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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Speakeasy 167 – Table Turner

Turner could change things, she could will things to happen and she could, to some extent, change the past. But everything she did came with a price: the twin towers were hit when she saved her parents and little brother from a car crash they had died in, her neighbour died of a heart attack when she stopped a burglar from coming into her house and shooting her in fear trying to get away and she found a dead pigeon on her doorstep the day she undid the entire day and came back to the morning. The retribution was always disproportionate and unpredictable. That’s what made it so dangerous.
Turner was 25 years old though her mind was young and heavy. She would twitch her ear if she was annoyed by something or other and she lived alone in one of those big square bins except this one was stuck for everyone else who tried to open it an it was bigger on the inside. That had cost her three dead cats and a cholera outbreak somewhere in Africa. But she had stopped caring. That was the last time she’d used her “powers”, that sacred “gift”…
She lived scavenging the nearby bins and pickpocketing to buy the food she couldn’t get scavenging. She had ten water bottles she’d fill up at fountains. She had everything she wanted: a quiet life, where no-one would bother her. On the contrary, they seemed to avoid her.
Then she met Sam. She was sitting in the street with her back against the wall, enjoying people not talking to her, walking past fast, swerving to avoid her, even going so far as to cross the street. That’s when Sam came. He was ten years old. A street urchin, starving to death. He was the only one to come near her, to nestle against her, to not mind the smell and the absence of money or decency. And she fell in love.
She showed him her home, she taught him to scavenge and pick pockets and beg. Then she showed him other things, she only wanted him to be happy and she never thought her curse would actually affect her.
And it didn’t. But Sam got hit by a truck. She brought him back to life, but Sam was never the same again.

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Posted by on 25 June 2014 in Banzaï, Speakeasy

 

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DragonSpark Speakeasy 167 – Russian Snowflake

Samantha’s childhood had been a rough one. She grew up in the violent, desolated suburbs of an ex-soviet city. In her mother’s rare moments of consciousness, she told her of the American man who had made her pregnant, many years ago, a naïve and beatific smile on her face. “Stop being so blind!” Sam would yell, tears blurring her vision. “He fucked you and left your sorry arse to freeze in this god-forsaken dump!” Sam’s mom would then stare blankly, a half emptied bottle of vodka in her hand, as her daughter stormed out of the small one room apartment, in order to put food on the table.

Sam was smart. She was 13 and had never been to school but she knew how to read and write Russian and even spoke some English. She had taught herself the language as well as the basics of mathematics with books she stole from the library. This was also her trade. To put food on the table she picked pockets, stole, mugged, and, when she had to, killed. She had already taken three lives. The first belonged to a man that had attempted to abuse her. The cops found his body five days later, his privates chopped off and his throat sliced. The second and third belonged to tourists who had chased her after she grabbed a wallet form one of them. They were now food for the sewer’s cat-sized rats. She had, sadly, become proficient at wielding knives as weapons. This was her routine, her life. However it all fell apart when she killed a man she shouldn’t have.

The man in question was a tall, rather large fellow. Sam had spotted the enormous diamond ring on his index. What happened next was a blur in her mind: Her hand grabs at the ring. The man turns around and grabs her wrist with one hand, her hair with another. Pain. Sam spots the holstered gun in the man’s jacket. Panic. Her free hand frees her Kukri knife from its holster. The man’s throat explodes into a bloody mess. Sam grabs the ring and runs. Relief. Later that day, she spots a TV in a restaurant playing a news report. Panic.

By nightfall, she was at the docks. The local thugs gave her 1.500$ for the ring. She knew she was getting ripped off but she was in no position to negotiate, not with half the nation’s corrupt police looking for her. She bought herself a passage on a cargo ship setting sail for New York.

However, once there, she continued to lead the only life she knew, unaware that the NYPD was multiple times more efficient at tracking down criminals then her entire nation’s ever was. She was arrested on counts of theft and murder only two months after arriving. She was thrown into prison.

“And she’s been here since then” the CIA agent besides me said, finishing his summary of Sam’s life. I nodded, my eyes still locked on the teenage girl across the two way mirror. She wore the typical bright orange convict uniform, the sleeves rolled up to her forearms. Her short, boyish blond hair, cold blue eyes and pale skin betrayed her origins. She seemed restless, shifting on the steel chair of the interrogation room. “So you really are going to bring her in?” the man continued, “She is a criminal.” “By necessity, not by will” I replied, “Besides, she did us a favour by killing one of the most corrupt, most powerful Russian arms dealer since the collapse of the Soviet bloc”

I entered the room, briefcase in hand. The look of surprises on Sam’s face was understandable. The last thing she expected was to see a teenage boy dressed in an Italian suit to come through that door. I extended my right arm towards her. After a moment, she shook my hand dubiously. I sat across from her and cleared my throat. “Do you know what day it is?” Silence at the end of the table. “Today is your 16th birthday” I followed, “You and I are exactly the same age.” Curiosity and distrust were both present on the girl’s face. Time to strike. “What if I told you I could get you out of here?” “I’d say you’d throw me in another place like this.” the girl replied with her heavy Russian accent, “My life wouldn’t change. I’d stay the same.” But Sam was never the same again.

……………………………ALPHA/Century//Snowflake//SNOWDEN……………………………………HTTP//FLY……

Hello again Speakeasy. This is my first espionage/coming of age story. Hope you like it. The idea comes from an awesome book series called CHERUB, written by Robert Muchamore, which portrays the life and adventures of the agents of a secret branch of MI6, all of which are under 18. Being a fan of James Bond (and despite being too old for the books) I really enjoyed that series. For the Americans among you (and whoever else, really), how would you react if the next Snowden reveals the existence of such a branch in America? Do the ends justify the means?
Comment and feedback on the piece are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and see you later.
P.S.: How and where do the editors find these media prompts??

 
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Posted by on 25 June 2014 in Dragonspark, Speakeasy

 

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Christmas Miracles

Although it was only 5 o’clock, it was already pitch black. A chill went through the world. Small stars illuminated by the new lampposts fell from the heavens to purify the earth. Snow had always been beautiful. There were lights on the houses: shaped like sleighs or reindeers in the garden. Selena thought about Santa; how, as a child, she had dreamed of going in his magical flying sleigh. It made her laugh a short, sad laugh. She didn’t believe in anything now.
“Dear Santa, for Christmas this time, I just want a family.” Like that had ended well…

Two years ago, around that time, that wish had finally been granted: a family, with a mum, a dad and a brother had wanted her. She got to spend Christmas with them and get to know them: the mother was very perfectionist, she wanted everything to always look and be its best; the father was an engineer and his study was full of blueprints and models; the brother was 11 years old, 3 years younger than she had been at the time. He liked cars and robots and shooting and racing video-games: the best game was one where you could race AND shoot at the same time. Selena had been a young girl, happy to be out of the orphanage at last, with her own room and private space. But she liked being alone, she did art and read books (and wrote a few story ideas but they never lasted). Selena was an indoorsy person: she didn’t like going out and doing stuff.
Selena and her family turned out to be very different from each other and she could never be perfect enough for her very demanding mother: her results at school (though quite good) were not high enough, she didn’t spend enough time with her family preferring her room, she didn’t play with her brother (who, in her defence was 3 years younger than her (and a boy)), she didn’t go out with her friends (who were also indoorsy and they already saw each other every day), she didn’t have the perfect boyfriend (she didn’t even have a boy friend: she went to a girls school). These differences created a gap in the new family: a crack that got wider and wider until her mother finally told her that “the orphanage is a good place you know, you have friends there, people like you, who understand you. You don’t really belong here, I think you should go back” after which Selena burst into tears. All her life she had tried to be loved, to find a family who would care for her, to be normal, to belong. She hadn’t even lasted a year. It was so hard to be loved for what you were. She had been told that God gave everyone what they deserved to have, that she deserved to have a family and that she would get one. Selena stopped believing in God. And Santa. She believed in luck and at that point she believed that she was the unluckiest person in the world.
Paperwork was done and Selena was Returned. Back to the orphanage. Back to the people who had failed but by that time, it was this time of the year again, almost Christmas. She spent it with the care workers and the unlucky children, the ones God apparently deemed Unworthy, the ones who got to stay.
But things change and this year was different: this year she is spending Christmas with her best friends, the ones who supported her all along, the ones who go through the hardships with her, who help her with things big and small, who’s smiles are the first and brightest things she sees every morning and the last things she sees in the evenings, the ones who never gave up on her. Because, blinded by her selfishness of wanting to be be like others, she couldn’t see that God had already given her the best family she could have, and that she was the luckiest person in the world, she could be whoever she wanted to be. And she realised “I shouldn’t want to be like other people, other people should want to be like me”.
And so she laughed at herself, for being so naïve and not knowing that she had everything she needed. She smiled and sang softly merry Christmas songs and she didn’t feel the cold because the place she was walking to was warming her heart.
And so she sang to the snow and the decorations and the light, knowing that she was going Home.

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I wrote this for my friend last Christmas, when my tumblr blog was not much and this one nonexistent. It’s not even on tumblr yet (though I only revived that today) but it’s near the beginning of the summer long waiting list of “things that aren’t on tumblr yet”. Hope you like it 🙂

 
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Posted by on 22 June 2014 in Banzaï

 

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Mornings

BEEP BEEP-Click
A trained arm shoots out from under the covers to stop the noise only to slither back under again to the warmth. After two minutes of mustering up courage a reluctant ungraceful Venus emerges from a sea of covers mumbling and grumbling and no-sense-making. Groggily climbing down the ladder of its high bed the creature wondered why it even got up sometimes. Mainly because it was easier that way: do what you’re told, no complications. It snorted, like that was easy. Pffft there were always things it did wrong, no matter how hard it tried it could never be perfect. It held a grudge against Perfect anyway. It was always quick to disregard what the others called “fashion”; it had, at a young age, got fed up with all the shenanigans and falsehood of fitting in and it held in contempt those who changed or pretended to conform to society. Maybe because they didn’t accept who they were, maybe because they had friends and sometimes it was a bit jealous of them. Munching cereals as it defrosted a piece of bread it went through a thought cycle similar to every other day though it didn’t often think the exact same thought twice. It sang as it got ready and being late, left like a cannonball, to put it in the words of its parents. It was always like this, it would run a little then walk, having caught up its lateness. Wondering if and what it had forgotten that day. It often found a positive answer although lately less so. Maybe it was getting used to routine after years. That was the story of its life. Running late. It had a reputation to maintain. Also it didn’t care much for punctuality and hated being early. That was its unsocial side. It actually had three main personalities, when it talked to itself: Stupid, also Idiot, doesn’t say much but is often insulted, Talky, the one who does most the thinking/talking to itself, it insults Stupid, thinks about everything and nothing and thinks cool punch lines for no apparent reasons that said creature will probably never find reason enough to say, it’s also the one that does all the ramblings, then there’s Skeptical who questions everything and can come to ask things ranging from stupid to existential. After that there would be Thoughty who overthinks things, Silly who is (you guessed it) silly, Annoying who annoys and Mad who thinks it might be mad and likes to imagine what would happen. Among others.
And life goes on…

 
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Posted by on 18 June 2014 in Banzaï

 

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Rememberer

Scowling, With that stiffness of walking fast because I don’t have much time but reluctantly because I know I won’t like what I find. Looking scornfully at the lampposts I decide whatever happens tonight I don’t care, I’m going straight home after to forget about it, watching a film, singing in the shower, going to bed. These gang fights get ugly.
Who would’ve thought a policeman’s job to be so alike to the undertaker’s. Or a policewoman.
The problem is that a new violent gang has arisen that we know nothing about and are therefore impossible to stop. All we do know is the horrible state they leave their victims in. Which is why right now, I’d rather be pretty much anywhere but here. But I have to stop them. That’s why I’m here and I’m determined to do my job. No one can mess with people like this and expect to get away with it. I hate this part of my job.
Suddenly I’m at the crime scene but a shrill noise is drilling into my head and blurring my vision.
As I hear my classmates rushing out I remember, this was the last lesson of the day. As I stagger up and pack my blank sheet and the pen that doesn’t work I think of the poor woman who doesn’t know she will never get back home, watch a film, sing in the shower, go to bed. And I don’t want to know who she was. Because I already have enough reasons to cry. I’ve already been enough people, discovered different lives only to find out it was their last moments.
And no one at school or at home ever knew why that boy’s eyes were so full of sadness
The only life I experience that doesn’t die is my own.
No one ever dared to approach him and they all thought it better to let him grieve in peace
But my own life is like so many last moments. I’m always alone.
No one ever knew if he wanted company, but sometimes on his own he looked OK, so maybe he wasn’t always so sad
At least I can never know when I’m about to die. And I feel such intimacy with the people I become for a short while that sometimes, just sometimes, it was worth being with them. To remember them.

 
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Posted by on 17 June 2014 in Banzaï

 

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Speakeasy 166 – Street Tricks

He taught me how to read people’s eyes. How to trick them into thinking there could be a logic and people could stare at my work for hours trying to figure how it worked, trying to find the logic. Of course there never often was one, the trick was just to make them believe there was one, but there never often was. Oh he taught me how to broaden my mind and open my eyes. Sometimes I see people trying to walk into my art, as if there was no wall but a strange continuation of the road or pavement. I’m a street artist. I can do yellow brick roads, a stairway to heaven or a hole on the ground: a pit to hell. Or I’ve done stairs on the floor. You should see my street. You should see my town. People don’t trust their eyes any more, they go around with walking sticks to make sure they’re not walking into a wall or a real hole or staircase. When they don’t have walking sticks you can see them looking around for hidden walls and if they can’t go around the obstacles on the floor they crouch or even come close to lying on the floor to make sure it really is floor and not giant stairs. Because there’s some of that too. And it drives people mad I know it because I see it when I avoid all the traps without looking as odd as they do, I have a careful eye, a trained eye and my tricks don’t work on me.

………8321;)€&&)…………….ihatethesedots…………………………………..

I hate when I write something that looks long in my phone notes and then find out it’s really not that long. Ok for this prompt all I could think of is Inception so it was hard to find this. It’s not exactly original or mind blowing but it’ll have to do.

 
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Posted by on 17 June 2014 in Banzaï, Speakeasy

 

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DragonSpark Speakeasy 166 – Eyes and Magic

“He taught me how to read in people’s eyes”, the old man remembered, “despite not having any himself!” He then chuckled with the broken laugh of an old smoker’s lungs. I was sitting at his table, his humble home slightly isolated from the nearby village, after having barely escaped death in the depths of the earth. I was carrying important cargo in my sack, one that required me to stay incognito until I reached the Guild. Deciding against taking the King’s Road, I stumbled upon this village while following the rolling paths that traversed the country. People here were hospitable, and maybe a little too desperate for change or unexpected visitors, as life in the country was monotonous. When the old man saw a weary traveller, dressed in a heavy cloak, a ball of fire lighting the way, his curiosity was soon inviting me to stay the night.

He lived with his son, his son’s wife, and memories from a lifetime of adventure, tales from the past dying to be brought back to life by his lips, provided an open ear was near. Clearly, his son and daughter in law knew the tales already, as they gazed at the two of us with a knowing smile from inside the house. Indeed, we were having tea outside, a low wooden table as sole furniture, grass below, the heavens above. Whereas my cup had already been emptied three times, my host’s was still full. His mind had control over his mouth right now, not his thirst. He told me tales of adventure, travel and glory. The man had been an explorer all his life, traveling to the ports of the world until he settled with his son inland, in the very house I was in now.

Seeing that my host was finally drinking from his cup, I turned my gaze towards the wilderness. A few feet away, a tiny waterfall was fuelling a stream. The dim glow of the town’s lights could be seen in the distance, behind a layer of trees. I sensed so much wildlife bustling around me, and the town was still lively with activity despite the summer night slowly creeping on its residents. I breathed a sigh. This was heaven compared to what I had seen in that cave. Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes, or the way those creatures chased me throughout the ruins like shadows, their figure only lit by four deadly drops of colour in their face. Finding an exit out of there had been miraculous.

A shiver crawled up my spine. Once you see these things, they stay with you forever. Thrice on the road I had turned around violently, hands before me, magic ready to shoot out from them, expecting one of those beasts to be behind me, ready to attack, only to find myself starring at a tree, or at a passing peasant, colour suddenly fleeing his face.

Another sigh. I poured myself another cup of tepid tea and heated it with my magic. After emptying the cup and saluting my host, I grabbed my cloak and headed to the guest mattress that the kind family had set up for me. That night, my sleep was plagued with memories of the cave, how I fought the creature, how its articulations were abnormal, how it had clawed at my cloak, before turning it into crystal.

….Wait a minute… I’m sleeping in that cloak… Right?

I woke up, startled, to find that, actually, I was not. The cloak I had carried with me was gone, leaving me in boiled leather shoulder and chest plates above a silk doublet. My breathing was quick and shallow. My brow was covered with cold droplets. Around me the house was dark, lifeless. I could not feel the presence of the old man and his family. I got up, determined not to let panic overcome me. Once outside, I sent my consciousness out again. The bustling wildlife was gone. The whole forest felt inert. I projected it farther, to the town, or at least, where the town had been. I found nothing. No lights, no life. I opened my eyes. Beyond the low table was an all too familiar figure. It was the frozen, lifeless, crystal-like statue of the man that had welcomed me into the cavern. Except its face now held extra significance to me: it belonged to the explorer who had welcomed me into his home moments ago.

………………………………….DrAgOn//SPARK//*………………………………MaLfUnCtIoN/CodeERROR//………….

This is the sequel to my first post for the speakeasy, last month. After you’ve read this, I’d like to know something: Do you guys picture the protagonist as a man or a woman? How old is he/she? Whatever you think, thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope to see you around. Comments that do not answer the question above are much appreciated nonetheless.
For those who haven’t read the prequel to this (or forgot the thing entirely), here it is.

 
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Posted by on 17 June 2014 in Dragonspark, Speakeasy

 

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