UmbrellaheadsWe live in a city of smokestacks and umbrellaheads. A city split in two and turned upside down. A city dazed and unsteady on sixteen million feet, six feet under and darker than that. We live in a city that slept for the first time in nearly a century.
A city of people confused and bemused and infused with "what can I what shall I what must I do now?" It's a city that's hurting and breathing and fishing and wishing and laughing and living and waiting to wake up.
We live in a state of huddling and listening. Watching as the resilient basketball hoop in the driveway snaps in two as the trees behind dance in an insane tango, a physically improbable tango. We live in a state of blank traffic lights and trees flung like toys, leaves upside down and begging to be relieved of the shame of having fallen. We live in a state of emergency.
A state of people who exasperate and exaggerate and desperate to reach their families with no phone no internet no communication no no no. It's a state with th
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.The Sketch3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
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
Tropers in LoveOnly she could lampshade a kiss.Tropers in Love3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Hm, The Big Damn Kiss, First Kiss, Concert Kiss, and True Love's Kiss all in one. Impressive."
He chuckled. "What, not a Hollywood Kiss?"
With a smirk, she replied, "Not quite yet, but you're free to try again if you'd like."
Preparations"Honestly...I'm a little scared," she admitted.Preparations3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Don't worry about it," he reassured her. "It's nothing to be afraid of."
"It's different for you; you've done all of this before. I-I haven't. It's my first time, so I have no idea what to do." She was so nervous that she was shaking, but at the same time her cheeks were flushed with excitement.
"Stop worrying, babe. Just follow my lead and you'll do fine."
When she looked at him, she could see it in his eyes. He was ready to go, but she was holding him back. She was still afraid, but he was worth it. If he was ready to go there, then so was she.
"Alright then," she took a deep breath in an attempt to calm down. "Let's go. I can do this."
A smile spread across his face when she spoke; he'd been afraid that she would back out.
"Great. Great!" He was full of energy now. Before she could even take her hat off, he had her by the hand and was leading her out the door and down the hall.
"You know, you're lucky I love you," she said in an out-o
IcebergIt was made to look exactly like an iceberg, unless someone happened to notice the gentle glow from the kitchen window, shimmering underwater and casting light on any sea life that idly passed by.Iceberg3 years ago in Profiles More Like This
Dan had lived there his entire life with his wild and eccentric father, who believed that the best way to avoid the folly of mankind was to hide from it in the most bizarre home ever created.
Dan wasn't aware of how different his life was from other ten year old boys. It seemed perfectly natural to wake up, glance out the bedroom window, and see his father's fishing nets, suspended ghost-like in the greenish hazed arctic ocean.
It seemed completely normal to spend all of his time inside, except for the occasional trip to the top of the iceberg for a breath of fresh air.
He'd never seen land. He'd never seen another human being other than his father. He'd read about people and trees and dogs and cars, but he couldn't really imagine what they must be like. It all just seemed like mak
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."
three dogs in the churchyardThe chain link around the graveyard runs straight through an oak tree. The bark looks crippled where it passed through the wire--mutilated in a faint diamond pattern--but you can see around the edges where it's fusing together smooth again.three dogs in the churchyard3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The kids with the distant eyes always come here to smoke. You've never seen eyes like that. Distant, but not glazed, like they're looking into eternity and watching the threads of livewire possibility arc and writhe before them. The embers at the ends of their smokes cast cherry-red reflections on their irises.
The top of the fence is buckling where it enters the tree. You wonder if they'll have to cut it loose if they ever take it down. You wonder how far the roots have crept.
You wonder why the kids with the forever eyes never stand, vulpine, by the churchyard with its stray dogs and subterranean hum of faith--of vulnerable hope. Maybe all the life drowns out the eternity.
On winter mornings, they exist only in the pinpricks of light from the ends
GameAnd here I am, holding on for dear lifeGame3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
(but since when is my life dear to anyone, anyway?)
while you roll the dice one more time.
"Two," you say, and I sigh in relief because I'm number four. Number two gets dragged on the floor towards you and you kiss her on the forehead
(with a bullet)
and she falls to the ground and the men carry her away to the pit.
A new number two comes forth and she's prettier than the last one. But I look away. There's no point in finding beauty in this.
I actually heard the future being preached sometime before it happened.
"The gods are angry," the old priest said, "they'll turn against us."
And they did, alright, when they gave conscience to our robots and made them overtake humanity, that they enjoy torturing.
I know this is not your fault.
You're probably suffering even more than any of us
(after all, you're the one holding the gun)
but I don't know if I can forgive you.
Yet, I loved you once. It was a pretty and shiny dream. But also a crazy one. I was
The August Rooster and the Eater of Pearls"Are you the spawn of Satan?" the woman asks me. She is wearing welding goggles and holding a clipboard.The August Rooster and the Eater of Pearls3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"No," I say. "Hello. I'm--"
"Yes, yes, the potential apprentice. Sara, was it?"
"Samantha. It's a pleasure to meet you both."
"Lovely to meet you too, Samantha," the man says, stepping forward to shake my hand. His skin is cold, and I swear he has scales. "Are you ready go?"
"We're taking you with us for this afternoon's search."
"Ah. Yes. Okay then."
They both turn to leave, and I trail after them. They move quickly, and I end up having to alternate between walking and running to keep up.
"Out of interest, what exactly is it that you do?" I ask.
"Do you not know?" the man asks, surprise in his voice.
"The appointment was set up by the school I go to. I was told nothing other than the time and place."
The woman sighs loudly. "Again," she says. "Again."
"We're witch-hunters," the man explains to me. "Well, I say witch, but we deal with a lot more than that."
Leopold Runs So SlowArms out like a flying squirrel, Leopold's Sketchers crunched across the gravel. He felt like he was in one of those comic books his older brother, Chris, was always reading, the ones with the girls in bright, skintight costumes, and the men with bulging muscles and red capes. Leo swooped around his driveway, his lips blubbering together to make the noise of a helicopter's propeller, then making the vehicle go down in flames, exploding in a shower of spittle.Leopold Runs So Slow3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Look at Leo!" Casey from next door exclaimed, pointing to him from the kitchen window. "He can't even catch up with that leaf!" The said leaf skittered along the pavement, Leo trundling after it, lopsided and limping.
"Casey, don't point," her mother admonished, frowning. "It's not his fault. And how would you feel if someone was making fun of you?"
"I'm not making fun," Casey pouted stubbornly. "I'm just saying he can't even catch up when he plays tag with Maura, and she's only three!" Her mother's silent re
stuck like glueit started with lightbulbs, and it ended with jail.stuck like glue5 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
All the Beautiful PeopleWhat of the man, who stands before you with nothing: having tragically lost his wife on the backend of life? Now sits in front of his television set harboring thoughts of his children, before they grew up and moved on. Is this man's suffering any greater than the one with empty hands, who has never known such things?All the Beautiful People3 years ago in Philosophical More Like This
It's a good question, but it seems to me the latter of the two -couldn't possibly know what he's missing.
What of the single mother, down on her luck for a lifetime: now stands before the podium her daughter clad in the cloths of achievement -does her new found pride and glory outweigh the hardships she's faced? I doubt it, but we take all we can get.
These are the people -those truly beautiful people, who know what it means to fight and to do without, to rise and fall and rise again. For they can truly appreciate life, with words like: the world is hopeless, but I love it anyway.
Lion HeartIt is building up deep within her fragile body like a heaving monsoon forming over the dry, cracked, heavy heat of an African savannah; an unforgiving and all-consuming storm desperately willing to drown out its less than fleeting welcome. Flickering with ceaseless coils of skin-searing energy like a grey-faced fugitive's adrenaline stricken heartbeat, it is not a bringer of life, but a threat to itand even the most reckless are hardwired to take flight in the face of such a colossal and uncompromising foe.Lion Heart4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Beyond these white-washed walls, the world would have her believe that she is brave, a lioness, an exception confronted by the inevitable; but outrunning the storm is no longer an option, and she has never felt more betrayed. Slowly, it is emanating from her heart and through the pulmonary arterythere, free to roll and crash, it engulfs her lungs in a terrible thunder that rattles the brittle bones holding her together. The ominous feeling that has settled into
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 Language3 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
1. Complicated200 Theme Challenge.1. Complicated3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"How complicated can it be?"
So he said, as together we stared at the problem of the moment. Our professor's minute, near-incomprehensible handwriting marched all over the whiteboard, numbers and chemical symbols sprawled across every spare inch in a strange, orderly dance.
"Famous last words," was my muttered reply. With great reluctance, I tore a page out of my notebook and uncapped my pen. Biting on the end of it, I narrowed my eyes at the offending symbols. Carbon, oxygen, another two carbons, hydrogen...the alcohol becomes an aldehyde which becomes a carboxylic acid. Nitriles and amides swam together as I mentally recited the rules that had been drilled into us again and again.
I slammed my pen down. "This is impossible." Across the room, our professor stooped to check Ariadne's work. His lips pursed and his brow furrowed, and we kne
to rescue a flower.Our tennis shoes are crushing dandelions.to rescue a flower.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I save one fortunate soul from the masses. You are crying, but I'm making daisy chains and daisy crowns and daisy necklaces. I am pretending that they are earrings and smiles.
It's funny what a simple smile can do. It's funnier what all the smiles in the world can't do.
I don't know what you're thinking. I don't know why I am oblivious. I don't know why I'm apologizing. You are mumbling about parallel lines and the sun is drying your tears. I can't stop looking at you. We are standing here and it's getting chilly and I am still braiding dandelions.
I put a crown on your head to show you that you're my king. That I wish I could run off to Italy with you and tie ribbons in my hair. That when I see grass stains on little boys' jeans, I think of you running in the rain. That your smile haunts me when I close my eyes,
The Colour Of MidnightShe has a soul the colour of midnight.The Colour Of Midnight6 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Not the midnight you'd expect, not the midnight lit by a golden harvest moon; a midnight the colour of champagne bubbles, of laughter, of comfortable silence. Not a midnight the colour of her hair in the firelight, her soft warmth and the promise of her smile; the colour of sun bleached sepia where memories are tinged by nostalgia, and you can almost see the morning approaching.
Not the black of a hopeless midnight, where you can't see the light. That's the colour of the night where the fog presses in on you, there's claustrophobia in the air and the bitter taste of fear and you feel all alone in the dark. That's the colour of the wild night sea, where you are a piece of flotsam floating on an invisible current, being dragged along to the shadows by the relentless tugging tide.
Not the cheap coloured midnight, with orange glowing streetlight, with cigarette smoke curling round make-believe faces. The colour of strong booze that clings to the breat
but here and now i am aliveI was three years old when we moved there, when the wall in my room that moved and the drunken woman next door and the grey grey hight of the flats could not contain my first chubby steps to identity. My parents packed us up for the jumble sale of moving, pricing up our lives and our possessions with tape and cardboard and memories. The grass on the show house became our grass, became our house, while I slept in a new room under old sheets and dreamed of darkness.but here and now i am alive5 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I was five and nobody else was five and nobody else was a girl and I was so alone. The cats that roamed were my friends, the weeping willow and the squeak in the wheels of my scooter. The grit of the road was my friend and the broken glass I walked barefoot around in summer was my friend. In the heat, when our street was filled with the musk of people-gone-on-holiday and we were left to our own devices, you grabbed me in your dirty hands and you pulled me up onto your bike. The hot metal burned into my feet, worse than anythi
We Were Angels"Mermaids, sirens, they don't exist," the grizzled old sailor said.We Were Angels3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"But you saw what happened," the cabin boy insisted. His dark green eyes were wide and a bit teary; he was only twelve, and it was his first ocean voyage. Seeing a man climb over the rail and lose himself in the waves had shaken the boy up, though what was most disturbing about it was the look of bliss on the man's face as he leapt.
"Charlie was always loopy. He made himself see what he wanted to see and he jumped in after it." The old man shrugged. "We come from the sea, and it calls to us."
"The priest says we come from dust."
"Your priest has never been out of sight of land, I'll wager." The old man leaned forward and dropped his voice. "When we're born, salt water comes with us. Women have the ocean inside 'em. It's because we all used to live in the water."
The youth frowned. He brushed a lock of sun-bleached hair out of his face as he wondered about the ancient tar's sanity.
"We were water angels, you see. But Go
MatchmakingFor her the summer days are long. She is small and sweet, a cube of caramel with an aching aftertaste that lingers for ending too soon. Her arms and legs are pliable as grass, and as grass she swells like a sea with the wind saturating her hair. She is one of the movers who cannot dance, but were meant to, from a tight core low in the abdomen; and she walks the sidewalk on the diagonal, a magnet pulled to a dimly lit room with the bhh-bhh-bhh of good hip-swaying rock 'n roll.Matchmaking4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He rides the subway at night, beats rhymes into the stretched skin of the drum. He is an eagle fledgling, long-haired and brown eyed. His pants are red and he sits on the ground, tapping to the chug of the engine-- the drum is the engine. The next stop is his; for the rest of the ride, the train vainly echoes his rhythms, before stumbling upon a screech and twisting the pulse to abstraction. Until tomorrow it waits for him, to unkink its music.
They could love each other easily-- as much as flame
Quick thinkingNightfall was disturbed, when one night a hotel caught on fire. The people staying at the hotel quietly ran down, down, down, the broad emergency stairs. They ran in their nightclothes, for they had all been peacefully sleeping before a raging fire blazed and lit the otherwise ever so dark night.Quick thinking4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Two souls locked gazes, and searched each others presence. To the man spoke the woman, as she looked at the mesmerizing fire: "Before I drew my last breath in the hotel, I leaped into my neighbouring rooms. My weary eyes had caught notice of valuable pieces of paper, money as you would say."
Shortly, she giggled heartily and responded, "Paper burns quickly, but in the eagerness of escaping death, regular people do not care about those small notes. I searched the smoking drawers and I found bundles enough for me to live my cancer out. I took them, since none would become poorer as the notes would disperse in flames anyway. I then quickly skipped down the last floor, escaping to this wonderful y