The ground sways harshly. Outside of her cage, men in puffy jackets make noises at each other and move their arms as they argue. One of them points at her. A leather hand opens her cage and takes her out. She is stroked, whispered to, shown a small roll of paper. The man slides it into the container on her leg. He gives her a kiss on the forehead and opens the door.
The see outside is rough. Even down on the surface she can feel the winds. Heavy clouds race across the sky. A bad time to be up there, but it is not her choice. The leather hands throw her in the air and she does what she knows. She does her duty.
She pushes her wings to gain height, ascending away from the floating metal bird. The invisible force pushes her back, but she has been trained, and she is strong. She climbs, approaching the black clouds until she can almost touch them. Up there she flows through the current. The stream changes constantly.
For a second, the wind disappears. She falls. Circling through the air, she manages to adjust her wings and to glide, still down, but slower now. Below her, water crashes against water. Drops land on her feathers. She can’t land here. She will drown. She must find—
She soars back up and flies. To glide against the wind, to keep away from the see is tiring and it takes hours for the coast to appear, but she knows where to go. Soon she flies over the beach, over treetops, hills and green fields. It rains. Thunder roars in the distance. A strong gust of wind picks her up and throws her like a bug. It takes her many precious seconds to regain her composure.
Up is up again, but in the distance, she spots the next threat. Falcon. It changes its course.
It sees her.
She dives between the trees. The falcon, fast as lightning, closes in on her. She flies between and around trunks, trying to shake him off. A quick look behind. It’s still there, almost on her now. She drops harshly, surges straight towards a giant tree, dragging back up just before she smashes into it. The wooden texture scratches her belly. Behind her, there is a cracking sound.
Free again, she resumes her course. Finally, a familiar sight. A big, wooden box. Wires. Others, like her.
She glides through the small opening in the box and hops onto her stand. A bell rings. Moments later, a man runs in, and removes the paper from her leg. He reads it. He looks at her with big eyes. Then he is gone.
She flutters over to the food container and eats. She has done her duty, and the grain has never tasted so good.
|# ? Mar 23, 2014 22:23|
|# ? Dec 8, 2021 04:22|
The Champion 1023.
Selfoss isn’t a town that looks like it’s a thousand years old. There are no gothic cathedrals or narrow medieval streets that follow the path of an ancient cow track. It’s just a few hundred neat, scandinavian buildings straddling the Olfusa river. Which, by the way, looks even newer than the town, like it just carved a course out of the flat, Icelandic plain in the last shower. In fact, the oldest thing here is the person I’ve come to meet. Although being buried in the local cemetery does tend to give you a certain permanent longevity in a place.
The headstone is a neat little thing. Just a name and dates:
Robert James Fisher
March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008.
I can only be thankful they didn’t try to make it some gauche chess symbol.
I take out a small folding chair and place it in the snow that dusts the graveyard. Now it’s just a matter of waiting, so I sit down and start reading through my iphone’s twitter feed.
It’s a week after the July 4 fireworks and the summer of 1972 is shaping up to be the hottest in a century in suburban Ohio. It’s already 100 degrees and not even noon. I’ve retreated to the small back room in our house where a watercooler blows humid air across the couch. On the grainy black and white TV, the Spassky-Fisher world chess championship is starting.
Now, I’m not going to bore with a bunch of chess annotation. K-KKt2, BxE4, who gives a poo poo, right? The one thing you need to know is that the game starts out even, and if it remains even, then its a draw. That first game, Spassky was as level as a Tupolev Tu-95 strategic nuclear bomber. Pieces were walking off the board in perfect matched pairs and it was a sure thing that both players would simply pick up a ½ point each. Bobby had to tip the scales, make the sides uneven.
A new tweet pops up. “So you think game 1 was a blunder?”
I look at the name of the sender, but the letters fade out of focus, like they’re struggling to exist in this medium.
“Was that a rhetorical q?” I reply.
“No. I still don’t know the answer myself.”
Even as a ten year old, I knew it was a blunder. Yes it broke the symmetry of the position, but at what cost? Spassky sat and pondered the move for a long time, looking for the trap. But there wasn’t one. No matter how the position was calculated, Bobby was one move short and couldn’t stop losing the piece, and the game.
Spassky was up 1-0.
An RT from some anti-zionist nutjob pops up. I ignore it and try to type on the small keyboard but the cold is starting to numb my fingers.
“So what happened with Game 2?”
“:-) that was tipping the scales.”
Had this ever happened before in any world championship? Chess or otherwise? (This was well before the internet so the television announcers could confidently claim that it hadn’t.)
The clock on the screen read 6:59pm. The game had to start at 7:00pm. The cameras focussed on Spassky, sitting calmly at the board. Across from him, an empty seat. Bobby hadn’t turned up, had told the organisers he wouldn’t be turning up, was already on a plane back to the States, had been kidnapped by the KGB. Half a world away I sat staring at the old Bakelite television, willing Bobby to walk out onto the stage at the last second and take up the challenge.
He didn’t. The clock flashed 7:00pm and Spassky stood up and walked off stage. He was up 2-0.
Snow begins to fall in the long Arctic twilight.
“What did Spassky say?”
“That old Jew Kissinger actually called me. Said I was a soldier in the war against the evil empire. Hah, their thanks didn't last long did t-” the 140 character limit cut off the sentence.
“What did Spassky say?” I repeat.
“He was KGB you know. They all were, Karpov, Kasparov. Thought they were invincible. Thought I was burnt out. Would have agreed to anything.”
Another tweet comes through.
“They thought I was mad…”
Game 3 just showed a commentator moving pieces on a board. Bobby had requested the third game take place off camera in a small back room. Spassky agreed. So all we saw were the moves that were replicated by notes being passed out of the game room onto the big board out the front.
In my own small back room the temperature had soared. The water cooler had packed it in, so I sat sweatstuck to the couch. My eyes transfixed by the unfolding game. Bobby was playing black and from the first move was playing an unbalanced opening. Spassky tried to impose order on the board but then Bobby wrenched the fulcrum of the game away from his opponent. But unlike the move in game 1, he had calculated this move to perfection.
After the checkmate, the reports said that Bobby got straight up and walked out, but Spassky sat in that small back room for a long, long time. Staring at the board.
The rest of the match was a foregone conclusion and Bobby romped home to an easy win, becoming the first American world chess champion in nearly a hundred years.
And never played in another chess tournament again.
I painstakingly type in the question I had been waiting over 70 years to ask. My finger pauses over the send button. But the feed is filling up with rants about conspiracies and hate and anger. Simultaneously they are fading out of view as the connection dies off. He is almost gone, this is my last chance to ask. But my finger moves across to the delete key instead and wipes out the text.
The answer lies where it has always been, in a small back room in suburban Ohio in the summer of 1972, where, for a few short days, I was the champion.
|# ? Mar 23, 2014 23:13|
Anwar floated. This was not unusual for him. It was depressingly banal. Every day aboard the Chupa-1 was more or less the same. He awoke with the ship, the lights blinking on at 6AM GMT to keep his circadian rhythms in check whilst amidst the blackness of space. He undid his restraints, drifted from his bed and propelled himself into the control room. Every morning, messages from Earth would run through on the ticker tape machine atop the dashboard. Most of the time it was simply a confirmation of his last delivery, occasionally with cute motivational quotes tacked on at the end. These would tail off as the week went on. The one he remembered best was “NOTHING WILL WORK UNLESS YOU DO”.
After that, it depended on what needed doing. More orders would come through on long strips of white paper, setting priorities: engineering work on the mining apparatus, checking the weather around the gas planet, approving the cannisters of helium. That was the one thing Anwar still paid special attention too, pressing his face against the glass as each one shot off towards the pale blue dot in the distance, floating away like a bunch of discarded party balloons. Throughout the day the ticker tape would continue to spin threads of messages, giving him updates on The Company's business which he hadn't the acumen nor interest to read. Anwar was hired for his engineering pedigree and starry eyes, rather than any sort of entrepreneurial spirit. When all that was done, he retired to bed at 9PM GMT. Tied to his bed, he stared at the photo of Bijal affixed to the wall beside him, imagining her cradling the child he had never met as he drifted into sleep.
That morning was no different. Anwar floated. He glided as gently from his quarters as the sigh from his parched lips. He took breakfast at the control desk, squeezing a tube of “scrambled eggs” into his mouth. He ticked off his mental to-do list for the day; for whatever reason, the latest message from The Company requested twice the usual amount of helium for the coming week. They principally used it in the cryogenics of the sort that had frozen Anwar for his long trip, and in the MRI machines that caught the tumour in Bijal's lungs before it could spread. He was a busy man. A man with purpose.
On this day, though, he yawned. More helium meant longer hours, meant less breaks, meant more yawning. His mind drifted not outside the porthole into the infinite vastness of inky space, which had long since lost its allure, as the mundanity of day-to-day space travel often caused it to. Instead, he thought of the latest book he had borrowed from the ship's library – Greek Myths – and how it would go unread for most of the week. His attention snapped back at the whirring of the ticker tape.
“Jesus,” Anwar's voice cracked as the message ran through the machine onto a short piece of paper, landing limply into his hands. It read simply: WAR.
He fell backwards, pushing himself off the control panel and slowly wafting through the rounded corridors of the ship. He stared at the message, in bold black print. From what little news he could glean from the machine's previous messages, there was nothing to indicate that conflict had broken out anew. He had hoped, in fact, that it had finished, since it had long since departed the shores of his country. Blood pounded in his ears, the only sound in the entire ship. He thought of the photo. He knew what he had to do. He also knew what he wanted to do.
His first option, as he saw it, was to stay on the ship as it continued its orbit, mining helium at an increasing rate, helping to fuel whatever it was The Company needed to end the fight back home as quickly as possible. In that way, he would not only help to secure his country – and his family's – safety in the present, but also the future. That was where the logical part of his brain was trying to tug him as he hovered, hesitant, in the hallway.
The second option was to disconnect the ship's mining apparatus and make a beeline straight to Earth. In his haste the gas planet's helium resources would be lost to mankind forever, as they evaporated into nothingness above the atmosphere. There was the risk of poison, too, if he did not extricate himself from the mining mechanics properly. But if he was fast enough, there was the chance he would get home in time to meet his son. A different part of his brain pulled him this way, and he was inclined to let it.
He kept the single-word declaration, the shortest he had yet received, in his back pocket as he worked. Usually the ticker tape was dumped back into the ship once read, the communication regarding his current workload recycled and absorbed by the Chupa-1's engines to fuel his future workload. He forgot most of the messages from The Company almost as soon as he had read them, but that one quote still remained with him: NOTHING WILL WORK UNLESS YOU DO. At the time it had made him think of Bijal, of his son. It was the same as he began to dismantle the huge machines that had been collecting and storing helium-3 for the past three years.
He ripped power couplings from their source, unscrewed and bashed connections with his wrench, and felt the sweat of real work on his brow for the first time in months. The beads floated around him along with the loose screws and cables as he finished tearing the ship loose of its mining machines and prepared himself for what would come next.
Anwar floated. With protocol breached, the ship went into a kind of meltdown. He knew that such a break would mean an instant return to Earth, but he didn't know the computers would give up providing him with the lights imitating day and night, regular mealtimes, or any other basic comforts. He didn't care. He just strapped himself to his bed and prayed and looked at the photo and hoped he would get home soon. He hoped he would get there at all. He watched the stars whizzing by.
In the control room, the ticker tape machine burst into life, concluding the message that Anwar had hastily torn off halfway through receiving. The smeared black ink read: IS OVER. NEED MORE FOR BALLOONS. CELEBRATE!
|# ? Mar 23, 2014 23:37|
No flash rule.
Is this Jim?
Yeah. Who is this?
You’re not going to believe this, but I’m you. I’m you from the future.
Seriously, who is this?
I’m telling you the truth, you have to believe me.
Is this Caleb? Whose phone are you using?
This isn’t Caleb. We hate Caleb. He wrecks our car.
This has to be Quentin.
No. Quentin sucks too. You have really bad taste in friends right now, but you get over it. I promise you, it’s you. I mean me. Us.
Why should I listen to you?
Because we’re not a twat.
Okay, prove it then.
When we were fourteen we spent the summer at Uncle Kenny and Aunt Karen’s. We saw cousin Celia naked when she was changing into her swimsuit.
I told people about that. This could be anyone.
You also jerked off immediately afterwards.
What are you doing right now?
Sitting. Watching a movie.
Is Jennifer there?
Yeah. She’s sitting right next to me.
Where are you guys at in your relationship.
About six months. Actually, tonight I was going to tell her that I love her.
Then I’m not too late. You need to break up with her immediately.
She turns about to be crazy as hell. Trust me, you want to avoid her.
She seems perfectly sane to me.
She is for now, but once her parents get divorced its bye bye birdie.
Her parents seem fine.
Her mom drinks. Her dad is addicted to internet porn. loving addicted as balls. When it comes out how much porn he watches you’re going to be like ‘drat’ and I’ll be like ‘I know’
I’m not breaking up with her. How do I know you’re not making this up?
Look rear end in a top hat, do you think I haven’t been where you are right now? I know how this plays out. They get divorced, she gets all clingy, and then she starts the whole ‘break up with me and I’ll kill myself’ poo poo.
Yeah. And then you get a tattoo.
On your dick.
Why would I do that?
Of Rainbow Dash.
The gently caress?
Yeah, turns out she’s a brony. I’m sorry, dude.
Yeah, especially since everyone knows Applejack is the best.
I can’t believe this. Things are going so well.
I know it sucks for now but if its any consolation the next girl we date has really big hooters.
I guess I’d better do it then. I don’t really want a pony on my dick.
That’s a weird way of saying it but yes. Let me know when it’s over.
Okay, it’s over. I broke up with her.
How did it go?
Not well. She was really confused and started crying. She slapped me and left. I wish I hadn’t done this on a school night. Especially since we have a group project to do tomorrow.
Oh poo poo, I forgot about that. Don’t worry, you fail that thing anyway.
Great. Thanks a lot.
You’re the rear end in a top hat that fucks it up, not me. I need you to do something else for me.
Can I please just go to bed? It’s really late.
No, this has to happen tonight. You will not ruin this for us. I promise you, if you just do everything I tell you, someday you’ll look back and say this was the greatest night of your life.
It had better be.
It will. Don’t be a baby. Are you at home?
On my way. Just left Jennifer’s house.
Are you texting and driving?
You are a dumb poo poo. Quit trying to gently caress me up. Do you want to gently caress me up?
Then pull over shitstick.
Okay, I’m pulled over. What now?
I need you to call mom.
It’s really late.
I don’t care. Call mom, and tell you that you don’t love her anymore, and that you’re running away.
I’m absolutely not doing that.
You have to. It’s the only thing that will save her life.
What’s wrong with mom?
Realizing that she’s going to lose you is the only thing that can shake her out of her heroin addiction.
Mom’s addicted to heroin?
Like Jennifer’s dad and porn. It’s real bad.
I didn’t know.
That’s why I’m telling you. You have to save her. Since dad’s dead she’s the only thing we have left.
Dad’s dead? When does dad die?
I’ve said too much. Look, do you want to save her or not?
Then make the call.
Okay, I’ll be right back.
Okay. I made the call.
How did it go?
I don’t really know. She was sobbing so much that I couldn’t understand what she was saying.
You did the right thing. Someday, she will thank you.
So can I go to bed now?
Almost. I just need you to do one more thing.
I need you to punch yourself in the nuts as hard as you can?
I’m not doing that.
It’s for the good of all humanity.
How could punching myself in the nuts possibly be for the good of all humanity?
It’s how you become President.
I don’t understand.
It’s your whole platform. You punch yourself in the nuts and yell ‘gently caress the world I’m President’. So you have to get good at it now.
Are you kidding me?
I’m just loving with you. Have been this whole time.
The gently caress? You’re joking, right? You didn’t just make me do all this for no reason.
What the gently caress is wrong with you? Are you mental?
Drunk and bored.
God you’re such a loving rear end in a top hat!
It was pretty funny though, right?
No! It was cruel and terrible!
Well yeah, you think that now, but what until you get to where I am.
gently caress you! I will never do this to myself!
You just did, dumbass.
Goddammit! This is the worst night of my life. I hate you, you loving dick!
You can do that, but you should probably apologize to mom first. She’s pretty pissed.
Oh my god.
Also, you might want to get back together with Jennifer.
You said she was crazy!
Crazy in bed. The second you tell her you love her, its like panties off, all the time.
I hate you so much.
What a baby. I forgot I use to have no sense of humor.
I’m done with this. Tomorrow I’m getting a new number.
You think I won’t know what it is? I’m from the future, idiot. You can’t get away from me. Besides, I’m not that bad. You should see the texts I get from sixty-year-old me.
Yeah. It’s…gross. Like, Applejack, doing…things. Once you graduate college it kind of just goes down hill from there.
I hate my life.
You’ve got time to start hating your life. Instead, why don’t you call Jennifer right now? I’ll bet if you play your cards right, she’ll do you.
Yeah, but you’d better get to it.
Okay. Wish me luck.
Go get ‘em, tiger.
She said no.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 00:10|
6 hours remain, waiting on 25 submissions.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 01:02|
Letters from Elsewhere
Nethilia fucked around with this message at 08:22 on Dec 4, 2014
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 01:08|
O man, I tried to sign up earlier on my phone and I thought I did, but I don't see my post! Maybe I'm posting so far away that the light from my transmission takes four days to arrive?
Anyway, here is the prompt I have chosen:
A holy man receives text messages from long-dead relations.
The Baptist II 1175 Words.
A phone vibrated atop the wooden pew, but Aiden was lost in prayer. After saying ‘Amen,’ he grabbed the phone, which was his, and looked at the screen. It was a text message from ‘gramps.’ Aiden read it.
big a my boy im no good with computers so i cant get the punctuation marks to show up but you have to help me im in the spirit prison
No one other than his grandpa had ever called him ‘Big A,’ and his Grandpa had left the Terrestrial Kingdom decades ago. Anti-LDS elements all over Salt Lake sent Aiden death threats, but he had spoken to enough of the condemned to know that this was indeed his grandpa. How could his grandpa be in the Spirit Prison? He had never met a better man...
He punched in a reply to his grandpa using his ring finger, which had a ring on it given to him by his grandpa.
There’s nothing you could have done in life to belong in the Spirit Prison, yet I know you would not lie to me. Whatever the reason you are severed from the presence of God the Father, I can bring you into the temple and save you. Clear your mind, and think only of the ring that you have given me. Text me when you are ready.
Ever since Aiden had saved the soul of his former master--a soul dark with hatred and bigotry--he had given up his profession. He had not performed a posthumous baptism in over twenty years, yet he could not abandon his grandpa. Aiden stripped off his layclothes to reveal his powerful temple garments. He touched the ring, and nostalgia washed over him: Aiden felt himself in a red wagon, his Grandpa pulling him down the road, his wives at his side. They were all laughing, and the cool touch of fall was creeping into the desert sunset.
The phone buzzed, and Aiden prepared...
maybe i should have divorced my wives since we are only supposed to have one now but i thought divorce was the greater sin oh big a im so sorry but im ready im ready im thinking of you big a my boy and im thinking of the ring that i gave you and that my father gave to me even though i was only the third son of his third wife im ready im ready pull me out of this place please please save me from this bondage of sin
Aiden’s parents had said that Grandpa had divorced as soon as God had changed his stance on plural marriage. Grandpa had disobeyed the Heavenly Father’s rapid revisions and he had lied to Aiden’s parents? Or had Aiden’s parents lied to him? Aiden hit the buttons again, this time with his index finger.
Wait, Gramps, before I pull you out, tell me, are...my parents there?
Aiden trembled like an atheist in a foxhole as he waited for his grandpa to respond. He mouthed a silent prayer and tried to clear his mind, but the phone soon vibrated.
ah big a do you remember when i gave you the ring youre wearing i knew i wasnt gonna last much longer and even though you werent the first born you were the one that was there for me even though it probably was scary for you to be with me in that room that smelled of death big a ive asked so much of you but you are so strong
Aiden wished his grandpa could figure out how to use the punctuation marks, but he realized it was likely very dark in the Spirit Prison, and the punctuation marks also probably required use of the shift key, so he forgive his grandpa for his illegible texts. More vexingly, Aiden’s grandpa had not answered his question about his parents. He was tempted to pull Gramps into the temple and talk to him face-to-face, but 1) the time for ghost stories was over, and 2) for some reason it felt...right...to communicate through text messages to his long-dead relation.
Gramps, I was glad to be with you in your final days, but you must tell me: Are my parents there in the Spirit Prison, Aiden raised his right-hand index finger and hit the “shift” key, then gained access to the question mark, which he pressed, resulting in a ‘?.’ He wished his grandpa could do that.
The ring on Aiden’s finger burned quite suddenly with blasphemous heat. He grabbed it, wanting to tear it off. As soon as Aiden touched the ring, sunlight flooded his macula--he had been transported from the temple to somewhere outdoors faster than his iris could dilate.
“Welcome to the Garden...brother.”
It was the Muslim, which Aiden now knew one should write with a ‘u’ rather than an ‘o,' it was the very same African-American Muslim Aiden had saved decades ago.
“Where am I?” Aiden asked.
“The Garden, Big A!”
“Big A, how did you…”
“Don’t worry about that now,” The Muslim put a cellular phone into his pocket, and grinned mischievously at Aiden. “Welcome to the Garden, our version of your Celestial Kingdom. I’ve saved you, brother.”
“I didn’t ask to be...O, I understand.”
“Right, right. You’re a sharp one, I didn’t think I’d have to explain it to you.”
And with that, the Muslim vanished, and Aiden wandered the Garden alone. In the first days he was outraged, but after a time he saw there was beauty in this place, and that a version of God’s creation permeated every atom of the garden.
Years later, Aiden longed for the Celestial Kingdom, but it was a dull longing.
One morning he saw his Grandpa, sucking the juice from an orange slice. “Gramps!”
“Hi, Big A. The Muslims got to me before you did, and I’m happy here. They can still have more than one wife, so all my wives are here with me, and I’ve got some new ones too.”
The African-American Muslim appeared from behind the tree and said, “So, brother, do you want to stay here or go back to your Terrestrial Kingdom, so you can take a shot at the Celestial?”
Had Aiden ever asked that to anyone he had brought back? Had he ever asked what they wanted? He understood now the wisdom of this Muslim, and he understood who was truly primitive. Yet this garden, beautiful as it was, was not for him.
“Send me back to the Terrestrial Kingdom, brother, I want to find my own answers.”
"Will do. And while you are free to call me 'brother,' my name is Malcom."
Cache Cab fucked around with this message at 01:23 on Mar 24, 2014
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 01:20|
Father's Day - 1,073 words
Johnny looked down at his arm. The scar was losing color. Bobby just left. He asked what he did for Father's Day. Johnny could not explain why Bobby was standing there when he has been dead for five years. Johnny swallowed two pills and the pain faded. Bobby only came when Johnny's scar started throb. Bobby always asked what he was doing for Father's Day. Johnny pulled the ratty motel covers over him and fell asleep.
It was a warm sunny day and the only noise on the highway was the rumble of motorcycles. Johnny was riding and looking for a place to pull off to gas up and grab a bite to eat. Bobby was nice to Johnny. Ever since they met in a small diner off I95, Bobby tried his hardest to treat Johnny like the family Johnny said he never had. Their first meeting at the lunch counter was something that reminded Johnny of every other person that he met. In short, it was what Johnny called fate; destiny demanded that their fates be intertwined. Bobby walked up and made small talk with Johnny. The topic of discussion drifted to family and when Johnny said he did not have much in the way of it, Bobby scrambled to keep the food he had in his mouth in while picking his jaw off the floor
“I don’t know what to say to that” mumbled Bobby. “Maybe, come Father’s Day, you can come with me and my dad out to the mountains. My dad likes to bird watch. An extra pair of eyes will be helpful if there’s anything nasty out. You’re welcome to bring a pair of binoculars if you want to look too” finished Bobby, mouth full of food.
“I’ll think about it” grumbled Johnny.
“Here’s my number” as Bobby handed him a slip of paper. “Everyone should have family, even if it’s only for a day.” Bobby left Johnny to his meal.
Johnny drove back his motel room, with his motorcycle the only thing that kept him company on his way back. Back in his room, Johnny thumbed through the cash the suits back at the publishing house gave him for his last batch of pictures. It was enough to last at the motel until Father’s Day, but he had to leave soon after. He found an old pair of Army binoculars stuffed towards the bottom of the backpack as well as a small toolkit for some emergency repairs. His trusty camera was on the nightstand near the bed. Johnny chuckled to himself. Maybe if the pictures were good plus a couple of shoots of some rare birds might help in the long run. He called the number on the slip of paper and said he would gladly come along. He could here Bobby smile over the phone. Feeling content in a long time, he propped himself up against the wall of the motel and started to nap.
He woke up snuggled up against a thin woman. She was once attractive but stress and turmoil marked her body. Her eyes looked puffy and her face was streaked with dried tears. He tried to gently wake her up but as soon as he shifted his weight, she faded out. He sighed. He was used to this happening. Ever since he was little, he felt like fate wanted him to do something, but he was too much of a coward to actually do something. He just wanted a way to stop the visits from happening.
Father’s day was fast approaching and with that saw both Johnny and Bobby out and around the shops near where Bobby lived. Camping gear, bird whistles, beer and snacks in anticipation for the big day. Bobby gave Johnny some weird looks. Johnny seemed on edge, spinning around every so often, mumbling on about seemingly random things, like if he had a recon unit stationed right outside the doors of places. Bobby offered to escort Johnny back to his room, and Johnny agreed, and started to feel that he enjoyed Bobby’s company. Maybe it was going to alright after all. Just as they mounted their motorcycles, he thought he saw Alex, his younger brother, sitting on the sidewalk; acting like the car accident he was in was just a minor setback and got the do over Johnny and his mother wanted.
Johnny was antsy. Seeing Alex was an omen. He was tense in the traffic back to the highway. It happened when they tried to get on the highway. The car that struck Bobby merged at the last second and clipped his front wheel. Bobby started to spin and landed in a ditch. He hit his head on the way down with a thud. His bike struck Johnny’s and he landed on his arm, breaking it. Police and ambulances were called. In his hospital room, Johnny was nursed back to health while Bobby’s parents made preparations for his funeral. A week later he was released. A man in the lobby of hospital ran up to him and grabbed him by his broken arm.
“I’m so sorry Johnny! I didn’t mean to hit you so hard! Please don’t tell your mother” sobbed the bleary eyed man. “I’m a good man Johnny. Your mama never liked jerks, you just make me so angry sometimes, I can’t control myself. Let’s get some ice cream, that’ll make it up, right?” The man’s eyes were red from all the veins crisscrossing. His breath stank from alcohol. Johnny felt no pain coming from his arm despite the man’s grip on it. This man was Johnny’s father. His father was dead for over a decade. He moved his arm and his father disappeared.
The publishers managed to track Johnny down and paid for most of his hospital expenses as well as help him with his transportation, giving him a rental bike. Johnny left shortly thereafter for greener pastures.
Johnny woke up in the motel room, arm throbbing. Bobby was sitting in a chair near a desk. He had a smile on his face and asked what he was going to do for Father’s Day. A woman was clinging to him and he could make out some of the wrinkles on her face in the darkness. He heard knocking on his door and his mother asking him if everything was alright in there.
He cried softly to himself muttering “Some gift I got, huh, Mama?”
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 01:35|
Ready or not, here comes a new story.
(1200 words (by Openoffice))
My mother and father were Oxford Groupers, which meant that, after my bedtime, they gathered around the television, sat on frumpy red pillows, took out their notebooks (which doubled as dream journals), and made a record of what God said to them. Some nights, in the next room, I sat at the head of the dining table drinking left-out apple juice from the bottle. I became familiar with two versions of the process: my mother and father carried it out differently.
Mom immediately became still and even if she didn't start writing, her hand seized. Another observer might have assumed her psychic state had changed – that God was holding the pen – but she was actually tense because she took the ritual very seriously even when she and God had nothing to say. Usually, what she scribbled onto the page was falsely spontaneous, falsely profound, and falsely Christian: this frustrated her.
Often my father would do the same, but shortly after he began to write – at first he would always write without stopping – a religious quiet fell over him. His notes would run out, his expression would soften, and then he would cease to write anything at all until the introspection was over. At first I didn't believe that God spoke to him: I knew God never spoke to Mom, but in his case I was quietly uncertain.
I was twelve when he changed my mind. As ordinary, he was writing, but then I witnessed a faint shock, like a distant earthquake, and I stood.
VICTOR ARE YOU WATCHING THIS
Another shock. My father's eyes were closed. His hand was slack against the page, but his thumb and pointer finger tightly clenched the pen.
VICTOR ARE YOU LISTENING
It was all in capitals, varied thick and thin like calligraphy, and despite his posture, its shape was certain and sudden, like scripture. He'd never written like that in his life. Under his other hand I could see the first couple marks of another word, but this was what I could see:
& SLEEP AROUND
His teeth chattered and he cackled raucously. His hand flattened like he was trying to stamp the message out with his fingers. He tore the page out of the journal, swallowed it, gulped an incredible amount of air, and fell asleep.
I understood the first two phrases, and maybe the third – Mom said the girls at middle school all did it, whatever it meant – but the common thread between the three suggestions was lost on me. At the time I thought God wanted me to debauch in three separate ways and those alone. It wasn't until later, when I realized the message was describing a lifestyle, that I sought Dr. Collberg out about the fourth phrase.
That's Lucas Collberg, the junior. The senior Collberg, Robert, was a pediatrician who'd practiced in Cathay for thirty years – he'd originally moved south from Canada and sold drugs in a large white van back before the state authorities told him it wasn't alright to do that. He'd raised Lucas on a regimen of painkillers, stimulants, tranquilizers, and gathered herbs which an untrained subject scarcely could have tolerated. After staggering home barely walking from seven tabs Klonopin and two tabs Benadryl, Lucas had one time torn a beer out of Dad's cabinet and watched an old Billy Wilder movie blind in one eye.
Not everybody knew, but, mentally speaking, Lucas Collberg was freer than most people.
He was in his study, high as a kite, when I rang the bell: he was plummeting back to earth when I posed the situation.
“I'm going to say three phrases, and I want you to say what comes after.”
“What comes after?” he asked. “You mean what comes to the top of my head, don't you?”
“I'd understand why you'd think that,” I said, “but no. This question isn't about you: it's about the phrases. You might think it's strange, me skipping work to bug you about something stupid like that, but I've been wondering for days” – years, I could have told him truthfully, but I said 'days' – “There's a word that comes after them, that makes them complete. And this question is also about me.”
“Fine, fine,” he said. His toes wiggled inside his socks. The hiking boots he wore lay laces-loose underneath his chair “What are they?”
“One by one?”
“No,” he told me. “All at once.” He cracked his jaw, eyes low, shining white against his tan skin as he drifted. The three phrases swam into mind and I read them out.
“Drink, smoke, or sleep around.” Caught in the thought he was in, he shuddered. I realized I'd gotten it wrong.
“Or sleep around?”
“And sleep around.” It got me in the gut: had God sent him the same message, or had God been uncautious about keeping it a secret?
“Those specific thoughts,” he said. He inhaled deeply and hung onto the breath like he was hanging onto his insobriety, and then he slurred out another thought: “I tell you, up in space, where I've lived – don't doubt me – at the center of the Andromeda galaxy, there's a nebula so white I can't see past it, where there's a spirit so dense I can't occupy it, and all it says is 'drink, smoke, and sleep around.' It's said this for a very long time. When it speaks, even in the far arms I hear the sound of my name being called, and when it's in darker moods, at its loudest – that space is black.
Oftentimes there will be a tune of my name, an entire tune, and white birds – thin, unfeathered, beg me to follow them. One takes me by the hand – the other, by the left foot, and the way that I am now,” he said, cheeks red as cherries – “well, I am that way, only much more so. The spirit resembles me, it descends from a cloud, and its sermon begins: 'Drink, smoke, and sleep around.' Now listen: touch my boots and hold my right arm – I'm coming back to it.”
“Do you hear anything?”
“It's speaking again.” His second and third fingers clenched together like something had fallen between them. He curled his tongue back so it touched the roof of his mouth, and then, gradually, unfolded it. “The contents of the envelope pertain to an ancient riddle, which describes a word – ” he said, hanging on too long – “that cannot be said. In place, a person pauses in reverence and speaks the riddle's conclusion, which has always been copied onto papyrus and printed again and again.” He turned his eyes back to mine. “The envelope indicates something else,” he cautioned me. “What was unsaid.”
He gasped twice, and then pronounced a word so vulgar it shattered any sense of purity I still had – I stood on my tiptoes and yelped, while Dr. Collberg from memory jotted down a list of nineteen thousand names and addresses. The pleasant warmth of the following sunrise compelled me to send every person a copy, and shortly after, each one wrote back.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 01:47|
by the way, relating to the above (since I don't think edits are allowed)
Several different people receive and forward an intergalactic chain letter. Electronic communication is to play no part in this.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 02:05|
Bob couldn’t believe no one noticed it falling from the sky the night before.Bob the whole forest to be swarming with black helicopters, military personnel and other assorted government spooks.
“Maybe it can make itself look like a meteor to our sensors?” Bob wondered aloud, as he approached the crater. He wasn’t what the “sensors” could be, but surely they would have noticed something like this?
He would have been out here the night before, but his dad took all the batteries in the house and locked them away, after the last time. He had set out as soon as the sun began to leak its light over the tree tops and now the summer sun hung high in the sky.
The glare on the metal ball was almost brighter than the sun and Bob squinted as he approached it. When he got close, the ship opened like the lids of an eyeball. In the center of ship, a large, green, furry thing sat motionless on what Bob could only think of as a throne. A throne covered with countless buttons, switches, devices, doodads, screens and plugs. The alien wheezed softly.
Bob had traveled to the crash site, nearly ran. But for some reason, he never thought what it might be like to actually be confronted with something from another world. His feet were rooted to the ground.
The alien’s eye opened. It was a large dark mirror, letting Bob see his own horror stricken face.
“Call...,” the alien rasped. “Call... me.”
Bob gasped and he tripped over a root as he jumped back in surprise. He cried out in surprise as his banged against the forest floor. Any pain he was feeling was pushed to the back of his mind. The thing had spoken English!
“Call... who?” Bob asked, finding a bit more strength for his voice.
“Call ME,” the alien rasped from an unseen mouth, finding more strength for its own voice. “In the past.”
Bob’s fear gave way slightly to confusion. He noticed the alien’s physical condition, which matched its weak, raspy voice. Its hair was matted in various places with red fluid, and more than a few tentacles were bent at ungraceful angles.
“Um,” Bob said, pulling himself to his feet. “How do I... do that? Call the past?”
The alien shuttered in its bizarre throne and produced something small and black from its tangle of broken limbs. The alien stretched its limb out and dropped it into Bob’s hands. The device was covered in bodily fluids and nearly slipped from the teen's grasp.
“But how do I use it,” Bob asked. “Why can’t you use it?”
“I tried!” the alien rasped, something like indignance in his voice. “But I couldn’t get any ba..."
The alien’s voice became a long sigh as the it died. Something inside it gurgled as it slouched in its throne and seemed to deflate. A putrid smell emitted from the body that drove Bob to his feet and staggering out of the ship, gasping for air.
Bob ran about two hundred yards before he could escape the smell. Bob wiped the device clean with his shirt as he walked home. The screen displayed a green alien, much like the one that had just died, although much healthier. He tried to make the call many times, but was only after an hour of walking he was able to get a connection.
“Yes, hello?” said the alien on the screen. “Who is this? How did you get my phone?”
“I, uh,” Bob stammered. “I got it from you. In the future--”
“Well, OBVIOUSLY,” said the alien, indignantly. “But why do you have my phone?”
“Um. You’re dead--”
“Oh, my,” the alien said, indignance turning to fear. “Is this some sort of threat? Did you just call to torture by telling me I’m going to die?”
“No!” Bob cried. “You GAVE me this phone! He asked me to give you a call. I... I think he couldn't get any bars.”
“You mean beyond the grave?”
“No,” Bob scowled. “I mean in the forest. I think he wanted to warn you about something, but he couldn’t reach you.”
“Typical,” the alien narrowed its large, black eye. “I really should have spent more! These cheap ones always have such a hard time getting bars in the boondocks.”
“Well,” Bob said. “I have a pretty sweet phone, and even I couldn’t get bars in the forest.”
The alien made a sound, something like laughter. “I was talking about your SOLAR SYSTEM.”
Bob was far too mystified to be bothered by the alien’s last remark: “So, am I really speaking with you in the past?
“Yes. About eighteen hours in the past. Which means my demise is probably coming soon. Which means you should tell what news my future self has for me?”
“Well,” Bob said, thinking. “None really. But I think he-- you crashed.”
“Hm,” grunted the alien. “Well, that’s a big help!”
“Sorry?” the alien said. “ Oh, no, I was being sincere. I really mean it. It’s very important we keep things short. You know. Because of the temporal bandwidth.”
“What?” Bob said.
“I got the cheapo package,” the alien said, sighing. “Which means anything said over these time calls are easily forgotten. So things need to be kept simple so the callers don’t forget after the call is done. But still, very useful for if you forgot to bring your umbrella to work, or if you want to prevent you past stell from stubbing a tentacle on the hallway table.”
“Oh, I get it,” Bob said.
“Yup,” replied the alien. “Just keep it short. Something like, ‘umbrella, today!’ or ‘watch the table!’ are good enough. Anything longer is like a dream you try to remember, but can’t.... um....” The alien paused. “So, you were saying? There was something you wanted to tell me, I think?”
“I don’t,” Bob started. Then stopped. Then started again: “I don’t know how this conversation started. But I am calling you on BEHALF of you.”
“That’s right!” the alien cried, slapping its forehead with a tentacle. “YOU have my phone, and I’d never let one of YOU have my phone, so... so you must be my MURDERER calling to TAUNT me, right?”
“No,” Bob said quickly. “I mean, you crashed--”
“I’ll be ready for you this time,” the alien shouted, tentacles rippling dangerously. “You made a big mistake calling me, you scoundrel!”
The alien hung up before Bob could say anything more. Bob stared at the blank screen for some time. Later that day, Bob watched a fleet of black helicopters fly off into the wilderness.
"Did you tell him he's going to crash?" Bob asked his self from tomorrow, the following day.
"I can't remember," said tomorrow's Bob. "But bring an umbrella tomorrow. And wear shoes in the house if so don't want a broken toe."
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 02:28|
The Last Letter
Gravel crunches underneath Mads’ feet as she plods toward the mailbox. The mailbox is a half mile from the house, facing out onto the main road. The trees provide some shade from the late summer heat, but she’s still sweating through the cotton of her dress.
The mailbox is empty when she gets there, but a cloud of dust in the east heralds a vehicle on the way. Mads sits down on a large, flat rock, sprawls out like a lizard sunning itself, and waits.
“Howdy, Mads,” the postman says. “Hope you weren’t waiting long.”
“Just got here.”
“Not too much today. Few things for your ma, and just the one letter for you.” He looks the envelopes over for a moment before handing them over. “It ain’t from your fella, if that’s what you were hoping for.”
Mads hasn’t her from her fella in nearly three months, now; she hasn’t seen him in longer. He’s off fighting in the war. She’d be more worried, but she never liked him much anyway. Sometimes she feels guilty about how little she worries. The postman, her parents, her friends all seem to think she’s going to wilt and wither away if she doesn’t hear from him soon.
No one even asks about the other person she’s always writing letters to, though it’s these letters she looks forward to most. The envelope is written in the same familiar scrawl, with the indecipherable return address. Unlike her boyfriend, Anil is cultured, exotic. He knows a lot about science and art, and they’ve had lively debates about poetry. He’s always sending her poems she’s never heard of by unknown authors; at the library, no one’s been able to find anything by any of them.
The one thing she’s not clear on is where he’s from or how he gets her letters, when she has to guess at his address due to the illegible return address.
She trudges all the way back home before opening the envelope, hands shaking with excitement. This time, though, there is no letter. She furrows her brow at what is there - a set of photographs, printed on something thin and plasticine. The pictures are brightly-colored and in slightly stuttering motion.
She tries tilting the topmost picture from side to side, but determines quickly that it isn’t a holograph. The pictures are moving, just like down at the theater in town, only there’s no projector to explain them.
“Whatcha got there, Mads?”
She about jumps out of her skin as her brother comes up behind her, draping one arm over her shoulders and leaning over her to look at the pictures.
“Aw, buzz off,” she tells him, pushing him away and clutching the moving pictures to her chest.
“Naw, let me see. How were those pictures moving?”
“They weren’t moving, you’re just dull.” She clutches them closer, hurrying up the wooden steps to her room.
“Lemme see!” Her brother follows hot on her heels. “What’re you hiding?”
Mads says, “I’m not hiding nothing, I just want you to leave me alone. I ain’t even had time to look for myself yet. Maybe I’ll show you, maybe I won’t.”
“Fine, whatever. You want to leave your dear brother out of the loop, that’s fine. It’s all right.”
Mads rolls her eyes, and shuts the door to her room in his face. She locks it, then finally gets a proper look. The pictures are baffling - vehicles that look a bit like airplanes, but with no propellers and stubby little wings, flit through the air like birds, cheery little people sitting inside them. Then there’s a picture of a big blue and green circle on a field of stars, spinning slowly with fluffy white things drifting across its surface; it takes her a while to realize it’s probably a planet. A big, big planet, with three moons around it, and continents shaped like nothing she’s seen on a map before.
She takes in a deep breath. The last picture looks a bit like a person, if people were grey and only had three fingers. The figure in the picture is waving, trunk-like snout curled up in a way that somehow conveys cheerfulness. Mads feels sick.
Sitting down, she begins to write her final reply.
“You think she’d still marry you?” Anil asks, picking up the perfumed pink envelope with his trunk. “I mean, this letter’s kind of crazy. I don’t think she’s into you anymore now that she’s seen you.”
“Aw, come on,” Enil whines. “She has to be. She liked me plenty before! Are you saying I’m ugly?”
“I’m not saying you’re ugly, I’m saying she thought you were human, and you weirded her out.”
Enil scowls at the piece of paper. “I should go visit her in person. It was just a bad picture.”
“She asked - and I quote! - ‘Are you some demon? What hells have you shown me? I ask that you please do not write me again unless there is some good explanation for this witchcraft.’ It’s not going to work out.”
“Your brood plans aren’t going to work out. Shut up.” Enil grabs the letter from Anil, and nearly eats the paper before remembering he wants to read the letter at least once more before disposing of it. “I photograph bad anyway. Clan-teacher always said I sound better than I look.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“Yeah, well. I’ll pay you if you’ll charter a ship and come to Earth with me. Cheaper if you do it; you’re old enough they don’t crank the prices up so high.”
Gravel crunches underfoot as Mads goes to the mailbox, hoping this time she’ll get a letter from her fella. Instead, as she’s getting the envelopes out, a bright light shines down from the sky. A huge metal object floats above her.
Mads screams, fainting as she’s beamed aboard the ship.
“Aw, hell.” Enil prods at her face. “Look at her nose. poo poo. gently caress. What even is that? What happened to her?”
Anil frowns deeply, picking up her hand in his. “I think that’s just how they look.”
“You’re the one who wanted to marry her.” Anil snorts, puzzling over the coarse weave of her dress. Compared to the microfilaments of their own garments, the threads seem unbearably rough.
“Let’s just - put her back. Can we put her back?”
“That’s going to gently caress her up. She’s going to tell people we kidnapped her or something.”
“Not if we put her back!”
“I don’t know, dude. I’m pretty sure you hosed up. Whatever. Fine, we’ll just leave her. Who cares?”
“I feel kind of bad.”
“You’re the one who got all obsessed without even seeing her,” Anil points out. “I bet she’s not even the right species. No way are these guys related to us.”
“You’re probably right.” Enil lets out a long, mournful trumpet amplified by his trunk. “This is, I swear, the absolute last time I try writing to a chick on a prison planet. That’s it. I’m done.”
“Just like the last three times you said that? Whoever said ‘an elephant never forgets’ never met you.”
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 02:32|
The Playlist You Didn't Know
Lily Catts fucked around with this message at 10:52 on Dec 7, 2014
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 02:37|
Whoever, wherever your characters are, they bond over their mutual adoration of a 90s pop culture icon of your choice.
Easton traipsed through rough brush, cursing with every step. Even though he had spent the past month in the woods, Easton still hadn’t got used to the itch and scratch of undergrowth grazing his legs. Through the trees he could see the sun lowering on the horizon, its light scattering on the ground. Back at his campsite he had already gathered the larger boughs and arranged them into a neat stack, but he couldn’t start a fire without nettles for smoke. Finally he saw what he needed—fresh nettles near a creek that had yet to dry in the summer drought. With his prize in hand, Easton rushed back to his campsite.
Fitz always kept his fire burning. When he was young he never bothered with the preparation required to get a proper transmission fire running. Now, he kept wood and nettles on hand so he could peer into the smoldering embers and talk with those below. Most days he just used it to keep in touch with his childhood friend Jerry, who preferred to play cards earthbound repioneers. Tonight was going to be special, though. Tonight he was going to talk with his grandson.
Easton stared at his glowing ball of tinder, watching the small flames lick larger branches but fail to make them combust. He tried to breathe life into the fire with short, halting bursts of air. He looked at his matchbook—only two left. Easton rubbed his hands together and waited for the kindling to catch.
Phyllis put her hand on Fitz’s knee. “I’m sure he’ll be on shortly,” she muttered. Fitz rose from his recliner and walked across the room. After glancing at the fire he walked over to his bookshelves. Fitz looked up and down his music collection before settling on a shelf near the bottom. He flipped through some of his oldest pieces, paused over vinyl recordings of the Beatles and glanced at some Led Zeppelin cassettes. He chose a CD, a recording of Jeff Buckley, that he had purchased secondhand in his childhood. As the music started he began to hum along, staring at the Earth’s nearly full waxing gibbous from his window.
“chtchtchtchtcht”- Easton heard rustling through the trees beside him. His apple-sized ball of tinder continued to glow but was fading fast. With just a wan crescent glowing above him, he couldn’t see far out into the woods. Easton looked at his pile of wood and grimaced. Without a fire, his campsite would soon be overrun. He could hear the roaches scuttling and it would only be a matter of time before something larger and more dangerous started looking for its meal. He needed something to feed the fire and he only had one source of paper left in his rucksack—his pocket Bible. He began to tear out pages from Leviticus and hummed a tune he remembered his father singing when he was a boy. Granddad is going to be worried sick, he thought.
“I’m sure he just was slow making camp. He’ll pop on in a bit. Don’t worry,” said Phyllis as she handed Fitz some tea. “You know he likes to hunt at dusk.” Fitz alternated between staring at the fire and looking out at the Earth through the window with a blank expression. “We should have never let him go down there. Not after what happened to Jon—”
“You wouldn’t have been able to stop him if you tried. He’s your grandson. The same stubborn streak that’s in you was carried over to Jonah and to Easton alike. He’ll be on shortly. Just drink your tea, listen to your music and wait.”
Jonah. Jonah Jonah Jonah. Fitz thought back to “camping” trips with his son. Years before they opened up shuttles for resettlement he took Jonah out on excursions outside “the Bubble.” Camping wasn’t the same when you didn’t have a fire or trees to get lost in. But, the important parts were still there—you could still get away from the city, still share food, and still stay up far too late telling stories. Best of all, if you trekked to the dark side, you could still see stars rivaling the best views you had on Earth. Driving back to the Bubble, Fitz sang to Jonah- “There’s the moon asking to stay long enough for the clouds to fly me away.” He pointed to the Earth and winked. “Someday we’ll go back to Earth. Someday we’ll go back and you’ll be able to look up at the moon.”
Fitz never made it back to Earth. Struck with a heart condition at 40, he was unable to join in the early repioneer movement. Jonah, however, would take trips down to Earth and bring back souvenirs for his young son Easton. He’d tell stories of waterfalls, fields, and fierce beasts unknown on the Moon. Every day Jonah built his fire, put on nettles, breathed the smoke and told Easton and Fitz about his day through the transmission flame. Some nights he would even sing. Each night Easton would wait in the fire to hear about his father’s adventures. But after a month, the transmissions from Jonah stopped. Jonah broke his leg while exploring a forgotten city. Other repioneers found his body months later.
The flames finally started to build. Easton removed his gloves and allowed the muscles in his hands to relax. Satisfied that his fire was stable enough to give a good signal, he threw the young nettles into the blaze. As the nettles smoldered and smoke built, he could make out a familiar sight. His grandfather’s friend Jerry was hunched over a game of solitaire. Before Easton could move, Jerry called out “Easton! You know your grandfather is waiting for you!”
“Yes Mr. Williams, yes yes. I’ve just got my fire going. It was a long day. Have a good night.” Easton shuffled around the fire before Jerry could respond. As he moved, Easton peered into dozens of rooms. He saw parents waiting to talk with repioneer sons and daughters, other repioneers trying to find company for the night and folks Moonside who were just in need of someone to talk with. Finally he heard a familiar sound—Jeff Buckley’s “Grace.” Although he couldn’t make out his grandparents’ living room, he knew he found the right angle. “Gram? Granddad?”
“Easton?” Easton! You worried us sick. You should really talk to us more often. It always worrie—”
“I know Granddad, I know. I’m safe. I had to burn a few pages of the Bible Pa gave me, but I have a good fire going. I’ve got plenty of food. They’re going to be sending down farming equipment to us all next week. We might be able to get a settlement going.”
“Shame about the Bible but we’re just glad you’re safe.”
“Hallelujah,” said Easton.
“Hallelujah,” returned Fitz.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 02:41|
Wish You Were Here
January 15, 2004
I miss your care packages. The treats you sent reminded me of a different life, and every time I got a box in the mail I knew you remembered me, too. I could do with some goodies right now. I'm so tired from walking home that I can't face getting dinner. This is when you'd tell me to eat something anyway, right?
The prof for my Cost Accounting class has the same tone no matter what he's saying to us: resentful. At least I'm going to like Russian, but I'm never going to like getting up at 6am for it. It's so cold! Cold and dark, and no one else is on the street then, so it's just me and the ice and snow.
It's beautiful, but it's eerie too. Then I'm in a warm(er) classroom under fluorescent lights, and nothing feels quite real. Maybe I should buy the most cheerful, obnoxious music I can find and play it the whole walk so I won't notice as much.
Say hi to Grandpa for me?
January 20, 2004
I'd send you two batches of Krispie treats if I could! You know I remember you, honey, I remember you and think of you every day. Picture me standing in front of you, shaking my head until you eat real food. Somewhere on your campus they ought to serve spaghetti.
I was out on my porch one winter morning last year while everything was black and quiet, and I felt like you did. I was the only person alive, and the world was watching me without caring about me in the least. It was like being young again. Then I pictured your mother and you, still asleep and warm. That made me smile, and as soon as I smiled everything was different, even though it looked just the same. Promise you'll smile for me.
P.S. Your father asked me to tell you he misses you.
February 4, 2004
There's spaghetti, but believe it or not, it's possible to make spaghetti so gross I don't like it: college found a way.
I haven't had a whole lot to smile about. Professor Moore--Cost Accounting--yells at me more than anyone else. I know which car he drives, and I honest to God thought about slashing his tires last Thursday. Russian's not what I thought it was going to be, either. The prof would rather tell us stories about the Ukraine than teach. I worked on my last set of homework for three hours and got a C for reasons I still don't understand because he never bothered to explain. I'm trying to figure it out anyway, but I keep falling asleep over my papers.
But I did see a redbird the other day, and I did smile, and it felt good. Strange, but good.
I called Mom yesterday and asked her why she doesn't write to you. She didn't say anything, very emphatically. Should I bring it up again?
P.S. You can tell that fucker that he should have thought of me before blowing his brains out, then.
February 7, 2004
LANGUAGE young lady! Don't you write such words to me. You have better manners. I wouldn't have said anything, but it's impossible to lie here. It's something he feels and wanted you to know.
When I was younger than you I had a teacher who hated all his students, and back then he was free to smack us around some. He gave a black eye to a boy I fancied. That boy and I gathered up a bunch of rat snakes and drove them over to his house while he was out drinking. We put them in his mailbox. He came to school the next day with bandages on his hands and more hate than ever. He blamed another boy for it and hit him so hard he lost a tooth.
The boy I liked didn't say a thing, and I stopped liking him. I didn't speak up either, and for a long while I didn't much like myself. Don't slash any tires, Marjorie. Don't give yourself any more regrets than you have to, because you only have so long to make amends for them, and some of them never go away no matter what you do.
I regret a lot that happened between me and your mother, but she's said everything to me she needs to say. We won't talk again until we're face to face. I hope it's a long time from now.
All my love,
February 26, 2004
I didn't cut Moore's tires. He shouted for half a class about a mistake I made. I conjugate Russian verbs in my sleep, but I do it wrong. There's never anything in my mailbox.
I know you love Mom. It's so stupid she doesn't know it. She won't talk about you at all. I want to ask her if she'd send me something sometimes, but I know it's selfish, she works so hard, she doesn't have time and she doesn't need to know I'm so unhappy. I try not to let anybody know, but that means I'm not talking to anybody either and it's not just the mornings that are cold and lonely.
What's the point in any of this? Why am I getting this degree when you won't be there on graduation day to be proud of me? Your hugs used to make the world okay. I need one so badly sometimes that I think about coming to be with you.
February 26, 2004
DON'T YOU DARE THINK ABOUT THAT. DON'T EVER.
Life is when you make all your choices. Life is when you become the person you'll be forever. I'm proud of you already. It's why I'm happy here, because my life led to your mother and you.
I love you, I'll always love you, and that's why I won't hug you if you come see me now. I won't speak to you. I won't forgive you. You'll be no better than your father. You will hurt your mother more than he did, and you'll be more of a fool. You are too loved to die.
April 30, 2005
I took my last final today. As I walked back to the dorm a robin landed on a fence a foot away from me. She looked me in the eye, and I knew that you were there with her, with me, even though I haven't written to you in so long.
I told Mom that when she called, and she said of course you were.
It's taken me this long to be able to tell you I'm okay, I'm fine, you don't have to worry. Even now, some nights the sadness comes back and I wonder whether I made the right choice in listening to you.
Then I hear a redbird sing or Mom's voice on the phone, and I know.
Keep that hug ready. I'll be along for it.
But not yet.
I love you,
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 02:50|
docbeard fucked around with this message at 15:27 on Dec 25, 2014
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 02:53|
One of your correspondents is trapped in a stable time loop in which every day is the same. The only variables are their own actions and thought process, and the letters they receive and respond to every day, which are always different.
Constantine entered the small, sparsely furnished dining room he had come to regard as his office. Morning light filtered through the dirty window. He counted to three and, always on time, two cars sped down the street in opposite directions. Constantine wondered if there were actually people inside those vehicles.
Just minutes before his mechanical caretakers had pulled him from his sleeping unit, fussed over him, and then deemed him fit to do his job. Constantine was a Brand-Tester, and judging by the food laid out on the table in the center of the room he would be testing breakfast brands today. Even though it was morning it was not guaranteed that he would begin with breakfast, just the day before he was forced to Experience several experimental dinner pellets and their accompanying cheerily bland advertisements. Constantine sat down and surveyed the table: coffee, toast, and oatmeal. Easy and simple, he loved breakfast-brands because they were hard to gently caress up too much.
Constantine picked up his coffee first—beverages tended to be easier to deal with. The moment he sipped his coffee a small, low-burning pain welled up just behind his eyes. His vision clouded and Constantine tried to remember how much this had hurt the first time, but could only faintly recall that it was like a maglev slamming into his brain. That seemed too hyperbolic a comparison to have ever been real. Constantine closed his eyes and shook his head, when he opened them again a ghostly family was flickering into existence. His work had begun.
A mother and her two children sat around the table, having a conversation he could not understand. It sounded pleasant enough, and watching their happy phantom-like faces eased him into thinking the advertisement would be at the very least a 6. Content to just watch them interact he sat further back into his chair and quietly drank the coffee.
He thought of his own family. God his own family, how long had it been? The flickering people before his eyes looked nothing like what his was like. He could vaguely recall much more arguing and far less food around the makeshift table his older brother had cobbled from cinderblocks and half-ruined wood. Were they ever as happy as these people? In the back of his mind Constantine noted that exactly a minute and a half had passed while he let his mind wander. The advertisement must be nearing its end.
Constantine counted to five, then, like clockwork the woman abruptly turned to him. She looked him dead in his eyes and said through a smile, “THE BEST PART OF WAKING UP IS FOLGERS IN YOUR CUP.”
Her voice burst simultaneously from her mouth and in Constantine’s head. He almost spilled the coffee and choked on what he had been swallowing. By time he regained his composure the phantom family had flickered back out of existence.
He looked at the coffee. The Brand was old, impossibly old if he could trust his memories. Folgers? As a child he had kept interestingly shaped rocks and pieces of rubble in a big red container that bore that name. Before he could chase down the memory the oatmeal began to agitate against itself. It gurgled and roiled, as if it were cooking. The strange food tore Constantine from his thoughts, he knew They were about to speak.
A mouth formed in the oatmeal’s surface.
“Constantine please rate this Ad-Experience.” Like the woman’s, the oatmeal’s voice one came from two places at once. In his head and from the oatmeal’s ‘mouth’.
“It’s a little loud,” he said, rubbing at his ear.
“Constantine, that is an invalid rating. Constantine, please rate this Ad-Experience.”
“Seven.” Constantine said after pretending to deliberate for a few seconds. It was not the worst Experience he had sat through. The phantom-family scenario was a trite one; he had seen it done hundreds of times for hundreds of Products. Though he had to admit he fit the target demographic: single, male, maybe in his early 30s, and inclined to sentimental thinking.
For other Brand-Testers—if there were other Brand-Testers—he did not think impact would be the same.
“No, on second thought it’s an eight.”
The mouth sat silently in the oatmeal, as if his words did not register.
“Eight, it’s an Eight.” Constantine said again, putting emphasis on the number.
“Confirmed. Constantine, please continue.”
Since Constantine was not about to eat the apparatus through which They were speaking to him he reached for the toast. He bit into one piece, then quickly spat it out as the bread suddenly grew soggy and heavy with an oily substance that tasted something like butter, but somehow off. A message began to carve itself in the other piece of toast’s deceptively enticing gold-brown surface. It read:
A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN BREAD AND BUTTER
SULLIVAN & WU’S SELF-BUTTERING TOAST
“This is disgusting.” Constantine said, “Who’s lazy enough to not butter their own drat toast?”
He swore the mouth in the oatmeal frowned at that, though on a second glance it continued to sit with what Constantine guessed was a placid expression. They did not like it when he gave evaluations more complicated than yes’s and no’s and numbers, but honestly, self-buttering toast?
“Look, I don’t know how long I’ve been doing this, but this is easily the worst thing I’ve tasted. poo poo, I used to eat rats before you guys plucked me out of Old Washington.”
Now the mouth frowned.
“Constantine, that is an invalid rating. Constantine, please rate this Ad-Experience.”
“Constantine, that is an invalid rating. Constantine, please rate this Ad-Experience.”
“It’s really lovely, how do you guys manage to gently caress up toast?”
“Constantine, that is an invalid rating. Constantine, please rate this Ad-Experience.”
“Are you a robot? Is that all you can say?” When no answer immediately came into his mind Constantine grabbed the bowl of oatmeal and dumped its contents onto the table.
The mouth still frowned up at him from the puddle of oatmeal and it said, “Constantine, that is an invalid rating. Constantine, please rate this Ad-Experience.”
“gently caress this.” He started to stand, but froze midway as a whole face rose out of the oatmeal.
It was a woman’s face. Before the voice had no gender to it, no emotion, nothing to indicate it was even human. Now it spoke in anger.
“You are in direct violation of your contract, eat and Experience or sleep.”
What would happen, he wondered, if just chose to sleep before it was time? She was right. He had agreed to do this. He had signed all the papers happily, even, to escape Old Washington’s half-flooded slums for the promise of steady meals, honest work, and seemingly eternal life. But what kind of life was this?
Distorted and stretched out by the oatmeal, the woman’s face took on a ghoulish expression. They were beyond upset now.
“I will eat.” Constantine said. He sat back down, defeated, and began to spoon the woman’s rapidly dissolving features back into the bowl.
What kind of life was this? It was one where he was not always hungry.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 03:16|
A Letter the Author Recieved in Middle School
Hey there, Yonie.
First, to your obvious question, don't worry about how I sent this. You'll figure it out, eventually. Or you'll take a different life path, and you won't. Doesn't really matter, really! But I don't have a lot of space and it's not really important, so on to the next question.
Yes, everything is fine. You turn out fine, your family is fine, you're leading a perfectly happy life. I am not writing to you because things have gone wrong, or because you need to save the future, or anything like that. This is not a Days of Futures Past scenario. It's just... well, I guess I'm just trying to save you some grief. Make things easier for you over the next few years, maybe help you along. See, you turned out fine, but you could be better. Things can always be better, you know? I'm happy enough, everyone else is doing okay, and things turn out alright in the end.
Well, let's start with the warnings. Your family is going to change, and things are going to be rough for a while, but you'll get through it. Ominous, I know, but really! Everyone makes it through okay, and there isn't anything you can do to stop it anyway. Just know that Mom and Dad both have (had? Will have?) their reasons, and they're very good reasons, believe me. But they both love you very much, and it's not you or the other kids' fault. You'll find out the reasons why later, but it's not my place to tell you. I know this is all very vague, but I just wanted you to know. Go easy on Mom and Dad, they're trying their best, and they really love you. Don't worry about your brother and sisters, they'll all be fine too, although it will seem a little dicey for a bit.
Next up, faith and God. I don't quite remember when I started losing it, but I think you're going through the process right now. If not, well, you're going to stop believing in God soon. I want you to know, you shouldn't feel guilty. Faith is a test, right? And tests can be, are meant to be failed. Well, you're one of the ones who failed that test, and there isn't anything you can do about it. Trying to fight that feeling, trying to go through the motions because you WANT to believe... it's not going to work. You'll just end up feeling like poo poo. But don't start any fights with Dad about it - God is pretty important to him, and you can give up a Sunday morning every week. Plus there's some pretty cool people there, if you get to know them.
High school... look, I know this seems very far away, but trust me on this: don't go to City Charter High. You won't like it and you'll end up transferring out after two years. Just go to Schenley and get in the IB program, especially their math and science classes. Just... trust me on this one, I know there's some people you want to get away from, but it really is the best option. But if you REALLY don't want to go to Schenley, you better get your portfolio together, because you'll want to go to CAPA. Either learn how to play guitar, or start writing, or pick up drawing. Just... don't go to City High. TRUST ME.
Also, do your homework. I know it sucks and it's boring, but you really shouldn't be getting Bs and Cs, and you're going to regret it later. Just... put the time in, please? It'll make things a lot easier for me, and I'll appreciate it, okay?
Finally, Marty.... Marty, Marty, Marty. Tell Mom about what he's doing. I know you don't want to make a big scene, or piss everyone off and get isolated, but what he's doing is messed up, and it isn't right. Even if you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for brother, do it for Kevin. You'll look back, and you'll regret your silence. This isn't just boys being boys, this isn't childish pranks. You come out of it alright, but you shouldn't have to deal with that sort of stuff. Tell Mom, and she'll take care of it. When Mom and Dad do find out, they'll believe you, and the bullying and the weird nudity stuff will stop. So, you know, bite the bullet and end it sooner. I know it's scary, but you'll feel better for doing something.
And this part is going to seem a bit odd, but just... save it for later when you're 18 or so. First, don't start smoking cigarettes. You'll get addicted and it'll be very hard to quit. VERY hard. Second, you do NOT have an addictive personality - cigarettes are just addictive in general. Mom isn't an alcoholic, she's just working through some issues and that just happens to be the lens that she's using. So don't be so afraid of drinking. Treat alcohol with the respect it deserves, but you don't have to be paranoid about becoming some homeless wino. Go out and enjoy a few parties, okay? Just remember, everything in moderation.
Well, I'm out of room. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but I'm not really too far away from you, and like I said - things mostly turn out alright. Try to have fun, make friends, and know that things will get better. Remember that your family loves you, and you'll meet some other very important people along the way, and they're going to love you too. Try to not worry as much! And one last piece of advice: 'getting in trouble' is mostly a fake thing, but Mom and Dad love you and are going to worry about you. So, you know, don't be so hard on them, but go out and enjoy life.
With all my love,
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 03:19|
The distance between your correspondents is emotional rather than physical.
The Compassion Vehicle
The train is where Mettā happens, usually. Sad-faced commuters slouch into torn up seats, and I want to be the strong arms that used to carry them home as sun-kissed and sated children. But I can't.
A man with frown lines sits in the seat across from me and immediately closes his eyes, just like every other day. I look at my reflection in the window. He puts in his headphones. I breathe deep, inhaling the exhaustion that's packed into his body like a landfill, and exhale loving-kindness.
The frown lines that tug his thin lips down are his armor. Aloofness is his shield. If those strong parental arms were to scoop him up now, take him home, tuck him into bed, he'd start crying and never stop.
The train passes into a tunnel and my reflection becomes clearer in the window. I'm an ugly man, the sort that other people pity because I'm so outwardly unlovable. Maybe that's why I'm a good vehicle for Mettā, for loving-kindness.
If I was a beautiful girl, the man across from me wouldn't close his eyes and let weariness crumple his face. He'd stay inside of his iron maiden of composure, hoping for some sort of validation from something young and pretty.
I take another deep breath: Inhale suffering, exhale compassion. Inhale sorrow, exhale understanding.
The train passes out of the tunnel, curls around due east so that I can see the city on the bay. Red sunset light reflects off skyscraper glass and strikes the man's eyelids. He opens his eyes and looks out the window, his pupils shrunken to pinpoints against the evening parade of photons.
I know this man. I know he sits on this side of the train so that he can see the city at sunset. I know he wants to feel happiness with abandon, wants to love and be loved, wants to be free to absorb every fragment of photon-borne beauty without reservation or cinched irises.
We pass into another tunnel and I'm confronted with my own ugly mug again. In the last throws of loving-kindness, I feel the frowning man's eyes close.
And suddenly I'm back to myself. No more Mettā, no inhale-exhale of interceding love.
The train squeals up to the platform and the frowning man disembarks, dabbing at the corners of his eyes. The doors swish closed behind him and I'm moving again.
When I get home, I wait until there's no one at the front entrance to my old brick apartment building before going inside. I hate the way I roll and lurch down the sidewalk and up the stairs, hate the feeling of other people's brains observing me and forming opinions about the way that I am. I hate when the Mettā flows through and away from me, never stopping inside me long enough to wash away my own suffering. I hate that I don't know what it is, where it came from, or why it flows through me, except that I'm ugly, and have no notion that I deserve loving-kindness anymore than a faucet deserves water.
I flagellate myself. I drink straight from the handle of vodka, roar profanity at the television as the liquor burns in my stomach.
Moments happen like polaroid photographs; I hold them up, inspect, them, and then toss them away one by one. I feel animal bellows ripping out of my throat. I hear pounding on the door to my unit--I'm keeping the neighbors up again--and then, impossibly, it's morning, and I'm on my couch with no clothes on and no memory of the night before except what few mental polaroids I was able to hold onto through the fugue.
I spit foul-smelling saliva into the sink and dress for work.
When I leave my apartment, I hold the door knob so that the latch doesn't click when I close it. I hear a tired baby squalling next door, in the apartment of the people who have to listen to me go on my benders every night.
I take the emergency stairwell down to the first floor and exit through the back by the dumpsters, wishing I didn't have a face or a body.
I'm a hospital maintenance engineer. I unclog toilets and dispose of mattresses too soiled by sick to be reclaimed. I took this job when Mettā first happened to me, assuming that a place of sickness and sadness would be the best place to channel wordless, cosmic love into our world. I'd felt almost holy, having this power and access to the people who needed it most.
What I found was anger and resentment. The nurses don't like me near occupied rooms unless necessary, and I can't be around the patients or their families long enough to feel them, to breathe into them.
The first time I took the train home from the hospital, a woman with neat, cropped hair and a power manicure sat beside me and cried into her hands with abandon. As if I wasn't there. As if the obvious difference between our class, status, and general place in the world made me safe to cry around, like a pet dog.
And I felt her, breathed in the weight on her shoulders and the shell-shocked exhaustion of success. Why Mettā chooses some and not others, I don't know. You are good, my soul said to her on the exhale. You are loved.
Today passes the same as every other day, and soon I find myself waiting on the train platform just before sunset. I take my usual seat on the city-facing side of the train, and three stops later the frowning man slouches into his place.
He has a duffle bag, which he lowers gingerly onto the seat beside him, knuckles white on the strap. He's not wearing his headphones. He doesn't close his eyes when he sits down, but stares into his reflection in the window.
I feel Mettā as a coiled snake at the base of my skull, but it's holding its breath. Like a gardener waiting for spring's fist chutes to push through the soil, loving-kindness crouches over its handiwork, this strange empathy between me and the frowning man.
As we approach his stop he stands up but leaves the duffle bag on the chair. He looks down at me. He meets my eyes.
"I can't," is all he says, jerking his chin toward the abandoned bag.
Then the doors open and he's gone, hurrying off the platform before I can register that I've been spoken to.
The train rumbles on. Mettā stills my trembling hands enough that I can unzip the new-smelling gym bag.
Two kittens, matted and scruffy, are curled around each other in a nest of rags. They raise their heads and blink sleepily, and without thinking I reach down and let them nuzzle my fingers, and soon their little bodies are rattling with purrs. They accept the comfort of my touch without judgment.
I hold the bag carefully for the rest of ride and the kittens fall asleep again, sated and happy and content to be borne home in strong arms.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 04:06|
The Diary of Babel
a new study bible! fucked around with this message at 02:32 on Jul 1, 2014
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 04:14|
The children are doing well today. We set off early with the wagon train and are expecting to make excellent progress today. The hunting has been excellent so far, but we have only made it so far as Chimney Rock. I hear from the townsfolk we pass that as many people head back as head west, but I've yet to see anyone heading our way.
It warms my heart that you are doing so well. I the blanket I made for Jacob is suiting him well. He always was so cold, and I worry so about his health. Jenny is getting along well with the other children I hope. She was so heartbroken when she had to leave her friends back here and I do hope she's found someone to play without there. My mother has not recovered as of yet, so I cannot join you. However the physician says that her prognosis is good and she can expect a full recovery within the month. I shall endeavor to meet up with you as soon I can be certain that she is in good hands.
The children have been getting along with the other children in the caravan. Jenny especially has been getting on with Timmy, who's parents I've met. They seem to be a queer sort, always afraid of the beauty of the outside. However, Timmy doesn't share their timidity. Jacob has been out all day. I am expecting him back any hour now for supper. I had a wagon axle to mend and he was ever so eager to help out with a hunting party, so I let him go with some of the men. I am glad to hear your mother is doing well. She was ever so fond of you, and I do hope she recovers post-haste so you can join us.
I am sending you this email so quickly after the last because I have heard back about Jacob. It seems he was gored by a buffalo in the leg whilst out on the hunt with the party. I am with him now, the wound doesn't seem too serious, however I am watching it closely. I would not worry too much, I expect he should be up and about within a few weeks, but until then he should be able to ride in our wagon.
John, my dear, I just received your message as I returned from tending to my mother. Is Jacob alright? I know I was right to worry about his welfare. He is always so rambunctious. I am hopeful that he will recover soon however. Please keep me informed.
Dearest Annie, I have more ill news. While Jacob was sleeping one of the oxen from the wagon behind us broke off of his harness and stampeded forward smashing into our wagon. The damage was too not repairable and I am having to carry Jacob. I fear that I will not have the strength to carry him the whole way to Oregon. Nevertheless, we have made excellent progress. We recently passed Soda Springs. Jenny really enjoyed the opportunity to play in the bubbly waters and Jacob took the opportunity to rest his leg in there as well. He says he's feeling much better and expects to be able to walk on his own in a few days.
Ill news my dearest. Jenny was stricken after eating some berries and Jacob's leg has flared up again. It looks to be a case of the rot. We just passed Fort Hall and shan't expect to see any medical supplies for several weeks until we encounter Fort Boise. The doctor of the caravan says that he may have to remove the leg for Jacob if it does not clear up in a day. Jenny hasn't woken since she ate the berries, but my Timmy's parents have been so generous as to let her rest in their wagon until she recovers.
John, I spoke with my mother's doctor as soon as I heard about Jacob. He says that there are many herbs on the trail that could be of use. Have you found any?
Dearest, our doctor was killed in an indian raid. Jacob has gotten worse and I will have to remove his leg to save him. I worry for his future without both legs, but I pray that he shall survive this. In positive news Jenny awoke from her slumber. She seemed delirious at first but has recovered.
My mother's doctor says she has improved enough to live alone again. I am joining the first wagon train out to you and shall endeavor to meet up as soon as practicable.
Annie, the surgery for Jacob was a success. The rot is gone, but so is his leg. We finally reached Fort Boise, but I do not believe Jacob has it in him to continue the journey. We will settle here and await your arrival.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 04:49|
“The novelty of the job wore off fuckin fast, but yeah, it was def worth it at the end. Was a lotta sittin around for long-rear end time. I shoulda known better than to take work when I knew for a fact I won’t remember the night before, but I done dumber poo poo for the sake of a little spendin money.
“All I had to do was sit in the middle of a goddamn ghost town. I sat on a bench in front of the world’s ugliest tree til it got dark. The two biggest thugs I’d ever seen watched me like a fuckin hawk like I was gonna run away in the rear end-end of nowhere. Haha, right? Oh, her? No, Paula was out there too. She was playin with her suitcase or some poo poo. Was the near the tree.
“The weird poo poo started was when it was gettin dark. So I’m sittin there, bored outta my fuckin skull when this weird bubble shows up on the tree. It looked like a really big zit. It just grows and pops on me, and this thing rolls out onto ground. It turned into a bee the size of my fuckin forearm. poo poo was nasty.
“Oh yeah, you better believe it scared the poo poo outta me. Like, it was a monster bee that was white and purple instead of orange and black.
“Those huge motherfuckers threw me down on the bench. I thought I was gonna die when one of them pulled a knife on me, but they just cut my shirt off. No, it was my third-favorite. Yeah, don’t wear clothes you like out there.
“So I’m face down on this bench and panickin and lookin for this goddamn bee. Paula’s just lookin at me and those gorillas were doin a drat good job holdin me down because I couldn’t move. Oh God, I felt it land on my back, it was still kinda wet. Paula was like, ‘Don’t tense up,’ but I couldn’t help it. Who the gently caress would relax after seein such a goddamn big bee?
“The gently caress you think happened? It stung me! I saw it comin, but poo poo, man! Look, right in the back of my neck! See? Hell yeah, but the stinger wasn’t the worst part though!
“It felt like somethin spat on my neck, too. A little of it hit my throat. Made it numb and left this stripe. But next? It was like someone, hm. It was like someone was painting right down the middle of my back, then went crazy with a bunch of tiny paintbrushes all over it all at once. It was cold and def not what I was expecting. I remember Paula came over and threw the bee or something. Shot it. Came back and read somethin off my back.
"What? How the gently caress am I supposed to know? It didn't come to mind to ask! Christ!
"That's right, the pain started after she got back.
“It was like liquid fire went down my spine. The little paintbrushes? Turned into little branding irons. I was screamin my rear end off and I feel a weird kinda heat comin up the back of my head, I can’t handle it, I’m losin it.
“Weird poo poo, though? I’m pissin myself and I hear Paula. Sounds like she's dictatin a goddamn business letter or some poo poo. Like a fuckin secretary. When she shuts up every part of me just ignites. Yeah, arms and legs, hands, fingers, toes. And I couldn’t move anymore. I think I just stopped screamin whenever the hell cuz I’m just totally lyin there limp as gently caress and hard as hell.
“I dunno how long I went like that. I, uh. I think Paula came at me with this huge-rear end needle. Came from her suitcase, I don’t really remember. She goes back to it, I think, to put the needle down. I think she sucked something from my neck. Yeah, I think that’s what happened because I can start moving a little bit after that. And the little thing was a gross milky pink. You know, the clear thing. The chamber on the needle. She poked that poo poo into a worm or something and smashed it into the tree. Or somethin.
“What? No, I didn’t ask why, I was too busy being paralyzed and thrown into the back of a van! Yeah, how kind of them to drop me off when I could barely walk! gently caress, you guys.
“Go to the desert with the short woman with the overcoat. Best time you’ll ever have, I promise you. Easy money, to boot.”
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 05:32|
I get these letters every day. Sealed in dirty, burnt envelopes, addressed to me in shaky handwriting. I find them in places only I would think to check. I don't know how they get there. All that I know is that I have received a letter every day for three years.
Until last week.
You know those kids in high school who’d drop you like a sack of potatoes just for the approval of a bunch of assholes they didn't even like? Jeremy, my best friend since grade school, was that guy. I knew it too. But I tried so hard to make it work.
One Friday, I asked Jeremy if he wanted to hang out. He said, “Yeah, sure.”
Of course he wasn't going to come. I chose not to believe that. So when I found myself spending my Friday evening sitting on a bench outside the mall in the pouring rain, and realized that they weren’t going to come, I snapped.
If you were anything like I was as a kid, you let things build up. This wasn’t just Jeremy. It was my parents, school, hormones. I bottled it all, and when Jeremy stood me up, it all came rushing out.
But that isn’t important. What’s important was that I tried to kill myself. Up until then the urges were confined to simple thoughts, nothing more. But that night, when I was sitting up in bed, I decided that I wanted to die.
I waited until my mom was asleep and walked to the kitchen. The plan was to overdose on my Ritalin. I know, I wouldn’t have died anyway. I admit it, I was being stupid. You overdose on methylphenidate the same way you overdose on caffeine. Regardless, when I opened the medicine cabinet and there, sitting upright, was the first letter.
“I Lov U”
I stood there there for what felt like ages, just staring down at that piece of dirty paper. I snorted, then squinted. Was I still sleeping? Even if it was written in cursive, it was jarring. You don’t expect to find this poo poo when you’re about to shove a whole pill bottle down your throat.
I chucked the letter in the toilet. By the time I returned to the cabinet, I just lost the will, so I closed it up and went to bed.
Another one came, the next morning. I found it under my pillow.
“U R Specal”
I told my mom to stop screwing around. It was creeping me out. She looked confused, and when she wanted to know what I was talking about I quickly shrugged it off. It must have been a dream, I told her.
When I received one the next day, I knew it wasn’t a dream.
“NICHOLAS JAMIE LADD”
They knew who I was. My first name is technically Nicholas but I just use Nick. My middle name is Jamie because my mom wanted to name me Jamie. I never told anyone that.
They kept coming after that, once a day. Always brief, rarely filing a sentence, but almost always positive.
“U R Met 4 Great Thin”
“Have A Nic Dae”
“U R Prfekt”
I wish I were joking.
The strangest part, the thing that probably disarmed me the most, was the handwriting and grammar. Imagine an adult pretending to be a child trying to write motivational posters and you got the idea. But even when they fell flat on their face, half of the time I found myself laughing. Turns out I really needed a laugh. So, in a way, it was motivational.
It took a while to get used to, at first. When it first started, of course I tried to find an explanation! I remember staying up several nights in a row to see if anyone would sneak in. They never did. And yet they would still find their way, in a corner I forgot to check.
Eventually I stopped looking for reason. I just took the letters for what they were. It became routine.
My life started to change for the better. I started fitting in at school. I made new friends. My mom and dad were making up. For a time, I wanted to think it had something to do with those silly letters.
Then I realized I could write back.
I discovered it by accident. I used one of the letters to pass notes to my new friend Brandon during class. We made jokes about the teacher, talked poo poo about Jeremy. Silly crap. The note disappeared when I got home, but the next day I found it in the usual envelope, along with a note.
I don’t know why it took me so long to notice. I started sending things to my weird penpal. Hell, I thought, maybe I'll finally learn what this guy's deal is.
“Who are you?”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Want 2 Help”
“Where are you?”
“Are you in the future?"
Why the hell did they even respond to me if it was going to be evasive?
Out of exasperation I just sent him another question, first one that came to mind.
“Are you okay?”
The letter came the next day. There was something different though. Immediately I noticed a brownish drop on the top left corner of the envelope and I paused. Something was wrong. But I shook it off and opened it.
...What the gently caress.
It clicked for me then. I felt sick, having been letting this go on for so long.
I stopped opening the letters. Every time I found one, I would just chuck it. But it was grinding my last nerve towards the end and I just snapped. I tore open a letter and made it clear.
The letters stopped coming after that.
That was last week. I thought it was over.
A letter was laying on my bed when I came home last Friday.
I didn't want to open it.
I opened it.
The writing was chaotic, frantic, bunched together and covering almost every inch of the page. I couldn't make it out, still can't. I barely noticed though. I felt something else, slimy and wrong.
My blood chilled as I held it. I opened my trembling hand.
A human eye.
I haven’t slept in days. I just stay in bed.
My room stinks of rotting meat and decay.
School’s called and asked where I am. I didn’t answer.
Brandon sent me a text. Jeremy went missing last Friday. The whole town is looking for him.
They won’t find him. He's not here anymore.
The letters, they're just appearing in front of me, out of thin air. Just dropping on the floor.
There must be fifty of them, all bulging, seeping with blood.
This thing loves me.
Jeremy hurt me. So it hurt Jeremy.
It wants me to be happy.
I don’t want to die anymore. I’m happy. But I don’t know how much more I can take of this.
It’s going to run out of parts sooner or later. It won’t stop there.
Mom's not picking up her cellphone. I haven't seen her since Saturday.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 05:40|
Djeser fucked around with this message at 19:52 on Dec 31, 2014
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 05:48|
Mercedes flash: Communication is illegal, and there must be a mule.
There it went again, the familiar three-part bray that Aaron had come to both crave and fear. He hurried into his shoes and out to the barn.
His cows and pigs were sleeping soundly, blissfully unaware of their surroundings. In the far back, lying amongst the fresh straw, was his pet mule, Betsy.
"Eee-awww! Eee-awww! Ee-awwwwww!" She looked at him, through him.
"OK, I'm listening." Aaron crouched down at face level with the mule, his blue eyes locked into her deep brown ones.
"BEGIN TRANSMISSION... Aaron, I'm getting scared. No matter what I try, they won't release me. I even... Oh Aaron, I didn't mean to be unfaithful, they... they threatened me... I just want to be home with you. I just want to go home... END TRANSMISSION"
Soft sobs had echoed after those last words, and they kept echoing in Aaron's mind, even as he fed the mule, even as he went back inside and took off his shoes, even as he lay in bed until the golden glow of the sun edged in around his curtains.
The night fell again too soon, and Aaron sat stock still at his table, his mug of tea untouched in front of him. The TV crackled in the background, and the nation's news of the day washed over him as he sat waiting.
"More disappearances continue to shock and disturb the nation. What seemed to be a localized increase in runaways has quickly turned into a nationwide panic. Men and women have been disappearing from seemingly secure locations, with no ransom demands being delivered.
With President Palin having recently outlawed inter-dimensional communication due to fears of mind probes, we have no means of contacting other dimensions in an attempt to cooperate in search efforts."
He clicked the television off. Betsy had started again, and he needed to get out to her. Shoes on, and out to the barn once more.
"BEGIN TRANSMISSION... Are you getting these? I hope you are, I can't bear the thought that I'm truly alone. Aaron, it's getting worse. They've taken to shorting my rations. I... I don't know how much longer I can hold out. Sometimes I dream of giving in. I'm not strong like you were... are. Like you are. I have to keep thinking that you are. That you are. You are... END TRANSMISSION"
Breath caught in his chest, frozen there, Aaron went back into the home they once shared and cried quietly until dawn, wishing he had the strength to give in.
Weeks went by, and Betsy remained silent through them all. Aaron panicked, even going so far as to have a vet check her vocal cords.
Night after night, he would sit with her, talking to her in a vain effort to have her respond. Nothing. She remained resolutely mute.
Aaron began sleeping out in the barn with her, a makeshift bed in the straw, curled up next to Betsy. Over the soft nighttime sounds of the barn, he heard her stir.
"Ee-awww! Ee-awww! Ee-awww!"
Aaron sat up immediately, his heart slowed in his chest.
"BEGIN TRANSMISSION... Aaron... I don't know how to begin this... I... I don't think I'm coming home. I couldn't hold out anymore, Aaron... You don't understand! It's different here, everything is so... different. I tried, you have to know I did! I'm only human... This is my last transmission, Aaron. I can't... I can't do this to you anymore. I can't do this to myself anymore. This false hope, it's killing me. Good bye Aaron. You have to know that I loved you, with my whole heart. You have to know that... END TRANSMISSION"
His hands shaking, Aaron stood. He faltered, and held on to the side of the stall for support. He looked at Betsy, to see if there was perhaps, maybe... No. She laid on the floor, in her straw, her chest still. One hand to her ribs confirmed what Aaron feared.
He walked, numb, outside into the cold farm air. The stars were extra bright tonight, and they almost seemed to taunt him, glittering up there away from this hurt.
Aaron walked, the stars still glittering in his eyes. They twinkled as he went inside, they twinkled as he took his shoes off and went upstairs, they twinkled as he found the strength that Nick had been talking about all along, the strength to give in.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 05:55|
25 minutes remain.
Anime still sucks.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 06:35|
The Possibility of The World
Caroline stared blankly at the grey sky and the grey sea, rubbing her bruised wrist where Brian had grabbed too tight, feeling salt tears mix with salt air on her lips and tongue. She tried to think of happier things, like the tricks her friends played or the journal where she captured her thoughts and dreams, but the fight filled every possible world she could imagine.
An old wine bottle drifted erratically towards the shore, a cork jammed halfway into its mouth. Caroline could tell it wasn’t empty, but she couldn’t make out its contents through the blur of tears. The bottle floated back and forth until it finally reached the beach, where it lay a long moment until a large swell broke and raced to shore. Its wash pushed the bottle almost to her bare feet and then fell back, as if afraid of its own offering.
Caroline brushed her sandy hands on her skirt, wiped her eyes carefully, and picked up the bottle. She yanked out the salt-wet cork and shook the bottle upside-down. A piece of paper became stuck in the neck, but she used her uncut nails as pincers to extract it. It was still dry and many times folded. She sniffed, wiped her nose on her sleeve, and opened it.
“Dear Earthling, “ said the letter in a cursive script. “This message has traversed years of light and vortexes of dimensions to reach you. Thank you for taking the time to read it.”
Caroline made a noise between a laugh and a snort. Funny sort of aliens, she thought, that write in biro.
“You may wonder why we write in biro,” continued the letter, “and encase our words in a fragile glass bottle, instead of beaming it directly into your mind. This is for your own safety and comfort, two things that are very important to us.”
Well, that’s reassuring, thought Caroline. If only everyone gave that much of a stuff about me.
“We trust you will find this reassuring,” went the letter, “especially after the day you have had today. We urge you not to blame Brian. Not for everything. He was a fool, yes, who listened to his friends boasting and heard only his own insecurity whispering in his ear. That does not make what he did right, but he will grow from the experience, becoming a better person, as will you.”
Caroline stopped reading, the hairs on the nape of her neck rising as the breeze along the beach gained strength. She looked up and down the length of the shoreline, waiting for Tansy or Jessica to pop their heads out from behind a dune, pointing and laughing at their own joke. There was no one there, but the sky was turning dark and the sea was following suit. Time had gotten away from her, Caroline realised, and she needed to be home.
She folded the letter and placed it in the front pocket of her skirt, then laid the bottle carefully in the sand beneath a rock, marking the position with a piece of driftwood stabbed into the sand.
The road home was short and uneventful, but her parents cornered her when she got inside and demanded to know where she’d been because Jessica had rung looking for her and they’d expected her to be at Jessica’s and there was no point lying to them, young lady, because they’d know if that Brian had anything to do with it.
At Brian’s name, Caroline burst into tears and fled upstairs to her room.
Later, after some awkward negotiations through the bedroom door, Caroline was left alone, lying on her bed, arms folded around herself, staring at her desk where her journal lay open and waiting.
She sat up, and as she did she felt the letter in her skirt pocket. She unfolded it and continued to read the looping words.
“Please don’t blame your parents, either,” said the letter. “They’re worried about you, and your life is starting to escape from the gravitational pull of their love, which scares them even more.”
They’re awfully worried about what I think, thought Caroline.
“It may seem we are overly concerned about what you think,” continued the letter, “but the truth is: your thoughts are important to us. For a thousand generations we have been at war, the Linkaros and the Bri’ann locked in eternal struggle beneath the banners of Patrus and Mal. The reasons are lost to us, but weapons we have unleashed, from the Neverborn Jezikar warriors to the soul-stripping Purification of the Tanzeem, have brought us to the brink of annihilation. So for the the first time in our long and shameful history, we have worked together to trace the origins of our mutual holocaust.
Linkaro scientists and Bri’ann aurors working side by side - we never thought we would see the day. But the truce is precarious, and there are those who would press even this fragile peace to their advantage. We believe have succeeded, that our scientists have discerned the mind of God - finding the origins of our conflict not in our own corner of the multiverse, but tied, inextricably, to you, today.
It is an odd feeling to write a letter to your creator, but such we have divined you are. Tonight, when you sit down to write our story in your book of dreams, remember our words, and let yours be filled with peace.
Linokaro Solus and Pri Bri’ann
Caroline checked the other side of the letter, but that was all it said. She lifted it to her face, squinting, but there was nothing but a scent of something that could never be familiar. She put her hand down, and stared at the journal across the room.
It lay there, open, empty and waiting.
Caroline moved to the desk, closed the journal, placed the the letter on top of it and began to write.
Before the winter dawn had come, Caroline crept through the front door of her house - mindful of the step that creaked. She hurried barefoot down to the ocean, where she found the bottle and its cork, marked by driftwood. She took the letter, with its handwritten reply, and folded it down the lines already scored. She placed it into the the bottle’s neck, and tapped it, then poked it until it fell to the bottom of the bottle, which she then corked.
With every ounce of strength she possessed, she threw the bottle back into the ocean. There was not enough light to see where it landed, but she heard it splash in the distance. She slipped home as the day awoke, sending a text to Brian, asking to meet him before school to talk.
Years of light and vortexes of dimensions away, Linkaro Solus and Pri Bri’ann received the reply with dread and anticipation.
“What does she say?” asked Pri Bri’ann
Linkaro Solus turned from the receptor to look at him directly. “She says she’s sorry. For everything.”
They held hands in silence as the possibility of the world approached zero.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 06:59|
Flashrule: Story is about people delivering messages, not the people writing them
*A girl gets in a tank to talk to a near-dimensional version of herself, then kills that near-self to steal her boyfriend*
Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at 05:57 on Dec 4, 2014
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 07:02|
Submissions are closed. Even extended the deadline a couple minutes cause I'm such a super dude.
Toanoradian, Masonity, Full Fathoms Five, and Zekky, you have disgraced yourselves and displeased the gods. Elfdude is excused since he was probably in the shower. Dude loves his showers. Really racking up that hot water bill.
Echo, Djinn, to my side. Judgment is nigh.
STATUS OF ANIME: Still sucks.
Just kidding Elfdude, you're also a screw up.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 07:25|
Listen up you cock-smugglers. You have 169 max words to write about a character going back into the closet.
Don't look at me for further explanations, drat you!
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 21:44|
John Explodeswhenmad got up for work. He was a lawyer in a big, important law firm. Looking nice was a big, important thing for him to do, so judges would think he was good.
But this morning, John Explodeswhenmad found a zit on his cheek. “Butter,” he swore.
When he got in the shower, he found out he was out of shampoo. He couldn't clean his hair and make it look nice. “Cream,” he swore.
When he went into his closet to get his suit, he didn't notice that there was a ketchup stain on the collar. He liked hot dogs, because he was a big important New York lawyer.
John Explodeswhenmad walked all the way to his car before he noticed the stain. “Half and half!” he shouted. He was really mad!
He ran all the way back to his closet. He took off his suit and put on a clean one. This was bad. He was mad. He was going to be...
"Late again, Explodeswhenmad?"
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 22:19|
Get In There
“Do it! Do it you pussy!” an angry voice called out from the wriggling mass of bodies stuffed in the closet.
“Yea! I’m gonna do it!” said Brody as he popped up his collar and shotgunned a beer.
The Guinness World record for amount of bodies in a closet was twelve -- but if Brody can manage to squeeze in there, he would punch that record straight in the dick for Alpha Beta Kappa.
Brody bent forward like a football player at the line of scrimmage.
“Dude no, what are you doing?!”
“I’m gonna make history.” Brody charged the closet in spite of the screams of protest.
* * *
Tragedy strikes Ohio State University today when a student gravely injures twelve others in what can only be called a hazing gone wrong…
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 22:23|
Marcel confronted his wife. "I'm a gay.”
She slapped him so hard he fell to the ground and little boobies danced around his head.
"Oh nevermind, I think I am cured."
But each strike of her open palm was so harsh that his sexuality ping-ponged. Each transformation made him reevaluate his own identity. One minute he was Marcel: breadwinner, little league coach, protector of the family. The next he was a Marcia: a transgendered harlot who wanted to wear lacy underwear and feel the strong embrace of a naked cowboy.
Each transformation took its toll, and
Then she suddenly stopped, got up, and walked out the door. Marcelia was stuck half way between gay, and wholly unsatisfied. “Nooooooo!” he screamed like Darth Vader.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 22:28|
Shadows in the Dark
"gently caress off, weirdo."
That was it: the death sentence. Once they start swearing at you instead of screaming, you know you're not cut out to be a monster anymore.
We had a good run, Johnny and I. I remember all the good times, tossing his toys around and making guttural banshee calls, flicking his lights on and off. He even wet the bed a couple times, which always put me in a good mood. It meant I'd done my job to utter perfection.
"Didn't you hear me? I said gently caress off!"
I try to reason with him. "Come on, Johnny--just a couple more nights!" But he's rolled over on his side, ignoring me.
All those years, scaring them literally pissless, and yet the kids always get the last laugh. They grow up, and pretty soon we're nothing of consequence to them. Just shadows in the dark.
I lumber back to the closet, crestfallen; I'll never be coming out of it again.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 22:33|
"May, why the hell do you have this tiny little sweater?" My voice came muffled from our walk-in closet as I flung the ratty brown cardigan onto our bed. "And this... tube top?" Out flew a pink sequined wisp of fabric, and it landed atop the moth-eaten sweater.
"That's a bandeau, Jamie. You wear it with... oh, never mind." She wordlessly lay back on the bed.
"What's wrong?" I stepped into the room, center in a storm of discarded clothing, remnants of our spring cleaning. "May?" She was silent, her hand running over the cardigan, her eyes everywhere but on me. "May, are you OK?"
"This sweater... it belonged to Laurel."
Oh. Suddenly, I regretted treating it so carelessly. "May, I didn't know. I'm sorry."
She stood and stared at the closet door, before leaving to go downstairs. I carefully took the sweater in my arms, refolded it gently, and walked in to our closet to put it on the high shelf, next to the small pink urn.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 22:34|
The Classics Never Die. Sadly
"How does one get back into the closet?" Sam asked Clara, turning around to see his friend half-dragging a brown package across the wooden floor, "This is the 21st
loving century and you want to put someone back into the closet? Everyone expects everyone to jump out of the closet and parade that they evicted themselves."
"So I'll seal him in the closet so he can't go back out," Clara shakes her head, heading over towards the armoire, "He has been so full of amour that we might has well seal the deal to m ake sure he won't be seen as a knight in shining armoire."
“Shaddup with the puns,” Sam groans, opening the door, “ and put lover boy in so we can seal the deal.”
After they dump the body inside the amoire and hammer it, Clara wraps a ribbon around the handle.
“Not only we sealed the deal but we manage to wrap up things up!”
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 22:37|
Queens (167 words)
Get a last half-dozen queens' Revlon cheek-kisses (watch the hair, girl)
and clamber into your Camry (wrap the stilettos in three layers of Walgreens bags, in the trunk)
drive barefoot one-handed down a road called Fairbanks or Wakefield or Waterford
the other hand unpinning your wig (don't drop those pins, Lisa needs the car in the morning
and she's got eyes like a hawk)
tug on your size 42R trenchcoat
and tiptoe up the front steps.
Stick that sequined Cher dress under the dry-cleaning pile
unpaste those inch-and-a-half eyelashes
exfoliate (be hasty, is Lisa still snoring?)
stuff your padded bra unwashed into the darkest recesses of your Pottery Barn dresser
wipe the lipstick off your cheeks (she is, and the clock ticks over to 3)
walk those Sephora makeup-remover pads out to the garage trashcan
then walk your own sagging rear end back to the bathroom
where somebody's crocheted a sampler that says "Home Sweet Home"
and there you are:
and queer as a three-dollar bill.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 22:50|
A Perfect World
We live in a perfect world, so things are supposed to be different now. The age of acceptance, equal rights, and enlightenment has come, and gone, with a final exhausted sigh. The problem is, my favorite bar can’t go to my wedding. Bravo isn’t going to make a reality show about a life of loneliness and severed ties. I can’t get a new mom and dad from a parade.
So if a dumb summer camp can fix everything, just for now, it’s worth it. If I can come home again, it’s worth it. If I can see my mom without worrying about my dad coming home early, it’s worth it. If I can just hug him one more time. Because we do not live in a perfect world, and this is the best I can get.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 23:02|
Another Time Maybe?
'Oh, I'm just kidding, lads. You bloody bumders, wanted my arse on a plate, didn't you? Ha-ha. Yeah, I'll have another whisky.'
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 23:29|
|# ? Dec 8, 2021 04:22|
It felt perfect: a bright sky with high clouds dashing quickly across a full moon creating a mix of shifting shadows in the room. Frank stared out the crack in the door, breathless. Anticipating.
Moving with the light, he crept across the floor in a glint of scales and claws. He’d been waiting for a night like this; sometimes he felt like the world was moving on without him and he craved the validation that he was still somehow relevant.
He took a deep breath and leapt up on his hind legs; mouth open, fangs dripping, shrieking into the night. And saw… an empty space. A space where there should have been a terrified child, horrorstruck with his appearance.
Confused, he looked under the bed. “Joe, what the hell? Where is she?”
“Slumber party,” replied Joe, chewing on a slipper.
“Dammit.” Frank slunk back into the closet feeling a little less substantial than before.
|# ? Mar 24, 2014 23:31|