by Curtis Panlilio
She flew, but not far. It was an impressive end over end flight, graceful in its own way, ending in the hedge next to the house. The shatter and screech of noise was gone.
The screen door opens with a bang. Eunice looks and sees her, obscured by branches. Looking into her dark eyes, Eunice grabs a shovel. She moves jerkily letting out a frothy wheezy grunt. Eunice lets the shovel fall. One. Two. Three. She is free.
Greyson Burr strolled into the Side Street Diner, just as he had every morning for at least five years. His favorite waitress, Sara Lucas, was working that morning and of course he knew that. He loved Sara. He loved her long black hair and her wide, perfect toothed smile. Her eyes: how they lit up the little diner with a green glow of bright radiance. The way she walked and talked, like a real life Angelina Jolie. His Sara. As he watched her bring a plate of eggs and bacon to the handsome Mr.Newspaper reporter, his right hand was reaching inside his jacket pocket. His Sara. His Sara forever.
by Dani Hatton
Hush there now, Bernie, I've got you, I won't let go.
I tried to save you, Bernie, I really did, honest.
Remember that girl, who cradled you in her arms, and rocked you back and forth, Bernie? That was me. That was me all along. I held you then, and I'm holding you now, and I will never, ever let go, I will you promise you that.
I fought for you, Bernie, and I won. And I know that it's been short, but I love you, more than you will ever know.
Bernie! You're fading! Don't go, Bernie, don't let go! All the time I thought I prepared myself for this, I was wrong. Nothing could ever amount to you being lost.I'm sorry.
It's your time now, Bernie. I'm so sorry. To think I've only known you for a couple of hours!! But I can't help now, Bernie. I'm sorry, from the bottom of my heart.
I think you're gone. Goodbye, my darling Bernie, sleep tight.
Hush there now Bernie, I've got you; Mommy's got you.
by Andrea Tinoco
(Houston, TX, USA )
She sat with her back blocking the view of the bleak Manhattan streets. She dared not to look down below, for she knew what was staring at her, waiting for her gesture of approval. Her feet, wrapped in the warmth of her slippers, she sat and gazed at her sketch of the apple that lay in front of her. She sighed a heavy sigh, and opened her the red door that led out of her apartment. Her stomach cried out to her as she lit her eighth cigarette since morning. The flip side of sanity was the game, she was miles away from sane; all her words just poured out human pain. Her thoughts rambled around in her mind; it was never quiet. Always someone keeping her company. Her thoughts were greatly known as her companion. Still, in thought, she pushed open the front glass doors with such a force, some turned to see if she was in need of assistance. She took four large strides, and was instantly drenched by the cold rain of the city.
Her feet, unable to move, were glued, trapped in the cement. She blinked numerous times, wiping the drops of water with her lashes. Her head was hanging heavily, and she threw it up in such a rush when the metro passed. Across the way, she saw him. His perfect green eyes sparkling at her from a hundred feet away. His soft russet skin looked tender and brilliant in the rain. His tank, plastered onto his body; his muscles clearly visible. He stood waiting for her. Though, she was living like a zombie. Sleep deprived, lack of hunger, relied on nicotine for the dreadful happiness. He stood, she waiting. Neither wanting to move, but he made the effort. She concentrated on her drenched slippers, and tried not to make it awkward by watching his ever so graceful glides. Before she could connect her thoughts, his lips were at her ear whispering. She couldn’t make out what he was telling her, she was in a daze. His whispers sent chills up her spine. She couldn’t make eye contact. It wasn’t possible. It was her only solution in which she wouldn’t be trapped by his perfection and simple dosage of charm. She felt the body leave her side; watching his shadow go into her apartment from her peripheral. For thirty minutes she stood in front of her villa, or so she pretended it was, until she felt her leftover mascara run into her brown eyes. She moved each leg one by one, even though it felt like moving buildings. Going up the stairs wasn’t easy, though she knew what was coming for her. She tried digging around in her pockets to find a cigarette. No luck. The warm air of her apartment stung her rosy cheeks and solid face. She walked slowly and steadily around each room of her studio apartment. The den, kitchen, mechanically walked by the crammed bathroom, pass room number one, pass room number two, finally at the entrance of her bedroom. The door was slightly cracked. Her hand shaking, her breath hard, her stomach in knots, she placed her long, boney fingers around the gold doorknob. Not knowing what to expect, she inhaled a sharp breath instantly. There he lay on her white bed spread, looking more angelic than an angel. He patted the bed gently. She slowly moved, still careful not to make eye contact. Finally, she made it. Her legs fell from under her, and she laid her head on his shoulder. Her neck tense, she realized his shirt was thrown on her dresser, and his shoes were kicked off next to the bathroom. He stroked her hair, his masculine fingers catching her knots. He fixed her straight on the bed, and kissed her pale lips. Her eyes closed. She gasped her last gasp. One eye opened, then the other. His russet skin gleaming in the light, his left hand wrapped around her waist, his right hand tightly on the dagger. She felt lifted, free. Relieved. His pale green eyes caught her dull brown ones. Their eyes had locked. That was the last sight she’d seen. That was her last moment lived.
by Jessica Sunier
(Milwaukee, WI, USA)
She had long dark hair that turned blood red in the sunlight, and her skin was smooth, ivory in color. She was covered in leather that was thick around the torso, keeping her chest pressed tight to her body with her broad shoulders and arms free and uncovered. Her forearms were wrapped in a combination of leather and chainmail to guard her wrists. Her legs, also covered in black leather, had sheathes that wound around each thigh holding two long daggers. She was a warrior.
Dusk was approaching although you wouldn’t know it because the trees grew thick in this part of the forest. The air was cold, and her breath was starting to crystalize with each exhalation. The warrior was looking for something. As she advanced silently from tree to tree she could feel a set of eyes watching her every move. She knew she was running out of time. Quickening her pace she focused hard on the ground, looking for any sign of the object that brought her here. A twig snapped behind her. She took off into the darkness of the woods not daring to look back. She knew what was chasing her. The smell was all too familiar.
Faster she ran, bounding over fallen trees and rocks as she picked up speed. The footsteps were getting closer, louder, and the stench of the animal was getting stronger causing her to gag as she tried to fill her lungs. No, she thought. Not yet. NOT YET!
She leaped onto the nearest tree and clawed her way upwards toward the night sky. The creature still followed. It was quicker. Stronger. The warrior reached the top of the tree, looked over her shoulder and was eye to eye with it. Fear overtook her, and without thinking she leapt.
by Violet Uram
He was disgusting. All he ever did was drink beer and watch pornos. Stacks of pornos surrounded his room. There were dirty needles and biker chicks on the wall. Gary listened to Metallica and never changed his clothes. He had three venereal diseases and didn't care. He also had a pregnant girlfriend and no job. "That's why I'm hitting the road!" Gary thought to himself as he put on his helmet. "To hell with my girlfriend! I am a biker always!" he said to himself and rode off.
by Ty Shafer
(Olathe, Kansas U.S.A)
The excited chatter of teenage boys fills the warm air while our modest fishing poles lay gently against our laps. Cheap bass line floats softly on the water, hidden by the green murkiness of the water at Heritage Park. As we sit and laugh carelessly, we wait for a bluegill or smallmouth bass to fall for our trap. Although our demeanor presents a careless attitude, our actions are well though-out. We set out to forget the stresses of adolescence for a few hours and aim our restless energy at the fish. The stream off of the main body of the lake runs smoothly into a bank where the sunfish and bluegill take advantage of the shade provided by the green brush and graceful movement of the water on a windy day. The hottest days of the summer prove to be the best remembered; the fish hunkered down in the shade will bite anything. I take advantage of this day and sit alongside my friend. The subtle jerking of my rod makes the worm on the hook dance in the water, urging the fish’s natural reaction to lunge at the bait. The quick movements and plunging bobber tell me to reel in what I have worked for and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I am self-reliant in catching the fish. I must then meticulously pull out the hook, aware of the pain I must be causing the sunfish and toss it back into the glossy water so it can attempt to comprehend the pain it endured. Little does it know the excitement and tranquility I feel from this modest park with its murky green water. At the moment, this is the only place I belong.
(Flagstaff, AZ )
Within thirty seconds I came to realize what the noise was seeping through the walls. It was like it was echoing, telling me a story that I have been in the dark about this whole time. There was no time to think about how long this has been going on or why he did it, I was hurt and there was no way that he was going to walk away from this without knowing. Quietly I reach into the closet pulling out the .45 we had deemed for protection. This is protection, right?
The breathing gets louder, as I tiptoe my way to the bedroom door. As I look through the small crack I can see the alarm clock blinking twelve o'clock. I move slowly so I can see the bed, and there she is, Jane Doe, on top of my husband. The rage quickly eats though any compassion and rational thinking I once had. I grasp the gun in my hand as I slowly push the door open.
He saw me, I know because he threw her off of him. The deed has been done and there is no going back. With a squeeze of my trigger, blood lightly covers the walls. Until death do us part. I look at his face, in shock as he gazes at my dead body. My blood stains the floor as tears begin to fall from his eyes. Within thirty seconds I came to realize that I was living for him.
by Teanna Jones
(Eau Claire )
As Mark went down stairs to make reservations for him and his wife Carla for supper, Carla’s ex boyfriend Steven was walking behind him, as Mark reached the lobby, Steven went up grabbed him and brought him into his hotel room. Steven tied him up and started telling him, if he was to ever speak to Carla again he was going to take her and Mark would never know what had happened to her. Mark didn’t know what to do, he loved Carla so much he didn’t want anything to happen to her. He also didn’t want to leave her without her knowing an explanation. He also didn’t want her finding out about what Steven had said because she would most likely go call the police. So he wrote her a note saying “I’m sorry Carla, I just think it's best if we see other people, I don’t think I deserve you” and took the note and slid it under the hotel room. After waiting for hours and Mark not returning, Carla went to go find Mark but then she saw the note, then she read it, tears started running down her face. She left the room and saw Steven standing in the halls talking to a maid. Then she had known he had something to do with it. She called the police. Steven heard sirens, he looked out his window grabbed his stuff and walked out to the lobby as Carla walked out of her room Steven looked behind him and backtracked quick grabbed her and made a break out threw the door. The police were searching every ones hotel room. They didn’t see anyone mysterious. They went looking outside the hotel. Still didn’t find anyone. 5 years later they had found Steven and no one knows what has happened to Carla.
by Kendra Hall
(Lutherville MD )
I heard gun shots, but I kept going towards that door. I don’t know why my curiosity led me to going to that particular door, but it intrigued me. You would think the bloodcurdling screams or the gun shots would have stopped me, but I was too interested in what secrets lay behind that door at the end of the corridor. Faded wallpaper covered the walls and a flickering light lit our way. Max was behind me, he was trembling, but he followed me. He was my age: 20.
“Beth, why do we have to go?” he asked me for the millionth time.
“Because, there is buried treasure or something behind that door, I can sense it!” I replied in a hushed voice. I loved adventure. If someone told me I wasn’t allowed in a room, I would go in anyway.
“People are screaming and guns are being fired it there Beth!” he yelled.
“MAX SHUT YOUR TRAP AND FOCUS!” I turned around and yelled; Max stopped dead in his tracks.
“B-Beth, the room is open…” he said softly. I turned around quickly and that’s when the light went out.
Max and I screamed and ran toward the door, but a silhouette blocked us right when we got to it.
“Please don’t hurt us!” we both cried. The silhouette didn’t respond, instead it raised its right hand, and pulled the trigger. The last thing I remember was the gun fire, pain and Max telling me not to die.
by Youngjae Kim
I always thought life was easy, but right now to me it's actually worser than hell. My family was rich and we live a peaceful life but it all changed when my dad lost his job. He was the balance of the house, my mother died from cancer on the same day that my dad got his job. I used to be spoilt and I wanted it back but it was tough luck to me...
Every thing changed, on weekdays I would be at my dad's office after school so I could get the free comic book with my dad's book voucher passes he gets at work, but nowadays I'm stuck at home not playing games but studying. It was a shock to me when dad screamed at me for the first time. I knew it was hard for him but he didn't have to let it go on me. My whole family is relying on me to become smart and get a job and be successful like we did before. I really wanna try hard but all this pressure gave me stress.
I really couldn't take it anymore I honestly couldn't, I felt like suiciding. It was not long until I was on top of a cliff ready to jump off, but on that time a text message came on my phone saying, 'Son I got a new job!!!' Tears rolled down my eyes. I ran off the cliff and back home and I saw dad waiting at the door with a big grin.
Even though the way I'm living now isn't the same as it was when I was rich it makes life fun and enjoying despite that there are hard times. I learned from that time that even though that there are hard times, if we fight we can win.
The horrendous sound of the clapped out motorbike chugging away and becoming almost deafening as it passes my bedroom window. The yappy dog continuing to bark excessively at the poorly fed cat carrying god knows what kind of disease which insists on disgustingly spraying any piece of clothing I ever put on my washing line. The depressing news headlines from that morning blasting out at full volume from a 42 inch TV with surround sound, oh, and that’s not my TV, but the TV belonging to the clearly inconsiderate, inappropriate and incoherent occupant of the cottage to which adjoins mine…..who I should mention is also the father of the irresponsible teenager that owns the clapped out motorbike…..who in turn is the owner of the yappy dog which in turn seems to make the poorly fed cat show up in my garden everyday without fail. They moved in 8 months ago and this is a typical example of what my mornings now consist of which is only a glimpse of what life is like here 24/7. My country cottage dream has been shattered but he hasn’t realised who he’s moved next door too. I’ve been biding my time but there is a reason I live here and revenge will be sweet!
by Tony Sakalauskas
Sharon was wise enough not to disturb her husband Mike, and his friends Steve and Kaz, while they were watching a hockey game in their basement.
She heard the first period ending and figured that this was a good time to talk to him.
"Mike, you always said that when it came to Joey, that you should be the one to talk to him about important things."
"What's this about?" asked Kaz, who held a bottle of beer in his hand while sitting on the brown couch next to Steve, “that you should be the one to talk to Joey about things?
"In our household," said Mike, who sat in his brown leather chair with black tape covering some holes. "We believe that fathers should be the ones to talk to their sons about important things, while mothers should be the ones to talk to their daughters about important things."
"How old are your kids?” asked Steve.
"Joey is six and Amanda is eight," said Mike.
"As I was saying, when it comes to boys, fathers understand them better than mothers. After all, we were boys ourselves at one time. And likewise for mothers, they understand girls better because they were girls at one time too."
"It's part of this male bonding. It's the father who plays hockey with his kid and shows him how to stick handle and shoot a puck into the net. And it's the father who shows his son how to throw or catch a ball."
"And there are women's health problems and men's health problems."
"What men's health problems?" asked Kaz.
"Well, you know, how to shave and not cut yourself."
"Okay Hon, what is it? What do you want me to talk to Joey about?"
"He wants to know where babies come from," said Sharon.
Everyone was quiet for a few seconds and then Kaz spoke: "I think you better let your wife
handle this one."
"I think so too," said Steve.
by Tony Sakalauskas
Mike and Kaz were in the tavern, sitting at the same table, drinking the same brand of beer they’ve always drank when another young man, named Bill, asked to join them. They both said “yes”.
There were some people in the tavern who didn’t like Bill but Mike and Kaz didn’t seem to mind him; and the two continued talking.
“When I go to the states next week, I plan to see the Vatican Observatory in Arizona,” said Mike. “I hear it’s open to the public.”
“That’s something I’ve always wondered about,” interrupted Bill. “What is the Vatican doing with an observatory? What are they looking for? Jesus? Jesus is not coming back. After what happened to him the last time he was here, do you think he’s going to come back again?”
“Put yourself in Jesus’ shoes. If you went to some place and they crucified you, would you go back there?” Bill was quiet for a few seconds, waiting for an answer.
Unperturbed, Kaz spoke to Mike, “Have you see the Maple Leafs, Canadians game last night?”
by Elizabeth Drew
The damp fungi smell beckoned Amy curiously upstairs. The old house was so familiar, the same creaky stairs, the photo of smiling sisters in the forest on the wall and that door at the end of the corridor. Amy’s judgement told her to wait for Mike but old memories hung thick round her senses. She could hear the faint hum of singing coming from behind the door. She grasped the banister and held her breath. Was this a trick?
Mike was amazed at how large the old farmhouse was. He wished he could have seen it in the ‘glory days’ before wear and tear had rendered it unliveable. It was hard to imagine that Amy grew up here, a lonely existence for an only child.
Mike peered into the open kitchen straining his eyes through the dank atmosphere. He reeled back in disgust as the stagnant air filled his lungs.
“Amy” he called, from the open doorway, “Amy, I don’t think its safe.”
A cry from within set his pulse racing. Mike rushed inside and headed towards the heart of the house. “Amy!” he shouted, but there was nothing. He scrambled over fallen beams and past sodden furniture. He found Amy crouched at the head of the stairs, her hand dripping with blood where it had smashed against a glass photo frame.
“Hey, it’s OK,” he said examining her hand, “its not deep.”
Mike decided it was best to leave. After all the solicitors could sort out the internal contents and sell off anything of value.
“Did you want this photo of you?” he asked as an afterthought recognising Amy as a child by a large pine tree. Amy looked blankly at her husband as if he was mad.
“She belongs in this house,” Amy replied, “She’s always been here.”
(Green Bay WI U.S)
I know that I'm alone in my room. I know that I am alone in the world. Being alone I am not afraid of. But being alone doesnt mean that I don't know what's going on in the world. I am 14 years old. I am alone but I hear, Noise...
This noise that I hear would be my heartbeat. It's always unsteady when he is here. Jordan. My stepfather. I hear the noise that comes from their room. I plug my ears but I still hear the noise of fear. I can smell fear just as well as I can see it, and hear it. Having to hear the noise of crying, beating, pleading, makes me want to hide. All I do is hope that she is all right. My mother. I cannot help her because I am too afraid. I can't take it anymore, covering my eyes and rocking back and forth doesn't stop my mind from running. The room gets louder with this noise of fear, I think its my mothers fear, but realize it is my own, I am hearing all the fear, the things that could go wrong. I can't take this noise any longer. I feel tears pour down my face, I break. I try to outrun this noise that folows like water following a wave as it breaks against the shore. I run and run not knowing where to go. I stop. I am in my room. Lost in my thoughts. I then notice the noise began to get softer as if fading along with a memory of my past.
My parents had gone out for the night, so I had the house to myself. I got up in the night to use the bathroom. I wandered sleepily back to the warmth of my bed. I climbed in and stared at the ceiling fan and my eyes paned around my room and they suddenly fixated on my closet door. Had I left it open before? It was open about enough to slide a magazine through. I thought to myself Sally; it’s all in your head. You need to go back to sleep. I opened one eye and glanced at the closet door. My heart dropped. The gap had grown larger now to the size of a telephone book. I knew someone was in there!! I didn’t know what to do; I was in a complete panic. I lay very still afraid to move a muscle. My body lay motionless, but my mind was racing. I was thinking I never remember my parents telling me what to do in case a murderer was in my closet!!! They told me things like make sure the dog gets to go out, where was that stupid dog anyway? Oh and my parents had always reminded me to lock the back door, which in this case had slipped my mind completely! I glanced back over and the closet door was almost all the way open. I decided I should make a run for it. I sat up fast and whipped the covers off of me. But before my feet could touch the ground a black figure jumped out of the closet and on to my bed. I could smell his cologne and instantly knew who it was….. My dad.
by Robert Candler
(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
The nurse escorted an anxious soldier to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the withered old man in the bed. She had to say it three times before he opened his eyes. Heavily sedated to ease his pain, the old man dimly saw the uniformed young man standing beside the bed. He uttered a sound and reached out. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp hand, squeezing a message of love and encouragement. The nurse brought a chair so the soldier could sit beside the bed.
Through the long night, the soldier sat in the dimly lit room, holding the old man's hand and trying to offer strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested he move away and rest, but he refused. He stayed, mindless of his discomfort and the hospital sounds, the cries and moans of other patients. Now and then, he would say a few gentle words. The old man could not respond, but tightly held the young man’s hand through the night. Near dawn, the old man passed.
The soldier released the lifeless hand and went for the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited. When finished, she started to offer some words of sympathy; but he interrupted her.
"Who was that man?"
With some surprise, she said, "He was your father."
"No," the soldier replied. "I've never seen him before."
"Why didn't you say something when I took you to him?"
"I knew there was a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son. When I realized he was too sick to know the difference and how much he needed someone...I stayed."
Next time someone needs you...be there. Stay.
by Julie Smith
A boy in a shirt, tie and tank top worn with long shorts, socks and sandals was not her idea of manly. More neighbours arrived with plates of sandwiches and bottles of drink, the room was filling up, Mrs Sims opened the door to Jean and Eddie's friends Freddie and Maureen “come in love take your hat off “said Mrs Sims to Maureen “this is my new lavender rinse Mrs. Sims “ “oh very nice “replied Mrs. Sims “perhaps I should of gone to your hairdresser Mrs. Sims”. “Oh they don’t work miracles darling she called as she disappeared into the party. All the family and neighbours were enjoying themselves singing and dancing while Margo stood in the corner talking to Myrtle as she told her about a patient at the hospital where she worked Margo covered Joshua’s ears and mouthed the words “the poor woman’s had it all taken away” Joshua raised his eyebrows and thought what’s with all the secrecy the beliefs were in our street all the time. Myrtle had come over bad and had to have another small sherry, one too many as she ended up face down in the trifle. “A little too much excitement” said Nisam. Gerald and his friend Bill rushed over to help they had met at first aid classes “let us through we have medical training” as Gerald took myrtles pulse bill bent down to help but as he did his hair piece moved forward the rest of the pretended not to notice, they declared Myrtle drunk and as they stood up Mrs Sims said thankyou wiggy. Bill left the party with the Cohens and when the door closed every one let out the laughter they had been holding in after Mrs. Sims's comment.
(Munster, IN, USA)
They finally found him. The men finally found my brother, my sweet brother. We all know why he was found and why they wanted to kill him: he had taken money from these men and promised to pay them back. But he didn't, and he couldn't.
My heart pounded when I saw them beat his back with their shotgun, but I was not capable of doing anything, for they pushed me against the wall and pinned me there.
My brother's eyes twinkled from the tears as did mine. I couldn't do anything and it hurt.
The beating finally stopped and my brother sighed with relief as his body crashed to the ground from exhaust.
He looked at me and said, "I love you so much. I'm sorry."
The men kicked him again and walked out, leaving me alone with my dead brother.
“I don’t belong here doctor.”
“Of course, I certainly understand.”
“No, I mean I really don’t belong here. You’re not listening!”
“You have said this before. We need to look at a different treatment.”
“I agree, doctor. I have an idea of my own. It’s radical, so I don’t know if you would be willing.”
“I’m ALWAYS interested in experimental and unorthodox treatment! What do you suggest?”
“Ah! And how do we…?
“I am the doctor! You are my patient. Are those expensive shoes Italian?”
“I will need those – and socks. Take them off”
“Is that necessary?”
“You agreed! I am the doctor. Those are doctor’s shoes and socks. TAKE THEM OFF.”
“Barefoot? Alright. This is unorthodox but you are a difficult case!”
“Now you lie down on the bed, doc.”
“Fine. I’m here in your chair with your clipboard. Lose the fancy tie. And your watch. Good. Now relax.”
“I am trying.”
“The Armani pinstripes have to come off. No patient wears a business suit!”
“My suit? But, surely I don’t have to take off my suit?”
“Hostility symptoms. Repressed rage. You are resistant. ”
“Certainly not! I’m sorry. Here, take my suit.”
“That’s better. And your shirt and underwear. Here are my pajamas and my ID bracelet.”
“Underwear? This is VERY unusual treatment. The pajamas DO allow me to enter your world. What next?”
“I’m more relaxed. Less angry! It’s working!”
“My suit fits you. So do my shoes. When can I put my clothes back on?”
“YOUR suit? YOUR shoes? An identity issue. That’s all for today.”
“WAIT! Where are you going? That's a $2,000 suit! $800 shoes! You have my keys and wallet! You won’t get away with this!”
“Paranoid! Time for meds.”
“I don’t belong here!”
by Eva Coon
(Saint Paul, Mn United States)
“Grandma, tell me a story about uncle Jim!” I exclaimed one night after making milkshakes in the blender without the top on.
“Oh, oh, oh I don’t know if I should…”
“Who is going to clean up this mess?” my sister asked as a mess of chocolate ice cream dripped from the ceiling.
“Oh, oh, oh, I don’t know. I guess the dogs will clean it up,” she reasoned as her two little toy Pomeranians madly licked the floor and top of her feet.
“Tell me a story Grandma! Please, please, please!”
“Oh, oh….umm well, which one?” she puzzled. Grandma was a treasure chest of stories each ready to be revealed.
“Any of them!” my sister and I demanded. We hurried into the living room and excitedly jumped up and down on her faded orange couch. “Tell us a story! Now Grandma!”
“Oh, oh no girls! Don’t jump on my couch, please!” she whimpered. “It’s from the marriage.”
“It has memories. Please girls, don’t.”
“Fine,” we smirked, as we suspiciously eyed the ragged couch and dozens of crotched blankets flung around the room. “Then tell us a story!” Quick, we grabbed all the colorful blankets and sunk deep within the remains of her couch cushions. Story-time was soon to begin.
“Okay…well one time when I was taking Kim to the department store, because I just loved to get out of the house and go shopping ‘cuz I would get so bored with Harold working all day, well, Jim said he wanted to come along. I didn’t know if I should take him or not, because he is a boy and boys can be hard to handle. They can be very hyper-like. But Jim kept begging and begging, and I didn’t now what to do… I thought, oh well, I suppose I can watch both the kids.”
“Did Jim act good, Grandma?” my sister asked.
“Well, he was okay until we got to the store, but then he said, ‘I want to play.’ I knew he was going to be a naughty boy, so I said ‘Kim, why don’t you go talk to the clerk at the front desk while I take Jim to the toy department. Here is a dollar for a chocolate bar.’ Kim just loved candy. Well, when we went to look at the toys, Jim grabbed a great big ball and he started bouncing it real, real high, way over his head. I thought ‘what am I going to do now?’ I said to Jim, ‘well this is a toy you can’t take apart.’ Every month when Harold would get his paycheck, I would go buy Jim a hot wheels car; but he would always take the wheels off. One time he took one wheel off a hot wheels car and stuck it up his nose!”
“Oh no! Grandma, how did he get it out?”
“It didn’t come out until he sneezed.” My sister and I gaped at each other then laughed hysterically.
“Now girls, why are you laughing?” Grandma asked.
“Because we can’t believe that happened! And what happened in the store with the ball? Tell us. Tell us.”
“Well, Jim kept bouncing the ball and he wouldn’t stop. I told him, ‘I need a break; I can’t cope.’ So I went to go look at the jewelry. They had the most unusual jewelry there. I bought a beautiful pink, opal ring with a gold band. It matched my turtleneck just perfect.
“What happened to Jim, Grandma?”
“I didn’t know! He disappeared real fast. I though ‘oh know, where is he hiding now?’ I figured he was somewhere in the store, but I didn’t know where to look. I was starting to get real nervous-like, so I went to the front desk where Kim was talking to the clerk. I said, ‘help me! I can’t find my son, Jim!’ Well, the clerk was not very nice to me. She said, ‘the store is closing in ten minutes, so you better start looking.’ Kim said she would help me; she was a nice little girl. Then all the sudden, here came Jim out of the elevator with a manikin arm!”
“What? A manikin arm?” we exclaimed.
“He said he grabbed the hand of the manikin, and pulled off the arm on accident. He said, ‘Mom I found an arm with a bracelet for you.’ There was a real pretty bracelet stuck on the wrist.”
“Did you take the bracelet Grandma?”
“ ‘Oh no! I would never dare to steal.’ I told him, ‘we have to hide that arm right away. Let’s get rid of it before the store clerk comes, or we will be in trouble.’ But then Kim screamed ‘Mom, I want a pet fish! Take me to the pet store, now!’ Oh those kids were driving me crazy. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
“Did you go to the pet store?” my sister recalled.
“Yes, but only because the department store was closing. Jim brought the manikin arm with us, and people kept looking at us real funny. When we got to the pet store I said, “Jim, go hide that arm real fast, so we don’t get kicked out.’ So he went and put it under the counter where the hamster food was.”
“Hahaha. He did?” I laughed.
“Did you guys buy a pet?”
“Well, I told the kids, if they behaved, I would buy them a pet, but not a fish, “ Grandma frowned.
“Why not a fish?”
“ ‘Because one time, we had two of the most beautiful angel fish, in an big aquarium, but they both died. I asked Steve, what happened to the fish. He said, ‘Mom I fed the fish for you.’ But it turns out he fed them the entire container of fish food.”
“Hahaha, How much are fish supposed to eat?” my sister inquired.
“Only a little bit, I think. But we did buy a bird that day. It was a real pretty, bright, yellow parakeet. It was such a pretty bird.”
“Really? A parakeet? Who picked it out?”
“The kids picked it out. I said I would let them have it, because I always wanted a pet bird when I was a little girl. I used to think, ‘gee, if I had a little bird to keep, I could let it sleep with me.’ ”
“Don’t bird’s sleep in cages Grandma?”
“”Oh no, …no birds are meant to fly, “ she reassured.
“What about the bird you guys bought? Did you let it fly around? What was its name?”
“Well, his name was Toby. He pecked at my glasses and pulled at my bangs. But he was a good bird; when I would hold out my ring finger he would come and land on it.”
“How did you train him to do that?” my sister perplexed.
“Oh I didn’t train him, he just knew how. But one time he did take a turd on the top of my head.”
“Hahaha!” We belted with laughter. I slapped both hands on my knees. “He pooped on your head? Eeew that is gross!” I shouted.
“Well, I felt bad about it at first, but I knew he couldn’t help it. Anyway, we didn’t keep Toby for very long.”
“Why? What happened to him?”
“Well, Jim let him out the door. I said ‘Jim he won’t come back. Why did you do that?’ He said, ‘I wanted Toby to fly up in the tree, and wake up the new neighbors.’ ”
“Oh no! Did you get mad at Jim?” my sister asked.
“Oh no, not mad. He didn’t realize what he had done. He really just wanted Toby to be free.”
“I hope the bird survived, “ I whispered.
“I don’t know if he did or not. Maybe he will come back one day.” Grandma gazed out the front window hopefully.
“Maybe! I bet he will,” my sister declared.
“Can we have another milkshake?” I asked.
“Can we, can we?” we hollered.
“Oh, oh, oh….”
by Parvathi Om
The first slap caught her somewhere near her ears. She wailed through the rest. All she did was cut her mother’s old torn sari to make a little skirt. So that she too would look like the khol-eyed akka from that big apartment. Too bad that was the only other sari her mother had.
(This is set in India. And 'Akka' literally means older sister, usually referred to an older girl/woman by someone younger respectfully.)
(San Antonio, Texas, United States)
Slowly the wind whipped through my hair. I felt my fingers slip. They slipped and I fell down, down into the abyss. Looking around I saw nothing… Crying the tears ran down my face. Soaking my cheeks and ruining my dreams. I wished I could simply climb out and run away from here this living hell, but I couldn’t, not in a million years. The pain in my heart dragged me down. I watched in pain as everyone I loved, lived there lives. Looking at me I look like any normal girl. However the façade started to fall. My anger showed in every way. I no longer could simply speak, I could only scream. There never was a time I wasn’t hurting. Watching my classmates they excelled at everything, just like I did. Perfect children, that’s all we were. However no one saw, saw through all of our facades. The teachers never noticed that we couldn’t care less. We were all too consumed with our lives. One child with an alcoholic for a father, another with a drug addiction; sadly only the students saw this. The perfect children, so perfect, look at us now… Where are we? Freshmen, some of us dead inside; others still pretending to be perfect, unfortunately, my friends and I will never stay perfect. We can’t. We no longer can live like this. We’re shown off as prize animals. Feeling the knife in my hand I know it’ll end soon.
by Tia Hanock
Her eyes opened wider and wider. Was it really there? Or was it not? She just couldn't believe her eyes. So she pinched herself,scratched herself,slapped herself. And looked and looked and looked..yes!It was actually forming before her very eyes.The top layer was clearly visible. And...wait..
..yesss! The middle layer was beginning to take shape as well.For the very first time in her life,this dream of hers was also coming true. This dream she had seen with her eyes closed. This dream she had seen with her eyes open. This dream that she had secretly nursed for so long, was finally coming true. And what a beauty! So surreal. Enchanting. Her lovely brainchild.
She heaved a sigh of relief. And of contentment. IT IS TRUE, she conceded. Every friend who had gone through this experience had vouched for it. It was worth all the pangs, all the cramps, all the tears.MY HUBBY WILL BE SO HAPPY, she thought.And as she tenderly held the object of her desire, she silently whispered SOLI DEO GLORIA!God be praised for granting her the desire of her heart - her very first flash fiction.
by Ekene Eziagulu
They come in such a surreptitious manner, that I go under the effects even before I realize what is happening. The bloody migraines, that is. From a slow, throbbing sensation in one obscure part of my brain, it suddenly gathers momentum, reaching cataclysmic heights that result most times in black-outs. And yes; I remember my doctor telling me of things that could cause an episode of such attacks! Triggers were what he called them and he warned me to guard against being in very stressful situations or settings.
So on a warm sunny day, as I opened the door in response to a knock I heard, the sight that greeted me brought everything back in a flurry. Meg, my love interest from eleven years before stood in front of me, her face bearing an admixture of anger, hate and disgust. Still reeling from the shock of seeing her again after all these years, the person beside her was the subject of greater interest; a boy who was a splitting image of me. And as he said the words ‘daddy’, I went through all the episodic phases in a jiffy and passed out before I could ask any questions!
by Julivia Glory
Somehow it wasn't like that. It never was. Maybe it was my fault, even though everyone keeps telling me it isn't. When I walk down that road near the train tracks, I feel free. A few minutes into the trail and I feel the familiar CHUGGA CHUGGA, CHUGGA CHUGGA, of vibrations soaring through my thighs and into my skull. Slightly bouncing up and down. Soon, I approach my house, to the dark atmosphere of my home. The strange gray butterflies flit past, reminding me of the drab and dullness of my world. Or maybe they're a sign. It's hard to tell. How can butterflies be gray? How...? Is God somehow trying to tell me or remind me of the past. It wasn't my fault... it wasn't.... Or was it? It's hard to remember, it's haunted me since that day. I didn't hurt her... I didn't mean to... But she never told anyone, the silence gets bigger everyday. Though I feel guilty, and everyone assumes I was innocent, she's never said a word otherwise. Did I love her? Or hate her? Caty Simms....will you give me away and punish me? God...please help. Please.
by Eve Kerrigan Roberts
(Atlanta, GA USA)
What surprised him most was the fact that the cat was still alive. He never saw it get out. He forgot about it at the time and he didn't know how anything could live through that fire. That fire ate up everything in its path. If he hadn't gotten them out so fast, they wouldn't have stood a chance. The cat was with a neighbor now. They were all scattered to the winds for awhile, like ash.
He stood on the street corner across from the house. Or, what used to be the house but was now a nearly empty lot, a blight. He was lost in thought. The wind blew through his charity coat, hanging open because it lacked a crucial button. He didn't notice. His eyes were wet. A passerby might think he was crying, looking at the burned wreckage across the street. It was just the Wisconsin cold, already mean and abrasive in early November.
There was snow on the ground the night of the fire. The fire melted the snow. His girl Judy had punched out a window with her bare hand and had managed to throw Tommy, not yet one, down to a business man, on his way to work so early in the morning. Tommy in his bassinet, didn't cry. Just had wide eyes.
He shook his head at the thought. What if the business man hadn't been there? What if his oldest girl had been another teenage girl, not the earthbound mothering type she had always been? The wind blew a little colder. It actually soothed the burns on his back.
He clenched his fists as he remembered the moment he slipped off his pants that night and draped them over the chair, the cash from his paycheck still folded in his front pocket.
What was he doing here? He prayed to God. His prayer said, "What am I doing here?"
He crossed the street and stepped into the smeary, charcoal relief that had been his home. He walked through the remnants of the dining room, den and the bedrooms of his seven children. Each bedroom, empty of its inhabitants, lay in powdery piles of ash and blackness now, reduced and resting on top of one another like corpses buried in the same grave.
He found the master bedroom in his memory, traced the steps he'd taken a million times to his marital bed. He stood there, pointless. He turned to leave. A new kind of blackness caught his eye. He looked a little harder. He conjured the ghost of the chair where his pants had hung. He walked over and bent down, the burns on his back stretching and smarting with the movement. He picked up his wallet. He saw instantly in his mind the events that had to take place for this to happen. The flames burned his pants. The firemen sprayed their hoses. The pocket burned through, the wallet fell in a puddle and there it remained, money and all, barely singed.
He stood up, real tears in his eyes now. He prayed to God. His prayer said, "thank you."
by Ekene EZIAGULU
Six months ago Pete had blown Mary away with these words that made her light-headed and her knees go wobbly: ‘you are the air that I breathe’, ‘you complete me’, ‘I see us together forever in your eyes’, ‘I live to please you……..’
Yesterday she had said these very words to him from depths in her heart that no one had ever reached: ‘I do’, ‘till death do us part’, ‘in sickness and in health’, ‘to love and to cherish….’
Now, as he knelt before her, as he done when he first proposed to her, he was uttering these very words that she could not bring herself to believe: ‘I meant to tell you earlier’, ‘multiple felonies committed’, ‘wanted in several states’, ‘secret identities….’
However, the officer at their door had been kind enough to show her arrest warrants and supporting documents. “He will be put away for a long time” was the officer’s terse statement, as he led Pete, her husband away from her, probably forever!
Mary sat down and cried, wanting so much to say these very words to this man she now didn’t know at all: that she was some weeks pregnant!
by Shyann Marie Ross
(Hawkins, Texas, USA)
The burdensome eve still loitered before me, fogging over the memories of good into an opaque distressing crust, not allowing me to move on- Ball and chain. The essence of a bright day, before the stoplight, followed me into a frightening flashback. I remembered screaming for him in all my complete horror as he began to fall from the seat of my car. He'd only unbuckled a minute, to grab his journal from the back seat... But the car door had been closed, but not latched, and as he had sat himself back, the door opened. Reflex, I reached for him. I remember the terror in his eyes, and his cries... He held on until the door slammed on his chest, and he released with a screech, torn from the car and my hands. Nightmares. When I found him mangled on the highway, I sobbed for months in remorse. He had been in a coma for two years. Last night though, I had a dream- I dreamt he opened his eyes on Friday the Thirteenth. As I recalled my conscious mindset, I drove forward towards the Hospital. It if was true, I'd not miss the sight.
by PerfectPam Humphries
(Coupland, Texas )
The pews were beginning to empty when I entered the church. I stood in the back watching as the body was being viewed. I was supposed to give the eulogy, but I was late and the funeral was ending. The pall bearers lifted the casket and were carrying it down the narrow aisle with the family following. As they passed me, she smiled and nodded. She was the only member of the family not dressed in funeral black. She wore pink, hot pink with pink cowgirl boots and her smile was as radiant as her outfit.
She was standing outside the church beside the hearse, and I knew she was waiting on me. I walked up to her and said, "I didn't give the eulogy because I was late for the service."
"I know," she said,"I shouldn't have made you promise to give it. The family didn't really want you to anyway, so they got their wish."
"But I promised so I should have given it."
"You were late on purpose," she said.
"Yes, I guess I was. I hope you understand."
"You're my best friend," she replied, "Why wouldn't I understand?"
"I have to ask," I said, almost bursting out laughing, "Why the Hot Pink?"
"Cause I hate the gloomy black they dress the dead in. It's makes you look all pale and tragic, and the look on my mother's face is priceless," she pointed over to the family limo, "It's driving her crazy; she never liked me in pink."
"Is your dad with her?" I asked.
"No, he didn't show," she smiled,"Thank you for helping me complete my bucket list."
"Wouldn't have missed it," I said. The engine of the hearse started.
"Well, gotta go," she said. She had said those words to me so many times, but this time I knew she'd never return.
"Yeah, you gotta go," I whispered to myself. The hearse drove away and she was gone.
(Houston, Texas, USA)
I have never believed in love before, but I came quite close to it once. We were young, and he was sweet and funny. We would trade glances every day; I would glance at him, and when he caught me staring, I would look away quickly in embarrassment. He would smile pleasantly, a familiar twinkle always in his eyes.
I wanted to confess to him—more than anything else—but I was too much of a coward. My strong fear of rejection and ridicule taunted me; it overcame my attraction to him.
There were always hints, here and there, that he liked me back. Whenever something amusing happened, he would always flash me his trademark smile from meters away. He would talk to his friends and look at me. (I pretended not to notice as I slowly inched closer to hear their conversations.) His best friend was always teasing me about him. I didn’t want to believe those hints, to be pulled into the lies and get my hopes up, but deep inside, I knew that he liked me back.
After considering all of the hints, I mustered whatever fortitude I had in me and was prepared to confess to him.
I was wrong.
The next day, he got back together with his ex.
by Harriet Hunter
(St. Paul, MN, USA)
As I stare at myself, and think, "what have I become"? I conjure up thoughts of my convoluted origin. I was born James David Anderson. A name I presume to probably be the most common name in the universe, as if, I was destined to a life of mediocrity. I picture my parents sitting around the dinner table. My mother fully plump with a ball of life sandwiched between the table and her chair.
"How bout Sam?" she says.
"No I knew a Sam in high school, he was a failure," my Father replies.
"Well I'm tired of this lets just predispose him to an average life, by choosing the most common name possible." My Mother retorts.
"Okay," says my Father, "It's not like we planned on having him, why spend any time preparing for his arrival, as it's obvious we didn't prepare for his conception." I assume this to be factual, although, the validity of the situation is imaginary. I cannot grasp how they would have arrived at such a mind-numbing name without said conversation so I continue my belief in it.
I continue to pan over myself in the mirror as my newly angered and embarrassed mind correlates that self-hatred of action to self-hatred of image. Picking at the smallest blemishes, I feel the poison I overindulged in the prior night wanting to escape and I tend to the matter.
by Miles Rossetti
(Westwood, MA, USA)
It's not easy being impulsive.
It's even less easy when your mind is restless and your days are long: filled with boredom; seldom excitement; and planned activity is never existent.
Constantly your head is flooded with thoughts, stupid thoughts that never stop. Take that Ipod. Snatch those headphones right off Best Buy's shelf and book it, Shoot your BB gun at some windows..It'll make a cool noise. Run if the cops come; laugh your ass off. Is it for fun or are you addicted to these kind of things? Do you care? Probably not. Better look into it...later; right now there's things to do and life to live and a world to roam.
Is that car door unlocked? Get in, hotwire it and be off on the greatest joy ride of your life. FLY down the highway or any street-road or path for that matter. Not your car. Not your problem.
Means nothing when following an impulse.
You can make that jump between these buildings,
the drop isn't too far, I'm sure that you won't break your legs...Although I'm no expert...
Slam your door and punch a hole in the wall.
Scream at the top of your lungs until you feel light headed and about to pass out.
Slither into bed among the crumbs of your walls.
Hate what you're doing.
Despise yourself and your complete lack of morals and noble qualities.
Wake up in the morning by the whisper of your mind. Know that they'll soon be more than a whisper. More than an indoor voice; more than an outdoor voice; more than a shout and more than a complete scream. Know they can't be ignored and that any control you felt at the immediate time of your awakening was an illusion and that it was based purely on the fact that your impulsive mind is just not a morning person. Too bad neither are you.
by Alli Teration
Stepping onto the cold pebbled path I felt the wind sink beneath the thin cloth on my shoulders. The dark green leaves shrouded the sun from my eyes. My bare feet shriveled against the damp rocks, yet I kept walking. Each step took me farther from the bright arched entrance, from the memories. One food in front of the other I walked, round corners, through forked paths; I walked, waiting for the pain to stop. But it would never stop. I knew this. Even as my tears trickled to a halt, the throbbing of my heart only grew. My bruised fingers grasped onto the moth eaten blanket, barely big enough to keep my neck warm. I searched for reason in the twisted path of pebbles and vines. I searched through the wind, I searched through the fallen leaves, I searched through the snow. I searched as my hair grew grey, I searched until I could search no more, and then did I realize, I knew not what I searched for. It came on me then, the sinking of my soul into the frozen lake. And I searched no more.
(Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil)
I look everywhere, but it is nowhere to be found. I search my closets and dresser drawers and then under the bed and mattress. Shuffling through the room, I peer inside the hamper, under the rug, behind the door. I drop to my hands and knees, mopping the floor with my body as I snake my way through the room searching the corners, where dust and webs collect. After the floor is shined and free of debris, I stand and inspect the pillows and the blankets, shaking them above the bed and then brushing my hand across the mattress trying to feel for it, but there is nothing but dust and feathers and a few lost hairs, some from my head, some from his.
I begin to feel ill, as if I will never find it, the object that binds our love and marital commitment. Before I can stop myself, the tears are spilling down my cheeks. I wipe the wetness away with the back of my hand. I glance at my hand, staring at the slight indentation around my finger marking the bond that was there, that is now missing. I search again, looking, lifting, shaking, until the door is thrown open and my husband stands at the entrance, confused and concerned. I start sputtering that I need time to myself. I am ashamed by my reaction, nervous to admit the loss. He starts to say something, hesitates a second, and then leaves. It dawns on me that what I have lost has been right in front of me, but I was too blind, believing that the metal object that adorns my finger contains all the power, the lock to the union rather than the symbol of a link between two souls.
by Heather Collins
Tammy slaps him, square across the jaw with such intensity his denture flies out. She grabs his chin and faces him toward her.
“Now you listen here, Vic, I’m gonna have this baby. And you will never know him or her. Not even the name!” She yanks off her tiny diamond, tosses it onto the bar counter like a penny.
The neon sign popped as the door slams behind her.
“Good lawd Vic, you better put that woman on a leash!” says Charlie, a regular patron at The Clam.
The veins in Vic’s neck start to twitch, and, as if second nature, he pounds his large fist on the old wooden bar. No, not tonight, he thinks. I have to change for Tammy, for the baby.
Pacing back and forth, Vic thinks aloud all of things he wants to say to Tammy. He wants her and he needs her. He doesn’t want his child to grow up not knowing him.
I’ll let her sleep it off, he thought, call her in the morning and we can smooth it out. Why the hell did I do this?! I love her!
“Hi, this is Tammy! I’m not available right now but I’ll call you back as soon as I can!”
Damn, why won’t you pick up your phone baby. Vic’s phone slipped from his palm, his hands sweating from fear. He parked outside of her house, waiting, wishing.
The grandfather clock chimes seven times. Seven o’clock. Hmm, wonder what’s on tv. Vic grabs the remote from his chair pocket and starts channel surfing. His once big, strong hands now riddled with veins and gray hair.
Vic jumps up, startled by the ringing phone.
“Hi!” Is this Victor Casey?"
"I’m looking for my biological father.”
A young girl sat on a hill, watching as the sun set. A chilly autumn breeze swept across the grass, leaving the girl shivering. But nevertheless, she remained seated in the soft grass, thinking of how lucky she was that she could have a moment to herself. As the blazing orange ball in the sky neared the mountain peaks, she spotted something in the distance that instantly made her heart swell. A magnificent black horse galloped over the moor, her black mane flowing against the wind. The girl rose to her feet, tears of joy welled in her eyes. "Rose," she whispered in a sweet, soft voice. "Rose!" She shouted this time and took off in the direction of the horse she thought she'd never see again. The black speck grew closer until the girl could see her features as clear as day. Suddenly the horse was upon her; her muzzle stuck out and her warm sugar brown eyes sparkled. The girl threw herself at the black wonder named Rose, burying her face in her thick, soft mane. "You came back," she murmured, as the horse nuzzled her shoulder. The girl pulled back to stroke the white star on the horse's forehead. "Let's ride, girl," she said in a confident manner. She hoisted herself onto Rose's back, cherishing the feel of the beauty‘s soft coat. The horse cantered into the distance, towards high, grassy hills, sparkling lakes, and icy mountain peaks. To a place that was familiar in ways no one could understand. To a place called home.
It was an early Saturday evening, and I had been practicing for my volleyball game tomorrow. All of a sudden the winds picked up and the white volleyball floated over the fence looking like the moon rising. Quickly, I sprinted out of my backyard to get the ball, because my next door neighbors have a vicious dog that would tear up anything it could find. Luckly, the dog was inside but, when I was looking around the yard for the ball something caught my eye. Far in the distance was a floating figure that was holding my volleyball in its hands. All of a sudden, there was another gust of wind and then… Bam! This floating figure was standing right next to me tossing the volleyball up and down. Not knowing what to do, I decided to be a little friendly and spark up a conversation. “Hello,” I said in a nervous and shaky voice.
Figure replied, “ I have come here to you.”
Why me I thought. “Why couldn’t you have chosen a different person, there’s surely nothing I could help you with,” I said. “I am only a 13 year old girl, I think you have found the wrong person.”
“No, no I have not,” replied the figure.
“Yes, you have there’s nothing special about me. I don’t have magic powers. There is nothing you could possibly want with me!” Annoyed by the floating figure, I started running back to my house, to tell my parents about this strange thing that had just happened. Yet, as soon as I reached the door to my house, somebody was standing right in front of me.
“Please stop running, all I had wanted was to grant you three wishes, but yet you have bothered me so by running away and being defiant that I will be giving you the choices for a wish,” exclaimed the figure.
“What are you, like some kind of genie? Anyway, I don’t need wishes my life is just fine,” I stated.
“Yes, I am and have been sent to you, so now here are your three wishes that you can only choose one from,” Genie said with a devious look on his face. “The first choice is to have infinite wealth, but you will never be able to share or use the money for anyone but yourself. The second choice is to have extraordinary intelligence, but never be able to find true love. Lastly, the third choice is that there will be world peace but you will die by age 25,” said the genie.
By now I’m thinking this is all a huge prank being played on me, but I decided to play along in case it wasn’t. After thinking about the choices, I decided to go with the third choice. “Genie, I would like to go with the third choice, I understand the outcomes of that choice, but being able to know that my family will be able to live in a time of world peace is the greatest thing anyone could wish for,” I stated and then smiled.
“Ok, if that’s what you would like, then here you go,” said the genie, who was now clapping his hands together. Then the wind started to speed up and the whole world went suddenly black.
“Hello? Is anybody here? Can anyone hear me,” I frantically stated. After what seemed to be an entirety of waiting for a response, I heard a small whisper coming from behind. Turning around, I saw the genie that had granted my wish. “What’s… What’s going on? Where am I? I am scared,” I said starting to cry.
“Please, don’t worry child, I have taken you with me and placed you in a very special place, where all the people go that have chosen to die at age 25 in exchange for something that would benefit their families,” the genie said smiling.
“How come you didn’t tell me,” I said in between sobbing. “If I had known this I would have said goodbye to my family first or chosen another wish! Now I’m stuck here with you, a devious, evil, little genie!” Furious I decided to ask the genie one last thing. “Hey genie, I was kind of wondering if you could bend the rules and maybe let me have another wish instead,” I said smirking.
“Sorry sweetie, that’s against the Genie Code of Conduct. You are stuck here till your death at age 25. Don’t worry our maid will take great care of you. Also, there’s one other thing that should be known. There’s no way to ever escape here, contact people from here, and it isn’t going to be fun here either,” the genie exclaimed and then laughed deviously.
“Fine! Can I at least meet the woman, or is it some other type of evil creature that’s supposed to take care of me,” I said in a mean matter.
“She should be here any minute now,” exclaimed the genie who was now smirking. Then in the middle of the room appeared the most elegant thing ever. Glittering, glowing, golden sparks shot out as the creature landed. It was unlike anything that could ever be imagined. Now standing right in the middle of the room was a pegasus with its hair flowing, horn glowing, and wings blowing. “This can’t be right! I was positive that there was going to be a hideous monster looking after you,” shouted the genie.
“Well looks like you were wrong,” I exclaimed and with that the genie vanished and I was left in the gleaming white room with a pegasus wondering what to do next.
by Nibir Mannaf
(Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
I felt myself lifted off my feet and taken into somebody’s embrace. The soft clothing provided access to the heat from my mother’s skin as she hummed a rhyme in the hope that I would learn it. She took me to the roof, picking up a bowl of rice and vegetables. Shifting my weight from one arm to the other she mashed together the contents of the bowl. I looked, fascinated as always, at her fingers crushing and mixing the rice and vegetables together till they blended together to form a multicoloured collage. I could spot a lot of green, like the green in the trees across the lake; some white similar to the white of a boiled egg.
Scooping some rice in her palm, she held it close to my mouth. I looked away as usual. After frivolous attempts to pry the lump of food into my stubborn mouth, she set the bowl aside and walked around the terrace humming the song I liked most. Some crows perched on the antennae above the attic roof. My mother hailed them and threw them some rice. Greedy as they are, they pecked at the food and then warily approached us in the hope of getting some more morsels. My mother looked at my eager expression and threw them some more rice. Then, she took some rice in her hand and held it near my lips. I parted them and she stuffed the lump into my mouth. She threw some rice to the crows and then fed me a mouthful. Gradually, the bowl became empty.
Today, years later, I brought her home. She was weak from trauma. Her diseased limbs have forced upon her a wheelchair. I pushed it along the corridor leading to the roof. We emerged into the mellow light from the setting sun. A domestic help brought some food in a bowl along with some water. “Ma, have something. You haven’t had anything the whole day!” She did not offer me a glance. Sighing sadly to myself, I knelt beside her. I mixed some rice and vegetables, a spoonful of which I held out in front of her mouth. Ma looked at me. Then she glanced away.
Whatever persistent hope I had had, shattered. A crow cawed beside me. The greedy creature had crept up without me noticing. I threw the spoon at it in exasperation. It dodged the spoon and pecked at the rice. Having finished scooping up every visible speck of the rice and vegetables, it advanced upon the bowl in my hand.
In a flash I remembered my dream; I remembered the memory.
I snatched the glass from where it was on the tray and washed my hand. I threw some rice to the crow.
“Ma, see. The crow must be hungry. Look at it having rice.”
Ma did not respond. I repeated the offering to the crow, which eagerly pecked at the rice. Out of instinct, my fingers smashed rice and vegetable together and I held a mouthful of it near my mother’s mouth. My mother looked at the food I held before her; she opened her mouth and I pushed the food inside her mouth and watched her chew it. I offered her some more rice after giving some to the crow.
The bowl turned empty as the sun hid beyond the horizon.
by Julia Bizon
That sense of wrongness is building inside me, like a fire being fed with kindling. I look out at the water again and stop in my tracks. The tide is definitely not supposed to be going BACKWARD!
Then, I see it. It looks like a mountain is rising from the ocean. The top of it looks as if it’s kissing the moon. It’s too dark to make out any details, but it seems to be moving toward me. There is no time to run.
It appears to be picking up speed. It no longer looks like a mountain rising from the ocean. Now that it’s getting closer it looks more like a wall. It continues to get closer and closer. This thing is starting to look like, it can’t be. A wave, hundreds of feet tall, is rushing straight toward me. The water looks angry. The wave is spraying salt water in every direction. The front is white with foam. The water is brown from the sand it has picked up on its journey. The brown water stretches in every direction. I feel like I’m being trapped inside a cage.
Time seems to slow as the wave comes toward me. It is impossibly high, blocking out the stars and sliver of moon above. It goes on for miles in either direction. The brown, churning water is waiting to swallow me up. The white foam licks hungrily at the land, waiting.
Then time unfreezes, and I hear someone screaming. A terrible, ear piercing scream. Then I realize it’s me. But I don’t stop. I just grab the edge of the closest wooden picnic table for dear life, and squeeze my eyes shut.
Then the tsunami takes me, and everything goes black.
by Nibir Mannaf
(Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
For years, land and water had co-existed ….
The dark clouds looming overhead witnessed a severe battle below. The two armies were ready. The conditions were in our favour. At my command, my army charged headlong into the battle. My soldiers wore blue uniforms. The rivals bearing the powers of the land wore greenish-brown ones. The clouds roared their defiance overhead. Just as we were gaining the upper hand, someone, I don’t know who, cried for me to watch out. But I knew that looking behind would only take me off my guard. I broke to the left. A sword whizzed past. I drew out mine and cornered my rival. The swords clashed against each other. I caused a thunder to fall on him. Max was very well-skilled. He wounded me despite his own wounds, causing my sword to spill from my hands as I stumbled upon a rock. He stood above me, a grim figure. A blinding bolt of lightning illuminated his face and informed me of his next move. He struck out. I managed to move aside just in time with just a cut on my shoulder. A pedestal standing beside me crashed to the ground. I drew out the only weapon I had with me – a dagger I’d received in my childhood. I lurched forwards just as he raised his sword high to make the finishing blow. I drove the dagger into his body. He fell to the ground in a heap with a cry of disbelief that echoed all over the battlefield. I had little energy left. I sank on my knees.
by Gael Edwards
(Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
It is a well known fact, I have no love for reptiles. Nor do I have any tolerance for shoes, handbags, belts or anything else made from reptiles whether it is real or faux.
However, what I am about to tell you is a true story and one I still have not quite gotten over and still gives me the creeps and makes my skin crawl whenever I think about the incident.
A few years ago, as I got home from work, pulled into the driveway, got out of the car and approached the front door I noticed a lizard on the outside wall of the house next to the screen door. Well, my heart stopped or at least dropped to my feet. I began to panic and thought to myself what to do now? That was the only entrance into the house.
Different scenarios began to play in my mind as to how I would handle this situation. My husband was not home from work yet so he was unable to help me. We had only lived there a short time and we didn’t know any of our neighbors. There wasn’t anyone around to help me, I was on my own. Finally, I gritted my teeth, telling myself you can do this. My plan was to open the screen door slowly and quietly and put my key in the front door lock and quietly go into the house.
Well, that didn’t happen! As soon as the screen door was opened it made a loud screeching sound and startled the lizard. In fact, the lizard was so startled it took a flying leap and landed on my leg! I began to yell and stomp my feet to get the lizard off of my leg. That didn’t happen either! The lizard with its little suction, horned feet, who knows how there feet are made, was stuck to my stocking and would not fall off of my leg. I was out there on my front porch screaming and yelling and dancing up and down the front porch in my high heels trying to get that lizard to fall off of my leg and go away. I’m sure the image any of our neighbors may have had that late afternoon, had they been watching, was of a crazy lady who had to much to drink and was on her front porch doing the Mexican Hat Dance!
The lizard finally fell off of my leg and onto the porch, in the process the lizard lost his tail. I didn’t care. I just wanted to get into the house. There was no time wasted with my getting into the shower and scrubbing the crawly feeling off of my leg.
In the meantime my husband came home and as I told him the story of what happened he began to chuckle. I told him about the lizard losing its tail. He told me that was natural for a lizard to do when it was frightened (who knew?). Of course he thought the whole thing was funny and laughed hysterically. He went to check on the lizard and came back to tell me.
“Not only has its tail fallen off, you scared it so bad, it is dead!”
by kaitlynn beard
My legs move without thought, I get his dinner, make sure its warm enough so he doesn’t get mad. I’ve been here for three years now. I’m sorry I should have said my body's been here for about three years. My soul left a long time ago along with my courage, my mind and my voice. You see I’m this empty shell of a once vibrant person. I don't know why I’m bothering to write this, I don't even know if anyones ever gonna get to read it. I just can't hold anymore in, I need to get this out before I disappear forever.
See I call him the handler and me I’m just the puppet. He took me three years ago, claimed to be rescuing me. He's supposed to be some chosen one of God. But I think he's on the devil's side because this feels like hell. He brought me to some cult where he seems to be the one in power. Within three months I was forced to marry Handler. Right after our marriage he began what he calls good wife lessons. I had to have dinner ready on time. I wasn’t allowed to sit on the furniture, speak, or even eat without him telling me I could. I fought him everyway possible and he abused me every way possible. It didn’t take me long to realize I was hopelessly trapped. No one even looked at me let alone talk to me but they idolized him. If I tried to talk to anyone Handler would take me inside and whip me. After each punishment was a speech on how he didn't wanna hurt me but I needed to learn to behave. He talked to me like a child, belittled me at every turn.
I felt myself starting to believe him. I willed myself against it, against him. But slowly I felt my courage fading, my will to fight slipping. He was tearing me down, sealing me inside my own mind. What was I to do, how long was I supposed to fight. A butterfly flew past me one time and my mind couldn’t help but slip to when I was a little girl talking to my mother. We had a garden and I asked my mom why butterflies only came around in the summer. She told me that butterflies are controlled by the mother nature and will die if they get left in the cold. This made me think about the handler and how he controls me. He silences my voice too scared to speak because if I got caught it’d mean a beating. My mind slips away next goes my heart. I stopped caring fighting living, I gave up on life. My soul is here but it's barely a whisper in the wind anymore. I’ve had opportunity within this last year to speak out and get help. But my mind's so frozen with terror I open up my mouth but can't will it to say anything. This is my life now the handler is my body keeper, the puppet master. And soon the rest of my mind and soul will fade with the rest.
by Nibir Mannaf
(Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Blood flowed freely from the wounds I’d received from Max. Distant thunder, painful cries…. I fainted. When I came around, the first thing I looked for was Max. Max! There he was…. Lying face upward gazing silently still at the orange fingers of the morning sun touching the clouds and making them look afresh for the already finished war. He would be staring like that for years until his body perished or would be chewed away by worms, his dainty fingers clutching at the occupant of the now empty scabbard at my waist. I scanned the grounds for any sign giving hint of my sword. At last I located it, half-hidden by the fallen pedestal. I sheathed it. Looking back, I took off the empty scabbard and tossed it beside Max, giving a watery smile as I did so. I would not have any use of it. Let it stay with its occupant sprouting from my dead rival’s body. I started off, knowing not where I went, finding some new direction to conquer….