Tag Archives: trifecta

Trifecta 99 – Babooksha

This week we are giving you a page from the Oxford English Dictionary. The ninety-ninth page, to be exact. (Click to enlarge.) From this page, you can choose any word, any definition, to use in your post. (Please type your chosen word in bold, so we know.) And instead of our typical 33-333 word limit, we are asking for 99 words exactly.
babushka


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When commuting, reading helps avoid eye contact. Though these days, e-books prevent you from seeing what others are reading, I still love paperbacks.

My subway line passes through Brighton Beach, and ‘little Odessa’, so there are usually some babushkas on the crowded trains, sometimes even wearing the namesake scarves. One day, I caught the eye of one, who smiled warmly at me and my copy of “The Brothers Karamazov.” Some weeks later, we ‘met’ again, but my expected approving glance was met with a steely gaze and deeply creased frown. Perhaps they felt no sympathy for ‘Sofia Petrovna’ plight…


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Filed under Books, Creative Writing, Life, Life in NYC, Reading, Trifecta Writing Challenge, Writing Challenges

Trifextra 53: Zombie Bunnies – Leveling the Playing Field

For the weekend prompt we’re asking for exactly 33 words of dialogue.

Each and every week I think about how I can get more Zombie Bunnies in on this. There’s plenty of dialogue (but I am working more bunnies into the story). Anyway, the story is a little further along, and some of the characters are hatching a plan.

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“I’ll set off the bomb with this detonator.”

“This is an old game controller.”

“Yeah I made some… modifications.”

“Can this get us 30 more guys, y’know, backup?”

“Haha! Sorry, no cheat codes.”

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Trifecta 54: Zombie Bunnies – Breaking the Seal

CRUSH (transitive verb)3 : to reduce to particles by pounding or grinding

This week’s challenge is community-judged.
For the 12 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.
In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
Voting is open to everyone. Encourage your friends to vote for you, if you wish, but please don’t tell them to vote on a number. The numbering of the posts changes regularly, as authors have the ability to delete their own links at any time.
You have 12 hours to vote. It’s not much time, so be diligent! We’ll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.
Good luck!

It’s been a while (2 months?!) since the last Zombie Bunnies installment, and I did work on it during NaNoWriMo. It’s not quite done (November is always my busiest work month -not to mention holidays!), but I have over 20K words at this point, which was double the amount I had started with! New characters, side stories and the beginning is in the books (pun intended)!

For continuity, and because by fantastic coincidence the word CRUSH was mentioned, let’s pick up where we left off.

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McMuscles was bored, and that irritated the hell out of him. He slowly rolled three walnuts in his hand, the calming ritual achieving a minimal effect. He would rather crush them into dust; damn the snacking. One crackle might blow his cover though.

It had been a boring and irritating campaign in Delta Springs. After dropping the little prick off (on Connar’s terms; McM wanted to give him a complimentary flying lesson), the chopper’s recording had stopped, so no one saw it land later that day across the city, in Eisley Park (where he had camped and LZ’ed in and out several times). He had shadowed the religious nuts as they spread the word about the rotting rodents, and Connar had arranged that Allen would never chance upon him or the chopper (and a few other areas that were off limits, for whatever reasons). He had a comm unit like Allen’s, but it was usually off. He knew his mission. Plus, fuck Connar. Only dogs wore leashes.

Just before this whole fiasco came around, he had his own show (“The Four Horsemen“) but everything was on hiatus, including the season finale; a ton of logistics was now for shit. Good intel was worth more than the expenses – fully covered by Connar – but the contract (which was money AND reputation) was off the table for them. Needless to say, the other members had started recruiting in his absence; The Book said nothing about five harbingers of doom. Just thinking about that, his fist began to close tighter…

And there he was. Alone, probably heartbroken (he had watched the show earlier), and probably looking for him. Well, I found you first. McMuscles smirked as he stored away the nuts and leveled his rifle, sighting him quickly. The OVK-1 was a perk of working for Connar. He nicknamed it “Overkill”; with all the high tech shit they crammed into it, in the end, a simple twitch of the finger unleashed final judgement.

McMuscles squeezed the trigger.

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Trifecta 47

On to this week’s prompt, which is again inspired by the upcoming dark holiday. This time, though, we’re giving you a lot more room for interpretation. Please remember to use the third definition, which, in this case, is fairly specific.

BLACK
3: dressed in black

33-333 words.

Well this is part of a larger assignment, it seems. It started with this post, which was done by request, then some of you* expanded that to include Death for a Trifecta challenge. Well I missed one of them, but this week well, read and see.

*yes those are three different links. Click all the blogs!

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Pat Porquepene was a prick. Everyone who had any dealings with him learned that firsthand, and liked to say “Pun Intended,” when labeling him as such.

Still, he was a hell of an operative. One of the few of his species that could actually shoot his quills (with point blank precision, no less), his come-on to any female that had a hint of rodentia in her blood, that some of his quills were poisoned, gave an extra whiff of danger to his overactive pheromones.

His latest assignment took him to Comoniwanalaya Island, where the climate and culture put any species into heat the moment they flew, or swam, in. He sat by his cabana, nibbling tobacco bark and staking out Count Skunkula, ruler of Rainbodia, a once prosperous nation whose namesake rainbows only appeared on the oil slicks from his many unregulated factories. Skunkula’s secretary, Wilda Beest, was two cabins down, sunning her ample frame. Pat had ordered room service to deliver a bale of Avalonian hay for her, to which she had returned a come- hither glance that made him shiver. The hazards of this job…

Suddenly, a figure sat next to Pat. Glancing over casually, he noticed the figure covered in black robes, giving no hint to his features. They sent a partner? I work alone… then again I can pass Wilda on him…

“No, she can’t see me Pat. Right now, only you can…” the figure answered.

“Who sent you?” Pat asked, his cool tone beginning to fail.

“The Fates. I got your assignment, and what a location to do it! We get expense accounts too, and this won’t even count towards my vacation time! Tell you what, I’ll let you know right before you buy it.”

“Are you…”

“Yep, Death. Inbonate. You see that sniper? Exactly. “The irony is Skunkula didn’t arrange this. Apparently you’re a real prick to many people. At least you won’t have to… you know,” Death gestured to Wilda.

“True.”

“Oh, and Pat? Pun intended.”

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Trifecta 45 / Zombie Bunnies: No Love Lost

This week’s word is: UNEASY
1: causing physical or mental discomfort
2: not easy : difficult
3: marked by lack of ease : awkward, embarrassed <gave an uneasy laugh>

There is little ease in the Zombunny world right now. Some of you were wondering what led up to the latest parts of the story, which we saw from both Allen and Carly’s POV. Let’s go back about 5 minutes and answer that…in 333 words or less.

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Allen strode into the bedroom of his apartment, where Carly was carefully arranging her pelted headpiece for the evening rituals.

“Allen… hi,” Carly greeted Allen with an uneasy smile as he walked to her for a kiss. She glanced over his shoulder to the camera, then to him. “Is everything ok?”

“No, nothing’s ok,” Allen confessed. “Instead of sticking with my sister like I should have, I got caught up in this stupid idea, hooking up with some freakish…” he checked himself when he saw Carly’s expression.

“Sorry sweetheart, it’s just, this is why I’m back. She’s in danger on that show. I gotta get her out. Before that though, I need to get you somewhere safe.”

“I am safe… here.” Her tone was hollow, unconvincing.

“No, you’re not, nobody is.” He began to pace. “There are hordes of bloodthirsty undead animals hopping around and society’s either about worshipping or killing them. Doesn’t something seem odd there?! I just want you and I… don’t shake your fucking head Carly!” he stopped and shouted at her.

Carly’s voice was a whisper. “I care for you, Allen, it was something that we knew would happen… he knew it would.”

Allen’s face flushed. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“That big man with the mohawk came by shortly after you had started this show. Connar wanted to help protect us, show the viewers how we are a peaceful sect, but we had to agree to some ideas first. They said you were attracted to me and he wanted us together as a side story, but I was betrothed to Barry. Then… his accident, and…” she broke down into sobs. “You weren’t supposed to know…”

The blood rushing in Allen’s head drowned out her words. Reaching behind to the shoulder camera, he ripped it off the backpack and threw it across the room. It struck the mesh lined window, shattering it. Carly yelped at the crash, as Allen stormed out of the room, not looking back.
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Trifecta 43 – Ample Material to Work With


This week’s word is:

AMPLE (adj.)
1: generous or more than adequate in size, scope, or capacity
2: generously sufficient to satisfy a requirement or need
3: buxom, portly

Please remember:
• Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
• You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
• The word itself needs to be included in your response.
• You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
• Only one entry per writer.
Have fun!

Ok so between the 3rd definition and the name of the blogger who thinked it up, well it seems only natural, the subject of my post. Not that I think about it endlessly, or that it is based on a real event.

I’m wary about it being the third definition, as the first definition might fit, and the second makes me snicker in context. Whatever though, the final rule is definitely obeyed.

FYI this is Shakespearean sonnet form, but not one of his ‘lost’ ones.

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Ahh, the Mam…Memories!

One sight of her led me astray
My once good-natured mind could not rest
Pondering what would lead the way
To see that woman’s ample chest

Her tight shirts made me envision
T’were more precious than deep red rubies
One fateful day, I made the decision
I implored her to show off the boobies

I never thought I’d be so lucky
She pulled up her shirt, to my surprise
Her boobs popped out, a sight to see-
Until her nipples poked out my eyes!

My hands now fore’er outstretched, searching out in vain
For those elusive perfect breasts, to make it worth my pain!

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Filed under Creative Writing, Humor, Poetry, Trifecta Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges

Trifecta 38 – Zero Hour 9am

The Word of the Week is: HOME:
3. a : a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment; also :the focus of one’s domestic attention
b : habitat

A couple of things beforehand – first, I appreciate every one of your congrats/comments on my ‘bronze medal’ for the Trifextra. Thank YOU! I wrote it during a relaxing weekend, the sober part at that!

Secondly, this entry was partially written for another prompt which I missed, which you can tell by the ‘flight’ idea. However, there was an aside mention of HOME, which inspired me to complete it. Trifecta, is there anything you CAN’T do?!

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“Attention passengers; Virgin Galactic flight 1 is now ready to board.” As the passengers gathered their things, a steward waited stoically at the gates with a clipboard; considering the amount of political, social and cultural figures that were taking the voyage, and their mission, he should have been starstruck. In fact, when Alec Baldwin cut the line, he didn’t call security; it was critical that he make this flight.

Snooki found her seat, climbed up the stepladder, and fastened herself in the carseat. Behind her, Linsday Lohan and Nadya Suleman argued over the window, as Levi Johnston peeked between the seats. Fred Phelps had requested the furthest seat on the right, and was directly across from Kathy Griffin.

All luggage space was reserved for every copy of 50 Shades of Gray every printed. Nevertheless, Ted Nugent repeatedly tried to wedge his hunting bow into the overhead compartment, until it finally snapped. Glenn Beck ignored the ‘no smoking’ sign.

Twenty minutes after launch, the small televisions on each seat blinked on. The intercom, which Honey Boo Boo had been trying to sing into, cut off. The steward appeared on the screen.

“Thank you all for being a part of this voyage, which was generously funded by a benefactor. Their goal; to benefit all of humanity, by looking to the stars for that future. Pun intended,” he added. “Your individual talents made you all obvious choices for the creation of a utopia humanity can finally call ‘home’.”

“How long will this take?” Baldwin interrupted.

“It has already begun.” The screen faded to live images of a planet. Blue skies were everywhere. Each scene showed smiling, healthy people conversing and assisting one another in farming food, building homes, taking care of children.

“But how did this happen before we got there?” Beck asked.

“This,” the steward voice stated, “is what happened to Earth, the minute you took off. Your new home is coming up.” Those with window seats suddenly noticed the barren asteroid looming closer.

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In case you were wondering who the benefactor is, I would tie it in with this post.

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Filed under Celebrities, Creative Writing, Humor, Trifecta Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges

Trifecta 36/ Zombie Bunnies – The Reckoning Pt. 2

The Word of the Week is: NORMAL
3: a form or state regarded as the norm : standard


Will things get that way in the Zombie Bunnies world? Well everyone is doing their part – whether it helps or hinders…well, we’ll find out soon enough.

The Reckoning is still at hand, now we’ll see what Emma has been up to. When we last left her, she’s was at the lab/tv show, working on something...


Emma leaned back and considered the bunny in the cage on the lab table. It couldn’t consider her back; the walls of the small box were tinted on the inside, so that it couldn’t see out, or even its own reflection. Still the bloodshot eyes unnerved her, the constantly twitching mouth, as though waiting for release, or feeding.

She worked as hard as the others to figure out how to counter the zombie-ism. Would it be a cure to bring bunnyism back to normal, an antidote to prevent other bunnies (and other species) from infection? Or would it be a poison targeted towards bunnies, zombiefied or not, to wipe them out completely? Whatever brings the best results, I guess.

‘The result’ depended mainly on the person and their motives & motivation. Emma’s name had not yet been called; she knew that it was only a matter of time. And when it was, she knew her peers (some she knew, others had been flown in under one pretense or another) were working for themselves; there would be no support, advice or well wishes. She would never let another see her research. Emma thought back to what Dr. Hodgkins did to Dr. Siria when he caught her going through his files after a tryst.

A timer went off. Well, here goes… something. She stood and walked to a refrigerator which contained a row of prepared test tubes, and samples of ‘pure’ rabbit meat. From the tubes, she chose ‘Solution C-1’, and took a sample as well. Using slender tongs, she dipped the meat into the tube, then carried it to the cage and opened a small latch at the top. The zombunny began to shift and scratch at the slippery walls, knowing the meal was coming, and snatched the morsel from the tongs. It rolled and tore at the meat, devouring it in seconds. Now we wait.

We. Emma watched closely, knowing another set of eyes was deciding if it was her time as well.

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Trifecta 35/ Zombie Bunnies 15 – The Reckoning, Pt. 1

Ok, this challenge is a doozy. A monster even. Or, a…well you know.

The word limit was raised to 3,333 – if you dared.

The rules/assigned words? None, write what you please – if you double dared. I took the physical challenge.

There was no doubt I wanted to make this epic Zombie Bunny entry. I even thought that I could finish the story in one more big shot. Early drafts got me in that direction, but I figured I could develop the story even deeper with (some) more words. Ok, many.

Make yourself comfy, because at approx. 3,191 words (6 pages), this installment is probably longer than all of the others combined. It may take a while, so if you read it all (even over a couple of days), you’ve flattered me immensely with your dedication.

This is a time when feedback is even more important/appreciated, so hopefully you will enjoy it and let me know what you think.

The story is reaching its climax. A reckoning is at hand. Each character is going to experience a pivotal moment when it all goes down. Let’s start with Allen, who, when we last left him, unceremoniously touched down in hostile bunny territory. It’s now six weeks later…

ALLEN.

Allen woke to an incessant beeping in his ears. Though he had spent half the night expecting it, the sound still managed to catch him off- guard. He absently reached to his right trying to smack an alarm clock. However, the sound was coming from his earbud, which was supposed to be turned off. His searching hand wound up giving a slap/caress to a cheek that was becoming more familiar. Allen turned to the shape beside him.

Carly moaned lightly awakened by his smackdown, but as she turned to look at him, a placid affection was her only expression. “No, don’t look at me, if that camera is on,” she mumbled in mock complaint. “The country doesn’t need to see me first thing. Just you.”

“Camera’s over there, lil’ peep. But yeah, gotta gear up in five.” He got up from the bed, groaning slightly, and staggered to his pack. He pulled off the sheet that covered the camera, just in case Connar decided he wanted to film some after-hours footage for the premium subscribers. As it were at that moment, if the camera had been on, Allen would have been giving viewers a full salute.

Clothes that were comparatively clean were pulled on, and Connar’s voice came through the earbud right on cue.  “Ok Allen, enough rest. Let the lovely girl sleep a while longer.” Allen actually hated the fact that Connar knew about the relationship, more than viewers knowing.  To a man like that, knowledge was power, or worse a bargaining chip.

Allen gave one last look to Carly, the blanket molding her curves as he brought back to mind what was underneath that thin material. He headed to the next room which was small, windowless and sparsely furnished to serve as a private office for him. A laptop sat on the metal desk, the screen flickering on as it booted up automatically. A video camera and lighting setup stood behind the desk facing him; again, as he sat in the green cushioned chair, the equipment lit up and whirred into activity, though it was not recording. Yet.

Connar’s voice now came through the computer’s speakers. “So…how are things, Allen?”

“Not bad.” He hated the small talk. He hated even just having to talk. It was all part of the show.

“Good. Your current stats and standing are displaying now. Congratulations on the 300 kill mark! Of course, none of the others are even close, but there is that one fellow on the fringe who is making a buzz.” Allen sighed. Give people anything that could be remotely competitive, and someone will care a little too much about being the best at it.

Skipping the information in front of him, Allen clicked to the message boards icon. 354 unread messages, all since the previous evening. Marriage proposals, proposals for more short- term interactions (some including Carly), ‘reporters’ from unofficial fan pages, and the usual hate mail. He didn’t need to read them all; most subject lines were a variant of: “Dump Carly and Marry meee!”, “Kill a bunny 4 me!” “10 Questions from the ‘Team Allen’ fanclub!”, “UR sister is hot!” and the ever- scholarly “FUCK YOU, MUDERER!!1” He’d pick a dozen or so at random and answer them live during the morning broadcast. Fan interaction was part of the gimmick. Evening spots were reserved for personal thoughts, opinions and any other bullshit he could think up on the fly.

“We’re live in 60 seconds, assignment uploaded right after.” Connar made it clear that though Allen was there to frag Zombunnies, the overlying priority was to exploit the ratings potential. Allen was at his mercy, since Connar had a dedicated EM satellite trained on Delta Springs that only gave him the information on the bunnies, people and any incidents worth investigating. Intel was given piecemeal and records were deleted automatically after viewing. To his credit, the first assignments played on action (in other words, shock and awe to viewers of constant bunny carnage), so no attention was paid to any kind of plot or caring about what Allen was going through as his exploits played out over the airwaves. Connar somehow found ways to keep him in harm’s way.

Allen knew Richard Connar didn’t trust his reasons for volunteering to drop into a city filled with vicious undead creatures, and hang out with a fringe group that practiced worship of those very animals through rapidly expiring confections and ‘pelts of honor’ just for the warm fuzzy feeling (pun intended).  The pursuit of fortune and fame was a good sell, but not completely convincing, considering Allen didn’t ham it up too much. It was just a matter of moving that one chess piece, to show one card, or other cliché that would give his true purposes away. Preparing for that secondary mission was just as important for him, so he would play good soldier and try not to get himself killed. He was treading carefully, literally and figuratively. Each day, do the show, go out and find bunnies, come across other sects, return home, go to service, and recap the day. The last part was a tricky situation; as some of the bunnymen were watching the show.

It was another issue entirely of how the group was being brought into the plan, and being portrayed to the public. Initially they had been a secretive group, but with the lure of any audience that was watching, the Bunnymen were inevitably becoming more open with their ceremonies. Some members were skeptical of the attention, and when speaking with other groups scattered around Delta Springs, Allen began to hear rumors about something called “Warrens”, which were essentially groups of people balanced precariously between fanboys and cultists. The last thing he needed was another Hare Band.

Personally, Allen was gaining a lot of respect within the Bunnymen’s hierarchy. From the time had had arrived, they had taken him in and he had been attending their services, getting to know who everyone was, figuring out what exactly motivated them, and what they actually planned to do with the zombies. Every day he took one or two members out with him; some were good scouts, some were good shooters, and others were scatterbrained enough to be comic relief, even in dangerous situations.

Then one day, about three weeks in, they surprised him with the ultimate symbol of their acceptance. At the end of a ceremony, Echo walked to a row of zombie rabbit pelts that was on display, chose one, and presented it to Allen. He wore it slung over one shoulder, in one part to add a little swagger, and for other reasons that played out just as he had hoped. It was a rare moment that Allen actually heard sincere approval from Connar; apparently it was the highest rated show to that point.

Allen achieved his own high point later that week. After being a little cool towards him the first few weeks, Carly, the woman who had given Emma and himself the good- luck charms when they first met (her official term was PeepKeeper), had warmed up to his attempts to make time and conversation. Things progressed further, and Carly had actually approached him the night after a particularly rough day when they were ambushed, and lost Barry, one of the guys who was handy with the flamethrower. Allen had thought he and Carly were an item, but she didn’t react particularly badly when the group came back without him. Her timing was perfect; as she stood at the doorway to his office and her own new fur slipped from her shoulders, the show ‘ended’ and Allen’s camera shut off for the night. Allen could almost hear the collective groans from several million male viewers around the country. The time since then had been better; a day of hunting, followed by a night that managed to distract him from the day’s activities.

Allen’s daydream was cut short as he noticed the red light above the camera blinking. When it went solid, they were live. Let’s get this shit over with.

***

Even when things were looking good, it would take just one thing to trip it down a steep hill right into a bad day.

The Sun was shining, there was no stray gunfire going off, no bunnies ambushing from rooftops, no stepping into rabbit holes and having legs gnawed right off. The post- apocalypse might not be so bad today, Allen thought as he walked the streets about a mile north of Bunnymen HQ with Ivan, an even tempered guy in his mid-twenties who was actually a good wingmate; not too gung-ho, nor much of a fanatic to the sect.

Then again, he added grimly, all it takes is one asshole to make it rain crap. And here he comes.

Gary Gray was coming around a corner to their left, as if right on fucking cue, his overstuffed pack rattling behind him, two handguns holstered at his hips. Rather than the town sheriff, there was an ongoing lively and usually hilarious message board debate over whether he was Delta Springs’ official town crier or village idiot. Allen smirked at remembering some of the choice comments.

Ivan groaned audibly; Allen gave a subtle gesture to quiet him. Gary reached the two of them, gave a quick “Hey,” and held out his forearm, which was adorned with terribly rendered depictions of zombie bunnies, and looked more like permanent marker than tattoo ink. Allen hesitated for a moment, then bumped it with his own, while Gary looked into the camera and nodded to the viewers, who were likely groaning collectively as well; ‘Gary episodes’ were particularly loathed, and low- rated. It was more than being a nuisance; with the noise he was making, Allen was surprised that a group of zombies wasn’t trailing behind him.

“Hey Allen, I got the drop on a bunny nest. Found it yesterday while doing my own patrol. Looks like fresh meat too, pretty angry and hungry; my survival skills kept me silent. Want to team up and handle it?”

Shit. This kind of news was bad enough; a new stock of bunnies meant that they weren’t making any fucking headway. So much for 300 kills. That this guy knew about it (before Connar?, Allen wondered) meant he had the edge. He might have to take…

Connar’s voice came over the earbud.  “Screw this asshole. I don’t want him, or you, anywhere near that nest.” Allen understood he was usually beholden to take Richard’s advice, especially with Gary.

“Hold on, Gary.” Allen turned and took a half dozen steps away from the man, who moved to follow him anyway (the guy never fucking listened) until Ivan stepped in his way. When he was out of earshot (the shoulder cam could only pick up what Allen said), he touched the earbud. “Ok, what should we do about this?”

“You don’t do anything. You’ve got five minutes to get to the coordinates I gave you.” Hopefully Gary’s new nest was on the other side of town. He turned and walked back to the others.

“Thanks Gary, but we’ve already got a rendezvous point on a suspicious location. Where exactly is yours? We’ll swing by, check it out late…”

“Yeah you’ll do it later, and not fucking tell me, that it?”

“No, we’ll take care of it.” Allen hated having to placate this asshole.

Gary huffed, not caring to hide his annoyance. “You know there’s a lot of glory to go around. You could throw a little of those ratings to the masses, buddy. You’re not the only hunter out here.” Allen’s finger started to itch; he wanted to pull an HSF* on this schmuck, but the deal with Connar might expire with the loss of the ‘good soldier’ idea they had been building.

Gary turned away and started to pace, then stopped and faced Allen again. “Alright, you know what, yeah go there later, I’ll be waiting.” He handed Ivan a piece of paper, then stormed off. Ivan offered the note to Allen.

“Don’t even open it,” the order was whispered. Allen took the paper, pulled out his lighter and touched the flame to the corner of the page.

“What about the nest though, that could cause us some problems,” Allen asked Connar over the comm. “And how did you not kn..”

“They’re just money in the bank.” Allen furrowed his brow, glad that the camera was over his shoulder, never facing him. Thoughts might be private, but expressions could be read.

“What about Gary?”

“Bunnies gotta eat,” Connar replied matter- of- factly. “Now, get moving.”

* * *

When it rains shit, sometimes it pours. Not half a minute after Gary had gone from sight, there was an explosion, the thunderous report echoing around buildings and streets.

Allen and Ivan dropped to half-crouch positions immediately, then crab- walked to the nearest wall for cover. That better not have been Gary; I’m not saving his ass. He was pretty sure though, that it was ahead to the right, the opposite direction. He turned to Ivan. “What the hell was that?”

“Maybe a store, you know, gas leak… or an IED. Nothing too big, but whatever it was, I don’t think it went off without some help.”

“Sounds like it came from ahead.” Ivan nodded in agreement.  “I’m thinking 3 blocks or so that way.” He pointed northwest, and a nagging thought came to Allen’s mind, front and center. It was going to be close to the area Connar had ordered him to check out.

They waited a moment, listening for any other sounds that might let them know the situation. Several shots rang out in succession; from the weak reports, two things were clear. First, whatever was going down, bunnies were involved. Second, whoever it was didn’t pack enough firepower. This was not going to end well for someone.

They slowed their walk in the direction Ivan guessed. They would alternate looking around, and checking the sky for any sign of a fire. Sure enough, telltale tendrils of black smoke blew over the rooftops, signaling them. It was 2 blocks further than they thought, but the direction was right. They kept their pace; just because they knew where to go didn’t make it a safer situation. Finally, they turned the corner and had a clear view of the destruction.

There was no question it was an attack. Two vans, soccer mom specials with sliding passenger doors, high gloss red paint and novel length bumper stickers were in the middle of the intersection of Church and Redwood.  The tires on both cars were flattened and the lead car’s front section to the driver’s seat was engulfed in flames, the hood detached and crumpled nearby. The rear windows of the second vehicle were smashed in. Allen signaled for Ivan to cover him, and trotting cautiously to the car, half noticing bloody pieces of fur and flesh scattered about, he peeked inside the van. Three bunnies were in there, content to munch on the head of the teenage boy inside for the time being. Allen backed away slowly, but managed to step right onto a shard of glass that cracked under his boot. Without even waiting for the little ears to turn his way, he fired a quick burst into the van and turned. Ivan had his gun trained just over Allen’s shoulder as he returned. “Anything coming?“ he asked his partner.

“No…wait,” Ivan paused and looked off to the side. “Yes, got about a dozen coming.” He shifted his gun to the left as Allen turned and brought his own rifle to bear. A small group of bunnies hopped towards them in a jerky gait from the front door of a corner florist shop. Both men fired and managed to hit several of them while shattering the front windows as well.  The bunnies scattered as the shots rang out and glass shards cascaded around them, one in particular not being quick enough to get clear of the sharp fragments. Allen would have liked to have gotten the entire crew, but sometimes they spooked as easy as when they were living. Getting them out of the way was priority.

Ivan tapped a grenade on the side of his pack. “Want to give any still in there a goose?”

“No, they’re gone, but I think they chased someone in there. They might still be alive. Let’s check it out.” Allen was starting to think he should have brought more people along, but Ivan was worth more than one on his own.

“My turn,” Ivan volunteered. Allen knew his motivations were the polar opposite of Gary’s; he balanced duties with whomever else was in the group. Allen got into line five steps behind his partner as he pulled open the door and walked in.

The front display room was dimly lit by a fluorescent bulb running low, as well as the natural light coming in through the empty windowpanes. Stacks of overgrown and browning plants lined the floors. The scent of fresh bouquets was gone, a light rotting odor mixed with the burning scent of gunpowder was in the air. There wasn’t enough space to for any bunnies to hide, so Ivan went straight to the back area where bouquets were arranged.

They could hear a slight moan come from the back room. Ivan peeked around the corner. He relaxed his stance and half turned to Allen, giving the clear sign and lowering his rifle. Allen did the same as they walked into the room.

Sprawled across the dirt and blood stained floor were two more bunnies, dead, and 3 adults. One male, plainly dead, with his face chewed off, fully dressed in denim, a pistol in his cold, dead hand. Two females, one middle aged and heavyset, the other late 30’s with dyed blonde hair and a matching grey yoga shirt & pant outfit. The older woman was the only living one, but she was on her way out too, judging by the chunks the bunnies had taken from her torso. Her shirt was ripped in spots, but Allen still managed to make out the words and picture displayed on the front of the garment; “Team Allen”. The picture was no better, as it was a portrait of him shooting at something (likely bunnies), along with some grossly exaggerated caricatures of the zombunnies superimposed around him.

The zombie plague’s become marketable, he thought. We’ve lost. Game over, man.

“I’m a big fan.” Those words interrupted his thoughts and he focused back on the woman, who was looking at him with her one remaining eye and managing a weak grin. “I’m the head of a ‘team’ chapter. There’s some candied yams back in the truck, it’s a special recipe I made, topped with the purple peeps. I know those are your favorite.”

Allen’s mouth gaped. He had no idea what to say. It didn’t matter, as the woman’s stare was now unblinking.

“You were too late, Allen,” Connar whispered in his ear, “but don’t worry. This is even better. Don’t move…keep the camera on her. Good job.”

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Trifecta #33_3/ Grieving

This Week’s Trifecta has three prompts/challenges. This is the third. I posted for the second, just click back one, and enjoy both! (Yes two posts in one day!)

Write a 33-333 word response to the song featured below. (The Smashing Pumpkins “Thirty-Three”.) There are no other requirements for this prompt. Just use the song to inspire a creative response.

The mid-late 1990’s saw the highs and lows of The Smashing Pumpkins. Their songs saw me through my own such times.

—–

Six- thirty felt like midnight, the day already having been a slate shadow, muting even the home team’s crimson and white. Steve pulled the scarf tighter as he made his way through the throngs. Thick beards kept men warm, and doubled as disguises. Then again so did scarves; his subterfuge was complete.

Crossing the last street, he made it for one more trip, his duck / weave tactics still sharp. The Tankard still stood, not having been looted, defaced or the green and blue flag burned. It was the perfect place to not be found. He pulled open the heavy wooden door and stepped inside.

Warm air was the only greeting. Every eye watched the flat screen TV, set to the Archers- Crusaders game, now in the closing minutes. The Archers were not the home team here. Had they been, Steven would have been recognized faster, having graced local sports covers and young athletes’ hearts for a long time. Not anymore.

The bartender glanced his way and shook his head perceptibly. Steve sat down at the stool that had his ass imprinted in it. Without psychic powers, the man found and filled a familiar highball glass. He set it down before Steve.

“What’s new Greaves?” Charlie asked.

“This,” he answered, pulling several folded pages from an inner jacket pocket. “Article in the Sunday insert.”

Charlie kept his gaze on Steve. “Seen it already. The Top 10 Heros to Zeros. You’re #3.” Earlier, someone else had tacked the story up in the bathroom; he had torn it down.

“Yeah, too bad it wasn’t me who died, I coulda made the top spot.”

The patrons began counting down, “3…2…1…fuck yeah! Crusaders the fuck out!” Another heap of blame. Had the paper waited a day, they could have bumped him up.

“’Scuse me, Greaves.” Charlie walked to the crowd, pausing for a bottle and a line of shot glasses. “We did it, fellas!” He set up the drinks, saluds all around, while Steven drank alone.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Trifecta Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges