Author Archives: Nelly Black

On Holiday

I can only turn my abilities down, I can’t shut it off. So during my time as a “regular human”, I’ll still be able to cause death but it won’t be so potent. It’s still nice to get out there and enjoy the living. They’re such facinating creatures. 

I met a boy who was a great tee-ball player. Destined to make it to the big leagues. He had a wild imagination and loved frogs. Had he not hugged me after buying one of his fundraising cards, he might have lived to be some wild scientist Major league baseball star. But he did hug me, and that’s when his white blood cells began multiplying. He got a few good years left, but they didn’t find out that he had lukimia until it was darn well too late. My boss said not to feel the blame, and I usually don’t when a human touches me on their own free will, but I really thought this little boy was special.

This other time I met a homeless man. He was depressed, obviously, but I could feel it from a block away. He had lost everything after his wife left him for a rich man. His children wouldn’t speak to him anymore, his friends nearly forgot about him, and he lost his job over a simple miss calculation error. He struggled for years. I had a conversation with him and knew the best solution for him. I touched his cheek and handed him a ten dollar bill. The next day he had a heart attack right there on the sidewalk of a big hamburger chain. My boss sent me a congratulations once the man got to heaven, he was much happier there.

I treat this like a vacation, but occasionally the boss will send me instructions. I can’t always control what the human is inflicted with however. Once I was told about a very bad man. He had only raped his ex-girlfriend at the time I caught up to him. We were at a grocery store and I bumped into him, making sure to touch his arm with my hand. It was two more rapes and five murders before the police figured him out and the judge sentenced him to death row. If I had a choice, I would have done more right there in the grocery store. There are rules against that, especially when I’m taking these vacations.

I get a month each year to go amongst the living. And just like any American vacation, I’m always happy to come back to work.

Once, I was walking by a crime scene. There wasn’t anyone near by that I could tell, but the house was all roped off with caution tape. I hadn’t heard about this case, since while I am away some of the others that I work with handle big murders. I was minding my own business trying to get to the ice cream truck on the other street when a dog came running from behind the roped off house. A beautiful German Shepherd with a vest on. The embroidery said “cadaver team.” Oh no, what he was running to was me. I jumped into a tree, I didn’t want to end up touching the dog that would bring more suspicion than necessary. His handler, a nice looking middle aged police officer came running. He apologized, but still wanted to ask me some questions. It’s not often that his partner sees any actual dead humans, and maybe he was just smelling old chicken from a dinner I had, but he needed to make sure. I gave him my credentials and came up with excuses of why I was even in this neighborhood. The dog was still curious about myself. It was a good half hour, my ice cream truck moved on, of just talking with the gentleman. He unprofessionaly gave me his number, and went back to the house. It’s moments like that that I wished some times I could be full human, but I do really love what I do.

Next week I start my time off for the new year. I haven’t decided yet where I am going this time and only have a few days to do so. I have already given my paperwork to the boss so that he can find a suitable replacement while I’m gone, and my bag is already packed. I’m excited for the new adventure, and hope this time there are no accidents. 


Detective Kripke

Detective Kripke’s telephone rang loudly at 4:06 AM. It was an old rotary phone, he liked it very much and refused to use any new technology in his own home. Of course he kept a cellphone for his police work, though often forgetting to charge it. He knew if his house phone rang that it must be an important call. Usually meant a murder or theft. 

This particular morning he was dispatched to the other side of town. Neighbors of a huge blue Victorian house heard loud thumps around 3:30 AM. Noises always came from this particular house, the owner being an expiramentor and inventor, but this was no ordinary bump in the night. They had rang the doorbell a few times, but there weren’t any lights in the house so they decided to call the police.

Detective Kripke jumped out of bed and stumbled over his Old English Sheepdog. “Henry, didn’t you hear the phone? Why are you lying right there!?” But Henry didn’t move a muscle and the detective hurried on with putting some decent clothes on. 

“Henry, have you seen my badge?” He yelled out, but still the dog lay. It was four o’clock in the morning after all. 

When the detective finally arrived at the scene he was met with the fire marshal and the chief of police. 

“Hello, Jeff. We’ll need you to work your magic here. Neighbors only heard some loud thumps, didn’t see anyone. There’s a couple in the bed upstairs, throats were slit. There is a nursery, but no baby, the neighbors didn’t know what that was about. Uhm, what else can we tell him, Bob?” Fire Marshal Edwards turned to the police man.

“That about covers it. Forensics team is working on photos as quickly as they can, they got the rookie doing fingerprints though.”

“He’s not a rookie.” The fire marshal glared.

“He ain’t no seasoned vet either Ed.” Bob glared back. It seemed they had had this argument before. He turned to Jeff and winked. “You’ll find everything you need in the main bedroom.”

“Alright, guys. I’ll get in there and do what I can.” Detective Kripke was happy for the excuse to get away, he knew their arguments could get heated.

He walked into the house through the front door, and gave a little whistle. He stood still for a moment to gather in the sounds and smells and sights of the crime scene. Once he was satisfied he started for the stairs, took his first step up but hesitated. I don’t think he started there Jeff thought to himself. No, he looked around down here first He walked over to the living room. Nothing was taken. He walked down the hall to the kitchen, again nothing looked moved. There was an office and a guest bathroom, still nothing was moved.

There was a scratch at a door in the hallway near the kitchen. Jeff walked slowly to it and pulled a rubber glove out of his pocket. What do we got here? Another scratch at the door as he opened it slowly. “Well you’re not what I expected.” A fluffy gray cat stepped out. “You got any other friends around here?” The cat ran to the steps Jeff dismissed earlier. He followed the cat up and into the crime scene bedroom. “Hey buddy.”

The forensics team had already gone. All that was left were the two bodies on the bed and a pitbull at the base of the bed. She looked sad. “Oh, sorry. Sweetie.” The detective walked around the bed and examined the bodies. “Can either of you tell me what happened here?”

The fluff ball of a cat jumped up to the dresser and stared at the detective. Jeff walked around the bedroom, went to the open window, peeked into the closet, looked back over the room and walked back down stairs to the fire marshal and chief.

“Alright fellas, I’ve got it.”

The fire marshal looked surprised. “You’re always so quick. And you never touch anything! What’d you come up with?”

“So Trevor in there. The dude in the bed. He owed money to his bookie. That was months ago, and him and the wife fought constantly, she faked a pregnancy. So they got all cozy again, Trevor made the nursery for her. Hoped they’d fixed everything. But he forgot to pay the bookie you see. And she found out about it. She got so mad in the heat of everything and she’s the one who slit his throat first in the middle of the night. For some reason thought it’d be cool to just go back to sleep. Then some guy all in black came in, through the front door of all places, found out the guy he was sent in to kill was already dead, and took the knife out of the wife’s hand, slit her throat too, and hopped out the window. The thud that the neighbors heard, was him jumping down on to the trashcan.” Jeff pointed to the side of the house near the driveway to the back garage. There it was, a smashed trashcan.

“Huh, so we’ll need to find the bookie’s information. Great work detective. It fits with the team’s findings. They said he was dead three hours before her. That’s just crazy to think. The neighbors thought they were just the nicest people too. Seems like everyone has weird secrets.” The Chief shook the detective’s hand. “Go home and get some rest. You can fill out your report later this afternoon. Thanks, Jeff. You’re a real help.”

“No problem at all.” Detective Kripke shook both men’s hands again and departed.

Once he got home he got back into his pajamas and laid down in bed.

“What was all the commotion?” Henry the sheepdog jumped up into the bed with the detective.

“Brutal murder. The old lady killed her husband over some petty argument, and a hitman was sent there, found his target already dead, so he just killed her too.”

“Wow.”

“The pets where pretty upset. A big fluffy cat and a really gentle five year old pup.”

Henry made himself comfortable at the end of the bed. “I bet they were. Any idea what happens to them?”

“The cat said the wife’s sister would probably take him, and the dog would probably go to the next door since the sister is allergic.” Jeff was tired, and ready to fall asleep.

“Bob and Ed realize you can talk to us yet?” Henry said sleepily.

The detective yawned. “Nope. No questions asked.”


Flash Fiction: Ever Rest

“Mr. Johnson, we have some news for you regarding your son.”
“What news could you possibly tell me?”
“Well we found his body sir.”
“I know where his body is. The patrol told me about that three years ago.”
“Uh there’s a, there’s been a development.”
“He went to Mount Everest. They said he went off the trail.”
“Another climber, uh.. found him, sir.”
“Okay. Thanks. You going to give me coordinates or something? I don’t know how many times I’ve been told its too dangerous to go get him.”
“No, Mr. Johnson.”
“Then what the hell you calling me for?”
“The other climber, sir.”
“Did he survive? Good for him. Can I go now?”
“He did survive, thanks to your son.”
“He ran out of supplies.”
“Yes.”
“Then what could this climber possibly have taken?”
“Well Mr. Johnson. The climber…he… he ate your son.”


Among the Infected

One hundred people filed into the long hallway. I looked around me and most of them were men, working men of all ages. There were a few older women, even fewer children. But none were my age. 

We packed in like sardines and a loud buzzer went off. A cloud of smoke filled the room and they all began to cough, I tried holding my breath and covering my mouth, but the smoke entered my lungs anyway. A couple men dropped to the floor immediately, they must have been infected. Another buzzer went off and we were led down another hallway.

We reached a waiting room, much that of an old hospital emergency room. In fact, that must have been what this building was, years ago. Everyone slammed against the the open window, where three women were at computer screens. They instructed us to tell them our symptoms, their computers would recognize our voice and record for our files.  Another man dropped to the floor while a few of them developed a rash on their necks. Most of the children cried.

After all the pushing and shoving I finally made it to the window. I had to tell the truth, I needed to get out of here. “I feel fine. No symptoms.”

The lady looked at me over the glasses on her nose. “That’s impossible, sweetie. Come back in a few minutes and let me know how you feel then.”


Valerie T. Estrella

Valerie set her business card on a small table under a blue tent. This was in her instruction booklet when she signed up for the Art Fair. She couldn’t believe she was finally entering her work. She molded her clay for months, coming up with many designs, in hopes to sell.

The man at the small table took her card and studied it. “You’re Valerie T. Estrella?”

She was nervous. “Yes, that’s me.”

“What’s your age?” He said sternly.

“Uh, 32.” The words almost didn’t come out, almost as if she had forgotten her age.

“From Pontiac, Eh?” A smile grew on the man’s face. “I’ve got cousins there.”

Valerie wasn’t sure what to say. She stood there quietly as he entered more information from her card into his computer.

“Pottery, huh?” He looked up at her.

“Yes, a small hobby. Hoping to do more with it.”

“Well this is the perfect place to drum up some business. Now, here’s a map. You’re in row 8. Perfect I think, you’re more towards the front of the rows so people won’t be so tired. Super hot for Michigan this year. Anyway, this booth right here.” He highlighted the booth in row 8 and handed her the map. “You can use your car or whatever to unload, but it must be moved to the parking area before 10 A.M.”

“Got it.” Valerie thought for a moment. That was three hours away, she wasn’t sure what do in the mean time. “That’s when people show up to look at stuff right?”

He could tell she was new. “When you get your stuff all set up, you can walk around the booths. Pretty friendly crowd, these artists. And it’s a great way to make some friends out there, buy some stuff early, won’t have to worry about your own booth for a while.”

“Thanks, so much!’ Valerie got back in her little SUV and followed the signs for her row. After setting up her booth and taking her car to the parking area she perused the other artists as the man had suggested.

The had two hours to kill before customers started showing up. The first few rows that she walked down seemed to be all photography. She saw many stunning images, but nothing that caught her eye in a way that she needed to purchase anything. The next few rows were paintings of all kinds followed by charcoal drawings and mixed media. The middle of row seven is where the clay started. There were a few potters that concentrated on only pots or only sculptures, but most were mixed products like the ones Valerie made herself. She saw many techniques she’d like to try, one in particular was called horse hair raku.

“Excuse me sir, those vases there are beautiful.” She pointed to the white vases with smoke-like marbling.

“You’re early. Must be competition.” The man said without turning to face her. He was still setting out his cup collection.

“I’m afraid I am.” Her nervousness came back, maybe looking at the other artists was a bad idea after all.

The man still didn’t turn to look at her. “Let me guess. Pottery.”

“Oh, you’re good.”

“Come to steal ideas.” He still had his back towards her.

“I think we’ve started off on the wrong foot. I’m so sorry to bother you.”

“Well you’re here now.” He finally turned. “Valerie?”

She stood there perplexed. “You know me?”

“Nope.”

“She looked around his booth then back at him, not sure how he knew her name. “But, you said my name.”

He threw a thumbs up behind his shoulder.

“Oh. We’re booth neighbors.” She laughed.

A grin appeared on his face and he didn’t seem so agitated. “Yup. I saw you just as you were leaving to park your car. You’ve got some real talent there, but not a whole lot of product.”

“It’s mostly a hobby. You do this full time?” She looked again at all of his work.

“Yeah, I’m a traveling pottery peddler. Well mostly. I also teach some classes in Pontiac.”

“Wow, small world. I’m from Pontiac.”

“Not so small really, we haven’t even left Michigan.” He chuckled.

“I’d love to learn Raku, do you teach that?” Valerie picked up one of the vases with the black swirls.

“Not professionally.” He went back to placing the clay mugs on his display.

There was disappointment in her eyes and she placed the vase back down. “Oh.”

The man reached into his back pocket and pulled out his business card to hand to her. “I make a few exceptions. Here, this has my personal number on it.”


The Lonely Pineapple

The island of Kaliko had enough space for one small village. This village had three elders, five warriors and their wives, a chief and his son, and handful of villagers. There was nothing for miles at sea, when the warriors were sent out for supplies they didn’t return for a whole month. They mostly ate fish and berries and had a special holding trap for fresh water. They were happy folk and knew each other very well. 

Because of its size, not much grew on the island. Some grass that was enough to dry out and build houses and make clothing, a few shady palm trees, a few different flower types and right in the center of the island grew a large pineapple plant. This was the only fruit on the island, and the elders could not explain why it would only produce one fruit a year. 

For as long as the Kaliko people inhabited the island they held a feast the day the one pineapple was ripe enough to eat. Warriors would spend weeks looking for the right fish and their wives would collect all their chicken eggs to create beautiful dishes. 

One stormy summer, the villagers were gathering their foods for the feast when the chief noticed the pineapple plant seemed to be drooping. He went to the elders who suggested that maybe the pineapple was getting too much rain. So the chief built a shade over the plant. Nothing changed so the chief went to the elders again for help. They suggested that the plant was not getting enough sun, so on rainy days the chief covered the plant and on sunny days he would take the shade off. Still nothing had changed. They suggested a better fertilizer so the Chief tried sand, chicken feathers, coconut water, even rotten fish. Nothing had changed still  Again he went to the elders but they had run out of ideas. The days neared closer to the feast and panic had set into the village. 

The Chief’s son, wanting to help, went late into the night to lay with the pineapple. He wispered all night to the pineapple to encourage it to grow. He told the pineapple how thankful he was for his village and how he wanted to keep everyone happy. He also talked to the pineapple about all of his hopes and dreams. The son talked himself into a deep sleep just before sunrise.

The day of the feast had arrived, the villagers were going to continue their tradition with or without the lonely fruit. As the sun rose, the Chief went to awaken his son. The son was not in the hut, the chief thought he had gotten an early start to his day.

The Chief stepped out of his hut, expecting the pineapple to be more withered away, but was surprised to find he was wrong. Now in the place of the lonely pineapple grew two large healthy pineapple plants. The villagers rejoiced, they gathered their feast and had a joyous party. Both plants continued to prosper and so did the village of Kaliko. Though to this day, the boy has never been found. Rumors spread and stories were told of how he was disappointed in the lonely pineapple, but the Chief knew the real reason his son disappeared.


Gibbles the Sidekick

Gibbles the sidekick was no ordinary sidekick. He had a rough time in highschool. No one knew how to pronounce his name. Some called him Gobbles, some said jibbles, Gibblet, Hibbet, Fibbers, Tiddles, and one even said Gobblers. He was always made fun of him because he was the runt of the litter, and he had abnormally large front teeth for a gofer. 

Now, years later he’s the best crime solver out there. Sure, the hero gets the bad guy, but it was Gibbles who did all the handy work. Though he never gets the credit he deserves, being the lowly sidekick.

It sometimes takes Gibbles months to figure out the clues for the bad guy, usually because the hero always butts in when it’s not necessary. He works for a few different heroes and with occasional oversights he mixes the cases, causing at least a week to sort it all out. Of course, the heroes blame him. But he takes it with stride.

A few​ weeks ago he decided to look for a case to solve completely uninterrupted, totally on his own. This time Gibbles was going to be the hero.

There was rumors of the local town ghost that always creeped the cemetery and nearby houses. It was believed to be Sir Bartholomew Abernathy, the only lion to successfully beat the English Cavalry single-handed. Why he died was a mystery, some say he never actually died and was 247 years old, still playing tricks on people. Others believed it was the college Fraternity, Beta Phi Omega, and it was some crazy part of their hazing rituals. Members of the fraternity never kept their stories straight. When Gibbles interviewed them he concluded it was all a big ruse. 

His next plan was to interview the homes surrounding the cemetery. There he concluded that the ghost comes out especially during the summer months, his biggest haunt being the fourth of July. That’s when he decided to stake out the cemetery on that day, even asking the groundskeeper to put a tent out. He of course said no, but Gibbles is after all a gofer and just made his own hideout/sleeping quarters in a hole on top of the hill. It was a perfect look out. 

From what he gathered of Sir Bartholomew Abernathy, he was originally from Africa. Came to this town in search of a lovely feline wife (we didn’t care about the species as long as she was the most beautiful). Though all he found was Beatrice, a calico. The two fell in love anyway and lived a decent life until the war. They say she died of heartbreak over the fret of Bartholomew being gone for so long. Gibbles could never find her grave though. 

The ghost came up from the ground in what Gibbles thought was an empty plot. There where no markers nearby and it was no where near where the actual grave marker of Sir Bartholomew Abernathy was. It was a rather large ghost with a large army uniform on and a hat that hid the face so well. Gibbles couldn’t believe his eyes, even through the hidden cover of clothing, this looked almost nothing like the picture of the great lion. He scurried up to the ghost and followed it into town. It seemed to be searching. 

Gibbles called out to the ghost, calling it every name and nickname in the books of Sir Bartholomew Abernathy. It finally dawned on him. He called out for Beatrice Abernathy. The mysterious ghost turned around and headed straight for Gibbles. It was in this moment he had wished the super heroes that he left behind were here, he was unprepared for the scare he was about to receive. The ghost’s hat flew back, and it was revealed that it was infact the feline love of Sir Bartholomew Abernathy. Gibbles big teeth began to chatter as he said “follow me, miss.”

He led the ghost of Beatrice Abernathy to that of her lion love and she laid down peacefully next to him and was absorbed into the ground.

It took a few more weeks of the ghost haunting the local people and another night of staking out for Gibbles to finally convince the cemetery groundskeeper that it was infact Beatrice and that her grave needed to be moved next to her husband. No one wanted to believe the lowly sidekick until Humanman the hero bat finally told everyone to give Gibbles the chance he deserved. He was the only hero that respected everything Gibbles did for him. Of course in the end everyone only remembered that it was only Humanman the hero bat that saved the town from Sir Bartholomew Abernathy. But Gibbles knew the real truth and wrote that down in his scrapbook. Someday he’d get his respect but after being so frightened that first night he thought he was better off just doing the grunt work.