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Cecilia FliesFive stories high doesn’t sound like very much until you’re standing on a plank extended out over a swimming pool so small and so flimsy even toddlers give it a wary eyeball.
“I don’t like this, I don’t like this, I don’t like this,” Cecilia repeated to herself as she took that last step to the end of the board. “No, no, no, crap, crap, this is bad. What am I doing?”
Down below, a couple hundred people sat in the stands around the center platform. Their heads leaned back, gazing at the tiny ballerina balancing precariously above. Cecilia only looked for one person in the crowd.
There! A glimmer of glitter, silver and white, the unmistakable sequins of her friend and guardian angel, Lina. Cecilia couldn’t see her face, but she imagined her as she always was, book of spells on her lap, reading the familiar words.
It was Lina who made Cecilia fly. Lina who made the tiny ballerina a star, so much so that she had become the face on
Deal With It“There,” Philip said, and stuck the tip of the pick axe in the dirt.
“Are you done? Took long enough.”
“Oh, pipe down, Mack, I did what I needed to do.”
“All you had to do was kill him, dude, I think this is a little excessive.”
The younger man turned his head as Philip kicked body parts into three separate holes, then picked up the hoe and helped fill them without looking.
“Well, I can’t sleep at night if I know somebody I killed could come back.”
Mack stopped the hoe and looked up at Philip in shock. “You mean, you do this because you’re afraid of…of zombies?”
“It’s not likely, but the fact is, it could happen. Not gonna take my chances. When you’ve killed as many people as I have, kid, you have to find some way to deal with the ghosts in your head.”
“All right, whatever, but I really hate your coping skills.”
Happy AccidentsSometimes I wake up in the morning, blink against the blue light coming in the window, and forget for just a second that the rest of the world is dead.
When I was a kid, I read stories about how some of the best inventions and discoveries resulted from accidents. “Happy accidents,” my mom called them. I grew up hoping that one day I would be a scientist, and “accident” into something incredible. I achieved my goal—I’m not unhappy and it was something incredible.
Three months ago, I walked into my lab like I do every day, coffee in one hand, cell phone in the other, ready to work. An hour later, the entire lab went up in a puff of green smoke. I managed to make it to my safety bunker before the explosion went off, but by the time it was safe to emerge, the damage had been done.
I stayed in the bunker a month, waiting for my detector to tell me that it was safe to exit. When it still hadn’t gone off after a month and my food supplies were running
StrangersLauren laid on her bed, scrolling through stories on some paranormal website her sister raved about. Standard fare, really—ghosts, demons, nearly-there-but-not-quite photos, clearly faked photos, curses, unexplained deaths—nothing to make Lauren so much as lift an eyebrow.
She clicked on one story labeled “The Stranger” and skimmed through it. “Yada, yada, cursed because she was unbearably nasty, morality tale, etcetera, etcetera,” she said as she glanced through it, then closed her laptop with a sharp click.
Sighing, Lauren slid off the bed and grabbed her coat, heading down stairs and out the door. Seriously, rotting her brain believing that crap, she thought, and pulled her coat closer to fend off the chilly drizzle.
Five blocks to their favorite ice cream place; she met her sister there every week, and she hated it. She would have to pass at least three homeless people only to listen to her sister talk for an hour. At least she could get t
ChupaSheila crawled out of bed, eyes barely open, and slammed her hand against the alarm clock. After a trip to the bathroom and a half-hearted glance in the mirror, she shuffled her way to the kitchen.
Then, just as she had every morning for the past fifteen years, she poured herself a cup of coffee and thought, for the millionth time, what would I do without coffee on a timer? Then leaned against the sink, letting the aroma work its way into her system, and watched out the kitchen window.
This habit resulted from the hummingbird feeders her mom had put up before she died, and out of respect for her mom and, she had to admit, some personal interest, she kept them filled during the warmer months. Most mornings, a few hummingbirds would zip around the feeders, and she would start her day with them, marveling at their speed.
As she watched, two hummingbirds came up to the feeders, a blue and a green, and a territorial fight broke out, one chasing the other in huge arcs around the feede
Becoming a ManThe day my mother brought home a brand new book for my brother, I knew something had happened. He was too young to know, though. “Aces!” he yelled, grinning, when she put it in his hands.
I didn’t look at him; I looked at her. The joy of the gift didn’t mask the sorrow in her eyes. The deep wrinkles branched out from the corner of her eyes like leafless winter branches, and the exhaustion etched in the lines on her forehead read loud and clear.
Somehow I knew, without a word. I waited until she walked into the kitchen and followed her. “He died, didn’t he?”
She let out a shaky breath and started putting the other things she’d brought home away. “I can’t hide anything from you, can I?”
“Late last night.” She set down a magazine, and I glanced at the back cover. Ham in a can. I wondered what it tasted like for a second before I remembered what we were discussing.
“So what now?”
Permanent Relocation“Well, here we are, floating in a tin can in the middle of space.” The stocky blonde with short hair shoved her bag under the sparse bed in the room.
“Funny, I thought it would feel different,” said the brunette behind her.
“Welcome home, ladies,” said the tall, severe woman who showed them to their room. “Dinner’s in an hour, and we don’t wait.”
When the door was closed, the blonde laid down on the bed. “What’s your name again?”
“Stephanie, but I like Stevie better.”
“All right. Nice to meet you, Stevie.” Pearl pulled out her things, putting them in the small dresser beside her bed. There wasn’t much—some clothes, toiletries, a few books, and some pictures. Stevie noticed that she shoved these under the clothes. The curvy brunette sat on the bed when she finished and looked at the blonde across. “So why are you here?”
“Had to get
BoomI ran for my shotgun as soon as I heard the blast. No way I was going to get caught off guard, no sir. Another one followed the first, insistent, and with the sound of crackling that could only mean shrapnel.
Great, and I’m in my pajamas. I loaded the shotgun and walked with a purpose through the living room. The patriotic music from the July 4th concert still played from my radio—fitting, I realized, and I stood taller.
The last notes of America, The Beautiful rung out loud and true as I opened the door. As soon as I stepped outside, light and sound assaulted every sense. I refused to waver, and I shook my gun and yelled, “Come and get it, you pansies!”
The booming intensified, and I raised my gun. I might not be able to see my attackers, but if I shot in their general direction, I could provide covering fire for our boys. Good thing I brought extra rounds.
I leveled my gun at the tree line, knowing that whoever lead the charge of those exp
Helper“Forget the car, Gene, it’s gone.”
“Cars don’t just get gone, Marsha.”
“Yeah, well, people don’t just get gone either, do they?” the blonde looked out into the woods. “But twenty years in this business and I’ve gotten plenty of people just gone.”
“You’ve been doing this for that long?”
Marsha looked up at him in perplexed amusement. “You mean the gray roots and the wrinkles on my hands don’t give it away? I’m touched.” She turned and started walking back down the highway, muttering to herself. The short, stocky guy behind her hesitated, then followed.
“Why do you do it?” he asked as he fell into stride with her.
“Sometimes people need to go. Someone’s gotta help ‘em.” Gene nodded silently, and the two walked on for a while until Marsha turned down a small path into the woods at the edge of the highway.
“Well, I appreci
ViolinI remember the day
you told me violins
were strung with cat gut
and that is why
you hated music
(who says that to a child?)
I followed you
all that summer.
I watched you
grow away from mother -
your whiskey held better conversations
and all she did was cry.
We'd sit cross-legged on the porch
and count the horseflies
settling on our lunch.
You would drown tadpoles
in a bucket
surprised they could not swim
and I would dream
of cherry popsicles.
And when night would gather
on the sidewalk
I'd hold my breath
until a star appeared.
Don't bother making wishes
you'd tell me -
stars are dead weight in heaven
and God has cloth ears.
My School Says I'm Worthless (sort of a rant)I'm a criminal because my values aren't their values
And I'm scum to say the least
Because I'm not on their list
Ones who have their lives set out
And drink from molten glory raining down from
School top balconies...
And I have myself left to blame for all the non-attempts
And truancies; the bleak distractions
That help me escape the inviolable test-score stares
Of disapproval that I attract from their
And they're forced to ask me 'Why?
Why are you still here?'
And I can barely say
That I'm afraid to leave.
That I know that no-one knows
Or what they want to be
But unlike those
I gave up
A while ago
And they can't tell me to my face that I'm a failure so they heavily imply
That my lacking presence
And even less impressive
Tendency for slacking off is evidence
That I am stupid and a fool and nothing more than such a waste of resources
And it's a disappointment
That I don't hold their ideals
VesselYour heart is a compass.
Broken, perhaps, but I know
It’s always searching for the North Star.
Which way will your beard point tonight?
DanielYou are vertebrae
reinforced with titanium
that does not make you the lesser -
You’ve got the weight of the world
on one shoulder
sometimes you trip because of it -
you’re still walking
and if things fused wrong
post or anterior
and if things fused out in the interior
your circuits live on
and if your thoughts get circular
or so do your moods
and your mind blanks and you forget -
you’re nervous but strong -
then I’ll remind you.
Because you give me
the backbone required
you’re my Atlas, so I lift my head,
you’re my axis, so I can face the future
because you are vertebrae
reinforced with titanium.
You’re my inner strength.
FallingFailure after failure
A life not worth living
Lost in my misery
Long gone are the good moments
I keep falling
Nothing can save me now
Gone my hopes are
Because He'sHe’s listening
Millions of them.
A flash of red
And a navy hat
No warning – now motionless
With skin turned to shadows.
Darkest MoonI celebrate my right to live;
To the dismay of some, perhaps
It should be noted
These words I write, however true
Are only portions of the moon
I’ve decide to shine light upon.
But who am I to preach respect?
Who Am I to preach equality?
An advocate for re-personification
Of the female gender
But exhibits cannibalistic characteristics
Within dark spaces.
I am a shadow
Hidden within an Eggshell, painted pink,
Waiting to hatch.
Is the darkness
The night brought upon us.
LegacyI live behind reinforced walls
and a guard clad in armor of fear
for each door.
A fortress built from bricks of doubt and disappointment;
mortar mixed with the ashes from the pyre
on which I sacrificed myself
and remade myself
in the hopes that this incarnation
might be something someone could appreciate.
I grew in a garden of imperfection
in which I was the most imperfect;
no one ever said, "You aren't good enough."
But they did say,
"Boys don't like fat girls,
you'll never find a man if you don't lose weight."
I heard: "You are unlovable."
They said, "You'll never succeed
if you don't do your homework--"
nevermind that I had the highest grade in the class.
I heard: "You aren't good enough."
I burned those messages into my flesh
every time I looked at my reflection
and believed them.
Now, 30 years of rebirths later,
this incarnation still believes
she is unlovable,
and this incarnation still believes
she is a failure,
even when my child,
my precious baby girl,
takes my face in
SolaceShe never slept well in the dark,
not without the children of the sun and moon
to guide her weary lids home.
Guided by the aftermath, she was always two steps behind.
What did the world look like to the girl who had been through it all?
Braved the heaviest of storms,
yet skipping over cracks in the pavement.
They said her eyes were the wisps of clouds before the storm.
To him they were reflections of pages overlooked.
She said it was like she lived the life of someone she had never met.
Laid out to dry, yesterdays news.
He knew her as the girl who was built to never collapse.
He wished he was too.
He loved her more than words could say, and yet her pain was such,
that at times, he feared she wouldn’t make it.
But on nights like these, even when it threatened to consume her,
he became convinced that somehow she would.
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