Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Briefs: Dallas in Wonderland 8

As promised, we've got a new name and a new look for our weekly dose of flash fiction - we are now the Wednesday Briefs! And thanks to the talent of Victoria Blisse's husband, Kevin Mitnik, we have a fantastic new badge as well! And so the flash fiction continues!

This is the last of our old guest prompts. We'll have new guest prompt divas in place soon. This prompt comes to us from Reese Dante, and her last prompt is: It's not like that.

My alternate prompts are:

rat, bedtime, Neanderthal

"In for a penny, in for a pound"

or use your favorite song title in your flash somewhere.

Last week, Dallas and Oz went out for pizza, and an odd thing happened as they were waiting at the bus stop. See how well that did or didn't work out, in my continuing story. Don't forget to check out the rest of the Briefs, whose links follow my story.

Dallas in Wonderland 8

Instinctively, Dallas grabbed for Oz. He shoved his nephew’s face against his chest, away from the impending tragedy. The woman’s scream wailed siren-like in the background, accompanied by the screech of squealing brakes, the urgent honking of the bus horn. There was no time to do anything, it was all happening too fast. He closed his own eyes, clenching against the inevitable, waiting for the sickening thud of metal striking flesh.

There was no thud, no squelch.  Nada.

Dallas carefully opened one eye. The double-decker bus was frozen in place, its front wheels horribly poised to roll over the hapless Neanderthal brute that lay in its path. Nothing and no one was moving. The wife’s mouth gaped silently open, hands cupped in mute agony.  No breeze stirred the trees, not even an insect, while every passersby seemed to be caught in mid-stride by the same immobility.

Dallas maintained a tight hold on Oz, gripping him with a rising unease.  Popping the other eye open, he surveyed the surreal scene, afraid to move.  What was going on? And why was he the only one that seemed unaffected by it?

Wait, had something moved?  For a moment, he thought he saw a rat scamper over the curb, into the gutter, but  it vanished without a trace.

The very air seemed to shimmer around them, the light kaleidoscoping into waves of glowing colors, highlighting the macabre scene.  From the blackness beyond the spotlight, a figure stepped. Dallas’ eyes grew wide as he took in the sight of Dr. Samuel Levi in a custom fit black suit that hugged his slender form in all the right places. He moved toward Dallas with singular purpose. Their eyes met. Dallas felt a warmth engulf his very soul.

“We meet again, dear Dallas. Surely Fate has brought us together for a reason?”


“What… how…?” Dallas seemed incapable of forming a complete thought, nonplussed both by the doctor’s sudden appearance and the about-to-be-tragic tableau on the street.

“Never close your mind to possibilities,” Dr. Levi enigmatically replied.

The next thing Dallas knew, he and Oz had been enveloped in a warm embrace, and he felt himself losing consciousness.
* * * *
“Uncle Dallas, Uncle Dallas…”

Dallas startled awake.  Oz stood over him, insistently shaking his shoulder. Raising a hand to his face, Dallas discovered a line of drool hanging from his lip, which he quickly wiped away.  What the…?

He blinked, focusing his eyes.

“We have to get ready for school.” Oz spoke slowly, as if addressing a simpleton. At the moment, it felt appropriate.

He propped himself up on his elbows, surprised to find that he was in his own bed, with no memory of having gotten there. When had bedtime arrived? What had happened to the night?

And then he remembered: the obnoxious man, the fall, the bus… and Dr. Levi. Again, the mysterious doctor, appearing out of thin air and apparently vanishing the same way. A dream. It must have been a dream. That’s the only explanation that made any sense.

“Uncle Dallas?”

“Oh, sorry, coming Oz.” Dallas’ tongue felt thick in his mouth, the words emerging with difficulty. But Oz seemed to have no problem with understanding him.  Dallas darted a glance at the small alarm clock on his bedside table. Shit, they’d have to hustle to get to the campus on time, for Oz to be picked up and for Dallas to make class.

“I already ate,” Oz said matter-of-factly. Dallas blessed his resourceful nephew as he leapt out of bed, intending to dress, only to discover that he was fully clothed. That was totally out of character for him.
“Good. Got all your stuff?”

Oz nodded, pointing to his back, his backpack already hanging in position.

A cup of coffee sounded heavenly, but Dallas knew he didn’t dare make one. He’d have to forgo eating until he got home, no time now. He paused only long enough to push his feet into his tennis shoes, and was hustling Oz toward the door of the apartment when a knock sounded and a second later, Paris herself appeared.

“Oh good, you’re still here!” she exclaimed. “I was hoping to catch you before you left.”

“Just barely,” Dallas muttered.

“Close enough,” his sister contended, giving Oz a visual once-over. “Got everything, kiddo?” He nodded.
“Thanks for watching him. I’ll call you later and get details later, but we better fly now.”

Dallas couldn’t have agreed more; he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to hear  the details, but no point in starting a debate on the subject now.

Oz gave Dallas a quick hug, then vanished through the door, his mother right after him. She paused in the doorway, then flipped something toward him. “I picked this up for you on the front lawn,” she said, and then she too was gone.

“The paper’s not mine,” Dallas muttered to an empty room, bending down to scoop it up, intending to return it to its original position. But his sister had removed it from its plastic prison and it opened in his hands, falling to the floor.

“Dammit, don’t have time for this.” He leaned over and retrieved it again, his eyes flashing over the headline. Something about an overthrow overseas. A coup of some sort. As he started to roll it up, a smaller article, farther down the page caught his attention.

He fell back onto the couch, mesmerized by the words.

“Andrew Jarrett, age 52, was struck and killed last night by a city bus, near the intersection of Evanston and Wabash. Witnesses disagree as to how the accident happened, some arguing that he was pushed, others that he deliberately stepped in front of the vehicle. Jarrett’s widow, Madeline, age 49, was unavailable for comment.”

A distinct shiver ran through Dallas. It wasn’t a dream, it had been real. And it explained nothing. Such as Dr. Levi’s appearance.

He had to get to the bottom of this mystery.  As soon as possible.   

to be continued

Don't forget to see what the other Briefers have done:

Here's the final list of who's flashing this week, bar any last minute changes. We will be welcoming a newcomer to our fold, starting with tomorrow's prompts RC Bonitz has decided to give the flash a try. Yay!

Lily Sawyer       (m/m)
Elyzabeth VaLey     (m/f)

Join us next week for another installment of the Wednesday Briefs! We're glad you came by! 

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie


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