The Day After

It’s always the day after an event
That disturbs me the most.
Because.
Usually I’d just let it go at that.
Just say because.
But today,
I try to explain.

I can take the easy way out
And just say,
“It’s an ASD thing.
With my autistic nature,
It’s just the way things are.”
But that doesn’t help anyone.
Certainly not me.

Where to start.
How to explain.
I’ve tried.
I’ve tried for years.
No one understands.

After Columbine.
After the USS Cole.
After Oklahoma.
After 9/11.
After Norway.
After Virginia Tech.
The list is endless.

I always react the same.
I wonder what it is
That everyone around me feels.
Because.
I don’t feel a thing.
Not one damned thing.

My best guess is
It’s an empathetic reaction
That people have.
One of those social skills
I wasn’t born with.
And just can’t seem to learn.

I want to say something.
I do.
But everywhere I go
On the Internet.
Facebook and Twitter too,
It’s all the same.

People saying endlessly,
“My heart bleeds for those of you
Whose lives this storm’s destroyed.”

And I don’t understand.
I don’t understand at all.
Because they were not hurt.
Their lives
Remain unchanged.
How can their hearts bleed
For people they don’t know,
People they have never met,
People a thousand miles away?

I don’t understand at all.

I try.
I do.
I try.

I’ve watched the way people behave.
I’ve listened to the things they say.
I’ve studied their body language.
The moves the make.
The details in the things they do.

I can fake it.
I can imitate it.
I can pretend to feel like them.
I can blend right in.
So no one will know
That I don’t feel a thing.
Not one damned thing.

I end up putting everyone at ease.
Everyone feels better.
Everyone relaxes.
It’s as if their view
Of the world
And how it works,
Just got reinforced.

But I end up in hell.
Wondering how long it will be
Until someone finds out the truth
About me.
That I don’t feel a thing.

It’s not that I don’t care.
It’s not that way at all.
I care for those around me
More than you will ever
Understand.

It’s that to my rational,
Logical,
Linear mind.
The people hurt in an event
Such as the hurricane this week.
Are just like the people living
In Syria.
Being mowed down relentlessly
By their own government.
Or the people that die
Every day.
In car accidents.
Or the children beaten to death
By their own parents.

I don’t know them.

It’s sad,
I know it’s sad.
That these things happen.
I understand that.

And there are times,
Oh, there are times,
When I wish I felt
What other people felt.
So that I could understand,
And know,
Why people react
The way they do
To such an event
As this hurricane.

But instead.
I don’t feel
A single thing.
Not one single thing.

God?
Why did you make me so
Cold?

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#MondayMixer – Galan

Galan stood at the foot of the path leading from the seashore, through the cliffs, into the kingdom. The tip of his broadsword rested on the sandy rock. His armor gleamed in the sunlight. He’d been scrupulous in his preparations. Each plate perfectly polished, perfectly attached. His sword sharpened to its finest edge.

The cliffs to either side of the path were lined with archers that would rain death down on the invaders when they arrived. He was there, at the entrance to the path, to insure no invaders made it to the path. Behind him was Landen, then Marnock, and one by one, each of the remaining knights. Each would fight until they fell.

Galan embraced the honor of being the first knight to face the invaders. He hoped he would pass beyond the veil of life with honor, as a true warrior, and defender of the realm.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into the very first week of Jeffrey Hollar‘s new flash fiction challenge, Monday Mixer. Please go read all the other entries. You can find them here.

Dreams : The Azalea Died

18 months ago
I planted a new garden.
With new plants.
Different plants.
From the garden
Life destroyed.

I put in a camellia tree.
And an azalea bush.
Then I promised
I’d find other plants
To fill that garden out.

Much has happened
Since that day.
And my new garden’s
Changed.

The Azalea bush just died.
I don’t know why.
And no one can explain.

It’s just a part of life.

I took care of that plant.
Watered it.
Cared for it.
Talked with it.
Hell,
I even sang to it.

I checked the soil
That it was in.
Made sure to care for it
Just right.
For an azalea to grow.

But it wouldn’t grow.

Water didn’t work.
Plant food didn’t work.
Daily care was useless.

In the end,
I even tried
Calling in a specialist.

He worked with me
For a solid month.
We did the best we could.
But in the end
That plant flat
Wouldn’t grow.

Sometime’s life’s like that,
You know.

I did my best.
I did.
Took care of that friend.
Even gave that azalea
The best care I’d ever given
Any plant in any garden
That I’ve ever had.

And that sucker died
Anyway.

The specialist told me
He couldn’t see why
That bush just flat died.
We’d done everything right.
Everything that could be done
To take care of that plant.
Gave it every chance
We could.
That sucker should have thrived.

And yet.
It died.

I remember her.
Divorced.
Raising her daughter
On her on.
Dealing with the injuries
An elevator accident
Had caused in her.

The story of her home
Which she could barely pay for
Every month.
The days when dinner
Was a box
Of cereal.

Oh, the battles
That she faced.

But you know.
I didn’t fit.
I didn’t.
In that world of hers.
I couldn’t be the person
She wished me to become.
Couldn’t say the things
I knew to say.

And worst of all
I didn’t go to church.
And even when I did,
I didn’t believe
The same things
She did.

And just like that azalea bush
In the garden that I’ve made.
The friendship
That I tried to have
With her.

Just flat died.

She never even said
Good-bye.

That azalea’s gone.
But in the place
Where it once stood,
In my garden
Full of friends,
There are now so many more
Flowers than have ever been
In any garden
I have ever grown
Before.

Some of them are bloom once.
And then they die.
They have such fleeting lives.
Other come back
Every year.
Blooming all the time.

And I’m OK with that.
Because I’ve learned.
Sometimes it’s not what we want
That grows
That makes a garden beautiful.

It’s what grows
All on its own.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 7)

Dawn on the sixth day of Sword’s journey was absolutely beautiful. The sun slowly inched above the trees, turning the clouds and sky shades of pink, purple, and blue. Sword had slept well that night. The birds woke him up in time to see the sunrise. They could be very loud when they wanted to. Especially a screech-owl, standing next to your head. Sword’s ears were still ringing.He’d been angry at first, wondering why they would wake him so early. But as he watched the birds, he began to think they woke him for a reason. As if they knew there would be a beautiful sunrise. And they wanted him to see it. As if it was a gift. And the sunshine breaking through the darkness of the night, and bringing all the colors of the world to life once more was beautiful.

And he realized it was a gift. Sunshine. A beautiful day. This was a gift from the fairy child named Sunshine. Mystica’s first adopted daughter. She had the wild magic gift of weather. Sword smiled. Then he laughed. He felt great. His friends, Mystica and her daughters, were looking forward to his visit. And he was almost there.

Once the sun was up, Sword resumed his journey. Chasing the birds from tree to tree. It had become a game. Sword, chasing the birds, and the birds staying just out of reach. It was a marvelous way to pass the time on his journey. And in no time at all, Sword and his bird friends had covered miles. The birds were singing, and dancing. Sword was laughing, watching them dance. He’d never known birds could dance. He’d never paid attention before. But they were dancing. And Sword joined right in, hopping around, fluttering his wings, craning his neck, flapping his arms, and doing his best to imitate his avian friends.

The birds led him down from the trees, to a small clearing, filled with roses. Sword stopped there for a time. He looked at roses. Deep red velvet ones. Cream colored ones. White, pink, yellow. His favorite were the multicolored ones. With red fringes on yellow petals. Or white trails through red petals.

Sword sat down in the middle of the roses, on a well-worn path. And he closed his eyes. He knew. This was one of Rose’s gardens. He was getting close to the end of his journey. And he would soon see Rose.

The birds stayed there, among the roses, with him, as he heard a rustling noise. He looked to the West, and saw a shadow in the forest. A big shadow. He watched as that shadow slowly detached itself from the forest, and walked into the daylight of the roses. It was a wolf. A big one. It stayed on the trail through the roses. It stopped a safe distance from Sword. And it sat down.

The birds sang for a while. Then, they took flight, scattering in all directions. Leaving Sword alone with the wolf. The wolf just sat there. Watching Sword. “Am I supposed to follow you now?” The wolf nodded. Then stood up, turned and headed back the way it had come. After a couple of steps, the wolf stopped, looking back at Sword.

Sword got to his feet, and followed the wolf. In this place. In this forest. Near the lake. Sword began to realize things were different. Dragons weren’t dangerous. Wolves didn’t attack people. Predators and prey lived in peace. Side-by-side.

This was the land of Mystica and her daughters. He could feel it. It was a distinct feeling. A happy feeling. A safe feeling. A caring feeling. Where everyone was welcome. Every creature welcome.

The wolf led Sword down a well-worn trail. A trail walked by wolves, and others. A trail that blended into the woods. One that was hard to discern. But following the wolf, it became obvious to Sword. He knew he would never have found it on his own.

He’d been planning to head West, until he reached the river. And then, he’d explore the river to the north, hoping he was south of the lake.  After a couple of days, he’d turn south, and search for the lake to the south of where he’d found the river.

Now, he didn’t have to search. He could feel the wolf leading him to the lake.

Along the trail, Sword noticed more and more vines filled with green leaves, and flowers. White and pink flowers. And he began to feel music. He could close his eyes, and he could feel music gently caressing everything. The flowers, the trees, the ground, the wolf, and himself. He knew the music was Musica. And it was music that soothed all the aches and pains he had from his journey. He couldn’t help but smile.

The trail came to the river. Sword had never seen this part of the river before. But he knew it was the river leading to the lake. And he was happy he had the wolf guiding him. The wolf turned south. So did the trail.

The wolf stopped and took a long drink from the river. Sword did the same. The wolf waded into the river, diving under its surface, splashing around. Sword realized the wolf was taking a bath. So he waded into the river too. And splashed. He washed the dirt off himself. Washed the debris out of his hair. Got his shorts soaking wet, and mostly clean.

The wolf and Sword returned to the trail, where they stopped, and waited for the water to dry off of their bodies. “Thank you, kind wolf. You are wise to help me make myself more presentable for Mystica and her daughters.” Sword swore the wolf smiled.

When they’d dried off, they continued their journey to the south. Bushes filled with flowers filled in both sides of the river, they bushes were well cared for. Sword realized all he had to do to find the lake was find the roses of that garden. Find the trail. And follow it to the lake.

And suddenly, there it was. The lake. The trail just ended, and opened up to the lake. The wolf led Sword out into the clearing.

Rose was there. Waiting for him. She smiled at him, and gave him a big hug. Wrapping her arms around his neck. She never said a word. Neither did Sword. And when she finished hugging him, she took his hand, and led him into the clearing, where Mystica, Dream, Sunshine and Musica waited.

“Welcome to our home, Sword,” Mystica greeted him. “It’s so grand of you to visit.” She picked him up, like the little boy he really was, and gave him a hug before setting him down. “I must tell Oceana that you are here, and unscathed.”

That’s when Dream spoke. “OK. Mommy. We’ll take care of him.” And she smiled. And Sword, for the first time in his life, blushed. It was an interesting feeling, that burning sensation in his cheeks, and across his chest.

Mystica laughed, and so did her daughters. “I’m sure you will.”

And so ended Sword’s first journey to the lake. It was a journey he would make twice a year, every year, from then on. At first, Mystica’s daughters knew he was coming to spend time with all of them. But, over the years, it became obvious to all of them. Sword made his journey twice a year for Rose.

The two of them were like two halves of one whole.

He spent plenty of time with all of Mystica’s daughters. He loved them all. And they loved him. But he made that trip, twice each year.

For Rose.

#TimonySouler #DiabolicalDeeds, Day 5 – Zagan

War is a special kind of hell when you die endlessly. I’ve died after being shot in the head, blown apart by a land mine, breathing in nerve gas or roasting in the firestorm of a fuel-air bomb. And always, I wake up. And always, Zagan sends me into battle.

My wounds never heal. I always smell of zymosis from the infections living in them, slowly eating my flesh. I am not zoic. Far from it. I pray my next death will be my last.

But this is Zagan’s Hell. And I always wake up to die.


This is what leaked out of my mind for my fifth and final entry in ‘Timony Souler’s #DiabolicalDeeds flash fiction challenge. I do apologize for not finishing this on Friday the 25th, as the challenge planned. I simply did not have time to write on the 26th. Please go read all the other entries in ‘Timony’s challenge. They are all good. And, have a happy Halloween.

#TimonyChallenge #DiabolicalDeeds, Day 4 – Sthenno

The saccadic motion of Sthenno’s snakes woke her. They never spoke, preferring to sussurate. But they did move. They did wake her. And awake, she heard their whispers. “Men are near. Men are near.”

Sthenno hated all men. Gods. Demigods. Mortal. That bastard, Poseidon. She hated him most of all. The things he’d done to her sister, Medusa. Then, blaming Medusa for his infidelity. Athena had taken her jealousy out on Medusa and her sisters.

Sthenno would never forgive men for that. She would destroy them all. One by one. Until they could hurt no one ever again.


This is what escaped from my mind for the third day of ‘Timony Souler’s #DiabolicalDeeds flash fiction challenge. Hope you enjoyed reading it. Please read the short works of the other writers participating in this challenge. And enjoy your Halloween.

I Close My Eyes

It is night.
I turn out the lights.
Pull the covers aside.
Climb into bed.
Lay down my head.

But no sleep comes.

A flood of thoughts
Won’t let me sleep.
Waves of my fears
Wash over me.
Haunting me.
Taunting me.

And no sleep comes.

I lie there
On the bed.
Wishing.
Wishing I could find a way
To ease the ache
Within my heart.
To dry the tears
My soul cries.

How can people live
In this world
They never made?

There was a time
Not long ago
When sleep would have
Eluded me
All night long.

But I’ve learned.
I’ve changed.
Now.
I know
What I have to do.
I know
How to care
For me.
To south the aching
Of my heart.
To dry the tears
My soul cries.

While I lie there
In my bed.
I close my eyes.
And then.

I breathe.
I breathe in slowly.
I breathe out slowly too.
And I remember.

Fear is just a feeling.
Nothing more.
Just like anger.
Just like joy.
And feelings come
And go.

And I decide
As I breathe in
To breathe in all my fears.
And then
As I breathe out,
I exhale tenderness.
Concern,
And caring.

And I decide
To remember
Fears are like the monsters
In the dark.

They’re not really there.

As I breathe,
With my eyes closed.
I extend my hand
To my side.
And there, I find
Her.
Sleeping next to me.

And I know.
I know.
I’m not alone.
And never will be.
So long as she’s alive.
She’s a part of me.

Then I remember
Each friend I have.
And as I breathe in
I inhale
The things I know hurt them.
The fears I know they have.

Then I exhale once again.
The caring.
The compassion,
The tenderness
That lies at the very heart
Of me.

I breathe.
And I remember.
Who I am.

And before long
Sleep comes to me
Again.

But before I close my eyes
And drift off to sleep
There’s always one last thing
For me to do.

I remember you,
My friends.
And the problems you have had.
The fears that you face.
And I breathe all of them in.
And then
I breathe out the truth
That you are not alone.
And even though
I may be far away from you.
So that I can’t hold you,
Or touch you.
Or show you
That I care.

I breathe out that same
Kindness.
Tenderness.
And compassion
That soothed the aching of my heart
And dried the tears
My soul cried.
And breathe them out
For you.

Good night
Wounded hearts and souls
Of so many people
That I know.

Oh how I wish
There was so much more
I could do
For you.