Monday, January 7, 2019

The Ending: A Flash Fiction Story

The Ending
Katherine Rochholz
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
Flash Fiction 

                I had a checklist in life. Military. Check. Buy a ranch. Check. Marriage. Check. Kid. Check. Tell my kid legends of magpies and fairytales with song birds. Check. What I didn’t plan was a stroke and the commotion and upheaval it would have on my life while I tried to heal. What I didn’t plan on was that one I day I would remove this band from my finger. Because I meant it when I said ‘Death Do Us Part.’
                I was sitting in the living room after my in home nurse left, after I had done my daily physical therapy. I decided I wanted some mangos, so I grabbed the cane; I loathed the damn wheel chair, and made my way to the kitchen. I stopped wright out the door when I heard a simper from my wife. I had a scowl on my face; I hadn’t heard that sound from my wife in a long time, since before my stroke a year ago. So, I had to stop and listen to what could make her sound that happy.
                “Of course he doesn’t suspect a thing. He is just hoping to get work the ranch again. He only cares about this damn ranch. As soon as he is dead I am selling the damn thing.” He is a fool,” she stated. “I can’t wait until we make love again either, Rich. I will see you this weekend?” There was a silence before she said, “love you too.” And she hung up the phone. She started to finish the dinner she was cooking.
                I ran my thumb over my wedding band. So that is what she had really been doing during her club meetings. I put on a smile and went to get my mangos. I then called a ride after cutting them up. “Dear, I am going into town.” I told her as I wheeled myself from the house.
                I made a trip to my lawyer, made sure my son got everything if I died, from the ranch to the insurance, to all the money I had saved. And nothing to the woman I thought was the love my life, she would pay for her betrayals. After all, everything was in my name. She married me and was a house wife, she came with nothing, and she would get nothing. I had a plan and there were no guarantees, if I would make it out of it, and I needed to protect my son, and my gift to him.
                Three weeks later my wife was driving me to a doctor’s appointment when I grabbed the wheel and swerved us into a tree. I felt the van rolling after the hit to the tree, and when it came to a stop I moved from my chair to crawl out of the van. I checked my wife, who lay dying. “I said death do us part, whore.” I then, with a twist of my arms, broke her neck. I collapsed as I pressed my emergency call button telling them that we were in an accident.  I lay upon the ground with a smile as I heard the ambulance and the cops coming. I closed my eyes and my world went black.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Humanity's Best Friend: A Short Story

Humanity’s Best Friend
Katherine Rochholz
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
Short Story

            If someone had told me the end of the world have been caused by opening a trunk found in a once unexplored jungle, I would have laughed in their faces and said something along the lines of ‘and I sit upon the throne of England.’ Which now, looking back, doesn’t seem as farfetched as it once was before that faithful day, after all the best thing about humanity is the worst thing, our curiosity, and the need to KNOW.
            I had been picking up a prescription for my sun allergy, yes, ironic a Marine with a sun allergy, when the news broke about a gulley in the rain forest leading to a jungle within that had never been explored. I let the news wash over me as I had a busy life, and I was due back on base in twelve hours before my next deployment. I wouldn’t give the news another thought until I was at the London Embassy and the first reports came in of insanity and death.
            I had been trying not to fall asleep in our boring upon boring brief, I hadn’t been as close to falling asleep when someone was talking since Sister Mary Jean was lecturing in my high school biology class about how plants and other organisms photosynthesize sugars for energy, when the news came in that within the jungle there was one thing, a trunk. I turned my head to listen to the people talking about the opening, as that seemed more interesting than stuff I already heard a million times before.
            “They found an ancient trunk, and when they opened it, a single wasp like creature came out! It was huge! It stared at them and then flew away!” Some woman was trying to not sound excited, but anybody could tell she was super excited about the nerdy information.
            Forty eight hours later and I was cursing the monster wasp. It seemed that it had an asexual breeding schedule. Within two day, there were hundreds of them. If they stung you, it would boil your brain and cause hallucinations. About what depended upon the person, some saw the dead coming back to life and claimed there was zombie, thus causing them to kill others who were affected with whatever virus the wasp unleashed. Others saw man eating monsters, and again causing them to kill other humans. I swore, as I shot a man trying to attack me, he was claiming I was purple and had a horn. It was chaos. Pure destructive chaos.
            One week. That is all it took for civilization to collapse. There were very few not stung by the wasps. At the end of the one week, there were groups of survivors, trying to avoid the now thousands of wasp like creatures. I was leading one such group.
            I had learned early on the wasps were afraid of dogs. And just my luck, I had a Labrador assigned to me as a bomb dog, his name was D.O.G. Some reason, the dogs when barking, would harm the wasps, and dogs were immune to the stings. I wasn’t going to buck what protected the group. We learned that even if one wasn’t killed after the fever took hold, the fever would kill them, nothing would bring down the fever, and many ended up drowning their organs, we even tried depriving victims of the water, but it never came down and left them brain dead within forty eight hours of being stung. I had been able to, with D.O.G., to kill a few of the wasps and given the stingers and a body to the couple of grad students that had found their way to the group, they had been studying medicine, I figured let the smarter ones work out the issue, while I tried to keep us alive.
            As I said before the best of humanity is the worst of humanity, and our curiosity gets the better of us. We had been walking towards a railroad station, one of the others pushing someone who had been stung just the day before in a wheelchair, when the person who had been stung cried out. The man was nearing the end of his life, and we tried to ignore their screams of things not there. But this scream was ‘THE NEST’.
            I had all enter the station and told D.O.G. to stay. I was going to check it out. Perhaps a nest would give us answers. I knew that the only true protection against the wasps were man’s best friend, but I had an obligation to the people. They may not be Americans, but a Marine I took an oath to protect people. And I took that seriously. And to be honest, I was curious to see if these wasps nested like normal ones.
            I perched behind a rock and watched. It seemed as they had a hive mentality. Interesting. Hive mentality, perhaps meant if the queen was killed all would be killed. I was already thinking about the materials I had to create a bomb. I was so lost in my mind I didn’t notice the wasp break from the group.
            The next thing I heard was barking. “DOG!”  I yelled.  But before I could do anything a wasp came in front of me, it was humongous, how had people not been killed by the sting! Before I could react, D.O.G. jumped in front taking the sting. The stinger went through his side. I was furious. I took my gun and shot the wasp in its face, it fell did. I scooped up D.O.G. and ran towards the shelter. Once I slammed the door, I fell to my knees to try and save my dog.
            The med students tried to help but it was useless, the stinger when further in than when they stung at other animals and humans, and had pierced his hurt. When he gave his last breath I broke. I stood and went and emptied the bags. I had a hive and a queen to destroy. I just prayed it worked.
            I stood there with the bomb. A throw and a press of the button, which is all it would take. I swallowed. I never feared dying. Dying alone is what I feared. And if this didn’t go right I would die alone. So alone. Life is all about blood, sweat, and tears. Why? Because life, and thus love, means facing your biggest fucking fears. And I am about to face mine. Because they killed my dog, who was more than just a pet to me; D.O.G. had been through and hell and back with me. We saved people. We saved lives. And he saved mine so many times, and finally giving the ultimate sacrifice for my life. So while I was making my way back to the hive, alone, I faced the fear that I may very well die alone this day. And all I could do is pray it wouldn’t hurt.
            I made it back to the hive. I had told the others to send a message any way they could if this worked, to destroy the other hives. Old telegrams worked wonders for communication, and last report probably hinted at least five hives per continent. I was behind the rock again; I see D.O.G.’s blood on the ground. And I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
            I opened my eyes and stood and threw the bomb with everything I had in me. I was close to the blast site. Once the bomb hit the queen, I ran. The wasps on my tail. I closed my eyes and sent up a prayer to whoever was listening, that I would get a chance to save more lives; that I wouldn’t die here alone, with nobody in the world to care. I pressed the button just before I could feel the heat of the wasp behind me. I heard the explosion. I heard a scream that was like a banshee, and then I heard nothing as the world around me went silent. I felt the heat of the blast and I let my body fall. I covered my head and closed my eyes allowing the sickening silence after a bomb went off surround me as I waited to see if I would live or die… I let blackness take me…
            I woke to darkness. I blinked and pushed myself up. I looked around and bodies of wasps where lying on the ground. It had worked? I jumped up and checked myself. No fever, it had to be a few hours since I had blown them up, so I should have a fever, if I had been stung. I had a stupid grin on my face. I did it. I found a way to save those left in the world. I had stupid ass grin on my face as I walked back to the train station. The others rushed out to greet me. Asking what happened that they heard the scream and saw the blast, but they dare not move until at least morning. I told them it worked and then we went to send off the telegram. Let the world know how to destroy the bastards.

Two Years Later

            “Let’s go, P.U.P!” I yelled as I ran. It had been a slow rebuild, the world was still rebuilding, and from a population of almost eight billion people, to a few hundred million; we had a lot of rebuilding to do. I smiled down at the chocolate lab that was just a few months old. I was one of the few left of the United States military, and now I was in charge of a whole branch, of Earth’s Marine Corps.
We have had elections; we have had remapping, rebuilding, reimaging, of the world. The remaining people were closer, the hate, that once there seemed to be gone. That was the only good to come from the tragedy that opening at trunk in the middle of an unknown jungle had caused.
            The pain of loses still fresh among all, but we must rebuild, and make the world a better place. I smiled at the excited bark of the small pup next to me, Humanity’s Best Friend, right there. Loyal to the end, and beyond, after all the sacrifice of D.O.G, saved the world…

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Home Isn't Where The Heart Is: Flash Fiction Story

Home Isn’t Where The Heart Is
Katherine Rochholz
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
Flash Fiction

                I blinked as I crawled from the bridge of my ship; the dome I looked through was cracked. I overlooked a small crew of five, which studied Earth and be beings that live on her. I stood in the middle of a corn field for a moment before I came to my senses and checked my crew. I had a heavy heart when I found they hadn’t made it. I took a moment and looked up at the Aurora Borealis; it was like the gods had taken a paint brush to the skies. And it calmed me enough to think about what I was to have to do. I knew it would take me a few years to fix the ship. Which meant hiding out on Earth. Thankfully my race was similar enough to Homo-Sapiens. I knew I could fit in, just fine. Now to burn the dead and hid my ship.

Five Years later

I heard the bell on the door and saw the receptionist dash up to the front where a cluster of people were walking in, I sighed, so much for leaving earl. I continued to work on the 1967 Impala, it was a dark emerald green, it was a beauty, a pity the owner didn’t know how to care for her. I turned again when I heard my Earth name called; I went up to the front.  “Jess?”
                “Kari,” it was actually a play off my actual name. “These people demand to speak to you.”
                “I got it.”  I turned to them. “Let’s get this over with people, I have a football game to watch and I don’t want to miss the lineup.” This small town high school football was everything, and I just so happened to know the coach. I looked truly at them and my eyes widened in shock.
                “Karilitia, I see you are alive.” The leader stated, calmly.
                “The reports of my death better have been greatly exaggerated.”
                The leader rolled his yes. “I am glad you are alive, daughter.” He looked down at my stomach. “Evan if you have chosen a human from Earth as your mate.”
                “I am staying.” I blurted out.
                My father nodded. “Visit with my grandchildren.”
                I smiled. “I am an alien among humans, but my home is Lamondra.”
                He kissed my head. “Until your visit.” And then they left. “
                My husband came out of my office. “Honey?”
                “It was nothing. Let’s go, you have a game to coach.” I went up on my tiptoes and kissed. Him. Lamondra may be my home, but Earth now held my heart.

Noise Complaint: A Flash Fiction Story

Noise Complaint
Katherine Rochholz
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
Flash Fiction

            It was a lovely Saturday morning after a rain storm and on the horizon was a rainbow that seemed to cause the cactus needles to glint in the sun. I was on my way to my office, I had rented it after my books went viral and I had started my family. I was there daily, much like an actual job, and home on the weekends; but since my wife and children were in Florida sending me pictures of my wife’s parents and palm trees, I planned to sit at the office all day.
            The office building was a nice place. There was a dentist office below the second floor offices, where mine was, on the same floor as me, there was a quiet little artist, a farmer (who always tried to give me samples of beets), and then there was the other artist. He was annoying with loud music and whatever metalworking art he did. But all should be gone today, leaving me with a quiet building. I came in with my latte and palled on getting a lot of work done.
            Two hours later I heard the studio door down the hall slam and the loud music start. I groaned and got up, sticking my head out of my office and yelled, “RICHARDS! Turn it down!” All I got back was a laugh. I sighed but went back into my office to get some more work done. I wanted to finish the last two chapters to send to my editor before I got sucked into a conversation with my agent about my next book tour.
            I went alright, though I still wished he turned the music down, until the first explosion. I sighed and tried to ignore him, it seemed to work better sometimes than yelling. But by the third explosion, I was furious. I got up and went and banged on the man’s door.
            I stood there ranting and raving and then the man had the audacity to laugh. He turned his back on me and I grabbed his mallet and brought it down on his head. There was only a moment of panic before I sued his next explosion to hide what I had done. After all, his art was dangerous, and an accident happened, and the police found him when I went back and called them… For a noise complaint.
            Six months later, I smiled as I signed my latest best seller: Artistic Murder. It was about a serial killer who killed artists and used their art to hide the bodies as well as their crimes.