Tag Archives: story

Dark Blue Ink

She watched the young service attendant’s grease scarred hands do things to her engine she only vaguely knew about. He swiftly and effortlessly moved from one engine part to the other, his hands oddly separated from his body and seen only through the small space between the hood and the engine, checking fluid levels and refilling when the mark showed empty or low. She wonders how he can do it with such casual ease and yet be far too young to have any real experience. He just carries on his work as if everything is normal, wiping his dirty hands with a blue rag and chatting with the other attendant working in the next bay of the Fast Change oil changing place.

The hood slams and the young man picks up the clipboard with her invoice and scribbles on it with one of those pens that strip a sexy lady of her swim suit when you hold it upside down. He tucks the pen under the clip, looks over both shoulders as if he doesn’t want to get caught and hands her the clipboard.

“Just sign the bottom” he says in an forced and too loud casual tone. His eyes dart to the scribbles on the invoice and quickly back to her. Holding the young mans gaze, trying to see through his acting and figure out what he’s after, she snaps the sexy pen out from the under the clip. He looks again at the invoice, this time with a slight and almost imperceptible nod, and pushes the clipboard a little closer. His forehead leaks a drop of sweat and he shifts nervously, looking over his shoulder again. He’s definitely up to something, she recognizes the suspicious behaviour. She’s still staring and clearly making him nervous, so she apologizes and signs the invoice. She pulls off her copy and just as soon as she hands the clip board back, the young man disappears to the next bay and she zips up her window quickly and tightly.

She signed too quickly to notice it and he clearly wanted her to read it, so stopping before the entering road she grabbed the invoice. In dark blue ink, the words ‘you’re being followed’ we’re printed across the centre of the page, forcing the details of her purchase to take second priority. Oh god, this can’t be happening again. Can it? She scans the street, a side road in a busy commercial area close to where she works, and spots a dark pickup truck idling at the curb near the exit of the Fast Change. The glare of the sun off the windshield shielding her view of the driver.

She pulls out into the street. She should go back to her office, although she’s not sure what good it would do. Whoever it is that’s following her most likely already knows where she lives. It doesn’t matter; better safe than sorry, right? The headlights of the idling pickup occupy her rearview. He’s right behind her. She takes a few unnecessary turns, hoping to shake him off. He stays with her, pulling right up behind her at a red light.

She’s in the centre lane and will need to cut out in front of someone in order turn and loose the pickup. There’s a lot of traffic and she doesn’t have many choices. A man in a hunters jacket and ball cap stands on the corner, just standing there. He doesn’t cross, instead he looks straight at her and makes a phone call on his cell. He sees her checking him out, and without hanging up turns and walks back from the direction he came. Did he come from that direction? He must have because he’s part of it.

At the changing light she drives through the intersection and the pick up turns right, a delivery van swoops in to take its place. Thats three following her so far; this is bigger than she thought. She turns down an alley and sure enough the delivery van follows. Knowing what she has to do, she grips the steering wheel with sweaty and shaking hands, hits the gas and squeals out of the alley straight into traffic and heads for the Fast Change.

The young attendant is the one who tipped her off, he has to know more and she’s going to find out what. There’s no lineup, she pulls right in. The attendant recognizes her and nervously approaches as she rolls down her window.
“Is everything ok”
“I want to know why you wrote this message on my invoice”. She grabs the paper off the passenger seat and takes another look before handing it over. The dark blue ink letters were still there clear as a bell, but before she looks away the letters begin to vibrate and move, mixing themselves up on the page. Her heart stops and she holds her breath. A tiny smile threatens her shocked face.

The terrifying realization that your mind no longer belongs to you, for most unsuspecting people, marks the beginning of a long and frightful journey through the dark halls of denial, fear and self loathing, but for the woman in the Fast Change the fear of the journey itself, having taken it a number of times in the past, consumed by the choking maw of crazy and then spewed back into sane, the dancing letters are a clear blue reminder of the real nemesis that follows her.

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June micro fiction

Four children, the oldest carrying the youngest, fight a path through the wind and rain. The oldest, determined to save his siblings, carries the crying baby in one arm, pushing her face into his cold wet t-shirt to shield her from the storm, while pulling the others with his free hand.

The storm is the fierce kind that tore apart homes and claimed lives. Father always warned about the dangers of summer storms, what to do and where to find safety. The culvert at the end of the drive was only a few feet away on a peaceful sunny day, but miles in the distance when faced with cold, unrelenting and unforgiving winds. The oldest helps the children into the hole, and they all shift towards the centre to get away from the sharp rain, huddling and staying close for warmth. All four are cold and wet, but safe.

The storm persists for hours, night falls and the children fall asleep. The oldest doesn’t sleep as well as the others; odd sounds and foul smells keep his senses keen and alert and confused. The muffled snoring, scratching and rustling sounds seem far away at first, but then so close. His imagination takes control of his thoughts and quickly he becomes wrapped in fear and panic. Closing his eyes, he remembers Father telling him that it takes great strength and courage to face and conquer your fears. The fear keeps him awake, desperation for the safety of his brother and sisters keeps him from giving up, but it’s trust in his father’s guidance that gives him the strength he needs to sleep.

He wakes and navy twilight soaks the air outside the culvert. The storm has past and the world is quiet, except for deep breathing coming from behind him inside their metal bed. As he turns to check on his siblings he hears a low muffled growl-like moan that fills the small space. He freezes and his heart pounds. Holding his breath, he listens hard…..nothing.

Twilight illuminates the inside of the culvert just enough to let blue shadows dance on the rippled metal walls. He finds the sleeping face of his brother first; his first sister is right next to him. He hears the moaning again and this time he’s sure it’s not his imagination or any of the children. His eyes search the darkness for his youngest sibling, moving further and further to the opposite end of the culvert. Just then the sun grabs the horizon and pulls itself to daylight, and a sliver of transparent blue light shines into the far opening of the culvert, lighting the small space enough to see the source of the moans.

Sharp blue eyes of a grey wolf, stare unblinking into the boy’s wide fear filled eyes. The two stare into each other, both seem to be unsure of what was happening or what to do do next. The baby is asleep, warm and dry, curled deeply into the soft warmth of the wolfs thick fur. He remembers the stories his father told him about wolves; how they are very wise and how you can speak to them and they to you through the eyes. Looking up and finding the wolf still staring at him, the boy asks, without saying a word, to give back the baby. A look of understanding seemed to come from the wolf, and in a kind and gentle way the wolf nosed and licked the baby’s cheeks and slowly rose to stand over the child. She didn’t cry; instead she smiled and reached up to touch the soft fur and the wolf let her.
In the moment before the wolf turned and left the culvert, he looked one more time into the eyes of the boy. In a time of great fear and danger, and without even knowing it, they helped each other and both were grateful.

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