Monday, August 12, 2019

TUESDAY TALES - PICTURE PROMPT





Welcome! This week we have a picture prompt, and can only use 300 words. We have another episode of Midnight in Central Park. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thanks for stopping by! 

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“Today’s your lucky day,” said Mrs. Plaid as she pushed up from her desk. “We’ve found  you a foster home.”
I lifted an eyebrow. “Really?”
“Yeah. And a good one. A great one, in fact.”
Anything to get out of that hellhole. “Okay. Where.”
“Come on. I’ll show you.”
I stood up.
“Grab your bag.”
“What about Ma?”
“It’s going to be okay. You’ll see.”
I didn’t tell her about my bag stashed in the Park. That was my back-up plan. After I knew where they’d bury Ma, I’d take off. No way was I going to be somebody’s fucking charity case. I’d hitch to the west coast. Didn’t know anyone where, but hell, my life here was finished. Might as well start over.
I followed Mrs. Plaid into a building on West End. She rang the doorbell. Sweat started under my arms.
“Hello. I believe you know Jamie, Mrs. Gold?”
“Yes, I do. Come in.”
Holy shit! My teacher! Mrs. Gold? Really?
“This way. You must be hungry,” she said, leading me over to a round table with a tablecloth. There were plates with cheese, fruit and brownies. And a big glass of milk. Whole milk. My mouth watered.
“It’s okay. Here’s a plate.” She handed a china plate with flowers on it. Geez. Ma and I always used paper. She pulled out a chair.
“Sit, Jamie. You’re going to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Gold for a while. Okay?”
I nodded, then eyed the grapes. Don’t remember last time I ate fruit. I snapped a couple off the vine. Damn. They were good.
“Eat something, then we’ll get you settled in your room.”
My room? I had a room?
“It was my son’s, but he’s grown and on his own now.”
I filled the plate and gobbled down the food.





Monday, August 5, 2019

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "GROAN"




Time for Tuesday Tales again. Welcome! This week the word prompt is "groan." We have another episode of "Midnight in Central Park." Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thanks for stopping by. 

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Words flew at me like tiny knives, razors cutting my skin, but none sunk into my brain.
“Apartment.”
“Tonight.”
“Tomorrow.”
“Sleep.”
“Mrs. Fleming.”
I nodded, gripping my small duffel, holding it close. I had no idea where I was or with who. Although my stomach was full, my heart felt empty. Like a scarecrow, hollow inside, I leaned against the wall to keep from falling down.
“This way.” A woman I’d never seen before tugged on my sleeve. I followed her into a bedroom. “Go to bed. You can skip school tomorrow. Goodnight.”
I thanked her, undressed and fell onto the mattress. My head spun. I groaned. Who sped up the world? Why were things moving so fast, but I felt like I was walking underwater? I couldn’t feel anything, but I felt everything. That doesn’t make sense. 
“Everything always looks better in the morning.” Ma’s favorite expression ran through my head. But that wouldn’t be true tomorrow. Ma would still be gone and I’d still be in limbo. I closed my eyes.
I started awake in the middle of the night. I had a dream. Snake, the Ape Man, and that dumb statue were chasing me through the park. My undershirt was drenched. I pushed to my feet and wandered into the kitchen. I needed water.
A man sat at the kitchen table. “What’s wrong?”
“Water?”
“Sure. Sit.” He filled a glass and handed it to me before he sat. I gulped it down, draining the glass in seconds.
“Tomorrw, things will be better.” He looked at me.
“Really? How? Will my mother be alive again?”
“Well…no. But…”
“Yeah. I get it. No. Things will not be better tomorrow.” I pushed to my feet and headed back to the bedroom.
“They will. You’ll see.” When I turned to look, he shot me a half-smile.
Tomorrow the nightmare becomes real. And there would be no statues to save me this time.



Monday, July 29, 2019

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "PLAID"



Welcome! This week the word prompt is "plaid." I got a little carried away with it as it was such a good fit for my story. Yes, we have another episode of  "Midnight in Central Park." Scroll down to go back to Tuesday Tales and read some excellent stories. Thanks for stopping by. 

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Within minutes, the apartment was filled with people. Ambulance people, cops, people with clipboards whispering to each other.
A policeman with the name Hart on his chest took me aside.
“Did you say someone gave your mother the drugs or did she take them herself?”
 “I don’t know. But this guy Spider and his goony friend were here.”
“Do you think they forced the drugs on her?”
“Probably.” Had to clear Ma’s rep. No way were they getting the truth out of me. 
“Can you give me a description of them? Any name other than Spider?”
Oh, shit. How could I tell him that Spider was now a pile of ashes floating through the air in the Park? And his asshole friend, too?
“Uh, no. They kind of took off.”
“If you can tell me what they looked like, we’ll go after them. If they killed your mother, they should pay.”
Hell, yeah. They should. And they did. But I couldn’t tell Mr. Nice-Guy-Policeman Hart the truth now, could I? And what the Hell was the truth, anyway? 
“I don’t know. I don’t feel so good.”  I faked when I had to.
“Mrs. Spencer, can you help this young man out?” The officer spoke to a woman in a plaid jacket. Plaid? Really? Ma woulda laughed.
“Of course. James, why don’t you come with me.”
‘Where?”
“We’ve got a place for you to stay for a couple of nights. Until we find your relatives.”
“I don’t have any.”
She frowned. Yeah, plaid lady. Think your way out of that one.
“It’s okay, Officer Hart. I think we’ve got just the place for James.”
“Jamie. My mother called me Jamie.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Okay, Jamie. Come on. Let’s get you something to eat first. Is there a restaurant around here?”
“There’s a diner on the corner.”
“Perfect.”
“Your report?” Hart asked. 
“I’ll have it for you tomorrow. Let’s take care of Jamie now.” Mrs. Plaid put her hand on my shoulder for a second. Officer Hart shoved something in my hand.
“If you need anything. Have any trouble. Call me here.” He nodded, shot me a half smile and joined two other cops huddled with the coroner.
“Where are they taking her?” I stared at the body covered in a white sheet.
“The morgue. She’ll stay there until we’ve decided on next steps.”
“Next steps?”
She nodded. Ma needed to be buried, but I didn’t have a clue where or how. Mrs. Plaid and I walked to the diner in silence. I ordered a burger. Nothing seemed real. Statues came to life. Ma died. What next?

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Monday, July 22, 2019

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "HARDY"






Welcome! The urban fantasy, Midnight in Central Park, continues. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thanks for stopping by. 

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I rubbed my eyes, unable to believe what I had seen. Then I remembered my mother. With a hardy burst of speed, I ran for the subway. My lungs screamed as I pushed beyond endurance into pain to reach home and help her. Hardly able to breathe, I reached the station and jumped on a train seconds before the doors closed.
Each minute that passed felt like an hour. I had to get to Ma. My mind was fuzzy. Could a statue have saved me from Spider and the Ape guy? Impossible. Then what happened to them and why hadn’t they killed me? Or did they and I was a ghost? Reality and imagination blended until I couldn’t tell the difference.
When the train doors opened at my station, I raced out. Fumbling at the door, my hand shook so bad I couldn’t get the damn key in the lock. Cursing, I grabbed one hand with the other and managed to open the door.
No elevator for me. I slung the door open and bent over Ma. I snatched her phone off the floor and dialed 911. Feeling her neck for a pulse, I couldn’t find one. But what the fuck did I know? I’m a kid, not a doctor. Silently I prayed, made every deal with God I could to save my mother.
I could have sworn it was hours before the ambulance and doctors arrived. But I checked my watch and it was only eight minutes. A team of two doctors hovered around Ma, trying different things, speaking to each other in code I didn’t understand.
One guy looked at me with sad eyes.
“I’m sorry, son,” he said. “She’s gone.”
What? No. He was wrong. Ma was not gone. She couldn’t be. She was my mother. She’d just od’d. He had to fix that.
“It’s drugs. OD. Can’t you fix it?”
The guy shook his head. “I’m really sorry, kid.” He turned to face his partner, a woman. “Better call the coroner and children’s services.”
“Children’s services?” I practically yelled.
“Yeah. How old are you?”


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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

TUESDAY TALES - PICTURE PROMPT WEEK






Welcome! It's picture prompt week! I'm continuing my urban fantasy story, MIDNIGHT IN CENTRAL PARK, using this picture of lightning. We are limited to 300 words only. Scroll down to go back to Tuesday Tales. Thanks for stopping by!

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A flash of lightning lit up the sky around Jag and his horse. The tips of his swords glowed. The light rushed down the sword and into his arms. Jag and his horse turned gold. His horse whinnied again. His wild, dark, furious eyes fixed on me as his nostrils widened. The huge beast jumped down from the pedestal. Jag held his seat, brandishing his swords. He crossed and uncrossed them, swinging the heavy weapons over his head, his face a mask of hostility.
Spider, the Ape, and I froze, our eyes on the unbelievable sight before us. Although they were only twenty feet away, they weren’t as threatening as Jag. Terrified, I couldn’t look away. I had to watch the unreal scene in front of me.
Jag’s steed reared up, snorting fire. The gigantic statue of man and beast bore down on me. With nowhere to go, I covered my head with my arms. Jag raised his swords, then turned to face Spider and the Ape-guy. He tugged the reins to the right and the horse bounded toward them. Jag opened his mouth and an unholy sound came out. I dropped my arms to watch.
Another bolt of lightning touched his swords. Shaking, Spider clung to the Ape. Jag brought his weapons down, touching the tips to my enemies. A huge fire flamed, engulfing the screaming men.  
When he lowered the swords, there was nothing there but a pile of black ashes. Jag tugged on the reins. He and his horse leaped back on the pedestal. The sky cleared, the moon shone, and Jag and his steed were once again metal statues. A fierce wind spiraled up, lifting the ashes and spiriting them away.
I looked all around for Spider, but they had vanished. I was alone.


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Monday, July 8, 2019

TUESDAY TALES - PROMPT "WEAK"



Thanks for coming. This week the word prompt is "weak." We have another episode of my Urban Fantasy, "Midnight in Central Park."
Scroll down for more Tuesday Tales. Thanks for stopping by. 

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“Nothing. Nothing you dickwad!” Spider said.
His ape-like friend stood up and shook his head.
Fear spiked through me. The adrenaline rush almost made my heart burst.
“Don’t you dare shake your head!” I rushed over to Ma and felt her neck. I didn’t get a pulse. But what does a jerk-faced kid like me know about finding a pulse, anyway. I kept searching.
“Call 911,” I hollered over my shoulder.
‘Like Hell. Get him,” Spider called out.
“Damn you!” I yelled as I dialed.
“She’s dead, kid. She od’d. Put down the phone.” Spider fisted his hand.
“No!”
The ape approached. I knocked over a chair blocking him and fled. Not waiting for the elevator, I hit the stairs, going full out. They were right behind me. The big guy couldn’t catch up, but Spider gained on me with every level.
When I hit the street, I headed for the subway. Hearing a train approaching the station, I jumped the turnstile and waited for the doors to open. Sweat poured down my face. My heartbeat was so hard and fast I couldn’t hear anything else.
I made my way through one car, stopping only for a second to check behind me. Both the Ape and Spider flew down the stairs. As the doors were closing, the big guy jammed his hand between the doors, which popped open. The two of them got on and the doors closed.
I kept going, from car to car until the train stopped at 79th Street. I took the stairs two at a time and headed for the only safe place, Central Park.  I managed to keep going until I got to the turtle pond. Almost out of breath, I staggered down the path, stopping in front of ole Jag. My legs weak, my lungs screaming, I couldn't move. 
Spider and the Ape caught up.
“Listen, kid. You gotta forget what you saw.” The Ape fisted his hand.
“You kneeling over my mother?”
“Yeah. Forget it. Okay?”
“Never. That’ll be burned on my brain forever. You murdered her.”
“Honestly, it was an accident. An overdose,” Spider said.
“Fuck that.”
The sky darkened. I looked up to spy clouds moving over the bright moon, hiding it. More clouds rolled in. They roiled and twisted. The low rumble of thunder vibrated through the air. Spider and the Ape became shadows before me.
Thunder grew louder. It seemed to draw nearer as the sound magnified. I put my hands over my ears. A loud crack coincided with a bolt of lightning that hit ole Jag and his steed. I shut my eyes, until I heard the loud whinney of a horse.  


Monday, July 1, 2019

TUESDAY TALES - WORD PROMPT "HARDLY"







Welcome! The word prompt this week is "hardly." My urban fantasy continues this week. Scroll down to return to Tuesday Tales. Thanks for stopping by. 

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After school I headed for Mr. Johnson’s. when I got home, I found the list of errands Mr. Johnson had slipped under my door. I took off, heading for the newsstand first. Then the dry cleaner and the deli. I finished up about six and collected ten bucks. Time to pick up dinner. I checked the sales at Gristedes Supermarket and picked a rotisserie chicken and a pound of cole slaw. I just had enough money.
Smelling that chicken as I walked home, my mouth watered. I set the table and tore into the bird. Damn, I could have eaten the whole thing, but I saved some for Ma. Then it was homework time. I flipped on the TV.  
I’d hardly finished writing the last sentence of my essay when I heard the key in the lock.
“Jamie, honey. How are you?” Ma teetered by the door. “Here you go.” She fished in her purse, then pulled out a twenty. “Why don’t you go to the movies tonight?” She put the bill down in front of me.
“Movies?”
She nodded.
“Have dinner, Ma. The chicken’s good.”
“Nah. Thanks. I’m not hungry.”
She was so skinny, none of her clothes fit.
“You gotta eat.”
“Later. I need you to go out.”
“Why?” I’d had enough of this cat-and-mouse shit with that asshole, Spider, she worked for.
“Because Spider and Murray are coming.”
“So? It’s my house.”
“You don’t like them.”
“And neither do you.”
“Yeah. But I need them.”
I grabbed her arm, ignored the needle marks and whirled her around to face me. “No, you don’t. You can give it up. I know it. You can get clean, Ma. If you want to. We’ll find a program somewhere.”
“With what for money?”
“We’ll, we’ll. We’ll figure it out or something. There must be a place you can go for free.”
“Nothing is free in this life. Jamie, if you learn anything, learn that. Now go.” She stuffed the bill in my hand and gave me a shove.
Disgusted, I stuffed the twenty in my pocket and went out. Of course, I ended up in the park. Frank was there, so I paid him for a hot dog. He smiled and threw in ice cream. The orange sky meant it was getting late. The more I thought about Ma with Spider and that ape friend of his, the madder I got.
I ended up at Jag’s statue. I stared at him for a long time. His swords, his angry face stirred my blood. What the Hell was I doing, hiding out in the park? My mother was with those tools and I was cowering behind trees like a little baby.
I marched over to the subway. I asked a guy waiting for the uptown train for the time. It was ten. I hoped the assholes would be gone when I got there. But if they weren’t, then I would throw them out. Call the cops, if I had to.
Anger pulsed through me, making my knees tremble. I slammed into the building and stabbed the button for the elevator. I banged open the door to my apartment. The goons were still there. Ma was on the floor. The men kneeled over her. Murray was trying CPR.
“What the Hell? Ma!” I ran over to her. “What have you done to her?”