Entering the Transcendental Curve – Thursday Threads

“It’s not an easy story,” I shifted, uncomfortable under the weight of their eyes, I studied my shaking hands. “And you’re never going to believe me.”

I peeked at Tenzin. His serene face mirrored the silent temple where we stood, surrounded by dozens of demure monks.

“Tell me what happened.”

“He said his world suddenly made sense. Then he rose and walked to the parking lot. He changed right there in front of me,” I paused, dry-mouthed as I uttered the final words, “He became a Lotus.”

The monk bowed his head, his lips moving in personal prayer. When he finished, he lifted his gaze, smiled at me, and placed his right palm on my shoulder. It was a gesture meant to comfort me, but it didn’t help.

“Samlo do not distress yourself. I have long suspected Pema would find his way to transcend this world’s constraints. He committed himself to his journey of discovering true inner peace and enlightenment. It is not surprising he would awaken and move to another dimension.  It is fitting his chosen form was a lotus blossom.”

“You don’t understand.”

“He didn’t turn into a lotus?”

“Well, yes, he did. But it wasn’t a flower.” Tenzin’s face contorted, but I couldn’t stop myself. “He became a big bright metallic orange-colored Lotus. The next thing I knew he was laying down rubber and squealing the tires. He took a lap, did a donut, then sped to the exit, leaving me in a cloud of golden smoke.”

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Jo Hawk The Writer

https://ko-fi.com/johawkthewriter#

Betrayed – Thursday Threads

“My God, Charlene… He’s barely alive.” Contempt tainted Haley’s voice.

I didn’t respond. She dug in her tool bag, grabbed a long silver instrument, then she peeled back her palm, revealing the gaping hole in his chest.

I watched her frantic movements, letting the gun spin in my hands. She clamped lines, sopped ooze, trying to save him. I began to question my decision to call Haley. She was the best in her field. Maybe too good. I mean, what would happen if he lived?

“Charlene, will you give me a hand?”

I could tell by her tone, she wasn’t asking. She expected me to jump and do her bidding. She was my friend, but her only concern was saving him, not helping me.

“Charlene?”

“Doesn’t he deserve to die?”

“I can fix him,” she offered, almost pleading.

“Like you did last time?” My voice sounded harsh even to me.

“I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

“I’ve heard that before. I’d be a fool to help.”

A scenario flickered, then exploded in my mind.

“It’s been you all along, hasn’t it? You’re in love with your creation, your darling automaton. His devotion to me is killing you. You’re programming him to kill me.”

Haley’s face crinkled and felt her simmering hate.

“Yes, when you’re dead, he will love me.”

I saw his processor flicker, and his right hand grabbed her throat. He didn’t let go.

“I’m sorry,” were his last words, as I placed the gun in Haley’s lifeless hand.

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Jo Hawk The Writer

https://ko-fi.com/johawkthewriter#

Cosmic Intervention – Thursday Threads

Darrius suspended his hand above the ancient vessel. His blood pulsed, forming a tiny pool, before he turned his palm and allowed a single drop to fall. Black liquor rose, eager, like a lover yearning to possess his beloved. As they joined, he spoke the final words.

“Nunc Ostende Te.”

The explosion blinded him. The blast rang in his ears and beat in his brain. Somehow, he was still standing in a space devoid of light. The pain radiating from his chest silenced the screaming cut in his hand.

“Sirena?”

The booming in his head faded to a silence deeper than anything he had ever experienced. He reached his hands in front of him, patting the air where the table should have been. His mind raced, contemplating nefarious scenarios. His fingertips found coarse fabric. The burlap under the bowl. His fingers explored until they touched the rough stone. Darrius sighed, relived for only a second, when amber eyes materialized, floating in the darkness.

“Who are you?”

“It was you who summoned me,” the velvet soft voice oozed, seeping into his consciousness.

“The solicitation spell should have brought Sirena.”

“So, I’m not the one you expected?”

“Am I dead?”

“Hardly, darling,” the eyes blinked, hinting at seduction.

“Where’s Sirena?”

“She doesn’t love you, but I do.”

The ache in Darrius’ chest sank to the pit of his stomach.

“Thanks to your evil desires, you’ll have Eternity to experience my dark passions instead. Sirena is too good for the likes of you.”

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Jo Hawk The Writer

https://ko-fi.com/johawkthewriter#

Repeating History – Thursday Threads

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

I took the stairs, two at a time, stuffing my gun into its holster as I tried to ignore the heavy strap digging into my shoulder. It was early, and I prayed as I approached her apartment.

“Please, be awake.”

Closing the door softly, I listened. Someone was in the kitchen. Relief washed over me as I peered around the doorjamb.  Her small, frail frame bent over the sink. The housedress hung on her like a worn rag, and white nurse shoes appeared too big for her thin legs to move. It was an illusion I didn’t take for granted. She possessed formidable strength.

“Yanya, we must go.”

She turned, and the butcher knife’s point kissed my neck. Her steady gaze locked with mine, then the corner of her lip curled into a smile.

“How many times have I told you not to sneak up on me?” she asked, as she dropped the knife to punch my arm.

“They’re coming again, aren’t they?” Her gnarled fingers trembled as she covered her mouth.

“Yes.”

“Solders,” she said, spitting the word.

She wiped her hands on a towel and I followed her to her bedroom. Under the bed was her bugout bag. She paused, stroking the oak box on the bedside table. She lifted the lid and caressed the pictures inside.

“You sure we can’t take my memories? Did I tell you about the time your grandfather…?”

“I have heard it all before, Yanya,” I interrupted.

“So have I. So. Have. I.”

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Jo Hawk The Writer

https://ko-fi.com/johawkthewriter#

Brave Enough – Thursday Threads

Touching the scar on my arm, I let my finger trace the line.

The diner reeks of nostalgia, the linoleum is worn, but the coffee in the battered cream-colored cup is hot and strong. I sip, watching the two uniforms place their order and adjust their stools at the counter.

The glass door opens, the bell tinkles merrily, and he walks toward me, pausing, he towers over me, but I stand my ground. He sits in the booth. The table separated us, and he leans forward, reaching for my hands. I pull back, plaster my spine against the vinyl seat, ramrod straight, and drop my fists into my lap. But I won’t look away.

I had forgotten his eyes were blue. If I could forget that, perhaps I can leave behind the rest. Memories flash, slashing red and deep. Tear-stained faces, broken promises, and outright lies will forever live encased by walls.

He says he loves me, and he needs me. He can’t go on without me. The begging begins with words so often repeated that I no longer require the script. I have heard it all before.

“I don’t hate you, it’s just… I don’t need you anymore,” my voice sounds distant, flat and cold.

He speaks from far away, and my ears grow deaf.

“There’s nothing left to say. I won’t go back.”

My bill is paid, the time is now, and I rise. The uniforms nod as I stroll by, and I step through the open door.

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Jo Hawk The Writer

Discovering Secrets – Thursday Threads

Sofia sat across from Marsh. He was quiet, sipping his whiskey, and focusing on his phone. She had learned to never interrupt him.

The waiter laid their dinner plates on the table and Marsh studied her.

“Sofia, do you love me?”

“Of course, I do.”

“You know, I would have believed anything you said,” Marsh paused, “Until now.”

Marsh turned the device toward her. The image showed her and Nick, naked, and in his bed.

Her hands trembled and her cheeks burned.

“It’s not what you think…”

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Marsh said laying his phone aside.

Sofia remained silent, waiting as Marsh started eating.

“It appears I have been neglecting my duties as a husband.”

“No…”

“No? Your photo tells a different story.”

“It’s over,” she whispered.

“Yes, it is.” Marsh stuffed a bite in his mouth.

“I know. You need to get pregnant,” he said jabbing his knife toward Sofia with each syllable.

“I don’t want a baby.”

“Liar,” the force of the word slapped her. Marsh leaned back in his chair.

“I would believe you, but there is that image. And it says the opposite.”

Sofia knew Marsh would be angry, but his reaction scared her more than his anger ever could. She wasn’t safe now. She almost laughed. She realized he had always threatened her. The fleeting thoughts of leaving him began to coalesce in her mind. Her subconscious had been planning her escape for years. It was time to execute her plan.

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Jo Hawk The Writer

Mission Accomplished – Thursday Threads

Photo by Alex Read on Unsplash

Sun beat on the black asphalt. Dale turned, watching Number 12 roar past him, slamming to a stop in the pit. The driver revved the engine, sending exhaust waffling into the air.

Crackling snapped and popped in Coop’s ear.

“Now?”

Coop shook his head, waving Dale off.

‘Damn, newbie,’ Coop thought. Teaming with Dale wasn’t his choice. Young, untested, and eager to please wasn’t a good combo for this mission. He calculated the chances of completion at seventy-five percent. If he hadn’t needed a warm body for the heavy lifting, he would have insisted on working alone.

Number 12 bounced, tires spinning and squealing as the pit crew dropped it to the pavement. The racecar shimmied while bodies dove over the barrier dragging hoses and equipment with them. A wall of smoke engulfed the area and the car scudded onto the track.

“What’s the deal?” Dale’s voice exploded in Coop’s earphone. Coop did his best to remain calm when he saw Dale rushing toward him.

“We need confirmation,” Coop yelled over the track’s din.

“We’re not getting many more chances,” Dale shouted.

Coop shrugged, heading toward the crew, but the sound of sheering metal, stopped him cold. Hearing an explosion, he swung around to observe a fireball rising from the track. A quick glance at the monitor confirmed what Coop already knew.

He let his gaze scan the chaotic pit area. A helmeted figure in the team’s colors faced Coop, gave him a thumbs-up, then silently disappeared into the crowd.

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Jo Hawk The Writer

Dressed by A Legend – Thursday Threads

Thursday Threads
250 Words

I am thrilled, and, if I’m honest, I am terrified. My dream is real. Countless auditions, endless rejections and penny pinching, will soon be history.

My schedule says report to wardrobe to meet an icon. Edith.

My hand trembles as I open the door to Wonderland. Aisles and rows of clothing reach to the ceiling and extend as far as I can see. I gasp. The number of clothes, hats, jackets, dresses, pants, is overwhelming. As I am taking it in, I feel someone watching me. I know it’s her.

She is shorter than I imagined. Dark bangs frame her large round glasses with blue-tinted lenses. Lips pursed; she regards me in silence.

“You’re Gary,” she says.

“Uh, I’m Jason. They want me to play Gary,” I stammer.

“You. Are. Gary,” she repeats as she pulls a pair of faded Levi’s and a flannel shirt from the mound of clothes stacked on the table behind her.

“Or you will be. Put these on.”

I duck behind the curtain to change. Glancing in the mirror I feel different. Pulling the curtain open, I grab a blue fedora jamming it on my head.

She snatches it away, swapping it for a different hat.

“Does it matter?” I ask.

“Think of yourself as a product. In order to achieve success, you have to sell that product, so start right now thinking of how you can improve it,” Edith says.

“Hi, Edith. I’m Gary,” I say as I shake her hand, and Edith smiles.

****** “What a costume designer does is a cross between magic and camouflage. We create the illusion of changing the actors into what they are not. We ask the public to believe that every time they see a performer on the screen, he’s become a different person.” Edith Head

Edith Head was nominated for 35 Oscars, winning eight times, more than any other costume designer and any woman in any category in Oscar history. She is also the inspiration for the character Edna Mode in The Incredibles.

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Jo Hawk The Writer

The Promise to Return Home – Thursday Threads

Photo by Jacob Dyer on Unsplash

Bria hesitated, her hand resting on the doorframe. She was reluctant to intrude on Holden’s late-night sojourn to the deck. It had started months ago. Bria woke to find him missing and discovered him outside staring at the stars. An occasional event had become a nightly ritual. Bria noticed other changes, his preoccupation, the deepening crease in his forehead, and the sadness in his eyes.

She thought it would pass, that her inquisitive, carefree and loving Holden would return. But as time passed, she grew less certain, fear nibbled at her heart and she knew they needed to talk. Bria gathered her courage and stepped forward, reaching for him she caressed his waist.

“What is wrong with you?” she whispered.

Holden sighed, looped his arm over Bria’s shoulder and drew her to his side.

“I didn’t mean to wake you,” he said as he kissed her hair. “Go back to bed.”

“No, answer me.”

“Home is calling,” he said.

“When?” her voice trembled.

“Three days.”

“I could come with you…”

“You won’t survive the journey. We discussed this, remember,” Holden wrapped his arms around her and crushed her against him.

“But you’ll return,” she repeated the rehearsed lines.

“You will be old, and I will be as I am now. I will love you forever.”

“You will tell me the new stories of Myall.”

“I promise,” Holden said.

Bria closed her eyes, silently pledging to tell Holden of the star child she carried when he honored his vow to return.

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Jo Hawk The Writer

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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Jo Hawk The Writer