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#short story

Years ago, there was a little boy that spent most of his life in the closet under the basement stairs. He was small and frail for his age -malnourished but not starving- and his dark hair and eyes stood out in stark contrast against his pale skin that rarely saw daylight except through windows. His house was small and in shambles, the paint peeling and floorboards warped and broken but it was the only home he’d ever known. He shared the space with two others: the demon who often appeared to him as a red-headed little girl in colonial dress who shared his closet with him or as a tall, shadowy figure that would linger and whisper from dark corners and the monster, a young woman in her very early twenties who shared similar features to his own once you looked past how gaunt he looked next to her. The demon was his friend- an imaginary companion he’d conjured up while locked in the dark closet where he was safe from the monster who kept him grounded her in the present rather than drifting off in some unexplored universe inside his head, a friend who’d vanished a few months back when he’d told her she wasn’t real, leaving him alone in the house with the monster. 

He missed her now, missed the distraction she offered that helped him forget he was trapped without the price of also forgetting reality. The little boy couldn’t be sure how long he’d been locked in this time, just that when the wires finally clicked in the lock and he let himself out, the dim lights felt blinding and he was hungry, so he crept as quietly as he could manage toward the kitchen.
He froze in the archway when he heard a crash, like shattering glass from the other room, holding his breath as he listened to the monster move sluggishly in the room, debating whether it was safe for him to sneak some food or if he should eat from his stash this time rather than take the risk.
The monster stopped and he exhaled through his teeth before tiptoeing around partially full glass bottles on the linoleum floor to climb the counter so that he could sneak some snacks from the upper cabinet -saltines and peanut butter- things that she wouldn’t miss before he opened the door of the fridge to peek inside -an orange- because he was feeling a little bold today. The little boy took his loot and climbed down from the counter to flee only to find the monster watching him from the archway so he froze in place, prey caught in the gaze of a predator. She was bleary-eyed and sagged against the wall, stinking of alcohol even at this distance with new needle marks in her arm and for a moment, the little boy hoped she hadn’t actually noticed him.
“Oh my sweet little boy,” he flinched as she started toward him, taking a step back and stumbling over one of the bottles that had long ago become a permanent fixture there on the floor, like glass booby traps, this one’s contents spilling across the linoleum. “I love you.” His blood ran cold; he’d never heard those words before, had no concept of what they meant or how to react. He didn’t have to wait long to learn because the monster stepped forward and the light caught the glass in her hand- a broken bottle with sharp, jagged edges. 

Run. 

The boy’s instincts repeated the command from the voice and he did try, turning to dash for the other door, but he only made it a couple of steps before the monster closed bony fingers on a fistful of his threadbare shirt and jerked him back. Cold glass tore into his flesh and blood gushed from the wound where his neck met his shoulder and frightened tears poured down his cheeks while he struggled to get away. Frantic dark hazel blue eyes looked to the silent walls for help and in a moment he would later call blood loss induced mania, the boy heard the strange voice again- the demon’s voice, like millions of overlapping whispers in a mostly incoherent jumble until a possessive growl broke through the rest with one word:

Mine. 

Then the monster slipped, losing her footing in the puddle and crashing to the ground, hitting her head on the floor hard enough her eyes went glassy and closed. The little boy was free of the monster for the moment and fled quickly to his hidden stash, finally releasing the death grip on his food to pull an old shredded sheet from withing to press to the wound, repeating over and over in his head the steps to stop bleeding that he’d read from one of the books he’d found at the library. It wasn’t helping, not until he felt icy hands close over his, firm and solid despite there being no physical form to accompany it and the little boy shivered. 

I understand now, that voice again, the whispers from deep enough inside he suspected it had a grip on his soul, why you never feared me. The boy wanted to know who it was, but the voice answered that with a familiar presence- the demon that haunted his every step, lingering in the dark places in his head and the real world. 

“Why?” The boy’s voice was hoarse from lack of use and sounded far away.
There was a sound, something like a purr but primal and dangerous. 

Mine. 

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Blood in the sand. More than most men would see in this day and age. I’d finally tracked down the one who had wronged me. His henchmen were cannon fodder; naught more than common laborers to him. Their choices led them to their graves, and I held no guilt for killing them quickly. We stared at each other; him, with his massive cleaver, and I, with a simple katana. There was no wind, and the sun was almost at its highest.

I rushed forward before he could speak, slashing at his abdomen. His cleaver’s thick blade blocked the strike, but he still stumbled with the force of it. Carrying his momentum, he spun his body around, his weapon extended, meaning to catch me off-guard. However, I am small and nimble, and ducked under his strike. I slashed again, but he simply turned his back and allowed me to cut him.

Continuing his spin, he attacked with an upward slash, which I was able to block. Struggling to regain my balance, he prepared to bring the blade down again. I could not move; another block was my only hope. I grit my teeth and raised my blade above my head as he swung.

I… Perceived things slowly. I was barely able to keep my eyes open, but I still vividly remember my failure. The cleaver shattered my blade, and continued downward. My arm being brutally severed was a great pain, but at the time, it was numb from the shock of losing my sword. I was on all fours- now threes, sputtering and bleeding, unable to process what just happened.

I was barely able to look up at him. His grin was as cruel and evil as his actions. His cleaver was hoisted over his shoulder; I was no longer a threat to him. He was free to do as he pleased, because I failed.

“You will not be given the honor of dying to my weapon,” his deep voice rumbled. “You will bleed in this wasteland, like the bastard you are.”

I rose to my knees- barely- and raised what was left of my sword. I would have pathetically swung, if he had not kicked me across the face, and knocked me unconscious.

“… that is what happened to me.”

“I see.” My rescuer mixed herbs together in a bowl. “I know who you’re talking about. He doesn’t come round here often; we barely get by with what I’m able to produce, and extortion is nothing if your source is unable to produce.”

“You’re a doctor… and a farmer?” The stranger had cauterized my wound while I was (thankfully) unconscious and bandaged it. It was amateurish and sloppy, but I wasn’t bleeding.

He grunted. “Someone had to learn. I’m training a young girl in the village. Blonde hair, young, probably the only selfless person left in this damn wasteland.” He poured the herbs into a cup of water and mixed it with a straw. “I go to the village every week with the harvest and teach her a little more each time. Hopefully she’ll pick up more soon and I can farm more.”

“This world is cruel. I’m sorry you must live like this.”

“Complaining ain’t gonna make it easier. That’s why we live with it. Drink this.” He handed me the cup. The liquid inside was sour, but I had no reason to mistrust him.

“How can I repay you for saving my life?” I set the empty cup down, wiping the medicine from my mouth.

“I can’t imagine you’ll be much good on a farm with one arm. I suppose you could carry the water and fertilizer, but-”
He was interrupted by a man shouting outside. Barely audible, but I could make out what he was saying. “Old man! We’re here to collect!”

“Bastards,” he grumbled. “They’re going to starve us to death.” I stood up from my bed and peered out the door, barely opening it. Three men, standing a short distance away, wearing rags and holding crude, simple clubs.

“Do you have a blade?” I continued to watch the men, making sure they didn’t approach. The farmer rummaged around behind me, trying not to make too much noise.

“I have this.” I turned and saw what the farmer was holding. A rusty sword; similar to mine before it broke, but smaller and in considerably worse condition. “I saw the bodies. I know you’re skilled, but you only have one arm. This is suicide.”

“Sharpen the blade and get as much rust off as you can. When I whistle, throw the blade outside to me.” Without waiting for a response, I opened the door and stepped outside. The sun blinded me for a moment, and the heat almost knocked me over.

The other men were confused. “Who the hell are you? Where’s the old man?”

“He is under my protection.” I held my hand out. “You will leave and never return.”

“Oh yeah?” The men laughed louder than they should. “What’re you gonna do, one-arm?”

I placed my fingers in my mouth and whistled. It was a shrill noise, causing one of the men to flinch and cover his ears. I heard the door open behind me, and the old man grunt. The sword landed next to me, its blade stuck in the sand. The men laughed again.

“You can’t even afford a bow? Fucking peasants!” The one in front suddenly stopped laughing and held his club in both hands. “I might almost feel bad when I break what’s left of you.”

I pulled the sword out of the ground and pointed it at him. “You won’t get the opportunity unless you leave now. Final warning.” The man roared and ran forward, his club raised high. I took a deep breath and lowered my sword. Squinting my eyes, I watched my enemy approach. Waiting until he was as close as possible, I already knew how to kill him.

As he swung his club downward, I sprung forward, using my feet to propel me upwards as I swung my sword. As I landed, I looked over my shoulder at my attacker. As he growled and turned around, his forearms flew off in another direction. Looking down at his new stumps, his expression of rage quickly became one of terror and confusion. He sputtered and gasped, falling to his knees, and then on his side. I turned back to his two companions, and readjusted my grip.

They nodded at each other and quickly approached me, exercising more caution than their friend. They moved around fast, faking swings and grunting. Sand was kicked up, but not enough to blind anyone. The first real strike came from behind, which I barely managed to block. I turned around and dragged my blade off his club, transitioning it into a swing, landing a shallow cut on his abdomen.

“Die!” I ducked to my left as the second man’s club narrowly missed my head. Flipping the sword into a reverse grip, I leaned back and threw my arm back, forcing my sword into his stomach. He howled in pain as I rolled, using the impaled sword as a pivot. Pulling myself forward, I tackled the man with my shoulder, pushing him into his ally, stumbling both of them.

Exhaling and steadying my arm, I leaped forward, thrusting the sword forward, stabbing it through both of them, and impaling them to the ground. They squirmed, but quickly gave in. Rising to my feet, I tilted my head towards the sky and took a deep breath. Slowly pulling the blade out of the corpses, I wiped the blood off on their clothes.

“Damn, son!” The farmer laughed. “Those punks have been bleeding us dry for years, but if I’d known it was that easy, I would’ve done it myself!”

“Do they have a gang? A group of sorts?” I wiped the sweat off my brow. The sun was blazing.

“Nah, they’re just a couple of local thugs. Oh, here, I found this for you.” The farmer held out a sheath. “Just… Here, I’ll hold it.” The sword fit nicely into the sheath. I slung it over my body and fastened it tightly around my waist. “So, uh… Now what? You gonna do some ‘lone wanderer’ business, fend off bandits for every town you pass through?” He chuckled.

“Perhaps. Do you still need assistance on your farm?”

“Kid, you’ve done enough for me, and every town around here.” He patted my shoulder. “I’ll get you some food for the road. You can come into town with me, they’d love to hear what you’ve done.”

“What about the bodies?” I motioned towards the bleeding corpses of the thugs. “Are you going to bury them?”

“Probably. Might just use ‘em as fertilizer.” I waited for the farmer to laugh, but he didn’t. He saw me staring. “Hey, don’t give me that look, it’s not my fault plants need nutrients.”

“Maybe I’ll pass on taking that food for the road.” We shared a laugh. As we walked back into the farmer’s house, I ran my remaining hand over my dismembered arm. It tingled, making me jump.

“Don’t worry about your arm, kiddo,” the farmer grunted as he forced the door open. “With the way you handled yourself, I’ll say you’ll be fine out there on your own.”

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[NFLverse Room #657843]

westsiderep1994 joined the room.

westsiderep1994: YO

westsiderep1994: YO MARK

rebelsfan69 joined the room.

rebelsfan69: whats up?

westsiderep1994: YO WAT IF THE COUGARS DRAFTED NAHOMES INSTEAD OF CADY

rebelsfan69: ignoring that thats totally impossible, Nahomes in 2000, while good, would not seem as transcendentally good as he does now by comparison.

westsiderep1994: BUT LIKE WHAT IF THO

rebelsfan69: who knows if he would have had the post season success Cady has had, but he probably would have been viewed in the same vein as Branning and Hew Rees, so it probably isnt as interesting as it first seems.

westsiderep1994: ah your no fun, I think that would be such a perfect fit

westsiderep1994: whatever

westsiderep1994: so whats up with the durants huh? 5 game losing streak after all the big talk they did looking real funny rn

rebelsfan69: man fuck my school team, the only thing good about them are the cheerleaders

westsiderep1994: the cheerleaders? you actually pay attention to that shit?

rebelsfan69: well… they do put on a good show.

westsiderep1994: okay that’s bs and you know it. which one is it?

rebelsfan69: which one?

westsiderep1994: its so obvious your into one of them

westsiderep1994: it’s the ridiculous looking captain right? her names hailey or something?

rebelsfan69: Hayley “The Shooting Star” Comett, and no Im not into her, just think her cheerleadings pretty cool.

westsiderep1994: of course it is…

westsiderep1994: okay then, sell me on this “cool cheerleading” then, whats so special about it?

rebelsfan69: Surely you’ve seen her blast out her cannon right?

westsiderep1994: that green and gold abomination? who hasn’t?

westsiderep1994: please don’t tell me that’s the reason your so into her

rebelsfan69: Well the thing is that that ridiculous stunt encapsulates her whole performance. Her green and gold color scheme, her huge cigar she carries around, her smug attitude, all of it shows off this confident energy, its all consistent in exuding a sense of confidence. A bomb of a personality.

westsiderep1994: mark sometimes I worry about you

rebelsfan69: The real fascinating thing though is that shes just like this normally.

rebelsfan69: Did you know she shoots herself out of her cannon home sometimes? i think she has a net or something that catches her there, its all very elaborate.

westsiderep1994: what the fuck? crazy rich people really scare me sometimes dude.

rebelsfan69: Shes actually really into explosives, its a surprise the school hasn’t addressed it. One time she even petitioned for there to be a blast fishing club at the school.

westsiderep1994: blast fishing?

rebelsfan69: blowing up bodies of water to blast the fish out

westsiderep1994: holy shit

westsiderep1994: for your own safety id suggest you not try your luck with her

rebelsfan69: I already said I wasnt into her, and besides, she already has a boyfriend. The captain of the Durants, a match made in heaven.

westsiderep1994: just looked her up, and damn she is fine. I see why your into her now

westsiderep1994: i mean if your into goth she has a goth looking sister you can get in on

rebelsfan69: Luna is less interesting than her sister unfortunately. She tries to copy her style with her own take on it, having a catapult instead of a cannon, and a purple colour scheme instead of the gold and green, and the whole goth witchcraft stuff, but it all comes off as all too derivative, a gimmick at best.

westsiderep1994: so basically, your a hard man to please

westsiderep1994: i get it

rebelsfan69: Shes just not passionate enough about what she does compared to her sister.

rebelsfan69: That’s why I’m so fixated on Hayley nowadays. That level of passion is inspiring.

rebelsfan69: shit

rebelsfan69: maybe i am into her…

westsiderep1994: hold on a sec brb

rebelsfan69: okay

rebelsfan69: yo you back yet? its been like 15 minutes already

rebelsfan69: jimmy?

westsiderep1994: sorry. bro needed me for something

westsiderep1994: right, youve finally admitted it huh?

rebelsfan69: yeah, your right. this was all just a crush.

rebelsfan69: and all i can do is watch from afar…

westsiderep1994: hey dont feel too down, its sick to like things from afar

westsiderep1994: like imagine actually playing in playoffs or something, you think that would be cool af but itd probably be hell on the nerves

westsiderep1994: watching it though is like the best thing ever though, especially when we watch it with the other guys

westsiderep1994: we can pick it apart and imagine how we’d play it without any of the stress, without any of the effort. its way sicker than doing the actual thing

westsiderep1994: fuck trying to get with her, just continue watching her cheerlead and experience the best version of that bomb of a personality from afar

rebelsfan69: yeah

rebelsfan69: your probably right

westsiderep1994: i mean ill definitely continue watching the durants eat shit, so maybe ill try and pay attention to the cheerleading this time

westsiderep1994: your analysis of that sounded wild. id love to do that with you

rebelsfan69: Well thanks jimmy, I appreciate it.

westsiderep1994: no problem bro

westsiderep1994: okay so, wanna talk about todays game now?

rebelsfan69: hell yeah, theres a whole lot to unpack there

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It was just one of those mornings, one of those rare ones, one where she did not wake up out of place. Everything was at the right time and the right place, no confusion, no conflict, a perfect harmony. The dew from the previous night was sparkling on the green leaves as the sky filled itself with the orange morning glow, she even got to hear a bird sing. The perfect day and she ruined it by waking up.


She could have stayed in bed with him, wrapped around each other in silence, embraced in a void where nothing travels, not sound nor thoughts, not even time. She could have stayed, yet she didn’t. It wouldn’t be fair, she told herself, dragging up fantasies and living in fairy tales, it wouldn’t be fair to stories in her head. she walked towards the outhouse, her feet against the coarse ground, she can barely tell the difference between the two now. She could picture his feet, soft and protected against the cushion of the sole of his shoes, living in his luxuries. He will grow old with a million distractions, finding someone to love, someone he will make a home with, make a family and she will be just a fading dot to him, a spot on his eye which he will eventually rub out. His world had that luxury, hers didn’t. She can picture them, the tall buildings her grandfather used to tell her about, millions of tiny lamps lit up at the same time, the world glowing up, demanding attention and in one of those boxes, his face, lit up because he is happy, happy without her. That is the image she will keep in her heart, his life going on, him happy and satisfied. She will hang onto it till her last breath, she will clench her wrist tight and hold on to it, digging her nails into her skin so deep till the moment is absorbed in her blood and is running in her veins. Just the one image though, she tells herself, she cannot have too many of those flowing in her or she won’t be able to lift herself.


The professor’s message came early in the morning and it was clear enough that his work was done, he had perfected his experiment and this would be their last day together. A portable time machine, arrangements of magnets and wires, just iron and copper, that was all it took to shatter her. When the letter came, she didn’t wake him up, she let him have his sleep, let him be restful for happiness or disappointment, whichever comes to him naturally.


“You are up early.” She heard his voice coming from behind her. Without turning back she gestured to him to take the little piece of paper in her hand.


“Is this from the professor? Did he find a way out?” He asked her, confused by the message.


She turned halfway and gave him a side glance, “You should get some breakfast.” And turned to stare ahead.


She could feel his stare shoving into her. She kept walking ahead, searching for a tree or a wall to hide behind. How she wished that the rubble of the old buildings would collect itself and reverse itself into the tall structured one it once was, she could disappear into one of those, lock it up and not go out for a day.


The crops in the field had grown healthy this year, pretty soon it will be time for the group to move somewhere else. A family would move into the house they built, the crops would be harvested, walls replaced and eventually, every trace of their existence would go away. The other night she had thought to ask to stay back on the farm and take care of the place, some people did that, change career paths and settle down. Laying on the bed next to him, she had created a whole life for herself. But the knock on the door broke the spell.


“So this is it huh?” His voice startled her. She did not feel him following her. She took a deep sigh and finally turned around to face him. He quickly ran up to her and wrapped his arms around her. Her face felt wet against his shirt, she did not realize she was crying or for how long she had been crying.


“Hey! It might not even work.”


“Come On.” she chuckled. “Don’t get my hopes up.”


“Maybe I don’t go back.”


She broke from the hug and looked at him with a quizzical look. “Can you though? Stay?” She turned away from him. “You know what happens. The plan, you go back, tell everyone and you change the future.”


“I know. I know.” He put his arms up in frustration. “But are we certain that it can be changed? Maybe you can’t change the future.” He walked close to her and took her hands in his, “Can the professor confirm that the future will change, that anyone would listen to me? First of all, we don’t know the experiment would work, second, what are the rules? Can the future be changed, do we create some parallel universe? And why would anyone listen to me, I will be just some guy in a crowd of billions shouting the same thing every day? Nobody listens and nobody cares. Why would they care about me? Why would they listen to me?”


They both knew they were just excuses. Saving the world was not the reason he had to go back. He did not belong here, at this time. He grew up with a different set of rules, he was not a nomad like her, his family did not give him up and he did not give up on them either. He had to go back, no matter how much they both wanted him to stay. He was the piece that belonged to a different puzzle box, it doesn’t matter how much they colored him to fit in, he would never fit in.



The walk from the farm to the building was quiet. It was as if the world around could sense it too, the wind did not ruffle any leaves and the birds did not care to sit on a branch. Nature knew to be quiet that day, mourning their story.


Hand in hand they approached their destiny. The professor was all smiles when they reached him.


“It’s cliched but, EUREKA!” The professor shouted.


“Subtle.” He grinned. “How did you figure it out anyway?” He asked while looking around the apparatus.


“This.” The professor said while throwing a book at him. “ All the answers we need. I found it in one of the abandoned libraries, thought it might come handy someday. It is a pity someone would just abandon books like this, we can learn so much about the 21st century just by reading them.” The professor kept on rambling while going around the amphitheater.


The dome was one of the few big structures that survived the century. They were lucky that this village was not too much affected by disasters. The soil survived which meant that only a couple of batches of crops were ruined, and the houses were pretty intact so they didn’t have to set up tents and spend their nights trying to twist in a sleeping bag. Although, moving to any place above the net survival rate was always risky, mostly the places were completely abandoned which meant days of field clean up, both wild flora and fauna and constant fear of when the old walls will give in and crumble on their heads. Or there would already be a community settled, in that scenario, they just move to the next project. Apparently, the smaller the population, the more closed off people become. They don’t accept outsiders nor their ideas. It’s things like these which make her glad that he will be going back, he did not have to go through the abandonment, the disappointment of this world and he would not have to go on surviving this attempt at utopia after destroying the one they already had.


She still couldn’t look into his eyes. He placed his hand under her chin and lifted it, “It’s okay,”


It felt more like a question than a statement, so she nodded.


“We don’t have to do it right now.” The professor said from behind them. “Take a day off, go have a picnic, say goodbye to each other, properly. I will still be here tomorrow.”


“No.” She walked away from him towards the setup. Pretending to examine it. “ We shouldn’t keep him long. There is a letter from The Center, they have summoned him, hearing is in a week, they want to question him, keep an eye on him. Inspection officials could show up any day. You know how they are, they don’t want any locals or rebels disturbing the flow.”


“Oh!” The professor sounded sad, he wanted them to have more time together, in his excitement he forgot the heartbreak he will be responsible for. “ Well tonight then, we will do it tonight, after dinner.”


They both nodded. “Now go!” said the professor gesturing them to get away from him. They both gave a little chuckle and started walking towards the door.



It took them five minutes to decide what direction to take after leaving the professor. The age-old question, what would you do if today was your last day alive?, everybody had some answer prepared, something to impress the person in front of them, something even to just joke about, but when the day comes, nobody wants to do the things they said, nobody can decide what they want to do, she could not decide, neither could he. They could go to the hilltop and make shapes out of clouds or go to the lake and watch ducks float away on the water. She could show him all the places around that he didn’t get to see, but they are just abandoned relics now, they were much more beautiful in his time.


“Let’s go to the railway station.” He said breaking her chain of thought. “Jog up old memories.” He smirked.


Just another abandoned symbol of an era, an earthquake had blocked all the tracks passing the station and fixing it was the least of anyone’s worries, also nobody went there because it was too far from the safe zone, funny how they were yet to establish a proper lifestyle and had already got gangs trying to rip them off. She only encountered them once but pretty soon realized as long as you have something to trade your safety with, they will let you go wherever you want.


The place was quiet except for the sound of wind-fighting off the scraps of rusted tin. It was a horrific reminder to the way things were it was also one of the few places she found peace at, a place to sort out her insides. A place where they first met. He was wearing the same jacket that he wrote that day, however now it was covered in dust and torn from several places.


She remembers it like it was yesterday, he thought he was a vampire, said his skin was burning from the sun and his memory was gone, she just laughed and took him with her. They had met his kind a few times, quarantined from birth and drugged beyond tolerance and rationality, it was a wonder he escaped his parents considering the tight control they kept, saving up themselves for when the government would make everything all right again, just like old days.


Of course, he did not belong to that community, he did not belong to any community of the new world. It took her a full week and him two hours to realize that they were not from the same time. Somehow one branch of the tree had bent down to merge with its root. They didn’t know-how and after a while, they didn’t care.


“Now what?” She asked him.


“Nothing, we do nothing.” He smiled at her and sat down beside one of the walls. He gestured her to sit next to her.


“So, going back. Do you think it will matter?”


“It should, you can’t change your past, but the future is always uncertain.”


“So I go back and tell everyone and you grow up with space houses and Jet packs.”


“If you can save some fuel, then maybe.”


He chuckled. They sat in silence for a while, her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat and him tracing her fingerprints in memory.


Nothing about it made sense, the beginning, the middle and the end. Their lives were ruled and consumed by the randomness of this one event, they spent weeks trying to understand and here they were, still oblivious. And was coming to an end.


They were at a waterfall, she had not been to this one before, in fact, she had never been to a waterfall before. People didn’t go in untreated water unless they wanted to kill themselves or just ruin the rest of their lives. He took her hand and led her to the highest rock, she kept trying to stop him, tried to warn him about the risk of going in the water, but he wouldn’t listen. She giggled when she felt the tingling in her toes as she stepped in the water, “You don’t giggle much. You should do that more.”, he said sitting down on the rock. He wasn’t wrong, she wondered why was that, it was not like she had it especially rough. They all grew up together, facing the same hardships, some fell in love and started a family while some went on their way, exploring other worlds and some stayed, building up the new world together, still they never forgot to smile so why did she? She was lost in thought when she felt the touch of his hands and she was bought back to the physical world from nonexistence just like the fingers do not exist unless they are pressed against something, he was her surface.


“Hey wake up! It’s dark already.”


She opened her eyes slowly, it took her a while to make out his figure in the dark until he lit up the candle. “We should be going. Professor would be waiting for us.” He was gathering up their stuff in the light of the torch. The rebels would be arriving any time to set up camp and even though wildlife was rare, it was never a good time to run into something with sharp teeth. He turned to her and came close, he placed the torch close to her so that the only thing illuminated in the vast black space was their faces and he wiped a tear from her cheek. Lately, she had been spending a lot of nights crying, the dark would trigger this storm inside her too strong to hold back. It would always leak out eventually.


When their lips finally separated, their faces were drenched and eyesight was fluid. She pressed her head against his and stood there, there were stones in their shoes and wet sand in their pockets, no matter how much they shook it off they couldn’t move.



“Just give me a minute.” The professor said to them while he went to work on his apparatus. She did not want to look at him and couldn’t look at her either, they both stood next to each other, holding each other’s hand, staring at the man running around in front of them with promises of rift and repair.


“Well, say your goodbyes now.” The professor took him by his shoulders and walked him to a spot marked ‘X’ on the floor. “I won’t bore you with details, but just stand there and in a few minutes you should be at your home running to hug your mother.”


He smiled looking at her. They spent last night talking, they spent the last six months talking, narrating every story they lived and describing every scar they got, this day, their last day together and they barely said a hundred words between them. Maybe it was the word 'goodbye’ or every word that came before and after that, but there was nothing to say to each other which would make them happy and so they just didn’t.


“Let me know when you get home.” She said with a smile on her face. He nodded back.


She closed her eyes and imagined them in the waterfall again, playing in the water, kissing as the drops ran down on the side of their faces. No worries and… A thunder-like sound broke her thought and then in a blink of an eye, he was gone. He was a distant memory now and she was too far for him to reach. She was left standing there staring at a wall, trying to conjure him in between the space. “Do you think he made it?” She asked the air which was left where he was standing.


“Maybe you should read this.” the professor handed her a book, she could recognize the cover, something the professor showed them earlier, dug up from the professor’s dusty collection. “Thank you, but I am not really in the mood.” she replied dismissing the offer.


“Please. The first page.” The professor nudged the book towards her.


“Fine.” She took the book in anger and opened it in frustration, “What about it?” she asked as her eyes cruised through the page, and there in bold letters, stood the words she wanted to hear at the moment. 'As my father would say everyday growing up, “I made it home.”’

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Alright, I’m putting a pause on my actual writing because I realize that posting on tumblr is inefficient. So instead, I came up with a couple short stories that are in the same universe as “Heavenly Conspiracy”.

The first one I’m currently working on is called “The Child’s Doll”. Basically deals with how the government deals with the Angel crisis. (Something that will be explained later). I’m dividing it into three parts which will be posted in order. Along with that, I will be working on a prologue for “Heavenly Conspiracy” after this short story. Thank you to those who have supported and encouraged this process!

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    Beyond the door, I heard the yelling that the woman in 4914 had informed me about over the phone. I could clearly differentiate three voices: a man with a raspy voice strangled in knowledge, a woman with a slight accent as though she was distant from the rest, and a man with an exceptionally deep voice that rumbled with the air of dominance. My hand shook as it neared the door to knock. As my knuckles made contact, I heard the crash of something smashing against the thinly carpeted floor. I spun around quickly and shot down the hall. I collapsed onto my knees the moment my toes touched the bottom of the stairs. I clutched the fresh towels in my shaky grasp.
    “Oh! The towels!” I bellowed through the stairwell.
    I stood again, rising to my feet without courage. I passed the towels from one hand to the other in order to refresh my crinkled uniform. The return to the door took an incredible amount of self restraint. Again my shaky fist made contact with the door. The chaos beyond the door ceased immediately.
    “Who is it?” The man with the deep voice boomed beyond the entrance. His voice hit something deep within me. Somehow, his voice chilled my entire body by removing the warmth from the entire world.
    “Mr. Owen?” I called. “ I-I have fresh towels-”
    “We don’t need any.” The voice shot back.
    I stood, staring at the white colored 4915 against the white door, confused. This room had not had any fresh towels since arrival. The receptionist informed me that Rowland T. Owen checked in, alone, four days ago. Even further, the bellhop let it slip during our lunch break an hour ago that Mr. Owen had checked in empty handed with a toothbrush and comb peeking out of his shirt pocket.
    I also remember him saying, “That Owen fellow uses the phone quite often, even when I’m in the room!” He sighed, “He is always speaking to a Don. I walked in his room this morning and I heard him say, ‘No, Don. I’m not hungry, I’ve already eaten. I don’t want breakfast. No Don. I have already eaten.”
    Had the other voice been Don? I thought to myself, still planted before the door.
   I slowly fell out of my thoughts as I realized the voices hadn’t picked up again. I looked up at the peep hole above the numbers. I felt my blood run cold. The light seeping from the peephole flickered. I shuffled away from the door again and carried on with my work. An hour later, I returned to 4915 after more complaints. Again, I reluctantly knocked on the door. This time, there was no chaos beyond the door.
    “Come in,” Called the deep voice. “Turn on the lights.”
    I did just that, but as my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw Mr. Owen lying in bed. Darkness pooled underneath Mr. Owen. Out of fear, I plummeted out of the room once again, Down the hall, then into the arms of the bellhop. He looked taken aback, but that look morphed to horror as I explained the contents of my night to him. He tugged at my arm to follow behind him while he commanded that I follow behind him through his work. We finished his rounds together. That had taken us about three more hours. After we finished, he advised that we return to check on Mr. Owen.
   When we returned, the door was closed despite me never doing so. The bellboy creaked the door open to find Mr. Owen sitting on the ground with his head in his hands. His eyes flickered through passages in his hands.
    “Mr. Owen! You’re alive!” I blurted, “Mr. Owen, please. Who was in this room with you?”
    Blood dripped across the walls, splattered around the floor, and trailed through the doorways. Thick, viscous blood trickled down his forearms from his palms. Bloody footprints tracked close to his feet.
    “Nobody.” The raspy voice from before strained through the silence. “God will rescue me; he will save me from the power of death.”
    A single drop of blood hit Mr. Owen in the center of his forehead. I gazed up at the origin to find Mr. Owen’s blood splashed against the ceiling.
    “Mr. Owen?” The bellboy questioned after we watched his limp body fall to the floor.

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Mountain Man

Here’s a little something something that I was thinking about this morning. Someone’s gotta keep Robert’s mane detangled, and someone’s gotta keep his face smooth. 😁 No smut, just cute flirty banter. ❤️❤️❤️

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Day 3 of their week-long vacation at Lake Tahoe. They wake up at the same time. She’s basking in the warmth of Robert’s arms and taking in the majesty of the snowy terrain beyond the window.

“Morning, darlin,” he murmurs, still shaking off sleep. He kisses her on the cheek.

“Robert!” Her squeal surprises both of them.

“What, love?”

“You need a shave! My goodness.”

“Really? I was thinking of reviving my Bron Yr Aur look.”

She’s silent.

He shifts and climbs on top of her and flashes his best canary-eating grin. “Do you prefer my baby face, or are you thinking about the benefits of my man face between your…”

She tickles his sides and rolls on top of him when he tumbles over. They both lose themselves in a fit of laughter.

“What I’m thinking of,” she says as she kisses him, “is a full-service shave. Steaming that handsome face, taking my time to massage on the shaving cream, slow strokes of the razor, et cetera, et cetera. I’d love to pamper you during your break. You deserve it.”

She stands before him with her hands on her hips. “Whaddya say, big boy?” She shimmies her hips and winks in her best Mae West impersonation.

“Who am I to resist such a lovely gesture?” He stands and allows her to lead him to the bathroom.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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image


What stands between a man and his fate? 

What drives them to go headlong into a battle they know they will lose?

Is it a primal urge to protect the home they occupied or a family they never met?

Is it a sense of accomplishment, knowing they laid their life down in order to save others?

Only the man who stands before an army of hellish creatures can give you those answers, a man who sees death staring back at him in many forms, each one willing to rip him apart and tare down the human race at the same time. A man who knows this could be his last fight and is willing to put his life on the line in order to prevent what was about to come, the end of humanity in one single click of the fingers.

This man that stood before the fate of humanity had taken his punishment, over and over and over and everytime he got up, over and over and over again. Bleeding, bruised and broken, he never knew when to quit and this was no exception. His body pleaded with him to stop and sit this out but he knew what needed to be done, there was no other option.
He stood up shakily, looked down at his beaten and bloodied body and noted he was still holding his shield that was now just as broken as he was but still able to take a few more hits.

He grabbed the leather strap, wrapped loosely around his wrist, pulled it tight and stared down his fate.

Humanity had one last fight and it’s gladiator was a man that wore the red white and blue and carried a broken shield.

This man saw his fate and he wasn’t going to let it decide for him.

@purpleshield1548@pedeka@prplprincez@enchantedbyhiddles@vegetarianvampireduck@quoting-shakespeare-to-ducks@angryschnauzer@plinkitee@untilthe12ofnever@myfriendtheurbanlegend@angelus80@aragarna@imelopsittacus@mnemonicmadness@bliphany@mulasawala@savhcaro@bonnie131313@nuggsmum@hakimo2015@i-wish-i-was-the-moon@xlostlenore

pass it on!

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image

It was late into the evening by the time the two mer had settled to make camp for the night.

 A fire was stoked with practiced ease bed rolls laid out on either side, just as Eastmash’s local wildlife began their nightly chorus.

They sat in silence waiting for the rabbit that had been caught earlier in the day to cook, Erandur gazed up to notice his companion had furrowed his brows as he stared into their small fire.

Frowning with concern Erandur broke the silence “Arraval, is their something bothering you?” He looked up with an even expression, “Why are you nice to me?”

Erandur cocked his head slightly, “I- What do you mean?” The younger mer looked away 

“I don’t understand how you could be so kind to… someone like me.”

Erandur sighed and smiled, “your my friend Arra I care about you, why wouldn’t I treat you so?”

Arraval looked up with an incredulous expression, wolfish eye’s studying him.

“Because I hurt people.” Was his terse response as he returned his attention to their roasted rabbit pulling it off the fire, Erandur stood up and walked to Arraval’s side and ploped down beside him.

Not sure if I’ll do more im not much for stories

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[I am released from trouble.

I thought it meant to die in comfort.
It doesn’t.
It means that I die.]

- Sophocles, tr. by Ezra Pound, from Hercales’ last words to his son; “The Women of Thracis,

I wake in an unfamiliar place, but more familiar than where I’ve lived for the last two months. Outside it’s raining huge monsoon rains. I dress. I put on my skin again. I brush my teeth. I hear breathing. I check. Nothing. I swear to you. Nothing. Outside, the desert : dry, endless, without mercy. I adore it. And my cracked throat.
All night we wake repeatedly with an unknown thirst. The desert winds. The owl swoops low over the bed. Layers, openings, forgotten memories.  It’s been a long while since my skin sang like this.
I see abandoned train stations, and the tracks I used to cross with my bicycle on the way out of all that.  Sometimes I would wish for a train to come on past, though it never would, long disused, and there is always one faint memory of wisdom somewhere, there, to move on out of the way just in case. A wild fruit. A closeness. A flicker of eyes. A knowing.
I see the horse, too, on the path to the sea. He and I would stand and stare at each other for a long time, thinking of our sacred lives and mourning our fences, our cages, our prisons.
I eat a little bread. The bread eats me. My tiredness fills the room. My insomnia pulls my skin back into place. I leave. I pull the castle doors shut. From inside the owls hoots, and it sounds like, why-why-why.

We are cycling back together, in the monsoon. I always forget how these rains come back when I can’t make an important decision.
I’m not surprised to see him. He came up behind me at an intersection. It had been years since we’d seen each other, and even then we didn’t have much to say to each other. Now he’s cycling without hands beside me, in the tram tracks, as if he has no worry about his safety. Why would he? His face is purple. When we reach traffic lights and stop, he checks out his hair in the reflection of a car. Moistens it down. A worm comes poking through his cheek.
“Where did you go?” I ask him.
He shrugs.
The red in the traffic light turns to fire for an instant, and I look back at him. He’s styling his hair, once again, and pulls out a beer from his jeans pocket.
“And where did you go?” he repeats, staring right through me. “You’re still here… but where did you go?”

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this week’s prompt: harmony.

hey everyone, here’s this week’s post for writing sunny! you can do whatever you want with it, however you interpret the word harmony - the word doesn’t necessarily have to be in the piece, but it can be anything related to it!

  1. post your piece to whatever blog you prefer [ make sure it has a title! ]
  2. tag me @sunnydwrites.
  3. use the tag “#writing sunny prompt 3″ in your post - i’ll be tracking it!

happy writing everyone, i’ll see you for the recap wednesday, february 27!

sunnydwrites
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Oracle Calling is fully typed, and I’m working on Pass 2 of edits and revisions. Currently 7 out of 16 pages in.

After Pass 2, I’ll print out the document and start Pass 3 of edits.

After that is a lot of re-typing, after which will be the upload.

Excerpt incoming! 

(271 words)

…Her employees, the gifted children who had nowhere else to go, maintained the sunlit vineyards as well as the tasting room during the daytime. But by nighttime and out of public eye, Levinia oversaw the winemaking, from the wood of her barrels, the fruits within each blend, the temperature of the cellars, and the length of each brew’s fermentation. 

The Oracle thus prospered, and its front end earnings in turn supported the winery’s nighttime service. During this nighttime business, Levinia became “Miss Levinia,” or “Switzerland,” according to the brats, and her tasting room’s doors created the gateway to a safe haven.

Tonight, that safe haven was quiet, despite the earlier evening giving Levinia the pleasure of dealing with a couple regulars: twin brats of Hades, and their bouncy Cerberus pups. Par for their course, their tab had yet again ballooned, even after factoring in the fare they’d collected: divine and chthonic ingredients that constituted Levinia’s private brews, deadlier, hallucinatory elixirs made for her protection. She cast a cursory glance across the tasting room, noting no other children barging in for asylum or medical attention. Levinia unrolled the long receipt for the twins’ tab. Time for the weekly recalculations.

She tapped her pen against the countertop, her fingers punching in numbers on the calculator of her phone. How quiet. How lonely the Oracle felt without at least one of those nighttime patrons. Quiet made Levinia reminisce, made her consider the stars outside, twinkling just like the stars above the ocean spray and cool stone balcony of her ancient home. 

Home? She caught and scoffed at herself. The Oracle was home.

Wasn’t it?

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image

I was too late to save her.

The first warning I received was the column of dark smoke rising from the east, and it was with all haste that I raced toward it. I knew that color of smoke for I had seen a great many buildings burn in my time, and rarely have they burned for good reason.

I was still a quarter of a mile away when I heard her screams, and I could see the house through the trees when she went silent.

The creatures were retreating from the burning building, not for fear of the flames, but because they knew their prey was dead.

As they turned toward me, I opened fire, only to see them scatter as my shots claimed two of them. I put an extra round into each of them, and then I stood and waited for the flames to die down. It took the better part of the day, but I remained where I was, the ravens gathered around me.

When I deemed it safe enough to enter, I was saddened by the sight.

The one pristine home was destroyed. The joy Minnie had taken in her paintings and prints had been scoured from her walls with fire. I found Minnie curled beneath the stairs, hidden in shadow. There was little of her left to recognize.

I left Minnie, where she lay and returned to the creatures. In silence, I butchered them and carried their heads to Gods’ Hollow. I climbed over the wall, walked to a tree, and I nailed them to it.

From the tree-line nearby, I heard a rustling, yet nothing attempted to molest me.

It would have been better for them if they had.

Tonight, I’ll be cleaning my Colts and speaking with the ravens. I’ll prepare my weapons and pack what’s needed to face the creatures.

Tomorrow, the ravens and I will be going in after them.


Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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She stared at the girl across from her with half lidded eyes and a gentle smile. Leaning forward, she gently pressed their mouths together, sweet and smooth, a practiced exchange. 

They weren’t strangers, nor were they friends, but in that moment they fit together like two pieces of a puzzle, perfectly connected and wrapped up in each other. She raised her arms and caressed her temporary lover’s face, cupping her cheek in one hand while the fingers of her other entwined themselves in her ponytail. She leaned into the kiss, forcing the girl to fall back against the couch, and slid her tongue across closed lips. She gave a slight tug on the hair in her hand, and her partner’s mouth parted with a small gasp. 

It was perfect. It was beautiful. Smiling into the kiss, she pulled away, wiping her thumb across the girl’s brow. With a sad smirk, she rose from her perch on the girl’s lap and disappeared into the crowd. Though it was but a few seconds, it would be burned in her memory forever. 

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He knew he shouldn’t get involved with her. She was poisonous. Her sex would crawl into his veins. Worse, her love would invade his every cell until there was no existence without her. Ha, he laughed at himself. She wasn’t cancer, no matter how much he tried to eradicate his feelings. She was his oxygen. There was no cure or choice in this.

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tu ferma in silenzio, non riesci a muoverti, se non quel dito che ti permette di scrivere queste parole inutili, ma che in quel momento ti fanno stare meglio

tu in silenzio che fissi il vuoto e sudi, sudi freddo ma cazzo se scotti, sei bollente eppure hai le goccioline fredde sulla fronte

non ragioni più o forse non lo hai mai fatto, non vedi più e non sentì niente se non il silenzio e il dolore profondo che c’è dentro di te e che non ti lascia mai

gli occhi lacrimano ma non lo hai scelto tu, fanno tutto loro, da sole

e le tue mani iniziano a tremare tantissimo, troppo e così anche i piedi e di seguito tutto il corpo.. poi il cervello e li basta. ti scolleghi, ti scolleghi dal mondo e da tutto, ci sei solo tu e la tua solitudine, la tua triste e immensa solitudine

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I wanted a happy ending, but the truth is we don’t get to decide on anything when it comes to other people. 

Sometimes when I close my eyes the soft light of a southern summer sunset pours in and I see the whole mess of her again, and the shame of it wrings the heat from my skin.

Why’d we choose white?  White comforter, white sheets.  We knew that life was messy.  Perhaps in here, in our bedroom, we were subconsciously committing to keeping our shit together - as a couple, not as people.  I don’t mean to imply that our sheets were clean or that we really tried to keep them that way beyond any standard care.  

No, indeed.  I think under that great slew of blood you would have found casual accidental swipes of pen from Sunday mornings spent in bed with the crossword, one long faded cheek print in rose beige after an accidental shower caught us on the path home - her eyes lingered on my lips and I suddenly ached to get her home.  Coffee, newsprint…

Life.  That’s all.

That was everything.

And there too, perhaps fitting, was her life - all of it, save a pint - intermingled with our past.

No more white left.  Or…hardly.

And god she was limp in my arms.  

But I held her until it was dark, until all the light was gone and she didn’t feel real there anymore.  

Nine pints of blood don’t wash out of your bedclothes.  Or your bed.

Or off your own heart.

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The elder poacher swings out his arm and smacks the younger poacher in the chest. “Whoa there, buddy. We got trouble.”

“What, that?” The younger poacher refers to the sign that his elder partner-in-poaching is looking at. It reads DANGER in large letters, and has a crudely crafted characterization of a crafty, cumbersome, considerably cross creature. “I ain’t afraid o’ no crocodiles.”

“Now see here.” The elder poacher plops his bag down on a slimy stump, turns to his callow counterpart, and points to the awful art of an aggressive, ample, alarmingly adroit, atrocious animal. “That there’s an alligator, and they’re not to be messed with, you hear?”

The younger poacher is busy setting up a rusty leg trap in the soft grass between two large rocks. He’s already disinterested in the conversation; he doesn’t just think he’s right, he knows he’s right.

A soft wind blows past the two men. The wet, salty air of the nearby ocean and the sickly sweet scent of the muddy marshland mixes with the two men’s foul body odours. It creates a cocktail of smells that would make most people wish they had an old boot to strap over their nose, but these two are used to it. Still, the younger one lights a cigarette to act as his own personal incense stick. He throws the match into some foliage. “I’m just sayin’, I could take down one of them big, dumb lugs, gator or no. Like my pappy used to say, ‘they got the bite, but you got the bullets’.”

“Your old man was a fool.” The elderly gentleman snatches the boy’s cigarette and takes a long drag. That chattering child doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and this wise sage is ready to impart his wisdom on him, whether the incredulous little clod likes it or not. He flicks the smouldering tobacco stick into the thick line of trees behind him, then takes two cans of beer from his backpack. He tosses one to his young protégé and opens the other. He takes a big swig before continuing. “Only reason he ended up alligator droppings is because he thought bullets were fool-proof.”

The young poacher chugs his beer, throws the can into the air, pulls out his Glock 18 pistol, and fires away. He misses. The empty can lands in the boggy swamp, safe from the spray of bullets.

“Don’t matter,” the young one says. “I’m quicker’n he was, and there ain’t no alligators ‘round here any none. Salt water.” He raises an eyebrow, taps the end of the gun to his forehead, and smirks. “See? Smarter’n he was, too.”

The elder poacher drops his empty beer can on the ground and starts looking through his backpack. He digs past a stick of dynamite, some deer bait, a canister of tear gas, and the currently empty travel thermos where he keeps gasoline. He mumbles something about cap always being at the bottom as he pulls it out – his lucky otter skin cap. He puts it on and says, “This water’s brackish at worst. Alligators can–”

“Besides,” the young fellow adds, “lookit the maw on that there sign. Definitely V-shaped, y’see? It’s a croc.”

“Let me stop you right there, because even if that were V-shaped, which it’s clearly U-shaped, it doesn’t have enough teeth sticking out. Alligator.”

The young poacher bites his tongue. The stupid old man thinks he’s right, but he’s not. It’s obviously a crocodile. Not that there’s any point in arguing with such a narcissistic prick. He pulls a flare from his soggy bag, lights it, and throws it into the thick row of trees. Green, lush Cedars; vibrant Oaks; beautifully blooming Southern Magnolias. They burst into flames as the gasoline ignites. A wall of flames drives the desperate animals from the safety of their homes. Raccoons scurry, wild turkeys flap their wings as they hobble for shelter, deer and bears race away from the flames. Birds of all kinds fly into the smoky sky. Until they’re murdered in cold blood on a warm day. It’s a hot mess.

The young poacher focuses on the animals on the ground. Raccoons are light and easy to carry, and deer antlers make good trophies. The elder poacher uses his rifle and careful aim to bring down the birds. He doesn’t know a single buyer who doesn’t love a nice stuffed eagle poised over his mantel. Chaos is everywhere as the heat burns. Then, just as quickly as the chaos dies down, so does the fire.

The area is too wet to burn long, especially in this rainy season, and the swamp has prevented the fire from spreading too far. These poachers know what they’re doing. Once the fire is nothing but a cloud of smoke and ash, the poachers set about putting away their tools of war.

Just when the elder one thinks that green, little boy of a man-child has finally shut his stupid trap, he hears him mutter “it’s a crocodile” under his breath.

The elder poacher throws the dead duck he’s examining into the ground. “Damnit, are we still having this damn argument? The damn thing’s an alligator. I’ve damn-well seen alligators. I damn-well know alligators. That damn thing right there on that damn sign, that’s a damn alligator! You damn bullheaded child.”

“Your eyes are failing you, old man! That sign right there–” he kicks a Southern Black Racer into the swamp as it tries to slither by. “–that’s a sign of a crocodile. There’s a big difference. It’s a croc, and I’ll bet my snakeskin boots on it! You ain’t gonna find no gators ‘round here!”

“And you’re damn lucky at that! You’re just asking to be eaten with that tiny little gun of yours.”

“This ‘tiny little gun’ fires off more rounds a second than you could count, you old fart.”

“Which would be dandy if you could hit a damn target with it.”

“I could hit a crocodile from twenty yards with my eyes closed!”

“You couldn’t hit an alligator if it was standing twenty inches in front of your damn face!”

“Well it’s a good thing there ain’t no al-ee-gei-tors ‘round here, then!”

“More alligators than there are croc-oh-diles, fool!”

As the two men squabble while they clean up any poaching gear that could be traced by the authorities back to them, the blood of their deviously dispatched, brutally bullet-riddled prey flows into the swamp. The bickering becomes heated as the water darkens.

“Crocodile!”

“Alligator!”

The argument – an argument that neither of the deeply-distracted, perversely persistent poachers is bound to win – is cut short.

“Another dead deer over here,” says the officer. “Damn poachers. What’d you find over there?”

“Couple of bags, some illegal hunting tools, and a travel thermos that smells like it had gas in it,” says the fireman.

“Since they were in such a hurry to leave, I doubt we’ll find them. Let’s pack it up. The crocodiles can take care of the animal carcasses.”

“I think this is more of an alligator area.”

Across the acres of swampland, next to a half-chewed snakeskin boot and a shredded otter skin cap, a large, carnivorous reptile and its young ones enjoy a delicious meal.

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Today for my psychology course I took a Thematic Apperception Test to learn more about my personality. Participants are shown an ambiguous image and asked to create a story to accompany the image. I may have taken my response a bit further than necessary, or just down a very different road because my scores were very different from the scores of my peers!

Anyways, I’m actually kind of pleased with how this turned out. I don’t have a title for it, but I’ve also attached the image it was based off of below. Enjoy.

————————————————-

“Loretta.”


Loretta Diolio continued her incredibly important work moving specimens of microscopic fungi from one test tube to another. It didn’t matter that Jane, her accomplished and trusting partner, had an urgent and stern tone to her voice. What mattered was that the samples continued moving, the progress of their study continued moving, and Loretta’s mind continued moving.


“Loretta.” Jane called again, this time with a bit more urgency and a sharp note to the third syllable.


Supposing that there wasn’t a more efficient way to continue ignoring her, Loretta replied with an indifferent “Hmm?”


“Are we going to address….” Jane trailed off.


“I’m not certain. Are we going to address whatever it is you failed to finish your statement with? I’m not sure if we will address it. Especially not if you can’t bring yourself to articulate your thoughts.”


Color jumped into Jane’s cheeks with her partner’s critical response.


“There’s no need to snap.” The brunette mumbled as she made herself busy with the manila folder tucked under her arm.


“Then perhaps figure out what it is you wish to discuss, THEN approach me with a subject.” Loretta’s hand trembled slightly with the sudden influx of emotion, adding slight turbulence to the voyage several million spores embarked upon to make it to their new home.


“Are you this cruel to Henry?”


This lunge began the intricate battle. Loretta finished depositing a spore sample in its intended new residence, then placed the pipette tactfully upon the lab table.


“Do you truly believe you have a right to examine my relationship with Henry?” Loretta flexed her hand, examining the trustworthy extension of herself and purposefully ignoring Jane’s longing stare.


“Only in one… distinct area.”


“And what would that area be?”


“Love.” Jane whispered earnestly.


Loretta froze. That single word caught her off guard. She, Loretta Diolio, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, a dominating lioness in the field of academic microbiology, and (as some would call her) a heartless bitch, froze in the middle of the perfectly clean laboratory as if she were a fawn in front of a semi-truck.


“W-what about love?” Her mouth was dry. As dry as a million cotton balls left roasting in the Gobi desert.


“If you love him.” Jane’s lips hardly moved. It was as if they parted for air and simply let out a loose string of syllables and vowels for pleasure. Not communication.


Loretta’s pulse was incessant.


“No.” The word fell from her lips like lead.


“No I don’t.”


Something tugged at the corner of Jane’s lip. It was fast, and almost imperceptible, but it was there. A nymph perhaps. A nymph, fermenting mischief in a time of great sadness.


“Do you love me?”


“Undoubtedly.”

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The Huntress


By law they say she shouldn’t be, she is just a legend. A myth. But here she is fresh from the forest, kill in hand.

When she made her first bow the boys all laughed, “you can’t hunt” they said, until one got hit in the back of the head with a makeshift arrow that flew from a makeshift bow. They changed their tune then, “you can’t hunt with US” was their new motto.

All the better, for they were noisy and dull. She did better on her own. She hunted for small game, aiming for the head, always careful not to wound, just to kill.

She grew stronger, as did her bow. The tension of the string matched the tension of her life. Her handmade clothes matched the green of the moss and the grey of the rocks. She slid through the forest like a breeze, leaving no tracks, and just a whisper of sound to commemorate her passing.

The village she grew up in never full accepted her personally but they never rejected her kills. Fresh meat was hard to come by these days and she always brought more in than the men.

When the empire came to call, looking to bolster the army with fine new recruits the village lost what few young men they had. The elders mourned the boys as soon as they left, knowing if any came home they would not be the same as when they left.

Life continues on however and more young men always come to life. Unfortunately the empire continues its war, destroying the lives of all who it touches.

The huntress is the first to know. Out in her forest she sees the signs of the monster headed towards home. It’s large eyes see much, and it’s sharp claws destroy everything in its path. It is unyielding and persistent, with a hunger that is all consuming.

With the village warned and the elders debating she knows what must be done. Not one for words she merely grabs her bow and pulls up her hood. “Where are you going?” Cries a boy of perhaps 10. With out a second glance she taps her arrow to her head. “It can’t harm us if it’s dead”

The journey is long and the terrain treacherous but she is sure footed and swift. Soon enough she has her eyes upon the beast. The swirling mass of its body is confusing to the eye, but after a while a pattern emerges. The head of the beast is what must be hit, for wounding this beast will do nothing but anger it.

A bow rigged to explode made with materials the beast collected its self is all she needs. One shot. A fireball explosion. Central command taken out in one fatal blow. The body scatters over the next few days, the only thing left is the trail of destruction it had created.

The village rejoices as its young men come home, they are different from before. More cautious. Wiser. Missing pieces of their bodies and souls. One thing remains the same however, “you can’t hunt with us,” they tell her sadly. They no longer have the desire to go out and hunt at all.

It’s ok, she tells them. I hunt better alone.

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