#MWBB 39 : Heavy In Your Arms

“It used to matter.”

“What?”

“What I wanted.”

Doc just gave me the look that said, “keep going.”

“It used to matter.” I took a long, slow, deep breath, held it in a few moments, and let it leak out slowly. I did that again. “What I wanted. It used to matter.”

He gave me that look again.

“I used to want to be happy.”

“Oh?” Sometimes, the man reminded me of Mr. Spock. ‘Cept he didn’t have pointed ears.

“Yeah. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to want? To be happy?”

“You know the answer to that.”

“Well. It used to matter. It doesn’t anymore.”

“Why?”

Damn, but that man could be so nosey! That was the trouble with meeting with the Doc every week. And him being good at what he did didn’t help any. I had to take another long breath. I kept thinking to myself, “It’s only anger, dude. Only anger. Just a feeling. Nothing more. Feelings can’t hurt you. Or control you.”

“Because of her!” Yeah. I practically screamed that. “Because of her.” Sometimes, all I really wanted to do was stand up, and go stare out the window at the park behind his office. Or just pace around the room.

I never did.

And I knew what he was going to ask before he asked, “Why?”

Because what she felt mattered to me. Because I wanted to make her happy. Because I hated all the things she loved to do, and all the times I went with her, and did those things. Because I couldn’t ask her to do anything I liked to do.

Because I needed the job I hated to make enough money to do the things she wanted to do. Because I had to burn through every hour of vacation I earned taking care of all the things she couldn’t get off of work to take care of. Because I only got time off by calling in sick to work once in a while, and taking a sanity maintenance day.

“Do you really love her?”

Yeah. That was the worst part of it. I did. I loved her. Maybe even too much. I couldn’t say no to her. I’d do whatever I had to, whatever I could, to give her everything she wanted. Because what she wanted mattered to me. What she felt mattered. What she dreamed of mattered.

And to help her have her dreams, I had to give up mine.

Don’t people do that for love?

When my session was over for the week, I left Doc’s office. But I didn’t go straight home. I stopped. At a Dairy Queen. Bought myself an ice cream cone. Sat in my car, and ate it. Listing to my music. Enjoying a moment without her.

Before I got home.

And I didn’t matter anymore.

471 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 39 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#MWBB 37 : The Ghost Of Stephen Foster

Shawn and April were daredevils. They loved exploring mountain trails, big, empty warehouses, office buildings, corner stores, neighborhood markets, city parks. You name it. They loved to explore it.

In October, 2013, they decided to take a new adventure, and spend each Friday night in October in a different haunted house.

For Halloween night, they found an old, abandoned hotel outside Wachapreague, in the middle of the woods, off an old road none of us had ever heard of. It was the Hotel Paradise. The locals all said, “It’s haunted,” and told countless stories of howling coming from the hotel at night. Sometimes it was an evil laugh. Sometimes it was crying, or screams. And people who stayed there never were the same.

On Halloween day, they met after work, piled into his truck, and drove across the Bay Bridge Tunnel. They ate a fast food dinner at a diner they’d never heard of somewhere near Kiptopeak, then drove to the Hotel Paradise.

Shawn grabbed the two sleeping bags, and April grabbed the bag full of munchies and beer, and they broke in. It was long abandoned, so no one cared. Inside, they picked out a room, and threw the sleeping bags on the floor.

The hotel was really just a two-story house, with extra bedrooms, and each bedroom could be locked. The bathrooms and showers were common, shared by all the rooms. It was a little hotel. The interior was dusty, and dirty. The floors were wooden, and footprints from previous adventurers were everywhere.

They took pictures with their phones, posting them on the Internet. Sharing their adventure with their friends. They found an old guest book, and had fun reading the names of hotel guests in it. Noting the last guest had visited in 1933.

Around midnight, April drug Shawn into the room they’d picked out. They’d both stripped, and had fun collecting memories of sexual adventures in an old, haunted hotel. Spent, they’d stretched out in their sleeping bags, and passed out.

Shawn woke up at 3 AM. “April!” he shook her awake. “April! Did you hear that?”

April shook her head, “Let me sleep,” she groaned, and she rolled over, and pulled her sleeping bag snug around herself.

Shawn sat up, and listened. He heard people. Talking. But he couldn’t tell what they were saying. He pulled on his pants, and followed the sounds out of the room, down the hall to the common shower.

The shower room door creaked as he pushed it open, and slipped inside. “Do you think he’s ready?” a voice whispered.

“Shut up, ya idiot. You’ll scare the rats!”

Two people stood next to him, at the room door. They were watching something. Shawn turned to see what they were looking at. It was a woman. Naked, bound, and gagged, on the room floor.

“The show starts soon.” One of the men declared, as he poked the other in the ribs.

“This’ll be good.”

There were scratching noises. Then the grate over the vent along the wall opened up. Rats started pouring through it. Dozens of them. Shawn watched, fascinated, as the rats formed a circle around the woman. Then, he screamed in terror as the rats leaped on the naked woman, and started eating her alive.

The woman thrashed, and twisted, and tried to scream. But she couldn’t. She was bound, and gagged. And helpless to defend herself, or escape. The two men watched. “Oh, she’s a tasty one, isn’t she?”

Shawn ran from the room, down the hall, to get April.

April wasn’t there. He called for her, and heard her scream for help. He raced down the hallway and stairs to the hotel’s main room where he found April, naked, tied to a chair. Rats were climbing up her legs.

Shawn grabbed her and the rats and ropes all faded away. April screamed as she raced out the front door of the hotel, and hit in the truck. They spent the rest of the night in his truck. The next week, they broke up. And neither of them was ever the same again.

682 words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 37 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 18

As we raced along, I heard an eagle’s scream pierce the sky. Cynthia stopped, and looked up, her eyes pleading, her voice reduced to a whisper, “No.” She shook her head, “No,” as a teddy bear fell from the sky. She picked it up and began to cry, “No,” as the eagle screamed once more.

55 words
@LurchMunster


This is part 18 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s flat amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

What Happened To The Little Boy

What happened to the little boy
I was once upon a time,
So very long ago?

I know the answer
I’ve been told.
“You grew up.”
“You grew old.”
“The innocence you had
As a little boy,
Got murdered by the world.”

It always comes to that.
The loss of innocence.
The birth of pain.
Where as I grew,
I learned,
Time and time again,
Never trust anyone.
That way,
No one can hurt you
Again.

But I wonder
What was wrong
With that little boy?

That little boy
Wasn’t scared at all
Of the black kids
Down the road.
In fact,
He played with them.
And he had fun.
And they did too.

That little boy
Wasn’t afraid at all
To hold the hand
Of the girl next door
When she was sad.
He held her hand
So many times
While she cried.
And then he wiped the tears
From her eyes.

Sometimes he even hugged her.
And always,
Every day,
He was there.
As her friend.

Because he knew
In his heart and soul
Helping friends
Was the thing to do.

That little boy
Sometimes got angry,
And frustrated too.
And he screamed,
And hollered.
And if he got angry enough,
He got up,
And walked away.

But always,
He calmed down.
Because he knew
Being angry with his friends
Forever
Meant he’d never see them
Again.

What happened to that little boy
That I was
Once upon a time?

That boy and his friends knew
That sometimes boys just fight.
And fight they did.
Running into each other,
Wrestling on the ground,
In the grass and dirt.
And even in the mud.

But always,
When the fight was over,
Everybody knew
Why it had begun.
And that little boy
Always took the time
To work things out
With the other person
In the fight.

What happened to that little boy?
Where has he gone to?
In this world
That needs him
And his kind
So very much?

That little boy never once
Looked at a little girl
Dressed in jeans,
And a t-shirt,
With a ball cap on her head,
And told her she was evil,
And all her kind
Should just be dead.

That little boy never once
Looked at a little boy
That took dancing lessons,
Had long hair
In a pony tail,
And wore pink socks,
As a demon from hell
To be burned at the stake
To keep the world safe
From him.

That little boy always knew
If you had more to eat
That you needed,
Or wanted,
It was OK
To give it to
Someone with no food.

That little boy knew too
That if you broke the rules,
It was you that broke the rules,
And you should just man up
And take what was coming to you.
Instead of trying to blame
Everyone and anyone
But you.
That little boy
Never said at all,
“It’s not my fault!”
When he knew it was.

That little boy
Was not afraid to dance.
Was not afraid to sing.
Was not afraid to laugh,
And smile.
Or scream,
And cry.

What happened to that little boy
From so long ago
That knew so many things
I no longer know?

#NaNoWriMo 2012 – Week 4 Clip – Dragon Knight

[My father wrote to me, after reading the chapter this clip came from. “I like Scream best of all.” How can I argue with that? So, I’m sharing a little clip with Scream in it. The last clip I’ll put up from NaNoWriMo 2012. Enjoy it in all its unedited glory.]

Scream heard Merlin’s words. “It’s time.” He knew what Merlin meant. The dragons had spread the word of the fairy Fauna’s death. Every dragon knew what the invaders had done. Every dragon knew of the loss of one of the White Witch’s daughters. Every dragon knew the end of the war was approaching. The White Witch would soon strike.

Every dragon knew it was time. Dragons everywhere turned away from defending towns and villages. They turned, and attacked the invaders and their landing ships. Dragons would fall in battle. It was the way of war. No dragon would fall without honor.

Scream looked to the sky. He screamed. His scream echoed across the Southern Plains. Before the echo faded, Scream took to the sky. His wings fully spread. Every fairy in the kingdom saw him leave. Every fairy  knew where he was headed.

Straight at the enemy. A dark gray streak across the pale blue sky. Before Scream reached the horizon, the fairies of the Castle Guard all stood, as one. Took up their swords, shields, bows and arrows. And lifted to the sky. They followed after Scream.

Scream was the Dragon Knight. He was one of them. He would not face the enemy alone.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 4)

When the sun rose on the third day of his trip, Sword welcomed it. While he’d slept better that night in the bed he’d made in the tree, he’d been awakened endlessly. By the sounds he’d heard all night long. He had no idea what they were. He didn’t know they were normal sounds of night life in the forest.Birds, crickets, frogs, chipmunks, squirrels. The sounds they make were all there. All night long. Sword would drift off to sleep, and then wake up with a start to a strange sound. The sound of a screech-owl. The sound of a wolf howling. The sound of a woodpecker hammering against a tree. The list went on and on.

Sword was so tired. This journey was tougher than he’d ever expected it to be. But he remained determined to make the journey on his own, without help from the Dragons, or from Mystica.

He helped himself to some of the dried fish and seaweed in his provisions. And noticed he’d run out of both. He sighed. His journey had just gotten a bit harder. He knew finding water wasn’t going to be a problem. He’d learned that the previous day. But, he wasn’t at all sure about finding food. He had no practical experience in finding food on land. He had to take some time that morning, and figure out what to do.

He remembered his lessons with Oceana. She’d shown him pictures of things on land he could eat. He’d learned their names. Blue berries. Strawberries. Back berries. Raspberries. Apples. Grapes. Carrots. Potatoes. Peanuts. All kinds of fruit and vegetables from plants. He also knew he could find meat from birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other small animals. But he didn’t want to hunt animals unless he had to.

He continued his journey through the tree tops. Until he heard noises. People working, talking, singing, laughing. He became very cautious. Oceana had told him to do his best to avoid towns and villages. To remain hidden in the trees, and quietly move around them. So, he quietly moved from tree to tree, until he came to a clearing. He could see several small houses. A well. Some horses and cattle. A barn. And crops.

He watched the people of the settlement go about their daily lives. Working in their crops. Farming. He knew what that was. In his home, they farmed all kinds of sea weed. Kelp was especially good. It grew well, and was nutritious.

After a good hour, Sword resumed his journey. He moved back from the clearing, then went from tree to tree, around the clearing. He was careful to stay hidden high up in the trees. He’d been taught that humans don’t look up in the trees to see if there’s something there.

It took him a half an hour to work his way around the village. Then, he resumed his journey. And that’s when things changed for him.

He heard a scream. It wasn’t far away, so he decided to move as quickly as he could, to investigate. He wanted to know who had screamed and why. As he moved through the treetops, toward the scream, he heard a second scream. Then a third. And he heard something lout. It roared. It growled.

Suddenly, he’d found the scream. It was a human woman. Screaming for help. She was running through the forest as quickly as she could. Ziging and Zaging through the trees. Something big, and dark brown was following her. Gaining on her. Scream saw it was a bear. And he saw it would catch her soon. And then, it would kill her.

There was nothing else he could do. He took to the air, leaving the trees, and using his wings to dive at the bear. As he approached, he watched as the bear swung a big front paw, claws and all, at the woman. He heard her scream. He saw he fall. He saw the claws had torn through her clothing, through her skin. She was injured.

He took his arms, and extended them as he dove at the bear. Before he ever reached it, the wild magic that was his extended invisible swords before him. Those swords penetrated the back of the bear. And ran clean through it as the momentum his dive drove those swords deep into the bear, penetrating 3 feet before his hands struck the bear on the back.

The bear howled in pain. Sword withdrew his swords, and then he swung both arms, his invisible swords cut deeply into the  bear’s neck. The bear sagged. Then fell. Sword knew it would die soon from the wounds he’d inflicted on it. He turned to face the woman. She had pulled herself into a seated position and was watching him. Sword asked her, “Are you OK.”

The woman was silent. She looked absolutely terrified. Sword heard voices approaching. He knew some of the villages had heard the woman’s screams. He couldn’t wait for them to get there, so he flexed his young wings, and took back to the trees. Moving quickly from tree to tree, putting the woman, the bear carcass, and the village behind him.

That afternoon, he searched, and found blue berries, and raspberries to eat. He drank all the water he wanted from a forest stream. He rinsed himself off again in the water. And he made another nest in a tree.

And then he went to sleep. Knowing he’d done something good that day. He’d saved a human’s life.

That night, he dreamed once more, of sitting by the lake. Holding Rose’s hand.

What Else Was He To Do But Wait?

Simon woke up. He remembered the ground had stopped shaking. He opened his eyes. It was still dark. He was still there. Wherever there was. It was the darkest he could remember it ever being. He stared straight ahead, and tried to see anything. Nothing. Just black. He figured there was dust. His mouth tasted like he’d eaten dry cardboard.

He tried to move once more. Found nothing had changed. He could wiggle his left foot, but couldn’t move his left leg at all. He couldn’t even feel his right leg. Couldn’t tell if it moved or not. He could make a fist with his left hand. Wave it up and down at the wrist. But when he tried to bend his left arm at the elbow, all he saw was this brilliant white light. And he got really hot. And sweaty. And, Momma, did it hurt to try to move his arm. His right arm worked. Sort of. He could feel it move around. He could bend it at the elbow. Swing it up over his head. Hold it out in front of himself. He supposed that was actually holding it up, pointing at the ceiling.

He could breathe. Thankfully. But it felt like he was stuck under a sheet of plywood that some football team was sitting on. He couldn’t budge that plywood sheet at all. It was tough to breathe, but at least he could.

OK. Nothing had changed since the last time he’d tried to move. Simon tried to smile about that. “That’s a good thing,” he thought to himself.

“Testing. Testing. 1. 2. 3.” Simple to say. Really simple. He tried to say it several times. To him, it felt like he was saying it. He swore he could hear it. Hear his voice. But he couldn’t be sure. Maybe it was just his mind wanting to believe he could be heard. He could call for help.

Simon took a few minutes, and screamed at the top of his lungs. As loudly, and long as he could. No need to scream something that made sense. “Aaaaaaa!” was perfectly acceptable. He figured “Aaaaaa!” would be something people would be listening for. That they’d be listening for any sound at all.

Hell, for all Simon knew, his screams were silent, and couldn’t be heard by anyone. But, you now. Optimism. His family. His friends. They’d always said that. “Keep your chin up!” and “You need to be more optimistic.” And all that. So, OK. He’d be optimistic, for once. And assume that he was screaming at the top of his lungs, and could be heard for miles.

When he was out of breath, and his lungs ached, and he felt horse, and his throat hurt so bad he couldn’t even whisper, he stopped screaming. It was time to use his right arm. He bent that at the elbow, raising his right fist up, and then he straightened his arm out, slamming his fist into the ground. Or, if it wasn’t the ground, whatever the hell it was.

Simon kept that up as long as he could. Until he couldn’t even close his right hand anymore. Until he couldn’t wiggle the fingers because it hurt so much he screamed. Until all he could do was cry from the pain.

He had no idea what day it was. No idea how long he’d been stuck there. Unable to get up. Unable to move, pretty much. All he remembered was the ground shaking. It was an earthquake. Everyone scattered. Panicked. All the training, all the practice, all the drills. “Climb under your desk.” All that crap went away when the building started moving, and the ground started acting like a trampoline with a football team jumping up and down on it.

He should be hungry, he supposed. At least he should be thirsty. But somehow, he wasn’t. For all he knew, he could have been there for hours. Or days. He had no way to measure time. No way at all.

Simon decided to stick with his routine. A simple one. Make a lot of noise. And when you can’t make noise anymore, take another nap. So, he closed his eyes, and slowly drifted back to sleep. He’d sleep for a little while. And then, when he woke up, he’d make more noise. Someone would find him. He had to believe that. Someone would find him.

In the meantime, what else was he to do but wait?

 

I composed this tale for fun, based on the prompt for the 38th ThursThreads flash fiction challenge. The challenge is hosted weekly by Siobhan Muir. There are always spellbinding entries in the challenge, and some amazing works of fiction. Please explore them all, read them all, and enjoy them.

Sometimes

Today, the isolation I live with
Cuts me to the bone.
Leaves me with a choice.

Sit here
And feel the pain
Of having no one to talk with.
No one to laugh with.
No one to cry with.
No one at all.

Or bury the pain
Beneath other things.
Housework.
Dishes.
Laundry.
Mowing the yard.
Anything at all
So I don’t have to feel
Alone.

She’s at work.
And will be.
For another 8 hours.
And many times
When she comes home
She’s tired.
And we don’t talk.

But I get to hug her.
If only for a little while.
I get to watch her.
To see her smile.
To see the light
Within her eyes.

I watch Twitter relentlessly.
Reading tweet after tweet.
Knowing all I’m doing
Is observing.
Knowing I don’t understand
The conversations going on.
At all.

I watch Facebook endlessly.
Waiting for a new post
To show up on my wall.
Even though I know
It won’t mean anything.
Anything
At all.

At times I wander
To the book store
Down the road.
Where I examine
Magazines.
And books.
Galore.

Sometimes I walk
Through the aisles
And displays
At the local Best Buy store.
Picking up,
And putting down
Items all the time.

Sometimes I even visit
A fast food restaurant.
On my own.
And watch other people there
Spend time with each other.

I think they call it socializing.
But I’m not really sure.

And all the while
My hands scream out in pain.
“Let us touch something
Alive!”

I gave up screaming
Many years ago.
No one ever heard.
There was no one to hear.
So I don’t scream
Anymore.

People tell you that the pain
Goes away with time.
And that with time
You make new friends.
Add more people
To your life.

They lie.

People group together
For a reason.
It feels comfortable to them.
They understand each other.
Each knowing
How the other feels.
What the other thinks.

They like the same TV shows.
The same movies.
The same restaurants.
Even the same drinks.

They know what to say
To each other.
How and when to speak.
When to laugh.
When to smile.
When to cry.

And they stay away from people
That can’t behave like that.
That just get it all wrong.
Or even not quite right.

They say,
“He’s just a little off.
Eccentric.
A little strange.”
And they avoid that person
After that.

Everyone just goes away.

They say,
“You can’t be that way.
You can’t do that.
You know what to do.
You know what you did.”
Even if you don’t.
And once they’ve said those words.
To them.
You’re gone.

Not one human heart I know
Wants to be alone.
Wants no one to talk with.
Wants no hand to hold.

It’s an endless isolation
I’ve lived with
All my life.

And every now and then
I find someone
Living with the pain
I live with
Every day.

I worry about them.
For they are not me.
They have not survived
The things I have survived
In the life I lead.

I know I’ll survive.
I know I’ll be OK.
I’ve walked through the depths of hell itself.
And lived to tell the tale.

But sometimes
Even I can feel
The isolation I live with
Every day.

It never really goes away.
Never has.
Never will.

Sometimes
All I really feel
Is pain.

Fairies : Sunshine Got To Say Good-Bye

Dream looked at her adopted sister, Sunshine.
“I know I promised
I would make a dream for you.
Any dream you wish.
But, sister,
Is that really
The story you wish?”

Sunshine smiled, “Yes.”

As Sunshine slept that night,
Dream came to visit her.
She placed her little hands
On Sunshine’s cheeks.
“Dream,” was all she said.

Sunshine had a dream that night
Of the night
Her Father died
Trying to save her sister
Musica.

She saw her sister Musica,
Broken and bleeding
On the floor.
A man was standing over her.
Beating her to death.

Sunshine’s father entered,
Breaking through the door.
His fairy wings were broken.
He could not fly right then.

The roof of the house
Just lifted up
And sailed away.
Leaving Scream the dragon
Standing there,
Looking into the room.

Scream picked up the man
Beating Musica.
And crushed him
Like he was a grape.

Then Scream screamed,
He gently lifted Musica.
To take her someplace safe.

As he left the village that night
He used his dragon breath
Setting everything on fire.

Sunshine’s father died that night.
In the fires Scream had set.
He couldn’t fly
To get away.

Sunshine never got the chance
To say good-bye to him.

But in her dream that night,
Sunshine got to speak
With her Father one last time.
In her dream that night,

Sunshine got to say good-bye.

JuNoWriMo 2012 Continues On…

“Eyela. It’s too late for that. The warning I get from the white magic,” Mystica reached out, placing a hand on Eyela’s shoulder. “It’s at best a day in advance. Come tomorrow, the villagers will have acted.”

Eyela was no longer peaceful. She was visible disturbed. Gentle Breeze was frozen with fear. Both knew that if a dragon came, there would be many deaths among the fairies. They were so disturbed, and so upset that Verdant Green woke. And when she woke, she cried.

And the sky began to fill with black clouds. Soon, it would rain.

That’s when Mystica surprised them. Mystica had reached out, and rested a hand on Verdant Green’s back, and hummed a happy little tune. Then she whispered, “Don’t be afraid, little one. Don’t worry. It will all be OK. I will never let them call you, Rain.” And with those words, Verdant Green had smiled, placing her head on Eyela’s shoulder once again. And as she did, the gathering clouds had faded away.

Mystica had looked at Eyela one last time, “Please, Eyela. Don’t get in Scream’s way. I don’t want any of your warriors to die.”

And then, she was gone.