of the ground-
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
Why Peter is not a poet.Cole is eleven. Age matters in October, when twelve is the only difference between the haunted hayride and the shelled corn sandbox. Age matters when a boy says the word "shit" in school (and Cole does). But age doesn't matter when the same boy has both sneakers dangling over the edge of a 250-foot grain silo, his hands sweaty on the rungs, the state of Nebraska breathing vacant and honeyed and infinite below him. For the first time in his life, Cole can't be quantified by the candles on his last birthday cake. Cole is young, but today, he is worth saving. Three facts about Cole:Why Peter is not a poet.4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
1. His eyebrows are the most expressive arches his body has to offer.
2. He's so terrified that his very expressive eyebrows are threatening to take up permanent residence in his hairline.
3. He does not have suicidal tendencies, and later understands--for the sake of his mother's heart and Officer Roy's bladder control--that his strategies for
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
MeanderingHardly a mountain, though on lowering days its head sits wreathedMeandering3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
By the mists of a passing front, aged and befogged as bygone elders
Doddering about before there were names for the malaise
That hazed their thinking
And from this modest crown there slouched and sloped
A long shoulder, meandering down to meadows below
Pausing now and again to coddle a pleasant hollow
Casting a sloping pitch enough to rush a torrent
After a sudden shower
Its glint and glimmer burble among the stones
To join a rill and plash and swirl and putter about a root
It's there I'm apt to wander
Not much of a path, hard passed and thorny
As twisted and narrow as the thoughts of bigoted men
Treading there finds stern resistance and stones to turn the foot
The clatter and crunch of brittle leaf acorns pop and skitter
A plenteous crop, beyond the appetite of wild things at forage
Leathery husks abound, pignut hickory the ebon stains of walnut
On taking pause the quiet lay, a
chromaWe were merely children when the stars came.chroma2 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
Across the Sea and Around the KotatsuSpringAcross the Sea and Around the Kotatsu2 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
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
On my way homeBy Romy LaraOn my way home2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I exit the studio, sighing at the sight of the sun quietly hiding behind the trees and buildings. Turn to the right and keep walking. Cars are passing by, people in black suits get out from the nearest buildings; none of them care about their surroundings. I lift up my head and notice in big steel-letters the name of the company that owns that peculiar orange building in the corner of the street. It's the first time I see it. The sky is painted blue with some dabs of gray, just as if somehow the color of the concrete street had been absorbed by the clouds.
Behind me there's a couple discussing something about a house. She doesn't sound happy. And he's just getting mad. She shouts and speeds up, him trying to catch up with her, but it's futile. She is a very good runner despite her heels. The man glances at me. I toy with the white cable of my earphones and pretend I didn't hear anything. I pass him. He just stands there. I wonder what would he do now. But I have no time to
Va'eiraThis was a lesson in just how quiet it can beVa'eira3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when you don't make enough noise.
Me, holding a toy gun to a stranger's head
"Remember when things stopped being ridiculous?"
You, eating dandelions in a midnight field
"About the same time things stopped making sense."
A boy in church camp carved a small crucifix
for his arts and crafts project. He won the blue
ribbon and a brand new Bible. The next morning
I found it hanging over our cabin door.
A toad was nailed to the cross.
Sometimes we wake up early enough to hide the evil from our world.
Whiskey Laden DreamsBitter eyes and tears might taint a drink, but sitting in this bar alone with your stool pulled out next to me, and the Martini poured regardless of your presence still brings a smile to my face; despite the taste. I'm having a whiskey myself; dry. Yes, I know I don't drink, but every once in a while you need whiskey to solve an intricate problem, and mine is the distinct lack of alcohol in my life.Whiskey Laden Dreams3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
There are people everywhere and it amazes me how none of them are you, from the woman in the black dress coming down the stairs to the signing couple in the corner, laughing silently. They're not you at all, and that's what's amazing in an ocean of coal you're a marble pebble, smooth to the touch and pleasant to the eye, and you don't leave me scarred.
I'll kick back the tumbler for now, refilling your drink when necessary, despite you never having it. The waitress will look at me with tired eyes and concerned words, but I'll insist I'm drinking with a friend, whilst that sad g
grassy field with rustgrassy field with rustgrassy field with rust2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I'd heard about the old car, three miles out of town and all alone. I just had to see it. It was time. School was over for the summer, my friends were at camp, and I was bored. I set out Thursday morning for a hike, following directions that Uncle Will had given me. As the heat was still growing with the climb of the sun, I found the field and wandered around looking, and looking some more, trying not to be distracted by bees buzzing in the flowers, and butterflies and baby mice. Then it was there, just a bit upslope from the bottom of a natural swale, and just below the sky at the top of the bank. A 1959 Cadillac convertible, but not like the old music videos showed.
This one was part buried in grass gone to seed and turned almost white golden with the dry heat. The tires were collapsed cracked pieces and there wasn't a trace of pink paint anywhere. Rust owned it, and it held on so tight that holes were showing in what used
Talking to YourselfWind drove snow over the trees with such force they seemed to step into the distance. The whiteness in the air covered everything until it was as faded as an old scent trail after a rainstorm. The snow was already deep enough to suck in a man's leg past the knee if he wasn't wearing snowshoes, but the figure trudging through it was no longer a man.Talking to Yourself2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Wendigo had given up on snowshoes long ago in favor of simpler footwear. The straps challenged the clumsy fingers of his stolen human body, and he could never figure out how to move in them without tripping. He lurched onward with the tenacity of a wolverine gnawing through an inch of deer skull to get the gooey treat in the center. The pain in his stomach howled to his feet. He gave little thought to their control. His mind was focused on making the most of sensory information diminished by the storm. Sounds and smells were difficult to pinpoint. He almost felt as if the wind were a rival, come to mask the trails of prey to keep for itself.
The Substitution ParadigmThe Substitution ParadigmThe Substitution Paradigm2 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
Night Chaser02:37am 22nd July - depart from London by commercial jet, business class.Night Chaser2 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
Send Me the Raintoday, they're all talking about the fires.Send Me the Rain3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the people on TV, the voices on the radio,
the mouths that open and whisper
and softly touch tongues. even the sky is
revealing black plumes of smoke,
flaunting shameless and seductive curves.
the rain's been too dry and the lightning
isn't wet enough, panic is
rising out of control in this
burning city. that's
we have a crisis on
our hands- the balloons are
running out of air and even
the experts don't really know why,
and on top of those sinking rubber toys
my soul is losing moisture
faster than the crackling grass under the duress of flame.
i'm starting to see the subtle luscious contours
i might not exactly be news-worthy
but if i catch, then
the forest might too.
i'm considered a reasonable loss, however.
they heard it might storm tomorrow. and everybody knows
that means they'll be safe-
because they all talk about it.
it almost stormed-
the sky spat and then
thought better of it,
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 Betrayal2 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
Under DreadThe winter, the whole winterUnder Dread3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
is sitting on my head, nesting its fingers
in the little hairs over my ears.
Its friend, the great and unnamed doubt,
is leaning against my collarbone
in a most familiar fashion,
and I fall in and out of balance
I have a beauty waiting, warm, willing
on speed dial, but the phone--
where did I leave the phone again?
Beauty is as elusive as
the car keys, which, I swear,
were just in that pocket. I
had my hand on them. The whole winter
keeps coursing its little nails
up and down my neck and taking
all my breath away.
There was a dream I had that
I almost remember, almost remember better
than living yesterday, a dream
of gooey loss, a taffy sorrow that loomed,
loomed, loomed, you see? It was so real,
I just had it.
Changing GearsMy morning oats taste particularly bland this morning. I look outside the clouded windows and see the city across every inch of my vision. Buildings of all shapes and sizes are formed from copper, brass, and iron. At all times of the day, the city's Gears are churning.Changing Gears2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The Gears are the machines that run the city, the country, possibly even the entire world. Metals are formed together to form them, robotic men designed to replace our government. Their voices boom over the industrial noises of the factories and drown seem to drown out all individual conversations. We're free, I suppose, but they all say that there was once a time when freedom was all we had.
Across the street, I see Thayoden. He's a boy who works in the aircraft factory, constructing engines and attaching steering wheels and dials to bi-planes. I met him in Industry class when we were both eleven years old. Ever since then, we've grown apart, but I still see him and think of how much I miss being with him. But we're dif
JuliaMetMichaelSamaraSawTheStarsGenevieveFoundFeari.JuliaMetMichaelSamaraSawTheStarsGenevieveFoundFear3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Tonight is different.
Genevieve pauses, watching layers of fog ascend forward from the darkness. The ominous mist slinks onward as it settles against her taunt muscles. Vapor coils along her skin like venom; tangible and prickling.
She allows herself timid inhales of February. Every breath sparks arctic shockwaves through her nervous system. Glacial streaks echo between her tissues; ever-so-silent, sickening her. Genevieve then slows, listening to iced-oxygen as it hardens between blood cells.
The cold feels like boulders in my lungs.
She begins to feel so unexpectedly heavy in her skin. Slu
The Doppelganger 2The book still sings to me, and that's when I pull it from under my bed and stroke the cover. But I never open it, because I know what happens if I do it wrong. It's still blank; but only of ink. I know the secret, you see. It's how I understand the songs, and know the melodies it echoes up to me, through time. There are impressions hidden in the pages- spilled mead and raucous laughter, summer sunshine and frost on dead leaves. The last time I tried feeling them from start to finish, I passed out from the sheer weight of knowledge, and it left my brain scrambled for ages.The Doppelganger 22 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I found out things about my past and my family's past. I have Irish on my dad's side of the family, stretching back generations. I'd have said I was surprised when I found out, but that would have been a lie.
People say I've changed since last spring. My face is thinner, my eyes are brighter, I've been "brought out of myself." What they don't know is that I've actually met myself. I've taken to wearing rich, d
Russian RouletteThey take her on her honeymoon.Russian Roulette2 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
It starts with a flash-bang and a Majulahi.It starts with a flash-bang and a Majulah2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
June's hauled her here again and
she's tapping at my classroom window,
A gazillion tiny fingers rapping in succession
(When she said "invitation" I didn't realise she meant
soaking half the country, the spike in umbrella prices has
nothing to do with me)
What's worse than an impatient child
is one with the whole atmosphere as her battering ram
when she tries to say something the urgency brims over
and one million exclamation marks
is beginning to sound like static frazzling
out on the pavements
She is without choice: when Cloud mother tips her out
she must go, and go she will
caught in an obtuse cycle, fought over by heat and
gravity wanting to claim her as territory
thrown about in their wiggly intersections she
falls, rises, and falls again.
Her talent is splitting herself up,
a single place, and then everywhere at once.
She has mastered the skill to the point
that she is a fractal in the air
even before she hits the ground.
She is a cell in a body 66 percent water.
She is a s
001. beginnings.Beginnings are vague things. Quite often you can't pin them down to one event you have to trawl back further and further through foggy past, peeling apart what ifs and untangling strands of memories.001. beginnings.3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Eventually one has to go all the way back to the start of the universe, and that's a question even the experts have to shrug their shoulders at. It's not like you can plug it into a calculator and come out with a balanced algorithm. At least, not yet.
But it is true that sometimes you can fasten down an occurrence or a moment or even just a single breath, like sticking a thumbtack through a dead butterfly, and label it as a 'beginning' in your mind. Identifying that one moment makes us feel secure, like maybe it was destined to happen instead of just being a random sequence of events that fed off each other and tripped over each other and eventually fell like dominoes to the unlikely conclusion.
Cvusscha Mistbane has pinned down a moment. Of course she knows that there are plenty of