Alright, so from here on out, there shouldn’t be such a large data dump of literature, but alas, for now, I need to get this site up to speed. About two weeks ago, I began a journey to learn how to write Flash Fiction. I was fascinated by the idea of compiling a meaningful story/message in less than 1,000 words, and felt that this would be a grand skill to master. As such, after reading some Lovecraft, I decided to dive in. The below is the accumulation of two weeks worth of writing and practice.
Jack the Ripper
Darkness. The word echoed again, coming from everywhere and nowhere at once. The voice was unmistakable, yet unknown, changing, yet familiar, all at once. For countless days, or perhaps, for only a mere instance, the word attacked from all sides, bearing down, pushing itself upon him. He could feel the weight; feel the pressure, it hung in the air. His eyes saw nothing in the dark, how long had it been, how long had darkness surrounded him, perverted him, and permeated him? It was his enemy, or was it his friend? An ally, a protector: or a menace, a threat? He knew naught, knew naught but the darkness, the only truth he knew was that it was there. Or was it? He closed his eyes, and there it was…darkness. No images flashed through his mind. No, images did flash, but they were blocked, covered by the darkness. Was that a good thing? He didn’t know. What was the darkness hiding, what was it keeping from him? He sought the light, sought to fight the darkness, to see again. Why? The word echoed, a new word, one he hadn’t heard yet. It pushed at his consciousness, making ripples in the darkness. Is that possible? For darkness to ripple? To move? He wasn’t sure, and yet he was sure it did, could feel the darkness around him vibrate with the question. Why did he want the darkness to move, to leave? It was his solace, his friend. It was keeping him safe, wasn’t it? He needed to know, needed to see what it was hiding him from. He opened his eyes again, the darkness waned. The light hurt his eyes, yet it washed away the echoing words, pushed back the darkness that surrounded him, protected him. His vision waivered, then cleared, he saw colors, yes, colors other than the void. Crimson stood out; in stark contrast to the paleness it covered. He saw it then, the flashes, the shouts, the screams. The knife, he looked down, and saw it, silver and crimson, splendid, yet horrid. How easily it had cut through the flesh, how easily it had taken pale and turned it red, stained the whole world scarlet. Flesh opens up, pale or dark matters naught, it all reveals crimson when silver cuts into it. Interesting, he thought, but then he remembered. He remembered the man, or wait, it was him. He remembered the knife, his knife, in his hand. He looked at his hand; it was painted crimson as well, but not his crimson. No, this was the crimson of the woman before him, her body broken and torn, pale flesh in crimson ribbons. Did he do this? Yes. Did he know her? No. Something inside him stirred, wanted to scream against the horror, the evil he committed. He smiled, remembered everything now, and remembered who his one friend was, as he again embraced it. The artwork before him faded away, the image subsided, and Jack was swallowed again by the darkness.
A Never Ending Love
A gull’s cry rides the waves, reaching my ears, as I lay in the sand, my lover beside me. The warm water crashes against the rocks protecting this sacred place, yet where we lay, the warm water gently laps against our exposed skin, soothing, loving: joining our embrace. The sand upon which we lay, warm against our skin, sharing with us the heat the sun had given it earlier in the day. While my lover and I embrace each other, the sand clings tightly, the water holds onto us, and even the cool breeze, a kind contrast to the warmth of the water, sand, and our bodies, envelopes us. In that moment, my lover and I, we are not just embraced with each other. There, in nature, all is one. The calm, the serene, time moves naught, for in this moment, only love exists. The world’s troubles, pains, torments, all washed away, forgotten for that moment, for pain and sorrow have no power here. In my lover’s embrace, only the here and now exist, a perfect moment preserved by love, a second, minute, hour, or day, that the world shares with us. The sun above showers us with light, bathing our unclothed skin in radiance. Droplets of sea spray and sweat sparkle like a thousand gems across our bodies, each one dazzling in its own right, yet together flashing brilliantly. My lover’s breath comes slowly, eyes closed, lost in the moment. Here and now, in this moment, I am safe. I move my face closer, lips slightly part, then touch, soft flesh against soft flesh. A grain of sand on my lover’s tongue, I smile at its gritty addition, yet still continue. My lover tastes salty, perhaps the ocean water, maybe our shared sweat, regardless, I enjoy it. Hands intertwine, bodies come ever closer together, warmth flows from one to the other, and then back again: we are one. My mind goes back, across the universe, different times, different places, yet this feeling, always the same. Nothing can keep us apart, not war, not strife. In every life, we find each other, our true love, no matter how many times it plays out, no matter the circumstances, our love survives. The gull calls again, and my eyes open, my lover begins to fade. Again I will seek out my lover, as our lives drift apart: we will be back. The sand pulls my lover away, and the ocean calls me away as well, tugging me gently with its white tipped fingers. The ravages of time can be so cruel, yet even as the sun begins to set, even as the warmth leaves the land, I know we will find each other again. One last touch, hand on hand, fingers on fingers, this is the feeling I will cling to, the feeling I will seek out again…when the time comes. The sand swallows my lover, the waves consume me, and again the search for love ends and begins again.
There’s a Monster in My Closet
There’s a monster in my closet. Everyone always joked about it, said that if you went into a closet at night, the “Boogeyman” would get you. It was a joke, a story, something meant to scare children. I laughed it off, thought they were just playing me the fool, thinking I was gullible. I paid their warnings no heed. Then…the knocking started.
I wasn’t certain of the source of the sound first, a light knocking in the dark; I lay in my bed, blankets pulled around me, listening. The knocking seemed to match the beat of my heart, which was now in my throat, as I listened. Thump Knock, Thump Knock, was it the same? No, the heartbeat was mine, the knock, came from somewhere else. Slowly I crept out of bed, grabbing my phone to provide with me light, the pale source illuminating and chasing away demons and darkness that already crept in the shadows. If I looked fast enough, I could see the shadows dart, shift in sinister ways, lash out, only to be repulsed by my saving light. But monsters don’t exist; everyone says so, so my imagination was just playing games with me.
I get closer to my closet, the wooden door nondescript in the pale light offered by my phone, and as I near, the knocking seems to stop. “Strange” I say lightly, and a smile creeps onto my face, believing myself having to been dreaming. I reach down toward the doorknob, a faint, faux bronze piece of metal, which flashes with a dull shine in the light. Everything grows still, my breath catches, and an unknown fear rises within, my stomach a flutter of anxiety and anticipation. There are no such things as monsters. I tell myself this, and slowly turn the knob, feeling the slight resistance as gears turn and move, and the small piece of metal is pulled away, allow me to lightly begin to open the door. As I do, I crack the door open slightly, a sliver of darkness meets me, the closet seeming a haven for the shadows from my light. I move my phone closer to the darkness, and for a brief second, my eyes adjust, and I freeze. An eye looks back at me, the darkness silhouettes a form, an eye pressed against the opening, looking back at me. Startled, a scream ripping its way out of my lips, a slam the door shut, feeling a slight resistance as I do, and then I run from the room.
I spend the next few nights sleeping elsewhere, the first night in the protecting embrace of the cold porcelain tub, the light on, protecting me from the shadows. The next night I sleep on the couch, in a large room, with no closets. The third day: I go into my room; cast open the shades, let in the light, and walk hesitantly towards the closet door. I brought a friend with me, he scoffed at my asking, but I needed to know, couldn’t be afraid. He sees me hesitate, so laughing, an insult on his lips, he walks towards the closet, flings it open. Within there is nothing, the light reveals simply hanging, nondescript clothes, shoes and miscellaneous items on the ground. No face, no eye, no monster. I chuckle, feeling foolish, and we go about our day, I know he is going to hold this one over my head for a while.
That night, laughing at myself, I crawl back into my bed, glancing once at my closet, which stands there, plain, boring, unthreatening, and close my eyes to sleep. In my dreams I’m in front of my closet again, opening it, seeing the eye staring back. But I do not stop, the door continues to open, lightly out a slight sigh, or was that the monster before me, sighing at his freedom? He looks at me, and grins, eyes flashing dangerously, hungrily, and before I can look him over, I wake, screaming, drenched in sweat. I look towards my closet, darkness hangs over the room, and the door is closed. I’m safe. I roll onto my side, looking away from my closet, eyes half closing. That’s strange, I think, it almost appears as if….
My eyes shoot open, I’m frozen, and the dark shape is standing, still as stone, at the side of my bed, eyes looking down at me hungrily. A grin reveals teeth, rows of sharp teeth, his face, his features, otherwise are nondescript. He appears to just be shadows, eyes and teeth, hovering in shadows, in human form. I reach for my phone, the monster holds up a hand, grinning all the more as I see my phone in his hand. He puts a finger to his teeth, as if hushing me, and I see long, deadly claws. Then he lunges at me, I scream, a flash of pain, and everything goes dark…
It takes only a short while to strip flesh from bone, I’m careful not to make a mess. It has been a long while since I’ve had prey, but now, I finally caught one. I put his skin over my form, the shadows moving and rippling to fill it, making myself fit. I feel it close over me, a protective shell, a mask, a disguise. Finally I can walk unhindered, unburdened, can prey upon the weak humans, no longer having to fear the burning purity of light. I look down, and with my eyes I can see the foolish boy’s skeleton, for I could not obviously let his meat go to waste, so all that remains is a pile of bones, emotionless, lifeless. How odd these creatures are, I think to myself, as I open the closet door, and unceremoniously throw the remains in, they clatter, music to my ears, and fall about, disfigured, mangled remains of what was once a human. There’s a monster in my closet, I think to myself, as I close the door.
They Say Love Conquers All
They say love conquers all, but few know what that truly means. For the longest time, Alena and I were unable to get near enough each other to share a brief moment, but those few times we did, it was as if nothing else mattered. A few seconds in each other’s presence was enough to charge us with life, with energy, till our next meeting, whether it be a day, a week, or months away. However, the more we were together; the harder it was to be apart. Love is a drug, and we were highly addicted and dependent on it. The fact we were from different species though, made it very difficult for us to be together. Alena came from a royal bloodline of faery, and I, well I was from a small clan of werewolves who lived on the outskirts of the mystical forest. A meeting between a highborn Faery princess, and a lowly werewolf pup, should never have happened, and yet, fate saw to it that it did. The first time we met, I had been running through the woods, royal guards chasing me, as werewolves should never be as close to the main city as I was. Werewolves were faster and stronger than the faeries, yet our small numbers, a result of a war between our kind and the vampire race, enabled the faery’s, who aided in the eradication of the vampire, to keep us under rule. Additionally, their magical prowess was unmatched, and their spells enabled them to overpower a werewolf before we could get close enough to do damage. That being said, I knew as long as I kept out of their line of sight, and didn’t give them the opportunity to cast a spell on me, that I would get away unpunished. So focused was I on running that I didn’t notice the lithe form that appeared, running as well, in front of me, until we collided, my body, strong, fur covered, sweating: hers, light, frail yet strong, beautiful.
“Watch where-“I started, growling, teeth barred. Yet when my eyes met hers, golden, like the sun, my voice caught. I had never seen a beauty to match hers, and in that moment, my world changed. To me, she was more alluring than a full moon, more radiant than a thousand suns, and my heart instantly belong to her.
“Shh.” A melodic sound, like a flute lightly being played, melodious, and she raised a finger her mouth. Eyes closing, a glow enveloped her, and I knew she was casting a spell, though unknowing to her, she had already cast a spell on my heart.
I later learned she had made us invisible, as she too was running from guards, having escaped from the Faery King’s castle to explore, something one of royal blood should never do. From that moment, Alena was all that filled my thoughts, and when we parted, her golden eyes sparkled with mischief and intrigue as she promised we would see each other again. At first I believe I was just a way for her to rebel against her father, but as time went on, the air between us became charged with a mixture of strong feelings, and lust. The first time we kissed, electricity coursed through my body, and I could feel her shudder with excitement, her silver, iridescent wings fluttering rapidly, and my keen ears heard the blood rushing as Alena’s body became acutely aware of mine pressed against her. That was the first time I tasted her honey flavored lips, and from then on, the longer it took between our meetings, the more I would hunger for her. Each time we met, we would try to extend our time as long as possible, being more brazen, uncaring, as we risked more, for higher rewards, the ultimate prize, the time we spent embraced.
They say all good things must come to an end, and so it was that we were found out, I was imprisoned, and she was ordered to never see me again. My family, who was in the dark about her and I’s affair, was put to death, while I was forced to watch. The Faery King said he was keeping me alive to make me suffer, knowing that death would be too quick, and I know he was using me as a way to control his own rebellious daughter. Night and day passed, I knew not how long I was in that prison for, though each second away from Alena felt like a millennia, and I mourned the lost time with her. Could they not see what we had was love, how they dare interrupt something so right, so pure. My despair turned to anger, I plotted and planned, swore to myself I would break free, would run away with her, escape the kingdom.
They say love conquers all, and as the doors to my prison opened, my eyes widened, my heart quickened, and I knew it was true. There Alena stood, blood-soaked, the crimson flashing brilliantly with her golden eyes, silken clothes. At her waist, a slim blade, flashing silver, deadly, in the torchlight. She smiled at me, my chains were released, and she was in my arms. The metallic smell of blood swirled with her flowery fragrance, and I found myself even more in love with her than I had ever been before.
“Come, you shall be my king.” She whispers after our lips part, her eyes dancing wildly, her hearth thudding with excitement.
“Your father?” I ask, knowing already the answer
“He interfered with my happiness, our love. So I killed him.” She says simply, sweetly, and the words are music to my ears.
They say love conquers all, and in my heart, as we walked out of that prison, leaving behind a trail of corpses of those would interfere, keep us apart, I know it to be true.
I Went on a Journey Today
I went on a journey today. It began like any other; slow at first, as I became accustomed to my new surroundings, the letting go of the old, the comfortable, to learning and accepting the new, the strange. I walked along, becoming accustomed to what I didn’t know, learning a world that was new and strange, something that I hadn’t realized existed before. Odd sights and sounds greeted me, people introduced themselves to me, offered to help me along, to lead me and guide me on my new path.
I went on a journey today, the people I met, the things I saw, everything was so inviting at first. It wasn’t long though till my journey brought me upon tragedy, upon despair. Those I had met, those who helped me, it seems they were not long for this world. My acquaintances became eulogies, and I was again left alone on my path, uncertain of how my journey would end, unsure of what lie ahead, and yet I continued. I clung to the ones who remained: the few that escaped, not unscathed, but at least still breathing, from the tragedy that had befallen us. We were stronger for what we had experienced today, and my bond with them grew, and I knew that I grew, as I travelled with them.
I went on a journey today, and while it was difficult and grim, and victory was uncertain at times, we managed to pull through. We stood atop the precipice of success, having finally overcome all that lay in our path, though many, who had started with us, did not finish. My journey was not a kind one, yet I welcomed the trials and tribulations, for while some had fallen, those who remained I felt a stronger bond with than could have been possible on an easy journey. The hardships, the pains, the loss, they created a bond that cannot be easily severed, and it was this bond that helped us to succeed.
I went on a journey today, without leaving my house, without leaving even my room, and yet, I traveled more than Marco Polo, Alexander, or Columbus. I went on a journey today, thanks to the stories others had written. I saw worlds which were, which could be, or which may never exist. I experienced things no man could ever dream of, yet which many may experience and share, if they simply took the time. Through words, dashes here, slashes there, pen and paper evolved into sword and shield, light and dark, war and peace.
I went on a journey today, and while physically my body did not move, and I was safe and secure, I have changed. The mind is ever changing, who I am now, is not who I will always be, and through the accumulation of knowledge, the experience of hardships, success, happiness, sorrow, anxiety, and relief, I grew. Books bring me more than I could ever glean, and while I may not experience in actuality a dragon roaring down upon me, or a ship capsizing, or a sword being thrust into a foe, the experience, the feeling, the vision, it exists. In my mind’s eye, I was beside the characters, laughing with them, crying with them, fighting alongside them, and their experiences, their stories, are now mine as well.
I went on a journey today, and am now closer to hundreds of thousands of people, than they may really know. Our minds have shared a story, and experience, a quest, and we have all been impacted in some way shape or form from this experience. The story may become a movie, or a show, reaching even more, and we will all be brought a little closer, through forums, or meetings, we will discuss what we experienced. Our bonds with the characters, our interpretations, will be seen through how we speak or act our passion with which we defend a scene or action. We haven’t met, we didn’t leave the sanctity of our homes, and yet today, I journey with thousands, millions….and now, you have too.
Luminescent was the night, stars representing unfathomable worlds and possibilities, watching over the little planet of now. The great orb in the sky shone brightest, being closet in proximity to the sphere upon which the world grew. Its bathing light commanded the oceans and seas to rise and fall, choosing as it waxed and waned how these levels rose, and within man, the creature which ruled over this man, it too caused a change. Subtle may it be, yet the power of the moon and sky, the vast what ifs and unknowns, called to man. They demanded he think, he question, he wonder, and offered to him no answers. Ever changing, yet in his eyes the same, familiar, predictable, the unknown guided him, watched over him, protected him, and encouraged him. The home of the gods, man deemed the sky, the spirits of the dead, others claimed, and while they could not agree upon the actuality, they could concur of the greatness of the unknown. On nights like this, when the moon shined the brightest, and stars danced harmoniously, with glowing balls of light shooting through the sky, streaking past in brief moments, illuminating a streak across, man was most effected. On this night, man sat alone, pen and paper in hand, lost in thought. Thoughts full of wonders, full of questions, for these, the unknowns, if, how, were truly the wonder of the world. That which is unknown, that which makes man think, that is the gift from above.
“Tell me, what is out there?” The man asks aloud, pen to paper, awaiting an answer. The world is still, the stream near him falls quiet, no singing cricket quiets. The world holds its breath, waiting anxiously, nervously, is this the time a secret will be revealed, will man have his question answered. The silence is the answer. The man understands there is no explanation, no definition. The unthinkable: the unknowable: the unconquerable. He understands then, man may try to understand, may try to explain, may argue, think, prove each other wrong, and yet, in the end, the answer is like silence. An infinite amount of explanations, each right in its own way, yet none ultimately correct for all. This is good he realizes, for there, in the silence, he experiences peace. By accepting that he cannot know all, yet still longing for and reaching for understanding, he realizes truth and serenity. He chooses not to write his words, for they will be disputed, argued against, and inevitably, lost in time. No, instead he takes his knowledge, seals it in his heart, and continues on his way, leaving the calm and serene peace of the night, knowing that man will forever quest for knowledge, for the ultimate truth, and hoping that others will be able to experience what he has.
On another night, many years later, though to the moon and stars above, a mere instance in time, a man again sits outside, looking up to the sky. New lights have been added, manmade, a proof of their progress, of their prowess, and yet the man, a man of science and understanding, who has all the knowledge of the known world accessible at an instant, still has a question.
“Tell me, what is out there?”
The moment I entered the smoky haze caused my eyes to sting slightly. It was the price to pay in this type of establishment, where less than savory meetings occurred, where one escaped from the properness of the world of light, and could partake in carnal pleasures. The acrid sting of smoke fills my nostrils, fighting against the cocktail of liquors assaulting my senses. I haven’t even had a drink, and already my mind is growing clouded, numbing, slow… exactly what I wanted.
“What’ll it be?” The Bartender, Jack, asks. It’s just another day from him, another night where he watches everyone come in, each person searching for something, or running from something, seeking solace in the bottle.
“The usual.” I don’t even look at him, my eyes having been drawn to the man I noticed as I sat. He wasn’t a regular, and something about him caused a stirring within. His features were strong, eyes dark, powerful. He raised a glass full of golden liquor to his lips, slowly, his eyes locked on mine, aware I was watching: something within me started to stir.
I watched as he took a sip, lips parting slightly as they pressed against the glass, his hand, strong, powerful, tipping the drink slightly back. I could imagine that hand on my throat, making me gasp as I stared hungrily into those powerful eyes: The stirring grew.
“Here you are Amy.” My long island, strong and flavorful, an easy way to get drunk fast. I grab the glass; it is still cold, the ice clinks. Without taking my eyes off of my prey, I walk towards him; my movements are slow, sensual, I am hungry.
“This seat taken?” My eyes are eating him up hungrily, moving from his dark eyes to his strong jawline, his neck which I picture biting, and I know as take in his strong chest, apparent underneath the buttoned shirt he is wearing, I am biting my lip in anticipation.
“Only if you want it to be.” His voice is deep, sexual. He knows exactly what I want, he wants it to.
I sit down, my exposed back against the bar, crossing my long legs deliberately in front of him, the slit of my silk dress revealing a hint of what is to come. He eyes me longingly. I lean forward, exposing more of my soft, plump breasts, teasing him. I take a sip of my drink, letting the cool liquid flow through me, savoring it.
“What’s your name?” I ask, wanting to hear his voice again, and I need to know what I will be screaming out later that night.
“Brad.” Short, simple, he doesn’t make another sound, he just watches me, like a hunter eyeing its prey. I can feel the longing, the promise of what is to come: excitement to flow through me. I down half my drink, letting the liquor flow through me, encouraging it to take hold. It flows through me; cold at first, the familiar warmth following slowly. I reach out towards him, a light touch, my finger stroking his strong chin, feeling the stubble of a beard, rough, powerful, sexual. His hand brings his drink to his mouth, he doesn’t move away from my touch, but he doesn’t respond to it either, he just watches me as he takes a sip. This causes even more stirring within, and I feel myself becoming further aroused, eager.
I can feel moisture growing between my legs, preparing for when his hard cock will enter me. The thought of him on top of me, pressed against me, causes me to squirm. His hand is large enough to hold both my wrists tight, and I imagine him pinning me down, taking me. His dark eyes lock onto mine, and a small smile plays across his face. He knows what he is doing, is no stranger to what he is about to do to me, and I am extremely willing. He takes my hand, which was still on his face, in his, his skin calloused and hard, rough, just how I like it, and he stands.
“Let’s go.” It’s not a question, but a statement, a command, he is in charge, and exactly how I want it. I look down; eye his leather belt, imagining it tied around my hands, the only accessory on me as I lie naked, breasts exposed, nipples hard, feeling his strong cock thrusting hard into me. I almost moan at the excitement. I stand with him, not saying a word, and let him lead me out, to one of the hotel rooms that exist across the way, a normal place for such encounters.
I wake in the morning, he is gone, which is good, it was a one night fling, just an escape for both of us. I grimace as I stand, he was rough, I’m raw and sore, but it was worth it. I look at myself in the mirror, noticing I will need to hide the bruises on my neck, wondering how I’ll explain the marks on my wrist, reminders of his belt, of being tied up. I smile lightly to myself, knowing he will have some marks of his own to cover up, his back was torn and bleeding when I was done with it, have grasped it tightly as he made me scream in pleasure and pain. It is Sunday, I know, I have the day to recover and work to hide my marks, before I return to the world above, the world of proper and professionalism, though already my mind is drifting, the stirring beast within slumbering, yet dreaming of when the week will end, and I return to the world of carnal pleasure.
Daddy Loves You
People say when you are close to death your life flashes before your eyes. Right now, in this moment, as death creeps up on me though, I have to say that statement is false. I am a bit ahead of myself though, so allow me to rewind just a little.
We were driving home, it is my daughter’s eighth birthday, and for her party, as always, we went to Chuck E. Cheese’s. This was a tradition her mother, my late wife, Rebecca, started. Every year we would go to Chuck E. Cheese’s, the food was subpar and overpriced in my book, but Rebecca and Amy, that’s our daughter, would laugh and play, enjoying all the different games. I couldn’t help but smile at the two, my beautiful girls, the loves of my life.
Rebecca passed away last year; she lost a battle to cancer: it has been hard on the both of us.
I almost forgot Amy’s birthday, I feel that I haven’t been the father I should to her, but it had been hard. Doctor’s bills stacked up, I had to work extra, had to hire sitters to watch Amy when she wasn’t in school, and some nights, my grief pushed me towards the bottle. Last night, as I fished around for another bottle of liquor, in a haze, I happened to glance at the calendar, tomorrow was February 16th, and my mind felt a nagging, Amy’s birthday.
So I woke this morning, called in sick to work, and did what I should have been doing since Rebecca’s death, spent time with my daughter. I took her to the mall, walked around the shops; we even went into one of those Build-a-Bear shops. She insisted I record a message into the bear, so she could always have me with her, and she made me promise to never leave her like mommy had.
“Daddy loves you.” I said, my voice struggling not to choke. Rebecca was stronger than I was, she was better at this.
We headed to Chuck E. Cheese’s later in the afternoon, the cool breeze and darkening clouds foreboding, a snowstorm was coming, but I was determined to keep to the tradition. Amy insisted on bringing the bear with her, holding it tight as she sat in the front seat, eyes full of excitement, though I could tell, as she hugged the bear tightly, she was thinking of her mom. “Daddy loves you.” The bear said, breaking the radio silence, my voice.
Chuck E. Cheese’s was the same as it had always been, but as we sat there, eating the cardboard pizza, I could tell we were both missing Rebecca. I walked up the counter, bought extra tokens, and took Amy to all her favorite games, determined to make her birthday a happy one. She started to lighten up, to laugh, and her smile made me smile, warmth flooding through me. She carried the bear with her to each game, and would occasionally hug it. “Daddy loves you.”
It was dark when we left, the snow had picked up, visibility was poor, and ice was already starting to coat the roads. I turned on the radio, country music soothing the car, heater on, and soon Amy was starting to fall asleep, though as her eyes grew heavy she looked at me. “I love you Daddy.” She said in a sweet voice, and as I opened my mouth to respond, she squeezed her bear.
“Daddy loves you.”
I smiled, and when her breathing slowed I could tell she was asleep, and so I focused on the road. The going was slow, my headlights reflected back at me, blinding at times, and I silently cursed the bad luck. My mind, though it should be focused on the road, began to drift, thinking of how much Amy looked like Rebecca, wishing she were here with me. The warmth of the heater was soothing, urging my mind to roam, my eyelids grew heavy, from the strain of focusing, or the lull of sleep, I wasn’t sure.
A horn sounded, my heavy lids shot open, I saw bright lights, a semi, heading towards me. I yanked the steering wheel, slammed the breaks, but the icy roads had a different idea. We spun out of control, panicked filled me, my hand shot out against Amy, who was starting to stir, I pushed the bear. “Daddy loves you.” We hit a pole, darkness.
Sirens, they sound muffled, so far away, my eyes open groggily, my body is heavy. I try to look, I see blues and reds flashing, windshield, cracked and shattered, the airbags deployed, that’s good. I try to unlock the seatbelt, try to look towards Amy, I feel a sharp pain. I look down, there is a piece of metal sticking out of my chest, and I try to breath, pain. My head turns slowly, the pain will not keep me from making sure my daughter is alright, and there Amy is, the bear keeping her head safe from the impact of the air bag, likely helping cushion the blast. She seems groggy though, like she is just waking. I wonder how long it’s been since I hit the pole. A man opens the door on her side, looks at her, then me, and I can see the pain in his eyes, he knows what I know. I won’t make it.
“Daddy…” Amy starts, looking from me to the man, the firefighter, who is starting to pull her out.
“It will be alright.” The words hurt; my world is already starting to fade. I give her a smile, she looks hesitantly at me, then grabs tightly to the bear. “Daddy loves you.”
The firefighter takes her, and as she leaves my sight, I feel the cold creeping, know death is imminent. It isn’t my life that flashes through my eyes as I close them though. It is Amy’s. “Daddy loves you.” I whisper with my last breath.
One Last Shot
Jack sat in the dark room, blinds closed, the only light a small candle he had set in the middle of the table. A crystal shot glass sat in front of him, its twin sitting across though the chair was empty. The shot glasses had been a wedding gift, from happier times, when Samantha was still with him. He had been different back then, proud of his accomplishments, proud he had joined the Marine Corps, full of life and vigor. Samantha was his high school sweetheart; they said their vows, enjoyed a few months of bliss, before he went off to war.
War had changed Jack he was no longer the man he had been. Samantha left him 6 months ago, saying she could no longer put up with the pain he was causing her. Why couldn’t she understand the pain he felt? He lifted the glass to his lips, felt the cold kiss of the crystal, the only kisses he was receiving anymore, and he tipped it back.
“The worlds fucked up.” Jack said, looking at the seat across from him as he poured himself another shot. “They don’t know what we’ve been through; they don’t know what we’ve seen.” He took another shot, preparing to pour another even as he set the glass down. Across from him a form appeared in his eyes, the form that haunted him, and the form that followed him around. His best friend, his brother in arms: Private First Class Lance Jones.
He and Jones went through boot camp together, entered as strangers, left as best friends and they were ecstatic when they went to the same unit. Jones’s wife and Samantha became friends. Before they left for war, everything was perfect. Jones and Jack had each other’s back as they went on patrol, and more than once, they came out of firefights together. Others fell around them, they watched friends die, but they remained unharmed.
“We had it good before the damned war. The fuck were we even doing over there…” He took another shot, and filled Jones’s glass as he refilled his own. “We had it good; why the fuck did we have to go…” Jones’s face just stared back at him, eyes which were once full of life, now cold, dead, judging. Jack felt his sorrow, his depression rising up again. Frantically he grabbed his glass, slammed another shot. “Damned PTSD.” He mumbled, pouring himself another. The alcohol was starting to flow through him, his mind was growing fuzzy: Jones was growing clearer.
Two weeks before they were set to go home, their convoy was ambushed. Thirty or forty insurgents came out of the buildings, bullets filled the air. Rat tat tat tat, the sound of an AK, once you’ve heard it once, you never forget the sound. The 50 Caliber Machine guns mounted on the back of their armored Humvees, answered the AK’s call. Explosions broke out; RPG rounds from the windows of the buildings, buildings that were already scarred from warfare. “We had two weeks left.” Jack whispered, his mind again going back to that battle, to the screams, the terror. He took another shot.
He and Jones took cover behind one of the Humvees, looking down the scopes of their M16s. they returned fire, each shot finding a target, watching as the bodies of insurgents crumpled one by one. As the fighting died down, their squad leader instructed the fire teams, groups of four, to clear out the surrounding buildings, checking for survivors. Standard procedure, clearing rooms was like second nature, but every time it brought along a sense of fear. Jones was selected as the point man, the first to go in. They cleared the first building, no problem, the second building, nothing; silence as other teams cleared other buildings. They came upon the last one, the frag was thrown into the room, Jones rushed in, Jack followed suit. Muzzle flash, Jones brought his rifle up; one last shot rang out, and then nothing. The world stopped, Jones hit the ground, but Jack didn’t hear the sound, he was on autopilot. He rushed to Jones, knowing the rest of the fire team was searching for other insurgents, ensuring there was no other threat. In his hands, Jack held Jones, felt the blood.
He took another shot. “Two fucking weeks… Why did it have to happen then? Why the fuck did you have to be the point man, why you, why not me.” The room was growing dark, only the table, the candlelight, Jones, and the liquor remained.
Jones was on the ground, blood rushing out of a wound in his throat, his eyes already blind to the world, his breathing drawing in no air, causing blood to gurgle out of the wound. Jack called for a corpsman, but he knew it was already too late. They had two weeks left; Jones was already planning a trip with his wife, and their newborn child. He would talk about it late at night, the excitement in his air, they were almost home. Now Jones was dead, and Jack had to return home, how he could look Jones’s wife in the eyes, how could he live with himself? His body returned home, but he died then and there with Jones.
Another shot, the world was starting to spin; Jones was solid, looking at him, judging him. “One last shot then, for old times?” He reached down; his hand felt the cold grip of his pistol: he and Jones had matching ones, bought before they left for the war. He knew it was loaded; he had loaded it before he started drinking. Slowly he raised the pistol to his head, his eyes locked on Jones. “You weren’t the only one that died that day.” Jones raised his glass, tipped it to Jack. Jack smiled, a sad smile, his finger felt the weight of the trigger as he pulled. “One last shot then…”
Story to Write
I sit down, pen in hand, put it to paper, my story to write.
“Jon sits down, puts pen to paper, a story to write.”
You sit down, put pen in hand, pen to paper, and begin to write your story.
I sit down, pen in hand, put it to paper, my story to write.
A Knight’s Tale
“Are you sure about this?” I ask, looking at my companion, Sarah. Her features are masked, the campfire casting strange shadows, yet even as her face continues to shift, she is beautiful. Her features are slim, I can see them as clear as day, blue eyes sparkling with life and mischief; brown her falling in playful curls around her face, nestling gently on her shoulders. She smiles, and I know her lips are red, full of life, her teeth, pure as snow.
“I’m never sure Matt, you know that.” She laughs, music to my ears, a chime signaling the butterflies within to awake. She moves next to me. Her hand, soft, delicate, pure, finds mine.
“We could be killed.” I reply, tightly squeezing her hand, knowing that my hands were opposite of hers, rough from years of hard labor, scabbed from conflict, and covered, forever, in the blood of those I had slain.
“I would die without you.” Her head finds the crevice between my neck and shoulder, and she nestles it there. Her body is against mine, her warmth melding with mine, and butterflies hasten their flight, filling me with their restlessness.
“You could die with me.” My voice is hoarse; I fight back the flurry of emotion, damned insects causing such a commotion within. I feel tears start to well within my eyes, I know that I have doomed her, damned the one I love. I’m such a fool.
“I am only alive with you.” The fire crackles as she speaks, and I can hear how content she is. Whenever Sarah makes up her mind, there is no changing it. Why she chose me, I know not, but I am glad she did.
“How long do we have left?” We had been running for days, and tonight, as the dogs howled at the scent, closer, as always, we decided to stop running. Sarah was betrothed to a prince, but she loved me. I was a knight, not a low status by any means, but definitely not a prince. She could have been happy, pampered, safe…
“A moment with you is equal to a lifetime of happiness.” She looks into my eyes, and for a second the world fades away, there is only her. “Do not forget that I chose this as well. The blood is on equally on my hands.” Her prince found out about us, he came to us, found us hidden away in the barn, wrapped in a lovers embrace. He was raised in the court, taught in the sword, and so he demanded we separate…at sword point. Sarah defied him, he hit her, and I reacted. Without warning I was upon him, my massive form easily bearing down upon him, years of training, actual combat, allowing me to easily overcome him. By the time we had dressed, the guards were upon us, with the Prince’s sword I cut them down, and we fled upon stolen horses.
“No, this is my sin to bear; I went against my oath as a knight. I broke my vows…” Her lips find mine, stopping me as I descended to darkness, the butterflies a frenzy within.
“Your only vows are to me, to our love. Did you break those?” She kisses me again, her soft lips finding mine, gentle, soothing. I pull her closer; drink her in with the kiss, taste a promise of a what is to come. She bites lightly my lower lip as she pulls away, eyes playful, wanting.
“No, nor will I ever.” My voice is heavy, hungry. My body is awake with fire, with passion, the campfire crackles and roars.
“Good.” She leans in for another kiss, pulls me tightly into her embrace, and I respond in kind. So caught up in each other, I ignore the sound of the branches cracking, our pursuers are upon us.
“I love you.” She says heavily, full of love and emotion, though the hint of sadness evident as well. Half clothed, our bodies dance with moonlight and shadows, the only witnesses as crossbows click, our hunters claiming their prey.
“I love you too.” I grunt, the wooden shafts entering my body, piercing soft flesh with cold tips. My large frame covers Sarah, protecting her as more clicks sound.
“Matt!” She cries out, struggles, she is aware of what I’ve done. Even in the clutches of passion, I had been wise enough to maneuver her to the ground, aware of the fact that I could cover her body with mine, protect her.
“Live a little longer, for the both of us.” My breath is coming short; her eyes are filled with tears, as are mine. The butterflies are gone, replaced with coldness, emptiness; the void has claimed them all. My eyes fall upon Sarah’s face, ashen, horrorstruck, full of sorrow, yet still beautiful. I close my eyes, loathe to release the sight of her, yet my eyelids were too heavy to keep open. I hear voices; they are muffled and distant, I hear Sarah screaming, full of sorrow. She is royalty, she will be safe, I was the criminal, I shed the Princes blood. My eyes try to open, I long to see her one last time. I see the campfire get kicked, and the fire fades away, as does my life.