NamelessA nameless creature jammed into a nameless space located in an unknowable location was all that stood between Experiment 726 and what he considered to be the Endless Stream of Creation itself. The creature was large and menacing, but seemingly beautiful to behold. Experiment 726 crinkled his eyelids at the creature that stood before him, frustratingly unable to comprehend all but the most simple adjectives about it. And yet… it was as clear as day and cold as night.
Cold. That was something you could call it, 726 mused. It was one of a very limited number of describing words that he could muster about this impossible place, because no matter how much he looked or analysed anything, nothing seemed to make much sense.
“Why come here?” The nameless creature demanded. “And how? No creature such as yourself should even be capable of getting here.”
“I'm just lucky?” 726 tried. “I honestly don’t know.”
Complex 57The slick of black, heady oil rolled across the floor, staining the raw surface of the clinic, and the young boy collapsed back into the examination table. He was pale, even for someone who had never seen sunlight, with milky eyes and black spittle hanging from cracked lips.Complex 573 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Of those we've seen, the virus has spread most quickly in this patient." Doctor Ripnar was a tall man who tended to sway when he walked, but had hands as deft and precise as any surgeon and he used them now to steady and restrain the boy. "His blood is turning into the same substance you see at your feet." he continued, "We might have been able to keep him alive long enough to find a cure, but we don't have the resources for everyone."
Adjudicator Lawrence nervously straightened his tie; his pink and sweaty face bulbous with stress. "Everyone?" he asked, "How many have been infected?"
"It's in the air supply, Adjudicator. We're all infected."
The Adjudicator lurched, virulent juices churning in his stomach. He hat
Twenty: I'm afraid I'm growing oldi.Twenty: I'm afraid I'm growing old3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Coupons and sales magazines
have become more than just junk mail
and the holes in my pants
seem more patchable
and I wonder just how much
my sparse jewelry would fetch
if I said I saw the face of Jesus
in the glimmer of my pearls.
I am beginning to miss the sea I grew up on
so much that I will read bad poetry
just for the mention of a salty ocean breeze.
I feel landlocked and sometimes I'm afraid
that I will never see the world
until I have retired from it.
Faith says her life is full of asking.
I wish mine were full of answers,
but I too have many questions
and only Time will answer them for me.
My mother just turned sixty
and her eyes when she looks at herself
in pictures from the '70s
makes me realize
that my time, however long,
You don't seem to notice (my scars)-i-You don't seem to notice (my scars)3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
He and I were eleven when we met, the first day of the sixth grade. No particular moment served as the spark to ignite our friendship. As children do, we started talking as if we were already good friends, and were inseparable from the start.
There were rumours, but we didn't understand half of the words the other kids had picked up from R-rated movies, and neither did they. We were called King and Queen by a crowd of boisterous first-graders who followed us around at recess. He joined the choir and the school play just because I did. It didn't take long before we weren't allowed to sit near each other on the school bus because we caused too much trouble, and eventually we weren't allowed to sit near each other in class either. One day, more quietly than I had ever heard him, he asked me to be his girlfriend; I blushed and said yes.
We never once invited each other to our houses. We each had our reasons, but never knew the other's: a silent agreement to n
The TypewriterThe TypewriterThe Typewriter3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It began and ended with a word.
Not a particularly strong or powerful word, but a word that changed everything. It wasn't too long or difficult to spell. It wasn't uncommon either. In fact, it was a perfectly ordinary word, but, I suppose, its commonplace origin is what made it so special.
I loved that word.
But the word doesn't mean much without the story along with it and I was always one for telling good stories.
I ignored the call from the other room and remained seated. That tone wasn't unfamiliar. Taking a bite from my toast, I waited for him to call again. It wouldn't be more than ten—
"Sammy! Come quickly! I've gone an' done it!" he shouted. I turned just as he poked his head into the room with a bright smile across his face.
"What did you do?" I asked as I walked towards his study. Chris had said those same words nearly twelve times this week. Every other day he had called me in for some discovery.
I pushed open the door t
Conversation"I am driving in a Hummer. I am on a two lane highway. I was listening to Counting Crows before panic threatened to cut off my air supply. Air supply is a band. I have no idea what they sing. I'm pretty sure they were a clue on Jeopardy once. I…I…have to pull over so I can breathe."Conversation3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Omar put on his blinker and steered the over-compensation-mobile to the shoulder of the road. He fumbled with the lock on the door and his heart felt like it was going to burst through his chest when he tried to get out of the car and couldn't. Seatbelt. It was just the seatbelt. His hands were slick with cold sweat by the time the belt whizzed cheerfully back into its place and he managed to slide out onto the shoulder of the road.
He was glad it was so late and glad that the highway was so deserted. He was trembling so hard that the change in his pockets rattled and he never would have been able to speak if someone had pulled up and offered to help. He hated for people to witness his panic.
What Am I? Lingering in that photo...What Am I?3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
In that simple shot
I look, and I see a woman.
I am not a woman.
I have never worked for a lifestyle,
given birth for an allowance
I have never truly loved a man.
I am not a woman.
I do not have the means to
to wake, feel the calling..(oh, it calls, but I do not answer)
and move, move, move
until I reach a place of
I am not a woman.
Sometimes, I still take the
of my childhood and
place it on shoulders of
Sometimes, I remember the way
lifting builds me up.
But I am not a woman.
Lingering in that photo...
A wisdom of some sort
has trickled into my features
I see glimpses of it now.
In that momentary shot,
I look, and see memories there
In the darkness of my eyes.
In the taming of my smile.
In the strain stretched over my brow.
I am not a child.
And I am not a woman.
Day of SilenceIn unbiased, unspecific terms, the Day of Silence is an opportunity to maintain a vigil that simultaneously reflects on lives cut tragically short and to serve as a reminder of the end result of hatred, prejudice, and indifference. If you are a progressive proponent, it is a day in honor of and reserved for the suffering of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities of America a chance to proclaim a social and political message that the worth of a person is not determined by his or her sexual orientation, and that discrimination on such a merit is no better than racism or sexism. If your views are more orthodox, it is paradoxically an unacceptable acceptance of a deviant lifestyle, the promotion of an agenda that leads to the desecration of traditional family and community values.Day of Silence8 years ago in Editorial More Like This
It would be a lie to say that my own view of the Day of Silence is itself unbiased. I am a quietly proud Christian and a proponent of the value of the family, but my experiences and times w
Never ToldHe thinks it's odd, sometimes, though he's not certain why.Never Told4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
A sense of dislocation, perhaps. Like cutting yourself on an unsharpened blade. He walks the immense aisles of the cathedral, footsteps echoing hollowly into the blue shadows of high vaulted ceilings and arches, stone figures watching him from above as he, in turn, watches dawn play across their carved and weathered faces. The grandeur of this place is oddly soothing in the solitude it affords him. A holy place, just hushed, here suspended in the silence after Mattins when most have shuffled out. It's a favorite moment of his, a favorite service to attend, and today it gives him pausethere is training, and paperwork, and a squire for him to wake and a council meeting and a king, but he lets himself linger nonetheless. Just for a heartbeat, just for a heartbeat.
Hal smoothes his fingers over the well-worn coolness of a granite pillar, and he passes it by for the window beyond it, so familiar. He tilts his head back to
BryceHe always stands very close to people when he speaks to them, staring with those huge golden eyes and leaning in ever so slightly, as if he is craving their touch and the feel of their breath and their hands more than anything. This is the first thing you notice when you meet him, the closeness. You ache, for a reason you don't know, to bridge the gap. To touch him. Your fingers twitch towards him but you keep your hands beside you.Bryce3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
And then you hear him speak, and everything else seems loud and bright and harsh compared to the gentleness of him. His lips are chapped and his big galaxy earrings glitter and his hair stands straight up and his freckles are like kisses, and you think he will sound like all the others and then he speaks; he speaks and something shifts inside you and a little storm begins to crackle and swell inside your chest and suddenly you love him more than anything.
And then he finishes asking you the time, and you tell him, and he walks on.
Chocolate ChaosRandom pastry movement: brownie in motion.Chocolate Chaos5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
the science of usacceleration = gravitational pull / massthe science of us7 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You didnt send my heartbeat into a frenzy the first time I saw you. It was a month or two before I started feeling the little palpitations inside my chest and made sure that my hand accidentally brushed against yours every now and then.
(I wanted to make sure you got used to the feeling of my atoms colliding with yours.)
I told myself it was stupid and simply physical. You werent pulling my heart strings, you were toying with my belt buckle by smiling at me across the room and asking me to spend time with you on a Saturday afternoon. I was sold by the time you pulled into my driveway and my name slipped from between your lips.
(Sweaty palms and twisted vocal chords told me no one said it quite like you.)
I promised myself this was strictly a one-way thing. I feigned like I felt nothing, and in my nervousness I became the witty jackass. You laughed at my barbed-wire jokes and sped through a red light while I was watching
The Stick PeopleIn a town called Rushing Water, there lived a woodcarver with no face.The Stick People3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
When we were small, my brothers and I, Daddy would sometimes take us to visit her. We would sit there at her kitchen table, amazed, as this woman with no eyes – and indeed no nose or mouth – would pour out our tea without spilling a drop.
I was frightened of her because she looked so strange, so grotesque. All the other days of my life, I encountered people with faces – square faces, oval faces, faces round and smiling like the moon with slanted eyes or big dark ones or little beady bird eyes. Snub noses, Romans or long, thin, birdlike ones like mine. Yet here was a woman with none of that or any of the faculties that come with those organs.
As a little girl, I dreaded our visits to the faceless woodcarver. But now that I've grown up I miss most all the memories of my childhood, even the somewhat unpleasant ones, so I sometimes let them wander through my mind even when they aren't invited. So I remember the woodcarv
Firebird The radio was the last thing Gwen packed.Firebird3 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
Mono.One morning a black pillar appeared in the center of town, within the boundaries of the park and right outside of the library. It stood at least thirteen feet tall and was as wide as a mature oak. They deduced it was made out of some kind of polished stone. Some guessed it was obsidian; others argued it was too strong to be such a fragile stone. It could have been granite, but when was the last time you saw black granite in that quantity, and in that shape?Mono.4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"We should knock it down and drag it away!" someone shouted.
But they were too afraid to touch it.
"Why not just leave it here?" another suggested.
But they wondered what would happen if they didn't do anything at all.
Whoever put it there didn't do it alone. They'd need a truck to transport the thing, and they'd need some way to get it off the flatbed and stand it up straight. But why go to all of that trouble for a pillar of rock? Or was it part of someth
A Note on DrowningI am writing this letter for myself. If you have found this letter, please give it to me. If you find that I lack the will to read, if my mind is gone, if my hands are bloodied, tell me at least, that the song is near its end. If I am dead [indistinguishable]A Note on Drowning3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
[Written in the margin: IF I AM DEAD THROW ME TO THE SEA]
In laying out the bones of my terrors, a solution may be found.
I’ll start before the beginning, when Mother took me for walks on the beach and told stories. Together we missed my father, who sailed the sea. These are my earliest memories, but I remember things had always been this way. We walked together, and I counted my many steps and Mother’s few. When I stretched my legs, I could make it so my path went over only her footprints.
The sand was soft where she had stepped. Elsewhere was gritty, and unclean.
I was young for all of Mother’s stories. Here I will write the relevant one as best I remember.
“A sailor was on a ship. This ship was far of
Helicase Helio and I were always sitting on the stairs, chatting about the lamina and occasionally making snide remarks about ribosomes. There wasn't much for us to do. Our job was to simply be, and let the RNA polymerase scribble down the letters on our foreheads when they came around every once in a while. Helio was a G, I was a C. It wasn't exactly fulfilling, I suppose. There wasn't much to be filled. So to pass the time, we talked.Helicase3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"You ever wonder?" Helio asked.
"About...well...what's out there." Helio and I were rooted to the stairs, quite happily, but it was awkward to move in. He kind of twisted in the general direction of the closest pore. "Out in the cytoplasm."
"I haven't," I admitted. "What's there to wonder about?"
"That's exactly the thing. I have no idea." Helio sighed, gazing into the distance. "Somehow it feels like we pl
The TimesI was printed on the evening of November 27th, 2008, just as the weather was turning from chilly to cold. I was tomorrow's news. At the moment I came off the press, I told the future. I knew things before the rest of the world; it was wonderful. I knew what my purpose was: to inform as many people as possible about the world's happenings.The Times3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
As I was put to bed, bound against my brothers and sisters, I dreamt of being passed around a construction site, making sure all the workers were aware of which sports team triumphed, and which celebrity was getting a divorce. I dreamt that corporate peons debated over politics, and the state of the economy and which policies would be most effective in fixing the existing problems. I slept contently, snuggled warm in the middle of a stack, ready to be shipped out the next day and sold to whoever wanted me.
The next morning was cold and blustery. I was so excited about being sold that I allowed the wind to ruffle my pages, since I couldn't move on my o
Across the Sea and Around the KotatsuSpringAcross the Sea and Around the Kotatsu3 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
BlackIt began in the quietest hours of the night. Granny was snoring up a storm, her bed creaking with each breath and twitch of her bigness. That's always the first thing I remember, thinking back. She always snored in the same way Pappy revved up the engines of his prized Cadillac. Loud, proud, and never ending.Black3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I s'pose I should start with what happened before hand. Nothing will make sense if I don't. It don't make no sense anyhow, but the story won't be right if I don't start before everything got bad.
So we were in the market, Granny and I. We go every Sunday while my parents and siblings are at praise and worship with most of the rest of the town. We get all the best stuff that way without havin to elbow our way through the hordes of people doin their last minute shoppin for Sunday dinner. Granny always said that the best book couldn't keep her from making Sunday dinner, and no man in the sky gonna keep her from her shoppin.
"Jerry, you got them apples for me?" Grann
Do you know the taste of the universe?One day, when you’re five years old and made out of fractured sunlight and mirror shards, you sit down on the bench of the MAX train. You’re dressed in your winter coat and boots that are too big and one of your parents has pulled your hat too close over your ears.Do you know the taste of the universe?3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
You’re sitting next to your mother, and on the other side is a man that smells like loneliness, something that you’ll later know as cigarettes and alcohol and homelessness. He’s crying quietly into the top of his jacket and you’re scared to look because you’ve never seen an adult cry.
The train ride goes on for five minutes, which is a long time to you, and eventually you sneak a look at the crying man who smells like Portland and loneliness, and he sees you. He leans down until you can see the red lines in his eyes and he whispers to you.
“Do you know the taste of the universe?”
And you look up at him with your little-girl eyes and shake your head because you can’t
Cloud in a Bottle 1Cloud in a Bottle 1Cloud in a Bottle 13 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
How is it your voice is a canyon which cuts
where you did not even speak, opening the rivers
of my lungs so they could cataract, could rage with breath
you breathed? That the rock swells of your ribs, washed
round and floating, met then barred the way with mine
so that my heart, turned to tides, could not slip by,
and beat against the walls, unanswered, ‘til it drowned?
And that I still don’t hate you, even now?
There’s all this nonsense of lips and bubbles, that’s fine;
still refuse drifts in one direction all the same, refusing—
shored up maybe by some reassuring echoes still unsung—
to sink, so like an opened blouse colored by brine, my hope
finds refuge at the highest point, and lays itself unlocked
on barren sand to fade, suffuse with light, the way all things
in the desert turn finally, achingly white.
The Last Kind Man For once I was glad my little sister was with me because I couldn't remember what Mom sent us to the swap meet for. I was watching the kasheeskis (spider-legged elephants if you ain't from around here) belching white clouds into the air. They get twenty feet tall this time of year. The alpha of the herd puffed a cloud of white smoke in our direction that almost made me lose my balance. Ran over a pothole so big that Mom’s instructions bounced outta my head and almost took Anne with them.The Last Kind Man3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The Sunday swap meet was in full swing when we got there. Old Miss Fullerton was selling corn and squashes from her little wooden cart. She's almost a hundred years old and still she hauls that cart to and from the pier ever Sunday with her own two hands. Next to her was Gil, the only black in South Beaufort, in his little plywood stand selling handmade soap. Anne likes Gil's stand the best because them little soap bars come to life when you look at