The Judge

_This week's Judge is the talented Cara Michaels, she describes herself as a left-handed, right-brained Gemini with stories to tell who has been writing since childhood.  She's the author of Gaea's Chosen: The Mayday Directive available at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble,, iTunes and Diesel.
_Cara is also the host of Ménage Monday an exciting three prompt challenge of 100 to 200 words.  Visit her website to find out more about her!

The Prompt

_This week's prompt is inspired by the "Girls with Guns" series (Noir, Madlax, El Cazador del la Bruja) that I have absolutely fallen in love with.  The stories have different styles and locales, but the underlying theme ties them together.  Good luck with this one! ;)
The Prompt is:  Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was." _

The Rules

  1. Story must continue from the prompt. (This means the prompt is the first sentence of the story.)
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week.
  6. Have fun!
12/12/2011 03:50:26 am

Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was."

A body lay at her feet, bleeding profusely, and she’d never get the answers she wanted. She backed up against the alley wall and slid down until she folded over her upthrust knees. Gabe was the only one who knew her origins and now he lay face down in greasy potholes of the alleyway.

Tess scrubbed her hands over her face, smearing dirt through her tears as she tried to decide what to do. The gunshot had been so loud she figured all the city police officers in a twelve block radius would be here by now, but she was alone with Gabe’s body.

Which started to groan and move.

Tess’ heart damn near thumped its way out of her chest as Gabe pushed himself up on his hands and knees and shook his head to clear is face of dirty rainwater.

“Fuck, that hurts,” he grumbled.

Tess must have squeaked because he turned his head and glared at her as he sat back on his heels.

“What the fuck was that for?” he growled.


“You, you, what?” He rolled ot his feet as if he hadn’t been face down seconds ago. “Ah, dammit, you ruined my leather jacket.”

“I…I didn’t.” Tess’ throat closed as he scowled.

“At least you didn’t use silver bullets. Then it would’ve really hurt.” He rolled his head on his shoulders. “And hollow-points. Hollow-points are a bitch to heal from.”

“Gabe, how could you…? How did you…?” She waved vaguely at him and the alley, encompassing it all in her open questions.

He glowered. “Why did you shoot me?”

“I didn’t,” she protested weakly.

“Bullshit! You were holding the gun.”
She looked at the offending weapon, a Sig Sauer Mosquito with a hot pink finish her last boyfriend had given her on her birthday.

“I didn’t fire it.”

Gabe snorted and picked up the pistol by the barrel, testing the metal with his hand. His expression shifted to confusion and he glanced over at her.

“If you didn’t shoot me, then who did?”

“I don’t know.” Tess shook her head. “All I saw was you falling to the ground after I heard the shot. I never even took the safety off the gun.” She slowly pushed herself to her feet using the wall. “Why are you still alive? I saw you fall. I saw the blood! What are you?”

Gabe cocked his head to one side and gave her a half-smile. “The same thing you are, Tess. You said you wanted to know who you were. Ta-dah! Welcome to the Lycan community.”

She frowned in confusion. “The what community?”

He sighed. “Where have you been living, under a rock? Lycans. You know, werewolves? Shapeshifters? Moonsingers?”

Tess crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m a werewolf?”

“Yep. And right now we have to get you to your uncle so he can explain.” Gabe tucked the pistol in his belt.

“Explain what?”

“Explain why I got shot and who else is after you. Come on.”

499 words

12/12/2011 04:06:42 am

Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was."

He looked down at his shaking hands and then back up at the girl. The safety had been off. He didn’t understand.

She continued to cry, looking back at him with red-rimmed eyes and lashes flecked like dew. She whimpered her sorrow and then began with the old refrain. “Daddy! Daddy, please! I just wanted to know! I just wanted… Daddy! Daddy, please!”

Except this time it wasn’t a dream. This time he wouldn’t wake up in his apartment, cold sweat staining his back as he reached for the lamplight to make it all alright.

But still he didn’t understand.

Where was the blood? Where was the pool of blood that flooded her white linen dress when he pulled the trigger? Why wasn’t she dead?

“Daddy, please! They told me you were special. You and mummy. I just want to know–”


He stepped back. No. Cara was dead. She was normal. She was nothing like him.

He and Cara hadn’t had time to think of children before she died in that crash, but his instincts told him this girl was his. She’d been human, but to him that was perfect. Her lily white skin and her soft blonde hair had made her the very image of an angel. And now their daughter shared that saintly description.

Everything about this was wrong.

She squeezed out more tears and wrung her tiny hands, whispering. “I know what you’re thinking, daddy… You’re thinking mummy’s dead…”

“Stop reading my goddamn mind! Stop it!”
The girl quivered, her lower lip trembling as her eyes welled up some more. “But, daddy, they rescued her from the crash–”

“No! No! I saw her!”

Her mangled body… It had been enough to make him retch and after that he couldn’t deal with it. The excruciating pain… He’d had to leave the arrangements up to her family.

“She’s a healer… She got all better…”

Red eyes watched him from across the room as he sunk to his knees, crying now too. His sobs bounced in the hands that tried to hold them in. “No…”

“Mummy’s in a coma…”

“No… No. I won’t believe it.”

“It’s true, daddy. She’s a healer, just like me.” She smiled and tiptoed closer. “They helped us, daddy. They can help you too.” Her gaze flickered nervously to the only mirror in the room. “I promise.”

His eyes moved up to hers, glittering with intent. “Never,” he muttered, snatching the gun from the floor and discharging it under his chin. Blood smattered the girl’s face in a spray of crimson shock.

Maybe she couldn’t read his every thought…

456 words

12/12/2011 05:13:00 am

Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was."
“Tell me the whole story.” demanded the detective.
“I was found a year ago with no memory of who I was. Beaten and in a coma for some months I lingered in twilight. Then he came. Every day he came. He seemed so nice he was an orderly and he would come and visit me. He read to me and at first it didn’t register .Nothing registered except the noise of the machine breathing for me and the endless sleep. Then slowly I awoke to hear his soft voice reading .You wouldn’t know what that’s like to be reborn that way... to see the world like a newborn babe.”
“This isn’t telling me why you shot him.” The detective protested.
“I’m letting you know what happened.” She objected
“Fine then continue.”
“I came alive. I looked forward to him coming every day even though I couldn’t speak not then...”
“What happened then?”
“I fell in love with the man who told me the stories. He told me such glorious stories of love and happily afters.”
“I still do not understanding the reason why you shot him. You just said you loved him”
“Oh I loved him but I hated him.”
“I don’t understand make me understand.”
“He seemed so charming, so incredibly sweet he cared for me or so I thought.”
“But you moved in with him when you left the hospital.”
“I know I did but that was before I knew the real him.”
“You talk so cryptically. Are you sure you don’t need a head doctor lady to put your head on straight?”
“My head is as clear as it can be now.”
“Tell me the reason then why did you shoot him?”
“He changed once I moved in, He was angry at the slightest things. I thought it was my fault so I tried to be nicer but he grew angrier. Then he would buy me flowers and say how sorry he was to yell at me. I still didn’t remember the past but he said that didn’t matter. I just wanted to remember my name. The hospital called me Jane but I knew that wasn’t my name.” “So why did you shoot him?
““He hit me and blackened my eye and that’s when I recalled him doing this before. He was the reason I couldn’t remember. I asked him why and he said I made him. I shook my head no but he insisted that it was my fault. I asked him what was my name? He laughed saying “Your name is mine to know and I shall keep it and you.”
“I said I was leaving and begged him again threatening him with the gun but it went off and as he lay dying he said..."I’m sorry Melanie."
“So you see it wasn’t my fault, I just wanted to know who I was.”
498 words

12/12/2011 06:59:20 am

Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was."

“Who you are?” The silver-eyed man rolled the still hot bullets around in his palm, “You’re no one.”

She fell to her knees next to her gun, “That can’t be true! I, I see things! You, you have wings.”

For the first time the man smiled, and her blood ran cold at the change in his expression. “And you think being able to see my wings makes you special?”
She couldn’t help nodding, however stupid she now felt under his mocking gaze.

“A thousand years ago you would have been a mage, a vessel of great power.” He casually tossed her spent bullets back to her, no longer interested in them. “But the time of the magi has long passed. Today you are less than nothing, wielding crude and noisome weapons yet ‘gifted’ with the ability to unerringly aim them at things they cannot harm.”

“Then, who are you?” nothing made sense anymore, she just needed some answer—anything to hold on to.

Her eyes alone watched his leathery wings drape back about his shoulders like a mantle. “I’m no one. In a world that doesn’t even remember the magi, what reason is there to believe in dragons?”

218 words (including prompt)

12/12/2011 11:17:48 am

Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was."

The woman across from her tilted her hooded head forward, obscuring her face as the bullet smoldered in her open hand. When she spoke, the room vibrated loud enough to drop her to her knees. The gun wielding woman clasped her ears and moaned in agony, “Beside your burning cradle; the lullaby of death was sung by dark angels. They were the daughters of flame.”

The bullet bursted into flames as the figure tilted its head back and laughed with malice. She took a step away as her hands covered her face, recoiling in horror as she stumbled over an end table.

The woman under the hood was her.

129 words (including prompt)

12/12/2011 10:48:20 pm

Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was." Her sobs came out in gulping hiccups as she backed away from the armored forms that were pointing crossbows at her. There was another form, dressed in blue scrubs, blood pooling out from underneath and edging towards the bright shoes of the man standing in front of the four armored men.

“I’m afraid that it is better that you don’t.” The man in the three piece suit smiled at her, adjusting the glasses on his face. It was at odds with the medieval look of the four behind him. “you were brought to the Earnth realm for your own safety. Now please, come with me.” He held out a hand. “everything will be all right. You just need to trust me.” His lips curled up in a slow grin.

Tear stained eyes widened and she took a few steps back, slowly shaking her head. “No, nothing is going to be all right.”

“It’s okay. You’re just having a breakdown. Let’s get you back to your rooms.”

She rubbed at her face, eyes squeezing shut. “Why are there men in full armor with crossbows?”

He stared at her. “What?”

“There are four men behind you with crossbows. What are they doing?”

He chuckled and looked at them. “Crossbows and armor? Theresa, I think we might need to adjust your medicine. They are orderlies. One of which you shot.” He gave a sigh. I don’t know where you got the gun.”

She looked up and there were four men in matching scrubs, staring at her. She rubbed at her face again. She was going crazy. She really was. She glanced at the man on the ground and cringed, glancing away. Her head was throbbing and she didn’t know how she got to be in the room and shooting a gun. “I don’t understand.” Her voice was small.

“And there’s where I’m going to help you. We’ll make sure you get better but you need to come with us.” The suited man talked softly, gesturing to the orderlies to move closer.

She looked up and saw him smiling, only his teeth were sharper than they should be. Her eyes widened again and she got to her feet. “Stay away from me!”

The men rushed at her, grabbing arms and legs when she tried to lash out as he moved closer, pulling a needle out of his pocket. “Now Theresa, if you want to get out, we need to do something about your delusions. You’re not helping yourself.” He pulled the cap off while one orderly turned her arm for the injection.

“Nooo. No. Let me go.” She wiggled and struggled but the men held her tight, eyes on the needle. “I don’t want it. I want to remember. I don’t want to sleep again.”

“Ssssshhh. It will be okay. This will help you.” He grinned, sharp teeth gleaming in the light. “I promise.”

500 words

12/13/2011 12:30:10 am

Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground.

"I just wanted to know who I was." She peered up at the gaunt figure looming beside her. "Is that a sin?"

The Figure pulled her aside as her body fell to the floor. It crouched down and laid a hand on her corpse.

"And what have you determined?" the Figure asked.

She took a step away from her body and reached up to wipe the tears that refused to run down her cheeks.

"I'm lost."

The Figure unfolded itself and twisted at its waist, staring at her with its dark, empty orbits.

"No longer."

She stared at its bony hand, reaching across the space as her husband rushed between them, shouting at her body in an unintelligible din of living grief. As the walls faded around her, and the cold mist of the Veil circled into her vision, she took the Figure's hand.

"Where am I going?"

"Home," it replied, as the sensation of cold ceased to matter.

Her body lay in a heap of ruined flesh, cradled in her husband's desperate embrace. She spotted a child lingering in the doorway, watching the scene through a mask of disbelieving terror.

"Julia?" she muttered.

The Figure gripped her hand tightly, pulling her into the Veil.

"Wait," she gasped.

The figure enveloped her in its dark cloak and ushered her into the darkness.

"Forget," it whispered as she closed her eyes.

242 Words

1/23/2012 05:59:55 am

The Long Struggle

People call them dragons.
But dragons doesn’t tell the story of what these things are. There is not a word horrible enough on God’s tongue to give the abominations an apt name. Demon, devil, terror, none of them go far enough.
They came on the last day of light, at the solstice, as if called by the coming darkness. They rose from the caves, from the ocean, from the woods, from the very ground itself. Men of arms fought valiantly but we were overwhelmed, driven to slaughter.
I survived not by skill of sword, force of strength, or ward of armor, but fate’s fortune. My son was eaten by a Red, my was daughter melted by the breath of a Black. My wife lived only long enough to whisper my name with her dying breath; legs stripped to the bone by a Green.
I long to see the blue sky again, not marred by the spectre of leather wings and smoke.
I long to smell the sweet clover of the fields, but all breath is poisoned by rot and ruin.
I must hold on to sanity, hold on to hope.
I hide in exile with my battered crown. King to a people on the brink of extinction, waiting for the Dragon Slayer to be born.
Today is that day.

219 words


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