Unexpected Consequences

by Mahlatsi
(South Africa)

The garage door opened and Sherry could not help but look straight ahead. There was that busy body neighbour Mr. Kells. She hoped he would continue watering his garden and not look in her direction. She chose the wrong day to park the car in the driveway. The only way now to load this lifeless body into the boot of the car would have to be by reversing the car all the way to the garage door. She could not risk Mr. Kells seeing her struggling to carry the heavy trash bag and offering to help.
She closed the door. “How are you Sherry? Here is a package that arrived earlier today for you.” She nearly jumped out of her skin as she turned to face her neighbour. “Oh dear Mr Kells, you startled me.” She managed to recover. “I apologise ma’am. I thought you saw me walk over here. The delivery guy is my nephew and he wanted to make sure that you received this package. Where is Jim?” he was saying with a smile. “Jim is inside.” She replied quickly without thinking. “He promised to show me the garage once he was done remodelling. I have to start on mine and I need ideas.” Mr Kells was saying as he reached for the garage door to open it. “NO. STOP. Stop!” She panicked and jumped in front of Mr Kells to stop him. “I was on my way out. Uhm, Jim is not feeling well. I am rushing to the pharmacy to get him medication. I guess you’ll come back later then.” She managed a smile as she gently pushed Mr Kells away from the garage door back to the driveway. She got into the car to drive away while watching Mr Kells walk back to his house.

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The Mysterious Aspen Garden

by Danika

“I don’t feel guilty”.
This is where I don’t understand. No guilt. No feelings. No sympathy?
The yellow leaves crunched with everything step I took as I walked before her. “Why did you bring us here?” I asked with an edge of hostility, an element of speech that I never thought I would use here.
“Why wouldn’t I bring us here? We always talk here,” she snapped.
“You brought us to the place where we first met. I can’t decide if it’s an offense or just plain madness.”
She made a tisk-ing noise. “No need. You can’t admit it, you still love me.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but knew that I would only end up lying. I did love her, that much was true. I loved the girl I met first, not this one. I believe there’s hope that she’s still there. The girl I met before everything happened.
I refused to reminisce on memories that may never be renewed again. I looked up at the trees. Aspens.
Fall was always Kat’s favorite season. The aspens always had the brightest leaves; a beautiful golden yellow, as if a wildfire of life breathed through the garden.
The garden had become a symbol of what I thought Kat and I had. A thing of beauty and power. How I wish I could still fall back that easily.
I remember the way Kat used to smile; the good kind of smile, not the sick, twisted kind.
She may not feel guilty, but I do. Everything’s my fault, and I’m willing to accept that. However, accepting is only the easy part. Taking action, I find, is more difficult.
I need to find out what happened.
What happened, what happened…?

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The Invisible Me

by David Paul

It was Halloween, and my Methodist Youth Fellowship group was having a party, and I had a great idea for a costume. I would go as The Invisible Man. I tore up some old bedsheets and wrapped the pieces around my face, completely covering all visible flesh. I put on a pair of sunglasses and a fedora hat, turned up the collar of my mackinaw jacket and headed out to the party.

My clever disguise turned out to be much more effective than I’d expected and actually scared the hell out of some of the party goers. Some of them thought I was a masked bandit, and might even have a gun. One girl wanted to call the police, and Pam Duncan screamed so loud that the wax in my ears vibrated.

I quickly removed my disguise. It was too damned hot under the sheets anyhow.

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Rage Against The Machine

by Michael Michalski
(Grand Rapids, MI)

The mask was the only barrier keeping him from leaving the dreadful room filled with soulless machinery. If he could detach it from his face, then he would be unshackled from his chains. However, there was the risk of death if he were to remove it. The mask was his life line, the only thing keeping him from meeting the reaper and ascending to the next life. He would have to make the choice: suffer social isolation and live like a machine or challenge death to see if
his life was precious enough to preserve it.
The many months of laying in bed had taken its toll on Mitch's physical health. Summoning all the strength remaining in his body, he ripped the cables off from underneath the mask and trusted himself out of the bed. Life support was disabled, and simultaneously, various alarms went off alerting the building of his escape. He turned
toward where Ashley stood, and noticed that she had vanished. “Had she been an illusion
the entire time?”, he thought. “No, she was real. The alarms probably scared her off.” Looking into the mirror, placed by the side of his bed, he gazed at the dreadful mask that was a harbinger of his failure of a new life. Placing both his hands on the sides of his face, he began to slowly remove the mask from his face. Taking a few short breaths, he counted to ten to easy the pain of discarding the hardware from his cheeks.
Once his mouth was liberated from the mask, he stared into the same mirror examining his face and smiled. He threw the mask out the window, shattering its glass into millions of fragments, falling to the ground below. No longer was his life in the hands of machines.

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Tick, Tock

by Jamie Surles
(United States)

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
That’s what the Clock Man heard all day. And night. While he slept. While he ate. While he took a piss.
Tick, tock.
The Clock Man didn’t want to hear it anymore. He was being driven mad by the constant
Tick, tock.
He was surrounded. All their faces and hands and numbers surrounded him. They were on the walls. His tie had clocks on it. His socks. His undies. Clocks were everywhere!
Tick, tock.
But how could he escape? He was, after all, the Clock Man. Clocks were what he did. What he has always done. What he would always do. Just like his father before him. And his grandfather before him. And his grandfather’s father before him. And on and on and on all the way up to the Great Rebirth. When the Council chose everyone’s occupation and station and status and their sons were to have the same occupation and station and status and their sons and their son’s sons and on and on all the way down to the current Clock Man.
He supposed he could have it worse. He could be a Street Sweeper. Or a Grave Digger.
Tick, tock.
Perhaps being a Grave Digger would be better than this though… Maybe then he wouldn’t hear
Tick, tock
All day.
But still. If he had his choice, he would be an Inventing Man. Oh, how he loved to invent things! That was his favorite part of being Clock Man, all the parts that made up the clock were great for playing around to see what he could do with them. He had already made so many little toys with them! He wished he could make more serious things with them…
Tick, tock.
What he really wanted to do though, was build a time machine...

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The Present

by Gabe Rogovin
(Waban, MA)

The big present was wrapped in shiny gold paper. I rushed into my house with it. "Where did you get that?" my mother asked.

"Fred gave it to me," I lied. Mom didn't know, it was from Fred, but he didn't give it to me. Truth is, I stole it. I guess mom was getting real suspicious knowing Fred would probably never want to give me something. (Oh rats. Now that you think about it, I should have said Bob.)

Mom said it was bed time but it was only 7:30. But I was playing it smart. Mom probably sent me to bed early so that she could play detective and find out about the box. When I said I was brushing my teeth I put the box under my pillow. It was big. My pillow felt like a rock.

I couldn't sleep that night. Not because of my rock hard pillow, but because I was ashamed. I did the wrong thing. Fred probably knows I stole it. I may have gotten a present but I lost a friend.

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Faith, Hope and Love

by Tami Hummel
(Fort Worth, Texas)

She cried as she sat on the cot in the shelter. How did this happen? She asked herself. One day she was shopping with her friends, the next day she was here. Her name was Faith, but ironically she had lost all her faith-in God, her parents, and anyone else she ever loved. She was seventeen now, sixteen when she met Jimmy, the boy who changed her life forever. She felt so alone and scared now. She had no money, no job, no home. She looked out the window and saw a limousine drive past. No prom for me tonight. But then, as she gazed down at the innocent eyes of her baby, a thought came to her that made her smile through her tears. My daughter Hope is all I really need.

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How the World Began

by lorna stevenson
(edinburgh )

Some people believe in evolution or the big bang but I know better, I know the world began with five girls and a boy they loved to play tig, they each had amazing powers helping to win the game. Julia would use her power of light to blind the others and tig them. Nicola would put them into darkness. Jacob (the boy) would trap them in earth. Amy would trap them in walls of fire. Crystal would fly over their heads and Lily the youngest would make pools and swim to them.

Nicola was easily bored and after playing the game so many times she decided to trick everyone to thinking someone else was 'it' then when thay were all in a circle they fired their powers into the centre, aiming at each other.

The force created a huge explosion which created the world. Amy had made the earths warm core, Jacob made the earths crust, Crystal made the air, Lily made the seas and Nicola and Julia made day and night.

They also each had their own planets too. Julia had venus and it still shines in the night. Jacob had mars with its thick earth. Amy had the sun with all its warmth. Crystal had jupiter with its spinning ring. Lily had the moon with its beauty sea of tranquility. Nicola because of her evil trick was banished to space and into the darkness.

Everytime a star falls from the sky it's because they are all up there playing tig because everyone no matter if they're as old as the universe is still child inside.

the reason I know this is because I was there.

love from Nicola x

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Ghost Hunting

by Nicole Lynn
(San Francisco, CA., USA)

‘I hate waking up and feeling like a jerk. I am a jerk. Why can’t learn to keep my mouth shut? Or learn to drink? I’m surprised I still have any friends left.’ Jamie rolled over in bed and visibly cringed at the thought of what had transpired the night before. ‘I’m so closed-minded. Maybe I don’t know everything.’ These thoughts rarely passed through Jamie’s mind, but this morning they wouldn’t leave him alone. He walked to the window and lit a cigarette. He was naked and cold but didn’t care. He looked out and watched the city start to wake up. "Damn it." He muttered. He stubbed out his cigarette and went to get ready for work.

He was distracted most of the day, playing out the same argument in his head over and over. He always focused on the negative, and yet that’s all his life seemed to produce; it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. ‘Maybe I don’t know everything.’ The same thought from that morning sprang into his mind again. Before he knew what he was doing, he was looking up ‘ghost hunters’ on the internet and clicked on the first result, The Paranormal Research Institute.

The following Friday night, Jamie found himself with several other people in the lobby of an abandoned hotel in the midst of a séance. He was so busy reminding himself to pay attention and to try to take this seriously that most of the time he failed to do either.
“Stephanie.” Said the medium. “Has anyone here lost a loved one named Stephanie?”
Jamie’s heart stopped. The familiar, though fading, face sprang into his mind. He was hit by a flood of emotions and he felt tears start to well in his eyes.
“Stephanie says she’s here.”
‘Go away!’
“I lost her. Just give me a moment here, another spirit wants to speak.”
Jamie sighed.

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Pen vs. Pencil

by Evelin Paulik
(Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada)

“Time to write an essay” the teacher commanded, spattering out bits of spit as she bellowed the dreaded words. “Use only pen!”
Could I survive? The words echoed through my head. ”Pen, pen, PEN!” Maybe I should just drop out, move to the lower class. But my marks, university, my whole future depended on the use of this pen.         
I slowly reached for the lone writing device, my hand shaking, refused to extend. But my willpower won, weakly gripping the menacing writing tool. The dreaded pen stung my hand, burning through my skin and bones. I tried to get a good seize of the pen, but no matter what position I could feel the blisters starting to form.
Write. Write. No that wasn’t good. Scratch that out. I forgot to add this. Just use an arrow. It was impossible to differentiate scribbles from words. The blue liquid kept penetrating the paper and bled through, as if every day was its time of month.
My face wrinkled. This pen was going to be the result of me losing half my brain cells, and contracting wrinkles. It seemed like I had aged ten years during the extent of ten minutes.
Time’s up.
Random letters were mashed up everywhere, half concealed by scribbles, in place of where my flawless essay intended to be. Arrows pointed this way and that, proving a tough maze for the finest observer.
I took a long glance at the pen, not daring to take my eyes off it. All I saw was blue disgorge.
I hastily forced my blistered hands to throw the pen against the wall. It made an ear-splitting noise as ink exploded throughout the room. Then it fell to the ground, slowly shattering into a million pieces all dilated across the world.

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Spider's Prey

by Amanda Carrie Kresge
(Everett, Washington,USA)

Distilled requiem of fantasy trapped in an arachnid’s adhesive and spindled contraption of peril. Caressing as it ensnares, consuming the vibrancy of the tortured. Absorbing the shockwaves of adrenaline filled terror spreading them out amongst the delicate patterned maze of demise. The vibrations hum along the threads alerting the predator that a victim has befallen unto its contrivance of silken woe. Filled with menace delicately the dance starts as the black glistening form of the grim reaper weaves its way towards its conquered. Whisper thin lines are traced from kinetic memory as they prance and spring. No remorse for the kill, no mercy is at hand, a many faceted face stares voraciously at its intended. One last spasm, a final burst of strength at the approach of impending doom, struggling is futile but the will to live, to continue is fierce. The sharp glistening fangs slide deep into soft pliable flesh. Liquid fire rages through an exhausted system. Pain exquisite fades into a cozening as soft threads wrap around a fading body, false warmth enraptures the soul, a bright and brilliant light then the dark, deathly still pit of oblivion.

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Without Regret

by Moya Goatley
(London, UK)

She waited. She said she would; waited till the trees began their burgeoning, when the first delicate leaves look like butterflies poised for flight. She waited till the grass emitted a faint, fragrant fore-telling, till birds grew urgent in their callings and flew with never an empty beak to make their nests, till fox cubs with burnished coats played in the tentative rays of morning sunshine. She waited, watching the quiet days with their undercurrent of busyness, listening to the chirruping and singing as the whole world awoke to another cycle of life. The sun surprised her, touching her hand with gentle warmth, caressing her closed eyelids. The breeze stirred the newly clothed trees with a feathery touch and the movement made her think of renewal and life and its fading. She waited till ice relinquished its jealous hold and water gurgled free, till crocuses displayed their vividness and daffodils trumpeted the news that spring had finally arrived.

She said that ninety springs were not enough. They had vanished and all that remained were faint memories of awakenings, of soft scents on zephyrs, of colours that enriched the soul with their beauty, of songs mellifluous and cheering. “Just one more spring” she said, “then I shall go without a whisper of regret”.

Today the sun is warmly shining, bringing lustre to leaves and stones, the sky a perfect blue backdrop for the tiny imperceptibly moving clouds. A tremulous breeze is teasing the fresh mown grass and sweet smells waft though the air. An early bee is exploring newly unfolding flowers. A watchful magpie is perched on a nearby tree. I think she would marvel at his stillness and she would wait for his companion to bring joy, just as she waited for this day, the day she left without regret.

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A Day of Change

by Wendy
(Ontario Canada)

A very pleasant, elderly lady, who ushered me into a small dark room, met me at the door. She sat me in an overstuffed chair by the table while she lit the candles in all four corners of the room. A medium sized crystal ball sat in the middle of this table, beside it was a deck of tarot cards. I was somewhat of a sceptic and could not believe I was sitting with a fortune-teller.

She spoke calmly through a Hungarian accent mesmerizing me to a very relaxed state. “I see a very handsome young man who has a gift for you,” she said while gazing into the crystal ball. Being single, I had no idea what she meant. The only other thing I remember her saying was about a death that was going to happen leaving me with a huge void. The tape she gave me will refresh my memory later, I hope. I left there with mixed feelings, to believe or not believe, that was the question.

Upon arriving home, my answering machine had two messages. The first was from Abbey, the friend who recommended Madame Future to me. She wanted to know all about my reading, the second call was from Mom and it sounded important. While small talking with Mom she interrupted me, telling me that Grandma had passed away of a heart attack. That was my first shock, the second was when Abbey announced my ex fiancé was back in town, and asking about me.

This story only proves that change can happen so very quickly. Always be ready for the unexpected and the unbelievable. One thing I know for sure, I will be visiting Madame Future again very soon, surprise!

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