Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Tacky Ticker

by anita marie moscoso

Inspired by the Soul Food Cafe Prompt

"M" is for Myth

Alstona Kamacho's clock is an Doomsday clock- that's what she told everyone at her office. She also told them on the first day she brought it in that if the clock stops the world will end.

So for the past 20 years everyone she works with goes out of their way to make sure Alstona’s Tacky Ticker doesn't wind down.

At first it was fun to find a way to make it first to avocado green clock with the pink feet and the silver mushroom bells sitting sideways against face so that you could be the one turn the little silver key and save the entire world

Then it got to be serious.

When Alstona’ s six co-workers heard the little gears slowing down and just before second hand made this pop sound when it skipped past the glow in the dark five they’d already be pushing and shoving, tripping towards Alstona’s desk.

One year Barnell Bloss fractured right arm when he tried- and failed to clear Fales Digby's desk to get to Alstona’ s Armageddon clock.

Of course he didn't clear Fales' desk because Fales was sitting at it and when Barnell raced by it was more the Fales could stand.

He'd reached up and slammed Barnell down and Fales had been the one to save the world that day.

In any other office on the face of the Earth that stunt would probably have ended in some sort of legal action.

But Lonsdale and Mead's wasn't like anyplace on the face of the Earth- there wasn't anyplace else on the face of the Earth that had an Armageddon clock sitting on an employee's desk.

Delia Wing was a Courier from All City Express, she had won the Lonsdale and Mead stop in a lunch time card game at All City.

But that was nothing new- drivers at All City had been known to pay each other cold hard cash just for one trip because everyone in the city of Mayweed knew the L & M staff were a bunch of whack jobs.

What can you say? Nothing broke up the day like getting the chance to see a bunch of desk jockeys beat the snot out of each other to get to this cheap and nasty windup clock first.

As you’ve probably guessed by now Mayweed was short on entertainment venues.

Delia' first trip into L & M was on a Friday and there they were- all seven of them sitting at their desks, working on the phones and doing data entry and the entire time they all had at least one eye on the Receptionist’s Desk.

At least that one eye looked alive and alert because the faces they were housed in were pale and all of the worker's hands were twitching and shaking.

Delia decided right then and there she didn't want to go back to L & M- all of those people looked like they already had one foot in the grave and she was afraid whatever they had might be something you could catch.

But first Delia had a job to do.

She went over to the receptionist's desk where the clock was sitting and cleared her throat, " Package for you. "

Alstona looked up and reached for small box a in Delia's hand.

" So that's the clock. " Delia said.

" That's the clock. "

" So, if you're sitting there how come they...." Delia pointed to the rows of desks behind Alstona " race to wind it up? Why don't you do it yourself?"

Someone said from the back of the office, " because she doesn't care anymore...she wants the world to end."

From a little closer to where Delia and Alstona were another voice said, " she's nuts "

And everyone agreed.

Delia never actually saw the L & M people racing to the clock but on some days she thought they looked more nervous and pale then on other days and she figured that must have been at about the time the clock was probably starting to wind down.

Then one day, even though she had nothing to drop off and no one had called in a pickup Delia went into the Office.

" Nothing to pick up? " she asked Alstona.

" No. " the Receptionist said.

Delia didn’t want to leave and she didn’t want to be there but for several nights Delia would wake up to the sound of ticking and she'd have to bite down hard on her lip to keep from screaming out loud.

So she decided to get this over with.

" It's a joke...right? " Delia asked.

" It certainly is " a woman who sat directly behind Alstona said. She had heavy dark circles under her eyes and her blouse was inside out. " It's the funniest joke anyone could have ever come up with and I'm sick to death of it."

Then a man said, " I say we let it go...we just let go."

Alstona turned around and she said, " didn't I say it would come to this?"

The six staffers nodded and Alstona looked up at Delia and nodded, " it's a joke and I'm going to end it. "

Then Alstona reached over picked up the clock and smashed it against her desk over and over until her hands were cut and bleeding and the clock was mashed flat.

" It's over, right? " Delia asked. " The joke is over. "

Alstona said quiet as a Cemetery at Midnight, " it certainly is."

Outside a dark cloud crossed in front of the Sun then the ground shook just a little...

And that was

The End

The Scariest Sound

by anita marie moscoso
Inspired by the Soul Food Cafe Prompt
Late, Late One Night

Late, late last night, when the whole world sleptAlong to the garden of dreams I crept.And I pulled the bell of an old, old houseWhere the moon dipped down like a little white mouse.- Zora Cross

Bartsia Butcherbroom lives alone on Wormbark Road and even though Wormbark is sitting on some prime real estate up there in the Cascade Mountains no one wants to live out there and the reason for that isn't the road with the funny name.

The reason is Bartsia Butcherbroom.

Bartsia lives in this little stone house with no windows and as far as anyone can tell it doesn't have a door either- little details about Bartsia's house are sketchy at best because in the 30 plus years she's lived on Wormbark no one has ever went looking to knock on Bartsia's door.
Catching a glimpse of Bartsia working herb garden that grows wild at the side of her is about all anyone wants to see of her.

If you're unlucky by nature you might see her sitting on her porch rocking on her porch swing.
Bartsia sits there whittling little human shaped figures with a long knife with a bone white handle from the wood she collects from around her property .

When she's done she stands them up along the railing that runs along her porch or she tosses them into the Riversleigh Creek that runs behind her property.

When the little figures wash up along the banks in the city of Hedon the people that find them dig little holes and push the figures in with their feet. They try to use something else other then their hands and then they go home straight home and try to forget those tiny little figures with the rows of "X" marks running across their little eyes.

Maybe you'll wonder how she makes such tiny cuts with such a big knife, but if I were you I wouldn't spend a lot of time thinking about Bartsia Butcherbroom.

Especially if you were one of those people who touched one of those little figures with your hands before you buried it- or if as you passed by her sitting on her porch as she whittled and she caught your reflection in that long blade attached to the bone white handle she carves her figures with.

If you your unfortunate enough to be in either position more then likely you're going to start to dream of her.

Having Bartsia show up in your dreams can only mean one thing.
It means that you're going to be out one night and that you will hear the scariest sound anyone can imagine hearing.

Trust me, there are a lot of things out there in the black night that comes from the Cascades that sound bad. People with small "X" marks running across their closed eyes and pleading as they stumble through the woods " Please wake me up, please wake me up " is pretty bad in itself.

But the scariest sound you 'll ever hear are the words, " What was that? "

You'll be saying them- and they will be the last words you'll ever hear as you turn around and come face to face with Bartsia Butcherbroom who lives on Wormbark Road in a house with no windows or doors.