The Troubles of DatingThe Troubles of Dating (and Time-Travel)
I suppose she was the first girl I fell in love with because of something other than a nice pair of breasts, and therefore, the first girl I fell in love with whom I actually succeeded in asking out on a date. More than anything it was her hair, the way it was neither curly nor straight, but wavy, and in a dark and dreamy shade of red that nearly seemed black. It reached down beyond her shoulders, and I could find myself staring at the back of her head for hours during our classes, mesmerized by it. Breasts weren't half-bad either though.
And she was a nice person. At least, that was the impression I had gotten during our after-movie dinner at Alessandro's. Passionately interested 70s music, loving long walks in the wild, preferred old-school horrors to the film we'd just seen which we both agreed was tragic. All in all, we seemed to go along quite nicely. After finishing our capricosa, I led her to the car thinking this might as well have been
Deja vu. Again.I had moved here two weeks' ago, but had never visited this section of town so late at night. I had been invited to the pub by my neighbour, to make me feel welcome. An hour ago, she had phoned to say she had been asked to work overtime, and wouldn't be able to make it. Seeing as I was there, I drank a couple of cocktails. I was now walking back home.Deja vu. Again.4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Drunken people yelled out across the street. A couple of cars drove by, their horns blaring as the inebriated stumbled into the road. A bright yellow car stopped, flashing its headlights. A woman in a red dress banged on the window. The passenger door was opened, and a shouting match started between the woman and the driver. The woman slammed the door closed, and walked away. My stomach churned. I felt as though I had witnessed this before, and a weird protectiveness came over me. I had a strong urge to warn the woman about her actions, but warring partners were not unusual on a night out, and it wasn't my place to offer advic
Night Chaser02:37am 22nd July - depart from London by commercial jet, business class.Night Chaser3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
00:53am 22nd July - arrive in New York an acceptable 7 minutes behind schedule.
Slaying an archangel is hard work. It takes a great deal of study, picking your mark, separating fact from legend, learning your target's tells and vulnerabilities. Even if you succeed, and when I tore Gabriel's crystal heart from his open chest I became one of the precious few who have, there is still the matter of retribution. Angels never forget the death of one of their own, and a legion of these creatures now wait to descend and deliver their vengeance. My only sanctuary is the night. Angels can only exist in light of the sun and as such I owe my continued existence to the wonders of modern technology, which is capable of sending man half way around the globe faster than the approach of the morning sunrise.
I chase the night. Or at least I chase the processed luminance of airports and rail terminals.
I've got an hour and
Don't Talk To Me "I'm sorry," I said, and meant it.Don't Talk To Me4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
She nodded, her expression unfathomable. "Me too."
There was a long pause.
"Just two days ago," I said quietly, avoiding her eyes, "we couldn't even be in the same room without going for each other's throats."
She turned away. "Yeah," she admitted. "But look at us now."
I continued, "And just two months ago we were the best of friends. But look at us now." This time I looked directly at her, smiling mirthlessly.
"But look at us now," she repeated. Her voice was bitter.
I didn't know what to say. We both stood in silence for a while, pretending to listen to the babble of subdued voices from the graduation party.
"You know," she spoke suddenly, "there's nothing about how life is today that I'd have predicted during our last years there." She
Mechanical DeathEven mechanical things can live.Mechanical Death4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It stirred, steel tendons and synthetic muscles twanging like sad music in the cold silent dark. In turn, the dark hissed back, a noiseless sound from the furthest depths of blackest space. The thing with the tendons of steel and the skinless hide glistening with oil twitched and spasmed and trembled, the mess of electric synapses it called a mind confused by the notion of life.
It felt. And what it felt confused it, for it had never felt before and it did not know what it was to feel. It felt cold and hot at the same time, two extremes of temperature that at a point became inseparable with each other. It felt and heard and saw a world that it did not understand. For it had never lived before now.
The mechanical pump at the center of its being fluttered uncertainly, a chaotic interruption of a carefully timed rhythm: Thump flutter thump click whiiiine. The hissing noiseless dark writhed in its corners of blackest black and waited.
What is this
of the ground-of the ground3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was Sunday night when Geo climbed into my room from the fire escape. I was painting my toenails and listening to the sounds of the city: police sirens, pulsating bass, the kids in my tenement running guitar riffs back and forth with the street musicians on the sidewalk. That was the year I turned sixteen and took a two-month vow of silence to honor the death of autumn. A premature snow had robbed the season of its delicate warmth and color, forcing the maples to weep their leaves into the gutters. All that rainwater, all that decay. How could anyone create when October was dying outside their windows? Pete and Jake practiced acoustic that entire month. The rest of us were too fragile to play in suicide weather, when the right chords might move us to open our veins.
Geo sat down next to me, examining my bottle of red lacquer. "'To Eros is Human,'" he read, and rolled his eyes. "I'll keep that in mind."
I offered him my shoebox of nail polish. He selected a purple the color of opium
Russian RouletteThey take her on her honeymoon.Russian Roulette3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The wedding was lovely, or as lovely as it could have been with a couple that were more polite acquaintances than anything else and two sets of in-laws as stuffy as a dusty pile of money. They grab her when she sneaks out for a walk one night, two men, beefy, not even bothered to arm themselves. Her last thought before the bag is shoved over her eyes is to wonder how much this would ruin her parents' plans.
She comes to in a small brick room on a sallow mattress, windowless and lit by a cool yellow lamp. There's a man there, standing just outside the barred door.
"Kelly Shale," he says, voice nasally, greasy greying hair half-covering his forehead. She's not sure if it's a question or a statement.
She counts the days by watching the guardsone on day shift, one on night. They're probably the same men who took her, but they stay too much out of her field of vision to really tell. It takes until the third day for the woman to come.
'Meil,' they call h
Drive"You ready to go?"Drive3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It's with sodden hands and soaked-through boots that he climbs into the back of the faded old pickup. Red paint's peeling off everywhere, but he barely cares. Bullet holes and scattershot clusters show every few feet, but he still loves his ride. Despite the shattered world and slightly shattered rear-view mirror, it still takes him places.
He's got a gruff voice; his baritone erupts from his throat like gunfire or gravel across a chipped highway. Torn rubber boots slosh in the highway's broken shoulder. A burning wind catches his hair, runs through his stubble and down his open shirt. Runoff from the road splashes his faded jeans.
His coat whips in the wind, green and patched more times than he can count on his fingers. At least he has all of them; staying intact is an odd bonus in his line of work. The tools of his trade click and shift in their holsters just above h
DragonsThe dragons just kept getting cuter.Dragons3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I'd meant them to be scary, with snakelike heads and pearly fangs, but as my fingers gained more practice the dragons they shaped became younger and more innocent, their wings tiny and their eyes wide. Dull spikes lined their heads and tails, not yet sharpened by age. They lay on their bellies or sat up and watched with good-natured curiosity. They were friendly. They were sweet.
They were flawed, and there were a lot of them. I experimented with color and pose, sculpting the way others would turn a stress ball. Every morning I baked the newcomers in my oven, and within a week my desk was overrun. Rows of dragons pressed against my laptop from all sides. Some I enjoyed looking at. Others were a reminder of some mistake I'd made. Putting the horns on before the eyes. Making the legs too thin so it tilted drunkenly while baking. Not realizing that some clay changes color as it solidifies.
What to do with them all? I couldn't keep them even if I'd want
Across the Sea and Around the KotatsuSpringAcross the Sea and Around the Kotatsu3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Mom starts with rice. Japanese rice, one, two, three Japanese cup-fulls of rice grains into the cooker, because Sis eats a lot of this stuff. It's one of her favorite dishes, taco rice, and Mom's always happy to make it for her because it's the only way Sis will eat her tomatoes. But back to the rice. "You want to rinse at least three or four times, until the water's kind of clear," Mom says as she cups her hand under the cooker pot, letting the cloudy water wash over her hand.
Rice cooking's easy though – just fill enough water to the point the rice's covered, punch in a time (or set it to "Quick Cook," which with our creaking rice cooker still takes about an hour) and let the cooker do its thing.
Ground meat goes into a well-greased and heated frying pan. Break up the block so that it crumbles into fine little pieces, and do this with wild abandon, because this is taco meat. Mom uses any taco seasoning that happens to be cheap; most seasonings rack up t
chromaWe were merely children when the stars came.chroma3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
They rained down from the sky in a burst of light, like shards of glass pouring down from the heavens. Supernovas blooming in the night sky, petals raining down onto the barren earth - angels, falling with their wings sheathed, glowing, as they glided down. We watched, starstruck, as the glow overtook us - we were mesmerized. We waited with bated breath as the meteors landed, the celestial light subsiding as dark forms started to pick themselves up from the dust.
They moved towards us with an otherworldly grace, their steps leaving no marks on the earth as they descended upon us. Frozen to our spots as they approached, our bodies simply unresponsive in their wake. We were paralyzed. They stretched out their wings, embracing us in a softness unimaginable - a polymerization of silky feathers made of pure light, like a soft touch of a rose petal - and suddenly, our eyes were opened. The world was the same, yet so new, as it was washed with a gl
They Say I'm GuiltyOf the nearly eighty female prisoners that had answered my request, I had narrowed my choices down to two of them. The first was a voluptuous, porcelain-skinned brunette that would make my brother drool in seconds. The second was a golden-haired, frail little piece of work, and normally I would have dismissed her during the first round of eliminations, but something kept her there. Maybe it was the way she stared at me with her venomous green eyes, but I couldn't be sure. In any case, I had my two choices set before me, each isolated in separate cells on opposite ends of the jail so that I might observe them more personally.They Say I'm Guilty3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I turned to the prison guard. "What can you tell me about this one?" I was starting with the brunette.
"Number 67," he practically spat. "Don't believe a word she tells you. She's as good a liar as they come."
I wondered at what sort of lies she had told the guard because clearl
The Origin of the InternetThis is the story of Compudites and Internedes great gods of knowledge and communication. It is a story of their love for each other. It is a story of their betrayal at the hands of Hermes the messenger. It is a story of Internedes' destruction at the hands of Zeus. And it is a story of how, with the help of Athena, Compudites was able to be together with Internedes once more. It is the story of how and why humanity got one of the greatest resources ever known the internet.The Origin of the Internet3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Compudites was a kind and gentle god, frail and limited in power, but boundless in intellect a patron of sciences, mathematics, and technology. He was the guiding hand behind many of humanity's technological breakthroughs throughout the millennia. But just as technology and discoveries in the maths and sciences depend on others to spread them, Compudites was forever dependent on others to spread his knowledge. Hermes the messenger was one, swift like the wind, he helped carry messages between th
OCDI count the cracks in between the blocks of cement beneath me as I walk. Two. Two. Four. Four. Always four sets of that. Always two, two, four, four. Four times each. Look up. Blink 8 times. Two sets of four. Then back down. Two, two, four, four.OCD3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Safe. Those numbers are safe. Even, not odd. Odd is bad. 'Odd' is what people call you when you're different. Bad. Wrong.
Two, two, four, four. I try to focus on something else, not on how many steps I'm taking, because there are people behind me. Person. One set of footsteps. Bad. Half of two. I think of it as two feet, and that's better. I feel better.
I round a corner, looking for my goal. Always a goal; always a pull. It's getting stronger, so I'm getting close. I have to hurry, I have to lose the person behind me. They kept walking straight. Good.
It's raining again. It's been raining every three days for the past week. Three and Seven. Not good, but not the worst numbers. They add up to ten. Even. Safe. I duck into an alley, and stop sho
The Waste WorldShe said create the world, so I did. I made it dark and dusty, coughed up from my own black lungs. I gave the trees an ashen hue and the ground a color to match the starless sky. The creatures were murmuring oozes, globs of drying acrylic that inked across the orb of my bubbling imagination.The Waste World3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Repulsing, it was in fact the product of an industrial mind. I was born from man's smog goddess and, if memory serves me, her breath was laced in exhaust which I inhaled nightly with her songs. She was soothing and complacent, her voice smokey like a hazy bar. No one could deny her features were hideous beyond belief. Her skin dripped pollution like morphine into veins, into deep red rivers to turn them ebony and clogged. Her eyes glistened obsidian, sharp and cold if you didn't know her at all. I knew she was lost and ashamed, as her mother, my grandmother, would often remind her of the destruction her presence caused. I loved her like grandmother nature never could.
Grandmother was ,indeed, a gra
a conversationi welcome sleep as it is - a long lost friend returning home from battle, arms draped over my shoulders, weeping. i held it close and whispered - as if it were my only friend, being the prince of the sky, asking of why i cling to my possessions like a dog to its territory, why i harbor insane notions about silly things -a conversation3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
"we are all barren, stripping the land, looking for love in white-capped waves of our own destruction."
i asked why mother nature was pulling me by the roots of my hair, and being as i am, a girl who speaks vague classroom french and stands at the waterside passing small thoughts
like stones as the brine and tangling seaweed washes over my broad and open feet, i condescendingly believed he would give me straight answers-
"all languages we speak are diligent and binding, we bite our tongues against society, and she is just trying to say hello."
silence like a trainwreck passes on four feet and i wait, breathing, for the hour to come and announce itself to me in a rain-l
The Substitution ParadigmThe Substitution ParadigmThe Substitution Paradigm3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Ramu came up to our table. Glaring at me, he said, “You either order something or get out.”
I glanced away from the threat, and turned to Raghav. A single drop of sweat was running down his brow. Ramu saw that too and identifying his prey, he sprung.
Swinging around, he faced Raghav, “Order something or get out.”
Then Ramu just stood there. It was not as if we had rehearsed it before hand, but he knew. He knew that my co-occupants generally folded in the first round. Only the stout made it to second level, but they too buckled under Ramu’s relentless gaze.
I always had a policy of not spending on other people’s problems. My purse was already slimmer than the waist of a size zero model. So, I simply sat there, watching the lion circling his prey.
A few seconds later, the prey went down. “Two coffees”, Raghav said, wiping away the sweat with a handkerchief.
Ramu turned his head back, gave me a leering smile, and we
The Old ManThe old man's wife passed away a few days ago.The Old Man3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He wouldn't like me writing it that waya fan of George Carlin, the thought of 'soft words' tended to make him cringe; he would have preferred 'died' or 'shuffled off her mortal coil.' He said that second one plenty. Every few years now one of his friends shuffles off their mortal coil, and he always says it that way when he finds their name in the obituary. 'I guess Mavis shuffled off her mortal coil. A shame. She had the most wonderful rack as a young woman. Would've married her if I hadn't met Julia.'
The old man wasn't exactly politically correct. Come to think of it, he was a bit of a cantankerous old bastard with every imaginable bigotrythe 'self-hating Jew' routine was something he carried out very well. But with him you could always see the humor in his words. I once watched in awe as he told a joke that had the word 'nigger' in it at least three times to a table full of black men who could remember when they heard that
ToddThere was a big fanfare when Todd came back. Even a couple of newspaper reporters showed up. It was only right I guess, what with him being dead for a year. At least I think it was a year. I mean, he was gone for eight and I'm pretty sure if a person is missing for seven years the government declares them dead or something. I know that his parents bought a tombstone from the place on First Street a while ago. They put it up in their family lot at the cemetery, next to his grandparents. I went to visit it after the funeral. It had his name and a little inscription. They left the dates off though. After that they took him off the missing persons list too. I know because I used to check it.Todd3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I'll bet that everyone was real pissed when they found out the truth. He got into town on Tuesday but nobody said a word until Friday. Then on Satur
Confession of Betrayal"There was a time when I feared you, avoided you, for what you were - before I knew the person you were. A time, even, when I believed that because of that, you would have to die. That you were evil because of that irrational fear, and that all things 'evil' must be eradicated." She sighed deeply, clutching his hand for support as she spoke the truth that she'd never told him.Confession of Betrayal3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"When you first spoke to me, and I answered, I lied. I was willing to sacrifice my own morals if it meant reaching my goal. Killing you."
He watched her expressionlessly as she confessed what she had meant to tell him long ago, but had never had the chance - or perhaps the courage - to do so.
"And what made you change your mind?"
She blushed and glanced downwards, before continuing. "I-it... Honestly, I don't know. I was..." She mumbled incoherently to herself, and he patiently waited for her to speak up again.
"Every day, I plotted against you, even while I gave you fake smiles and claimed to be some
Argus ApocraphexOf the many tiny beads of sweat that had formed on his forehead, two fell down, further soaking his already dampened brow. Suspended, he floated upside-down in a padded room, dreaming without consciousness of his body or its position in space.Argus Apocraphex5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
His mind reeled from slide to slideimages of adolescence pooling together and then streaming into an old time film: The Life and Times of Donald A. Silver. The yellowed silent movie showed a young man smiling and leaning against an old Chevrolet sedan. Cigarettes burnt the corner, and he was dancing with the woman he'd asked to marry him. But in the center of the shot, a blur grew from the inside of the lilies on her wrist. A quick rewind to remove the obstruction, but instead it continued to grow across the bare chest of a flexing boy at the public pool. And finally, it consumed the picture and gnawed it to the pit, leaving behind a carcass to rot in its old age.
The man awo
Imitating NatureThe morning sun streamed through a series of large plate glass windows lining the library's east wall, its rays warming the room's wooden paneling and illuminating the cavernous space. Tall bookshelves stuffed with literature from across the world towered over polished oak reading tables, each furnished with a plain, green-shaded banker's lamp. On the far side, a massive painting gracing the west wall depicted the solemn face of Saint Patrick, whose protective presence could be felt watching over the library's sole visitor.Imitating Nature3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
All was perfectly quiet, save for a tap, tap, tapping that echoed in the otherwise silent room. Seated at a desk near the door, glued to the screen of his laptop, Eoghan quietly tapped his pen against the notepad in his lap as his eyes scanned through the different news reports.
Another roadside bomb outside of Kandahar, three dead, all soldiers. God frowns upon careless mistakes gentlemen. You should have noticed the dead dog along the side of the road.
The Best I Can DoWhen you both started that conversation,The Best I Can Do4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The one that would end 2 years of your life,
You couldn't have known what was coming;
But you took it like a pro. Bye bye, wife.
Slow, rational, mourning followed by action,
You stood strong and fearless to show your integrity.
What you couldn't see on the other side of that phone,
Her eyes shone a red, white, and blue so pretty;
And she was looking anywhere but at you boy.
She quit you like school, never going back.
Can't you let her go; chop chop her out?
Of course not, your eyes sparkled like that diamond.
Even though history fills you with doubt,
Suffer righteously, leave her alone, and move on.
Her star spangled banner will rip and fade.
Though it seemed; it was not meant to be.
Consider yourself eternally saved
From the girl who wanted freedom more than you.