by Kathy Le
It all started with that man... His long, slithering, sword-like tongue stuck out as a weapon, dripping blood as he walked. His tall silhouette was shaped like a cobra, yet he had a pair of feet at the end. His face seemed like he's been in unbelievable battles. Scars running down his face, dried blood stuck onto his forehead, and a huge, fresh gash is open, revealing a massive chunk of his brain. Forever, his appearance remained locked in my brain.
One dark, breezy night, I saw a shadow outside my window. There he was. A pointy weapon in one hand, and a bag in another.
"It can"t be," I muttered. But it was all too late.
by Roy Balcombe
It appeared, that familiar triangular shape breaking through the surface creating a small wave. I gasped in horror as it trolled around with such menace so close to my face. Then realisation came; it was only the corner of the tea bag that I had forgotten to remove.
by Ciara Little
"This was a long day." I sighed as I walk in to the smell of my husband's "Anything and Everything" stew. The smell was putrid and acrid. It soared through the air like an eagle in the sky. He always made this when there were plenty of left overs and a whole lot of time. It's usually leftover pasta, Chinese, and any other disgusting and pungent smelling food from the fridge. I just knew that one of us was going to end up in the hospital with food poisoning. "When will he learn?", I asked my self this question everytime. I knew this time the stew was different.Something was very wrong and I knew that I needed to act fast. I walked into the kitchen and my husband wasn't there. I immediatly screamed his name. I heard a gurggling sound and looked in the empty fridge. There stood a large, green and slimy looking monster. My husband's face showed through the translucent blob. What am I going to do? THIS THING IS GOING TO EAT ME!!! ANd jus as I was about to run, husband broke through. He crept slowly towards me. His walk resembled a zombie from "The Walking Dead", my favorite show. He held his hands out and... WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??? You decide!
by G.S.Vasu Kumar
She stood on the edge, closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
'Are you sure you want to do this?' He asked.
'Yes.' She said.
'I won't be joining you!' He said.
'Fine,' She said. 'Give me a push!'
He gave her a push, and she dived into the open sky from the airplane.
by Annelisa Wu
(Hayden, ID, USA)
The boy was sitting on the bus in typical adolescent fashion. Tousled hair, baggy yellow shirt, bored hunch. He saw no one, he cared for no one, and the only sound he offered the world around him was the occasionally audible beep-bleeping of the digital device he seemed enthralled with. Just another gamer, thought the old man. The old man was in his late-sixties, had a distinguished look about him, and rarely spoke. He liked to observe, and to think. Where was he now? Ahh yes, the gamer. That’s all life was to the young folk-- a game, he thought. A quest for entertainment. A conquest against misery. A bat of egos. But yes, in a sense, life was a game, whether you’re young or not, the old man told himself. It was brutal game of hide and go seek, where one hid from their troubles, and went to seek their triumph. A gambit where one sacrificed time for happiness. But did anyone ever win it? The young thought they would, and the old said they had. But really?
The bus engine revved aggravatingly as it lurched over a bump, and the old man struggled to hear his own thoughts. Pushing himself to a more upright position with one weathered hand, he sighed and attempted to board his train of thought once more.
“The young, and the old…” thought the old man. He was old, he sat among youth, but they were all alike. What a paradox. He was nearing the end of life’s tunnel, and the child across from him, the school girl with the thick glasses and sailor dress, she was merely entering it. Yet, as he studied her, he could see that she was really no different from him. Her sad brown eyes had a wise but wistful look in them, as she gazed serenely through her over-sized lenses at the world around her. He noticed the way she occasionally reached down and twisted the hem of her skirt, and the way her two front teeth habitually slipped down over her lower lip every now and again. There was also the occasional kick of her petite foot, as it broke the steady, monotonous swinging her legs had grown accustomed to. Perhaps childhood wasn’t as carefree as some people thought. Maybe even at the age of 8 or 9, there were cares and troubles in life that the old man, decades later, had forgotten. She was young, but maybe she wasn’t his opposite. Just at the opposite end of life’s obstacle course. Maybe just because she was a child didn’t mean she was that naive, and blissfully happy. He noticed the lady beside her (presumably the girl’s mother) didn’t look too blithe herself. She was wearing a brown business suit, too much concealer, and sourly pursed lips. The old man wondered if the girl even had a father.
The blaring of the speaker jolted the old man from his reverie, and he snorted in annoyance as the driver announced the stop they were approaching. Thank God he was riding all the way to the final destination. He leaned back, blinked his eyes, and resumed thought.
A child with a mother, and no father. The off-spring of a stranger. It was a common phenomena nowadays. It was as if the magnetism of love was waxing weaker with each passing day, and the family was but a vague unit of division, rather than an actual entity. The children of this modern society, were often left to toss to and fro upon the tumultuous waves of life, without any real sense of belonging, protection, or love. Then again, having two parents in one’s life definitely wasn’t the key to salvation, the old man mused. In many a case, it was the twisted and egomaniacal lifestyle of one’s parents that screwed them up so much in the first place. He still had memories of being young. Adults were always either screaming or nonchalant, depressed or drunk, meddling or totally ignorant. Maybe having only one of them cut the damage in half. Yet in the end, it all came down to the child itself. It all depended on his moral fiber. It was up to the kid to stand up on his own two feet and put his life together. Everyone had themselves.
The bus swung around a corner at a perilously high speed, and the old man gripped the edges of his seat in order to stay put. Damned driver. It wasn’t like anyone was in a hurry. Wait, what had he been thinking about? He made himself backtrack.
We all have ourselves, yes we do…thought the old man. He let his gaze shift to the well-dressed, middle-aged fellow in front of him. The sleek black suit and chic hat he wore had to have cost a pretty penny, and from what he could see, the man himself wasn’t too bad looking either. Pity he had his face tucked in the crook of his arm, bracing against the headrest of the seat in front of him. Asleep? No, the suited guy was giving his head an occasional jerk, and sighing periodically. Maybe he was just sick, or deep in thought as well. Fortunately, whatever the poor man’s troubles, he had himself to lean on, and that was a comfort nobody could rob him of. It had long been the old man’s outlook, that a person only ever had himself to blame if he was unhappy. A person could choose to comfort himself, be happy, move on. He only chose not to. Truly, every person had strength, wisdom, and hope inside him. People just needed to start looking.
Suddenly, the man in the suit gave his head an exceptionally violent twist landing his hat on the ground. Courteously the old man leaned forward to retrieve it for him, and in doing so brushed against the jeans of the woman standing beside him. He handed the hat back, without expecting a thank-you, or offering an apology to said woman, and sat back again.
The woman standing there in the jeans gave him a tight, sort of grim smile. She was tall, for a woman, and had altogether too much makeup and perfume on, thought the old man. Her designer jeans accented her curves, leaving little to the imagination, and she carried a large and gaudy red purse. It was typical of women these days, they attempted to prove their self-worth by throwing their cash down the hungry throat of fashion. It made them feel better, made the men happy, and kept the market in business. Nobody was complaining. It was just that there had to be something more than that in a woman’s life, the old man figured. Surely they lived for something more. Heck, everyone needed something to live for. A shining light floating somewhere in the distant sea of…
The boy in the yellow shirt smiled as the four gleaming digits on the dial of his time-bomb reached a unanimous zero. The old man thought he felt the bus lurch. There was a bright light, a big bang, and then nothing…
The feeling of getting lost is uncanny. I experienced that today, sitting on my bed, whispering to my recently deceased cat. Cats do everything silently. They also die silently. How do you get back to things after you have been lost? I was speculating. Perhaps, it is the acid test. If you do not get back, you do not live. As simple as that.
I was feeling lonely. Everyone feels lonely nowadays even if you are always surrounded by people. I, who was trapped in a room in a very uninteresting center of learning, had the right to feel lonely and a right to talk to imaginary cats.
Why was I losing the ability to connect to people? To talk to them? To perhaps feel their importance in my life? That was the paradox—perhaps because I was alone, I did not need people in my life or perhaps because I did not need people in my life, I was alone. Either way, sad, I thought.
Or may be not? May be, it is the way we feel in our present world. The sense of community had long evaporated; now even gestures were failing. Everyone was trapped like me though they did not attend universities as graduate students.
I was thinking, deeply and selflessly. Planning to use my boredom for larger good. Does not this ennui prepare me for developing compassion towards humanity? For being useful to the world because I have outlived the usefulness of my own little self? Was I in training to become a saint?
Mirrors create illusion. But mirrors don’t lie. The cat shows up. I don’t.
by Harriet Faucette James
It was many years ago. My oldest daughter was only five and I was pregnant with my youngest. I was driving over Alameda Blvd in Albuquerque. I stopped at the light at Rio Grande Blvd, as the light turned green, a old Pontiac zoomed out of a parking lot cutting me off. Of course, I was angry but a voice told me to let it go. I followed the car across the bridge still fuming. Just as we came to the far end of the bridge, a motorcycle going in the opposite direction carrying 2 teenage boys zoomed onto the bridge. The bike hit a patch of oil on the road. The bike skidded, took off into the air and flew into the windshield of the car that had cut me off. One of the teens landed on the car and the other flew off onto the pavement. Oh, my God, that could have been me. The man got out of his car just as calm as can be. How could that be? The police came and took care of everything. One teen was OK, the other died, his helmet was the only thing holding his skull together. I asked the man who had been driving how he was so calm. He said, "I just moved here. I retired after driving a New York City bus for 30 years".
People flood though the streets, and trickle down alleys, tumbling down the paths forged for them. The bubbling of interaction gives the impression that direction is chosen, when in reality, the defined currents of our predecessors guide us more than any ripples we create ourselves.
by Joel Savage
(Antwerp, Belgium. Europe)
Aftermath of the serious headlong collision involving two buses which claimed ten lives on the spot, the fire brigade was called to pulled out the bodies from the wreckage. Identification wasn’t easy because of the state of the corpses, yet a woman identified one of the corpses as her brother. He was an auto mechanic. His tools box was close to his dead body.
She rushed home wailing to narrate the sad news to her mother and father. They quickly rushed to the scene but the bodies were already transferred to the mortuary. They went to the mortuary and saw their son’s body with his tool box. This wasn’t a mistaken identity because his name was boldly written on the tools box.
When ready to bury James his body was nowhere to be found at the morgue. The corpse disappeared from the morgue without a trace. Their fear increased when they found out later at home that his tool box has also vanished. It was like the mind playing tricks on them but it was a reality.
Years passed then one day, a woman from the village where the mechanic died saw him working in a garage hundreds of kilometers from the village. “James, everyone thought you were dead but here you are working. Tomorrow I will tell your parent that I saw you in the village,” said the woman.
When the woman went back to the village she quickly rushed to the mechanic’s parents to tell them what she had seen. They quickly joined the bus the next day to where the mechanic was working but he wasn’t there. The director told them he was absent today without any information. From that day the mechanic failed to come to work and has never been seen again. It’s a mystery.
Once, there was this old man. He had a wife and children and he’d just stopped working.
One day, the man took a chair to the water sight. The rest of the day, he just sat there, until the sun went down. He went to his house, but left the chair.
The next day, the man came back. He sat on the chair all day and thought, listened and talked. When it got dark, he returned home again.
The following days, the man came back. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years.
Every day would look the same for us, but not for the man. Every day, he came to clues. About himself, about his wife, about people, about nature, about life. Day after day.
But then, one day, the man left, just like the other days. Like every day the past few years. But the following morning, the man didn’t come back. One day passed. The sun went down and the following morning, when it rose right up, the man still wasn’t there.
The man didn’t return. Would he ever?
Not only the chair was lonely, as far as a chair can be, but the man was too.
The last night he returned home from the chair, he’d found his wife, laying on the ground. Her heart had stopped beating.
Weeks, he couldn’t come out of bed. Day after day, the man didn’t leave the house. Weeks passed. Sad weeks.
One morning, the man got up. He’d had a lovely dream, about his wife.
The man left the house, to the chair. The chair was still there, it never left. Chairs can’t, you see. When the man sat down, the chair cracked and felt down.
Just like the man’s heart, the chair broke.