On my way homeBy Romy Lara
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
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
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
It starts with a flash-bang and a Majulahi.It starts with a flash-bang and a Majulah3 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
Automatici.Automatic3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
"So where are you from?" The boy leans toward me, questions swimming in his eyes. I smile.
"Oh, I'm from Boston."
"No, I mean, where are you from?" My smile falters as I realize where this is going. It's an all-too familiar conversation, one I've been having since I was old enough to reply.
"Do you mean where was I born?"
"I was born in China."
"Do you speak Chinese?"
"Does your family speak Chinese?"
He looks befuddled. I sigh.
"Oh!" I see the light bulb over his head go off in a shower of sparks. "Do you know who your real parents are? Like, your real parents?" My temper flares. I stifle the urge to throw something.
"You mean my biological parents?"
"Oh." There's an awkward pause. I have learned to wait it out, to prepare my next automated response.
"When were you adopted?"
"When I was a year old."
"Did you live in an orphanage?"
"Like in Annie?"
Rolling my eyes seems appropriate.
"No, not l
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 Gears3 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
FFM: The Wandering FireThe wandering fire danced through the streets, flickering, silver quick, vanishing as quickly as it had appeared. Some said it was the souls of the dead passing from one world to the next. In a city as large as this the deaths were high enough to account for the frequent appearances of the otherworldly flames that cavorted down the narrow streets in the night.FFM: The Wandering Fire3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Rask waited in the shadow of a window ledge, his narrow frame curved into the twisted branch of a Hedya tree; its flowers already open to the moonlight and releasing the heady scent for which they were famed. This was a wealthy compound, all delicate lattice work and intricate stone archways, an exploration of colour and geometric patterns, all muted by the shadows of the night.
In his belt he had the knife, specifically given to him by his employer for this task. It was an unusual request, very personal. Rask tried not to involve himself in the intricacies of such things. He was merely useful to these people, and in his line of
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
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
Reverse Culture ShockFlying home was not flying home. Flying home meant grabbing the homing pigeon inside of me and twisting its imaginary magnet one hundred and eighty degrees to the north instead of southwards to Australia. The magnet still twitched stubbornly north even as the plane droned over Darwin, five hours before I finally reached home. Except it wasn't home. Sydney now looked as foreign as the glossy travel leaflets I grabbed from Singapore, its shine not quite matching the missing substance of my once childhood home.Reverse Culture Shock4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Thank you for choosing Singapore Airlines I hope you will enjoy your stay in Sydney, or a warm welcome home."
Winter air slapped me like a bucket of ice water as I emerged, searching for my parents and my sister. For eight years, their voices were tinny and masked by static on the occasional phone calls home. Today, they sounded as brittle as ever, Australian accents barely sheathing the chill emanating from them.
"Welcome home, sis," said my sister with an unusually bright v
SouvenirsWhen her mom went to check the mail at breakfast, she returned with a thin box in her arms.Souvenirs3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It was a package from her father.
Her dad was sort of like a traveler... at least, that was what she assumed he was. His job always had him jumping from city to city, country to country. He'd been to almost everywhere around the world, and every few weeks, he would send her a letter with a little souvenir from his stay. This time, it was a miniature Eiffel Tower.
So he's in France again, she mused, studying the two-foot tall replica. A small chuckle escaped her lips. It was about time he remembered to get it for her! He really should've thought of buying it six visits ago. She opened the small envelope attached to package and read the letter inside with a fond smile. When she finished reading, she stood up and excused herself from the table. Her mom answered with a sad smile as she nodded.
She raced up the stairs and headed for the Gift Room. It was a special place in the house just for h
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,
The IdolI once saw a man on the television who was so afraid of fruits that when presented with a bowl of them, he fled the stage, knocking over the host and several other guests. Though I openly pitied the man for his obvious malady of the mind, inside, the small bit of sadism buried within all humans laughed at his bizarre affliction. How can one not find cruel amusement in the cowering of a grown man who has been confronted by nothing more than a bowl of peaches? But now I understand fear like no other. I now no longer find amusement in the terror of others, no matter how illogical.The Idol4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Now, let me tell you the story of why the sound of wind whistling through the trees in Autumn strikes me with a fear so immense that I can do little more than shake uncontrollably.
A good friend of mine, a young and upcoming anthropologist by the name of Henry Byrne, contacted me eight weeks ago. Though he refused to go into details, he excitedly explained t
You Can Say That Again*Flash fiction Island styleYou Can Say That Again4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Jesus saves! I cast you out in the name of Jesus! So screams the preacher man slamming his palm against foreheads to drive out demons. Not more than a few feet away from the pulpit, an eighteen year-old member of his congregation claps her hands and shouts hallelujah!
Jesus' name is again invoked a few days later as they lay sweating and groaning in the back seat of a rented car.
-See me and come live with me is two different ting
The girl is pretty in an unrefined way, brash and loud and totally unselfconscious.
Baby powder coats her neck, chest and back, visible in her low cut top.
Her rival, five years her senior, cuts her eye in contempt. 'Country booboo,' she thinks. 'She look like fish ready to fry. Plus she skin ashy and she look like she doan know how to use hot-comb.'
Despite her belief in her superiority, her man doesn't come back.
-Puss and dog no have d
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.
Queen of GeeksUnexpected end to kidnapping caseQueen of Geeks3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
[Sunnyvale Tribune 23 Feb 2007]
In an unexpected development, police have closed the case against the kidnapper of twenty year old Nicole Cantrip. 'The circumstances surrounding Miss Cantrip's alleged disappearance have become clearer,' Inspector Frank Jones told the Tribune, 'and it's come to light that the case was filed in error. There is no evidence whatsoever that a kidnapping took place.' Since Cantrip is over eighteen, the applicable missing person legislation is almost non-existent, much to the dismay of her mother.
'Something has gone horribly wrong when a girl can be forced away from her family by people she's never met and it's called normal,' said a tearful May Cantrip. 'Nix wouldn't have abandoned us, dropped out of all her classes and left everything behind unless
somebody was forcing her.' Mrs. Cantrip claims that her home was invaded by several men who demanded that her daughter accompany them to what she describes as 'a k
AirYou do not have to be empty.Air3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Go, now, to the high places, the thin spires
of mountains and skyscrapers
the roof of your house, tipped with snow,
and fill yourself up with the air.
Drink it in, taste it, roll it around
on your tongue, feel it settle
in the caverns of your lungs. Feel the dust
and the ice crystals and the scraps of newspaper
brush your lips, and fill yourself with them, too.
Fill yourself up with the moonlight, the frost,
the dusky rose of the rising sun,
the night, the morning, the calls of birds,
the sillhouettes of telephone poles,
the shadows of people and clouds and alley cats
that dance across the pavement.
Fill yourself with the feel of your lover's hands,
the smell of the cold wind (mint and forests)
the taste of afternoon tea, the sight
of birds pinwheeling in the snow.
You do not have to be empty.
Lightning Bug CosmosI lace my skin up like a corset, peel back the blinds on my eyelids, and take a step forward, waking from the poppies to theLightning Bug Cosmos3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
lightning bug glow of truth tapping on my eardrums.
In front of the mirror I stand, but what I notice is not the awkward crook of my nose or butterfly lashes. I look into the lighted mirror as if searching for answers hidden under
Ribbon-like sets of
veins, arteries and nerves.
Sometimes it all flows correctly; sometimes everything becomes
knotted up in all the wrong places. Skin toughened by beatings brought about by the
grassy field with rustgrassy field with rustgrassy field with rust3 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
Fine, Fine, FineFine, Fine, FineFine, Fine, Fine3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Nothing changed in the classroom when Maria Diaz went missing. It was as if she'd never been there, sitting in her spot in the corner where the teachers couldn't rescue her from the other kids. Whoever said words never hurt was a liar in denial. Maria would have preferred the sticks and the stones. A broken psyche doesn't mend as cleanly as bone.
"Yo, Clarissa, wake up." Before she could turn in the direction of his voice, Sam punted a paperclip right into her forehead.
"What was that for? I was totally awake already." She whined. Mrs. Benson wasn't even finished her lesson yet. The fat witch was still writing math equations on the blackboard, oblivious to everyone snickering about how her ass was so big it didn't even look connected to her back. Mrs. Benson was gross; math was stupid. Clarissa was bored. Typical school day.
Sam grinned that imperfect grin of his. He needed braces. "If anyone would have invented a way to see through their eyelids, I guess it'd b
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
GlassI always laugh when you refer to me as glass.Glass3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Not just because of the way you say it,
Or because I know it's a crack at my fragility.
Glass is pure.
I am like granite -
my body nullified from too many clashing traits.
Glass is transparent.
I am like clay -
illegible from all the plastered smiles.
Glass is unyielding.
I am like chalk -
easily broken and scuffed away by meagre things.
Glass is hung up on walls and in great cathedrals,
tinted for enhancement, but only ever painted on by fools.
I am hidden behind keypads and camera lenses,
coated in a thick paste of deceptiveness.
No, my love,
I was never glass. (Despite my fragility)
Call me granite or clay or chalk
and be done with me.
SolsticeOnce upon a time, when you were still sunlighthouses and shimmering existence wherever you were needed most, you found him. He was November, shaky on his first last legs, and you saw through the mind-twistings he feigned to the mind-twistings that were really there, knotted up in his dreams.Solstice3 years ago in Scraps More Like This
You were still birdsong then, and thunderstorms, and your bodyheat melted the frost claws that held him tight. You held onto him as his November deepened. When he howled, you howled with him, and the wind played with your voices and pressed the softness of your lungs against your cageribsand then against each other's.
November became solstice, and you felt him shiver through that long night and didn't mind the coldbitten nails that grazed your skin. He slept when the moon drowned below the treeline, but the iceflakes began to drift in like small animals seeking the pulsing riverheat of your blood, and chilling you. He lay there, vulnerable as his world turned slowly towards the light, and you