Inside My Eyelids (8)

I walked along the sidewalk, beside all the different houses of my neighborhood. Was I dreaming? I don’t know. I could feel the breeze, hear the cars on the main road outside my neighborhood, see the clouds in the sky move over time, watch birds fly from place to place.

I wondered if it really mattered if it was a dream or if it was real. I wondered if there was a difference between dreams, and reality.

As if the universe sensed my thoughts, it sent me on a walk through a forest, beside a small river, in the mountains somewhere. That told me I was dreaming, or at least convinced me I was.

Lacking anything else to do, I wandered along the trail I was on, through the trees, beside the river, realizing I couldn’t hear anything. No leaves rustling in the breeze. My feet on the ground as I walked. My breathing. No birds, no squirrels, nothing. No sound at all.

Until I came across a door frame the trail passed through. I looked around. It was a door frame, made of short sections of tree branches, cut to similar lengths, and put together to make a frame. There were vines and branches growing along its exterior, some reaching out a couple of feet from the frame, as if to tangle with the trees, to form a wall, and anchor the frame in place.

A short little man, maybe three feet tall popped out of the trees, next to the frame, “You asked about reality and dreams, I do believe.”

For some reason I nodded yes at him, “Am I dreaming? Or is this real?”

“What are dreams, and what is real? And are the two the same for everyone, or are the different for each person?” The little man smiled. “Do you see a door?”

“No. Only a frame.”

“Can you walk around it? Or through it?”


“Is the trail on the other side the same? Is the air the same? Are the same trees on both sides of the door?”

“Obviously. It’s a frame, standing in empty space, nothing more. No walls. No buildings. A doorway that leads nowhere.”

The little man laughed. “Like all doorways, isn’t it?” He shook his head. “And if I put a door in the frame?” He waved his hand, and a door appeared. “Does that make what’s on this side different from what’s on the other side?”

“No. I can still go around.”

“What if I add a wall?” A walk appeared on either side of the door, that stretched as far as I could see in both directions. “And make it too tall to climb.” The wall reached to the sky. I could not see it’s top.

“It’s a barrier. It separates this place into two places.”

The little man laughed. “And yet, the path continues as before, doesn’t it. And the air remains the same. And the trees are still the trees.” The door opened, “Go on through. Pass from this world to the next, if you wish.”

I walked through the opened doorway.

The little man followed me. “I don’t see anything different. Do you?”


We both looked back at the doorway, and the wall. “And yet, you have said this is a different place. A separate place.”

The little man shook his head. He frowned at me. “So limited. So sad.” And he was gone. So was the wall, and the door. Only the frame remained.

It took time, but as I walked along the trail, by the small river, I wondered what a symbol was, and if a doorway was a symbol. Like a line on the sand. Or perhaps, like the houses of my neighborhood, where I was walking once again.

Now, I find myself asking why attach so many rules to symbols, to things that aren’t real, and really only separate us from each other. Like the lines on a map. Or the fences between yards. Or perhaps our colors, religions, and politics.

Now, I wonder, do our symbols bring order? Or do they bring chaos? Do they bring peace? Or do they bring war? And do we even know they are only symbols.

Like that doorway, on that trail. A symbol. And nothing more.

714 Words

I wrote this for week 143 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.


You Have No Idea How Dangerous You Are To Me

I told her.
I warned her.
She didn’t understand.
I almost turned
And walked away.

But I didn’t.
I stayed.

I told her.
“You have no idea
How dangerous you are
To me.”
She laughed.
“I’m not dangerous at all.”

She didn’t understand.
Didn’t understand
At all.

But I knew.
I knew if I let her through
The defenses I’d built.
The walls I’d made.
The protections I’d put in place.
To keep the world
Safe from me.

Those protections,
Those walls,
Would crumble.
And fall.
And everyone would see

And I knew.
I knew.
That would not end well.

I also knew
The only way to keep her out.
Was to walk away.
To never speak with her

So, I had to make a choice.
I had to decide.
Protect the world from me.
Or let myself
Have a friend.
Protect the world from me.
Or let her through
My defenses.
Let her in.

I let her in.

I did not walk away.

And the walls,
They fell.
And left me revealed.
To everyone.

And yeah.
That did not go well.
That did not go well
At all.

I’m emotional.
I am.
Hot headed.
Tender hearted.
And wide awake.

I know what’s real.
And what’s not really there.

I care for those around me.
For my friends.
And the work I do?
It doesn’t matter at all
When a friend’s hurting,
Or in need.

And you know what?

There’s nothing wrong with that.
There’s nothing wrong with me.

Except that who I am.
The things I feel.
And the strength
Of my emotions.
Scares people.
Makes them uncomfortable.
Makes them nervous.

You have no idea
How many in this life
Can’t cope with that.

They put me away.

Even her.


I warned her.
I told her.
“You have no idea
How dangerous you are
To me.”

She didn’t understand.

I suppose I could have said
“If I let you in,
Who I am inside,
Beneath all the lies,
The walls,
And imagery,
I present to the world,
To keep the world
Safe from me,
Will come out.
All those walls
Will fall.
And who I really am
Will show.
And everyone
Will get rid of me.”

And perhaps,
If I’d said that,
She might have understood.

But it wasn’t her choice.
Wasn’t her decision.
It was my choice to make.
Let her in.
Or keep her away.

I let her in.

And there was hell to pay.

And I’d make that same choice
Again today.

And walk through hell
Once more.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 26

Taran’s home looked nondescript from the outside. Inside was a different story. He’d removed all the walls, floors, wires and plumbing, leaving a framework to support the building. Inside, he’d crafted an exquisite garden on the floor. Vines covered the walls and support beams. A path of large white circular stones lead through the garden.

55 Words

This is Part 26 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. I like the challenge of writing a serial in 55 word chunks, based off of random pictures. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

The entire story, from Part 26 to Part 1, is located here.

#ThursThreads Week 82 : That Wasn’t Really The Worst Part

“You’re still finding your way, aren’t you?”

I laughed. That question was all Shelly.

“Tom, I’m serious.”

I made a point of looking into her soft, green eyes, so she’d understand I was paying attention to her. “Yes.”

“A normal person would have gone back to work by now.”

I shook my head. “I’m not normal. You know that.”

“But you had a good job. You were successful. You were part of society.”

I knew she felt I’d come apart. Collapsed. Fallen to pieces. What happened to me made her sad. I knew she didn’t understand the life journey I was on. I knew she never would.

All I could do was smile.

She pulled her hair back over her shoulders. She did that when she tried to think through something.

“I can’t return to the world that nearly killed me.”

“Then find another job. Don’t let your skills go to waste.” Her eyes had that look people give each other when they know what they’re talking about. I know those looks exist. But I don’t know what they mean. “It’s like you’ve given up.”

I wanted to tell her I hadn’t given up. I’d awakened. Come alive. Stepped beyond the walls of the life she lived in. Walls she couldn’t even see. And that wasn’t really the worst of it. The worst was she believed I no longer cared.

“I will.”


“When I find what I’m looking for.”

240 Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 82. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

Where Will It Stop?

Are we to protect ourselves from ourselves?

If we ban guns from the public, so that you can’t buy one at a store, or own one, then what?

Will we need to ban cars, trucks, and SUVs? Talk about things we can use for killing. How many humans can you mow down with a Ford Explorer? How many with a Ram 3500 truck?

How about bows and arrows? They work like guns, you know. Will they be on the list of things we have to ban?

Swords? Knives? Chemicals? Matches? Gasoline? Power crosscut saws? Chain saws?

Where would it stop?

Timothy McVeigh, remember him? He used fertilizer, and a truck, parked on a public road, in a public parking space. We gonna ban them too?

Where would it stop?

Then, let’s keep everyone safe, you say. OK. How to you prevent someone from entering your house at night, and shooting you and your family dead? Lock the doors? Does that really stop people? Armor the doors, and add combination locks to them? What about the windows? And when you secure the windows, what about the walls? Then the roof?

Where would it stop?

Do you stop going to McDonalds because someone goes to a McDonalds with 30 sticks of dynamite strapped to them, and lights it off? Do you stop because you see some guy there, ordering a Big Mac meal, and he’s wearing a dress, and makeup?

Where would it stop?

Where is the balance between safety and risk?

Is there something we, as people living in a society, can do to address the causes of the problem, and not the symptoms? So that we don’t have to lock ourselves in armored houses, wear Kevlar body armor to go to work, pass through metal detectors, and body searches to get into the local mall, and God knows what else?

Is there something we, as people, are missing? Something that causes the problems?

I can’t help but wonder.

I can’t help but wonder.

Where will it stop?