27 April, 2019

The "Ex-" Men #AtoZChallenge

As I watched the blood pooling around me and the gaping hole in my gut, I tried not to move. Not to draw attention to my position, lying on the floor, half-propped against the bar behind me. She didn't come here for me. I was collateral. Somehow, Mad Max had pissed this broad off in a big way. She wasn't familiar to me on sight, though. She'd stormed into the grubby bar, guns in hand, blasting wildly. It was late. Late enough that all the good people of the world were at home in their beds. Only us seven were here - the Sweet Seven, we called ourselves ironically. Us and the bartender. Maybe he ducked behind the bar in time. I could feel my breath sucking in and out in shallow sips, as pain surged through me on each inhale. I was gripping my wound, not knowing whether that would help. On TV, people always said "apply pressure". That seems wrong. Like I'm just pushing more blood out. Looking around from my low angle, I ignore the dirt and spilled pretzels, the sticky puddles of beer and other liquids. Mirroring my position on the far side of the pool table, Spike catches my eye, pain and worry mixed on his face. His shirt's bloody like mine. Whoever she was, she wasn't shutting up. Her screams and accusations aimed at Mad Max entered my ears as from a great distance. Like my brain couldn't focus on the sound. My pulse was pounding in my eardrums too loudly for me to make sense of her words. I didn't need sense. I needed help. Spike did, too. Axle and Big Dave got the brunt of her first shots as she'd stormed in. Axle wasn't moving. Big Dave was out of my line of sight, but I bet he didn't make it either. No idea what happened to Gunnar and Pete. It didn't matter. I could feel my face contorting as if tears wanted to release my pain, and I recognized that feeling on Spike's face across from me. We were paying for whatever sins Max had committed. Not our fault. Not really. Not unless you count the fact that we all encouraged each other in late night trouble-making. No matter what one of us suggested, the others all backed it up. It was code. It's how we ended up here, a bunch of high school drop-outs, acting cool for each other, low-lifes living at the Golden Shovel all hours of the night, boozing it up and thinking we were living large. Not for long. I could feel the fog in my head taking over, and my hands wouldn't hold any pressure to my gut any longer. Not my problem. Not for long. None of us would make it through the night. We would all pay for Max's sins.
Thank you for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! My theme is "Audience Participation" (read about it here) and now it is your turn. Each day will be a new story based on suggestions from your comments. Suggest anything: a word, scenario, character, location... I will be keeping a list of suggestions, so if yours isn't used tomorrow, it may show up later. (Even after AtoZ.)

Today's post was inspired by the poem-prompt "We Real Cool" (read it here), suggested by Namratha (of Namy Says So), given in comments on my "M" post (here)


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  2. Namratha said...

    Loved the title and how you described in detail the gory scene. Glad you felt inspired by the poem to paint this scene.

  3. I did it again! The blogger who gave me the prompt - please visit her site that I linked to above - commented and I accidentally deleted it. My mouse wasn't moving as I expected, and I hovered over "remove content". Fortunately, her comment was still visible on the open blog post.

    Namratha - I realized when I went back to the post you originally commented on that you keep visiting me when my writing is my absolute darkest! I hope you will check out some of the other, lighter-hearted AtoZ posts!

  4. I'm kind of glad it's bright and sunny outside as I read this...
    Good job!

  5. Scary. I wonder what Mad Max did to piss her off.

  6. Jz - I know what you mean. I feel everything my protagonists feel, so my gut was a knot when I was done writing this.

    Liz - LOL. I'm actually glad that I don't have to figure that out.

    Pilch92 - Thank you! Glad to have you here!

    Brett - It made me think of some of those movies and TV shows you like, tbh.

  7. Love the descriptive phrases, but I couldn't shake the image of Mel Gibson. Not sure that's what you were going for!

    So from that my suggestion/prompt is: The Aussie outback. Isolated, dry, deadly.

    Returning your A-Z visit.

  8. Excellent scene set here! I love how all you have is a limited perception, pain, and theories. Not a lot of clarity. I think in this situation, that's all you'd have! And to wonder how much time you have left.

    Glad to have found you through the A to Z Challenge.


  9. Yikes! That's some scary detail you have here. Makes me wince just reading it. Great job.

  10. Okay...this is SUCH a cool idea for A to Z. I love that you're getting such a variety of ideas and that it's also giving you a backlist for future post ideas. PERFECT practice idea for a writer. (Also...noticed in your blogroll that you and I appear to enjoy the same kind of reads. PIWtPitT and The Bloggess are among my favorites as well. If you're not already a part of it, you might check out the Facebook group The Bloggess Fans Book Club. It's a lovely, irreverent group that I find highly entertaining. ;)) Happy A to Z!

  11. AJ - Not my intention, but I knew it was a hazard. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to get to it in May. Thanks for joining me!

    Coach - That's what I figured, too. It just rolled out that way. Thanks for coming over!

    Dena - I hope you read a different day's story too, for something less dark! Will visit you next!

    Elle - I saw similarities when I visited your site, too. Actually, I met my husband by following comments at TheBloggess!


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.