Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Flash Fiction #5

Thank you to jay x wolf for the opening sentence

Happiness is a cold beer, an enormous burrito, and enough time to down them both before the werewolf catches up with you again. It was my big brother’s 21st birthday and we were out celebrating when the attacked happened. I woke up to find my brother unconscious with his new clothes ripped to shreds and scratches all over his back and chest, there was so much blood around my sister I didn’t know if she was dead or alive and my father was missing.
          He was still gone when we buried Layla a week later. They say when a loved one dies a piece of those they left behind dies, I didn’t know if Eli or my mother felt that way but she was my twin and I couldn’t even cry. I didn’t feel sad or angry or even relived that “she was in a better place” I just felt emptiness inside. We lived in the apartment above our mom’s jewelry shop, my brother had moved out for college two years earlier but neither one of us wanted to move out of our bedroom. When I walked up to the door this time there was her name, in green craft paper next to mine in blue, we were Layla and Kayla for 16 years and now nothing. There was a tap on my shoulder I turned to see Eli, he said that the last of the relatives were leaving and mom needed my help cleaning up the all the casserole leftovers.

One month later and my dad was still missing the cops had done all they could do and said he left on his own and the case was closed. That night there was a full moon and my mom was in her work room in the back of the shop, I was at the counter waiting on the last customer of the day when Eli came downstairs and said he was going for a walk. Three hours went by, my mom and I were in the living room watching TV. I could tell she was getting worried so I put on my shoes and long coat and went to look for him. We lived in a small town surrounded by fields of apple orchards and woods. I went to a wooded path that we always travelled as kids and didn’t have to follow it far when I saw him. He was hunched over and breathing deep shallow breathes, I slowly walked up to him and suddenly I knew what was wrong, I had seen it before. “Sis, I know you’re there please don’t come any closer.” He told me but I ignored him, took out a silver knife from the inside left pocket of the coat and continued to walk towards him. This was what I had trained for since I could walk, my siblings and I came from a long lineage of hunters. Now it was my turn to prove that I could fight any demon that I came across I didn’t know one would be my brother.
       “Kayla I’m fine please put that away, go home and tell mom I’m fine. I will be home when the sun raises.”
       “Eli, I can do this I can take care of myself, I can help you. Please.”
       He turned and I saw a look in his eyes that I had never seen before. It was a look of anger and hunger so fierce I stumble to gain my footing as he ran off quicker then I’ve ever seen him run.

The next day I got up before my mother. I was opening the shop when Eli entered, half naked and shivering he passed out into my arms. I was strong enough to drag his lifeless body to the couch in the work room, I made sure he had enough blankets and was comfortable before I went back to work. It was almost 2:00 when he awoke to find mom and me eating a late lunch. Mom stood up, placed her plate in the sink and went back to the front to open for the afternoon shoppers.
           “There is a rare steak in the fridge if you’re still hungry?’ I said half-jokingly.

He sat in the chair opposite me “I didn’t want you to find out that way.” I stood up and walked my plate to the sink he continued “I wasn’t sure at first if I was turned, all I knew was that when I woke up the day after the attack all the scars on my body had healed except for the scratch on my back left shoulder. With dad gone and Layla dead I didn’t…I didn’t want to worry you or mom. I paid attention to the cycles of the moon and as the days past and the moon was almost full I could feel myself getting stronger at the same time I slept less but was never tired. I thought about telling you but…
         “But I’m your baby sister who was sad and wasn’t strong enough to deal with the fact that her brother is a werewolf!”
           He grabbed my arm with one hand and used the other to cover my mouth “Shhh Mom can’t know, not yet, please Kayla I will tell her I just need more time.”
         “She’s been in the family business longer then us, SHE MAKES OUR WEAPONS do you really think she hasn’t already figured it out?”

We sat back down and I asked “Now what?”
        “Now I find the one who did this to me and do what I have to to make things right.”

      I stood and ran upstairs to my bedroom, took out a box from under my bed and rummaged through the assortment of weapons. I didn’t know Eli was right behind me.
 “What are you doing?”
“I am going to find the wolf who did this and kill him, it is what we do.”

He took the gun and crossbow from my hands “Take a breath. First of all I am pretty sure he is a she and I have been looking for her since the night of the attack, I know I was close last night. My senses are heighten as the wolf and last night I caught her scent it was a mixture of peppermint… peppermint and…
Just then a customer enters the shop

       He continues “That’s it!”

“I can smell the other scent now, it’s coming from downstairs.”
        We walked down to the shop and stayed in the back watching from the beaded doorway as a bridal client talked to our mother, she was holding a bouquet of lavender.

I whispered to my brother “Lavender, are you sure?”
 “I promise you on Layla’s grave that is what I smelled last night.”

 “The peppermint and lavender festival, they hold it every year in PalmVille”

“YES always in summer a couple of weeks after our apple blossom festival. We went every year as kids.
        I took out my phone to look up the dates of the festival “ I remember and every year it was held next to that large field of lavender where there was that old run down farmhouse and barn, remember the three of us would play hide and seek there when mom and dad sold jewelry.”

“Then a couple of days before the next full moon that’s where I’ll go.”

“Where we’ll go.”

 “You’re not coming with me!”

“YES I am.”

The rest of the month went by quickly. We worked in the shop and helped our mother out whenever she needed us. It was as if nothing had changed but I could hear Eli walking the halls at night unable to sleep as the night of the full moon got closer.  One night I looked up at the sky and there it was smiling down at me as if it knew what we were about to do.
         When the day came we packed a duffel bag with two flashlights, two guns, four boxes of silver bullets, my crossbow with silver tipped arrows and his sword laced with liquid silver and some snacks. We left early in the evening, before dinner and told our mom we were going to have a burger at a local food truck then to a movie and not to wait up. (Knowing her she’ll fall asleep watching late night TV waiting for us) we did grab a burger but then took a cab to PalmVille, just one town over, and walked to the farmhouse. When we got there it was just starting to get dark. I took out two flashlights and the guns, we made sure they were loaded and started towards the creepy red barn.

           The door screeched as Eli opened it. It was already too dark to see, we turned on the flashlights and without moving looked around, nothing. We entered farther and began a more elaborate search that’s when we heard the first voice. “Look who it is Elijah James Doyle and Lay….I’m sorry I mean Kayla the sister we allowed to live.” A man jumped down from the rafters. Eli pointed his gun at him “You seem to know us but we have yet to be introduced.”

“Dylan be kind to our guests” said a woman’s voice from the darkness.
 Before she came out into the light Eli knew who she was “It’s you, the bitch who did this to me!”

     I had my gun pointed at her now as she stepped into the light “Eli, we’re guests let’s not used harsh words.”

“If I knew her name I wouldn’t have too.”
 Dylan spoke next “Eli, meet my sister Sasha.”

  Sasha responded “Put you guns down.”
 “I don’t think we’ll be doing that.” I said

“Boys bring out our friend.” Three more men appear holding a weaker older man.
I saw him first “Dad?.”

“Sis put down your gun.”

      Moonlight begins to shine through the cracks in the walls. The wolves begin to change.

Eli goes after Sasha I began to shoot at everything that moved as I ran to my father. It was all over in five minutes. Sasha was dead. The other wolves were gone. I stood holding up my weaken father Dylan was face to face with Eli who was covered in Sasha’s blood.
 “You killed her, you killed our leader.”

 “I did. Now it’s your turn.” He aimed his gun.

    “You could kill me but not before I have killed everyone you love. Then again you could take your rightful place as our new Alpha by law of our pact or I kill you and your family would suffer for the rest of their lives knowing that you were a coward.”

“That’s not true, don’t listen to him.”
“Kayla, take dad and go home.”

“I will take that as a yes to my offer?”

“Eli, you can’t!”
 Eli’s teeth and claws began to show “Go now and never return or I will rip your throat out with my bare teeth.

I did as he said.
My dad retired. My mom continued making jewelry and I went to college.

Every year on our birthday I visit Layla’s grave. There was always a note or gift waiting for me. It was are our 21st today and there was a 6-pack of Genny Lite and a Taco Bell bag full of burritos. Written in the card was “You only turn 21 once, enjoy every second! Dinner is on me. P.S.  Tell mom and dad I’m getting married and I miss you all. J

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Justice for Justified (2010-2015)

Justified may have been the title of a TV series but Raylan Givens played by the awesome Timothy Olyphant, was the show’s heart and soul. He was also a man of little words so I shall be quick and to the point…

 Raylan was born to a loving mother who died when he was still a boy. He grew up and as soon as he was old enough he got himself out of the dark and dirty coal mines of Kentucky. To the distain of his criminal and hate-filled father, Arlo played by Raymond J. Barry, Raylan became a U.S. Marshall and worked mainly in Florida until he got into trouble and was sent back to his home town. It was back in Harlan where Raylan came face to with his ex-girlfriend Ava Crowder played by Joelle Carter and old friend/resident bad guy Boyd Crowder played by the amazing Walton Goggins. Raylan and Boyd grew up working in the mine together but now found themselves on opposite sides of the law.

Throughout 6 seasons Raylan Givens had a number a foes which added up to a larger then normal body count not making his boss, Art played by Nick Searcy very happy but Raylan always got the job done. (The one thing I have to interject here it that as a character Raylan, with that hat and cunning smile, was one guy who I would have trusted with my own real life, when he said he would help and protect you he did! For that reason alone I will always love him.)  Each new season brought new headaches and enemies, all willing to have their chance to take him down. There were the Bennetts lead by Mags played by Margo Martindale, who always had a drink waiting for you. There were her sons Doyle and Coover (Joseph Lyle Taylor and Brad William Henke) and of course Dickie played by Jeremy Davies  who spent most of his screen time in jail and a niece Loretta McCready played by Kaitlyn Dever, who wanted nothing to do with her crazy, murderous kin. When the Bennetts were all but wiped out enter the family Crowe. First we met Dewey played by Damon Herriman, who just wanted to be like Boyd and would follow him around like a lost puppy. A couple of season prior to the final we met the rest of his family, oldest brother Daryl played by Michael Rapaport who came from Florida to make same fast cash bringing with him brothers Danny (A.J. Buckley) and Kendal (Jacob Lofland) and sister/lawyer Wendy (Alicia Witt). We round out the bad guy cast of characters with Ellstin Limehouse played by Mykelti Williamson, Wynn Duffy played by Jere Burns who seemed to have 9 lives and most recently Ty Walker played by fellow Deadwood Alum Garret Dillahunt and Avery Markham played by the always wonderful Sam Elliott of course there were countless others including some good guys but it was Ava and Boyd who were there from beginning to end that kept Raylan in Harlan and on their heels.

In the end I need to thank Graham Yost for bringing the late Elmore Leonard’s story and characters to life. In six seasons viewers went through a lot with the crew and cast(s) and like a giant rollercoaster at an amusement park I do not want to get off but it was a great ride and I will never forget my time spent in Harlan County, Kentucky.