Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Step One

Uncle Jim was a silhouette in headlights, shotgun on his hood, another in his hands. He held steady as we emerged. “I’ve seen prettier pimentos stuck to the sink after a two day martini bender.”

I shielded my eyes. “Good to see you, too. Could you kill the lights?”

“Depends. You both you?”

Nate looked at me like a jigsaw puzzle he thought he’d finished only to find the center missing. “As much as we can be, after that. Got whiskey?”

“Yeah, that’s you.” Jimmy shut off the lights and grabbed a bottle. “Capture the critter?”

I flinched. “Not exactly.”


Falling To Pieces

By Colleen Foley

Before I could tear her throat, dizziness slammed into me, turning vision into a grey-fuzzed jigsaw puzzle. I fell sideways and sat down hard, back against the wall.

I could only watch Seth capture her and turn her slowly into splatters of chopped pimento on walls and floor.

He took his time and he was brutal. She kept screaming long after she had no mouth to scream with. I think he did that, made her able to feel and shriek long after death took her.

Terrified acceptance filled me as my brother helped me stand and we began to climb.


Friday, January 25, 2013

No Mercy

Pimento-red eyes beseeched – to no avail. This creature had never been human, never been kind. She nearly destroyed Nate. Fearing the effect should he taste her blood, I pulled my strength from him. His legs held for a moment before he lurched sideways, losing purchase in a tilting world.

“Should’ve captured my conscience instead of my heart,” I scolded. “Your master’s plan has failed.”

She gave a jagged smile. “Victory comes in small steps.”

“Death more swiftly.” With the last bit of accrued magic, I ripped her into jigsaw pieces.

Both depleted, Nate and I struggled out of the pit.


Thursday, January 24, 2013


By Colleen Foley

My fists made eccentric patterns of bruise and blood on her body. I broke one bone for each remembered moment of our history.

Each blow seemed to snuff her spell building like a candle. Screams became whimpers whenever she tried to cast. At first, it was like hitting oak. But each time, I felt a new surge of energy, God knows where from, to strike again.

Fist in her hair, I yanked her to her feet in front of me and bit down on the side of her throat. Seth stood before us, still chanting. I didn’t care.

“Nate! NO!”


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Digging Deep

Delving is like diving into the swampy history of a person’s life. She wasn’t an individual, but part of a collective, a large branch on an ancient oak focused solely on eradicating humanity. She’d been pruned to believe I was at the center, but pushing past the tangle of her purpose, I found the true roots. Someday, I would have to sever them.

She snapped her focus away from Nate to cast me out.

His breathing was eccentric, hands bloody, anger bubbling over like a cauldron of hate. I fed him energy to continue, having no more need of her.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013


by Colleen Foley

I came to naked, screaming, and pinned against a wall with Seth’s hands on my wrists like oaken shackles. My left forearm burned as though it were being etched with acid.

She screamed too, a rising howl of pain, frustration, and fury.

Pain and screaming stopped as Seth released me and faced her. I pulled my jeans on, snarling as recent history revealed itself. Still barefoot, I strode past my brother, ignoring his eccentric gesturing and chant.

Reaching her, still on her knees, I let what she had unleashed, and lost control of, take over.

I started to beat her.


Monday, January 21, 2013


Wrists grasped firmly, I pushed Nate against the cavern wall, leaving my back exposed. I’d die before letting him be taken again. He scratched at me – all the better for my plans. Blood mingled, I chanted, fast and low:

Golden oak to ward and hold
Raven waken mind and soul
Stones for history shared in faith
Cross recall all promises made
Swords to sever bindings new
Woven five between us two

Eccentric symbols passed from me to him, overlaid, inlaid, setting him free.

The creature’s scream severed our connection, as I had hers. Fury unbound, I turned to face her.



by Colleen Foley

She’d played my symptoms with a will hard as oak. Rage and pain held at bay, eagerness and need rampant beyond measure. She’d ripped the history of my memories of every woman I’d ever been with from my head, glamouring herself into an amalgam of all of them.

I’d been close, painfully so, when Seth blew her across the room with some spell. Seeing her reality, eccentric and horrible, I rolled to my side, vomiting and finding release simultaneously.

I had enough good grace to feel disgust and shame seconds before her control vanished, and I went for Seth’s throat.


Friday, January 18, 2013


I could recount the history of every dive bar and seedy motel Nate and I have visited. Eidetic memory: another curse, if less eccentric than most that plague me, but in this case a blessing. I didn’t know what Nate’s violator was, but I knew the ritual to stop her – mostly. My mother died before completing the incantation. I’d have to wing the ending.

Just as soon as I removed Nate’s hands, oak-strong and insistent, from my throat. By sheer will, I transferred the first sigil onto his skin. He howled to wake the dead, and the gruesome bitch complied.


Thursday, January 17, 2013


Jimmy jumped off the train, just another bindlestiff, but one with a plan. He squatted by the river until he found a fella had a suit worth stealing. Spruced up, he made as how he knew some about oil and men.

125 years later, he’s remembered as Honest Jim, best general manager in refinery history.

Written for the 55 word challenge here

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I’d seen bigger heating vents than the hole Nate fell through. Behemoths like me aren’t made for small spaces. Graceless, I forced myself below.

Nothing will erase the sight of Nate being ridden by a mud-encrusted thing. I’m sure he was ensorcelled to see a human woman. Magic poured from an amulet on her chest directly into the dark spot on his.

“All your saved up spells won’t help,” she purred, “but give it your best shot.”

Light show masking intention, I cleaned her clock with a single blow.

Nate lunged, feral. Lost.

I backed away, preparing. “God forgive me.”


Velvet Underground

by Colleen Foley

“It’s been about Seth all along. Josette just had to save the book, become something she was never meant to. She had to be ended. If only she’d spawned a girl, this wouldn’t have been necessary.”

The clock in my head ticked fear and loathing as she pressed closer. My body betrayed me – responding as her lips brushed my jaw.

Her breath caressed my ear, sweetly vile as she whispered, “We will join. At the end, when you vent all that rage and passion within me, the world will become like us.”

“And Seth will die trying to save it.”


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Call and Response

Sunlight strikes stained glass, fragmented patterns birling across mosaic tiles. Light dances over intricate designs, all organic, geometric, balanced.

“I love an old church,” I croak, throat long unused. “Such delightful corruption.”


“You have made a terrible mistake.” I am not sure the wildling in the wings understands my tongue.

“As summoner, I command you…” Latin roots hide in a dreadful language.

I remember it and switch. “Alas, pet, you’ve mixed it up.”

Little bird tastes fear. “The grimoire said…”

“Ancient tomes aren’t infallible.”

Ignorance is not excuse. It is invitation.

She screams as I make her my creature.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Exquisite pain. Excruciating pleasure. I was filled, fulfilled, overfull.

Pages flipped, autonomous. Whenever they stopped, I set spell into flesh, colorful sigils linking as I went. Last was a clock, hands moving, approaching midnight. So much for not getting more tattoos. At least they provided a vent for the magic.

When the book stilled, I stepped out of the stream without difficulty.

Jim stared. “Nate’s gonna see you as a monster.”

“As is he, now. If I can’t reverse this …”

“You sacrifice him to save the world.”

The compass on my forearm pointed me toward my worst nightmare.


Witchy Woman

by Colleen Foley

I landed on all fours in a miasma of mud, slime and scattered bones. She stood naked in the middle of it, beautiful – save the thing nestled between her breasts, pulsing red and grey.

I stood. She tilted my chin up and kissed me. I tried to close my fist and couldn’t.

“You and I will die, as we vent upon the world the plague that will destroy your brother.”

She gently licked the thing on my chest. In my head, a clock began to tick.

“You’re wrong. Seth won’t get sick. He has magic.”

She only smiled.


Saturday, January 12, 2013


Before I could rush off – juiced up and half-cocked – Uncle Jim arrived in a cloud of dust and irritation.

“Christ’s tits, you two!” He glanced at Nate’s car. “Where is he?”

I pointed south. “Bastard left me behind.”

“You wanna vent or find something to save your idiot brother?” He tossed me the book.

It thrummed.

“You’re giving it back?”

“Pfft. I made a copy. Now hurry. Clock’s running out.”

The book opened to the right page. Intentionally.

I swore.

“How bad?” Jim asked.

“Unimaginably.” I stepped onto the ley cross.

“Don’t! That’s…”

Magic surged through me, burning. “I know.”


Thursday, January 10, 2013


The first time I met her was in the woods. Markings showed she’d been sold twice, though I didn’t recognize the brands. Skittish, she’d kept her distance. Most make noise when approached. She stayed silent, never took her eyes off me. One wrong move, and she’d bolt.

I talked as I picked the mushrooms I’d come to find, told stories about my boyhood in these woods.  I figured if she got used to my voice, maybe she’d come closer and, after a time, learn to trust me.  Foolish, considering that she was either a runaway or had been turned loose for being unbreakable, but I always was optimistic. None so far gone as couldn’t be brought back.

Took a few weeks of running across her “accidentally” before she stopped hiding.  Leaving her be made her believe I intended no harm, which was Truth. 

When I caught her, it was gentle. I had no illusions she came willingly, but the fight was more statement than protest. I threw a blanket over her and tied her loosely, before leading her home. She balked when she saw the cabin, but I coaxed her along.

“It’s okay now. This is home. I’ll be good to you, and you’ll be good to me, and that’s what matters.”

She looked at me, long and steady, nostrils flaring.

“If you brand me like the others, I’ll knife you in your sleep.”

Seems there was work yet to be done, but I could live with her terms.


Written for the Thursday Threads challenge here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Courtyard

Yellowed memories cling to the buildings. Visitors find it quaint. Perky geraniums exude sickly sweet fragrance, covering scents of decay.

From windows above, the Brothers watch, approving what they’ve made. Under stones, in dark and damp, we’ve come to hate the laughter of the tourists.

Someday, we’ll break free and remake the world that was.

Written for the 55 word challenge here.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Re: Generation

The connection to Nate thinned like a vine in winter, I cursed my inability to revive it. Legs failed. I tumbled to the dirt.

Magic struck, electric. I convulsed as my body drew it up and in, autonomous, attempting to hoard the current. For the first time, I feared my potential.

I wanted more.
      My birthright.

The brand on my hip flared, shattering reverie. I was on a ley line cross, a much sought oddity. If I stayed, it would consume me. Healed, I wrenched free.

To the south, I could feel Nate. And then I couldn’t.


Can You Dig It?

by Colleen Foley

Seth would wake in the car, for all the good it would do him. I’d called Jimmy. He’d be safe.

I followed a single vine now. I’d had to remove my shirt. It ran straight to the middle of my chest, a round, black, pulsing thing. No oddity there, eh? It becoming a tumor?

I felt her, somewhere ahead as I ran past small mounds. A burial ground.

The pain stopped. I wanted to dig at my chest, unearth the thing inside. I dug earth and rotted leaves instead, like a hoard of rabid gophers.

Then I fell to her.


Thursday, January 03, 2013


“Did you find it yet?”

She looks at me across the chaos we’ve made of the place – papers spilled over dishes cleared from tables next to cushions flung from couches. The china cabinet remains unsullied, because I don’t want to be haunted unnecessarily.

She holds up a journal, old leather cover cracked, pages loose. “There’s this.”

“Girl! You see why I called you in. I tried for a year to find it.”

She looks at me like she usually does, lips pursed, slight frown, eyes trying hard to keep from rolling. “You’re the worst damned thief I’ve ever met.”

I’m not, of course. Well, I am bad at stealing things. That’s not my job. It’s hers. It’s why I hired her. That, and the curve of her waist where it meets her lush hips and the way her hair hangs over one eye with the perfect curl resting just above her breast. If I said so, she’d punch me in the face. I think. She might shoot me.

She’s the most exciting woman I’ve ever met, and I’m more than half in love with her. Which is bad, I know. Business and pleasure mixing and all that. I just can’t seem to care.

She tosses me the book, and I lunge for it. A single page escapes, flutters mid-air, hangs there. As it descends, I scream.

“What is your problem?” she snaps.

She couldn’t know. I never told her what's in that book, but she’s about to find out.

(written for Thursday Threads challenge here)

Tainted Love

Inciting antibodies in his system might have saved Nate from septicemia, but not for long. I could see and smell the voodoo curse taking over. As his rage grew, his foot got heavier on the gas.

My injuries throbbed, anticipating more. I had no magic left for defense or even to mitigate damage done. I’d given him everything. He’d given me black eyes. Dr. Phil would have a lot to say about our relationship.

I held onto consciousness by a thread, until Nate took a sharp turn and my head hit the window.

I woke in another field. Alone.


The Pull

by Colleen Foley

I woke behind the wheel, realized what Seth had done, shot my fist at him. It stopped just short of his battered cheek.

“…can’t drive Nate. You have to. It’s the only way….’m so sorry.”

Still irate, but controlled, I drove. I glanced at my arms, saw the livid bloody streaks on them, septic threads burning toward my core. Toward the source.

I followed them like following a map. Each twist of scarlet a twist or turn in the road, urging me, daring me, to find it. Beside me, Seth bled, cried, whispered.

“Yes. Find it, Nate. Take us home.”