100themes38: AbandonedHe doesn't know why he did it. Maybe it was for the bragging rights. Maybe it was because he wanted to know what everyone was so afraid of. Maybe it was because he wanted to prove how brave he was. Or maybe, just maybe, it was because of a little ghost girl, and a years-ago game of tag in the woods.
Whatever the reason behind it was, he's beginning to be not entirely sure that breaking into a supposedly haunted abandoned insane asylum was a very good idea.
For one thing, the place seems as if it's near to falling apart. The floor creaks under his feet, and the brickwork of the walls crumbles away as he runs his fingers along them. There's the occasional sharp cracking noise, as another slate rattles from the roof and smashes on the paving stones of the courtyard, and the wind's whistling through the broken windows, setting the lighter doors squeaking on their hinges.
It's creepy enough as it is, even before he begins to hear the voices.
At first he's not sure what they're saying
Her BirthdayShe was perfect.Her Birthday3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
But then, that was hardly surprising. He had created her to be.
In scientific terms, she was a marvel of genetic engineering. A manmade wonder, harbinger of a new line of beings who were more than superhuman - they could hardly be called anything resembling human at all. Humans were weak, unreliable, prone to disease and unprofitable mutation. They were slow, practically deaf and blind when compared to any other predator, lacking a sense of smell strong enough to be of any use, lacking the claws and teeth to bring down an enemy when unarmed, lacking and deficient in almost every respect. Soft. Pathetic. Breakable. Prone to unwanted emotion.
She was perfect.
She had not been so when he started work, of course. He had wanted an existing model to base his improvements on, not a test-tube grown creature, and she had fit the bill for that quite admirably. So had many others, at the beginning, but the experiments and augmentation had proven all but her defecti
OmegaIn the hollow of my hand, I hold eternityOmega4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Cupped between dicebox bones and meatslab muscles,
Piano-string tendons and chopstick phalanges,
Shimmering black mercury, meltwater-cold, pools in my palm.
Here, standing at the rough seam of the world
Feet in the ocean, waves breaking on my knees
I hold a microcosm of realities
Here, where shore meets sea, where sky meets land
Where the stars flicker out, one by one,
Leaving empty night in their wake
And darkness, seeping in through pores and mouth and ears and eyes,
Curls tight and scarring round our bones
Leaving curlicues of black burnmarks,
Like ink from a demented writer's pen,
Scratching the final epilogue to a long-overdue-ending
I stand, and hold an infinite universe between my fingers
And let the world come crashing down.
MCitR: Bright Lights, Big CityOnce, he supposes, cities lit up at night.MCitR: Bright Lights, Big City2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He's seen the pictures. Nyok, back before it all came down, every street and house and skyscraper blazing like a torch. Svega, all neon signs and light-up billboards a mile long, more like a fever-dream than anywhere anyone'd actually go to. Lun-over-the-sea, with the Circle lit all round the rim like a targeting reticle. Cuver, Aussin, Scow, you look hard enough and you'll find pictures of 'em all, each as bright and shiny as if they'd had a hundred thousand base-generators powering 'em up.
Nice bright shiny targets, the way he sees it. Not as if there weren't wars back then, either - hell, they'd planes and bombers to spare. Drones, too, and not the crappy tin-cans the Arkei've got scouting the places out neither. Proper NTF-style kit, with twice the money and a good deal more time spent on the tech.
No wonder it all came down. Light yourselves up like that, you're practically shouting your location to the nearest bunch of bastards who want
Come AwayCome away with meCome Away2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
And I will show you
A wellpond of silver
Pulled down from the moon
Come away with me
And I will show you
The sunlight at midnight
The starlight at noon
Come away with me
And I will show you
A kiss from a dead man
Drowned seven long years
Come away with me
And I will show you
A gown from a gallows-tree
Woven of tears
Come away with me
And I will show you
A necklace of rubies
All set in grave-lace
Come away with me
And I will show you
A song with no singer
A love with no face
A door with no hinge and
A time with no place
Gisborne's Leather TrousersGuy of Gisborne in his chamberGisborne's Leather Trousers5 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Sat alone and wrote a letter
Wrote a letter to his tailor
Wrote it on the finest parchment
In his best and neatest writing;
Tailor, make for me some trousers
Flattering and stylish trousers
Like no others seen in Sherwood
Make them tight and figure-hugging
Make them black and slightly scary
Make them snug and rather shiny
And, to make them extra kinky,
Tailor, make them out of leather.
Make them of the softest leather
So they do not chafe unduly
In uncomfortable places.
Make me too a matching jacket
With unnecessary buckles
Bits and straps and hanging laces
To suggest a hint of bondage,
And then, to complete the image,
Make for me a pair of gauntlets
With, for no apparent reason,
Many studs and shiny buckles.
If I am to be a villain
And to win the hearts of fangirls
I must have the right apparel
To accentuate my assets
And to woo my Marihaha,
Make her see what she is missing,
Hanging out with rustic yokels
With no style or sense of fashion.
Aftermath"Get the fuck away from me!"Aftermath4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Comes out of nowhere, the first time. Hits you in the back like the shockwave from a bomb-blast, and it takes you a few minutes afterwards to realise why your jaw hurts and your hands are shaking and there're eight dark crescents gouged into the flesh of your palms. Takes you longer to match that up with how they're looking at you, and it hurts when you realise.
Though it's cut through with anger, even now. Why the hell are they scared of you? What've you ever done to make them think you'd ever hurt them? For crying out loud, you're hardly an unknown bloody quantity (and that gets you thinking back, to faces in doorways and kids hiding behind their mothers and sisters - hard to tell which was which, sometimes - and those wide eyes staring silently at the strange men with guns marching into their villages. That fear made sense. Didn't mean you liked it. But it made sense.)
Gets to the point, though, that you can recognise what sets it off. Make
Snow and AshesIt seems like nothing, at first. A few flakes.Snow and Ashes3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"It's snowing," she says, quietly, voice filled with child-like wonder even in the middle of all this.
He lifts his head, peeling an eyelid open. "No." His voice is rough. Rougher than before, forced out through parched throat and cracked lips. "City's burning, kid. 's ashes."
She tastes the snowflakes on her tongue, and smiles, but her eyes are wet. "Look." She holds a handful out to him. "See?"
The smoke stings his eyes. He turns away, hiding his own tears.
She watches the sunrise glowing over the snow.
He watches the city burn.
The WalkerThe man with the lantern was tired, bone-tired, tired beyond reason. Yet he walked.The Walker3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He did not remember when he had started his journey. He did not know when, if ever, he would finish it. He did not remember where he had started from, or where he was travelling to, or why it had been so important, so necessary, that he must go. He did not remember his age. He did not remember his name. He did not know who he was, save one detail only.
He was the Walker.
So he walked.
The blood squelched in his boots, running from his rubbed-raw heels to pool under the worn and blistered soles of his feet. Yet he walked. In the day, the sun seared the back of his neck, raising red welts that scratched bloody against his collar. Yet he walked. In the night-time, the cold wind blasted the sand against his face, blinded him with grit, choked him with dust. Yet he walked.
He carried with him three things only: a canteen of water, a pistol with one bullet, and a lantern that never seemed to go out.
He did no
Resolution Diary2007Resolution Diary3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Make first million after starting own business.
Applied for a loan. Declined due to excessive account activity. Note: Constant purchasing of rare (albeit mint) wicker chairs is not conducive to bank balance. Wife insistent on selling wicker chairs to find money to start business.
Bought new donut recipe book. Learnt how to make category hard donut, 'Diamond Swizzler'. Delma loves them.
James offered to lend the money if he can become a business partner. Potential.
First million still a long way off. Wife still nagging.
Spent savings on replacing the roof of the conservatory when neighbor's tree uprooted in the November storm.
Update: Dogs should never be fed over two donuts a day. Next Year's Resolution likely…? Find enough money to take Delma to the vets. And make more realistic resolution idea.
Find an appropriate business idea.
The extremely short storyI once heard the tale of a man who had the whole universe inside his throat.The extremely short story3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Was he a giant?" someone asked.
I thought for a second.
"No," I said. "He was a storyteller."
ConversationI envy the people who can talk to strangersConversation4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Jealous of the words flowing from their mouths, like water from a tap
Crystal clear, contained, constant
My own tap's faulty - words happen in drips
Another and then a spray of words, too much information, too many, overloading, watching eyes glaze over and grasping for some way to switch off the water but the words keep happening and then-
I work from a script, when I can
"How are you?"
"Fine, thanks. You?"
Any request for information
Is a veiled desire to talk about themselves
Give short answers, and always ask the question back
Some things are code - words don't mean what they say
If someone asks an opinion, they don't want an honest one
If they disparage themselves, disagree. Compliment.
Give people the answers they want, or need.
If they ask you about your interests, be very very careful
They don't want to know, not really
It's politeness only - a few lines should suffice.
Tread softly, oh so soft
RestRest here in my armsRest3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
And I will hollow out a space for you
In the warm caverns of my chest
In the strong castle of my bones
In the starred nighttime of my soul
Rest next to my heart
Rhyming CoupletsCouplets flap on broken wingsRhyming Couplets3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Uncouth, ungainly, gangly things
A rhyming form that limps along
And almost always comes out wrong
For comic verse it's good enough
For epic verse it's rather rough
A tragic couplet sometimes fits
Dramatic couplets work in bits
A short line
Can work fine
But writing staccato
Only goes so far to
Disguise the rank simplicity
Of the rhymes in the vicinity
It works in comic opera very well
But in dramatic works it jars like hell
The couplet form, in truth, is a menace to our craft
Insist on using couplets and your poetry sounds daft
They're workable in contexts where they'd usually be found
And there are clever bastards who can even make them sound
Appropriate in place where you'd never think to find 'em
But by and large the couplets hide a weaker will behind 'em
There're ways and means to use 'em, but I think you must concede
That it's better to avoid 'em if you've no especial need
To allow couplets admittance to your own scholastic sanctum
For the gents and
Love and AnachronismsPoetic forms all seem too much confinedLove and Anachronisms1 year ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
To catch the lightning spark that fires your thought
A paradox - that they'd seem too refined
When sharp refinement's by your thinking caught
You shape yourself in half-fantastic past
And dream in brass and copper, cogs and steam
But nail a stranger future to the mast
And set your sail towards that distant gleam
I cannot hope to match your racing mind
Nor catch it in a net of stuttering verse
Your brightness shines beyond my wit to bind
My words dissolve, the syllables disperse
A writer, caught without a word to say,
Save that my love has stole my voice away.
LARP (fragment)Though a form of foam and latex serves for sword or axe or spearLARP (fragment)3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
And our armour's by and large made out of tin
For five hours every weekend, six full weekends every year
We're a world away from where we've always been
We are villains, traitors, heroes, we are ordinary men
We are soldiers, surgeons, priests and scholars too
And until the fighting's done and we pick up 'real life' again
We've a hundred other things we've got to do
Sort this - sort that - take a report from the scout
Order your arms and armour, look to your tent and shrine
Kit up - look sharp - ready yourselves to move out
Mutter a prayer to the gods above
And hold - hold the line!
So we're shouting 'double strikedown' and we're shouting 'single through'
And we're counting every second on the floor
And half of us have faces that are half held on with glue
And more than half are covered in fake gore
And later, when the battle's done, we'll have a drink or two
And laugh ourselves half sick at what went on
But we're c
The Solipsist's LotThere's something about yourself that you don't know. You probably don't remember the circumstances very well, but I do. If you enjoy things the way they are, if you revel in even the smallest speck of ignorance, you need not read ahead. I won't force you. But from what I know of you, you don't like secrets. Especially not when they are about you.The Solipsist's Lot4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You see, when you were born, so at once was everyone else. Your mother, she sprang into existence, just like that, the instant your tiny infant brain achieved the smallest semblance of self-awareness. Woven out of the ether, she remembered everything that never happened, and she looked down at you, cradled and squirming in her loving arms.
"Oh," she said. "So here is life."
The doctor was there too, although a moment before if there ever was a moment before he was not. He just nodded, smiling assuredly, and said, "Here is the beginning."
The MedicIt's awful bloody hard, when you're coughing on the smokeThe Medic4 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
And your clothes are dripping through with blood and sweat
And it's awful bloody hard when you're half-about to choke
And you're damn near down as low as you can get
But you'll grit your teeth and take it,
And by all the gods you'll make it
And you'll pull some other poor sod through the pain
And you'll swear and snarl and scold him
On the brink of death you'll hold him
Then you'll stagger out and do it all again
For there's no rest for the wicked when the bullets rip the air
And there's always bodies falling up ahead
And we're running low on medics and we've no-one else to spare
So you're out among the wounded and the dead
So you'll slog through dirt and muck
Pulling bodies from the ruck
And you'll try with every ounce of strength you've got
'Mid the stench and grime and gore
And the bloody hell of war
To save the beaten, maimed and slashed and shot
But there's always bodies falling, when the guns begin to roar
And there's some
PrisonerYou always knew they'd fuck you over. Never any doubt. Civilians playing at being 'heroes', with no idea of how badly what they were doing was going to blow up in their faces. Either that, or they just didn't care.Prisoner2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
And you went along with them anyway. How's that for loyalty?(Or stupidity, you admit. Very possibly stupidity.) And hey, look where it got you. Who's surprised?
Nothing much you can do about it now, though. Said your piece, tried your arm at diplomacy (and you were never much good at that to begin with. Too fond of saying what you thought, always have been. And look where it got you), and all for what? A load of empty promises about how they're going to treat you honourably, a deal done when their commander's back was turned, and a bunch of stupid bastards selling you up the river for information you haven't got and wouldn't give them if you had it.
At least you're not dragging anyone else down with you. Two dead bodies is bad enough (and where were you, when they fell? Why
RenovationsThey will come again, and when they do, the others will hide.Renovations2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Mr. Brown will curl up in his hole in the eaves. The Wife in the crawlspace, and I'll be here, clutching my dear ones close. I'm wrapping my legs around them, and I can hear them fidget against the soft sac, their little tremors not unlike the desperate throes of flies, but warm, beautiful. It won't be long now. Now is the tender time. Soon I'll wear them on my back, and we can leave this place. But not yet. Not yet. Now is the time when a swift strike would kill them, and me with them. I will not leave.
I can't leave. I've hidden as well as I can. A small shadow between the braces under the mantel, where their lights don't penetrate. At least not yet.
Too much light. Too many sounds. They come with their sounds, with their fangs at the ends of their legs, shooting explosions into the walls, toppling everything. They are giants. They grumble at each other, tear up the floors, rip down the lights. Destroy everything that has
The Business of Murder"Well, now that we're through with the pleasantries, Mr. Daniels, I must ask: Why is it that you want to die?"The Business of Murder4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Joseph Daniels sighed and slumped down in his seat, the picture of unkemptness. His face looked tired, with large bags underneath his eyes and at least three days' worth of stubble. His hair was a mess, his clothes were disheveled. He seemed to exude an aura of despair.
He surveyed the room he was in, which was quite his opposite: neat, orderly, unremarkable. Blank, white walls, some filing cabinents, three windows looking out on downtown. He was sitting in a plain, wooden chair in front of a plain, wooden desk with merely a fake houseplant and laptop on top.
The woman behind the desk, typing notes on the laptop, was similarly forgettable. She was dressed in a black pantsuit, her dark brown hair in a bun. Her eyes were blue, but otherwise ordinary. She wore little makeup on her plain face. She was as unremarkable as the room, which was how she liked it.
She had introduced hers
NemesisShe stood on a beach as wide as eternity, and counted her toes.Nemesis4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
There were ten of them, which wasn't surprising - she had ten fingers, after all, and arms and legs had a sort of symmetry about them - and they wiggled in the sand like small pink moles, nosing blindly through the silver grains.
She lifted one foot, noticing the way her balance shifted to compensate, and brought it up just far enough that she could get a close look at the underside. It was covered in small deep lines, like contours on a map, and she traced them over with her fingers, giggling slightly at the tickling feeling the action provoked.
Her toes wiggled more, as if the moles were trying to get away from the tickling, and she stuck her tongue out at them. Silly toes.They didn't even have a proper use - not like her fingers, which could do all manner of things (sometimes without being told), or her eyes, which could see in every colour anyone had thought ever existed and some that they hadn't, or her arms or her le
VisionsThere's a saying among my people. It was something about how you have nothing to fear from a pond full of leeches, how it's not the pond's fault. I used to remember it a lot more clearly, but that was before the loss of cohesion.Visions4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The elders say I was sent as a warning of things to come. The medicine man never said much of anything. He waved his bones and feathers and trinkets around, he lit his grasses and fanned his smokes, and after singing his songs he just stared at me with a deep pity shining out from under his skeleton make up.
I am subject to visions. They are sudden and striking and painful to the point of debilitation. When they come, my senses stagger and die off. There is always a great sound like a huge zipper being pulled, and as it unzips, all other noises fade into nothingness. Gray static envelopes the edges of my visual field and creeps slowly and deliberately in, turning my surroundings to an indistinct slate.
I discovered this gift when I was fourteen. A robber had b
Lies to tell small childrenYou are five, when your father comes home for good.Lies to tell small children3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Small for your age, and quiet, you go unnoticed in the corner of the hospital room - you hear your father using far too many words you will later be very soundly told off for repeating, hear the doctors and nurses throwing longer words back and forth (you like the sound of them, even if you don't know what they mean. You think you might want to be a doctor one day, maybe). Eyes wide, you watch as they go about their business, wondering if that's what your father did out in Afghanistan (although you don't think Afghanistan is as clean and shiny as the hospital. Not from the pictures and the news on the TV.)
And, sometimes, when you've been so quiet even your parents have forgotten you're still there, you see your mother crying.
It's relief, she says, when you ask her about it. Just relief, and knowing he's going to be alright.
But, you say, he was always going to be alright. He said nothing was going to happen to him, didn't he?
Stockholm SyndromeThis morning tastes dry and dusty and alive andStockholm Syndrome2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the Australian sun is already pouring
on to my back, a thousand lashes for your crimes
I run, and run, and run, and the hot sand
burns my soft bare feet, shaping calluses
on my Scottish soles. My knees have dirt on
them. Every rushing breath from my lungs
sings of love.
This is not my country, and it never will be, no
matter how many fistfuls of red sand I grab and sift
through my dirty-nailed fingers, no matter how many
thorny little plants I tear up and press to the winter-white
bone-ridged skin of my chest.
The sand will slip away, the thorns will rip wincing-red
holes in me and I'll love them still.
I am an invader, a daughter of criminals sent from a gentle
rain-damp country far away. This land has got its revenge,
this land has captured the witless intruder and holds her tight.
I crane my pale, freckled neck.
I kiss the eucalyptus branches that dig into the soft
rose-blush of my cheek.
I dig my toes into the dirt.
I let myself