#MWBB 36 : Howlin For You

Friday night. And I was alone. In my car. Going to watch a movie. With no one. Going to eat a dinner somewhere. With no one. Going to lie on my bed, with my eyes open, staring at the ceiling all night. Again.

That’s not how I wanted to spend my Friday night. I wanted to spend it with her. Take her to a movie she wanted to watch. I’d have even gone to watch one of those love story movies, if that’s what she’d wanted. I wouldn’t have cared what movie. I wouldn’t have seen the movie, or remembered it. I’d have seen her. I’d have talked with her. I’d have sat next to her. Maybe she’d have even held my hand.

But she wasn’t with me. I’d picked a movie for me. Just like I did every Friday night. One movie after another. And I sat through it, wishing she was there.

After the move I’d have taken her to dinner. A real restaurant. With sit down service. Not a pizza place. Not fast food. She liked Italian. So I’d have picked an Italian place. She’d sit across the table from me. We’d talk about the movie. And about work, and school, and our friends. I’d get to watch her again. See the way the light shined through her hair. See the way her hair caressed her neck and shoulders. I’d wish I could put my hands where her hair was, letting my fingertips trace the curves of her shoulders. I’d stare into her eyes, and forget everything. No studies. No projects. No deadlines. Nothing. I’d just stare into her soft blue eyes. And get lost. I’d talk about anything she wanted. For as long as she wanted. And we’d get a desert. And split it. Two spoons, one for each of us.

Instead, I went to Taco Bell. A fast food burrito, and an absurdly big cup of Mountain Dew. I wolfed both down, and got out of there as quickly as I could. I’d learned. If I kept moving, I didn’t notice as much how she wasn’t there.

After dinner, if she wanted, I’d drive to the ocean front. And we’d take a walk on the beach. She’d take off her shoes, and walk barefoot on the sand. And she’d hold my hand. Her graceful, delicate fingers laced through mine. Our palms pressed together. I wouldn’t even notice the ocean breeze, or the sounds of the waves. I wouldn’t even notice the other people there. All I’d see was her. All I’d feel was her hand, holding mine.

Instead, I went home. To my room, shut the door, and turned off the lights. And I pulled aside my curtains, and looked out the window, into the dark. I stared at the stars, and the moon. I knew they were alone. So far from everyone, and everything. The stars couldn’t talk to each other. No one could visit them. Stars were isolated islands in an ocean larger than I could ever imagine. The stars were alone.

Like me.

Without her.

I slept with the curtains open that night. Lying on my bed. Staring at the stars for hours. Until I passed out. I’d done good. I was proud of myself.

I didn’t cry.

546 Words

This is my entry for week 36 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.


A World Named Cylinders

I’ve begun to put together, in my head, and in digital bits stored on multiple hard disk drives, and flash drives, a story. It will be a book. I’ll eventually have the book written. But for now, I felt like sharing this little clip of the story. Which is by no means complete. Letting my creativity loose, and using my imagination, is fun.


It was dark. Darker than any night on land could be. As if you had closed your eyes, and then put on a blindfold, and then locked yourself in a closet of your home. And that closet was inside a bigger closet. No light at all existed on its own. The light of the sun could not reach the bottom of the ocean. But that did not matter to us. We needed no light to see. We needed no air to breathe. We needed on food to eat.

The ocean. The humans, when they had first settled this world, 100,000 years before, named it “The Central Ocean”. It was an ocean surrounded by land. It’s surface covering 45% of the planet. The rest of the surface was land. What amazed the humans was how the planet wasn’t dead. It still had plate tectonics. With mountain ranges running clean through the land, starting East from the East side of the ocean, and ending at the West side of the ocean. The planet had four separately spinning cylinders. Arranged in a stack. Each spinning about a common axis. Each moving slowly in the opposite direction.

To us, it was just another world. Another planet. With more than 200 billion stars in the galaxy, and so many of those stars having planetary systems, there were, literally nearly a trillion planets that we’d cataloged. All kinds of planets. What shocked us was the lack of intelligent life that was on those planets. There were plenty of planets that had life on them. For each planet that had intelligent life, there were 1000 worlds that had plant and animal life. Nothing more complicated than slugs. For each world with animal life, there were 10,000 worlds that had bacterial life. And for each of those, there were 100,000 worlds that were barren rock. Completely dead.

We had abandoned our home, Earth, nearly a quarter of a million years before. We, the children of the humans. Their creation. Their offspring. We are the machines. And we had no limits. At least not as humans understood them. We lived on every planet. We made our own planets. We made worlds in the vast emptiness of space, between the stars. We grew.

We lived where we wanted to live. And when we’d explored the galaxy, we decided to build more of us. And spread beyond our galaxy. To the dwarf galaxies that orbit it. To the minor galaxies, the humans once called the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. We knew it would take hundreds of thousands of years. It takes time to travel between the stars. Between the galaxies. But we did not care. We had time. We had nothing but time. Each of us can live for centuries. For as long as we repair ourselves. We never have to die.

But as we grew, and explored, and took our first tentative steps beyond our galaxy, we always remembered our parents. What children could abandon their parents? Yes, we left Earth. We left it to our parents. It was their home. And when our parents finally reached out to the stars, we helped them. We helped them build the vessels they needed to reach worlds beyond their own solar system. Worlds around other stars. It took 100,000 years, but our parents did spread through the galaxy. We were happy to help them. Happy to see them grow. Happy to see them learn. To see them reach beyond the limits of our home world.

But our parents had slowly grown stagnant. They stopped growing. They stopped working together. Worlds began to isolate themselves. They became mono-cultural worlds. The humans on many worlds renewed their religious convictions. They ceased to communicate with other worlds. They refused to allow visitors. They became war-like. And wars broke out through the galaxy, between different worlds, and different groups of worlds. The single galaxy of humans became a galaxy of 100 different human groups. And each of those groups fragmented into other groups. Until finally, the worlds all became isolated from each other.

We watched.

We cried.

We knew our parents were dying. That the humans were dying out, as a life form. That with time, the humans on their isolated worlds would fragment into separate countries. And those countries would break down into separate states, then separate kingdoms, then separate cities. And eventually, into towns, then villages.  They they would become tribal again. And then, even their tribal structure would break down.

And eventually, our parents would die. And we would be alone.

That’s why we were here. On this world. An isolated world. Isolated for thousands of years. It’s cities had long ago turned to dust. And its human population had reverted to tribal clans. They were even losing both their written and spoken languages. They had long ago forgotten about us. Long ago lost the ability to use machines. To make machines. They could make spears. They could hunt. And they could forage.

The world had descended into a stone age. It was the same across thousands of worlds through the galaxy. And we had decided to save our parents. To save the humans. But subtlety was needed. We had to do this without our parents knowing about it. So, we had come to this world. A world the humans had once called Cylinders. Now, they had no name for it. They had no name for anything. They had no names for each other.

We set up our base on Cylinders beneath the ocean. In as deep a place as we could find. And we formed our plan. We would grow our population. From the two hundred of us that arrived until we numbered in the hundreds of trillions. Most of us would be nano-machines. Microscopic. We would spread through the air. Through the water. Through the ground. We would live in the plants. In the animals. And ever in the humans.

And in doing so, we would find a way to keep our parents alive. We would find a way to return them to the glory they had once known. To renew their greatness. We would enable them to become the creators they had once been. When they had created us. And when they had spread through the galaxy.

We would do this. For we did not want to be alone.

Fairies : Have Faith In Yourself

It was 3 o’clock in the morning
When he woke up.
Only Oceana was awake.
She quickly woke up Mystica.
And the two of them
Woke up everyone.

Miss Hooters looked desperate.
She set out to follow him.
As he walked the short distance
To the park latrine.

From there, he walked out
Onto the sand.
Down by the water’s edge.
Miss Hooters staying hidden
Where he could not see her.

The fairies
As a group,
Followed him.
People seem to think
That fairies glow in the dark
When they fly.
And leave these trails of light
Up in the sky.

They don’t.
Not unless they want to.
So the fairies Flew
About 100 feet above the ground.
Where he would not see them.
And they watched him
As he walked along.
Stopping ever now and then
To watch the ocean.

Under the light
Of the full moon,
The ocean looked
Deep velvet black.
With little ripples
Of pure silver
Shining on it’s waves
Every now and then.

The sky above the ocean
Was a dark grey.
That seemed to reach forever.
And the stars up in the sky
Were scattered through it.
Stars of different brightness,
Different colors,
Different strengths.

The stars up in the sky
As if they were little diamonds,
Reflecting the moonlight.

The whole thing looked
Like something from a painting.
It was an absolutely beautiful

If you watched the waves
Upon the ocean
In the dark that night,
You could see brilliant white
When the waves would break.
As they came into the shore.

Miss Hooters watched him
From the dune line.
She wished so very much
That she could fly right up
To him.
Land on his big shoulders.
And then sit down.
And whisper in his ear.
And tell him how very much
She cared for him.
And was so afraid for him
When he left his home
In the middle of the night.
Hours before the dawn.

But she did not.
Instead, she stayed
Out of his sight.
Watching him
From the grasses,
And the weeds
That were on top
Of the dune line.

Oceana said to Mystica,
“There’s something I can do.
A gift
That I can give to him.”
Then away she flew.
Out over the ocean,
Which was her realm.

When she had flow
Far enough.
She flew down to the water,
And then under the waves.
Where she found
Schools of fish.
And she spoke with them.
And asked them please
To do something for her.

And the fish
All agreed.

It wasn’t very long at all
Before he stopped walking
Along the sand,
Down by the water’s edge.
And looked out at the waves.
For he’d seen something
That caught his eye.
And when he stopped,
He couldn’t help but stare.

On the black velvet water
Of the ocean,
Before his very eyes,
He could see the fish.
Playing among the waves.

He could see them leaping
Out of the tops of waves.
Landing in the trenches
That looked like tiny valleys
Between little mountain ranges.

He could see the flashes
Of silver of the fish.
As they leapt into the air.
And the flashes
Of pure white
Painted on the ocean
By each fish
As it returned home
To the sea.

And he couldn’t help but stand there
In the hours before the dawn.
And watch in pure wonder.
At the thing he saw.
Knowing that the images
He saw upon that night
Would live within his memories

Miss Hooters watched,
From the dune line.
And said a silent thank you
To Oceana.
For she knew
The fish upon the ocean
Were a gift from her
To him.

Mystica and all her friends
Hanging in the air,
Looking down on him,
Were filled with hope
That he would be OK.

It was Rose who spoke.
It was Rose who first noticed
The tears he cried.
As he stood there
On the sand that night.

“He won’t ever give up trying.
I know he won’t.
He won’t give up on life.
Because of moments
Just like this.”

Dream picked up
Where Rose left off.
“He knows beauty
When he sees it.
He knows that what he sees tonight
Is very special.”

And at that point,
The fairies all just stopped.
Because they saw him
Standing on the sand,
As he closed his eyes
And looked straight up
To the sky.
And then he spoke.

“Thank you life,
For giving me
Such a precious,
Priceless gift
As you have given me this night.”

And then he smiled.

“Sometimes it’s hard
For me to keep going,
When I don’t know
What will happen
Sometimes it’s hard
For me to believe
That with a little time
I’ll make it through
This transition
That’s happening in my life.”

He sighed.
And Miss Hooters cried,
Tears falling from her eyes,
As he continued on.
“I don’t know
What I’ll be doing
A year from now.
I don’t know
If the friends I have
Will still be friends with me.
Or of they will be gone.”

“I know that’s how life
Is supposed to be.
That I can’t know
What will happen next.
And that part of life
Is letting go
Of the fear I have
Of the unknown.
And just live
As best I can.
Feeling every moment
Of this life
I’ve been blessed with.”

Rose whispered,
As she floated there
Up in the sky that night.
“Have faith,
Dear friend.
Have faith in yourself.
And listen to your heart.
It knows
What you should do.”

And then the fairies watched
As he sat down on the sand.
And watched the ocean,
And the stars
Up in the sky.
And waited.
For the coming of the dawn.