Short Stories and Flash Fiction


Here are my Flash Fiction Thursday Stories all in one place...Two hundred and fifty words or less of fiction fun!! There are a couple of short stories here as well, ones that began as flash fiction but couldn't be contained......

All material here is original and property of author
Cynthia A. Hudson
    Paranormal Romance Author


THE CASE


She was flirting with me but that was one rabbit hole I wasn’t about to jump down and tried to play it off as if I hadn’t heard her the first time.


“What was that?”

Her eyes narrowed and I wondered if perhaps I had carried it all a bit too far this time.

“I asked you what is in the case you constantly drag around town with you.”

The ancient battered leather suitcase sat at my feet beneath the counter. It was quite large, scratched in more places than not, the leather cracked and split on the rest of it.  I knew she couldn’t see it from where she was standing so I guessed she must have seen me carrying it in when I entered the diner.

It never left my side and I never opened it in public but suddenly I wondered if perhaps she might just be the one.

I protectively placed my size thirteen Rockport on top of the suitcase and instinctively reached for the tiny brass key hidden in the small fob pocket of my 501’s. Still there. I was okay.

I leaned slightly over the counter towards the pale waitress with more red hair than I had ever seen in my life and whispered, “It’s a secret.”

She grinned broadly then as if she had heard it all before and replied, “No secrets worth keeping.”

I pondered her words for only a moment before pulling the key from my pocket and unlocking the case. 



THE STORYTELLER'S TALE


They sat in a small circle beneath the full moon, the fire in the center nearly at its end. The children shivered as the cold wind whipped and swirled around them but if their trembling came from the bitterness of the air or from fear, he couldn’t say. He was satisfied nonetheless and the storyteller continued his tale.

“They never thought to be afraid you see, they were in their home after all, their parents sleeping nearby in the adjacent room. It never occurred to them that sometimes home wasn’t safe and so they were merely curious at the scratching at the window. It was Nicholas who ventured out from beneath his bedcovers, he was younger by more than a year but much braver than his older brother, Karl. He tiptoed across the dusty floor leaving tiny footprints behind him as he went. He wasn’t worried about what waited outside the glass nor what his mother would say about being out of bed on All Hallows Eve. He didn’t care about consequences; he wanted only to prove that he was not afraid.”

The storyteller stretched and pulled his cloak tighter about him. He was nearing the end of the tale and was saddened as always when the telling was almost done.

“Nicholas reached the window and saw two large gray eyes staring back at him through the darkness. But that wasn’t really the worst of it, not for Nicholas or his brother Karl.  The worst was still to come.”




WILL IT COME BACK???

My legs had long since fallen asleep, the familiar pins and needles stung at my feet and calves as we hid, crouched beneath the drug store’s counter.

“Will it come back?”

Sophie’s tiny fingers were gripped tightly around what was left of my left hand, the burgundy remnants of my blood still encrusted into her thin finger nails and pale cuticles. She seemed not to notice although I did see her peeking once or twice at my amputated stub of pinkie that poked out from within the dish towel I had clumsily wrapped it up in. She was still a child in so many ways but the last ten hours had aged her some and she no longer looked at things through the eyes of a six year old girl.

“Possibly.”

The little white lie was pretty unbelievable, even for a kid, but I hoped Sophie didn’t notice. It was going to come back, it knew we were here, it was hungry, and it had already sampled the merchandise, so to speak.

Yes, it would be back but that wasn’t really the worst of it.

We had a shot of getting away, hell, I might even be able to kill it with a little bit of luck but the fact was, I had been bitten and there was no escaping that tidbit of bad news.

I gripped Sophie’s hand as we watched the sun disappear from the sky outside.

It was getting late and I was already getting hungry.




SIMPLE ENDINGS

“Do I get a head start?”

I slid the magazine firmly into the Glock, racked the slide and heard the familiar click as the first round was chambered.

“Do you think it will help?”

Dennis looked at the gun in my hand and shook his head.

“Not really.”

I suppose I could let him try for the door, but what was the point really?  This couldn’t be helped and there was no way out of it, for either one of us.

I gazed into his brown eyes and for a moment I thought I saw a tear. Could it be? Was he human after all? I stared at him just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things but when he brought his eyes to mine again, there was nothing there.

Well, not nothing exactly, there was a slight trace of fear dancing faintly about his face. Fear and a little bit of anger too. Yes, that is what I saw. Anger. Good. That was more like it. Anger I could handle.

“You knew it would come to this, didn’t you?

Dennis nodded and glanced away as if he couldn’t bare to look at me any longer. That stung a little. I wanted him to look at me, to know. This was his fault, his doing and I was merely bringing the situation to the only possible conclusion that there could be.

I spoke his name softly this time.

“Dennis”

His eyes met mine as I pulled the trigger.



THINGS BETTER LEFT REMEMBERED

I watched as the elderly woman poked and prodded her way through the polo shirts that covered the folding table. She stopped when she found the red one with the tiny monogrammed lettering on the front then pulled it out and held it up in front of her.

I could see him wearing it even as the woman checked it over, his broad chest and shoulders stretching it tight then the creases as it narrowed and disappeared into the waistband of the white shorts he wore that morning. It was his favorite shirt, his lucky shirt he said. It was too big in the waist, as were all his shirts because of the way he was built, but he still managed to look good and for a moment I could see him standing right in front of me.

“Excuse me?”

I must have looked confused since I never heard her say a word

“How much is this one worth to you?”

I stared at the dark red shirt hanging limply in her wrinkled hand, thought of the handsome man now buried beneath twenty feet of dirt in the Cedar Grove Cemetery and gently took it from her.

“Too much to let it go I’m afraid.”

Without looking back I returned everything I had placed on the table safely back inside the cardboard box that I had dragged to the flea market that morning.

Maybe next month, I thought as I pulled from the parking lot and headed towards home.




DATE NIGHT AT JACK'S PLACE

"There's blood everywhere, Connie."

He was right, there was blood everywhere but the man was nowhere to be seen.

"I think we should go."

"But what if he needs help?"

I looked at the amount of blood that had pooled in the road and splattered on the front of the car and I guessed the man was probably beyond our help no matter what.

"We can't go wandering around out here, Dan. Let's at least get to where we have a cell phone signal and can call the police. They can find him." I doubted that but it seemed like the right thing to say.

Dan was torn, between wanting to help the man and wanting to get the hell out of Dodge while we still could. He wanted to stay but he also understood the truth of it. He knew the legends, and had seen the ever populating beanstalks first hand. The truth of it was, if the man was still alive (and that was a big IF), he probably wouldn’t be for long.

“Can we at least get into the car?”

Dan followed me without arguing but slumped into the passenger seat, slamming the car door behind him. I backed up a little and turned the car sideways in the street so that the headlights shown into the woods in the direction that the man had disappeared.

For a second I saw nothing but as a shadow passed from in front of the moon, I saw our hit-and-not-run victim standing just on the edge of the woods and for a second I had hope. He seemed to upright at least and I figured that was a good sign. Dan opened his car door to say something and then the ground shook.

The injured man turned towards us slowly, a look of disbelief on his face. We could see him clear enough between the stark light of the  headlights and even moreso by the full moon shining above us. We saw him quite clearly as a matter of fact and there was no mistaking his frantic look of terror.

Dan thought about getting out of the car, for a second anyway until he saw that the man was being lifted up into the air by what appeared to be an enoromous and gnarled hand. The man was screaming then and he was still looking at us when his head disappeared into what appeared to be several rows of sharp teeth.

That was enough for me. I threw the car into Drive and drove away without looking back, putting some distance between us, that damn beanstalk, and Jack’s Place.

 Dan looked at me, a slightly smug look on his face. “I guess date night is over?”

I smacked him in the arm and headed home.



THERE'S NO REVENGE


I pulled the berry pie from the oven and sat it on the counter.

“There’s nothing better than a homemade pie,” Gerard would say. He loved all my pies, lemon meringue, chocolate and coconut cream but the berry ones were his favorite.

I cleaned the kitchen up, putting everything back into place. Gerard liked things tidy and I did the best I could but when it wasn’t enough, Gerard would let me know.

I hurried through my shower, sure that he would be home before long. I combed my hair, covered up the day old bruises around my eye, and put on his favorite dress.

He came in and sat down at the table without so much as looking in my direction. I twirled around as I kissed him on the cheek but his eye was on the pie. His face smelled of beer and her sex, he never bothered to wash, he didn't think I noticed, that I was too stupid or naive.

He was wrong on both counts.

Gerard grabbed a slice without saying hello and muttered, “Bout time you did something.” I laughed, grabbed him a fork then sat down to watch him eat.

He finished the first piece and was half way through the second when he started to choke. His eyes filled with surprise as he spit out the rest of the belladonna berries, knowing it was too late.

I giggled, “There’s no revenge like homemade, Gerry!”

I don’t think he ever heard me.


THERE'S NO REVENGE ~ VERSION TWO


The light came on in the hallway and crept under the bedroom door like a yellow signal. He was home.

I held my breath without meaning to. I wanted to pretend to be asleep, not dead, but when I let go, my breath came out in a whoosh and I was sure he had heard it and then everything would change.

If he heard me, he gave no indication. I watched him through slitted eyes, opened just enough to see what he was doing but not enough to tell I was watching.

He didn't tiptoe in like a husband who had been out screwing another woman. But then, he didn't know I knew where he had been.

I heard his loafers hit the bare wood floor, first one, then the other. There was no attempt at silence, he wasn't worried. He hung his pants on the bedpost as he did every night, his shirt thrown in the corner along with his dirty socks where he assumed I would pick them up.

The nightlight from bathroom cast a pale white light across him and I wondered if he ever noticed that? That it shown only on his side of the bed? I could see his silhouette in the glow, his broad chest, his loose boxers, the self satisfied smirk on his face I saw only in my imagination.

He climbed into bed, the scent of beer and her sex on his face and chest. He never bothered to wash, he didn't think I noticed, that I was too stupid or naive.

He was wrong on both counts.

I waited until his breathing became heavy and he began snoring deeply. Then counted to a hundred just to be sure.

I carefully got on my knees, my mind briefly wondering what I would say if he woke up but it was too late to worry about it now.

 The knife cut the carotid artery on the very first try and the snoring stopped. The knife became slick and slippery and I nearly cut myself. I held on though and managed to slit his neck just under his chin finishing up with his other artery just to be safe.

The house was peaceful as I showered and dressed. I put on just enough makeup to cover the bruising around my eye, it was a few days old but it wouldn't do for anyone to get too inquisitive and I had a long plane ride ahead.

I took another look at him before heading out the door.

“There’s no revenge like sweet revenge.” I whispered.

And closed the door behind me.



FINAL WHISPERS


I shook my head as if trying to change what I was hearing through the headset, his words resounding in my ears. Only time for one.

Of course. the gods required a sacrifice, I should have known.

"Roger, that."

I stared as the tiny cave collapsed around us, burying our new found artifacts beneath rock and black dust.

I pulled my son closer onto my lap. He was small for a five year old and still young enough to allow me the privilege of cuddling him. I tried not to look at the hands that were already reaching through the small opening for the one who would be going up. Even now I could feel the need for fresh oxygen burning inside my lungs.

Cold tears streamed down the length of my cheeks and landed on the rim of his dusty and well-worn Red Sox ball cap. I could feel his gentle breathing against my chest as I said a silent prayer that he would be okay.

"I love you, Daniel. Always remember that."

"Mommy?"

"I can't go with you, Daniel. It's my job to stay here."

His voice cracked. "Your job?" My heart broke.

"My job as your Mom."

My throat constricted so tightly that I couldn't say anything more even if I wanted to as I lifted him up to the safety of the surface.

His tiny hand slipped from mine as he disappeared into the light above. I whispered goodbye, then darkness took back its own.




                                                                                         MIRROR, MIRROR


He was gone.

I gazed into the antique mirror again, searching the corners of the room behind me but there was no sight of him now.

My heart wrenched as tears welled in my eyes.

I found the old mirror at the flea market last Sunday, a gift to myself, a little extravagance that I deserved. Yes, it was expensive and really more than I could afford but it had called to me in such a way that I could not have refused, no matter the cost. It belonged to me before I bought it.

 I didn’t really expect anything to happen, it was just a silly wish. A teenage folly. A silent hope for a handsome lover.

It began as a gentle flutter on the back of my neck, like a lover’s gentle kiss, a soft whisper of lips. I almost didn’t see him at first, how silly I was, but when I closed my eyes, he was there.

Strong hands reached around my waist, pulling me closer into a broad muscular chest. I could feel the beat of his heart against my skin, his breath against my cheek, his musky scent.

He held me to him and I was his.

Then he was gone.

My room was as it was before, vacant, lonely and dull. My tears were cold against the blush of my face and I wished again.

“You are beautiful.”

I wiped my face and smiled. There was no time for tears.

He was back.




                                                                                                   MEMORIES


"You can’t run away screaming like a little girl."

I glanced back at Shawn as he maneuvered his way over the jetty. It'd be easy to knock him down but I didn't want to kill him.

"Maybe not, but I can run away."

He laughed at me and I wanted to slap him. Mostly because he was right.

As I climbed down the last section of rock, making my way to the beach below, I thought of the diamond ring offered to me the night before. It was beautiful, no doubt. But what that ring represented, not so attractive.

"Stace, Rick's been gone seven years...don't you think it's time?"

I felt the familiar ache at the sound of his name. Some things never changed.

"Depends on what you are talking about, Shawn. It took me almost a year before I could change the sheets on our bed and four years to get rid of his clothes. I still pay the bill on his cell phone just so I can hear the sound of his voice before I go to sleep every night."

My voice choked in my throat. " I don't know how long is long enough for anything anymore."

I heard the exasperated sigh behind me. I'd grown accustomed to it over the last thirty eight years, my brother had been born with it, it seemed.

A fresh onslaught of memories invaded my thoughts as I reached the shore and suddenly seven years didn't seem long enough at all.




                                                                                      





                                                                    ETERNITY'S FIRST KISS (COMPLETE VERSION)


Okay, so it was a blind date. Technically. I mean, it wasn't in the sense that I had met him on one of those freebie dating sites and therefore knew all his likes and dislikes, what his ideal First Date was, that he worked nights, and that he lived outside of Boston in one of the old neighborhoods. 

 

On the other hand it was a blind date in the sense that his online profile had not included a photograph and I was therefore walking into a situation that might require me to either endure a very long evening staring at my dinner plate until I could politely vamoose or (heaven forbid) excuse myself to the ladies room and attempt an escape out the door before he noticed. 

 

Luckily, I was not forced into either situation because Mason (DARK STRANGER) Elleridge was amazing looking and very easy on the eyes. Not to mention that he had taken over the entire restaurant for the evening and vanishing without a trace would have been quite impossible for me to do in the near vacant building.

 

Plus, there were roses...dozens of red and white  roses in clear crystal vases and thick white pillar candles...everywhere...and I do mean everywhere. If he was trying  to impress me on our first date, he was doing a helluva job. 

 

"Are you trying to seduce me, Mr. Robinson?"

 

I watched Mason's face twist slightly as if he were trying to figure out what the hell I was talking about. Seriously? What man over the age of fifty hadn't seen "The Graduate"? Had he been living under a rock?

 

I shook my head as the joke shot above his handsome head and disappeared into the darkness of the night sky. At six foot, thick black hair with just a smidgen of gray, and eyes like clear gray pools you could easily drown in, the man was definitely good-looking but not too quick on the uptake. 

 

"Just a joke, Mason. Don't look so panicky."

 

His gaze softened a little  and I caught a flash of pearly whites for the first time that evening. Wow, what bright teeth you have, Grandma...I thought it, but didn't say it. One joke bomb this evening was quite enough, thank you.

 

"So, do you come into the city very often?"

 

His voice, deep and rich with a heavy Irish brogue that made my knees weak and other parts of my anatomy tingle, whispered into my ear, "Only when I'm hunting."

 

I shuddered a bit, even his scrumptious accent couldn't  disguise the edge to his voice. What guy hunts in the city? What can they hunt in the city? I didn't think I really wanted to know but I couldn't manage to stop myself from asking.

 

"How do you manage that? I didn't think they allowed weapons inside city limits."

 

Mason leaned in closer and brushed his lips against my neck. I shuddered once again, this time for a different reason however, and felt myself slipping into his arms. I was unable to focus suddenly, my mind began to spin in a kaleidoscope of reds as the room around us disappeared from sight.  Desire rose in a deep blush across my skin and I felt the delicious sensation of warmth as he tore into the delicate flesh of my throat.

 

"It's easier than you would think, my darling, Emily... You simply have to bring the right tool for the kill."







ETERNITY'S FIRST KISS




"Are you trying to seduce me, Mr. Robinson?"


I watched Mason's face twist slightly as if he were trying to figure out what the hell I was talking about. Seriously? What man over the age of fifty hadn't seen "The Graduate"? Had he been living under a rock?


I shook my head as the joke shot above his handsome head and disappeared into the darkness of the night sky. At six foot, thick black hair with just a smidgen of gray, and eyes like clear gray pools you could easily drown in, the man was definitely good-looking but not too quick on the uptake. 
 
"Just a joke, Mason. Don't look so panicky."
 
His gaze softened a little and I caught a flash of pearly whites for the first time that evening. Wow, what bright teeth you have, Grandma...I thought it, but didn't say it. One joke bomb this evening was quite enough, thank you.


 "So, do you come into the city often?"
 
His voice, deep and rich with a heavy Irish brogue that made my knees weak and other parts of my anatomy tingle, whispered into my ear, "Only when I'm hunting."


 What guy hunts in the city? What can they hunt?
 
"How do you manage that"?
 
Mason leaned in  and at once I felt the delicious sensation of warmth as he tore into the delicate flesh of my neck.
 
"It's easier than you would think, darling, you have to bring the right tool for the kill."






 

 

 

 

 




 



 









 







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