A Warded Phone

Karen had managed to crawl back to the shade and was resting on the dirt, back against the concrete picnic table’s bench, with her injured leg extended. She may have been pissed that Malachi left her stranded along highway 56 between Clayton and Springer, but she was angry at herself for allowing it to happen.

The other problem was that she understood why—and agreed. Which paradoxically cooled the first anger, but simmered the second. She wasn’t an easy girlfriend for a man like Malachi to have, she thought. He was serving his first tour in Vietnam the year she was born. [fact|logic check that] She supposed her youth made her exuberant about being with him while it just made him embarassed, and he was trying to protect her the only way he could because she wasn’t doing enough to protect herself.

Karen shuffled her phone out of her front pocket and was glad to see a single bar of coverage. “Hi, Margaret. It’s Karen. I need a text-hop…and I need your help with something else…I’ll tell you when I get there.”

Karen hung up the phone and texted Margaret a single character: ‘K’. When nothing happened she checked her coverage—still a bar. The trill of an incomming text startled her. It read: He warded your phone.


217 words on day 796

Somewhere East of Springer

Malachi twists the throttle and the bike rumbles in the shade of the cottonwood. Karen watches, stunned, as he taps the bike into first and engages the clutch. The bike and her boyfriend roll away, and she steps after them not knowing if she should call out his name or kick the both of them over. He quickly gets out of range of either.

Karen continues to walk in his wake like a leaf sucked up behind a semi. She stops when she reaches the middle of the two-lane highway. She watches his black silhouette separates from the highway as the wavering heat of the road turns him into a mirage and still as the slope of the long slow hill drops him completely from view.

“Well, shit.”

Karen circles on the New Mexican highway and finds herself alone from horizon to horizon. She walks back to the feeble roadside rest area. Stepping from the asphalt to the gravel she twists her ankle.

163 words on day 795

Naked in Dreamland

“In this dream I kill a dragon or I just killed one. I don’t remember killing it. But I’m hanging on to a sword; stabbing it in the neck, so…” said Jessica then she shrugged. [a little setting or char description here]

“Weird. Were you happy about it?” asked Karen. [describe Karen a bit.]

“I was cold and very tired. Exhausted really. I was wearing that same outfit I wore at Halloween.”

“That Goth biker-chick with the red wig? You looked great in that.”

“Exactly. I mean yes, that one…and thanks. I had a tattoo on my neck, but the shirt was different; they matched.”

“The tattoo matched the shirt or was different?”

“Different shirt than at your party. But the design on the dream-shirt matched the dream-tattoo. Kind of. But I don’t think that mattered,” Jessica said.

“What it looked like?”

“I don’t even know how I know they matched. I don’t recall looking down at the shirt, but I know it was different than the one I wore. How I knew I had a tattoo on my neck makes no sense. Can you even look at your neck?” Jessica tucks her chin to her chest and swivels her head around trying to find out.

“True, but in dreams you just sort of know. You know?”

“I’m not even sure killing the dragon’s the weird part. Right after that I’m in some outdoor bath thing at a church talking to some guy who I think is a prince or a baron or something. Are barons the same thing as dukes?” Jessica reached for the oh-shit bar as they headed into the curvey part of 285.

“I don’t know what a duke or a baron is really. I think they’re like kings but have less land. Wait. Were you naked in this bath talking to this guy?”

“Yeah. And I was even trying to come on to him a little but he wouldn’t look. This bath was like a huge hot swimming pool. I was out floating in the middle and he was facing away watching it snow over the valley. He would not turn around at all, so I never even saw his face.”

“But he was hot I bet?” Karen tried to bring Jessica back to a lighter mood. [A mood I’ve done nothing to instill above.]

“Yeah. He was. Black hair too.”

“Well, I don’t know what that was about—especially the dragon—but even in dreamland being naked in front of a stranger is pretty daring for you.”

“I know. I know”

424 words on day 707