Names Week 1- #2

(This week’s exercise.)

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Three red lights flashed slowly over the door. Sarah knew it was sealed, the lights signaling “Extreme danger! No exiting permitted under any circumstances!” At least those were the words Director Marcus used. It wouldn’t matter how much she prayed, how much she wished for those lights to stop flashing; she wasn’t going anywhere.

It was easier to watch the door. Some stood near the windows, watching the black eddies swirl past five floors down from the tsunami shelter, waiting for the next wave to try and topple the stout building over and over and over. They peered up at the sunless sky, at clouds that only brought more rain… more despair. Sarah preferred the sight of the gray metal door with its cold indifference. At least the blinking lights could change at some point. They would tell her some when it was safe to leave, when she could finally reunite with her family.

“Are you hungry, Mrs. Francis?”

Hitoshi’s outstretch hand held a small plate of dried trout and buttered bread. The salty fish smell caused her stomach to contract, another connection to the water that kept her away from her children.

“No, thank you.” She pulled the gray fleece blanket more snugly around her shoulders as she met his worried brown eyes. His hair was neatly combed, and while his suit was as rumpled as everyone else’s clothing, his face appeared to have been washed recently.

“Would you like something else? You have not eaten much. I can get you-”

“What’s the point?” Her own blonde hair lay tangled and limp against her back, faded black streaks of mascara lined her cheeks, and her red eyes moved underneath puffy lids. The dark blue long sleeves of her blazer sported white spots where she’d wiped her eyes and nose over the last two days. “I have no one to stay strong for.”

Hitoshi’s gentle hand hesitantly reached forward and rested on her shoulder. “You stay strong for you.”

Meeting his eyes, she replied lifelessly, “I’m supposed to be dead.” Her finger pointed to her left towards the door, south-east. “I was supposed to be in Derdin, covering a story about school teachers’ wages, but I was called here.” She ticked off the series of events with her fingers. “If I hadn’t come to Lepsun City, if I hadn’t found a sitter at the last minute… if I had stayed home instead of telling my husband I’d ‘be right back,’ I would have been caught in the first wave.” A sigh slipped slowly into the air. “I could have died with them!”

 

POV Week 3 – #2

(Photo owned and copyrighted by Katie Johnson. Photo credit: https://katierenejohnson.com/)

 

 

After taking a few more pictures, the last of the Covered Ones stepped away from the windows and entered the elevators. The door closed and the wall dinged before Harriet cocked her skull to the side with a quiet pop. Was it time now? She’d been good all day, and good gracious, she was starving!

Quiet pops and cracks came from the others, but they didn’t move much. Had to be good. Had to obey. Obey the Covered Ones.

“Hell on a stick, Grant! Where’d you pick these up?”

“Louisiana. Some mom and pop shop was using one as a display. Found out where they got it and picked up their whole stock before anyone else!”

Harriet remembered talking: the moisture in the facial cavity, the flaps of skin that kept it close, the hunk of meat taking up too much space, and the glorious jaw and teeth that made the whole thing possible…. Jawbones… Scrumptious, unless the 32 candy bits were fake. What did her own taste like? If they didn’t come soon, she might just find out.

A bag rattled, tiny pieces inside clinking like dice. Her skull swiveled and her jaw creaked, her teeth lightly tapping together. Now? Now?

“Alright, you science projects! Put the merchandise back and line up against the railing.”

Free to move, Harriet pulled the platinum rings off of her metacarpals and set them within the designated slots of the black velvet-lined box. Grant removed the diamond-encrusted belt from around her pelvis and placed it into its own carrying case. Once she was free from adornments, she joined the others by the railing and a toe clicked impatiently against the cement floor.

“Now,” Grant explained as he put closed up the last case, “if we weren’t moving locations, we could leave the merchandise on. These’re the only mannequins that’ll fight back if you try to rob ’em.”

The bag moved into the new guy’s hands. Now? She’d been good! The bag opened. A cup went into the bag and the Covered One gave it to Richard. Another cup went to Alonso. A third was put in Olivia’s dainty hands. Her bones shook when she gripped the fourth cup and saw all the pretty pieces inside.

She gripped a large bit on top and placed it between her teeth. Crunching down, a wave of fulfillment crept through her bones. Ulna, 23 years old male, loved to hike… camping trip with his new girlfriend, Arianna. Slipped on a smooth boulder coming down the trail. Arm broken in four places. Eugene wouldn’t be hiking again for a while.

Stirring the cup, she wondered if any more of Eugene’s pieces were in there.