Psychic powers, flash fiction

So, it is flash fiction time again. This time the piece had to contain a psychic power, chosen, either randomly or deliberately, from a list of twenty.  I relocated to Random.org and got a 17. Past-life Regression.

It doesn’t really strike me as a psychic power at all. Not the way telekinesis or telepathy are active powers with deliberate uses. Past-life Regression, to the best of my short burst of research, is remembering/experiencing past lives you have lived.

So, my story ended up accordingly, a power that is not so much a power as a curse. I rewrote a couple of times and this is the third incarnation (har har har) of the story.

 

Desperate Meassures

By Trine Toft Schmidt

The following is transcription from Dr. Söderbergh’s initial interview of Antoine De’Angelo.

Dr. Söderbergh is hereafter identified as DS, Antoine De’Angelo as ADA

SD: Start. Initial interview with suspect Antoine De’Angelo, Bayview PD, Interview room 2, May 25th 2013. Time is 8.32 pm. Present in interview room is Officers Martin and Quincy, and suspect Antoine De’Angelo.

(door opening, sound of sobbing)

DS: Hello Antoine, my name is Doctor Söderbergh. I am here to talk to you about what happened earlier today.

(the sobbing continues)

DS: Antoine can you tell me what happened?

ADA: I killed her. I … oh my god I killed her.

(sobbing)

ADA: I didn’t mean to kill her. I didn’t. Oh my god.

DS: Antoine, why don’t you tell me what happened.

ADA: I can’t. I don’t know. I just wanted peace. Oh god.

(sound of something crashing to the floor)

DS: Antoine. Antoine! I need you to relax, sit back down and tell me what happened.

ADA: He killed her. I … it wasn’t me. It was him. It couldn’t have been me.

DS: Who killed her, Antoine?

ADA: The dark man.  Oh my god all that blood.

DS: Antoine, I need you to relax. Take a deep breath and sit back down. Please.

(long pause)

DS: OK Antoine, now, can you tell me what led to the incident this morning?

ADA: I’ve been having dreams. Horrible dreams doc.

DS: What kind of dreams?

ADA: I dream I am the dark man. Killing women.

DS: Who is the dark man?

ADA: I don’t know. I keep telling you, I don’t know. He invades my dreams. Make me do weird things.

DS: Like what?

ADA: First it was just dreams. I kept dreaming that I was following women around. Then, two months ago, he started killing them.

DS: Killing them? How?

ADA: Slitting their throats. With an old razor. Like the ones they use in barber shops? Then he dumped them in the sea. So many women.

DS: What did you do when you started having these dreams. Did you seek help?

ADA: I told my wife. She thought I was being silly.

(sounds of a chair scraping on the floor and sobbing.)

ADA: Oh my god. Dear lord, I killed her.

DS: I really need you to sit down Antoine.

ADA: Can I smoke please? I need to smoke.

DS: I am afraid smoking is not allowed. Sit down please. Your wife thought you were silly. Then what happened?

ADA: She left me. She found out. That I wasn’t being silly.

DS: How did she find out?

ADA: I started sleepwalking. Waking up around town. In strange places, in front of houses. One night she found me looking in through our neighbor’s window, holding a knife in my hand. She freaked and left. Thank god.

(short pause)

ADA: It could have been her. I could have killed her.

DS:  Did you seek professional help?

ADA: I told my doctor. Didn’t want to sound too crazy, so I just told him about the dreams. He said it was probably stress. Prescribed sleeping pills. Didn’t help. Not at all.

DS: So tell me more about this dark man and the dreams. Where were you in the dreams?

ADA: I was him. I was inside him, I could hear every thought he had about these women, how demeaning he was, how all he could think about was spilling their blood. Blood…

(pause)

ADA: I think I am going to faint.

(pause)

DS: Antoine? Antoine!

(sound of loud clapping)

DS: Antoine! (loud voice)

ADA: Yes, sorry doc. I get a little faint around blood.

DS: But you are not around blood right now.

ADA: No.

DS: Where did these dreams take place?

ADA: They felt like movies. Old, silent, black and white movies. Sinister and dark. People were dressed funny. Like in those movies from the thirties? I researched it. See it wasn’t me. It was him. The dark man. He killed her.

SD: So, let me get this straight. A man living back in the 1930’es invaded your dreams. Are you aware of how that sounds?

ADA: OF COURSE I AM AWARE! I AM NOT TOTALLY INSANE.

SD: There is really no need to shout at me, Antoine.

ADA: No. Sorry doc. Its just that I tried telling someone. A shrink. I didn’t want to, I don’t like shrinks, no offense, but what was I to do? Laura had left me. My boss was threatening to fire me if I didn’t start putting in more effort. I was dreaming of blood again and again, I was waking up in strange places… it was either the shrink, or killing myself. God… why didn’t I kill myself?

(pause)

ADA: The shrink suggested hypnosis. But no way I was going to let another man roam around in my brain. So. I didn’t go back. Instead I practically moved into the library. I did some research. Have you ever heard of past-life Regression?

DS: Yes, I have heard of the theory.

ADA: It is not a theory. I am the living proof. Did you know that Bayview was haunted by a serial killer in the thirties? At least twenty women disappeared over a period of six months. Some washed up on the coast, their throats cut, almost exsanguinated. Some were never seen again.

DS: You are saying that you are remembering the Bayview Slasher? That you was him in a former life?

ADA: What other explanation is there, doc? I don’t want to kill women. I would never…

(long pause)

DS: But Antoine, you did. You killed a woman today.

ADA: I didn’t mean to. I just wanted to be arrested. I swear. I just wanted to be locked up. The police didn’t believe me when I told them I would do something bad.

DS: You tried to get arrested?

ADA: Yes! Check their files. I was here two days ago. I begged them, doc. I cried. I told them I would end up killing someone. I told them to lock me away. They just laughed at me.

DS: So you went out and killed someone. So you wouldn’t kill someone? That makes no sense.

ADA: I keep telling you. I didn’t mean to kill her. I turned the knife the wrong way. The sharp side out. I don’t know what happened. She was so afraid. She screamed. She wouldn’t stop screaming. Not like the women in the dreams. They were all silent.

(pause)

ADA: I don’t know what happened. I tried to tell her, that I wouldn’t harm her. I just needed to get arrested. The dark man did it. He must have turned the knife around. He was thrilled. I could feel him inside of me when I held the knife to her neck. He wanted to feel it again. The rush. He wanted to see the great arcs of blood. Get him out of me. GET OUT OF ME YOU MURDERER!

(crashing sounds, screaming)

(sound of door opening, screaming fades)

DS: May 25th 10.03 pm. Suspect is too agitated, interview suspended. I will administer a sedative as soon as Officers Martin and Quincy have subdued him. End.

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Random Fantasy Character, Flash Fiction Challenge.

So I drew a blank on Chuck Wendig’s  last challenge, and to make up for that I’ve written a longer piece for this week’s challenge… or all bullshit a side, I couldn’t figure out how to tell this story with only 1000 words. I totally cheated and let my story clock in at around the 1500 word mark. So I totally broke the rules. I already feel guilty.

Bond

By Trine Toft Schmidt

The alley behind the Sailor’s Whim was dark and stank of rotting vegetables and human waste. I wrinkled my nose and carefully stepped around a pool of something slimy that oozed out of a tipped over barrel. My mistress, of course skipped over it like it was a crack in a paving stone. Her tingling laughter made it back to me as she ran ahead.

“Come on Montrose. It is nothing worse than what is thrown on the midden every day.” I shook my head. Perhaps not, but the King’s midden was still better than Western Quarter squalor.

Every now and again a squeal of laughter and the sound of moaning drifted down from the top floor of the tavern and mixed with the music from the common rooms. Tavern and brothel. Typical harbour slum. This was what the king’s grace had saved me from.

Mistress Vanity slipped up to the door, a heavy solid oak wood slap, and knocked. She smiled at me over her shoulder and adjusted the hood of her cloak.

The door pushed open and a giant of a man put his ugly head out of the gap.

“What do you want?” His voice was deep and gravelly. My mistress head barely reached his chest.

“I come to sing for the bird.”

“Oh aye?” He gave her a squinty look and then turned his eyes to me. “And what kind of duet are you two cats going to sing to the bird?” His grin gave away the thoughts he had on the matter.

“One that is none of your business.” She stared him right in the eyes until he grunted and stepped back a little. I had to squeeze up against him to get by, as I passed him he put a hand around my back and pulled me closer.

“Maybe this cat could purr for me instead?” he said with a leer. But my mistress’s dagger flashed and blood welled up on the man’s arm. He let me go with a stunned look.

“We only sing for the Raven. Take us to him.” Her voice was as steely as the dagger dripping red in her hand. He glared at her, and then pointed to a closed door at the back of the room. With bouncing steps she went through the door as if she had no care in the world.

The room was bare except for a table and the man behind it. The Raven sat, his chair tipped back and his feet resting on the edge of the table. He was smiling at my mistress as if she was an anticipated guest.

“My Lady.” His voice was deep and silken.

She inclined her head.

“Raven.” She paused for a second. “Or should I call you Mister De’Wint?”

Only a hand shot out to grap the edge of the table saved him from tumbling to the floor. He straightened up and the chair tipped forward until it rested on all four legs again.

“You have me at an disadvantage my lady. I do not know your name.” He turned his smile on again, a smile that had surely melted many a maiden’s heart. That he was a ruthless killer by reputation probably made him more attractive.

“You may call me Mistress Vainity.”

“Mistress Vanity.” He tasted the words as if they were exquisite wine. “And what can I do for you my lady?” He had still to lay eyes on me.

“I come to negotiate.”

“Oh? And what it is you wish to negotiate?”

“The price for your business.” For a few seconds the silence was deafening, but then a roar of laughter filled the room. Something creaked behind me but when I turned there was nothing there.

“My business? And what do a little girl like yourself want with my business?” His eyes were glistening with tears of mirth and he wiped them away with the back of his arm.

Mistress Vanity smiled. She was enjoying this, I could see it in the way she carefully pushed back the cloak to reveal the low cut red dress she’d insisted on wearing. It had made shimmering down the rope ladder a precarious job, but now it made sense.

The Raven was apparantly not without appreciation for her beauty, his jaw tightened and the beat of blood in his veins picked up speed.

“I want your little side business here. You can keep the gambling dens and the opium trade. I just want the whore houses.”

He blinked slowly and suddenly he was a feline on guard, his eyes hard and piercing, his teeth slightly bared. But he said nothing and my mistress plowed ahead

“I saw your likeness plastered on a church door. A rather hefty reward was mentioned. I know your true name, Raven. A name it is said you have killed many a man to conceal.”

“And what makes you think I will not kill you too?” He stood up. His gait was loose and relaxed, a panther prowling, as he sauntered around the table.

She slid her hand into her bodice and it came back up with the thin, deadly dagger her father had gotten her for her tenth birthday. She held it up in front of him, showed him the blood that still coated it.

The Raven rolled his eyes, flickered a hand and before we could react a man grapped my mistress and held a nasty curved dagger to her neck. An arm shot around me and encircled my throat rather unpleasently, and I felt the prick of a knife just under my chin. A smirk was spreading on Raven’s lips.

“You’ve got balls little girl, I’ll give you that, but this is a game for grown men so I suggest you go back to your teapots and teddybears.” He waved a hand and the man behind her relaxed his hold on her. She eyed him carefully and tapped her foot twice on the floor.

I slammed back my elbows, into the soft belly of the man behind me, drew out my own knife, and stabbed it hard backwards hitting something soft. There was a whoosh of air, and the man fell to the ground. I swung around, jabbed the knife at the man who held my mistress, and before anyone could even breathe I was behind Raven, the tip of my knife resting gently against the throb of pulse under his ear.

“I would say I’ve got more than balls.” Mistress Vanity bowed her head and smiled. The Raven held himself quiet. “And I would say you are not in a position to make petty jokes about my age.” She wiped her knife on his shirt and slid it back into the bodice of her dress.

He crimped his mouth in a thoughtful gesture without breaking eye contact with her.

“If you know what is good for you, you will leave now and never come back.” His voice betrayed no fear.

She laughed.

“You think you can make threats now, Raven. With a knife to your throat?”

“You have one thing to learn little girl.” He said and I pressed the knife a little further into his skin.

“And what is that?”

“Patience.”

“Patience?”

“Yes, waltzing in here, putting all your cards on the table.” His laughter rumbled in his chest, I could feel it through the knife. “You think you can surprise me, pulling my name out of your bodice like that? I am sure that my name will do me far better than yours ever will Mistress Vanity.” He paused. “Or should I call you Princess Teeana?”

I watched as all color drained from her face. Raven laughed.

“You think that your little shadow there,” he cast his head back toward me, “has been forgotten here? That we of the West Quarter have forgotten the little girl torn from her mother’s tit by our gracious king? That you robbed her of her name and her family, to be bonded to you for the rest of her life? Living in the shadow of a spoiled little brat who is not satisfied with the plenty she has? And now you traipse in here flaunting what you took from us and think you can take the rest?”

He shook his head.

“No Princess Teeana. You can have your little slave twin here cut my throat, and spill my blood, but my spirit will fly again. It flies in the blood of all the men and women your precious forefathers have oppressed, and it flies in the blood of those you have stolen. Even if they do not know it yet.”

My mistress was silent for a moment but then leaned in. Her face was white as the cotton sheet on our bed, her mouth twisted into a grim expression.”

“For a man who claims to know so much Raven, you are utterly clueless.”

I need to outline

Sunrise
This was my good morning from the world yesterday when I poked my head outside my front door at 4.30 am.

 

I am definitely not the wake-up-five-minutes-before-I-gotta-leave type. I want time to putter around, read some news, eat my food, perhaps even read a book if I’m in the middle of a great one. For the past 5 months or so,  I have set my alarm clock to 4.30 so I also get a little time to write before I leave the house.  This way I get some words out before my work sucks all my energy out of me.

It worked in the beginning. I wrote every morning, not much, a few hundred words, but enough to make me feel connected to my story and hopeful that the story I am writing is actually going to be finished.

But the last month or two I have been kind of stuck,  I haven’t written a single new word on it in ages.

It’s not because there is no story. No, the story is alive and kicking, it is swarming around inside my brain at all times. It is all there, more or less, the plot, characters, locations, it just needs to be written down. But I am not writting.

My insecurities are getting to me.  my mind is asking a lot of questions about my story, the practical kind, what would the police say or do? Would the body do this or that? How do you get permission to visit an inmate in the state pennitary?  How could the killer possibly get the body to that location without a helicopter and an army of navy seals?

I am suffering from Need To Get It Right.

This need always gets the better of me. It drowns out the story in my head with its obsessive nagging, and then inner editor police über nazi boss starts to fuck with me as well.  After a couple of weeks I have no confidence in my story, my writing skills or myself. I totally suck.

If I was a superhero, Need-To-Get-It-Right would be my archenemy.

So, being a superhero I need a superpower… or at least a weapon that can do something to that bloody nemesis of mine.

I decided that perhaps outlining could be the new Laser Death X-ray Vision. I could outline a skeleton to build the story on, and then even if Need-To-Get-It-Right rears its ugly ass face I could just pile letters and sentences on top of it and basically bury it alive.

But. I have never outlined a story in my life. Usually I think about my story 24-7 for weeks and months, research a little here, read up on something there, and then I sit down to write.

I don’t think I have finished more than a handful of stories, and none that is as complex as the one I am writing now.

So I’ve done some internet research, trying to figure out how one outlines a story. Turns out there is not a simple straightforeward answer to that question. Dammit. Here I was hoping for something easy to pop up, something that could kick me in my butt with minimal pain/effect ratio. No.

So for the past two weeks I’ve drawn mindmaps, I have filled a notebook or two with notes on this and that, I have started charts and written index cards, I have ordered and made lists and bullet points, but I still can’t turn my story into a easily accessible overview of chapters, actions, characters and plot. Whenever I try, I get to about the same point in my story where my writing falters and then I fumble and fuss and ask questions, obsess and bla bla bla bla. Nazi boss is having a ball in my head.

In the middle of this Chuck Wendig posted a blog on outlining and for a monent I thought I was saved. Chuck Wendig to the rescue. I thought I could read his post, get a few pointers, see the light and then two hours later a fully formed outline would be awaiting my every whim.

I still don’t know shit.

I am tempted to kick my story to the curb. Or to put a bullet its head.  But where would that leave me? Nowhere. I would just start up a new project that would die the same horrible death in six month’s time. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Yeah… no, not so much.

My road to hell is paved with half finished stories, one sided characters and oceans of wasted time.

 

And this was my good night.
And this was my good night.

So here I am, trying again to make the outline work. Or in other words procrastinate while I wallow in self pity.

Flash Fiction Challenge. Five random sentences.

So.. these challenges are starting to become really addicting. I find myself checking terribleminds.com several times during friday, holding my breath for a new challenge to arrive.

Here‘s this weeks challenge. There were a few that talked to my subconscious, but I chose ‘The Shape Fights The Motionless Ink.’ And here is the resulting story, which has no title since my brain refuse to play along…

“Hank?” Hayley cracks the door open and sticks in her head. The train of thought Hank’s been chasing for the last two hours implodes and disappears. He plasters a smile on his face, one that doesn’t show the flash of anger that flicks through him.

“Yes honey?” His jaw muscles burn under his ears, a yawn is trying to work its way out. He ignores it. He has to write, has to finish this story.

“I’ve got to drive mum to her doctors appointment yeah? So you’ll have the house to yourself for a few hours.” She smiles and he nods, but doesn’t feel the sense of relief the promise of an empty house normally gives him. He just feels angry because couldn’t she just FUCKING LEAVE HIM ALONE WHEN HE WAS WRITING? Never mind that he hasn’t written a word for days now.

“OK honey. Say hi to her for me.” He turns back to the typewriter, rubs his eyes and listens to the silence from the door, the minuscule sigh and then the soft click of the door as it closes. The loose floorboard creak in the hallway, the door slam and then… silence.

He takes a deep breath and his shoulders relax, his fingers find the keys and he tries to piece the train of thought back together, closing his eyes to shut out the weak light from the small window. The familiar film starts rolling.

A woman in desperate need of help walks into a PI’s office.

Total cliche, but oh so satisfying.

The woman, sultry, hour glass shape body, long blond hair falling in loose curls around her slim shoulders. The promise of tears lurking in her eyes. Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys with just a touch of Lana Turner in the sad look and the swaying hips.

The PI, dark haired, dressed in an dark suit, is behind a huge desk, his wingtips resting on the table, twitching to the tones of an old timer coming out of the radio. Nonchalant and relaxed. Part Humphrey Bogart and part George Clooney.

The woman wants help finding her fiance, who’s gone missing and the PI is more than happy to help this particular damsel in distress. The fiance is of course a virtual poster boy, but when PI goes digging, he turns out to be a lowlife henchman for the Las Vega’s mafia. The Neon Cosa Nostra.

Hank’s lips stretches in to a wide smile, and his breathing deepens.

The setting is the inevitable smoky back rooms, scantily clad women, drinks in cut crystal glasses, oak wood bars, the constant tching tching of money in the slots.

The PI delves into this dark seedy world in hot pursuit of the missing fiance, ruffling a few feathers along the way and soon he finds himself trapped in a dark, dank alley, his back against the wall and two mob goons towering over him. Huge dark shadows back lit by the passing head lights and the dusty yellow street light.

He can see it so clearly, it is almost like a dream. ‘Come on,’ he cheers himself on. ‘Come on. You can do this.’

But the inner movie freezes up, right where its been freezing up the last two days.

The PI against the wall, the promise of violence in the air.

Frustration fizzles in Hank’s brain, but he struggles to stay relaxed and breathes deeper. Frustration will only trip him up more.

He takes another breath.

His head tilts forward and the clack sound of typewriter keys being pressed down echo through his tired brain. He briefly opens his eyes, fadk u, it says on the blank piece of paper. Yes, he thinks as he sinks back under, fuck you too.

The static PI is still up against the wall.

‘Come on you son of a bitch, you can’t just stand there, letting the goons get to you.’ Hank growls at the PI, and himself.

The background fades away, slowly leeching out, leaving the PI as a black shadowy shape in the sea of white. Two words bubble up under him. Large carbon typeset words.

Fuck You

In the back of his mind, Hank knows that he is dreaming, that he should wake up, but he’s been sitting in the ratty old office chair all night, and fatigue is weighing him down. The battle to open his eyes is futile.

The black ink on the sea of white shifts.

No-good

The shadowy PI shape raises his arms. Surrendering.

Idiot

Half wit

The shape takes a step back.

Moron

The words flash faster and faster, and the shape takes down his arms. Shoulders hanging.

Chicken

The word is perfectly defined in the middle of the brilliant white nothingness. It doesn’t move, just stands there, holding up its challenge like a red cloth in front of a bull.

The shape squares his shoulder and moves forward, pulling something out, something long and slender.

A sword.

Then it takes a small step back and crouches down into a fighting stance.

Like a ninja, Hank thinks.

Chicken

The shape attacks, bringing down the sword, slicing through the C.

And as the shape fights the motionless ink, as the letters fall to pieces under the might of the sword, Hank is hit by inspiration. Ninjas and Private Investigators. A story set in Japan, in the age of shoguns.

He opens his eyes. His head is resting against the keys of his typewriter, and the corner of his mouth feels slimy with drool. He wipes it with the sleeve of his shirt and sits up. Pulls out the sullied piece of paper, and slots a new piece in, his fingers itching to start hitting the keys.

 

“The PI and the Case of the Mysterious Warrior Princess.”

The fatigue is gone, there is only room for the story. He doesn’t hear Hayley come home, doesn’t feel the kiss she plants on his cheek when she places a cup of coffee on the desk next to the typewriter.

Hmmm

My theme on wordpress is bugging me. I need to do some work on it, with skills I don’t exactly have. Maybe it is just easier to go look for a new theme.

Oh the problems a procastinating writer has.

 

Edit: Expect changing themes. I am fiddling.