Vacant Hallways

September 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

The soles of her feet planted loosely against the window frame, staring into the dour mantle of nightfall, there was nothing out there save for the ego of the whippoorwill echoing in the otherwise silent night. The moisture of her own self-loathing haunted behind her eyes and she pushed the heels of her hand into the sockets to burn away what threatened to fall.

No tears. No remorse. No want or ache or need.

Maureen was strength. The wicked hours of the day would never wile away her will. Maureen was power. No word beyond her own would control her heart or mind. Maureen was failing. Every passing minute was a minute lost inside her.

She wasn’t sure where those minutes were squandered or how her soul chose to consume them, but she did know the minutes built the hours that terrorized her days. She dropped her hands, leaning her head against the frame. When the night was over, the day would begin. Of course, their headland had collided; the nights were as wicked as the day so whether the hour was light or dark, the murmur of history was no less savage. Maureen simply preferred the night over the light. The silence after sundown made more sense than the silence after sunrise.

Without light, she could rationalize the lack of voices in her life. She could explain away how the phone never rang or how her inbox held no mail. In the day, she told herself the world was busy with the deadlines of life… though she couldn’t quite clarify why minutes could be found for others while none were found for her. The day left holes in her weakened excuse, but the night filled in the holes.

She wasn’t lying to herself. After all, if she asked herself for the whole of the truth she’d be unable to give it. She offered up what answers she could figure and left the rest to soak in the brine.

All the more so, when the ache shot through her like physical electricity, even when her chest closed on itself trying to release its own pressure, she made no sound.

The bedside light clicked to life.

“Maureen? What are you doing?”

She turned towards the bed. Her smile rivaled the painted ear-to-ear of any clown. Her eyes sparkled above the haunting. “Taking in the beauty of the night. I felt so restless.”

“Are you okay?”

“Of course. Always.”

“You’re sure?”

She laughed, slinking from the windowsill to the bed with a kiss that was genuine in its intent. “Goof. How could I not be okay? Look what I have in my bed.”

The smile she received slaughtered her sanity just a little more. “A cat?”

“Yes. A cat. You’re not too bad to have here, either.”

“Hey, hey.”

“Go back to sleep. Rest.”

“Come back to bed, okay?”

“You got it.”

Beneath the blankets, against ethereal skin, Maureen clung to the fabric of her quilt… hoping to keep the seconds tied in time. As long as she could, she would keep the life of that moment alive.

When the sounds of breathing beside her faded she opened her eyes. The whippoorwill echoed on and she shifted on the windowsill. Looking back at the bed, it was as available and unused as it had ever been.

She glanced briefly at her desk. The laptop sat open, her work unfinished. On one side of the desk, the laptop. On the other side, stacks of half used notebooks. In the center, a broken pile of wooden blocks and sticks. All of it neglected and unfinished. All of it wasted.

Jumping from the windowsill, she shot across the room. Scared and enraged by her own mind, she lifted the laptop above her head. She held it there, glaring at the floor; straining between throwing it and breathing herself back to judgment. She sat it gently back to its place. In return for the life of the laptop, she took the life of the notebooks and the unfinished house. The notebooks scattered through the air. Some dropped like stones, others fluttered across the room. The pieces of the house bumped against the far wall, marking the paint and landing with an incredibly unsatisfying thud on the floor.

“What are you doing?”

Maureen turned to the door. “Losing my mind.”

“Why?”

“The world is too silent.”

“Make some noise.”

“I just did.”

“You’re okay.”

“How would you know?”

“Best friends just know.”

“Then where are you?”

There was no answer. She hadn’t expected one.

When she was a kid, she would dream about standing in the hallways of school. Her body had been lead, paralyzed to movement but alive with sensation. She’d scream for help, the scream nothing more than a soundless opening of her mouth, but no answer would come. The hallway mocked her fear by filling it with other children. They’d stand near and around, jeering. Laughing with the cruelty only a dream can amplify. The teachers would pass by and offer their own slurring tokens. Unable to scream or speak, incapable of moving or running, she would sometimes will her body into motion. Weighted with whatever invisible encumbrance bearing down on her, she’d slip away centimeters at a time.

She wasn’t sitting in the hallways of schools. Nor was she incapable of speech, but she knew that silence in her world all the same. It was a different weight, but it immobilized her just the same.

The dreams she bore then were walking, talking apparitions out to remind her again how fallow her hallways were. Maybe not even fallow, as that may have suggested the hope for use. Maybe just abandoned.

Her own desolation rocketed through her body again. Her hand twitched and her face struggled with vacuity. If she sobbed, no one would see. If she roared aloud, her embarrassment would remain a secret. She could give in and give up. The house would seal her in; keep her fastened from the eyes of any other. Just a little whimper wouldn’t be heard by one ear but her own. Still, she made not a sound as she returned to the window. Her mind ticked on as the winds blew through the vacant hallways of her life.

Summer’s End

August 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

She’s hurried and she’s angry, the walkway is filled with grass and the air with waning heat. Summer will close soon and fall will come sliding in only to be overpowered by winter. Yes, she’s hurried and she’s angry without hours to pass in leisure. Of course, if she thought about it, she would shrug away the hours that may have been; knowing those hours would waste in ignominy.

What good could she do with a few hours when so many more rule? The summer has been fretful, wringing at its hands and shivering beneath its own heat. It seems to recall every moment she has so desperately tried to forget throughout every summer passed. The summer has lain in the misery of known perversions and lasting remorse. The hours have laughed at their own violent length and promised to grow with every passing thought — leaving the seconds silent without another to comfort the minutes.

She, Dana, pauses beneath the bus sign and glances down the street. Watching the bus approach she decides the last moment should be walked — yes, walked with the same obscurity as the life has been lived.

Ignoring the others at the stop, she slips through the small crowd and into the darkness of the alley. Summer will be ended soon. How she hated the impending threat of winter that fall sloshed about like some drunken tit at the all night bar.

She shivers at scarcely the thought and curses mildly beneath her breath. Still hurried and still angry, she cuts through another alley and across the street. She hears her name, but ignores the sound in favor of deafness. Footsteps follow her, as does the call to her name. Quickening as fast as she possibly can, without sprinting into a jog, she bends herself into another alley.

“Dana, stop!”

She spins then. Suspends in spot and glares into the light end of the alley. “If you had thought I heard you and I continued to move forward, why must you insist on forcing me to slow and stop? The obvious answer was glaringly bright and you chose to ignore it. Why is that choice made? The choice to ignore the needs or desires I harbor and hate but keep? Why must I be a blindness to the will of any other?”

“Dana, are you well?”

“I’m as well as I can be; now do me the courtesy of standing still as I go on my way. I’m not interested… not in chat, not in laughter. I’m not interested in the paltry speak of habitual life and I would much rather reach my destination in timely fashion than pause to giddy about with you or any other.”

Does it matter who calls to her? Possibly. It may slow her pace and lift her mood, but she’ll not pause to ascertain the outline or diagnose the voice. She’s hurried and she’s angry. Dana has a broken clock, a fractured wall, and while spring may usher in the year for the world, fall ushers in the death of comfort for Dana. Though she has weeks, the hours are whiling away. The end of summer will always be the end of a year for her and this summer, especially hateful, bores in scars almost physically.

So she turns. Her feet carry her away and the body behind stands still in hush. A new ache has been born while an old one continues.

The alleys wind one after the next, eventually they’ll lead to the edge of the city and she will follow the curve of the land into the darkness of nightfall and the cover of forestry. She’ll follow the land until she has nowhere further to walk. From there she will dive and she will fly until gravity pulls her down. For a moment, just a moment, she will have nothing weighing on her soul; still, like all things, when the weight is lifted it will return with a spiteful agenda. Dana will fall.

Devil’s Rain

June 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

“What grace befalls the wicked.  The sting and distress that plague the righteous should inhibit the deeds of the depraved, but seek civility to wound and destroy.  Ever in quest to sodomize what little virtue is left in the world.  Ever in the hunt.”

“What grace befalls the wicked?  This grace that befalls the wicked is the avariciousness that beckons you in the night.  That sting and distress, upon which chooses to pass over charged wickedness, is what feeds the rage in your over polluted gut.  That soothes the temper of thirst on your faithless tongue.”

“Is this to propose I survive in the hands of the Devil’s Rain?  That the mere existence I live is complete by sheer avidity?”

“Certainly not.  It is implied, if not spoken, Devil’s Rain is exclusively the dwelling’s crown and your existence is whole by lust for its worldly molestation.  Wickedness is the broth in which the sanctimonious stew.  Wickedness does not make the soul; it is made of the soul.”

“To call to mind that I, of all sincere evils on Earth, am a feasible ingredient in the atrocious consommé of impiety — it’s preposterous.”

“A man of faith cannot plummet?”

“A man of faith can shatter.  A man of God is indissoluble.”

“Are you a man of faith or a man of God, Amadeus?”  Setting herself directly before Amadeus, Darcy stretched her legs with a purr.  Breaking him was of little interest, but shaking him could prove to be exceedingly entertaining.  His eyes darted from her stretch to the walls.  Fear nuzzled him, eliciting another purr from deep within her throat.  Without intent, she leaned in closer; he was a meal ticket to a higher calling.  “No answer rests within?”

“Why ask?”

“Why allude?” she coiled her arm around his neck, her breath brushing his ear.  “Are you of faith or God, Amadeus?”

“Of God.”

“Indeed.”

“Indeed?”

“Only a man of God would warm his soul in the house of Satin.”

The shove was abrupt, unexpected.  Unprepared she fell backwards to the chair as he rose in a fit, “Walls are but that and a woman is less.  Whatever the name, Satin sits in the bowels of Hell and no herald will have me mount the occasion — nor the courier.  Do you think I’m a fool?”

“You and your parishioners feast with transgression’s capital.  A surreptitious indulgence in the capital that sin has earned scampers, almost feral, in Jehovah’s Rain.  Growth is unmistakable.  Wider, but never wiser.  Do I think you foolish?  Scarcely.  Mad and morally comatose, unquestionably.”

“We accept no investment from Devil’s Rain.”

“Fittingly puzzled,” another maddening purr rose.  Was she cat or woman?  “A flagrant wool of perplexity canvassing those miserable eyes, my heart should break had I one to wound.  Come.”

Hesitancy was not quite what he felt as he watched her stalk from the room.  Desperately he tried to remember where he entered so that he might exit.  No more did he believe in Satin dwelling in a house than he reasoned ghosts settle in an attic.  It was the man, or woman, who chose to follow the paths of evil.  With free will, all were liberated to select their path and none could be forced to partake in the worst of habits.

Nonetheless, he feared for his faith, for his sanity, as he watched her sweep from the room. Even the innocent, unobtrusive beckoning of ‘come’ had been sinister, as if there were something far greater than evil waiting in the rooms beyond.

“You asked I come once and you have had my audience.  I now ask for an exit.  I have greater peoples of interest than that waiting here.”

She paused, a sudden turn, “Do the exterior resonances of the interior affliction clatter for faith?”

“For sanity — for sanity alone.”

“Wicked inventions command depraved declines. Come.”

Twist after turn through a hallway of rooms, Amadeus shivered against the sounds and sights. The gnashing of tongue, the floundering of uniform pulp, was too much. The endless twining of quay and ship; the spun-out, meaty fingers with dexterous grips; and the undemanding membership to madcap headship offended him inwardly as far as inwardly could go.

“Tell.” Darcy stopped, opening the only closed door. “The right-hands caught left-hand; households but ordinary lushes underneath a shrewdly cloaked, covetous mask.”

“No.”

“Denial?”

“Refusal. This is Devil’s Rain. No name or quarrel beyond will satisfy me otherwise.”

Pushed into the room, he shielded his eyes from his father’s room, and felt himself tugged away through another door. Door after room, discretion after debauchery, Amadeus shielded his face and swallowed his conviction.

“Sisters. Brothers. Mates. Lovers. All men of God, beings of credence and verity.”

“Conclude! For the love of God, I solicit a conclusion, close this program of persecution.”

“Query over what grace befalls the wicked. Claim as you desire the wicked sodomize the virtuous, but first show me the righteous not a partaking mischief. Arrange this populace at my feet! Prove to me depravity seeks to mutilate and rescind morality without, first, consent from the principled.”

“No.”

“Alight, or collapse, from that lofty steed, Amadeus.”

Crumpled against a wall, his face buried in his hands, Amadeus whimpered and wept. “I am damned by these sights. Fingered and spoilt.”

“We are spoilt purely by a visionless and canopy fealty to truth as a solo faction. Wickedness is unearthed in deeds that buckle or maim the substance of the guiltless. Autonomy and inclination are no fouler than the gasp life first gives.”

Taking Turns

June 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

The sun sat atop the world, heating the atmosphere, as if there were nothing in all the universe more important than the sweat of the people below it. Barely sunrise and even stones were sweating. Eric shivered despite the heat as he lay curled up behind the boxes in his closet. In the outer room, he could hear someone call out softly. Another shiver.

“Come on, buddy, come on out. I got your wife all tied up and she’s still breathing. If you don’t come out, I’ll take that hiccupping last breath all for myself and I will savor every second of her strangled gasp.”

Eric curled tighter and hissed. “Go away. Please, go away.”

“Where are you, dear? Come out, come out, come out. Your lovely woman will struggle, kicking to catch air. She will scream until her throat is raw. Every muscle in her body will eventually relax and she will shit on the floor. Her piss will trickle down the linoleum and under the fridge. Her last thought will concentrate not on her death alone, but couple itself with you hiding away while she’s savagely murdered in her own home.”

“Leave her alone!” Eric stumbled, not burst, from the closet. His scream was a strangled cry. He cowered at the door. None of that mattered, though. He was out and he wouldn’t let his wife die because he was afraid. He was more afraid when he saw the man leaning against the wall staring at the closet.

“I knew you’d come out of there eventually, poule mouillée.”

“Don’t hurt her.”

“Poule mouillée, don’t you remember? Your beautiful bride isn’t home. She’s not even in town. Tsk. Garçon crédule.”

“I… go… go aw…” Eric cleared his throat, straightening his back. He was exposed, but he’d try his best not piss all over himself. “Go home. Get out and go home or to the bar or whorehouse. Wherever people like you go.”

“Suddenly brave is the death of cowards, Eric.”

Eric’s head twitched, he tried to keep it still, but when nervous it had a mind of its own. He stepped sideways, closer to the bed, and steadied himself on his feet. The man looked familiar, maybe someone he’d worked with — or cuckolded — in the past.

Somewhere. He had seen that face somewhere. The news? Had it been the news? Eric thought maybe it might have been a news report. Was he a loan thug? If so, that would have been excellent. He could just pull the money from the safe — every dime in there if he had to — and give it away. Money for health. It was a good deal.

“Blaise. You’re standing there trying to figure out if you know me and I can see that on your weasel little face, poule mouillée. My name is Blaise Parizeau.”

“I… don’t. I mean, if you want money. I mean, if you’ve come to collect what I owe, I can give it to you right now. All of it and then-some.”

Walking slowly, glaring, Blaise moved across the room. Stalking Eric openly was gratifying. Much like watching the worst of the world slowly melt into fear. He stopped toe-to-toe with Eric who was taken by the unexpected backhand.

“If I wanted your money, I’d have it already.”

Crumpled against the wall, Eric glared back. “What do you want?”

“Don’t worry. This won’t take long. We’re waiting on a phone call.”

Blaise left the room. After ten minutes, when he didn’t return Eric grabbed his cell and dialed. The first call was to the police. They promised to send officers. He hung up. The second call was to his wife.

He saw it light up on the nightstand before he heard it ring. His heart sunk as he hit end. Blaise laughed from the doorway.

“Where is she?”

“How would I know? I’m not a travel agent. You’re her husband; you should know where she is.”

“Just tell me… where is she?”

“Like I said.” Blaise darkened, settling on the edge of the bed. “Besides, my interest is in your misery, not hers.”

“The police are on their way.”

“Eric, poule mouillée, if someone is in your house threatening you misery, you should not tell them you have backup on the way. What kind of ignorant connasse are you?”

“I’m giving you the chance to run while you can.”

“Now I’m going to have to slaughter you where you stand.” Eric’s face fell and he slumped back against the wall. Blaise erupted in laughter. “You have no idea what I’m going to do. Will I rob you? Am I some kind of lunatic out for death? You’re so screwed right now.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’m not surprised you don’t remember me. We’ve not formally met, but you did slaughter my sister.”

“What? No. No, you’ve got the wrong guy. I’ve never killed anyone ever. Not even accidently.”

“Do you remember the Austin experiment?”

“Austin?”

“Yeah, that’s right. This isn’t about your loans. This isn’t about you stealing your wife away from Rick. This isn’t about anything but your experiments — the things you think will change the world.”

“My experiments will change the world.”

“They will. They have. They changed my world, didn’t they.”

“I don’t understand.”

Blaise shot off the bed, slamming himself against Eric and the wall. “She came to you. She told you the effects were causing her pain and discomfort. You told her it was perfectly natural.”

“Mich… Michelle?” Eric remembered Michelle well. She had made numerous reports. She kept a family photo in her room — he remembered staring at that picture while Michelle explained her symptoms. That’s where he had seen Blaise. “Your sister was Michelle.”

“Yes. Yes, Michelle. How many times did she come to you? Ten, twenty?”

“The effects were natural. Her body was adjusting the hormones, to the shift in form.”

“Her body was adjusting… she internally exploded, abruti!”

“No, she left the program four months in. She just walked out in the middle of a test and never came back. She never picked up her paycheck, either.”

“She couldn’t pick it up. She was laying on her bedroom floor bleeding to death.”

“I… I didn’t know…”

Eric squirmed away from Blaise, dodging into the bathroom. He locked the door and sat in the tub. He could hear Blaise swearing through the door.

“Of course you didn’t know, Eric. You wouldn’t listen. She called me the day she walked out. I told her to get the hell out of there and go to the hospital. She couldn’t make it to the hospital, the apartment was closer. She laid down and called for an ambulance. Then she called me. You didn’t know because you didn’t care. You couldn’t possibly be wrong — people could be more than people and now she’s dead.”

Eric curled up in the tub, waiting for the sirens.

“Go away, Blaise. I didn’t kill your sister!”

“Eric, the police aren’t coming.” He opened the bathroom door. “Helps if you lock it, poule mouillée. I intercepted your call. Where do you think I went? The fastest way to get someone to stop struggling is to make them believe they have help. You don’t have anyone to save you.”

“You’re going to kill me.”

“I’m not. I’m leaving as soon as you get your call.”

“What call?”

“Remember? I said it won’t take long. We’re just waiting on a call. I’ll be downstairs until the call comes.”

Eric sat in the tub waiting. Staring at the wall, wishing he could call his wife — needing her comfort and security. She was stronger, more resilient to life. He was good with science and nothing else.

He could feel the urine soak into his pajamas and run down his legs. He knew he was going to die. Whoever found him would just think it was the end of life, not fear, when they saw his condition.

He waited and the minutes ticked away. Finally, his cell rang and he rushed to answer it. “Rissa?”

“May I speak with Mr. Eric Torvalds?”

“Speaking.” He tried desperately to keep away the quiver, but as the officer went on, he could feel every part of his body shake. When the officer finally said the final words, confirmed she was dead, Eric dropped the phone and charged through the house. As he rounded the hallway corner into the living room he felt a sudden burning in his gut and Blaise staring him in the eye.

“I lied, but you understand lying to get your way. Don’t you, Eric?” Blaise twisted the knife and pushed harder. “Marissa was pregnant, too.”

Shadows Can’t Hurt

April 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

His eyes were glued to the set. Later, when they asked him what he had seen, he perked up and rambled on about Timber. That damned dogesque goof with the annoyingly high pitch, unbelievably optimistic voice. He went on about the plot, such as it was. When they asked him what he had heard he brightened even more.

“Hot dog! Hot dog!” he cried as gleeful as one might expect.

When they left the room, when he was alone in the silence, he listened to the sounds of the day fight for room in his head. He watched the shadows of his home struggle on the concrete walls in front of him. His father’s shadow made the most noise, falling through a table and pleading for his son’s life.

His mother’s shadow sat quietly. The shadow waited for the gag to go away. He kept his eyes as much on the screen as he could. If he didn’t look, it didn’t happen.

“God, please, please, don’t hurt us. Don’t hurt my boy.” That was his father.

His father screamed the most. His father cried the most. When it was his mother’s turn, her shadow straightened against the wall.

“Take what you must and go.” The acrid sensation in her low demand had chilled him and the strange shadow. “Touch my boy and no amount of death will stop me from taking you with us.”

The shadow had laughed. He had laughed, but the laugh had shaken with imbalance.

Timber danced across the screen. Then his mother screamed, too. He sat waiting, eyes glued to the set, waiting for his turn. The front door shut.

In the silence, he closed his eyes and remembered his mother telling him in the long nights that shadows just can’t hurt people. “Hot dog. Hot dog.”

Heartbroken

February 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

One of my siblings had an assignment for English class way back in 1997 and being kids, I said, “I’ll write it for you!” So I wrote this.

“Ssshhh, baby, Momma’s come home. I’ll always be here when you need me. Never will I ever hurt you on purpose. I swear it. You are my life.”

The young mother held her baby tight and sighed. When the child fell asleep she laid her in the crib and poured herself a drink. Hesitation grabbed her as she brought the drink to her lips. Ah well, a couple drinks a night couldn’t hurt. Over the next six years the mother cradled, spoiled, and loved the child through out the days and partied through out the nights.

The child never seemed to mind, but on the inside she was dying. It broke her heart that her mother never tucked her in. It was always the baby-sitter who did. It hurt her to see her mother so sick every morning. So every night she’d watch silently as her mother walked out the door. There was nothing she could do and she knew it. But she knew her mother would always be there when she really needed her. She believed that with all her heart.

Until one night she was feeling sick. Her fever was high and her vision blurred. She cried out for her mother, “Momma, please, don’t go! Momma, please. Please, Momma, stay!”

And her mother whispered softly in her ear. “I will, baby.”

And she did until the draw of whiskey tore her away. Her child cried out in pain and desperation. “Stay with me! Please, I don’t feel good and I need you here! Mommy, please!”

The mother wrestled quickly with the pull of fun and the true responsibility of her daughter. Shamefully the fun had won and she called the baby-sitter. Her little girl cried as she left.

The cries echoed through her head as she sat at the bar. Finally, the guilt and fear took her home. The baby-sitter was on the phone. An ambulance was on the way. She saw her baby laying on the couch and burst into tears.

“She was so sick, how could I leave her?” she wailed in terror. The baby-sitter shook her head and looked toward the couch. The dying child made no sound. She let a tear of pity and sorrow slide down her cheek, then looked to the mother.

“This is no sickness that’s taking her life, but heartbreak.”

The saddened mother looked to her kid and knelt beside her. Taking her into her arms she let the tears fall to her daughter’s delicate cheeks.

Her heart was broken and when she opened her eyes it was only to smile, take one last breath, and kiss her mother on the jaw.

“Please, baby, stay with me. It’ll be alright.”

“Mommy? You came back!”

She looked on in terror as her only link to life took one last, shuddering breath. She let out a howling scream of anger at herself and clutched her baby tight.

Your Voice Echoes

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Then you hear, “Love always, from me” and the voice that echoes the memory is your own. You know then – the sound of loneliness ricocheting off the blocks of time, piercing the already shattered truth you so desperately pin beneath your mental palm. It’s a vision of isolation, the last of forever fading into the background. Tomorrow will be tomorrow, not a chance for salvation.

“God speed!” you cry. “God speed the end. God bless the final night.”

The days wear on… obstinate… mocking. What can you do. The choices are few – to stay, to quit. Just those two. No matter how many nights your lungs feel as if they might collapse, how tight your chest constricts, or the speed of your racing heart change belongs to all others and all else belongs to you.

The telephone’s ringing. It’ll be a savior calling to say… calling you… how they’ve missed you so. The world was a lonely place without your heart, how life can’t move on without your hand to hold – without your shoulder to lean.

“Hello?”

The silence is more than you deserve. It seems once upon a time, even when no one was there, the sound of the dial tone could keep you in miserable company. Now the silence on the other end serves as a reminder – there’s an emptiness in your life you’ll never fill.

You’re all grown up, a lifetime spent and lost.

Steady your hand, rest your mind. Hang up the phone, there’s death on the line. Goodnight my fellow Shade. Goodbye to the forgotten – to what you were meant to be.

The days wear on… obstinate… mocking. What can you do. The choices are few – to stay, to quit. The reality is intense, sometimes it seems the gods can hear your cries. Load the car and drive, stop where the gas stops. Live where the car dies. The days are creeping through the years and your life is a bitter-sweet regret.

Not Anymore

January 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve forgotten just how long it has been. I couldn’t tell you what day you left or which year I stopped crying. I haven’t lain in bed or walked our old routes in who knows how long. I can say your name and I can remember your smile.

I remember without total regret. I can laugh without that bitter hurt. I can talk to others without looking back – without swearing hate over remorse. I can laugh at your habits and grin about your quirks. When someone asks, I can admit what went wrong and I can finally lay some blame at your door. I don’t notice when no one asks about you. I don’t quit the day when someone does.

I touch your things you left behind and your ghost stays with you. I’ve thrown out gifts I never had the chance to send to you. I haven’t bought more. There’s no more poetry and I don’t sing to your memory.

I stopped dialing your number and I don’t stare at your empty chat box. I no longer write emails and letters – I’ve deleted the drafts and burned the copies.

No one waits for my breakdown and no one waits for my sorrow. I’m free to just live and dream without you. I don’t write your character and I don’t sleep to dream. Not anymore. No.

The only thing I can’t do – let go.

Accept The Hate

January 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been alone without friends. I’ve been alone in a crowded room. I’ve been alone with friends — with family, too. I’ve been alone in the night, driving the highways, walking the forests, and waking day after day.

I have not, however, been alone amongst the dead. Their silence echoes my own; unheard and unnoticed. People walk by with one of two reactions. With eyes locked tightly in another direction used to be common. Now the more likely reaction is to stare at the headstones with awe and fascination but still afraid.

People look at me, or don’t look at me, the same way. Not everyone, mind you, but enough I think I may actually be dead and walking. Now wouldn’t that be something? Dead and walking.

I wonder, from time-to-time, if I have this scent… a pheromone I admit that causes people to move away and look away. It’s never moving to think about how often I’m avoided or ignored.

Even when I share without a face or name I go unnoticed. If I’m another person altogether I still disappear into a mist of obscurity. I’m afraid I’m invisible to all except those who know how to hurt so thoroughly. Man or woman, they all flock to me and I accept them with a vile naivety.

Tonight, I feel sorry for myself. I feel bad I will likely never know what it’s like to be safe. I feel worse that I can’t quite explain to the world—.

Christ, enough!

It just takes a little work and a little magic. They listen then. They don’t turn away. They’re too afraid to turn away when I work my magic. A little blood. A little death.

I’m sick, but I know this. I hate the world for hating me. I like to kill people for killing me. I just like death. I’ve been dead long enough that it eventually grew on me.

What I am I don’t really know. I don’t eat flesh and I can’t walk through walls. I don’t fly through the night or feed on blood. I can’t transform to a furry beast or suck the life out of someone at will.

All I know is I trusted some friends. I let them lead me to the wrong part of the city. I let them run away. I just stood there and never fought back when the others came at me.

I didn’t even cry out for them to stop. I just watched myself die. I just accepted the hate.

If there are others like me, they don’t come near. If there are beasts or dead walking about, I don’t know them. I’m alone in death as in life. Except now, I don’t just accept the hate.

 

Day 7 – 365 Stories

Gone, Daddy, Gone

January 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

It was like waking under a cold rain. Every part of her body was shivering, dripping with sweat as icy as a breaking fever. It took a moment, but she finally found her bearings as she slid her back up the wall to sit. A sordid laugh slipped past the nauseating lump in her throat.

She could hear music through the walls. The same distasteful blast of antagonistic rubbish she heard day in and day out bleeding through her apartment walls. At that moment, she would have given anything to be home banging on Stephen’s door. She would have given anything if he would just open the door with that smug, duplicitous gaze plastered across his face.

Hate was a strong word, but still not enough to accurately convey the contempt that welled up inside her every single time she saw him — or even thought of him. The way he stared at her, as if waiting for his Godly sacrifice, made her want to punt his teeth down his throat. He walked as if showcasing the greatest art to ever been exhibited for the world. God, she hated him.

God, she missed him.

Mixed with the music, she could hear sounds of thumping. Someone was on the other side of the wall. Stiffening, she listened intently, trying to hear a voice over the music. Note after note drowned out any voice that may have been calling out. She relaxed, her head thumping the wall when she dropped it back. What did it matter. If there was a voice to accompany the thump, then it was certainly in no better a position than she.

How long she had been there wasn’t exactly clear. The books and movies, indeed, weren’t exaggerating the loss of time when boxed in tight and trapped. It could have been an hour — it could have been a day. She wasn’t as hungry as she had been earlier, so she guessed she’d been there much longer than she could possibly be comfortable knowing.

She did, however, take comfort in knowing that it wasn’t complete darkness. Her eyes had adjusted some time before. While she couldn’t see every detail, she could see a rise of shadowed objects near five feet in front of her. She couldn’t remember how she got there… wherever there happened to be.

Daring to unwrap her arm from her stomach and lift her hand from her side, she also couldn’t remember how the gash came to be or who had done it. Everything from the moment she had climbed from her car to waking up curled up on that damp, wooden floor was no more than a black memory. In fact, she would have been almost willing to insist she had stepped from her car and landed there on the floor unconscious.

The music ended, shut off somewhere outside the walls and a voice rose to take its place. There had been a voice with the thumping. It sounded agonized, pitiable, but nowhere near coherent. The thumping continued along side the babbling. Her heart sank despite her earlier convictions whatever voice was trapped with the thumping wouldn’t serve her any assistance.

She needed a distraction. She willed herself to think of Stephen. A little bit of rage might have done her well. Of course, he eluded her thoughts and they returned time-and-again to soak up the dejected grievances of her somewhere-neighbor. The voice shrieked unexpectedly, crying out unexpectedly for its father.

Her thoughts turned, instead, to her mother. Her mother had a way of sinking her teeth into the heart of the matter. A few days before, she had warned against confronting a male neighbor with an ego the size of Stephen’s. She had advised purchasing mace and a hand gun. Her mother had made many suggestions over the years to keep her safe, but she hadn’t listened. What would happen would happen. That’s how she felt about most of life.

There are no safety procedures less paranoid than the ones that go unheeded in a moment of terror.

She nodded at her mother’s words echoing bullets through her head.

“I’m sorry. I should have listened.”

It was then, only then, she felt a nibble at her memory. A powerful set of arms had wrapped themselves around her waist, hoisting her into a van after targeting a blow to her head. She had drifted, in and out, the whole ride. The driver had whistled. Then sobbed. Then whistled again.

“I know no dreams like the dreams my baby realized,” she whispered her father’s lullaby.

No.

Her eyes closed and from the back of the van she watched the shocks of red bounce in the driver’s seat. Plastered behind the pain and blurred vision, she reached out to touch her best friend in childhood — Donald Doochuck. He was the polka-dot-and-stripes, stuffed elephant she had shoved into her father’s hands when he’d walked out.

She had been certain DD would bring her daddy back in only a few days. That few days melted into a few weeks. Those few weeks lasted years before she had finally given up. Her mother had been right about her father, too.

Rumor was he was lost somewhere in the Southwest with cops searching every tumbleweed and cactus. She wondered if the police had any idea he had fled and come home.

He had a taste for mortality and had left a few shaken and disturbed bodies buried in the basement of their old home. He had been a sick man. A man lost in his own wicked and powerful lusts. However, he had come back. To kill her, it did seem, but if he had come back once he would be back again to finish.

A sigh escaped and she relaxed. He would be back. All she needed do was wait. Even senseless fools rounding the bend would come looking for forgiveness… or closure.

Lying there she cried. She cried for the pain and for the fear. She cried for her mother and she hated for her, too. Most of all, she cried because she didn’t know if her mother was still alright. What if that idiotic babbling of the somewhere-neighbor belonged to her mother?

It had better not. Her tears dried rapidly and she stared the door down. Willing it to open. Willing him to step through. Gashed and bleeding or not, she would run him through with whatever he brought with him. She willed the door harder, daring him to enter.

An eternity later, it swung open. Shocks of red hair, cut wild and short, blew in the gust of the door. Her heart tripled speed then stopped — starting again as she gagged on the stench that blew through the door.

She stared, unable to move. Unable to breathe.

“Momma?”

Day 6 – 365 Stories

Where Am I?

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