#MWBB 46 : End Of Time

I realized, standing there, looking into my eyes in the mirror, looking back at me, I hadn’t looked into them in years. I almost smiled at that. I’d told everyone, for years, I was OK. “I can look into my own eyes in the mirror, no problem.” And yet, I never did.

“I should have noticed that.”

I should have. Years ago. If I had, perhaps things would have turned out different. Better. I hadn’t. And it was far too late to change anything.

“I never noticed how empty they look.” They looked glazed over. Dull. Like eyes that no longer saw anything. Eyes that no longer worked. If only I’d have looked years earlier.

I started at myself, remembering her.

“I’m supposed to cry, right?” I asked the me I saw in the mirror. “Or get angry.” But the me in the mirror never answered. He just looked at me, his empty, glazed over eyes staring into mine. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry. I stood there. Staring into those empty eyes.

“The eyes are the mirror to the soul.” An old proverb I’d heard growing up. One I’d heard in countless songs. So many songs.

“How can you see into my eyes, like open doors? Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become so numb.”

I asked the man in the mirror, “Don’t people cry when they have broken hearts?” He just stared at me. A lifeless, empty stare. He didn’t smile. He just stood there. Carved of stone. As if he had no heart left. No feeling left. No soul.

I remembered the note she’d left on the bed, where I couldn’t help but find it. Handwritten. She never wrote anything by hand. Unless she meant it. Unless it was special.

“You don’t love me any more.”

Those words echoed in my head. In her voice. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her, saying those words. “You don’t love me any more.”

She’d left. Didn’t tell me where she was going. Just, “You don’t love me any more. Don’t try to follow me. Good bye.”

I saw the tear stains on the paper. I couldn’t miss them.

I looked at the cold, heartless, stone man in the mirror. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to scratch his eyes out. I wanted to rip his heart from his chest, and throw it away. He didn’t need it. He had no heart left. No soul. He was a walking dead man.

And he stood there, in the mirror, his glazed, empty eyes, staring back at me. He never said a word. Never shed a tear. As if he were a man of stone.

She’d written the words of a song on her note.

“I’ve come to realize
Tonight my friend the end of time
Is not so far away
We cannot pray to save our lives”

I stared at the dead man in the mirror. “Cry, damn you. Cry.” I whispered the words. Knowing the man in the mirror wouldn’t cry. Couldn’t cry. He’d forgotten how so long ago. And I kept hearing her speak the words she’d written. Her last words to me.

“You don’t love me any more. Tonight my friend, the end of time is not so far away.”

And I knew. There was nothing left of the man I saw in the mirror that day. He’d reached the end of his time.

571 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 46 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

NOTE : Song lyrics referenced in this piece consist of:

1. Evanesence – Bring Me To Life
2. Lacuna Coil – End Of Time

#FSF : Home

They say home is where your heart is. But what if you don’t feel anything? If your heart is frozen and lifeless, like stone, where is your home? I opened the door to my car, and stepped out, into my driveway. Knowing I had no home.


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

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.

#FlashFriday 22 : Dawn

I stood next to my best friend. We stood, side-by-side, holding hands, as we watched the clouds roll in, coming from the East, toward the shore, with the rising of the sun. I looked up at him, towering above me. He looked to the East, watching the clouds and sun. As he watched, I saw him smile, his eyes gleaming, like a childs, filled with joy and awe.

He didn’t speak. He kept his eyes open, watching every detail, taking it all in. He picked me up, like a father would lift his daughter. He set me on his shoulder, so I could get a better view. I knew him, how he was.

I wondered as I always did, why no one befriended him. Why everyone stayed away, shunned him, ostracized him. He was a giant, standing well over seven feet tall. His size made him ugly, his features being enlarged, his arms and legs lanky, his hands and feet huge. No one knew him. No one knew the gentle, kind, intelligent, loving, human man he was.

I knew. I found him. I talked with him. At first, I was afraid of him. Until the day he protected me from the men in the alley. The men had trapped me. I had no doubt what they would do to me. Leave me broken, bleeding, naked, in the alley.

He stopped them. He picked me up, so gently. Carried me to his home, made sure I was unharmed. Let me stay. I have stayed since that night. He is the friend I’ve always needed. As I am the friend he always longed for.

We stood on the shore that day. Watching the sun rise, and the clouds roll in. Enjoying the beauty of the world, as we wished the ugliness we saw, and endured every day, would vanish, as the darkness faded from the sky, and was replaced by the light of day.

We stood on the shore that day. And never spoke a single word. No words were needed. Each knew what the other felt, what the other thought. We embraced each moment, each breath, each heartbeat, standing there, wanting to remember the feelings of joy, excitement, and hope, the sunrise brought with it.

We both knew the light would be replace by darkness soon enough. When the sunrise was just a memory of the past, and the ugliness of the world woke from it’s nightly sleep, and ruled everything once more.

As he stood there, with me on his shoulder, I knew he cried. I knew tears fell from his eyes. I knew he prayed each day, each night, for the world to wake up and realize how cruel, how cold, how heartless it had become. I knew he understood it never would.

As I sat there, on his shoulder, knowing of so many hearts long frozen colder than any ice, harder than any stone, I cried too. And I wondered how life had gone so very wrong.

501 Disqualified Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Rebekah Postupak‘s #FlashFriday, Week 22. It’s totally disqualified, as it laughs at the 150 word limit being used this week. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #Flash Friday. They are good reading.

#5SF : Cherish

She’d asked me who I cherished, who I loved, who mattered to me. I hadn’t answered her. She’d stared into my eyes for a time, waiting for me to speak; I never did. “Please,” she asked, she begged, she pleaded. Then, she turned, and walked away, drying the tears she had begun to cry. She knew I cared for no one, I cherished no one, for long ago my heart had frozen colder than any ice and harder than any stone.


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

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.

#MondayMixer : Living In An Outdoor Oubliette

Living in that outdoor oubliette for twelve months was not always fun. It had good moments, like when the sun shined through the grate above my head. I got the hear the wind, the rustling of the tree leaves, the howling of dogs, the meowing of cats, even the songs of several shrikes. When the three vocalized in unison it did get rather discordant, although quite humorous to listen to.

It was not all fun, however. I’d been ankle-deep in water at one point. And in that cave, water took forever to evaporate. Nor shall I forget the day I was looking up at the sun when a big dollop of bird pooh fell from the sky. It was days before it rained enough I could wash my face.

I will never forget that winter, living in my outdoor oubliette and the experience of frost upon its stone.

150 words.
@LurchMunster


I wrote this little ditty for Jeffery Hollar‘s weekly Monday Mixer flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in this week’s challenge. They are all well crafted.

I Can’t Be That Way

At last there is anger.
After 2 years,
I finally can face,
And deal with,
What happened
In 2010.

When I was throw away.
By people I once trusted.
Because I was different.
Because I changed.
Because I didn’t do things
Their way.

I used to say,
“No one’s to blame.”
I don’t say that
Anymore.

Someone I believed was my friend
Became ill.
Cancer.
And I did something
No one there,
Not even her,
Could live with,
Or forgive.

I cared.

I told my job responsibilities
To stuff it.
I picked up pen and paper.
And I wrote.
I lost sleep at night.
Because I cared
For her.

And in the end,
Despite the simple truth
That I never failed,
Not even once,
To do the work
I was tasked to do.

I was removed.
Unloaded.
Purged.
Gotten rid of.

I was told about the anger
Those people expressed
About the words I wrote
In those days.
When I was betrayed.
By a world
I’ll never understand.
A world
I don’t want to understand.
A world
Of gray.
Of ice.
Of stone.

Not even one of them
Understood
All the things I did.
All the things I said.

To me, it was as if
The only thing they cared about
Was the work itself.
And the paycheck they collected
Every 14 days.
If someone became injured.
Someone became sick.
Someone died in an accident.

Who cared?
Every last person
In that awful place
Would have shown up
The next day.
And done their job.
And maybe sang that song.
“Another one bites the dust.”

But there’s more.
So much more.
To the anger I am feeling
On this day.

Did you know
I went to a church
On the first Sunday in May
Of 2011?
I did.
A brand new church.
A place I’d never been.

I was willing
To try to make
A new start again.

In November of 2011,
I walked away.
I left.
Without a single word.
Because I had to.
I had no choice.
If I’d stayed,
I’d have faced
The same gray
Ice and stone
That filled the place
Where I once worked.

I left an old friend
I’d crossed paths with
In that church,
On my friends list
On Facebook.

But I warned her.
I did.
That I’d never be the way
She wanted me to be.
That I’d always do and say
Things that flew in the face
Of her beliefs
And ways.

And I told her
In the end.
She’d walk away.
Like almost everyone
I’ve ever known.

It took a few months.
But she did.
Because she couldn’t accept
How I am.
What I believe.
How I live.

I remember all the times
Someone said to me,
In a shocked,
Or outraged voice.

“But, you can’t live that way!”
“But, you can’t be that way!”

It took me 53 years.
But at last I understand
Why I keep encountering
Those words.

It’s not that I can’t bet the way
I am.
Not that I can’t live the way
I do.
It’s not that I am broken.
Or confused.
Or emotionally
Or mentally ill.

It’s not that at all.
And it never was.

It’s that I don’t see,
Don’t feel,
And just don’t know,
The social code they live by.

I live the way my mind,
My heart,
My soul,
Tell me to live.

And my mind,
My heart,
My soul
Tell me to this day
That everything I did
In 2010,
When someone I called friend
Was ill,
And fighting to survive,
Was absolutely right.

I did what I believed
Back then.
And I’d do it all again
Today.

And I don’t care
That there are people in this world
That are afraid of me.
Because I do things
Differently
From them.

I’ve learned
In the past two years.
I have to be
What my mind,
My heart,
My soul,
Would have me be.

There’s one more thing
I’ll say right now.
About a picture
On Facebook
A week or two ago.

That picture caused me anger.
It struck at my very heart
And soul.
It described
So very accurately
What I saw.
What I learned.
Two years ago.

That picture spoke of friends.
How we’d root for them.
How we’d hug them.
Eat lunch with them.
Do anything we could
To take care of them.

Until…

Taking care of them
Put any risk at all
On our own lives,
Our own jobs,
Our families and friends.

Until…

Caring became
Inconvenient.
And could cause us
Any pain at all.

I bit my tongue.
I took a walk.
I took pictures of flowers.
I spoke to my Doctor
About the words I’d read.

And I told my doctor
They were wrong.
Those words,
To me,
Described
Everything that’s wrong today
In the world
Of stone,
And ice,
And gray.

My doctor knows.
My family too.
I can’t live like that.

I can’t be that way.

He Just Stared Out The Window

It was lunch time. Stephen sat down at the table. Same table he always sat at. Same place he always ate lunch. The local Subway. Right down the road from the office where he worked. He picked up his sub. Took a big bite. Chewed it. Swallowed it. Grabbed his soda. Took a big gulp of that.

Then he stopped. He just started out the window, watching the cars on the road outside as they drove by. As he did, he closed his eyes. The image was still there. The image of Diane. Sitting at her desk. In tears. Hurt. Alone. And he’d walked away. Left her sitting there. In tears. Alone.

He stared out the window, and watched the cars. No one in those cars even knew his name. No one knew Diane. No one knew that he’s walked away. No one cared. He tore his eyes from the window. Resumed eating his sub. Silently assaulting it with his teeth. Draining his soda too quickly. Stephen had to get up, and get a refill.

When he sat back down, to finish his sub, his eyes drifted to the window again. And once more, he just stared out the window, watching the cars as they rolled by. Only this time, he didn’t see the cars. He saw Diane face. Painted on the window. She was crying. Hurt. And he heard her voice as she said to him, “You abandoned me.”

Angrily, he got up. Threw out the remains of his sub. Took his soda with him to his car. Drained it on the way back to the office. Once there, he buried himself in his work. Whatever had happened with Diane, it wasn’t his problem. It wasn’t his job. He wasn’t supposed to take care of her. He had to take care of his family. Do his job. Keep the money coming in. Be dependable. Reliable. Let Diane deal with her own problems. They weren’t his. There was nothing he could do for her.

And with each hour that ticked by on that day, Stephen’s heart grew a little colder. A little harder. A touch less alive. A touch less human. Until he’d convinced himself he’d done nothing wrong at all when he’d walked away and left Diane, hurt and all alone, crying at her desk. And that was all it took for Stephen to take one more step down the path of turning the heart within his chest to ice. Frozen hard as any stone. Unable to feel anything for anyone any more.

This piece was written in response to the prompt for the 37th Thursday Threads flash fiction challenge hosted by Siobhan Muir. This piece clearly ignores the limit of 250 words, and no more, for the challenge. But for now, I need to ignore those word limit rules. I’m searching for something. And I’m slowly finding it.

Feel free to go read the entries in the Thursday Threads challenge. They are all well written, creative, artistically rendered and crafted pieces of flash fiction. I certainly have enjoyed reading them. I think you would too.

You should also know that this piece is a continuation of a piece I first wrote 22 months ago, titled, Cold As Ice And Hard As Stone. That piece was revised in December of 2011. You may find the revised version here.

Dreams : Cold As Ice And Hard As Stone (Revised)