Vi
Worst fraud in human history, underscored by brief moments of brilliance and compassion. Father to an unpublished manuscript.
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Write about your worst one-nighter.
Written by Vi in portal Romance & Erotica

The Swarovski Girl

I met Janine (not her real name) during the winter of 2010, before meeting my wife. She was my eighth, sixteenth, or hundredth online date. I wasn't keeping score. I told myself it wasn't desperation, but I hadn't been intimate with another woman for over two years.

We had drinks after work. She was a casual at Swarovski in the city, and I wasn't far up the terrace. Prior to our meet up, I had only been offered glimpses of Janine's hot, girl-next-door face. So, you could imagine my face when I discovered the rest of her. I'm not a model gentleman, not even when channeling James T. Kirk with a scantily-clad Orion girl. But, there was a lot to love! I said hello, at which point, my greatest ever challenge was realized—being put on trial as a human being.

We talked. I had no problem engaging in conversation or reciprocating flirts. I could tell she was enthralled because she touched my forearm.

What transpired next was plain wrong, and I knew right away. But, I was parched like a teetotaler at a pub during Oktoberfest. I rested my palm on her hand. My brain didn't care that Janine was not my type. I wasn't even aware that the dormant neurons in both hemispheres of my skull were buzzing. It felt good. Like a two-year itch on your lower back, that one annoying spot where neither arm could reach. Ever.

Damn. Her hands were so Goddamned soft!

There was a good chance my eyes were complicit in perpetrating the next shameful crime—no doubt taking direct orders from my other brain—but Janine was ravishing and delicious. I shifted to face her, eliminating any hints of disinterest. I scanned every inch of her ample body, and you know what? She ain't half bad on the eyes. Sure, the woman had curves, but I decided that curvy was better than being a stick (or sticky).

So, what was impossible before was now possible. It wouldn't be the best sex, or it could be the worst, but I had no fucks left to give.

We had a few more drinks. By we, I meant me, and by a few, I meant half a dozen. I finally understood the reference "beer goggles".

I couldn't resolve the tightness in my pants any longer after that. We took the train home because neither of us had a car (another thing we had in common). We were in bed undressing each other an hour later.

Fuck. Sobriety was rearing its ugly head. I became more conscious of her body. No matter what I did—switching the lights off, closing my eyes, being rough—I couldn't get it up. I did the only thing I could. Played the stress card.

I knew she knew. But Janine was a champion. If she was upset or embarrassed, it never showed. She didn't even ask to spoon. I slept little that night, and I guessed neither did she.

I called her a taxi the next morning, and we embraced each other before she embarked. That scene which devolved before the world to witness was textbook-classic awkward. Although I can't describe it, I still remember the look on her face as the taxi rolled down the road.

I never saw her again.

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Write about your worst one-nighter.
Written by Vi in portal Romance & Erotica
The Swarovski Girl
I met Janine (not her real name) during the winter of 2010, before meeting my wife. She was my eighth, sixteenth, or hundredth online date. I wasn't keeping score. I told myself it wasn't desperation, but I hadn't been intimate with another woman for over two years.

We had drinks after work. She was a casual at Swarovski in the city, and I wasn't far up the terrace. Prior to our meet up, I had only been offered glimpses of Janine's hot, girl-next-door face. So, you could imagine my face when I discovered the rest of her. I'm not a model gentleman, not even when channeling James T. Kirk with a scantily-clad Orion girl. But, there was a lot to love! I said hello, at which point, my greatest ever challenge was realized—being put on trial as a human being.

We talked. I had no problem engaging in conversation or reciprocating flirts. I could tell she was enthralled because she touched my forearm.

What transpired next was plain wrong, and I knew right away. But, I was parched like a teetotaler at a pub during Oktoberfest. I rested my palm on her hand. My brain didn't care that Janine was not my type. I wasn't even aware that the dormant neurons in both hemispheres of my skull were buzzing. It felt good. Like a two-year itch on your lower back, that one annoying spot where neither arm could reach. Ever.

Damn. Her hands were so Goddamned soft!

There was a good chance my eyes were complicit in perpetrating the next shameful crime—no doubt taking direct orders from my other brain—but Janine was ravishing and delicious. I shifted to face her, eliminating any hints of disinterest. I scanned every inch of her ample body, and you know what? She ain't half bad on the eyes. Sure, the woman had curves, but I decided that curvy was better than being a stick (or sticky).

So, what was impossible before was now possible. It wouldn't be the best sex, or it could be the worst, but I had no fucks left to give.

We had a few more drinks. By we, I meant me, and by a few, I meant half a dozen. I finally understood the reference "beer goggles".

I couldn't resolve the tightness in my pants any longer after that. We took the train home because neither of us had a car (another thing we had in common). We were in bed undressing each other an hour later.

Fuck. Sobriety was rearing its ugly head. I became more conscious of her body. No matter what I did—switching the lights off, closing my eyes, being rough—I couldn't get it up. I did the only thing I could. Played the stress card.

I knew she knew. But Janine was a champion. If she was upset or embarrassed, it never showed. She didn't even ask to spoon. I slept little that night, and I guessed neither did she.

I called her a taxi the next morning, and we embraced each other before she embarked. That scene which devolved before the world to witness was textbook-classic awkward. Although I can't describe it, I still remember the look on her face as the taxi rolled down the road.

I never saw her again.
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Water
Written by Vi

Aqua vitae.

Life blood of Mother Nature and all her children.

The universal non-fictional element in all fiction, past, present and future.

Density of 1,000, 

    Bubbles at 100,

        Hardens at 0.

It's inescapable.

It's untamable.

Love or loath, it floats or drowns you.

It permeates you.

It quenches.

It tempers.

It moistens.

It soothes.

You need it, more than it needs you. But we waste it, squander it, underestimate it.

One day, our children's children will look upon our foolishness and lament our indifferences; if they survive long enough.

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Water
Written by Vi
Aqua vitae.
Life blood of Mother Nature and all her children.
The universal non-fictional element in all fiction, past, present and future.

Density of 1,000, 
    Bubbles at 100,
        Hardens at 0.

It's inescapable.
It's untamable.
Love or loath, it floats or drowns you.
It permeates you.

It quenches.
It tempers.
It moistens.
It soothes.
You need it, more than it needs you. But we waste it, squander it, underestimate it.

One day, our children's children will look upon our foolishness and lament our indifferences; if they survive long enough.
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Juice
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There's two things I rarely see on Prose. Happiness and, well, prose. Right me a happy prose. It doesn't even have to start happy. Happy endings, funny experiences, angst with good rewards... that's all happiness, too!
Written by Vi in portal Fiction

My Sister's Keeper

          I watch her flitter into the room. New day's light pours through the window, painting everything marigold. Specks of fairy dust dance amidst the luminescent rays, injecting color everywhere. But even in darkness, she could invigorate life.

          She bites her lip. She needs something. A book, a ball, or a boot misplaced? A scarf. The one from gran, three winters ago.

          I point, hoping she sees me. But she never does.

          I’m trapped, cursed by my reluctance to let go.

          “Thank you!” my baby sister chirps, grabbing her scarf and skipping off.

Did she really see me? My heart flutters.

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There's two things I rarely see on Prose. Happiness and, well, prose. Right me a happy prose. It doesn't even have to start happy. Happy endings, funny experiences, angst with good rewards... that's all happiness, too!
Written by Vi in portal Fiction
My Sister's Keeper
          I watch her flitter into the room. New day's light pours through the window, painting everything marigold. Specks of fairy dust dance amidst the luminescent rays, injecting color everywhere. But even in darkness, she could invigorate life.
          She bites her lip. She needs something. A book, a ball, or a boot misplaced? A scarf. The one from gran, three winters ago.
          I point, hoping she sees me. But she never does.
          I’m trapped, cursed by my reluctance to let go.
          “Thank you!” my baby sister chirps, grabbing her scarf and skipping off.
Did she really see me? My heart flutters.


7
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5
Juice
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Trident Media Group is the leading U.S. literary agency and we are looking to discover and represent the next bestsellers. Share a sample of your work. If it shows promise, we will be in touch with you.
Written by Vi in portal Trident Media Group

The Spinning Wheel

          The lone warrior atop the overhanging outcrop had been lying in wait since dawn. She had traversed the savanna in the early hours of the morning, when most predators were still asleep. But now, her skin glistened, and her breathing slowed. She reached for her waterskin, but withdrew when she heard an unusual bird call.

          Down below, a single file of barbarians navigated the treacherous ravine. One tribesman, whose shoulders were adorned with a lion’s hide, caught her attention.

          The second call was faint, but distinct.

She exhaled, pinched the arrow’s fletching, and crouched on one knee. In one fluid motion, she stood up, hooked her fingers onto the thickened string, and pulled it taut.

          Khali was exposed, but she had to take the risk. This was her only chance. Success or failure, she would never see her family again. A light breeze picked up, cooling her damp skin. Her thoughts drifted as she savored the moment.

          Suddenly, a warning cry assaulted her senses. The hair on her arms stood on end. Heat rushed up her ears. Shit! She scanned the over-scaled gully. Several members of the enemy tribe were already slumped on the ground, with feathered shafts protruding from their bodies.

          Terep. He had somehow noticed her folly and began raining down defensive fire. Those dead bodies were likely spear-throwers that had intended to kill her.

          There, further up the path, two tribesmen trailed a third. It was him! Their coward of a leader. Khali released two arrows in quick succession, and then plunged forward in pursuit.

          The Chieftain, who's bodyguards had been neutralized, was cowering between two boulders when Khali jumped into the tight space. She readied another arrow.

          “Please,” the man begged, sinking to his knees. “Spare me! I’ll give you anything!”

          “I only want one thing,” Khali said, her features steeled.

          “Name it!” he said. “Precious stones, livestock, slaves—”

          “Your life,” she said and stepped forward, expecting the pathetic man to get down on all fours. But instead, he just grinned slyly.

          Khali frowned. “Why do you smile?”

          He licked his lips. “You would've made an excellent whore.”

          “What are you talking about?!” she screamed, and aimed the arrow at his eye. “Tell me now!” Her arm quivered with strain and rage.

          “You have been betrayed,” he sneered, enunciating each word.

          Her heart sank. Oba Dar! That senile old man sold us out

          “It wasn't your King,” he said.

          “Who—” a sharp pain sliced into her back, her knees gave way and her body collapsed. As she lay there in a crimson pool, a figure walked up and squatted next to her.

          “Terep, brother,” she gasped. “Why?”

          “I’m sorry, Khali,” he said. “They have my family.”

          Khali coughed, blood spluttered out. “Then avenge... me,” she demanded before everything went black.

***

          The breeze rustled her sheer dress as she stared down at the river that gave her country life. Today was her day of days. Today, the Gods would rightfully take what was theirs. She was the offering, they the rulers. Her death would unite the past and present.

          Peta turned and gazed into the temple’s darkness. As her eyes adjusted, she took in the enormous shapes inside; two statues, both with human form.

          She knelt before the larger statue. The one which had a hawk's head with a blazing disk of sun above. Ra, ruler of sky, earth, and underworld. Her thin muslin dress hiked up her thighs exposing dark, smooth skin. She stroked the stone feet, as thousands had done before, then bent forward and kissed them. A smile flitted across her lips, for she knew a secret.

          Peta stood and regarded the other statue. It was smaller, with features hastily hacked into place as a substitute for a lesser predecessor. Its face was mostly human. Amun, god of the winds and king of all gods, was an old god, but he was new as Ra’s so-called equal. She moved to walk past him when she heard the voice.

          “Never ignore the new,” advised a young man.

          Peta turned. It was her shadow, Al-Mikhi.

          “The new, the old. They’re much the same,” she responded. “But Ra is eternal.”

          “Thoughts that should never be spoken aloud. Amun is the way now.”

          “The new ways never last.”

          The man shot her a look of scorn. “They say your mother had the same contempt.”

          “And yet I never knew her.”

          Peta smoothed her robes and studied the man. If a snake could ever take human form, this would be it. He was sinuously slim with eyes that glittered like torch lights. The twin daggers at his waist, one long, one short, were like deadly fangs.

          He had been with Peta from birth, sharing her cot as a baby and her sleeping rug as a child. But now, he maintained vigil outside her bedroom door, keeping the secular world at bay. She had been trained as a sorceress, and he as a killer; or her executioner, as she now knew.

          “It is time,” he said.

          “With you, it is always time.”

          The man ignored her. “We must prepare. The ritual demands it.”

          Peta knew this, and she was prepared.

          “Come,” he ordered. “You must bathe first.”

          Peta followed. She had lived her whole life in this temple, high above the Nile. She had seen the river flood and kill, then fertilize and nourish. If Ra had an equal, then it would be Hapi, not the pretender.

          She paced behind the man. Her hips swayed, and the fabric clung to her breasts and thighs. Peta knew how men looked at her; eyes full of lust and fear, even her protector. But it was a lust unrequited. Only one could have her, and he was coming today.

          They entered a light-filled room with a bath carved out of rock in the center. Peta removed her dress and felt Al-Mikhi’s eyes on her. But he hurriedly turned, picked up a jug, and poured fragrant liquid into the stone bath. Peta stepped behind him. With her dress twisted into a rope, she looped the garment over the man’s head and jerked it down around his neck. He slipped and stumbled, his head ricocheting off the bath’s edge. She pulled tighter. The man kicked and gurgled, dazed from the blow, his twin knives useless.

          The young woman leaned in closer and murmured, “I am no sacrifice, Al-Mikhi. It is you who dies again.”

***

          The only erect structure on the rubbled landscape was the last place anyone would expect to find a sniper, and that was exactly where Major Mila Nomokonov had set up her staging area. The 26th Panzer division was exploiting this overlooked route, running supplies through to the front lines under the cover of darkness.

          The chirping of crickets saturated the ambiance. Everything was awash in a serene, whitish glow. If not for the weapon in her hands, Mila could have easily forgotten hers was a country at war. She peeked out the third floor window, then shifted focus to the background clicking. Except, it wasn't natural, and it came from inside.

          It was code: Ikami. Downstairs.

Mila froze. The name tugged at her mind, conjuring visions of blade and blood. It was happening again. She slung her rifle over her shoulder and descended slowly. As she reached the first floor she heard a noise.

          Mila cocked her TT-30 as she entered the room. “Colonel Petra Steinz.”

          “It is you!” the woman said, rising from a chair. “I wasn't sure you’d recognized the name.”

          “That name,” Mila said. “How do you know it?!”

          “I've had dreams,” Petra said. “Recurring ones. Sometimes in the African desert, other times in Egypt. I think it was your name in Osaka.”

          “And?”

          “In these dreams, we... kill each other.”

          “In my dreams,” Mila said after a brief silence, her gun still pointed at Petra. “We also kill to live.”

          “And this is our sole existence,” Petra said. “Our reason for being. There must be more.”

          “Maybe.”

          “Don't you see? We're linked.”

          “Dreams could mean anything, or nothing at all.”

          “No.” Petra wagged a finger. “This is more than a coincidence.” She paused. “You know, we don’t have to do this.”

          Mila shrugged. “Killing people?”

          “No. You know what I mean.”

          Vague memories trickled into Mila’s consciousness. Not just the African plains or the land of Pharaohs, but Greece and even China. So many places, so much death. And this person before her was always there.

          “The I kill you, you kill me routine?” Mila asked.

          Petra nodded. “It’s getting old.”

          Mila smiled. “Not for me, it isn't.”

          There were a series of far-off explosions, interspersed with gunfire, but neither flinched. Both silently analyzing the other. A distant mechanical rumbling filled the background.

          Mila’s finger tensed. “I have to stop them.”

          “I can't let you,” Petra said, and pointed her Luger at Mila.

          “I'm going to walk out. You're going to let me.”

          “You walk out, I shoot.”

          Mila laughed and stared into Fate’s eyes. “Time to spin the wheel.”

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Trident Media Group is the leading U.S. literary agency and we are looking to discover and represent the next bestsellers. Share a sample of your work. If it shows promise, we will be in touch with you.
Written by Vi in portal Trident Media Group
The Spinning Wheel
          The lone warrior atop the overhanging outcrop had been lying in wait since dawn. She had traversed the savanna in the early hours of the morning, when most predators were still asleep. But now, her skin glistened, and her breathing slowed. She reached for her waterskin, but withdrew when she heard an unusual bird call.
          Down below, a single file of barbarians navigated the treacherous ravine. One tribesman, whose shoulders were adorned with a lion’s hide, caught her attention.
          The second call was faint, but distinct.
She exhaled, pinched the arrow’s fletching, and crouched on one knee. In one fluid motion, she stood up, hooked her fingers onto the thickened string, and pulled it taut.
          Khali was exposed, but she had to take the risk. This was her only chance. Success or failure, she would never see her family again. A light breeze picked up, cooling her damp skin. Her thoughts drifted as she savored the moment.
          Suddenly, a warning cry assaulted her senses. The hair on her arms stood on end. Heat rushed up her ears. Shit! She scanned the over-scaled gully. Several members of the enemy tribe were already slumped on the ground, with feathered shafts protruding from their bodies.
          Terep. He had somehow noticed her folly and began raining down defensive fire. Those dead bodies were likely spear-throwers that had intended to kill her.
          There, further up the path, two tribesmen trailed a third. It was him! Their coward of a leader. Khali released two arrows in quick succession, and then plunged forward in pursuit.

          The Chieftain, who's bodyguards had been neutralized, was cowering between two boulders when Khali jumped into the tight space. She readied another arrow.
          “Please,” the man begged, sinking to his knees. “Spare me! I’ll give you anything!”
          “I only want one thing,” Khali said, her features steeled.
          “Name it!” he said. “Precious stones, livestock, slaves—”
          “Your life,” she said and stepped forward, expecting the pathetic man to get down on all fours. But instead, he just grinned slyly.
          Khali frowned. “Why do you smile?”
          He licked his lips. “You would've made an excellent whore.”
          “What are you talking about?!” she screamed, and aimed the arrow at his eye. “Tell me now!” Her arm quivered with strain and rage.
          “You have been betrayed,” he sneered, enunciating each word.
          Her heart sank. Oba Dar! That senile old man sold us out
          “It wasn't your King,” he said.
          “Who—” a sharp pain sliced into her back, her knees gave way and her body collapsed. As she lay there in a crimson pool, a figure walked up and squatted next to her.
          “Terep, brother,” she gasped. “Why?”
          “I’m sorry, Khali,” he said. “They have my family.”
          Khali coughed, blood spluttered out. “Then avenge... me,” she demanded before everything went black.

***

          The breeze rustled her sheer dress as she stared down at the river that gave her country life. Today was her day of days. Today, the Gods would rightfully take what was theirs. She was the offering, they the rulers. Her death would unite the past and present.
          Peta turned and gazed into the temple’s darkness. As her eyes adjusted, she took in the enormous shapes inside; two statues, both with human form.
          She knelt before the larger statue. The one which had a hawk's head with a blazing disk of sun above. Ra, ruler of sky, earth, and underworld. Her thin muslin dress hiked up her thighs exposing dark, smooth skin. She stroked the stone feet, as thousands had done before, then bent forward and kissed them. A smile flitted across her lips, for she knew a secret.
          Peta stood and regarded the other statue. It was smaller, with features hastily hacked into place as a substitute for a lesser predecessor. Its face was mostly human. Amun, god of the winds and king of all gods, was an old god, but he was new as Ra’s so-called equal. She moved to walk past him when she heard the voice.
          “Never ignore the new,” advised a young man.
          Peta turned. It was her shadow, Al-Mikhi.
          “The new, the old. They’re much the same,” she responded. “But Ra is eternal.”
          “Thoughts that should never be spoken aloud. Amun is the way now.”
          “The new ways never last.”
          The man shot her a look of scorn. “They say your mother had the same contempt.”
          “And yet I never knew her.”
          Peta smoothed her robes and studied the man. If a snake could ever take human form, this would be it. He was sinuously slim with eyes that glittered like torch lights. The twin daggers at his waist, one long, one short, were like deadly fangs.
          He had been with Peta from birth, sharing her cot as a baby and her sleeping rug as a child. But now, he maintained vigil outside her bedroom door, keeping the secular world at bay. She had been trained as a sorceress, and he as a killer; or her executioner, as she now knew.
          “It is time,” he said.
          “With you, it is always time.”
          The man ignored her. “We must prepare. The ritual demands it.”
          Peta knew this, and she was prepared.
          “Come,” he ordered. “You must bathe first.”
          Peta followed. She had lived her whole life in this temple, high above the Nile. She had seen the river flood and kill, then fertilize and nourish. If Ra had an equal, then it would be Hapi, not the pretender.
          She paced behind the man. Her hips swayed, and the fabric clung to her breasts and thighs. Peta knew how men looked at her; eyes full of lust and fear, even her protector. But it was a lust unrequited. Only one could have her, and he was coming today.
          They entered a light-filled room with a bath carved out of rock in the center. Peta removed her dress and felt Al-Mikhi’s eyes on her. But he hurriedly turned, picked up a jug, and poured fragrant liquid into the stone bath. Peta stepped behind him. With her dress twisted into a rope, she looped the garment over the man’s head and jerked it down around his neck. He slipped and stumbled, his head ricocheting off the bath’s edge. She pulled tighter. The man kicked and gurgled, dazed from the blow, his twin knives useless.
          The young woman leaned in closer and murmured, “I am no sacrifice, Al-Mikhi. It is you who dies again.”

***

          The only erect structure on the rubbled landscape was the last place anyone would expect to find a sniper, and that was exactly where Major Mila Nomokonov had set up her staging area. The 26th Panzer division was exploiting this overlooked route, running supplies through to the front lines under the cover of darkness.
          The chirping of crickets saturated the ambiance. Everything was awash in a serene, whitish glow. If not for the weapon in her hands, Mila could have easily forgotten hers was a country at war. She peeked out the third floor window, then shifted focus to the background clicking. Except, it wasn't natural, and it came from inside.
          It was code: Ikami. Downstairs.
Mila froze. The name tugged at her mind, conjuring visions of blade and blood. It was happening again. She slung her rifle over her shoulder and descended slowly. As she reached the first floor she heard a noise.
          Mila cocked her TT-30 as she entered the room. “Colonel Petra Steinz.”
          “It is you!” the woman said, rising from a chair. “I wasn't sure you’d recognized the name.”
          “That name,” Mila said. “How do you know it?!”
          “I've had dreams,” Petra said. “Recurring ones. Sometimes in the African desert, other times in Egypt. I think it was your name in Osaka.”
          “And?”
          “In these dreams, we... kill each other.”
          “In my dreams,” Mila said after a brief silence, her gun still pointed at Petra. “We also kill to live.”
          “And this is our sole existence,” Petra said. “Our reason for being. There must be more.”
          “Maybe.”
          “Don't you see? We're linked.”
          “Dreams could mean anything, or nothing at all.”
          “No.” Petra wagged a finger. “This is more than a coincidence.” She paused. “You know, we don’t have to do this.”
          Mila shrugged. “Killing people?”
          “No. You know what I mean.”
          Vague memories trickled into Mila’s consciousness. Not just the African plains or the land of Pharaohs, but Greece and even China. So many places, so much death. And this person before her was always there.
          “The I kill you, you kill me routine?” Mila asked.
          Petra nodded. “It’s getting old.”
          Mila smiled. “Not for me, it isn't.”
          There were a series of far-off explosions, interspersed with gunfire, but neither flinched. Both silently analyzing the other. A distant mechanical rumbling filled the background.
          Mila’s finger tensed. “I have to stop them.”
          “I can't let you,” Petra said, and pointed her Luger at Mila.
          “I'm going to walk out. You're going to let me.”
          “You walk out, I shoot.”
          Mila laughed and stared into Fate’s eyes. “Time to spin the wheel.”
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Disturb me in 50 words or fewer
Written by Vi

Hush Little Baby...

"Will you just shut up?!" the angry mother lashed out. She threw the dirty bowl back into the sink, splashing murky water everywhere. "Shit!"

She stormed across the kitchen to the bassinet.

"Ssshhhhh..." she picked up the baby, already blue, and cold to the touch. "Ssshhh... mummy's here now. Sshhhh..."

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Disturb me in 50 words or fewer
Written by Vi
Hush Little Baby...
"Will you just shut up?!" the angry mother lashed out. She threw the dirty bowl back into the sink, splashing murky water everywhere. "Shit!"

She stormed across the kitchen to the bassinet.

"Ssshhhhh..." she picked up the baby, already blue, and cold to the touch. "Ssshhh... mummy's here now. Sshhhh..."
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The dead walk out of the sea...
Written by Vi in portal Horror & Thriller

The Walking Dead Aren't Always Dead (or Ugly)

"Is this the best you could do?"

Tom looked at his wife’s silhouette against the setting sun. Even after ten years, he still couldn't tell if she was bluffing. Or, maybe he simply pretended to put on a look of dismay every time.

"Ah..." he started, one hand scratching his head, the other on his hip. "I overheard you chatting with mum the other day about missing the ocean..." his apologetic tone was too convincing.

"And people say I have the poker face," she grinned, pulling herself into his warm embrace. "I love it," she whispered into his waiting ear. "You're the best."

"I know." He nodded, wrapping her snugly. "How does that saying go again? I can't do any better—"

"—she can't do any worse," she completed his sentence. "Ass," she quipped, punching his chest.

"Ow," he said, not bothering to conceal his cheeky smile. "Hey," he suddenly said. "I got an idea!" A solemn expression replaced his cheerful disposition.

She watched her husband get down on bended knee. "Candace Wong..." he said, reaching for her right hand. "Would you do me the honor..." he tried to suppress a smile, "of being the first couple we know of," he stressed the last three words, "to go skinny dipping on Preston Beach?"

Candace feigned a blush, flapped her face in a way only an Arts undergraduate majoring in drama could rival. "I will," she said, her eyes filled with tearless joy.

They soon got their kits off, one after the other, waist deep. Water splashed. A giggle here and there, interspersed with lusty exchanges of hot, passionate kisses. Then suddenly, a rogue wave crashed above their heads. There was a fleeting moment of panic, when Candace resurfaced but couldn't see Tom anywhere. But he reemerged a second later from behind, grabbed her, and scared the living daylights out of her.

"That's not funny, Tom," she scolded. "I'm serious!"

He stood there, his smile slowly dissipating as he realized she was for real. “I’m sorry, sweet,” he said, wading over to where she was, cupping her face. “Let’s get out of here,” he said. “I’m getting hungry.”

She nodded.

They were out of the water moments later. Tom had sacrificed his shirt for them to dry off. Candace was busily wringing her brunette locks when she realized a third presence on the beach.

“Oh my God!” she cried out.

“Oy! Get the fuck out of there!” Tom went berserk at the boy, no older than ten, standing there with his eyes devouring the scene that had unfolded. Undoubtedly, this would’ve been his first experience seeing a grown woman naked to the bone.

“Tom,” Candace, now fully dressed, came up behind her husband, pulling on his arm. “He’s just a boy…”

“Boy or not,” Tom said, then paused when the pre-teen turned around and darted off, back into the bush. “Bah, stupid kid.”

Candace peered through the natural partition, thinking to spot a tent, or caravan of some sort, maybe a campfire. “There,” she pointed. “We should go. You should apologize for being a jerk.”

“Whaaaat?” Tom raised his arms. “Seriously? I wasn’t the one perving at someone else’s wife naked.”

She was already pulling him up the sand. “Come on Mr Wong,” she said, “The sooner we get this done, the sooner you can undress me again…” she winked.

It didn’t take them long to locate the campsite. Several adults appeared huddled around the boy they had seen earlier. His arms were animated, as if attempting to convey an unbelievable story.

“Your boy’s at it again Damo,” one of the adult men said. He then got up, and took a swig of his stubby. “Maybe he’d been having a few too many sips out of yours,” he laughed.

“Shut your hole Andy,” the boy’s father retorted. “Nate couldn’t have made it up, he doesn’t have one of those fancy screen-things with the news and shit.”

“There’s the radio.” Andrew shrugged.

“Are you fucking serious?” Damien said.

“Dad…” young Nathan tugged his father’s jumper, then pointed to where Tom and Candace stood. “That’s them!” he said excitedly.

“Where’s who?” Damien asked, straining to see anything but sand and native vegetation.

“The dead man and woman,” Nathan said.

Andrew laughed out loud, and started jeering with obscene gestures.

“Go and annoy your sister, mate…” his father said annoyingly. “Go. Now!”

Candace and Tom were flabbergasted. Both standing like statues, completely lost for words. Tom was quick to gather his wits, and was about to put one foot forward but felt a firm hand on his chest. Eventually, he relented, and turned his attention to his wife. He followed her eyes, firstly connected with his, then slowly, down to the ground, and back to the spot where they had came through the bush.

“I don’t get it…” he said, studying her face. “What—”

“Footprints, Tom,” she said.

He swung his head again, looking carefully. There was only one set.

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The dead walk out of the sea...
Written by Vi in portal Horror & Thriller
The Walking Dead Aren't Always Dead (or Ugly)
"Is this the best you could do?"

Tom looked at his wife’s silhouette against the setting sun. Even after ten years, he still couldn't tell if she was bluffing. Or, maybe he simply pretended to put on a look of dismay every time.

"Ah..." he started, one hand scratching his head, the other on his hip. "I overheard you chatting with mum the other day about missing the ocean..." his apologetic tone was too convincing.

"And people say I have the poker face," she grinned, pulling herself into his warm embrace. "I love it," she whispered into his waiting ear. "You're the best."

"I know." He nodded, wrapping her snugly. "How does that saying go again? I can't do any better—"

"—she can't do any worse," she completed his sentence. "Ass," she quipped, punching his chest.

"Ow," he said, not bothering to conceal his cheeky smile. "Hey," he suddenly said. "I got an idea!" A solemn expression replaced his cheerful disposition.

She watched her husband get down on bended knee. "Candace Wong..." he said, reaching for her right hand. "Would you do me the honor..." he tried to suppress a smile, "of being the first couple we know of," he stressed the last three words, "to go skinny dipping on Preston Beach?"

Candace feigned a blush, flapped her face in a way only an Arts undergraduate majoring in drama could rival. "I will," she said, her eyes filled with tearless joy.

They soon got their kits off, one after the other, waist deep. Water splashed. A giggle here and there, interspersed with lusty exchanges of hot, passionate kisses. Then suddenly, a rogue wave crashed above their heads. There was a fleeting moment of panic, when Candace resurfaced but couldn't see Tom anywhere. But he reemerged a second later from behind, grabbed her, and scared the living daylights out of her.

"That's not funny, Tom," she scolded. "I'm serious!"

He stood there, his smile slowly dissipating as he realized she was for real. “I’m sorry, sweet,” he said, wading over to where she was, cupping her face. “Let’s get out of here,” he said. “I’m getting hungry.”

She nodded.

They were out of the water moments later. Tom had sacrificed his shirt for them to dry off. Candace was busily wringing her brunette locks when she realized a third presence on the beach.

“Oh my God!” she cried out.

“Oy! Get the fuck out of there!” Tom went berserk at the boy, no older than ten, standing there with his eyes devouring the scene that had unfolded. Undoubtedly, this would’ve been his first experience seeing a grown woman naked to the bone.

“Tom,” Candace, now fully dressed, came up behind her husband, pulling on his arm. “He’s just a boy…”

“Boy or not,” Tom said, then paused when the pre-teen turned around and darted off, back into the bush. “Bah, stupid kid.”

Candace peered through the natural partition, thinking to spot a tent, or caravan of some sort, maybe a campfire. “There,” she pointed. “We should go. You should apologize for being a jerk.”

“Whaaaat?” Tom raised his arms. “Seriously? I wasn’t the one perving at someone else’s wife naked.”

She was already pulling him up the sand. “Come on Mr Wong,” she said, “The sooner we get this done, the sooner you can undress me again…” she winked.

It didn’t take them long to locate the campsite. Several adults appeared huddled around the boy they had seen earlier. His arms were animated, as if attempting to convey an unbelievable story.

“Your boy’s at it again Damo,” one of the adult men said. He then got up, and took a swig of his stubby. “Maybe he’d been having a few too many sips out of yours,” he laughed.

“Shut your hole Andy,” the boy’s father retorted. “Nate couldn’t have made it up, he doesn’t have one of those fancy screen-things with the news and shit.”

“There’s the radio.” Andrew shrugged.

“Are you fucking serious?” Damien said.

“Dad…” young Nathan tugged his father’s jumper, then pointed to where Tom and Candace stood. “That’s them!” he said excitedly.

“Where’s who?” Damien asked, straining to see anything but sand and native vegetation.

“The dead man and woman,” Nathan said.

Andrew laughed out loud, and started jeering with obscene gestures.

“Go and annoy your sister, mate…” his father said annoyingly. “Go. Now!”

Candace and Tom were flabbergasted. Both standing like statues, completely lost for words. Tom was quick to gather his wits, and was about to put one foot forward but felt a firm hand on his chest. Eventually, he relented, and turned his attention to his wife. He followed her eyes, firstly connected with his, then slowly, down to the ground, and back to the spot where they had came through the bush.

“I don’t get it…” he said, studying her face. “What—”

“Footprints, Tom,” she said.

He swung his head again, looking carefully. There was only one set.
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Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s leading publishers and we are always looking for fresh new voices. Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by our editorial staff for consideration.
Written by Vi in portal Simon & Schuster

The Girl Who Walks

Jane roused.

She peeled herself off the mattress, and quickly discovered the reason for her involuntary escape from slumber land. The opened window.

"Not again," she said. "Get your shit together Jane!"

The young woman slid into a dressing gown, then dragged her feet to the kitchen of her studio apartment. She made a hot chocolate, then made her way to the other corner, where the TV was. Everything was bathed in an ivory glow, up until the point when she flicked the table lamp on.

"Holy shit!" She dropped her mug, which shattered on the ground into a hundred pieces. Frenzied fingers searched a moment later, through the mess on the table, her hand bag, until she found it. She got the sequence right on the third try.

"Mum?" Jane's voice was trembling. Tears streaked down her damp face.

"Jane..." an older woman's voice said. "Jane? Is that you?"

"It's happened again, mum."

"Honey, calm down." A brief moment of silence. "We're coming over right now, we'll be there in fifteen minutes."

"OK, mum... love you."

This was the sixth time. In all five previous occurrences, she had simply woken up fully dressed in strange clothes. Not strange like a clown-suit, but clothes that didn't belong to her—twice now in a full bespoke business suit, once in surgery scrubs. This was the first time she was actually wearing something feminine, maybe even a little risqué. It was an LBD that provoked too much imagination.

But of course, she didn't care about all that. All she wanted was to remove the thin layer of caked blood off her hands.

Minutes later, Jane's hands were scrubbed, rinsed, picked at, scraped, and scalded. Despite her acute singular purpose—to make sure only her DNA remained—she had the presence of mind to preserve some of the genetic material. The air-tight snap-lock bag rested on the corner of her vanity.

She looked up into the mirror, admiring her panda eyes. What's her therapist going to say this time? It was one thing to sleepwalk, break-in, and steal a full three-piece suit from the same person twice (her brother Lachie had tried on the suits); it was another to get involved in a violent physical altercation. Or was it?

Jane was startled when the door knocked.

"Mum! Dad!" she said after opening the door. The floodgates buckled. Mother, father, and daughter embraced. In that melting moment, Jane felt a tonne lighter. Her fists were balled, pulling taut both her parents' clothes.

"It's okay moo-moo," her mum said. "We're here now, and we'll stay as long as you need."

"Let's head inside," her dad said.

***

Jane Kei, budding white-hat hacker extraordinaire, stood blanched inside the shower recess. Water vapor rose; part lingering in suspension, part ascending into the exhaust fan above. There could've been an atomic mushroom looming outside, everything disintegrating, and she would be oblivious. Rhythmic patter of cleansing droplets drummed her skull, threatening to whisk her away to Wonderland. But every time she had drifted away, a jumbled thought tethered her back. The more she kept her mind clear, the more lurid the suppositions became.

Nothing made sense. Nothing could explain why or how she did what she did.

This was one of those times she wished she knew someone who could listen to her problem without judgment and provide insight that didn't revolve around deep-seated clinical psychological issues. Thanks Claire, she pouted, for taking my money, and for giving me back all that uber-useful advice! You’re a champion! Her family were great for support, but neither her parents nor brother had watched or read enough sci-fi to be helpful.

“Get your fucking shit together Jane!” She slammed the wall. “Think!” There had to be someone she knew in her past, maybe a classmate, with glasses, always buried in books.

Jane was about to give up when the image of a woman popped inside her head. Late twenties caucasian, stay-at-home mum as the woman had indignantly claimed. They met at the local Dymocks. The young lady was in the Star Trek section looking for a book for a nephew, or was it for a friend’s 8-year-old boy?

Michelle! That was her name. They ended up having a coffee together, talking about family, work, pet peeves… stuff that normal people talked about, Jane thought. Normal. The word resonated within the walls of her skull. She had never wanted to be be a head-turner, or the next Einstein. She had only ever aimed for the horizon, never the stars.

A rogue tear trickled down her cheek.

“Jane?” her mother’s voice floated in from the adjoining room.

The naked woman spun around, and took a deep breath. She wiped the glass and looked through. “What’s wrong, mum?”

“You better come out,” her mother said. “The police are here.”

Jane’s heart plunged into her bowels, and stayed there stubbornly for a good five seconds.

“You better come out.”

“Okay, mum.”

***

Two police officers stood by the doorway. The first was about 6-foot, lean build, probably runs marathons in his spare time. The second, roughly 4-inches shorter, had biceps the size of her thighs, and snaking down his right arm was a sleeve tattoo of a Chinese chimera.

“Malcolm!” Jane blurted out, much to the surprise of everyone present, including Officer Stanaway himself, who drew a curious look from his taller partner. She blinked, and then realized that the policeman’s body art had been entirely concealed by his light blue uniform.

“I’m sorry, Ms Kei,” Stanaway replied, eyebrows furrowed. “But do I know you?”

Jane felt a plume of heat rising from the neck of her bathrobe. She covered her gaping mouth with her fingers, not knowing the answer. “Yes,” she said without thinking, “I mean no, but…” Her mind was on the edge of a deep chasm. But instead of falling, she was swept up by a soft, yet powerful inner voice. Close your eyes. Trust yourself. She did both, and gradually, her misfiring neurons flocculated into coherent thoughts.

“I know you,” she said, her eyes open.

She could feel the four pairs of eyes on her face, hungry to devour her every word.

“I know your wife,” she continued. “Michelle, from the book club.”

“Oh, right,” Stanaway said. He glanced sideways to his partner, exchanging unspoken words.

“Ms Kei,” the other man said, “I’m Senior Constable Kennaugh. I’m sorry to intrude into your home this late, but—”

“Would you…” Jane sudden interjected, “I’m sorry, Constable Kenno? Sorry, I’m really bad with names. I really just wanted to offer a beverage: coffee, or tea, a glass of water?” She blabbed everything out in less than ten seconds.

“No, thank you, Ms Kei,” Kennaugh said. “It’s Jane, isn't it? May I call you Jane?”

Jane watched as the man flashed his chompers. The gesture was meant to disarm, to solicit trust. It was what you’d call an “easy win”. But Jane Kei was the exception that night—she felt her muscles tightened.

“Sh.. sure,” she replied.

“Perhaps we should sit down?” He motioned to the dining table next to the kitchen bench.

“I’m sorry,” Jane suddenly found her voice, turning around when she got to one of the chairs, looking at Kennaugh. “But why are you here?”

“As I was saying from before,” he replied, “I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding an incident that happened in the city, involving a major crime.”

Jane shot her parents a quick look, then resumed her focus on the man in blue, and sat down.

“Firstly,” he said, flipping his pocket notepad. “Can you tell us where you were between the hours of 10pm and 12:30am last night?”

“Sure…” she said. Her dominant hand found her opposite forearm and started massaging. Her eyes searched an imaginary white board. “I was working late. I hadn't realized the time, and by the time I left the office, it was already past twelve.”

“So, you stayed in the office for the whole time period in question?” Kennaugh asked. She heard the subsequent question although it was never uttered: building security can verify this, right?

“Actually,” Jane said, “I think I left just after nine.”

“Okay,” the man continued nonchalantly. “Where did you go next?”

“I went to a pub…”

“A pub? Do you know the name?” He looked at her, pen ready. His blue eyes boring through her crumbling facade.

“Uhm…” She searched her dad's face, then her mum’s, hoping desperately for a spark of ingenuity.

“Ms Kei,” Kennaugh said. “Is there a reason why you keep looking at your bedroom?”

“Oh,” Jane’s eyes widened, her ears were glowing red. “No, it’s nothing. I think I've left the tap running.” She was about to get up when Officer Stanaway cut her off. “Stay where you are ma’am, I got this,” he said.

She stood petrified, her brain was hyperventilating. Stan had just disappeared into the room. Her mind reconstructed the scene: bed was made, rogue pair of shorts on the bedpost, the dress was hidden away in her wardrobe, and the bag… her chest was visibly heaving.

“Ms Kei?”

“Jane?”

“Honey?” It was her mother’s voice that pierced her reverie.

She snapped out of her trance. “Mum?” Jane looked towards her mother. “Dad?” He had the same horrified expression on his face. But it was only after she found herself staring down the barrel of a pistol did she realize what she had done.

“Put the knife down, Jane.” Kennaugh said slowly.

Mate, we got a 2-0-3, Stan’s voice crackled over the radio. She understood the code: it was for Suspicious Object. He had found the blood.

“Stan,” Kennaugh projected his voice back towards the bedroom. “In here!”

Jane wielded the knife in her hand. It was a Wustof Pro Santoku Hollow-Edge Knife. Slightly out of balance, with a heavy blade; not ideal for close-quarter combat, but adequate to keep her opponents off-balance. As the luminescent blade caught the ceiling light, she pondered upon her situation. They would take her into custody, issue a warrant to recover more evidence—that incriminating LBD that would visually place her at the crime scene. They would lay charges, and all her efforts thus far (which she still hadn't a clue), would be for zilch. Every fiber in her body cried out for her to stand down, to give in, to let justice run its course. But that inner voice, the one that seduced her just moments ago had other ideas. The idea of facing off against two armed policemen with a kitchen knife was just too… intoxicating.

“Jane,” Kennaugh said. “We just wanna talk. Please put the knife down.” He was exuding kindness with his charming smile. Or he was trying to.

Stan had reappeared, and flanked his partner from the left, ready to deploy his taser.

“Jane,” Kennaugh said again, drawing her attention. ”Let’s all take a step back, alright? I’m going to put my gun down, and—”

“No,” she said, cutting him off. “You either cuff yourselves to the oven door; or we escalate this. Your choice Senior Constable. Either way, I’m leaving the room without you.” Jane’s eyes were spitting hot acid.

Kennaugh raised his weapon again, the muscles in his arm taut. “Jane, please. Don’t do anything dumb.”

“I’ll count to ten,” she said. “You’re either fully self-restrained by then, or I’m exploring my repertoire with this kitchen knife.”

“One,” she started.

“Two.” Still nothing.

“Three, four, five...” Stan began to fidget. Both men had a sheen of perspiration on their foreheads, coalescing into beads of sweat.

“Six…” Jane stepped forward.

A bright flash and bang followed instantaneously. The window behind the young woman fractured into a thousand pieces, but Jane had deftly swerved her shoulders backwards to allow the subsonic projectile unhindered passage. Before either men had realized what had not transpired, Jane stretched out, her four lightning-quick appendages suddenly expanded in all directions. The last thing they each saw was the bottom of Jane’s foot.

She impaled the knife holder. “Ten.”

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Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s leading publishers and we are always looking for fresh new voices. Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by our editorial staff for consideration.
Written by Vi in portal Simon & Schuster
The Girl Who Walks
Jane roused.

She peeled herself off the mattress, and quickly discovered the reason for her involuntary escape from slumber land. The opened window.

"Not again," she said. "Get your shit together Jane!"

The young woman slid into a dressing gown, then dragged her feet to the kitchen of her studio apartment. She made a hot chocolate, then made her way to the other corner, where the TV was. Everything was bathed in an ivory glow, up until the point when she flicked the table lamp on.

"Holy shit!" She dropped her mug, which shattered on the ground into a hundred pieces. Frenzied fingers searched a moment later, through the mess on the table, her hand bag, until she found it. She got the sequence right on the third try.

"Mum?" Jane's voice was trembling. Tears streaked down her damp face.
"Jane..." an older woman's voice said. "Jane? Is that you?"
"It's happened again, mum."
"Honey, calm down." A brief moment of silence. "We're coming over right now, we'll be there in fifteen minutes."
"OK, mum... love you."

This was the sixth time. In all five previous occurrences, she had simply woken up fully dressed in strange clothes. Not strange like a clown-suit, but clothes that didn't belong to her—twice now in a full bespoke business suit, once in surgery scrubs. This was the first time she was actually wearing something feminine, maybe even a little risqué. It was an LBD that provoked too much imagination.

But of course, she didn't care about all that. All she wanted was to remove the thin layer of caked blood off her hands.

Minutes later, Jane's hands were scrubbed, rinsed, picked at, scraped, and scalded. Despite her acute singular purpose—to make sure only her DNA remained—she had the presence of mind to preserve some of the genetic material. The air-tight snap-lock bag rested on the corner of her vanity.

She looked up into the mirror, admiring her panda eyes. What's her therapist going to say this time? It was one thing to sleepwalk, break-in, and steal a full three-piece suit from the same person twice (her brother Lachie had tried on the suits); it was another to get involved in a violent physical altercation. Or was it?

Jane was startled when the door knocked.

"Mum! Dad!" she said after opening the door. The floodgates buckled. Mother, father, and daughter embraced. In that melting moment, Jane felt a tonne lighter. Her fists were balled, pulling taut both her parents' clothes.

"It's okay moo-moo," her mum said. "We're here now, and we'll stay as long as you need."

"Let's head inside," her dad said.

***

Jane Kei, budding white-hat hacker extraordinaire, stood blanched inside the shower recess. Water vapor rose; part lingering in suspension, part ascending into the exhaust fan above. There could've been an atomic mushroom looming outside, everything disintegrating, and she would be oblivious. Rhythmic patter of cleansing droplets drummed her skull, threatening to whisk her away to Wonderland. But every time she had drifted away, a jumbled thought tethered her back. The more she kept her mind clear, the more lurid the suppositions became.

Nothing made sense. Nothing could explain why or how she did what she did.

This was one of those times she wished she knew someone who could listen to her problem without judgment and provide insight that didn't revolve around deep-seated clinical psychological issues. Thanks Claire, she pouted, for taking my money, and for giving me back all that uber-useful advice! You’re a champion! Her family were great for support, but neither her parents nor brother had watched or read enough sci-fi to be helpful.

“Get your fucking shit together Jane!” She slammed the wall. “Think!” There had to be someone she knew in her past, maybe a classmate, with glasses, always buried in books.

Jane was about to give up when the image of a woman popped inside her head. Late twenties caucasian, stay-at-home mum as the woman had indignantly claimed. They met at the local Dymocks. The young lady was in the Star Trek section looking for a book for a nephew, or was it for a friend’s 8-year-old boy?

Michelle! That was her name. They ended up having a coffee together, talking about family, work, pet peeves… stuff that normal people talked about, Jane thought. Normal. The word resonated within the walls of her skull. She had never wanted to be be a head-turner, or the next Einstein. She had only ever aimed for the horizon, never the stars.

A rogue tear trickled down her cheek.

“Jane?” her mother’s voice floated in from the adjoining room.

The naked woman spun around, and took a deep breath. She wiped the glass and looked through. “What’s wrong, mum?”

“You better come out,” her mother said. “The police are here.”

Jane’s heart plunged into her bowels, and stayed there stubbornly for a good five seconds.

“You better come out.”

“Okay, mum.”

***

Two police officers stood by the doorway. The first was about 6-foot, lean build, probably runs marathons in his spare time. The second, roughly 4-inches shorter, had biceps the size of her thighs, and snaking down his right arm was a sleeve tattoo of a Chinese chimera.

“Malcolm!” Jane blurted out, much to the surprise of everyone present, including Officer Stanaway himself, who drew a curious look from his taller partner. She blinked, and then realized that the policeman’s body art had been entirely concealed by his light blue uniform.

“I’m sorry, Ms Kei,” Stanaway replied, eyebrows furrowed. “But do I know you?”

Jane felt a plume of heat rising from the neck of her bathrobe. She covered her gaping mouth with her fingers, not knowing the answer. “Yes,” she said without thinking, “I mean no, but…” Her mind was on the edge of a deep chasm. But instead of falling, she was swept up by a soft, yet powerful inner voice. Close your eyes. Trust yourself. She did both, and gradually, her misfiring neurons flocculated into coherent thoughts.

“I know you,” she said, her eyes open.

She could feel the four pairs of eyes on her face, hungry to devour her every word.

“I know your wife,” she continued. “Michelle, from the book club.”

“Oh, right,” Stanaway said. He glanced sideways to his partner, exchanging unspoken words.

“Ms Kei,” the other man said, “I’m Senior Constable Kennaugh. I’m sorry to intrude into your home this late, but—”

“Would you…” Jane sudden interjected, “I’m sorry, Constable Kenno? Sorry, I’m really bad with names. I really just wanted to offer a beverage: coffee, or tea, a glass of water?” She blabbed everything out in less than ten seconds.

“No, thank you, Ms Kei,” Kennaugh said. “It’s Jane, isn't it? May I call you Jane?”

Jane watched as the man flashed his chompers. The gesture was meant to disarm, to solicit trust. It was what you’d call an “easy win”. But Jane Kei was the exception that night—she felt her muscles tightened.

“Sh.. sure,” she replied.

“Perhaps we should sit down?” He motioned to the dining table next to the kitchen bench.

“I’m sorry,” Jane suddenly found her voice, turning around when she got to one of the chairs, looking at Kennaugh. “But why are you here?”

“As I was saying from before,” he replied, “I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding an incident that happened in the city, involving a major crime.”

Jane shot her parents a quick look, then resumed her focus on the man in blue, and sat down.

“Firstly,” he said, flipping his pocket notepad. “Can you tell us where you were between the hours of 10pm and 12:30am last night?”

“Sure…” she said. Her dominant hand found her opposite forearm and started massaging. Her eyes searched an imaginary white board. “I was working late. I hadn't realized the time, and by the time I left the office, it was already past twelve.”

“So, you stayed in the office for the whole time period in question?” Kennaugh asked. She heard the subsequent question although it was never uttered: building security can verify this, right?

“Actually,” Jane said, “I think I left just after nine.”

“Okay,” the man continued nonchalantly. “Where did you go next?”

“I went to a pub…”

“A pub? Do you know the name?” He looked at her, pen ready. His blue eyes boring through her crumbling facade.

“Uhm…” She searched her dad's face, then her mum’s, hoping desperately for a spark of ingenuity.

“Ms Kei,” Kennaugh said. “Is there a reason why you keep looking at your bedroom?”

“Oh,” Jane’s eyes widened, her ears were glowing red. “No, it’s nothing. I think I've left the tap running.” She was about to get up when Officer Stanaway cut her off. “Stay where you are ma’am, I got this,” he said.

She stood petrified, her brain was hyperventilating. Stan had just disappeared into the room. Her mind reconstructed the scene: bed was made, rogue pair of shorts on the bedpost, the dress was hidden away in her wardrobe, and the bag… her chest was visibly heaving.

“Ms Kei?”

“Jane?”

“Honey?” It was her mother’s voice that pierced her reverie.

She snapped out of her trance. “Mum?” Jane looked towards her mother. “Dad?” He had the same horrified expression on his face. But it was only after she found herself staring down the barrel of a pistol did she realize what she had done.

“Put the knife down, Jane.” Kennaugh said slowly.

Mate, we got a 2-0-3, Stan’s voice crackled over the radio. She understood the code: it was for Suspicious Object. He had found the blood.

“Stan,” Kennaugh projected his voice back towards the bedroom. “In here!”

Jane wielded the knife in her hand. It was a Wustof Pro Santoku Hollow-Edge Knife. Slightly out of balance, with a heavy blade; not ideal for close-quarter combat, but adequate to keep her opponents off-balance. As the luminescent blade caught the ceiling light, she pondered upon her situation. They would take her into custody, issue a warrant to recover more evidence—that incriminating LBD that would visually place her at the crime scene. They would lay charges, and all her efforts thus far (which she still hadn't a clue), would be for zilch. Every fiber in her body cried out for her to stand down, to give in, to let justice run its course. But that inner voice, the one that seduced her just moments ago had other ideas. The idea of facing off against two armed policemen with a kitchen knife was just too… intoxicating.

“Jane,” Kennaugh said. “We just wanna talk. Please put the knife down.” He was exuding kindness with his charming smile. Or he was trying to.

Stan had reappeared, and flanked his partner from the left, ready to deploy his taser.

“Jane,” Kennaugh said again, drawing her attention. ”Let’s all take a step back, alright? I’m going to put my gun down, and—”

“No,” she said, cutting him off. “You either cuff yourselves to the oven door; or we escalate this. Your choice Senior Constable. Either way, I’m leaving the room without you.” Jane’s eyes were spitting hot acid.

Kennaugh raised his weapon again, the muscles in his arm taut. “Jane, please. Don’t do anything dumb.”

“I’ll count to ten,” she said. “You’re either fully self-restrained by then, or I’m exploring my repertoire with this kitchen knife.”

“One,” she started.
“Two.” Still nothing.
“Three, four, five...” Stan began to fidget. Both men had a sheen of perspiration on their foreheads, coalescing into beads of sweat.
“Six…” Jane stepped forward.

A bright flash and bang followed instantaneously. The window behind the young woman fractured into a thousand pieces, but Jane had deftly swerved her shoulders backwards to allow the subsonic projectile unhindered passage. Before either men had realized what had not transpired, Jane stretched out, her four lightning-quick appendages suddenly expanded in all directions. The last thing they each saw was the bottom of Jane’s foot.

She impaled the knife holder. “Ten.”
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You see an online job offer for a hired killer. Write a resume ensuring you get the job.
Written by Vi in portal Horror & Thriller

The job:

Accountant, with a flair for tying up loose ends, required for long term contract. Don't miss out on making a killing with this once-in-a-lifetime chance!

The applicant:

Name: John F. Deer

Experience:

Gardening professional for the last ten years. Government trained. Specialized in neutralizing exotic weeds (extreme weather variants).

Skills: 

Speaks 5 languages, including farsi. 20-20 eyesight. Quiet.

References:

Paul O. T. U. Sinclair, CEO of United Services Inc.

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You see an online job offer for a hired killer. Write a resume ensuring you get the job.
Written by Vi in portal Horror & Thriller
The job:
Accountant, with a flair for tying up loose ends, required for long term contract. Don't miss out on making a killing with this once-in-a-lifetime chance!

The applicant:
Name: John F. Deer
Experience:
Gardening professional for the last ten years. Government trained. Specialized in neutralizing exotic weeds (extreme weather variants).
Skills: 
Speaks 5 languages, including farsi. 20-20 eyesight. Quiet.
References:
Paul O. T. U. Sinclair, CEO of United Services Inc.
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I saw him / her today... Start writing a poem, a story, haiku or fiction, that starts with the line above. You can use the two point of views. Tag me
Written by Vi in portal Poetry & Free Verse

I saw her today, where I normally do, three rows down; but only glimpses, when she's standing and looking back, amidst the crowd.

She's always smiling. That glint in her eyes brings me to a place I haven't been in a while. It's somewhere I can never go back to. It's pain and pleasure contorted into something perverted.

She's always smiling. But when she's not, her eyes, light gray—lustering in shades of blue—reach out to ensnare my own. I can't turn away, but I don't want to. If only I could be discreet, if only I was invisible, but I'm not, and I'm caught every time. I'm always a split-second too late.

She knows.

She knows I'm here. I need to know she knows.

I'm here every week, watching my team battle it out on the oval. Tackling, crashing, leaping, pummeling to the ground. Flying. Soaring, like birds of prey. I used to come for the wins, but now I come for her.

She knows of me, but she doesn't know me. She's probably disgusted. I'm ugly, twisted, full of guile, duplicitous. I missed out on the lottery—my hand is unimpressive, unlike hers, a royal flush. Men adore her. She only need but smile. I, on the other hand, have to grovel, on my knees. It's unfair, it's shit, but that's life. Deal with it. Have some cement and toughen the fuck up!

One day, I'd emerge from my chrysalis, into a world where you won't be fucked over for your lousy hand. Where the only things that matter are what really matter: respect, trust, and love for your fellow man or woman.

One day, she'll see me, for more than I appear.

She'll love me.

She'll even worship the ground I walk, like the lowly caterpillar paying homage to the butterfly.

Until then, I'll love her from afar, secretly, in plain sight.

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I saw him / her today... Start writing a poem, a story, haiku or fiction, that starts with the line above. You can use the two point of views. Tag me
Written by Vi in portal Poetry & Free Verse
I saw her today, where I normally do, three rows down; but only glimpses, when she's standing and looking back, amidst the crowd.

She's always smiling. That glint in her eyes brings me to a place I haven't been in a while. It's somewhere I can never go back to. It's pain and pleasure contorted into something perverted.

She's always smiling. But when she's not, her eyes, light gray—lustering in shades of blue—reach out to ensnare my own. I can't turn away, but I don't want to. If only I could be discreet, if only I was invisible, but I'm not, and I'm caught every time. I'm always a split-second too late.

She knows.

She knows I'm here. I need to know she knows.

I'm here every week, watching my team battle it out on the oval. Tackling, crashing, leaping, pummeling to the ground. Flying. Soaring, like birds of prey. I used to come for the wins, but now I come for her.

She knows of me, but she doesn't know me. She's probably disgusted. I'm ugly, twisted, full of guile, duplicitous. I missed out on the lottery—my hand is unimpressive, unlike hers, a royal flush. Men adore her. She only need but smile. I, on the other hand, have to grovel, on my knees. It's unfair, it's shit, but that's life. Deal with it. Have some cement and toughen the fuck up!

One day, I'd emerge from my chrysalis, into a world where you won't be fucked over for your lousy hand. Where the only things that matter are what really matter: respect, trust, and love for your fellow man or woman.

One day, she'll see me, for more than I appear.
She'll love me.
She'll even worship the ground I walk, like the lowly caterpillar paying homage to the butterfly.

Until then, I'll love her from afar, secretly, in plain sight.
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Despite your best efforts you are still a total stranger to yourself and will someone please shut that damn dog up.
Written by Vi

Biting dogs don't bark

I'm a shape-shifter, a chameleon, without karma. I've survived everything that damned bitch has thrown at me. Life, that is. I don't believe in the spinning wheel, because it doesn't believe in me.

Yeah, fuck you, you're all ducks.

I got through life by changing, by adapting, changing my plumes to suit, singing the right tune.

Sometimes, I'm a cactus in a dune. Cowering, bending, but never breaking. Always going with the flow.

But my pet peeve (ha-ha): insolent yappy Pomeranians that constantly tempt fate. Yeah. Shut your dog up, or feel my wrath.

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Despite your best efforts you are still a total stranger to yourself and will someone please shut that damn dog up.
Written by Vi
Biting dogs don't bark
I'm a shape-shifter, a chameleon, without karma. I've survived everything that damned bitch has thrown at me. Life, that is. I don't believe in the spinning wheel, because it doesn't believe in me.

Yeah, fuck you, you're all ducks.

I got through life by changing, by adapting, changing my plumes to suit, singing the right tune.

Sometimes, I'm a cactus in a dune. Cowering, bending, but never breaking. Always going with the flow.

But my pet peeve (ha-ha): insolent yappy Pomeranians that constantly tempt fate. Yeah. Shut your dog up, or feel my wrath.
3
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Juice
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