Give Me a Name"Excuse me, do I have a name? I think I should have a name, it seems only fitting that a living person should have a name." There were astonished stares at the human-like figure sitting on the table. There were scattered tools everywhere, everything from a screw driver to a soldering gun. Circuit boards and chipsets in static resistance bags were sitting neatly on shelves, and the sound of hard drives whirling could be heard over the amazed silence in the room.
"We've done it!" The room full of people jumped up and down, clapping their hands and laughing happily. "Six years of work and we've done it!"
"Excuse me, what have you done? What is my name? I need a name."
"You are not living, therefore you do not need a name, but you will have a designation. You will be Pal100."
"I am living! I can think for myself, I can move, I can do anything I want." The people in the room looked at the man who had been talking and quickly made themselves busy. No one wanted to explain these things,
ShipsDo you know why its a bad idea for ships to travel side by side over the sea?Ships4 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
They sat side by side, husband and wife, not touching. She sat perched on the edge of the sofa, as though she was scared to come into contact with anything solid. He, on the other hand, lay so far back that he was almost flat, as though hoped that the cushions would swallow him. He was wrapped in a blanket (he was always cold these days) whereas she just looked cold. Not as if she was cold, but as if she radiated it, as though it was some sort of negative heat. Neither of them looked at each other. They both acted as though the TV was their entire world.
The motion of the waves acts on the outer edge of each of the two ships.
"Do you still love me?" she said suddenly. He didn't reply. This wasn't particularly surprising, as she had been dead for a year now. She sighed, and he wriggled deeper under his blanket.
But the really interesting part is that each of the ships acts as a natural shield
Neighbors Through the Glass Revised“Do you know why you’re here?”Neighbors Through the Glass Revised8 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
A menacing spotlight shone on me from the direction of the ominous voice. I shivered, looking around frantically in the darkness. Where was I and how did I get there?
A sigh emanated from the darkness, and I managed to stumble out an answer in response.
“No. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“We know you didn’t. But you saw something didn’t you?”
I remembered waving to my neighbor from my pod after I’d gotten home from my assigned job as bookkeeper just like I did every day. He was an elderly gentlemen and he lived directly to the right side of me. Our pods were made of glass, like little glass cubicles stacked one on top of the other just like in a skyscraper office building, as the Government described when they first pitched the ideas to the Citizens. They reminded me of a display case for humans. You could see inside each pod on the right and left of your own pod as far as your eye could str
Stitch in timeI see old women on rattan chairs, knees draped with the tapestries of todays and tomorrows. Square-nails, candlewax fingers, everything they hold shakes, as if the glasses are electrified, the plates singing, the cutlery howling for an escape. But they all hold the needles steady. In a line, I watch them dance in unison, threads looping in endless figures of eight. Sometimes I wonder if they have tied invisible strings between them, puppets in a row. Their hands dip, eyes clenched on every stitch, lips tight like a draw-string purses, spinning in a kind of ballet. But then one falters, with cotton too thick to glide through, one glances up at me, letting their work happen without thought.Stitch in time5 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I watch them gather the torn shreds of tomorrows from wicker baskets at their feet. Some pieces are violent purples, pompous processions and velvet lined mouths, others are watercolours of blue, faint mornings when veils wave, leaving the world distorted and spectral. Todays lie scattered amongst thes
The Last Tattoo“I get a tattoo every year before the Forgetting,” Eira told her trusted tattoo artist.The Last Tattoo1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Five years ago, Eira had been hiding out in abandoned neighborhoods in the vast City of Angels. One day she miscalculated the distance she had to leap from one rooftop to the next; Eira had fallen into a pile of discarded boxes. She had not been hurt, but the noise alerted a nearby patrol and she was re-captured.
The Plutocracy of the City of Angels had decided that Eira was still useful. They repurposed her as a maid, wiping most of her memory and giving her a new housing assignment at the end of each calendar year. The Memory Police maintained that the memory wipe was to keep Eira’s hard drive from getting too cluttered, but Eira knew better. If they kept wiping her memory, she would not be able to gather the information she needed to be free of the government’s reach forever. She would never be able to leave the city and look for her true maker.
“I knew it! Thought I
Breaking NewsArchaeologists have just verified that a pair of weathered trousers found last July in a peat bog in Ireland, preliminarily dated to approx. 4500 BCE, are in fact ordinary jeans. While the brand label is no longer legible, K. Whitman, leader of the dig, has confirmed that the make of the trousers is undeniably modern.Breaking News8 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The scientific community is raging with debate as to the correct interpretation of these facts. Some factions insist that this is definitive proof of the possibility of time travel – either the jeans in question traveled from our time to the Neolithic period, or the design of jeans in general is in fact ancient and traveled to our present by unknown means – while others believe that the find is indicative of an alien influence on Western human culture, both 6500 years ago and now. Religious leaders worldwide are claiming that “God placed those jeans there”, with reasons cited variously as “to test our faith”, “that we may know jea
Better.I. White dress. You did your makeup in the upstairs bathroom mirror. There is hope on your lips and powder on your skin. You are hiding your imperfections because how else would anyone fall in love with you? White dress you wore to make Tyler put his hands on your waist. White dress you wore in the summer. And in the laundry room, you wash blood off of a boy's hand, licking it once. Red blood you wished would stay in his veins. Red blood that goes straight to his heart where you once were. Red blood in the laundry room, where you make promises you'd never get a chance to keep. White dress you're wearing in the winter. White dress you press against Him when you whisper, "I think You're very handsome." White dress to mark the innocence you wish you could shake. A brown shoe is lost in the snow when you lay next to the handsome boy with the appropriate hands as He whispers, "You're better than you think you are."Better.4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
II. Black pants. You did your makeup in the airport bathroom. You
ItchyFirst anniversary: Paper.Itchy10 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Our love unfolded.
Seventh anniversary: Wool.
It all unravelled.
This Is RealityShe lay on her back, looking up at the sky. The wind ran its fingers through her hair, softly whispering of the joys of flight. This was nothing new. She'd always dreamt of flying, of being whisked away, spinning wherever the wind blew.This Is Reality6 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She knew she couldn't, of course. Humans didn't fly. They didn't have wings, and they were too heavy to simply float on the very air they breathed. Her shoulders, aching from the cold that seeped through the hard, immovable, earthbound stone reminded her of that. She had no wings, and she was too heavy to fly.
She did so want to fly.
She thought about the old, rotting, ivy-wreathed roof upon which she lay. The building that had been abandoned like a children's toy, left to rust in the night. She would not go like that, she vowed. She would not become nothing more than a decaying, crumbling wreck. She didn't want to become nothing more than a wizened pebble that dreamed it was a bird.
No, not that. Never that.
She might not be able to fly, but the wind p
Two of EverythingThe homeless arrive here on regular schedules to give their pets up for adoption instead of letting the Humane Society seize them. It’s on the grounds that someone reported animal abuse, but as I write the paperwork and look the animal over, I notice that they’ve been fed, been watered, been taught to listen and heel, to be loyal, even that they’ve been brushed. Meanwhile the owners wipe their noses on their fingerless gloves and scratch the lice out of their beards. Their brows have fallen into their eyes like the collapse of a Roman monument; their skin is not only darkened by harsh desert sun but by grime and layered with years. They suck at the grit in their teeth and smell of garbage or truck stop showers and donated toiletries from hotel sinks.Two of Everything3 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was Tuesday, December twentieth. The snow outside limited our clientele—no one wanted to come play with kittens and pit bulls when black ice slunk across the asphalt of Phoebe and snowmobiles crowded sections of
Ellie, chap. 1.Ellie, revisited.Ellie, chap. 1.7 months ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
This is the story: a girl came and went with a train whistle, the galaxy broke, and somewhere between a decaying church and white walls, I fell in love.
That is a mess. I know it's a mess, and that's really only the story, but that's not the truth. The truth of what happened is one big ball of near nothingness and half forgotten could-be-truths. I don't want to remember. I have to remember.
This is not a love story. This is a story about a girl with black hair and cracked fingernails and these are words I have taken from her skin, words that haunt me and words that thrill me. But more than anything, these are words for her, the unbreakable shattered girl.
* * * *
It is May 25th, 5:56 a.m.; I watched sunrise with a pounding heart. The light spilled over the train ahead of me, the 6 a.m. Freight, and I felt that crack in the universe right between the sunlight and the dark, and part of m
Character's Plea to a Lazy Writer“Don’t leave me. Please,” he begged.Character's Plea to a Lazy Writer9 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I sighed. “I have to. I don’t even know what I’m doing…”
“No one does, that’s the point! It’s a learning experience, and honey, you’re losing.”
“I’ve barely even done anything!”
“And that’s the problem. You can’t give up now! If you do, I’ll….”
“I’ll ruin my life.”
“I’m serious. Without you, I’m nothing.”
“You’ll be fine, Luke.”
“No, I won’t. I’ll become an alcoholic.”
“Sure you will.”
“And I’ll sleep with tons of women.”
“Not my problem.”
“And…I’ll…become an angry cat lady.”
“You’d need to be a woman for that.”
He pouted, grabbing my abandoned pencil and throwing it across the table
The Mountain Climber'It's so quiet at the top of the mountain that the snowflakes tinkle softly like little bells as they fall.'The Mountain Climber8 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Only one man has ever climbed the mountain. That was ten years ago. He didn't make any remarks to the waiting reporters except for that snowflakes one. He went straight home and spent three years in bed, completely motionless, until a stroke carried him off.
He was driven mad by something beautiful or terrifying, depending on who you ask. Someone said he suffered from permanent altitude sickness: when you've lived among fields your whole life, you'll be short of breath if you so much as stand on your tiptoes.
I can't help thinking he was depressed by the purity of the music of the falling snow; and by the thought that he might never hear it again.
I don't see why not: the mountain isn't very high. Then why did it take so long for someone to climb it? The people here are superstitious. Perhaps when you're eighty-two years old, you're less afraid of what God might do to you.
scopolaminesaid the mourning dove: you ask too many questions;scopolamine6 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
and you do not need to know why the bandage so graciously takes the red of your blood:
because you have a mouth good for sipping milk and spitting out seawater.
I do not feel you are behind me;
No, instead I sit three stories down
Contemplating the structural integrity
of the bridge we passed on the way home.
The gray dove's feathers consumed do nothing to quell my hunger for purple and yellow cornflower vines;
I pick the quills out of my gums and they form fragile trusses where I throw them on the ground.
Can a ghost be eaten?
Hush, and do not listen to the sideswipe whispers that form his explanation.
He runs rivulets of monkshood spittle down your neck, hoping to find cracks where the toxins can fester.
No, you cannot consume memories more than once: they taste far more bile-bitter coming up than they did going down.
And you cannot kill a thing more than once: I took the bird and left its frail anatomy thrown on the ground in crook
Regrets.I think I hate you, he says as the street lights swim past. I don't want to fall in love. It's four am and my city is quiet, just the tired gold lights of cars in the distance.Regrets.2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
Then don't, I say. I follow the curve of the road's dotted lines but I can feel his eyes on my face, hot and searching. He is out of place here, a boy in men's clothing, climbing over fences that shouldn't be crossed. He's not yet disillusioned by the sound of my voice, but that time will come. I can feel him choosing his words and gathering his courage and I know what's coming. The car comes to a stop, and the clouds shift, and for one moment as I climb onto the hood, I can see the sky for the first time in months. He follows me, nervous and primed, his emotions leaping off of him like sparks.
It may be too late, he says, his hand on my leg, trailing fingertips until he's under my dress. I am passive, a third party watching with shaded eyes. He is young and fresh, waiting for the wor
Message in the MirrorUpon exiting the shower, I looked into my bathroom mirror. There was a foggy message waiting for me:Message in the Mirror9 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"You left the door unlocked again."
Dizzy Girl,you can't cure sorrow. The rainDizzy Girl,8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
on the windshield is painted
by this traffic's color and you
are just the driver.
Other people pass
with faces blearing,
though I do wish
you could see highway
swallowed by a wash
questions spark in halos
of low street lamps as you veer
toward the center,
her laugh is absent,
Blink your eyes.
She will be at your left and the gust
through the tinted window
will be humid,
you could taste her last spirit
in the smoke and
The Danger of Following DreamsBy Marshall Norman McCarthyThe Danger of Following Dreams11 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
In all his life in the Time Before he'd never once set foot in an airport. Never enough money to go anywhere by air, his childhood had been one of hours-long car trips to the wild north, where nature ruled with an ironwood fist. He'd dreamed it, sure, of riding the skies clear across depthless oceans to the distant lands of his ancestors. Now he imagined those lands were just as empty as his own.
Leaning one filthy hand on the concrete barrier of the overpass, the other holding binoculars up to his eyes, he studied Pearson Airport with the cautious scrutiny of survival. He hadn't seen anyone for days, and that last pact of Ravers had no doubt torn themselves apart by now.
He remember going to Pearson once before, ten years old, with his Ma to pick up Grandma. She'd just come back from visiting family way down south, where, an Uncle had told him, Canadians go to die. Florida, he recalled, the name of the Heaven where the elderly are transf
The FortunateShe created strangers' fortunes. Printed on white paper slips, what she wrote went into fortune cookies. Only in her own cookie, she found an empty piece of paper, waiting for her to write words for her own life.The Fortunate3 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
My Winter Child, For YouFor you.My Winter Child, For You10 months ago in Letters More Like This
I rush for candles. Birthday cake. Presents. Pinata.
So many small children, circling like sharks, their hands like fins...whispering. Singing, now we are raising our voices to celebrate her arrival, five years ago today she was born and welcomed and I would have welcomed you, too, small soul...if only...
I'm scared to move.
If I do, you will exit this world faster. If I am SILENT maybe you will cling to the walls of my pelvis and scream, "No! I am not ready! One more chance, just one!" And I will hear you, I will listen. I will respond, I will grant you your moment. I have to cut the cake, I have to serve drinks, I have to hold the pinata still one more time...
I have to move.
My legs are weak, I am tired. I am hopeful but I know this is the end, we're finished and it's over and you didn't have the strength. I didn't have the strength. We're mutual in this, we signed a pact in blood...neither of us were convinced we could do our job correctly, we termi
How to Pocket a Man's HumanityFirst, convince him to adoptHow to Pocket a Man's Humanity1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
a rescue cat, fat, days away
from slaughter. Find one mis-
sing half his tail. The pair
will purr in tune; this step
is important. Next, rush him,
him and his rescue, to their
home, and then keep them dry
and healthy. Move deliberate-
ly, with articulation. Shape
the sound. Watch cat and man
sup together, sleep together.
Spring happens upon them, as
it does, and the man and his
rescue walk along the bridge-
less route to the forest and
grove without wind. Convince
him to let rescue race aloft,
to the distant hill-top. And
he will, and he does, and he
is gone. The man screams out-
ward into the meadow, scream
after scream weaving through
stalks of wheat, but nothing.
No clicks or mews. A nothing
against the rust of night on
the horizon. Help the man to-
ward his doorstep. Help keep
him apprised of the treeline
and its shadows. Finally, he,
rescue, appears, and the man
grabs your collar and shouts
and walks and runs and stops.
Rescue has brought home life
welcome to the new era: destruction, part mmxivi remember the boy rippingwelcome to the new era: destruction, part mmxiv4 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
thinking, they'll get you back one day, they'll
d u s t
and oh i remember my mother telling me plastic bags were
is the new night
telling me, christ is a holy emaciated reflection
of me, of you, of we who is god
we who is re--
i who tries to drown myself in
Mr. GravediggerI was cold. I was wet. I was in a shallow, muddy hole.Mr. Gravedigger3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Digging graves on dark, rainy day was not so bad really. Hard work was good for the soul and such. The one that usually dug the graves Mr. Gravedigger sat down using a tombstone as a backrest. He fiddled with a golden locket in his hand.
"Do you know where I got this?" he asked.
I smiled because I knew exactly where he had gotten it from. It was not a pleasant smile. "I suppose you found it somewhere."
"Ayep," he said. "Somewhere I shouldn't be finding things. I, personally now, don't see the sense in burying valuables with the dead. They can't be using it now, can they?"
"No need to explain yourself." I dug and descended down down down into the wet hell of what was once Lambeth's finest cemetery. "God, it's pouring down now."
"There's some pretty hair in this one this nice locket. You want to see? It's a bit wet now."
The hole was deep enough, I thought. It would do quite nicely.
Once up again, I looked at the
A New Way of LifeAurora pulled the sniper rifle off of her back and put her eye to the scope, closing her right eye which she couldn't look through the scope with. Off in the distance there were moving figures, she could see that much without the scope. With the scope she was able to see that these people were raiders. Raiders had destroyed her city and killed almost everyone that she had ever known. Her mother and herself, along with one of their friends was able to escape with just the clothes on their back and a few of the weapons that had been in the city. The Raiders had undoubtedly gotten most of the supplies. They'd only been able to take what they could carry at the time.A New Way of Life9 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
The raiders were looking through old cars that had been on the surface for many years, their colors were bleached away by the sun, most of the interiors had been stripped away from previous scavengers or destroyed by the wildlife, and anything breakable had already been broken. Unlike the area where Aurora had grown up, it was