Lyra’s idling jeep purred like a tiger, a low growl. She liked to think the machine looked forward to the hunt. After all those years of strict protection, finally there was a hunting quota on jaguars.
Lulled from waiting, Lyra spotted the sleek, dark form approaching the watering hole late. She brought her gun to bear and aimed carefully, not wanting to damage the coat. A shot, a pop, and a whining motor. Perfect.
Watching the wild car spin the other motored wheel futilely, letting it tire itself out, Lyra patted her jeep. “Don’t worry. You’ll always be my favourite.”
I'm attempting the April A to Z challenge, with fiction with at most 100 words. The prompt "Jaguar" came from Ellen Million, "Jagdsaison" (German for "hunting season") from Barbardin.
If you have prompts for later in the alphabet, please give them to me.
Now that’s a weird way to wilt, Henry thought. One of the dozen cheap roses whose petals were yellow with red edges had turned grey. It looked a little squished, but not wrinkly at all, felt still cool to the touch, and even had the same fragrance as the still bright ones.
With a shrug, Henry threw out the ruined flower.
The next day brought two more discolored roses, and no success in the internet search about the phenomenon. Henry snapped a few photos and posted them online.
He checked for comments first thing in the morning, but found “looks photoshopped” as unhelpful as a crazy story that seemed to belong in a fantasy book.
When he checked on the flowers in the sitting room, they had their colour, though meanwhile they started drooping a little. The canvas print of poppy on the wall, however, had had the colour leeched out of it in a quarter circle. The lower right was entirely grey, with a narrow gradient between the changed section and the part remaining bright. When he looked closely, in the very corner Henry could spot a tiny hole.
On the way home from work he picked up supplies, and set a trap as had been suggested. Considering the bowl of neon green glue, he put down some old sheets in addition.
It turned out he needn’t have worried.
The bat-like little creature got stuck in the glue, and wasn’t strong enough to tip the bowl over. Its wings drooped miserably in the grey gloop, at odds with the cheerfully-bright yellow-red-gren striations of its skin.
What does one do with a colour vampire?, Henry wondered.
Jessica had built up some tolerance to odd events, so when a splash of spilled ink started to move she did not doubt her senses, but just watched it coalesce into a humanoid figure smaller than a fingernail.
The shining black golem briefly turned its featureless head towards the lamp, then trudged in the opposite direction, shrinking as it left an uneven trail on the tabletop.
Jessica mopped it up with a paper towel before it reached the taped-down image she was working on. Staring at the now immobile blot, she wondered if she should have had ethical concerns.
Inspired by the prompt "spilled ink takes on its own life" by Becky Allen
Metal rattled gently as Freya rooted through the content of the tin. Wardrobes, suitcases, savings boxes long destroyed had left their keys in the collection, probably to be forgotten, or maybe to be reused. What the girl was looking for was - ah! A small slip of brass-plated tin, a triangular head.
Diary locks had been always the same, or nearly so, for decades, or if there was a slight difference, the locks were so badly made the key worked, anyway.
Freya stayed sitting in the storeroom dust and tried the key. She smiled and relaxed happily when her hoard of secrets opened.
Her breath caught as she caught sight of the writing. Blue ink instead of green gel pen. That's mother's handwriting! In my diary! A look on the cover confirmed it; even the signs of wear matched.
Freya locked and unlocked the book again, still seeing the cursive writing instead of her own rounded block letters.
She bit her lip and looked towards the door. It would be a while before her mother came home, so Freya might as well have a closer look.
Standing pointedly inside his door, the suspect grinned. “No, you can not come in, warrant or no!”
Jenna took a breath, meaning to answer that. The door slammed shut in her face, so she sighed instead. From his criminal record including activity in an anti-supernaturals group a decade ago, neither his recognising her as a vampire nor his reaction came as a surprise. Still, it was annoying in its pettiness and shortsightedness.
Usually she would be partnered with someone who did not require invitation, but there had been some roster-shuffling tonight, leaving the pair of vampires the option to watch the house to keep him from running and call for reinforcements. To arrest one unarmed little loser with a habit of blogging rants against supernaturals while drunk. Embarrassing.
While she walked back to the squad car, a grin spread across her face. She had foreseen trouble like that, and both brought the right equipment and made sure with the chief that she could use it.
She hefted the sledgehammer and stalked back to the house. Invitations were required to cross a threshold, true. But it had turned out that if you removed the entire wall, the problem disappeared.
Inspired by the prompt "How does a vampire cop serve a warrant, if he has to be invited into a home?" by Royce Day
This takes place after [node:4416], but should stand on its own, too, as flash goes.
The girl pausing to look at the old council hall clockwork ticking away in its glass case caught the librarian’s eye—her signal orange cycling helmet was hard to miss. After a few seconds of looking around and flicking the leaves of the green plants around the reading corner, she started prowling the shelves.
It was almost half an hour later when the librarian spotted her again, helmet still clinging to her head. The girl bit her lip and looked around, nervous and confused, so the librarian walked up to her.
“Hello. Can I help you?”
“There are too many things.”
The librarian frowned when she saw that there was a book lying on the sisal carpeting in the corridor the girl had come from.
“What are you looking for?”
The girl turned her head from side to side a few times, face screwing up to a distressed grimace. “I forgot.”
“Now, don’t worry…” The librarian trailed off.
The girl had raised her hands to wipe her eyes, and looked at them in wonder. “LIBRARY” was scrawled in big letters across the back of her left wrist and hand. The child looked at her palms. The left said “Do not forget: Go to the LIBRARY.” The right palm was more puzzling. She twisted her hand around, as if to see if the writing was upside down, but got distracted, ending up looking over her right shoulder towards the shaft of light leading up to the skylight over the stairwell, and holding her right hand loosely in front of her, palm up.
The librarian leaned forward and tried to read the scrawl, but couldn’t decypher it. “Are you all right? Would you like to phone home?”
“I, no? I know the way. Yes, I do.”
Her puzzled frown turned into a wide grin when she glanced at her right hand again. “Oh, ANGEL!”
“Yes, I think my angel is in trouble, it’s why I forget stuff and can’t sit still! Can you help me?”
I couldn’t listen to Jelena planning to push for prosecution for long; it was too painful. “Please just let it lie.”
She skewered me with a look as if I had been the one who’d killed her brother. “Instincts or not, they are still bound by laws. He was murdered, and no-one’s interested!”
“Jelena, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. Pushing will do no good. You know what’ll happen? They’ll point out he went drinking and stayed out too late. They’ll say he should have been at home that night, or at the very least gone by car, not on foot. They’ll say he must have been pulling tails or picking fights, call him a troublemaker.”
I’d talked myself into a rage, too, and bit my tongue on it, turning away from Jelena’s wide, scared, and still furious eyes.
She said, slowly, “He did not—”
“I know. I know. I’m sorry.” I knew how it hurt, and I didn’t want her to go through the same. “I hate it, too, but that’s how it works. What people who knew him say doesn’t matter to most officers, or attorneys, or judges—or reporters, for that matter. What those that count will say is, a monomorph going out on full moon nights is asking for trouble.” Maybe my words were swaying her, or maybe not. Considering that it was her life… “Just think carefully about what you would be going into before deciding, all right?”
Inspired by the prompt "What about the rights of people who *don't* change in a world were were-_____ people have been the majority for most of recorded history?" by LilFluff
Fran wished there was more to the stories of poltergeists, if she had to be not-quite-dead-enough. No moving of objects or whispering of threats for her. Richards might feel her touch, but she had tried only once. He had looked up with a grin splitting his face, revelling in her powerlessness, and finished strangling his next victim.
A lock of the boy’s hair had gone into an old paint can and up on a shelf right under the low ceiling of Richards’ shack. He was not the last.
Turning her attention inward hardly shielded her from those scenes; her sight and hearing were not bound to eyes and ears anymore, and she could feel the fear and pain running through her like a current. She did not even have the solace of company in this prison. Judging from Richards’ occasional bows and thank-yous to the “loge of spectators”, there were indeed several ghosts, but Fran found no way for them to communicate.
All she had was a vague sense of their presence, which might have been her imagination. That, and what Richards called his shows, which, death by death, chipped away at her sanity.
Inspired by the prompts "Invisible witnesses" and "Crimes against ghosts and spectres" by Tango
Trying to keep control of her temper, Juno tapped her driver’s license lying on the countertop hard. “This is no fake,” she hissed, waving at the yellowed newspaper clippings about her death and recovery ten years ago she had produced as corroborative evidence. “If the state thought my actual rather than apparent age determined if I was allowed to drive a car, don’t you think the same should apply to other age limits?”
“I’m sorry, hon, it’s not that I don’t believe you—” her eyes flicked to a photo in the clippings, which was still accurate apart from the haircut “—but it would be just not right. Kids thinking you were their age seeing you smoke, what kind of example would that be?”
Behind the concerned face Juno saw a smug presumption of moral perfection. It made her want to break something, by preference the woman’s neck. After taking a few breaths to calm down, she collected her papers, by necessity slowly. Her fingers shook both with anger and withdrawal, and she did not want to damage the old newsprint further.
When the woman started another apology, Juno cut her off with “Fuck ‘think of the children’,” and stalked out of the little corner shop. The third attempt today. She never would have thought that the cashier at her usual shop quitting would cause that many problems. He had had no compunctions about selling cigs to someone who looked like she was ten.
Inspired by the prompts "Is it okay to sell cigarettes and alcohol to a hundred-year-old vampire in the body of an eight-year-old?" by Tango and "Moral versus legal" by Ellen Million
Don’t you hate it when you sit in your favourite bar and just want a drink and some quiet and someone asks “what’s up?” Fred was just the type to do that to me, and yesterday she followed it up with “Are you still chewing on that self-defence overkill thing from last week?”
“Nah, that’s up to the courts now.” I would rather not have thought about that one again. Imagine you come to a scene with one person with several broken bones, and another calmly waiting for the police, that is, me. There’s way worse, sure, but it’s damn creepy when the person waiting is full of bullet holes. Did they have to fold up a human to suitcase-size, if they don’t mind being shot?
“So what’s new?”
“I’ll quit.” Hadn’t meant to blurt it out like that.
“I just can’t take it anymore. There’s those freaks you can’t stop. How do you put handcuffs on a ghost? I saw one shove a person out of a window today. Right in front of me. Couldn’t do a thing.” And it knew exactly what it was doing, giving me a grin and a wave before floating through a wall.
That at least shut her up for a short while, but she started up again. “Still, most cases are normal crimes, nothing but regular humans.”
“Doesn’t feel like it, lately.”
Fred shrugged. “A blip in the statistics. Don’t rush things.”
I snorted. “If at least there wasn’t that much up in the air with civil rights for those freaks. There’s your problem right there. Call them human rights like you should, and it all becomes easier.”
Fred pulled a face. Her problem, she’d started the conversation.
I picked up my half-empty glass of beer again, and she kept staring at me while I drank, which got on my nerves. “What’s up with you now?”
“Just wondering if it’d make sense for you to join that new unit for supernatural crimes.”
“And handle more of that shit? Are you crazy?”
“They are looking into ways to neutralise, ah, unusual threats, and are bound to be the best informed on the general topic of all of us.”
Put like that it wasn’t that far-fetched. Still disgusting. Fred raised her hands, “Just a thought.”
“I’ll think about it.”
I’m still thinking.
Inspired by the prompt "A cop who keeps encountering preternatural creatures and incidents that make it harder and harder for him to do things "by the book," which he wants to do." by Elizabeth Barette aka ysabetwordsmith. Sponsored by Tango