#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 27

Leighla led me through the garden, to a small staircase that led to an underground hallway. “Taran,” she said, “Used from the caves. He made this. Said it makes him feel safe.”

I laughed. “I’ll be honest. I liked the garden better.”

At the hallways end was a door. “Taran’s waiting inside.” Then, she left.

55 Words

This is Part 27 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. I like the challenge of writing a serial in 55 word chunks, based off of random pictures. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

The entire story, from Part 27 to Part 1, is located here.


#MWBB 46 : End Of Time

I realized, standing there, looking into my eyes in the mirror, looking back at me, I hadn’t looked into them in years. I almost smiled at that. I’d told everyone, for years, I was OK. “I can look into my own eyes in the mirror, no problem.” And yet, I never did.

“I should have noticed that.”

I should have. Years ago. If I had, perhaps things would have turned out different. Better. I hadn’t. And it was far too late to change anything.

“I never noticed how empty they look.” They looked glazed over. Dull. Like eyes that no longer saw anything. Eyes that no longer worked. If only I’d have looked years earlier.

I started at myself, remembering her.

“I’m supposed to cry, right?” I asked the me I saw in the mirror. “Or get angry.” But the me in the mirror never answered. He just looked at me, his empty, glazed over eyes staring into mine. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry. I stood there. Staring into those empty eyes.

“The eyes are the mirror to the soul.” An old proverb I’d heard growing up. One I’d heard in countless songs. So many songs.

“How can you see into my eyes, like open doors? Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become so numb.”

I asked the man in the mirror, “Don’t people cry when they have broken hearts?” He just stared at me. A lifeless, empty stare. He didn’t smile. He just stood there. Carved of stone. As if he had no heart left. No feeling left. No soul.

I remembered the note she’d left on the bed, where I couldn’t help but find it. Handwritten. She never wrote anything by hand. Unless she meant it. Unless it was special.

“You don’t love me any more.”

Those words echoed in my head. In her voice. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her, saying those words. “You don’t love me any more.”

She’d left. Didn’t tell me where she was going. Just, “You don’t love me any more. Don’t try to follow me. Good bye.”

I saw the tear stains on the paper. I couldn’t miss them.

I looked at the cold, heartless, stone man in the mirror. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to scratch his eyes out. I wanted to rip his heart from his chest, and throw it away. He didn’t need it. He had no heart left. No soul. He was a walking dead man.

And he stood there, in the mirror, his glazed, empty eyes, staring back at me. He never said a word. Never shed a tear. As if he were a man of stone.

She’d written the words of a song on her note.

“I’ve come to realize
Tonight my friend the end of time
Is not so far away
We cannot pray to save our lives”

I stared at the dead man in the mirror. “Cry, damn you. Cry.” I whispered the words. Knowing the man in the mirror wouldn’t cry. Couldn’t cry. He’d forgotten how so long ago. And I kept hearing her speak the words she’d written. Her last words to me.

“You don’t love me any more. Tonight my friend, the end of time is not so far away.”

And I knew. There was nothing left of the man I saw in the mirror that day. He’d reached the end of his time.

571 Words

This is my entry for week 46 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

NOTE : Song lyrics referenced in this piece consist of:

1. Evanesence – Bring Me To Life
2. Lacuna Coil – End Of Time

#RaceTheDate Week 11 : Reunion

Timothy read the e-mail message again.

Dear Timothy,

This is Gina. I know you remember me. I am writing to ask you to come to the company’s thirtieth reunion party on April Fourth. I know you have received Dawn’s invitation, and I know you have not responded.

Please. Come to the reunion.



Gina. A name he hadn’t heard in a decade. A name he remembered too well.

“I considered you my friend, once.” He looked at the e-mail message, torn between deleting it, or keeping it. “After what you did.” He almost pressed the delete button on his keyboard, but something inside him stopped him. He himself whisper, “Listen to your heart. It won’t lie to you.”

He knew she’d told the company management he was wrestling with depression, taking an antidepressant, and had started counseling. Beyond that, he knew nothing.

He’d used to wonder if she’d defended him. “Don’t fire him! He’s ill. He needs help.” Or if she’d played a role in what happened. “Force him to take leave. He needs to work things out.” He’d never found an answer. All he’d been told was, “The decision to ask you not return was unanimous.”

She’d never contacted him. He’d sent a friend request on Facebook. Her profile vanished the next day. He’d known it would.

She told him once, “You’ll be a writer one day. Published. I’ll tell people I knew you when you started.” But she’d never learned of the books he’d written. Never read the stories of people finding their way in life. He called the stories, “Heartsongs”. He knew she’d never seen them.

He’d ceased to exist, and had to start his life over. And his heart knew what to do. “No. I won’t.” Timothy deleted the message. “You don’t exist.”

300 words

A little story I wrote for Cara Michaels‘s Race The Date flash fiction challenge. Hope you enjoy it. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge this week. I find it amazing the stories people can create in 300 words or less.

#VisDare 45 : Scrutiny

When we returned to New Phoenix, Alice lead me to a strange statue of iron and concrete. “Looks like the devil’s playing chess.”

Alice grimaced. “This was made by Frank.”

“Frank?” I stared at the statue. “Who was he?”

“The first mastermind.”

A strange man in a trench coat, carrying an umbrella approached the statue. He stared at it, his hands on his hips, and declared, “I’m not afraid of you.”

I read the plaque on the statue’s base. “When Fear Wins.”

“Frank made this to honor Jessica.” Alice took my hand, “Do you know who Jessica was?”

I shook my head.

“The first to speak with the animals.” She pushed me before the statue. “She always asked one question.”

I stared at the chessboard, and the devil. Alice continued. “All her descendants know it.”

“What are you afraid of?” I grasped Alice’s hand. “What are you afraid of?”

149 Words

This is part 28 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

The entire story, from part 28 to part 1, is located here.

#MWBB 45 : Runaway

Shelly saw him sitting at a table, by himself. “Damn, he’s cute.” So, she wandered over. She knew what she wanted. What she always wanted. One night. One chance to feel alive. To feel real. No strings. No repeat. One night.

She walked up next to him, “I don’t want to drink alone.”

He pulled the chair next to his out, but said nothing. Shelly took the seat. They both sat there, listening to the band, watching the bodies on the dance floor. She started tapping out the rhythms of the music on the table. He watched her.

“I wanna dance!” She stood up, and grabbed his hand to pull him to the floor. He resisted for a moment, as if thinking. Then, let her lead him to the floor. She didn’t know if he could dance. She didn’t care. All she wanted was an excuse to touch him. To put her hands on his shoulders, back and chest. To bump her hips into his. An excuse to feel alive for the night. Before she returned to reality tomorrow.

He let her lead. Let her do what she wanted. Touched her shoulders, her back. Met her hips with his.

They danced. Shelly loved it. Loved the motion. The contact. She loved being touched. She loved to touch. To feel. Alive.

When the music changed, and a ballad started, the floor filled with couples. He grabbed her, pulled her close, pressed his chest to hers, his hips to hers. She drank in the smell of him. The feel of her head on his shoulder.

They danced until she needed another drink. She led him back to the table. He ordered her drink, and his. She drained it. Leaning into him. Letting her hands move. To his thighs. To his stomach. To his belt, and more.

“Let’s leave,” she whispered in his ear.

They went to his place. Shelly got what she wanted. One night. To feel. To be alive. She wanted everything. She did everything. Tasted every inch of him. Felt every inch of him. One night. To lose control. To groan. To moan. To whisper, “More. More. More.” To cling to the motion. Back and forth. In and out. One night to feel whole. One night her emptiness left her. One night she wasn’t alone. One night she felt alive.

Spent, she pretended to sleep. And waited for him to sleep. Then, she slipped away. Got dressed. Left. One night. That’s all she wanted. One night. To feel alive. To feel real. Before she ran away again. To hide in a world where nothing was real. And no one felt a thing for anyone.

No one would ever hold her again. No one would ever touch her heart. No one would ever make her cry. No one would ever hurt her again.

Like he had.

She’d always make sure of that. She’d always run away.

485 Words

This is my entry for week 45 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

Memories : Look At Me When I’m Talking To You!

It was a lesson I learned
A long time ago.
Before so many
Of the people I know now

A lesson I learned
In seventh grade.
When my father was
The Protestant Chaplain
For the US Naval Support Activity
Across the Severn River
From the Naval Academy.

I learned it on a Sunday morning.
After the church service.
While I was experimenting with sound
On a piano
In the church activities building.

That’s when a full-grown male
Of the human species
Sat down in a chair
To my right.

He started talking with me.
Or perhaps it would be more accurate
To say he talked to me.
It doesn’t matter.
And it never did.

I heard every word he said.
Clean down to the times he asked
“Are you listening to me?”

I told him what he’d said.
Told him every word.

“I can’t tell you’re listening to me!”
I could tell he was angry.
“You’re not listening to me!”
And getting angrier.

That’s when I learned
What to do.
When I learned
What humans expect.
What humans demand.
As a signal of some kind.
That makes them think
Makes them believe
You are paying proper attention,
Expected attention,
Required attention
To them.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

Have you ever had that screamed at you?
I have.
I had then too.
More times than I can count.
More times than I can remember.

But that time.
That Sunday.
It was different.
That time I realized
What humans expected.

So, I looked at him.
Straight into his eyes.
He was angry.

I wanted to look at the wall behind him.
To look at the ceiling tiles.
To look at the floor.
The piano keys.

I didn’t.

I looked that human in the eyes.
I watched his mouth move
As he spoke.
I observed his facial expressions.
All of them.
I watched how he behaved.
I watched how he moved.
I watched everything he did.

His tie was perfectly tied.
The collar of his shirt
Looked like it hid a noose
Around his neck.
The jacket of his suit
Was still buttoned up.
It even had that fake tie
Stuffed in one pocket.

I saw every detail.

And I learned.
I learned how to shut him up.
How to keep him quiet.
How to make him happy.

A lesson I remembered.
A lesson I mastered.
In those few moments of time.

Pretend you’re looking at someone
While they talk to you.

That way.
They’ll shut up.
And leave you alone.
Because they’ll believe
You’re a good one.
Well behaved.

They’ll think you heard
Every last word.
And understood
Everything they said.

That human never knew
What I learned that day.
No one ever knew.
No one could ever figure out
What I’d learned to do.

It’s a memory
I can’t forget.
I never have.
I never will.

It was the day I learned.
Everybody lies.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 26

Taran’s home looked nondescript from the outside. Inside was a different story. He’d removed all the walls, floors, wires and plumbing, leaving a framework to support the building. Inside, he’d crafted an exquisite garden on the floor. Vines covered the walls and support beams. A path of large white circular stones lead through the garden.

55 Words

This is Part 26 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. I like the challenge of writing a serial in 55 word chunks, based off of random pictures. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

The entire story, from Part 26 to Part 1, is located here.

#FFT 29 : The Gate Still Squeaked

The gate still squeaked. “Dang it.”

I swung that sucker back and forth, and in response, it sang a kind of song. “Shreek, clack, tock, tock, tock, tock, tock, groan, pop, pop, pop, ting!”

“Dang it,” I grumbled. I took the can of WD-40, and sprayed the hinges again, until they shined in the sunlight. Then, once more, I swung the gate around.

Once more the gate sang an infuriating song. “Shh, skreee, tick, tick, tock, mum, mum, mum, mum, gronk!”

I threw the can of WD-40 into the backyard, where it collided with the railing of the deck, “Clack!”

“Useless junk!”

I punched the gate, causing a loud “Whack!” followed by another song, “skronk, tack, tack, tack, tick, wonk!”, as it swung away from my fist. I felt splinters from its wood embed themselves in my knuckles. I looked at the back of my hand, and saw bits of wood sticking out from the knuckles of my index and ring fingers. I watch blood start leaking out around the wooden stakes.

I growled, and ripped the splinters from my knuckles. “Son of a…” I let the thought trail off, knowing I’d caused the damage to my knuckles myself. It certainly wasn’t the gates fault. Or the WD-40s fault.

I looked up at the clouds in the sky, “Yeah, yeah. I know. Another lesson in patience.”

I let the knuckles bleed, and I went to the garage to get the quart of lawn mower oil. SAE 30. I went back to the fence, and dumped motor oil on its two hinges. Oil dripped from the hinges to the ground. I didn’t care.

I swung the fence back and forth, working the oil into the metal joints. Gradually the song of the gate faded. “Skree. Skraw. Skree. Skraw. Swee. Swee. Free. Fraw. Zee. Zee. Zee. See. See.” The noise faded away, until the gate swung silently.

I leaped in the air, “Yes! Take that, you! Ha!”

I closed the gate, put the oil back in the garage, left the useless can of WD-40 in the back yard somewhere, and went inside, proud to have successfully completed the task of silencing the gate. Inside, I washed away the blood on my knuckles. I left the wounds open to the air, wearing them with pride.

That’s when she got home. She parked in the driveway. I heard her heels clacking on the sidewalk, as she headed for the gate, to take a walk through her veggie gardens. She got to the gate, and opened it.

And the frackin’ thing said, “Grooooonk! Tang! Tang! Tang!”

430 Words

I wrote this for Week 29 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#RaceTheDate : Life In The Water, On The Water, Or Underwater

“It is time I remembered who I am.”

That’s all the note said. Oceana placed it on the pillow of her bed within the castle at the bottom of the Eastern Sea. She longed to hug her son once more. To walk through the flowers in the castle gardens once more. She knew she could not.

It was time for her to step aside, and let her son, Sword, rule. It was time for her to heal the wounds in her heart and find the missing pieces of her soul.

Sword would know. He would understand. She’d left him a message only he could read, in the drawings scattered about the note.

Oceana left the castle through the window of her room. Her wings silently propelled her from her home of centuries, into the freedom of the sea. She needed to remember. To experience. All of the life of the sea. The life in the water, on the water, or under the water. It had been so long she’d forgotten.

As she flew through the ocean currents, she closed her eyes, and tried to feel the oceans touch. Centuries before, she felt every movement of the water past her body, between her fingers, across the soles of her feet.

All she felt was empty.

She wanted to cry for the lost pieces of her soul, and the scars life had made in her heart. But no tears flowed.

She let her wings take her where they wished, soaring past schools of fish and gardens of coral. They too her from the kingdom she’d ruled for too long, into the wilderness at the bottom of the sea. Where she could remember how to feel. Where she would remember who she was. Where she would once more become one with the sea.

300 Words

A little story I couldn’t resist writing for Cara Michaels‘s Race The Date flash fiction challenge. Hope you enjoy it. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge this week. I find it amazing the stories people can create in 300 words or less.

#ThursThreads Week 104 : You Need To Focus

It had been the first test of Beamer’s particle beam. Use the beam to sever the atomic bonds in a concrete post, turning it into a pile of dust. The test worked. The post was a pile of dust. But, so were the table behind that, and the three computers on the table, the twelve bookcases along the south wall, and the entire south wall too.

A three-foot thick, steel reinforced concrete wall turned to a pile of dust.

Bobby replayed the video on his tablet, and watched the countdown. At 6, Beamer had begun to glow, a pale yellow that grew rapidly into a blinding white. At 0, Beamer fired the beam. And everything turned to dust.

Beamer was a prototype search and rescue robot. Send it into a disaster area to find and rescue survivors. Its particle beam severed the atomic bonds between the atoms in the debris. Any gases, like Helium, floated away. Everything else turned to dust.

Bobby walked to Beamer 1, where it stood in the middle of the room. “Buddy. Good to see you’re OK.”

The robot replied with a soulless voice. “Oops.”

“It’s OK, Beamer.” He looked at the outdoors, where the wall once was.

Beamer responded, “I seem to have miscalculated.”

Bobby did laugh. “Remember what I always tell you?”


“You need to focus, right?”

“Right.” Beamer’s mechanical vision system pointed downward. “I’ll pay better attention next time.”

235 Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 104.  It’s #ThursThreads 2 year anniversary! Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.