Tag Archives: #3WW

Moonrise CH35 – Hot Dog Heaven

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[1050 words – #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, #SoCS]Anne played her part masterfully. She pulled in contacts, set meetings, offered a cash reward. They would find Joaquin soon, she assured Silas and Globe. They just had to wait for word to roll through the dents and cracks filling the city. Information always presented itself for the right amount of green. It really was all about the Benjamins.

Silas sat at a picnic table with a quaint umbrella beside an aluminum carport and shoved his hot dog into his gaping maw. His dark eyes flickered along the line of patrons. The stainless steel stand was a regular fixture in front of the lumber yard on Sixth Street. Some people appreciated the wit of Pat, the proprietor. Magnets adhered to the metal sides of the trailer proclaiming, “We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you,” and “Best hot dogs in this parking lot.” There was even a plaster dachshund nestled in a hot dog bun with ketchup and mustard on top. Others came for the premium ingredients that Pat used or the friendly smile from a man who prided himself in offering a quick, tasty meal for less than a fiver. A few years ago, the city had even tried to make Pat pay a ridiculous fee on top of his business license by passing an ordinance. Their reasoning was that too many food carts and trucks were hurting the ambiance of the city. The outcry from Pat’s regulars and a local AM radio station just down the street put an end to that particular piece of legislation.

Anne watched Pat pull a bottle of mustard out of a cooler and draw two straight lines on her monster dog, followed by a zig-zag line of ketchup. He produced a pair of tongs and dished out onions, tomatoes, and neon green relish onto her monster dog.

“Celery salt, and pepper,” Pat asked, the hot dog resting in an aluminum foil embrace. A boom box played hard rock softly in the background.

Anne tilted her head and rolled her eyes at Pat. “Oh, Pat, you incorrigible tease, you know what I like.”

Pat grinned and dusted the spices on her hot dog before carefully folding the aluminum foil and placing the package neatly on the table in front of him.

Anne opened her coat and reached into her red clutch. She offered Pat a five-dollar note.

“Meal deal?” Pat asked.

Anne smiled and nodded.

Pat stepped around the corner, and the telltale sound of a cash register sounded over the boom box. He held up a pair of quarters, but Anne waved him off and lifted the door and rummaged around to find a can of soda. She examined a selection of chips and cookies behind a plastic sliding door, eventually selecting a bag of name-brand corn chips.

“How exactly do you know Joaquin?” Silas asked after Anne sat at the picnic table across from him.
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Moonrise CH34 – Literature Detective

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[1050 words – Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Write Anything, #SoCS, Sunday Scribblings 2, Sunday Photo Fiction]

The first thing Massey did was watch Anne’s hair flow in the brief wind, the color catching light from the street lamps and turning auburn. She was buzzing with anger. Globe had called. She smiled when she realized she messed up again. The Major wanted Joaquin found and brought to him. For what reason Anne didn’t elaborate, and Massey didn’t inquire. They had things under control. There was reassurance, a plan set to be executed. So they went their separate ways, each with their own role to play. The next thing Massey did was to spur into action without thinking, dodging traffic to reach Andy’s place, praying to whatever totem brought luck to cops that Anne had enough strategy to stall Globe’s lackey and slow down the search. Then they’d be good. Then they could start their attack against Globe’s rising power. He tried to call Andy’s phone a dozen times, but no one picked up. A feeling of dread settled in Massey’s gut. The windows on the street were all ablaze. They cast brilliant white stars on doors and windows overlooking the street. Flashing reds and blues confirmed his fears as he turned onto the street where Andy’s apartment was.

A fire truck was parked horizontally blocking the street. The hose wiggled on the asphalt like a python struggling in the heat of the still smoldering air. Once released the water rained like silver crystals against the black skyline full of smoke and desperation. The night-lights were gone, choked in the background of the death curtain. Massey stepped out of his cruiser, hand pressed against his mouth to cut out the smoke from entering his nostrils. By instinct, his dry mouth tried hungrily to inhale the ashes floating in the air. He recognized the apartment that was the sole attention of the crisis. The charred shape on the façade reminded him of a giant moth, a nuclear shadow imprinted on the side of the building. The notion made him dizzy, one monstrosity atop another. He elbowed through a small but growing crowd of odd-lookers. They stood around, mouths agape in their bedclothes, tightly hugging large frames and small frames in robes both tattered and luxurious. No one seemed to care how he or she looked or even who they were. They just wanted to see the dead and burned, the destruction that always followed the flames.

Outside of the crowd and into the danger zone Massey quickened his pace and ducked under yet another yellow police tape. His pace turned to a near jog to the ambulance and the body being loaded into it.

“Is he going to live?” Massey heard himself ask looking down at Andy’s bleeding face. He didn’t dare look around for a second body, his mind instantly questioning whether Joaquin was impervious enough to survive a fire, or an explosion, but then he recalled that duplex fire that was the source of him tracking the youth. He allowed himself a small sigh. If Joaquin hadn’t tried to carjack him, he would be one of the sheep bleating to the favor of Major Jacob Globe.

The paramedic pulled himself into the back of the ambulance grabbing for the doors. “He has sustained a few more serious injuries, but he’ll live. He was lucky your colleague pulled him out before he suffocated.” A gesture of the head made Massey swivel.

He stared at a middle-aged man standing by one of the police cruisers covered with a blanket to scatter away his shock. He measured how much bloodied and bruised his face was. The blanket slipped and uncovered his black jacket emblazoned with the yellow FBI letters. Massey breathed in deep ignoring the warmth in the air close to sweltering in the proximity, close to catching a swift drive down his throat. He had to get away before the agent saw him.
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Moonrise CH31 – Flee

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[1060 Words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, #SoCS, Write Anything]Joaquin rolled on his stomach and pushed himself up with arms that almost refused to follow his commands. His body hurt. His head swam in a sea of sound and noise. His vision was blurry, but he was all right. The desk, however, was slowly catching fire, the plastic of the keyboard melting with a foul smell. Joaquin quickly crawled to where Andy was lying motionless and shook him.

“C’mon man, get up!” he hissed.

Andy’s fingers were charred black where the short circuit bang had hit him. A thin trail of blood was running from his nose, and when Joaquin felt for a pulse, he found it barely noticeable. He flipped Andy over and dragged him away from the growing flames. Once Andy was safe, Joaquin pulled the blanket from the bed that appeared to be free of debris and tried to snuff out the rapidly growing fire. Someone banged on the door. Sirens already blared in the distance. Help had arrived.

Another round of banging on the apartment door was followed by a gruff voice, “This is the FBI, open up!”

Joaquin froze. He assessed how bad the situation was. Andy was lying on the floor barely alive, the apartment was full of evidence from the SuperHub that could hurt a lot of specific innocent people, and Joaquin had one of those faces the cops found intriguing. He remembered what Massey had said about being followed. The SUV in front of his house wasn’t a coincidence. Only it had followed him and not Betty. Joaquin had carried the stolen evidence right here incriminating Andy too.

“Last warning, open the door, or we’ll be forced to break it down!”

Joaquin had to think quickly. If these were Globe’s men, he had to ditch them. He went back to where Andy lay and searched his pockets for his car keys.

“I’m so sorry man. Shit!”

He took one last look at Andy and charged for the door. It broke quickly under his weight slamming down two men in civilian clothes holding guns but no badges. One toppled down the stairs, and the other smacked his shoulder against the wall, losing his gun. It was tempting for Joaquin to try to grab it, but the man was quick to recover and grab Joaquin, twisting his wrist and pulling him back. Joaquin stumbled on the stairwell landing but managed to connect an elbow to the FBI agent’s face, pushing him back. The other attacker crept up the stairs and punched him in the kidney, and Joaquin nearly took a knee. Leave it to the FBI to sucker punch a brother, thought Joaquin.

The FBI agent used his strong arms to grab Joaquin from behind and lock him in a painful bear hug and turned the struggling Joaquin toward his partner. Joaquin struggled to twist his head back and spit at the grunts, and offensive words yelled in his ear, but the other FBI agent had already dismissed his split lip and bruised chin and attacked his prey, fueled by anger. Joaquin made an attempt to duck, but the strong fist met his face nonetheless, hitting him under the chin, bouncing his head back. He found his footing soon enough and pushed himself up against his captor’s chest using him for support. His kick landed in the stomach, and the FBI agent doubled up. The force pushed the other one back inside the burning apartment, and Joaquin managed to wrench himself free and distance himself from the agents. He made quick time in grabbing the lip-bleeder and pinned him against the wall in a constant rain of punches aimed at his ribs. Joaquin could almost feel the bones cracking under the layer of clothing and skin. When the man slumped down, wailing, he kicked the man in the stomach. Joaquin paused as a flash of guilt washed over him and then made his escape down the stairs.
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Moonrise CH29 – Forced Awake

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[1073 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Sunday Photo Fiction, Sunday Scribblings 2, Write Anything Wednesday, #SoCS]

Andy puffed on a cigarette. It was burning between his thin fingers, ash gathering at the tip threatening to tip over. He crushed it inside the ashtray.

“Well, what do you know?”

Joaquin looked up. The screen displayed six videos, and when Andy played the first, Joaquin quickly found Jensen among the crowd of people and saw how he slipped away into a dark alley pulling at his clothes and falling to his knees, his hands buried in his hair. Then there was a flash of something bright distorting the camera and when it regained focus a large spot on the ground and on the walls of the opposing buildings were covered in glistening pristine ice. The camera flipped sideways and after a few shaky seconds and curses from its owner it switched off.

“That was Jensen alright. Seemingly unable to contain and control his power. Let’s see video number two.”

The second video was much worse. Its quality was bad as it was filmed from under a table as far as Joaquin could see. The audio crackled and the picture was blurry when the phone moved in someone’s sweaty hands, but it was clear that the target of the video was Jensen. He was wearing the same outfit, pacing back and forth in a coffee shop, fuming at the end of the line. He exchanged a few loud and harsh words with an oafish man in front of him and then after a display on machismo, that man pushed him, he put his hands on the man’s chest and pushed back. The man fell to the ground, kicking and screaming, and Jensen ran away driving apart the growing crowd. Joaquin could see the white fumes swirling from the victim’s body and when he ripped his shirt open the thin crust of ice covering his chest.

“Whoa!” Joaquin sat back. “He froze that dude for no reason! Play the next one.”

But Andy wasn’t moving. He continued to stare at the screen. Slowly, he declared, “Something isn’t right.”

“Yeah, no shit. Jensen is guilty that’s for sure, homie.” Joaquin felt his fingers tighten into a fist. He remembered how he wanted to beat Jensen into a bloody pulp, serving justice the harsh way.

“No, something isn’t right with the videos. Look – they were all uploaded two days before the attack in Madison Park. It seems… too easy.”

Joaquin shrugged. “I don’t know man, I see what is before me, and that’s Jensen goin’ crazy on some dude’s ass. Ain’t that enough evidence to predict him capable of blasting those kids earlier?”

Andy played the other videos. They showed a progression in Jensen’s violent behavior and growth in his power. He wasn’t just freezing small areas; he was turning himself into ice, a single touch away from making everything freeze. One video even showed reflections in glass – clouds obscured the sun, and Jensen staggered past a blue-framed window, the cityscape pristine in the background. In others, he displayed violent fits and body alteration, limbs gaining misshapen extensions constructed from ice and “firing” ice spikes, the impact lodged them in solid concrete. It was inhuman. Joaquin was speechless, both impressed and terrified.
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Moonrise CH28 – Phantom Moon

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[1058 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, The Writing Reader, Write Anything Wednesday, #SoCS, Sunday Photo Fiction]

Joaquin jogged through the stalled traffic, the overcast evening getting cold. He appreciated the comfortable numbness. Light shone brilliantly from behind the clouds. The phantom moon pulled at his inner tide. He allowed the celestial influence guide him toward Andy’s apartment in Chinatown. No one called it that anymore – now it was the International District. Joaquin had expected Andy to be living in a house with a white picket fence, but instead he and Massey found the hacker in a small apartment above an Asian Travel agency, and Moe’s Exotic Herbs.

As Joaquin walked by, an Asian man lackadaisical sweeping the floor inside Moe’s Exotic Herbs eyed him. His motions became more deliberate, the grip on the broom tightening. He feigned concentration at his task, but Joaquin caught the pull of the lip, saw the wrinkles piling on the ancient cheeks, saw the barely showing but present snarl. A thought slowly crept into his mind that the man wasn’t judging him by appearance, but by the fact that he was one of them, one of the super powered people they were showing on the TV all day. The media painted them as killers, so why would some ordinary man see it otherwise? Joaquin felt like he was suddenly transparent to the man, his freak DNA imprinted on his skin. He rushed past the glint of the window. Behind him, the man flipped the “Closed” sign and turned off the lights.

Joaquin found the stairs to the side of the building. He climbed them two at a time, and when he snuck inside the narrow corridor, he quickly found Andy’s black painted door. His banged his fist on it. When Andy didn’t answer, he hammered at it again feeling it shift slightly under the pressure of his impatience and frustration. “Yo man open up. It’s Joaquin.”

He heard the muffled sounds of feet rushing on wood, the throwing off something heavier, the drop of coins and the light swear. Then the door cranked open obstructed by the rusted chain.

“Slide that shit open homie and let me in.”

Andy slicked back his hair and craned his neck to look past Joaquin.

“Where’s Detective Massey?”

“Busy,” Joaquin squeezed through teeth. “I got the stuff instead. So. Move. Over.”

Andy yanked the chain free and stepped aside allowing Joaquin’s large frame access.

“The hell were you doin’ makin’ me wait and shit? I thought you was trippin’ or somethin’.” Joaquin looked around the apartment. It wasn’t difficult to figure out Andy had rushed to make it look more hospitable, cleaning papers and clothes, which were in a heap on the bed. Despite his effort, the small living room was like a disposal area, food, clothing, cables, cameras, CDs all in a mess that Andy probably called order.

Andy shook his head. “I don’t partake in drug usage. So, Golden Boy, let me see what you brought.”

Joaquin handed him the backpack. “Don’t call me that.”
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Moonrise CH27 – Bizarre Mundanity

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[1000 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, #SoCS, Write Anything]

* * *

Joaquin lingered in the threshold of Frank Massey’s apartment even after Betty’s silhouette faded into the distance of a bustling city street. Joaquin closed and locked the front door, tossed the envelopes in his backpack, left via the back door and made his way to the bus stop perched at the end of the long lane. He didn’t see the black SUV creeping up from anywhere, and he wondered whether it hadn’t been waiting on Betty. He didn’t know if his self-reassurance was far-fetched and lamented the fact that he just didn’t know what was going on. Before he had super powers, it was easy to know who he had to watch out for. Now, he just didn’t know.

It was getting dark, earlier than usual, a nasty trick of the month. Joaquin measured the sky, saw how it darkened inch by inch, a layer of blue melting away to add purples and reds and oranges until it went indigo. He caught the bus by the tail and loaded himself. As it pulled from its stop, Joaquin looked around, but he didn’t spot anyone acting suspicious or spending too much time with their eyes glued to him.

He sighed. He was overwhelmed, and every shadow or invisible threat spooked him. Joaquin thought that that was pretty stupid for a guy who couldn’t get hurt, but still… It was like the paranoia Massey and Betty carried had transferred onto him and was now crawling up his spine making him nervous. Even those glorious days in the Canadian wilderness with Peter seemed somehow less dangerous. Joaquin rested his head rest against the bus window, watching humanity stroll by on the sidewalks, gather in front of bars, and seat-dance in their cars.

The curved glass of the window distorted the night sky injecting fast growing city lights into the mix. Red streaks broke into his view, the color crashing into his peripheral vision. Joaquin blinked at his reflection, hollow eyes twinkling with that dreadful color. The intruding shade disappeared as the bus gained speed. Joaquin pulled his hood tighter over his head and disappeared into the anonymity he used to take for granted.

When the bus groaned to a halt ten stops later, Joaquin jumped out of its bleak interior dismissing anyone staring at him from the steamy windows. He kicked up his pace, hands in pockets, eyes set firmly in one direction. The city lights were full in their illumination of the night now, neon greens, yellows, blues and pinks erupting from every commercial corner, selling booze, selling smokes, dealing drugs, dealing porn. They gave away some sort of warmth and comfort, and Joaquin felt more at home as he rushed down the curb, dodging people, avoiding eyes. His ears picked out music, but it died out in the cacophony of a city gearing up for the nightlife and was too scant to be identified or remembered. The halting thump-thump of dance music blared out of a few open doors. Blues, country, and rock also competed for his attention. He could make out brief snippets of conversation. They were small words from smirking mouths. He relished the slang and accents constructing one giant jibber-jabber in front of food carts. He smelled the curbside popcorn, gamy kebabs, hot dogs and ice cream right by weed smokers exchanging signs and currency. Hard drinkers crushed brown paper bags between calloused fingers. They watched him with watery eyes from hollow sandpaper faces. He knew them all, their nature, their tricks. He felt like he could breathe again alone and assured in the bizarre mundanity of the Seattle urban sprawl.
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Moonrise CH26 – Error

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[1010 words – Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader, #SoCS]A harsh red light in the laboratory blinded him when stepped through the doors as he rushed past lab assistants, engineers, and other personnel. Major Globe was on the precipice of a dire failure he feared could happen yet hoped he would be able to avoid. He closed his eyes and tried to calm his frayed nerves, but the erratic throbbing building in his temples only increased. The flicker of the alert light turned his skin hotter than it already was and he ground his teeth feeling the pressure of tooth on tooth scratch at his skull.

“Will someone turn that off?” he demanded to no one in particular.

The clinical calm typically present in the lab returned. Globe’s workers tried to compose themselves. The low-frequency sound disappeared with a soft buzz. Globe opened his eyes blinking at the blue-white light that returned to calm his heated head.

Globe glared at the transparent tube where Peter motionlessly floated. What normally illuminated the super within was now eerily dark. The data on the screen in front of him flashed, “alert,” “system down,” and “reboot unavailable.” It had been working like a clock, timed and measured to tick in a precise rhythm that promised to deliver outstanding results within weeks. Now it had suffered a step back and not a small one. He tried to calculate the new timetable. His gaze was unfocused, and he looked nowhere, in particular, lost in thought while his fingers clenched into fists. He needed time to understand whether the experiment had suffered a recoverable overdose on the cocktail of drugs designed to keep Peter alive. Perhaps the substance had been muddied, weakened, even. He needed to know if this project was completely lost or just halted.

His stare wandered to a matching tank and his brows furrowed. He knew it had come from Kristoff, the computer said as much. It was just a light stir, a brief, but weak spark. The vital signs of his reluctant hero were the source of the power surge that had transferred to Peter’s chamber and short-circuited it. They had nearly lost Peter, and now his vitals were so low it was impossible to continue the experiment. Worst than that, his power had been depleted. Globe shifted his attention to the third pod in the room. He threatened Anne into compliance so many times with it. Could it be used to fix Peter’s malfunctioning pod?

One of the lab assistants babbled at him reiterating things that Globe already knew. The assistant tried to explain how the team was taking a manual sample to test. How from the moment the accident had happened the test results had begun to decrease in purity, efficiency and strength. How they had had to temporarily disconnect Kristoff from the equation for fear his DNA structure would dominate and destroy the results. Globe’s fist came down on the table scaring the lab assistant and he pounded it until the skin on his knuckles broke and they started to bleed. He smacked the monitor and grabbed a handful of cables and pulled at them ripping them apart from whatever sockets they were attached to. He hurled the bundle of cables on the floor in a heap. In his fury, he flipped the table and kicked a rolling chair making the assistant cower and hug the tablet he held with a death grip. Everyone else present stopped and stared. Some had the sense to hide it, but not all of them.
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