Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/01/28

Marty took the pill, washed it down with his whiskey. Kept drinking the whiskey until it burned. “Ah, yeah!” He closed his eyes, and waited, even though he knew, when he closed his eyes, his mind wandered. And he thought of things. Things he kept trying to forget. Like the rent payment. The car payment. The credit card payment. The power payment. The grocery bill. The list was endless. “Fuck, they’ll charge you to breathe before you know it.”

Sometimes, Marty thought about what he was doing. Washing down an unknown, undefined chemical concoction he bought with his last $10 bill, with the contents of his last bottle of whiskey. “Pills and whiskey never mix, right?”

It was OK, though. It was OK. Because. The whiskey burned on the way down. It gave him something to focus on, standing up to the burn. Seeing how much he could take. The first time he’d tried, he managed one swallow, and almost choked. Now, he could drain almost half a bottle in one shot.

“Lord, kill me now,” he thought for the billionth time. “Just kill me, and set me free.” His eyes still closed, he tried to detect the change in his feelings, in the things he felt, the whiskey and drug would bring. It only took a minute. Maybe two. Before he felt that flush, that sudden rush, like every nerve in his skin had come to life. Like he could feel the wind blowing, the sun shining on his face, the heat of the concrete sidewalk through his shoes.

Instead of being numb. Instead of wishing the ache in his head would stop. That ache nothing could ever kill. Except the whiskey and the pills. Instead of feeling empty, like he was waiting for his body to die, so he could stop worrying about everything.

Instead of feeling like his guts were twisting around a pole wrapped in barbed wire, as he bit his tongue so hard he drew blood again, so he didn’t say anything to the boss. As he nodded, and lied, “I’m on it.” As he did whatever he had to do to hang on to his job. “I’ll stay here until it’s done.”

Gods, he hated those words. That meant he’d be there hours. Sometimes all night. Getting the work done. Doing what he had to do to keep his job. Calling home and telling his wife, “I’ve got to work late.” Listening to her bitch and moan about it. Funny how she didn’t care about anything but the money he made. Take away her house, her car, and she’d leave him.

Everything was money. Everything was that damn job.

Marty knew he was a walking dead man. One with no dreams. No hopes. No laughter. Only pain. Only emptiness. Like the guy at work who died in the car wreck. Marty worked next to him for six years. Then one day, he was dead. A week later, someone else was working next to Marty. Just another human resource. Another person who’d do whatever it took to hang on to the job.

“Enough thinking,” Marty opened his eyes. It was time to enjoy the escape. The precious moments of time where he would be free from everything.

“Woah, dude…” He almost lost his balance. Everything was wavy. The street wasn’t flat. It looked more like corrugated cardboard. The buildings too. And the cars. And the people. “This is so cool.”

He slowly walked along the sidewalk, careful not to bump into anyone. Not to step off the curb, into the street. The distraction was exactly what he needed. He knew, as long as it lasted, he wouldn’t think about anything, feel anything. All the shit in life would stay away from him.

Until it faded.

Until he needed another pill, and another shot of whiskey. To escape the hell of life once more. “Maybe one day I’ll get lucky. And this will kill me.” He knew he wouldn’t mind being dead. At least he’d be free.

670 words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 39th week. You can read about her small fiction challenge here. This week, I knew what I wanted to say. Don’t know if I said it, but at least I tried. 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.

#FlashMobWrites 1×23 : Carrion Flowers

I turn the volume up and listen,
As the music screams inside my head,
“Criminal
The Suffering
It makes me think like a
Criminal
When we’re alone.”

And I am alone.
I’m always alone.
I walk, in silence.
One mile down.
Two to go.
I embrace my isolation.
It’s all I truly have.

Gray clouds fill the sky.
There is anger in them.
Bottled up.
Trapped.
Seeking a way out.
An escape.
Release.

I can taste the water in the air.
Feel it on my skin.
Thick.
Clinging.
It would push most people indoors.
Not me.

I feel the grin on my face.
The gleam in my eyes.
“Bring it!
Bring the pain!”

The music changes,
Then changes again,
And again.
Never ending.
I hear the words once more.
I more than hear them.
I feel them.

“This is where I redeem myself
When I show that I’m not blind.
Can’t follow the cattle people.
Not one of the Kine.”
The beat,
The rhythm,
Drives each step.

Who cares how many steps.
Who cares how long it takes.
Who cares what I have to do.
What the day brings.
Work.
Life.
It all falls away.

And I feel.
Escape.

The second mile falls.
With it, the damage in my shoulder
Begins to talk to me.
Another would take the five-pound weight
Hanging on his wrist
Off.

I’m not another.
I hold on to the pain.
I know what it means.
Why it’s there.
And I know,
Like the walk.
The pain is all I have.

I focus on the music,
The rhythm,
The beat.
Walk to the beat.
To the beat.
To the beat.

I hold on to the pain.
Knowing the truth.
It won’t kill me.
Unless I let it.

And come the next day,
As I walk once more,
That pain will be gone.
All that will remain is a memory
Of what it took,
What I had to endure,
To survive.

In a life
On a world
I never made.

333 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×23, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×23. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?

#FinishThatThought 42 : Sleep Is A Marvelous Thing

Sleep is a marvelous thing. For when I sleep, I dream, and when I dream, I am free from this world, and my pain wracked, broken, crippled body. When I sleep, I leave this world. That night I put my head on my pillow, closed my eyes, and let go of the world that tortured me.

There was no ground, no sky, no up or down, no left or right. Perhaps I was falling. Perhaps I was floating. Perhaps I was motionless, and the universe moved past me.

I heard her voice in the nothing, Come back to me, my love.” I felt her fingers laced between mine, her lips on mine. “Come back to me, my love.” I opened my eyes in Terres Fae, wrapped my arms around my love, and kept her lips on mine.

“Welcome back, my love.”

“How long was I gone?”

“One day.” She smiled. “Perhaps the time is near, and you will be free to stay?”

“No one knows what tomorrow brings, my love.” I took a deep breath, feeling the warm, moist air of Terras Fae fill my lungs, relishing the lack of agony and pain.

“Is the agony of life now gone?” She knew I was a helpless cripple from Earth’s past. knew I was from Earth. She knew I was a helpless cripple on my world.

“Yes.”

“Then, it’s time for us to fly.” She stepped back, spread the gold, orange and black butterfly wings on her back and with a flick them, launching herself into the sky. I followed, my blue, green and silver wings lifting me easily into the sky.

I was free once more. Free to help my Cheris, and the fairies of Terres Fae stand against the humans from Earth in a time yet to come. Free to help save a living world from certain death.

In my life on Terres Fae, I was free to live the story of life the universe had granted me.

329 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Week 42 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#MWBB 31 : LA Song

I helped her pack her suitcase. I helped her fold all her clothes, carefully picking the ones she wanted to take with her, leaving the ones she no longer wanted neatly folded, placed in boxes on the closet floor. We put a small makeup kit together for her, with her favorite nail polishes, lipsticks, eye shadow, blush. We put her favorite jewelry in little boxes, and stacked them neatly between her clothes and the side of the suitcase.

We talked. About where she was going. She had so much to say. She told me of all her heart breaks, all the men she’d loved and lost. How she’d cried countless tears each time, and wondered if her heart would ever heal.

She told me again, all the stories of the girls at work. The way they treated her. The way they tortured her. Always talking about how they were all engaged, or married, or had a baby on the way. How she wasn’t one of them. I calmly wiped the tears of anger from her eyes, wishing I could find a way to stitch her cut and bleeding soul back together. Wishing God would give me a way to take those wounds from her, make them mine, so she didn’t have to endure the way her heart ached, or the tears I knew her soul cried every night.

She told me how the men of LA were heartless. Soulless. Colder than any ice. Harder than any stone. How all they wanted was another bitch they could lay. Another trophy on the mantle. Another name in their black books. She told me no one slept with her because they loved her. But because she had boobs, and an ass, and her vagina. And that’s all they wanted. To get into her vagina. And I held her again, as she cried more tears of rage, and tears of pain.

The tears of a child. A little girl. Whose world got destroyed before her eyes. Whose dreams got crushed beneath the boots of a world that wasn’t at all like it she’d hoped it would be.

I carried her suitcase, and makeup kit to my car. Put them in the trunk. I opened the door, and let her in. Knowing it wouldn’t do for me to cry. It wouldn’t do for me to say anything. Knowing she trusted me to help her.

Knowing she was walking out of my life. And I might never see her again.

I wanted to kiss her. To beg her, “Don’t leave me!” I wanted to tell her how much I loved her. How I wanted to make her happy. Make her smile. Do everything I could to bring her dreams to life. But I couldn’t. Not because I didn’t have the courage, or the heart. Because I knew, my heart knew, she needed to go. She needed to escape.

I knew. I had to let her go.
I drove to the bus station. I paid for her ticket. “I promise not to follow you.”

She handed me her phone. “I can’t take this with me.”

“I know.”

I wanted to tell her she was leaving for all the wrong reasons. Because she was hurt. Because she was afraid. Because she was running from herself. From her life here, in LA. Trying to escape herself. Trying to blame LA, work, the men she’d known, for her inability to live with herself. That it wouldn’t work. She was taking what she was afraid of with her. She couldn’t escape herself.

I didn’t. It wouldn’t have worked.

Instead, I let her go. I watched the bus disappear into the traffic of LA.

I let her go.

And I prayed, one day, she’d find herself. And remember me.

627 words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 31 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

Play It Loud (VIII)

I play my music loud tonight.
I play my music long.
I play my music in the dark.
Sitting all alone.

Sometimes
I must be free.
Sometimes
I must escape.
If only for a little while.
If only for a moment.
If only for a few heartbeats
In the life I’ve been blessed with.

Sometimes
I play my music loud
So I can’t hear anything.
Only my music exists.

Sometimes
I play my music in the dark
So I can’t see
The world in which I live.

Sometimes
I play my music loud
To escape
From this world
I never made.

Sometimes
I wish there was a way
I could show you what I see
In this life
Every day.

Sometimes
I wish there was a way
For you to feel the things
I feel
Each day.

Sometimes
I wish you could know
The pain,
The hurt,
Of facing yet another day
In the grip
Of the depression
That runs my life.

It never goes away.
It’s always there.
I see it in the mirror.
Looking out a me
From my own eyes.

It touches everything.
Like a poison vine run wild.
Choking everything it touches.
Slowly.
Inexorably.
Relentlessly.
Every day.

I try to tell myself
It’s OK.
It’s like the story of Paul.
In the Bible.
Where he says God won’t take away
That thing that curses him.
That thorn in his side.

I wish you could understand.
There is no magic pill
I can take.
There is no medicine
That can take my depression away.
No surgery to perform.

All I can do
Is live with it.
Every day.
And manage it.
With the help of my doctors.
My weekly therapy.
And the medicine
I have to take.

To manage the darkness
That threatens to consume me
With every breath I take.

I play my music loud tonight.
As I sit
In the dark.
Alone.

For I know.
I just need some time.
To escape.
To be free.

From a world I never made.

Before I try once more.
To walk
In the land of gray.

#VisDare 22 : Flight Of Fancy

That night as Alice and I sat on the sofa, she asked me once again, “Do you really think I’m pretty?”

I let my fingers gently trace the line of her cheek, feeling her soft, brunette hair. “You are the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen.” Alice smiled, and briefly kissed me.

She pulled her feet up on the sofa, and put her head in my lap. We slept on the sofa that night. And I had a dream. I saw Alice, dressed in black, on her knees, her arms wrapped around herself. Ghostly figures flitted in and out of existence above her. And I knew she was sad. Her heart in pain, her soul in tears.

I’d never felt anything like that. Never had a dream like that. We both woke before the dawn. I held her close. “So many memories,” she whispered. “So many lost.”

146 Words
@LurchMunster


This is the 18th 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.

Boston Joins The List

It’s Monday night. 15 April 2013. A day that will be recorded in history. At least until people forget about it. Which they will. Time seems to do that. It makes people forget. And more time makes them forget more.

Remember these?

Sandy Hook Elementary School – 14 December 2012
Clackamas Town Center, Oregon – 11 December 2012
Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, Minnesota – 27 September 2012
Oak Creek, Wisconsin – 05 August 2012
Aurora, Colorado – 20 July 2012
Cafe Racer Espresso in Seattle, Washington – 29 May 2012
Tulsa, Oklahoma – 06 April 2012

These all made national headlines in the past 12 months. Do you remember them all? Really? Honestly? Do you? I know I didn’t. I had to look them up. As I read about them, I remembered them.

People tell me I’m cold hearted. Heartless. I’m not. I named my blog “My Soul’s Tears” for a reason. I’ve learned, the more awake I become. The more aware I become. The more I learn. The more I grow. The more sorrow, sadness, and pain I see all around me.

What happens when you get up in the morning and get ready for work? Do you look forward to going to work? Or is work something you put up with, something you endure, to get the paycheck, so you can survive in the world? Do you like your work? Or do you wish you could be anywhere else, doing anything else?

I take walks. Several a week. Sometimes, I walk at the Botanical Gardens. I love to walk through the flowers, and the trees, when they are blooming. Have you seen an ocean of Camellia trees in full bloom? Reds, pinks, whites, and variegated? Did you know they bloom as early as December? I know these things. I’ve learned them. And sometimes, as I walk through the Camellias, I cry. I can’t help it. I cry for the people I have known in life. The people I have met in life, that never took the time to walk through the Camellia trees in January, and marvel at their beauty. That never looked at a thousand different Camellia blossoms, and found them all perfect. That never spent three hours outside, in freezing weather, taking pictures of those blooms. Hundreds of pictures.

My soul cries tears for them. For I know they do not understand the priceless gift those Camellia trees and their blooms are. They’ve forgotten. They have other priorities. They have their work. Their families. Their houses. Their social lives. Their churches. Their nights out. Their workouts. The list is endless. And when they do look, they’re on a schedule. “I’ve got half an hour to walk through here. Then I have other things to do.”

Sometimes, I walk down the East or the West dike at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It’s 4.6 miles from the Back Bay Visitors Center to the False Cape State Park Visitor’s Center. The only way to False Cape is through Back Bay, or down Back Bay’s beach. To walk the False Cape, and back, is just over 9 miles. I make that walk several times a year.

And sometimes, on that walk, I cry. And my heart aches. Because I remember people I know, people I’ve known, that will never make that walk. That learn the walk is miles and miles long, and they think I’m crazy for even trying to make that walk.

These people will never see the cottonmouth snakes crossing the trail at the end of the West Dike. They’ll never see the ospreys flying over the waters of the sound, searching for fish in the water. They’ll never see the banded Kingfishers zipping along just over the water, suddenly plunging in. They’ll never see the turtles, baking in the sun on the shores of the dike. They’ll never see the Blue Teals feeding in the waterways of the refuge. They’ll never see the deer walk right across the trail, so close you can see their whiskers, and the little spots on their sides. So close you could almost reach out and touch them. They’ll never sit on the ground, scant feet from wild rabbits, and watch those rabbits eating the wild grasses, and flowers.

They’ll never take the time. And if they ever do, they’ll make the trip inside the tourist tram, with a guy on a speaker saying, “And to your left, if we’re lucky, we might see some Blue Teals.”

I know how priceless these gifts from life are. I have taken the time to see the wildflowers bloom. To see the bare branches and limbs of Magnolia trees fill with pink, white, or gold blossoms. I’ve seen baren cherry trees fill with pink and white, then turn green as the pink and white blooms fall away. I’ve seen Rhododendron trees covered with oceans of flowers, in blue, purple, pink, red, and white.

I’ve watched squirrels eating nuts, and pine cones. I’ve watched robins probing the ground in search of food. I’ve seen cormorants diving underwater to chase fish. I’ve seen fish spawning. I’ve seen ducklings, all solid fluffy yellow, and watched them grow, becoming full grown Mallards.

And as I’ve watched these things, I’ve sometimes cried, my heart aching in my chest, and my soul screaming at God, “Why? Why can’t they see these things?”

I wonder why no one’s afraid of getting in their car, and driving to work, or the the store, or to school. I wonder why no one’s afraid of walking through the shopping mall. Why no one ever fears walking around at a big event, like the Neptune Festival, or the Azalea Festival, or Harbor Fest, where there are oceans of people, and no one knows if someone in that crowd is going to pull out a gun and start shooting, or pull out a knife and start hacking and slashing.

And I wonder why these same people can’t ever be alone. Can’t ever be somewhere quiet. Can’t sit on the sand by the ocean, and watch the sun come up, unless someone is with them. Unless they have a hand to hold.

And I wonder why so many people scream, or cry, or become outraged, or become afraid and seal themselves in their homes for a while, when something like today happens. When the news shows explosions on crowded city streets, where people get hurt, and even die.

And I don’t understand at all why something that happens every day gets ignored, while something that’s rare becomes terrifying. Do they even understand how many people die behind the wheel of a car every day? How many people collapse of exhaustion, or heart attack, or stroke, at work, every day? How many people go to bed at night, wondering if they’ll wake up tomorrow? How many people go to bed at night, wondering if they’ll find something to eat tomorrow?

I don’t understand people.

I just don’t understand people at all.

And every time something like today happens, I realize just how much I don’t understand the way the people around me are.

And my heart aches.

And my soul cries tears of pain.

For I know it won’t be long before everyone forgets. And I know it won’t be long before something like this happens again. And I’ll wonder, just as I do know, how long it will take for this world to change.

And I am afraid, sometimes, that it never will.

So on this Monday night, 15 April 2013, I try not to say anything. And let the world be the way it is. Knowing the hurt I feel, the tears my soul cries, are temporary things. And with time, they will fade away, just like the memory of today.

Isn’t that how life is anyway?