#EVERyTuesdayWordplay Week 20 : Wait

“Don’t say a fucking word. Not one word. Don’t do anything. Wait. Just. Wait.” A thought learned from experience. From lost friendships, destroyed careers, and countless times I hadn’t waited. Where I’d paid for not waiting.

“Breathe.” Another bit of wisdom from my thoughts. A long, deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take a second. A third if needed. More if you have to. “Breathe. And Wait.”

I closed my eyes and took that deep breath. Then a second, third, and fourth.

“Music. Listen to the music in your memories.” A third bit of wisdom, learned from decades of emotional torture. “Just remember something.” Then, the words, and sounds came back from my memory.

I once had an understanding that everything would go my way
But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs
I’m not in it for the fun of it but for the pain
I’m not at all interested in your temporary fame
And the same old song we sing(1)

I wished I could leave. Walk out of the room. Out of the building. Go find a beach, stand on the sand, and watch the ocean. Just to escape the reality, the constant noise, the constant insanity of life.

Hell, I couldn’t even reach for my headphones, they weren’t allowed at work. And, no music in the workplace. Some people found it disruptive to their work processes. No pictures at your desk, no comic strips, nothing that was a form of self expression. No plants. Nothing.

A machine world. Filled with people. People who knew exactly how things were. I knew that. I saw them speak to each other. “Let’s make our appearance at Judy’s Birthday Celebration. They have cake.” I could almost see them wink at each other. Even if they didn’t want to go, they went. Because. It’s what you did. “How are you today?” And the answer was always, “Fine.”

“Wait. Just. Wait. Sit here. With your hands on the keyboard. And text windows all over the screen. And wait.” Noise. The noise of silence. Have you ever heard the overhead lights? The high pitched whine they make? The air being forced through the vents into the room. The same keyboard at everyone’s desk, attached to the same computer, making the same clicking sounds. With the same fans making the same racket in their computer cases. Endlessly.

The clock said 4:56. “Wait. Another 4 minutes. Wait. It’s almost over.” God, how I hated the lights. They drained the soul, the life, out of everything. “Only 4 minutes, and you can escape.”

Yes. Escape. To the car. To drive home. With a zillion other people I’d never met. To wonder if I’d make it home alive, or if someone would crush my car, with me in it, as I waited. In the traffic.

“Wait. Just. Wait. And don’t forget to breathe.”

480 Words (not counting footnote)

For week 20 of Ever Addams weekly #EVERyTuesdayWordplay Flash Fiction prompt. Sometimes, sensory overload triggers panic attacks. Life’s a headache sometimes, isnt’ it. Go read the other stories for prompt #20.

(1) – “Here Come The Vultures”
Songwriters: Guus Eikens / Martijn Westerholt / Johanna Wessels
© Robot Of The Century Songs, A・k Company Limited, Kobalt Music Netherlands International B.V.


#55WordChallenge : The Fence, Part 11

The cabin’s interior was spartan, old, and unkempt. Mold and vines grew on all the surfaces. She explained, “This is a transfer station.”

“Who are you?”

“You’ll figure it out.” She opened a panel on the wall and pulled out two bottles of water. “Here.” As we drank the water she said, “Now, we wait.”

55 words

This is the 11th part of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s weekly #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.

Perhaps It’s Time

I stared into the mirror.
For a long time.
Trying to find something.
Positive to say.
Positive to think.

All I could see
Was a trail of destruction.
A trail of fire.
A trail of anger.
And pain.

It’s no one’s fault.
I know that.
What happened.
It’s no one’s fault.
Trying to blame someone
Would be like trying
To hold someone responsible
For the rain.

It rains where it rains.
It rains when it rains.
No one is to blame.

I used to think I’d grown.
Think I’d changed.
Believed I’d gotten through
The worst of things.
That I understood
The world I never made.
And could cope with it.
Live in it.
Let it be
The way it is.

And so very gray
To me.

I stared into the mirror
For a while.
Oh the things I said
Inside my head.
To myself.

I’ve tried.
God, how I’ve tried.
I try every day.
To keep that last bridge
Between the life I had.
And the life that’s growing now.

With what happened today.
I’m not sure I can.
Not sure it’s worth
The pain.
The effort.
The stress.

It takes so very much
To not be angry.
When everyone you knew
Abandoned you.
Just because
You changed.

And it’s not really like I changed.
Not really that at all.
The truth is far more simple.
Far more plain.

I woke up.
I opened my eyes.
Like Neo
In the Matrix.
I unplugged.

I live in a world these days
That is filled with color.
With people that are so
Very much alive.
People that embrace
And let me be
Who I am.
Let me believe
What I believe.
That don’t expect me
To be just like them.

Except for that bridge.

I don’t want to burn that sucker down.
I don’t.
There are people on the other side
I really do like.
That honestly
Just don’t understand
And why I’ve become
So very critical
About the way things are.

I let them be their way.
I try.
Oh, how I try.
To not say anything.
To let them do
What they believe.
Live how they believe.
Be how they believe.

I’ve asked God now
For better than one year
To not give up on them.
To find a way
To wake them up.
Like He did me.

But I know
They won’t.
They won’t ever see.
Won’t ever know.
Won’t ever change.

They don’t see any reason to.
They don’t see any need.
To them
Everything’s the way
It’s supposed to be.
Or just so damn close
That it’s close enough.
That they’re OK
With the way things are.

I know so very many
New people now.
The kind of people
That the folks
On the other side
Of the bridge
Wouldn’t understand.
Wouldn’t accept.
Would ask me what I see
In them.

They’d call my new friends
Call them wrong.
Call them sinners.
The Devil’s spawn.

I stared into the mirror
For a while today.
Oh, the things I had to say
To me.
They would hurt you
If you heard them.
I know this.

And in the end
I have to ask
If it’s time.
Time to take
Another step.
And burn that one last bridge
To the ground.

Can I leave that bridge standing
And ever truly be free
From the self-hatred,
And self-denial
That once owned me.
In that world
I never made.

I wish I knew the answer.
I wish I knew.

Now, I have to think a while
And figure out.
What I will do.
What’s best for me.
So that I can take
The next step forward
In this new life
I’ve been given.

Perhaps the best thing
I could do
Is nothing.
Is just watch.
And wait.
And see.
What the people
On the far side
Of that bridge do.

Maybe I won’t have to do a thing.
Maybe they’ll burn down that bridge.
To keep their world
Safe from my new friends.
Safe from me.

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.

A Clip From Chapter 21 of JuNoWriMo 2012…

Merlin came out of the shadows. She’d gotten used to that. The way he was invisible in the shadows. And then just popped out of nowhere. But she expected it would take time for the child to get used to that. Even if Merlin was a tiny dragon. He only came up to her waist. He wasn’t much taller than the girl. But he was Merlin. The most dangerous dragon of all time.

“And I’m going to have a 4-year-old girl living with the two most powerful dragons there are. Oh, my.”

Merlin inspected the new home. “This is for her, isn’t it?”

“Yes. I’ve decided what to do to take care of her.”

Merlin laughed. It sounded like a sheet of metal being crumpled up, but Mystica knew it was his laugh. “Sally really got to you didn’t she?”

“Yes. She did.” Mystica thought of the little girl, Sally. Who had died a horrible death in the Gray Hills. How she’d been too late to save her. How Sally had asked, “Will you be my Mommy?”

Mystica would have. She would have cared for Sally as if she were her real mother. And now, there was Verdant Green. Her parents both dead. One by accident. The other by her own hand. It was a horrible thing by itself. But the way the people of the kingdom treated her. She deserved so much more than that. She deserved better. She deserved to have a mother. She deserved to be loved. And cared for. To have someone who could help her learn the ways of her magic gift.

Mystica could do that.

Mystica would do that.

She looked at the surface of the lake, and watched as the white magic painted the story of the dragons outside the castle, protecting the children, Musica and Verdant Green. She watched the fairies attack. She watched the dragons use their wild magic to defend the girls. She watched the girls make a bed of straw, and sleep on it. While the dragons watched over them. She saw the fairies that were injured.

There would be much to do when she got there. Much to do indeed.

Mystica and Merlin ate berries, and cheese. And they drank water from the lake. They talked about what was to come. The flight to the kingdom. Merlin had laughed hard when Mystica had said that flight would take a while. “White Witch. You could get there far more rapidly than you realized. You have that magic power. That magic gift.”

Mystica had smiled. Merlin was always so confident of her. He always seemed to know what she could do. Much better than she did. Sometimes she wondered how he knew. Someday, she would ask him. But for now, she just smiled. “But I’ll have to go slowly enough for you and Scream to keep up.”

Merlin fell over he was laughing so hard.

Watching A Garden Grow

I can feel the changes
Taking hold.

It’s almost like
Watching grass grow.
Or paint dry.
Knowing where it leads.
Knowing what the end result
Will be.

And knowing
There’s just no way
To speed up time.

How long does it take
For seeds
Planted in a garden,
To sprout,
And grow.
And then mature.
Into something you can eat?

How long does it take
For a flower bulb
To grow once more,
Until it reaches full bloom?

For both of these
You know it will.
You know the end result.
But you can’t say
How long it will take
For that result
To be reached.

And you don’t know
If you’ll have to start over
Because a storm came through
And tore the garden up.

And you don’t know
If you’ll have to plant once more
Because the rabbits
And the birds,
And all the other creatures
Of the wild
Found your garden
Tasted good.

It’s not something
That’s predictable.
Just something
You plan for.

And then you wait.
And hope.
And care for.
The garden that you planted.

This is where
I find my life.
I’ve planted all the seeds.
And now I only need
To take care of the garden.
And water it.
And pull out weeds.

And beyond that
All that I can really do
Is sit back
And watch.
And wait.

For I don’t know at all
When the garden
Of my life
Will finally be grown.
I only know
That someday
The flowers that I planted,
And care for at this time
Will grow.
And then will bloom.

So don’t ask me when
I’ll get back on my feet.
Don’t ask me
When I’ll do the things
You think I should do.

That’s not how this works.
I’ve already tried to do things
How and when
You thought I should.

And that’s how I wound up here.
Carefully tending
To the garden that I’ve planted
In this past year.
And watching.
As it slowly grows.

Into what I know
It will someday be.