#WeeklyWritables ♥ Deal With the Devil

weeklywritables

Deal With the Devil

Twilight didn’t fall in the city. It crept up from the gutters, hovering just below the streetlamps long before it touched the sky. Perpetuated by the shadows of looming buildings hungry for everyone’s personal space. Dahlia had always dreamed of rising above them, to see the monster in its entirety. Preferably through the window of a plane whisking her off to some tropical destination. In her fantasies, there was a distant land filled with women just like her and men who loved them freely, not as a vice or fetish. Women who’d been born as men, trying to survive their lot in this sadist’s wet dream called life.

That fantasy was all that remained of her whimsical side. Disenchantment was a slow poison snuffing out hope with such stealth, its death went unnoticed. For the most part, Dahlia had already come to terms with her fate. Learned to embrace the prickly city that tolerated her for its own gain; squeezing all the blood and money out of her in exchange for a few scraps of joy and something making a mockery of love. Everyone did the best with what they had, right? But, it wasn’t about acceptance, anymore. The stigma would follow her, no matter where she went. It was all about survival now.

Through the window of a cab, she watched the crowded sidewalks perform their slow striptease. Layers of business attire peeled away to reveal the sexed-up desperation underneath. Modesty fell by the wayside, as pretty feens clamored for the attention they’d spent all day craving in denial. And the scum snaked out of the inkwells to intersperse themselves among the commoners, seeking the thrill of the game. They were all there to hustle. Thieves and denizens, alike. Men and women poached each other to fill some kind of void, while con-artists relieved them of all their hard-earned cash.

Dahlia had never been guiltless of running cons, but she was hustling big tonight. Stuck her damn neck out for it, too, with all the determination of getting her prize at the end. Her whimsical side might be halfway to the grave, but her reality-check light was still functioning at full capacity and the truth was: she wasn’t getting any younger or relevant. The novelty of her was wearing thin. Newer, more exotic options flooded into the streets daily, siphoning revenue from the Bosses. It made Dahlia expendable and she needed to move on, before they decided to prove it. Leaving just wasn’t an option when your ass was owned. It was something you had to make happen. Sacrifice it all to create a diversion, then run like hell and pray no one noticed.

Too quickly, she arrived at her destination and spotted her diversion sitting alone in the farthest, gloomiest corner the second she walked in. He wore a dark coat and hat, shrouding his masculine features in more mystery than his reputation already secured. As instructed, she went to the bar first and ordered a drink she didn’t even want. Bourbon was poured neat, while she ignored the inevitable gawking with the ease of expertise and a spine of solid diva. It didn’t matter that most of it was forced and left her feeling hollow. They bought that shit, so fuck ’em.

Her hand shook when it wrapped around the glass, because she was nearing that point of no return. Once she set her plan into motion, there would be no going back. No way to stop or reverse it. Oh hell, who was she kidding? It was already too late. The devil had her name. Dahlia turned, just in time to catch the man’s deliberate glance, as he walked right out the back door. Foreboding cut down her spine like a clever, her heart slamming against her chest to avoid the blade. Suddenly, the drink made perfect sense and she downed it without tasting a single drop. No burn, no effect. Nothing could quell her nerves.

With every step toward the back door, she tormented herself with vivid memories she’d just as soon forget. It was the fuel needed to sustain her conviction. The reminder of why she’d contacted the devil, himself, to ask for a favor. And she’d known then what she knew now, that it had all the potential of freeing her from everything. Permanently.

The single fixture mounted above the door was meant only to illuminate the dumpsters directly across the alley, it seemed. Of course, that wasn’t where he waited for her. Theirs was not destined to be a friendly chat. Dahlia inhaled a steadying breath, released the door and left the false sense of security to enter the darkness. The man leaned a shoulder against the wall halfway between the door and the next street. She’d be dead before anyone spotted them, even if he wasn’t as lethal as everyone claimed.

It was the most damning moment of hindsight when she stopped in front of him, only to discover she’d been the one getting hustled all along. There wasn’t a single sound to warn her of the tremendously imposing presence that crept up right behind her. And there was no stopping the chill of dread when she watched the man before her silently defer to the devil at her backside.

“Hello, Dahlia.” Hot, cinnamon breath caressed her neck and cheek, he was so close. Self-preservation had her head turning before her body followed.

She stared into the face of the most notorious monster of their time, that no one beyond their sick, depraved world even knew existed, and finally understood the meaning of beautiful death. Her body heated and withered in terror simultaneously; some primal instinct recognizing the cold predator through the mouthwatering façade. His eyes were two pools of undiluted malevolence, beckoning her to dive in with the power of self-destructive urges. The way you sometimes wanted to squeeze a glass so hard it broke. Not from anger, just to feel it happen.

“So much prettier than I expected, given everything I’ve learned,” he remarked. “Guess it’s true what they say about scars only being soul deep.”

No one said that. It was too true for comfort. Dahlia’s heart hammered in every corner of her body. The city lost all its power over her, unable to compete with him. It was no surprise that he’d dug into her real identity before agreeing to meet, or that he’d find her as they all did; something to judge and dismiss in one, careless motion.

He made the quietest sound of amusement, and it was–hands down–the most terrifying thing she’d ever heard. He crowded her without touching, pulling the toothpick from between his lips and waving it under her nose, revealing the source of cinnamon. Her head jerked back out of reflexive fear, but he grabbed the back of her head to keep her in place.

“This is going to burn no matter where I insert it, but I imagine, particularly in the tip of that little prick between your legs.”

Dahlia nearly choked on the glob of terror clogging in her throat. “I’m allergic to cinnamon,” she rushed out, despising herself for giving him the exact means to kill her, just by trying to stop it from happening.

“Imagine that,” he mused, sticking the toothpick back into his mouth. The pure menace in his tone revealed he’d already had that information prior to arriving and her chest felt like it was going to cave in. “Tell me, Dahlia, what would make a woman like you crawl all over the dark-web looking for a man like me?”

“I didn’t do it for me–”

His chuckle was quiet, which only made it worse. “Yes, you did.”

“I want out,” she confessed. “Alive. I want out alive.”

“Mm. Well, I want the girl,” he deadpanned, all humor gone. “Can you do that? Are you willing to trade her life for yours?”

There was no question, but that didn’t make it any easier to bear. To know she was completely willing to trade the life of a friend in exchange for her own freedom, her own life.

“Yes.”

With another laugh, he backed her into the wall, caging her head between his hands and leaning in so close she was afraid to breathe.

“Yes, she says. So cold. So ruthless.” His words were deliberate slaps at what humanity she had left. “I’d say we seal our deal with a kiss, but I’ve always been a man of business over pleasure. I am curious, though. If you had to choose between the ugliness in your mind and having the surgery, which would it be?”

The toothpick moved between his lips when he spoke, coming within a hair of her own. He might as well have been brandishing a knife in her face for all the cold sweat breaking out along her brow. His sharp perception pierced right into her soul, exposing her deepest shame. That she’d rather keep the horrific memories than lose the parts she’d been born with. She’d never wanted surgery, the consultation he’d obviously found in her medical records had simply been another cruelty dealt by the one man who was supposed to love her more than anyone else.

“Ugliness, it is.” His smile was sinister, reveling in all the turmoil and conflict he bred.

“How am I supposed to get you the girl?” she forced out, more than ready to conclude their meeting, despite what her body thought.

“Beautiful Dahlia, all you need to worry about is doing exactly what I tell you to do,” he answered. “No deviation, no looking out for number one or growing a conscience when shit starts getting real. You’re going to do this like a fucking pro, because if you don’t…well, I’m sure you’ve heard how that story ends.”

“She really is the one who wanted you, not me,” Dahlia stated, needing it on record to ease her guilt. Was she supposed to risk her life without finding some way to save it in the process? She wasn’t an opportunist, damn it, she was a survivor!

Once more, his quiet laugh molested the murky shadows, conjuring the very basis of every nightmare known to man.

“And now she’s going to get me,” he replied. “You’re the one standing here, begging to live with that.”

###

 ©A.C. Melody 2019_Untitled WIP

 WOW, this was completely unexpected and not at all what I had planned for this challenge. This scene was never meant to exist, let alone get completely fleshed out like this – because, Dahlia is not my main character. She’s a sub-character with a minor – yet extremely vital – role and apparently, she wanted us all to know exactly what she had to go through to pull her part off! LOL What do you even call the process of putting your characters through hell after the fact? O_o

When the book’s done, I’m going to have to add this as bonus material, it’s too gorgeous – sometimes, it pays to have demanding characters. (I said sometimes!)

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#WeeklyWritables Challenge

weeklywritables

Good morning, writers, readers, bloggers & all around mischief makers!

One of my biggest goals for 2019 is to get back into the habit of blogging more regularly, but after being on WP since 2013, finding fresh and original content can be quite difficult. I used to participate in the Daily Prompt hosted by WP, but I’m no longer in the position to do that. I need to schedule my post in advance by at least 24 hours. I know I can’t be alone in this, so I’ve come up with an idea that I hope will eventually catch on:

I’m launching a weekly writing challenge called #WeeklyWritables starting today. Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! You’re free to use the graphic I’ve created for my posts or you can create your own. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

The #WeeklyWritables word for this Thursday is: Hustle

Dear Indie ♥ Whahappened?

Independent

Hi Indies!

Have you joined Bookbub yet? Did you know that if you’ve been on the market for awhile, there’s a good chance you already have a Bookbub profile – with followers! – just waiting for you to claim it?

I didn’t either, until my friend and author, Anna Adler pointed it out to me. It was one of those “whahappened?” moments, but in a good way! I always thought Bookbub was very selective about who they allowed to join their site, that authors had to have a gazillion 5 Star reviews in order to qualify. So, they weren’t yet on my radar as a source to finding and reaching potential readers. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I already had a profile with followers, and all I had to do was prove that I’m me by sharing one of my book URLs and signing into one of my social media accounts via Bookbub – now I’m waiting for my approval email from them so I can start rockin’ out my profile and adding my full list of available books!

I’ve seen other authors rave about how much Bookbub does for increasing their readership and book sales, they’re known to be in the top tier of places you want to be in this industry. That’s why I wanted to share this with everyone, in case you also have an unclaimed profile on there with followers just waiting to hear all about your new releases and WIPs!

I know it’s Monday, but try to have an awesome day, anyway! 😀

Coming up next for Dear Indie: How to create a basic template for the interior layout of a paperback novel for writers without MS Office/Word.

#SongLyricSunday ♫ “Without Me” – Halsey

SongLyricSunday

Our hostess, Helen over at This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time is still recovering – and I hope it’s going well for her. Jim at A Unique Title For Me is back as the guest host for #SLS. I haven’t had the chance to say it yet, so I’ll say it now: “Thanks, Jim, for keeping our beloved music challenge going strong!”

It’s been over a month since I was able to participate, with so many things happening personally, professionally and with my writing, I had to make some adjustments to my time management for awhile – but I sincerely plan on getting back into the normal swing of things again. *fingers crossed* – Oh, and Happy Belated New Year, everyone! LOL (I know, I’m a nerd)

This week’s theme is: Laugh/Laughter/Laughing

What a great, positive theme to pick – and then I go and ruin it by choosing one of the least happiest songs with the word laugh in the lyrics. Oops. Okay, not really. The thing is, I saw Halsey perform this song on The Voice and fell in love with it instantly. I’m admittedly late to new music and very rarely find new artists I love before they make it big (Ellie Goulding & Anne-Marie being my two biggest exceptions so far). I never listen to the radio, because I hate commercials with a passion and I also don’t want to hear what the DJ’s have to say #sorrynotsorry. Just play music. You wanna chat? That’s what Talk Radio’s for, go there.

Halsey is rather new to me, even though I’m now aware she’s been around for quite awhile. She has a unique voice, I’m already a fan of most of her work and happy to share this one today. Lyrics in the video, enjoy!

Songwriters: Amy R. Allen / Ashley Frangipane / Delacey Amaradio / Justin Timberlake / Louis Bell / Scott Spencer Storch / Timothy Z. Mosley</
Without Me lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

I do not own any rights to this song, video or lyrics. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.

#SongLyricSunday ♪ “Wild Boys” – Duran Duran

SongLyricSunday

I’m taking a bit of a risk of this one being chosen more than once, but I can’t help it – it’s my all-time favorite Duran Duran song and I’ve been waiting for the chance to use it. 😀 Make sure to swing on over to Helen’s blog: This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time by clicking on the theme link below. Join in the fun, or check out all the other song picks for today!

This week’s theme is: Boys

We were all die-hard DD fans back in the 80’s and I remember that on top of the usual paper posters, my cousin had a silk banner of the band that I thought was the coolest thing ever hanging above the door in her bedroom. But while my cousins and friends all had Duran Duran’s most popular hits like “Rio” and “The Reflex” on repeat, no one ever wanted to listen to “Wild Boys” like I did. I guess it was a bit harder or more aggressive than their usual tracks – even “Hungry Like a Wolf” still had that feel-good, electro-pop sound – Which is probably why I loved this one so much more. And still do to this day. Enjoy!

Wild boys
Wild boys
Wild boys
Wild boys

Wild, wild, boys, boys

The wild boys are calling
On their way back from the fire
In August moon’s surrender to
A dust cloud on the rise

Wild boys fallen far from glory
Reckless and so hungered
On the razors edge you trail
Because there’s murder by the roadside
In a sore afraid new world
They tried to break us
Looks like they’ll try again

Wild boys (wild boys) never lose it
Wild boys (wild boys) never chose this way
Wild boys (wild boys) never close your eyes
Wild boys always shine

You got sirens for a welcome
There’s bloodstain for your pain
And your telephone been ringing
While you’re dancing in the rain

Wild boys wonder where is glory
Where is all you angels
Now the figureheads of have fell
And lovers war with arrows
Over secrets they could tell

They tried to tame you looks like they’ll try again

Wild boys (wild boys) never lose it
Wild boys (wild boys) never chose this way
Wild boys (wild boys) never close your eyes
Wild boys always shine

Wild boys
Wild boys
Wild boys

Wild boys
Wild boys
Wild boys

Wild boys (wild boys) never lose it
Wild boys (wild boys) never chose this way
Wild boys (wild boys) never close your eyes
Wild boys always

Wild boys (wild boys) never lose it
Wild boys (wild boys) never chose this way
Wild boys (wild boys) never close your eyes
Wild boys always

Wild boys (wild boys) never lose it
Wild boys (wild boys) never chose this way
Wild boys (wild boys) never close your eyes
Wild boys always

Wild boys

♪♫♪♫

Songwriters: Andy Taylor / John Taylor / Nick Rhodes / Roger Taylor / Simon Le Bon
Lyrics found on Google
The Wild Boys lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

I do not own any rights to this song, video or lyrics. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.

#SongLyricSunday ♫ “Last Man Standing” – Graffiti Ghosts

LuciferSoundtrackCover

Almost missed this again for 2 weekends in a row, but remembered at the last minute. I’d feel worse about it, if it wasn’t because I’ve been plugging away in my writing cave getting the final few chapters done for my next book! I’m really having a blast with these characters, too – and since they belong to my Hell on Earth series, it just ties in really nicely with my song choice for today’s prompt – or maybe that’s why I thought of it. 😉 Make sure to click on the theme link below to check out Helen’s blog, This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time, and all the other song picks for today!

This week’s theme is: Last

For my pick, I’ve chosen a song off the Lucifer soundtrack, because like the show, it’s bad ass. Still waiting for Netflix to release Season 4 and am super happy they picked it up after it was cancelled by the network (man, are you guys dumb) – now a Netflix Original, I can’t wait to see which direction the show takes without all the restrictions it had before. 😀

Couldn’t find a video for this one, but I don’t think fans of the graphic novel: Last Man Standing: Killbook of a Bounty Hunter by Daniel LuVisi will mind the static shot.

Your trigger finger better think about your future
You’re getting twisted thinking I don’t want to shoot ya
I’ve been waiting for a long time
and I’m coming back to get what’s mine

Sick of living with your little double faces
I’m getting itchy and so livid I can taste it
I’ve been waiting for a long time
and I’m swinging til I get what’s mine
but I’m not going down
I’m not going down

I’ll be the last man standing
The last man standing
You know I never bend I never break
I’m the heavyweight with all the answers

I’m the last man standing
I’m the last man standing
I drew a line into the sand cuz I only plan to be the last man
the last man standing

You’re hesitating wasting days I didn’t give you
And it’s too late to pray or say you didn’t think through
We’re toe to toe you better make a move
Cuz I’m standing right in front of you
but I’m not going down
I’m not going down

I’ll be the last man standing
The last man standing
You know I never bend I never break
I’m the heavyweight with all the answers

I’m the last man standing
I’m the last man standing
I drew line into the sand cuz I only plan to be the last man
the last man standing

I’ll be the last man standing
The last man standing
You know I never bend I never break
I’m the heavyweight with all the answers

I’m the last man standing
I’m the last man standing
I drew line into the sand cuz I only plan to be the last man
the last man standing

♫♪♫♪

Songwriters: Written By Lawrence Katz/C. Todd Nielsen
Published By Mixed Metaphor Music
Lyrics found: Courtesy Of Position Music

I do not own any rights to this song, lyrics or video. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.

SongLyricSunday

#SongLyricSunday ♪ “One Headlight” – The Wallflowers

SongLyricSunday

It took me awhile to settle on a good song for this week. I had plenty to choose from, but they were all from bands that I’ve already posted recently and also they were mostly heavier rock tracks and after Rocktoberfest, I think I’d like to show everyone that I’ve got a lot more going on in my music collection than just that. Of course, I didn’t want to go to the furthest extreme by posting Eminem’s “Beautiful”, but it was a contender for a moment. Make sure you hop on over to Helen’s blog, This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time to join in the fun or check out all of the other song picks for today, there’s always an eclectic variety!

This week’s theme is: Listen

I went a little off track and used Listened, instead, but I think that’s close enough. We’re taking a small step back into the late 90’s for this week’s pick. I’ve loved this song from the second it hit the airwaves and still crank it up when it comes round on the shuffle. It’s one of those songs that’s melancholy in a thought-provoking way, yet set to a tune that makes you want to tap your feet. I love multi-talented tracks like that. There’s just something magical about the combination of creative lyrics and that alternative/southern rock melody. Plus, Jakob Dylan is not hard to look at by any means! And no, that’s not a coincidence, he really is the son of Bob Dylan. Enjoy!

So long ago, I don’t remember when
That’s when they say I lost my only friend
Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees

I seen the sun comin’ up at the funeral at dawn
The long broken arm of human law
Now it always seemed such a waste, she always had a pretty face
So I wondered why she hung around this place

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
Me and Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

She said it’s cold
It feels like Independence Day
And I can’t break away from this parade
But there’s got to be an opening
Somewhere here in front of me
Through this maze of ugliness and greed

And I seen the sun up ahead at the county line bridge
Sayin’ all there’s good and nothingness is dead
We’ll run until she’s out of breath
She ran until there’s nothin’ left
She hit the end, it’s just her window ledge

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me and Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn
Well it smells of cheap wine, cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I’d like to watch it burn

I’m so alone and I feel just like somebody else
Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same
But somewhere here in between the city walls of dyin’ dreams
I think her death that must be killin’ me

Hey, hey hey come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me and Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

♪♫♪♫

Songwriters: Jakob Dylan
Lyrics found on Google
One Headlight – Radio Edit lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

I do not own any rights to this song, lyrics or video. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.