#FinishThatThought Week 2-15 : Happy Halloween

It is time to make the announcement. I wish it wasn’t. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I was somewhere else. But I’m not, and I have to, and it’s time. I stand up, clear my throat, and wait for silence in the room. I don’t wait long, just a few seconds. Then I speak. “It’s time for the annual mystery race.”

All seventy-three people in the sanctuary cheers. I wait for silence to return. “Everyone knows the rules, of course.”

Someone raises his hand, “I don’t.”

“Yeah, the rules! We need a refresher!”

I grimace, “Humans,” I think.

“Very well.” I sigh. “The mystery race has four clues. The first three clues always show you where the fourth clue is. The fourth clue is an envelope containing the phone number you must call to complete the race.”

“What do we get?”

“This year, Mr. Anderson will send you a $50 gas card once a week for 52 weeks.”

They cheered, of course. For some of them, $50 of free gas a week meant they would drive all year for free. Others would cut their gas bill in half. Who wouldn’t want such a gift. Again, I waited for silence in the sanctuary.

“These are the clues Mr. Anderson has provided for this year’s challenge,” I push the button on the remote control, and a picture of the first clue displays on the movie screen. “A beaded necklace.” I close my eyes to avoid seeing the gaudy picture once more. “Only five copies of this necklace exist in the city. The beads of each necklace give you a street name.”

“The second clue is a bridge.” I press the remote control button and replace the image of the necklace with one of a bridge. “The bridge is visible from somewhere along the named street.”

I click the remote and the third picture appears. “At one foot of the bridge is a glass of water. In the water is the key for a safe deposit box. Bring the key here, and open the matching safe deposit box. The first box opened will contain the envelope with the phone number.”

Chaos ensues, with countless questions. “How do we find the necklaces? What stores are they in? Are they all in one store? Is there a time limit?”

I answer as honestly, and calmly as I can. “There are five necklaces. They are in five different stores. The stores are not specified. They are any stores that carry necklaces, including Wal-Mart, jewelry stores. Any stores that sell necklaces. There is no time limit.”

It’s time for to finish the announcement. “And now, the contest starts. Mr. Anderson wishes you all a Happy Halloween, and hopes you enjoy his race.”

When the last person leaves the sanctuary, I close the doors, then lock them. Then, I pull my silver flask from my jacket pocket, and drain it. “God, I hate this annual challenge.”

488 words

I wrote this for Week 2-15 (Year 2, week 15) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.


#5SF : Abandoned

He lives under the abandoned bridge on Route 631, in a big cardboard box with Samsung logos on its sides. Like the bridge, he’s abandoned, falling apart, rotting. Some day both of them will be gone. I’ve spoken with him, and he says life abandoned him. But I wonder if the truth is something happened in his life that caused him to abandon it.

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

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.

Perhaps It’s Time

I stared into the mirror.
For a long time.
Trying to find something.
Positive to say.
Positive to think.

All I could see
Was a trail of destruction.
A trail of fire.
A trail of anger.
And pain.

It’s no one’s fault.
I know that.
What happened.
It’s no one’s fault.
Trying to blame someone
Would be like trying
To hold someone responsible
For the rain.

It rains where it rains.
It rains when it rains.
No one is to blame.

I used to think I’d grown.
Think I’d changed.
Believed I’d gotten through
The worst of things.
That I understood
The world I never made.
And could cope with it.
Live in it.
Let it be
The way it is.

And so very gray
To me.

I stared into the mirror
For a while.
Oh the things I said
Inside my head.
To myself.

I’ve tried.
God, how I’ve tried.
I try every day.
To keep that last bridge
Between the life I had.
And the life that’s growing now.

With what happened today.
I’m not sure I can.
Not sure it’s worth
The pain.
The effort.
The stress.

It takes so very much
To not be angry.
When everyone you knew
Abandoned you.
Just because
You changed.

And it’s not really like I changed.
Not really that at all.
The truth is far more simple.
Far more plain.

I woke up.
I opened my eyes.
Like Neo
In the Matrix.
I unplugged.

I live in a world these days
That is filled with color.
With people that are so
Very much alive.
People that embrace
And let me be
Who I am.
Let me believe
What I believe.
That don’t expect me
To be just like them.

Except for that bridge.

I don’t want to burn that sucker down.
I don’t.
There are people on the other side
I really do like.
That honestly
Just don’t understand
And why I’ve become
So very critical
About the way things are.

I let them be their way.
I try.
Oh, how I try.
To not say anything.
To let them do
What they believe.
Live how they believe.
Be how they believe.

I’ve asked God now
For better than one year
To not give up on them.
To find a way
To wake them up.
Like He did me.

But I know
They won’t.
They won’t ever see.
Won’t ever know.
Won’t ever change.

They don’t see any reason to.
They don’t see any need.
To them
Everything’s the way
It’s supposed to be.
Or just so damn close
That it’s close enough.
That they’re OK
With the way things are.

I know so very many
New people now.
The kind of people
That the folks
On the other side
Of the bridge
Wouldn’t understand.
Wouldn’t accept.
Would ask me what I see
In them.

They’d call my new friends
Call them wrong.
Call them sinners.
The Devil’s spawn.

I stared into the mirror
For a while today.
Oh, the things I had to say
To me.
They would hurt you
If you heard them.
I know this.

And in the end
I have to ask
If it’s time.
Time to take
Another step.
And burn that one last bridge
To the ground.

Can I leave that bridge standing
And ever truly be free
From the self-hatred,
And self-denial
That once owned me.
In that world
I never made.

I wish I knew the answer.
I wish I knew.

Now, I have to think a while
And figure out.
What I will do.
What’s best for me.
So that I can take
The next step forward
In this new life
I’ve been given.

Perhaps the best thing
I could do
Is nothing.
Is just watch.
And wait.
And see.
What the people
On the far side
Of that bridge do.

Maybe I won’t have to do a thing.
Maybe they’ll burn down that bridge.
To keep their world
Safe from my new friends.
Safe from me.