together. They say nothing lasts forever.

A guy named Chet answered my ad, and we set up a time to meet so he could look her over, take her for a ride. Chet required the service she could provide and offered cold hard cash. I didn’t refuse.

I was sad to see her go. I thanked Chet for taking her off my hands. I wished her well and tried to forget about her.

The next day my phone rang.  It was Chet.

“Could you please tell me her name?”

“What?”

“What’s the car’s name?”

“I called her Baylee. Why?”

“She won’t let me drive her. Says she only works for people who know her name.”

“Baylee,” I repeated.

Several hours later Chet was banging on my door. When I opened it, he threw the keys at me.

“I want my money back. She only wants you and I’m not about to put up with her shit.”

Chet raged at me while I counted out his cash and I was happy to see his backside.

In the driveway, I stroked her fender before climbing in to start her. She purred.

“I missed you too, baby,” I said as I caressed her dash.

“I promise, I’ll never let you go.”

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Along the Primrose Path – #Thursday Threads

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

Raindrops splatted, plonked and plopped on the leafy canopy as we made our way forward on the squishy trail. Lightening flashed in the distance, I sucked in my breath and counted.

“One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three–” before the thunder rolled over us. It grabbed my stomach and heart and shook until I thought I would vibrate off the trail.

Ahead of me, I watched Thora’s back stiffen, and she stopped. She raised her hand, and I also stopped, obeying her command.

“What do you hear?” It was a strange question to ask since Thora didn’t “hear” in the normal way. She shot a glance at me which clearly told me to “be quiet.”

It was then that an oversized, white rabbit jumped onto the trail. It stared at Thora. There was something familiar in the rabbit’s eyes. Recognition struck me as Thora bent to scoop him into her arms.

“Thora, no. It’s Zeus.”

It was too late, Zeus had wrapped all four of his bunny paws around her.

“Damn it, Zeus. Can’t you control your animal desires?”

Zeus smiled when he looked at me.

“Oh, Pan. Who do you think you are? You dare to reprimand me for my animal desires? You can’t protect her. She is mine now.”

Zeus’ momentary distraction was all Thora needed. I watched her lips move, and her body shimmer in a diaphanous transformation. Thora’s laughter floated on the breeze. It shook the leafy canopy and doused Zeus with a cold shower of raindrops.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Fearless Leader – Thursday Threads

Photo by Nicolas Thomas on Unsplash

“Step away from him and slowly lay the knife on the altar,” Abbie said stepping from her hiding spot. Startled eyes swiveled towards her and the automatic rifle she held. The one with the knife did as she told him.

“Let me assure you if I fire this gun, someone’s gonna be dead,” she continued, “Now, line up in front of the altar.”

Abbie watched as twelve robed figures slowly obeyed her command.

Rodger squirmed on the ground, struggling to get to his knees.

“You okay, there, Rodger?” she asked.

“I had everything under control, until you walked in,” Rodger grunted as he worked to escape from the amateur’s bonds.

“I see. Had them right where you wanted them, did you?”

“Exactly,” Rodger said as he continued struggling with the knot.

One of the robed figures moved, perhaps thinking Abbie was distracted.

“Easy there, big boy. Remember? I fire. You. Dead,” Abbie flicked the muzzle at him, motioning for him to move back.

Once free, Rodger walked to Abbie.

“Geez, Abs, if you had just kept quiet,” he began.

“If I had held my tongue, you’d be dead.”

“I was running out of options,” he grinned as he stepped past her.

“Dead,” Abbie repeated, backing out of the cavern.

“Everything is so black and white with you, Abs.”

“What about the device?” Abbie whispered, watching the robed figures.

“I have a plan.”

“Is it as good as this one?”

“We’re clear. Follow me,” Rodger said.

Abbie turned, and they ran.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

 

Nothing But Love, Babe – Thursday Threads

four-women-siting-on-a-NYC-park-bench

Photo by Chris Murray on Unsplash

Jeremy heard the doctor’s question. Shifting in his chair, he stared outside. Water trickled and dripped from the icicles clinging to the eaves. Drip, drip, drip. Each drop marking time with his heartbeat, frozen and somehow still alive.

“Jeremy?” her soft voice prodded.

He looked into her doe brown eyes and remembered Meghan’s eyes. His heart constricted, he felt panic and gasped.

“Easy. Breathe slowly,” she instructed.

He closed his eyes, steadied his breath.

“How do you feel?” she asked.

“I don’t know what to feel.  I mean, how would you feel?” Jeremy glared at her.

She said nothing, waiting.

“You come home early and find rose petals leading to the bedroom. You open the door, thinking she will be there in a sexy negligee. She’s there all right. But she’s not alone.”

Jeremy paused, covering his face with his bandaged hand.

“Go on,” she coaxed.

“I never suspected. They weren’t supposed to know.” Jeremy scrubbed away his tears, “I was so careful. I had a system, a good system. They shouldn’t have found out. I don’t know how they did.”

“But they did?” the doctor pushed.

“They said they loved me. How could they hurt me like this?”

“We found Margot,” she said. Jeremy’s shoulders slumped.

“And Martha, and Madeline,” she said as she walked to the door.

“We also know about Mariah and Makenzie,” the doctor paused, letting the names sink in.

“Perhaps, you got off easy,” she finished.

Jeremey listened as she shut and locked the door.

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer