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Under the Candles by Selena Taylor

Under the Candles via Flash PromptThe afternoon from hell was finally wrapping up and crashing into night. Today was supposed to have been her day. The best day of her life. Except “best” had been completely skipped and she had been given “crappiest.”

He wanted the outdoor wedding. He wanted the vows to be exchanged at dusk.  He wanted her dress to be dark red instead of a white one.

He also wanted her maid of honor, her sister, and his co-worker Lauren.

He wanted so much.

Her dress now represented the blood she wished she could spill.

She thanked the stars that they’d never actually spoken the “I do’s.”

What kind of life would she have had with that kind of man? The thought gave her chills. She snorted, appreciating  the sudden irony: just yesterday, she couldn’t have envisioned her life without him.

The remaining guests were getting drunk and she was right there with them.

He, on the other hand, was gone.  He’d been outed as the controlling bully he was, and embarrassed in front of his family, but his embarrassment was nothing compared to hers. She’d been treated like a possession – a mindless doll – humiliated, and made to feel like a fool.

Open bottle of wine clutched in her hand, she let her wandering feet carry her to the place where he’d wanted their vows to be exchanged. Under the candles, which were hanging from trees. Under the candles with their sickly, glowing light that was already attracting bugs.

She stood under the candles a free woman instead of a married one.

She stood under them, and she smiled. Then she lifted the bottle in a toast to herself and turned to go.

At the edge of the candlelight, where the waxy warmth merged with the cool night air, she raised her free hand and gave the candles the bird.

About the author, Selena Taylor

Selena TaylorSelena Taylor is a wife, a mother, and a woman who strives to tell the many stories that occupy her mind. She is active in the Rhett & Link fandom and appreciates dark humor.  She and her family live in Illinois, where she takes every opportunity to lose herself under the stars and let her imagination run wild. For more from Selena, check her out on Facebook.

 

 

 

Dark Hope by Selena Taylor

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

I was made from evil, to do evil for good. It might seem complicated, but really it isn’t.

I walked from the darkness into the light. The only one of my kind.

I am the one who tricks the humans who steal innocence.  I am never kind to those humans. My duty is to make their worst nightmares come true. I  love to spice it up and make the nightmares more extravagant.

I was made shortly after the Fall. There was not much law to the land those days, so I had my work cut out for me. Still, it was nothing like today. When I look back now, I think maybe humanity is never going to get better.

I do not have a link to these humans, so it is always by word of mouth, or by what I see during my wanderings, that my targets are chosen.

Or at least, it was.

Technology has changed things.

Before, I had to stalk the humans I was targeting.

Now-a-days, I only have to go online and find where they live.  With over 7 billion people on this single world, I tend to pick off the big guys the most. It’s the trickle-down effect really. Take out the ones who set up the human trafficking rings, the men who make their living as destroyers of hope and murderers of innocence.

Those do take the most time.  They make me long for more powers, something I’ve rarely done during my long existence.

What powers do I mean? Well, I really possess only three:

  1. Ability to change how I look
  2. Stronger then any human.
  3. Knowing if they are innocent or guilty

It would be nice if I could just think them all dead, or… it would be a lot easier, anyway.

Oh well.

Guess hard jobs must be done the hard way.

I do not hide in the shadows like those nasty humans do. I confront them directly, and make them pay.  I have had small children cling to me – yes,  me the thing of evil! –  as if I was their last hope. Sad, really, that a demon is their hope at all, first, last, or otherwise. I tell them they are worth it, and to stand strong in the light. I promise them that true justice has come to set them free.

In between my targeted hits on the pedophiles and human traffickers of this world, in between the hours spent planning and learning – following their habits and mapping their routines – I take care of the small-time creeps, too. The casual sex offenders, the ones who have to be on lockdown when kids are out to play.

Those are easy pickings, thanks to the general helpfulness of the Internet. I  wake up in the morning, make my coffee, sit at my desk and go to the website they have to register on, and by the afternoon they have paid their dues.

See, it is not that complicated.

Really.

But the list is long.

And I do ask for patience, since there is only me.

The hour grows late. Perhaps it’s time for a light dinner, before I venture out once more?

About the author, Selena Taylor

Selena TaylorSelena Taylor is a wife, a mother, and a woman who strives to tell the many stories that occupy her mind. She is active in the Rhett & Link fandom and appreciates dark humor.  She and her family live in Illinois, where she takes every opportunity to lose herself under the stars and let her imagination run wild. For more from Selena, check her out on Facebook.

High Heels by Selena Taylor

Shoes in Shop Window by Connel Design via 123RF.com

For a few years I had been keeping an eye out for a new pair of shoes. High heels, in fact.

I told my soon-to-be husband that I was on an endless hunt for the perfect pair: the color that would look best against my skin, the heel that was neither too high nor too low, the toe that was either open enough to give the precise amount of ‘toe cleavage,’ or closed, but not too round or too pointy.

He asked, “How will you know?”

It was a fair question.

It was early afternoon, but I paused and looked toward a sunset only I could see, searching for an answer that would make sense. Finally, sighing, I said, “I will just know.”

He followed my gaze. “What are you doing?” he asked, confused. (It did look like I was staring at nothing.)

“Giving a dramatic answer, accompanied by the view of a fake sunset,  with a fake  slight breeze to move a couple strands of hair.”

He was skeptical, mouthing, Okay. But then he smiled at me and pointed out, “The sunset, um, fake sunset, would be behind you. A soft chuckle escaped his throat.

I moved to the correct position. “Thank you.”

It went on like that for a couple years. Every shopping trip would find me staring into shoe-store windows, and touring the shoe sections in each department store.

Then, one day at the mall, something caught my eye: a shimmer – no, a sparkle.

I shifted my gaze to look directly at that heaven-sent sparkle. Above it, there’s a beautiful gold and black animal print – perfect. The heel was skinny, but not pencil-thin.

I could not hear anything, and my vision had become impaired – blurry. Could these be my shoes?

I moved closer to the shoe display, and stood right in front of that pair of heels, gasping for air.  to the heels. I stood before them gasping for air. My hands shook with anticipation. My left pointer finger gently, no – teasingly –  stroked the satin fabric. Ohhhh! My vision became even more blurry. I felt wetness on my cheeks, and, reaching up, I realized I was crying.

As if at a distance, I heard my fiancé ask the store clerk if the shoes were available in my size. I didn’t hear the whole conversation, but the clerk disappeared, and I was left with the agony of waiting for his return.

Finally, he was standing in front of me, and offering a box.

I was guided to a chair. Seated, I slipped my foot out of the shoe I was already wearing, and removed my sock, replacing it with a clean stocking. I feel dazzled. I want these shoes!

The clerk knelt before me with one high-heeled shoe in his hand. Gently, he placed it on my foot, and I pressed down, adjusting until it was firmly in place. We repeat the process with the other shoe, my other foot.  Oh, the thrill and ecstasy!

I stand and then I take the first steps, trying them on, trying them out. Glancing to my side I walk with new-found confidence to the mirror. I wiped my tears away, and saw myself in all my high-heeled glory.

Oh! Was that my butt? Is it just a bit more perky? Why, yes, it is! And oh! Look at my calves. It was as if those shoes were magic. (I tell you, I just about died.)

I don’t know how long I stared in the mirror, but eventually my fiancé reminded me that we had to leave, that the shoes had to go back in the box. A tearful goodbye started to happen; I wanted to wear them forever.

With a small groan, I sat back down and took them off, closing them into the darkness of the box.

I expect the clerk to reclaim them, but instead, my fiancé said we were taking them. He bought them for me, and presented me with the bag, looking at me expectantly.

I crushed the bag to my chest, holding those shoes to my heart. “I told you I would know.”

That was seven years ago. My then-fiancé  is my now-husband.

And the shoes? They’re still the greatest pair of high heels ever. I haven’t replaced them. I couldn’t if I tried.

About the author, Selena Taylor

Selena TaylorSelena Taylor is a wife, a mother, and a woman who strives to tell the many stories that occupy her mind. She is active in the Rhett & Link fandom and appreciates dark humor.  She and her family live in Illinois, where she takes every opportunity to lose herself under the stars and let her imagination run wild. For more from Selena, check her out on Facebook.

Orion by Selena Taylor

Orion by Ian C. Grey

She runs her fingers through her hair, making sure to pull it back in a lazy bun. As she pulls her hair up, she checks that her children are snuggled under their blankets, pretending to sleep. Smiling, she turns the lights off and says goodnight one more time.

When she enters the living room, her husband is starting to get up. He gathers his cup, which is in need of a refill, and his phone. He walks to the kitchen with her right behind him. He places the items down and reaches for his jacket.

They stay quiet – no need fill the silence.

He opens the garage and walks out to the chill spring night.  His jacket is quickly zipped up. She, on the other hand, finds the cool air refreshing.

A cigarette finds its way to his mouth. She turns as he brings a flame to the end. The warm glow gives way to a small orange tip. With his first puff taken, she turns away and tilts her head up to the night sky.

The stars begin to whisper their stories to her and she relays them to him. He stands quiet, only taking puffs every so often, but with a small smile. He does not question her stories; he only lets her go wild with them.

As the short stories come to an end she points up and quietly says “there he is.”

He knows what she means. Her favorite constellation, Orion.  Her other love. Her stars.

Spinning quickly, she watches him flick the cigarette.  Stomping out the cherry, they both shuffle to the house.

Soon, Orion will be gone for the summer, but she will always have her husband.

She will always have the man who will quietly listen to her stories, under the supervision of the stars.

Image Credit: Ian C. Grey

About the author, Selena Taylor

Selena TaylorSelena Taylor is a wife, a mother, and a woman who strives to tell the many stories that occupy her mind. She is active in the Rhett & Link fandom and appreciates dark humor.  She and her family live in Illinois, where she takes every opportunity to lose herself under the stars and let her imagination run wild. For more from Selena, check her out on Facebook.

 

Flight by Selena Taylor

 Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_steffe82'>steffe82 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

She watched the horizon. She did not stop looking to it.

For months, she had helped her child learn to spread his wings and fly. Her barn was filled with insane contraptions that mimicked wing stretches, wing lifting, and gliding motions.  As a mere human, inventing machines was the only way she could teach her child.

The first time they tried to fly, all she saw was her child falling off the barn. She reached the edge and looked down to see him lifting his head from the pile of hay where he’d landed. He shook it back and forth trying to get hay out of his scales. It was a funny moment, one of many.

There were also moments of great frustration. Her limited knowledge of the mechanics of flight made the process difficult. The fails kept piling up until the morning when a large hawk appeared over the cliff that was out beyond the boundaries of her property.

Together, they watched the bird soar and glide over the land.

Her child began to walk toward it. She wanted to stop him, so that she could be the reason he learned. But, no, she couldn’t.

Smiling, she waved him off to follow the hawk. Within a day, she saw her child fly in the sky.

They both rejoiced, each in their way.

Now she was waiting – staring at the distant horizon, waiting for her child to return home. And praying that he would. Towards the horizon…

She knew the tradition, of course. Once those who had wings had learned to fly, they traveled to the island of Draflo. There, they would receive more magic, absorb more knowledge.

Her aging mother and her younger brother had come to see her child off, sharing her delight in the moment he had achieved true flight. But they were not his mother. They did not join in her vigil by the cliff.

The weather turned.

A fierce wind came, bringing with it dark clouds. Her mother left the shelter of their house to beseech her with gentle words: Come inside. Rest. The older woman could feel it in her bones, she said, deep cold and heavy rain were not long off.

She only shook her head, no.

The rain did come, and it was cold, and it was heavy.

Her clothes were soaked. Her hair stuck to her neck and back, the wet weight of it chilling her even further.

Still, she stayed on the cliff.

Her brother came to join her, imploring her to go inside. She would surely die, if she remained at watch.

Another storm came, larger than the first, with winds strong enough that part of the barn was damaged. For a moment, she panicked, concerned for the machines, only to remember that they were no longer needed.

Her brother changed his approach, becoming angry with her. He argued that the child was not worth the price of her life. He insisted it wasn’t even truly hers.

She spoke no words aloud.

But in her head, she was seething: Not hers? Of course the child was hers. Did they bear the same blood? No. But he was hers nonetheless.

The storm that raged around them now was just like the one that had brought her child in the first place.

She had been running, chasing the killer of her husband and infant son. The storm that hid the murderer led her to the cave that sheltered her new child.

He was near death when she found him. His breath was weak and cold. There was no meat to him. His scales were falling off.

Maternal instinct kicked in, and she knew.

She knew.

He was hers.

Her brother turned to leave her, and she let him go.

She caught sight of an object coming over the cliff. She squinted her eyes and lifted her hand to shield them from the rain.

It was him. She was certain of it.

She ran toward the cliff-edge to meet him, but the lightning came closer, the strikes coming more frequently.

She did not fear it.

All that mattered was that her child was coming home.

It was the last bolt that hit him. It was bright and fast. Her scream boomed over the thunder.

Not her child!

She searched the sky: nothing.  She searched the sea: nothing.

Her sobs racked through her.

Not again.

No!

Not again!

When the earth became loose, she did not step back from the edge. She let herself fall.

The air scoured her skin as she plummeted toward rocky shore below, but she embraced the pain. Another child was gone. Physical pain couldn’t touch maternal grief.

She never felt the rocks or freezing water. She only felt warmth and a pulsating wind. Soon, she was back at the cliff-side, surrounded by scales, and wrapped in leathery wings.

Opening her eyes, she met his: black as ebony, with tiny gold flecks.

She knew those eyes; they belonged to her child.

She smiled, and took stock of him. He was different somehow… Stronger, maybe? And when she took a closer look at his scales she noticed blue lights darting across them.

She put her finger in the path of the light, and felt tingles down her arm.

Lightning.

Her child was not only flying, but he had lightning coursing through him.

Her child.

Her dragon son.

About the author, Selena Taylor

Selena TaylorSelena Taylor is a wife, a mother, and a woman who strives to tell the many stories that occupy her mind. She is active in the Rhett & Link fandom and appreciates dark humor.  She and her family live in Illinois, where she takes every opportunity to lose herself under the stars and let her imagination run wild. For more from Selena, check her out on Tumblr or follow her on Twitter.

Always Have a Spotter by Selena Taylor

https://unsplash.com/@pjrvs

To an uninformed observer, it would have seemed that Death’s walk along the lakeshore was lazy, that his approach to the lady on the beach was almost casual.

“Good morning, 34,” Death greeted her.

“Good morning. You can call me Liana.”

“34, names are useless.” His tone was flat. Bored, even.

The lady formerly known as Liana gave Death a look that was about ten percent surprise and ninety percent disappointment. Then she sighed. “For a moment, I thought you were going to be nice.”

The other rolled his eyes. “I am Death,” he intoned. “When is that ever nice?”

“Point taken.” 34 dropped into a seated position on the beach, burrowing into the sand with her bare toes. “My stupid neighbor left his fishing line out. I couldn’t see it, and wound up caught in it. Tangled, really.”

Death’s tone remained detached. “You don’t say.”

Number 34 gave him a look that left no doubt of her mood. I am pissed off, her expression telegraphed. When the other didn’t bother to respond, she chose not to dwell on her mood. She looked back at the water. It had been still before, calm, but now a small johnboat was on the lake, moving toward the fishing line. “Looks like he’s going to reel in that line, now.”

“Looks like,” Death agreed. “He’ll find a nice surprise waiting.”

They both chuckled at his statement.

34 knew that her neighbor was about to fish her physical form out of the water, but if Death had no use for names, she had no use for the activity off shore. Instead, she looked to the sky, and asked, “What are those bright white lights?”

Death followed her skyward gaze. “Those?” he responded in a dry tone. “They’re souls about to be born.”

She accepted his answer. After a moment, she said. “I was a light once.” It wasn’t a question.

Death confirmed it with a nod.

“What about you?” she asked. “Were you ever one of those lights, Death?”

He was taken aback, but he didn’t bother to answer. Instead he redirected her attention to the water. “Looks like he has found you, 34.”

34 pulled her feet from the sand and stood up, standing almost shoulder to shoulder with Death as they both watched the scene unfold.

The fisherman’s apparently silent agitation irked her. “This would be so much more satisfying if I could at least hear him scream.” She paused. “He is screaming, right?”

Death smirked. “Oh. He’s definitely screaming.” He watched for a few seconds longer. “If it’s worth anything,” he told her, “it’s a high-pitched shrieking sort of scream.”

The lady now known as 34 cracked a smile. “Yeah,” she said. “It is.”

They turned around.

About the author, Selena Taylor

Selena TaylorSelena Taylor is a wife, a mother, and a woman who strives to tell the many stories that occupy her mind. She is active in the Rhett & Link fandomand appreciates dark humor.  She and her family live in Illinois, where she takes every opportunity to lose herself under the stars and let her imagination run wild. For more from Selena, check her out on Tumblr or follow her on Twitter.

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