Anything you can find:"They're wicked," whispers Deputy Mack, when he thinks we aren't listening. "Beautiful, but wicked."
It makes Noah smirk from the front desk, where Clara Wynn, the dispatcher, is sneaking him sips from her hip flask while she profiles him. DePrince, she writes, Noah Thomas. Age: 12. Hair: Black. She puzzles over the color of his eyes before penning gray on the line, a rarity that gives us an edge, which we use like a scalpel. Noah flickers eyes like new nickels whenever we want something. Today is the Friday after the funeral and we are sick for answers, so we ask Clara if she will take our mug shots.
"I'll find some film," she says, disappearing into the back room. The door taps shut behind her. Deputy Mack and Sheriff Spellis are still arguing about us in the office, their voices a low rumble of contention, so we slip off our chairs and spread out through the station.
"Obituaries, photos, police reports," says Noah, fanning a stack of files across the desk. "Hur
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.
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
A Reason to LiveIf only she had the guts to actually do it, to just leap among the cold waves and sink in death among the fish. She breathed in the smell and taste of saltwater, and water sprays hit her face, neck, and chest. She shivered slightly in the breeze from the waves, but she wasn’t really bothered by the chill. What weighed on her mind was something much deeper than the weather.A Reason to Live3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
A pang of apprehension penetrated her heart as she envisioned her body being plunged into the water and weighted down by the strong waves. She thought about what it would be like to gulp in mouthful after mouthful of water, choking and never feeling any relief, but she didn’t think the pain could be any worse than what she was already dealing with.
“Aimée!” The young woman moved her arms in circular motions as she tried to keep her balance. Her mother’s call startled her, and for a brief moment she thought God might be
Naughty Irish SpiritsPoor Molly Deegan was so very tired. She had done her nightly rituals in a stupor and when her fiery red head hit the pillow, she was gone into dreamland without a stray thought.Naughty Irish Spirits4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Her corgi's barks jolted Molly back to wakefulness and this, she couldn't ignore. With a muttered oath, she flung the blankets back and swung her feet over the side of the bed. She cringed at the cold air and grabbed a throw from the foot of the bed and wrapped it around her self. A blue streak of curses trailed along behind her as she stomped into the kitchen to investigate.
She was momentarily shaken out of her foul mood when she saw that the kitchen was undisturbed. She stood in sleepy dumbness until she realized that there was a glow from the garage window.
Walking outside, Molly saw that the garage door was ajar and peering inside, she saw Aedan heaving the last of the broken shards of glass into the recycling bin, the partial logo on the shard revealing that it was one of her college bar glasses.
PREY NO MOREPREY NO MOREPREY NO MORE2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Rope dug into Patrick’s wrists as he struggled to free his hands. His hot, damp breath washed over his face, trapped by the fabric sack secured over his head.
A floorboard creaked. Patrick froze, his back rigid against the chair, and strained his ears. Another creak.
“Hello?” he called.
The sound of swishing fabric.
“Who’s there? Where am I? Why’d you bring me here?” Blurred memories swam through his mind: drinking at the bar; stumbling home; a shadow sweeping out from an alley.
Fingers grasped his chin and jerked his head upward. “Hush.” A woman’s voice.
The pressure released and Patrick clenched his jaw, his nostrils flaring. He heard the strike of a match and a blown breath. The smell of acrid smoke filtered through the hood. The hand returned, grabbing his head and ripping the hood off, taking a fistful of hair with it. Candlelight flickered from a table beside him. He looked at the woman, but
Moving: A YaduWe keep a homeMoving: A Yadu3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Of unknown hums
And lonely cats.
The sky cracks but
He lacks a raincoat.
Fueled by smoke and
Words he lands on
A branded street,
Knows the sweet rage
Of meeting too soon and late.
This town belongs
To a song man
And wrongful ghost.
He is most sure
The coast will fade their remnants.
Ottumwa ShamanIn Iowa, weeping willows dream ofOttumwa Shaman4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Tigers, born in pagan fog, their
Coat of stripes singing shaman
Songs; shrill symphonies of grief.
Heaven tilts, crashes, and we race
The dirt to get away. We drink the
Earth with bullets of air and grow
Dizzy, light-headed from breathing
Some far off flame. Perhaps a poet
Who braved the fog of Ottumwa, and
Caught fire. Every cowboy has his
Six chances before high noon, before
The fog forms wispy jackals to take
Them home again. Every son inherits
An empty gun, six voids to fill with
Answers, skimmed and guessed from the
Covers of books their fathers used
To read. There is no other way.
In sleeping, I have been to Iowa,
And I learned where wiccans go
To make their bed. I do not know now
If I had dreamed the weeping willow,
Or if it had bent low to dream of me.
In Iowa, there is no such truth, only
Depth, and the shaman's song of grief.
Mollie's Ribbons I grew up in a small town just a few dozen miles from the closest water sourcea slowly shrinking aquifer that squatted underneath the seat of Thompson County, our neighborly border. Fortunately, we hadn't yet been quite as devastated by our annual droughts as those in Oklahoma and Texas. Rumors would occasionally drift in with a tumbleweed traveler about how bad the deep South had dried up into nothing but an old dusty lake bed, but these flashes of news were too few and too far between to be counted on as up to date or even true.Mollie's Ribbons5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Once, I heard one of my distant cousins, a boy by the name of Harold, was said to have been caught up in a barn somewhere in Oklahoma during a storm where only the dirt blowsthe dust and dirt block out the sun and the air until you get blown away with it. Apparently, poor old Harold had been caught up in that barn for so long (five days according to old Miss Harris) he eventually just smo
JoyceHaving kicked the man in the balls and relieved him of his belongings, Joyce wasn't quite sure what to do next. She could run, but he might come after her the next minute. If she tied him up here, in the middle of nowhere, he might be eaten by wolves; or starve to death. Besides, she didn't have any rope. She could kill him... perhaps. The thought left a bitter taste in her mouth.Joyce3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
'What am I to do with you?' she sighed.
'Well,' he groaned while giving her a look that sent shivers down her spine, 'You can run, but that won't help you, cause I will find you! So you just wait another few minutes until I get back up again - and I mean úp- and then, I'll do you like there's no tomorrow! Which, by the way, for you there won't be!'
Well, that sure narrows down my options, she figured as she bent over and closed her trembling fingers around a good, fist-sized rock...
It wasn't much later when the road took her out of the forest and into the farmland. When she spotted the little v
Of Birds and Wings.Mr. Chuges was a man that didn't like going astray--he had never strayed from the normality of life and would never plan to, that's for sure. He was a man who would rather expect what would follow to having to deal with surprises and turbulances. Mundane prosaism was enough for him to be satisfied. His appearance gave out that much; mahogany, dull eyes which reflected no light, no life, looked through a pair of perfectly-squared, thick glasses. His lips were usually set on a hard line, their corners never lifting up to even fake a smile. A short, pointed beard covered the tip of his chin, giving him an austere look that made his students flinch in fear. Being wrinkled, his face was the proof he had completed at least fifty years of his life, even though none of them had been eventful. Whenever he spoke, his voice indicated no feeling, no emotion. To one, it sounded like it was emanating from a deep, hollow cell as he narrated today's Latin Lesson. He was lifeless. Moving automaticallyOf Birds and Wings.2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
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
Ode to my grocer...The grocery cart had old fruit smashed and dried to its grated floor.Ode to my grocer...3 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
"Someone really ought to hose that off," thought I.
I've had this cart before,
and thought the same thing then.
The parking lot was conspicuously short on cars.
Saturday morning is usually busier.
A corporate megamart has opened
just five minutes from here.
I pushed the cart into my familiar market,
defiantly devoted in the face of change
to my beloved grocer, unpolished, unrefined
and unapologetically human.
The Pinova apples are painted vibrant shades of yellow, pink and red.
Perfect in their imperfection. Better there be scars than a thick polish of wax.
And the voices around me are they from Russia or Ukraine?
Is that Farsi or Arabic? I'm too ignorant to tell, but I love them all.
Alien music wafts through the aisles like invisible fog over a transparent bay.
Languages I don't understand, unique rhythms and instruments, too.
Wait! Is that Alsu singing Inagda? I haven't heard that since I was in Moscow.
for all intensive purposesi am accused of beingfor all intensive purposes2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a category five--
but i will not excuse the way my skin aches.
i want storms.
i remember the way Katrina screamed &
if you press your ear to my chest you will hear the same.
the moan turning into a pitch, the pitch
screaming until the throat is too raw to be
more than a whimper.
the way it stops
silently racked until it bursts forth once more.
i will not apologize for being demolition.
scars exist on every woman
too powerful to contain herself.
BailoutThis work of fan fiction contains characters, ideas, situations, and places found in the Hasbro Studios series "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic". No infringement of copyright is implied by this work of satire and parody, and this work is meant as a celebration of the people involved in the creation, development, and production of the series.Bailout4 years ago in Humor More Like This
Written by The Descendant
Ponyville City Hall Fixture
Sweet Apple Acres Farm and Marina
Dear Mayor Mare,
It was wit' no small amount of disappointment that we received yer' newest letter o' sympathy, madam mayor. While yer' elocution was a sharp as ever you could say we was lookin' for somethin' a bit more practical to arrive from yer' office.
Somethin' along the lines of, oh say, a bucket.
As you will recall, madam mayor, mah' recent spate of frenzied letter writin' to your most gilded office concerns a bit o' governmental constipation. I herein repeat my story in case
DreamersShe reminds me that she's a dreamerDreamers3 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Her right hand delicately grips a pencil
as she's working equations on a TI-89 with her left
She looks up at me and smiles,
and there are stars, meteors,
spanning across the cosmos of her expression
her countenance reminds me to look up at the chalkboard
that's attempting to teach me how
to make verses sing from pages in a plain 8 by 11 notebook
and I am only armed with
a .7 pencil and a purple pen,
stolen from my older sister's pencil pouch
My hands are inches away from hers
from the desks side by side
like cars parallel parked on a side road
her equations confuse me
until she flips the page
and shows me stories
filled with metaphors of the sky
reminding me that we are both here for the same thing:
I needed a reason to smile
She wanted a lesson in writing
She reminds me that I'm a dreamer
We exchange stories and poems like cigarettes
except the only price we pay is a small portion of our ego
when there are mistakes and flaws,
and we are gra
ControlThe feeling came over Bill when he was out checking his trap line in the dying light of a winter evening. Eyes on the back of his head. He knew the wary scrutiny of the deer and the hungry yet restrained gaze of the wolf. This didn’t feel like either. It didn’t belong to this place any more than he did. He would have preferred the wolf.Control3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He turned around, shook his gun at the reddening sky, and cupped his other hand to his mouth. “I know you’re out there! This is private property! I don’t wanna use this, but you’ll leave me no choice if I catch you hanging around here!”
A soft rustle from somewhere deep enough that the trees obscured his vision. He waited until he felt he was alone again, then trudged through the snow to see what he could learn about the intruder. There were prints made by boots similar to his, though smaller. The thought that he outweighed whoever it was offered little comfort.
He cast one last disgusted look in the direction t
How to Sleep and Never Wake UpThe year they discovered my best friend, twenty years old and silent under the heap of her wrecked car, I learned one can sleep forever and never wake up.How to Sleep and Never Wake Up3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
That year, her sister, only seventeen, ate magic mushrooms and lost her mind and her brother, fourteen, started running and stopped eating and I didn't eat magic mushrooms but lost my mind anyway as everyone watched my skin, too white to be real, disintegrate before their eyes.
That year I flew to Colorado to see an urn surrounded by pointe shoes. It reminded me more of a wastebasket than the last I would see of the girl who shared my soul. Her sister ran naked through the street a few days later after ingesting a certain fungus at her school's homecoming dance. Most say it was the drugs. Maybe, I said. But I knew exactly what it was. Her brother started walking with his feet turned out, a remnant of his ballerina sister instilled in him. I ripped the flesh from my arms, hoping to find her somewhere underneath my fingernails until a
GrandfatherLancaster Pennsylvania.Grandfather2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
July 3rd, 1978.
Eighty-two degrees outside.
Driving sixty eight mph down Millersville road
past miles of cornfields
And everything is silent.
Except the faint scream of wind escaping through the cracked driver side window
and the dull thud of tire treading on the newly paved road.
trying to understand,
while trying not to think,
while thinking too much,
while being silent.
And suddenly its
March of 1968
And Calley is calling
“kill them all dead”.
And he sees his daughter,
her Agent Orange colored curls
clinging to her face like napalm sticks to melting bodies;
her eyes burning brighter than Hanoi and Haiphong on December 18th, 1972.
He begins to cry
because its still
July 3rd, 1978,
Five pm, and
eighty-two degrees outside.
But in his mind it will always be March of 1968
or December of 1972,
because for him the war is still being fought;
monks and Morrison still burning;
Saigon is still screaming
like it was on April 30, 1975,
Apologies to LaoEach day is its own microstep--Apologies to Lao3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
since I woke from my mother's womb,
I longed to mimic new words, trammel
the sound until it blossomed
like a newborn, and oh how I birthed
stories--told them how I wanted
the author's sacrosanct title
once I've grown. But growing meant
learning the practice of citizens
and their due contribution: beast-slaying
nature of please, thank you,
an apology: sincere
or not. Then there is time--the first
breath of nine, exhalation
of five, the suffocating mandate
of overtime. You grow used to it:
the cyclical disappearance of parents,
pervasive need of sleep, a home-
cooked meal's gradual transmogrification
to a microwave's impatient beeps,
the drive-thru's static, monotoned voice
by a man who has already learned
what I am learning: to cherish
the alarm's morning hymn over my mother's--
now I'm rarely late for work--can navigate
those can-lined aisles, the cold-grey
of the warehouse with deep strides
until I lose track of every step within
my eight hours--my mind
lemonwe walk down the streetslemon2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of a city named after the last thousand years.
a breeze floats by
and for a moment your hair lifts off your shoulder.
the way it doesn't touch you,
i want to touch you.
there are traces of lemon in your light,
a vague sense of mint on your fingertips.
the way honey tastes
drifts inside your shirt.
entering the city
walking calmly while the light falls
is like listening to your voice,
like waiting at the bell by the river
for a clamoring to do justice
to the patterns on the water.
the way the bells never end
i want to brush my hand against yours.
the way you drop lemon into your water
i want to live.
Bringing Down SweeneyI asked him who he was, and he said, "I'm Sweeney," and I believed him. I probably shouldn't have, except that it was true. I can always tell when people are telling the truth.Bringing Down Sweeney6 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Mum and Dad were still in the last battles of the divorce, so I was trying to keep myself out of their hair as much as possible. This was why I had packed two cornmeal pancakes and an old plastic dish of syrup and was heading out into nowhere, where I wasn't necessarily wanted but sure as hell wasn't unwelcome. Not that I was resentful about it or anything. Nobody wants to fight in an amphitheater. Well, nobody but gladiators, but you don't see a lot of those around these days. Goes to show you.
So out I went, with my book and my pair of half-crumbling pancakes and my yellow wellies and an old, oatmeal-colored jumper that had holes in the elbows. "Get a new one, Linnie," everybody was always saying. The truth was I had gotten used to it, and now it felt weird not to have my elbows out in the wind like that. Out
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.
The Soul Broker I am the buyer and seller of souls. I’ve bought them all and I sold you yours. For the world must run like the gears of a clock, and sometimes you tick or sometimes you tock, but everything given will be taken away and for every silence kept, a word must be said.The Soul Broker3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Naturally, you must assume there is cost. For everything gained, a penny is lost; of course this life can be no different--when the check arrives, you must pay the difference. But not all who ride on the sunday train pay the same price to get out of the rain: a king’s ransom might obtain far, far less than the pauper’s cheap pain.
Your father paid the price of sweat, a back bent under the yoke of the world; accrued worldly financial debt but was recompensed with the jokes of a girl. And he would say he walked away wealthy, with his empty bank account, for his daughter lives today quite healthy and loves him in equally large amounts.