Immoral Immortal | PART SEVEN | Flash Fiction

Click here to read Parts 1 – 6. 

PART SEVEN:

Irving tried to blink several times before his eyes would fully open. They felt as though they had been glued shut for weeks. As he would later discover – it had been six days. Six days since he had been gunned down in his own home; his sanctuary. It wasn’t his first flirtation with a fatality, but he didn’t care for it all the same.

Reality came shuddering back around him; the sound of nurses busying about their day in the corridor, the distant screams of a woman in labour. A building in which life and death both fought a daily battle; contending for the populace. Irving had always felt safe in hospitals; the familiarity of a medical environment, but waking up alone in a dimmed and empty ward, hidden behind the blue screens took the comfort away. He was very much on the back foot. He pushed his palms into the hard mattress, raising himself up in the bed until he found a vaguely comfortable sitting position. His legs seemed heavy and led-like and utterly no use at all, and Irving presumed it was the fatigue.

The curtains around his bed were drawn shut, but he could make out the human-shaped shadow approaching his bedside. The woman who emerged was altogether alarmingly unexpected. She greeted him with her usual sweet smile, tinged with a deep sadness that could not be ignored.

‘Kathy? What on earth are you doing here?’ Irving didn’t know what else to say.

‘You never allocated a new next of kin, so they contacted your old one instead.’ Kathy bent slightly and kissed Irving’s forehead. She wore a soft, grey roll neck jumper that forgivingly clung to her gracefully aged curves and bootcut trousers that exposed a pair of black kitten heels. Irving could smell her perfume lingering in the air; sweetening every breath he took as if in a field of daisies.

‘I’m sorry they bothered you. It’s nothing to worry about.’

‘Nothing to worry about?’ Kathy looked confused and outraged all at once, but that sad smile never vacated her lips. ‘You were shot at.’

‘Yes, well it was a tad unexpected. But I’m right as rain, just a bit tired is all. You really don’t need to be here. I’m sure the doctor will be round to discharge me soon.’

‘Irving.’ The confusion on his ex-wife’s face melted away and left something else in its place. Pity. ‘They told me the doctor would have already spoken to you before I got here.’ Irving had Kathy had lived very separate lives for over ten years, but he still knew every inch of her face.

‘Not good?’ His voiced piqued.

‘No, not good.’ Kathy hastily wipes away a year and sniffed; attempting to curtail the oncoming cry at bay.

‘Tell it to me straight, love.’ An old familiar affection slipping from his lips as naturally as air escaped his lungs. They were both older and wiser now, but as she sat perched on the edge of his bed, stroking his hand with her thumb – it was if the pain and heartache of their divorce had never happened. Instead, of a world-worn middle-aged woman, she was the matter-of-fact young solicitor with a closed heart and an open mind who he had been charmed by all those years ago.

‘It shattered a rib, punctured your right lung, and there is shrapnel embedded in your spinal cord.’ She took a deep breath and tried to keep it together for a moment longer. ‘Operations would probably paralyse you from the neck down, and leaving it will eventually kill you if it decides to move. There’s nothing to be done, my love. Stalemate.’

‘Bugger.’ Irving knew that if Kathy said it was hopeless, then that was that. She would have called in favours from the best doctors in the city. Everyone who was anyone owed Kathy Stiles a favour.

‘I am truly sorry.’ She squeezed his hand, unsure what else to say.

‘I’ve got a question for you.’

‘Anything? What do you need? What is it?’

‘Is my apartment in better or worse shape than I am?’

‘Your apartment can be repaired and replaced. You cannot.’

‘Know any good workmen? I might need a bit of help fitting the wheelchair ramps.’ Irving smirked, swerving to dodge a swat from Kathy. He became worryingly aware for the first time since opening his eyes just how little of his body he could feel. He stretched his arms out to test them; bending, twisting and wiggling everything possible. All seemed to be in working order. Then he moved onto his toes, commanding them to dance under the thin blanket. Nothing. Irving asked his knees to bend, but there was no response. Nothing Irving asked of his lower body was permitted. He was communicating, screaming internally at anything below his hips to move – even a little – but nothing happened, and nothing kept happening. His jokes about a wheelchair ramp now seemed naïve.

‘I’m never going to walk again, am I?’ It was a question but he didn’t want to hear the answer, and she didn’t give him one. Kathy had told him plain and simple that he was paralysed, but his mind had chosen – much like his legs – not to listen.  She sat silently holding his hand, and finally, let her own tears flow. Irving’s tears soon followed suit.

They were eventually interrupted by his doctor, an hour too late to break the news to Irving himself. Irving was deaf to his commiseration and feeble strategies for recovery. Nothing in his medical toolkit could make walk Irving walk again. He just wanted to go home and fix his apartment, to have a large glass of whisky and to keep helping young Ric with the mystery of the long dead. Perhaps even return to work with witty quips about his new wheels and recant brave and elaborate tales to his eager students. Instead, Irving politely let the doctor say his piece, nodding every twenty words or so. Once the doctor had left him, and Kathy had said her goodbyes – promising to return later on – Irving closed his eyes to the world and wished he had never opened them.

Immoral Immortal – PART FOUR (Jessica Rabbit Flash Fiction)

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here. 

Read Part Three here.

immoral immortal

It didn’t take long for the mysterious woman to make the local newsbytes.

Newsbytes streamed twenty-four hours a day, every day. Every little thing that happened in your section made it on the news. But a strange woman dressed like a Ward in weird clothing grabbed the headlines. Pushing aside the otherwise breaking news that someone had broken into a boarded-up library and stolen several books, Jessica Rabbit was all over the newsbytes.

 

The newsflash gleamed across Ric and Professor Irving’s lenses and they accepted the update. ‘WOMAN IN RED – READ NOW?’ They both blinked twice and the story was available.

‘EYEWITNESSES SAY THE GHOST OF AN OLD-EARTH SERIAL KILLER IS ROAMING THE STREETS.’ ‘WIFE OF JOURNALIST SAYS ‘MY HUSBAND WENT TO MEET HER AND NEVER CAME HOME.’ ‘MORE DISAPPEARANCES HAPPENING DAILY.’  ‘WOMAN IN RED KIDNAPPING MEN IN THE NIGHT.’ ‘HEAD-WARD, MISTRESS LUNA, CLAIMS THE SUSPECT IS NOT A ROGUE WARD.’ ‘MORE TO FOLLOW.’

They both blinked twice once more and the story slid away from their vision and the professor’s apartment came back into view.

‘We need to find her.’

‘As always Ric, you stated the obvious.’

‘Alright, old man.’ Ric jeered, a smirk on his face. Despite the professor’s aged features, he was only twelve years older than him. Irving always said that decrepitness was the price to pay for knowledge.

‘What’s your plan, then?’

‘I will be the bait, you be the hook?’

‘You’re going to meet her, is that your grand idea?’

‘Pretty much?’

‘And to whom should I invoice your funeral costs?’

‘You.’ Ric laughed but the professor didn’t seem to be joking. ‘I’ll be fine, Irving. As long as you’ve got my back.’ He glanced up at an old-fashioned clock on Irving’s mantlepiece. ‘I’ve got to go to work – they’re going to sack me if I’m late again.’

‘You are too smart to be working in that factory.’

‘Not according to my aptitude tests.’ Ric walked over to the elevator and pressed the call button. It dinged a pleasant ding and he waited for it to arrive.

‘I wouldn’t trust those if I were you. You aren’t from this area originally – they probably allocated labour work because there was a space, not because you’re unintelligent. You would be much more at home in the education sector.’ Irving had a stern, fatherly look on his face which made Ric feel like a teenager again. Which both hurt and healed him.

‘Teaching a bunch of screen-grabbing kids? No thanks, professor. I’ll be back soon, don’t you worry, old man.’ The lift doors opened and he stepped inside, his back to the professor.

It was only as he turned back to faced Irving that he heard the first shot pierce through the living room window and his Irving in the left shoulder.

Immoral Immortal: Flash Fiction (Part 2)

Part One Summary: Ric sees a woman on the shuttle who looks just like the infamous serial killer, Ruby Bennett, whose look was modelled on the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit. Ric is left wondering whether the woman he saw was the real serial killer, still alive over 300 years later, or an imposter – both options are highly unlikely but possible.

Part Two: 

In the days that followed, Ric spent every spare moment researching Ruby Bennett, which was hard as he didn’t have Additional Education Clearance. He was a semi-skilled worker with Basic Education Level 4, with some Leisure Privileges – meaning most info stamps were out of his grasp. Ric had reached out to an old professor of his, Prof. Irving Stiles, implying it was research for a friend and was awaiting a response but didn’t hold out much hope.

In the meantime, he sought out as much as he could about Wards. He had seen them in the shuttles or on the streets, and the occasional one in a bar – but they wore a brighter red and never clothes so revealing. It was all part of the chase, the modesty, the allure of the hidden beauty under all the layers of scarves and linen robes. Men would pay a fortune just to see them naked – not even to touch them. Only the wealthiest men could afford such pleasures. Some of them even had Personal Wards – loyal only to them – but they were rare as many Wards lived in huge mansions in groups for their safety.

Ric had never considered paying for a Ward. He had encountered free-women in his youth and had even once had a wife for a brief but happy four years, but then she caught the Fire Fever during an outbreak and died. They had no children so Ric was left a widower and was free to marry again. But he never met another woman that held a candle to his departed wife, so he remained alone.

Ric kept looking for the woman on the shuttle, but after nine days of no sight of her, he began to wonder if he had made the whole thing up. Had he been dreaming; tired from a laborious day in the forest? Or had he truly seen a woman dressed as Ruby Bennett, and if so – why on earth would a woman dress as a 300-year-old serial killer from the 21st century?

Just as Ric had begun to give up, he received a comm from Irving with a vague message and an address. ‘Meet me to talk about your project. 122 34. JR D245’.

After his shift, Ric jumped on the shuttle heading North instead of South, and got off in the JR subsection. The country was divided into divisions, and then each division was split into subsections. Within each subsection were numbered blocks with individual living units. Ric headed through the streets to find Block 34. It was a much grander block than the one he lived in. it had plants out the front, and six steps leading up to huge wooden doors. It was unusual to see wood used in an almost decorative function after deforestation led to near-extinction of many species of trees. It had taken nearly two hundred years to genetically modify the spores to grow trees again, making them rare and very expensive.

Ric climbed the steps and put his thumb on the touch pad to the left of the door. The screen lit up with a keypad, and he typed in 122 for the unit number. The AI selected ‘122’ on the screen, and started to flash yellow. After a few seconds, the number turned green and Ric heard the door click open. He entered the lift and it zoomed up for a moment, and then to the left for several seconds, before stopping at 122. The lift doors opened into the unit, and Ric saw Irving sat on his sofa, surrounded by piles of faded papers and comm-screens.

‘Get in here.’ Irving said, a concerned look on his face. ‘Tell me everything you know, Ric – and don’t spare a single detail.’

Immoral Immortal: A Fantasy Crime Flash Fiction (Part One)

What would you do if you met a serial killer from the past that looked just like Jessica Rabbit?

Here is Part One of my new Flash Fiction – let me know what you think in the comments, and if you would like a Part Two. 


Immoral Immortal – Part One

As Ric looked up from the floor, a flash of deep crimson caught his gaze. He no longer found his shoes satisfying enough to ponder, and instead set to task trying to work out what he had glimpsed. A longer look intrigued him even more. He had seen pictures in the info stamps of old of the image before him. A woman in a svelte red crushed velvet dress, long auburn waves tumbling over her shoulders and black heels that would pierce even a giant’s skin. Ric often thought the shuttles in his hive were some of the cleanest, but she was out of place, making it seem dingy and dark compared to her.

Ric tried not to gawk as he attempted to remember the tale. Back in the 20th century, there was a film with a cartoon woman called Jessica Rabbit – who was apparently rather pretty and illustrious – and decades later a serial killer emerged, dazzling her victims dressed as this character. She was never caught in the twenty-five years she was active – she just disappeared one day and was never heard from again. Ric knew it couldn’t be the same woman, nearly 300 years later, but it made him wonder what would compel a woman to dress like that these days. It was hardly inconspicuous – only Wards wore red in public, and they were never left unaccompanied.

A Ward or Wardling was a member of an elite group of women, said to be the most beautiful and alluring women from all over the world. They would be chosen from their hometown as a young girl and trained and transformed into Wards. Men would pay a whole year’s wages just for an hour with a Ward. They were said to be multi-lingual, excellent dancers and able to charm men into abandoning their wives and children with just a whispered sentence in the ear of a willing man. But even Wards didn’t wear dresses like that.

Ric’s brain noticed before the rest of him had time to catch up, but the woman was slowly slinking towards him, and before he could close his mouth, she was sat on the seat next to him, her legs daintily crossed over one another. He attempted a casual nod but felt he probably looked like a seal pup begging for fish. Ric looked at his shoes again.

They were standard issue black shoes, leading to the plain black trousers and a black polo shirt. Some people chose to buy clothes themselves, but Ric had never much minded the government-issued wardrobe. He had seven of each item of clothing – in case they needed to be washed or mended. And every year he received a new pack in that year’s chosen colour. This year was black in tribute to the cenotaph of the Fallen Founders – the legendary warriors that had overthrown the monarchy and tragically lost their lives in the battles that followed.

Most people on the shuttle were wearing the same thing or had the additional black jacket for warmth. Ric was glad he hadn’t grabbed his before work that morning, as he could feel the heat swelling through his body as the woman glanced sidewards at him with a slight smile on her red lips. Several minutes passed before the shuttle began to slow and the conductor announced the next stop. Ric snuck glimpses to his left every now and then, pondering her clothes. She truly looked the part of the Jessica Rabbit killer, although he couldn’t remember the real woman’s name.

She stood up as the shuttle came to a stop and the doors slid open. Just as she reached the doors, the woman turned to face him, smiled and said, ‘Her name was Ruby Bennett’, and stepped off onto the platform.

The Elemental – Lisa Veldkamp | Cover Reveal

Cover The ElementalTime is running out, and only the Elemental can save the world.

“My name is Catherine van Dyk. I run a private massage and coaching practice in Shoreditch, London—nothing special, you would say, and you would be right. Except something terrible is about to happen to our planet, and I’m the only one who can do something about it, so no pressure. Am I going to succeed? This time I might finally be able to control the elements. I have to. To save my life. To save all our lives.”

Catherine van Dyk is an Elemental, which means she can control earth, air, fire, and water—sort of. Catherine is trying to leave her darker days behind her, but she and her friends, who have similar abilities, must try to restore balance to our world. Whether her new neighbor Tristan can help her in that has yet to be seen. Is Tristan who he says he is? With disaster on its way and only one week to go, time is running out. For Catherine, for her friends, for all of us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

lisa

Lisa is the author of the poetry collections Nothing is Forgotten and When Words Start to Sing, and The Elemental, part I of The Fire Trilogy. This is her first short story for teenagers, The Bridge Between Yesterday and Tomorrow. She has a background in social services and music, but writing has always been a part of her daily life. One night she dreamed the outlines of The Elemental and took it as a sign from the Universe to pursue a career in writing.

She grew up in a small town in the Netherlands where her parents always taught her to think outside the box. She has a degree in social studies and joined the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids as an adult.

Lisa loves London—according to her, “the city where magic dwells”—and can often be found there. She still resides in the Netherlands, however, with her partner and their dog, Miss Ginger Rogers, and if you’re lucky, you may find her in her favourite coffeehouse, Barista cafe.

Lisa is also a freelance copywriter for CAPSLOC, a music venue in The Netherlands, and an editor for Folk Harp Folks, a magazine published by The Dutch Folk Harp society.

***

I am honoured to be helping Lisa with her cover reveal! A fantastic author with a great idea!

Find out more at: www.the-elemental.co.uk

Watch the book trailer here: 

RELEASE DATE: HALLOWEEN, OCTOBER 31 2015

 

The Train (short story)

The sound echoed through the tunnel before it even reached it. Like a ghost train just one second out of sync with the rest of the world. Commuters shuffled forward, ready to hassle their way on, trying to guess where the doors might emerge and always getting it wrong by a few feet.

A woman with grass-coloured eyes and orange-y hair stood back, letting the other people rush forward as the train pulled into the station. I’ll get the next one, too many people. Always too many people. She rounded her shoulders back and begged for the tension to leave her body. Her rucksack tugged at her trapped a few curly tendrils as she moved, but she didn’t pull it out of the way. The pain itched her skull a little in a ticklish way. She nodded her head forward slightly and it tickled again.

The commuters stuffed themselves inside their metal cage of travel, some listening to music, others reading newspapers in awkward positions. No one speaks to each other. Not like in the old days. People used to be so much nice in the 1800’s. The orange-haired woman watched them pack themselves in like bees in a hive, noisy but not communicating. All aiming for that goal, for the honey, but never quite reaching it.

The train pulled away, leaving behind a foul stench of grease and hot metal. More people were already filling the platform, but only about twenty or so. The woman observed the people, getting on with their lives with their suits and their briefcases. Everything she owned was in her rucksack, belongings didn’t mean much to someone who was always on the move. Two hundred and twenty years of running away. She wasn’t even sure what she was running from any more.

Another ghost train escaped the tunnel in a cloud of noise, followed by the real thing. She took five steps forward, and waited for the metal doors to approach her. The train screeched to a halt, and expelled hot air as suited men and women, teenagers with backwards caps, and women with pushchairs exited the metal train. She stepped to one side to allow people passed, and then entered the train herself. Time to run away again. The doors snapped closed behind her and she closed her eyes as the metal cage took her away from the station to a new home, a new job and a new identity.

If you like this style of writing and want to see me write more short pieces, please tell me in the comments below!

Interview With An Author: Lisa Collicutt

 

Lisa Collicutt

Lisa Collicutt Bio:

Lisa likes to write dark and twisted tales of magic and romance. She has a passion for Young Adult and New Adult Paranormal.

When she’s not conjuring tales about witches, demons, and other magical beings, she can be found leathered, and bound to the back of her husband’s Harley, touring her homeland of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Enter Lisa’s imagination where light ends and fantasy begins. But heed these warnings… its dark, it’s magical, you may experience tingles.

 

What got you into writing?

 I’ve always wanted to write, but never thought I could, so I didn’t really try early in life life. But my love of reading fantasy and paranormal eventually won over. There have always been stories in my head, and now I’m so grateful I get to write them for the world to read.

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Who’s your favourite author?

 My favorites have become the hundreds of writers I hang out with on social media—too numerous to mention. But I do admire Ann Rice and Bertrice Small, and all the writers of the Dragon Lance saga.

 

What’s your writing routine?

 I have a day job, so I try and write whenever I can, no specific routine. For instance, today is Sunday, and a glorious sunny day. I turned down a motorcycle day trip with my husband and friends to work on the 3rd book in a series I’m working on . . . sigh.

 

Tea or Coffee?

 Ugh! This is a bitter subject for me. I’m allergic to both—caffeine in general, which means, yup, you guessed it—chocolate. *insert sad face here*. The warm melty goodness gives me migraines. But I do like herbal teas, and drink lots of room temperature water with lemon slices.

 

What’s your writing process?

 I’m a loose plotter, which means that I don’t much plot at all. So far in all the years that I’ve written, I haven’t had to think up my next book, so I’m lucky there. My head is brimming with ideas, and I have many works in progress waiting for me to be cloned. I usually start with an idea that comes to me out of the blue, and run from there. My characters take charge of their own fate after that, mostly when I’m trying to sleep at night. Sometimes I have the title first, other times it will come to me as I write. I keep lots of notes, from my computer desk, to anywhere else in the house, to the car, purse, and my desk at work. Most of them never get looked at again. There is no step-by-step process with me.

I do a lot of re-reading over my work, and editing along the way. Some writers find this distracting, and in a way it is, but I can’t go on where I left off, if I didn’t read over what I wrote last. I write smoothly this way.

 TDF

Tell us a little bit about your latest book.

 I’m in the middle of two series, one I’m co-writing The Serendipitous Curse series with Aiden James, and the other is all mine. Let’s start with that one. The Devil’s Flower is the 1st book available in the Eternal Beings trilogy. Having been around motorcycles most of my life, I wanted to write a unique story about bikers. With my love of fantasy, I decided to incorporate leather-wearing, weapon-brandishing angels and demons that ride bikes and break the law on a daily basis.

The Serendipitous Curse series is set in modern day and past day Savannah Georgia, about a man who, through the magic of Hoodoo, discovers a horrific past.

 

How long did it take you to write? Did you have any problems with the story?

 It takes me about six months to complete a story, ready for edit. The only problem, I would say, and they’re not really problems, is writing about places I’ve never been to including different time periods. There is a lot of research that goes in to any one of my books, for various reasons.

 

Are your friends and family supportive of your writing career?

 Writing has become a regular part of my life, therefore my family and friends lives. Most are supportive, in that they let me run ideas by them, read my work as I write and pick out any mistakes. They share my posts on social media and they buy my books.

 

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life?

 I’m glad I have a job to get up and go to every day, but I wouldn’t complain if one day I found myself at a stage where I could write as a career and have more free time for me. I’ve missed out on family functions, sunny days with friends, and life in general, but I’d never give up writing.

 

Are you self-published or with an agent? Tell us about it

 Neither. So far in my writing career, I’m published (without an agent) with Curiosity Quills Press.

 

How do you keep motivated?

 My love of writing keeps me motivated. That, accompanied by my imagination and readers who want something unique to read.

 Thanks Lisa!

Lisa’s contact details:
Website – http://darkedgedromance.blogspot.ca/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Lisa_Collicutt

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheGatheringDarkness

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6525721.Lisa_Collicutt

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Collicutt/e/B009NMIQKM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1402258962&sr=1-2-ent

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/lisa-collicutt?store=allproducts&keyword=lisa+collicutt

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/the-devil-s-flower

 

Missed the last one? Don’t worry – you can read them all here.