Monday, 13 October 2014

Crunchtober 2014 Day8

His Heart Raced

Aaron sat at the bar nursing a whiskey. He hated this place. Every Friday night he had to come here because she did.  The air was thick with the smell of sweat, beer and smoke. Local girls came to find a handsome G.I. to take home with them. The G.I.s came for easy love. This was by far the most annoying reincarnation of Artemis. He shrugged, at least the band was good tonight.

He turned and watched the dance floor. Artemis twirled and flipped in the arms of some guy she had just met. Her short skirt lifting precariously high.  Every week was a new soldier, it was like she was working her way through the military. He gulped down the rest of his whiskey and turned to bartender to get more. It was going to be a long night, he was going to need a lot of liquor.

“Hey there sailor” A smooth voice next to him beckoned.

“Not interested.”

“Awe, come on, how’s about you buy a girl a drink and I make that sad little frown go away.” She caressed his shoulder and moved in closer.

“How’s about you find some other poor sap to push yourself on.” He looked her up and down from her cheap slightly smeared lipstick to her drawn on nylon lines. “I’m not that desperate.”

She pouted a little and walked away, mumbling about always finding the one guy in the joint that preferred the fellas.

He shook his head and went back to his whiskey. The bartender came up and refilled the glass without him asking. “Nother long night?”

He sighed “yeah.”

The story he told the bartender and anyone who ever asked was that he was a PI hired by the girl’s father to keep an eye on her and to keep her out of trouble while he was overseas…it was partially true.  He looked at Artemis reflected in the mirror behind the bar. She shook her hips like a whore. Gods, he really hated this incarnation. Sometimes he questioned if it was really her or Aphrodite playing a joke on him.

The song ended and Artemis and her friends all gathered at the bar. They were laughing cheering and having a good time. She accidentally bumped into Aaron and for a moment. Just a moment she looked at him. Really looked at him. Hope rose in his chest. His heart skipped a beat. Could this really be it? Could it finally be the time that she wakes up?

A hand went around her waist pulling her away. “Hey baby, how’s about we get out of here.” She shook her head and the recognition that was there was gone. The moment passed. Aaron’s heart fell.
She kissed her beau “How about we dance a little more instead?” She pulled him by the hand out on to the dance floor. There was a time when she used to look at him that way.

Artemis continued to dance and twirl without a care. The band leader announced they had a guest singer and they would be changing pace for just a moment. Wait did he know that guy? Nah, it couldn’t be….

 A woman sauntered over to the microphone as the band began to play “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
Aaron groaned and grabbed the whiskey bottle. There was no doubt he was going to need more than just a glass while this song played.   

“I’ll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places, where this heart of mine embraces…”

He groaned and turned away as Artemis and her new lover danced closer.

He turned back in time to see Artemis be led out the side door.  He sat there watching them go, he knew he should follow them but he didn’t want to see something he could never unsee. Then the feeling began. It was kind of an anxiety knot. It always grew in his stomach and clutched his spine, like the hand of death….There was trouble.

He managed to make it out the door in time to see Artemis slap the man and run away. He cracked his knuckles and went after the guy himself. Every blow that met its mark released the tension he had been feeling. Every kick, for the guy dropped fast, was revenge for him being able to hold Artemis when he couldn't.

Finally when his task was done, the guy laying in a bloody heap Aaron went back into the bar.
“I’ll be looking at the moon but I’ll be seeing you.”  The woman sang.

Aaron motioned for another glass of whiskey and thought “Lady you have no idea.”

Crunchtober 2014 Day 6

It wasn't Love Exactly

After the incident with Daphne, Apollo spent weeks going from tavern to tavern with the goal of remaining as drunk as possible. Sobriety was not his friend. In the mornings he would wake up with a pounding headache, an unknown wench lying naked beside him. The only cure was more wine.
On one such night Apollo sulked in the back of the tavern enjoying what could quite possibly be his 10th bottle of wine.

“Well don’t you look like a Cerebus’ ass.”

Apollo looked up at his visitor. It was true, his weeks of drinking were taking a toll on him. His hair was matted, his eyes were blood shot, there was a smear of what appeared to be sauce on his cheek. He took in his visitor.

“Eros. Always the wimpering mama’s boy. Tell me how is life in your mother’s skirts?” He looked Eros in the eyes “Though, I know there are other parts of her body I much prefer, as does-“

“Enough.” Eros sat down across the table from Apollo. “I came here to discuss the little lesson you have recently learned.”

“First of all, I did not say you could sit down. You’re ruining my reputation.” He hiccupped. “And secondly, what lesson? I apparently never learn. I am the biggest fool on Olympus.” He looked into his glass. “Oh look, it’s empty. What a shame.” He poured himself more wine.

“Apollo, remember when you and your cronies laughed at me and my talent in archery?”

Apollo swayed a little in his seat and giggled. “Archer of love. Ha! A real man uses his bows for hunting.” He laughed into his cup “Pew, pew. Oh so ferocious.”

“But my arrows can do damage, as you well have seen, have you not?”

Apollo straightened up and looked at him. “What are you talking about?”

Eros smiled. “Oh you know very well. You see I knew of this pretty little thing, I believe her name was Denise. No, no that’s not right, Deloris, Doris…I know it started with a D.”

“Daphne. Her name was Daphne.”

“That’s right. Daphne. Pretty name is it not? Anyway I just had to make sure you two were in the right place in the right time and as you so put it…pew pew.”

Apollo slammed his cup on the table. “You…”

“She had a vow of virginity. Did she not?”

“You no good…son of a bitch…when I get my hands on you I swear…I’m going to…”

Eros stood. “You are going to do no such thing.  You are nothing more than a spineless, slobbering drunk. For all your boasting about bravery and manliness, you’re nothing but a coward hiding behind your fathers skirts.”

The two men stared at each other. “Come find me when you grow a pair.”  Eros said before he got up and walked away. Leaving Apollo with his wine.

Crunchtober 2014 Day 4

An Omission is not exactly a lie

Ace yawned and stretched his arm over the naked woman lying next to him. His head still ached from the after party last night. He peaked an eye open and cupped the woman’s breast. Yup, it had been a good night. Too bad he couldn't remember any of it.

He rolled over and looked at the other naked girl. He liked the look of this one. He made a mental note to tell the roadies to let this one stick around for a few cities. He sat up and noticed the naked man lying on the other side of her. “Well, that’s new.” He shrugged.

Ace crawled out of the bed, stumbling across the suite to the bathroom. He was shaking off the last of his sleep when he heard the front door open. “We’re good on fresh towels but we could do with a new set of sheets.”

He came out of the bathroom not finding room service but Allison standing in the middle of the bedroom jaw open in a mix of terror and disgust.

“Now Duckie, it’s not what you think. Well, it could be what you think but I can explain.”

Allison turned to face him. He thought he could actually see fire in her eyes. “You told me you weren’t like other rockers. You told me I could trust you.”

He took her by the arm and led her into the living room. “Really Love, it’s not like that, it was after a show and-“

“Don’t just stop. I don’t want to hear it. I didn’t sign up for a circus.” Her face went green “Oh, God, am I going to need to get tested?”

“Nah…well, it might be a good idea. You see, I’m sick baby, I have this drinking problem and there were some drugs but it’s mostly the drinking. I can’t even remember those girl’s names…”

She shook her head and started to walk away. “I don’t need this train wreck.  How often? How many times did you screw some groupie and lie to me?”

Ace opened and closed his eyes a few times. “Well I wouldn’t so much call it lying as just not saying anything the next day.” He reached out to her. “Come on Duckie. You and me, we’re really good together. I’ve been a bad bad boy…”

“Get away from me!” She pushed him. It wasn’t a very hard push but he wasn’t very sober. He tripped, hitting his head on the corner of the hotel end table.

He didn’t know how long he had been out but he dreamed deeply in his hospital bed. He dreamt of women and laurel trees. Of hunting in the forest with a girl he had never seen but who was an extension of himself. He dreamt of danger and deceit, of lives that he couldn’t have possibly have lived. They all washed over him, one giant wave after another.

He opened his eyes and looked around the sterile empty hospital room. There was nothing, no flowers, no balloons, no crying fans at his bedside. Just an old man in a suit. “Hello Apollo. So nice of you to finally join us.”

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Crunchtober 2014: Day 3

A Sore Loser

He hadn’t expected to come across anyone out in the glen. He often came out here when he wanted to be alone to write his music. Though he was known to bring a nymph here from time to time. He was busy writing the notes to his song when he felt the ever so slight prick at his side. He looked up and around until he spied her in the bushes.

She froze when she saw him. For she had recognized who he was and for a moment was frightened. He set down and looked at her. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She had eyes like a deer and hair that fell down over her shoulders in golden waves. It truly was love at first sight.

He set down his lute and approached her cautiously. “It’s alright, I won’t hurt you. Can you tell me your name?”


“Daphne. That’s a beautiful name.”

“Thank you.” She said with barely a whisper. “You play the lute beautifully, sir.”

“Let’s dispense with the formalities shall we. Please, call me Apollo. Come, sit by me. I’ll play for you.”

Cautiously she moved from the bushes to sit near Apollo but not too close. They spent the rest of the afternoon talking and listening to him play music.

It’s impossible to hide from a god, or avoid him, as Daphne so learned. It wasn’t long after that afternoon in the glen that Apollo began to show up in her village. First, it was just for a visit, to see how his new friend was. Then it was to play in the tavern, he was a gifted musician and the villagers thought it was a treat to hear him play. At first she thought of him as just a friend but then as his visits carried on she grew concerned that he wanted more than just friendship. It worried her. She tried to distance herself she tried to make sure that he knew they were only friends, nothing more, but he would hear none of it.

Every visit brought an opportunity and an excuse to spend time with her. One day while she was out for berries Apollo appeared with all of his usual swagger.

“It’s quite convenient, no one else seems to be around.”

She smiled. “I wouldn’t say that it is a convenience, so much as a coincidence.”

She turned her back to him to continue picking the berries. He came up from behind, close enough to be a lover. “I don’t believe in coincidences.”

He kissed her neck letting his mouth linger as his hands slowly slid down her arms. She wiggled away.


“Come now. You know what my intentions were and you know you want this.”


He took a step closer. Daphne took a step back. “I told you. I made a vow. I will not break it. I can’t 
give you what you want. I can only give you my friendship.”

He looked upon her like a wolf stalking his prey. “I do believe I can change your mind.” He said in almost a growl.

The world froze while the two eyed each other, the predator and the prey. Then she ran. She ran as if her life depended on it. She wove through the trees daring not to look behind her knowing that he was close in his chase.

She wasn't paying close enough attention however, for she tripped on a branch and started to fall…she was caught, by Apollo.

“Please, let me go.”

“How could you!” he shook her violently by the shoulders. “You made me believe that you could 
love me. You made me think!”

“Please. You’re hurting me.” She begged.

“There are consequences for women like you.”

“Mother! Mother help me!!” She called in her panic.

Apollo was blown back and watched helplessly as Daphne was transformed into a laurel tree right before his eyes.

Crunchtober 2014 Day 2

Hand me Down

Sandy walked in to her house to hear the sounds of barking and her daughter laughing. Sandra set her purse down and moved cautiously towards the back yard. Her daughter, Hannah was playing with what looked like a flea bitten, slightly emaciated pitbull that she had never seen before.

“Hannah. What do you think you’re doing?”

“Oh hi mom! We have a new dog.”

“Excuse me? We do not have a dog.”

“Yes we do. Her name is Stella.”

She motioned for her daughter to come to her. Never taking her eyes off the dog. “Where did you get her sweetheart?”

She shrugged. “Some guy. He clearly didn’t want her. So I took her off his hands.”

“And does he know this?”

The girl thought for a moment. “He probably does now. I left a note.”

Sandy tried to keep calm. “Young lady, what have I told you about strange dogs and stealing!?”

The child reached out for the dog that had come up to nuzzle her. “That I shouldn’t steal and that I shouldn’t play with dogs I don’t know.”

“You have to return her.”

“NO!” Hannah screamed and threw herself over the dog. “You can’t. You can’t take her away from me. She’s mine now. The man didn’t want her and if you give her back her life is going to be horrible forever and ever.” Hannah started crying. “You told me that I need to accept hand me downs and Stella’s a hand me down. You can’t make me give her back! You can’t.”

Sandy considered her daughter and this mutt that she was seemingly inseparable from. They both looked terrified to be taken away from each other. The battle was already lost. “Alright.” She sighed 
“But you are grounded for a month, for stealing. And you have to take care of this dog, every day. She’s your responsibility.”

Her daughter jumped for joy and the dog danced around in a circle.

“But the moment you don’t take care of that dog, she’s going to the pound. Do you hear me?”
Her daughter nodded.

“Good. Now start by giving her a bath. She’s not allowed in this house until every single flea is off of her.

Sandy turned and walked into the house. Her husband was standing in the kitchen leaning against the fridge. “You are such a push over.” He laughed.

Sandy jumped “Jim. I didn’t know you had come home.”

“Yeah, saw the whole thing. Well, I guess we have a new dog.” He shook his head. “I know where she got the dog from. How she got it I don’t know, though I don’t particularly want to know. Either way, the poor dog is better off here.”

“Your daughter is a thief.”

“As long as she doesn’t run off with Animal Liberation Front, I believe we have succeeded as parents.” He kissed his wife and went outside to help his daughter bathe their new dog.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Crunchtober 2014 Day 1

A Blustery Morning

The mid October winds were strong. He could barely keep his hat on his head.  He only ventured to Edinburgh once a month or so, just to check in on her. He wasn’t really needed. It was a blessing and a curse.

He hated being away from her but he couldn’t stand to see her so happy. She was married. The once virgin goddess was married to a banker. A nice chap really. He worked hard and treated her like, well, a goddess. They had two children. Catherine and David, Jr. As well as a lovely home, a nanny, a cottage in the country everything he would want if he were a normal person. He hated David. He had his life.

It’s not to say that Aaron’s life was so bad. His current home was in London. He spent his time apprenticing to a barrister. He had friends, attended social events, took pretty girls to the theater (he always found it funny that a vow of bachelorhood would make a woman want him all the more).
Once a month though he made the trip to Edinburgh to do business at the bank that David worked at. Tradition dictated that after business occurred he would take David to the pub to catch up with each other, having conveniently been mates at the University of Edinburgh. They would each have a pint and talk about where their lives had led them. David’s wife insisting on redecorating the whole house for the 3rd time. Or did he know that David Jr. had taken an interest in banking just like his old man? Aaron wondered how long he would be able to keep up the fake smile this time. The record so far was 4 hours.

His mind was caught up with his dread when he turned the corner to the bank. He didn’t notice the gust of wind that blew off his hat and at the feet of the pretty girl in the burgundy dress….Artemis.
She picked up the hat and looked at it quizzically. She looked around trying to see where it came from, even though he stood right before her she couldn’t see him. His heart sank. He still held out hope that one day she would be the one seeking him out. That she would wake up and he would be the first name on her lips. That, perhaps, he could have a life like this with her.

She walked past him and looked around the corner in search of the owner of the top hat. It was pointless for him to call out to her. Not only could she not see him, she couldn’t hear him either. He would look like a mad man yelling on the street corner.

Having come to the conclusion that the owner of the hat was nowhere in sight she gingerly set it down on the steps of the candle shop. “I hope you find your home soon.” She said with a smile as she set it down and walked away.

Aaron sighed “I hope I do too.” He picked up his hat and continued on his journey to the bank.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Crunchtober 2012 Day 27

Losing control

Rita gripped the basin on the escritoire with white knuckled hands in an attempt to stop the shaking. The water swirled, a dull pink, as the blood leached out of the once white cotton cloth. The rug in which she had concealed Connor’s body had done an admirable job of keeping the floor stain free, but the silk damask of the settee was stubbornly refusing to come clean.

The aging Madame had managed to drag her employer’s corpse to the steam driven elevator in the corner of his cabin, and had ridden with it down to engineering where Bucky had helped to hide it. Connor had said no one was to know, but Rita simply could not face the tragedy without some help. With Just in the SSA for his father’s funeral, she had no one else. The Chief Engineer was quick to understand the precariousness of the situation, and he was discreet. After they had found a barrel large enough, and found a quantity of high-grade scotch to fill it, Rita shucked her blood-drenched dress. The two, as lovingly as possible, folded Connor’s long legs into the barrel and bathed him in the amber scotch. Rita had never heard a sound as mournful as the hammer on the nails that sealed the barrel’s lid over Connor Graves.

Leaving Bucky with orders to destroy the rug and her discarded dress, Rita returned to the elevator. The only physical evidence that remained of the murder was the stained settee and Rita was damned if she would rest before it too had been restored to order.

The front of her shift was soaked through and bore the marks of the night’s horror. Her usually flawless chestnut hair was a corona of wisps and drooping tendrils. All trace of the mannered, contained and highly refined woman had been wiped away by an assassin’s knife, and what was left was shaking with bone-deep ague. A sob escaped her lips, and Rita raised one fist, biting her knuckles to stop the tears. There would be a time for grieving, but this was not it.

Pulling herself together, Rita wrung out the cloth and carried the basin to the French doors on Connor’s beloved taffrail. The assassin had entered through them earlier, and they stood open still, letting in the rotting stink of London. Connor had always hated London, and now Marguerite would join him in that hatred. She flung the pinked water over the balcony and into the Thames with a grimace of disgust.

Tomorrow they sailed for America. The thought of telling Just was a lead weight in her belly as she attacked the blood stained settee with fresh cloths and clean water. The crossing would be difficult as well, but her early life in a brothel had prepared her for the gentle lies and the masking of true feelings that would be required. She knew how to smile through pain, and flirt past despair. Those skills never truly went away, no matter how long they lay unused.

Briefly, she wondered if the Palace would revert to the time honored template for a brothel now that Connor and his vision of egalitarianism were gone. She shook her head in emphatic denial of that idea. The only method she now had of honoring her dear friend and mentor was in maintaining his shining ideals.