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When the blood and vomit and shit dried, and when I no longer heard the low, hungry growling of a big cat and the high-pitched howling of the monkeys, and when I didn't see Rapiers stomping past the grounds or hear their war shouts, only then did I leave the shelter.

Six days. I had marked them on the tent with streaks of my own blood. Morbid, maybe; but blood was the one thing I had in ready supply. Whatever biological weapon the Rapiers unleashed, it made us seep blood from our pores.

Everyone here was dead. I took three steps and fell into a pile of blood, and if they found me again, I never knew.
War does not determine who is right - only who is left. -Bertrand Russell

You didn't think I'd quit, did you? Oh no. It's almost November, though. Is there a word that goes beyond "late"?

Flash-Fic-Month what would have been day 21, including the Hemingway challenge (116 words, war and wilderness, polysyndeton, and optionally: liquor). My excuse is that I waited until I had alcohol, but once I had it, I was too drunk to care about writing and instead spent my drunken time flying internet spaceships in EVE Online. C'est la vie.

TW: Suicide, death, loss

It was never enough for you, was it? Life left you short-changed, you said; you felt like a street urchin sneaking dollar bills into your pocket when Life turned its back. You saw her as a greedy, soul-stealing beast that kept you around to torture you into submission, and you fought it; God, you fought it with everything you could throw at it.

So many people fight to live. They turn into Dateline specials and National Geographic documentaries and those crummy shows you watch between infomercials at four in the morning when you can’t sleep.  You don’t see any news specials about people fighting to die, and if you do, it’s a blurb—a three second segment that managed to be noteworthy because there wasn’t quite enough other news that day.

I think you had it wrong, though; I do. You saw Life as an adversary rather than an adventure; a monster rather than a teacher. I don’t know that I could have made you see it differently, but I wish to God now that I had tried.

I see Life as a companion and Death as a friend. It’s people who make it good or bad, right—not Life herself, and not Death either. You were my people; my person.

You made it better here. You, with your imagination and dark laugh and the way you knew how to feel when others didn’t. I went to your house today and hugged your mom and sat in your room. I traced my fingers over your name carved into the wall, and I remember the day you scratched it there with a pocket knife when we were 10 and made me promise not to tell.

I laid on your bed and closed my eyes and I could almost hear your voice. Then I left, because I can’t fight Life like you did, and if I stay too long—well, I can almost hear your voice, and that has to be enough.
It's Enough
Project Finish FFM continues. This would have been Flash-Fic-Month Day 20. 

This isn't much and I don't know exactly where it came from, but there it is. 
His body reminded me of an action figure I broke once. I dropped it from a ten-story window just to see what would happen—it ended up splayed out and missing a few limbs. That’s what I saw when I almost tripped over a man’s corpse on my walk this morning, just with more blood, and he was only missing a few fingers, not a whole arm.

I knew him, too; sort of. I only knew him as Mr. Pigeon. I’m not even sure anyone knew his real name despite everyone knowing him or knowing of him. Pigeon walked the neighborhood every day, always with his floppy, wide-brimmed straw hat and always pushing a baby carriage.

The thing about Mr. Pigeon is that he was crazy. See, that baby carriage he pushed? It was always empty. New people in the community thought he was a kind, old grandpa walking a kid, but no. For anyone who lived here long enough, eventually you realized it was empty.

He’s called Mr. Pigeon because one day on a dare, a kid asked him why he pushed the baby carriage. According to the story, he gave the kid a gentle smile and said, “Why, to walk my pigeon, of course! He enjoys the fresh air but won’t go alone.”

I’d never seen a dead body before, so I just kind of stared at it while I waited for the cops until I remembered the carriage. I looked up and there it was, right where it should have been, resting against the curb as if Mr. Pigeon was just taking a rest or chatting with a friend.

This time, though; I saw something wooden poking up over the top of the carraige. I got closer, moved around so I could see, and sure enough, there was a handmade crate wedged into the seat of the baby carriage.

Inside was the biggest pigeon I have ever seen. I couldn’t believe it, so I knelt down and looked it in the eye, and I swear on my grandma’s grave, he looked right at me, and there was blood on his beak.
Idk, things. Based on a real guy in my neighborhood. He's still very much alive. Most of the time his carriage is empty, but then there was the one day I saw the pigeon...

Still working on the FFM dream a month later, this would have been for Flash-Fic-Month Day 19.
“Well, well—who do we have here?”

Millie Lane lived about three houses down in our small community and had a voice that made me cringe, like when you bite a fork or watch some guy take a baseball bat to his privates.

Millie was the last person I wanted to run into, which is precisely why I should have expected her first. Still, when her voice came floating across to me, I groaned.

“Poor Jerry, do you need some help?” she said in the sweetest tone she could manage and flashing me a smile. “You look a little tied up.”

All I wanted to do was try out my dad’s new parachute. I knew how to use it and how to pack it; I knew how to get to a high point and jump and when to deploy the parachute. It had taken half of my Saturday to get to the overlook site on Wolfrug Mountain, and another hour or so to psych myself up for the jump.

I classify that trip from the mountain to the riverbank as a spiritual experience because I spent most of it praying. First, that I wouldn’t die, and second, that my dad wouldn’t catch me. Somewhere in those moments I had a brilliant flash of madness, picturing Sharon resting a hand on my tombstone crying about how she never got the chance to kiss me, and that was the upside.

The downside was the landing. I’d never landed in anything but an open field, and never alone. I wasn’t prepared for the long line of trees along the riverbank.

The parachute snagged high on a branch, and I found myself dangling in midair, twisted just enough to be uncomfortable and unable to reach my cell phone or emergency flashers. I must have looked like a macabre marionette, something Millie no doubt found entertaining.

To her credit, she jumped into action, scrambling across the narrow bridge and looking up at me as if she were trying to solve a puzzle.

“This might hurt a little,” she said. I saw a flash as she pulled something from somewhere under her skirt. In the next second, she flung a shuriken in my direction.

“What the hell are you doing?” I yelled, and a second later I landed on the grass below. Everything hurt, and I just lay there for a minute.

“Jerry? You okay?”

“Yeah,” I said, my voice muffled by the soil and shame between my teeth. I pushed myself to a sitting position with my fists, wincing with every movement, and then looked at Millie. “What was that?”

“What was what?”

“You just threw a ninja star and cut me down from that tree.”

“Did I?”

“Uh. Yes. I saw you.”

“Well, let’s make a deal, hm? If you didn’t see me throwing anything, then I didn’t see you stuck in a tree in a stolen parachute. What do you say?”

“Okay, deal.” I smiled despite myself, and that’s the day I fell in love with a ninja.
Neighborhood Ninja
Still want to finish off the 31 flash fiction pieces I should've done in July. This would have been for Flash-Fic-Month Day 18 with the challenges:

1. Use the opening sentence of another flash.
2. Work in someone else's username.
3. Use three words from this list: flash, flasher, flashes, flashing, flashed.
4. Use three words from this list: viva, fist, fistpump, community, madness

The opening line came from this flash fic by Kathryn-Walt, and the username I used was the infinitely cool Wolfrug
“All right, Cecil, this here’s the place. Get out that shovel I toldja to bring.”

A lot of things happen at 6 a.m. in my neighborhood: birds sing, newspapers arrive on doorsteps, several roosters start competing for morning dominance, and the Johnson’s hound dog starts howling at God-knows-what.

Digging up a neighbor’s front yard isn’t on the list of normal, even for us, so when I heard Lumpy Pete’s scratchy whiskey voice when I opened my eyes, it took a second to register.

Loretta was gone for the weekend. I knew that because everyone in this neighborhood knows everything, and leaving the confines of the town is a big deal. Plus, she’d asked me to water her gardenias and leave food out for the small army of stray cats that frequented her yard.

I guess Lumpy knew it too, because there he was, trying—and failing—to whisper his instructions. Sliding into my bathrobe and slippers, I looked out my bathroom window and saw the two of them on Loretta’s front lawn. Lumpy wore his usual WWE t-shirt and worn-out, stringy cargo shorts with pockets full of random bits and pieces no one understood, and Cecil stood beside him holding a shovel and sporting a black T-shirt with the words “AIN’T SKEERED” scrawled across the front and a pair of ripped camo pants. In the first light of dawn, they made quite a duo.

I felt my eyes roll back in my head as I sighed, and I walked out into my yard. “Lumpy, what the hell’re you doin’?”

“That’s none a yer business, Bertie, you just go on back inside.”

“Like hell I will. You plannin’ on diggin’ up her yard?”

“Pete reckons there’s a treasure in Loretta’s yard,” Cecil piped up. “He saw it on the TV, Bertie! This old lady kept her money buried in her yard right under her flamingos, and nobody has more flamingos than Loretta!”

“Shut up, Cecil!” Lumpy hissed.

I could feel the slack in my jaw as I looked first at Cecil and then at Lumpy. They were right about the flamingos, at least—I stopped offering to cut her grass when I couldn’t push the lawn mower between them anymore.

Calling Sheriff Wilson for these two idiots would be a waste of time; I just needed them to get lost.

“Lumpy,” I lowered my voice and leaned in, like I was letting him in on a secret. “Don’t you think if Loretta had treasure buried in her yard, I woulda found it already?”

“Whatcha mean, Bertie? You been diggin’ up Loretta’s yard?”

“Why do you think I did her lawn all those years, Lumpy? You think I just love cutting grass and weedin’?”

“You mean to tell me you been havin’ ulterior motives for doin’ that?”

I gave him enough of an eyebrow raise to satisfy him, and he and Cecil looked at each other dumbfounded.

“Well, Bertie, I didn’t know you had that in ya. So there’s no treasure here?”

“Nah, nothin’ there.”

“All right, well, I guess we’ll be goin’ somewhere else, then.” The defeat in his voice almost made me feel sorry for him, but I just watched them walk away and then turned back into my house.

Inside, I opened up the cabinet to get some coffee filters and ran my fingers over the pink box behind them, silently thanking Loretta for the fifty thousand tucked inside Ziploc bags I’d unearthed from her yard over the past 10 years.
Flamingo Hunting
Just want to finish out FFM, even if it's a month late. So this is Flash-Fic-Month Day 17, with the loose suggestion of "dynamic duo" and this suggestion from Twitter


ninjababy's Profile Picture
The Internet Calls Me Amber
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
I'm a 29-year-old part-time web content writer and blogger and the mom of two awesome kids, a 9-year-old math whiz daughter and a 5-year-old silly cuddlebug son.
I stepped away during Flash Fiction Month because my son had to have an appendectomy.

(It was a real scare, but he's recovering beautifully!)

There are a lot of messages. o.O

I guess I have some catching up to do!

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Realmwright Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks for faving and watching :)
ninjababy Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure! :D
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2015
Thanks for the fave <3
ninjababy Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure! :D
JAStar4 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2015   Writer
Thank you for the llama <3
ninjababy Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure! :D
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2015
:love: Thanks for watching me!
ninjababy Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
No, thank you! :heart: 
Pailei Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for the fave on "made of trees!" :)
ninjababy Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure! :-D
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