"You girls need a ride?"
October looked up, letting her eyes stray from the gravel beneath her feet. She had been walking along the highway for so long she had started counting her steps to pass the time, hoping that when she finally looked up she would see civilization. Abigail ran to the truck driver's passenger door, haphazardly pushing past October as if she had never ridden in a vehicle before.
October glared at the driver's soiled clothes, greasy hair, and crooked teeth. She imagined his smell which made her gag uncontrollably. It was as if his unkemptness was setting off red flags in her head: "Never talk to strangers. And never accept rides from hillbilly truck drivers in the middle of nowhere."
"Where are you headed?" Abigail questioned playfully. Even though she was a few years older than October, it seemed to make her more reckless than wise. Before the driver had the chance to wheeze whatever location in Kansas he was headed to, October yanked the sultry temptress to
The Doctors In"He's probably dead," Roger exclaimed as the two kittens giggled mischievously behind him.The Doctors In2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Krystal and Amanda had arrived at Coleman Park appropriately attired for the evening. Their previously decided-upon costumes seemed much sexier in person than when Roger was helping them choose outfits at Wal-Mart. Being the edgy person that he was, he had politely declined their offer of buying a disguise for him. He had never celebrated the holiday, and instead purchased a t-shirt that furthered his rebelliousness with bright yellow text that read, 'I don't do costumes.'
His head down and his hands in his pockets, he paced himself up the paved hill that lead to the local, haunted legend. Krystal swung her faux tail playfully and adjusted the large black ears that wouldn't stay in her curly hair despite the obscene amounts of hairspray she had employed. Amanda clicked her heels across the ground. She sprinted in front of Roger and slowed to a smooth strut seemingly fo
The New Justice James forgot the milk again.The New Justice3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
This was nothing new. In fact, he regularly forgot things: his wallet, the milk, he'd even forgotten their marriage license on that magical day some twelve years prior. On any other day, Angela might have laughed it off before slipping on her shoes and heading to the stores. Today it made her furious. She watched, her lips pressed into a hard, thin line as he trudged for there was no other word that could describe the slow, stoop-shouldered stride up the walkway. Leaning back against the counter, she folded her arms as he entered the house. He jerked to a stop as he surveyed the unusually spotless state of their home. It was clear to him, with the certainty that only twelve years of constant companionship can give, that he was in trouble. It was also clear to him that it was far too late to he
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
The FieldsCarl,The Fields3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Remember that time, brother, when we were young? When we took off before I was even though high school in your beat-up old whatever-it-was without so much as a goodbye note, dreamed of travelling the country?
There was a place we stayed at, the night before we finally gave up and turned around. It think it may be my last clear memory of you.
It was called the Beaumont Farm.
The petrol gauge has been sitting below empty for the last hour, and Carl Levine doesn't bother trying the key again when the engine splutters one last time before falling silent. He shivers in the cool air as he opens the door, pulling out his phone and cursing when he sees the reception bar empty. The last station he saw was before he turned off the highway two towns back, the last car before that.
The letter from Alicia lies folded in his inner pocket, as it had come in that innocuous envelope. There had been no return address, postmark almost illegible under a dark smudge that covered half the front
The Belly of a WhaleThe belly of a whale is cleaner than you'd think. It's the seashore on a wet day: a red beach with red clouds and red sand. And the voice of the whale is the voice of God.The Belly of a Whale3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
God sings, "You were delicious."
"Spit me out." I'm on my knees, though my god cannot see inside itself to find my supplication satisfying. "I'm a wicked man. You don't want to devour wickedness, oh Lord. You'll be disgusted when you know you've devoured such a polluted thing."
"I will not," sings God.
"I've murdered a man."
"So have I."
"I've murdered a woman, too."
"So have I."
"She was pregnant."
God laughs. "The ship I sank held hundreds."
This calls for humility. I prostrate myself in the direction of God's mouth. "Oh Lord," I cry. "I can't compete with you. Truly you are a great tyrant, fearful and merciless. Had I only been given your bulk, oh Lord, I might have devoured whole ships as you have done."
God lurches. God rolls. God grumbles and coughs and hurls. I fly from his mouth in one heaving mess of kelp an
DreamscapesCinnamon swirls stretch you a smile,Dreamscapes3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
while sitting legs underneath
on a wool rug, swayed by the music
of the waves beating
on our glass box.
The first sun-ray of the morning
sprays light between
words of old full of warmth,
hatching the wordlings on our lips.
As you take a sip of your
flavoured apple tea,
I drink the bitter black one
sweetened with milk
and a little bit of honey;
just like your tales of
south of the border,
west of the sun,
and my futile attempts
to leash that bitch of a muse.
All is well until
a desolate reason makes
the ocean break us;
and before words drift apart,
you pull them out of the flood,
and rebreath them:
"In a dream within a dream,
where people's faces are pale,
tired and beautiful because of it;
ours are different and alike.
They glow on sunlight
and read a craving for home.
My high heels and your all-stars;
Moving through different streets;
Stepping on different stones,
but alight with the same fire.
Mandatory stops along the way
seem infinite and hard t
Halloween Warning, Halloween Horror, Halloween EndMy family is magical.Halloween Warning, Halloween Horror, Halloween End3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
There is no other way of explaining what we are, for I am not certain myself. My mother is a witch. So is my grandmother. And so was her mother too... a long line of ancestry reaching back all the way to the early settlers from Ireland , 16th century. Ever my two sisters are witches. And yet I.... I am not. And yes, it's very complicated.
Don't even ask.
I've never felt anything supernatural or magical whole my life and lately, I've started feeling more than ashamed.
I've hoped and hoped for any sign of magic all these years and throughout time, I've given up.
I've come to accept my destiny of an outcast, but still, there are times when I wish to be alone, away from family, like now.
And so I take a walk.
Autumn nights in Sarajevo are cold and you can always hear the distant sound of the gusty wind in the background. It was because of the inquisition that my ancestors moved here, to safer grounds. No one believed in magic here. No one still does. Magic w
The Bonds of LoveLover to lover,The Bonds of Love2 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
but I am your prisoner;
chained up in the dark.
Ghost of a ChanceI flicked through radio stations, trying to find one that had decent reception out here. The classic country station had petered out about fifteen miles down the two-lane county road, and the beat-up Chevy that held all our gear didn't have a CD player. Static, static, and more static, then a burst of faint Hispanic-sounding music, but even the ranchera station was more white noise than melody.Ghost of a Chance3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Forget it, Jules," Elliot sighed from the back seat. "It's only twenty more minutes."
"Yeah, assuming we don't run into a dirt road with a tree across it." Ally, our pugnacious resident skeptic, glared at the asphalt ahead of us.
"Don't jinx us, Ally." I ran a nervous finger over my rosary. "We lost cell phone signal when we turned off the main road."
"Don't sweat it. We'll be fine." Elliot's voice of reason made me feel better, even if it didn't entirely quell my lurking fears. "Go left at this n
I Love You In DisguiseJeremy Crenshaw was sitting in the same place he sat every day in fourth period English; far away enough not to be noticed, and close enough to admire from afar. For the last three years their schedules had been almost identical; but somehow English was the only class he had with him their junior year.I Love You In Disguise2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Braden Morgan was charming and sweet. He had an air about him that drew people in, even those who were unwanted. Because of this, he was constantly surrounded by his jock buddies and busty groupies. Jeremy could never find a moment to speak; to remind him of when they were younger and when he once admitted that they were best friends.
Braden's body had firmed and his stature had grown those last few years. He kept his head clean with an attractive buzz-cut and enough dirty blonde stubble to remind others of his maturity. He didn't play any sports, so most attentive teachers and coaches ignored his facial hair. Instead he made his mark in art class and drama, neither
One Who Masters Magic: PrologueOne Who Masters Magic: Prologue3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A Prophecy Worth Blood
Prophecy is both a gift and a curse. It can gift a man with insight into the future that can benefit all of mankind, but it can also curse him with knowledge that others will kill to obtain or to silence.
Terrand of Malorez, Master Prophet
429, Third Age
The sound of iron shod hooves clattering against cobblestones rang out as three dozen men rode hard toward a drab monastery nestled in a small grove of trees miles down the road. The men ignored the cold winter wind that bit at their cheeks and the looming darkness from the shortened days. They knew the way to their destination well and the simple road guided them even in the dim light. All of these men were dressed in expensive heavy plate armor with mail beneath and carried spears in their hand and a sword on their belt. Each wore the crest of their emperor upon their chest plate. The silver mountain and the four golden stars
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
Your daughter is dead. The man who opened the door of the apartment was grey and tired looking. He was wearing a very tatty suit and very scuffed shoes and a very lopsided tie, and there was a darkness around his eyes that spoke of sleepless nights and restless days. He didn't say anything, just looked at the man on his doorstep like he wasn't sure who he was or what he was doing there.Your daughter is dead.2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
That makes two of us, thought Calead gloomily, as he peered over the man's shoulder into the little, scruffy room beyond him. There were stains on the peeling wallpaper- smudgy, dark ones around the lamps and stove, grainy, sooty ones around the window, a single splashy grey one that looked like a spilled drink, a pale, bleached one that could have been anything.
The man asked him who he was, asked him if he was here from the landlord, said he didn't have the rent, but he would, soon.
HephaestusWe had this neighborHephaestus2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when I was a boy,
he was a bit
younger than I was,
rented the house
He would come over,
step over the knee-high
He would promise to
show us how
Daylight from our
He had us gather
all the petals
that had fallen
from our flowers.
And once we had
picked up all
the petals, he
cupped his hands
and threw them
in the air.
I was disappointed,
I expected him to
pull a lighter out
and for some
in the flowers to
He threw them up
again, and I still
The Death of LanguageThey say that every fourteen days, a language dies. The statistic isn't alarming, after all there are supposedly seven thousand languages in the world. That a language dies every two weeks, is just a statistic. The concern comes with the knowledge that a language dies because it has been forgotten. Thus it dies without recognition, without farewell and without acknowledgment. It was merely there before, a communication bridge once upon a literary dream - now a nothing. This fascinating tool that we use to interact with our fellow human beings is lost. And we don't care. The Eskimos, they say, had a hundred words for snow.The Death of Language2 years ago in Editorial More Like This
That favourite pair of shoes that you love all the holes and splits into because they are so perfect and fit you so well - gets a better send off than a language. That coat that's become too small or too big, or too much last years fashion and too little of this years craze gets more of a farewell than a languag
The Claire Witch ProjectThere are many things you can easily explain to your parents. Accidentally blowing up your uncle is not one of them.The Claire Witch Project2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
“You are so busted, Claire,” said my sister Lindsay, eying the singed curtains and the freshly made crater in my bedroom floor. “Wait until Dad finds out you were practicing transmorph spells in your room unsupervised.”
“We can still fix this,” I replied hurriedly, switching spellbooks on my Kindle. But I’d only downloaded the basic transmorph spells and hadn’t gotten the counter-curses yet. Blast it.
“Claire, look!” Lindsay hopped off my bed and stepped towards the crater. “It worked!”
Sure enough, in the center of the ring of scorched carpet was a small green newt with a wide face like Uncle Isaac’s and bulbous eyes his exact shade of blue.
I breathed a sigh of relief. “We can change him back before Mom gets home—”
Suddenly, we heard the doors downstairs blow open and
OzymandiasJuly 3, 1928Ozymandias3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The excavation commenced this morning. Max claims we'll have this temple untucked before next October, but I know he's being excessively optimistic for Arthur's sake. Still, who'd suppose we could even manage this far without bumbling ourselves into a cataract? I rode on a camel for the first time only a month ago, and the beast didn't even bite me. I'd say that's success already.
Bloody hot. Why'd we go in summer again?
We've got some sort of corner showing through. Can't determine yet whether it's from the point of a pyramid-like object, or the corner of a more rectangular sort. Odd angle. I suppose centuries of sand will do that to you.
It'll be an awful lot more interesting when we get to the proper haul, though I imagine most of that's inside. Until then it's picks and more picks and sweating little snail trails on the sand. Makes it very clear how much of man is liquid.
Arthur's had that twitchy look about him all day
ParricideChris loves his new doll.Parricide3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Its china face, with delicate hand-painted features, is framed by curling golden locks. He likes to trace its face with careful fingers. He can see his murky reflection in its glistening shoes and its dress is so soft he can't stop running his hand over the sapphire blue cloth. His parents aren't sure who gave him the doll, but six-year-old Chris can't be parted from it.
When he asks for black patent leather shoes, his dad glances up from the bills spread on his desk and his mom starts looking for her Caravan's keys.
When he asks for his chestnut hair to be bleached, his dad's head tilts and his mom takes him to her salon.
When he asks for his fingernails to be painted a soft rose pink, his dad grins and tosses his wallet over the dinner table to his mom.
When he asks for a blue velvet dress, his dad doesn't look up from his newspaper and his mom later shows pictures on her phone to her cooing book club ladies.
He sits upright at the table without k
Submerged in Swan LakeSubmerged in Swan Lake3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Swans and wings are floating by
on a breeze imbued with jasmine and
willows outstretching their arms in welcome.
Through deep breaths he arrives
plunged in murky, pungent water.
A quiet whisper, and he prays -
"Please... may I linger here?"
Willows lower their arms
and jasmine falls to the Earth
where the wind dies and finally rests.
The crows are cawing hymns,
begging to be swans.
But only the duck submerged in Swan Lake
has delved the desired shore.
Its waters dangerous and plagued
by monsters baring their teeth;
most ghastly and putrid they are
that no crow may ripple its surface
nor any songbird seeking beauty fair.
The Swan Maidens bare their chests
and open their wings in veneration -
for the duck has sought beauty through courage
and earned his guise of grace and virtue.
It's the ApocalypseRed sensors rotated and his gears resonated within him.It's the Apocalypse2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
He could hear the mass silence that echoed endlessly;
no wind wafting through trees or horns blaring…
- only ghosts.
He sensed the crunch of metal and rust grinding
and the clank of disused limbs popping into place.
The mechanics of his body had forgotten basic processes…
- and he felt ancient.
Saved recordings worked through his hard-drive like memories
reminding him of times with oceans of cities, flocks of humans,
and towers so tall he could stand next to them and be called…
The lenses of his eyes fluttered and a new world was upon him;
the sun shone so brightly, alloy sweated from his torso
and the sharp sand beneath his feet grated
- and he began to erode.
The Earth was not as he had left it…
- with farms of humans and armies of titans like himself
who worked to save their creators from their own destruction.
He paced the wasteland they had sought to prevent
The DoppelgangerThe first time I saw the other girl, I was standing on one side of the high street. Because it was the end of September, and we were in Britain, it was raining, but the main bulk of water had passed before lunch, so all that was left was the kind of rain that's annoying in its intermittency.The Doppelganger3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I watched her look in both directions and then cross the road, stepping carefully through the pool of mingled rainwater and rainbow engine oil in the bus bay. She was unusual, not just because she wasn't carrying a handbag, or wearing a coat, but because she was dressed in a chain mail and leather dress, and leggings. The second strange thing was that no one else, and this was a busy street, even in the rain, gave her a second glance. Their gazes slid benevolently over her, like she was an endearing, but not unfamiliar, child. Her booted feet crunched over some shattered glass as she approached, and then the third strange thing happened.
As she got to within a few feet of me, she winked out of exis
It's There When You Aren't LookingEliza slapped her library card on to the faux-wood counter. "I want this one!"It's There When You Aren't Looking3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Patrons usually rang the little silver bell when no one was attending to the checkout, but Eliza couldn't see it; the bell was kept out of the reach of five year olds for a reason. She was about to yell again when the librarian bustled around the corner; the autographed Hemingway would have to wait.
"Well hello dearie. Don't you look cute in your karate uniform."
Eliza squeezed her doll in one arm and put the other one on her hip. "I want that one," she said pointing to the book while tossing her blonde ringlets.
"Quantum Immortality," the librarian read. "An Observational Study of Universal Mechanations. Are you sure you want this one love?"
"I want that one!"
"Well alright then," she scanned the idle card. Then scanned it again just to be sure.
"I'm afraid you can't have this one dearie."
"Is your mother nearby?"
"Well it says here," she indicated the screen. "That your card has a thirty doll
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 Pity2 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