Wednesday, September 8, 2010

3ww: Lucky

Welcome to Three Word Wednesday, where my feet are cold and the Devil's lips are warm.



Twelve cities had fallen in answer to the Devil's robust appetite. White pillars cracked, giants slabs of rock split in two, libraries and city halls crumbled. Tennis courts caved in, elementary schools half gone, and this was only the beginning. Humanity scattered like ants looking for a new hole, but even the running dogs knew nowhere was safe. I sat up on the bridge and watched black smoke over Detroit turn into starless night, chewing on the wind as it whipped around me.

"You, my dear, are a feast for sore eyes."

I knew he'd come. I pretended not to look -- it's best, anyway, if you look at the Devil out the side of your eyes. He comes in more clear like that. I also pretended he hadn't said "feast" instead of "sight." I grunted and didn't say anything.

"Things have been rough lately. Work is very hard." He sat next to me, swinging his legs in the air. He didn't hold on to anything.

"I feel for you," I said.

"I know you do. You are the very kindest and most compassionate of all my children."

It was hard to say which of us had conjured up the most sarcasm, but I would give it to him. He always won, of course.

"So where to next?"

He laughed. It sounded like the rushing river far below us. "Did you think I would just tell you?" He put something in my lap. "Here. I got this for you."

It was a teddy bear. Its stitched eyes were frayed, its brown fur bald in patches. An ear was stiff from constantly being chewed. Well loved, this teddy bear. I wondered about the child who had owned it.

"No, thanks. I'm not nine anymore." And I dropped that bear, straight down. It flopped and jerked in the wind, but then it was gone. It was hard to see, but I assumed it had hit the dark water and sunk.

"No, you're not. Not a bit." He didn't look at me now, not even out of the corners of his eyes. He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek, and despite myself, I leaned into his lips, the only warm thing out here, as if his kiss was a charm I could wear, or a benediction.

He stood. The entire bridge swayed, nearing destruction, and yet he didn't. He cut a dark shadow against darker shadows. "Atlanta," he said. "If you must know."

And then he was gone. I waited, feeling the bridge quiver, a foal on new legs that would never stand again. I stood myself, adjusted my cap, and tested the wind. "Atlanta," I muttered. "Yeah, they'll never see that coming."

And I dove off the bridge, soaring south over a city it was too late to save, the screams of the already-forgotten at my back. A thirteenth chance. Well. Thirteen always was my lucky number.


  1. Dark, slightly disturbing - but oh so good. I've come to look forward to Wednesday's and your contributions to 3WW. You've never disappointed.

  2. Thank you, Thom. I look forward to Wednesday's so much -- salvation of the week, most times. :)

  3. That was a wonderfully dark piece!

  4. Oh, this was so, sooooo good! Dark, juicy, loved the idea, so well-written. I didn't want it to end.....

  5. This is sooo good a story! Dark, indeed!

  6. Thank you Angel, Rebecca, and Amity!

    It's getting to be that time of year -- let the Darkness flow, I say. :)

  7. This, my darling, is perfection!

    I think it´s my favourite piece so far, and I´ve read some pretty damn stellar work of yours! I really think you should write longer stuff in this genre, you do it beautifully.

    I love this. I´m printing it and I never print stuff because I´m ambiguous about owning things =)

    OK, I read it again. It´s extremely well crafted. Post it somewhere else and don´t change a thing. I love the first paragraph, how you set it up, the atmosphere, the metaphor. And, oh, you use your city - great! And it just keeps rockin´! Like some dark `Good Omens´ written in beautiful poetry. Thanks for writing this!

  8. "ambiguous about owning things" -- LOL! That is fabulous. I'm writing that down. A character trait for an as-yet-unwritten character.

    Thank you so much! This was my second attempt, and my first lies half-aborted in the hard drive, a victim to lust. Those things you said about writing -- I try to remember them. And be true to them when I write. I try.

    This second attempt? I remembered. Lust.

  9. I LOVED this! I wanted to read more! To know what the relationship WAS between the protagonist and the Devil. To know what was meant by "a thirteenth chance". To know WHY the devil is doing this -- just because he CAN, or is there some other reason?

    Anyway, I guess that's the mark of a good drabble (as opposed to the mark of the beast): that it leaves a lot of unanswered questions and people who want to read more.

  10. I´ll read it and know you based that part of the character on me - it´ll be sweet =)

    Lust, yes! Always!

  11. "as opposed to the mark of the beast" -- LOL.

    This was, unfortunately, a helluva lot of fun to write. And it felt way too good and natural. Writing's supposed to be torture, right? So now I can't get these two out of my head. Building backstories, future stories, and thinking about how best to destroy Atlanta.

    Thanks for reading. If there's ever more, I'll let you know.

    PS I tried looking, but there just isn't much good Devil art out there. Just sayin', is all.

  12. So DON'T get them out of your head. Write about them. Destroy Atlanta. Writing is SUPPOSED to be fun, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Hmmm... devil art.... Perhaps we can make some kind of... arrangement.... *covers horn back up with hair and tries to look innocent*

  13. This is great. It's concise, it flows, and it raises so many questions without needing to answer any. A fun read.

  14. Devil art!! Yes, please!!! :D If Mimi comes through, you must share!!!

    This was sooooogooood!!!!

    (Went to Michaels today... Halloween.... hellsyeah.)