Archive for the ‘Short Stories/Flash Fiction’ Category

Brad had been working the bars and clubs on the Nashville scene for almost 20 years, he’d had himself a few close calls and had been listened to by some of the most successful music producers in the business but here he was still playing the same old Thursday night slot in his regular haunt, desperately trying to catch one last chance break.

The sad truth is that Brad knew he wasn’t the best guitar player, he knew his writing was far from perfect and his voice although solid and able to hold a decent tune was never going to gain him the acclaim of legends such as Willie Nelson and his hero the late Johnny Cash. Still Brad had a dream, and it was one he’d held on to tightly, so hard in fact he’d almost strangled the very life out of it, ever since he was 5 years old sitting on the porch, listening to his Grandpa play. He just had to make it.

Three songs into his latest set, the incessant audible mumble of disrespectful chatter finally pushed Brad too far. Yes there was regulars casually talking through his performance but to Brad it felt at least ten times louder than in reality it actually was. He’d had this for years, he just couldn’t take this no more, screw professionalism. Brad stood up, kicked over the mike stand and with guitar in hand stormed off the stage and raged to the exit, almost taking out a particularly rude denizen in the process with a flailing pre-tensed fist. A savvy regular saw it coming though and bundled Brad away before he had a chance to do something he’d really regret! As he left the bar he could hear the dulcet tones of the manager making it clear in no uncertain terms that his further services would no longer be required. Brad quite frankly didn’t give a shit.

Brad simply too angry to go home, grabbed a bottle of cheap whiskey from a late night convenience store and hit the streets for a long walk to cool off and drown his many sorrows. Several hours passed, he found himself looking out over Shelby Bridge, he had no idea what the time was and he didn’t much care. Ranting his self-pitying thoughts and pent-up anger to the river below was about as productive and therapeutic as he wanted to get right now. Mid rant a man appeared next to him. Brad attempted to look him over but in his inebriated state with heavily blurred vision the best he could do was an old guy in a cowboy hat, not exactly a description that’s going to narrow down a manhunt in Nashville.

‘What you doing son?’ echoed the man in a southern drawl.

‘Fuck off!’

‘Polite fella huh. By the way your singing sucks pretty much too.’

Brad wanted to hit the guy but quite frankly it was taking all his co-ordination and concentration to keep himself upright and from falling on his ass.

‘Look son I can help you be better, if you quit being such a dick that is. Whad’ya say?’

Brad’s uttered an intoxicated response,’If you’ll fuck off and leave me be I’ll say whatever you want!’

‘Sounds like a yes to me.’ Before Brad could muster any kind of response the old dude was gone.

Twelve hours later Brad woke up back in his shitty rented house he’d shared with his malnourished dog and the resident roaches. He’d had no memory of how he’d made it back. Grabbing his head he took the last swig from an almost empty whiskey bottle sat by his bed side. He reached out to pick up his heavily warn guitar and he began to play. It seemed mad but he actually sounded pretty good. Brad totally unconsciously found himself singing along to a song he’d never heard before, to a tune he’d never played. He was so amazed about his new-found musical skill it actually took him a while to consciously hear himself, his voice had got sharper, more powerful, it was full of emotion and soulful. There was no denying it he was better than he’d ever been.

‘I guess I should always drink like that’ he said to himself.

Brad’s next gig was a whirlwind success, full of new material he never even knew he had. His song’s captured everyone’s attention. Word got around and within the space of a few weeks not only had he secured his own record deal but he was also on tour opening for one of Nashville’s hottest talents. He could barely believe it but his dream was coming true, finally he’d made it. Some nights he overheard fans talking about how he’d outperformed the main event. Rumblings were even being heard about how his headliners were wanting to drop his act feeling threatened by his popularity overshadowing their own.

As the nights went on Brad was living his dream, each night a smoking hot show, each night a hot and willing new lady and every night drowned in the finest quality whiskey he could lay his hands on.

Six months later Brad’s ego was out of control, his volatile attitude becoming something of notoriety on the music scene. He’d lost his support slot but it made no difference as he had his own tour now, even bigger and grander than his previous headliners could have ever of hoped to imagine.

Scandalous rumors circulated about the drugs, the alcohol, the numerous women he’d knocked up and laughingly tried to pay off and the shocking violence he’d resorted too if they’d refused to comply. Brad was notorious, an exaggerated interpretation of a country villain, if he’d carried a gun he’d of passed for a timeless, lawless outlaw from the old west. Simply put he was scum, but incredibly successful scum.

Through all his success not once did he stop and ask what had really happened to him, how he’d suddenly developed into such an amazing artist, an old school country genius, he simply believed he’d finally got what he’d deserved.

Brad exited his tour bus and crossed the street, whiskey was low and his spirits were high. As he crossed the street, brakes screeched. Brad was 10 feet in the air before he knew what had hit him. Moments before his skull unceremoniously crashed to the floor with terminal effect he heard a voice echo out in a familiar southern drawl ‘I told you to quit being a dick’. The truck never stopped.

Have you ever had that feeling that you’re not alone?

Shadow On My Shoulder

Sam entered her bedroom slamming the door behind her with a tear in her eye. Yet another fight with her overbearing mother. Sam was 16 now, all she wanted to do was go hang out with her friends a little late on Saturday, there was going to be a party, everyone else was going to be there. Why should she be forced to miss out?

When Sam had tried to fight her case her mother had simply scolded her, telling her to grow up and stop acting like a child. I am a child, whats your excuse Sam thought, but she was wise enough to keep her views to herself. She knew her mum too well, it was only 5 pm and she could already smell the wine on her breath. Her mum could be a mean drunk.

Sam threw herself face down on her bed, smothering her head deep into a pillow with frustration. With no effort at all and without even looking, Sam reached out to a remote resting atop her bedside table and turned on her music just like she’d done hundreds of times before. Sappy teenage pop tunes echoed from the somewhat tinny speakers, another corporate boy band droning out yet another cover of a some long forgotten classic that should have remained fervently in the past. Sam knew the song well and quickly found herself humming along, it was actually one of her favourites and always helped to calm her down and make her feel better.

Half way though another searing verse Sam heard a noise from her closet, the sound of a metal coat hanger falling against a hard surface. She immediately rolled to her side to stare at the partially open closet door and she momentarily froze. Out of the corner of her vision she thought she’d seen a black figure just out of sight. Sam alertly sat up on her bed and slowly surveyed the room looking for anything out of place, but all seemed normal.

Sam had often had the feeling that she was not alone, the feeling that someone was watching her even when no other breathing soul was in the house. Originally she had found this quite disconcerting and when she was really young her mum had written it off as Sam having some sort of imaginary friend, just another example of how little attention her mother had ever really paid to her. The fact that these experiences had often left Sam scared and crying seemed to not even register with her so called loving parent. To her it had simply been a case of  childish attention seeking.

Over the years though Sam had actually began to find some strange sort of comfort in the feeling, especially as she had grown older and come to realise that no harm had actually come to her. To Sam it had almost felt like someone was always there, looking out for her and protecting her, something she’d always felt she’d lacked from her own bloke and drink obsessed mother. Sam had even given the presence a name, to her it was just good ole Norman,  a kind elderly gent. Sam had never known her grandparents as they’d died long before she was born so this seemed like her way of imagining what it might be like to have one of them around at least.

Sam spoke out, ‘Hello Norman, how’s things?’

Sam’s enquiry was met with the usual empty silence. Then a faint breeze seemed to gently whistle through the room causing some of her clothes resting on hangers to flutter gently. Sam just smiled and chuckled to herself. ‘Good night Norm’. With that she switched off the music, flicked of the lights and jumped into bed.

At 4 am Sam was disturbed as her mother stumbled back into the house, she’d been having a bit of a session at a local trendy bar and seemed to have met a new friend while she was there. A man in his early thirties helped her inside with friendly hands, his female companion at least 10 years his senior.

‘Why thank you kind sir.’

‘You’re welcome, it’s a lovely ass to behold after all! Anything else I can help you with?’

Sam’s mother pulled her latest find close to her and started to kiss him passionately. As they fumbled with the buttons on each others clothes she suddenly had to pull away, almost losing her balance in the process. ‘I don’t feel too well’, she announced and with that she dashed into the downstairs washroom. Within seconds the muffled sound of violent wretching echoed throughout the house.

‘Fucking great!’ exclaimed the man.

As he picked up his coat from the floor ready to make his exit Sam came down the stairs wearing no more than a little white night dress.

‘What the hell’s going on here?’ Sam exclaimed. ‘And who the hell are you?’

The man turned and smiled. ‘Well hello there, I’m Don. Now ain’t you a pretty thing.’

‘Yeah right, whatever. Where’s mum?’

‘Well she’s kinda had a few to drink, she’s just erm, relieving herself in the bathroom.’

‘Fucking great.’ Sam turned around and started to make her way up the stairs back to bed. As she returned to her room Don followed her with his eyes. He’d figured he’d come all this way to have a little fun, maybe if the mother wasn’t in a condition for it, he might be able to entertain her young nubile daughter.

Don started to make his way up the stairs to Sam’s room and gently opened the door. As he did Sam jumped from the bed, got into his face and confronted him ‘What the fuck do you think you’re doing in here?’ With that Don grabbed her wrists. ‘Hey now, no need to be like that, I was just thinking you might be up for a little bit of fun.’

Sam tried to struggle free but Don was persistent ‘Let me go’, she screamed.

Don though was beyond talking, he knew exactly what he wanted and was planning to make sure he got it. Sam doing all she could to force a release spat straight into Don’s face, but he simply laughed and forced Sam up against the wall. He began to kiss her and rub his horny body against hers. He then pinned both her hands against the wall with one hand while with the other he began caressing the  inner thigh of the young girl. ‘Very nice, you’re going to enjoy this.’ Don sneered.

Sam now defenseless feverishly tried moving her head  from side to side, doing all she could to evade the kiss stealing lips of her assailant. As she did so she saw a shadow forming in the corner of the room, a figure of a man, an elderly man, but of pure shadow.

‘Help me’ Sam screamed.

Almost instantly a metal coat hanger flung across the room by the hand of the shadow man impaling it’s metal hook deep into the throat of the randy would be rapist and showering a terrified Sam in warm crimson blood.

Panicked, Sam screamed out and hurriedly backed away from the choking body of the dying man. From the direction of the shadowy figure Sam’s coat was flung over to her but when she turned to look to the shadow, the elderly man, her beloved Norm nothing was there.

Sam needing to get away, threw on her coat and raced down the stairs out the house to make her escape.

The next day Sam’s mother awoke from her drunken stuper to find her daughter missing, no sign of the man she came back with and some rather puzzling faded red stains on her daughters bedroom wall. As she scanned the room she thought she’d seen something, a shadow, for a moment she paused in disbelief as a feint breeze whistled through the room ‘Dad is that you?’

Well as I write this it’s gone 2am and I should probably be thinking about getting some sleep, but I’ve been struck down by a bit of late night inspiration so thought I’d leave you with a little tale before bed.

A Gargoyle’s Tale

The stone Gargoyle gazes down on the churchyard. A role now dutifully performed from it’s spire side residence for what had now been the best part of a hundred years. For the most part of its meagre existence its presence had only been given a glancing thought, gifted by a mourning father, mother, sister or brother or on rare occasion a newlywed husband or wife. Simply an ornate gothic sculpture, cold and soulless.

A witness to every joy and sorrow held within the hallowed walls of this powerful religious symbol. A silent watcher. Forever learning. Studying the make up of man, of woman, of human weakness.

Evening falls. A child cries weeping for his fallen mother. A struck down victim of life’s cruel game. The bus didn’t see her and by the time she had seen it, it was already too late, still she had the presence of mind to push her little boy to safety, she had saved him, but she’d paid the ultimate price.

‘Hey child!’ The boy alone in an empty churchyard surveys the area clearly startled. He forces back his sobs as he gazes around in a paralysed fear, ‘Who’s there?’

‘My child I am Gargoyle, look up and you shall see’

Staring up the child sees the weathered stone sculpture, lifeless and grey. The boy screams out again unbelieving ‘Who’s there, where are you?’

The Gargoyles voice echo’s on the wind ‘I have told you, you have seen, you simply choose not to believe. You miss your mother, I’ve seen you here before. I can make her breathe again, would you like that? Would you like to see your poor mother breathe again?’

Confused but hopeful the child looks up and stares once again at the motionless figure ‘Yes, I wish for that every day, but how? How could that happen?’

The Gargoyle growls softly ‘How can a carved lump of sandstone speak? The how is unimportant. I can make it happen, you can see her again. Just a simple trade, If you agree I’ll give my soul for yours and in return I will breathe her new life? The choice is yours?’

The child wiping the salty tears from his eyes looks at the humble grave of his poor mother. Without thinking, excited by the prospect of being reunited will his fallen protector he agrees and then all goes dark.

Moments pass. Finally the child gently re-opens his eyes to see a small boy standing by the side of beautiful young woman, a woman he instantly recognises, he strains to scream her name ‘Mum’ but no sounds are heard, no words are spoken. The child seems familiar, it’s him, how can this be. The stone gargoyle weeps dry tears as his mother takes her new son home.

THE END

Night night & Rest well…