#VisDare 13 : Atmospheric

At the altar, we turned right and walked down a short hallway, through a door, into daylight. We were on the bank of a large, fog covered lake. I could see old wooden posts jutting out of the lake where piers had once been. On the far side of the lake, I could see mountains, their tops hidden by the clouds. There was a walkway parallel to the shore of the lake. Alice led me to its entrance. She held my hand the whole time.

“Taran,” she smiled. She was so happy she was crying. “No one ever called me pretty.”

“Why?”

She didn’t answer. I stopped on the walkway and looked out over the lake, watching the fog. I put an arm around Alice’s waist, and pulled her close to me. “Why?”

“The others from the caves,” she whispered, “weren’t like you.”

146 Words
@LurchMunster


This piece is the tenth piece in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

Advertisements

She Doesn’t Know

I took a chance.
I admit that.
I deliberately broke the rules.
Me, the married guy,
Choosing to sit with her,
The divorced woman.

Everybody knows,
You don’t do that.

I took a chance
To show a friend
How I felt.
What I felt.
About her.
I deliberately broke the rules.
I knew it then.
I understood the risk.

I’ve never been
Much of one
For the rules of life
I see people following.
I suppose it’s because
I’ve seen how those rules
Rip out a person’s heart,
And burn their soul
To ash.

Then I broke one more rule
On that Sunday morning.
I actually put my hand
On one of hers.

I’d say I walked her to her car.
Because that’s what I did.
But I can always claim
I had no real choice.
Her car was between
The church’s doors,
And mine.

There are those that would declare
I knew what I was doing
When I parked where I did.

I can only shake my head.
And wonder.
Will any of them learn?
Will any of them ever change?
Will any of them
Begin to grow again?
Or are they done?

And I know
From the way my heart aches,
And the tears of my soul,
I know.
They never will.
They’re done.
They’re where they want to be.
They’re where they’re safe.
Where they’re secure.

And there,
They choose to stay.

It saddens me to know
She’s that same way.

Unable to acknowledge
What her heart tells her.
She lets no one in.
No one close.
To protect herself.
From pain.

I can understand that.
I really can.
I’ve been hurt myself,
Time and time again.

But that’s all it is.
Hurt,
And pain.
Like when you make that mistake
At the oven now and then
And stand there staring
At your bright red fingertips
As the blisters grow on them
Again.

It happens.

Even the best fall
Every now and then.
Like the time the favorite
For the gold medal
At the Olympics
Never reached the end
Of the race
He was in.

It happens.

I know how badly
She’s been hurt
By events in life.
The one that left her
On her own.
With their daughter.
She raised their child
On her own.

The way people talk
About those women.
You know the kind I mean.
The divorced ones.
Looking for another man.
The ones that might just settle
For a fling.

People are so ready
To believe
Lies and gossip are the truth
When they don’t understand
Something.

It was on the day
She spoke those words to me.
Told me she had an image
She had to maintain.
So people wouldn’t see things
The wrong way.
Wouldn’t say things about her
Behind her back.

She had a reputation
To uphold.

In a church.

Of all things.

It was on that day
I knew.
My days there
Were nearly through.
And the time had come
For me to stand
And walk away.

For I will not live my life
Afraid
Of what the blind,
The ignorant,
The ones afraid of life,
Will say.

Will I get hurt again?
Hell, yes.
I will.
It’s part of life.
Like love,
And laughter,
Tears,
And pain.

You aren’t alive
If you can’t be hurt.
You’re simply hiding.
In a cave.
In a box.
In a little space.
Where all there is to life
Is what’s around you,
What’s in your room.

So you live isolated.
Hidden from the world.
But safe.

The saddest part of all
To me?

She doesn’t know
She lives that way.
No one in those rooms,
Hiding where it’s safe,
Knows at all.

Because nothing they’re afraid of
Gets within those walls.
Nothing can ever change.

I turned and walked away.
Never to return
To that church.
To her world.

But to this day.
And through my life.
If she should ever call,
And ask for any help from me
At all.

I’ll find a way.

Because to me,
She was
And is
My friend.
And my friend
She always will be.

Even thought
She doesn’t know.

#FlashFriday #17 : We Have To Correct History

The floodlights we’d set up to illuminate the castle’s ruins were scattered everywhere. I guided the robot to the center of the ruins, where the others turned on the time machine. The robot faded away.

Legends said the castle fell before fire breathing dragons and hordes of orcs and goblins. We were sending the robot back in time to learn if there was any truth in the legends. The good thing about sending a robot back in time was you didn’t have to bring it back. Time would do that for you.

When the castle fell, our robot dug a trench and buried itself at a specific Latitude and Longitude. We went to that specific point and dug it up, recovering the recorded information.

When we analyzed the data, we were stunned. The castle had been besieged by a Chinese army. The dragons were flame throwers. A combustible gas was forced through a pipe under pressure, exiting the pipe over a flame, erupting into a sheet of fire twenty or more feet long. The flame throwers were decorated as Chinese Dragons.

We also learned there were a lot of mistakes in our recreation of our history. Dragons. Who would have thought of that?

203 Words
@LurchMunster

 


I wrote this for Rebekah Postupak‘s #FlashFriday, Week 17. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #Flash Friday. They are good reading.

#ThursThreads Week 64 : Aim… Like This.

It was going to be a long night. I wondered, watching the Zs walk out of the forest, toward the walls, “What were those idiots thinking, sending an untrained greenhorn to the wall for the night shift.”

As they came out of the trees, I looked at the greenhorn, “You ever shoot Z’s before?”

He shook his head.

I sighed. “ Here’s the deal. You get a bolt, set it, aim at a Z, and then shoot. Like this.” I picked up a bolt, set in my bow, pulled that sucker back, picked a Z, aimed, and shot it. Right smack in the head. The bolt blew up. That Z would never bother anyone again. “Now, you try.”

The greenhorn grabbed a bolt, set it, pulled his bow back, picked a Z, and shot at it. The bolt missed completely.

I sighed. ”OK. Let’s go over it again. Now watch.” I picked up a bolt, set it, pulled it, picked a Z, and paused. “Once you pick a target you aim… Like this.” I aimed right for the middle of the Z, “Right dead center of the Z. So you can’t miss.” And I shot another Z. This one, dead center of it’s body. The bolt, sticking out of the Z, exploded, tossing its head 20 feet away. “That, boy, is how you stop a Z from eating you, and everybody else. Got that?”

Yep, it was going to be a long night on Zombie watch.

250 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 64. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#MidWeekBluesBuster – Week 06 : A Rainy Night In Soho

I didn’t live in Soho, and never would. But, it was a rainy night, and I couldn’t help but hear the rain striking the windows to my apartment. It wasn’t a downpour, just a good, steady, soaking rain.

I turned out all the lights, then pulled the curtains aside, so I could look out, over the street. I pushed the ear buds for my music player into my ears, and turned on my music. Wouldn’t you know it. The first song it randomly picked, “A Rainy Night in Soho”. I’m not a fan of that song, and for a moment I considered pushing the next button. Instead, I let the song keep playing.

I looked out the window, watching the rain fall and the black clouds shift around in the sky while that song played. I saw a couple hop out of a cab, him first, opening his umbrella, and helping her out. He paid the fare, and the two of them walked, hand-in-hand, into the building across the street. I don’t know why, but that made me smile. Maybe I was imagining they’d had dinner together, at some expensive restaurant, then returned home for a night that started with betting naked, and went from there. Maybe I was imagining I was him, and when we got to the apartment, I turned on the music, and took her in my arms, and we slow danced, just enjoying the feel of holding each other.

Whatever the reason, I knew it was something I shouldn’t have done, because it made me remember. Her. I sometimes wondered why we have memories. Why we just can’t forget, or erase them, like we can erase files on a computer. “I don’t like that song any more, I’m deleting it.” Or “That book makes me cry, I’m deleting it from my library.” But that’s not how our memories work, is it?

And by the end of that damn song, I remembered how she’d told me, one day, “We will always be friends.”

I’d asked her, “Really?”

She’d smiled, and hugged me. “Yes. Always.”

The next day, she was gone. I woke up, and she’d left during the night. I’d called her number, but got no answer. I’d gone all the places I knew she went, and never found her. She left. And never said, “Good-bye.”

That was two years ago. And that night, watching the rain, watching that couple from the cab, listening to that stupid song, I stood there, looking out my window, and remembered her, and her last words to me. “Yes. Always.”

Sometimes, I wish I could erase my memories of her.

451 Words
@LurchMunster


At the request of Ruth Long, I decided to try my hand at Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#5SF : Conquer

You Americans. Don’t you know life is not a conquest? You do not conquer your emotions, anger, fear, rage, hatred. You do not subdue them without crushing your own heart and soul. Instead, you learn to understand them, to live with them, to accept they are part of life, to used them appropriately, correctly, and to never be afraid of them.


Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Conquer.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

Can I Ever Change?

I stopped looking for a job
To replace the one that’’s gone
In January of 2012.

I haven’’t looked since then.

My doctor has tried
To convince me to start
A small business
Of my own.
Since January of 2011.

I haven’’t.

I ask people
All the time.
“What are you afraid of?”
Because I know.
I can see the fear in them.
The way they try
To avoid pain.
Of any kind.
Of every kind.

And yet,
I wonder.
Why am I still here?
Motionless.
Doing nothing.
No longer looking.
No longer planning.
Just here.

Sometimes, I remember.
I remember the hurt.
The pain.
How I felt betrayed.
By everyone I worked with.
Everyone.

I remember the anger.
How I spent weeks.
Walking.
Miles and miles.
Day after day.
Blistered heels.
Blistered toes.

Hell,
I lost three toenails.
Three.

I remember the countless times
I pulled off my shoes
And saw blood
On my socks.

My blood.

I remember
How it never hurt.
Not even once.
How I never felt the pain
In my toes.
In my heels.

All I felt
Was the pain
In my heart and soul.

And I know.
I know.
Why I have stopped looking
For a job.

Sometimes I ask,
“If the last job you had
Drove railroad spikes
Through your hands and feet,
Ripped your fingernails
Off your fingers
With pliers,
Used a barbed whip
On you back
Until you felt nothing at all,
No pain.
If your last job
Did that to you,
Would you ever
Try again?”

I know why I stopped looking.
Why I may never look again.

I know too
Why I haven’’t struck out
On my own.
Why I keep saying,
“Someday.
Someday I’’ll start a business.
Of my own.
Someday.”

I look at all the things
I’’d have to do.
Have to learn.
And I’’m not sure at all
I want to.

And yes.
I am afraid.
Afraid to even try.
But there’’s so much more than that.
I could fail.
Could fall on my sword.
But that’s not what’’s stopping me.
There’’s something more.

I’’ve always been a failure.
In my eyes.
Never once believed in me
In my life.
Hell,
I don’’t even believe
I can write.

And if I’’m worthless.
If I’’m the failure
I believe I am.

How can I even try?

I know what I’’m afraid of.

And I wonder.
Every single day.
Can I ever change?

Can I ever change?