Audrey packs her kids into the Humvee and heads toward the smoke. There’s been a pileup on the freeway. She takes a video game in case the kids get bored by the spectacle of burned flesh. When the excitement is over, she comes home and turns on the TV to learn the latest body count in our perpetual wars. The evening news puts her on the frontlines. Later when the kids are in bed, she watches a Tarantino film on Netflix. And afterwards, a murder mystery helps her fall asleep. It looks to be another quiet evening in the neighborhood.
Blond hair, blue eyes. Perfect, the director decides.
“June, show this young actor around.”
As they tour the studio, the actress cast as the 7-year-old’s TV mom whispers, “He likes you.”
But this set is different from what the aspiring Timmy saw in the 1950s reruns he watched:
Bunkers, no barn. Lots of barbed wire. Inside the house a painting of an X, ends bent at right angles. Also a red flag with a blue X and stars.
“I don’t understand,” the boy says.
The actress sighs. “A man who once was president bought the studio and show. Everything’s changing.”
He had humored her silly theories for years before that afternoon, but the garden incident marked the end of his tolerance.
“It’s simple bio-acoustics,” she said as they weeded the beds. “Sound travels very efficiently through soil, and plants can hear everything around them. Bees buzzing, the wind, even their neighbor plants. Plants thrive with peaceful sounds, while sounds of aggression poison them.”
“Like most of your theories,” he said, “that is pure drivel!” Red-faced, huffy and angry, he pushed her aside and walked back into the house.
The next day, all her petunias, roses, daisies and violets were dead.
“I feel like a real lady walkin’ along wiv a toff in a top hat,” Bertha simpers. “Where’re we goin?” She wonders down which dark alley she’ll earn her fourpenny fuck.
One hand forcefully pins her against a wall, his breath guttural, eyes glittering with anticipation. The other reaches deep into the pocket of his dress coat.
“What’s yer name, Mister?” He slices into her words, the razor sharp knife glistening wet in the moonlight before his bloodied hands roam up inside her voluminous skirt.
“Jack’s the name Bertha,” he tells her prone body before strolling back down Whitechapel Road.
In the apartment building there are three flats. Everything regarding layout is identical, including two bedrooms and two baths. The décor, undoubtedly, is as different as the inhabitants who live there. The ground level houses a man and his pregnant wife, due soon. The 2nd story… a single professional young woman, and the 3rd story… an older man in his 60s. All appear ordinary, until one realizes the explosion that tore through the building—riddling it across several blocks—was caused by the woman in the ground level. It wasn’t a baby that grew in her belly, but a bomb.
So sad, Nancy thought, watching the two of them interact. In truth, it was just Greg doggedly trying to connect with Horace. When she married Greg ten years ago, Horace was vibrant and alert. But now, most days, poor Horace didn’t recognize either of them. Doc had prescribed a Prozac clone for his anxiety. But Horace still wandered around the house listlessly, seemingly looking for something familiar.
At their last appointment, Doc, the vet, said, “Horace is going on 15 years. That’s pretty old for that breed of dog. Try to protect him like he protected you all those years.”
“I didn’t mean to killer her. She wasn’t my prey,” the killer muses. “She burst into my game, uninvited. What was I supposed to do?” The killer paces around the crimson room, candle light flickers against the brick walls. Licking its lips, the killer steps closer to the lifeless woman, “You shouldn’t have come. You should have stayed away.”
Rubbing its hands together, the killer moves closer to the victim’s body, “I tried to let you go.” “Oh, the rush of beating your head in with my hammer,” licking her blood from its fingers, causes tantalizing shivers through him.
It is amazing how the mind can impact one’s personality. Not much is known about Perkin Warbeck in the historical sense. This story takes place during the Wars of the Roses, but the actual battle depicted is that between fantasy and reality. The images seen in the mind cannot always be explained. Finally, the white rose represented the House of York, while the red rose connected to the House of Lancaster. Still, it is possible to ask if a red rose, which suggests passion and desire, can overpower the white rose, which symbolizes purity and sense, from a literary standpoint.
He was no thief but his family was hungry; he'd got laid off work months ago--broke with no way out.
The house was unoccupied, the family on vacation. They probably had lots of food put away.
An old dog followed him as he broke in. He loaded up in the kitchen, but slipped on something and fell.
He was hurting bad, couldn't move at all. The old dog came closer, after the food he dropped. He hollered but nobody came. The dog began to eat: the last thing he would ever see. At least the dog wouldn't go hungry.
A tiny room? A cell? I'm scratching at walls marred with cracks.
How long has it been? A day? A week?
"Let me out!" I screech.
The door swings open.
Through long strands of hair, I see what looks like a man. He has something in his hand. He's coming toward me.
"No…." I crouch in a corner.
Spinning, spinning, the room is spinning. Then silence.
Hours later, I awake. Sweat is pouring out of me. The withdrawal is over.
Unfurling her ribbons she coils them around a colourless, dried out prune; Planet Earth, abandoned long ago by its human species to the devastation of global warming.
She daubs it in a coat of purple
Rains down oceans of dark blue
Girdles it with a firmament of pastel blue
Plants a dense foliage of green
Warms it beneath a sphere of yellow
Waits for unborn souls to wonder at sunrise and sunsets of orange and red
The rainbow prays her colours will edify the new Planet Earth to seek an alternative pot of gold at her ribbon’s end… environmental awareness.
It’s an urban legend, I’m sure.
Beach bum panhandler.
Finds an old typewriter in the trash.
Trades in the beer cans he picks out of the trash to get cash, gets a cheap ream of paper.
Writes the book of the year and Disney options the rights.
Suddenly, he’s a Hollywood celebrity of the week.
It’s the kind of thing you want to believe happens.
Kind of thing that could happen to you.
Something to think about as you’re writing in that notebook
From the dollar store with the three for a buck pens.
Leave all this behind.
‘Can we cut to the chase and go back to my place?’ ‘You are not so subtle, are you Mark?’ replied Natasha. ‘Wow, your house is so well decorated.’ ‘Your wife seems to be a refined lady.’ ‘Wouldn’t she mind you cheating like this with me?’ ‘Please have a seat and enjoy the meal I cooked for you.’ As Mark was pulling out a dining chair for the femme fatale, he dropped a wine glass to the floor, shattering it. ‘Damn you stupid Mark, I will have to clean that up tomorrow.’, replied the lady of the house, Natasha herself.
Fumiko’s boss was short and old with a high-pitched voice. When he asked her to stay back after work, she nervously obliged. In trouble?
No thank you. She’d seen those ads and knew better than to accept a drink from anyone. Even her boss.
Green tea ice cream then?
Suddenly morning, Fumiko found herself lying perfectly straight on her back in the middle of the floor, her boss looking impatiently into her face.
She ached inside and knew something was terribly wrong.
He nodded. “I’ll take you home now.”
The ice cream bowl was gone.
Note from the author: This story is about drugging and sexual assault, and draws attention to the fact that rohypnol can be put into food as well as drinks.
Darkness weighs down upon me. There are three hours left until sunrise, but I'll be dead long before the sun blesses this land.
The intermittent flickering of my flashlight confirms my fear, they are already here.
Our intentions were honourable; reanimate dark matter in the hopes of better understanding the origins of the universe.
Except, we awoke an evil long dormant, which feeds on light.
I am the last of the scientific team assigned to reverse the process.
If this message isn't found in time, it will be the death of light.
I'm not a meat eater. The idea just doesn't sit right with me. But then again, my hip's been dislocated for a while. Regardless, watching the others gorge on their spread of meat has filled me with temptation. I can feel my rotted lips water. I try to fight it, as I have been all along. But the URGE...
I approach the others, shoving them aside with my decayed arms. I indulge, staring at the open body of the attacked human as I feast on his liver. We stuff our faces like a bunch of mindless... Oh. Right.
John shivered, fastening his jacket and putting his hands in his pockets. This cold wind was brutal. His teeth started to chatter as he strode to the store. Only a little longer to go.
He sighed with relief, entering the heated market. The lights and activity were a welcome change from the gray, blustery day outside, and he reveled in the new environment. He strolled through the aisles, grabbing the items he needed, and checked out as usual.
Darn, he thought, looking outside. More cold to come. But the heat awaited at home. He clenched his teeth and stepped out.
Where are you? Please hurry, Edward. It's late! Come home now.
Edward Meech had passed away quite a while ago. Time moved on. Liza hadn't. Without realizing, she lived happily in her past until one day she couldn't find him. Aimlessly she wandered looking for her lover but he was nowhere to be found. It was a futile quest. Caring people tried to help Liza as she searched the corridors of her mind looking for her dear Edward. They hoped some day she may realize where he is. That day could not come soon enough.
Norm gave to every charity. Five, ten, twenty dollars. It added up. Telemarketers loved him, called him by his first name. “Hey Norm,” they’d say, “send us a check.” They rang every night at dinnertime. The man was Pavlovian. He couldn’t not answer the phone, couldn’t say “no.” He explained that he didn’t want to be impolite. Drove his wife crazy. “Telemarketers are people, too,” he argued. So when his son went to college, the boy started his own charity. He called his father once a week at dinnertime. “Hey Dad,” he’d say. Five, ten, twenty dollars. It added up.
Mark kept his eyes open whilst he knocked back his scotch, watched the ice cluster as the party went sepia through the base of the glass.
“Employers blanch at my creativity,” said the bright-eyed stranger beside him. He was clutching a thermos and drinking, Mark suspected, water. “But I can’t help being a Leo!”
"Trump's a Leo," Mark said matter-of-factly. "Hitler as well."
Neither of these were true, they were just Mark's shortcut out of any conversation regarding astrology. Trump's actually Gemini, Hitler Taurus, but no-one ever checked. Still the guy's face fell; he drank his water, now reconsidering everything.
She had never really understood each chapter she entered. Days, months, years passed but everything remained Greek to her.
Each chapter occupied one page that she had to read attentively. Rushed only granted her regrets, and she knew it.
One thing that she didn’t comprehend for so many years was the unseen bridge that bridged each chapter, each page; that helped her to appreciate the whole book.
The bridge connected the feelings, thoughts, and priceless experiences; the ingredients to believe in life, to build one of it.
She didn’t read a book. She lives in it. She is the book.
From near and far. From home and abroad. They stood and waited patiently to view the portraits.
The paintings, the sculptures, the photographs. All were exhibited with great care and love. Each one telling a different story of the sitter.
When I first visited I foolishly asked her which medium she preferred to work in. She laughed at my silly question and told me she was merely ‘the curator’.
All of the works were produced by artists who had wished only to celebrate her life and legend.
To show the world the real woman she had become.
When I was a young man I used to go downtown to a place called the Coyote Bar. There were rooms--and girls--upstairs; but I was different from the other guys because I fell head over heels in love and married one of those girls.
We've been together over 50 years, and all that time shunned and ostracized by nearly everyone. But that doesn't matter a wit to us. We have kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. And we seem to fall more deeply in love with each passing day. The way I see it, everyone should be so lucky!
Snow. Boring. It no longer excited Ben. Mum suggested a winter summer holiday, told him to wrap up warm and find his bucket and spade. She switched on two patio heaters, cut a sun from gold foil, stuck it on card and hung it from the bedroom window. She resurrected a meditation CD, waves pounding the shore, seagulls calling. Together they made snow castles then ate sandwiches sitting in deckchairs, basking under the heat of the sun, listening to the sea. Banana and chocolate spread sandwiches tasted as scrumptious scattered with ice crystals as they did sprinkled with sand.
“Eyes are windows to the soul.” He took the saying to heart. What a waste now that their vessels are dead, eyelids closed, forever impeding them from witnessing the world’s beauty. No one seemed to care, but he did. And so the boy made it his mission to collect these windows: to show them how beautiful the world had become. He dug up carcasses trapped six-feet-under, freeing the eyes and letting sunlight pour over them on his porch. However, when neighbors discovered, his great task met a swift end and the beautiful world shunned the boy and his noble intentions.