Terror

Prompt: Nightmare

shadowy-figure

The terrorists were successful. They created an atmosphere of abject horror and fear which was exacerbated by the fact that no one knew their agenda. They made no political, social, or personal claims or aired any such grievances. They seemed to have one goal, which they accomplished efficiently. One of their kind had been pursued and killed but there were no clues, no leads, no trails to follow—just a tall, unkempt figure with half his head blown away.

The terrorists murdered one young blonde woman every night, and left her beheaded body on the lawn outside the homes of innocent people.

The bodies were collected and stored in a repository as identification procedures were set in motion and evidence was gathered. While the external investigation continued, the repository was fitted with audio and video monitoring. Why? It was believed no one, not even the staunchest or bravest, could stomach duty in a building that housed such a number of dead young women.

So when sounds began emanating from the repository one night, those tasked with monitoring the site were alarmed. What were these sounds? Muffled, but human. Were they calls for help? Cries of pain or despair? The live video was blurred and only fixed on the entryway, not inside where the dead lay in rows.

The first moving figure on the video monitor was a hazy figure that emerged from the locked room. An intruder? Impossible. The alternative was equally impossible.

So possibilities were set aside, with no reasonable impossibilities to take their place. Those tasked with monitoring stood and stared at the monitor, immobile, in a void empty of ideas or consequence.

Another unidentifiable figure appeared behind the first.

It was a tall man, unkempt, bloody, his pupils surrounded by whites, emitting primitive howls of rage directed explicitly at the camera lens as he approached it. Women, whole but blood-soaked, appeared like an army behind and around him.

An army of the dead, recruited by their murderers, and as full of rage.

Nightmare.



Yes, that was a dream I had last night. I honestly have no stomach for gore in movies (or in the world) but somehow there was a dream logic that allowed horrifying images to direct whatever narrative there was in this story.

He Said, She Said

Prompt: Twist

graphic business

It was meant to be an informal meeting, just to determine who had sexually harassed who, or even if such an event had occurred.

Sheryll, standing before a bank of buttons in the elevator, believed she had no reason to be nervous, so she impatiently pushed the nagging doubts from her mind. She wore a sleek black pencil skirt and perfectly tailored cashmere powder blue jacket. The HR boss, Carley Spoon, was a busy woman, no nonsense, and unlikely to let the dispute ramble on for long. It was a sensitive area, of course. Jimmy was handsome and charming. Sheryll was polished and attractive. She had worked at the station longer than he, and had a spotless reputation. So, she told herself sternly, nothing to worry about.

She realized she hadn’t pressed any floor buttons. She jabbed at 9 and felt the jolt of the elevator raising her up, leaving most of her stomach behind.

Jimmy was already there, sitting in one of the chrome and leather chairs set in a semi-circle in front of Carley’s desk. As was Carley’s assistant Terry, and another red-headed young woman who Sheryll didn’t recognize; but there was no sign of the HR manager yet. Sheryll glanced at her watch. She was a few minutes early.

She jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder, and spun around.

“Hey, sorry, stay cool.” It was Molly from the art department. She was slim, dark and exotic, and most of all, ambitious. She took the attitude of acting the part of the position she hoped to attain. “I just thought I would sit in,” she said with a smile.

“Sit in?” said Sheryll.

“Yes, taking a course in Human Resources. Two nights a week.” She reached a around Sheryll to peek the office. “Nice digs!” she said.

“What?” Sheryll said, irritated, as Carley appeared from nowhere with a file folder. She beckoned Sheryll inside with a flourish of her hand, and Molly trailed in after her.

Sheryll heard Molly greet Carley Spoon with a boisterous Hi, How are you? as if they were old chums who had missed each other since last meeting. Carley didn’t answer and the room took on an awkward air.

Instead of taking a seat in the plush leather seat behind the desk, Carley perched herself on the front corner of the desk. This said: I expect this to be brief.

Terry quietly closed the door, and setting a small brushed nickel device in the center of the desktop, said, “We’re gonna record this.”

Jimmy’s chair was farthest from the door, and slightly separate from the other four chairs, which formed a cluster near the desk. As Carley went over some basics (introducing everyone and establishing basic rules), Sheryll discreetly peeked at the young man. He sat confidently, legs stretched in front of him, looking slightly surly, slightly arrogant, like a recalcitrant student at the principal’s office. He wore khaki shorts, a black t-shirt and a grey fleece jacket, perhaps feeling confident enough that he need not dress up, as Sheryll had. He was a tall man, with natural broad shoulders and the healthy glow of someone who spent a lot of time outdoors. His slightly mussed, curly hair was tied in a small pony tail at the back. Diffused sunlight streamed in, penetrating the sheer drapes on the window, and glinted like sparks of gold in the fine, blond hair of his legs and thighs.

Carley first asked Sheryll about her position and and asked her to recount what had happened that Friday afternoon. Sheryll leaned forward and spoke to the recorder on the desk. “I’m Media/Resources Manager,” she said. Carley looked at her watch.

“I went into the DVD storage library to pick something up,” she began.

“What time was this?” asked Carley politely.

“I guess around three o’clock.” She had been late back from a three-glasses of wine lunch with Tony, her best friend who was in town for the afternoon. She planned to pack some docs and DVDs into her briefcase and work on the project later, at home, after a nice long nap, or tomorrow, maybe.

“Jimmy was in there, in the corner with an order pack, picking out cuts and so on, so I went over and said hello.”

Carley was absently reading something in the file folder. “What exactly was said?”

“I believe I asked him how he was enjoying the job, or words to that effect.”

“How long have you been an intern here, Jimmy?” Carley asked.

“Three months,” he replied.

“How did you answer Ms Ross?”

“I was polite, just said it’s going good.”

“Then what?”

“Then I just—“ Sheryll began, but was interrupted.

“Then she moved in close,” Jimmy said. “She pressed up against me and her … chest rubbed on mine.”

Molly coughed.

“Oh,” said Carley. “Is that what happened, Sheryll?”

“Then,” Jimmy interrupted again, “she brushed the back of her hand against the front of my pants.” He was scowling, now, not looking at Sheryll or anyone in the room.

Carley crossed her legs. They were plump but shapely.

“Do you mean your penis area?” Carley asked.

The room was airless. Jimmy’s cheeks grew rosier. He nodded.

“That’s a yes?”

“Yes.”

“And so, Jimmy,” Carley continued. “Were you aroused by this?”

“What?” he said, sitting up straighter.

“What were you wearing that afternoon, Jimmy? Something similar to today’s outfit?” Carley asked.

“Whatever,” he said. “Yes, shorts and a t-shirt.”

“Short shorts, like what you have on now.”

Sheryll glanced at Jimmy, who still stared fiercely at something invisible near the potted fig tree on the other side of the door.

“Did you touch Ms Ross, Jimmy?”

“I pushed her back a little.”

“Where did you touch her?”

Jimmy paused. “Sort of on the hip.” he said.

“I see. Then what?”

“I left!”

“You left.” She transferred her steady, inscrutable gaze to Sheryll. “Sheryll?”

“As I recall,” said Sheryll, “I left the room first, went back to my office.”

“Did you rub on him?” Molly blurted out.

“Molly.” Carley’s voice, cold and fierce.

“Sorry,” said Molly.

“As I remember it,” Sheryll said carefully, “we said hello and he was very friendly, and put his hand on my waist. It was a little uncomfortable, but no big deal, so I left.

“Well,” said Carley after a pause, closing the file and placing it on the desk beside her. “A clear miscommunication, that’s all.” She shrugged.

“No miscommunication,” Jimmy said.

“I think you appreciate, Jimmy, that this is a ‘he said, she said’ situation,” Carley said patiently. “First, you certainly give off the vibe of someone very interested in action, from the way you dress to the way you speak and look at the women in this office.”

Jimmy rallied as if to speak. “I’m not finished,” said Carley. “In fact, you, Jimmy, have somewhat of a reputation around the sixth floor.” She paused. “Sheryll has been with us over six years, with nothing even remotely like this coming to light. You are young and young men sometimes have inappropriate urges. Let’s leave it at that. You won’t lose your job, but there will be a six week probationary period where we will watch you very closely.”

“You have to be fucking kidding me,” Jimmy said.

“I’m not fucking kidding you,” Carley said.

Jimmy stood up, tore off his grey hoodie and threw it on the ground. Carley rolled her eyes. “Are you finished with your manly display?” she said, looking at Terry, who stood up and went to door. He opened it wide and the sounds of a busy office filtered back into the room.

Carley picked up the recording device, and then put it back on the desk. She stood up. “We’ll move you to another department, of course,” she said to Jimmy.

“We need an intern in Art,” Molly volunteered.

“The fuck you will,” Jimmy said. “I quit.”

“Let’s say you’re fired, and call it a draw,” said Carley.

Enraged, Jimmy strode to the door. He turned to Sheryll. Alarmed, she pressed against the back of the chair.

“And fuck YOU,” he said, jabbing a finger in the air. He stormed out.

Carley turned to Sheryll. “God, men have such tempers. I don’t know how they function.”

 

Inspiration

Hello Wednesday. I missed you last week.

Today’s self-prompt is inspiration. I always found the single-word Daily Post Daily Prompts to be lame, but they were at least an inspiration starting point and, more importantly, connected a group of promptees who became a community.

Where that community has gone I have no idea. I feel kind of stranded; do you? I wonder seriously how difficult it must have been to post one word a day with links to the community chest— I can’t judge because it’s been a long time since I worked on a serious website without a template (like this one).

There are lots of resources with daily prompts, and some with groups of participants that connect. But I grew comfortable with this one, and now need to stop finding excuses for skipping my daily entries and get to work. I have the old Daily Post 365 days of prompts and may start there. Or I have other quite interesting lists. What will you do?

In lieu of any inspiration whatsoever, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon yardbirds begat

cartoons womans point of view


cartoon stop picking at it


See you tomorrow for Throwback Thursday!

~~FP

Faceless

Prompt: Faceless

woman butterfly

I had  a rather dreary tale of anonymity and pain planned for today’s post, but in my travels for a suitable image I came across the work of British artist Amy Judd.

woman rose face

I love such deceptively simple yet expressive work, that digs deeply into the artist’s psyche as well as into the psyche of human myth and culture.

woman bird face 2

The images are both beautiful and chilling. What do you think?


More info and images by Amy Judd.

It Scampers

Prompt: Anticipate


Dear Wednesday,

It seems like only yesterday that we parted.

While I always look to Wednesday, whose child is allegedly full of woe (that’s me!), with great anticipation, this week’s prompt is, as it was November 23, 2016, is the concept of anticipation. I think a better word for this week would have been repeat. Nothing wrong with repeats. I watched a rerun of Seinfeld last night, the one where he hangs out in the office building lobby hoping to run into a woman he met, and George introduces us to his alter ego, “Art Vandelay.” Funny– but really, not as sharp as I remembered it. Part of the show’s charm now is its, um, historic value. Look at the size of those cordless phones! Where are they– in a video rental store! Dated, but the humour still sticks.

In the spirit of “repeat” may I present the first of several of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon history repeat


This next is not history repeating itself, but taking two frustrating steps backward:

cartoon no women panel


Finally, I had to go to an oral surgeon yesterday. I am a nervous dental patient so had sedation, and today am swollen and full of prescription drugs. However, at least I did not have this experience:

cartoon dentist


Have a wonderful Wednesday.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!

~~FP

Passions

Prompt: Passionate

beers

Franco the Barber was sitting in the passenger seat of the Lincoln, with the door swung open, parked in the back lane of Debora Demarco’s house. He leafed through a catalogue, while Leep stood outside on the gravel, leaning against one of the carport posts.

“Can you smoke in the car?” asked Leep.

“So many questions,” said Franco. “Always, so many questions. Yes, I can smoke in the car. Al does all the time, so why wouldn’t I be able to?”

Leep shrugged. “Just making conversation.”

“Go make conversation inside the house,” said Franco.

“What’s the catalogue?”

“Oh.” Franco shook off a layer of irritability and held up the front cover. “Yeager’s Surplus Guns ’n’ Ammo. You like guns, Leep?”

“Don’t know much about them,” Leep said. “What’s that on the cover? I like it.”

“That, kid, is your Daniel Defence AK18. Set you back a few thou for one of those.”

“You like guns, Franco?” Leep had graduated last week from calling him Mr Francesco.

“Oh sure, me and Al both. You might call it a passion.” He chuckled. “Al has quite a collection, some of them historic, like Civil War. Most locked away in his office, so the kids can’t get at them.”

“Smart,” said Leep.

“Only thing he loves more is—“ Franco closed up the catalogue and tossed it to Leep. “There ya go, have fun. Jack off to the DD’s if you want.”

“Heh,” said Leep, not knowing if it was a joke. “What does he love?”

“His wife,” said Franco. Then burst out laughing. “Well, women, and his wife is one of those. He loves his women.”

Leep affected what he hoped was a conspiratorial chuckle. He certainly knew that Al had his droopy eyes set on Deborah’s mother, Beth. “Aha, who doesn’t?” he said, and hoped Franco couldn’t sense the foolish mush that was inside his head, since no one knew less about loving women than Leep.

Franco laughed again. “You don’t. You should be asking Big Al about the women, not me.”

“Really?” asked Leep.

“No, not really, you fuckface.” Franco climbed out of the car and stood up, stretching his arms in the air. He wore a dark brown suit and a white shirt, without a tie. “Don’t talk to Mr Demarco unless he talks to you first.”

Like royalty, Leep thought, but didn’t say it aloud. He would take the catalogue and go into the house now, make note of where Albert Demarco put his briefcase when he visited, and refuse the Budweiser that Deborah’s mother would offer him, because his passion, at the moment, was beer.