Tag: Long

Elevation

I’ve had this ability for as long as I can remember. Jason calls it the elevation but I just call it upgrade. At first, we messed around with elevating all kinds of stuff, but it turns out that people get quite suspicious when your mini-van suddenly turns into a Ferrari. As I grew up, I realised I could do so much more than just upgrade things. I could repair them, copy them, downgrade them; I could even delete them.

Contrary to Jason, I believed it was in my best interest to keep my powers on the down low. Of course, I used them, what’s the point in having them if you didn’t? I just didn’t want to draw attention to myself; I didn’t think I can elevate my way out of jail.

But as all stories go, there was a turning point, and it came in the form of Janet Lily Sullivan. She was a decent looking lady with an alright figure. She worked in accounting, a couple of desks from my little office in HR. We first met at the company’s Christmas party; she would be my third girlfriend, and as fate would have it, my last.

We started dating quite a while after that; Jane (or Lily as she liked to be called) had such a bright personality. She made the every day seemed extraordinary; she made my life have a purpose.

It wasn’t a while later that she happened to overhear Jason talking about the elevation. She asked me and I couldn’t help but tell her the truth. After all, I thought she was different; I figured she was special.

It didn’t take long before Lily started changing. She wanted my gifts to be even more unique; according to her, I could just elevate them anytime I wanted. Soon, even the best gifts couldn’t sate her and even then she still wanted more.

It had been three weeks of her constantly begging me to upgrade her; I had told her, no, but she kept on and I finally gave way. It only took a few seconds, but it would change the rest of my life.

For the first time in a long time, she was happy; she was more beautiful, more fit, more everything that she had ever been and for a while, it was just fine. But of course, the questions came. What exercise did you do? Who does your hair? Did you get plastic surgery?

Tired of all the inquisition she finally let it slip, and that’s when it all began. Her story spiralled onto the internet; she even got appearances on shows. Meanwhile, I hadn’t gone to work in weeks; paparazzi had flooded my doors.

I managed to escape my house, living on the run. All this time she was becoming even more and more famous. It took me three weeks to track her down, and I did something I had never done before: I downgraded her.

So that’s my story, now I’m here under this bridge. Police have been looking for me for a while now; apparently what I did was illegal. Maybe I should just end it; maybe it was never a good idea in the first place. The only person that would miss me if I died was probably Jason, the only person who still cared. But I’m sure that he would live a much better life if I weren’t around. And so I reached for the top of my head, just under downgrade and I pressed…

 


In response to Everything has a small arrow and the word “upgrade” over it. Press it and you can upgrade the item into a better verison. You’ve used the abikity sparingly, new phones, better cars, however today you made the ultimate mistake. You pressed the button over a person from Writing Prompts.


 

Chapter Two: The Infiltration

Agent Harris jumped over the fence unto the soft grass on the other side. He passed across the field like a blur of black; his footsteps quiet as he clung to the shadows. All around him leaves flutter in the light winter wind. Harris fastened his coat; he hated the cold.

The agent had been walking for almost half an hour now and he still had another couple of minutes to go till he reached the drop zone. Harris winced; he had gotten a cramp. He tried to straighten his legs as he walked but it had no effect and he didn’t have anytime; he had a deadline.

Ignoring the pain, Harris pressed on. He was almost there, only a few meters further. Hopefully his source would give him the info and leave; Harris wasn’t feeling any sort of pleasantry but considering his source was Michael he didn’t hold his breadth. Harris stumbled on a rock and cursed; the cold always made him so careless.


Harris got to the drop zone a few minutes before the appointed time; his contact had not yet arrived. Harris took this time to soothe his aching leg; it was some time before the cramp decided to go away. Harris looked out from his hiding spot again; his contact had still not arrived.

The agent was worried; despite all the flaws that Michael may have he was never late. Harris brought out his gun and got it ready; it was already loaded but he double checked to make sure. Checking the magazine revealed that he had six spares, enough for a couple of rounds of gunfire.

Cocking his gun, Harris peeked out from his hideout once more; Michael had still not arrived. Harris was concerned but he couldn’t afford to jeopardise this mission he would wait for five minutes before leaving. He made a mental note to check up on Michael sometime later but he feared the worst; things rarely ended well for secret agents.

Harris was bout to leave when he ducked back into his hiding spot; three strange figures were on the approach. They were quite bulky men dressed in a unique shade of green; forest green. The men may look out of place in a civilised context but in the mass of shrubbery that was the drop zone they were barely recognisable; barely.

Harris watched the men; they looked like they were looking for something, or maybe someone. Someone with information they shouldn’t know; someone like him. Maybe he was just being paranoid but Harris didn’t find it likely that anyone would want to come to this deserted bush, except maybe hikers; hikers were always crazy.

The men were leaving; it seemed that they hadn’t found what they were looking for. They were going up the hill away from the drop zone. Harris waited the customary 3 minutes before leaving just in case they came back. He climbed out of the hiding spot and went down the back side making sure he had vision of the opposing side.


Harris was almost at the bottom of the hill when he saw the men; they had come back and they didn’t look too pleased. Harris didn’t want to believe it but he had to assume that he had been compromised; Michael had sold him out. Not that Harris blamed him of course, it was a common occurrence in his field of work. Harris had just thought that Michael was better than that, way better.

Harris was nearing the base of the hill when he heard the gunshot; the bullet just narrowly missing his head. He turned around to fine one of the men at the top of the hill; smoking gun pointed at him. It wasn’t meant to be a warning shot.

Agent Harris fired off three rounds missing all of them; the man had taken cover. Running down the slope, Harris heard muffled words as the man called to his buddies; they were definitely not hikers.

Harris had barely reached the foot of the hill when he was once more assaulted by a rain of gunfire; bullets hitting the ground like asteroids, leaving dust clouds in their wake. Harris instinctively covered his head with his hands even though he knew it was useless. He had skipped out on his morning cereal so he didn’t have enough iron in his blood to block bullets.

He took a sharp left; running as fast he could admits the sticks and stones. Even with his heart racing and blood pumping, the cold seeped through his bones; he was cold, very cold. He took another right just as a shower of bullets erupted where he just was; dust rising up to the sky.

Harris made a quick turn and shot off some bullets of his own; he wasn’t going to hit anything but he didn’t think anyone would want to run head first into a spray of bullets. Emptying the clip Harris turned back around and continued running; his hands replacing the magazine.

It was getting dark which spelled bad news for Agent Harris; he didn’t know the place very well, instead relying on visual clues and landmarks to keep him going. Less light meant fewer clues which meant a lost agent. Harris could only hope that his pursuers met the same fate though he didn’t hold his breath.

More gunshots erupted; their sounds muffled. The green men had probably stopped to put on their silencers. Not that it mattered much anyway; the place was deserted. Harris pondered at the name ‘green men’. It sounded awkward, out of place … comical even. One would imagine that he was being chased by little green men with large heads and puny bodies. The rampaging giants behind him apparently didn’t get the memo.

Unloading another clip, Harris fired at his pursuers. He was shooting blind, aiming at the thick of the night. Harris took a quick right followed by a left before he realised his mistake; he was surrounded on three sides with walls reaching for the skies. Harris was about to turn back when he heard thundering footsteps. Who knew elephants could run so fast?

Now Harris could wait in the field where the green men would capture him, if he was lucky. He would then proceed to be tortured until he broke and then he would be killed. Agent Harris knew he was going to break; everyone did sooner or later, the question was just how soon? And while he thought he would probably last longer than most, he didn’t;t want to find a definite answer; something about constant, endless suffering followed by cruel and painful demise didn’t sound pleasant. It seemed rather off-putting.

Determined, Agent Harris searched for a means of escape. A saw a window about a storey up on the left wall; it was probably the back of an abandoned warehouse. Harris started scaling up the wall; it was a difficult climb but he would rather not think of the alternative.

Harris was nearly through the window when his pursuers arrived; their green suits sticking out like a sore thumb under the dim street light. Thankfully they didn’t notice him right away; his black suit blending in with the darkness of the night.

But as all things must come to an end, Harris was soon fired at again. Thankfully he managed to get in before he was shot, or at least he thought he did. A quick glance revealed that he had indeed been hit. Luckily for him it was in his thigh; the bullet still lodged inside. Ripping off the sleeve of his shirt, Hairs made a make-shift bandage all the while thinking about how he was going to get through airport security; it would be a very long day at the customs.

Grabbing his gun, Agent Harris fired off bullets at his pursuers, unleashing round after round of little shrubs of metal. They men had strayed from the pale light of the streetlamp but he could guess their positions from the sound of their footsteps. That and the resounding gunfire.


Harris stood up from his hiding spot and proceeded down the stairs. He had managed to feel one of the men but he only had one magazine left and two pushers, he was getting out while he still had the chance.

Upon arriving at the bottom floor, Harris realised that what he had thought was an abandoned warehouse was in fact an abandons butchers; complete with the dangling hooks and dried blood. It would make a great pace for a haunted house, not so much a good place for a man trying to run away. Agent Harris moved quickly but steadily; clinging to the walls as he did so. He would very much like to avoid being gutted; he liked his organs inside his body.

Harris was moving away from the butcher’s when he noticed a trail of blood on the ground beneath him; it was fresh. He decided to follow the tracks and see where it lead, after all he could use it as a diversion from the blood constantly leaking from his wounded thigh.


It wasn’t long until Harris found the source of the blood trail; a heavily wounded and bloodied Michael was crawling on the dirt path. Harris pulled out his gun and aimed at Michael’s head; he had probably been shot after he gave them the information they needed. Harris could have ended it then and there but his fingers failed to pull the trigger; he had grown attached.

Picking up Michael as one would a drunk friend, Harris trudged onward, accompanied by the inaudible mumblings of his partner. It was only when he heard a set of footsteps that Harris remembered the danger they were in. They arrived at the edge of a cliff; surrounded by empty air with nothing but a river a couple of metres below them. It’s flowing waters weren’t harsh but they weren’t exactly swimming material either. Even if Harris wanted to swim, he had a bullet in his thigh; he was pretty sure that didn’t help.

The footsteps were approaching and Harris had to make a choice. Picking Michael back up, he turned around and faced the path, jumping down just as the pursuer had come round the corner.

The first thing Harris felt was the water hitting his back followed by a strange numbing coolness. The bullets crashed down harmlessly in the water; like small metallic raindrops. The water was deeper than he thought and as the world faded into white Harris cursed; the cold always made him so careless.



The Icognito Writer



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A Tale Of Miss Fortune

Mark Hamwell drove out of house in his silver hatchback; he would have gone with his truck but he was planning a surprise. The air was a bit cold outside but it didn’t bother him that much; nothing did these days. Mark turned right at the corner and drove up the highway; he wanted to go the fast route, after all, he had so much planned and so little time.


Mark arrived at the little flower shop on the 71st Avenue about fifteen minutes later. He parked in one of the few open spaces on the street; it was crowded with cars whose owners had left for the shopping markets a couple of blocks down.

As Mark got out of the car he was hit with nostalgia; this place brought back memories. Mark looked up to the familiar sign, ‘Flowry Dreams’; the ‘e’ had fallen off a long time ago making the sign seem sort of poetic. Mark touched the wall reminiscing as he did so, he had walked in and out of this shop many times as a kid, after all it is his father’s shop. Mark winced, the bad memories had come flooding in. It was his father’s shop up until Mark’s mother got cancer; the bad kind. It wasn’t terminal but it wasn’t exactly all that treatable; all they could do was wait. However the costs for operations and maintenance were extremely high; his father sold everything. Mr.Hamwell loved his shop and was one of the nicest shop tellers you could meet. He believed that the business was its own living thing and treated it as one would treat their child. That’s why Mark was shocked when his dad gave it up to some fat man in a black suit; Mark could still remember the scowl on the man’s face as he walked out the room.


Life was tough for the Hamwells after that. Mr.Hamwell got hired at an accounting firm in the city; it earned a lot more than the shop. Mr.Hamwell put Mark in a fancy boarding school; a big smile on his face promising that everything would be okay. Mark never saw that smile again.

Mark’s father would occasionally visit his son with presents in tow; a smile on his face. Mark knew that the smile was fake, an act to comfort his son and so he played the part of loving and carefree son. But as the months passed the act became worse and worse until it was no longer deniable; Mr.Hamwell was depressed.


At the time, Mark didn’t know that his father was ill; he just thought that his father was merely sad. Sure Mark missed his smiling and beautiful mother but his parents had raised him to be a strong boy. Plus his mother was still there even if her beautiful blond hair was gone, replaced with something that resembled a Chinese monk. Mark thought his father would get better, just like his mom. Mark thought wrong.

It was a couple of months after his fifteenth birthday that he heard the news; his father had crashed. Mark rushed to the scene; his teachers let me out for the day. Mark got there to see an abstract of blood, alcohol, metal, bone and flesh. Mark held it in, it was an accident after all, there was nothing he could do.


It was a week later when Mark got the message. He had dropped out of school and was working at a nearby mining site doing menial work; he had to pay for his mother’s hospital fees after all. Mark’s boss called him up from the site, it was urgent he said. Mark dusted off his clothes and hurried up to the offices.

When he got there he was given two envelopes; one from a law firm and another of unknown origin. Mark opened the first one; tearing off the paper with his bare hands. It was a will notice; Mark’s mom was called to the hearing but since she was incapable of going herself Mark was considered her guardian. Mark was filled with memories from the incident; it was still fresh on his mind.

The second one was addressed to Mark himself but it didn’t say who it was from. As Mark read it he found out it’s owner. It was a suicide letter, from his dad; it said that he loved both Mark and his mother and that he would miss them. It said that he was sorry, it said that he was unhappy. It meant that he was gone, it meant that it wasn’t an accident. Mark held it in.

Mark asked for an early leave that day; he wanted to go meet his mother. His mother was there, her skin a ghostly white. He told her that he got a mail today; something about a will. He told her he was going to the hearing. He didn’t tell her about the note.


Mark worked hard after that; he became one of the best foremen. He managed to scrape enough money for university but it was hard. Between lectures, work and visits to his mother Mark barely had enough time to study but he managed to come out with a decent degree. He was a graduate.

Mark’s mother had managed to get better; she had fought her battle with cancer and won. Mark’s mother was sent home; she could have stayed in the hospital but Mark wanted her by his side. Things were finally looking better for Mark.

It was third week of the big project at work; Mark had moved jobs and become an architect and they were designing a skyscraper at the office. He would leave the house early in the morning and come back home at the dead of the night leaving his mother nothing to do but wander the house. Mrs.Hamwell was wandering around the house doing random cleaning when a letter came for Mark. It was from his boss so Mrs.Hamwell went and put it in his office. As she did so, she hit the table and a clutter of envelopes fell. She picked each one and put them back on the table; all except one. One of them didn’t have a sender; it was blank. It had already been opened so Mrs.Hamwell opened the letter, after all what’s a mother’s job if she doesn’t snoop around once in a while.

Mark came home extremely late that night; they had a deadline that they had to meet. Parking his truck in the garage Mark noticed that all the lights were still on in the house. It wasn’t off-putting but it was certainly strange. Mark headed straight for the fridge; he was famished. As he turned the counter he tripped and fell over. Under him was his mother. Mark stood up thinking his mother had just fallen over but the sight shocked him. His mother lay on the floor, her white hair spread over her like an halo. In her left hand she was holding a letter, in her right her bloody knife and in the middle of her chest; a large gaping hole.

The shock of the scene caused Mark to fall back to the floor. For a while he couldn’t think, he couldn’t feel. He just stared at the picturesque scene in front of him; like some sort of angel of death. Mark held it in.


It was a couple of months later that Mark met Freya. He was celebrating another outstanding achievement; scores of friends and colleagues surrounded him but he never felt so alone. But there she was, Freya Jacobs or Fortune as she called herself. She was a manager at another building company and had come to celebrate a joint effort between the two firms. Mark made a bee line for her; something about her face, her smile made him so comfortable. The first word out of his mouth was a dating proposal; obviously she said no.

A couple months and a lot of awkward conversations later she finally agreed. It didn’t take long before the found a connection; they were mutually in love. Life was good again for Mark Hamwell; he was finally turning around. He had started to come out of his shell; he started smiling again though not very often. All of this was because of that little gal sitting at a business party. She was truly Mark’s Fortune.


Mark stepped out of the flower shop and put the arrangement in the boot; each flower had been carefully placed by him, after all, he was the son of a florist. Mark stopped at the Jewellers on the way; he couldn’t exactly propose without a ring.

After collecting the ring worth almost half his savings Mark rushed to the hospital. Sure, Fortune hated it when he visited the hospital but he thought she would be too happy to be upset. Mark thought wrong.


He got there a bit before Freya’s lunch break; he wanted to take her out for lunch after he proposed. He got to the reception, Karla kindly showed him to the doctor’s office; Fortune was busy with a doctor. Mark waited at the doctor’s smaller reception for a couple of minutes before he got impatient. He walked up and peeked through the glass door; the blind for operations was drawn but there didn’t seem to be any noise except for the faint thud.

Taking his chances Mark quietly opened the door; flowers and ring in hand. The thudding was much larger but Mark was already up to the curtain. With one smooth hand motion Mark opened the curtain.


Naked. That was the first word that came to his mind. Both Fortune and the doctor were naked; their flesh joined together in an intimate matter. Mark fell on his knees as they went to shock. His mind was blank.

“It’s all your fault Mark. If you had only been a little more emotional, a little more intimate, a little more human none of this would have happened” Freya said. She was covering herself up with a nearby towel.

“I thought I could you could change,” she continued, “I thought I could bear it. But I couldn’t; you were nothing but a cold empty husk. Sure you told me you loved me but the words had no feeling, they had no emotion.” She said the last part in a rushed breath, she had found her clothes and was putting them on.

Mark didn’t respond, he couldn’t respond. His eyes glazed over as if in a trance. Freya spoke some more, but Mark couldn’t hear her; her voice seemed to come from far away. Mark didn’t respond when Freya eventually left; the doctor had left quite some time ago.


It wasn’t until he had gotten home that Mark regained consciousness. He didn’t even know how he had gotten there; the drive back had been nothing more than blur. Inside the house Mark rushed to the fridge and drank down a bottle of scotch and then another one. It was only after his fifth one that he had gained enough courage to proceed upstairs and battle the nightmares that were sure to come.

As soon as he got into his room he closed the door behind him. There in that cold dark room Mark couldn’t hold it in. For the first time in his life Mark cried. How couldn’t he? His whole life had been a tale of struggle and woe. Of pain and anguish, of punishment and defeat.


His whole life had been a tale of misfortune



In response to Fortune by The Daily Post