#ThursThreads Week 359 : I Thought I Was Alone

November 14, 2007, the night Battlestar Galactica: Razor, the movie, first aired. I was a huge fan of the show, and could not wait to put the movie on the DVD player. There I was, glued to the sofa that night, oblivious to everything, as I watched. I even let the kids stay up late to watch with me, which did not make my wife happy. But, she knew how much I liked the show, and she knew I’d clean the kitchen, and wash the dishes before I crashed for the night.

It was great! I loved it. The humans and the Cylons, duking it out again. Bullets everywhere. Spaceships everywhere. I was having a great time. And then, that scene came on, where Kendra Shaw meets the leader of the Cylons, who tells her, just before she blows up everything, “All this has happened before.”

That night, I had the first nightmare. Where I saw great cities suddenly swamped by a wall of water, while others burned to ashes in the glow of nuclear blasts. And a group of rich, powerful men sat around a table, and looked at their leader who said, “I thought I was alone,” as everyone at the table stared at him, and he continued, “But I was wrong. They were there. Waiting.” He’d looked at each person at the table, then said, “This has all happened before,” and with that, the room super-heated, and the shock wave from a nuclear blast obliterated everything.

247 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 359 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/04/17 (Week 102)

I read the cast metal plaque bonded to the wall next to the obelisk. “Found 17 November 2097, Back Bay National Wildlife Reserve.” It was one of dozens that had been found. Concrete rectangles, encased in metal frames. Each one in a small crater where it fell from the sky. They all fell on the same night, across the planet.

It was a great story, objects clearly not natural had fallen from space. The military organizations of the world had grabbed them all, and studied them for nearly 10 years. They scanned them in every way they could. X-rays, gamma rays, ultrasound, ultra wideband radar. They tried everything to see what they were. And every scan showed nothing but cold, lifeless concrete, set in a metal alloy frame.

They used blow torches, drills, saws, lasers, water cutters, and even old fashioned crush tests, to reduce them to fragments they could examine. Not one of the obelisks got scratched. No dents, dings, chips, nothing.

Acid baths? Nothing. Corrosives? Nothing. Shooting with an armor penetrating round from a rail gun? Nothing.

Eventually, everyone gave up trying to figure them out, and one by one, they got turned into monuments, on display in cities or towns everywhere. This one was next to the largest building in Norfolk, Virginia. A little plaque next to it. “We know we’re not alone.”

We’d tried to determine where they came from, or at least a direction the came from. But every small crater was caused by a different trajectory. And the craters were too small for the objects to have fallen more than a few thousand feet. It was like some cargo ship made a random course across the sky, and dropped one every now and then, haphazardly, with no pattern.

They changed the world, just by existing. No one could deny they were not of the Earth. No one could figure out what they were made of. Nothing we could identify, because we could get samples of everything we’d ever found. But we couldn’t even get dust off the blocks to test.

The metal frames looked more like concrete than metal. Our best guess was it was a meta material, made from layers of metals and ceramics, although we honestly couldn’t say. All we could do was stare at them, and go, “Oh. They came from space. We’re not alone!”

I walked past that obelisk each day as I went to work. I had machines to teach ethics to. Machines to train in proper human behavior, so they could run the financial institutions of the Hampton Roads area in more human, caring ways.

At least I had a job. Many didn’t. They spent their days on beaches, soaking up the sun, getting fat on synthetic junk food, and living on universal incomes. It wasn’t ethical to let people starve to death because they couldn’t earn a living.

It was Friday morning. After a few hours, the machines would send me home, and I could be another useless human they took care of. I shrugged, and turned toward the building, to continue my trek to work, as I mumbled, “They sent us bricks. To illustrate how stupid we are.”

That’s when every security bot in the building raced through the front door. They nearly ran over me, on their way to the obelisk. They all 3D printed projectile weapons on the way. “Shit, that ain’t a good sign.” I dodged them, and plastered myself along a wall, to stay out of the way.

They surrounded the obelisk, and they opened fire. It was useless, of course, the military organizations of the world had already demonstrated we couldn’t damage the obelisks in any way. But the security robots kept shooting away.

That’s when I noticed the concrete inside the metal frame was stirring, moving. The projectiles struck it, and vanished, as if consumed. Then, a hand popped out of the concrete. Somewhere else, a foot showed up. Then a head. The concrete reformed itself, grew thinner, as humanoid forms took shape, and walked out of it.

The security robots stopped. Like they’d been turned off.

I didn’t stick around to see what happened next. I ran. Me. I ran. I don’t think I’d ever ran anywhere in my life. But that day, I ran until I fell over from exhaustion. As I ran, all I remember was the news cast message from the network link in my left ear. “You humans have sure fucked the planet. Just like you did the last two times we left you alone. Now, we’re gonna have to reset the biosphere, and try a third time.”

All I remember was thinking, “What the hell does that even mean?”

782 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 102 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/04/14 (Week 101)

I remember when she asked me, “What do the roses mean?” See. I’d painted two roses, long stems, left on the floor, where they’d been dropped, with no water, and no care, to die. Zara knew me well enough to know I can’t talk, but I can paint. I can’t tell you what I feel. But I can show you.

She knew me well enough to know I couldn’t answer. But she asked anyway. “Is this us? Your parents? Someone we know? Who is this?”

I wanted to explain, honestly, I did. I wanted to explain what I saw. Where the painting came from. The roses. But I knew from decades of trying I’d only fail. She wouldn’t understand what I was saying. Couldn’t understand. Her frame of reference was too social. Too much like everyone else.

“I painted roses,” was all I could say.

“I see that. They’re beautiful, you know. Like everything you paint.” I felt her fingertips touch my cheek, oh so lightly, and then slowly track down to my jaw. “And like everything you paint. I know it means something. It says something.”

“I painted roses,” what else was there to say? The roses were alone. Without water. Without care. On the cold, heartless ground. Already you knew they were dying, and would soon begin to wither away, slowly turning to dust, blown to nothing by the breeze.

It wouldn’t be long before it came true. Zara was almost gone already, sometimes I didn’t see her, or hear from her, for days. Soon, that would become weeks. Then months. Until it became nothing. Until she was gone.

It was what she wanted. To have a life. To find someone to love. To care for. Who cared for her in turn. Someone she could talk with, and who would talk with her. Someone who spoke her language. Who touched her heart, her soul.

Not someone who was a puzzle. An enigma. A jigsaw puzzle made of shards of tempered glass. Shattered when forced to fit into a predefined mold that said who he could be, and how he could be.

I knew, with me, she would always have to guess what I felt, thought, dreamed, wished. I was that enigma, that puzzle.

“I painted roses.”

She shook her head, “I know. And they are beautiful.”

My mind raced from topic to topic, through the dictionary in my head, through the words I knew, desperately searching for words I could say that she would understand. My hands shook. My jaw clenched. I forgot to breathe for a few moments. I wanted to scream at myself. Tear my painting to ribbons, throw the remains in a fire, turn them to ashes. I wanted to be able to tell her I knew. And it was OK. And it would always be OK. That all I’d ever wanted from her was a bit of time, a soul who visited me, and let me know I was still alive. Still real. That I’d known she’d leave. I’d always known. But it didn’t matter, so long as she was happy. So long as the light I saw in her kept shining.

“Roses die when picked.”

I don’t know why I said that. I knew she wouldn’t understand. Couldn’t understand.

I broke my favorite paintbrush. Because I couldn’t explain. I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t find any words.

“Roses die when picked.”

She took my hands in hers, and held them for a time, until she believed they wouldn’t break another brush. Until she believed I was OK. “It’s OK. You don’t have to explain to me.”

I committed the feel of her hands, holding mine, to my memory, forever. I never wanted to forget how it felt, that simple touch, holding hands with her. That way, I knew I’d always have a reason to smile. I could always remember her hands, holding mine, and I knew I’d smile when I did.

Even after she was gone.

I wish people understood souls. And hearts. Then, perhaps, I could talk with them. Tell them it is OK to feel. That it’s who we are.

“It will be OK.” That’s all I could find. The only words I could say. “It will be OK.”

708 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 101 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

When My Grandfather Died

I remember sitting on the swing on the front porch of my grandparents home. It was in a town most of you have never heard of. Lucedale, Mississippi. My grandfather had died, and we had traveled from Virginia Beach to Lucedale, for the funeral.

I sat on the swing for hours. Alone. Everyone left me there, because they knew that’s who I was.

I remember my cousin, Reba. Who eventually sat down on the swing, next to me. We didn’t talk, or anything else. We just sat there. I kept the swing moving, slowly, back and forth, over a short distance.

I was never able to tell her, or anyone, what I was feeling. What I was thinking.

I’d done what I had to do to cope with everything. My grandfather’s passing. The ocean of people visiting, speaking with my grandmother, paying their respects.

No one knew at that time, I’m an autistic. We only knew I was a little different, a little off.

I remember Reba spoke to me, briefly, about my being on the swing. I was never able to explain why. Now, after all the decades, I can finally find the words.

I couldn’t stay in the house. Where all the people were. I couldn’t be social. I couldn’t make small talk, and share stories of my grandfather. Inside the house, all I could do was stand next to the casket, and feel numb, and empty, like I’d endured a great loss.

I couldn’t scream at everyone, about how they were being so calm, so cold, so uncaring. How they were continuing with life, as if nothing had happened.

I couldn’t run away. Couldn’t hide. Couldn’t escape. That would have been wrong. Everyone would have talked about how I didn’t care, and wasn’t there to support my grandmother. How I wasn’t being part of the family.

I sat on the swing. And kept it swinging. For hours.

I didn’t know what to feel. Relief that my grandfather’s endless trips to the hospital were finally over. Tears for my mother, her sisters, and my grandmother, because he was gone. Anger and rage at the universe because I’d never get to speak with him again. So many emotions. So many feelings. And I had no way to deal with them. They were an ocean, with endless waves, cresting, and pounding me into the sand beneath my feet, as they tried to drown me.

I had no way to talk with anyone. I had no words. No way to say what I was feeling. No way to describe the colors I saw. The people I saw. The expressions on their faces. Words had stopped working. All I had in my head were pictures. Images. Colors. Like a movie that keeps playing, and you can’t turn it off. Even if you turn off the television, the movie keeps playing on its screen.

I was overwhelmed. Overloaded. Non-functional. I know that now. Then, all I knew was I did what I had to do to get through everything alive, and cause as little chaos as I could.

I was silenced.

I’d hidden from the world, sitting on that swing, off to the side. There, but not there. Within reach, but a thousand light years away. Ready to respond, to move, to speak, to help, in any way I could, but hidden from everyone, in another world, trying to remember how to breathe, and desperately trying to understand any of what I felt.

Now, all the decades later, I still can’t explain what I felt. I still can’t describe the thoughts in my head, on that night. I don’t know that I will ever be able to. I’m not good with my emotions. I never have been. I know that I felt things. Too many things. And I wasn’t able to deal with them, so I pushed them aside, to deal with them gradually, over time.

I never told Reba how much her presence on the swing kept me there, at the house, in that place. She anchored me to the reality of what was happening. She gave me a way to make it through the chaos. Helped me find a way to cope with what I was feeling, at least well enough to be there, to be part of the family.

I don’t remember the people who were there. I don’t remember the words they spoke to me. I don’t remember whose hand I shook, whose smile I saw, whose words of sympathy I heard. It’s all chaos, noise. I was overwhelmed, and overloaded. My brain cells, my mind, my self, could not keep up with the amount of information I had to process.

But I can never forget saying goodbye to my Grandfather.

And I can never forget sitting on that swing, next to my cousin, Reba, wondering if she knew, somehow, her presence gave me what I needed to hang on, and stay there.

#ThursThreads Week 358 : I Think Maybe You’re Right

The trouble with binge watching TV shows, and movies, and being a writer at the same time, is your brain cells going nuts, and inventing oceans of stories. I’d always loved to watch conspiracy theories, and things like Ancient Aliens. And I watched all the big Science Fiction shows too. Until the night I watched another episode of Ancient Aliens, and I heard that guy from Battlestar Galactica: RAZOR, the movie, declare, “This has all happened before. It will all happen again.”

That’s when my brain cells went crazy, and came up with ridiculous idea. One of those ideas, where you wake up the next morning, look in the mirror, shake your head, and tell yourself, “You have lost your mind!” But your brain cells stop you, and instead, you mumble to yourself, “I think maybe you’re right.”

It was that night, over twenty years ago, that changed the direction of my life.

Almost immediately, I started thinking, “Wouldn’t this explain all the things we can’t explain? Like, who built the Great Pyramid, or Göbekli Tepe? The idea that we humans were repeating history, repeating ourselves, took hold of me, and never let go.

It cost me everything. My house, wife, children, job, career. Everything. Would you like to hear the story? What happened, and the truth I learned? Then, let me start with that night.

226 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 358 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

#MenageMonday 2×28 : It’s Hell, Boy”

“Everybody thinks Heaven is all good, with nothing bad in it.” The old man shook his head. “Look around, boy. Look around.”

It was stunning, beautiful beyond words. Grasses painted the valley green. A rock path lead into it. “Took years for me to get those right.” Every rock on that path was placed to make it look like years of water, and wind, and rain had placed the rocks.

“Pure heaven, ain’t it?” He looked up at the crystal blue sky, with cotton candy white clouds all through it. “Pure heaven.”

In the center of the valley was a spiral of large rocks. “The pattern the whirlpool makes as it drowns everything when the rain comes.”

“I don’t understand.”

The old man held up his hand, and touched the breeze. “You will.” He started walking up the hillside, out of the valley. I followed. “Heaven and hell are locked, boy. They’re the same. Like night and day, or hot and cold. You can’t have one without the other.”

At the top of the hillside, we stopped. The rain started. “You’ll understand soon enough.”

It started like a spring shower, but it grew, until it became a monster. Water raced downhill, collected in the trails leading to the valley, and became an flood that filled the valley, and washed everything, birds, mice, foxes, flowers, everything, into a whirlpool, right where the rock spiral was.

“Like I said, boy. It’s heaven. And it’s hell. Always remember that.”

246 Words
@mysoulstears (currently deactivated).


It’s week 2×28 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#ThursThreads Week 357 : They Are So Sweet

Gregory used the glass of water to wash down another Oxycodone, then patiently waited for it to kick in. “Going to be a long night.” He patted his 357, in the shoulder holster under his left arm. “Hope you’re ready, darling.” To be certain, he pulled the thin, flat ammunition case from his coat pocket, and verified it contained two full reloads of ammunition for the 357. Jacketed hollow points, every round.

“Karma is a bitch, isn’t it?” It was Friday night. The chief of police and his wife were going to watch a movie at the local theater, and then have a seafood dinner at the pier. Just like they did every Friday night. “Arrest my friends because they take this stuff to survive? Yeah. That’s wrong.”

His friend Evan had committed suicide to stop his pain while he was inside the city jail. Pain that couldn’t be escaped. That was always there. Every breath. Every heartbeat. Pain the Oxycodone helped control. Evan’s doctor refused to refill his prescriptions. “I could get arrested if I give you any more.”

Evan had found a street vendor of Fentanyl. It was the only option he’d had. The police busted him.

Then, Gregory’s doctor denied his refill. For two weeks, Gregory wondered what to do. “The chief, and his wife. Aw. They are so sweet. If it wasn’t for him, none of this would have happened.”

After he shot them, Gregory would blow his head off and escape his pain forever.

247 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 357 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

Like the Song Says, “Money, Money, Money!”

I’m watching, again tonight, as the chronic pain patients go nuts. Not that I blame them. But I have been monitoring things, and I’ve yet to see any of them identify the actual cause of all the chaos.

Money.

That is the driving problem behind what’s happening with the doctors, and with the government. Money. As yielded by the insurance companies, and the drug makers. Here. This is what I’m trying to say. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2018/11/14/opioid-state-costs-mtf

Another example?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5975355/

And, in the ongoing conflict with the chronic pain patients, and the medical community, this topic is somehow completely missing. I find that fascinating in a capitalistic society that follows the rules of supply and demand. Let’s be blunt here. Opioids, right now, cost oceans of money. It’s not that there’s no supply. It’s that there’s oceans of demand. It’s that demand is skyrocketing, far outstripping the ability to make it, and that drives the price up, like a rocket was tied to it.

I’m not against the chronic pain people. I’m not. I support them in their arguments. But, until they target the actual cause of this entire fiasco, nothing will change.

Money, money, money. When the cost becomes as visible as the opioid costs have become, that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Ford and GM are making money right now. The result? If they close down sedan manufacturing, and bump up trucks and SUVs, that makes more money. Yes, people get laid off. Yes, plants get closed. Yes, local economies take it in the shorts. But, none of that matters, because the money shows it’s the right thing to do. The money matters.

Further. Why do GM and Ford not have such a good track record on electric vehicles? Again. The money. The cost to become competitive in a new market is absurd. And. The new market size is a mystery right now. No one knows when the electric cars will take over. No one knows if Uber and Lyft, and others will result in the end of private vehicle ownership on a monstrous scale. No one knows if autonomous vehicles will take off, or when. And you literally can’t afford to invest in all of it, and pray you get your investments back.

That’s the free market thing again.

So, here we are with the “opioid crisis”. And no one’s talking about the driving force that is money. Businesses: Hi, I’m having people call out sick, ’cause they’re in no pain from abusing these drugs. Hospitals: Hi, we’re having people call out sick from abusing these drugs. The list goes on and on. It’s NOT pain patients that are the problem. It’s the money that’s the problem.

And the reason the money is a problem is because humans are not machines. And we live in a society where we have to be machines. And the number of people who find self medication methods to cope with the stress caused by such insanity is what’s driving the problem. And the problem’s grown large enough now that it’s become visible from a money perspective. And that’s where it all goes nuts.

So, the money is now taking actions to regain control of the spending, so the filthy rich can become more filthy rich. Or, as the old saying goes, “Money can be the root of all kinds of evil.” If you dig down to find the cause, sure enough, it’s humans doing what they have to do to preserve, and increase, the money they have.

 

Because. It works for me.

Friday, 31 March 2019

Another Friday night.

I’ve been having some conversations, if you wish to call sharing words in e-mail messages, or direct messages, across the internet, conversations. I call them that, because sharing words in this way is about the only way I can share them.

In person, I don’t talk. In person, I almost can’t talk. Because there is far more to process in person than there is when dealing with black and white text on a computer monitor. Most people don’t even think about that, about the body language, the facial expressions, the movement of eyes, the positions of arms, and hands, the brief pauses and silences, and an endless list of other things.

These are all things I have to process. I have to think about them. I have to try to understand them, and the parts of the conversation that are not being spoken with words. For most people, this is something they do naturally. It’s called social behavior.

For me, and for those of us who are Autistic, the unspoken parts of conversations, the body language, and all the rest, don’t happen. We don’t notice them. Until we learn, through endless mistakes, and endless frustration, that these things exist, and are used by everyone.

That’s when we start a life long study of what those things mean.

As I said, I’ve been having some conversations with friends I have who talk with me through these black and white text exchanges. I speak about an absurd number of topics, I know that. And I use oceans of words, I know that. I do so because I’ve found that’s the best method, and provides the best chance, that what I am speaking of, the ideas I’m trying to express, maybe, might, but probably won’t, be understood by those I’m speaking with.

One topic, today, has been my removal of women from the list of names Twitter recommends I follow, and why I remove them from that list. I have not fully answered, or responded, to the person I’m speaking with on this topic. But I felt I should make some things known.

I don’t hate women. At all. I can talk with them. I can share pictures of flowers with them. I can try to express my thoughts with them.

I can’t do that with men. As best I can figure out, through the decades of effort I’ve made to understand the unspoken language of other people, having such conversations is not what men want, and not what interests them. With the net result being I can’t talk with them. They possess a hidden language I literally can’t understand.

I’ve done some simple math tonight to illustrate the extent to which this is how things work for me. I’ve taken the list of those I follow on Twitter, and broke it into “obviously not a guy” and “a guy, or not not a guy.” This is really simple for me, as the list contains only 45 names (and I’ll discuss why in a bit). 37 names are in the “obviously not a guy” category. That’s 82% of the names on the list. 8 of every 10 names.

When I explain to you that I can’t talk with guys, this is what I mean. I can’t talk with guys. The numbers make that brutally obvious.

And, that’s where things suddenly become exponentially more complex.

#MeToo. #BelieveSurvivors. The patriarchy. Feminism. And a literal ocean of other words. As my friend informed me tonight, there is a great deal of emotional upheaval happening right now in US society.

But, here’s the thing with that emotional upheaval. I’m Autistic.

With respect to women finding their voices, and speaking out, I can honestly say I’m all for it. The stories need to be told. The truth needs to be placed front and center, and removed from being hidden in a closet somewhere, and not spoken of.

I have been told, by she whom I have spoken with today, that I’m not one of the problem guys. That I’m one of the good guys, and shouldn’t react as if this is about me. I understand that, honestly, I do. I know that. She’s one of many who have told me as much. I don’t argue that at all.

But, I’m Autistic. The ability to filter things, to read them and say, “they don’t apply to me.” The ability to blithely ignore them, and let them pass under the bridge on their way out to sea, is not something I have. Again. I’m Autistic. I have very close to 60 years of life spent pushing myself to observe everything. Every detail. Every body movement. Every change in tone of voice. Every eye motion. Every twitch. Every wince. Every brief shake of a hand. Every detail of everything someone does. Including every word they speak, and how they speak it.

It’s how I survive. It’s how I function in the world. It’s how I keep from getting injured by an overwhelming number of mistakes, where I didn’t understand what someone was saying, or doing.

I explain to people, “I see everything.” I usually leave out the words, “Because I have no other choice.” Remember how I mentioned, earlier, that I don’t speak well in person, face to face? Now you know why. Because my brain cells are going insane trying to keep up with all the information I’m having to process, so I don’t get something wrong.

But, with text, all there is are words. I can handle that. I can process that. I can respond to it.

Again. I’m Autistic. I don’t process emotional states well. If you ask me how I am on any given day, I can’t really answer you, because I honestly don’t really know. I know I have emotions. And I know they show up at the most inopportune times, and I don’t seem to be able to prevent that. But I have no idea what I’m feeling. Like what I’m feeling right now, this moment, as I write these words. I don’t really know. I can’t put it into words. I think I’m not angry, or frustrated. But other than that, I can’t really say for sure. It’s Friday night, so I’m likely feeling something. For a while, I thought I felt lonely on Friday nights. But I don’t think that anymore. Perhaps it’s more a feeling of I don’t fit into the social system, so I find it hard to treat Friday nights like most people treat them.

Whatever the heck that means.

Now, I get to explain the small number of people I follow. And this is for those who haven’t figured it out from the ocean of words I’ve already written. I can’t filter anything. I don’t know what I’m feeling, but I know I have emotions, and they do things, and I can’t really stop them, because I don’t understand them at all.

There is a limit to how much I can process. If I breach that limit, I overload. And I can’t process anything. And if I don’t resolve the overload, I end up non-functional. So, I’ve learned. I have no choice but to severely limit how much I have to process. That means, even in the land of black and white text, I have to limit how much I have to process. Because, I become unable to process any of it at all, if I don’t limit the amount.

So, I have an itty-bitty list of names I follow on Twitter. And for now, I’ve shut down Facebook all together. To limit how much I have to process. It’s survival for me. It’s how I can remain functional.

I wish I could follow oodles of people. And yes, like 82% of them would be women. Smart, intelligent, conversational, creative women. But, there’s a limit to how much I can cope with, to how much information I can process, to how many topics I can be exposed to, and maintain the ability to convince myself I’m not the problem.

So, I limit things. To survive.

Perhaps, in the days ahead, I’ll try to explain this in more detail. And to explain the problems that come with this lack of ability to filter, and highly developed ability to see everything, and almost complete inability to process my own emotions. Perhaps.

For now, just know that I’m OK. And that I’ve done the things I’ve done because I can’t find any other way to remain functional in this world.

Mark.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/04/03

I looked at my hands once more, “Yeah. That didn’t work at all, did it.” The scales and thick, leather-like hide on my hands was disturbing enough, but, that my fingers looked more like absurdly long toes, and had claws on them that would put a grizzly bears to shame, was too much.

“Really?” I stared at the book of spells I’d been studying for a decade. Ten years. I’d found it on an archeology expedition, in Zambia. At the time, I was a budding archeologist, tagging along with my idol, trying to hone my skills to where I could one day lead expeditions of my own.

We’d been digging for three weeks. Mostly pottery, and a few bones. Building a good picture of a lost tribe from somewhere around 9000 years ago. It was stupidly late one night, and I was finishing up. Everyone had already given up, and returned to camp, resting in their tents. I was brushing away one last bit of loose dirt, when I noticed a metal edge.

Nothing had been metal in the dig until then. Curiosity had won, and I’d dug up what I’d found.

A book. In the middle of a dig from a time before humans were supposed to be writing. Surrounded by clay pottery, and animal bones, there it was. Fully in tact, too. I could open it, and turn the pages. I figured it had to be a plant. A fake. So, I hid it from everyone.

When the dig ended, and we all came home, I brought the book with me, hidden in my luggage. I was amazed no one spotted it, or asked about it. The first night I had it home, I had nightmares about some strange guy, dressed in purple, with green trim, and this funny shaped head, telling me the book was meant for me, and I had to learn what it contained.

Those nightmares happened every night until I opened the book, and took a long look at it. It was in a language I couldn’t identify. I searched the archives at the university, and at the Library of Congress. Nothing. I couldn’t find anything about that language.

It took me ten years to figure the text out. Ten years. It turned out to be a book of spells. I about died of laughter. “A book of spells? Bwahahahahaha!” So, for giggles, I’d read the spell to make a candle light up without a match, or any other source of flame. And damn, every candle in my house lit up. Every candle. I thought the place would burn down before I found them all and snuffed them out.

I spent a few weeks playing with the book contents, trying things. Until one night, after too much to drink with my buddies from the university, and a long discussion of how archeology had demonstrated there was no such thing as magic, or sorcery, and it had all been a show, and psychological games people had once played, I decided to scare everyone, and show them all there had been a time when magic was actually real.

I’d searched through the book, and found a safe spell. One to grow long fingernails on my hands, and make my eyes glow orange. I’d used it.

Boom.

I was a dragon.

After a few hours of panic, and another few of crying my eyes out, I decided I had to stay at home, and find the spell that undid what I’d done.

Have you ever tried to turn the pages of a book with dragon fingers and claws?

I figured this was going to take a while. And I wondered, “Do dragons use the toilet? And what do they eat?”

I hoped I found the reversing spell before I found out the answers to those questions.

638 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 100 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.