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
Footnote To The ApocalypseThe day after the apocalypse, I read.Footnote To The Apocalypse4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I find a bookshop, one of the only buildings that hasn't been destroyed by the blast. The door is locked, but the front window has a hole in it , and my shirt-wrapped fingers manage to break away enough of the splinters to create some sort of entrance. For the first time in my life, I am thankful for being small.
My hands are bleeding when I get inside. My shoulder is too - there's a sliver of glass buried in it too deep to dig out - and the gashes on my chest have opened up again, but there isn't much I can do about those. I don't want to bleed on the books, that's all.
I don't have any bandages, so I cut up the rest of my sleeves and wrap my fingers in the fabric: not perfect, but it will stop the worst of the staining. Then, I hunt.
It isn't a targeted pursuit - I'm after anything that's unburned, unbroken, and with all the pages intact - but somehow a pattern starts to emerge in the pile I make under the kneehole of the desk (animal
Snow-girlShe is ice-cold, my snow-girl. Ice-cold, and snow-white, as beautiful as the frost-rimed spiderswebs lacing our tree. Ice-cold.Snow-girl2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I wrapped her in my coat - see? - but still she holds the Winter in her heart, clings to the ice and the snow and the frost and the steel-surgical-blue of the sky, blue as her eyes (roll back her eyelids, see for yourself. As blue as betrayal, my snow-girl's eyes), and she will not warm herself, no, not for all my asking.
I wrapped her in my coat, and I wound my scarf around her neck three times (you see? Three. Three is lucky. Three threes is magic, but my scarf is not that long), but still she holds the ice and the snow and the frost at the heart of her and she will not warm herself, no, not for all my pleading.
I wrapped her in my coat, and I wound my scarf around her neck, and I covered her feet (you see? Such tiny feet, my snow-girl has. So small. Like doll's feet, china-white), but still she holds the Winter in the heart of her, and she will not wake and
Words like wingsI caught a bird, the other day. Opened my window, leaned out, and there it was, right in front of me. Almost like it wanted to be grabbed. Strange little thing, all bones and breath and that frightened heartbeat thudding against my fingers - and warm, warm as blood.Words like wings2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I cradled it in my hands and, fingers cupped tight around it, pulled my arms back in and tugged the window closed with my elbow. Not locked, mind you - just closed enough it wouldn't fly away the moment I let it go. Not before I'd had a chance to look at it, anyway.
I sat down, back against the wall. Opened my hands.
The bird stood there, balanced on the platform of my overlapping palms, tilted its head on one side and looked at me.
I looked back. It was a strange kind of a bird, all told - unblinking little black eyes, red-tipped claws, and feathers that, once I looked closer, looked more than a little odd.
It tilted its head to the other side, eye fixed on my face. Hopped closer on my palms. Spread its wings
Her BirthdayShe was perfect.Her Birthday2 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
A Mouthful of SandThere's sand in his mouth.A Mouthful of Sand4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He's not sure why there's sand in his mouth - hell, he's not sure of anything at the moment, beside the fact that he seems to be alive (and even that's up for debate) - but sand in his mouth there most definitely is, coating his teeth and tongue in a gritty metallic-tasting sludge that he realises, with an odd sort of detachment, tastes a good deal more like blood than it would probably be expected to.
So, he thinks, after a moment's hazy contemplation, there's blood in his mouth.
This puts a new spin on things.
For a start, the blood has to come from somewhere (unless it's someone else's, which makes the whole situation suddenly a whole fuckton more problematic).
He probes the inside of his mouth cautiously with his tongue and, to his surprise, finds a definite lack of missing teeth or open wounds. The inside of his bottom lip appears to be split slightly, however, and a tentative attempt to breathe through his nose reveals the source of the re
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
OmegaIn the hollow of my hand, I hold eternityOmega3 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.
The Brass MonkeyThe aether-lamp glittered blue through the bottom of the bottle, winking like a trapped palette-swapped firefly. It looked, Clay thought, about as happy as he felt.The Brass Monkey2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Sixteen years. Sixteen bloody years, and what did he have to show for it? A busted hand, a plate riveted across the top of half of his skull, a bionic eye that spent half the time wandering off after whatever particularly shiny thing had caught the mechanism's fancy, and an empty bottle of something that he was pretty sure would have been thrown out of a whorehouse for peddling overly blatant lies about its content and virginity.
On second thoughts, the firefly looked a hell of a lot happier than he felt. It had the comfort of being fictional and therefore able to stop existing whenever the hell it felt like it. Clay, by contrast, was as real and solid as his namesake - and about as useful in the current world, it was turning out.
Ob-so-lete. He tipped the bottle up, watching the last dregs of liquid ooze down the murky gla
Snow and AshesIt seems like nothing, at first. A few flakes.Snow and Ashes2 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.
SnapIf I don't existSnap2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Surely it won't hurt you
If I shatter the bones in your face
And if I'm just a lie
Surely you won't notice
If I put you back down in your place
And if I'm just a myth
Surely it won't scare you
That you don't even know I'm around
And if I'm just pretend
Surely it won't harm you
If I put you away in the ground
And if I'm none of these things
And I'm something quite different
A person, just like one of you
Does that scare you so much
That you'd maim us and kill us
For proving your worldview untrue?
AnnieThere was this old woman who used to live under the bridge across the street from my building. She smoked like a chimney, and spent all of the money she got on cigarettes, so we'd all take turns bringing her coffee and bagels, or a sandwich, or spaghetti or something. She never talked to anyone. I think she was mute. I think she had Tourette's, too, because she had this funny little twitchy thing going on all the time, and she would make weird noises that weren't actually words.Annie4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
And she was an artist. She made these fun sculptures out of clothes hangers and things she found in the dumpster. She would build them overnight, then after a couple of days they'd disappear. I don't know whether the city came and picked them up, or she took them somewhere or what.
And then she died. I wasn't the one who found her. It was Shane From Upstairs who was taking her a plate of leftover barbecue and saw that fuck, she's not moving. And he put down the plate and rolled her over, and sure enough, she wa
The WalkerThe man with the lantern was tired, bone-tired, tired beyond reason. Yet he walked.The Walker2 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
Aftermath"Get the fuck away from me!"Aftermath3 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
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
Resolution Diary2007Resolution Diary2 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.
Love and AnachronismsPoetic forms all seem too much confinedLove and Anachronisms9 months 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.
Gisborne's Leather TrousersGuy of Gisborne in his chamberGisborne's Leather Trousers4 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.
Shifter's Sands"You know," I say, digging through the rubble on the fourth day after the earthquake, "I didn't sign up to this to be a construction worker."Shifter's Sands3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Fourteen rolls his eyes at me (at least, I assume they're his - he and Tag share the same colour irises, but the rest of him looks like Fourteen). "You think we did?" he asks, hefting a piece of rebar and tossing it onto the mountain of junk we've collected. "I thought this was going to be one of those chance-of-a-lifetime deals. You know - the whole 'use your powers for good' superhero schtick?"
"Yeah, yeah." I can hear Finch sniggering to himself, but I keep a straight face. For all Fourteen's a geek and a nerd and everything else you could sling at him, he's hit the nail on the head with that one. "I got the whole 'join up and serve your nation' thing pinned on me. Like the shifter thing was something I ought to be using for the greater good instead of 'wasting'."
I hadn't been wasting it, of course. If anything, I'd been using it better than
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."
Perfect ContritionIn a proper Catholic church, everything echoes. Any sound uttered within the building bounces of the floor and the walls and the high, vaulted ceilings, so much so that I imagine that they could easily reach the ears of God himself. It's a rather poetic thought, the voices of mere mortals ringing towards Heaven with the help of good acoustics, but that thought's tempered by the fact that it includes every single noise: the coughs of emphysemic old men, the rustling of an impatient young girl's dress, and the taps of even the softest rubber-soled sneakers are no exception. On rainy days like this one, those shoes tend to squeak, which probably hurts God's ears as much as it does mine. If I didn't feel like I had to be here today, the noise would be enough to drive me out the heavy double doors.Perfect Contrition3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I didn't make it in time for Massand I honestly wasn't in a rush for it anywayso the church is mostly empty save for the few waiting in line for the confessional. This church h
EscalationNo-one remembers how it started any more.Escalation2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Perhaps it was a suicide bomber. A dead prisoner. An execution. Torture. Maiming. Mutilation. Humiliation. Some abuse of human rights and dignity that toppled the first domino, forged the first link in the chain. Something big, important, newsworthy. Something the world shuddered at. Something that made sense.
Or perhaps it was something small. A dead child. A crippled friend. A burned-out house. Friendly fire. Blue on blue. Collateral damage. Accidents happen. Something so small, in the grand scheme of things, that barely anyone noticed. Something easy to cover up. Something the world barely even gave a thought to.
Something so big, to one, two, three, four people, that they'd do anything for a chance at revenge. Something they would kill for, bleed for. Something they would die for. Something that made sense.
No-one remembers how it started.
We all know how it ended - with fire, and blood, and the world we had built an empty and broken ruin.
Sunless Noonday: Part OneIt was hot. The kind of thick, clinging heat that wrapped around you like a sweatsoaked blanket, clammy and stinking of god-knew-what. Even in my office on the top floor with all the windows open, the smell of the city lingered, skulking in the corners like an alleycat on the prowl.Sunless Noonday: Part One1 year ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I'd been communing with the bottle half the evening. It hadn't helped. Neither had the cigarettes - in fact, between the two of them and the stink rising up from the streets, all I was feeling was an intense desire to heave the contents of my stomach out into the wastebasket. Or out the window. It wouldn't have made much difference to the smell.
I closed my eyes, leaning back in my chair and pulling my hat down over my eyes in an attempt to stave off the oncoming headache. Hell of a night. Hell of a month. Hell of a year, come to think of it. Must have been something in the city water, the way things had been going recently. Or maybe everyone had finally got wise to the fact they were living in this shithol
Writing FairytalesI told him, "I think I'll write a book."Writing Fairytales3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He said, "Do it right, November. Write a best-seller and send me a copy with your autograph on the inside cover."
"I can do better than that," I promised, our fingers intertwined for the last time, "I'll write the best damn book you've ever read. It'll tell the story of lost love and lost innocence, of found friends and staying out too late on a cold night, and the story of endings without closure. It'll be about boys and girls and break-ups and hook-ups and how everything happens in the backseat of cars."
"They'll interview you on television because everyone wants to know who inspired the story," he continued, "And you'll smirk like you always do because you know the answer but no one else has a clue."
I laughed, "Everyone will cry when they read my book, because it's the saddest story that's ever been told. Everyone will cry but you and I won't."
"We can't cry. It's your book, and I can't cry for you. You can't cry for yourself either, it's ba