“Okay, one more time. You find a tablet poolside. You spill your drink on the person. Put your clutch down on the tablet. Appologize, grab anything and act freaked out. When they push you off, take it and run.” John looks at Alicia.
Alicia nods. “How many people will be in lobby?”
The Google box speaks “Staffing levels are high due to holiday. Best before Midnight.”
“We use tablet at five minutes before midnight. The New Years Fireworks will have them all looking outside. I disarm the cameras and the time lock on the safe. You hit the front desk and use the pool story. I need you to get the guy away from counter. The safe will be sitting pretty for us! Couple thousand, maybe ten thousand. We go to car separately. We stay at the best place tomorrow.”
“It seems so easy. How can you do that from the tablet? They’ll trace it back…. to the guy at the pool. But what if they changed the managers code?” Alicia is visibly nervous.
” Relax babe. I program the systems. They never change codes. They need multiple people to access the safe. No one is driving in on off day to open a safe for change.” John smiles.
The scene is crowded. Hundreds of people surround the pool. The fireworks show has them anxious.
Alicia sees a tablet on the poolside bar. She spills a full drink on the poor guy using it. In shock, he drops it.
“Watch what you are doing! Your stupid bitch.” He pushes her away. His eyes stare as she falls toward the bar.
“Asshole, I tripped.” Alicia’s hands find the tablet. Her clutch covers it.
She runs into the crowd bumping several people hard.
John sits in the lobby. The solo guy runs an empty counter. He keeps watching the clock. He knows he can watch out the windows if no one is here.
“Help! This guy attacked me at the bar!” Alicia breaks the quiet. She runs on heels poorly. Her hand finds a chair next to John dropping the tablet next to him. Her eyes find the guy at the counter ” Can you do something?”
John grabs the tablet. The internet feeds him the secure network for the hotel. The codes are prefect. But the lights go out and flood lights from alarms trigger.
He watches the counter guy freak out about the power. “I fix the power first, then we talk to who attacked you.”
As he disappears John approaches the counter. “Anyone here?! I’m looking for help”
He smiles and walks in the office. The safe is left open. A couple hundred dollars sit waiting for him.
The fireworks call out the midnight hour is at hand.
Two shadowy figures meet back at a car.
They drive off into the night.
Her eyes hold me in place. I try to notice everything else in vain. Her deliberate quiet speaks of ill will. Her half smile is no more than a gateway to an emotion above or below.
The silence outlasts my patience. “You been in the shadows too long. They wear you like a mask now. Maybe someday the mirror will let you see what the rest of the world sees.” I measure my words closely.
There is no reaction. Hell, I’m not sure if she breaths half the time.
The eyes stare removing as many layers of me as they can. There were several more a long time ago. The shadows took those too.
Written as part of a challenge called Photo Challenge, details are available at https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/photo-challenge-143/
“There’s a yak. The thing is huge, as tall as a windmill. I’m asking it about the used bookstore down the street. The one with the green exit doors. So this is where it gets weird….” Larry pauses to recollect the thought.
“Not weird at all. You fell into a MC Esther print. Did you take the upstairs to the basement or fire escape to the roof?” Penny hates the dream game.
“I’m talking to the yak and this hand appears behind him. It is closed like there’s something in the hand. The wrist flicks up and marbles fly everywhere!” Larry moves his hand to demonstrate. “Then this Viking goddess starts winding a old phonograph that plays a song about doing absurd things to achieve impossible things. Oh, the goddess has only a head and arms.”
“How do you know she was a Viking goddess? Maybe she was part of a dance troupe. Would a Viking goddess have a record player?” Penny knows this is the way it goes every time.
“You’re right. She would have done kind of stringed instrument… Wait, she’s a goddess. They live forever.” Larry stumbles on reason.
“Good, you figured it out. Don’t sleep again, please.” Penny answers “I have tried the absurd and haven’t accheived any impossible results.”
Written as part of a challenge details are available at https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/writing-prompt-189-bonus/
“Ok listen this time! I’m from Erie, Pennsylvania. We are in Colorado. I didn’t walk here!” The voice leaves bare lips.
“The where and when are coming from different places. You will search for why! But the where simply changes” The chocolate Buddha speaks. “Hearing and listening aren’t the same.”
“I didn’t come here by my own free will. I was thousand miles away. And boom! I’m here talking to a statue! This is where thing. I like to know where exactly I am now. And if you don’t mind what day and time is it. I’m not lulling myself into believing in was beamed here.” I’m openly hostile. I point to the ground like it matters. My heart is full of fear more than rage.
“You came here to free yourself of the chaos and chains you have forged. Everyone does. That’s why we have the farm. We grow here. If you open your mind more than your mouth. You will see there’s no fear necessary here. Walk the paths. Concentrate on where you are attempting to go.” The Buddha changes arm position so to show the symbol of the message.
“LOOK! I want to go back to my home. Now, tell me how I got here!” My reasoning with a statue hats the wall quickly. My head looks for cameras. Someone is controlling this thing. They know. They have taken the wrong person.
“Free, you are not bound here. The only person controlling you being here is you. Are you experiencing paralysis? My eyes see no strings on you! I asked you to take a path of your choosing. I didn’t force you to move. Your choice stay here and ask something I do not control. You found a path here. It is my place to give answers that open your mind and heart. Do you know your mind well enough to find your way?” The statue returns to original form.
“So, do the little guys help me too? I’ll walk a path. But I’ll be back. Unless the way opens before me.” I sink into cyincial territory.
The statue fails to respond.
I stroll toward the gate. Above the sign reads “A PLACE OF HEALING”
I am unaware of the wounds that brought me here. I don’t forsee understanding the purpose of being here. I could use another pill to control the manic swing grading hold of me. They must have taken them away from me.
Written as part of a challenge called Tale weaver, details at mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com
“There is a strange scent in the wind.” A bespectacled middle age man looks to his son. “You know about your age a circus came to town. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemoium Shadow Show. They told people what they wanted to hear. Played on their desires. So Charles what is it you seek from your old man? ”
“You talk like Gramps. I wanted to get my allowance. The traveling show just came in. Since is so nice. Well, Jimmie and me….Well, it’s not a school night. So can i? Please” He drags his feet on the ground. His eyes focused on his father’s right hand. The hand that dishes out allowances.
“Supposing I give you what you want. When do you think I’ll see you again, my boy? There’s warm air but a storm brews nearby. Don’t want you carried off to Kansas. How would explain that to Mom? Well, I gave him his allowance and the wind took him away. She’d be awful cross.” His hand slides so very slow into his pocket. His eyes never leave his son. He sees some the thirteen year old he was. He knows Mr Dark is long gone, but still there is a sense.
“Thanks Dad. Be back by 10!” His heels kick up dust as he scrambles to his bike.
“Mom and I, we will come down. Maybe get a dinner of fried things.” He talks to a ghost.
The town fills the center park. Ferris wheels, glass houses, scrumbles, merry-go-round and swings fill the dirt with life. Sounds reserved for July inside the warm Autumn air.
A banner flaps in the breeze. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show written in LED lights that sparkle like fireworks. The boys rush head on.
In the distance, a middle age couple leaves a car. Will, his age showing, beholds a dark past. The name is the same. The smell is the same. The evil had come back to town. His eyes see the dust raise. His eyes see a column form. The train noise of tortured souls begins.
In a flash, a twister tears at the swings. Catapulting dozens on a terror ride. Some thrown out. Some jumping off.
A hand burns at Will’s right shoulder.
“Mr Halloway, you remember me by chance. Mr Dark.” His voice sizzles against the soul. The smell of brimstone and cloves permeates.
“You! You came back to do this!” Will stares at Mr Dark. His tall thin build with stovepipe hat dressed in all black.
“Every 36 years, we return. Desires grow and need served.” Mr Dark turns to Anna Halloway. “Nice boy you have Ma’am. Hall of Mirror tickets for you both. ..After the weather clears. Maybe ten minutes.”
Mr Dark walks into the shadows.
Will and Anna stare at the disaster where their son once headed.
Written as part of a challenge called Photo Challenge demails are available at https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/photo-challenge-141/
The story is an extension of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Mr Dark also appears in the story the Illustrated Man.