Categories
2010 Psychological Suspense

A Patchwork Companion | A Work in Progress

{ 639 words so far }

Just before dusk the man took a break from his work in the basement. He was not hungry, or more specifically, he had no appetite. Instead he opted for a cold beverage from the refrigerator in the kitchen to quench his thirst. Only when he popped the cap off the bottle did he realize that today had been his thirty-first birthday. A lot had happened in his life the past few years; several notable, calamitous events had irrevocably changed his life. He wasn’t sure if he had even acknowledged the arrival and subsequent passing of his twenty-ninth or thirtieth birthdays. His work was that demanding of his attention; his focus was keener these past two years than it had ever been in his life. He’d been motivated by the potency of vengeance.

He was anxious to return to his work downstairs, but something stirred inside him—emotion—a sensation that had been alien to him for quite some time. As a sudden wave of nostalgia crashed over him, he found himself drawn up into the attic where he kept the many keepsakes of his special memories. The old wooden stairs creaked beneath his feet. The floorboards groaned as he walked toward the cedar chest near the small widow.  Seized by the eager dark of night, the attic remained in gloom because he did not turn on the ceiling light. He knew every item contained in this attic intimately, but he did not want to be overcome with emotion if he could see every picture, or every handwritten letter, or every piece of lovely jewelry. All would be seen vividly under the luminescence. He did not want that. Simply being in their presence or feeling them by hand would probably be enough to move him to tears.

A few years back he had been a great husband and an anxious soon-to-be new father of twins.  A boy and girl, the ultrasound had miraculously confirmed.  He always wondered if the twins would have been identical or fraternal. However, he was never meant to know them, at least not for as long and as intimately as a father should.

The doctors and nurses had other plans for him. He believed they had sinister plans for his wife, and downright nefarious plans for their unborn children. That was the only explanation that made sense. The only explanation he would accept. Of course the powers-that-were, hell, the entire medical staff and all the lawyers involved with the case, none of them support his claim, but why would they?

He simply would not budge from his understanding of how it all happened. Why else would the love of his life be allowed go into premature labor with two fetuses in frank breech? Why else would she be allowed to hemorrhage profusely until she lost enough blood to rob her body of a fighting chance? Something had gone wrong during the emergency Cesarean section operation. The twins were pulled from the womb, delivered by the hands of the ob-gyn surgeon, but his wife did not make it through. Soon after that the premature twins lost their fight, if they even had a fighter’s chance.

The reasons were inexplicable. The explanations given by the medical staff were a series of unproven theories and scientific gobbledygook. He didn’t buy any of it.

What he did do was solemnly swear that he would bring vengeance upon those responsible. The police, the lawyers, no one else would deliver justice. He had to use his own hands and means to bring justice, one impeachable person at a time.

But first he had more pressing work that demanded his attention. He descended back down to the basement where waiting for his intense focus and determination was a woman who, in her own specific way, bore a striking resemblance to his dead wife.

{ not fin }


Written: November 22, 2010.

Copyright © 2010-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Basement photo courtesy of Copyright The Basement film

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Categories
2010 Action/Adventure Sci-fi Suspense WIP

Project Zero-13 | A Work in Progress

{ 744 words began Jan 7, 2010 }

Stirred by the furtive movements of what was likely a rodent of some kind sniffing about in the foliage that surrounded him, the man awoke with a slight disorientation while lying under a bed of leaves, mud and twigs.  Vivid images of the dream he was having still lingered in his mind.  Like most dreams it was not an exact documentary of actual events, although inspired by them.  Instead it deviated from the script, as dreams often did.  A certain degree of surrealism had replaced realism.  Just before he was awakened, he had experienced the dream’s unscripted happy ending which was in direct contrast to the real life events he experienced prior to arriving to these woods to elude capture from his unknown pursuers.

The happy ending was that he actually knew more than just his first name; that he knew exactly why he wore the strange costume, that underneath it was not some man that no one knew, and that he had the ability to speak.  Yet the truth was something straight out of a comic book.  Other than his first name and general sentience, he did not know those answers.

The man sat up and surveyed the dark woods.  He noticed a pair of curious raccoons retreat away from him.

His mind was a blank slate and physically he just felt a certain kind of strangeness.  Lacking the ability to speak was certainly a concern.  Yet his natural senses were keen.  He somehow knew that he was still being hunted.

As he stood up and started brushing off the leaves and mud, an image flashed in his mind.  Could it be a memory, distant or recent, or was it just more dream residue?  He didn’t get much time to debate the matter because he heard a helicopter approaching fast.

He used his quick reflexes to spring into action.  He leaped into the trees, moving from one to the other with swift and canny movements.  His speed and strength were remarkable.  And so was his hearing because despite the distance he increased, he could hear his pursuers.

Blue Team Five to Mother One, we’ve regained visual on Project: Zero-13.

He dropped down from the trees when he reached a clearing.  He experienced a flash of images, a mental sequence.  It had to be a memory.  He saw himself in great distress as men in white lab coats prodded and probed him with unknown instruments that delivered pain.

Before continuing his escape he glanced back into the vast woods and despite their darkness, he could see his pursuers.  There were several of them, maybe seven on foot and their infrared tracking strobes pierced through the darkness in random angles.  When the helicopter arrived above him, he peered up at it and counted another three men inside it.  Infrared tracking strobes beamed at him from above.

With unimaginable reflexes he turned to make a hasty escape but despite his swiftness, his pause had given the recovery team too much of an advantage.  The next thing he knew he was covered in fiber netting that prevented any further progress no matter how much he struggled.  He felt a piercing pain as hypodermic darts were shot into him from behind.  Almost immediately he lost consciousness.

# # #

The man regained consciousness laying flat on his back upon a lab table, but he was severely disoriented and could not move.  But he could hear and smell just fine.  He smelled formaldehyde most of all.

Thank you for returning him to us relatively unharmed and intact, Lieutenant Colonel. Please extend my thanks to your men.  I don’t need to tell you how valuable Experiment Zero Thirteen is to us.  Or the powers-that-be on Capitol Hill.

Well, I’m not sure how you think dropping this—this super-hero in the middle of the Afghani desert is going to get the results they want.

That is why I am the scientist and you are, well, you. With all due respect, of course.  This hybrid will prove to be a formidable ally in our nation’s fight against terror, that elusive, faceless enemy which continues to threaten liberty the world over. The American people deserve to see their taxes payoff for something they actually support.

You sound more like a politician than a doctor.

Me, a politician?  Oh, heavens no, Lieutenant Colonel.  I’m far too intellectual to be a politician.  But believe me when I say that Project: Zero-13 will be a success.

{ not fin }


Written in January 2010

Copyright © 2010-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

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Categories
2010 Noir WIP

Short-term Effect | A Work in Progress

{ 452 words began in 2006 }

I come back to consciousness with a mouth full of blood and a busted lip the size of Texas. I can’t remember how I got this way. I got a few scrapes and bruises on my face, a knot on my head that’s throbbing. They say ignorance is bliss, and for a few minutes as I sit here in this dark, quiet alley, I think: yeah, short-term memory loss does have its charm. Then I remember: she’s not next to me anymore.

Roxy.

She’s unforgettable. It doesn’t matter that I’ve taken a few bumps to the head, the face. Dames have a knack for leaving long lasting impressions on a fella.

Roxy Star was what she told me to call her. I called her Foxy Roxy not just ‘cause she’s sexy as hell, but because she was sly like one. I’d never known anyone, let alone a little street rogue, who could pick a pocket or pull a short con like Foxy Roxy. She’s the best, at least for an amateur.

In just two nights and a day we’d gotten to know each other pretty good. That’s after she tried to lift my wallet in Moe’s bar. Funny way for a girl to introduce herself to a fella, especially a guy she would end up spending the night with in a motel, the next morning telling him she loved him and that they were long-lost soul mates. Usually that kind of movie ends with me waking up the next morning alone, the only trace left behind is a lingering sent jam-packed with memories of yet another dame gone goodbye.

Love, man.

It sounds crazy now, but it’s the way she said it with that passion in her voice, that conviction in her eyes . . . I believed her. At first I thought, yeah, right, she’s just like all the other skirts-in-heels that have come and gone before her. Difference is none of those previous dames have been anywhere near as convincing in triple the time me and Roxy have spent together. I remember that second night being especially intense. I’d scrounged up enough leftover cash to really splurge and treat her like a lady ought to be, y’know? She seemed real impressed with it all, last night. I can’t help but believe she meant the words that came from her lovely mouth.

But she’s gone and I can’t remember how that’s come to be. I could blame it on the drugs and liquor all I want—and I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, either, but there’s gotta be something else at play here.

Way my luck runs, man, it’s probably for my own damn good that I can’t remember.


Written at different points from 2004 to 2010.

Copyright © 2004-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

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Categories
2010 Drabble Experimental

Gluttony Loves the Lonesome Ones | A Drabble

{ 100 words }

She’s gone now, not much I can do about it except sulk.  And eat. Not like I’ve anyone to look handsome for, the only woman who ever truly mattered left me. Now I’ll eat to my heart’s content, get me through the nights.

No, she wouldn’t approve if she saw me.

“You’ll make yourself sick!”

“Keep that up, you won’t fit into your favorite jeans anymore!”

“No sane person eats that much ice cream in one night!”

Ice cream isn’t only for depressed teenage girls dumped by their transient boyfriends, or neglected wives whose marriages are headed for irreconcilable differences.


Written: December 13, 2010.

Copyright © 2010 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

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Categories
2010 Drabble Paranormal

The Shadow People | A Drabble

{ 100 words }

I’ve always been able to see them. The Shadow People, I mean. Even when I was a little younger around age five, they would visit me sometimes. But I always see them around town, especially in the countryside. Mommy and Daddy don’t believe me because they never see them. The Shadow People fade away whenever grownups are around. It’s almost like they’re scared of grownups or something. I think it’s because grown folks aren’t believers. The Shadow People don’t want to be around those who don’t acknowledge them. Wouldn’t you want credit for the good things you do for others?


Created: November 12, 2010

Rewritten: March 22, 2016

Copyright © 2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Artwork by tHeSpEcIaLhEaD (Jessica Crokers) and is copyright © 2012-2016.

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Categories
2010 Bizarro Flash horror

The Underneath | A Bizarro Flash of Horror

{ 691 words }

Ramsey noticed the mole on his left arm while in the shower earlier that morning, but his mind didn’t quite register what it was through the morning maze of his 6 A.M. mind.  At the time the previous night’s dreams lingered tenuously in his consciousness like intangible, fragmented ghosts.

Now, while he sat at his small gray cubicle ready to assume the role of corporate worker ant, he eye-balled the thing.  He observed that it was dark tan in color, round in shape and entirely . . . new.  The mole had not been there last month, nor a week ago, and most certainly not just yesterday.

Yet there it sat on the inner side of his forearm halfway between his wrist and elbow.

Ramsey looked around the office bullpen to see if anyone was paying him any attention.  Lunch hour had arrived so the office became relatively spare of people, save for the other loners who ate at their desks like he did.  He put his chicken salad sandwich down and surveyed the mole again.

Then he picked at it.  Strangely, there was no feeling.  Perhaps a bit of pressure, but no pain.

Two hours or so later while on his last break of the day, he picked at it again in the elevator.  That delivered a pleasant feeling, so he gently picked at it again.  This time it tickled and smiled.

Later, during his drive home from work the mole started to itch.  Ramsey looked away from the road to scratch at it.  He noticed that it seemed to have gotten bigger since the last time he glanced at it.

That’s peculiar.

He was anxious to get a better look at the thing.

Once home, he heard a voice.  An internal voice . . . in his head.

Look at it, the voice said.  He did.  What he found surprised him.  The round mole, which was once small and tan, and later only slightly bigger, had now grown to the size of a nickel and had darkened to a rich brown color on his pale skin.  It also appeared to be raised; no longer as flat as it was previously.  He fingered it in disbelief.  It began to itch again.  Gone was that tickling sensation from earlier.

He scratched at it and grimaced from the resulting pain.

The voice in his head told him that the truth was underneath and that he had to see it.

From his bathroom Ramsey gathered cotton swabs, tweezers and antiseptic.  Before he could even apply the tweezers to it, the mole—or whatever the hell it was—began throbbing.  It surged with an intense pain that brought him to his knees.

He clawed at the thing with desperation to get it to stop hurting, but that only made it more excruciating and the pain bowled him over onto the hardwood floor.  He must have gotten through the damn thing because his crimson blood began a steady trickle.

Look!  Look underneath!  The truth awaits you!!!

Afraid to look, yet Ramsey allowed his curiosity of what lay beneath his skin get the better of him.  He pulled back the blood-red and blackening surface of the blemish, which was now the diameter of an old fifty-cent piece.

Once he peeled the mole-skin back he saw an eyeball staring back at him.  He shuddered at this revelation, shook his arm as if to dislodge it.  Yet still it sat nestled there inside his arm.  The whites of the eye were bloodshot, and the iris was icy-blue with a tiny black pupil.  However, it didn’t stay that way.  In an instant the eye transformed: the white was now black, the blue now red, and the pupil became a pointy reptilian or cat-like slit.

In another instant the pupil dilated and inside the pupil was the image of Ramsey naked and chained in an X formation against a fiery backdrop.  By that point the searing pain had given way to numbness.

Ramsey became convinced that if he was not already in Hell, or hadn’t gone completely insane, he was fast on his way.


Written in 2010. A slightly different version of this story was previously featured in Like Frozen Statues of Flesh, a print anthology published in July 2011 by Static Movement, edited by Joe Jablonski. This re-published edition exists for electronic access and online archiving, and is intended for reading and reviewing purposes only — any other unauthorized use or dissemination is strictly prohibited.

This edition is copyright © 2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Cover designed by Brandon L. Rucker and copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Categories
2010 Micro Fiction Thriller

Shard | A Bloody Micro Fiction

{ 354 words }

After she confronts him in the basement, he lunges at her clumsily.  She uses cat-quick reflexes to avoid his attack and he misses.  That imprecision costs him.  She scrambles to the floor, a move that allows her to strike swiftly with a kick to his groin just as he recovers to charge at her again.  Stealthily she prepares to arm herself with the medium-sized broken mirror shard she’d found there in the basement a few days back. She retrieves if from her back pocket to slice forcibly into his Achilles as if it is a mere thin ribbon made of fine silk.  With all her might, she strikes fiercely to cut through the fabric of his clothing.  He screams in agony and lumbers to the floor like a wounded animal shot in the wild, left for dead.  Predator has become prey.  However, her mission, her responsibility is not yet complete.

He lay facing the floor in agony, grasping for his wounded foot.  Blood begins to flow from his injured tendon without pause.  It soaks through the fabric immediately and begins spotting the basement floor with tiny pools of crimson.  It must be endorphins and adrenaline masking his pain because he recovers again to get back on his feet, intent to cease her attack, perhaps finish her off.  She has other plans.  She wants to see more of his blood before she’s finished with him.  She kicks him in his back and lands him again.  She strikes the other Achilles with yet another forceful blow, this time with even more ferocity.  Blood spurts out to land on the nearby wall.  His roars of pain elicit no sympathy from her.

Stealthily she forces a syringe into his buttocks to administer a sedative.  With him restrained, she undresses him.  Once he is nude she uses the shard to pierce his genitals.  She slices the sack and then severs his member.  Poetic justice, karma served.  Torrential blood flows.

This is really just the beginning of what he has coming to him.  She needs to be sure her husband suffers indefinitely for what he’s done to their young daughter.


A Pint of Bloody FictionWritten in 2010. A different, even shorter version of this story was previously featured in A Pint of Bloody Fiction, a print anthology published in September 2010 by House of Horror, edited by S.E. Cox and Nandy Eckle. This re-published edition exists for electronic access and online archiving, and is intended for reading and reviewing purposes only — any other unauthorized use or dissemination is strictly prohibited.

This edition is copyright © 2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Cover designed by Brandon L. Rucker and copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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