Grandfather's BirdGrandfather had a pet bird. Just a small, yellow and white parakeet; he named it Georgie, after Grandmother. Every morning, he would wake up at 6 o'clock, make a pot of coffee, grab the newspaper, and feed the small bird a small pile of birdseed. And he would gently carry the birdcage, and place it on the table and talk to her as he drank his coffee and read the newspaper.
"Gas prices are up again Georgie, geez, remember when we could pay 20¢ to fill up our car?"
And sometimes the bird almost chirped in response. Years and years went by, and Grandfather grew older, and he could no longer carry the bird off the shelf, but he would still feed and talk to her at 6 o'clock.
One morning, Grandfather found himself barely able to make it out of bed. He still made his way into the kitchen to feed his dear bird. His hand shook and some birdseed fell to the floor as he carefully moved into the tray into the cage. He slowly made his way to the table so that he could sit down.
The Man in the Coffee ShopThe man who works at the coffee shop looks like you. I noticed this some time ago and have since frequented the place. He recognizes me now. He smiles at me when I come in. His smile even looks like yours. He doesn't say hey though- you always said hey.The Man in the Coffee Shop4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I still work at the library even though you're not there.
Sometimes I look over to your desk and expect to see you typing at your computer, but someone else is there now. It's not you.
Sometimes someone will come in who looks like you. Maybe he will have the same hair, same stature, same profile, same laugh, same voice. It's never been you.
Sometimes I drive myself crazy. I pull at my hair and scream 'till my lungs burst. I scream for and at you. I ask how you could have left me here.
Sometimes I allow myself to believe that I will see you again. By chance we will run into each other in a Wal-Mart far away.
I go to the coffee shop on Tuesday afternoons. I order a small chai tea with milk.
Sometimes the man is working at th
Hollow SuicideI love this world.Hollow Suicide4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I love it even when it's so beautifully achingly lonely that I can feel the drum of my pulse throbbing just under my skin, a constant reminder of the hollow center the veins connect back to.
Sometimes I think I want to build my future in the forest because the trees are so lovely but then I realize that I would be missing out on the vast, limitless blue expanses of oceanwater and the sound of the waves lapping at the shoreline. And then I think of the view from the mountains, or the honey-golden tones of the desert at sunset, the neon lights of the great cities, all the beautiful places in the world I have to choose from, but which one is the most beautiful in the end?
I think about the end of the world, how the forests would burn and the seas would dry up and the mountains would crumble and the cities would fall, and the destruction would still be hauntingly beautiful because it's a reminder of our own impermanence. A gentle memory of that faint
GrimTime hiccupped while Sasha was nursing a cup of coffee in the lunchroom of the office complex where she worked. It was a brief flicker but she knew what it meant all the same. She’d been gazing idly in Gary Piedmont’s direction -- Gary with his perennial tan and cobra-like grace -- when suddenly in his place was a bloodied and burnt apparition with bugs caught in its smile.Grim6 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She watched, wide-eyed, fingers tightening spasmodically around the cup of coffee she held as the thing walked across the room in Gary’s well-tailored suit and sat down. Then she blinked and the ghastly image was gone.
Sasha took a deep breath and let it out slowly, fighting the wave of nausea and pity that rose up in her throat. Gary from marketing was going to die, sometime soon, and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it. She could try to warn him to be careful, not to take any unnecessary risks but as she didn’t know exactly how or when he would die, his fate was as g
Emma's letterDear Meredith,Emma's letter4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I'm writing today, as a human. Just this morning, 3 AM Eastern Standard Time to be exact, the anti-clone act was passed for the entire state of New Jersey. It took us ten years, but it happened. I honestly don't think I've seen any of us so at ease before. Even Drake seemed less uptight then usual. Things like that don't happen every day.
I bet you're wondering why I'm writing too you. Well, Cynthia said I should write too you because she thinks I'm "troubled". Something about the living situation I guess. I don't know. I guess she thought if I wrote too you I could "appease my conscious" or whatever. What does a twenty-seven year old know about teenagers? I mean yeah she was one once but...we didn't have the same problems.
I guess I should tell you, I'm fifteen now. I go to school here, a real school. And I have a real boyfriend too. He's a Junior in my History class named Max. He's ok
The Black Bag The problem was simple, really. I was a little too drunk. Me and my buddy Jake though, we found it simple to walk with a stagger and laugh a little too loud, a simple problem. The day was pretty good, pretty drunk.The Black Bag5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The hours passed easy until Max came out of his pawnshop. Max never leaves his pawnshop. He looked so worried and strange I had to squint to be sure it was him. He got us interested, walking toward my buddy and me with trouble written all over his face. Trouble is something a man can relate to from time to time, somehow.
Max walked right up to us and put his hand on my shoulder, thowing me off balance for his remark.
"I need your help, boys," he said.
Jake laughed. "Hey, Max needs our help!"
I nodded and tried to look serious to hide the surprise that made me want to laugh too. I thought it could b
And So Ii.And So I4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I wrote our love story on the Internet for the world to read. The bored teenagers with their witty usernames commented on every sappy blog post, wishing me luck and cuddles through a combination of punctuation marks and letters that was supposed to resemble a face.
And it was glorious.
I reveled in you like my dog reveled in the snow that sometimes fell at the beginning of January excited, but too small. And so I sank.
Come to think of it, I never particularly liked snow. It makes the world cold and is only pretty until people mess it up. Plus, the snow that we get around here is never more than slush, and the only reason to cancel school is the black ice on the roads.
And, come to think of it, I never really needed you.
Who are you? I suppose I'll never know. I do not even think that I want to. I never even knew you back then you were a fantasy, something my disillusioned teenage mind conjured up from a tangle of hormones and a misplaced compliment.
All I knew was
ChocolateI once had some chocolate barsChocolate4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
And on a summer day,
Out on the grass behind my house,
I passed them around to my friends and we ate them,
Bit by bit, greedily,
Holding the smooth skins
And leaving smudges.
Each bar went around to all of us
And we all had our share
Some more than others.
We all left our teeth marks;
Little chips in the layers of chocolate
that told the next in line that we were done.
I gave away the bars freely;
There were always more
Different flavors in fact
And we were so eager to share,
And so eager to find our favorite,
That we tore through each bar with little thought,
Taking our fill before passing it on to the next.
Each was the best
Each was the sweetest
And each instilled within us a lust for more.
We always ate, because there was always more;
So much delicious chocolate, I wondered if I ever could've been satisfied
With just one chocolate bar.
When we were stuffed, we stopped.
Unable to eat another bite.
We left the remains unattended upon the grass,
I'm finePaint splattered like dying sobs across the wide emptiness,I'm fine4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Running away like ink from bloody fingertips.
It's close enough to midnight not to matter
And these words are written with hands
Shaking from forced apathy.
A voice lingered,
It sounded like yours,
Or else it was the pages falling closed,
A regretful sigh in the early hours of the end of the world.
The television's on repeat; it's crying for help
And I thought it might have been you,
But it was the angels instead.
They circle like carrion
And steal all of what I wanted to tell you
About the meaningless feelings I've been having,
Replacing instead with the poignant:
The lie is beautiful, undeniable, evident
And so firmly established that questioning it
Would be the action of someone who cares.
The light is thick and liquid
And seeping into my veins in order to cut off circulation
To something that's supposed to be important,
But I've forgotten somewhere.
Somewhere in a place where the snow falls black,
The birds are
VaingloryI watched Daedalus cradle his ivory child,Vainglory5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
melted, winged bronze crowned in seaweed:
he released his reckless child,
threw him to the winds in hopeless abandon
watched as the sea ruined him.
Decadent in ripped seashells,
he escapes into obscurity,
exalts the lamented to the point of notoriety -
Tell him I saw his face again
...in Picasso in art in war in despair,
he hid his face, a disgraced Eros
(still winged, still winged,
these wings bind flesh from stone,
from sea-besieged rock)
but still so naked in his shame.
"So desolate, o desolate,
O, so desolate, Daedalus?"
croons the wicked wind,
and the crooked man's back hunches
with weighty wings.
Tell him I read his story in fiction:
in vainglorious masks and molten men,
and in spiral seashells dipped in honey,
molten gold; I open these gates of frozen gold,
hail Apollo, hail lord, hail glory,
and my burden is: my offering I hang
for you to see flight, thy mortal's wings.
Giving Up - Jake"I don't understand it." She said. Her tone was dead, emotionless and distant. Jake had a feeling he knew what was coming, and he knew that there was no way he could change things.Giving Up - Jake4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
They'd been heading towards this inevitable for a long time now.
It was a long time coming and nearing overdue.
"Why are we still together? What is the point of there being an us?" she whispered. She sat next to him, near but not touching, her long hair brushing his bare arm just barely. The golden waves created a screen that kept him from seeing her face as she bent her head forward.
He wanted to reach out and comfort her, but he knew that his touch mean nothing to her anymore. He didn't even know if she'd accept it. "Because..." he trailed off.
There was no reason.
There was nothing in this pathetic shell of a relationship for either of them.
"Exactly." She stood up, and finally her hair fell back. Only then did he see the tears glistening on her cheeks, falling from her heavy-lidded blue eyes. "Tha
HomelessIt's got to be said, that using a cardboard box, with its sides split, as a shelter from the rain isn't the best idea ever. After receiving so much moisture, it begins to sag and raps around you in your sleep, often without you realising. When you wake up, and you push away the sodden remains of your temporary home, your entire body shakes. Often, certainly half a dozen times in my case, this will later be followed by a severe cold, or on two occasions for myself, pneumonia. After going through the ritual of checking you're still alive, it's off to work. If you've ever been so unfortunate as to lose everything, except the clothes on your back thankfully, you'd understand just how soul destroying it is when those with so much refuse to give you anything, not even a moment of their time for a chat.Homeless5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Of course, it's entirely my fault I'm in this situation. The recession was my fault. My wife having an affair and leaving me for Richard, with his flashy car and crisp tie, was also entirely m
One LoveI'm not enough.One Love4 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I'm not super-human, not a hero either. I'm just me. Me. And what I am might not be what you need.
But I'll try.
I can promise you as much. I can try to be what you need and I can do it for the rest of my life. If I could just nearly be what you need, what he was, it'll be enough. It has to be enough because I'm not the perfect piece, I'm misshaped and confused and so madly in love with you.
Yet I'm not him.
I'll never be.
You loved him. And part of you, the one he took, always will. I can only hope the small part left can learn not to long after the one missing. I can only hope it'll learn to move on and someday - perhaps who knows? will notice me.
Sometimes I just I I just want to be everything to you.
People don't call me a fool for no reason, you know? Though I prefer to think of myself as an idealist and show them wrong. I know... I know they're wrong. I can be everything to somebody else; I can fulfil my lover's every need
Please Take Away My Coffee"Oh, unquestionably," Mathieu said, "unquestionably. She's beautiful." And for once his eyes lingered on something long enough to truly take it in before returning to the blue canvas-bound volume of Keats dangling idly from his left hand. "Not my type, though."Please Take Away My Coffee5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The three of them sat around the plaza, three green uniforms idle in the middle of the flow of Paris life. With drill over, they had grown bored of the barracks gone into town where they settled in to watch the lives of unfamiliar people with their unfamiliar patterns unfold in front of them. Marc, who wasn't listening to his friends any longer, was watching one in particular.
"Hell if you even know your type," said Lucky.
She was Marc's type. Up til now Marc hadn't even had a type, didn't know what it was. But just now, he knew he was looking at it. Slender hands and a waist that sloped and rounded out in the hips, blue ruffles and a high-waist skirt, hair like darkwood; black but catching strains of ma
Dear VictorI will not apologize because I knew youDear Victor4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when your own ghosts turned their backs to your weeping
or because I thought I could love the bird-shaped organ
calling from inside your chest
I clipped its stubborn wings
when I realized I had been wrong.
I am not sorry for it.
But listen, Victor:
I'm sorry I remember a time
when we were beautiful, our bodies
made luminous by the bitter light collected in our lungs
the atmosphere shaking violently as it
into our displaced skeletons.
We could not recall
our own skin.
I'm sorry I called out for you
in the dark
when no one else was there to hear,
each shaken syllable making a latticework of stars
to gate the fraying night. I stayed up until dawn
renaming the constellations after you.
The bright-eyed moon watched me
as a mad fever rattled her bones.
And Victor, I'm sorry that I could not stand
the fire keening in my throat,
sorry that I exhaled the shells of empty suns
and saw their edges perforate the thick sh
Brutal BeautyI am about to die, about to cease to exist.Brutal Beauty4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
And I am not afraid.
As I wait for the moment when my tenuous tie to life is snipped, as I wait to grasp the elusive idea of death, I feel so alive.
The sky is bright and blue- the kind of sky for happy days- and nowhere can I find the bleak gray horizon that should accompany battle.
The air is sweet and delicious, tasting of delicate little wildflowers and new spring grass, and I cannot smell gunpowder or death yet.
And this moment, the one before all others are stolen, may be the most lovely scene I have ever set eyes on.
The brave boys are running towards us, towards me. They scream a ghastly sound and it sends shivers up my spine to hear how they believe in what they fight for- even if not in words. They are a ragtag bunch, clad in clashing shades of gray, and decorated with stains of dirt and blood.
Their banner flaps and cracks in a definitive way, proudly, and it is beautiful.
All those men- all those beings: men and mere bo
The Epic SceneThe epic scene: I, a super hero, stanced in front of my arch-enemy, a super villain whose only intention is to make me suffer.The Epic Scene4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I, a lone hero in his white suit stained with blood of battles and triumphs over evil am staring a black dilemma in the face with every solution hidden from me.
He stares at me, his arms stretched out, like he's going to catch me if I should fall forward. His eyes are red, and glowing, and are trying to penetrate my concentration. We stand still, waiting for someone to move.
Our eyes don't budge from each other.
My true love shivers behind me, frightened, thinking about who might die tonight.
What can I do for you now? I think. We're all stuck.
That vile piece of shit thinks he can abduct my love with no consequence? Was I supposed to let her die? Let him burn a hole through her body with his death laser? Why her?
DionysusI see how you are shakenDionysus4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
by a mad fever, Dionysus.
You tremble in the moonlight's
gleaming nectar as does a new,
loose-limbed fawn, heady
with a foreign ecstasy that runs heavily
through your veins.
Your dance is a bright and glowing
beast that rattles the world to its bones.
I can feel it: the stirring storm; the spark
scuttling just beneath the earth; the violent wind
that scrapes soil from its gaping mouth.
Oh! How the night
is a-quiver with wanting
when you sing. In the distance
a cricket scrapes together its wings; strikes a low hum
in its paper-thin breast as it wrings rivers
from the clustered bodies of grapes. The stars
turn violet-flamed in such dust: they are vineyards
obscured by the pale, illuminated clouds
that crawl along the horizon.
As a sickle moon sinks
I see you framed
against dawn's rising light:
your body made
into an altar;
your every fingertip
tasting of frenzied song and
A Drink Further"Don't you dare."A Drink Further5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I grin, weighing the snowball in one hand, then the other. It's inconsistent and flaky the kind of freshly fallen snow that's little more than frozen mist and air packed loosely around a soggy liquid core. It'd probably break apart before it flew the few paces between Lisa and myself. But she doesn't know that.
"Don't I dare what?"
She gives me a look that touches on withering, but I know better. I've known Lisa for quite some time, and I doubt she's ever been capable of violence. Nevertheless, I drop the messy ball with a chuckle and wipe the remains on the sleeve of my jacket.
Another moonlit winter night in Neriem, a town nestled high in the mountains off the coast of Antioch. Snow falls in thick sheets here, coating the city in delicate white powder. It's thick stuff, enough to muffle the sound of our footsteps as we cross campus, yet falling lightly enough that it doesn't m
One Last Time"Do you have all your things ready Mrs. Burnette?"One Last Time4 years ago in Scraps More Like This
She silently nodded and the young nurse held her arm as she walked down the old, creaky front steps of her porch one last time. She turned her head towards the house and she thought of the day that she bought it.
She and Frank had just been married and he carried her across the threshold and into the living room in her wedding dress.
"It's all ours, our very own. What do you think Margret?"
"Oh it's fantastic, it's wonderful, it's beautiful!" she cried.
They pulled out of the driveway and started through town. Margret sat in the backseat looking out the window, looking at the town where she had lived her whole life. The car turned onto Park Street and drove by the town hospital. She thought about when her daughter was born.
"It's a girl!" announced the nurse. "Do you have a name?"
Frank held her hand and she looked up into his eyes and nodded.
"We want to call her Evelyn; it was my grandmother's name"
She held her daughter in
Another Take The human I live with calls me "Tommy Gun." Or "Kitty." Sometimes "Cat." Yeah "cat," but I'm really an alien. Though we got here first and are highly evolved, humans insist on calling us all these names. I think it's because they're unable to call us what we call each other. They can't hear us talk most of the time. We usually use what humans call "telepathy," except in extreme cases. We try other ways to talk to humans. Use "meow" umpteen ways and you'll see how hard it is.Another Take4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I like my human. She's a beautiful girl calls herself "Mimi" when she's on stage. Yeah "Mimi," and she's definitely human. She's a belly dancer and an excellent one. She can enchant a room full of old humans without even a drum, without even taking off any of her very many veils. She sort of undulates, like a wonderful snake might. But snakes I can eat. Mimi is way bigger than me, plus I want her to live. I won't kill her. She feeds me so I won't bring a dead sn
Violin The weathered wood felt velvety soft against the girl's pale cheek as she held the delicate instrument to her face to inhale its musky scent. She ran her thin fingers over the grooves and dents, as if following a map to her destiny. In many ways she felt as if she were.Violin5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
With the gentleness of a mother holding her newborn, she nestled the violin under her chin. Each metal string was plucked once with careful precision, checking for the clear, clean tone, which called out to her very soul. It was perfect.
The girl inhaled, pausing in that crucial moment before the fragile strings of the bow make contact with the instrument beneath. The two were like temperamental lovers, and she knew only quiet skill could bring them together happily. With a wispy white cloud of rosin, she brought them together to make love, and the sweet
Why I Am HappyThe boy sitting on the park bench had eyes like sandpaper melancholy.Why I Am Happy4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I think I noticed because I am a poet. I don't think anyone else but a poet could look at his eyes and think, "sandpaper melancholy." But they were that color. A fair brown. And grainy. I liked them in the way I like bitter baking chocolate -- because it has an interesting flavor, not because it is sweet. Unadulterated chocolate is almost unpalatable.
We like sugary chocolate because it has been changed. Adulterated. Oh.
Could tears clean out the roughness in his eyes?
That is why I am happy. I cry the Sorrow out, since poets are not afraid to do that sort of thing. The hunger of starving artists makes us sensitive.
He seemed like one of the people that can be Happy while Sorrow constantly nags on their heartstrings. Like, "Ha, ha, that film was funny!" but after the film is over there is nothing to distract you so tugtug! you remember being sad. They're always sad, but they can't always remember. He seemed ok
Sister of the Rue"I don't think you've heard this one, Hal," said Snake with a toothy grin. Hal didn't look up from the knife he was sharpening. "One of the Devotees of the Rue showed her hair in the med tent earlier."Sister of the Rue4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Shrihk, shrihk, shrihk, shrihkthe edge was coming along all right, not that it would matter. In the next scuffle, it would be a shield or luck making all the difference, not the edge of some poor mook's sidearm.
"I know what you're probably thinking right now, Haloh, well, you're probably thinking 'Shut your useless face, Snake, I'm too busy being taciturn and useful.' But what you'd be thinking if you weren't a stoic prick, is 'What? A Devotee of the Rue showing her hair?'"
Shrihk, shrihk, shrihk Rain tonightDogs will stay in their dens, so no more excitement for a while.
"Well, if I'd've made any of 'em for vow breakingwell, it would've been Sister Ellie, but that's just my better natures talking. But it was
Coffee-Stained LetterDear Stranger,Coffee-Stained Letter4 years ago in Letters More Like This
You don't know me. And I don't know you. Maybe it's better that way. But then again, maybe we would be happier if we did know each other.
Right now, I'm sitting at my desk, with the sunlight streaming in the window, writing this letter for you. Hopefully I'll finish it by tonight, so that tomorrow I can take it to the coffee shop on the corner and drop it on the floor, or in your lap, or maybe in the lap of the person next to you so they can give it to you...because they don't seem like the type to read it, so they'll obviously just pass it on.
I like music - except terrible rap. And I love the written word more than most, it baffles some of my friends sometimes. I wonder, do you like to read? I have the tiniest tattoo I've ever seen, it's a tiny fairy on my ankle, but you can't see her unless you're looking for her and know where to look...like a real fairy, they're good at hiding too you know. I saw a fairy once. She was hiding behind the strawberries in my garden. I t