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Thursday, July 19, 2012

#FridayFlash: Shine Until Tomorrow, pt 1

At long last, I pick up the thread I left off back in April. If you haven’t read the earlier parts, you probably should, because this is an epilogue of sorts. It runs two (short) parts, then it’s really The End for this story. I’ve cleaned it up a lot, thinking I might submit it somewhere. Here’s the earlier parts:

School let out, and the students poured through what was once a side entrance of Four Oaks High School. Mary and Eric walked together, hand in hand, an eddy of quiet in the current of chatter. Outside, the parking lot was full of campers and even a few tents. Most of the campers looked battered, bearing scars left by the beast’s five-day rampage across the world. School had been open for only a week, but the kids were getting back into a routine. Meanwhile, the grownups were trying to rebuild.

Mary and Eric made their silent way through the parking lot. Finally, they reached the camper they shared with Eric’s Aunt Circe, the only surviving close relative either of them knew about. She was out, probably helping with the cleanup on the other side of the school. The tornado, then the beast, had not been kind to the building. But fewer than half the students were left, so the part left standing was enough.

Dropping their bookbags under the small table, they plopped down on the narrow sofa. They sighed as one. Mary idly flipped through her sketchbook, then laid it aside. “This sucks,” she grunted.

“It’s not that bad,” said Eric, waving at the camper around them. “Aunt Circe’s cool. Besides, they’re using all the fuel for cleanup and rebuilding, and it’s too far to walk from my old apartment.” He put an arm around her before she could argue. “Besides, as long as I’m with you, I’m cool with wherever we are.”

“Yeah, me too,” she said, and kissed him. For a blissful moment, the only sound was their breathing as their kiss deepened. That now-familiar warmth kindled in Mary’s guts, and spread all over her. His breathing grew deeper with hers, and they held each other tight. She pulled him down—

Source: openclipart.org
They broke off. Mary looked at the ceiling, unconsciously straightening her clothes. “Why won’t you just go away?” she shouted at the angel outside. Its gaze had already turned away, the moment broken, the lust dissipated. She stormed out, slamming the door against the side of the camper. “Leave us alone!” she snarled. “Why do you always have to watch us?”

“It’s not just us,” Eric said softly, stroking the back of her neck. “Word’s getting around. It’s anyone who wants to do something… sinful, I guess. As soon as they start thinking about it, they feel the angel watching. Nobody wants to talk about it, but…” he shrugged.

Mary turned and buried her face in his shoulder. “I can’t live like this!” she wailed. “Why can’t we just, just have things like they were?”

“You mean with guys like that creep coming onto you? Amber Garner making your life miserable? Us not together?” He squeezed her. “I know you think this is your fault—”

“It is my fault. I made the beast.”

“No. It was there already. It just tricked you. Remember?”

She thought back to the day she drew the angel. “You were right. But how did you know?”

Eric paused. “I don’t know know,” he said. “I guess it’s intuition. I don’t have hard data, but—well, you never made things happen with your drawings before, right?”

She shook her head against his soft chest. “I thought it was girls who have intuition.”

“I don’t think it’s gender-specific,” he said.

Mary laughed. Eric was a geek, and he talked like a geek. Her rampaging beast, killing over half the world’s population, couldn’t change that. He liked to figure out how stuff worked, and she just did stuff. He devoured the news, where hearing about the billions of casualties kept Mary awake at night. Left brain and right brain. Oil and vinegar. They completed each other.

“Anyway, I still think you could draw it gone,” Eric told her.

“I’ve tried. I can’t draw anything. Ever since I drew that last one, where the angel killed the beast.” And I made you like me, she thought with a pang of guilt.

“Maybe it’s something different.”



  1. --“I thought it was girls who have intuition.”
    --“I don’t think it’s gender-specific,” he said.

    I thought that exchange was very cute. Are you going to fold your epilogue-of-sorts into the full story when you go hunting for submissions?

  2. I really liked the dialogue between them and how they have settled into each others company. The angel is kind of spooky, Can't wait for the next episode.

  3. A nice addition to the series. I can't wait to see what Mary does about the angels.

  4. The angel, the drawings themselves, the beast... there's this whole through-line of actions-having-consequences, of solutions-causing-new-problems that I really like.

    Funny, when I was a kid I was scared of angels the same way people are scared of clowns (I was scared of them too).

    I'm looking forward to reading where this ends up.

  5. If that angel could read my mind it would most probably be following me around 24/7 :P.

    Great addition Larry. Nice world building and I wonder if it will be a better place with a few less billion people in it. Pushing up the value of human life in the process.

  6. Nice. Haunted by her own drawing. ;)

  7. JohnW, yes indeed. I've also cleaned up the older episodes (but not on the blog just yet).

    Thanks, Helen! Yeah, those "angels watchin' over me" can get awfully annoying!

    A week from today, Chuck…

    Katherine, "solutions causing new problems" is what I call "you can't do only one thing." ;-) Scared of angels and clowns? Good thing you never met the Archangel Bubbles, then…

    Craig, me too! :-D The story doesn't last long enough to see if the world turns out better, but I kind of think it will.

    Thanks, Sonia. Haunted isn't the exact word, but it's a good one — a very good one.

  8. Well, she now has her very own guardian angel, so no more nasty beastie, also no hanky-panky either... Jeez, everything comes with a price tag, doesn't it? :)

  9. Think I'll be going back for a longer read as I'm very intrigued.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  10. WOW I am loving this series to bits! Can't wait to read the next installment!

  11. Nice cliffhanger there. I knew the angel would be more trouble under the sun. Nasty those things are!

    Love this series Larry, and the story is just working so well, with artsy, geeky characters. Am looking forward to the next installment!

    Good job.

  12. "...And I made you like me..."

    Oh dear. Things still aren't perfect in Mary's world. It's the old story of three wishes - and they never work out the way the wisher hopes/believes/expects.

    Excellent take on old truths, Larry. And I have to love the Beatles tie-in.

  13. Oh my.. I think there are a hundred angels outside my window.. Is your angel the ghost of Mc Carthy? It seems very 'unliberated' .. Great flow to this story and it's lovely to find myself back in the company of these characters.. Now where did I leave that eraser?


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