Flash Fiction Thursday–[Another] Deadly Colors Excerpt

The book is coming out soon, so I figured I’d put another excerpt on my site.

Flash Fiction ThrusdayThis is the first real interaction between the two main characters, and it happens to be during a police  interview. I suppose that’s the only explanation you’ll need for the purposes of knowing the context of the scene.

Enjoy!

Deadly Colors mediumDeadly Colors Excerpt 2

Jay took the key to Garrett’s handcuffs out of his front left pocket. “Mr. Moore, let me take care of those.”

Garrett rubbed the indention on his left wrist. “Thank you.”

“Can I get you some coffee or a cigarette?”

Jay noticed sweat building on Garrett’s forehead and a subtle shaking in his right hand.

“Yeah, I’ll take some coffee.”

Jay got up and poured Garrett a cup of the dirt flavored coffee. They didn’t brew fresh pots in the interview room, so Jay tended to steer clear from it unless he was in dire need. He gestured to the cream and sugar, and Garrett nodded.

After Jay set the coffee down in front of Garrett, he took a seat at the table, switching on the voice recorder as he did so.

“So Mr. Moore, do you remember me?”

“Yeah, you’re the guy who chased me.”

“Can you walk me through what happened that day?”

“Nothing much to it—the guy pulled a gun on me, and I shot him. End of story.”

“Hold tight…let’s back up, what happened before that? Before you guys ended up in the alley.”

“I don’t remember. I was just walking through the alley on my way to the store, and the dude pulled a gun on me.”

“Okay, so who were you with? Two different guns caused the man’s wounds. We know there was another shooter.”

“I don’t know, just some guy who was there. He saw the dude pull a gun on me, and he tried to help me out,” Garrett lied. “If you do find him, let me thank him.”

The murderer that ran away in the ally now made his appearance; the man sitting in front of Jay was arrogant, tough, smart, and had nothing to lose.

I’m already losing my patience with this piece of shit, Jay thought.

Jay glanced over at the two way mirror and saw the frustrated, defeated man posing as him. He shook his head and turned off the voice recorder.

“Look. We have several witnesses that told us you and another man were chasing the victim minutes prior to the shooting. That self-defense bullshit isn’t gonna hold up in court if you were the instigator. Do you understand?”

Yes Garrett, I can lie too.

Garrett looked unfazed. He continued to stare at the wall behind Jay.

“So if you don’t wanna spend the rest of your life in a cage, you better start talking. As it stands now, we’re gonna roast your ass in court.”

Garrett rubbed his bearded chin and continued looking straight forward.

“Oh I get it,” Jay persisted. “You’re waiting on your court appointed attorney to come save your ass. Is that it?

“Let me tell you something. Those guys don’t care about you. You have a man who ranked last in is class, at Slacker School of Law defending your freedom. And here you are, stonewalling me. I’d rethink that if I were you.”

“Who are you, Uncle Tom? I ain’t telling you shit,” Garrett snapped. “You wasting your time, homie.”

Relief is a good word to describe how Jay felt. He was happy to get him talking again, despite what came out. However, Jay knew he had to change gears. He flipped the voice recorder back on.

“Okay, fair enough. Well tell me something. Do you know a gentleman by the name of Manuel Philips? He’s a potential suspect in our case.”

Garrett’s eyes twitched toward the door. Jay recognized his look in the direction of an exit as the tell-tale sign of an imminent lie.

“I don’t know any nigga named Manuel.”

“That’s funny. We got your phone records from TechNet Wireless. It shows you called Mr. Philips more than your wife in the time leading up to you getting arrested,” Jay said. He dropped the sheet of paper on the table in front of him. “How do you explain that?”

Garret sat there looking at the phone records. The two made brief eye contact that Garrett broke almost instantly.

I got him now, Jay thought.

“So Mr. Moore, how about you save us both the trouble. Tell me he was involved, and where I can find him.”

“I don’t know where he at! I don’t know him.”

“Okay Mr. Moore. Let me just remind you what you’re facing.”

Jay looked down to read off the sheet. “Murder, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, obstruction of justice, and concealing a firearm without a permit.

“Now Mr. Moore, if you don’t cooperate, do you know how much time you’ll spend in jail? Actually, I have a better question—do you know how much time you’ll spend outside of prison during the remainder of your life?”

Garrett took a sip of his coffee which must have been lukewarm by then. He inhaled deeply and shot a quick look toward the observation window. Then, their eyes met again.

“Okay, do you want to know where he’s at?” Garrett said, sounding a little bit fatigued.

“Yes, that’d be a pretty good start.”

“Okay. Get in your car. Drive down Harwood. Take a right. Then fall off the face of the fucking earth.”

Jay stood up and threw the handcuffs onto the table. “Thanks Mr. Moore.”

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Flash Fiction Thursday–The Black Chess Board

Flash Fiction ThrusdayHere’s another flash fiction story based off one of the prompts on Terrible Minds:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/09/13/flash-fiction-challenge-spin-the-wheel-of-conflict/

I chose the Lost in a strange place prompt. Hope you enjoy it.

The Black Chess Board

Noel’s eyes opened on the blue-black color that a full moon reveals in a midnight sky. The dazed feeling that twenty five years of waking up prepared her for was nonexistent for whatever reason. She shook her head to clear the disorientation only to realize that she was never asleep. The angle of the all-black horizon that seemed to stretch on for miles suggested that she was standing up.

“NOEL…ARE YOU HERE AGAIN?” The booming female voice that sounded as if it came out of a NFL stadium intercom made her jump.

“Uh, am I where?” she answered. Her voice sounded normal to her, but she felt the tightening of her throat caused by the fear rushing to her heart.

“THE ARENA. THE ONE YOU MUST ESCAPE FROM. FIND THE WALL AND CLIMB. REMEMBER—DON’T STEP ON A CRACK OR YOU’LL BREAK YOUR MOTHER’S BACK. OR WORSE.”

What the fuck, she thought. I don’t know where the he—

“FOUL LANGUAGE WON’T HELP YOU, NOEL. AS ALWAYS, YOU NEED TO HURRY,” the voice interrupted.

Noel’s bladder released warm liquid down her jeans when the voice spoke up the second time. This lady is in my head, she mused.

“STANDING AROUND WON’T HELP YOU EITHER—YOU HAVE TO MOVE.”

Noel didn’t need to be told twice. Step on a crack, she remembered. I’ll break my mother’s back…or worse. She looked down to see that her feet were on top of tiles. Like she initially realized, they were tiles the color of midnight when the moon shines bright. Outlining the tiles were white lines. Not just any white, not off-white, not even the perfect looking white on a new pair of shoes, but the lines were the brightest white she had ever seen. If someone had the ability to rip it from the ground and hold next to the sun, the sun would hurt their eyes more, but the tile would give it a run for it’s money on a partly cloudy day. Don’t step on a crack, or it might burn me alive, she thought. The idea alone weakened her knees. She took her first step.

The first step seemed shaky when her foot hung mid-way in the air, but it made its home squarely in the center of the 1.5 x 1.5 square of blue-black tile.

“GOOD,” the voice spoke up again. “VERY GOOD. HOWEVER, YOU HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO…YOU BETTER GET MOVING.”

Noel did as she was told. Her first few steps were slow and calculated, but after she felt comfortable, she broke out into a fast jog. As far as the eye could see, she saw nothing but blue-black tiles all around her with white light protruding out of the cracks. The horizon was solid and unchanging.

Sweat beaded on her forehead after a few minutes of running. Based on her half-marathon experience, Noel estimated that she’d traveled around a half a mile. A loud crashing sound that wasn’t a voice this time, broke Noel out of her rhythm. She slowed to a stop and watched the dark tiles rocket above the black horizon about a football field’s distance in front of her. Bright red handholds shined on the dark blue surface.

The wall, she thought. She broke out into a sprint toward what she hoped would be salvation.

Not focusing on the ‘step on a crack’ rule, Noel’s third step landed squarely on one of the cracks filled with white light. At once, all of the light went out of the cracks in the tiles.

“YOUR MOTHER’S BACK HAS BEEN BROKEN, NOEL,” the booming voice added as if she didn’t already know. “THERE’S NOT MUCH TIME. YOU BETTER GET MOVING, NOW!”

Before following the voice’s command, she ventured another look back. In what she assumed was the exact spot her foot hit the light, the white substance flowed out like lava. It was then she realized that it, in fact, wasn’t light. Whatever the substance was, she didn’t want to stick around to find out. She took off sprinting toward the wall of tile with the red handholds. It was the only direction she could go in—the red was the only light left in the dark maze.

She climbed up the steep wall. A few times she looked back to see what the loud crashing was behind her. Not behind me, underneath me, she thought. The white lava-like substance crashed into the wall like waves of light. Every successive crash was louder and closer to her. She climbed like the devil was chasing her—for all she knew, he was.

When her hand first tried to grip the top of the wall, it slipped off as if its surface was coated with oil. She thought she’d fall into the abyss until a green handhold sprung up in front of her before she lost her balance. She grabbed the glowing green handhold and pulled her way to the top.

“THERE SWEETHEART. AGAIN, I HAD TO HELP YOU. TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK, LOVE.” Loud cackles of laughter followed the thunderous voice.

Noel took inventory of the land in front of her. Again, she saw the blue-black tiles with white light coming from the cracks.

She felt disoriented, having no clue where she was.

“FIND THE WALL AND CLIMB. REMEMBER—DON’T STEP ON A CRACK OR YOU’LL BREAK YOUR MOTHER’S BACK.”

***

“So what’s wrong with this one?” the Doctor asked. He leaned in closer to the window on the white door. He peered in on the woman sitting on her bed, the only object in the room, with a straight jacket wrapped around her.

“She seems to be in her own world—stuck there for ten years now. About once every ten minutes or so, she screams, ‘don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back,’ and, ‘teamwork makes the dream work’.”

“Jesus,” the doctor said. He scribbled into his notebook and continued down the hallway.

Flash Fiction Thursday–The White Fire

Here’s another challenge from Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/09/06/flash-fiction-challenge-wtf-is-this-thing/

The challenge was to try to explain the article that he linked to. There were these creepy spider web looking objects that remain unexplained by scientists. I tried to explain it by linking it to a drug-like substance from Wendig’s book: The Blue Blazes (good book by the way–check it out). I’m not sure how well it worked, but ehh it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.Flash Fiction Thrusday

Enjoy!

The White Fire

“Yeah I’ve seen those all around, what the hell are those things?” Jack asked.

“That’s what I’m trying to say I’ve tried them–it’s some good shit,” Brian answered. To Jack, it appeared Brian couldn’t keep his hands steady; they either shook uncontrollably or they were busy scratching at his arms and neck.

“What the hell do you mean, tried them? They look like little spider webs shaped to resemble crowns. They’re all over the place under 93rd Avenue,” Jack said.

Brian’s eyes widened as he considered this. “They are! We’re going to make a fortune, man. We should go into business together and sell this shit. Let’s go gather it right now.”

“Slow down Speed Racer. What the hell are you talking about? Tell me exactly what you mean by tried it.”

“Have you ever heard of the Blue Blazes?”

Jack nodded.

“Well, I saw this stuff in the subway tunnels, and I thought of the blazes. They say that shit is guarded by gremlins or something, so I don’t even think about that stuff—but I thought these white crowns might be something similar, you know?”

Jack didn’t exactly know what Brian meant by ‘guarded by gremlins,’ but he didn’t press the issue. You can’t take everything a sociopath says at face value, after all. “No, I don’t know. What exactly did you do with it?” Jack asked. His face started to grimace with frustration because he wasn’t getting the information that he needed from Brian, but he held himself together enough to allow Brian to continue without feeling pressured.

“First, I tried to rub it on my temples like they do with the blue.”

“And?”

“And, nothing happened. I did notice it crumbled in my hands like powder. So I took the next logical step.” Brian’s feet shifted while his gaze turned downcast. It was clear to Jack that Brian didn’t want to tell him the truth, but he knew he’d get it out of his friend eventually. They told each other everything after all.

Jack twirled his fingers in a ‘go ahead’ gesture.

“So I snorted it. I couldn’t think of anything else to do.” Brian shrugged as if he really didn’t have a rational choice beyond treating the object like a controlled substance.

“Hold tight…you did what?”

“I snorted it. What else would make it kick in?”

I don’t know, eating it. Or just leaving it the fuck alone, Jack thought. It’s probably a dangerous fungus or something, dumbass. Jack didn’t say this out loud to Brian, however. Instead, he settled for, “Sooo, how do you feel.”

After the question, all the tension in Brian’s body released. He tried to hold it together, but he couldn’t do it any longer. “I’m fucking wired, man. I’ve never seen the world so clearly—it’s like I see individual molecules float by in front of me. It’s insane. I feel like I could knock out an ultra marathon, no problem. My brain is going nuts. Have you ever seen that movie Limitless?” Brian’s words all seemed to come out in one breath. He expelled the paragraph of information in the span of six seconds.

Despite the auctioneer pace, Jack’s comprehension didn’t fall below every other word or so. He smiled and nodded at Brian’s last question, although it didn’t matter. Brian started back up before he could have possibly registered Jack’s nod as an affirmation.

“I feel like that. My brain is gonna explode with an influx of information, ya know? Hell, I don’t even use the word influx, but it came out without me even trying to sound smart. My boss is gonna love me tomorrow—gonna get so much shit done,” Brian said. Once again, the words came out as an onslaught of information between breaths.

While Brian panted in order for his lungs to keep up with his overworked mouth, Jack went over all of the information available. Bloodshot eyes. Can’t stand still. Scratching himself compulsively. Hyper. Feels invincible. “Are you sure you didn’t do a few too many bumps of cocaine?”

Brian’s palatine uvula stared at Jack while his jaw slacked toward the pavement. The look on his face expressed both confusion and hurt. “No, it’s not cocaine! What the fuck is wrong with you—I’m no coke head? It’s natural. I saw it growing in the subway tunnel. It’s like some sort of unique spider web or something.”

Jack wanted to point out that the fact that it was in a subway tunnel suggests that there’s a good possibility that it wasn’t natural. He couldn’t remember ever seeing a single plant in the tunnels. He didn’t bring this up, though. Sure he didn’t want to hurt Brian’s feelings, but more than that, he wanted to hear his friend’s rationalization of the alleged controlled substance.

“I feel good; like all my neurons are working for the first time since birth. I’m jacked up on life, my man—don’t try to downplay what I’m feeling.”

Instead of responding, Jack stared at his friend with a blank stare that seemed to look beyond Brian.

“Okay, so it may or may not be cocaine,” Brian admitted. His shoulders slumped in his admission of defeat.

“How much did you say is down there?”

“Tons of it,” Brian replied. This time his voice wasn’t quickened by the drug. Ironically, the admission of his possible ingestion of a controlled substance seemed to sober him up.

Jack shrugged. “Well, that sounds like a lot of money. We’ve done worse things than sling drugs.”

The two ventured off toward the fortunes in the subway tunnels.

The Thirteen Cover Design Steps of an Incompetent Author

No judgments—this was roughly my process for doing things.

  1. Open up ‘Paint’ on your computer and mess around with a few images.
  2. Give up, and realize that you’re not going to find that great idea you have on the internet.
  3. Go to [insert grocery/department store] and buy an assortment of random objects and art supplies.
  4. Arrange said objects on a sheet of [insert desired background color] poster board.
  5. Use your phone to take twenty or so pictures of dubious quality.
  6. Upload to Paint and add text.
  7. Realize that it looks like a piece of shit with words.
  8. Flip off the computer screen.
  9. Scrap it, and go for a simpler idea.
  10. Rationalize how great the new idea is.
  11. Compare to covers on Amazon.
  12. Flip off the computer screen…again.
  13. Say ‘[insert your choice of explicative] it’ and hire a cover designer.

One Step Closer to Hell 360x540 WebsiteSounds about right to me. Thoughts?

Shout out to Nicole, the cover designer for my two books. Find her at covershotcreations.com She has a ton of premade covers, or you can have her do something custom at a reasonable price. My second cover (Right) was a custom cover, and I think she did a great job. She’s ridiculously easy to work with, as well.

13.1

Finally finished the Denver Half Marathon today in 1:49!

*high fives himself*

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Me and my friend (looking like crap) after the race.

Time to get back to writing more on my blog. My first book is coming out next month, so I’d like to guest blog if you’ll have me. Email me or shoot me a message through my contact page if you’d like a fresh batch of dubious writing tips from yours truly.