Yellow Rain Jacket

Yellow_Rain_JacketThe long yellow rain jacket fluttered out behind the agent, trailing her like a cape as she sprinted down the sidewalk with the stolen Micro SD card in her pocket. Each step stung a little in her thigh, where she assumed that she already had a bruise forming. The guard had gotten that one solid smack in before the agent had choked him out with the rain jacket and stashed his unconscious form under the desk. Someone must have found the guard though, because the alarm had been set off and the agent only barely made it out before the place had been locked down.

Now she charged down the sidewalk, three goons only steps behind. She had an escape plan, as any good agent would, but it was going to be unpleasant. She would have much rather not had to use her backup plan, but was glad to have it. When she reached the overpass, she ran out to the center and jumped over the edge. The goons were so close behind her as she slipped off the concrete surface that one almost caught the raincoat, but he missed it by centimeters. She pulled the raincoat out to her sides as she plummeted down to the highway below. It didn’t slow her enough to save the agonizing pain in her legs, nor the sting in her feet when she hit the road but it slowed her enough to not shatter her legs on impact, leaving her able to run off, though uncomfortable.

She didn’t glance up to ensure that the goons didn’t follow her, they weren’t that stupid, and she had more pressing concerns now as she dodged oncoming traffic. Some of the cars would have hit her, had she not been wearing bright yellow, but she was and they did not. She made it up the highway a short distance to where another, shorter overpass crossed the busy highway. To get to this road, the goons would have to go all the way around the lake, or get down onto the highway like she had, by that time, she planned to be in her getaway car, not a trace left of where she went.

She stripped off her rain jacket as she ran up the bank on the underside of the overpass to where a pipe ran from the surface above. She whipped the rain jacket around the pipe, wrapping it around both fists and pulled it tight. The rubberized surface of the rain jacket clung to the pole and the agent scooted her way up to the overpass. As she jogged to the awaiting car, her thigh aching and her feet throbbing, she slipped the rain jacket back on.

Later, the agent sat with her superior at a small table in a cafe that he had chosen. He was an unremarkable and forgettable looking man, chosen for those very qualities.

“I hear you ran into a little trouble,” he said, getting straight to the point.

“Nothing I couldn’t handle,” she said, handing him the Micro SD card.

“I guess not,” he said with a grin.

She didn’t like it when he grinned. His mouth spent so much time planted in an unamused flat line that smiles looked awkward, unnatural, and unpleasant. She tried her best not to show her discomfort with his grin.

He slipped the card into his pocket. “Stay in touch,” he said as he stood up.

She nodded, standing as well, trying not to show how sore her legs were.

He let his eyes wander over her yellow rain jacket for a moment, then, before turning to leave said, “You know, I really wish you would stop wearing that hideous raincoat, someday it’s going to give you away and get you killed.”

A Castle of Books

People thought that the boy collected books because he was smart, but that wasn’t entirely true. He collected the books in ever-growing stacks so that some day he would be able to build with them a great castle above the clouds with a big wall – a wall that nobody could cross.
Somewhere, in one of these books, he knew there was a clue as to how. When he found the right book, the others would be his bricks.
For now, though, all he did was read, determined to find it.

I drew this in pencil, inked it in black, then painted it with watercolor.

I drew this in pencil, inked it in black, then painted it with watercolor.

There Had Been More Blood

140327_151746 There had been more blood on the counter, but it had been wiped up. Simon could tell, because it had been hasty work. There were red smears visible on the rough surface, and a single drip had escaped detection and remained undisturbed where it fell on the white linoleum. Simon leaned down close to look at the little drop, his heart beating out the drums to Wipe Out as he went. He was no expert in blood, nor anything of that sort of gross and sticky nature, but he was scientifically minded, and he could see the blood was relatively fresh. It still looked wet.
He looked back at the counter, there was a razor, a comb, and a toppled can of shaving cream on the counter. His housemate never left things out on the bathroom counter. If the blood trail hadn’t been enough of a clue, this also told Simon that something was horribly wrong.
Simon had just gotten home from spending the night at his girlfriend Jayna’s house and walked into the restroom to find this. He hadn’t expected Billy to be up and moving around much yet; these days he slept in most days. Simon didn’t mind that Billy liked to go out and party on the weekends, get a little trashed, come home late, and spend the entire next day on the couch. Simon himself could never get away with it, his course-load was too heavy, and that had never been his idea of fun anyway.
Lately, though, Billy had been going out late every night. At first Simon had thought that maybe Billy had a new lady friend, but when Simon brought up the late nights in a casual manner, Billy had been evasive. Simon though of them as buddies, but they weren’t close friends, so he hadn’t pushed the matter. Now, looking at the smeared blood on the counter, he kind of wished he had.
When they had first moved in together, Billy was usually short on cash. He had a job and he made rent and paid his half of the bills, and there were always at least a few beers in the fridge. He lived on a tight budget though. Lately, However…
Simon made his way out of the bathroom and headed towards Billy’s room, only pausing slightly in the living room, his eyes flitting over the excessively large, brand new TV that Billy had brought home two days before.
He knew that Billy had a few friends that were into some pretty hard drugs. Simon wondered if maybe Billy had gotten into dealing, maybe got in over his head. As he moved towards Billy’s room, his eyes moved over everything, looking for further signs of a struggle. The place was always a little messy, so it was hard to tell, but everything seemed to be as in order as it could be expected to be.
Simon knocked quietly on Billy’s door, thinking about the fact that Billy’s eyes had spent a great deal of time red and blood-shot lately. There was no response from the other side of the door, so he turned the knob slowly and pushed open the door. As the door swung open, quietly whispering the arc on its hinges, Simon’s mind replayed all the stories he had seen in the news lately about the drug cartels administering their swift judgment by sneaking into their rival’s homes and slitting their throats.
The room was dim, as the curtain’s were closed, but enough mid morning light wormed its way through the windows to illuminate the body laying on the bed. Simon’s breath caught as he stared at Billy, laying on his back, on top of his bed with his arms out to his sides and a white washcloth over his face. There was a small red blossom of blood seeping through the bottom edge of the cloth where it touched his neck.
“Billy, what did you get yourself into?” Simon ask himself silently, the words not able to make their way to his mouth as he stood there in terror.
Simon wasn’t sure what to do. He took a slow step forward into the room. The room smelled unpleasant, but that wasn’t new.
Step after slow, quiet step brought him to the edge of the bed where he reached out and placed his hand on Billy’s shoulder.
Simon just about died when Billy sat up screaming. The cloth fell away from his face and neck revealing only a small nick on Billy’s neck.
“What the fuck, Simon?!” he yelled to the form cowering a few steps away.
“I- uh, I, I, I-uh,” Simon stammered, trying to get his heart under control.
“What are you doing in here Simon?” Billy demanded, looking at his watch, “Fuck. I only have like two more hours until I have to be back in the lab to work on my thesis.” He looked back up at Simon.
“I thought you were dead,” Simon said, much of his composure returning, now that he was being yelled at.
Billy’s eyebrows collided and pushed up into a rising mountain range, like tectonic plates. “What? Why would you…”
“There was blood all over the bathroom and I-”
“Jesus, Simon… I cut myself shaving. Razor slipped because I’m exhausted.” He ran his hand through his hair, frowning, “Came in here to lay down because it was a bad cut and was bleeding all over the place.”
Simon straightened himself, he supposed that made sense.
“I thought a drug lord slit your throat…” Simon said, apologetically.
“Why would- Wait,” Billy stopped, raising a pointed finger at Simon, starting to laugh. “Do you have any idea how much blood comes gushing out when a throat gets slit?”
“No,” Simon admitted, looking towards his feet, he assumed it would be more than a little drop and a smear.
“Quite a bit,” he managed before bursting out into full laughter.
“How do you know?” Simon tried, starting to grin at his own stupid mistake, but Billy didn’t respond, through his laughter. He just pointed at Simon, gasping for breath as he laughed.
“You had a thing over your face,” Simon said.
“-washcloth,” Billy barley got out between laughs, “-for the blood-”
When he got himself under control Billy pulled himself up onto his feet, saying, “-thought I was dead. Let’s eat something,” as he made his way to the door out of the room.
Simon walked out ahead of him. As soon as Simon’s back was to him, Billy pushed the black duffel bag, which he called his kill bag, toward the closet with his foot, out of view. He would have to eat quick and get out of there, the boss wanted another dealer dead that evening and Billy hadn’t even scouted out where he lived.
“Thought I was dead,” Billy repeated again, “Kook,” he finished, then went to join his buddy for a sandwich.

A Computer Message

Okay, so I tHink my laptop is mad at mE. LatelY, when I siT down to write, the fanS start whining and there’s this obnoxious, mind numbing… oh, Yeah, there it is nOw…

It’s not a cooling issUe, I don’t think, because when I put it on my cooling pad, it still happens. That’s not the woRst of it though, sometimes it changes things around. I shit you not, my LAPTOP moves things around in my text documents. At first I just thought I was having a hard week with tYpOs or something, bUt then I Started to notice that things I would change, if I saved it and reoPENeD the file The next day, they’d be changed back. SOmetimes there are missing letters, halves of wOrds Missing, bUt lately it’s just been mostly strange Capitalized and bolded letters, often in the middle of words.

I Haven’T fIgured out the pattern yet, but I’m starting to think that they MEan something. Like I said, maybe my laptop is mad at me, I just wish that it Would communicATe with me what the problem is. Am I doing something wrong? I Can’t tHINk of anythinG that might uPset my laptOp, but again, I can only Read its screeN, not its mind. I wonder if it will work to just ask the computer to PLEASE STOP.