Tagged: blood

“It Doesn’t Matter Who I Am”

  • by Kentexposed a critical flaw
  • feared her family’s disapproval
  • “Oh there! There! Beautiful!”
  • far more than even the worst nosebleed
  • in elementary school during

Tune in next time part 218                           Click Here for Earlier Installments

“It doesn’t matter who I am, everything I’ve told you is true.” Isaac put her hands on her hips. “What matters is what you’re going to do about it.”

“Everything?” I asked. Isaac wilted. “One detail of your little tirade exposed a critical flaw in your charade. Father’s silk allergy isn’t common knowledge, and he does pass signals with a linen pocket square sometimes. It’s not a hard mistake to make, but anyone with true inside intel would know better. Are you even a Swear? Or just someone who feared her family’s disapproval if she didn’t sign up with one radical faction or another?”

“It’s nothing like that. I’m a true believer. A warrior! And if my info traveled here by a roundabout route, that doesn’t make it wrong.”

“Play that video again. Something just clicked in my head.”

Isaac took out her phone and complied unhappily.

“Oh there! There! Beautiful!” I paused the clip. “See what Esmerelda is wearing?”

“It’s a dress.”

“A red dress, which she’d never be seen in, not after the incident. She tried to sue Stephen King, you know. The way the red liquid stained her gown, stained her mind. It was an embarrassment beyond comprehension, far more than even the worst nosebleed in elementary school during the talent show with all the parents watching, filming.” I studied the frozen image. “But that is her, so the question we must ask ourselves is, what message is that dress trying to convey?”

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Jim Was Always Coming Up with Outrageous Theories

  • by jenin that gentleman’s widely opened eyes
  • these dashing cardigans
  • Tonight: dinosaurs.
  • Her stomach made fish tank noises
  • appeared to have been eaten by foxes

Tune in next time part 197                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

Jim was always coming up with outrageous theories about twins. I guess being the only twinless sibling in the family will do that to a guy. Not that he was a singleton. No, Jim was a triplet, but his co-trips were identical girls and he always felt left out. His experiments were often painful, and I had no interest in seeing what he had planned for today, or how the paper shredders would play into it.

I took a step backwards, away from the false graveyard of office equipment, and promptly bumped into someone standing right behind me. It was Jim, of course, and in that gentleman’s widely opened eyes I saw no hint of brotherly affection. To my surprise, he was flanked by our sisters Jemma and Jemima. It was unusual to see all three triplets together. They were all wearing these dashing cardigans in a blue and green color scheme that told me all I needed to know about where their loyalties currently lay. Normally the girls pledged fealty to the Academy’s chess team, the Anacondas. Tonight: Dinosaurs. If he had convinced them to support the chess hooligans of our greatest rivals, Jim had more sway over them than I had ever imagined possible. Perhaps his theories about twins weren’t as outrageous as I had always imagined.

Ignoring Jim and his widely opened eyes, I smiled at our sisters and reached out to shake their hands. With Jemma’s hand in my right, Jemima’s in my left, I executed the secret “twin handshake” we had all developed as children when we wanted to exclude Jim. I was hoping to break through whatever insidious hold he had over them, but to all outward appearances I was unsuccessful. And on top of that, they wouldn’t let go of my hands.

“Jem,” Jim drawled, “and Jem, bring him back out to the operating table.”

My sisters pulled me back into the rocket surgery. My crocs had no traction on the slick floor, especially when they dragged me through Absinthia’s blood. Her stomach made fish tank noises under our feet, all blurbley and squelchy. Her poor corpse appeared to have been eaten by foxes, not operated on by rockets.

I averted my eyes and tried to come up with a plan to escape my nefarious triplet siblings.

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My First Impulse Was to Flee

  • by jenninja assassin on the prowl in west LA
  • twine marks on only one wrist
  • they said he was not the type of person
  • scabs and scars
  • “What’s the matter?” screamed the ladies.

Tune in next time part 195                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

My first impulse was to flee the scene as quickly and quietly as a ninja assassin on the prowl in west LA, to get far away from the stench of burnt flesh, and all of the blood. But I had been on the run for so, so long, and I was exhausted. I felt like a man with twine marks on only one wrist, which is the Contrarian way of saying ‘burning the candle at both ends.’

I locked the door to the rocket surgery to make sure no one walked in on me while I slept, then I curled up on the operating table and took a nap. When people described my brother Jason, they said he was not the type of person who could sleep just anywhere, that he was very finicky about where he bedded down, but they would never say that about me. The slab of stainless steel was an island in a sea of Absinthia’s blood, and upon it I slept like a baby.

When I awoke, I spent a few minutes counting all my scabs and scars, cataloging the myriad ways I now differed from my twin. It wasn’t just our sleep habits that would enable people to tell us apart any longer.

Self-examination complete, I leapt from the table and onto Absinthia’s desk chair. My momentum and the chair’s excellent casters carried me away from the gore, and around a corner. Here was Absinthia’s apartment, replete with bed and shower. If only I’d explored last night I could have slept in comfort. At least I could still get clean.

After my ablutions, I rifled through Absinthia’s closet, hoping to find something a little more dignified than my calico pinafore. In addition to the doctor’s clothes, none of which would fit me, I found a cache of men’s clothing that fit me a little too well. It was as if they’d been tailored for me, which meant they’d probably been tailored for Jason. But the shoes were too small.

“What’s the matter?” screamed the ladies. That’s what I call my intuition, my gut feelings. ‘The ladies’ had never let me down. And right now they were trying to tell me something important. If the shoes were too small for me, they were too small for Jason. That meant, the ladies assured me, that these clothes had been tailored for my younger brother Jim.

I froze.

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Some Movement Had Returned

  • by Kentcalled “secret combinations” or “murmuring”
  • glimmered like quartz
  • the knuckle of my thumb
  • we are not eating enough vegetables
  • “There was, like, a big puddle.”

Tune in next time part 194                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

Some movement had returned, but only enough to wiggle my fingers. Fortunately my escape plan didn’t rely on physical strength.

I could also purse my lips, which gave me the power to generate a special noise, a buzzing, whistling hum. We learned it at the Academy as a type of underwater echolocation. But a few of us discovered how it affected certain sea life, and from there we honed it as a skill for influencing the mind of just about any living thing, including our classmates and teachers. In this case, a former headmistress. Some called it the Aquaman effect, but usually it was called “secret combinations” or “murmuring” or “Hypnotoading.”

Beginning the sound, I soon spotted Absinthia peering out from her hiding place. Her eyes glimmered like quartz. I glanced at the fuse and saw that it was burned down past where all the separate fuses split off, and some of those were very short. I had to get her over here quickly. The first rocket fired, nicking the knuckle of my thumb.

I Hypnotoaded louder, and Absinthia stumbled up to the table. She licked her fingers and snuffed a fuse, then another. Meanwhile, my limbs were beginning to respond. It disgusted me how long I was affected by her paltry injection. It must be true what they say: we are not eating enough vegetables.

My right leg cooperated enough to shove me off the table. Landing on the tile floor hurt, but not as much as what happened to Absinthia. She’d only extinguished half of the fuses.

A hissing, whooshing fit of smoke and flame erupted over the operating table. Dr Absinthia Belladonna toppled and lay still.

I slowly climbed to my feet and looked down at her. It was a memorable image. When I write my memoirs, it will simply say, “There was, like, a big puddle.”

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I Waddled Out of the Store

  • by Kentthe blood came out like a balloon breaking
  • Such a generous nose!
  • dismissed the possibility of terrorist involvement
  • “… it’s interesting.”
  • — during an election year, no less.

Tune in next time part 120                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

I waddled out of the store, head swimming.

“What about my son?” I muttered. “What do you mean?”

“Not now,” Tessa scolded from under my borrowed tux.

“Now’s the perfect time,” I said. “If anyone notices me talking, they’ll just think I’m some fat, crazy man mumbling to himself. I’m not going to put up with –”

Tessa’s hand moved with invisible speed, striking me on the schozz. The blood came out like a balloon breaking.

Such a generous nose!” she cooed as I tried to contain the crimson spillage. A pair of Contrarian policemen watched the whole thing from across the street and then resumed their patrol, having evidently dismissed the possibility of terrorist involvement.

“I’b nod kiddig,” I insisted. “Tell be what’s doe ibbordand.” I paused to clear my nasal passages. “What’s this about my son?”

“Well,” Tessa sighed. “He,” she started, then paused for a long time. “… it’s interesting.” She paused for a longer time. “It’s not what you’re thinking. But we’re lucky it’s happening when it is — during an election year, no less.

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Svetlana Had

  • by jencontrived to commit various high crimes and misdemeanors
  • consider looking deeper
  • the reunions didn’t go well
  • kill everyone and live happily ever after
  • the saddest and most pitiful sounds

Tune in next time part 70                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

Svetlana had, in her storied past, contrived to commit various high crimes and misdemeanors, but none of her earlier schemes were as ill-conceived as her current actions. She leaned back on her stool, balancing expertly on her tailbone, and, using her nimble toes, threw her drink in the hissing bartender’s face, glass and all. It smacked him right between the eyes, sending a trickle of blood down his nose. I knew that her parents had looked into having her committed to a private home for the violently insane, and I thought maybe they should consider looking deeper.

The drunks at the table all leapt to their feet, their chairs clattering. Svetlana backflipped from her barstool to the center of their table, then spun in a quick circle, kicking them each in the face so that they wobbled and collapsed. Their asses smacked back into their chairs and the reunions didn’t go well. Several seats splintered.

“This place is crawling with spies!” Svetlana cried, staring at me with wide blue eyes. “We should kill everyone and live happily ever after in a cottage by the sea!”

I knew she didn’t really mean it. Happy endings weren’t her style. But for once we were on the same side.

The trench-coated individual leapt up and shrugged out of the coat, revealing himself to be a man. He came at me wielding a jagged hunting knife. I used a ninja maneuver I learned from Tessa to turn his momentum against him, and he lodged the blade in his own groin.

Svetlana and I ran out the door, leaving behind a bar full of men making the saddest and most pitiful sounds I’d ever heard.

It wasn’t long, though, until I heard sounds even sadder and more piteous.

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Tessa Leapt From the Roof

  • by jenon foot
  • “They’re after us, Bill.”
  • perhaps a seal
  • I don’t wanna call bullshit on that woman
  • confiscated her hip flask

Tune in next time part 58                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

Tessa leapt from the roof and landed in a squat on the sidewalk below. She waited impatiently as I clambered down the drainpipe and we set off on foot, Tessa leading the way.

Before we turned the corner onto the main boulevard, some quick adjustments to her ninja garb transformed it into a sleek black cocktail dress. The residents of Ipswich were still under Dr Minka Stiletto’s control. Her power over them had not ceased with her death. We would have to be careful.

“Where are we going?” I inquired.

“Don’t worry your pretty little head about it,” Tessa whispered as we joined the throng queued up outside the opera house. “Follow my lead.”

Tessa’s lead had a way of getting me in trouble, but in this case I had little choice.

She jostled and cut in line ahead of a pair of middle aged men, making just enough of a fuss that the ushers were sure to notice.

“What do you mean we should just let them? We were here first!” she said loudly in my direction. “They’re after us, Bill.”

She only called me Bill in times of great peril. It was code for ‘be on your toes.’

When the ushers rushed over to break up the kerfuffle, Tessa flashed something from her purse at them, perhaps a seal or a badge. I didn’t get a good look.

I don’t wanna call bullshit on that woman,” said the shorter of the men we were scuffling with, “but we were here first.”

Tessa winked at me, and then slugged the man in the chin.

In the ensuing melee, I got a black eye, Tessa got a bloody nose, we both got arrested, and they confiscated her hip flask, which is what I had foolishly mistaken for a badge earlier.

In our holding cell Tessa explained that adrenaline and violence was the only way to break Dr Minka Stiletto’s hold over the populace. She’d sacrificed our freedom in order to return the town’s to them.

“And anyway,” she concluded, “Lyudmila will be here to bail us out any minute.”

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I Limped Away From the Feast

  • k-avatarswim in his blood
  • makes her look tired and crazy at the same time
  • did not have a telephone herself
  • a human hand with two severed fingers clutched in its palm
  • arranged a reunion

Tune In Next Time Part 25                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

I limped away from the feast on the craft services table, back to where the sand was darkened by my blood. Tessa’s tracks led away to the right, John’s to the left. Good. Now I had to hope fate hadn’t arranged a reunion for them somewhere in the city.

And I had to hope Tessa wouldn’t start spending the money from the box. If she unrolled the bills, she might find the real treasure. Someone had to be there with her when she saw it. Even after all her shady dealings with me, she didn’t deserve to confront that alone.

The blood-drenched patch of sand drew my attention. Not because it was my blood, but because of the NSFW insignia (a human hand with two severed fingers clutched in its palm) that someone had crudely etched there. They must have done it after I got up, and I’d been standing only a few feet away ever since.

Ninjas. I hate those guys.

It appeared that my ruse with John might turn out to be true after all. Warning Tessa would be so simple, but my phone had been ruined and she did not have a telephone herself. She adamantly refused to carry one, because she said someone being fixated on a screen held in her hand makes her look tired and crazy at the same time.

With a little luck, it would be John that the ninjas were really after. “Go get him,” I muttered, knowing it was only too likely that one of them could hear me. “Swim in his blood.”

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My Nemesis Pulled a Handkerchief From the Pocket

  • by jenbetween forkfuls of pie
  • a good elementary textbook
  • “Those evil pricks
  • rubbing his hands
  • from the pocket of his greasy blue jacket

Tune In Next Time Part 24                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

My nemesis pulled a handkerchief from the pocket of his greasy blue jacket and mopped his forehead with it. It did absolutely no good because it was as soaked with seawater as the rest of him.

“Those evil pricks from NSFW took Tessa and you’re just laying there, bleeding?”

“It wasn’t NSFW,” I lied. “It was Ninja Vision.”

In reality it wasn’t ninjas at all. Tessa had run off on her own, but I didn’t want John to know that. I laid there and winced at John rubbing his hands all over me in what I can only assume was an attempt to frisk me. He should brush up on his technique. I could even recommend a good elementary textbook on the topic if there wasn’t so much bad blood between us.

John erroneously concluded I was unarmed and left me laying in the sand to rescue Tessa from the Ninjas that didn’t have her. I pulled myself to my feet and leaned against the craft services table, watching him run slowly across the beach.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten, and there was a whole delicious spread right there on the table that was holding me up, so between forkfuls of pie I dug the bullet out of my thigh with a pair of chopsticks. I used the sterno flame from the chafing dish to cauterize the wound, and then I was ready to find Tessa and the treasure.

My Eyes Were Full of Sand

  • by jenSure, it’s iconic and colorful and mesmerizing
  • impelling the machine uphill
  • it had been about eels
  • she was lost in the city
  • expressing his feelings by serious pantomime

Tune In Next Time Part 23                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

My eyes were full of sand when I opened them. I lay on the beach, blood still oozing from my leg wound. As I tried to get my bearings, I remembered the dream that haunted my childhood. I don’t know why, but it had been about eels, and I’d had it again just now, passed out on the shore by the pier. Sure, it’s iconic and colorful and mesmerizing to have a recurring dream, but those eels man, they haunt me.

I sat up in time to see John emerge from the crashing surf, still alive. Dammit. In his grip was my underwater digging apparatus. It seems that John escaped his sharky fate by impelling the machine uphill instead of down, and letting it drag him along behind it. Not for the first time I cursed my engineering prowess.

When John saw me laying there bleeding all over the empty metal box he began expressing his feelings by serious pantomime, his jutting middle fingers quivering in rage.

“Where is Tessa?” he bellowed, stomping up to where I was sprawled.

I knew Tessa was a terrible navigator. I knew she was lost in the city, hopelessly trying to find her way to whatever rendezvous she and John had arranged. My only chance was to send John the wrong way so that I could get some much-needed medical attention and then find her myself.

“They took her,” I lied through gritted teeth. “The ninjas took her.”

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