How can you go wrong giving some carefully-selected person, loved or otherwise, a Chia pet?
If they're children, they will see the miracle of life with anticipatory excitement.
If they're adults, they will think of you (if you know what I mean... maybe) every time they look at it.
If they're intellectuals, they will wax philosophical about anthropomorphism.
If they're dullards, they'll be fascinated.
If they're adolescents, they'll have something new to try in the pipe.
If they're businessmen, they'll pine for missed business opportunities.
If they're women, they'll be seduced.
If they're men, they will finally own a plant.
The best gift...
It is a widely maintained secret, circulated, but never stated explicitly, among those in the know, in the higher echelons of gift giving-- you know, The Martha Stewart's, The Rachel Ray's, The Doctor Phil's, The Oprah Winfrey's, of the world-- that the best gift, hands down, whether for close friend or family member, or co-worker, or teacher, or other necessary recipient, for whom you have such difficulty picking precisely --of course with careful consideration as to brand, and package, and other minor details, as to size and name--- is of course, the scented candle. Always good for regifting.
The Wendigo’s Prey
The forest is so quiet but my heart is hammering. I can see my breath as clear as the snow, I pant gasping for air. I need to catch my breath. I quickly turn a corner and slam my back against a tree. Some snow falls from its branches above me. How long have I been running for? It feels like hours. I can't even think straight with this insatiable hunger. God, what do I do? I don’t even know where it came from. Or for that matter, what it is. All I can do is replay the scene in my head again and again.
Watching it from afar. It ripped him up barbarically desecrating chunks out of a corpse that now resembled nothing of a man but a bloody pile. Blood like wine dripped from its face, staining it, as it devoured an arm. I needed to run but I couldn’t move. I stood eyes unwavering. The stench might have made me question my sobriety if I wasn’t already so high on adrenaline. It shred off some other cadaver, ready to stuff it into its face, then stopped. It stopped, not moving at all. Suddenly it snapped its head my way. It had no eyes but it looked straight at me. That’s when I began to run. I ran and ran, feet stumbling through the heavy snow. I never looked back but the picture was still fresh in my mind, a tall humanoid figure hunched over. It’s skin, rotten and thin, if any at all. Its long slender arms hung by its feet carrying massive claws that would rip me to bits in seconds. Its back, mostly covered in decaying fur, did nothing to hide its tremendous rib cage filled with ice. But the image I would never forget; its head was but a deer skull., its antlers like branches, rigid and pale, a skull full of cracks and holes. Empty.
Now I’m in the middle of the forest, lost and starving. I’d eat just about anything right now. I pause, wait, where did it go? There’s no way I lost it. Another pause. My eyes widen as I realize, the stench is still there. In fact it’s stronger than ever. As if I’m in it, but that can’t be possible. Itd surely have wolfed me down by now if it were near. I slowly take a small step and look around carefully. I falter as something catches my eye. It’s tracks. In the snow. It’s here. I quickly start to jog away still with much caution. As I speed up, my leg gets caught on a branch and I’m thrown to the ground. I land hard on some ice, that'll surely leave a mark. There’s no time. It's here. I’m quick to my feet but… in the ice. It’s there. In the reflection. Its skull looking back at me. Empty.
Intro to the Evolution of the Hunt: EVO 101
Our lecture today is on the various perceptions of the phenomenon of The Hunt.
We previously examined the psychology of early man, as hunter/gatherer. We concluded that the distinction between the two is negligible. A cycle of life is arrested in either case. Of course, we pointed out that we cannot speak as well to the suffering of plant life in the plucking and knifing, as well as we can bear witness to the duress of the animal kingdom.
Only Man remains as Killer, we established having consciousness, and conscience, rather than consciousness and instinct. Early Man seldom found himself in the position of The Hunted, unless straying from the safety of the group structures (physical barriers and social constructs). This vulnerability is best recognized broadly. The Hunter must step outside to marginalized venues to practice The Hunt. And the criminal mind is not far from that mentality of similarly stalking the periphery.
The Killer seeks the gaps of safety net from which to make his Take.
Now, where the psychology becomes very interesting, is where the Hunted goes on the hunt for The Hunter. Whether "criminal" or not, this is known commonly as the Ourobus Complex. Among the more notable cases, is that of Admiral Leane, who in water deprived delirium, did not realize that the Lion he was after, was in fact looping in on his trail. This ended tragically for both the Hunter and the Hunted, when game wardens were notified, from the helicopter.
But a more interesting case, previously classified, is that of Arthur X, who began to stalk himself, perceiving his person as an anonymous stranger out to get himself. Every slightest vague reflection of his self, whether in window or cutlery, provoked in him repressed agitation.
Oddly the release of that tension was not the physical attack of said images. Rather he chose a blunt instrument, plotting his demise with a pen. A Hunt known as Slander. This is of course an extreme case.
FFF#8 The Hunt challenge @ChrisSadhill
*no facts were sacrificed in the writing of this fiction
Raindrops replaced tears as she traced memories along the window. I lent her my hand while I drove. Her reflection revealed the weight of the past year. Silhouettes camouflaged her face; our daughter’s ghost stained it— a flood damming at the corners of her eyes. She’d been strong until today, the anniversary of Anastasia’s murder. I parked adjacent to a dimly lit warehouse, interrupting her mournful trance.
“Where are we David?”
“You’ll see. I’ve gotta surprise that’ll cheer you up. C’mon.”
We entered through the backdoor. Before us sat our daughter’s killer tied up, a red bow around his neck.
The bomb exploded right beside me. Throwing me violently off my feet. I was stunned momentarily.
How did you find me?
Did I not flit through the trees fast enough?
Were you watching me the whole time?
I carefully searched my body for injury. I'm okay, a bit shaken. My ears are ringing terribly. But I'm alive. Intact.
I roll on my stomach in the dirt
The recent storm had caused the area to turn muddy, slippery.
I found no obvious sign of trespass in my vicinity, so I ran.
My vision, a bit fuzzy at first clears as I vacate the area.
Yet you were close. I could feel you. I stopped quick and surveyed my surroundings.
I see your shadow at o six hundred.
You were fast, but not fast enough.
Adrenaline surges through me,
The hunt is on!
I backtrack around the trees.
Following you now.
The hunted, now becomes the hunter! I move ghost-like, silent and deadly. My breaths pass from my lips in short, carefully channeled bursts.
Energy pulses through my limbs, allowing me a nimbleness unknown to most. Only the highest skilled, highly trained soldiers of war.
Bodies hewn with steel. The result of many years of combat, of covert operations. Moving in the shadows
of the hidden military world.
I see the opportunity to strike. I don't hesitate.
I pull my special edition, long range from my pack quickly.
I instantly adjust the scope, steady my mind and body. My grip tightens on the trigger.
I exhale. Boom...
My finger pushes the lever, releasing the instrument of your demise.
Too late you sense the threat.
Your head turns to a sound.
The bullet kisses neatly into your temple.
Your down now, gravely injured.
I've bested you my worthy opponent! I walk to you, seeing how your short gasps speak of your fatal injury.
I- "Benjamin!?" "Benjamin Micheal Stafford, where are you!?"
"I'm here ma, just playing with Roger!"
"Well it's time to go!"
"You better not be dirty!"
I look down at myself, my dress shirt and formal pants a ruined muddy mess.
Damn! Why do I always get caught up in stuff like this!Damn! Why do I always get caught up in stuff like this!
I looked for my foe, he was yards away. The stain from our modified water guns, made to shoot balls of slime adorned his left temple.
He laughed gleefully, realizing he was able to escape total annihilation.
"Benjamin, do you hear me?"
"You need to get in here NOW!"
I knew that tone. It brooked no argument.
I turned to him again, watched his retreating back. Until next time my friend!..
The Renegade Christmas Gift
Ashley's grandmama would die. Just. Die if she'd reneged to wear her generously parted ruby Holly brooch to the Holiday social hosted at her West Side penthouse every year.
Which was exactly what her dastardly and jealous little sister had been planning when she'd stolen the precious item from right her very nose. Pilfering it from her expansive jewelry collection.
Surely she'd do away with the item after that, wishing nothing at all to do with the crime.
And so her search had first led her to the holdings dear Felicity owned. Meager scraps that didn't require all that much savvy or prowess. Given, her sister was quite the washy sort that wanted to be a homemaker of all things. Besides, she'd been diagnosed with some disability or another. Perhaps afflicting her reading.
Grandmother and Mom, everyone really, spoiled her too much.
She pressed the employees, a bit rough but the end results well justified such heinous behavior. She would apologize later.
A girl had finally confessed. And as was due Ashley was no longer the fuming, powerful heiress with powers akin to a wrathful God.
She had softened, generously thanked her and made sure to put in a good word with the feeble, terror struck manager.
Now, she forayed into the pawn shops of lower Los Angeles.
Esme had barely moved to the city.
Her Father was still just a bit heartbroken, quite a rare sight. And one she never hesitated to poke a bit of good natured fun at.
It was just hilarious! How beneath such smarm and finesse was a sentimental, washy pile of goo with a lot of money.
It had been a lot to get used to but she managed.
However, she wanted to take adulthood by her own terms and her own two feet.
She lived with two men and another woman in an apartment. No the guys were not gay! Nor were they brothers.
Her job paid well, though when she had first seen such a beautiful jewel on the display window, very accidentally, on her commute route she just knew.
Catalina. She did most of the chores in their apartment, was the youngest, but never asked for a single thing. Money was tight on her end since she was paying for college, estranged from most-- she'd had to start fresh.
That Christmas night, due early for their first holiday season together she snatched it up from the pawn shop.
On her way was some ridiculous spat between two women. Something or another about breeding and marriage.
There was this ridiculous hierarchy about old and new money.
Her position in a solidly middle class lifestyle kept her and her friends well out of it.
A woman careened into her from the street, coming at a blazing pace and hands clasped firm around the Holly jewel.
A genuine ruby, which likely even the shop hadn't known, was just robbed from her!
The fleece coat individual clacked hurriedly before entering a personal car.
Business As Usual
I want what you have
You have what I want
It's a formula for trouble brewing
Calligraphic summons, graphic font
I like what you do
You do what I like
It's a formula for rage imbuing
And usurpation when I strike
Don't look for me a'coming
You won't see me but feel the brunt
You'll wonder what I'm doing
You are the feckless I hunt
The world is full of hunters who see
In a blinded world of clueless prey
The fittest will survive the chewing
The eaters live another day
I had a dream. Yet..again. I was being hunted.
It has been a usual occurrence at this point. I go to bed, fall asleep, and then comes the bizarre visions. Different, every time. The visuals, that I mistake for reality, are so intense that I wake up in a cold sweat. This time was again going to be no different, but I was wrong. This was worse. The crippling fear that I could not shake after waking up, the shivers that sent a chill down my spine still alive, and his voice...the most chilling one I've ever heard, was unlike anything before. The man before me, this man I'd never met before, the one who joined me in my dream..was very much real. And now, he is there..standing across the street. Dressed in a black suit, with his black hair set in, his calm appearance was so opposite to what he is inside, it made my blood run dry. How can anyone ever recognise a predator among the crowd when they just look like everyone else, when they look so contrasting to what they are truly capable of.
I turned back, it doesn't matter if I get late for the classes. The priority here is avoiding the visions I saw in my dream. I cannot let that man see me. I continued on my path, behind the buildings, inside the alleys, If I only reach that spot. The spot that was my safe space. I kept looking around and behind to make sure he wasn't around, that he wasn't following me. Until I got close to my destination, my spot..nothing. Relief surrounded me when I finally got close, but then the relief turned into horror. I froze.. for a second. My breathing, irregular in its track, started choking me on its own. That man..the object of my fear, was there..sitting inside my safe spot. Smiling. Barring his teeth. Mumbling the words..I saw his lips move..'Found you.' And then the world around me turned to black..as I faintly heard the sound of horn and screeches..as I fell into the abyss.
I must remain quiet. Still. I take the smallest of breaths because I am afraid he can hear me if I breathe to deeply. I'm not sure how I ended up here. My hand wrapped around the safest part of this knife.
I tracked him here. Minute details that started adding up. The tally marks that began to form an army to back up the demons in my head. The demons wielded the tally marks and poked me from inside my head. "We told you so." they mocked. "We told you; you couldn't trust anyone."
And so they did.
But I like to think I am smarter than them. That I will prove them wrong as I track his location and I see him there more than once. Working late but not at the store apparently.
I knell beside a bush my knees wet as the mud soaks into my jeans. I keep telling myself to leave but I can't. I need to see him. To prove to myself the truth. To see if the demons are right. They drove me here. Followed his little dot and here we are.
I hear the door open and stop breathing altogether as he walks out the door. She is right behind him and he turns to kiss her. His hand rests on her cheek and I rise up. He must hear me breathe. Or maybe he hears my joints creak. Or it could be the demons he hears as they grasp their tally marks and scream.
His eyes fall to the blade and his lips move but I can't hear anything over the wailing in my head. I begin to move towards him and he runs. Not for his car but deep into the woods that stand on one side of the house. I take a deep breath and charge after him. The hunt is now on.