The SketchHe loses his first kiss in autumn. He's twelve, she's just turned thirteen, and at the time he isn't sure what all the fuss is about but knows how special it is anyway.
She's gorgeous, pale-skin, brown hair, dark eyes always filled with happiness and joy the way he wishes he could be. She doesn't want to be there any more than he does, and they grouse to each other about how they don't need a 'special school.' It's the first time he's worked up the courage to say it.
She carries a book too, just like his sketchbook, but she says it's a diary. It's hung with a little lock on the front and he jokes about it being the key to her heart, a little boy's poor attempt at flirting but she laughs anyway. He wants to hear that laugh again, and he does, when he shyly asks if he can draw her.
It's half-way through his sketch that she leans in and presses her soft lips to his. It's a little clumsy and awkward, given how she's standing up and he's cross-legged on the ground, and nowhere as romantic l
Date a girl who drawsDate a girl who draws.Date a girl who draws3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You know the one. Her bag will be filled with discarded pencils and pens, scraps of paper with mindless doodles on them and blank books sticking out of her bag. She's the one who spends an hour trying to find the perfect sketchbook, only to pick up three more because she just couldn't help herself. She's the one hunched over in the coffee shop, rain or shine, the gears in her mind turning and turning while her hands move to catch up with every idea she has. She's the one who's too focused on what she's doing that her coffee's gotten cold and the people around her peek over her shoulder but she doesn't realise.
Compliment her drawings.
Ask to see more.
Turn the pages carefully, gently. Look at how hard she pressed the pencil into the page, the failed drawings, the successful ones. Look at the careful lines, the messy ones, the ones that give the drawings life. Linger on the pages you like but don't touch the drawings. Look at them carefully. Remember them.
To His Coy Mistress[es]i. earl and lady greyTo His Coy Mistress[es]2 years ago in Letters More Like This
you have often graced me with your soft-spoken company, bergamot blossoms adorning your dark hair, fragrant as your steamy exhalations. you remind me of simple home and something untouchably elegant, pale and supple when i dress your skin with pallid cream and soften your thin, graceful hands. on a bleak winter evening, snow glittering by lamplight, you are a royal pleasure: a warm complement.
i will lay you on the finest saris, those embroidered with gold threads and flawless diamonds that shimmer like your black eyes. you are the champagne of my harem, floral yet astringent, fine-boned cheeks seeking nothing less than perfection. your tiger soul knows your worth, seductive and mysterious; in the autumn, you remind me of leaves ripe with color, falling from my desperate touch: a distant lover.
you are the sun's daughter birthed by soil, a celestial soothing who blooms
The extremely short storyI once heard the tale of a man who had the whole universe inside his throat.The extremely short story3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Was he a giant?" someone asked.
I thought for a second.
"No," I said. "He was a storyteller."
A Sparrow's Soliloquy"Every year they get a new tattoo," Papa exclaims while pointing at a certain pop band as he watches the MTV Music Awards with me. I am reminded to untuck my hair from my ear in order to prevent him from catching my already 3rd secret tattoo.A Sparrow's Soliloquy2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Papa's love, for me, has always been proportional to the width and warmth of his grizzly bear paws that wrap perfectly around my cold and anemic bird bones. Sometimes I wonder how much of his heart do I really own; he's already proclaimed, in front of mama too, that he loves me far more than anyone he has ever and will ever love. Sometimes, I spend sleepless nights worrying myself to sickness upon the days to come when he'll find out that I'm not the perfect little princess he's always believed me to be.
I may be Papa's pocket-sized, big-hearted English literature college professor delight of a daughter, but sadly, it has to be that I am also his gender fluid, underground indie band lead singer nightmare of a baby girl.
A Butterfly Flapping Its WingsThe letter was clutched in strong fingers which, had they belonged to a lesser man, might have been trembling.A Butterfly Flapping Its Wings3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It wasn't happiness or elation that he felt. There was a vindication that scratched on the edges of his thoughts, but the only thing really resonating in his mind was, 'what now?' It was the first time in a long while since he had heard anything beside the scornful echoes of his father's words.
It was a dream.
Almost a decade had passed since they'd been said. He'd shyly expressed his fondness for art as a schoolboy, and his father had promptly crushed his meek hopes with an iron tongue. "Fool," he had said. "Dreamer, head in the clouds." He'd laughed then, coarse and cruel. "You'd never make it." And the next semester his star-gazer of a son had been enrolled into technical school.
It started with death.
Standing cold and numb as his father was buried, it was his mother that convinced him to apply that first time with her soft word
SliverThey say that if you stand in front of a wall of glass at exactly four minutes past midnight and tap your fingers on it three times, you can open a door to the void beyond this world. It has to be somewhere you can see your reflection, and see through it, hovering like a ghost over the darkness beyond, somewhere dim enough that you can't quite tell the difference between light and shade. And unless you hit the glass where you touched it, shatter the half-formed image before the fifth minute strikes, that door will never close.Sliver3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Celia Gray has never been one for urban legends. So much so, that she would never turn down a chance to prove one wrong.
The girls are in the middle of their third round of Truth Or Dare when it's brought up for the first time.
"Come on, Angie, it's almost midnight!"
"What's wrong, scared?"
"No, II just ...it's my house! I'm not smashing my balcony door."
"Jeez, guys." The five faces turn at the third voice. "We're fourteen no
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
stuck like glueit started with lightbulbs, and it ended with jail.stuck like glue4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
and when she looked back on it it seemed suitable, like the lightbulb he dropped on her desk was the universe's way of saying that this [whatever this was] was a great idea.
but it wasn't just lightbulbs. every day there was something new, a perfectly random little something dropped on her desk without a word of acknowledgment, like a cat bringing home dead things as gifts [but much cuter, of course] and every day she would tap her fingers with anticipation, just waiting for him to arrive with something new.
and they were always silent in class, barely speaking more than a few words to each other [maybe because he always slept right through the lesson]. but late at night they would spend hour upon hour talking to each other, and she would struggle to keep her eyes open so that she wouldn't have to say goodnight, because she knew, after not very long at all, that he was special.
and for months they were like that - best friends, talkin
Mrs. LubonekNobody knew how old the Luboneks were, but they’d lived at the top of Pecan Hill since before Cumberland was built, and the town grew up around them. Mr. Lubonek had a voice like gravel and always smelled of engine grease, sweat, and the gritty scent of someone whose friends were machines and whose family were the tools he kept in the shed. Mrs. Lubonek was airy as a bird and every bit as flighty, yet there was a sharp, witty glint in her eye that you only caught if you were looking for it.Mrs. Lubonek2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The Luboneks lived a simple, dusty life atop Pecan Hill. Mr. Lubonek ran a small mechanic shop out of his garage and Mrs. Lubonek sold baked goods. Despite their humble background they were moderately successful in Cumberland, but you could never tell. Most people said they hid all their income in a ratty black doctor’s bag Mr. Lubonek kept just inside the front door. Or maybe the bag held Mrs. Lubonek’s pie recipes. Or maybe it held a treasure map or a severed hand or the secret t
The ChalkboardWe had a chalkboard on the back wall of our kitchen. It was green with a wood trim and big like a front door. It did more harm than good I think.The Chalkboard2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I was nine and my big sister seventeen. Every morning we ate breakfast together across from each other and it was usually the only time I saw her.
Every morning mom wrote a new word from the dictionary on it. Winsome. Subliminal. Inept. The word in red chalk and the definition in cursive white. Every morning a new word was there, under the Maxim — a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct — mom made up and taped onto the top of the board.
The Early Learner Bird Gets The Word.
Between bites we said the word and the definition, over and over. Dad liked to say we sounded like broken record players. Mom said we were learning by Rote — mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned. After I said it ten times I could ask to be excused from the table.
It’ll let you express yourself b
The FountainThere were sixteen tall windows. She'd counted them over and over when she was small, her chubby finger outstretched as she spun in tiny circles. Eight walls, sixteen windows, thirty-two black curtainsthe arithmetic of her childhood.The Fountain3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Eight window seats, Daddy. Eight buttons on eachsixty-four. I counted."
The fountain stood dry and dead-center in the middle of the black and white tiles. Eight sides, eight lion-mouth spouts. Sixteen limestone mermaids poised gracefully around the edge. Four thousand and ninety-six blue tiles. Five hundred and twelve white.
And two doors. Always the two doors, huge and solid and radiating a sense of looming disdain. The rough oak had bitten her hands and it bit them now, when she pressed her palms against it. The doors eased open like wings outstretching, coming to rest against stone doorstops.
Her boots clicked against the marble flooring as she advanced, each click reverberating through the silent room. A mute ghost of a man stood in
Heart, Have No PityThe train sways from side to side, gray subway lights washing away all color from the world, and the shuffle on his music player is playing only the songs Jesper hates. He hits the skip button again and again, tries to keep his briefcase pinned between his legs. There is a coffee stain on his shirt, but he did not have enough time to sprint to his bedroom and change before he had to leave to make his train on time. He cannot afford to be late again.Heart, Have No Pity3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Skip-skip-skip. He should stop allowing his sister into his apartment; she always deletes his good music and replaces it with pop that Jesper despises. He thinks he hears his station being called in between the melodious shrieks of ABBA, so he snatches his bag and stumbles out the door, unwinding his headphones and stuffing his music player in his trench coat's pocket.
Jesper takes five steps before he glances up. The train has already rattled out of the station, and he is not in the correct place. He did not even know that the subway runs
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.5 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
MemoriesI remember lying in bed with you, longing for a deeper connection. You would always sleep with your back to me, in an almost fetal position, as if you were physically guarding your heart. All I wanted was to touch those scars that ran down the center of your chest, but you told me you were not okay with someone else's heart beating within you so I let it be. The look in your eyes when you woke up in the morning; the sleepy surrealness of a dream playing at the corner of your lips, and the early morning light goldenly surrounding your messy hair like a halo was enough to quench any thirst I had for you. It was enough to resonate in me for a long while, and I saw through your eyes, at least I believe I did, for a split second.Memories3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I remember how much you loved to drink and make sweet tea. You always told me that the more you add to a recipe the more love it would reflect. You would always warn to only add equal amounts of cinnamon and nutmeg because it was vital that one not overpower the ot
my body is a funeral servicethis morning i emptied your ashes into the sky, hoping to watch them sift through my fingers like an eagle taking flight. but the wind carried them backwards and my face became an ashtray for memories. you came back to me, like you always do, like a kiss or a reoccurring dream that i can never forget. i became cloaked in black grain, the remnants of your body. your cremated smile was caught somewhere between the stinging in my eyes and the ash on my jacket.my body is a funeral service3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
in that moment my body became a funeral service. my lips preached your names to the trees. i forgot what it was like to feel anything but hymns pressing down on my back like the heat of the sun. i smelled of incense and bones burning in a fire people are paid to create. it was more than i could bear. for weeks, i obsessed on how someone could lift a motionless shell of a body into an inferno, watch people die a second time and accept their paycheck at the end of the day.
i wanted to step into that crematorium and pluck pulses like f
Firebird The radio was the last thing Gwen packed.Firebird2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was an afterthought, an act of impulse. She’d been in the pantry, raiding every scrap of non-perishable food she could get her hands on. She shoved granola bars and bags of pretzels into the folds of the clothing that was already taking up the majority of the space in her beat-up purple backpack. She’d had the backpack since she started Kindergarten. Joel had never cared enough to buy her a new one.
When her bag was bursting at the seams, Gwen jerked the zipper closed, using her knee and the side of the washing machine as a makeshift clamp to hold the bag shut. Just as she tugged the zipper into place, though, a blush of pink caught her eye from behind the dryer. She set the bag down quietly on the stained linoleum and tried to get a better look at the object. It was small, pink, and probably plastic, but tha
Small GiftsThe cat who lives in my neighborhood brought me another dead lizard.Small Gifts2 years ago in Personal More Like This
"It's lovely," I observed, "but you do realize I have no use for that."
"Oh! I didn't know," the cat replied. "It's how we show affection for our humans. If you'd like a dead bird instead, that could be arranged."
"No no, I get what you're doing. It's sweet, really. It's just--"
She paused from grooming herself to look up at me quizzically.
"It's just... I can't do anything with a dead lizard or bird. Except throw it away. Which, by the way, reflects in no way on my appreciation of--"
"Wait," the cat sat up. "You throw them away? I worked my ass off to catch that thing. Least you could do is take a bite." She nudged the small green body with a paw.
"Here's the deal," I began again. "What I really need is money. Barring a miracle, I'll be gone from this place at the end of the month. I'm already behind on the rent."
"But I like you!"
Across No Man's Land0900 hours, December 25Across No Man's Land4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Her name was Anna," the English soldier said, "our wedding would have been today, if I hadn't been drafted. She was always religious, said her childhood dream was to get married on Christmas."
"I had a wife," the German soldier replied in barely accented English. "Broke her heart when the conscription letter came."
It was an odd scene, this was, two people who had previously been trying to kill each other, talking now like old mates.
1200 hours, December 25
"I get letters from my mother every few weeks, she just can't seem to stop worrying."
"Me too, and my son as well. Always warning his daddy not to get hurt."
Odd indeed, but today it was a scene that was being replicated all along the Western Front, enemies brought together by the day of our Lord.
1500 hours, December 25
"Could I join you for lunch? Our next shipment of rations hasn't come in yet."
Men who had been fighting so brutally the day before, laying down their wea
The CartI always got my best book recommendations from my old library cart. Well, the library cart wasn't really mine. I was a shelver at my town's library, before I started college, and I would use their carts to do my job.The Cart4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I first noticed something was up with the cart when I was shelving juvenile paperbacks. These were the lightest books we owned (and kept in the worst shape - kids are brats). But when I was rolling the cart, it was heavy. It groaned when I pushed it, and steering it was a mini-workout. It wasn't this hard to move a double-stack of adult non-fiction.
What was really odd, though, was as I removed more books, it barely got lighter. Finally, when all of the Fairy Princesses, Mary Kate and Ashley's, and other stupid books were shelved, its weight became normal. Only R.L. Stine's Goosebumps remained, and it was actually pretty light, even lighter than I'd expect.
I shrugged the incident off. But then I noticed it happening more and more. And then I noticed patterns
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
Nothing to See (Being Revised)I wouldn't have taken any notice if it hadn't been for the laughter. It wasn't merry or even cruel. It was the barbarous laughter of evil and vicious darkness and it chilled the marrow of my bones. Turning my head to look down the dim alley, I saw them: a semi-circle of four men focusing on their entertainment for the evening—namely, a fifth fellow and what I assumed was merely a cheap piece, some drugged up doxy earning a wage for her next fix.Nothing to See (Being Revised)3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Oh God, how I wish she had been a whore. Some pathetic moll who let herself be roughed up and down for a few bucks, but this was no whore. I wasn't innocent; I'd seen plenty of cocottes and the looks in their eyes that craved money or men or both and I'd witnessed the haunting desperation for something better, along with a resignation to what they had. This woman—so very young—this wasn't a two-bit cyprian, down on her luck, trying to make a dollar and feed a habit.
Bruises marred her