Now That It Is SeptemberSince the storm I have taken up a hobby of leaving the window open a crack during the night, either to listen to the rain or the wind coming off of the lake
I no longer reach for my phone with the crash of thunder
But I have left
Now that it is September I have let my hair grow long because I liked it better that way and I have taken the blue v-neck out of retirement
I am happy that I left
"You will fail," I was told
There is no intention of failing this year
Now that it is September I have turned red
My hair tangles too easily in the wind, but that's what happens when it gets long
There is a stranger leaning out of 1202's balcony tonight. Luckily being twelve floors above the city gives you the best view of the stars. The fog. And the moon. La lune. I force the balcony door open as far as it will go and lean against the railing, not afraid that my feet will slip between the metal bar and the track that the door follows.
Mono.One morning a black pillar appeared in the center of town, within the boundaries of the park and right outside of the library. It stood at least thirteen feet tall and was as wide as a mature oak. They deduced it was made out of some kind of polished stone. Some guessed it was obsidian; others argued it was too strong to be such a fragile stone. It could have been granite, but when was the last time you saw black granite in that quantity, and in that shape?Mono.3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"We should knock it down and drag it away!" someone shouted.
But they were too afraid to touch it.
"Why not just leave it here?" another suggested.
But they wondered what would happen if they didn't do anything at all.
Whoever put it there didn't do it alone. They'd need a truck to transport the thing, and they'd need some way to get it off the flatbed and stand it up straight. But why go to all of that trouble for a pillar of rock? Or was it part of someth
i had an out-of-body experience.I had an out-of-body experience at the age of thirty-one.i had an out-of-body experience.2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Every year between the ages of ten and eighteen, I sent a letter to NASA. I told them a little bit about myself, the same general description year after year, and always insisted that despite my medical condition, I would one day love to sail through the stars. My dream was to be out there in the universal abyss, exploring every unknown corner until we knew all that we could.
Art would taunt, “Sick kids don’t go to space” before Mom slapped the back of his shoulder with a spatula.
NASA was as nice as they could be, but the bottom line was that we all knew I couldn’t do it. The spaceship would need to have extra space just for the amount of medication and equipment I’d have to bring along, and that was if I could even survive the zero-gravity environment. Whoever wrote the responses encouraged me to keep dreaming, and boasted about donations the association made to various sickle cell charities.
The Silo Complex"You won't believe what I just saw in the field."The Silo Complex5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I sighed at Eloise in the doorway. "Another dead raccoon? How big was it this time? You know it's just maggots, right?"
"No, that wasn't it. I saw a man."
"Was it John?"
"It was a man, but it wasn't really a man. Almost a man."
"Almost a man?" She had recently taken to wandering in the fields under gray skies, thinking that she'd find her answers among the abandoned farm equipment and rows of dried corn husks. She never did. Just raccoons. I never heard anything about men who were almost men. "How can someone be almost a man?"
"Never mind. You don't believe me."
"Just tell me what he looked like."
"He looked like smoke."
I didn't realize what she meant until the next day when a woman who was almost a woman appeared outside the back door, peering through the window. She was in the form of a woma
A Door That Knocks From WithinI met her on accident.A Door That Knocks From Within7 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
I never got out much. I had an okay job in an okay building in the middle of an okay city. I kept it up because I couldn't live on nothing, but I also couldn't live off of nothing. I put on the same grey suit every day (dry cleaned on Saturday and picked up Sunday) and spent nine hours at a desk typing words into boxes.
I'd been there for four years and my supervisor didn't even know my name. I had good conscience that the only ones who did were Pierce, who I shared a cubicle with, and Bernice, who I shared a cubicle wall with.
No, this isn't all about Bernice. She was old, thick and leathery, and wheezed just standing up to peer over the divider and ask me if I wanted a cup of coffee. She reminded me of my aunt, my mom's older sister, who said she smoked to keep off the weight but was still fat.
This is all about Este.
The dry cleaner that I brought my suit to on Saturday was a man named Ti who spoke very little English
Regards, The Abortionist.A letter came in the mail from a return address I wasn't sure existed for some time. It still did; the address was the exact same. The handwriting was quick and short, and the request seemed simple enough. I put on my coat and found myself walking down the street under a thick grey sky, one hand in my pocket and the other keeping my hat from being claimed by the wind.Regards, The Abortionist.3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The buildings grew dirtier the further east I travelled. Grime crawled up the sides of the walls from the sidewalk, and the sewer drains gurgled with yesterday's waste. A homeless man in a tattered version of my own coat held a tin cup out to me, mumbling something about spare change. I gave him a handful of nickels and buttons and wished him well before arriving at the old brownstone.
The sign that had once stood in front was marred with rust and beaten up by time, all of the letters missing except for an M and a D.
A For Sale sign hung in the window in front of a thin white curtain.
I rapped a closed fi
The Unemployed Assassin“Why don’t you tell me why you’re here, Jim?”The Unemployed Assassin1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
I crossed my legs in an attempt to get comfortable, but it only made my sitting position worse. The fancy couches in Dr. Valencia’s office had less support than a deadbeat dad and she probably only chose them because it made the room seem like a still from a movie. It might have worked if I was a pretty young lady lounging about, but it only made me more uncomfortable.
“Well, I’m going to go to jail if I’m not here every week,” I replied. “That was the bargain.”
“That’s not really what I was asking about.” She knew the truth, but just wanted to get some sick satisfaction out of hearing me say it.
I kept my mouth shut and let her look like she was anticipating something for five minutes. If I could use up the whole hour doing that, I was set.
She tapped her fingers on her ledger. “You know, Jim, we’re having the
Star Dust.When Pop died, he'd already put his last affairs in order. The money was divided up equally among his six children, (most of) the jewellery was donated at his request and the house was to be sold to repay his final debts. We each got something by the end of it.Star Dust.3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"To Anjulie, I leave one of my most prized possessions." Though Tante Doralee read the will, I heard it in Pop's crinkled voice, smelling the words as the smoke of his cigars. "The bullet they pulled from my chest; I added the chain so I could carry it with me as a reminder of the horrors I've survived. Take it with you to the furthest reaches you travel, as I know you're headed for the stars."
He didn't know I literally was, and at the time, neither did I. Doralee dropped the piece into my open hand, adding under her breath, "If you ever lose this, no one will forgive you."
I wore it through my training in the Air Force, and I kept it around my neck when I test-f
MedusaI lost my virginity on the train tracks to a girl named Arietty. It had been her idea to do it in the shadow of an old factory where a weathered word on the back wall mumbled MEDUSA. One day after three glasses of scotch, my dad told me that in his day a whore that went by Polly Pocket used to operate there. She’d give all the boys handjobs over their pants; she was the real MedusaMedusa1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Arietty was the kind of girl who put on her lip gloss in class but wore sneakers year-round. We swore to each other that we would get married after going away to college—I was going north and she was going west—and live in the big city. I was naive back then, but I’d convinced myself that the orange-haired girl from second period math was the only one.
“I wonder how many trains have gone by this spot,” she whispered beneath me as I fumbled with my zipper. I was wondering how long I could last, but I didn’t tell her that.
The Knife In Your Mouth“Let’s try this again.”The Knife In Your Mouth1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
“Do we have to?”
I’ve met this guy before, somewhere along the line. He’s been with the precinct for months, probably transferred from a quieter one, which must be why he’s so up in arms about being in the city. The vein in his forehead has been bulging for two hours, and if I keep him any longer I’m sure it’ll burst. His last name has Pepper somewhere in it; I didn’t catch the full moniker only because I had my eyes on the upside-down heart of one of the junior officers.
“Listen, Jay. I don’t want to keep doing this. I just need some truth outta you before things get complicated. Paperwork, signatures, finger prints...it’s a mess. A nightmare. You don’t want it, and neither do I. So why keep this up any longer?”
He slides the picture across the table again, maybe hoping I’ll see something new, but it&
how to end the world in six words.Everything fell silent before the bang.how to end the world in six words.3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The Edge of Forever“It’s nothing serious, just a few murders.”The Edge of Forever9 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
That much should have alarmed me, but the woman I talked to on the dispatch line didn’t give away what should have deterred me. I took the job without question, partly because I needed the money, but mostly because her lack of information had sparked my curiosity. The Federation was notorious for keeping information from the public when things in the galaxy got sour, and I was willing to pucker up to see what was so serious about murders in the heart of the storm. The dispatcher’s memo about total confidentiality made it sweeter.
Travel was difficult the closer you were to the center of the Milky Way, but it wasn’t impossible. You just needed the right kind of ship, one that could escape the pull of so many stars and the black hole we all knew was there. There were still crazy bastards who wanted to study the radio waves, so the Sagittarius Station was constructed to sat
shelter from the storm.Love always held up the walls.shelter from the storm.3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
journey of an astronaut.On a lined piece of paper, an astronaut soars over blue parallels into the depths of space, headed for a distant moon somewhere behind the stars. A comet passes by along the way, glittering in greyscale and a friendly alien perched on top offers a warm wave. Welcome to my corner of the universe, I hope you are headed somewhere nice. The astronaut points in the direction his ship is headed and waves before speeding up, to be as fast as the light of a nearby sun is.journey of an astronaut.3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The mission is cut short by a thick wooden ruler slamming down on the piece of paper, now a puzzle of pencil lines, doodles of the stars and a few erased mistakes. It was undecided if the alien would have three eyes or four. The graphite is smudged all over the palms of the young girl wielding a yellow number two.
She is told that there is no reason to be doing this. She is to remove her head from the clouds and come back down to earth, so she may write out all of the words before he
We Were Made For Each OtherArtificial intelligence has made its leaps and bounds in the world of science. It is a thing of beauty, to be able to speak to a computer and have it competently speak back. It wasn't like the old days when you'd say a simple hello and simultaneously, the motherboard would begin to fry and the screen would ripple until it began to weep liquid crystal.We Were Made For Each Other5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I told the professors that I would make it work. I would make it so we could win every war and replace the failing factories with capable machines. Using the rewired brain of a former co-worker, I laboured night and day, soldering wires and programming parts of what others grew to dub my 'child.' I felt that naming him after my old friend would leave me emotionally attached to the project. After all, he was the one who told me this was all possible. His brain would enable the machine to think as a human, but it would not know of its former life.
Fable"Where'd you get a name like that?" I asked her, the night we first met.Fable3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
She shrugged nonchalantly at the question, like she'd heard it a thousand times before. "I was simply born to tell stories."
Fable found me at the bottom of another empty highball glass in the darkest corner of the bar, as she drank rye and water through a black plastic straw. Save for the drink, she didn't look like she belonged there. She was more like a lost college sophomore, her ID likely the top card in her wallet.
"Can I help you?" I groaned, my head held up by both of my hands. Elbows on the table; mother would not approve. She took a seat across the table, and introduced herself. I asked my question, she offered her remark, and I found myself asking her a third question in less than thirty seconds. "Can you tell me a story?"
The first tale she offered was of her entering the bar by herself. "This is a sad dive, that's for sure. There's not even a sign outside above the door. You leave it up to c
swear by the styx.I fell asleep listening to love songs and water pounding on the window pane.swear by the styx.2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It had been pouring rain for three long days, so water was gushing from beneath the manhole covers and the morning clouds were perpetually a canvas of rippled slate. Citizens had removed the wheels from their cars to happily use the hover option on their way to work. No one wanted their rims rusted.
The airships wouldn’t be flying again until the sky cleared, in the meantime we were stuck within the city walls. Some desperate souls had spoken of trekking into the outlands to continue work and play without being confined, but no one was that inane. They would be in the city until we were under clear skies again.
I’m stubborn, you know, and that’s why I insisted on walking over to your building through the dampness and the sludge. It came up to my knees in some places, particularly the troughs at the bottoms of hills. Motorists who passed me by, skimmi
Blister and Bleed.It was a lovely day when the disease came in. A third of the people within the town limits developed bursting pustules and bleeding sores.Blister and Bleed.2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
We put them all into a building with three nurses who had shown early symptoms themselves. But when they needed food and water, someone had to bring it to them. When they needed to bury their dead, one of us had to dig a hole. They were dying, but we still helped them.
Old John the undertaker began to blister and bleed after the fourth round of funerals. The disease gained momentum again and claimed those who were only trying to help.
"We can't do it anymore!"
"Why die for the dying?"
"We must do something!"
We did what we had to do. We rounded up anyone else who was getting sick and locked everyone in that building. We lit a dozen torches and burned that horrid place to the ground until the dying were long dead.
We never built anything new on the scorched earth, but the streets were no longer running slick
the world was built for two."Can I light you up?"the world was built for two.3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He catches me when I'm pulling my last cigarette of the night out from my clutch. I don't reply at first. I simply place the sin stick between my lips, give him a nod, and he flicks a similar make from somewhere inside his suit jacket. The first drag I take is a good one. It's a habit that's grown on me since I came to this city.
"Thank you," I breathe, exhaling smoke.
"Happy to help," he replies with a smirk. "The service here is terrible."
I snort a quick laugh and lift my eyes to the remains of the bartender. He's still standing after all of this time, though it won't be long until his femur finally gives in and he's reduced to another pile of bones on the floor. It's funny to think he died that way, but almost everyone left the world in the position they lived every day.
"What's a girl gotta do to get a vodka cran?" I giggle.
"This place has seen better days, believe me. Ba
Three Quarters.Grier Van Canne hasn’t been whole for a while.Three Quarters.2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Her eldest sister, Verity, finds her in her room one morning, trying to write a diary entry with her left hand. Grier’s fingers tremble as they cling to the pen, and the book below her gradually begins to slide away on the desktop.
“You’re still getting better at it,” Verity tells her from the doorway.
Grier shrugs. “You learn to write when you’re a kid, and fifteen years later you’ve got to learn all over again. It’ll take another fifteen to get it perfect.”
She shrugs once more, the stump of her right arm flailing with the motion. The doctors amputated it above the elbow, so Grier is without around seventy-five percent of her limb. Verity still has trouble with prolonged staring, though keeping her legs moving keeps her eyes from being fixed on the stump for too long.
Verity spots Shane's backpack at the bottom of the st
This Little Thing I Have Will Save Us All.The first round of patient zeroes came out of Fiji or Vanuatu or one of those other atolls in the middle of the Pacific, but it wasn’t more than an hour later that flesh was being eaten in Australia, Indonesia and China, and it continued spreading west. People in Montreal didn’t begin to panic at first because all air traffic was halted and the coastlines were fiercely guarded for any ships coming our way. We all thought that the east would be lost forever, but we would continue to thrive.This Little Thing I Have Will Save Us All.2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Then they washed up in the surf, eating their way through Florida and spreading from there. The zeroes seemed to take better to the Americas than the rest of the world, probably because all of the trees were the perfect cover from the sun. That was their one weakness, after all. The government began to endorse setting up UV lamps everywhere, harping that they only come out at night. We all changed our sleeping habits within a week, keeping watch
the journey."What if he stops?"the journey.3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This