Ode to the Dead.

(First shot at iambic pentameter. Kudos to Shakespeare, it’s not easy. This was written for submission to be included as an extra in a novel. Wasn’t accepted.)

Ode to the Dead.
By Wayne Hills

Lament the dead’s retreat thy hallowed grounds.
The living’s fear is wrought with despair.
For all alive, a certain death abounds.

The hordes advanced. We flee in disbelief.
Pampered lives dissolve, no chance to repair.
Human’s broken society would get no relief.

Grab the child, canned food, some meager gear.
Carry all on ours backs, no room to spare.
Left to rot all else. Chattel held most dear.

Abscond from sound of death approaching.
Keep faith to find safe passage rare.
Upon our souls the horror encroaching.

In abandoned barn, or noxious sewage pipe.
Sleepless eyes locked in unending death stare.
We lay down our heads, steal flashes of respite.

Snap of twigs twix shuffle of decayed feet.
Panic overcomes frayed nerves worn bare.
Their inhuman sense tracks us, we are fresh meat.

She trips. I fall. They move so quick.
Teeth rip flesh. My chances at life are ne’re.
My blood and gore make skin grow slick.

All black, no light, my breath abated.
Hope for salvation go without prayer.
Undead quest for blood, are fully satiated.

I rise and I walk. I feel their desire.
To hunt the living a need I now share.
The quest for life’s blood fueled by hell’s fire.

She grieves for my loss, her love for me pales.
For I recall not her face, the scent of her hair.
My only desire, is to feast upon her entrails.

I search. They run. Locked in a never-ending trial.
Between life and death, a thin fabric tear.
Of love everlasting, and present reality’s denial.

—Fin—

2015 NYC Midnight Flash-fiction competition. The Trumpeter’s Song.

They gave me 5 points for this. Am I delusional in thinking this story hits all the criteria?
I really don’t know what the judges are looking for

Group 24-Genre:Historical Fiction-Location: A horse track-Object-A rocking chair.

The Trumpeter’s Song.

Synopsis: In the United States during the turbulent sixties, a plan is hatched to bring about the fall of America’s Camelot.

***

     In a smoke-filled office overlooking the thoroughbred track at Monmouth Park, New Jersey, a man in a well-tailored suit is smoking a Cuban cigar. The faraway sound of a trumpet calling horses to the gates draws his attention away from a stack of ledger sheets piled on his mahogany desk.

The office is paneled in dark oak, thick ornate carpeting covers the floor. Large panes of glass take up one wall creating a window overlooking the horses on the dirt oval below. The muffled starting bell and the frenzied call of the track announcer filter through the opening. Glancing at a calendar on the wall to his left, he picks up and dials the phone.

The clattering of a telephone breaks the silence in another oval, this one, an office located in Washington DC.

A Boston-Irish voice answers. “This is John.”

“How ya’ doin’, Johnny. Hoffa here,” replies the caller.

“I know who it is, I recognize your nasal-Jersey accent. What do you want?”

“Just want what ya’ promised, Mr. President. Secretary of Labor. Ya’ fuhget it was my men who got the vote out for ya’ last election? I’m reminding you of the fact that I’m still waiting on your call. My patience is wearing thin.”

“Hoffa, you can’t threaten the President of United States.”

“Whoa, Johnny, don’t mistake my intention. I’m a Jersey boy. We don’t make threats. We make promises. And then we keep them, unlike ya’ Boston jack-offs.”

John clenches his teeth, takes a deep breath and responds, “You know where I am Jimmy? I’m relaxing in my father’s chair. The rocker the Bethlehem Steel unions gave him after World War One because he knew how to play the game. But you break the rules, Jimmy. The Teamsters aren’t enough for you, you’re running more schemes than my people can keep a lid on. You’d never be confirmed by Congress. And more importantly, I can’t trust you.”

“Ya’ trusted me enough to take care of your little problem in L.A. Even the head-cheese of America can’t bang every big-boobed slut that sings Happy Birthday to him without repercussions. She thought she could bring ya’ down but she didn’t have the means to. Well, I’ve got the means and the balls to do it.”

John’s legs tighten, rocking him back in the chair. Clenching his free hand into a fist, he shakes it at the handset. He takes another deep breath, exhales away from the phone’s mouthpiece, rolls forward, and places his elbows on his knees. “You were compensated for that. You have control of labor unions that aren’t even in your God-damned state. We’re square.”

“Yes-sir, on that deal we are. But I want more.”

Muted cheers trickle in from the track.

He continues. “Look, I’m not asking for something for nuthin’. Don’t forget I’m a man of many talents. Who got ya’ this secret phone line? I did. My men in the CWA set it up without a peep to anybody. And now I got something you’ve been aching to get done since your CIA boys botched that island invasion back in sixty-one.”

Taking a long pull on the cigar, Hoffa blows a series of smoke rings over the desk. “Whatta ya’ say, Commander-in-Chief? Shall we find a way to bypass those pesky hearings?”

“I say go to Hell, Hoffa. I’m done dealing with you. Next time you hear from me, it’ll be through my brother.”

Slamming down the phone, John rises, walks to his desk, and depresses the intercom.

“Mrs. Lincoln, get Robert on the line. I’ve got an issue to discuss with him.”
Mrs. Evelyn Lincoln, personal secretary to the President, and proud member of the Communication Workers of America, makes the call and connects the Attorney General to his boss. Neither man notices that she never disconnects her headset.

Minutes later, a telephone rings, drowning out the sound of ‘First Call’ for the start of the afternoon’s next race.

“Hoffa here.” Listening, he starts to take notes.

“Hello Lincoln.”

“Yeah, we talked.”

“He called Bobby and said that, did he?”

“He’s got a trip to Texas soon, doesn’t he?”

“No, nothing to be concerned with. I may send him a gift. Special delivery.”

“Thanks, Lincoln. You just take care of your father, we’ll take care of his medical bills. G’nite.”

Jimmy flips through a small black notebook, and dials a private number into the offices of the Dallas Service Employees Local #5.”

“Ruby, Hoffa here. How’s that nightclub we set ya’ up with working out? You’re cleaning up a lot of money for us, and we’re grateful.”

Jimmy begins creating a to-do list.

“Yeah, it’s a good thing for your family, us helping you out with those debts of yours. Ya’ really need to learn how to pick the ponies better. Look, Jack, I didn’t call just to shoot the shit with ya’. I’d like to say it’s a favor I’m asking, but it needs to be done, and you’re our man in Texas. We need someone gone, it’s best for our Union brothers, and that means it’s good for America.”

“No, I can’t be more specific, secret phone line or no. Let’s just say they’ll be a lotta tears and a State funeral when we’re done. The man welched on a deal. Y’know I can’t let anyone get away with that.”

“Yeah, we’ll need a patsy. He’s gotta be believable and he’s gotta go away quick before he can talk. Who’ve you got?”

“An ex-Marine? I thought once a Mar–.”

“Oh, he defected? Didn’t know anyone went that way. Thought they only came over to us.”

“He sounds perfect. I’ll place a call to the local PBA and get the cleanup handled. And look, anytime you want a tip, just call. I’ll put the fix in for ya’.”

“Fuhget about it. Goodbye Jack.”

As the sun sets on the track, the trumpeter’s song announces the day’s final race.

End