Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/06/02

The deck at the end of the walkway was it. There was nothing else, nothing left to explore, nowhere left to go, nothing left to see, or do. I’d walked out to the deck, the walkway just above the surface of the lake, and sat down.

“Is this all there is?” That’s the voice I kept hearing in my head. “Is this all there is?” I knew what it meant. It was the most obvious question I’d ever heard, really. “Is this all there is?”

I remember my mother, when I was in 10th grade, only 15 years old, “Do you have a plan for your life?” It was the same way with everyone. “What are you going to be when you grow up?” “What are you going to do for a living?”

The walkway was a straight line, maybe 100 feet long. It started at the edge of the lake, and extended straight out. At the end of it was the deck. I remember the guy at the lodge desk explaining, “This is one of the best features of the hotel. You can go out at night, under the stars, and the moon, and sit on the deck, and watch the stars, and the lake, and forget everything.”

My room was on the second floor of the building, its windows looked out over the lake. I could open the curtains with the lights out, and stay inside, and watch the lake from there. Like most people did. Sitting on the deck, I could see them, standing in the windows, or sitting in the chairs they’d pulled over to the windows.

They couldn’t feel the breeze. Hear the birds, frogs, crickets, or anything else. They were in the sealed environments of their rooms. Safe. Secure. With everything controlled. Planned. Organized.

On that deck I found myself thinking about limits to life, and how we make those limits. How we stop growing, exploring, learning, and settle into a single place, and never leave. Like walking to the deck on that walkway. A one way trip, with a known ending. Predictable. Safe.

If you stayed on that walkway, and that deck, you’d never touch the water of the lake. You could stick your feet or hands into the water, reaching over the edge. Almost no one ever did. If you stayed on that course, stuck with that plan, you’d never reach the other side of the lake. The walkway didn’t go that far. You’d never see what was hidden among the trees way over there. And those distant hills would remain distant hills.

If you stayed on that walkway, eventually you’d learn everything about it. Where to step to make something squeak. Where to step to be silent. What the walk was like in the rain. Perhaps, someday, you’d carry a chair out to the deck, and sit there. Or a computer, notebook, or book. Maybe you’d wander out with an easel, and paints, and try to paint the view.

But you’d always be on that same path. That same walkway. That same deck. Sometimes, there might be clouds, so you couldn’t see the stars. Sometimes, there might be smoke from a fire somewhere. Perhaps, one night it might be raining, with lightning, and you’d stay inside.

But always, the path would be the same. The walk would be the same. The end point would be the same. Nothing would ever change.

Then, I wondered, what would happen if you got a canoe, carried it out to the deck, put it on the water, and climbed into it. Would that break the rules? What would happen? Or, perhaps, you could carry that canoe to somewhere along the shore, and put it on the lake there, and climb into it.

In that canoe, you could cross the lake. Or go all the way around it, seeing the entire shore up close. You could pick a place on that shore, and land the canoe, get out, and explore.

You could change. You could grow. You could do something different.

Instead of walking the same path every day, to the same destination, and the same result.

Perhaps that’s why whoever build the walkway and the deck built them. To remind people. To remind us. To remind me. That I didn’t have to settle for the same path every day. The same endpoint. The same story.

That instead, I could make my own path, change where the journey went, and end up someplace new, someplace different. Maybe it wouldn’t be safe. Maybe it would be better. Maybe it wouldn’t. And that didn’t matter. What mattered was, I didn’t have to walk the same path every day, endlessly. I could leave the well worn, well traveled path. And try something different.

I spent the night staring at the stars, and the surface of the lake. I’d found what I’d been searching for. What I’d been missing for years. A single word.

Change.

It was past time that I did. “And I wonder. What will I find on the far side of the lake?”

844 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 109 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.

Advertisements

#VisDare 130 : Possibility

59da41de8625ef6a236ef16ee88fd34fThe girl laughed. “I have to tell you the rules.” She tapped me on the shoulder. “You can walk right through all the walls to all the domes. They don’t really exist.” She laughed. “People think they do. People think they’re safe inside their worlds. Protected from the evils and dangers outside their controlled, managed lives.”

“The domes aren’t solid?”

“Nope. They’re imaginary.” She put her hands on her hips, “Except for the one you first came out of.” She shook her head. “That one’s real.”

“I can’t go back inside?”

“Nope. You can never go back to what was. That’s the past. It’s forever gone.” She looked around, at the other domes, “But imagine this. You have the possibility of exploring everybody’s domes!” Then, she walked into a nearby stream, and walked down it’s middle. “Go explore, you! Have fun!”

And she was gone.

145 Words
@LurchMunster


Part 10 of a story I’m writing for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge. Be amazed at the magic people can put into 150 words or less.

#VisDare 123 : Evacuate

827b3d1cf214abd3222e72c672a94e40The fences others built around me grew each day. “We can’t trust you. You won’t patch the wall. If you patch the wall, we’ll take our fences down. Be like us. Be safe. Patch the wall.”

“No.” I could see outside the wall. There was more there. I guarded the crack, protected it, let it grow.

When the crack was large enough, I squeezed into it, started working my way through the wall. I wanted to see what was outside the wall. But, without me to stop them, those inside the wall, inside reality, patched the crack. They sealed me out. I could not return. All I had left was what lay outside the wall.

I declared I’d chosen to evacuate their reality, leave the safety of the world inside the wall, see the bigger world outside the wall.

To be free from the small reality inside the wall.

149 Words
@LurchMunster


Part 4 of a story I’m writing for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge. Be amazed at the magic people can put into 150 words or less.

Once

I was like you, once.
Not so long ago, really.
My life was defined.
Planned.
Everything was organized.

I walked a fixed path.
A predefined path.
Cut through existence.
Trees, brush, animals, birds, squirrels,
Everything.
Gone.

The path was clear.
Maintained.
Perfect.
Used by everyone.

I was like you, once.
Not so long ago, really.
The professional.
The success.
Everything I was supposed to be.

I walked a fixed path.
What to wear.
What to say.
When to speak.
When to be silent.
Everything was planned.

Do your job.
Never speak the truth.
Only positive words.
Can do words.
Even if everyone knew
It was a lie.

I was like you, once.
Not so long ago, really.
I had all the signs in place.
The house.
The cars.
The yard, well kept,
Always edged,
No weeds anywhere.

And perfect flower beds.
I knew the path.
I knew the way.
What to do every day.
What mattered.
What didn’t.

I was like you, once.

And then I changed.
I saw the path
For what it was.
How barren,
How empty.

Nothing lived there,
On that path,
Where every day,
And every one,
Was the same.

A path that lead from life
To death,
In a straight line.
Turning neither right,
Or left.

Oblivious to everything.

So I stepped off the path.
To see what lies beyond.
To greet the unknown.
And explore the world,
Outside the land of safe.

I was like you, once.

No more.

I’m free.

Dreams : A Safe Place

Seems some people believe
I’m able to capture dreams.
Put them on paper.
Make them real.

Really.
Who can do that?
Capture something that isn’t really there.
Bring it to life.

All I can really do
Is share a few words
Now and then.
A few words.
Nothing more.

Take my hand,
If you will,
And walk with me.
See.
I’ve put a blanket on the ground.
In the back yard.

It’s just a blanket.
It’s not magic.
It’s not a gift from a genie.
I bought it at a Wal-Mart
Several years ago.
It’s a bit worn.
It shows its age.

So, I use it in the back yard now.
Let me show you how.
See, I start
By taking off my shoes.
Yeah. I know.
It’s freaking strange.
Every since I stepped on those nails,
When I was a kid
Like 40 something years ago,
I don’t go barefoot outside.

But, see.
There’s this blanket.
I know what’s under it.
I checked.
I know the blanket
Can’t hurt my feet.

And then, I take a step on the blank.
And sit down.
And take off my socks.
And that’s where things get fun.
‘Cause I wiggle my toes.

Why don’t you take off your shoes.
And your socks.
And sit on the blanket with me.
And wiggle your toes.

Silly thing, I know.
Sitting on a blanket in the back yard.
Barefoot.
Wiggling our toes.
But, damn.
It sure feels good, don’t it?
To have nothing on your feet.

My toes are free!
Watch!
I’m gonna wiggle them some more!
Like this.
Oh, I could wiggle them all day.
Well.
At least until they got tired.

I have to let you know.
It’s been a while.
I mean.
Since I took the time
To sit on a blanket.
On the ground.
In my backyard.

I’ve thought about it for some time.
But I’ve never made the time.
Well.
Maybe made is the wrong word.
Maybe it’s I never took the time.
Let’s face it.
Sitting on a blanket in the backyard
Ain’t exactly a grown up thing to do.

You know what else I do on my blanket?
I stretch out.
I lie down.
And I watch the clouds.

I’ve always loved
The sky so blue.
That crystal blue it sometimes looks to me.
With white cotton candy clouds.
All kinds of them.

If you want to know a secret,
I’ll tell you.
Sometimes I look at the clouds
In the crystal sky.
And I giggle.
Because I think,
“It’s like God’s painting.
In 3D.
Again.”

It makes me sad sometimes.
When I think about it.
About how many people never look.
Never see.
The cotton candy clouds,
In the crystal blue sky.

If it’s alright with you,
I think I’ll just lie here a while.
And watch the sky.
And the clouds.
And yeah.
To be honest.
I wouldn’t mind
If you stretched out with me.
And you watched the sky too.

Just so you know.
As far as I’m concerned.
This is a safe place for me.
And if you like.
I’ll make it a safe place for you too.

On this blanket.
In my backyard.
Beneath the sky so blue.

I don’t know at all
Why people seem to think
I can capture dreams.
Things that don’t exist.
Things that aren’t real.
And put them down on paper.
And bring them to life.

But know this.
You are safe here.
On this blanket.
Beneath the sky so blue.

#MWBB Week 51 : Put Your Lights On

“You need to get more sleep at night,” she leaned forward, propping her head on her hands, her elbows on the restaurant table.

I sat there thinking, “Jesus, don’t say anything”, as I caught a good view right down the front of her shirt. Right between her knockers. The pattern of the lace on her pink bra revealed to my eyes. My fingers screaming, “Damn, I’d like to feel that lace!”, my mouth screaming, “Those sure would beat the hell out of a burger and fries!”, and my brain cells screaming, “She’ll slap your face across the room if you say or do anything related to what you’re eyeballs are drinking in!”

It was one of those views that you get. It’s there, but only for a few heartbeats. And you never forget it. And you sit up late at night, wishing you could sleep instead of wondering how her knockers taste, and if she’d be upset if you spent an hour letting your fingers explore the lace on her bra instead of exploring her.

“Yeah. I know.” I fell back to a safe answer. And safe behavior.

She reached across the table, her fingers lacing through mine. Every nerve cell in my hand screaming, “God! I’m in heaven!” while I tried to decide if I should let my fingers move, or remain frozen, like cut from stone. And my brain cells screamed at me, “find a way to acknowledge her action, but don’t give any hint how damn good it feels!” and I wound up with my hand softly holding hers, and my fingers screaming how much they wanted more, and my brain cells directing traffic again, “Behave, you slime! She’s concerned for your well-being. Maintain self-control.”

“What keeps you awake at night?” God, don’t look into her eyes! You look into her eyes, you get lost, and go stupid. And don’t look at her mouth either, ‘cause you’ll end up wondering what it tastes like, how it would feel to press her lips to yours, and to play exploratory games with tongues.

I stared at the table, then at our hands on the table, “I just don’t sleep well.”

“What do you think about?”

“Stuff.” I picked up my soda with my free hand, and took a big chug, big enough the carbonation caused my throat to burn, before I set it down. I even took the time to set the glass down softly, so it made no sound as it touched the table. And I kept my fingers on it, drinking in the cold of the ice filled glass.

What was I supposed to say? “I think about the things my body feels. And the things it wants to feel. About everything my fingers touch. My fingers never shut up. They feel the damn air as it moves past them. I can brush them endlessly, for hours, against velvet or terry cloth. And just be oblivious to everything else.”

“Maybe you should talk to a doctor about it.” Damn her and her eyes. Blue, no less. Blue eyes. And there I was, staring right into them.

My brain cells screamed, “Look away! Look away!” But I couldn’t. Any more than I could forget that view of her pink bra, and the valley between her knockers. And if I did manage to look away, I’d it wouldn’t make any difference, ‘cause I’d have spent hours that night staring at the ceiling of my room, remembering the exact shade of blue, and what it felt like when I finally slipped up and looked.

I managed to break away, and look at the table again. Then at my soda. “Maybe.”

And my brain cells screamed at me, “Find a way to get through this, and get back to work, so everything becomes safe again!”

Then I answered, “But I think it’s just a phase. The time of year. It comes and goes.”

That’s when she let go of my hand. And my fingers cried. They howled like little boys do when you take away their favorite thing. And she sat back up, and I caught one last glimpse of her chest.

And the world was safe again.

687 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 51 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

Angels And Demons : Shoot It!

Mitchell pulled his gun, pointed it at Greg, and shot him. He pulled the trigger twice, and Greg fell. Then, Mitchell walked up to Greg, where he laid, bleeding on the asphalt parking lot, pointed his gun at Greg’s head, and pulled the trigger eight more times, emptying his G26’s cartridge.

Greg was dead.

Mitchell pulled the spent clip from his gun, shoved it in one of his big pants pockets, reached into another pocket, and pulled out another clip, fully loaded with another ten rounds. He didn’t behave like he’d killed another human being. He behaved like he’d made the world a safer place.

Fear and Hatred lurked in the shadows cast by parked cars to either side of Mitchell. Both smiled, delighted with the progress they’d made with Mitchell. Such strong emotions. Fear spoke to Hatred, “We could use many more like him.”

“Indeed.” Hatred relished every drop of hatred pouring off Mitchell. “I like the way he never questions what he’s done.”

“Indeed.” Fear laughed. “He’s so afraid of anything he doesn’t understand.”

“Living in a little box of life.” Hatred took another moment to drink in more of Mitchell’s rage. More of his raw hatred. “It’s so easy to get them to kill each other, isn’t it?”

“That’s what makes it so fun.” Fear poked Hatred in the ribs. “Whisper the things they want to hear in their ears, and they’ll do anything you want them too.”

Mitchell held his gun at the ready, and waited. The other one would be arriving soon. He’d kill it too. Making the world another touch safer. Another step cleaner. Another step more Holy. Bringing everyone another step closer to God.

He didn’t like being in the parking lot at Wal-Mart. But, that’s where these evil creatures were. And as long as they existed, no one was safe.

Fear inhaled the fear and hatred filling the air. “Can’t wait to see him off the other one.”

Hatred stepped behind Mitchell’s ear, “It’ll be here any minute now. Another homo. Another fag. Another of those creatures contaminating the human race.”

Mitchell paced in little circles, always watching the door, waiting for the other half of the evil couple to appear, so he could kill it too. Shoot it, and then go up to it, and make sure it was dead.

With the two homos gone, the world would be a better place.

“To think,” Fear took his place behind Mitchell, “All it took was a little whisper in his ear.” Fear leaned forward and whispered in Mitchell’s ear, “Perhaps you should shoot this ones balls off. I mean. it’s not like it needs them.”

Mitchell nodded his head, slowly. “I know. I’ll shot this ones nuts off. It’s doesn’t deserve to have them.”

Greg’s partner came out of the store, carrying a bag of groceries in each hand. He had eggs, pancake mix, sausage, and milk in one bag. Breakfast for the next few days for the two of them. The other bag had sliced ham, turkey, cheese (two kinds), and a loaf of wheat bread. Sandwiches for lunch. He always packed a lunch for Greg. A sandwich, a diet soda, and a bag of chips.

Greg loved ham and swiss.

As he got closer to the car, he noticed a strange man standing beside it. He wondered who the man could be. He’d left Greg in the car, so it was likely the man was talking with Greg. He picked up his pace, to go rescue his love from the stranger.

He didn’t see Greg until he got to the car. He dropped his groceries. Greg was dead. His head all but destroyed. His blood all over the pavement. He gasped, his hands pressing against his cheeks, “Greg!” he cried out.

Mitchell shot him. Twice. In the chest. When he fell, Mitchell walked up to him, stood over him, and shot him two more time, in the head. Then, he for the man’s crotch, and emptied the last six rounds of the cartridge into it.

Hatred gleefully bounced up and down, “Oh, that was a good twist!”

“Yes, it was! Yes it was!”

The demons bathed in the hatred and fear gushing from Mitchells heart and soul. The man hated things like those two had been. He hated them passionately. “We should just kill them all.”

He never batted an eye as he walked away. And that night, he slept peacefully, and soundly. Without a worry in the world.

Fear whispered in his ear all night, “There are more things like them out there. Perhaps you should hunt them all down.”

Hatred whispered in his other ear. “Faggots. Homos. They’ll destroy us all. Unless we kill them first.”