Flash Fiction Friday – The Leaf

Carmine Carmichael smoked his last cigarette twenty minutes ago.  The sun rose above the row homes on Sutter Street as he sat down on the marble steps at the corner.  He hadn’t slept in three days, hadn’t eaten in two days and hallucinations were starting to begin.  His four-week old blue jeans felt crunchy as he ran his hands up his shins, to his knees and then his thighs.

A dead leaf blew down the sidewalk, past his battered sneakers and he thought of how peaceful the dead leaf must have felt. It was, after all, devoid of all feeling.  The leaf had lived its life on a tree somewhere as people passed it by without a thought.

Carmine knew exactly how that little leaf felt. Another leaf blew past and Carmine reached his filthy hand down and scooped it up with care. The weak stem felt dry in his fingers as he twirled it around, looking at the rips in the body of the little leaf.

“I’ll bet you were once so beautiful, little leaf, just like me.  I was a strong man once, little leaf.”

The little leaf stood lifeless in his fingers and Carmine felt his eyes well up as he clutched the leaf to his chest. Little leaf pieces fell to the ground as Carmine sobbed.

Footsteps echoed in the distance and Carmine put his filthy hands back on his thighs and watched the leaf blow away in a dozen pieces.  Carmine watched as shiny, pristine shoes stepped on and over the leaf.

Carmine knew just how that little leaf felt.

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Flash Fiction Friday – Bullet

Reblog of a favorite Flash Fiction of mine.

English: Picture of a standard 'K Bullet' as m...

So I sat in a box for the last, oh, I don’t know, seven years?  Just sat there on a shelf with dozens of other boxes on other shelves with the others and I am finally free.
I don’t know who opened the box and put me in the chamber of freedom, but his fingers were fat like crinkled sausages and they smelled like shit. I guess some uprights never wash their hands.
“There you go my pet,” the upright says. “You are such a special little bullet. You were born to do great things.  You are going to change history, my pet.”
The upright talks a lot.
It’s freaking dark in here.  I have waited my entire life to get out of that damn box. I am a special bullet.  I don’t mingle with common bullets.
Seven years I have waited for this.  I don’t know what to expect. I just hear the voice.  I guess the voice thinks I can’t understand, but I can. I hear it talk about me.  It talks about my velocity, my speed and my distance.
It’s weird, you know? I don’t know what any of it means.
I can hear the upright speak as I sit here waiting for my moment of glory. He told me I was going to change history.  I don’t know what that means really…  but it sounds important.
Before the upright put me in here, it held me close to where the voice comes out.  It told me all these things.
“You’re so beautiful,” it says.
“You are the most special bullet ever, little bullet. You are going to make poppa so proud,” the voice cries.
I wanted to concur or validate the voices wishes. But what the hell, I’m just a bullet after all. A special bullet it tells me. But I don’t know what the means.  I don’t even know what my purpose is.
“Oh, special bullet. Be straight and true with your aim, young one.  Guide your soul into the heart of that bastard and save us all,” the voice screams.
The upright put me in something cold and long.  It’s dark in here.
Wait.  I just heard a loud bang and now I am zooming through the air toward another upright.  I don’t understand any of this.
Now I am in something hot, dark and wet. This is so odd.  I was happy in my box with the others.  I don’t feel so special anymore. Where is the voice?
I hear other voices now.  They are making high-pitched noises.  They are screaming, “He’s shot! He’s shot!”
My shell is gone.  I am now a flat piece of metal.
I still don’t feel special.

“Bound and Broken” Opening Scene

Below is the opening scene for my WIP.  I have gone over this scene the most as I revise my work.

WARNING: Language.

For the second time in three days, Celeste Murphy pretended the plaster pieces that fell on her face as she tried to sleep were snowflakes.  This time, inaudible shouts accompanied the stomping.  The intrusion on her ears and face took her from a snow-filled dreamland to reality.

Two squeaks came from the bed as she sat up; only one squeak yesterday.  The squeaks, shouts and stomps made her head swell as she reached for her cigarettes.

A mouse darted across the bedroom floor from under the bed and Celeste yanked her feet up.  She wondered if the squeaks were from the mattress itself or if the mouse had slept in the mattress at night along with her.  Her gag reflex kicked in as she pushed away thoughts of sleeping with mice.

She grabbed the pair of socks off the foot of the bed, put them on and stood up.  The blinds were up on the windows, which meant she came home DBR last night.  She blurted out “DBR” one night at work and after she explained it meant, “drunk beyond repair.”  Everyone thought she was a genius.  She guessed it was her “catch phrase” although she thought it was damn lame.

She flipped the light on when she entered the kitchen.  Cockroaches scattered and for a moment, she thought about cleaning the kitchen, but there were better things to do.  She rummaged in the bottom cabinet until she found a little pot and put water on for coffee.  Her favorite coffee mug was in the sink filled with a filmy liquid.  There was a foam cup on the table in the other room from two days ago.  She sighed as she grabbed it, rinsed it out and finished making her coffee.

The stomps upstairs had followed her into the kitchen. She grabbed the dust-covered broom wedged between the wall and the refrigerator and banged the ceiling.

“Just kill each other already,” she yelled as she banged the broom into the ceiling, and threw it on the floor.

Celeste opened the window to light rain as she sat in the chair next to the window with her instant coffee and morning cigarette.  The empty stand remained in the corner, which was once home to a television until last week when Celeste had come home drunk and knocked it over.

She needed a Valium or Percocet.  Her head hurt like hell and she had work again tonight.  Normally, she would not work back-to-back nights, but her habit was getting expensive.  Her purse was on the other chair.  She didn’t remember putting it there and rolled her eyes as she stuck her foot under the strap and brought it toward her.

After she got her head together, she went through her afternoon routine of ignoring the dirty dishes, counting her money from the night before and rummaging through her purse to see how many pills and bags of cocaine she had to get her by until she could get more.

After she dressed, she stumbled out of her apartment door into the smell of piss and body odor in the hallway.  She slammed the door while she held her breath. No way in hell could she hold her breath long enough to wait for the elevator today.

She counted the steps in her head as she descended; thirty not including the landings.  Counting helped her forget she held her breath as she went down the steps.  She exhaled when she got to the front door.

Her smile went flat when she saw the large figure at the bottom of the steps outside.

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