The cold, sinking, sickening feeling sweep through my body.
My palms, sweaty. The pounding in my chest is making me dizzy, breathless.
It’s that knowing that there are things you can’t control, or things you just don’t want to face or deal with yet…
Why can’t it all just go away? Why can’t I hide in that recess of my mind where everything’s sunny and happy? Where the responsibilities and burdens are not pressing down on me so that I’m unable to breathe or function?
Oh, how I long for the days of innocence! When the evils of this world haven’t touched me yet. When life was blissful, and I was so naïve.
Where has she gone? Will I ever find her again?
Do I want to?
Time keeps marching forward. The world passing by as I sit here at the window, watching out.
The desire to interact long gone.
Here, where I sit, familiarity’s my friend, my comfort.
The unknown. The pain of the past.
My heart’s splintering as my mind. Torn between wanting to remain here, and stepping out there.
Freedom. Oh to be free.
The better question is–to be freed of what?
*Written for the MId-Week Flash Challenge
Our souls. Our history.
All that we ever were.
Lost in the glowing whiteness.
Will the sun ever return its gaze to the earth?
Will its heat be sufficient enough
for our re-awakening?
world’s greatest predator
the first to perish
Write a micro or flash story (or if you prefer, a poem) around the following prompt:
Post your story or poem in the comment section below. Deadline: This Friday, June 14th
No minimum words but try to keep it under 750 words.
Dark gray clouds hung heavy in the sky like a blanket of wispy fog partially covering the treeline in the distance.
Kurt’s day didn’t start off on a positive note as he trudged along the heavily cracked road.
“I’m so sorry Mr. Buxton, I’m unable to work today due to an aging car that I can’t fix because the wage you’re paying me royally sucks!” he muttered as his brown eyes pandered ahead of each step, hands deep inside the pockets of the long black coat, “of all days to break down, it had to be today.”
“What’s so special about today?”
Kurt jumped and swerved around to see where the voice came from.
There was an old man standing well off the side of the road nearly encased in shadows. His clothes were tattered, his salt n’ pepper hair oily and unkempt. Kurt noticed a strange looking box that he held in his gnarly hands.
“Excuse me, sir, are you alright?” Kurt asked as he stepped slowly to the man.
The elder’s pale face only partially visible save the eyes which were hidden under the lid of a baseball hat with its emblem long worn off.
“Sir?” Kurt now stood a mere yard from him. The wooden parcel appeared very, very old. Its craftsmanship told Kurt it came from a time long since past. The box wasn’t perfectly squared. No, it held more of a rectangular shape which reminded him of a–coffin.
“What’s so special about today?” the man asked again. His croaky voice carried an unrecognizable accent.
An icy breeze swept over them. Kurt’s body shivered as he buried his hands deeper in the wool pockets.
“Um, I have a presentation to make,” Kurt let out a sigh of frustration as the breath came out in a wavy mist and drifted upwards briefly before dissipating.
“One you really do not want to make,” the man stated as he continued to stand still.
Kurt cocked his head at this strange person before replying, “You’re right, I don’t really give a damn about the presentation.”
“What if I could take away the misery you call your life and give you one with a true purpose?” the man’s tone was an eloquent one.
Kurt straightened as he considered the man’s offer. The breeze suddenly halted as if nature was holding its breath.
Shrugging, Kurt said, “Sure, whatever.”
The man’s lips curled upwards ever so slightly, “Care to see what’s inside?”
Kurt glanced to the peculiar box, “Okay.”
As he took a step forward, the wind let out a whistling moan which caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand up.
“There is nothing to fear,” the voice crooned.
Kurt watched as the lid slowly rose releasing a familiar scent.
“Come a bit closer,” the smile on the man’s lips grew when Kurt took another step, “and behold your future.”
As Kurt stood over the box, the first thing he noticed was that there were movements inside.
Was there something alive in there?
Blinking, he peered even closer.
At first, he thought he was looking at a box full of the old-fashioned clothespins painted grayish-white. He then realized that the tops held faces.
“What the hell?”
His mouth dropped when he noticed that these “clothespins’ were all looking up at him. With their rapidly fluttering eyes.
“My god, what kind of freak are you?” He stammered as he attempted to take a step back, but a sharp coldness cascaded through his body when he discovered he could not move.
His boots remained planted in the dirty snow, his eyes on the ghostly stick figures.
“What kind of sick game is this?” Spit spewed from his lips.
With a joker’s grin, the man let out a soft, menacing chuckle, “My dear sir, I assure you that this is no game,” the interior now completely exposed, “it is futile to resist. Give in, and fulfill your chosen purpose.”
The more Kurt tried to move his head, or even a leg, the louder the drumming grew in his chest. His face, red with sweat beads rolling down the sides, he opened his mouth and let out an anguished roar that only the trees heard.
Panting, Kurt closed his eyes, fighting back the hot tears, “wh-wh-who the hell are you?”
“The name is Reike,” the man pushed up on the hat’s lid revealing a taunt face that held eyes that were like coals, and a mark engraved in his forehead – of a full moon with an eye in its center.
“And your soul now belongs to me!”
Story written for the Mid-Week Flash Challenge
As he carefully wiped the face of the clock, he wondered – what if each hour represented a stage of life, which would he choose?
Would he pick the early morning hours so he could relive a childhood he never had?
Or, would he opt for mid-day where he’d chosen the other road instead. Would this have saved his young bride?
Perhaps he should choose the evening hours where he could observe the storm clouds blanketing the twilight sky as they attempt to hide a life full of regrets and broken dreams.
No matter which he chose he knew that time was no man’s friend.
The past was best left alone, and the future to remain obscured. For the moment, the present was beckoning him to stay. So stay he will.
*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like to participate.
I was walking home one dreary day, after the graveyard shift at the Medical Center, when I turned left on 3rd Crane Ave and stopped dead in my tracks. Up above sat a man on the electric wire. He appeared to be completely engrossed in the early morning’s newspaper and accompanied by a silvery-black raven. There was an umbrella dangling on the wire between them. His appearance struck me as a bit odd with haggard clothing, and a top hat.
Glancing around, there was no other soul loitering on the street. I closed my eyes thinking that perhaps the shadows cast by the rising sun were playing tricks on me. When I reopened them and peered up, lo and behold, they were still there.
I crossed my arms and pondered for a moment. I’d been working the graveyard shift all week long so perhaps I was just hallucinating. Yes, that seemed like the most logical reason.
As my arms dropped to my sides, I walked on pretending not to see them.
All was going well until…
By the time I heard the blaring of the horn, I felt my body careening into the air and a second later, landing on the cold, wet pavement with such a force, my sneakers shot off and tumbled down the sidewalk.
As I lied there in a sprawling heap, I watched as the man tucked the folded newspaper under one arm, and with the other, held the opened umbrella over his head, and drifted up into the gray sky with the raven following close behind.
Before the darkness took over, the man transformed into a creature with white wings.
*Author’s Note: This post will serve a dual purpose. One, to satisfy the word prompt for today’s Write28Days Challenge (Glory). Second, to participate in WEP’s February’s Story Challenge (theme: 28 Days).
Glory fingered a loose strand of black hair as her green eyes stared outwards. A warm breeze caressed her petite body as she sat on the wooden steps of the white porch. The air carried a mild scent of sweet honeysuckle which she slowly breathed in.
“Enjoying your final day?” Came a husky voice from behind.
She turned partially towards her housemate, an aging, thin man, sitting in the rocker, and nodded, “Yes.”
He leaned back as he took in the mountainous view spread before them.
“It’s a shame you couldn’t be granted another twenty-eight days here,” he said as his colorless eyes scanned the horizon’s deep purple and pink hues, “it makes no sense at all as to why they couldn’t allow you to remain here indefinitely.”
“You know that’s not how it works,” she muttered as her arms wrapped around her knees.
“Yes, but it is unfair, not to mention unjust,” the man tapped a finger on the chair’s armrest.
With a shrug, she replied, “I’m just grateful to have had this one last wish before it’s all over with. I mean, goodness, I had the chance to see all of my friends and family, to say my good-byes…even if none of it was real…it was nice. Really nice.”
The man scowled as he nodded, “Yes…yes.”
“I know you try to understand, Jessup, and I appreciate it very much,” Glory said as she glanced down the expansive meadow where she could see the shadowy forms of buildings that made up her childhood town, “but you don’t have to stay any longer.”
Jessup let out a long exhale, “Yes, but it doesn’t feel right to leave you to -eh- to face your end.”
She smiled, “You are too thoughtful, but I will be okay.”
His eyes swept over her before he bowed his head, “As you wish,” and within seconds, his body dissipated into a thin cloud of mist.
Glory studied the empty chair for a moment before returning her attention to the sky. The streaks of purple and pink were quickly transitioning to layers of dark blue and black. The usual nightly orbs obscured by a looming menace in the heavens where billowing sinister clouds barely concealed an enormous fiery mass barreling towards her.
A shiver ran through her body as she closed her eyes.
Will I feel any pain? She wondered as waves of heated air brushed over her.
The earth beneath her rumbled as the roar grew louder and louder until her body shuddered right off the porch, and on the rolling ground.
Crackling and sizzling filled her ears as she opened one eye to see where the fire was when she realized the sounds were coming from her skin.
Just as the burning grew unbearable, everything went dark.
Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep.
The blipping line on the monitor instantly became a steady line.
A tall man in a white jacket stood staring at the screen for several moments, the bushy brows burrowing which revealed the deep lines around his brown eyes.
“Dr. Cruz?” came a woman’s voice from the nearby console.
“I will never get used to this,” he said, “extinguishing lives all for what? Profit? So that our government can repay its debts?”
“No, it’s mankind’s next step in its evolutionary process. It has also helped science learn much about the human’s consciousness,” the same woman replied.
He bowed his head for a long moment, eyes closed as he pondered on her words. Then, he shook it.
“Those are just the Company’s taglines. We are nothing more than an assembling line for repurposing human bodies for those who can afford them. For the few who want to extend their own selfish, futile lives.”
“Dr. Cruz,” the woman’s tone now stern, “I wish to remind you that everything said and done here are being carefully monitored.”
He clenched his jaw, “Time of conscious death, 23:02,” his fingers tapped hard on the blue-lighted tablet’s screen.
To his left, the woman in a white jacket turned to focus her attention on the various displays of electronic devices in front of her.
“Closing the file for collateral number 230645 aka Gloria Swann,” she said as she pressed on the glowing screen, “body already prepped and ready for shipment to recipient number 02A02,”
*Warning: has mild language.
Ben was resting in bed, perusing a Road & Track magazine, when the first blast shook his quarter.
Damn crane must have dropped another casing, he thought casually and went back to the article.
But, when the second blast reverberated through the rig, he knew something was wrong.
As he pulled on his sneakers and life-jacket, an enormous explosion blew the heavy-duty door off its hinges like it was just a piece of cardboard; only it didn’t feel like cardboard when it smashed against his stocky body instantly knocking him unconscious.
Somewhere in the murkiness, a familiar voice floated to his ears.
“Do you love me?” It was Mia’s, his high school sweetheart. She leaned her petite body against the blue sports car.
He was bent over the 8-cylinder engine, his hands fingering the spark plugs, “Course I do,” he said.
Mia let out a chuckle, “Liar. You love your car way more than me. ‘Sides, my Daddy won’t let me marry you anyway.”
She let out a squeal which strangely morphed into a high pitch ringing.
“Warning,” echoed a female computerize voice, “proceed immediately to the lifeboats. This is not a drill.”
When Ben opened his eyes, at first he thought he’d gone blind but realized the lights were knocked out. Back up on his feet, he steadied his shaking body and assessed the situation.
The white strobe lights faintly flickered through the thick, black mass pouring into his sleeping area. His head throbbed as something warm trickled through his lips.
He could feel the entire rig rattling and groaning as one word penetrated the deep fog within his mind.
“Oh, god,” he said.
When he stepped out in the dark corridor, the scent of burning oil nearly overwhelmed him as he bent over to gag and cough.
Got to get to the lifeboat.
The trek to topside was met with twisted steel and thick smoke. Twice he had to seek out a new direction. On his last attempt, the heat was so intense he could hear the soles of his sneakers sizzle with each step.
Sweat streamed down his smoke-grimed face as he quickened his pace up the warped metal stairway. Another voice wormed its way into his head. His father’s. They’d gone fishing at Pilot Pond that last time–just before the fatal heart attack.
“Son, every man needs to decide the kind of road he’ll travel. Whichever one you surrender to will rule you for the rest of your life.”
It was an odd conversation as Dad was never one for offering advice of any kind, it was as if he knew his time was nearly up. Ben hadn’t grasped what the elder meant…until now.
The closer he moved to the surface, the louder the roar and screams grew until he broke through, and entered hell.
Surrounded by towering flames and billowing black smokes. he sought out familiar shapes or bodies. Nothing appeared like it normally should only melting steel structures and burning debris falling from above creating blockades everywhere he turned.
Where’s the damn lifeboat?
His tearing cobalt eyes searched through the hellish scene for the section where a lifeboat should have been. He saw nothing.
As he stood near the edge of the platform, the realization that he’d been left behind coursed through his body as his eyes surveyed what lied below.
“Oh, sweet Mary!” He croaked.
The water was on fire.
Mia’s face filled his mind. Her mesmerizing chocolate eyes, the ones he always lost himself in.
“Why wouldn’t your daddy let you marry me?” He’d asked.
Those eyes narrowed and seemed sad, “He said you’re too much into the things of the world, and that you’d value them over me.”
“He’s wrong,” he replied.
“Liar,” she laughed softly, ” and you know it.”
Another explosion ripped through the rig as the heated blast slammed into his body, and sent him flying in the air. As he landed on the steel landing, he felt all the oxygen whooshed out of his lungs.
Was this how he was going to die? Here, on this fiery rig? In all of his twenty-four years, he’d never truly done anything worthwhile except work on that worthless piece of metal on wheels. His father was right, and so was Mia’s.
Ben wanted to change that.
Grunting loudly, he pulled himself up off the hot steel surface and looked out over the blazing sea.
*Inspired by the true events that took place on the Deepwater Horizon
*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like tp participate.
Scared witless, he slammed the company’s truck to a full stop and watched as the radioactive sludge engulfed the town. Strangely, the first thought to come to mind was- “Dang, I suppose I should have lowered those control rods.”