Long after darkness had fallen over the stone monastery and its adjacent lush gardens, a middle-aged Franciscan in the slumber of denial was about to wake up. 'My brother-in-arms'. That's what was whispered discreetly into his ear, sending him to a cloud he'd never thought attainable and sparking a sense of fulfilment rarely yielded by matins or vespers. As sweat soaked his armpits, a stray arm brushed abruptly against his fingers. Half-coherent words and clumsy caresses activated an engine long dormant, revving curiosities as the two monks vaulted over the threshold, unaware of what pleasure or penance awaited them.
Last mission, I get sent back 112 years, to stop Julie from meeting Harry, so they never marry and have a son named Bill, who creates a GMO that causes corn to become extinct.
I enter Julie’s apartment at 6 AM. She’s having a shower. I wedge a chair against the bathroom door and wait.
Julie is calling out for help. If she comes out of the bathroom now, I’ll have to kill her.
9 AM, Harry catches a flight to L.A. and I free Julie.
“Who are you! How did you get in” Julie screams!
“Sir, this is boring,” says Albert.
Mr. Leavis’ eyes turn to stone.
“Detention for you tonight, Morris!”
No respect, kids these days. Back in the day he’d have been caned for that.
Whatever. Only two years till retirement and escape from this rabble.
He hears a muted ‘fuck you.’
Apoplectic with rage, Mr. Leavis begins to shout.
Yet no words come, just a searing pain in his chest.
He finds himself supine, convulsing.
The last thing he ever sees are sets of adolescent eyes peering down with fascinated revulsion as if observing a speared fish floundering in its death throes.
Inspired by this CBS News Article.
“…the car took off and hit the second floor… that’s right folks, second floor of this building!”
The newsreader gesticulated excitedly and added, “Here’s Katrina to tell us all about it.”
“That’s right, Bob! The car hit a central divider, took off and ploughed into the SECOND-floor window of this department store. Officer Jones, is the driver Okay?”
“Yeah, the Adamson’s boy got pulled out, and admitted using narcotics – flying high as a kite.”
“Really? He gave them to the CAR? That’s why it flew?”
“No M’am, just took ’em himself and let the barrier and momentum do the rest.”
He hunched forward on the wooden bench, dangling his arms between his legs. He was a peaceful man, once content on his farm.
How had he fallen so low? The sun burned down upon him; he inhaled the terrible odors of sweat, blood, and fear.
Someone nudged him, and he came erect. Facing the dais, he raised his arm. "We who are about to die salute you!"
He was a peaceful man, but had been driven to kill mercilessly. Now, even he admitted that it was good to feel the power in the blows that struck down his fellow gladiators.
Conrad ran for his life. Traynor would kill him if he didn’t complete this task. He slid across the hood of an old Cadillac, turned down an alley, heard the motorcycle and leaped with arms outstretched. He and the rider rolled to the roadside. He punched, kicked and choked the leather-clad woman. When the rider stopped moving, Conrad searched her. Soon he held the vial; the last dose of insulin in this god-forsaken wasteland. One dose wouldn’t do much good. Conrad knew Traynor would never let him go. He cursed out loud and crushed the vial beneath his boot.
The heat was intense, but Claude knew that the coming night would be bitterly cold. Flies swarmed around bodies further down the slope, the stench overpowering. Laying down his Lee-Enfield, he sipped water from his canteen. As he looked towards Suvla Bay, a movement in the undergrowth caught his eye...
Claude rarely spoke to us about the carnage he witnessed, but the memories haunted him throughout his life.
On that baking August day, Turkish snipers had been picking off thirsty British soldiers at a water-hole. Claude took aim and fired. Later he discovered that he had killed a young girl...
It was a beautiful day. The flowers were blooming and the sun was shining, though the temperature was a little chilly. However, Sam had work to do for his family.
He zoomed from place to place, gathering food and other items to ensure their well-being. He moved more quickly than most other citizens, and his view from above the ground gave him an advantage over those around him. However, he almost got squashed several times, which would have been a disaster.
“Whew,” Sam said, wiping the sweat from his brow, above his compound eyes. “Life as a fly ain’t easy.”
The walrus and the carpenter were walking on the sand. The walrus told the carpenter, “Hey man, this could be grand.“
“Don’t call me ‘man’,” snapped the carpenter.
“Sorry,” said the walrus. “Forgot you are transpecific. Why become a walrus?”
“All entities,” said the carpenter, “have a right to be what wish, regardless of their birth genes. It is essential that we recognize the inherent rights of . . . “
[45 minutes later]
“Yeah,” said the walrus. “Sorry I asked. Funny, in the original poem, you were a ma— er, entity of few words.
“Ready for some oysters?”
O’carbor, Ohio. 1980-something. I’m very young.
Leaning back in a lime-green beanbag and counting my Masters of the Universe figures, I’m distraught.
Several toys are missing: one, in particular, can never be replaced.
And I know where it is.
I need to jump into the mud puddle that claimed Skeletor’s Landshark.
My mother doesn’t believe me.
“I can’t find it.”
“You sure that’s where you last saw it?”
“Did you really dig into it?”
“Yes, Mom, I did.”
Under my M.A.S.K. bed sheets, glow-in-the-dark He-Man jammies aglow, I cry until the mud puddle becomes the sky outside my window.
The train derailment was all over the news for days. Harry had seen the whole incident during a power nap, but he never would have called what he saw a premonition. It was more like he had simply been considering what might be the most likely tragedy to next occur. When he dreamed of the triple murder that had come to be, he wondered if he had discovered a strange new ability to foresee disaster. It worried him greatly, as he was due to fly from Sacramento to Chicago on the next plane out, and he was feeling sleepy.
James stood on his porch, watching to ensure that no children stepped on his lawn as they passed by after school.
James had the nicest lawn in the neighborhood, due to the meticulous attention he paid to its care. Children had no appreciation for the labor and attention to detail that went into creating such a spectacular expanse of emerald green.
It takes a special kind talent to be able to achieve such results.
And it takes a special kind of talent to be able to wound without killing a child from ten yards away, with a nine millimeter, semi-automatic.
Still on a Christmas theme...
Reluctant to spend money needlessly, Gerald particularly resented Christmas as a drain on his resources. Now, his wife Jennifer had invited the entire family for dinner.
Concerned that refrigerator space was short, Jennifer wanted to buy a second one for the garage. Gerald had a better idea. He'd seen one in the local charity shop, and a few hours later it was safely installed and filled with a large turkey and all the trimmings.
On Christmas morning Gerald rose early to remove the bird and bring it up to room temperature, to discover that the fridge was actually a freezer...
The saucers appeared at 12:15 pm on Feast Day, when we celebrate victory over body shaming and our collective morbid obesity.
The saucers searched for intelligent life, abundant natural resources or a population able to power their work force back home.
The saucers left at 12:16 pm on Feast Day.
The Marine at the end of the bed was dirty, smelly and pissed off. I was there to change the bandage from a bullet hole through the abdomen of an Afghan rebel. I asked the Marine what makes this guy need a guard? He leaned back in his chair and says “I do, any guy you shoot but don’t kill becomes your job to guard until he gets out of here and goes to the prison on base.” When I ask if I can get him anything the Marine says how about a bullet to finish the job.
Paul and his sister June stormed out of the solicitor's office with moods darker than a thunder sky.
"One thousand quid each. He was worth millions!" exclaimed June.
They had only feigned affection when the old man was fading and he had seen through their masks.
Maria, his carer, felt overwhelmed. She did not expect to inherit millions from Mr Kernow, whom she was inordinately fond of.
His children had stared at her with venom in their greedy eyes but Maria knew that for the first time in her life money would not be a problem yet she'd miss the old man.
He was the first snowman I had ever built.
Coal for eyes, a fresh carrot for a nose, pebbles for a mouth; I stood back to look at my handy work. He looked good, not too fat, nor too thin. He didn't look happy, though, no matter how I arranged the pebbles.
Dad was watching me through the kitchen window. His hands were wrapped around a mug of hot tea.
I turned to my snowman.
"I said I'm sad."
"It's because you're cold."
"Can you warm me up, so I'll be happy?"
"I'll bring out the kettle."
John was visiting the remnants of the ancient Roman city Caesarea on the Mediterranean shore. Walking through ruins, he arrived at the ancient hippodrome, a venue for chariot racing. Suddenly, the world around him changed. Hundreds of spectators waving flags and blowing horns welcomed their heroes inside the place. As the race began, John recognized them as Judah Ben-Hur on a simple chariot and his friend-cum-nemesis Messala on a blade-rigged chariot, bent on destroying Judah. Soon quietness descended; Messala‘s chariot toppled killing him.
John’s memory was kind enough to allow that epic scene re-emerge from the movie Ben-Hur in total.
The creature that stood beside Jennifer’s bed was something out of a nightmare. It’s long, trunk-like nose twitched randomly and seemed to pull the eyes downward. The eyes themselves were bloodshot and yellow, with sickly puss drying in the corners. It’s hair was rope-like, but only covered a small portion of its scaly, gray head. And the mouth- the mouth was a deep gash surrounded by black lips, cracked and peeling. Behind it stood three more, just the same. It raised a syringe and spoke in a voice like crunching leaves, “Soon, Jennifer, you’ll be one of us.”
Warm Pacific water splashed my face as wave after wave crashed over the side of our small Patrol Torpedo Boat.
Sea salt stuck to my sunburnt skin as I stared down the sights of my M2-Machine Gun. I shot at the entrenched enemy - over the heads of beach storming Marines.
Long bursts of automatic weapon fire and thunderous sounds of explosives played out like a symphony in my ringing ears.
Japanese soldiers and U.S. Marines alike, collapsed onto the bloody beach sands in the near distance - dying. The war I’d always wanted to fight in – was finally here.
Barbara never knew how well her smile could hide silent sobs unable to be washed down by cheap doughnut shop java. She and Jerry occupy the concrete kerb, with January's gusts slapping their faces, much as fate has slapped them since their affair must be cruelly ripped asunder. One of the noisy saloons tooling down the road will soon be carrying her away. Barbara touches Jerry's icy cheek, which will be half a world from her tomorrow. Goals must be met, pursuits followed. Though calendars and trends will change, on rainy nights years from now, she'll still taste his breath.
Rich Cohen and Ravi Shah, two hardworking PhD-students announced to their mentor Prof. Steve Weinberg of meeting their respective “dream girl” and the plan to marry in near future.
Prof. Weinberg interrogated how they managed to do so, being so involved in daily experimental research. Rich (of Jewish faith) disclosed meeting her fiancée through the app “A Bagel Over Coffee,” while Ravi, being a first generation Indian-American took advantage of the app “Hurry Love With Curry”.
Prof. Weinberg attended both weddings. The menu in Rich’s wedding included bagels, cream-cheese and smoked salmon, while Ravi’s parents served Rice-pilaf with chicken tikka-masala.
John dug all morning. John dug all afternoon. John dug deep into the evening and finally slept beside the thirteenth hole. He dug the fourteenth in the morning light and laid his shovel down. He then walked to the truck, lifted the first body bag onto his shoulder and walked to the first hole, depositing his load. He returned to the truck and repeated the process. Eleven more times he made the trip and when thirteen holes each had an occupant, he climbed into the fourteenth and waited.
Emily knew every inch of her home, but from the floor it was like an alien landscape. She turned left, not knowing that she was moving farther into the house. Her knees were bloody and sore and her lungs felt raw; the thick black smoke was acidic, acrid. She turned right, then left again. All sounds blended into a maniacal cacophony of sirens, shouts and roaring. Someone stepped on her hand and she screamed. She was pulled across the porch and onto the front lawn and she could hear her mother yelling, “She’s blind and she hasn’t come out yet!”
Sarah stretched her leg and could see that the line of sunlight was about to reach her bare foot. He’d be home soon. She hurried to shove the spoon deep into the crack she had made in the cinder block wall. Next, she filled the crack with dust and spittle, hiding the spoon and concealing her digging. Her wrists were terribly cut and bruised from the iron manacles and yet it would take another month before she would be free. The cellar door creaked open and she heard him descending, right on time as the sun warmed her toes.