Tumbler‘Twere’nt long ago, when I started tumbling. Hot dry winds rose around me and the base of my stalk went snap and I began to roll. Finally free of my roots, ready to roam the deserts and plains. Catch a glimpse of the tall orange buttes in the northern plains, as they had been described to me by other holy rollers.
Maybe even catch a view of people. Heard lotsa stories ‘bout them people, even though I saw one on a horse when I were but a sprout. People were always in’eresting, usin’ us for shootin’ practice, something to kick, something innocuous and ubiquitous to say, “Yeah. You’re alone out here. Just you, the sun, and the tumbleweed.”
Starting tumbling, started seein’ some strange things. There ain’t hardly no trees ‘round here, but there’s lots of wood, rectangular like, half formed into boxes. I heard that people had something to do with it, wanting the sparkles from the ground my detached roots once sun
Time Traveller's EngagementExactly ten years from tomorrow, we'll be married here. My wife doesn't know that, of course. In a certain sense, neither do I.Time Traveller's Engagement4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It's a beautiful spot, now. Now meaning today, when the sunlight is still pure, and the sky is still blue. The ivy still climbs in green snakes up the side of her father's chateau, the pennants of the House of Renard are snapping gaily over the towers.
I hear a lilting laugh that even now sends my heart into my throat. Euryale Renard. She is only a girl today, no older than my little sister is in the days I left behind. Even at twelve, my Ury's curls catch the sun like molten amber, with a flower basket flung wide as she runs. Behind her tumble the Twins, her best friends, their giggles almost as musical as my Ury's, their golden hair belying the poison in their hearts. I remember the snarl on Cassandra's lips as she spilled out her wine glass on the floor after Ury's father toasted our engagement. I remember wiping Chloe's spit from my eye on the same
Man Sold SeparatelyIt was one of those houses dropped on the corner of the street, squeezed so tightly by the ones on either side that it was hardly noticeable. It was one of those houses where the hot water never ran out in the winter and the air conditioner never broke down in the summer. All of the neighbours in the similarly shaped houses, although never perfectly identical, shared gossip and brought over casseroles and generally pretended to like each other until the door closed and the lock clicked and their sincere thoughts on the daughter’s new husband came to light. It was a neighbourhood with the level of superficiality one could usually find in the suburbs.Man Sold Separately2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I was drawn right in.
There was something about the idea of having a comfortable little life, a quiet life where I would often be alone and always lonely, that somehow appealed to me. It’s easy to be lonely; all you do is turn on the TV or open a good book and it goes away. I could never sit around feeling sorry for myself in a
It Had To Be FrogsSunday, October 13th, 2013. Helwan's Circle. It rained frogs.It Had To Be Frogs2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Of course, it had to be frogs. Serena stepped over them as best she could, but they were everywhere. It wasn't the kind of thing you expected to see in smallish town America. One or two, maybe. Any more than that and you're wading into witch burning territory.
Serena really didn't want to wade into witch burning territory.
“What seems to be the problem?” Serena asked, “Aside from the frogs.”
Mrs. Caprica wrung her hands---Serena had never actually seen anyone do that. Truth be told, she'd rather not see it again. The woman had probably been wound too tightly even before any of this happened.
“We just wanted a baby,” she said.
“And you tried to invoke...”
“Heqet,” she said, “She's Egyptian. Ancient Egyptian, I mean.”
“I know who she is,” Serena said, as gently as she could. The frogs were staring a little too intently.
“I followed the bo
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
Fragile--FFM Day 7Lindsey Stirling blared from my ear buds and I bobbed my head, furrowing my brow. My hand was shoved deep into my purse, searching for my keys. Instead, I found receipts from the Stone Age, a collection of seashells from last year's vacation, and enough pepper spray to blind at least twenty bears.Fragile--FFM Day 72 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Frustrated, I dumped my portable landfill on the welcome mat; lipstick tubes and loose change bounced across the wood and disappeared, lost beneath the porch. Spreading objects out with my hands, I sighed. No keys. "Damn it all to Hell and back ag--"
Glancing up, the box near my door caught my eye. Wrapped with neon-colored paper, a large skull-and-crossbones bow held a handwritten "FRAGILE" note in place. The colors were garish, clashing with the ivory siding.
Wrinkling my nose, I pulled the package toward me, keys forgotten. The paper was slick, slipping against the pads of my fingertips like silk. Examining the box, I flipped the "FRAGILE" note over--and gasped.
Yanking the ear
Flowers and RainA city full of flowers. A city full of rain.Flowers and Rain2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I watch over it through the gap in the crumbling brickwork. There's a little girl wandering in the street below. God knows how she got there. I can't see properly through the scope of my rifle, but it looks like she's crying.
When I see her face I remember something I haven't remembered for years. I was her age when the evacuations happened. At least they started as evacuations. The word implies that everyone was following a plan, but it was just mass panic within a few hours. Still, we call those days the evacuations, because that was the word they gave us. That's the word my parents used.
I remember I held my mother's hand all the way through the crowds. I remember the way I slipped out of her grasp on a bridge full of violent people. I remember being jostled and crushed by the rabble as I searched for them. I remember the taste of my tears.
I brush my hair away from my eyes and watch her through my sights as she picks her way up the road.
The Other's Orange FlowersMy brother’s asleep on the couch and I have a pen in my hand. At first I was going to draw on his face, but that would wake him up. So I turn the pen upside down and dangle the orange feather at the end just above his nose.The Other's Orange Flowers2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
“What are you doing, Allie?” he asks without opening his eyes. I sweep the feather across his nose. He looks and his face wrinkles up. “Orange.”
“It’s just a colour,” I say. “I’m looking after you. Mum told me to.”
He pushes me off the couch with one hand and I slump onto the floor. “You’re too little to look after me, Allie.”
“But you’re sick, and you can’t look after me, so . . .” I have to look after him. It’s my job now.
“Sure, I can,” he says. “And I’m not sick, just tired.”
“You’ve been tired a lot. That might mean you’re sick.”
“Allie. There’s nothing – underline that –&
The Beggar's Gift (A Love Story)She wandered the shadows of the streets day and night, face hidden and a frayed basket in her hands. A beggar. Shunned, she became like a bit of dust in the breeze, lost among the many faceless passerby. But she would not be deterred. Her task was one worthy of determination, it was too important to be left to chance.The Beggar's Gift (A Love Story)2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
For she was not trying to get, but to give.
The beggar bore the basket before her as if it were made of spun glass and it was only her sheer will power holding it together. She offered it up to any gentlemanly face that came her way.
“Please sir, will you take this gift?”
But those few that did not pass by her wordlessly, simply gazed at it momentarily before unintelligibly muttering what she presumed to be an apology and continued on their way.
“Please sir, will you take this gift? All I ask is for one in return.”
Each day she tirelessly asked her question, hoping that one day someone would accept.
Once there was a man. He stopped, peering in the
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
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.
State of MindThey buried her today.State of Mind4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I stood in the crowd, all of us dressed in blacks. I straightened my tie nervously as ladies I didn't know in big, veiled hats exchanged soft, sad words about what a shame it was. How she'd been so brilliant, how she'd had such a full life ahead of her. Ladies that didn't even know her.
There was a coffin, but there wasn't much in it. They didn't open the casket either, like they did sometimes. The man at the funeral home had said there was a limit to how much they could make fit for viewing, and I didn't really blame him for not even trying.
"This sucks," Cindy told me. We were sat at one of the cheap metal tables they roll out for occasions like this, both of us with a glass of alcohol in our hands. I hadn't asked if it was wine or something else. Didn't care.
"Yeah," I agreed, tone muted. We exchanged a look, Cindy's eyes heavy and ringed, her face lined in stress like a mirror of my own. Together, we drank. It was white wine, dry, about a 4. She would have li
Solitary ManNo level of devotion could survive such betrayal. I had to stop thinking about her. I closed my eyes and savored the only thing that could warm me now—alcohol. With a deep breath, I filled my lungs with cigarette smoke. These were my only true companions in life. I reached across the table for a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels. The cap was already off. The next shot went done like all the rest.Solitary Man3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
My ears were tired of all the sounds. I was fed up with the laughter that reverberated through the soles of my shoes each night. When I started all of this, I swore to myself I’d never get bored.
Somehow, after years of obsession with the joys and nuances of life, I’d grown weary of it all. Things had changed. My life wasn’t all I had thought it would be.
I remember when I was three years old, how my uncle would put on Elvis records and I’d grab up my tiny plastic banjo and strum it madly, like I knew what I was doing. I was a rambunctious little boy but
Jukebox Cafe A string of bells jingled obnoxiously against glass as Hugh entered the Jukebox Café. The first thing he noticed was the pepless fan rotating just enough to move hot air and the smell of grease from one side of the restaurant to the other. No one came for the food, or at least that’s what he assumed upon sight of the sticky red tablecloths and French fries that speckled the checkered floor. That and the fact that he was the only soul in sight.Jukebox Cafe2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He walked up to the bar and squinted at a sign asking customers to “Please seat yourself or ring for service.” What kind of café required its customers to ring a bell for service? Not sure if there was an employee in the place, he rang it despite the sheen applied by dirty hands, and the shrill sound barely cut through an old tune produced by the jukebox in the corner.
SorrowbirdI watched him flap helplessly between the teeth of a barbwire fence, screeching for help.Sorrowbird3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Papa, look Papa! A boy!"
My papa stood dazed for a moment, dust billowing at his legs, his eyes teetering along the field. It wasn't until later that evening he told me he hadn't understood what I had seen. What he had seen.
With grass tickling the backsides of my legs, I bounded toward the boy, "What are you doing? Are you okay?"
As I approached him, I felt his skittish eyes rake across my every movement. With his ten-year-old arms slung inside the gaping maw of a fence and darkened feathers pasted along the creases of his face; he looked squarely at me. I could hear his bird-bones quaking at my voice, he pushed harder against the fence. I winced for him.
"Hold still, we'll get you out," I turned back to my papa who stood alongside the road, "Papa," I pleaded, "Please! Help him!"
Reaching out, I touched his shoulder, "Don't be afraid. We're going to help you."
He didn't pull away from me. I thou
the arrangement of astral cordsThis is how I'm built up, you see;the arrangement of astral cords2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
stars trapped in the linings of my
the regurgitation of meteors
the chambers of a heart--
deconstructs of kaleidoscope-stained
This is the reason why my throat
bubbles like witch's brew--
the insides of my body form monsoons that
scratch my lungs and
disintegrate my windpipe,
an off-pitched dissonance
like wind chimes
whenever I try to shout or speak or
(and they tell me that you could sing
the moon to sleep when you cast
your faithful nothings on a star)
[and, no, I'm not some kind of genie
trapped in an expanse of dust
rather than a lamp]
Darling, I was never caught between
a collision of star-crossed galaxies,
nor an accident between the big bang
and a black hole.
I was born a star-child.
and, no, they could never be beautiful.
Yet, I could never be as graceful.
I could never carve my face the way
gods do, and
United States Summer 2011America alienates me.United States Summer 20114 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
From touchdown in Atlanta it is obvious I am, so to speak, no longer in Kansas.
I am asked what I am doing here. Repeatedly, and not always in a nice way. I want to answer with the obvious, that I am queuing endlessly for the privilege of being cross examined by an unfriendly customs officer who wants to know all kind of private details my best friend doesn't even know, but I swallow it back and smile meekly, while trying to act like I am not nervous, frustrated and insulted.
Procedures, waiting lines, probing questions, stamps and signatures, and then, finally, the liberating "Enjoy the United States".
I never felt more alien.
passports, fingerprints, eye scans...
I just want my love.
America amuses me.
This first meeting scratches only at the surface. I encounter all the clichés and smile inwardly: the food portions, the convenience stores, the SUVs.
The Normality.There is a cloud of fish swimming by my ankles, light flashing off their sides as they turn as one. Moss grows on the walls and occasionally an eyelid, soft, green, damp, will lift and a multifaceted eye will glint out. On my arms, there are flowers, large fire red lilies with orange throats that have sprouted where my large dark freckles are, each one just smaller than my palm.The Normality.2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I look over my friend sitting just off to the side of me, there’s a blush of blue-purple scales on her cheeks, gills flutter on the sides of her neck and every time she breathes out, sweet smelling oil pours from them, trickling over her collarbones.
Something sings near me, the piping call of a rainforest bird, and I turn my head. There are hummingbirds in my hair, I realise, ruby throats shimmering as they sing; they are caught in the long waist length strands woven into a thin fish-weave cage. They do not seem distressed, flashing the rich green of their wings as they flutter from one woven bar to anot
IndependenceOnce the wind caught on the seaIndependence2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
And its dress snagged upon the crests
Like a girl who couldn't help falling
For a boy with too many cracks
Then the wind tumbled between the waves
Crashing with the water when it couldn't find the sky.
I always wanted to live in the sky,
Wrap clouds around me--dip myself into the sea--
And wander into roaring waves
Of emptiness; Rush as the sun crests
Rush like wind and water into the cracks
Of myself, so that maybe I'll stop falling
For people who can't keep themselves from falling
Down, and who won't quit looking at the sky
So they can avoid all the cracks
In the sidewalk as they weave through a people-sea.
Well, I'm not used to riding the crests
Of others' success; I'll make my own waves.
So though my hair falls down in amber waves
I fear the strands will keep on falling
And my white-wash hands in lunar crests
Won't show you a spacious sky
Unless you want to see
Through star-spangled cracks.
Eyes and eggshells shattered, tiny cracks
And the tears stre
terabyte ruinswe've clicked the help buttonterabyte ruins2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
on the tool bar.
we're the first to admit we're confused.
this morning the council met with a proposal
to replace god.
there have been complaints.
"dear eternity, i'm disillusioned
your god is a single snapshot of deep space
and a soundtrack of silence.
i tried pressing reset.
my old model featured google images,
a personal blog, and a comment section.
yesterday's god had to be recharged.
it was a rough way to be hardwired,
but there was a five-year money-back guarantee
and excuse me, but i'm dissatisfied.
i'm not so sure about redemption,
and i saw it on the news yesterday:
they recalled the golden rule.
it had a bug called desire."
give us a refund,
and we'll continue shopping.
our browsing has offered up
some promising candidates:
and technological giants.
we're not sure yet, god,
but we're pretty sure you're out.
it doesn't come highly recommended,
but we're considering a newer model:
idolatry. instant gratification.
Giusto“N-o-o-o-o!”Giusto2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He screamed at me, his goggly eyes opened like a frog’s. His voice was funny, it made me want to laugh - but he also looked scary, so I didn't. I stopped singing and stared at him. I wasn't sure if I had to close my mouth or not so I left it half open.
“No. No! No! That was not a mi sharp!”
I thought it would be good to close my mouth now. The man looked at Papa and pointed his tiny finger at me. He was all tiny, only his head was huge, with a funny mustache and the goggly eyes.
“Why did you bring this to me? Are you trying to mock me? You’re wasting my time.”
Papa was all red by now and not looking at me. I didn't know what was going on but I think Papa wanted to be away from the huge room with the piano.
“He was in the church choir” Papa stuttered. “The choir master told us he was very good – he has a very high voice – good technique -”
“Good technique? Good
Choose Your Name“John Brant,” I whispered, and a dashing British gentleman appeared in my mind, arrogant and suave as the slim-fitting Italian suit he wore. He sounded classy, not overly pompous. But there was just something about him. He could be the cool confident charmer I was looking for. But he could just as well be a stiff stocky soldier with his pride shoved far up his ass.Choose Your Name2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
“John Chase,” The name rolled smoothly off my tongue. Another man took form, both the same and different from the first. He was just as charming, perhaps a little lower in class with a bolder tongue. And was that a little mischief I saw in his eyes? Undoubtedly, he was smoother than the latter. He could work. A common name for a common man. Maybe a little too common. But he could work.
“John Davies,” I frowned, my eyes still closed as I wrinkled my brow. This man was full of question marks. Unlike the previous two, I couldn’t picture him quite as clearly. And I wasn’t su
KING MEOver the course of time you have carefully adjusted the shape of the checker piece by scraping it on the concrete floor methodically, quietly, so as to not garner attention.KING ME2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The evening meal arrives in your cell, with a message written on the salt packet: KING ME.
A jolt of adrenaline (KING ME) but you must calm your breathing and eat your dinner as normal. KING ME. You empty the salt packet and chew the paper.
KING ME. It's past midnight (you assume; no clocks) when you jam the slightly modified checker disc into the lens of the video camera. It fits as if made for it.
The wait is agony, but eventually your handler comes to investigate the dead video feed. Between the time he peeps in through the slot to the time his key scrapes in the lock you bolt from your fake-sleeping position and poke the checker piece with a finger. It pops out of the camera into your hand. KING ME.
When the door swings open you are ready for him. Routine has caused everyone to become slack; he does not expect
A Guide On How To Shop In The Pias UndergrowthSo, ye need some groceries and things from the shops. But ye live in the undergrowth of Pias, so it ain’t a case of just popping to some omni-mall. What are ye going to do? Ye can’t farm cos’ the ground here ain’t gonna get enough sun, and there’s nae way in hell ye can just experiment with all the fruits of the jungle, cos’ ye value your life too much. Whatcha gonna do?A Guide On How To Shop In The Pias Undergrowth2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Well, good ol’ Cygno here can help ye wi’ this trusty guide! Available in all the shady places over the Kairos galaxy. This guide here’ll tell ye all about how to find the best markets in Pias and how tae not get scammed by some scoundrel.
First off, terribly sorry for ye bein’ here. I dunno if ye were forced tae run from the gangs or police in Canopy City or whatever other tragedy befell ye, but sorry. Pias ain’t a holiday site once yer under the leaves, I can tell ye that fer sure.
By the time yer readin’ this, y’l