Recruitment (11-29-17)

“Oh come on, how was I supposed to know that robbing one bank would lead to all this shit?!” [Link to post.]

“Was that a skeleton?!” I asked my daughter. We ran through the back alley, away from *her*.
“I. Think. So,” she replied between breaths, without turning around. She turned a corner, and I followed. We ran into Alex’s Tattoo Shop and Pizza Parlor. He often tossed us freebies in exchange for letting him practice.
“Crystal! Ryan! Great to see you guys. What’s up?” Alex came from around the counter and gave Crystal a hug, then offered me a firm handshake. Alex was a big man with a big dark beard.
“We need someplace to hide!” Crystal said. The biker gang that frequented Alex’s stood from their table and walked over when they heard the panic in Crystal’s voice. I held my hand up to stop them.
“No. We’re just catching our breath and moving on. I appreciate the help guys, but this is way out of your league.”
“DaaaAD!” My daughter glared at me through her glassy, pale brown eyes. “They can help!” She took a step closer to Alex. I grabbed her hand and pulled her back toward me.
“The woman has horns growing out of her head, and she summoned a FUCKING SKELETON!” A brief look of worry flashed across Alex’s face.
“You guys trippin’ right now?” Alex asked. I shook my head.
“I wish.” I inhaled deeply. “Here’s the quick version. Crystal robbed a bank. Instead of the cops being after us there’s this crazy woman that keeps calling Crystal ‘La Mano’. No idea what it means.” I shrugged. The bell hanging over the door rang, and Alex looked up. A young woman in a purple and gold hoodie walked into the shop. She wore black gloves with gold fingers.
“It’s broad daylight, how’d you rob a bank?” Alex said, quieter. Though, he still didn’t whisper as quiet as I would have preferred.
“I, uh. I kind of have magic powers.” Crystal said. She stared at the ground sheepishly. Alex looked up at me.
“You guys ARE tripping!” He burst out laughing. I met Crystal’s eyes and tilted my head towards Alex. Crystal kicked off her right shoe. She pulled her sock down and placed her foot on one of the benches.
“Yeah. I did that tattoo.” Alex said. The tattoo was his gift to Crystal for her 21st birthday. The tattoo on the top of Crystal’s foot consisted of the number ‘21’ surrounded by crystalline roses.
“Maybe you’re the one with magic powers.” I said. Crystal touched the tattoo and her hand sunk into it, as if it went through her foot. She pulled out one of the loot bags she filled from the bank vault, then handed it to me. I handed it to Alex.
“Thanks for everything, man. I don’t know what this woman’s deal is, but if she finds us there’s a good chance we won’t see you anymore.” He stared at me slackjawed, while his hand hefted the sack. He smiled when he realized how heavy it was.
“We can help you. You guys are like family.” Alex said. He walked toward the counter. He left the moneybag and returned with a shotgun. Again, I shook my head.
“Skeletons man. You can’t help. No one can help. We just gotta keep moving and hope she gets bored.” Crystal had put her shoe back on and I grabbed her hand.
“I can help.” I heard a woman’s voice say. I looked around and saw it was the woman in the purple and gold hoodie.
“I eavesdropped,” she said. “Intentionally.” She pulled her hood back and smiled. Her short, spiky hair glowed with a blue aura, and her eyes twinkled purple.
“Lady, mind your own business. No offense.” I said and turned toward the door, pulling Crystal with me.
“‘La Mano’ is my business,” she said. I heard Alex point the shotgun at the young woman as soon as she said ‘mano’. I turned to face her. She kept her smile in spite of the shotgun.
“What does that even mean?” I asked her. “That other woman kept saying that too.” She sat down on the bench and glanced at Crystal.
“‘La Mano’ is Spanish for ‘The Hand’. Beyond that, your daughter is what’s known as a Unique Soul. The tattoo with her number awakened her powers.” Crystal moved closer to me, away from the blue haired woman. I stepped in front of Crystal, Alex kept the gun trained on the stranger.
“What’s a Unique Soul?” I asked. She shook her head.
“Way too complicated to go into right now. The important part is your daughter is special, and I’m here to invite both of you to a school that can help you learn just how special.” She smiled and a golden ‘46’ appeared on her forehead.
“So this is your scam? One of you corners us and the other gives us a pitch? Leave us alone, we’re fine,” I said. Crystal grabbed my hand and held it tight. The golden ‘46’ disappeared and she stood up slowly.
“No. The woman with the horns isn’t here to give you a pitch. She’s here to kill your daughter. If you two come with me, your daughter *will* be safe. If you don’t,” she paused to glance out the window. “Your daughter *might* be safe.” The front bell rang again and a short blue haired man walked in. His white snakeskin cowboy boots were the only noise in the place as he walked straight toward the blue haired woman. He had full sleeves tattooed up and down his arm. He sported a tattoo of a beer bottle on his hand, with the number 25 on the label. A pair of red dice flanked the bottle. He ignored us and the shotgun.
“She’s coming,” the short man said. “I tried slowing her down, but she’s got a handle on my luck.” The woman nodded and pulled off her gloves. I realized they were fingerless gloves. Her hands appeared to be made of solid gold.
“Time’s up. My friend and I are leaving. You can come with us, or you can hang out and have a chat with the Demon Queen.”
“Demon Queen?” I asked.
“The woman with the horns, that can summon skeletons? Her name is Ballisea the Demon Queen. I’m Jenny, and the shortstack here is Vegas.” Jenny’s hand hovered in the air, and a tiny black dot appeared at the tip of her index finger. The black dot grew into a hole in reality, bigger than Alex. “Vegas and I are from a different universe. You’re invited.” The two of them jumped into the black.

Picking Sides (11-22-2017)

Flash Fiction Challenge! Location: A rooftop | Object: A tin can [Link to post.]
“Holy hell, I can’t believe you fixed everything,” Chuck said. He stood on the rooftop and stared out over the bustling city. The people should have been contrite, terrified to leave their homes. Instead the streets were full of people happily going about their business. Traffic flowed like molasses, he heard sirens and horns honking in the distance. “How?” Chuck turned to face the short, rotund, blonde man. Rudy smirked.

“I could explain it, but you’re an asshole. So I’ll just say, it’s my job.” Rudy stepped toward Chuck. Chuck still faced out over the city and would not have noticed Rudy stepping forward, had he not accidentally kicked a tin can. The noise caused Chuck to whirl around.

“Stay there.” Chuck raised his hand and showed Rudy the number ‘1’ glowing red on his hand. “You’re not taking me back to Hell, I’ve got a new job.” A pitch black portal opened next to Chuck. Rudy stopped walking. A beautiful woman with a pair of ram horns growing out of her head in curls stepped out of the blank space in reality.

“Chucky! I’m so glad you decided to join me.” The woman said, she stood behind Chuck and noticed Rudy.

“A Diablito? Looks like this universe is kind of small. Hey chubby, want to join my team?”  The woman asked. She wrapped her arms around Chuck from behind, but she could not close them around his big stomach.

“Who are you?” Rudy asked. He took another step forward.
“I’m Ballisea the Demon Queen. I’ll take that as a, no. Bye.” The portal next to chuck disappeared and a black hole appeared under Ballisea and Chuck. They sank in and disappeared.

Timeless (11-17-2017)

It turns out that every conspiracy theorist is right, each conspiracy theory is true but they all come from a different timeline. [Link to post.]

“The boss wants to see you,” the secretary, said through the intercom. The gentleman in the office pressed the red button to reply.

“On my way,” he said. The clean shaven, portly man pushed his chair back and stood from his desk.  “He only wants to see me when there’s a problem,” he sighed, then gathered his coat from the rack on the way out of his office.

“You know how it goes, Elaine. I’m probably out for the rest of the day.” He said to his secretary.

“Right. I’ll reschedule your appointments Mr. Deville.” Elaine waved at him as he stepped out into the long cavernous hallway. Fluorescent lights somehow made the hallway drearier. He began the journey to his boss’ office and arrived there an hour later. Debbie, the boss’ secretary, let him in as soon as he arrived.

“Good! Glad you made it, Red. We’ve got an enormous problem, and I need your help to get things sorted out.” The boss got right to business, even before Rudy Deville sat down.

“Alright.” Rudy nodded and waited for an explanation. He took a seat across from his boss.

“This new generation of brokers, they’re not like you. You’re deliberate, and you think things through. Most importantly you *check* in on your clients regularly. This mess happened because one of the new guys thought he could shortcut his way through timelines. He’s been fired, but we still gotta clean up the mess. The long and short of it is, we got a Christmas light tangle of timelines, and I need you to clean it up. You’re the best bet we’ve got, and if we don’t get things taken care of soon, we’ll get shut down. All our resources are yours to fix this mess, then you’ll get some well deserved vacation time after. Can you help me out?”  He asked. The boss never asked anything of anyone. The Devil never really had to. Rudy nodded and stood up.

“I’ll do what I can. Where can I get to the jumble?” The Devil pressed a red button and Debbie stepped into the room.

“Show Red to Chuck’s T.A.P.” he said, then dismissed them both. Rudy followed Debbie, and she tried to make small talk.

“Why does he call you Red?”

“Because he likes calling me Red Deville.” Rudy shrugged. It was his best guess, but he did not know if that was the reason. “So do you know anything about this mess I’m about to walk into?”

“Chuck was an asshole. Which, I get we’re in hell, but this is a professional work environment. He was bigoted and just generally full of himself. I think most of the mess happened because he was trying to build the perfect timeline for himself, twisting around his client’s wishes just enough. By the way, I’m sure the boss told you Chuck was fired. But just so you have all the information that was just on the books. Chuck disappeared into his timeline, and we haven’t been able to track him down. He might pop back out when you start setting things right,” Debbie said as she continued to lead Rudy through the halls. Hell is a big place.

“The last I heard for his timeline is that he got some idiot elected President of the United States. But he hadn’t decided if it was going to be because of the lizard people or aliens. So, no idea what you’re stepping into.”  Rudy reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a red notebook with the number “2” embossed on the cover in gold. He also pulled out a #2 pencil, and looked at Debbie while they walked.

“Can you think of any other things he might have changed?” He asked. He started taking notes when she replied.

“Conspiracy theories. He was pulling clandestine actions from different timelines and putting all the ones he liked into one. 9/11, fake moon landing, flat Earth. It’s all true in his timeline, so be careful. You can’t trust anyone there. Even the lizard people and illuminati factions of that timeline can’t be trusted the way we normally do. You’re pretty much on your own.”

“Alright, I’ll do what I can.” Rudy said. They’d been walking for about 15 minutes when Debbie stopped.  “You can make it from here. Just another 100 doors down that way, then it’ll be on your left. You can’t miss it. Good luck, Red.”

“I prefer Rudy.”

“I prefer to not be in hell.” Debbie waved behind her as she walked back towards the Devil’s office.

Rudy continued to the room until he found it. Most doors had a simple name plate on them. This one had a mural painted on it. A fat man standing on top of a mountain. The door said “Chuck’s Time Access Portal.”
Rudy reached into his pocket and felt the small, smooth, rectangular gadget. He pressed the button on my temporal anchor to keep Hell as his primary timezone. He stepped through the door with a sigh. This was going to be a hell of a mess to clean up.

Thank you for reading! If you’d like to know more about any of these characters you can find out more about Rudy(El Diablito) HERE. Or if you’d like to know a bit about Chuck’s history you can find it HERE.