Author: Brandon L. Rucker

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The Apprentice | A Work in Progress

{ 404 words so far } “I am Death,” he tells me as he hands me the scythe.  He had personally forged the blade out of stainless steel himself.  I can’t help but be amazed at his resourcefulness, and the meticulousness of his craft, his attention to detail and his drive to be the best he is at what he does.  “If you join me, Callie, you will be Death’s apprentice.  That is, if you agree to be my assistant.” He presents even more weapons of horror to me from a briefcase that lay on the table in his basement.  I could not begin to describe most of them with words. “And provided that you were not just telling me what I wanted to hear when I saved you from the empty life of a rudderless street urchin you were living.” That stings.  I hate his throwing my recent status as a homeless person out at me as some kind of grand judgment of my worth.  I start to think that in his deep-seeded misanthropy …

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A Patchwork Companion | A Work in Progress

{ 639 words so far } Just before dusk the man took a break from his work in the basement. He was not hungry, or more specifically, he had no appetite. Instead he opted for a cold beverage from the refrigerator in the kitchen to quench his thirst. Only when he popped the cap off the bottle did he realize that today had been his thirty-first birthday. A lot had happened in his life the past few years; several notable, calamitous events had irrevocably changed his life. He wasn’t sure if he had even acknowledged the arrival and subsequent passing of his twenty-ninth or thirtieth birthdays. His work was that demanding of his attention; his focus was keener these past two years than it had ever been in his life. He’d been motivated by the potency of vengeance. He was anxious to return to his work downstairs, but something stirred inside him—emotion—a sensation that had been alien to him for quite some time. As a sudden wave of nostalgia crashed over him, he found himself …

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Jubilee | Lyrics

It’s that special time of year We should gather with each other despite our fears We’ll break bread and dine with wine And discover there’s no trouble and we’re just fine We are all of the same blood So it’s silly to throw punches instead of hugs Peace is not (just) for the naive We should be wearing our compassion upon our sleeves So let’s celebrate today And be grateful that we all have a voice to say That we’re thankful for our lives And we’re laughing, dancing, singing and giving high fives Written: March 28, 2009. Released on the album Bridging the Disconnect, released September 29, 2009 via I Rock Recordings under the moniker of Sap. Copyright © 2009 by Brandon L. Rucker brandonrucker.com | RuckerWrites | @RuckerWrites I Rock Recordings Guitars, voices & percussion performed by  Brandon Rucker.

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Living and Dying Under a Harvest Moon | A Short Story

{ 1039 words } As dawn claims the night I see the morning sun begin to break over the horizon from our window. I’ve been watching Stella sleep. She’s so quiet and still, I want to feel her beating heart to be sure she’s still with me. With passion as our spark, we’d made love, off and on, from dusk to midnight; our mortal bodies barely sustained the immortal force of our love. Afterward, we’d lay next to each other, silent, for there was no need to speak. The call and response of our lovemaking reverberated into some unseen alternate dimension. We welcomed a cool breeze from the window to wash over us and lick the beads of sweat that remained on us like morning dew on a grassy grove. “I love the way you love me,” Stella whispered before drifting away to join the dreaming. I’d barely heard her; her voice was like a phantom she’d said it so soft. I’d simply stroked her forehead and hushed her to sleep. Still afflicted by insomnia, …

Photo by and Copyright © Lauren Page - http://www.laurapagephotography.com/

Road Dog | A Double-Drabble

{ 200 words } Various instruments crowd the back of the cargo van-turned-tour van.  His legs are cramped.  He’s gotta piss, but there’s no rest stop for god knows how many miles.  As the miles become more miles, his hunger becomes aching, tiredness becomes weariness.  He’s horny, sure.  But he sincerely misses her for all the right reasons.  Thinking of her does him no good.  Not here, in the middle of nowhere, this far from home. Saying good bye was the hardest part. A major complication to this job, this love, this life. Endless regret. Yet the chance to leave indefinitely was relished despite the unresolved affairs and promises postponed. Farewells cut short are best. Say your heartfelt goodbyes Wipe away tears from forlorn eyes Temporarily sever ties The road’s the devil of promises and lies Now sunsets don’t mean quite the same as they did back home.  Without her, even the music and cheering of fans don’t mean quite what they should.  Although it sometimes soothes, having casual sex with other women is a …

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What Tomorrow Never Brings | A Micro Fiction

{ 318 words } Today’s The Day! Daddy’s coming home! Gotta get ready. Gotta go get Mommy outta bed so she can help me get ready. I’m Daddy’s Girl and a Daddy’s Girl should look her most beautifulest when her Daddy comes home.  My Daddy’s a fighter pilot in the Army – um, I mean Air Force! He likes to fly over the emimy’s buildings and shoot mis’uls at dem. He says it’s for a good reason like freedom and stuff. I heard him tell Mommy about a big ol’ impor’dant building him an’ the other pilots blowed up once. My brother thinks war is stupid, but he don’t know nothin’ ‘cause he’s a Momma’s Boy. Time to get up, Mommy. You haf’ta get out my favorite dress and put my hair in pigtails. You know, the yellow one with the purple hearts on it. What do you mean dat won’t be nes’sary? My Daddy’s gonna be home any minute! What kind of prob’em was there? Mommy? Answer me! Why won’t you get out of …

Photo by Susanne Nilsson.

Going the Distance | A Micro Fiction

{ 360 words } I can tell she’s uneasy, maybe even scared.  It’s all in the eyes.  That’s where the truth always lies in people, in their eyes.  Sure, she’s going to play it cool and pretend that there’s nothing wrong, but I know better, which is funny considering I’ve only known the girl for three days.  But I know.  Which is a testament to the strange bond I feel between us.  We’ve been on the road for three long ass hours now and, between long stretches of napping, she’s barely spoken a word.  To say I’m worried about her is understating the fact. I glance over at her, careful not to let my eyes leave the road for more than a second or two at a time. “You sure you’re all right?” “Yeah, I’m fine…just thinking.” “About?” “Things.” “Don’t be vague, girl.  I hate that.” “I’m thinking that I might’ve made a mistake.” “Oh yeah?” “Mmm-hmm.” “Concerning what?” “Our little trip.” “I wouldn’t call it little…you are running away.” “Shit, don’t you think I …

Image is copyright © AlexMaster

The Road Is My Map | A Work in Progress

{ 756 words, began Aug 3, 2001 } It’s funny how I got here. The first ride I got was from a car full of guys. They were of the ripped jeans and faded rock t-shirt variety, blaring classic rock and heavy metal in an old muscle car that was much older than me.  Only the cutest one of the boys flirted with me and I got the impression he was the only one of them not a virgin because all of his lines were smooth and confident. Had I not flirted back I may not have managed to get him to buy me a pack of smokes.  They dropped me off at the rest stop off I-70 without trouble. From there I got offered a ride by a kind elderly lady who had taken one look at my dingy clothes, windblown hair and the most pathetic face I could put on and felt sorry enough for me.  She got me here and was reluctant to let me out in the middle of nowhere, but …

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I’m Not From Around Here | A Poem

Driving fast down sun-baked country roads Countless tiny towns are silhouettes in my dust I dare not stop for fear of the unknown I have this little suspicion they don’t like my kind – The kind different from them The kind not of their own It’s not that I blame them, really It’s not their fault that they’re wrong – My destination is clear No place in particular Just enjoy the scenic route Before night claims the scenery – There’s a fork in my roads of chance My front tire takes the brunt of it I pull over to the soft shoulder My good luck having failed me – Rear view mirror, another driver is nearing A big red pickup, a good ol’ boy pulls next to me Sweat beading on my brow now, I’m unsure of his intention I ease out of the car, though I’m thankful for his attention – “You’re not from around here,” he says, I think he’s a fast learner I say, “No, I’m from the city,” Not that it’s …

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Project Zero-13 | A Work in Progress

{ 744 words began Jan 7, 2010 } Stirred by the furtive movements of what was likely a rodent of some kind sniffing about in the foliage that surrounded him, the man awoke with a slight disorientation while lying under a bed of leaves, mud and twigs.  Vivid images of the dream he was having still lingered in his mind.  Like most dreams it was not an exact documentary of actual events, although inspired by them.  Instead it deviated from the script, as dreams often did.  A certain degree of surrealism had replaced realism.  Just before he was awakened, he had experienced the dream’s unscripted happy ending which was in direct contrast to the real life events he experienced prior to arriving to these woods to elude capture from his unknown pursuers. The happy ending was that he actually knew more than just his first name; that he knew exactly why he wore the strange costume, that underneath it was not some man that no one knew, and that he had the ability to speak.  …