#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.

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Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/02/03

Axel had been secretive for months as he had a small home built out on his plot of land. He’d bought a couple of acres in the middle of nowhere. “I got a great deal on it. It’s isolated. Just a dirt road leading to it. Nothing for miles and miles.” He told us he was going to build a small home on it. One of those tiny houses, like on TV. But he wanted to make his different. “They’re all the same!”

We spent weeks betting he was having a container dropped on that property, and putting plywood inside. “See? This is different!” We all gave him a hard time about it. Ribbed him endlessly. “Can’t wait to see if it says, TESCO on the side, or EXXON.”

He took it all with humor, even posted a picture of a trash dumpster with a door on it, and a tin pipe coming out the top, with smoke coming out of that, “My dream home?”

I thought for sure he’d park an old bus chassis on that place, and convert it to a tiny kitchen, bedroom, and bath.

We asked him, “Were you getting water? How you getting power? Any plumbing at all?”

“Getting the biggest septic tank they make. And a deep well, a couple hundred feet. Gonna have plenty of water.” He put up a picture of the tank. Kinda ugly, but we went with it. He was showing off.

“Getting solar panels. Making a solar farm for the place.” He had an entire array of the things. Looked like it would power an entire building. And it had an enormous battery. “I got the battery from Tesla! Same kind they use in Australia! I ain’t ever running out of power! Ha!”

We all laughed when he rented a truck on weekends, and bought every brick they had at the Home Depot. Said he was putting in a brick driveway, and sidewalks. Making his own. Spending his weekends in a tent at his place, getting ready.

We all about died when he brought in a picture of the foundation. A square, almost. Rounded corners. No, I mean rounded. Not smoothed off, but still corners. I mean, like someone dropped a big ass circle on the slap, and mowed the corner off. “So. You’re getting a well rounded house. Right?” I mean, what the heck do you put on a slab with no corners?

We were all stunned when he brought in pictures of the steel frame. Yes. Steel. No wood. No 2×4 construction. It was steel. Bright, shiny beams. Every few feet. We looked at the beams, and realized, “Whatever he’s building, it’s gonna be just as tall as it is wide.” The beams echoed the shape of the slab, and were the same dimensions as the slab. “Dude, you could make a concrete square out of that.”

“I know.” All he did was grin. “Y’all don’t have a clue. I’m building the little home I want to build. My getaway place. Where I can go to escape reality.”

At last, the day came. He came in one Friday at work, “You’re invited to the housewarming. It’s ready!” Gave out the address and everything. No one knew how to even get there. I had to look it up on maps on the internet. Place really was in the middle of nowhere, like half an hour from anything, even a trash pickup site, or another house.

I pulled up this afternoon, to visit him at his new place. And I’m telling you. I’ve never seen anything like this. Nope. He wasn’t kidding when he said this was going to be different. I sat in the car, staring for like, what, 20 minutes, before I could get out.

It was a six sided dice. Yep. Like the kind you throw in a Monopoly game. Had a brick sidewalk that led right up to the bottom of the two circles on the front. I got out, walked around the place. Yep. Windows shaped like the circles for the numbers. Two on the front. One on the left.

Axel came out to greet me, “Well. What do you think?”

What else was there to say, “It’s certainly different.”

“Two stories. Square. Just like the real thing, on a million times bigger.” He grinned. Bedroom up top, bath and kitchen on the bottom.”

He gave me the grand tour. It was a house. No, seriously. A house. With three skylights in the ceiling of the bedroom. And a circular door.

“Dude. Looks just like…”

“Yep. Just like I wanted.” He was so proud of his house, “I didn’t want one that looked like every other house in the world. I wanted something different. Something me. Something I can be proud of.”

I gotta admit. When someone asks where he lives, saying, “I live in the Dice house,” is a unique answer. And once you’ve seen it, you know exactly where the Dice house is. There’s really only one of those.

Gotta hand it to Axel. No one saw that house coming. Not one of use guessed what it looked like. A 6 sided dice. Of all things. Take a picture of that thing, and show it to your friends. They’d think it’s a funny looking dice. And try to explain to them it’s a tiny house. Go ahead. Explain that. No one ever believes it.

900 Words (So, I went over…)
@mysoulstears


It’s week 92 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. The picture this week forced me to begin the years long process of putting a story into words, and bringing a new story to life. 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.

#NYR2019 : Welcome To The New Arctic

When this snow storm started, I could look outside. It was a whiteout. The worst I’d ever seen.

Thing is, it’s never stopped. On the second day I got trapped inside. I opened the front door, and saw a wall of snow. I tried to push through it, but it was useless. It was seven or more feet deep, everywhere. And it was still snowing. The windows showed nothing but snow, packed in around the house, on all sides.

At that point, at least the electricity still worked. I had heat. “Man, this is one hell of a snow storm. I’m gonna have lots of stories to tell people on the networks. Those down in Australia, where it’s like bathing in lava right now, are going to never believe this.”

One of the first things I lost was time. There is no sun. No daylight. I don’t know how many days I’ve been here. I don’t know how long I sleep, how long I’m awake. I remember the news, “The snow storm continues. It’s now the worst in recorded history, by far.” They estimated forty feet, and it was still snowing.

I knew things were bad when I saw icicles hanging from the Living Room window. I’d never seen icicles inside a house before. Now, half the living room is packed with ice, where the windows and wall couldn’t keep it out.

At least I can get some light, and I’ve been able to write in this journal. People used to think I was silly, because I had six packs of batteries, forty batteries to a pack. At least I get a tiny bit of light. I’m betting most people don’t. I wonder too, how many people have already frozen. “Must be a lot. But they won’t stink. Be like frozen food. They won’t rot.”

Back when this started, I went to the attic, to see if I could see anything. The attic fan on the roof? It was packed with snow. The snow was deeper than my house was tall. “That can’t be a good thing.”

The news went out with the power. I can run my phone, but it’s useless. No one to call. No internet. No TV. No radio. Nothing.

Then there was the science show, out of Canada in those first couple days, when we still had power. They said it was the end of the world we all knew. Had some scientist no one ever heard of on the program, talking about how the north pole was shifting, right before our eyes. All because we’d weakened the air currents by warming the air with carbon from oil, and coal.

They had a map with the north pole over the Ontario and Manitoba province line. About sixty miles from the US and Canada border. “This is not magnetic north, or geological north. But, it’s where the climate patterns are shifting.”

I have no idea if it’s still snowing or not. I don’t think anyone knows. If it is, I figure it’s a good hundred feet deep now. Probably deeper. The last time I checked the front door, the snow outside had turned to solid ice. Yeah. There’s a sheet of ice outside my house that’s at least 7 feet thick. At least.

I’m not going to make it. I know that. I’m living on melted ice I chip from the door each day, stale hot dog buns, and jelly beans. I already ate everything else. The attic beams are visibly sagging. I figure, sooner or later, my house is going to get mushed by the weight of it all. And I wonder, will I be alive to experience that, or will I have frozen into a human Popsicle by then. Or will I starve to death when I run out of food. I’m betting on the last one. It’s not like Amazon and Walmart deliver in this kind of weather, you know.

And I wish I could tell all my Christian friends what hell really is. It’s not fire, and smoke, and brimstone, and pitchforks. That would be nice, really. Hell is when you freeze your ya-ya off forever, and wish you could die, and get it over with.

I sure hope it’s warm in the after life. ‘Cause I’m friggin’ tired of the cold.

718 Words
@mysoulstears

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#MenageMonday 2×15 : The

In two hours, it would be time to go to work. Hank stared at his watch. “I like my watch.” It was larger than a wristwatch, and it attached to his belt with a well crafted chain. “A pocket watch. Not at all what anyone would expect.”

Carefully, he placed the watch in his pocket, and looked at his computer once more. “Two hours of freedom. Two hours to be me. And then. Everything becomes the same, the same colors, the same rules, the same words.” He hated work, where everyone behaved identically, no matter what. “We all dress the same, always shave, always keep our hair cut just right, wear the same suits, the same ties, the same shoes and socks.”

It was one of those mornings where he was desperate for anything different, anything that wasn’t the same, that wasn’t old, and hadn’t been done a billion times. He brought up the video streaming service, and searched for random names, and random items. “Jose Benedict”. “Concept cars 2019”. “Hunting a new music video”. Nothing felt right in the results. Everything felt the same. “Less than two hours now.”

Out of desperation, he got more detailed in his search efforts, “i am hunting for pearls music videos.” He wondered if that was too specific, as the results showed up. It wasn’t. “There. Something new!” A new music video, he’d never heard. “Finally! A fresh start with something different!” he clicked play, and watched something he’d never seen before.

249 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×15 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. And many of them are amazing.

 

#MonsterMash 2018 : Damien Was Correct

Damien watched the chaos grow, each day, as he waited for the humans of Earth to destroy their world, and thus themselves. All for progress and wealth. And actually, for a bunch of toys, gadgets, thing-a-ma-bobs that allowed them to be oblivious to everything.

He had to chuckle, and smile, and laugh.

The Creator, no one knew his actual name, which had become lost in time some-when, perhaps in one of the universes that existed before this one. No one knew. The Creator watched his creation destroying itself. “How many times have my children destroyed themselves now?”

“I’ve lost count, actually.” It was true, he had. A hundred trillion galaxies and star clusters scattered across space, each with more worlds than grains of sand on a beach. So many places to bring children to life. So many places to try to grow them into intelligent, strong beings. Maybe even beings who could one day become companions to the Creator, and to his other children.

Damien shook his head. “You knew this would happen with them, didn’t you?”

The creator nodded, “Of course. But, I had to try anyway.”

“Of course. Hope, right? Hope makes it worthwhile.” Damien observed the Earth for a few moments. “And they had such hope at first, didn’t they?”

“Of course. I picked a world that gave them every opportunity to learn. To grow.” He shook his head, and frowned. “I even restarted them. Multiple times.”

“The last being Noah, and a few others. They call it the Great Flood, you know.”

The Creator smiled at that. “They even wrote stories about it, in all their holy books. All their histories.” His smile showed the sadness Damien knew he felt. Damien felt that same sorrow. “And still, they destroy everything.”

Damien wished it were not so, “You even warned them of money, and power. They even worship the book you gave to them that warns them of such things.”

“Indeed. They’ve built entire religions because of that book.”

“I tried to warn you about that, you know. That they would never be able to agree on what your words said.”

The Creator drew a big X across the page of his notebook. “The day I gave up on them completely. Today.” Damien knew, from 14 billion years of time, that X meant the Creator had closed the experiment, and would let anything created during that experiment, die. “The human race on Earth will destroy the biosphere of the planet, and thus destroy themselves.”

“Sad, isn’t it?” Damien asked, for no reason. “How they believe you will actually save them from their own actions.”

The Creator nodded.

“Would you like for us to send a big rock, and reset the planet? I’m sure in a billion years of so, it would heal, and life could be restarted there.”

“No,” The Creator shook his head. “No. This time, we let them all die. I’ve given them enough chances.” He looked at the planets on either side of Earth. “They blew the atmosphere clean off Mars with their wars for power and money. And they burned everything they could on Venus, turned it into an oven and fried themselves.” He studied Damien for a moment, “Tell me, Damien. How do you think they will end themselves this time?”

It took a moment for Damien to put his answer into words. “A combination, of course. When they poison the world so much it starts to kill them, their wars will become greater. In the end, they will destroy the last vestiges of themselves fighting over the last few drops of water, and food.” He paused, “You do know, it’s always been about money for them.”

“Yes, Damien. It has always been about money.” The Creator stood. “Record their story in the record books, Damien. And then, search out a new world, around a new star. This time, make it one with nothing but stone, and dirt. No minerals. No riches. When you find a suitable world, let me know. And perhaps I will try again.”

Damien bowed, “Indeed, sire. It would be good to someday have companions. There are so few of us. And I am lonely.”

“You are a good companion, Damien. I’m happy your people survived. You have been good company.” The Creator looked back at Earth. “Make sure they don’t spread to other worlds.”

“As you wish. As you wish.”

734 Words
@mysoulstears


Written for #MM2018 (Monster Mash 20180). Please wander over and ready the other tales in the blog hop. And enjoy Halloween.

All the #MM2018 stories.

#ThursThreads Week 335 : But They Sure Don’t Seem To Like Me

On Friday morning, Jimmy woke up, and like he always did, checked the news. Unfortunately, he wasn’t very happy with what he saw.

His friends Bobby, Tim, and Eddie, all made the morning news, but not for good reasons.

Bobby was found, naked, face up, in the middle of the road. No one could figure out how the staked that ran through his arms and legs, and held him to the pavement, had been hammered into place. A note was attached to a nail hammered into his head, “One down. Three to go.”

They found Tim at a hotel, in a room, naked, and face up on the bed, tied down, with a rope around his neck that had kept him from breathing. A rather disturbed woman sat in the corner, crying, and screaming, “It was all black. No face. No eyes. Nothing. Just black.” A note on the rope around Tim’s neck said, “Two down. Two left.”

Eddie’s body was at the counter at the entrance to the police station, with a metal pipe that ran through him, and pinned him to that counter. The officer at the counter was in shock, and kept mumbling, “It said this makes three. And Jimmy’s next.”

The note attached to the pipe that killed Eddie read, “Jimmy. I’ve met your friends. But they sure don’t seem to like me.”

Pastor Greg called the Sheriff. They picked up Jimmy, and took him to a safe house, as if that could stop me.

249 Words
@mysoulstears


Getting closer to the end of this Armor 17 story. Only 4 parts left. It’s Week 333 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 turn out weekly.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/06/13

At work, everyone thinks I’m great. I’m the talented one. The one that fixes all the problems. It’s what Tommy said when they brought in the new system. “I could play around with it for 3 days, and get nowhere, and have no idea what was wrong, or how to get it to work. Or, I can short-circuit the whole process, be smart, and call Freddy for help right now.”

Yep. That sums up work. If it’s a mystery, call Freddy. Call me. And I’ll come figure it out. In a matter of minutes. The guy from the research lab said that too, just in a different way, “How did you find that problem in half an hour while we were a lunch, in something you’ve never seen before?”

It’s what I do. And there’s oceans about what I do that you don’t know. No one knows. Except my wife. And for some reason, she hasn’t left me. I’ll never figure out why, ‘cause I’m a frickin’ disaster. But she sticks around. Some things are best left as mysteries, aren’t they.

See. I can do magic at work, ‘cause I crash and burn at home. All the time. The headset they use, the augmented reality one that they couldn’t get working for three weeks, before they said, “Let’s see what Freddy can do to help.” Yeah. That afternoon, the headset was working normally, and everyone was going, “Ooo,” and having a blast trying to follow instructions written in thin air next to circuits they were trying to fix.

Yes, I fixed things. But only because I spent over a year figuring out how those damn headsets work. Got an entire system at home that I use just for that. Hook up the headset, and see what I can do. Had to do clean reloads of the operating system every other day for a month before I got anywhere. Have three of the damn headsets, well, three cheap copies of them, sitting on my desk at home, where I’ve torn them apart to figure them out. Traced the circuits, monitored the timing between components. Have you ever spent months tracking down where electrons move in something? And why they move where they do? Months staring at sheets of hexadecimal numbers, searching for patterns in them that tell you when events happen, how the headset responds to those events, and how it’s all translated into pixels displayed on a plastic lens in front of a human’s eyeball?

Before you can figure it out, you have to crash and burn, and make every frickin’ mistake there is to make. Hell, people forget that. They get lazy. They learn to walk by crawling, then trying to stand up. And they fall over 80 zillion times, and bang their heads on the floor, or the table, or the chair. They land so hard on their butts it bruises them. But, they keep getting back up, and trying to walk again. Until they figure it out. Until they learn to balance themselves. Learn to maintain their balance on one foot at a time. Learn to move that balance point around, and keep their body parts positioned to maintain that balance.

But, you get them past learning to walk, and they stop learning. ‘Cause. Making mistakes sucks.

Damn, I hate lazy people. Lazy, scared people. Want to scream at them, “If you aren’t making mistakes, if you aren’t falling face first onto the floor, and crying about a broken nose. If you aren’t bruising your ass where you landed on it, ‘cause you did something stupid trying to get better. Then you might as well be dead!’”

Same people will take out a gun, and spend $50 an hour to shoot at little bits of paper hung from a chord that’s 50 feet away from them. And will keep shooting at it, spending money on box after box of bullets, until they learn how to hit the target every time. And then, they’ll keep shooting at the damn sheet of paper so they keep in practice.

But, hand them a remote control to the TV and they go totally stupid. “Where’s the frickin’ ON button on this crazy thing!” ‘Cause. They don’t want to learn anything new. They don’t want to make the mistakes needed to learn anything new. “I just spent $3000 on this damn TV, I ain’t reading no users guide!”

Hell, they don’t even look at the pictures that show you how to do things step-by-step. ‘Cause it hurts their brain cells to figure out the pictures.

Yeah, my desk is a wreck. Yeah, I have to keep multiple backup copies of everything I save on my computers. Yeah, I have to slick my computers over and over again. If I don’t have to slick my computer endlessly, I’m not trying! I’m not learning! I’m not making progress!

And because I do, the idiots at work can say, “Let’s just call Freddy. He knows.”

I hate humans. So fucking lazy. And so afraid to try anything. So they don’t try. And they end up stupid. And helpless.

Oh, look. Smoke. From the headset attached to the computer. I’ve let the smoke out of it again. Another headset cooked. The wife’s gonna be pissed. Have to see what parts I can scavenge from it, and if I can get one headset working from the parts of the others. Sounds like a challenge to me. Always wanted to know how that works.

It’s just another part of the learning process. Right? I don’t screw things up, I’m not learning anything, am I.

931 words (Yes, WAY over the 750 word limit. So what.)
@mysoulstears


This is written for Week 59 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. I needed time to fix things inside me. Now, I’m starting to wander back to writing. 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. And many of them are amazing.