Shorty short: Last Cab to Nowhere


Dana scurried around in the hubbub of the party still in full swing, her head dashing in and out of rooms, under flung cushions and dresses of unknown victims who simply glared at her.

“Excuse me?”

“What is she doing?”

“Too much to drink,” someone laughed as she rushed past them, back out onto the balcony one last time. She stole a look over the rails while she was at it to see if the cab she’d called had arrived. The street revealed no such phenomenon, for it was a phenomena for a cab that arrives on time on a busy Saturday night.

“Dana? Why are you scaring people? You promised to behave” Her best friend, Kaiser smiled at her from his great height, walking out onto the balcony with multiple beer bottle necks secured in his hands. He passed them around and turned his focus back on her. “Your taxi here yet?”

She shook her head and grabbed the beer from his hand, took a thirsty swig and slid the bottle back in his open hand. “You seen my bag?”

“You lost your bag?” His brows rose high.

“My clutch thing.”

“The things without any handles?” he asked.

Dana smiled and nodded.

“Nope, haven’t seen it.”

“I’ve looked everywhere!” She squeaked in panic, stepping away from people looking at her strangely. Guess lifting skirts off seats and sofas, and looking under beds while people were trying to find privacy wasn’t really good etiquette. Then again, in Dana’s opinion, it was highly rude to be trying to do anything indecent in someone else’s apartment. “I’m gonna miss my flight.”

Kaiser held out 50 dollar note. “I don’t even know why you are taking such a late flight. May as well have gone tomorrow morning if all it is, is you trying to escape your family. I’d gladly drop you off myself.”

Dana took the note and shoved it in her jeans. “I have no desire to sit there and listen to people yabber about a woman I could barely stand. I’d rather be on a sunny beachside sipping mojitos than be there for the whole thing.”

“You’re going south, where beaches are few and colder. And you hate mojitos.” He held her back as she went to go past. “You’re one of the beneficiaries.”

“Exactly! Which means it gives my family reason to glue all eyes on me the whole week. No, thank you. Now get out of my way. I have a taxi to catch.”

Kaiser pulled her in a quick hug. “Should I go in your place?”

“If you want.” She kissed him on the cheek. “Don’t sleep with that one, that one or that one.” She laughingly pointed out random guests.

“What about that one?” Kaiser pointed to a woman striding their way with a charming little cherub on her hip.

“That one will have to do.” Dana laughed. Gave a quick hug to Kaiser’s beautiful wife and child and rushed towards the door. “Keep my bag safe for me!”

As Dana got into the lift, she could hear the faint rumble of thunder. ‘Please don’t rain. Please don’t rain.’ She rushed out onto the street, empty as the first giant drops of rain slapped her cheek. She checked her phone as a messaged buzzed: You taxi is 30 seconds away. 30 seconds wasn’t that long, and Dana stared down the street to see if she could spot the headlights. Nothing.

Laughter rolled down with the rain from the balcony and Dana looked up to see Kaiser’s head, a tiny pin in the grey night sky. “You should just cancel!”

Suddenly, a taxi appeared far too quickly beside her on the kerb. She hadn’t even heard it pull up. A window rolled down. “Ms Dana Beecham?” An elderly man with a well kept grey beard bent down to see her on the sidewalk. “You ordered a taxi?”

The rain began with more gusto and she clambered into the back seat. “How did you know my name?”

The man laughed. “I pay attention.”

The glint in his eyes threw her off. It was as if he knew things. Really knew things. Like for example, she felt almost as if he could tell why she was in a hurry to get away.

A lash of lightening ripped across the sky and the power grid failed instantly. The whole street blacked out, and thunder that followed cut Dana off at, ‘Please take me to…’

“I know where to take you, Miss.” He interrupted, a smile on his face. Somehow he reminded her of her late grandfather. She hadn’t seen the man in over two decades, but it was almost as if the eyes were his. “Buckle up.”

With the rumble of the engine, lights came on one by one on all the buildings as they shot by. In disbelief, Dana kept staring out the window till they were well away from the street.

“How did you know where I want to go?” The thought suddenly disturbed her. “I didn’t tell you.”

The cabbie laughed. “As I said, I pay attention.” He pointed recklessly at a navigation system as if to say that was his source of information.

Maybe, thought Dana. Maybe she’d already told the dispatcher when she’d placed the call.

“Please hurry. I’m running a little late.”

He nodded, turning on the radio station to some mellow music. “Not to worry dear. Sit back and relax. I’ll get you there at the right time.”

The street lights flashed by one by one. The last of her drinks finally catching up with her. She hadn’t closed her eyes in ages, and when she did, it was not with the intention to fall asleep.

“Here we are, Miss. Your destination.”

When Dana woke, it was almost dawn and she was no where near the airport. She was exactly where she didn’t want to be. The whole reason why she was meant to be in a flight over Alice Springs. Not sitting outside her Grandma’s home, exactly how she remembered it. Perfect.

Dana turned to the man in shock. “You said you knew where I needed to be?” Her tone highly accusing. The man nodded, got out, pulled out her luggage from the back seat next to her and came around to open her door.

“Yes. And this is where you needed to be. I got lost there for a bit, but no, in the end, I got you here, safe and sound!” He beamed. Her grandfather’s eyes smiled down at her and she couldn’t really get angry at him. Instead, she crossed her arms and refused to get out.

“Don’t you think you are being a little childish?” he asked.

Offended, she was about to protest when the front door opened and her mother in pyjamas walked out, looking at her directly. “Dana! You came.”

The man stepped aside and allowed her to exit the cab. He handed her her bag and walked away.

“How much do I owe you?”

The man smiled. “We can decide that later.” He doffed his hat and slipped into his cab. Before long pulling out as Dana pulled her bag along reluctant. What did he mean by that?

“Hey, Mum.”

“Hey, yourself. Look at you? So skinny.”

Dana couldn’t help but feel the lump in her throat as she eyed the facade. It wasn’t where she needed to be. Was it? All those memories pressed against her mind. All those desperate attempts to get away. And there she was, miraculously about to walk into a home she hadn’t stepped foot in over 5 years for a woman she had loved as much as possible, but hated just the same.

Home sweet home.

Shorty short: The Night Thief

Black D. That’s what she had chosen as her call name. With a name like that, she was sure she’d be someone people would be scared of. And so they should. She had had enough of this bullshit in life. She wanted more, and if she had to turn to tricks to get what she wanted then so be it.
With this particular thought, Black D rolled down her black balaclava over her face, pulled on her woolen mitts over her hand as she didn’t want to leave fingerprints of course, then she zipped up her windshield jacket and snuck out of the front door into the quite night of the village fast asleep in their warm beds. Their warm comfy beds, with their warm comfy partners and pretty things like their mothers valued China tea pot! Ugh.

Black D shook the doubts from her mind and snuck over to the small cottage across the road. Her first target. She knew the lady of the house was away tonight for her recon works previously. She knew where the old bat stores her spare key too for good measure. A dumb gnome in her front porch missing the tip of its ceramic cap.

Black D looked around to make sure she wasn’t being watched. Then she reached for the gnome, fished out the key and let herself into the house. It was tiny. Ended before it even began. Would make things easy for her she supposed. Tiny lounge, attached tiny kitchen cum dining, then a bedroom door and a bathroom door.

She headed for the bedroom, pulling out her small pen torch and set about searching for valuables. She rummaged through the wardrobe, under the mattress, in old shoes and tiny jewelry boxes. Nothing stood out, u tip it was that an old gold pocket watch in mint condition glinted from the folds of overly large granny panties. She fished it out and admired it. Gorgeous thing it was. She slipped it into her pocket and made haste out of the house before anyone caught on. These old folks were tardy that way, waking at ugly hours of the morning.

She wasn’t entirely happy when she closed the front door quietly behind her. Where were the other valuables? In anger, she pushed the gnome over and heard a faint crack. Good. She stuffed the key back and stole across the road once more.

It was a good day later before the home owner arrived and soon the ruckus of alarming ‘I’ve been robbed’ sounded. Black D, still innocently casing her next victim smiled a small smile as she heard the cries of help. ‘I’ve lost my father’s old watch! Someone stole it!’

Black D walked up to the house and joined the huddle. ‘Was anything else stolen?’

‘No.’

‘Then how do you know you’ve been robbed?’

The lady stood straight and tried to peer at the crowd. Obviously trying to see what the query was from. ‘Because gnomey here is broken…. And, and I can’t find the watch.’

‘Perhaps you misplaced it.’

‘No. No. Who said that?’

By the time people were looking around, Black D had slipped out of the throng and was just another passed by. A passerby with a sinister smirk.
That night she was going to do it all over again. A new target had been found.

[Today’s prompt: a thief, and they lose something of value.]

Shorty short: Shovel 

(The following story is prompted by ‘it was a misty night’ line.)

I never thought I’d end up here. A shovel in hand, a dark raincoat supposedly keeping me safe from the downpour. In the middle of a forest with barely any light to see the ground where I stand. How did I end up here? I turned to stare at the body just a stretch way from me. A shiver coursed through my body. Never ever had I thought I’d be the one digging the shallow grave, slipping and sliding on the muddying ground. 

I could occasionally hear the vehicle on the highway meters away. Every time one whizzed by, I’d be in a state of panic, afraid they’d hear the sound of the shovel hitting the wet, squelching ground. I was a law abiding citizen for heaven’s sake, not the cold blooded murderer I suddenly felt I was.

I worked through the straining muscle aches curtesy of a hard gym work out with Clive this night before. When the hole was big enough, I found myself in it, pulling the corpse till it pinned me to the bottom of the pit with its weight, forcing me to struggle to free myself.

I stood, covered head to toe in mud. Where had I ended up? This morning, I had been just another newshound chasing my headlines, and now… I resumed the dirt moving, unable to allow myself that thought. The sound of the rain hitting the coat provided some sort of solace, something I could focus my mind on, and I kept shoveling and shoveling the dirt till a small hint of a mound formed. 

I stared at it. What had I done?

I sat in the car for ages. Couldn’t possibly bring myself to get out. Before I knew it, I was sprawled across the back seat, twisted like a pretzel, half falling into the gap between the seats. A hard knock had rapt on my window, startling me awake. Somehow, it was morning. I hit my head on the window handle hard as I went to get up. I looked out the window and there was Clive, staring at me through the glass.

 ‘You’d rather sleep in the car?’

 I straightened and struggled to get out of the car, scrambling to free my feet of the raincoat I had used as a blanket. We had had a fight last night before I left work. ‘I must have dozed off.’

 Clive’s eyebrows rose high. ‘In the backseat?’

 ‘I was really tired,’ I offered by way of explaining.

 ‘Why do you look like you went mud wrestling last night?’ He eyed me from toe to the top of my hair. I went rigid. How did I look? Was I looking suspicious? I mean, yes, I had muddy clothes and all, but no one would pin a murder on me, right? Right?

 ‘I went to interview for a story outback, and the tyre got bogged in the downpour,’ I lied. Big deal. I wasn’t about to tell him the truth, whether he was my soul mate or not. 

 ‘Why didn’t you call road side assist?’ 

 Shit! My phone! The last I remember of my phone was when Clive had called me in the middle of my digging session. What did I do after that? I patted myself down, every pocket I had.

 ‘You lost your phone?’

 I looked up, utterly panicked. ‘Yes.’

 ‘Where did you last use it?’

 An image of being pinned down by the very thing I was trying to bury sprung to mind. Shit. 

Shorty short: Invite her in

(The following story is prompted by the date, and the theme that only a thief can catch a thief.) 

It was August 15, 1925 when I first stepped into the sprawling, Gregor mansion. I was a young thing, sexy, suave, and reckless. I thought I could outsmart everyone. After all, who would ever suspect sweet, small and innocent Marie of anything sinister. Well, they didn’t really know me then, did they? 

It was late afternoon when I arrived in my finest, hat, dress, gloves, the whole package. I rang the door bell, wishing and hoping that Bill, or William Gregor, the eldest of the Gregor heirs would open the door. After all, he was the one nearing marriage age, and I, was the perfect bride material, ready to marry at a word. And I planned to marry Bill. That was the whole reason Julia Pratt had taken to being Marie Clementine Avery and adopt a demur personality. If my mamma could see me now, she would be spinning in her grave. ‘Demur? Ha!’ That’s what she’d say.

The keeper of the house opened the heavy doors inwards and barely cracked a smile upon seeing me. I flashed my pearlies as sweetly as I could manage. ‘Am I wrong? Or is Billy home, Thea?’

I slithered past her rigid form, into the grand round marble alcove before the foyer. 

‘Master Gregor is busy having tea with the family.’

I smiled ever so sickly. ‘They wouldn’t mind me joining them, I’m sure.’

Thea almost growled, her lips rolling up in irritation. Heavens only knew why she hated me so. ‘The party isn’t till the evening, Ms Avery.’

I was beginning to lose patience. ‘Oh, is it? I truly thought it was an afternoon affair. Would you mind fetching Bill for me? I’m sure he’d love to know I’m early for private seating with the future family.’

Thea left without a word. And in the grand alcove, I couldn’t help but imagine myself as the lady of the house. Eventually. 

I checked myself in the mirror, retouched the rouge on my cheek and the red of my lips. Who could resist? I smiled as I caught a glimpse of Bill staring at me from the corner as he appeared. Yes. He was definitely mine. All I needed was to keep the family on my side. Just until the wedding. And I was pretty sure there was going to be a wedding.

I turned, feigning innocent. ‘Billy, darling. I’m so sorry. I must have heard you say 3pm instead, so here I am.’ I kissed his cheeks lightly, like all society women do, and lingered a little longer near his cheek. ‘I hope I’m not intruding. Your Gregor parties are so famed, I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun by turning up late.’

‘You’re welcome anytime, Marie,’ Bill extended his arm and escorted me through the maze of the mansion, and out into the manicured gardens. ‘Come, I shall introduce you to the family.’

Wonderful! Just wonderful. I plastered a smile on my face as the family came into view. This was going to be easy compared to the last family.

Marie stood alone in the bridal room, dressed in an elegant ivory gown. She almost looked divine, properly excited by the prospect of what lay ahead. A wedding. Her wedding. She smoothed out her veil and picked up her small flower arrangements of white roses. The knock came then on the door. ‘Yes.’

A choir lady peered her head around the door. ‘We are all ready for you.’

Marie smiled. ‘I’ll be right out.’

She checked herself in the mirror once and corrected her posture. Standing tall like a Gisele. ‘Here it goes.’

The organ stayed with her as she walked lonesome down the aisle. A vision on defiance. An omen of something magnificently tough. She nodded at few guests as she walked past them towards the alter. She didn’t know many people at the wedding, in fact, the only person she knew was Bill Gregor. Bill Gregor who sat in amongst the crowd in the front rows. 

She withheld a sigh. She was supposed to have been walking towards him waiting for her at the alter, not his younger, irritatingly elitist brother, Drew. Marie took it in her stride. By the time she reached the front of the church, she had a smile on her face, and a determination in her heart. Drew was also a Gregor heir, so she hadn’t really done so bad for herself. Just a few peachy months. Then a slow emotional leeching of Drew, a distraught wife who is at her wits end, and a bigger brother who cared enough to try and keep the family together. 

Marie smiled at Bill before she turned her attention to the priest, and then the lesser handsome of the Gregor brothers. Her plans hadn’t really gone as planned, but walking down the aisle towards a rich future husband in less than six months, wasn’t a bad turn around. 

‘Do you take Drew Maxwell Gregor as your lawfully wedded husband?’

‘I do.’

Marie didn’t know where to turn. She needed a moment. A moment to console herself. The guests kept coming over, laying a gentle hand here, few kind words there. But it was all fodder to her. So what she was wearing black? So what she looked completely devastated? So what she was a widow at 51 and completely alone? She eyed the house for an exit. Any more words of condolences and she was going to burst into tears, and they weren’t exactly going to be for Drew, were they? She hadn’t ever learnt to love Drew. Not before the wedding, nor afterwards. Nor any of the thousand times he tried to woo her. And her interest in him had completely fizzled once the doctor told them the reason they were having difficulty conceiving was because drab old Drew was also sterile. 

‘Excuse me.’ She managed to sound distraught enough so that she could walk away from the huddle of ladies. 

Out in the open garden she could finally breath. A sigh of relief really. She didn’t have to pretend with the Gregors that she even cared for Drew. The whole family knew their marriage had died a long long time ago. Drew had even been ready for divorce but Marie wouldn’t have it. After all, years of her youth sacrificed wasn’t just so she could get divorced at 35 and go back to being dependent on herself for income. No, she deserved better. A good chunk of the Gregor fortune in fact.

‘Are you okay, Marie?’

She startled somewhat and turned around to face Bill. ‘And you?’

Bill shrugged. ‘No body really expected him to live as long as he did.’

Marie nodded. One thing every Gregor family member knew about her late husband, Drew, but the public hadn’t the slightest idea was that Drew was an alcoholic. His liver had died way before he did.

‘You’re going to be okay going back home alone?’

Marie debated whether to tell the truth, yes, or reply no. Perhaps what she hadn’t been able to do all those years ago, she’d be able to do now. After all, she was still in her finest shape, whereas Bill’s wife had let things slide enormously. ‘I don’t know… The house gets so quite, I almost feel like I’m the last one left on Earth.’

‘Why don’t you stay with Erika and myself for a couple of days? It’ll be a change for you, and you’ll have company?’

Marie smiled, a smile she hoped conveyed how grateful she was for his offer. ‘That would be a God send.’

Bill nodded and extended his arm towards her. Marie gladly took it, weaving her arm through his. ‘What would I do without you, Bill?’

‘Probably run away from this whole lot and wonder whatever happened to that vivacious young woman who bounced through our house way early for a party.’

Marie laughed. ‘Ah yes. Perhaps my mistake.’

Bill escorted her into the huddle of mourners and sympathizes. ‘I would have introduced you to Drew either way. In fact, it was the very reason I’d asked you to one of our drab parties.’

Marie felt her checks flush with heat. ‘What do you mean?’

Bill smiled down at her. ‘Drew saw you with me once and asked who you were, so I had promised I’d introduce you to him.’ He waved at a passerby who clasped his hand in a show of condolence. ‘And the rest is history.’

Marie could feel the anger boil inside her. How dare he? How dare he?

Mirror Mirror

Mirror mirror,
what shall I wonder?
Shall I ask you a question
and watch you ponder
Shall you tell the truth,
the whole truth
though it shall shatter my heart
Or would you lie
like so many others
and tremble in your frame
as you utter
‘You are the most beautiful of them all’

Mirror mirror
You make me wonder
How true are your words
Do they be fickle
Do they be kind
Do they be something I cannot understand
Will you watch me smile
Frolic like a child
Giddy and wild
All the while praying
I shall not catch on
and end your lies.

I was only seeking the truth you should have been speaking.