“Jack” – short story pt. 2

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Dad moved us into a cramped studio apartment on the fifth floor of the Cedar Dove apartment complex when he accepted his newest job opportunity. We’d made the drive, only two states over, packing our measly belongings into three suitcases before hitting the road. But that’s how we lived, out of suitcases, never putting down roots. Dad’s a rep for a pharmaceutical company. He trains hospital staff about new drugs and once he’s done, he’s stationed at a new hospital. He loves it, he calls our life an adventure. People must be jealous of all the places we’ve been, all the things we’ve seen, he’d tell me.
He comes home to find me sprawled on the couch that came with the apartment, flipping through channels on the small t.v. I watch his hands, he holds a small array of post cards. He’s always done this, collecting a post card from each place we visit and tucking it neatly in a small scrapbook. It’s always seemed like some sort of bread crumb trail to me. If we ever go missing, people will know the last place we were. I turn my attention glumly back to the t.v.
I hear the sound papers make when they brush together and know he’s flipping through the cards, picking the right one worthy enough for the scrapbook.
“How’d school go today?” Dad asks.
I shrug, though the movement is hidden by my loose fitting hoodie. “Fine.”
“Your tone says otherwise.” He sets the cards on the table near the door and crosses the room, taking a seat next to me. “Are you having trouble again?”
I chuckle at his phrasing, trouble. “Nothing I haven’t dealt with before.”
Dad clasps his hands together in his lap. “I could make a call…”
I sit up quickly. “Don’t do that, please. I’m fine.” His expression is unappeased, so I continue. “We’ll be gone in a few weeks anyway.”
The concern flickering in his eyes fades before he nods his head. “Alright, then.”
“I’m gunna hit the hay, early day tomorrow,” I say, retreating hastily from the room.
He watches me go, closing my bedroom door and even then I still feel him staring. I pull a bottle off my dresser and shake a couple of pills into my palm before swallowing them down dry. The only good thing about my dad’s job is I get great drugs.
I’m out like a light in two minutes flat.
-Collins

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The Collected

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Here is a piece of our current work in progress, coming soon.

  • Turner Collins

I wasn’t naive as to why I’d ended up where I was. I knew the lifestyle I had chosen could land me here. I was aware that my choices, my mistakes, they all had consequences. I knew all this and somehow I had still believed that the group of people I had chosen to dedicate my life to would protect me from this fate.

I was wrong. So very wrong.

The small 6 x 8 cell that had been my home for the last six months was my price to pay for those mistakes.

-Dach, The Collected

Spoon.

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The spoon as bent as the injury that brought her here,
Smoke curling, twisting towards the sky,
Sweet, sweet release, only a push away,
Veins retreating, collapsing, as if before her eyes,
A rubber band pulled tight, a stand off between life and death,
Hypodermic medical device, meets skin,
Euphoria exploding through her wrecked body,
Eyes rolled back, conscience breaking through Heaven’s gates,
An adolescent’s cry, tear streaked cheeks,
Two breaking hearts, one with emotion, one with death,
Muted sounds, blurry vision,
A final plea, a cry for help,
An orphan, a lost soul,
The mother or the child?
The wail of sirens, lights dancing across the walls,
A bent spoon,
A hypodermic medical device,
One broken heart leftover.

-Turner

Scars

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My body wasn’t the same anymore, the scars and silver lines providing a constant reminder of the thing that I lost, that I could never get back.
I ran my finger along the largest one, stretching from my navel to pubic bone. Mesmerized by the silky feeling of it. I’m not sure how long I stared at the mark, imagining my life as something different before he entered the room, silently and reserved, as he always was.
“You’re beautiful.” Is all he said. I don’t look up, not wanting to see the look of longing and loss on his face. I see it enough in my own. Instead, I pull down my top, hiding the marks of her life from us both. It’s only a nasty reminder and I’m not even sure why I continued to torture myself. Maybe because I deserved it.
I finally turned toward him, my husband, Ben. His eyes traveled up my body, landing on my own. His dark scuff perfectly sculpted, his even darker hair coiffed on top, dark brown eyes with just a hint of amber in them. He was a beautiful man, he gave me a beautiful child…and I took it away from him. I’m not sure how he can stand to look at me with anything but hate and regret in his eyes. It’s why I shifted my gaze away almost instantly. I knew I was pushing him away, but it was what he needed but hadn’t yet realized. He didn’t deserve a wife who couldn’t bare children, whose body killed innocent souls. I was evil. He was angel.
I sat down on the edge of the bed, playing with the frayed edge of shirt. Much like my life, it too had begun to unravel. The bed dipped beside me as Ben sat down. His hand grasped mine, pulling it away from the wayward strand.
“It’s okay, Hannah.” He said simply, with comfort. I didn’t feel it though, I couldn’t. He didn’t know what he was saying, it would never be okay again. I ripped my hand from his.
“Hannah…please. I’m your husband, I’m here for you but I can feel you pulling away from me.”
I shake my head, letting my blonde hair fall over my eyes, sheilding myself from him. “It’s not okay, it will never be okay…I’m..broken, useless.” I finally admitted.
His calloused finger gently pushed aside a lock of hair, relocating it behind my ear. “Never.” He whispered against my cheek, his warm breath ghosting across my face. His lips gently ran back and forth over my heated skin. A warm hand engulfed the other side, pulling me toward him. I tried to close my eyes, avoid the connection, but he didn’t allow it. “You are the most beautiful, couragous woman I have ever met. I don’t want to hear you ever speak about yourself that way again, Hannah.”
I scoffed, not wanting to believe anything he was saying. After what I did…what my body did, I could never believe that. “What about Julie, Ben? I killed her. I killed our daughter.” I spit at him, he flinches but his eyes don’t waver, I wish they would. I wish he would give me just a little bit of vulnerability I could feed off, so I could save him…

To be continued.

Turner

The Pemberton Series pt. 6

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I’m on my way to the Jacob kid’s parents’ house when a voice crackles over the radio.
“Pemberton, do you copy?”
I let out an aggravated groan as I stop at a red light, picking up the radio. “Yes chief, Pemberton here.”
“Get your ass down to Hazel district. Corner of Bartel and 5th.”
“Chief, I’m on my way to question the parents on the Jacob case, can’t—“
“Get down here. A body’s been discovered.”
The light goes green and I stomp down on the gas. “A body? I’ll be there in ten.” With that, I slap a siren on the roof and breeze down to Hazel.
I park my car across from the crime scene. The chief, along with several other officers, and the coroner are convened around a lumpy sheet just shy of the shrubbery beside an apartment building. I jog over to them, slightly out of breath.
“Ah, Pemberton, glad you could join us,” the chief says, turning to me. “I had a feeling you should see this.”
I nod as the coroner bends down to remove the sheet. I’ve see several bodies in my career, but never one as bad as this. The guy looks to be in his late thirties, with straggly brown hair and hollow cheeks. His throat is slit and the blood has dried on his skin and pooled beneath him. There are several other stab wounds to his chest visible through his sweater. The sheer amount of blood makes me want to gag, but I hold it back. I turn away for a moment to take a breath.
“What are you thinking happened?” I ask. “A drug deal gone bad?”
The coroner replaces the sheet and stands. “Normally I would, yes. But this doesn’t seem right. The usual indicators aren’t present.”
I glace at the chief. “So what does that leave?”
The chief scratches his chin. “Judging by the wounds, we’re most likely looking at some sort of specialized knife. Also, the sheer amount of carnage inflicted on this guy tells us the killer really had it out for this guy. Several of these wounds were inflicted post mortem.”
“You called me down here because you think this is connected to my case?”
“Right. Now we’re still running prints on this guy, but chances are he’s going to have some sort of mark on his record. I’d bet my career on it.”
I nod. “Ok, so why was the killer so sloppy this time? He’s been so careful, we haven’t even found any other bodies.”
“Perhaps there was a witness he wasn’t counting on or he was put into a situation where he rushed. There are several possibilities,” the coroner says.
“I see. What’s my next move, chief?”
“Go question the parents. See what you can find out.”
I head back to my car. This guy was spooked. The murder was hasty and careless. I’m still having trouble imagining the Jacob kid being responsible for something that horrific.
A knock on my passenger side window has me looking up. A young guy in a turtle neck blinks at me behind sleek glasses. I roll the window down clear my throat.
“Can I help you?”
He leans into the car, bracing his arms along the bottom of the window opening. “Are you investigating that body over there?”
“Yup.”
“I would like to offer some information.”
“What kind of information?”
He looks quickly around before continuing. “I saw what happened last night.”
“What did you see?”
“I couldn’t make out much, it was dark. I was walking home from work and I heard some voices. I couldn’t make out what was being said. There was a car parked half way on the sidewalk. There was a guy attacking this other guy. He used a knife and stabbed the guy over and over.”
“Did you see anyone else with him?”
“When he got back in his car I hid in the bushes. As he drove by I noticed someone in the passenger seat.”
“A man or a woman?”
The guy shakes his head. “It was too dark to tell.”
“Could you identify the killer?”
“Again it was too dark. I just know it was a guy.”
I let out a chuckle. “So what you’re telling me is aside from a possible accomplice, you really aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know.”
The guy starts to sputter some sort of retort but I’ve had enough.
“Save it, pal. Go get your attention from someone else who gives a shit.”
His face goes red as he unhooks himself from my window and steps back. I roll my eyes as I speed off down Bartel.
-Collins

Jacob makes a choice

Blog, character, Short story, writing

Newest installment in the Jacob series. Read with caution as this is slightly  graphic.

-Turner
I see him before he sees me.

Little does he know I’m gunning straight for him. With my car. I know the moment Angel sees me, her eyes widening and glancing back at her would be stalker. As much as I want to ram this bastard with tons of steel, I’d rather get up close and personal. I slam on the brakes, putting it into park and heading straight for him, not bothering to turn off the car or close my door.

“Hey, you!” I yell at the stalker behind her. He stops in his tracks. His hands are twitching, pupils dilated. His hair is long and greasy, and the stench coming off him is atrocious.

“Angel…get in the car.” I say, not taking my eyes off the tweaker that dared follow my girl.

I can tell her body is tense, her arms wrapped around her waist, she does as I say, going to the passenger side and slamming the door.

“Hey man…I meant no harm, I’m just walking here.” The stalker says, his eyes flicking back over to Angel.

Oh no, he isn’t getting away with this. I slide my hand into the holster behind my back, hidden by my black sweatshirt. I grip the handle, releasing my breath on a sigh. I pull the serrated steel out of it’s resting place, and into it’s home. My palm.

His breathing accelerates when he sees my baby glinting in the moonlight.

I know I shouldn’t be doing this in an open area, with Angel just a few feet away. But I’m not sure I can contain my monster, not today. Not now.

I can tell this guy is about to run, his foot is tapping, turning to the right. He may just be some drug addict hoping to rob a young woman for another hit, but I can’t let this scum go. Not alive.

Just as I predicted, he bolts for it. Unfortunately for him, I’m faster. My blade flies from my hand, with no effort on my part at all. It sticks him in the side. He falls to the ground, howling in pain. My baby sticking out of his ribs. I know Angel just witnessed me in action, the real me. But I could care less at this moment. I know she won’t run.

Blood is pouring out of my latest victim, in an open street no less. There will be no clean up this time. No disposing of his body.

“Please…pl…I didn’t…I just…I wasn’t gonna hurt her!” He pleads. Oh, yes, the pleading. I only took a victim an hour ago and here I am relishing in my favorite pastime again. This time feels different though, better. Almost like the first time. Protecting Angel always gave me this feeling.

I ungraciously pull my blade out of his prone body. “Tell me…why should I not gut you like the pig you are right here, right now?”

His eyes go wide as saucers. “I’m an addict man…I got a problem. I wasn’t gonna hurt her. I just needed some cash…I promise you! I PROMISE! Don’t kill me, please. I got a kid.”

Like that would change my mind. I drag the bloody edge of my weapon along this throat, down to his collarbones. Playing, teasing.

“That woman over there…” I use my blade to point at Angel, not meeting her gaze though, “that is my woman. Do you understand me? And you had the audacity to mess with her. To scare her. That is an unforgivable thing.”

He nods vigorously. “I won’t do it again, I’ll do anything…it’s…just let me go.”

I chuckle. It’s time to end this. He isn’t getting out of this alive. I’m too far gone for that. I can tell the moment he realizes what I mean to do, the light drains from his eyes, his grip on his wound loosens. I bring my blade up to his throat, pressing in, I’m about to sever his life from his body when an angelic voice sounds behind me.

“Don’t Jacob.”

I don’t turn, I keep my knife on his jugular, but lessen my pressure.

“Please…don’t make me witness anymore…let him go.”

My heart constricts in my chest. I want to make her happy, but I want to end this guy more. I need to kill this scum.

“Look at me!” She pleads, her voice breaking. I can’t help myself, I turn. Taking in her tear streaked cheeks and red eyes. “Let’s just go, please, Jacob…let’s go home.”

Home…she said home. With me? She wants to go home with me…It plays on my head on a loop. I can’t break her gaze.

But the monster is louder, beating inside me for release. I can’t deny it…my monster takes over.

I end the stalkers life, and shatter my Angel.

The Paul Pemberton series pt. 5

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Merv’s Bowling Alley is the tackiest place in this town, but it’s got the best beer. That’s the only reason the guys and I started meeting here instead of the pub on 7th. It’s busy tonight, glow in the dark bowling is the draw. I’m lousy enough at bowling as it is, if I have to bowl in the dark I might takes someone’s head off with my ball.

I park my crappy station wagon across the street from Merv’s and pull my bowling shoes from the trunk before jay walking. Inside, everything is dark much to my dismay. Everything is glowing, the counters, the balls, the chairs, even my Hawaiian shirt’s flowers glow blue.
“Hey, Paul, over here!”
I squint in the direction of the lanes and I can make out Kev waving. I crack a smile and head over. O’Brian and Stanley are standing together on the lane arguing over which way to through the ball. Those two are a barrel of laughs when they get out from behind their desks.
“Save any beer for me?”
“Course. After the shit the chief’s been putting you through, I’ll buy your first round.”
I sit down beside Kevin and chuck off my street shoes, replacing them with my bowling ones. “I swear, that he’s got another thing coming if he thinks he can reignite a fire that burned out twenty years ago. I’m just working until retirement. Every day is another day closer to the end.”
“Tell me about it,” Kev laughs.
“In ten years I’ll be sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere while a hot islander massages my back.”
“What would your wife think about that?”
“Who said anything about Helen?” We share a dubious look before busting a gut.
O’Brian, finished arguing with Stanley, takes a seat across from us. “Hey Paul, how’s your son?” he asks, scratching his stomach.
“Who knows? He only talks to me when he needs money for school.”
“Same here. My daughter ignores me for months until she needs new textbooks or rent, then it’s all ‘Dad, can I ask you for a favor?’” O’Brian’s mouth puckers in disapproval.
“Hey, you’re up!” Stanley declares, clapping Kevin on the shoulder.
Kevin bowls a perfect strike, knocking the pins down with a professional throw. He likes coming here, not just because of the beer, but because he likes to show off. He always brags about all the trophies he won when he was a teen. Not like I care that much. He was an over achiever, unlike me.
After Kev, it’s my turn. I throw a crappy frame, the ball barrelling straight into the gutter. A burst of laughter erupts behind me.
“Maybe once you get a couple a beers in you, you might actually knock over a pin or two!” Stanley crows.
My cheeks heat a little as I return to my seat. “Well then get me a damn beer.”
An hour later I’ve gotten slightly inebriated, O’Brian chuckles to himself as he chugs his fifth beer, Stanley’s wandered off to get some nachos at the concession stand, and Kevin’s droning on about this moron he busted for parking in a handicap spot.
“He kept saying he was perfectly within his rights to park there, and I’m like dude, being an idiot isn’t a valid handicap,” Kev snorts as he downs the rest of his beer. “How goes it with your case? You’ve been listening to me ramble on all night, but you haven’t had a chance to vent yet.”
“My case?” I say. “It’s gotten only slightly more interesting. I went over to the lead’s house, she gave me a little bit of info to work with, but not much. She was pretty certain her love sick puppy was just sweet and cuddly.”
“Hmm. That’s not much. Is there any other leads you can follow?”
I think about the file on the kid. “His family lives in town, but I don’t know how helpful they’d be.”
“What would it hurt? His family would know him better than anyone. Maybe an interview with them would clear up this case once and for all. The chief might even get off your back.”
“You’re right. I’ll pay them a visit tomorrow.” A face in the crowd catches my attention behind Kevin’s head. In the dark I make out a pale face shrouded by a hood. When I blink though, it’s gone and I chuckle to myself. This case has got me stressed.
Stanley pushes his way through the crowd, a plate of nachos in hand. A giggling teenage girl backs up without seeing him and knocks the plate from his hands. Cheese and crushed chips coat the carpet. Kevin and I burst into hysterics. Stanley looks at the mess with a downtrodden expression before sinking to his knees and scooping a fingers through the cheese.
“I better stop him before he starts eating the carpet,” Kevin smirks, pushing up from his seat and heading over to Stanley.

-Collins