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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Keep on writing.

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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Keep on writing.

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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Keep on writing.

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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Keep on writing.

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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Keep on writing.

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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Keep on writing.

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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Keep on writing.

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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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