Posts in Short Stories
Lost in the Apocalypse-Chapter 2

Chapter 2

My heels did nothing for the walk but it was the people who made it rough.

Most kept a distance, but some were confrontational. They yelled and badgered those of us who passed on foot and some outright hit at and kicked those who got too close.

Kristoff had to fight off a few. They were livid. They thrashed and screamed and acted outright uncivilized towards everyone around them. While that was terrifying enough the truely scary part was that some looked like frightened bystanders many of them looked sick. Pale skin and reddened eyes. Druggies, addicts of some kind? Or did they have whatever disease the doctors were warning about? I wasn’t sure, but the way they acted was wrong.

We were harassed all the way to the lot of my building and then some. A younger man, maybe a teenager, followed us with a hobbled gait and a violent attitude. Yelling and fussing the entire time he made no sense at all.

As a rule, I didn’t like my guards to get rough with anyone. So, I encouraged Kristoff to be a bit less hands on. Threats didn’t work and neither did redirection. Kristoff tried to push him back when he got close and all the boy did was claw and bite at him. There was no deterring him. We ended up having to lock the door into the complex behind us to prevent the kid from following us in.

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Lost in the Apocalypse - Chapter 1

Chapter 1

It had been a mistake to become so complacent. To accept the servant mentality with little hesitation. I know that now. Unfortunately, the knowledge isn’t worth the weight in blood it took to earn.

I’d always had protection. Always some guard or team member who watched my back. And never once, in this highly secured life, had I needed to think about what kind of danger the outer world could be. Or, the inner for that matter…

I was my father’s secretary, his go between. The large middle finger he used when he was done with someone. As such, it had been my job to meet with any potential business partners he didn’t want to deal with or to realign a current partner who had overstepped their bounds. He didn’t care how it was done. Just that he didn’t have to do it.

In my current position I’d found myself with meeting after meeting. My father preferred to lord from his high office in favor of open handed mediation on even the simplest of problems. I tried to be kind. To let the other in attendance down gently. To give them a semblance of professionalism even while I hid behind the safety curtain my lineage afforded me. A petty and selfish thing I was.

The worst of these meetings came as a hard hit when even Evan Richards earned no exception.

Richards was placed as CEO of his mother’s spa chain the moment he was old enough to legally take charge. Because he was young, and everything was built for him, there was little Evan wanted for. This was the issue. Keen to make deals and decisions he neglected to realize he was leader in name only and dear mommy still pulled the strings.

He’d done fine with the contracts, many earned through tips I’d given him, but he’d gotten a bit presumptuous when he dealt with my father.

Secretive and conservative, who cared not a bit for my relationship with Evan, father wanted nothing to do with Richards or his brash schemes.

You see, small deals were one thing, but Richards and his mother Sarah had been known to cause trouble. This was known to happen on random occasions especially if one or the other was in a foul mood. They would sabotage the outcome of contracts for little more than spite, just to make a point that they could. A loss on our end if we became her target. To cut the chance, father decided he wouldn’t deal with Richards. If only to ensure Sarah had no leverage on our profits.

So, father sent me once more and I agreed. My intention had been to gently inform my fiancé that our company held no interest in his proposal for the health bar line and he needed to first shore up his own company before father would even think of a deal.

And he was late. He hadn’t called. And I was losing my nerve.

“Another tea Miss Rivers,” the attractive and very attentive waitress offered as she checked on my table. I’d been there for some time and had nursed the one I’d ordered for a while now. Well more like fumed into the few cold dregs left.

“No Rachel.” I waved her offer off with as polite of a decline as I could muster. “I’ll be on my way soon if my client doesn’t show. Though I would like to place an order for your Cheese Danish, to go.”

“Your regular then?” She happily jotted down the order and gave me a bright smile.

“Yes please.”

“Extra blueberries,” She asked.

“I believe you know that answer,” I chuckled.

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It’d always been cold in this room, lonely.

I couldn’t shake it no matter how many clothes I piled on. No matter how much wood I stoked the fire with. No matter how many pictures I took. No matter how much love I poured into it.

Lifeless. That’s how it felt.

I couldn’t help but mutter to myself as I paced the room.

I had shopping to do. Cooking, and cleaning.

The house was a mess. It was as if she’d not even tried to take care of the place while I’d been away.

So much that had to be done. That needed to be done. Once more it fell to me to do it.

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There wasn’t much warning. Not much time to prepare. For what, I can’t remember… Cold. Hard. Sharp. Lots of noise and pain. An urgency.

Then I woke up. On a normal street, no people in sight, with a small corner store before me.

It was quaint. A real mom and pop kind of place with the small wooden sign and a jumble of old looking children’s toys outside. There was… a warmth here. Something that pulled me, that made me want to go inside.

I chance a glance around and find the landscape around me isn’t familiar. Not really. It was an old country road, more dirt path than anything. Warm, happy and with a brilliant sun that bore down even though the air was pleasantly tepid. I couldn’t recall how I’d arrived, but my presence felt right. This is where I belonged, where I was meant to be.

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Carpool - Thriller/suspense - First from 'A Gathering of Tales' Collection

It was dark by the time I finished up my work for the day. I locked the vault and was making my way to the lobby when Gary, another clerk, waved me down.

“You look like shit,” I joked as he jogged up to me. His face was flushed, and he looked like he’d just run a marathon.

“Sorry.” He heaved, his large frame shaking as he sucked in a ragged breath and held his side. “Wanted to catch you before you headed out.”

“Any particular reason why?” I didn’t dislike Gary, but I wasn’t exactly on friendly terms with him.

“New policy,” he said after another inhale of air. “Have to leave in pairs after dark.”

“Since when?”

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It was a warm spring day. The sun shone through my window and the breeze blew my curtains about. I couldn’t enjoy it though, as I was in my room at the guild hall with Kian and Orri working on some spell work. Ferros had wanted me to practice summoning, something I’d never tried, so I’d be ready for when we called upon Ilien to ask for passage north.

I found out quickly that I was not particularly good at it. Even with the notes Wesley had left for me in my spellbook. They were supposed to help me through the steps. I’d been at it for hours and, with the instructions from my mentor, had managed to summon only a small wisp into my room. It had unfortunately promptly darted out the open balcony window. Cheered on by Orri as it fled to freedom.

Thankfully the startled screams had died down a few moments after it had vanished, so I was hoping that the wisp had dissipated. With Orri’s encouragement, I had tried a few other summoning spells from the book but only a gust of wind had resulted. A gross smelling gust of wind. Orri swore it was from the nether end of a demon. I had to agree with her. It was a bit discouraging.

“Kian thinks Tiris needs break,” Kian informed me from her small nest in the corner. Her tiny snout was covered by a cloth. “Kian thinks the room needs fresh air yes?”

“By the holy stones of my mother, yes.” Orri was the first to dart out of the door, a small hand covering her nose while the other flailed uselessly to fan away the smell.

I’d long lost my sense of smell to the horrid summon but I nodded anyway. I was developing a massive headache and even if I was used to it the smell wasn’t helping.

Kian, Orri, and I split up after leaving the room. Kian said something about roses and went off towards the gardens. Orri said something of nausea and went for the outhouse. I was hungry, so I headed towards the cantina.

The residential hallway that everyone’s rooms were off, was empty. I found it strange as I calmly exited my room behind my friends. Most times at least one member of the guild would be active. Ferros never gave everyone assignments at the same time. Just in case there was an emergency. Figuring everyone was off getting ready for the summoning I didn’t pay much mind to the oddity. Though it did make me a little nervous.

I made it to the end of the hall, where Sir Breken’s room was before I saw anyone. Breken had his door open and was leaning over his desk with a very rapt expression on his face. His cheeks looked flushed and he was tight knuckled while holding the edges of his desk.

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The Game

This was ridiculous. Of all the people, why in the hell had they had to send her? There were dozens of Silencers. Plenty Arthur knew that were capable of chasing down and dealing with his client. There was no need to send one of their best. Especially not her. This was a test. He knew it. And he knew he was going to fail.

Glancing over at the cowering politician Arthur sighed. The man wasn’t anything special. A fool who’d inadvertently gotten himself embroiled in the wrong and right sides of a power play. The Guardians, like Arthur, needed him to go forward with the take over of the Bastion that had once been Richmond long before the world fell apart. It just so happened he was also needed dead by the Silencers who’s sponsor wanted the city for their own.

“Where are you? All your safe houses are dark. Your mom didn’t know, and your dad thought you were still in Reno.” The soft voice that came from a viper’s mouth drew his attention back to the small monitor on the wall. “You can’t hide forever Arthur.”

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