Tag Archives: violence

Victim of the Times

When I stepped out of the time machine, I was excited to see how much things had changed. When I had entered the time machine, things I didn’t understand scared me. I would act irrationally and violently. That’s why I had to travel through time. Maybe things would make sense now. I always believed that the future would be bright.

I swung the sack holding my things over my shoulder and held a thumb stretched out to the road.

A passing semi truck squealed to a stop. That was fast. The door flew open and a stout man hopped out onto the dirt beside the road.

“It’ll be good to have some company! I’ll take you out Atlanta-way if that’s where you’re headed.” He gestured for me to follow him.

I nodded and made my way to the truck. Once I had climbed in, the man turned the engine and pulled back onto the road.

The cab of the truck was grimy, but comfortable. Blankets, spent cigarettes, and leftover Chinese takeout was strewn about carelessly.

“So where exactly are you headed?” The driver asked.

My brain knew the words to say, but I was too entranced to answer. He held a small black box in his right hand which he waved around as he talked. The flat face of the box displayed a picture of a woman smiling and a digital clock showing the time of day.

“Excuse me sir,” I asked. “What is that thing in your hand?”

The man looked puzzled.

“This?” He held up the small black box. “This is my phone.”

The box confused me. Made me feel uncomfortable in a way that made my skin crawl. It was unnatural. What was this feeling? Was this the future?

A catatonic fear permeated my body, I could not shake the feeling of being lost.

The man reached over to put his hand on my shoulder.

“Hey are you okay?”

It was a big mistake on his part.

I grabbed for the nearest object and stabbed it into his throat.

The man let go of the wheel and fumbled his fingers around his neck, trying to pull out the chopstick lodged into his windpipe. The blood made it too slippery to remove before we made impact with another car.

It was a head on collision. Luckily I had been in the larger vehicle. I survived. The truck driver and the family in the other car did not.

I was sentenced to 25 years to life. Maybe the next time I step out of the time machine things will make sense.

The future will be bright.


There was nothing left of Hiroshima but smoldering ash. I had left yesterday to buy some ration tickets in one of the villages down the coast. I came back to nothing but flattened ruins. How had this happened?

Lines of refugees inched up the hills surrounding the city in all directions. They moved like ants, but instead of breadcrumbs they carried the mangled and dying.

I did not have any family in the city. I suppose it was good fortune that I had lived as a street urchin. I had no connection to anyone, so I was spared the pain of losing anyone. But all the same, I was broken inside.

The old newspaper factory, whose owner had given me work when begging stopped working.

The bridge, whose heavy wood planks shielded me from the stinging rain.

The fishing pier, whose waters yielded delicious seaweed when my stomach was empty.

The city had been my family, my caretaker. And now all that was left was a black scorch on the earth. I wept for my beautiful city.

My whole world- blinked out of existence.

Highly Flammable

I felt a familiar white heat build up in the pit of my stomach. I snapped my fingers and released it out the tips of my fingers. As it vented out, wisps of flame crackled into existence. I fished around in my coat pocket and pulled out a thin vial. With a few purposeful movements of my digits I forced the fire into the glass. Once it had been contained I corked it and dropped it back in my pocket.

“Sorry about that Ma’am.” I apologized. “I usually don’t do that in front of people but I just couldn’t contain it any longer. You came in a little earlier than I had expected.”

As a pyromancer I needed to vent occasionally, or risk boiling my internal organs. I already felt calmer, and more collected.

“It’s quite fine Mr. Darby.” The woman winked. “I’ve always found pyromancy to be quite. Interesting.”

I tipped my hat down to hide a blush. She was attractive, but still a client. I needed to be professional.

“Anyways, what brings you in Ms..” I glanced over at the calendar on my computer monitor. “Wells?”

She flashed a flirtatious smirk and reached into her purse. I heard a few pieces of metal clanking against each other. Anxious thoughts set in.

Please don’t have a gun.

Please don’t have a gun.

Her eyes brightened when she found what she was searching for and in one motion, slammed it down on my desk. I let out a long breath as my anxiety released. It was an ID card, with her own face on it.

“Ms. Wells, what is it I’m looking at here?”

“The reason why I need the best investigator on the South side.”

I hated it when clients tried to be coy.

“Well, I’m flattered I really am.” I stared at the card again for something of significance. “But I have no idea what this means.”

“Now, now.” Ms. Wells put loose fists beneath her chin patronizingly. “And I thought you were the best! Take a look into the eyes of that picture.”

I was irritated at her tone, but still slid the ID card closer and held it close to my face. I began to take it apart detail by detail. Maybe I had missed something.

ID card for Ganno DNA Database INC.

Top Level security clearance

Name- Susan Wells

DOB- 12/03/1990

Eyes- Blue

I paused for a second. Blue?

I lowered the card, holding the portrait on the card up to Ms. Wells. Her eyes were a deep hazel, but on the card they were clearly blue.

“‘Scuse me Ma’am, but do you wear colored contact lenses?”

Ms. Wells exploded in excitement, she clapped her hands at a near supersonic speed.

“I see my faith in you was well placed.” She cocked her head. “As for the contacts, I don’t wear them. What’s troubling is that this is my work ID. I’m afraid someone has stolen my face. For whatever reason.”

I furrowed my brow. I had heard of shapeshifters, but they were extremely rare. It fit the profile, they were tricksters. Always looking for a way to take over someone else’s life. I’d never thought I’d see something like this on a case. Ms. Wells stared down at her watch, and jumped onto her feet. She snatched the ID from my hands.

“Oh my! I seem to be running late!” She brushed off her pants and began walking towards the door.

“That’s funny.” I chuckled. “You came in early, and now you’re leaving before your scheduled appointment. I wonder why that is?”

She froze, and slowly turned her head to face me. She was visibly irked by my implications.

“What are you saying?”

I remained silent and gestured for her to take a seat. She rebelliously took another step towards the door.

I snapped my fingers and shot two streams of fire out of my fingernails. The flames flowed out into the air like a gas. I willed them to circle around Ms. Wells in a show of force.

“What are you doing?! You’re ruining EVERYTHING!!”

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Ms. Wells nervously stood in silence, paralyzed by fear.

“Come on in.” I called out.

The knob twisted and swung with the heavy oak door. The stranger began to stroll in, but stopped and opened her blue eyes wide when she saw Ms. Wells surrounded by the encircling flames.

“Wha-” The woman began. “Who is this?”

I pointed a finger gun at the woman I had captured.

“This, Ms. Wells is your shapeshifter.”

She gasped. The shapeshifter fidgeted nervously but remained quiet. I continued with my monologue.

“My first clue was when she came in early. The first rule of stealing someone’s identity is to never be at the same place at the same time. She cut it close, but only because she thought that I’d keep you here after she had just accused you of being a shapeshifter. Long enough for her to use your card to sign in to your office at a DNA database, overwrite your file with hers, and report an impostor. You.” I shot a triumphant look at the shapeshifter, but she turned her head away. “By the time you got back to work they’d cart you away and she would have taken control of your life.”

The real Ms. Wells looked shocked. She had a right to be. Her life was almost stolen from her. The flames circling the shapeshifter flickered out.

She noticed this and used the opportunity to reach into her purse.

Please don’t have a-

She lugged a heavy 6-shot revolver out and pulled back the hammer.


She alternated pointing the thing at me and Ms. Wells.

“I usually don’t kill because it complicates things.” She spat on the floor. “But it’s easy for me to disappear.”

She strained a slow blink and her skin, bone structure, and voice changed to that of a man in his mid forties. The replicated skin of Ms. Darby shed off all at once in pieces. They lay on the ground, like a pile of dry leaves. I used the time her eyes were shut to rummage in my jacket pocket. I managed a wink towards Ms. Wells when I found the vial. She was fixed on the replica of her own skin, laying carelessly on the floor. Terrified beyond belief, tears muddled her mascara.

“Any more deductions you’d like to make Mr. Darby?” The shapeshifter asked menacingly.

“Yep! Just one!” I smiled. “The skin you just shed is probably flamable!”

The shapeshifter’s eyes widened when I pulled the cork off the vial I had vented into. I flicked it with my index finger, and it gracefully flew through the air and onto the pile of molted skin at the shapeshifter’s feet.

The flames quickly lipped up the being’s legs, and it instinctively dropped the gun to start beating at the fire. The shapeshifter screamed in several voices at once. It was unnerving.

I looked at Ms. Wells with a concerned expression. She nodded her head in agreement and we both sprinted out of my office, down the staircase, and onto the street. We stood there with our hands on our knees, trying to catch our breath. I spied a fiery figure at my window, its arms flailed around wildly.

Suddenly, the chilling sound of glass shattering sounded from above. I covered Ms. Well’s eyes before the body made impact. Though I spared her the image, I could not shield her from the blood, which splattered splotches of red on her blue jeans. All that could be heard were the flames joyfully crackling over charred flesh, and fire engines off in the distance. I knew it was not the right time, but I anxiously asked Ms. Wells a question.

“Soo this is not the first time I’ve burned down my office.” I winced at the awkwardness of my timing. “Can you stick around a while and give a statement? My insurance premium is super high as it is. I don’t want them thinking this was my fault.”

She dug her face into her hands and sobbed deeply. She started shaking, so I put my arms around her torso to comfort her. She was clearly still in shock.

“Shouldn’t have asked. Sorry. I’ll just have them call you.”

Find Your Voice

“You’ve ruined this country!”

“You had a chance to fight injustice!”

“You threw your vote away!”

A few comments stuck out, but eventually the taunts of enraged people yelling from across the classroom fused into an incoherent jumble. Konrad Johnson was president and the crowd made it feel like the world was going to end. I voted for Peter Snoqualmie, a third-party candidate from Montana. He seemed like the candidate I wanted for the job so I voted for him. If only it was that simple.

Earlier today, when my Political Science professor asked us to move to certain parts of the room based on our votes I did so with no predispositions. I thought it’d be fun to see the political views of my peers. But apparently the party that lost was not too thrilled. They were angry, and aimed their wrath at the several of us huddled in the north corner of the room. Since I was not with them, I was against them.

The following weeks were an isolating experience. Whenever I entered that class I was met with piercing glares. My normal study group wanted nothing to do with me. People were just so damn mad about him winning, and the media was all too happy to fan the flames of civil unrest. I should have noticed the change in the atmosphere before it started getting out of hand.

One day I walked into the lecture hall ready for a pre-class quiz. I had gotten in the habit of just watching my feet as I found my seat, to avoid passing glares. So I didn’t notice how empty the room had gotten until I fished out my books from my bag.

“Where is everyone?” I asked the sparsely populated student body.

A few students shrugged or looked away. It seemed no one cared to answer.

I heard a tooth grinding screech as the double doors flew open.

“Class! We are going to watch the live-stream of the protest on campus!” He excitedly held an open laptop as he skipped to the front of the class. “This is history in the making!”

With a few cords and keystrokes the live-stream was connected to the projector and shone on top of the blackboard. A pimple faced journalism major held a microphone up to the protesters, asking their cause. My classmates stood in the background waving signs.

“We want Konrad Johnson to resign! Your voice is a weapon! Use it to fight injustice!”

The ringleader spoke for a while longer, but as he did a crowd began to form opposite the protesters. The distinct sound of a bottle shattering on the ground interrupted the interview.

A counter protest had been spurred into action and it got violent fast. The audio cut out, and video was choppy but we could see the reporter struggling to escape. He caught an elbow to his jaw, knocking him to the ground for a moment before scrambling along the ground to get out of the center of the brawl. Blood streamed down his chin.

My professor jittered with excitement. His eyes grew, as if they were absorbing the flickering images from the screen.

“This is politics in the 21st century”

I stared blankly at the chaos projected at the front of the class. My fellow students fought viciously for their beliefs. This was not politics, this was a war rivaling the spectacles at Carthage or Hastings.

It dawned on me then why candidates like Peter Snoqualmie would never win. You can’t win a war by remaining neutral. It didn’t matter how much I liked Snoqualmie, I had to check the ballot unfolding in front of me. And he was noticeably absent from the choices.

I pushed back my chair and stood. It squealed against the linoleum floor. My professor was too enthralled by the dancing lights of the projector to notice me sliding through the double doors. As I neared the quad, the sounds of screaming and battered flesh echoed into the hallways ever louder. Sirens faintly approached from the distance adding a subtle sterile flavor. My nails dug into my palm as I clenched my fists.

I still was not sure what side I would join. But I would come out swinging.

It’s better than not having a voice.

Friday Fictioneers- Genesis

Photo prompt courtesy of J Hardy Carroll

100 words

The clock had taunted me for weeks. I drove by the house every night for merely a glimpse.

Tonight I had decided to make it mine.

The door was unlocked, it creaked mercilessly as it opened.

I walked to the parlor where the clock stood grandly overlooking the room. The moonlight brushed its ornate design. When the minute hand of the clock hit twelve, a deep bell chimed.

While I stood there in awe, the lights flipped on.

A woman froze with her finger still on the switch.

We made eye contact.

She didn’t scream loud enough to save her.

For the sequel please refer to my previous Friday Fictioneers post- The Criminal

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